Local Leads: 10/27/2008

News you need to know

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

Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin is returning to Virginia for a three-city barnstorming tour.
Palin plans to start her day Monday with an event in Leesburg at J.R.'s Festival Lakes. Her second scheduled stop is in Fredericksburg at Hurkamp Park. She plans to finish her Virginia swing with a stop in Salem at the Salem Football Stadium. This is her third trip to the commonwealth. (Washington Post)

Fear of a global recession again punished stock markets on Monday, while governments tried to stem the damage from an eroding world economy. Kuwait stepped in avoid a major bank failure, South Korea slashed interest rates, and the world's top industrialized nations hinted at possible action to curb the rapid rise in the value of the Japanese yen. The International Monetary Fund over the weekend said it had reached preliminary agreement on emergency loans for Hungary and Ukraine. (Washington Post
Oil prices traded below $63 a barrel Monday as investors brushed off OPEC's sizable output cut, focusing instead on growing evidence of a severe global economic slowdown that would undermine crude demand. By mid afternoon in Europe, light, sweet crude for December delivery was down $1.73 to $62.42 a barrel in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. It had earlier fallen to a 17-month low of $61.30 a barrel.
(AP/Washington Post)

Metro officials will announce a new security initiative aimed at increasing the safety of Metro riders. (NBCWashington.com)

Americans have cut back on buying cars, furniture and clothes in a tough economy, but there's one consumer item that's still enjoying healthy sales: guns. Purchases of firearms and ammunition have risen 8 to 10 percent this year, according to state and federal data.  Several variables drive sales, but many dealers, buyers and experts attribute the increase in part to concerns about the economy and fears that if Sen. Barack Obama of Illinois wins the presidency, he will join with fellow Democrats in Congress to enact new gun controls. Obama has said that he believes in an individual right to bear arms but that he also supports "common-sense safety measures."  (Washington Post)

The 81-year-old proprietor of an "edgy" newsstand two blocks east of the Verizon Center was arrested last week for allegedly retailing dozens of stun guns behind a glass display case.  The rap sheet for Walter Francis Riggin, of the 4300 block of 17th Street Northwest, dates back nearly 62 years. His latest: 36 counts of possession of a destructive device after investigators say they found 36 stun guns for sale at the K&B Newsstand, his store at 1004 F St. NW. The stun guns, three of which were of the "cattle prod type," ranged from 1.9 million to 2.7 million volts. (The Examiner)

Tuesday is the last day to apply for an absentee ballot in Maryland by mail. State election officials say applications must be postmarked by midnight Tuesday so ballots can be mailed to voters before Election Day. After Tuesday, applications must be obtained in person at the State Board of Elections, or your local elections office. (Baltimore Sun)


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

Seed to sale: the growth of cannabis in DC

Auxiliary deputy with felony convictions added to security detail for Biden visit

On the way into Laurel Park, the signs of potential change are, literally, all around. Lining the roads and the parking lots are bright signs from the major pro-slots group, For Maryland For Our Future, proclaiming "Stronger Schools, No New Taxes, Vote for Question 2." Question 2, of course, is the slot machine referendum that would allow up to 15,000 slots at five locations, including 4,750 machines within two miles of Baltimore-Washington Parkway. (The Capital)

Two years ago a family earning $75,700 or less could not afford a median-priced home in St. Mary's County, back when the median home sales price was $337,501. Now a family must earn $97,951 or more to afford a median-priced home, and 60 percent of local families cannot afford that, according to a task force studying workforce housing. Between 2000 and 2007, median family income increased by 18.4 percent, while median homes sales price shot up 125 percent. (The Enterprise)

Add doughnuts to the list of things available by delivery.The pilot program, called Krispy Kreme Express, started this month. Owners Stan and Michele Black of Richmond will focus on selling the service to corporate clients who give the doughnuts to employees, prospective clients or to fuel meetings. The Blacks heard Krispy Kreme was considering the pilot program and approached the company about handling it this year. They are franchisees. (Richmond Times Dispatch

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