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Posted at 5:58 AM ET, 01/31/2011

Buzz: Flurries, outages, home prices

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Monday. Your drive in should be relatively clear this morning, but Dr. Gridlock still advises you to be careful for leftover spots of slickness and ice. And though the forecast calls for a possibility of light flurries/freezing rain this afternoon, the commute home shouldn't be too bad. As of 7 a.m., there were just over 400 people still without power mainly in Montgomery and the District according to Pepco's website. Most customers of Dominion Virginia and Baltimore Gas and Electric had their power restored over the weekend.

Chilly and damp. After a relatively precipitation-free weekend, it looks like we'll be in for a bit of wintry mix this week. The Capital Weather Gang says temperatures on Monday will be in the high 20's, low 30's with the possibility of a few light flurries or some freezing rain in the afternoon. More flurries are expected overnight, so there could be some delayed school opening or closings on Tuesday.

Coming up:

Superintendent search. The Montgomery County Public School system will hold the first of several public forums tonight on its efforts to recruit a new superintendent to replace longtime school chief Jerry Weast, who is retiring. Two forums are scheduled for 7 p.m. tonight -- (and don't worry, if you can't make it tonight, there will be forums Tuesday and Wednesday nights  as well.) Monday night's meetings will be at Northwest High School, 13501 Richter Farm Road, Germantown and White Oak Middle School, 12201 New Hampshire Avenue, Silver Spring.

Smithsonian protest. A small group of protesters are expected to gather at the Smithsonian Board of Regents meeting today to call for the resignation of Smithsonian Secretary Wayne Clough. Clough is the Smithsonian official who made the decision to remove David Wojnarowicz's "A Fire in My Belly" after Catholic groups raised concerns about the piece. Clough has said he stands by his decision but admits it might have been made too quickly.

Today's headlines:

Pledging to do better. Area officials said they will reevaluate plans for winter weather, evacuation and transportation after Wednesday's massive traffic jams trapped some drivers in their vehicles for as long as 13 hours. Officials said Wednesday's events underscore that the current regional snow plans - which were refined after back-to-back storms in February - continue to fall short. The region's response to Wednesday's storm also is renewing debate about when and how government leaders should instruct people to shelter in place instead of hitting the roads during extreme weather or emergencies.

Home prices up. Home prices have increased in the D.C.-region -- prices for single-family homes in D.C. have soared 27 percent and 26 percent in the Virginia suburbs from the low point, according to a Washington Post analysis of sales records. In the Maryland suburbs, the rebound has been more modest.

More slots for Virginia students? Good news for the college-bound. Gov. Robert McDonnell is proposing an additional $58 million be allocated for Virginia's colleges and universities with the goal of awarding 100,000 additional associate's and bachelor's degrees over the next 15 years. The proposed funding increase could mean more slots for in-state students, who have complained in past years that they're losing out to out-of-state applicants who pay triple the cost of in-state tuition.

In short. A man was fatally shot in the parking lot of a meeting hall in Temple Hills early Saturday -- the 16th homicide in Prince George's County so far this year; (Post); a retired school teacher was found slain in her car late last week in a parking lot in Glen Burnie. (Associated Press); photos of protesters gathered in  D.C. at the Egyptian Embassy and in front of the White House on Saturday (Post); a Virginia legislator has proposed a bill that would limit the number of red-light cameras in the state. (Washington Examiner)

Other items:

George Washington slept here. Growing family? Looking for a bit more space? How about 38 acres with a scenic view of the Virginia countryside? And did we mention that George Washington once slept here? Owners of what one historian calls, ". . . one of the most significant colonial homes in [Virginia] both in pedigree and architectural detail," have put the estate in Clarke County, built by George Washington's first cousin and later owned by Robert E. Lee's aunt, up for sale because they can no longer afford to maintain it. Price tag? $3.9 million.

By Lori Aratani  | January 31, 2011; 5:58 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Education, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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Next: A.M. headlines around the D.C. region

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