Local Leads: 2/16/09

News you need to know

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

The state’s budget shortfall increased an additional $821.5 million according to the latest economic figures released today by the office of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.  However, the revenue expected from the coming federal stimulus package will more than offset the increased deficit faced by the state. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

A Seton Hill University student from Maryland was killed by police yesterday during a standoff in Pennsylvania, authorities said. Police in Greensburg said they received a call early yesterday saying that Joseph Frederick Briggs had threatened to harm himself and his roommates. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette identified Briggs as a 22-year-old senior from Dickerson in Montgomery County. (AP/Baltimore Sun)

With the bidding process off to a shaky start for five slots parlors in Maryland, a state delegate has introduced a bill to place slots inside BWI-Marshall Airport. The bill would allow a slots parlor to be opened inside the airport terminal with up to 3,000 machines. Voters would have to approve it as an amendment to the state constitution. (NBCWashington.com)

The Prince William County School Board is set to discuss possible changes to the grading scale at its meeting Wednesday.  Right now, the grading scale used in Prince William County high schools defines an A as 93 to 100 percent, a B+ as 90 to 92, a B as 84 to 89, a C+ as 91 to 83, a C as 74 to 80, a D+ as 71 to 73, a D as 65 to 70 and an F as 64 and below.  The School Board is considering adopting a 10-point grading scale, which would make an A 90 to 100 percent, a B 80 to 89, and so on. An F would be anything 59 percent or below. (Insidenova.com)

The cost of everything from flushing your toilet to having an overdue library book will go up, under proposals to solve a $35 million budget shortfall being presented to County Board members on Saturday.County Manager Ron Carlee has proposed a host of fee increases that will affect everything from the cost of trash collection to the fee for a county vehicle tax decal. He is asking board members to advertise all the proposals for public hearings in March. (Sun Gazette)

Some consultants tell business executives and consumers to reduce dining out during recessions. Such advice is not exactly music to the ears of Paul Hartgen, president and CEO of the Restaurant Association of Maryland. Maryland restaurant sales were down about 1 percent in 2008 from 2007 to $8.7 billion, according to association figures released this week. Sales declines hit double digits in Dorchester, Somerset and Calvert counties, while Cecil County saw the largest increase of 9 percent. (Gazette)

It's official: Donald Trump has purchased the Lowes Island Club, making the Washington region part of his luxury golf empire. "This place, when it's finished, will be the finest club anywhere in the country," he told The Washington Post last night. "There will be nothing like it. I already own the best ones, so I know." The private country club has been on the market since last summer, for a reported asking price of $18 million, by owner Chevy Chase Bank. (Loudoun Extra / Washington Post)

iTunes U
iTunes used to be a great way to get away from homework, but now it's becoming part of the assignment. The university has started testing the waters with iTunes U, the academic section of Apple's popular media store that allows educators to upload audio and video of lectures or supplementary materials for students. At an event discussing the uses of iTunes U on Friday, several professors enthusiastically endorsed the system, saying it helped involve students in the class without decreasing attendance. (Diamondback)

Leslie Williamson needs help reuniting a 50-year-old-plus Catholic prayer book with its owner. The fifth-grade math teacher found the Sunday missal, written in Latin and English, near Starbucks in the College Park shopping center on Seventh Street about 10 days ago. She hasn't had any luck returning the hand-sized, black leather-bound volume. (Frederick News Post)

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