Local Leads: 9/27/2009 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 9/27/2009

News you Need to Know



    How Telehealth Technology is Revolutionizing Healthcare
    Getty Images

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

    A recent Broadneck High School graduate and freshman at the University of North Carolina Wilmington died in the surf off  Wrightsville Beach, N.C., on Friday.  John Edward Sackett, 19, an honor roll student and goalkeeper on the soccer team at  Broadneck, was in the water with a group of friends near a pier when lightning struck around 3 p.m.  His friends, who were surfing, all made it to shore but found Sackett had not. It was not clear whether Sackett had been surfing or was just swimming among the surfers.  Several lifeguards dove into the water to search for him, and a U.S. Coast Guard boat and police helicopter searched the area for nearly two hours, reports said.

    A school janitor who was also self-employed as a cabinet installer killed his sleeping wife and two children and then shot himself in a murder-suicide at the family’s home in Mount Airy Friday. Charles L. Dalton, 38, did not leave a suicide note, although it is possible financial difficulties were part of the motive, Maryland State Police spokesman Greg Shipley said.  Dalton used a 12-gauge shotgun to kill his sleeping wife, Jennifer A. Dalton, 37, his son, Charles L. Dalton Jr., 14, and his daughter, Emmaline E. Dalton, 7, either late Thursday or early Friday, Shipley said. He then used the gun to kill himself.  Dalton also fatally shot the family’s beagle in a crate inside the home’s front door, Shipley said.  In addition to working nights as a janitor for Montgomery County Public Schools, Dalton was self-employed as a cabinet installer for his business, Imagine Millwork.  Kenneth Matthews, a neighbor who runs a carpet-cleaning business out of his home, said Dalton had been scraping by in the weak economy. “He was struggling, just like me,” Matthews said. “We’re probably running about 40 percent of where we were last year.”

    One of the first moves Metro officials made after a subway crash killed nine people this summer was to sandwich older rail cars, similar to one crushed in the accident, between newer, sturdier cars. While repeatedly portraying the move as one that might improve safety, interviews and newly obtained documents show Metro conducted no engineering analysis before launching the initiative.  Metro took the action "as a means to address public perception," Metro safety chief Alexa Dupigny-Samuels told a safety panel in July in a previously undisclosed letter.  Shifting the cars "was not undertaken because these railcars are 'unsafe' or [because they] pose a hazard," she wrote in the letter to the Tri-State Oversight Committee, a regional safety panel. Officials repositioned the cars, she said, "to provide an added level of reassurance." Dupigny-Samuels did not cite any scientific support for the move.  Committee members concluded that Dupigny-Samuels viewed the measure as "purely a public relations effort," records show. Meanwhile, Metro General Manager John B. Catoe Jr. was striking a different tone in public appearances.

    Students beware: The summer vacation you just enjoyed could be sharply curtailed if President Barack Obama gets his way.  Obama says American kids spend too little time in school, putting them at a disadvantage with other students around the globe.  "Now, I know longer school days and school years are not wildly popular ideas," the president said earlier this year. "Not with Malia and Sasha, not in my family, and probably not in yours. But the challenges of a new century demand more time in the classroom."  The president, who has a sixth-grader and a third-grader, wants schools to add time to classes, to stay open late and to let kids in on weekends so they have a safe place to go.

    Sonia Sotomayor, the first Hispanic to be named a Supreme Court justice, performed in a much different capacity at Yankee Stadium on Saturday. Sotomayor was a smiling Yankees fan who got to toss out the first pitch before the Yankees played the Boston Red Sox.   Sonia Sotomayor, a die-hard Yankees fan, threw out the first pitch at Yankee Stadium on Saturday.
    After Jorge Posada escorted Sotomayor to a spot about 15 feet in front of the mound, Sotomayor, who was wearing a Yankees jersey, paused and took a deep breath. She then flipped the ball to catcher Jose Molina, who was crouching in front of the plate.(NEW YORK TIMES)