Local Leads: 12/3/08

News you need to know

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

The family whose son was ambushed, robbed and killed while making a food delivery last summer has sold its Fredericksburg restaurant and left the area.  The Zhang family sold China Express on U.S. 1 Nov. 8. A sign advertising the new name of the restaurant, Hunan Taste, went up yesterday.  The family decided to sell the restaurant after the devastating loss of their son this past summer, said Hunan Taste owner Chuan Fu Zhang, who is not related to the previous owner. (Free-Lane Star)

The sagging economy might have taken another toll last month, as more owners relinquished their dogs and cats to the Montgomery County Animal Shelter.  According to B.J. Altschul, director of community and educational relations for the local humane society, "moving" was the reason most often cited for 46 cats and 23 dogs handed over in November to the county shelter, which is run by the Montgomery County Humane Society.

Mortgage applications more than doubled in the holiday week ended Nov. 28 from the week before, as interest rates plunged, the Mortgage Bankers Association said Wednesday.  The association's index, a measure of mortgage loan application volume, was up 112% on a seasonally adjusted basis from the week earlier. On an unadjusted basis, the index increased 51.4% from the previous week; it was down 21.9% from a year earlier.

State efforts to help residents keep their homes have led to a recent decline in the number of foreclosures across Maryland and in Anne Arundel County, officials announced yesterday. But despite a drop from the second quarter to the third quarter, the number of foreclosures still is significantly higher than this time last year. And state officials said they expect those number to jump even higher as more Marylanders lose their jobs and home loans reset to higher rates next year. (The Capital)

George W. Bush knows how to fix things.  No, not the George W. Bush whose performance after Hurricane Katrina, in the early phases of the Iraq War and now in the financial meltdown have received so much scrutiny. We're talking about the handyman from St. Mary's County.  It was 1981 when people began noticing that George W. Bush of Great Mills had the same name as the vice president of the United States, George H.W. Bush. (The Enterprise) http://somdnews.com/stories/11282008/entetop153314_32336.shtml

Thurmont Commissioner Ron Terpko doesn't want to be called a Scrooge.  "I know it's Christmas; I know it's the holidays," he said. "But I have a severe, severe problem with people who owe us thousands and thousands of dollars for past-due electric bills, and they have Christmas lights on blaring from as soon as it gets dark until the very early morning."  At Monday's town meeting, Terpko voiced his concern about the number of residents with overdue electric bills who are sporting grand Christmas displays at their homes.  The town keeps a list of offenders, updated monthly by Chief Financial Officer Rick May. Commissioner Glenn Muth said some of the people are estimated to be three or four years late in payment. (Frederick News Post) http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?StoryID=83452

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