Local Leads: 2/4/09

News you need to know

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

VIRGINIA TECH MURDER
Virginia Tech President Charles W. Steger has sent an open letter to the university community following a student slaying last month in which he addresses some "troubling" ethnically-charged commentary about the suspected killer. The letter, in which Steger also urges students, faculty and administrators to keep in mind that college campuses are still some of the safest places in the nation, takes issue with those who have used accused killer Haiyang Zhu's Chinese background to somehow disparage the school's other Asian students. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

FAIRFAX BOARD RACE ... A CLOSE ONE ...
Braddock District Supervisor Sharon Bulova (D) eked out a special-election victory over Springfield District Supervisor Patrick Herrity (R) on Feb. 3 to become the new chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors. Bulova, a 21-year board veteran who long has served as the body's budget chairman, won 51,949 of the 107,713 votes cast, according to unofficial results. Herrity received 50,732 votes. (Sun Gazette)

INTOXICATED OFFICER SUSPENDED
A Prince George's County police officer who was off duty and traveling at twice the speed limit in a county cruiser in 2007 when he collided with a car, killing a University of Maryland student, has been suspended after allegations that he was intoxicated in public and might have inappropriately displayed a handgun, sources said yesterday. (Washington Post)

MCDONALD'S LAWSUIT
A Baltimore woman says when she ordered an iced tea at a local McDonald's restaurant last year, employees gave her a cup containing a cleaning chemical, The Daily Record in Baltimore reported. Caryl Jones has filed a $100,000 lawsuit in Baltimore City Circuit Court. The lawsuit alleges negligence and breach of warranty. Jones' attorney, Patricia Steiger, says the cup contained a sanitizer used on kitchen equipment. (AP/Baltimore Sun)

GOOD SAMARITAN ROBBED
A good Samaritan who stopped to help an elderly couple who crashed their car Sunday afternoon, didn't get the karma returned. The 20-year-old woman pulled over on Interstate-95 near mile marker 114 in Caroline County to assist the couple, whose car had rolled several times, said Sgt. Tom Cunningham of the Virginia State Police.  (Fredericksburg.com)

MONTGOMERY COUNTY HOME SALES
Montgomery County's existing-home sales price fell by nearly 8 percent in 2008, according to a County Council budget update Tuesday that contained a litany of bad news for county residents.  The report also showed that the unemployment rate rose by more than 1 percentage point last year. In December 2008, about 4 percent of the county was unemployed, or 19,000 people, compared with 12,000 people in December 2007.  (NBCWashington.com)

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RECORD WATERMAIN BREAKS
It's official. A record-breaking 611 breaks and leaks beset the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission's 5,500 miles of water mains in January. Sub-freezing temperatures in the second half of the month stressed an aging water distribution system in which large segments of pipe are failing short of their projected life span. (Gazette)

PRINCE GEORGE'S COUNTY TAX INCREASE?
Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) is asking state lawmakers this week to introduce legislation that would increase the amount the county government can tax homeowners. A government source familiar with the proposed legislation said Johnson is asking to temporarily increase the county's Homestead Tax Credit, a cap that limits how much a homeowner's property tax assessment can increase every year. (Gazette)

HAGERSTOWN TO BWI
Tickets went on sale Tuesday for flights between Hagerstown and Baltimore in a new service from Hagerstown Regional Airport, airport and airline officials said.  Cape Air will begin the flights between Hagerstown and Baltimore-Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport on March 24, said Greg Larsen, business development manager for Hagerstown Regional Airport.  (The Herald-Mail)

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