Local Leads: 2/20/2010 - NBC4 Washington

Local Leads: 2/20/2010

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    How Telehealth Technology is Revolutionizing Healthcare
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    The following stories have  been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:

    About 20 people have been injured by turbulence aboard a United Airlines plane flying from Washington, D.C., to Japan.  Tetsuya Shinozuka, a police official at Tokyo's Narita International Airport, says many of the injuries were bruises, but at least one person may have broken a leg. He gave no further details.  United Airlines spokesman Mike Trevino in Chicago says about halfway into the 13-hour flight, the pilot advised passengers to put on their seat belts. A short time later, the plane "experienced moderate turbulence."  He declined to discuss any injuries but says United is cooperating with health officials.  The Boeing 747 with 263 people on board landed on schedule Saturday in Tokyo.

    This winter's record-breaking snowstorms have cost Metro more than $20.4 million and counting, busting the agency's $2.5 million snow removal budget for the year.  The February storms alone have cost $8 million to clear the snow, officials said Thursday, plus $9.7 million in lost revenue as Metro limited its service to mainly underground rail service much of last week.  Those costs are on top of the $2.7 million tally for snow removal and lost fares from the December snowstorm, the agency said.  "That's the number right now, but we have guys still working out there," spokesman Steven Taubenkibel said.  More than a week after the last major snowfall, mounds continue to block parking spaces at Metro's lots, angering riders and further reducing the agency's revenue as parking fees can be as much as $4.75 a day.

    Maryland lawmakers want to tighten a new state law by blocking motorists from reading text messages - not just writing them - as part of their perennial review of distracted-driving issues.  The General Assembly has long wrestled with how much to restrict driver cell-phone use. It took its first timid step last year, passing a ban only on sending text messages, a misdemeanor traffic offense that carries up to a $500 fine.  This year, lawmakers say, they plan to outlaw text-message reading - and some believe they have enough support for an all-out ban on hand-held cell phone use, forcing chatty Maryland drivers to use hands-free devices.  Just seven states and the District of Columbia have such a broad prohibition, though many cities impose those limits, as do more than 50 countries.

    Police are questioning a 13-year-old boy in connection with the slaying of a teacher at a state-run juvenile detention center in Prince George's County, and three law enforcement sources say he is their main suspect in the case, now officially ruled a homicide.  The boy has not been charged, and it remains unclear exactly why or how he might have killed Hannah Wheeling, 65, of Bel Air, Md., a teacher of general studies at the Cheltenham Youth Facility.  Greg Shipley, a Maryland State Police spokesman, said late Friday that Wheeling died from "multiple blunt-force trauma injuries." Wheeling also appeared to have been sexually assaulted, law enforcement sources have said.

    Given everything from the "Craigslist killer" to Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal's campaign against the site to the escalating battle over prostitution ads, you'd have to live under a rock to miss Craigslist's sensational presence in the media. Lost in the discussions of illicit or criminal activity, though, are the everyday scams — and every category on the site has them.  From garden-variety pyramid schemes to complex money laundering ploys to pet frauds, the sheer diversity of ways to get stiffed on Craigslist is unmatched.  To be fair, the highly popular site offers very rational advice on how to recognize and avoid scams. But scammers persist in part because Craigslist is such a go-to place all over the world and partly because victims apparently don't heed the aforementioned advice.