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Posted at 7:47 AM ET, 01/20/2010

Wednesday news roundup

By Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Wednesday so we're halfway through the work week. The Capital Weather Gang says it'll be about 10 to 15 degrees cooler today with a slight chance of wintry mix on Thursday. If you made it outside at all yesterday, you know it was lovely. But take heart -- at least we're not in the 20s and wading through snow drifts in a rush to stock up on bread, toilet paper and milk.

Now, here are your headlines:

Large aftershock hits Haiti: A 6.1 aftershock jolted the already devastated city of Port-Au-Prince early Wednesday morning, just eight days after a 7.0 earthquake struck. More than a week after the initial quake, rescuers continue to pull survivors from the rubble, but aid groups still find it difficult to deliver food and medical care. There are signs however, that some progress is being made. Food is being dropped from planes in areas unreachable by road. The United Nations has agreed to send 3,500 more peacekeepers to help maintain order. The Baltimore-based hospital ship,the U.S.N.S. Comfort is within range of Haiti and has begun to treat quake victims who are being airlifted to the ship. The mission has special meaning for one of the doctors aboard. Mill Etienne, a Haitian immigrant, came to the U.S. when he was just five. Based in Bethesda, he went to medical school at Yale University.

Story of survival. A group of students at Virginia's Blue Ridge College recently back from Haiti, recounted the horror of being caught in the 7.0 quake. The students were driving down a road when they heard "a giant clap of rocks and their van began to shake." "Women were ripping off their shirts,'' said Professor Rebecca Evans. " They thought it was the Apocalypse."

D.C. area residents marked the one week anniversary of the Haiti quake with a candlelight vigil in front of the Haitian Embassy last night. (Fox 5)

Manhunt in Appomattox: Police announced early this morning that the 39-year-old man suspected of killing eight people in a shooting rampage in Appomattox County yesterday, has surrendered. Authorities believe the shooting stemmed from a domestic dispute. The alleged gunman has been identified as Christopher Speight. No names were immediately available for the victims, which are believed to include Speight’s wife, one official said. WJLA on the manhunt, Fox 5 and The Associated Press.

Medical marijuana in D.C. District officials have begun crafting a plan to open medical marijuana dispenseries in the District. Legislation was proposed yesterday by Councilman David A. Catania (I-At Large) and could be voted on by the summer. If approved, D.C. will join 14 other states in allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes.
As D.C. officials outline their plans, a state legislator in Virginia has said he will introduce a bill that would allow the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes.

Metro pays to polish its image; Despite budget woes and the impending departure of the system’s general manager John B. Catoe, Jr., The Examiner reports that Metro is spending more than $700,000 on an image campaign to tout Metrobus service. Despite reports this summer of driver misbehavior, the system believes Metro bus service is better than ever and wants the public to believe too. We’ll see -- ridership is down 14 percent since November. In Montgomery County, county council members are fighting County Executive Isiah Leggett’s plan to cut RideOn bus service one of several proposals aimed at closing a serious budget gap in the county.

We're number three! Beltway drivers know first-hand how bad their daily commute is, so the only thing surprising about this bit of news is that we only finished third. In a survey by the Daily Beast, the Beltway was ranked third worst commute in the nation. We’re just behind Los Angeles and Honolulu (guess paradise has its downside after all, eh?).

In short: Fox 5 reports that an inmate has mistakenly been released from a D.C. jail; NBC 4 says rest areas along Virginia highways could re-open by spring; and The Gazette reports that space at Montgomery College is so tight, some professor have taken to grading papers in their cars.

Finally, despite lobbying campaigns from other cities, Edgar Allan Poe's body will remain in Baltimore, a family member announced. Boston, Philadelphia and even St. Petersburg, Russia, were among the cities that had lobbied to have the author’s body relocated.

By Washington Post editors  | January 20, 2010; 7:47 AM ET
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