Local Leads: 05/15/2009

News you need to know

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

GM to Slash 1,100 Dealerships

General Motors is notifying 1,100 of its 6,000 dealers today that it will not renew their franchise agreements when they expire next year. This is the automaker's first step in slashing 40 percent of its retail network. More cuts are expected, as GM expects to sell or close four of its brands -- Saturn, Hummer, Saab and Pontiac. GM told the Obama administration that it plans to shrink its dealer network down to 3,600 dealers in 2010. (Washington Post)

Massaponax Grad Killed in Iraq

Under a blustery gray sky and in a transfer case draped with an American flag, Cpl. Ryan Casey McGhee, 21, an Army Ranger killed in Iraq on Wednesday, began his final journey home. In a solemn scene yesterday on the tarmac, McGhee's remains were transferred by fellow soldiers from a 747 cargo plane bearing the Stars and Stripes on its flank, to the ground where relatives and a large white van were waiting. (Free Lance-Star)

County Could Have Gender-Separated School Next Year

The Prince George's County school board is expected to consider today a plan to create a gender-separated contract school in the county, which could open in the fall and eventually serve more than 500 students. According to a proposal posted on the board's agenda for its meeting, the school system would partner with Imagine Schools to create the Imagine Boys and Girls Academy of Prince George's County, a kindergarten-through-fifth-grade school, which will add one grade each year to eventually become a kindergarten-through-eighth-grade school. If the school is fully enrolled, it would serve about 520 students.  (Gazette.net)

Female workers back Leopold

Twelve women who are political appointees of County Executive John R. Leopold rushed to his defense yesterday against growing accusations of sexual harassment, claiming he never has harassed them. The accusations "are ridiculous, and we thought you should hear it from his staff," said Michele Cross, a secretary in the county executive's office suite who organized a news conference across the street from county government headquarters in Annapolis. (The Capital)

A Make-or-Break Preakness Stakes

Lagging ticket sales for Saturday's Preakness Stakes portend more than just a bad day for Maryland's already threatened horse racing as a whole, industry analysts say. Maryland Jockey Club Owner Tom Chuckas says he expects the recession to depress ticket sales for the middle leg of the fabled Triple Crown by about 10 percent to 12 percent, cutting deeply into an event that helps to finance the whole year's racing. (Washington Times)

Violence by Bouncers Scrutinized

Several recent incidents near downtown bars have raised eyebrows over the use of force by security personnel - a problem that surfaced when pepper spray was used on students to quell a violent situation early Sunday morning. This weekend, two separate instances outside Thirsty Turtle on Route 1 required both bouncer and police attention and resulted in at least one arrest. (Diamondback)

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