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Posted at 8:13 AM ET, 01/ 6/2011

Buzz: Snow, lost emu and Mega Millions

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Thursday and the first full week of a new year is almost over. For those who like it cold, we might be in for some snow flurries tonight. Lots of news this week, so let's get right to it.

Coming up:

The cool down. Cold enough for ya? Well, it's going to get a bit colder in coming days. The Capital Weather Gang says it'll be partly cloudy with temperatures in the low-to-mid-40's -- but on Friday, the thermometer will likely climb only into the 30's. Time to put on an extra layer. Oh, and did I mention the snow flurries? Chance of snow flurries tonight and possible tomorrow morning. So keep an eye out on your Friday commute.

Got a school closing?  With the possibility of snow flurries in the forecast and the possibility of school closings (you never know), we're asking for your help in our new effort to report weather-related closings and delays for schools, organizations and businesses. If you handle closings for any organization in D.C., Maryland or Virginia, be sure to click here and register for our password-protected listings.

Today's headlines:

A special reunion. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray had a very special "This Is Your Life" moment at GWU's Wednesday night basketball game against LaSalle. The mayor, who thought he was just stopping by to watch a little hoops, was instead treated to a surprise reunion of four men he'd played ball with at the university on a segregated, intramural team. Back when Gray was a student at the university, black and Jewish students were not allowed to play on the university team.

Mystery deepens. The mystery surrounding the death of a former Army officer who helped spearhead the campaign to build the Vietnam Veterans Memorial has only deepened in the days since his body was discovered in a Delaware landfill. Witnesses say a disheveled and disoriented Wheeler was seen in a parking garage in downtown Wilmington. Wheeler told some people he'd been robbed, but refused offers of aid. Police have characterized Wheeler's death as a homicide, but have declined to released further details.

Special education in D.C. A new report cites improvement in D.C. special education programs, but says that 'core problems' still linger. While school officials have improved their system for tracking and managing the cases of special education students -- they have also declared many cases successfully closed even though services were not delivered to the students.

More violence in Prince George's. Two people were stabbed and another man killed in separate incidents in Prince George's County Wednesday night. The apparent shooting death of a man in the Oxon Hill area of the county means that there have been six homicides in Prince George's since the start of the new year. Police have not yet made any arrests, but sought to reassure members of the public saying the six slayings were likely isolated incidents in which drugs may have been involved and those killed likely knew their assailants. Last year, there was an average of about eight homicides a month in Prince George's. Search our database for more details. 

Bag tax in Md.? Will Maryland join D.C. in charging shoppers a fee for bags? A Kensington lawmaker is pushing a revised version of a plan to charge shoppers in Maryland 5-cents a bag. Similar measures failed in 2009 and 2010, but state Del. Al C. Carr (D-District 18) thinks a rewritten version might have a shot. The legislative session opens next week in Maryland.

In short. The Mega Millions winners were in Idaho and Washington state, but D.C. managed to get a little slice of the lotto pie. Officials estimate the District will get $200,000 from ticket sales (Post); a25-year-old Arlington man was indicted Wednesday on charges that he threatened to bomb a Metro train in conversations he had on Facebook (Post); cans of Four Loko and other similar caffeinated beverages that have been banned now are being recycled at a plant in Virginia and turned into ethanol, recycled aluminum and cardboard. (Fox 5)

Other items:

Reality is better than . . . If you haven't yet gotten your fill of cupcakes, housewives and chefs, you D.C. reality show junkies are in luck. The Post's Reliable Source reports that Rob Lowe is in town as producer of the new reality TV series, "Potomac Fever." Who better to capture D.C.'s spirit than the former White House staffer (at least he played one on TV's "West Wing.") "Potomac Fever" focuses on "young Washingtonian strivers." Ambition in D.C.? Go figure.

Runaway emu Officials report that an emu -- yes an emu -- is on the loose in Calvert County. Reports of the giant bird running loose (emus can be 6 feet tall or more) began circulating in November when it was spotted in Dunkirk. Authorities say anyone who spots the emu should not approach the bird. Instead they should contact the proper authorities.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back throughout the day for more news and headlines. Will there really be snow flurries tonight? The Capital Weather Gang will have an update this afternoon. Stay warm and have a great day.

By Lori Aratani  | January 6, 2011; 8:13 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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