Local Leads: 12/12/08

News you need to know

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

With its bailout prospects defeated in the Senate, the American auto industry and its dependents were looking Friday toward the White House for salvation. "For God's sakes, I hope the president acts," Mayor Virg Bernero of Lansing, Mich., said Friday morning.  For its part, the White House released a statement that allowing the U.S. car industry to go down the drain "would be irresponsible."  The Senate on Thursday night failed to compromise on a $14 billion bailout for General Motors and Chrysler, after Republicans objected to a House bill passed Wednesday with White House backing. (USA Today)

KB Toys Inc, one of the largest U.S. toy retailers, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection on Thursday, with a plan to close all its stores and begin liquidation sales in the middle of the holiday season.  KB Toys is the latest retailer to succumb to a sharp decline in consumer spending this year. Others like apparel retailer Steve & Barry's to jeweler Whitehall Jewelers Holdings filed for bankruptcy protection earlier this year and started selling their merchandise at deep discounts. (Washington Post)

White's Ferry gets stuck in the Potomac River, stranding about 20 cars and their passengers. White's Ferry's "Gen. Jubal Early" ferry, which offers transportation between Loudoun and Montgomery counties, appears to be stuck on debris in the river.  The ferry is tethered by a guide cable, which is covered by branches and other debris. Montgomery County Fire and Rescue is responding with rescue boats to get the stranded commuters off the ferry, which got stuck just after 8 a.m.  (NBC Washington)

Virginia Railway Express will offer Inauguration Day train service, according to Dale Zehner, VRE's chief executive officer.  Details will be posted to VRE's Web site, vre.org, sometime today.  During an online chat with VRE riders yesterday, Zehner confirmed trains will run Tuesday, Jan. 20.  (Free Lance Star)

Officials are trying to determine what has sickened a number of pupils at one Frederick County school over the past few days.  Brunswick Elementary principal Gerald DeGrange sent a letter to parents Thursday describing a high rate of absenteeism due to gastrointestinal illness, especially in kindergarten classes. Pupils have reported vomiting, diarrhea and related symptoms.  Frederick County Public Schools health specialist Christa Williams said the school has not determined a common cause, but has asked parents of the ill children to provide stool samples to be tested by the Frederick County Health Department. Williams did not know exactly how many children have been ill. (Frederick News-Post)

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