Local Leads: 2/16/10

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

    O'MALLEY FORECLOSURE BILL
    Gov. Martin O'Malley will put the force of his office today behind a plan that would enable struggling homeowners to negotiate better mortgage terms before banks can take their houses.The governor is scheduled to testify before Maryland House and Senate committees on legislationthat would create a mandatory mediation process for owners at risk of losing their homes and require lenders to prove they tried to modify a borrower's loan before foreclosing. (Baltimore Sun)

    AUTO DEALERSHIPS CLOSE AT RECORD PACE
    The nation had a greater net loss of auto dealers last year than at any time since 1980 -- maybe of all time, says the chief economist of the National Automobile Dealers Association. Last year, the nation saw 1,772 dealerships go belly up -- many of them General Motors and Chrysler stores caught in downsizing because of the bankruptcy proceedings of both companies. At the same time, about two dozen dealerships actually managed to open last year. The net loss of 1,550 is about equal to the net change in 1980 when high interest rates smothered auto sales, said economist Paul Taylor at the association's convention in Orlando. But the numbers still haven't been entirely counted still. (USAToday)

    HARASSING TEXTS, POSTS A CRIME?
    Harassment using text messages or social networking sites could soon be a crime in Maryland if lawmakers approve two bills making their way through the General Assembly.
    "In many different schools, Facebook is being used to harass people," said Sen. Bryan Simonaire, R-Anne Arundel, sponsor of one of the bills. "Right now, current law doesn't handle Facebook and Twitter-type postings. We have to advance with our technology." (Examiner)

    TO CLOSE OR NOT TO CLOSE
    School districts from across the area are getting an earful from parents on making that call to close, delay or open schools.
    Krista Knicker, a parent in Fairfax County, thinks that students could have been back in classes earlier.  "I think if we want our kids to go to school, we should send the kids to school," says Knicker. "It's just ridiculous that we're just sitting here waiting because we've had some snow to give our kids an education."  Knicker says that working parents are getting hammered by the closings and delays. (wtop.com)