Local Leads: 5/12/09

News you need to know

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

In an effort to crack down on illegal cellular telephone calls behind bars, Gov. Martin O'Malley is seeking federal approval to conduct a jamming demonstration in a Maryland prison. Only the Federal Communications Commission can authorize such a request. The Communications Act of 1934 prevents state and local governments from blocking cell tower signals. (Gazette)

Virginia's budget belt needs to be pulled a little tighter. Gov. Timothy M. Kaine said yesterday that the ongoing recession will force even deeper cuts in state spending in the coming months. Kaine said he has instructed the heads of all state agencies to reduce spending further, because revenues for April, May and June are expected to fall below estimates upon which the budget for fiscal 2009 was based. (Richmond Times Dispatch)

The number of homes sold in northern Virginia rose 6 percent in April, as buyers continued to take advantage of falling prices. During the month, 1,544 homes were sold in the area, which includes the cities of Alexandria, Fairfax and Falls Church, as well as the counties of Fairfax and Arlington, according to Rockville-based market research firm Metropolitan Regional Information Systems Inc. In the same month in 2008, the number of homes sold was 1,455. (Wash. Business Journal)

Metro has installed 20 security cameras outside a dozen rail stations in Washington and Fairfax County.Officials say transit police identified stations where having exterior surveillance cameras could help improve safety. They say police looked at crime statistics and other factors in making recommendations. (WTOP.com

Students at South Hagerstown High School are asking that teacher James Knodle be allowed to return to the classroom after he allegedly tackled an "insubordinate student," according to an online petition. Sarah Riley, a South High student who last week presented to the Washington County Board of Education petitions signed by students supporting Knodle, said the social studies teacher and softball coach has been suspended since April 23. Riley, the recording secretary for the school's student government association, said the petitions were student-generated.  (Herald Mail)

An Arnold couple must pay their neighbors $290,000 in damages because they planted five tall trees on their waterfront property in 2007, blocking their neighbor's view of the Magothy River, a county jury has ruled. A jury last week said the couple who planted the 30-foot-tall trees violated an implied easement and must pay $290,000 in damages.  The verdict, handed down Wednesday after an eight-day trial, was the first of its kind to grant an "implied easement" to a water view, several area attorneys said. (The Capital)

A beer garden and entertainment center located across the street from Nationals Park will open this Friday before the team’s game against the Philadelphia Phillies. “The Bullpen” will be located at the corner of N St. and Half streets SE. (Wash. Business Journal)

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