Local Leads: 12/27/08

News you need to know

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

A city man was arrested early yesterday morning after police said he doused his pregnant girlfriend with gasoline. At 2:15 p.m., police were called to East Street in Annapolis for the report of a domestic dispute. When they arrived, they found the alleged victim, 19, who said she had been in a fight with her boyfriend of four years. She said that, as the argument continued, she threatened to leave him and move out on her own. At that point, she said, her boyfriend became enraged, poured gasoline on her, blocked the doorway to the apartment they shared, and kept her from leaving, police said. (The Capital)

A court hearing set for Jan. 14 will probably determine whether Culpeper's town/county consolidation referendum will move forward. On that day, Judge Jack Berry will hear evidence from town attorneys designed to put an end to entrepreneur Joe Daniel's attempt to combine Culpeper's two governments into one. The challenge, which argues that at least some of the more than 1,200 signatures gathered by Daniel's workers last spring are invalid, was filed Sept. 24 on the town's behalf by Richmond attorney Carter Glass IV. (Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star)

For 12-year-old Jalen Dickerson, Christmas came a little late this year. After unwrapping his presents Christmas Day, Jalen, of Washington, D.C., had racked up $400 in gift cards from friends and family. Flushed with cash after the holiday, he and his father, Delonta Dickerson, headed to the mall for a mini shopping spree. "I feel OK," Jalen said while sitting with his father in the food court at The Mall at Prince Georges in Hyattsville. Despite shopping bags from the Downtown Locker Room store occupying the seat next to him, Jalen still had his eyes set on Nike Shox shoes – which retail for about $115 – as his next post-Christmas gift.  (Gazette)

A furlough plan for Maryland state employees began Friday to help make up for an unexpectedly large budget shortfall this fiscal year, and union leaders said many employees are worried because Maryland's fiscal crisis looks even stormier next year. Thousands of employees are affected by Gov. Martin O'Malley's furlough and salary reduction plan, which will save an estimated $34 million. It's the first time state employees have been required to take unpaid days off since 1992, when Maryland last endured a recession. They'll all take at least two days, and some higher-paid workers will take more. (WTOP/AP)

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