Local Leads: 5/6/09

News you need to know

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

The number of swine flu cases in Mexico is stabilizing. In the U.S., though, more people are being diagnosed with the virus, cases have been mostly mild, claiming two lives. And health officials have backed off on closing schools where students are sick. It may seem as though the threat of the virus known as H1N1 has lessened. But infectious disease experts and public health officials agree: The worst is likely still to come. In pandemics of the past, flu that arrived in the spring hit harder come fall, when influenza season returned. (Baltimore Sun)

Alexandria residents voted for a city council that will include four Democrats, one Republican and one Independent who is backed by Republicans.  New to the council will be mortgage banker Frank Fannon IV, a Republican who was the second highest vote-getter with 7,200, and Alicia R. Hughes, an Independent who could not seek the GOP's backing because she works for the federal government.  (wtop.com)

More than a hundred security cameras will come to College Park if the city wins just more than $2.5 million in grant money. The City Council last night authorized the city staff to apply for stimulus funding distributed by the state that would pay for 123 closed-circuit and license plate-reading cameras across the city, more than twice as many as the city proposed in its budget earlier this year. "It should enable the police to solve more crimes and get more criminals off the streets," city Public Services Director Bob Ryan said, adding the cameras will also serve as a crime deterrent. (Diamondback)

School system administrators are working to get more black and Hispanic students involved in after-school activities, after a recent report showed that those pupils were chronically ineligible.  The disparity is alarming, because students who are chronically ineligible for extracurricular activities -- defined as ineligible for two marking periods -- are more likely to be disinterested in programs that prepare them for college and the workforce, according to the report, released in December by the school system's Office of Shared Accountability. Also, ineligible students run a greater risk of dropping out of high school, researchers wrote in the report. Under school board policy, students with a grade-point average of less than 2.0 are ineligible for after-school activities, which include sports, band and clubs. (Gazette)

Greenhouse gas emissions in Germantown are expected to more than double by 2030 if the area is built to its full potential unless the county conserves resources such as energy and focuses on environmentally-friendly design and policy, according to county planners.  The Germantown Employment Corridor Sector Plan, which goes to County Council public hearing on May 12, will be the first master plan in the county to include data on the carbon footprint of planned development as required by a county law passed last year, according to environmental planner Stephen Findley. The findings have not been finalized but include emissions generated by construction and development; building occupancy; and transportation. (Gazette)

The Prince William area saw the state's largest increase in home sales in the first quarter of 2009, according to a recent report from the Virginia Association of Realtors. Sales were up more than 75 percent from the same time last year. And houses are continuing to change hands. The region was one of only six multiple-listing areas in the Old Dominion to post a percentage increase in sales. (Insidenova.com

Rep. Jim Moran (D-Va.) has reintroduced a bill that would label broadcast advertisements for erectile dysfunction drugs and male performance-enhancement medications as "indecent." Under Federal Communications Commission rules, that would prevent the ads from being aired between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m. The bill is known as the Families for ED Advertising Decency Act, and it's similar to legislation Moran introduced in 2005.  (wtop.com)

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