Local Leads: 11/30/09

News you need to know

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

An environmental advocacy group known as Environment Virginia released a report this week that identifies Alexandria’s Mirant coal-fired power plant as the second dirtiest in Virginia. The report, titled "America's Biggest Polluters," used carbon dioxide emissions data from 2007 to conduct an analysis of the plants and create a ranking system. The finding comes at a time when city officials are coordinating with Mirant to erect a 30-foot windscreen in an effort to control fugitive dust from the plant. (Alexandria Gazette Packet)

Three Metro employees were injured early Sunday when a train headed into the West Falls Church rail yard smashed into a parked train, in a crash that destroyed three train cars and caused at least $9 million in damage, authorities said.
(Washington Post)

Door-buster deals and steep discounts on small appliances and toys lured more shoppers to malls and big-box stores during the Thanksgiving weekend but consumers spent less on average this year, providing retailers a somewhat encouraging but still mixed picture for the rest of the holiday season. Shoppers in Maryland and across the country spent $41.2 billion over the weekend, slightly more than last year, according to figures released Sunday by the National Retail Federation. But the average consumer spent $343.31 -- a 7.8 percent decline from $372.57 last year, the trade group said. Still, retailers reported some positive signs that people were willing to open their wallets for bargains, based on early surveys. (Baltimore Sun)

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office has charged a Round Hill man with breaking into the town office on Main Street. Joseph S. Prizzia, 27, faces charges of burglary and vandalism. A deputy arrived at the town office, where the sheriff's office rents the second floor for use as a substation, about 12:30 a.m. on Saturday and observed a damaged door. Some of the offices were rummaged through and left in disarray. (Leesburg Today)

Shelia White was at work behind her desk at Virginia State Police headquarters in Chesterfield County last Monday at 6:30 a.m., bright and early as usual. And, as usual, there was plenty to do at her post in the police academy building: reams of paperwork and reports for the trooper recruits and the tactical-operations division, and correspondence with other law-enforcement agencies. The difference between these days and when White started in January is that now she isn't being paid. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

Restaurants all across Virginia are preparing for new smoking regulations. Beginning Tuesday, restaurants will be allowed to have a smoking area only if they segregate smokers into rooms with separate ventilation systems. The law also allows smoking on outdoor patios and in private membership clubs. (AP/wtop.com)

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