Local Leads: July 4th On The Mall, More Metro Problems

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

For John Vanderberg, spending Independence Day in Washington isn't just about the spectacle of marching bands, cultural festivals, concerts and fireworks.   As the son of an American soldier who fought in World War II, visiting the World War II Memorial and being at the National Mall this weekend allows him to connect with history.   "It has great meaning to me," he said.  Vanderberg is one of many who will witness the National Mall's Fourth of July festivities for the first time. From the morning parade, to the star-studded concert and finishing with the chrysanthemum bursts of the fireworks finale, the heart of Capitol Hill will be alive with the American spirit.  Michigan native Katie Bevier is looking forward to watching the fireworks display over the Washington Monument.
"There's not really a more appropriate time to come," said the 21-year-old University of Michigan student.

Metro has removed 100 cars from service in a sudden move that officials said was made as a precaution to guarantee passenger safety.   The unexpected announcement was made shortly before midnight Saturday.  “This is a precautionary and proactive action to ensure the highest level of safety for our riders,” said Interim General Manager Richard Sarles.  In the announcement, Metro said that 60 to 70 of the cars, which are in the 4000 series, are in use on an average weekday. All of the cars are expected to be back in use within two to three weeks, Metro said.   Metro said that the removal of the cars was not a response to a particular incident.


WSSC police issued more than 100 written warnings to violators of the mandatory water restrictions for all WSCC customers after an inspection on Thursday showed a failing 96-inch water main in Montgomery County. However, water officials say usage hasn't dropped nearly enough as of Saturday morning.  WSSC said the goal was to reduce water usage by about one-third, but officials say water usage has dropped less than 10 percent since the restrictions went into effect on Thursday.  The restrictions are expected to last at least through the weekend.  At the Greenbelt Acquatic Center, they are pumping water from the outdoor pool into the indoor pool to conserve water and keep their pool from closing for the day.  Crews continue to work around the clock to fix a faulty 96-inch water main.

Customers of Shemondy Haile, a hot dog vendor on 18th and I streets, often try to order what he's having for lunch: light, spongy injera bread wrapped around sauteed green vegetables or spicy beef stew _ food from his native Eritrea, cooked by his wife.
Haile, who has sold hot dogs on this block for more than 20 years, experimented with changing his on-the-go fare last year. But eventually, he returned to the familiar hot dogs after he was told that he needed to meet additional regulations.  "I tried for one month, and it was selling good," he said wistfully of the food he sold for four times as much as a $1.50 dog, effectively doubling his income. "People come from far corners for that food."  For three years, the city has been urging District vendors to offer more complex fare. It has changed regulations making it easier for them to branch out. It has taken hot dog distributors to see the variety offered elsewhere. And it has run a series of informational meetings in six languages called "You Don't Have to Sell Hot Dogs."

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