Local Leads: 10/22/2008

News you need to know

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

Fairfax County Police are searching Pohick Bay after a police officer failed to resurface during a diving exercise.Police spokesman Eddy Azcarate says the mandatory training for police officers began around 1:30 pm Tuesday in Pohick Bay Regional Park near Lorton. He says the male officer went missing around 2:45 pm The Fairfax County Fire Department and a K-9 unit are participating in the search for the officer. (NBC4.com

Democrat Barack Obama plans to focus heavily on the financial crisis that has morphed into broad and intense anxieties throughout the country at two rallies in Virginia on Wednesday. Obama has scheduled a noon rally at the 12,000-seat Richmond Coliseum. At 5:30 p.m., he plans to hold a rally at Ida Lee Park in Leesburg. (NBC4.com)

European stock markets were sharply lower Wednesday following losses in Asia and an expected retreat on Wall Street as pessimism over corporate earnings spread around the world. (USA Today)

A pedestrian was struck by a car and killed along Richmond Highway in Fairfax County early this morning. The accident occurred around 4:30 a.m. as the woman was crossing Richmond Highway near Ladson Lane in the Gum Springs area. She was in the northbound lane when she was hit by a Toyota sedan. Officials closed the northbound lanes of the highway through the rush hour to investigate. No charges have been filed yet, and the woman's name has not been released pending notification of relatives.  (Washington Post)

An armed robbery suspect made off with the money but left one of his thumbs behind following a violent armed robbery and double shooting at an alleged Columbia Heights bordello.  Police used the bloody appendage to track down the nine-fingered bandit suspected of robbing what authorities say is a Hispanic brothel and gambling house in Northwest Washington earlier this month.Authorities said the suspect, Bryan Perez, 22, and his partner were able to escape from the row house with hundreds of dollars in cash. But, according to charging documents, Perez's right thumb was left behind on the living room floor, hacked off during a struggle with one of the victims. About two hours after the robbery, Perez went to the emergency room at Washington Adventist Hospital in Takoma Park. Police found out about it, fingerprinted the thumb then transported it to the hospital for a comparison. (DC Examiner)

The Columbia Country Club, which had been part of efforts to keep a transit link out of Chevy Chase, is reportedly working with state officials on a change to the route or a land swap so the project can move forward.The development was part of a presentation Tuesday by Michael D. Madden, project development chief for the Maryland Transit Administration, before the Montgomery County Council on the Purple Line, which would connect Bethesda and New Carrollton with buses or light rail.  (Gazette Newspapers)

Real estate investors and professionals say financial and real estate markets in the U.S. will hit bottom in 2009 and continue to slump for much of 2010, according to a report released Tuesday by the Urban Land Institute and PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP.  (Wash. Business Journal

Before the Intercounty Connector bulldozers roll though, Roy Peck wants to salvage nearly 20,000 daffodil bulbs planted along Georgia Avenue in Olney.  After much coordination with the State Highway Administration, Peck, longtime treasurer of the Greater Olney Civic Association, received permission to recruit a small group of volunteers to retrieve them on Saturday morning.  A single lane will be closed on southbound Georgia Avenue, just north of Thistlebridge Drive, while volunteers dig up the bulbs between 8 and 11 a.m. Portable message boards will alert and guide motorists through the area. (Gazette Newspapers)

After 18 holiday seasons posing as Santa and delighting children at the Tysons Corner Center, Michael Graham has been told not to come back. Graham is a 51-year-old carpenter from Sevierville, Tenn., and was prominently featured in the mall's holiday advertising each season. A spokeswoman for mall manager Macerich Co., Allison Fischer, says Graham did nothing wrong. She says the company jointly hired a new Santa with a new photography company. (Washington Post)

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