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Posted at 5:44 AM ET, 12/16/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: New leader for Metro?

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. Ah, it wouldn't be a predicted snow storm without some school closings. Already several districts in Southern Maryland -- St. Mary's, Calvert, Charles counties, have called off classes. Systems in Virginia that have canceled classes include Spotsylvania and Stafford counties. Stick with Post Local for more updates weather-related news.

Are you ready? Snow today. The Capital Weather Gang predicts the flakes will begin falling by mid-morning. It'll be breezy with temperatures in the high 20's, low 30's. This is expected to be our first actual "snow storm," unlike the previous "dustings" and "flurries." About an 1 to 2 inches of accumulation, though areas south of D.C. may get a bit more.

Coming up:

Metro board meets. Today is the last Metro board meeting of 2010 and among the agenda items is an update on the search for a new general manager. After months of searching, it's possible the board may have whittled down their list of possible candidates to a single name. We'll keep you posted. Among other agenda items, the Board's Safety and Security Committee is also scheduled to receive a safety report briefing.

Prince George's Schools and the budget. A day after Montgomery County Schools Chief Jerry Weast released his budget for the next fiscal year, Prince George's County Schools Chief William R. Hite Jr. is expected to release his budget. Given the current state of the economy, there's unlikely to be money for Hite to proposed expanding many programs -- but we'll see how he chooses to address the push for excellence with the realities of today's financial picture. Be sure to check back.

Today's headlines:

Metro-friendly. More D.C.-area residents are using public transportation, rather than depending on their cars for their daily commute, according to a Post analysis of recently released data from the Census Bureau's American Community Survey. Between 2005 and 2009, 14 percent of area commuters used public transportation, up from 11 percent in the 2000 Census. Experts say the increase is due in part to higher gas prices, but also to a younger generation of D.C. residents who don't want to spend long hours in their cars like their parents did.

Shortage of bus drivers. Meanwhile, Metro, which operates 1,500 buses, is facing a severe shortage of bus drivers. The shortfall is causing a ripple effect throughout the system since bus drivers often move to take jobs as rail operators and Metro station managers. Another issue: Because of the shortage of bus drivers, there's a strain on WMATA's overtime budget.

D.C. juvenile justice chief steps down. Robert Hildum, the head of D.C.'s troubled juvenile justice department, announced Wednesday in an email to his staff that he was stepping down.   The move comes just five months after he took the job. Hildum's departure underscores one of the major challenges incoming Mayor-elect Vincent Gray will face in trying to find the right person and fashion a policy for governing the Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

A will to live. Her case caused a sensation in the early 80's. Joy Keo was a popular, bubbly 17-year-old student at J.E.B. Stuart High School in Fairfax County, when she was attacked and shot four times by her boyfriend Chuck Brewer, 19. She survived, but was paralyzed for life. Keo went on to graduate, attend college and worked to make a life for herself. She died Dec. 8 of respiratory illness at her home in Alexandria. Brewer was sentenced to 50 years in prison. He served eight before being released. He later married and had children.

In short. D.C. Council member Marion Barry's car -- a silver 2002 Jaguar -- was stolen Saturday, but recovered on Tuesday; an official said the keys had been left in the ignition. (Post); Free wireless is coming to Dulles and Reagan National airports in the spring (Washington Examiner); got road rage? Well, there's an app for that. (WTOP)

Other items:

Do you have a favorite #tweep? We've already received some great suggestions for Twitter uses who've kept us informed (@postlocal !), kept us fed (so many food trucks, so little time!) and kept us fashionable -- but we'd love to get more. Tweet/send us your nominations.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day. Enjoy the snow. After all, if there's one thing we learned from "Snowmageddon" -- it's much better when it comes in inches rather than feet.

By Lori Aratani  | December 16, 2010; 5:44 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Education, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Marion Barry's car stolen -- and recovered
Next: A.M. headlines around the D.C. region

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