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Posted at 8:04 AM ET, 12/17/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: Gift ideas for Mom?

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Friday and there's no snow in today's forecast. But it's going to be cold and roads are likely to be a bit icy from Thursday's snowfall, so do be careful driving and walking today. This weekend is your last chance to shop before Christmas (that is unless you really procrastinate and actually shop ON Christmas). If anyone has any suggestions for what I can get my mother (everything I'd planned to get her is already SOLD OUT). She loves to garden and dislikes "junk" that requires dusting -- I am definitely taking suggestions. Please.

A slight thaw. Okay. It's going to be slightly warmer today. The Capital Weather Gang predicts it will be mostly sunny with 10 mph winds and temperatures in the low-to-mid-30's. (Hey, I said slightly warmer). This whole question of whether we'll get more snow on Sunday seems to be up in the air, but it will be a cold, cold weekend. A line from CWG's forecast this morning, " . . . like upstate New York." Now THAT'S cold.

Coming up:

Random searches to begin on Metro. Could be a little messy on Metro with WMATA to begin random bag inspections throughout the system. Metro officials say police will pull aside about every third passenger carrying a bag and search them with explosive-screening equipment as well as bomb-sniffing dog. Those who refuse to be search will be denied entry to the train station or prohibited from riding with the item in question. We're eager to hear your accounts of how the random seaches play out in stations and stops around the system. Did it slow your commute? Did people refuse to submit to searches? Was it no big deal? You can tweet what you observe using #wmatasearch or fill out this form.

WMATA bag search video. Here's a WMATA video promoting the bag inspections, which includes footage from one of Metro's training sessions. POLL: Tell us what you think of Metro's plan for random bag searches.

DC9 case. We may get details on the cause of death of Ali Ahmed Mohammed, the 27-year-old Silver Spring man who died after an incident involving several employees of the DC9 club. Mohammed had apparently thrown a brick through the window of the nightspot near U Street. Authorities filed but later dropped charges against the men. Depending on the findings in the autopsy report, charges could be refiled. The club reopened this week after it was closed following the October incident. (

Today's headlines:

Gray's administration takes shape. D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray's administration is beginning to take shape. On Thursday, Gray announced several public safety appointments, saying that Cathy Lanier would continue on as the District's top police official. Gray also named another longtime D.C. public safety official to head D.C.'s Fire and Rescue Department. And Irvin Nathan, who currently serves as general council to the U.S. House of Representatives, will be Gray's new attorney general. But the appointments don't come without controversy. Rank-and-file police officers are said to be unhappy with Lanier's reappointment. And Kenneth Ellerbe, tapped to head the city's fire department, made headlines last year when it was reported he was still a D.C. Fire Department employee even though he had taken a job as chief in Sarasota, Fla.

Push-back on Wal-Mart. Despite the promise of hundreds of jobs and cheaper goods, neighbors and unions are fighting a proposal to build D.C's first Wal-Mart in the upper NW neighborhood of Brightwood.

Grim budget news for Prince George's schools. Middle school sports programs to be eliminated, employee pay to be frozen. Prince George's County Schools Superintendent William R. Hite Jr. on Thursday unveiled his budget -- and it's grim. Federal stimulus money had helped insulate the school system from deeper cuts over the last two years, but much of it will no longer be available. Hite's budget is $103 million less than the previous year and also depends on money from the state to help prevent deeper cuts.

In short. President Obama has signed a bill to name the post office next to Union Station after Civil Rights matriarch Dorothy Height, who passed away earlier this year (WUSA); a teacher "gift list" that included suggestions for items such as pedicures and gift cards from Ann Tayor LOFT is raising eyebrows at one Frederick County campus. (The Gazette)

Other items:

Library loans e-book readers. Howard County's six libraries have become lending e-book readers. Library officials struck a deal with Barnes and Noble to purchase Nook readers. Patrons can borrow a reader that comes preloaded with a combination of classics and bestsellers. If you're interested, it might take awhile to get your hands on a reader. The program is so popular almost 300 people are on the waiting list. (Columbia Flier)

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back throughout the day for more news and headlines. If you're at a Metro station where WMATA officials are doing random bag inspections, be sure to send us your impressions about the process. Post below, use #wmatasearch on Twitter or use this form.

By Lori Aratani  | December 17, 2010; 8:04 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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Next: Va. revenue forecast revised upward


Like your mom, I don't like or need a lot
of "things." My kids gave me a Fruit of the
Month subscription from Harry & David's -
they now have one that is for single people.
You can get it for 6 or 12 months. Really
fine fruit too.

Posted by: bshankins | December 17, 2010 9:33 AM | Report abuse

How about a FONA membership with tote bag for your mum? The Arboretum is my Tiffany's in D.C.: nothing very bad could happen to you there.

Posted by: paolitowind | December 17, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

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