Local Leads: 12/28/09

News you need to know

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

Two years have passed since the Alexandria City Council voted to accept a sculpture known as "Sacandaga Totem." But the artwork has yet to be installed. City officials say the installation has been delayed several times — first by the global economic crisis and then by several rounds of bidding for a contractor to install the 5,000-pound sculpture known as the Sacandaga Totem. The most recent round of bids is due later this month. (Alexandria Gazette Packet)

It survived Hitler, Stalin, the decision to make Hebrew the official language of the State of Israel and the adoption of English by immigrants to the United States. Now Yiddish, for 1,000 years the everyday language of European Jews, is facing another threat: budget cuts. At the University of Maryland, which has stood alongside Harvard and Columbia as one of the nation's few schools to consistently offer instruction in the Germanic tongue, the recent announcement that the Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Center for Jewish Studies would be dropping it in the fall shocked area enthusiasts. (Baltimore Sun

Even though advocates are pushing for a snack tax to fight obesity, Maryland lawmakers say the idea is so unpopular they do not expect it to be introduced in 2010 — an election year. The state had a tax on snack foods from 1992 to 1997, and since its repeal several lawmakers have tried to reinstate it — one as recently as this past session. (Gazette)

While gas prices across the region will close the year remaining stable, the early outlook for 2010 does not bode will for area drivers.  The $2.61 average for a gallon of regular gasoline in the D.C. metro region is the highest for this time of year since 2007. John Townsend with AAA-Mid-Atlantic says that could be an economic barometer no one wants to hear. (wtop.com)

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