Local Leads: 8/8/2009

News you need to know

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

When Sonia Sotomayor is sworn in Saturday to the Supreme Court, she'll be able to claim two firsts: the nation's first Hispanic justice and the first high court member to have her oath-taking captured by TV cameras.  Judge Sotomayor, who won a groundbreaking Senate confirmation vote Thursday despite conservative opposition, will be sworn in twice by Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.  She will repeat one oath as prescribed by the Constitution in a private ceremony at the high court that will be open only to members of the judge's family. Then, Chief Justice Roberts will administer a second oath with the new justice's family and friends, and with reporters present.  Court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg said the ceremony apparently will be the first one open to television cameras in the court's history.

WASHINGTON - Metro has a lot of work going on this weekend, affecting not only the rails but the roads as well. Plus, another major event at FedEx Field this weekend.   Trains will start sharing a track between the Fort Totten and Takoma stations starting 10 p.m. Friday night. while work is done to replace track circuits in the area, relating to the fatal train crash in the area.  Trains will be sharing a track through that area every night throughout August starting at 10 p.m. Delays are expected to be on par with delays riders have experienced since the accident.  Metro will be shutting down Red Line service at the Fort Totten station August 14-16, and August 21-23. Green Line service will continue through the station during those weekends.  Metro will be doing additional maintenance on the Red Line between the Medical Center and Friendship Heights stations. Trains will be sharing a track between 10 Friday night until Midnight on Sunday.  Every other train traveling towards the Shady Grove station will be stop at the Friendship Heights station and then return to the Glenmont station from Saturday morning until Sunday evening.  Metro will be doing more maintenance work on the Orange line this weekend as well. Starting at 8 p.m. Friday trains will share a track between the Vienna/Fairfax-GMU and West Falls Church-VT/UVA stations.  On Saturday and Sunday, every other Orange Line train traveling toward the Vienna/Fairfax station will stop adn return to the New Carrollton Station.  Riders are advised to add 30 minutes to their trips if traveling between the stations.

Studies of a swine flu vaccine will begin next week at the University of Maryland School of Medicine.  Lead vaccine investigator Dr. Karen Kotloff says 67 young adult volunteers and 67 senior citizens will get a detailed screening and orientation on Monday. If they give their consent, they'll get two shots three weeks apart to test the effectiveness of the experimental vaccine.  If it's found to be safe, the vaccine will then be tested on children.  Kotloff is still looking for some senior citizens to round up the first group of volunteers. She says there's a sense of urgency to get the studies done and determine the proper dosage.

Students will have to tackle some tough lessons in economics even before school begins this year.  Budget shortfalls have prompted the District and Massachusetts to do away with popular sales tax holidays, during which the sales tax on certain back-to-school purchases was waived. Ten states have pushed their holidays later in the season, sending retailers' sales comparisons into a tailspin. Virginia, however, held fast, with a tax holiday that began Friday and ends Sunday.  "Sales tax holidays are a way for the political leadership of jurisdictions to say to their constituents, 'I'm trying to help you out here,' " said Jim Eads, executive director of the Federation of Tax Administrators, which tracks the holidays


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