Local Leads: 09/02/09

News you need to know

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    NEWSLETTERS

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

    9/11 PANDEMIC FLU DRILL
    Is the nation ready for a pandemic flu outbreak? Emergency drills will take place across the nation on Sept. 11.  "We'll actually be working with Secretary Sebelius on a drill and it will be testing the capacity for dealing with a pandemic flu outbreak," says Len Pagano, president of the Safe America Foundation. (wtop.com)  

    HOYER GRILLED AT TOWN HALL MEETING
    House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer said Tuesday night that Congress is likely to consider caps on medical lawsuits as part of its health care overhaul deliberations, but stopped short of assuring his Southern Maryland constituents that he would push for changes in malpractice awards. At a town hall meeting that in its often angry tone and hostile questioning echoed dozens around the country over the past month, the No. 2 Democrat in the House of Representatives was repeatedly pressed about tort reform. (Baltimore Sun)

    NORTHERN VIRGINIA JOBLESS RATE FALLS
    Northern Virginia continues to have the lowest unemployment rate in the commonwealth, falling from 5.5 percent in June to 5 percent in July. Virginia’s statewide unemployment rate fell to 6.9 percent, down from 7.3 percent in June.
    Arlington County’s July jobless rate was 4.2 percent, the lowest jurisdiction in the state. Three other northern Virginia jurisdictions -- Loudoun and Fairfax counties and the City of Alexandria, all saw unemployment fall below 5 percent in July. (Washington Business Journal)

    NO CONFIDENCE
    Early Thursday, Montgomery College President Brian K. Johnson sat in a plush conference room in the college's Cafritz Foundation Arts Center, gushing proudly as he told media outlets about the school's increased enrollment. By that night, however, much of the college's full-time faculty had given Johnson a vote of "no confidence" during a closed session in Rockville. They cited a lack of leadership and vision for the community college — the state's largest, with roughly 60,000 students on its three campuses. (Gazette

    VANDALS SMASH FOUNTAINS
    Vandals destroyed a fountain at the Urbana Regional Library Friday evening that a longtime Urbana family had donated before moving away. At about 9:45 a.m. Saturday, a librarian discovered the three ceramic pots that made up the fountain were smashed open, said Cpl. Jennifer Bailey, a spokeswoman for the Frederick County Sheriff's Office. (Gazette)

    VOLUNTEER CLEAN UP
    More than a dozen cleanup activities around the county are scheduled for September and October, and officials with the Prince William Public Works Department are seeking citizen volunteers to fill the shoes of cleaning crew. “Public Works will lead a local initiative to encourage citizen action and participation in projects to protect the environment,” according to a written brief from the county. “Citizens are encouraged to volunteer in local efforts to pick up litter, spruce up public lands, introduce children to nature and conserve natural resources.” (Insidenova.com)