Local Leads: 2/6/2009 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 2/6/2009

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

    PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY JAIL PROBLEMS
    A band of inmates at the Prince George's County jail, furious at a lockdown that kept them from watching Sunday's Super Bowl, disabled the locks on their cell doors and stormed out to assault their guards.  In an apparently coordinated attack, at least eight inmates burst from cells on a second-floor tier, their faces covered with bedsheets, and threw trash cans and chairs at the officers on the ground level, said Lt. Curtis Knowles, president of the Prince George's Correctional Officers Association. (Washington Post)

    VIRGINIA TRUANCY LEGISLATION
    Public school students who quit showing up for classes could lose their driver's licenses under legislation making its way through the General Assembly. The House approved Delegate William Fralin's bill 68-28 Thursday. The bill would allow officials to suspend the license of any student who racks up 10 consecutive days of unexcused absences. Fralin, a Republican from Roanoke, characterized the bill as a dropout prevention tool. A student who is the only licensed driver in his or her household would be exempt. Delegate Clarke Hogan, of Halifax County, questioned why a teenager whose parents' licenses had been suspended should get more lenient treatment than the child of law-abiding parents.

    ALEXANDRIA TAXI RIDES TO SCHOOL
    In the past four years, the number of Alexandria students who ride to school in taxpayer-funded taxicabs has quadrupled, creating a mounting financial strain on a system during a time of dwindling revenues and tightening budgets. The trend is driven by a lack of special-education services offered in Alexandria City Public Schools and a dramatically rising number of homeless students. Although school officials were able to stem the cost somewhat last year by coordinating routes for cabs to carry multiple students, administrators say federal requirements to provide transportation to special-education students and homeless children offer little choice other than hiring taxicabs.  (Alexandria Gazette Packet)

    POWER RATES UP
    The average Dominion Virginia Power customer is now paying $1.84 more per month to help pay for construction of a coal-fired generation plant. Dominion spokesman Jim Norvelle says the rate increase took effect Jan. 1. The company did not announce the rate increase in January, but confirmed it yesterday. A state law passed in 2007 authorizes power companies to recoup from customers some of the costs of new construction projects to meet growing demand for electricity. Previously, Norvelle said, utilities could not start recovering costs until a new power station began operating. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

    DOUGLAS DEVELOPMENT BUYS NW  FORECLOSED PROPERTY
    Douglas Development Corp. scooped up a prime northwest D.C. parcel at the intersection of 4600 Brandywine Street and Wisconsin Avenue on Thursday. A public auction took place Thursday morning at Ober/Kaler's offices at 1401 H St. NW to sell the foreclosed Tenleytown property, which houses the vacant Babe's Billiards site. The D.C.-based development company, which helped remake downtown's East End, bought the 12,661-square-foot lot for $5 million. (Washington Business Journal)

    FANNIE MAE RE-FI RULES LOOSENED
    Fannie Mae will loosen rules for homeowners seeking to lower their mortgage payments by refinancing. The District company, which accounts for more than 40 percent of the $12 trillion in U.S. residential mortgage debt, is seeking to break a "logjam" in refinancing and allow more homeowners to take advantage of near-record low interest rates, according to Brian Faith, a spokesman for Fannie Mae, which like its rival, Freddie Mac, is under government control. (Washington Post)

    HYBRID CARS SALES DOWN
    Fuel-thrifty gas-electric hybrids sold poorly in January amid low gas prices and the recession. Sales of hybrid versions of the Honda Civic, Ford Escape and Toyota Camry all took bigger percentage dives in the month than sales of the conventional versions. The hybrids come with higher price tags, though the gas savings can offset the upfront cost over time. (USA Today)