Local Leads: 1/16/2010 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 1/16/2010

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

    For three days, a 60-year-old U.S. citizen was trapped beneath the collapsed floors of the Hotel Montana in Pétionville, his legs pinned by fallen concrete. He was conscious and often spoke. He shared a space the size of a small closet -- or a large coffin -- with a dead man.  The search and rescue team from Fairfax County finally pulled him from his tomb late Friday, but it was not easy. Working with a French surgeon and a French rescue crew, the team first had to amputate one of the man's legs at the knee. Then they had to amputate the other above the ankle.  The rescued U.S. citizen, whose name was not released, was one of at least 10 people that the French and Fairfax teams pulled from the hotel.

    There was no joking on this day for Gilbert Arenas. The Wizards star (and self-proclaimed jokester) walked into D.C. Superior Court Friday afternoon and pleaded guilty to a gun charge.  In exchange for his plea, prosecutors recommended a sentence in the low end of guidelines, in the neighborhood of six to 24 months with probation, a split sentence or incarceration allowable. The felony charge of carrying a pistol without a license carries a maximum penalty of five years in prison. Arenas also agreed not to possess any firearms and to surrender his passport.


    Iconic morning-radio personality Donnie Simpson has begun negotiating the termination of his WPGC-FM contract -- a move that could end his 32-year career on Washington airwaves, according to sources familiar with the discussions.  Although Simpson has more than a year left on his two-year contract with the CBS-owned station, he probably will leave before March 11, the anniversary of his hiring by WPGC, the sources say.  Simpson, 55, known for his golden-throated voice and easy-going personality, has been one of the most popular DJs in the Washington region for decades. His weekday program has been a morning wake-up call for more than a generation; he has also been instrumental in introducing a long list of R&B and soul artists via his radio program and "Video Soul," the interview and performance program he hosted on Black Entertainment Television for almost 15 years. (Simpson occasionally appears on BET, hosting its annual Walk of Fame awards.)

    Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley will display the lobsters he won in a "friendly wager" on football last weekend in Baltimore.  O'Malley won lobsters from Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick after the Baltimore Ravens bested the New England Patriots on Sunday.  His staff said the crustaceans will be displayed at Max's Taphouse on Saturday in Fells Point.  The Ravens face the Indianapolis Colts on Saturday evening.  O'Malley spokesman Shaun Adamec says the governor wants "to make sure the Colts remember what happened last week when an overconfident New England team faced the underdog Ravens."

    The BET Honors program saluting Whitney Houston, Queen Latifah, Sean "Diddy" Combs and others will help raise money for Haiti relief efforts.  The show is being recorded Saturday night at Washington's Warner Theater for broadcast on Feb. 1. Performers will include Jennifer Hudson, Mary J. Blige, India.Arie, Patti LaBelle and others.  A network spokeswoman says BET Networks CEO Debra Lee will ask viewers to give money to the anti-poverty organization CARE to benefit the earthquake survivors in Haiti. The honorees also are expected to talk about ways to give.  Besides Houston, Latifah and Combs, the other honorees include educator Ruth Simmons and neurosurgeon Keith Black.  BET parent company Viacom Inc. also is matching employee contributions to the American Red Cross.