Local Leads: 5/18/09

News you need to know

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

DC TOURISM DOWN?
Rain or shine, summer begins this Memorial Day weekend for the travel industry, and the forecast is cloudy with a strong chance of scattered tourists.  Nationally, the travel industry is expecting a 2.2 percent decline this summer for all tourism businesses -- including bookings for planes, hotels, theme parks and resorts -- after taking a similar dip in 2008.  City tourism officials, who are projecting a 2 percent decline for the year, say they have no firm data to determine the outlook for the summer, but they are hoping for the best based on positive signs here and there, and they are advertising heavily. (Washington Post)

CROWN FARM DEVELOPERS BANKRUPT
Developers for the billion-dollar Crown Farm retail and residential project in Gaithersburg filed bankruptcy this month.
KB Home Maryland LLC and Centex Homes Crown LLC, which teamed to form Crown Village Farm LLC, tried selling the 181-acre property near interstates 270 and 370 at Fields Road last summer. Bidders offered barely half the $140 million they paid for the property in 2006. (Gazette)

DIAL FOR PARKING
Nirav Thaker had just pulled his black sport-utility vehicle into a parking lot in downtown Bethesda one recent evening. He hopped out, reached into his pocket and let out a deep sigh. No quarters. Could he make it in and out of the nearby Barnes & Noble before parking enforcement arrived and slapped a ticket on his windshield that could cost as much as $40? In a few months, Thaker and others who come up short on change might not have to grapple with such a dilemma. Under a plan before the Montgomery County Council, instead of quarters, Bethesda parkers will be able to pay for parking with their cellphones.  (Washington Post)

DULLES GREENWAY USE DOWN
The economic downturn has had one positive effect with less traffic on roadways, but that's not good news for one local company. The owners of the Dulles Greenway Company say they are dealing with a four percent decrease in traffic this year. The privately owned 14-mile toll road connects Washington Dulles International Airport with Leesburg, Virginia. In January of this year, the company raised its rush hour toll fees charging drivers $4 traveling between Leesburg and Washington. (WTOP.com)

OCEAN CITY TEEN KILLED
A 16-year-old boy was hit by a sport-utility vehicle and killed Saturday night while trying to cross Route 50 in West Ocean City, Maryland State Police said. The crash occurred just west of the Harry W. Kelley Memorial Bridge. Witnesses said the teen, who was with a group of people, ran across the westbound lanes and onto the median and was hit by a Jeep Wrangler. He was taken to Atlantic General Hospital, where he died. (AP/Baltimore Sun

THE NAKED RUN
Lingerie is on display in the second annual charity event.  (Diamondback)

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MAJOR IN COMPUTER GAMES
All those hours the kids spend playing video games might pay off after all. Virginia college students now can make it their major.  George Mason University will offer the state's first bachelor of fine arts degree in computer-game design this fall. The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia approved the GMU degree program in March. Though it's the first in Virginia, other universities offer similar programs, including the University of Florida and Carnegie Mellon University. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

85-YEAR-OLD GRADUATES!
Almost 70 years after dropping out of high school, Carolyn Hill raised her arms in the air and shouted “I did it!”
Hill, 85, spent a lifetime waiting for the moment when she could call herself a high school graduate.  “I’ve wanted to do this,” said Hill on Sunday . “I feel great ... I feel brighter. I’m just so happy that I’m able to do this.”  (Herald-Mail)

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