The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:
Councilman: Send Parents of Truant Students to Jail
High rates of truancy at the District's schools has led D.C. Councilman David Catania to call for parents whose children routinely skip to potentially lose public assistance benefits and even face jail time. According to statistics sighted by Catania during a council hearing on Thursday, more than one of every five students had more than 20 unexcused absences. "We can no longer permit the status quo," Catania told The Washington Examiner. "Kids with 20 or more unexcused absences have missed a month. They get so far behind, they can never recover." (Washington Examiner)
Smoke and Confusion Surrounds Synthetic Marijuana 'Spice'
In the small backroom of Capitol Hemp, a head shop in Adams Morgan, a worker dutifully arranges an array of ceramic pipes, displayed in a well-lit glass case. Another clerk helps a couple of customers as they peruse a selection of bongs and vaporizers. Stored behind the counter is another amply stocked product, whose popularity is booming: "spice," the generic name for a legal "synthetic marijuana." (Washington Post)
Smelly Sewage Line to be Fixed
The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority of Washington, D.C., is behind the proposal to build what it’s calling Potomac Interceptor Odor Abatement sites, which are buildings that would replace aging vents along the 50-mile-long sewage line with structures that would use carbon to neutralize the offending aroma. “This will help with the smell issue, which I actually experienced,” said Supervisor Andrea McGimsey (D-Potomac), whose district includes parts of the line. (Loudoun Independent)
Baltimore "Food Czar"
Last month, Baltimore hired a food policy coordinator, making the city one of the first in the country with a paid "food czar." While Holly Freishtat's directive may be straightforward - get more healthy food on the tables of the people who need it - accomplishing it may not be. She doesn't get a budget for major initiatives, so much of her time is spent pursuing grant money. Her salary doesn't even come from the city, which recently raised taxes and cut services to close a $121 million budget deficit. (AP/Washington Times)