Local Leads: 9/20/2009 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 9/20/2009

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    Meet a Former Radio City Rockette Who Got Her Life Back
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    The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

    Police captured a young California man at Richmond International Airport yesterday and charged him in the slayings of four people at the Farmville home of a Longwood University professor.  Farmville police confirmed only the identity of Mark Niederbrock, pastor at Walker's Presbyterian Church in the Hixburg area of Appomattox County, among the victims found Friday at the home of Debra S. Kelley, a Longwood professor from whom he was separated. The other victims were females, police said.  Kelley and Niederbrock have a daughter, Emma. Another teen was believed to be visiting at the home.  The suspect, Richard Samuel Alden McCroskey III, 20, of Castro Valley, Calif., was found sleeping at a baggage area at Richmond International Airport and arrested without incident about 11:25 a.m. He had stolen a car from the home, wrecked it before leaving the Farmville area and arrived at the airport in a cab, authorities said.  One of his MySpace pages on the Internet included apparent correspondence with Emma Niederbrock, who appeared to have left a message about two weeks ago saying she was looking forward to seeing him. Throughout yesterday, friends of Niederbrock posted condolence messages. Although she doesn't use her name on her MySpace page, friends posted messages and e-mails to one another throughout the day naming her and mourning her death.

    The signing of defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth didn't produce a different result for the Redskins last week at Giants Stadium. However, with the massive Haynesworth occupying blockers in front of him, Fletcher was even more free to roam to the ball. He showed no signs of being 34, making 18 tackles with 11 solo stops, both marks one shy of his highs since 2005.  Fletcher got his start with the 1998 Rams, for whom he was a surprising special teams captain as a rookie free agent. He became a starter in 1999 and was the top tackler for the Super Bowl champions, a title he has maintained in his nine full seasons since for St. Louis, Buffalo and Washington.  This week's main mission for the 5-foot-10, 245-pound dynamo is keeping Jackson in check. Jackson generated 79 yards on 22 touches as the winless Rams upset the streaking Redskins 19-17 in Week 6 last year at FedEx Field. Two years earlier, he ripped through the Washington defense for 150 yards and added 102 receiving yards while scoring three touchdowns as the host Rams won 37-31 on overtime. That ugly outing helped prompt the signing of Fletcher in free agency three months later.

    By the time noon rolls around today, more than 8 million people will have driven from some place to some place else in the Washington region. By midnight, that number will double to 16.3 million. What if they hadn't? Tuesday, after all, is World Car Free Day.  Forget for a minute that jobs would be lost, classrooms would be empty, that the president and the polar bears at the zoo would go hungry. Dream of a day when not a single ignition key turned.  By the end of that day:  The air would be free of 60,000 tons of CO2 and 238 tons of other chemical byproducts created when a spark meets gasoline. Seven million gallons of gasoline would have been preserved at a savings of about $18.5 million.  Several hundred people would have avoided those close encounters of the worst kind, the 244 daily traffic crashes.  One hundred twenty-two people wouldn't end the day injured. And at least one person (statistically, 1.19 persons) wouldn't have died in a car crash. World Car Free Day is the annual apex of a global movement that promotes alternatives to a car-dependent society, including improvement of mass transit, cycling and walking, and the development of communities where jobs are closer to home and where shopping is within walking distance.

    Giving contraceptives to people in developing countries could help fight climate change by slowing population growth, experts said Friday.  More than 200 million women worldwide want contraceptives, but don't have access to them, according to an editorial published in the British medical journal, Lancet. That results in 76 million unintended pregnancies every year.  If those women had access to free condoms or other birth control methods, that could slow rates of population growth, possibly easing the pressure on the environment, the editors say.  "There is now an emerging debate and interest about the links between population dynamics, sexual and reproductive health and rights, and climate change," the commentary says.  In countries with access to condoms and other contraceptives, average family sizes tend to fall significantly within a generation. Until recently, many U.S.-funded health programs did not pay for or encourage condom use in poor countries, even to fight diseases such as AIDS.  The world's population is projected to jump to 9 billion by 2050, with more than 90 percent of that growth coming from developing countries.