Local Leads: 11/20/08

News You Need To Know

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


Prince George's County might have to lay off 400 to 500 employees during the next fiscal year, more than 7 percent of the county government's workforce, according to an internal document obtained by The Washington Post. The document was presented to state lawmakers by County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) at a closed-door meeting last week. Johnson indicated to lawmakers that without additional revenue, the county's budget shortfall will grow to $73 million for the year that begins July 1. (Washington Post)


The government says new claims for unemployment benefits jumped last week to a 16-year high, providing more evidence of a rapidly weakening labor market. The Labor Department says new applications for jobless benefits rose to a seasonally adjusted 542,000 from a downwardly revised figure of 515,000 the previous week. That's much higher than economists' expectations of 505,000, according to a survey by Thomson Reuters. (AP/USA Today)


Job opportunities in Prince William County in the third quarter, July through September, grew by an estimated 1,061 new openings, according to figures presented Tuesday to the Board of County Supervisors. Of those, 593, or 56 percent, were for non-retail jobs, the background documents to the board stated. The average salary, said Martin Briley, executive director of Economic Development-who presented the quarterly update to the supervisors-was $726 a week. (Insidenova.com)



Chevy Chase Village is seeing a decline in revenue from its speed cameras, as officials are analyzing how they might adjust the program after a 44 percent drop in the number of violations issued from April through October.The drop in money received from the cameras is due in part to adjustments by local drivers, according to officials. Montgomery County as a whole has also seen a decline in the number of citations issued through its Safe Speed program, which uses speed cameras and red-light enforcement devices to reduce speeding violations and accidents. (Gazette)


Almost 90,000 state households have had their electricity cut off in the last year _ 23 percent more than the year before, according to a report by the Public Service Commission.The PSC compared two years of data from October 2006 through September 2008. It found that more residential utility customers in Maryland have fallen further behind on their bills. This leads energy companies to warn more customers of service shut-off, and eventually disconnect power. (AP/WTOPNews)


The number of homeless students in Fairfax County Public Schools is up 25 percent from last year, primarily due to home foreclosures. Kathi Sheffel has been the homeless liaison for FCPS for the last eight years.Under a provision of the No Child Left Behind Act of 2001, school districts are required to have a homeless liaison to help "highly-mobile" students maintain their educational requirements with as little disruption as possible. (Fairfax Times)


A barking dog helped thwart a theft attempt Tuesday in Stafford County. Sheriff's spokesman Bill Kennedy said a resident was upstairs in his home in the 200 block of Scattered Pines Lane in North Stafford when his dog began barking wildly. The resident went to check on the dog and saw a man staring at him from the kitchen when he got to the bottom of the steps. The intruder ran out the front door and toward the area of Garrison Woods, Kennedy said. Nothing was missing, but a DVD player had been pulled out from under a television and was left on the floor. The suspect was described as a black man, 5 feet 7 inches tall and 150 pounds. He was wearing all black and had a goatee. (Fredericksburg.com)

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