Local Leads: 3/3/10

News you need to know

By Charlie Bragale
|  Wednesday, Mar 3, 2010  |  Updated 9:16 AM EDT
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Local Leads: Pawn Shops Help Cops

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

COMFORT COMING HOME?
The Navy hospital ship Comfort discharged its last remaining patient last weekend and is anchored in Port-au-Prince harbor, empty but for its 993- member crew, waiting for military leaders to decide whether it still has a role in the U.S. response to January's deadly earthquake in Haiti. Pentagon officials won't say what the ship's next step is. But as signs mount that the floating medical center is preparing to leave Haiti six weeks after it arrived, so is the clamor rising from doctors on the ground in the battered country who say earthquake victims still need the Comfort's equipment and skills. (Baltimore Sun)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY STUDENTS CHRONICALLY CUT CLASS
Nearly 10 percent of Montgomery County high school students are chronic class cutters, with thousands more skipping in the elementary and middle grades.  Almost 1,000 students in the county were labeled "habitual truants," defined as absent without an excuse at least one day per week, on average. About 9,000 students were labeled "chronically absent," meaning absent at least 20 days without an accepted excuse. (Examiner)

FACEBOOK COLD CASES
Virginia State Police are using Facebook to bring a high-profile murder case back into the spotlight.  Alicia Showalter-Reynolds was murdered 14 years ago in Culpeper County. She was driving from Baltimore to her home in Harrisonburg on Route 29 on March 2, 1996 when she was killed.  After her body was discovered, several other women came forward with information about a man who tried to abduct them along the same highway.  The case eventually became known as the Route 29 Stalker.  Alicia Showalter-Reynolds was murdered 14 years ago in Culpeper County. She was driving from Baltimore to her home in Harrisonburg on Route 29 on March 2, 1996 when she was killed. (wtop.com)

PAWN SHOPS HELP COPS
Pawn shops, with their quick payouts and underpriced secondhand items, are attractive to thieves looking to get rid of stolen items. They are also a key component in solving robbery and burglary cases. Montgomery County Assistant State's Attorney Stephen Chaikin said he has relied on information from pawn shops to prosecute suspects in 25 cases in the last year.(Gazette)

TRASHION SHOW
Are you up for a fun, environmentally friendly version of "Project Runway?" Then do some creative Dumpster diving, drape yourself in glam frocks whipped up from recyclables, and join the first countywide "Trashion Show" this week. (The Capital)

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