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Posted at 5:40 AM ET, 10/ 1/2010

Lori's A.M. Buzz: 'Bye rain, hello pumpkins

By Washington Post editors
Washington Post editors

Good morning. Talk about a good soaking. Some areas are still cleaning up from Thursday night's drenching. Officials in St. Mary's County have closed schools for the day and VRE has suspended service on its Manassas line. Nevertheless, happy Friday and happy October. Yes, it's a new month already. I think I even saw my first pumpkin patch the other day. How long before the Christmas decorations start turning up?

Coming up:

Weather bluster. Rains should taper off by mid-morning and we might see some sunshine. The Capital Weather Gang says temperatures will be in the 70's. The rains will be replaced by blustery winds so watch for trees and branches in the roadways. Good news, though: Saturday should be clear and sunny with temperatures in the 60's and 70's. Starting to feel like fall, eh?

Hands off that cellphone. A reminder that Maryland's hands-free cellphone law goes into effect today. Get caught chatting on your phone without using a hands-free device and you might have to pay a $40 ticket. However, you can only be pulled over for violating the law if an officer spots you committing another offense -- say, running a red light.

One Nation Rally. Metro is opening early on Saturday to accommodate crowds expected at the One Nation Working Together Rally scheduled to take place at the Lincoln Memorial. The march will begin at noon and the rally is slated to run until 4 p.m. Organizers include a coalition of 400 progressive groups, from environmentalists to union organizers, whose aim is to energize the electorate before the November elections. Tens of thousands of folks are expected to attend.

Today's headlines:

Safety and Metro. Metro officials have pledged to improve safety at the transit agency, but a recent study shows much work must be done to change the mindset of its employees. According to the study, 60 percent of Metro employees said they had witnessed a safety violation or had a safety concern over the past year, but 30 percent did not report it because they feared repercussions.

Not 'optional.' Officials in Arlington made headlines this week by voting to opt out of Secure Communities, a federal immigration program that focuses on removing illegal immigrants with criminal records from the country. Turns out it's not possible for local officials to "opt out" out of the program because once fingerprints are collected and forwarded to the FBI, jurisdictions have no control over whether the FBI shares that information with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials. Some local jurisdictions including Arlington and the District have chosen not to participate, saying that the program does not make a distinction between people who have committed serious crimes and those who are guilty of minor offenses.

Testing at the DMV. D.C. officials are launching a pilot HIV testing program at the Penn Branch office of the DMV. People who take a free HIV test there can get up to $15 toward paying their DMV fees. They can also receive counseling and medical attention. It's part of an effort to "normalize" people's attitudes toward testing, said Angela Fulwood Wood, an official with Family and Medical Counseling Service, a Southeast non-profit group that already tests about 5,000 D.C. residents a year.

Other items:

A pumpkin buzz. It's October, which means fall, which means -- pumpkins. To pay tribute to the orange gourd (is it a gourd?) the folks at Express have come up with a list of hot spots you can go to taste pumpkin infused beverages. Maybe some pumpkin-infused ale? Or how about some pumpkin-infused rum? We think the king of all pumpkins -- the Great Pumpkin would approve -- as long as you buy him a round.

The Social Network. There's much buzz about "The Social Network" -- or as some have dubbed it, "The Facebook Movie," which opened in theaters today. The verdict? The Post's Ann Hornaday calls it a "smart, absorbing drama." It's got great credentials -- it's written by "West Wing" creator Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher.

By Washington Post editors  | October 1, 2010; 5:40 AM ET
Categories:  DC, Loris AM Buzz, Maryland, Virginia, Weather  
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