Local Leads: 2/19/10

News you need to know

By Charlie Bragale
|  Friday, Feb 19, 2010  |  Updated 10:00 AM EDT
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Local Leads: Doggie Dining Dilemma

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

CHELTENHAM MURDER
A 65-year-old Bel Air woman was found dead Thursday morning on the grounds of a Prince George's County facility where she taught literature to troubled youths, prompting a lockdown as state and county homicide investigators interviewed students and staff. State police said Hannah E. Wheeling was found by a staff member about 7:45 a.m., lying partially clothed and unresponsive outside a school building at the Cheltenham Youth Facility, which has a long history of problems and was recently released from federal monitoring. (Baltimore Sun)

TEXTING BAN BILL
Maryland lawmakers want to tighten a new state law by blocking motorists from reading text messages - not just writing them - as part of their perennial review of distracted-driving issues. The General Assembly has long wrestled with how much to restrict driver cell-phone use. It took its first timid step last year, passing a ban only on sending text messages, a misdemeanor traffic offense that carries up to a $500 fine. (Baltimore Sun)  

NTSB METRO REPORT
The National Transportation Safety Board voted Thursday to add subway car design to its list of "most wanted" safety improvements to prevent the kind of collapse that took place during the fatal crash on Metro's Red Line in June, which killed nine and injured 80.  The force of the crash, in which one Metro train slammed into the back of another, compressed the lead car to a third of its original length as it rode up and over the train in front of it. Federal investigators consider the cars, which are more than 30 years old, to be unsafe because of a tendency to collapse like a telescope, reducing the "survivability" space, or the area in a rail car in which passengers can escape harm. (Washington Post)

SEXUAL ASSAULT ARREST
A Fredericksburg man was jailed yesterday after he hit a neighbor with a baseball bat and sexually assaulted him, police said.Robert Coffey, 45, is charged with malicious wounding and aggravated sexual battery, city police spokeswoman Natatia Bledsoe said. According to police, Coffey and the 37-year-old victim were drinking beer in Coffey's apartment about 2:30 a.m. when the attack took place. The victim and Coffey live in The Commons at Cowan Boulevard next to the police station. The victim told police that he and Coffey had been friends for several months and had never had any problems. (Fredericksburg.com)

DOG DINING DILEMMA
The Maryland Association of County Health Officers thinks allowing dogs on restaurant patios in Frederick could increase food-borne illnesses and the chance of dog bites, a representative told a key Senate committee on Thursday.
The Senate Finance Committee is considering a bill to give the Frederick County Commissioners the ability to allow dogs on outdoor restaurant patios. (Frederick News Post)

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