Local Leads: 08/18/2009

News you need to know

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

Labor Day to see 1 Million Fewer Travelers

U.S. airlines expect 1 million fewer passengers to fly this Labor Day weekend compared to last year as the recession takes the wind out of tourism and consumer spending.The Air Transport Association of American said Monday that it expects 16 million passengers to travel on U.S. carriers during the holiday weekend, down 3.5 percent from the 17 million passengers who traveled last Labor Day. (Washington Business Journal)

Woman Charged with Animal Cruelty

An Orange County farm owner who had been operating a rescue facility for polo ponies has been charged with animal cruelty and failure to properly dispose of dead animals. Nancy Sorrel Mackall, 55, is scheduled to be in court Friday to face criminal misdemeanor charges, which include 10 counts of animal cruelty and 20 counts of failure to bury or cremate dead animals. Ten horses and three dogs were removed from Mackall's Langley Farm in Mine Run Aug. 6 and placed in foster care. One horse is being cared for at the Orange County Animal Shelter. (Fredericksburg.com)

8 Arrested for Sex Acts in Park

Eight men have been charged with soliciting and performing sex acts in restrooms and on trails at Gambrill State Park. "This type of activity is illegal and indecent, and will not be tolerated in Maryland's State Parks and other public use areas," said Lt. Paul Hanyok, Frederick County commander of the NRP. The Maryland Natural Resources Police went undercover as park visitors Aug. 10 to Aug. 14 to make the busts. Six people were charged during the operation and two before it started. (WTOP

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Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

Final Preparations Underway for July 4 On The National Mall

Police Seek Identity of Pedestrian Killed on I-66

Cash for Clunkers Bad Deal?

Several new- and used-car dealers say the Cash for Clunkers program is bad for business. Congress passed Cash for Clunkers in July to replace gas guzzlers with new, more fuel-efficient vehicles. The program, which has a $3 billion budget, offers car buyers federally backed incentives of $3,500 or $4,500. Cars and trucks that are traded in as part of the program are scrapped.  (Herald-Mail)

Md Stimulus Money for Energy Use

Maryland is receiving almost $21 million in federal stimulus funds for expanding clean energy use and increasing energy efficiency.  Among other uses, the money will go toward low-interest loans for energy "makeovers" and for grants so that homeowners can install solar, wind or geothermal systems. The award is part of roughly $51 million Maryland expects to receive from the U.S. Department of Energy as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. (Gazette.net)

How Much is Your Dog Worth?

Jeffrey Nanni has sued his former domestic partner, Maurice Kevin Smith, alleging that Smith maliciously killed their 12-pound Chihuahua, Buster, two years ago by hitting him with a wooden board. Smith has denied killing Buster but was found guilty of assault and battery and cruelty to animals in connection with the incident. Since Buster’s death, the suit says, Nanni, 42, a paralegal, “continues to suffer severe emotional distress” and should be compensated for it. The suit asks for monetary damages for Buster’s worth to Nanni, “which includes Buster’s unique value . . . as a companion animal.” ( Loudoun Extra)

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