Local Leads: 5/1/2010

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    NEWSLETTERS

    TK
    Getty Images

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

    RAINY DERBY DAY
    The favorite was pulled at the start of the week. Heavy thunderstorms in the forecast could turn the dirt strip at Churchill Downs into something resembling peanut butter.  A year after Mine That Bird won at 50-1 odds by hugging the rail in the slop, the Kentucky Derby is setting up for another wild finish Saturday. A full field of 20 3-year-olds is poised to run 1¼ miles for a $1.4 million prize.
    Lookin At Lucky is the 3-1 morning-line choice, with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert seeking his fourth victory. He inherited the role of favorite after trainer Todd Pletcher withdrew Eskendereya because of a swollen leg. Eskendereya was touted as the latest super horse after winning his last two starts by a combined 18¼ lengths.
    (NBCSPORTS)

    FREE EMBASSY ENTERTAINMENT
    Thirty-five embassies are opening their doors to the public Saturday for the third annual Passport DC.  The free event provides a window into countries from Australia to Zambia. Activities include exhibits, artisan markets, food and performances of traditional music and dance.
    (AP/WTOP)

    VA DMV NIXES TOLL-FREE NUMBER
    As a cost-cutting measure, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles dropped its toll-free customer phone number yesterday.  "DMV will save Virginia taxpayers approximately $500,000 in fees by replacing the agency's toll-free number," said state DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb.  The toll-free number -- (866) 368-5463 -- has been replaced with (804) 497-7100.  "We're hoping that it will have a minimal impact on customers, because of the way people utilize phones these days," DMV spokeswoman Melanie Stokes said.  Last year, the toll-free line handled 1.4 million calls, the state agency said. Calls to the information services number cost the state 3 cents per minute, and the average call took 12 minutes.
    (RICHMOND TIMES DISPATCH)

    PAYING THE METER IN GEORGETOWN
    Drivers who park at 7 p.m. at a two-hour meter in Georgetown will not have to move their cars at 9 p.m., although they will have to plug more quarters in the machine to stay longer.  “After we added Saturday parking and extended enforcement into evening, one of the things we heard back was that people didn’t mind paying for parking in the evening,” said Transportation Department spokesman John Lisle. “But what they objected to was the two-hour limit in the evening made it difficult to do certain things, like go to a movie or a restaurant.”
    (THE GEORGETOWN DISH)

    HATE CRIME INVOLVING RACOON?
    Baltimore County police are investigating a possible hate crime involving a dead raccoon that was found dead, hanging from a noose in front of a Middle River family's home Friday morning.  The family, in the 1500 block of Becklow Ave., found the dead animal hanging from their porch Friday morning, said Lt. Robert McCullough.  While a motive is unknown, McCullough said the act is being investigated as a Racial, Religion and Ethnic bias incident, as well as fourth-degree burglary.  He said the family immigrated from Africa within the last three or four years.
    (BALTIMORE SUN)

    CENSUS WORKERS ARE COMING
    It sounds simple enough. Knock on some doors, ask some questions, get some answers.  But for the more than 600,000 people going door-to-door to reach those who haven't mailed in their census forms, it's not.  When census enumerators set out this Saturday, they could encounter a range of responses at the 48 million addresses they need to check. People who never seem to be home. People who don't speak English. People who say they're too busy. People who swear they mailed in their responses. People who want to know what business is it of the government how many people live in their house, anyway. People who question what will happen to the information that gets collected.
    (WASHINGTON EXAMINER)