The following stories have been hand-selected by the Assignment Desk at News4:
NEW CAR SALES STIMULUS?
A proposal in the $787 billion stimulus bill that President Barack Obama is expected to sign today won't be the "magic bullet" that will turn the auto industry around, but it could spark some sales momentum, Peter Kitzmiller, president of the Maryland Automobile Dealers Association, said Monday. The proposal introduced by Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), of Baltimore, will allow a state sales tax deduction for buyers who purchase a new vehicle through Dec. 31. A family making $250,000 a year would save about $600 on a new $35,000 car, according to Mikulski's office. Buyers have to make less than $125,000 individually or $250,000 as a family to qualify for the deduction. (Gazette)
STERLING PARK SUFFERING
First a shooting and now a recession -- a mall can only take so much. Sterling Park's gritty shopping district along Sterling Boulevard is an assortment of fast food chains, auto-parts stores and Hispanic eateries sprawled over two strip malls – Sterling Plaza and Sterling Park Shopping Mall. (Loudoun Times)
MARYLAND, GET READY FOR THE FLU!
Public health and hospital officials say that seasonal influenza, with all its aches, fevers and assorted other agonies, is indeed on the increase in Maryland this month, with a peak due in the next three or four weeks. "You worry most about the very old and the very young," said Leigh Chapman, manager of infection control at St. Joseph Medical Center in Towson. Confirmed cases there have jumped from five during all of January to 18 already this month. (Baltimore Sun)
POTOMAC YARD METRO?
Alexandria officials and Metro this week will discuss an idea that's been batted about since the 1990s -- building a Metro station at Potomac Yard. "We are at the point where it behooves us to focus on this right now," Alexandria Mayor Bill Euille tells WTOP. "This is all at the very beginning stages, and it may not happen until five or 10 years down the road, but we want to make sure that we don't miss our chance." (WTOP.com)
GYPSY MOTHS MAY INCREASE
State officials want to spray more than 13,000 acres for the leaf-eating pests, but the state needs $160,000 in matching funds from Frederick County, and the county commissioners have only $80,000 budgeted for spraying in fiscal 2010. (Frederick News Post)
JAILHOUSE BUSINESS BUSTED
The leader of a group that police said conned residents out of money is accused of violating his probation by continuing to operate his business from jail. Bryan N. Josemans, 51, of King George, was charged with the probation violation last week. (Free Lance-Star)
HOMELESS MAN PREFERS JAIL
A man accused of shattering a police cruiser's windshield with a cinder block told officers he did it because he was tired of being homeless and hungry and wanted to go to jail, Frederick police say. Two police officers who saw the incident arrested the man and charged him with two counts of malicious destruction of property, police said. The incident happened about 6:45 a.m. Sunday behind police headquarters at 100 W. Patrick St., authorities said. (Baltimore Sun)
There's now a way to get around blocked caller ID on some cell phones, but not everyone is happy about it. The service, called TrapCall, takes the privacy out of Caller ID and lets you find out who is calling your cell. Available to AT&T and T-Mobile subscribers, not only can you unmask who's calling, you can blacklist unwanted callers by phone number and listen to your voice mail over the Web. (WTOP.com)
SCHOOL BUS DRIVER HANGS UP HER HAT
Grace Rice started driving a school bus on May 13, 1957. "I had 22 days to drive that year, then a whole summer to worry if I could do it or not," she said. Rice said she decided to become a bus driver because it allowed her to stay home with her children and make some money. For the 2007-08 school year, she was Frederick County Public Schools' bus driver of the year. (Frederick News Post)