Local Leads: 12/15/08

News you need to know

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

Capital One Financial Corp., the McLean-based credit-card lender and bank, said 9.5 percent of car loans in November were delinquent.More than $100 million in auto loans were uncollectible, Capital One said today in a regulatory filing. Delinquent car loans were valued at $2.06 billion in the month, the bank said. A slump in auto lending could hurt manufacturers including General Motors Corp. after Congress failed to pass a U.S. bailout of the industry last week. (Richmond Times Dispatch) http://www.timesdispatch.com/rtd/business/local/article/JMAC0157_20081215-092007/151322/

Unemployment is now the cause of almost half of all foreclosures on conventional mortgages, raising concerns that mounting joblessness will stall any housing recovery and could cause more foreclosures next year. The increase in unemployment as a cause is a significant shift from 2007, when foreclosures were primarily driven by the large number of homeowners who had taken on risky loans. Many were first-time home buyers or those who bought during the housing boom that ended in 2006. (USAToday) http://www.usatoday.com/money/economy/housing/2008-12-14-unemployment-default-foreclosures_N.htm?loc=interstitialskip'

The Washington region is expected to end the year with as many as 36,000 more jobs than last year, despite a slowly increasing unemployment rate, putting it among a handful of large metropolitan areas nationally with positive numbers.  But analysts are forecasting a much dimmer outlook for next year, saying a rush of layoffs bearing down on the region over the next several months may bring a six-year span of job growth to an end.  (Washington Post) http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/12/14/AR2008121401910.html?hpid=topnews

Tourism is a major industry in Virginia, worth roughly $18.7 billion and 210,000 jobs, but no sector of the economy is immune from the troubles affecting the whole country.  At a recent forum in Richmond on the state of the industry, tourism officials said they're worried a wounded economy and the prospect of state budget cuts could spell trouble.  The state appropriation to the Virginia Tourism Corporation has declined from $21 million in 2001 to $14 million in the current fiscal year, and officials worry about further reductions. (AP/Virginia-Pilot) http://hamptonroads.com/2008/12/tourism-virginia-falling-harder-times

Prince William supervisors' last scheduled meeting of the year looks to be a comprehensive one, as members are set to review everything from taxation issues and Capital Improvement Program proposals to "Home Help" for county employees.  First up at Tuesday's meeting is the CIP.  "As we know, the budget is tight so the CIP plan is going to be pretty sparse as well," said Liz Bahrns, communications director for the county, during a Friday morning press briefing.  Following, Dana Fenton, director of legislative affairs, will bring back two proposals that could ultimately give the county greater authority over taxation. The first would allow the county to tax admissions, cigarettes and meals; the second, enable the county to tax commercial and residential properties at different rates. (Insidenova.com) http://www.insidenova.com/isn/news/local/article/prince_william_board_considers_meals_cigarette_tax/26258/

 Police are stepping up their presence at Frederick County's park and ride lots after a commuter was robbed at gunpoint at the Urbana Park and Ride early Wednesday.  Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins said he doesn't know of any previous armed robberies at the commuter lot in Urbana.  "We're going to have deputies pay a little more attention to the park and rides," he said. "We will look more at what is coming and going."  (Frederick News Post) http://www.fredericknewspost.com/sections/news/display.htm?storyID=83976

Even if only half of the projected 2 million to 4 million people show up for next month's presidential inauguration, the Washington region's roadways and transit systems will be too pressed to handle the crush, planners say.Officials are working out details of their transportation plan for the event, but the capacity of the area's transit and road infrastructure, combined with strict security, means residents and potential visitors need to have realistic expectations about how quickly they will be able to move around on Jan. 20, officials said. (Washington Post

As the region scrambles to work out the details of the 56th Presidential Inaugural, some are saying January 20 may be anything but business as usual. Officials say somewhere between 2 million and 4 million people will visit the area during inaugural week, straining area roads, mass transit and even cell phone towers. (Insidenova.com)

President-elect Barack Obama, Vice President-elect Joe Biden and their families will hold a pre-inaugural event in Baltimore on Saturday, Jan. 17, as they travel to Washington by train for the swearing-in ceremony the next week, it was announced today. The presidential inaugural committee said that the Baltimore appearance would be "in the tradition of past presidents-elect," who have staged a variety of events on their way to Washington to begin their administration. (Baltimore Sun)

Anne Arundel Medical Center is reporting the successful delivery of the first set of quintuplets in the hospital's 106-year history. The medical center says the mother and the quints are doing well. According to a news release, a 37-member clinical team handled the delivery of the four girls and one boy.(AP/wtop.com)

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