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Posted at 8:20 AM ET, 11/19/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: It's National Adoption Day

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Friday. Believe it or not, we're less than a week away from Thanksgiving. We'll have you well-prepared for the feast with special Thanksgiving stories and tips; come back to our Food & Dining section later today. In the meantime, on to our headlines.

Coming up:

Brrrr. It's be a chilly start -- some temperatures were in the 30's early this morning -- to what will end up being a sunny day. The Capital Weather Gang says temperatures should be in the low 50's. Light winds. The weekend forecast calls for sunshine, although the temperatures are likely to leave little doubt it's fall.

Md. dog shooting trial begins. The trial of a civilian officer for the Army accused of shooting a dog in a park in Anne Arundel County begins today. A judge is to decide if Keith Elgin Shepherd, 32, a civilian police officer for the Army in Northern Virginia, is guilty of animal cruelty and firing his gun near homes, or if the shooting of the husky dog named "Bear-Bear" owned by Ryan and Rachel Rettaliata was justified.

Special families. In celebration of National Adoption Day, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Service Kathleen Sebelius will finalize the adoption of two local families at a ceremony today in the conference room of the Herbert Hoover Building on Independence Street.

Thanksgiving countdown. Just in time for your Thanksgiving feast shopping, The Washington Post will publish a special Sunday edition of the Food Section with a Thanksgiving theme. Pick up a copy if you can; it'll be filled with great recipes as well as tips on how to make your dinner preparation as painless as possible. And you can always find our fine food coverage online -- along with a searchable database of recipes.

Today's headlines:

A quiet response. Permits must be issued, leaves must be swept up -- despite the ongoing corruption probe in Prince George's County, the business of government must continue. But at the county's government center, council members and workers remained quiet, only occasionally breaking their silence. Three council members on Thursday urged Leslie Johnson, the wife of County Executive Jack Johnson, to skip taking the oath of office on Dec. 6 when she and four other new members are set to be sworn into office. The Johnsons were arrested Friday and nine others this week in a sprawling corruption probe in Maryland's second largest county.

Eyes on the road, please. The number of drivers distracted by reading text messages on stretches of the Capital Beltway in Virginia soared by 47 percent in the past year, according to a recent survey done by AAA and Fluor-Transurban, the company building a $2 billion high-occupancy toll lanes along a 14-mile stretch on the Beltway between the Springfield interchange and the Dulles Toll Road. More than half of the drivers also admitted to talking on their cellphones.

Gray's people? John W. Hill Jr., chief executive of the Federal City Council, and Allen Y. Lew, executive director of the city Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization, are just two of the names that have surfaced as possible candidates to serve in D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray's administration. Gray's transition team is vetting possible candidates, but Gray -- set to be sworn in Jan. 2 -- emphasizes that no decisions have been made. Hill and Lew didn't return phone calls seeking comment.

Metro's escalator woes. Metro's interim general manager Richard Sarles on Thursday said that Metro should focus on repairing, not replacing the transit system's escalators -- a growing area of concern among Metro board members and the public. The Metro board met Thursday to discuss escalator issues in the system as well as an incident in which chunks of concrete fell onto the platform at Farragut North station during the Wednesday afternoon commute. Nobody was injured and the station was closed for a brief time. The falling debris was likely caused by a construction crew using a jackhammer to make repairs to nearby Connecticut Avenue.

Other items:

No such thing as 'bad press?' From the files of "any publicity is good publicity," the government's recent action against caffeinated alcoholic beverages such as Four Loko -- has set off a buying frenzy here in D.C. and across the country. (Note to self: check eBay after filing this column.) Just how much caffeine is in a can of Four Loko? The Post's Jenna Johnson offers some comparisons to other caffeinated beverages.

Free sweets. It wouldn't be Friday without . . . yes, a free cupcake giveway. New York-based Crumbs Bakery has landed in D.C. and is giving out 1,000 free cupcakes today at its new shop near Metro Center (11th at F Street NW)

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great Friday and a great weekend. Be sure to check back with Post Local throughout the day for more headlines and update. And remember: you can become a fan on Facebook and follow us via Twitter.

By Lori Aratani  | November 19, 2010; 8:20 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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