Local Leads: 10/29/2008

News you need to know

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

Wall Street took some money off the table Wednesday after its huge rally a day earlier, as investors awaited an afternoon decision on interest rates from the Federal Reserve. The market expects policymakers to lower the fed funds rate by a half point to 1 percent, though there has been speculation that smaller or wider cuts are possible. (AP/Washington Times)

Hundreds of officers from across Maryland are arriving in Middletown at this hour for the funeral of Frederick City Police Officer Richard Mark Bremer. The parking lot of Holy Family Catholic Community in Middletown is filled with police cars. Color guards from several agencies have arrived for Bremer's funeral, which is scheduled to begin at 11 a.m. U.S. Capitol Police have arrived with a flag that flew over the U.S. Capitol. Up to 2,500 mourners are expected to attend today's services for Bremer, who died on duty early Thursday. He was 39. (Frederick News Post)

Researchers say voting for a new president isn't the only thing U.S. voters should be concerned about on Election Day.  A new study shows that vehicle accidents and fatalities are 18 percent more likely to occur on presidential election days in the United States than on any other day. The study, published this month in the Journal of the American Medical Association, was co-authored by researchers at the University of Toronto in Canada and California's Stanford University. (Loudoun Times Mirror)

Maryland's state school board made a final decision yesterday to hold firm and require this year's high school seniors to pass four subject tests to graduate in June, although it left open the possibility of exemptions for special education students and those learning English.The decision leaves 9,059 students across the state - or about 17 percent of the Class of 2009 - at risk of not getting a diploma, according to data released yesterday.Only 70 percent of African-Americans statewide and 50 percent of special education students have met the requirements. But the group most likely to be barred from graduation are immigrants who are learning English. Many have not yet taken all the tests, and only 15 percent have met the requirements. (Baltimore Sun)

State budget cuts will mean layoffs this week for 40 Maryland state employees. The filled jobs are among more than 800 mostly vacant positions eliminated because of this year's budget shortfall. Gov. Martin O'Malley's administration says the layoffs Wednesday will include more than 20 jobs in the Department of Transportation. Seven of the 40 people being laid off make more than $100,000 annually. (AP / The Capital)

Plans for the area around the new Nationals ballpark are on hold due to the credit crunch. Ballpark fans will notice that there's no movement in the area between M Street Southeast and Nationals Park, the Washington Times   reports. While officials remain optimistic, many of the buildings under construction are likely to open without tenants because financing has become so difficult to get.  (WTOP/ Washington Times)

The Stafford County School Board voted last night against closing Drew and Stafford middle schools next academic year.Administrators had made the proposals to save money and use space more efficiently."The only problem I have is, we've got to put our thinking caps on," said member John LeDoux. "We've got to think of ways to save millions and millions and millions of dollars." County Administrator Anthony Romanello has asked the school system to cut $2 million from this fiscal year's budget.Member Doreen Phillips cast the lone dissenting vote because of what she called the huge financial crisis facing the county.  (Free-Lance Star)

Frederick County Sheriff Chuck Jenkins is proud of the work his department is doing to catch illegal immigrants that commit crimes here. Since April, deputies have arrested and housed at the detention center 216 immigrants. Of that, 188 have gone through the immigration proceedings for deportation. The majority of those arrests (52.3 percent) have been made by the City of Frederick Police Department. Sheriff's deputies have arrested 31.4 percent. Most of the illegal immigrants arrested have come from the countries of El Salvador and Mexico, he noted. (Gazette Newspapers)

Beginning Dec. 1, Manassas police will investigate the immigration status of everyone they arrest, according to a policy announced Monday night. The order by police Chief John J. Skinner brings the city's procedures in line with those of Prince William County police and the staff at the Prince William-Manassas regional jail. It was announced at a meeting of the Manassas City Council on Monday.  But while the policy formally denounces racial profiling - an issue in many discussions on immigration - at least one community leader has concerns about it. (Potomac News)


Cold and windy today, snow in western Maryland.  (NBCWashington.com)


Traffic around the region, live updates ...   (NBCWashington.com)

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