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Posted at 5:50 AM ET, 02/ 8/2011

Buzz: Pepco grilled, Canada chilled

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Tuesday. Grab a jacket; it's going to be chilly. Same-sex marriage is on the agenda in Annapolis today, and Pepco officials will get another grilling, this time at a Maryland legislative committee hearing. 

It came from Canada. Grab your scarf, jacket and hat. A big, high pressure system rolling down from Canada is going to send a burst of frigid air into the region. The Capital Weather Gang says today will be cold and windy with temperatures hovering in the mid-to-high 30's. Some areas could get lucky with daytime temperatures in the 40's -- but because it'll also be windy today, it will feel chillier.

Coming up:

Same-sex marriage in Maryland? A high-profile hearing on same-sex marriage is scheduled Tuesday in Annapolis, as Maryland state legislators contemplate whether to legalize same-sex marriage in the state. While some lawmakers have floated the idea of a compromise measure -- legalizing civil unions rather than same-sex marriage -- supporters say the momentum really is for full marriage rights for gay couples. Five states and the District grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Thundersnow aftermath. After grilling Pepco officials about outages during recent storm at a hearing on Monday, Montgomery County Council members are expected today at around 10:30 a.m. to receive an update from the County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security on what led to conditions during the Jan. 26 winter storm that led to after-work commutes of up to 10 hours. Pepco officials also may be on hand to answer questions.

Today's headlines:

Who buys guns in D.C.? Since the Supreme Court ended D.C's ban on handguns in 2008, hundreds of residents in Washington's safest, most well-to-do neighborhoods have armed themselves, registering far more guns than in poorer, crime-plagued areas of the city, according to a Washington Post analysis of D.C. police data.

Groundhog Day? Pepco officials received an earful from members of the Montgomery County Council on Monday, who held a hearing on the utility's performance during the region's most recent snow storm. More than 400,000 people were left in the dark -- the vast majority of whom are Pepco customers. Upon hearing Pepco executives pledge to do better in the future, one council member remarked: "We've had this conversation," said Council member Nancy Floreen. "It's a 'Groundhog Day' experience, isn't it?"

Don't rush. Officials in D.C. also held a hearing Monday to study about lessons that can be taken in the aftermath of the recent snow storm that snarled traffic for hours around the city. One possible idea? Asking commuters and residents to "shelter in place" rather than attempt to leave their workplaces in the event another big storm hits the area. Delayed departures could help ease commute delays and allow crew to clear major thoroughfares.

BRAC and traffic. The Defense Department has shirked responsibility to pay for hundreds of millions of dollars in transportation improvements required as it transfers thousands of workers to Fort Belvoir, Fort Meade and the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda, according to a congressionally mandated study released Monday. But whether this will mean the Pentagon will help pay for traffic relief, still remains to be seen. Unlike private developers, Fairfax officials -- much to their frustration -- cannot require to federal government to chip in for improvements.

In short. Maryland transportation officials announced the first segment of the Intercounty Connector will open on Feb. 22 (Post); a new study had found that oysters in the Chesapeake seem to be doing better, spawning a bumper crops of baby oysters in the last year (The Baltimore Sun); even if you file early, your tax refund may be a bit delayed this year. (Kiplinger's Personal Finance)

Other items:

Google Doodle. Wondering about today's Google Doodle? Comic Riffs has the scoop. It's a salute to French sci-fi writer Jules Verne on what would have been his 183rd birthday.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back with Post Local for more updates and headlines throughout the day. We'll have a full report on the hearing in Annapolis on legalizing same-sex marriage in Maryland -- as well are more news from both the Maryland and Virginia state legislatures.

By Lori Aratani  | February 8, 2011; 5:50 AM ET
Categories:  Crime and Public Safety, DC, Education, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Traffic and Transportation, Virginia, Weather  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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