The Night Note: 02/12/09

News you need to know

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

Court Says Vaccine Not to Blame for Autism

Vaccines aren’t to blame for autism, a special federal court declared Thursday in a blow to thousands of families hoping to win compensation and to many more who are convinced of a connection.The special masters who decided the case expressed sympathy for the families, some of whom have made emotional pleas describing their children’s conditions, but the rulings were blunt: There’s little if any evidence to support claims of a vaccine-autism link. (AP/MSNBC)

Texting-While-Driving Ban Gains Support

Lily Shepherd knows a friend at Walter Johnson High School who promised for a New Year's resolution that she would stop texting while driving. But the friend quickly broke her promise, and Shepherd still gets upset at her and other friends who type messages to each other on their cell phone keypads while behind the steering wheel. "I can't think of any of my friends I've driven with who don't text," said Shepherd, 18, a Bethesda resident. A bill drafted in the House of Delegates may put legal power behind Shepherd's frustration. (

Loudoun Home Sales Are Picking up as Prices Continue to Fall

The number of homes that sold in the county last month rose 31 percent from the previous January, according to new data from the Dulles Area Association of Realtors.Countywide, contracts were finalized on 284 homes in January, compared to 216 a year earlier.The median sale price in January, though, was down to $287,950, compared to $370,000 in January 2008, according to DAAR. (Loudoun Times)

Gas Prices Rising

Many drivers said they are flabbergasted as they helplessly watch fuel prices creep back toward the $2-per-gallon range, even as crude oil prices continue to drop. Yesterday prices in the Baltimore metropolitan area, which includes all of Anne Arundel County, averaged $1.89 per gallon for regular unleaded gas - 1 cent less than the state average, and trailing the $1.94 national average by just a nickel. (Hometown Annapolis)

Valentine's for Everyone

Valentine’s Day is almost here, and in today’s economy, many are seeking alternative ways of celebrating frugally. Whether you are alone, with family, or that very special someone, there are ways to have fun without breaking the bank. (

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