Local Leads: 7/29/09

News you need to know

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

They come for the giant purple heirloom tomatoes, for the homegrown Shiro plums, the peaches and the corn. Nestled in a shady patch on the side of River Road in Bethesda, the Country Thyme Farm Market has been a destination for soccer moms, commuters and Montgomery County foodies for 10 years. "It doesn't present a safe environment for them," said Kellie Boulware, spokeswoman for the Maryland State Highway Administration, explaining why the agency has given the fruit stand until Wednesday to relocate. "It's a very heavily traveled corridor." Ficker said that despite the highway agency's apparent concern about safety at roadside stands, state law contains an exemption allowing seafood vendors to set up along state roads because of "Maryland's unique seafood heritage," according to a letter he received from the state regarding his son's stand. (Washington Post)

The D.C. Council is struggling to determine whether it can close a $666 million revenue shortfall without raising taxes and fees, reopening a debate about whether District residents have a higher tax burden than their neighbors in Virginia and Maryland. The tax debate comes as council members continue a weeklong series of private meetings to try to agree on a new budget. A final vote is scheduled for Friday. (Washington Post)

Fairfax County had about 100 confirmed cases of Lyme disease in 2006. By 2008 that number reached 189 confirmed cases, according to Jorge Arias, supervisor of the county's Disease-Carrying Insect Program, adding that there are probably additional people the county does not know about who contracted Lyme. In Loudoun County, an estimated 100 cases per 100,000 people have been reported. In Fairfax, that number is between 10 and 25 people. (Fairfax Times)

Forget working 9 to 5. According to a new survey, the eight-hour workday has been replaced with the 10-hour day, and the 40-hour workweek is quickly disappearing as more senior executives and managers opt to work longer hours. According to a new survey conducted by NFI Research, 77 percent of senior executives and managers worked between 41 and 60 hours a week. In addition, the study found that 52 percent of survey participants worked at least 51 hours a week. Of the executives surveyed, 40 percent said they work at least 10 hours a day, while 20 percent said they worked 11 hours or more. (Washington Business Journal)

When she walked into her local police station Friday, 80-year-old Adlyn "Paddy" Cook fully expected to be placed in a jail cell.  After all, the legal system had been looking for her for failing to appear for a court date (turns out, it was an oversight).  At the root of the saga that brought Cook to the police station was trash. More specifically, trash left by John F. Kennedy High School students.  In March, fed up with students leaving litter in her English Orchard Court neighborhood in Silver Spring, Cook carried a bag of the garbage into the high school and unceremoniously dumped it in the lobby. She believed she was returning the contents to their rightful owners.  Her neighborhood is used as a shortcut by students going to and from fast-food restaurants for lunch and between after-school activities.  (Gazette)

If you're a habitual alcohol-law offender in Fairfax County, you might soon have your perspiration monitored 24/7. Supervisor Pat Herrity (R-Springfield) is in the process of bringing SCRAM (Secure Continuous Remote Alcohol Monitoring) technology into the county judicial system. SCRAM, used predominantly to manage DWI and domestic violence offenders, involves a ankle bracelet, worn 24 hours a day, a modem the offender installs at his or her residence or office and SCRAMnet, which uploads the data from the ankle unit once a day. The ankle unit measures the offender's perspiration for alcohol consumption every 30 minutes. Once every 24 hours, the modem downloads that day's readings and sends the information to authorities. (Fairfax Times)

Matthew Glomb had been looking forward to spending time with his son this week on North Carolina's Outer Banks. But the father-son trip ended tragically Monday evening when Glomb was struck by lightning while jogging along the beach near his retirement home. Rescue officials in Southern Shores, N.C., said he was killed instantly. The retired Coast Guard officer and attorney at the U.S. Department of Justice, along with his wife Lucy, son Alex and daughter Emily, had been at the beach house for about a week. (Inside Nova)

They've been mistaken for Jedi-wannabes headed to a Star Wars convention. They've been investigated by police, approached by strangers, gawked at from cars and offered gifts of crumpled dollar bills and Little Debbie snacks. After trekking along more than 300 miles of dusty Virginia country roads and suburban highways, six Franciscan friars reached Washington on Tuesday, having seen it all during an offbeat modern-day quest for God.  For six weeks, the brothers walked from Roanoke with only their brown robes, sandals and a belief in the kindness of strangers to feed and shelter them.  (Washington Post)

The University of Maryland's flagship campus in College Park will freeze hiring and reduce staff through retirements and possible layoffs. University President C.D. Mote says the moves are unavoidable because the university needs to cut $14.6 million from its 2010 budget. The state university system has been ordered to make $37.8 million in cuts to help account for a massive state budget shortfall.  (AP/WTOP)

After canceling Monday night's public hearing on a proposal to build a Wal-Mart near the Wilderness Battlefield, Orange County officials have been wrestling with how to put the controversial project back on track.   Last night the Board of Supervisors agreed to reschedule its public hearing for Monday, Aug. 24, at the Orange County High School at 6 p.m., an hour earlier than usual.  The supervisors could vote on Wal-Mart's special-use permit application that night, if time permits, or vote the next night at their regularly scheduled meeting.  ( Free Lance-Star

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