Local Leads: 5/26/09

News you need to know

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

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) said he used poor judgment when he allowed his friend to drive a city-owned Lincoln Navigator. "I'm not going to do that anymore," he told reporters this morning. "No more letting anyone else drive... I made a bad decision." Fenty said officials are debating the legality of his permitting 46-year-old Keith Lomax to drive the SUV. "Nonetheless, it shouldn't have happened and won't happen again." (Washington Post)

Even before Gov. Martin O'Malley signed into law this week a bill enabling counties to install speed cameras near schools and in highway work zones, some local leaders began exploring how best to implement the devices to bolster safety in high-traffic areas. Law-enforcement officials across the state have started gauging traffic volume and high-speed areas to determine the most hazardous roads where cameras would be most effective. (Gazette)

The Loudoun County Sheriff's Office is still seeking witnesses in Saturday's incident along Rt. 7 at Claiborne Parkway that led to the death of a 35-year-old Ashburn woman. According to authorities, Sofia Taj was a passenger in a car heading westbound on Rt. 7 around 1 a.m. Saturday, May 23, when she fell out of the car. The reason for her fall from the car remains unknown, but authorities believe alcohol may have been a factor. (Leesburg Today)

A jump in foreclosures helped push down home prices in March in the 20 largest metropolitan areas compared to the same month a year ago.The monthly S&P/Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price Index finds prices fell 18.7 percent in the 20 market composite. The D.C. area saw a decline of 18.4 percent compared to March 2008. Nationally, prices fell 19.1 percent in the first quarter compared to a year ago and were down 7.5 from the last three months of 2008. The drop is the biggest in the 21-year history of the S&P/Case-Shiller Index. All 20 cities showed a year over year price decrease in March. (Washington Business Journal)

Despite a series of lawsuits and police raids, District Mayor Adrian Fenty's administration has been unable to close several Northwest massage parlors officials have identified as brothels. District Attorney General Peter Nickles filed lawsuits against two of the establishments. "These places are very elusive," Nickles told The Examiner. "We file complaints and either there's a court resolution or fines, but then they sprout right back up again without us knowing about it."  (Examiner / wtop.com)

Stopping driver's license fraud is no laughing matter: Four states are ordering people to wipe the grins off their faces in their license photos. "Neutral facial expressions" are required at departments of motor vehicles (DMVs) in Arkansas, Indiana, Nevada and Virginia. That means you can't smile, or smile very much. Other states may follow. (USA Today


Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia local news, events and information

Shenandoah hiker murder case solved after deaths of 2 women in 1996

Man shot at Glenn Dale neighborhood pool party

The Fairfax County Public Library will reduce its hours, increase fines and establish new fees as a result of a county decrease in revenues and a 15 percent cut to the library's 2010 budget. Changes will take effect July 1 and will effect the Reston Library and the Herndon Fortnightly Library. All library branches will close earlier Monday through Thursday; regional branches will be open 1- 5 p.m. on Sunday. (The Observer)

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