Local Leads: 12_8_2008

News you need to know

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

Stocks bounced back today as investors cheered proposals to revive the economy and a bailout of the auto sector appeared imminent.The Dow Jones industrial average climbed 2.6 percent or 225 points, while the Standard & Poor's 500 index surged 2.7 percent or 24 points. The tech-heavy Nasdaq was up 2.4 percent or 36 points. (Washington Post)

Firefighters in Anne Arundel County battled a five-alarm fire last night that spread to three homes at a waterfront community, threatened other properties and caused approximately $2 million worth of damage.  About 10:25 p.m., firefighters were called to the Oyster Harbor community in the Annapolis Neck peninsula of the county. They immediately discovered a two-story home completely engulfed in flames, in the 3300 block of Shore Drive, with high winds fanning the flames to two nearby homes, authorities said. (NBCWashington)

A 47-year-old Loudoun County man is being fined $10 a day for his Hindu art. Ram Balasubramanian had painted a 6 ft. Hindu religious symbol on his South Riding driveway for a family event. Homeowners association sent a stern certified letter ordering him to remove it and "return the asphalt to a black state." Balasubramanian can't bear the idea of blacking out the kolam, he says, because it is a religious expression welcoming the Hindu goddess of prosperity and other guests into the home. For every day that he refused to remove it, the association charged Balasubramanian $10, which has now accrued to the maximum $900 fine. The association says it won't consider waiving the fine until the kolam is gone. Balasubramanian is not sure he has the strength -- or the money -- to keep fighting.  (Washington Post

Losing stereos and, more recently, global positioning systems, to thieves is a common hazard for car owners. But now, price increases for various metals are driving brasher criminals to target dealerships for a more valuable prize: catalytic converters. The platinum and other metals found in the converters, which reduce emissions, can sell for as much as $250 at scrap centers, according to car dealers. The recession is also driving the trend, some say. (Gazette)

As he bounded out of through the church door just 20 minutes before Mass, the Rev. Bill Hegedusich was greeted by confused looks from his parishioners at St. Peter's on Capitol Hill. He offered them a simple explanation. "I said, 'Hey, I'm going to go catch a thief,' " he said.  Then, in his black shirt and white clerical collar, Hegedusich, a marathon runner, darted after the man who had just swiped the church's collection money. (Washington Post

Last year, there were 259 shoplifting charges in Fredericksburg.  So far this year, there have been 295, and Bledsoe said she expects to see more than 300 by the end of the year. "We still have a month to go," she said.Some experts are worried that this holiday season, shoplifting will become more prevalent with the mix of crowded stores and the current economic slump. (Free-Lance Star)

A record 7.3 million people were working part time in November although they wanted to work full time, up 62% from a year ago and accounting for 5% of the total workforce, the highest proportion in 15 years. They were working less because their hours were cut or the only job they could find was part time, according to the Labor Department. (USAToday
People might not light candles and sing "Give Peace a Chance" on Dec. 8, but 28 years after John Lennon's death, many still reflect on what he was to the world -- musically, politically and socially.  "He was very much trying to get people to take a peaceful view," Claude Hayn said, recalling Manhattan billboards in the early 1970s that read "IMAGINE" and "WAR IS OVER." (Frederick News-Post)

Seeking to corner a niche in a downturned housing market, more architects, contractors and real estate agents are building and selling green homes, complete with solar panels, geothermal heating and cooling and compressed natural gas lines.
And despite the economy, the purveyors of the homes think their 21st-century houses have a real shot on the market.
Meditch Murphey Architects, a Chevy Chase firm, is currently designing and building three "zero energy homes," two in Bethesda and one overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. (Gazette)

Contact Us