Lori's A.M. Buzz: Rain, fixing Pepco, lobsters
Good morning. It's Thursday and we've got a great mix of headlines for you today. Metro officials released a disturbing report that shows that serious crime throughout the system has hit a five-year high, led by thefts of electronic devices. On the same day that the Obama Administration announced it will no longer enforce the Defense of Marriage Act -- the federal law that bans the recognition of same-sex marriage -- Maryland legislators took another step forward to legalizing gay marriage in the state.
The good, the bad, the not really ugly. The good news? It's going to be warmer. The bad news: it looks like it's going to rain. The Capital Weather Gang says temperatures should hover in the low-to-mid-50's today, an uptick from Wednesday's 40ish degree mark. But grab an umbrella because it looks like we'll have sprinkles in the afternoon (and not the kind you put on cupcakes). Remember those terrible winds? Well, they could make a return appearance on Friday.
Metro board meets. Metro's board of directors is slated to meet today on a number of issues. At the top of the agenda of the Safety and Security Committee is a look at recent crime statistics that show serious crime throughout the system at a five-year high. (Have you been a crime victim on Metro? Tell us your story). The full Metro board will also discuss issues related to the Dulles Rail Project as well as the parking garage at the Glenmont Metro station.
How would you fix Pepco? Lawmakers in Annapolis today will begin hearing the first of nearly a dozen bills related to recent Pepco's power outages.
Among the proposals is a measure that would direct state regulators to
develop reliability standards for utility companies. Regulators
currently have the ability to fine utilities, but the legislation would
direct the payments back to affected customers.
Md. Senate's final vote on gay marriage. The Maryland State Senate is scheduled to take its final vote on a measure that would legalize same-sex marriage in the state. If the measure passes -- as many expect it will -- the bill will move to the more liberal House of Delegates for debate and a vote. If approved, Gov. Martin O'Malley has said he will sign the measure.
Rethinking "zero tolerance." On the heels of a Post story that raised questions about discipline policies in Fairfax County Public Schools in light of a recent student suicide, Maryland education officials said Wednesday that they will take a second look at so-called "zero tolerance" policies in their schools. "I want to get some assurance that this never happens in our districts," said Kate Walsh, a member of Maryland's State Board of Education.
Not a pretty picture. Many drivers may loathe them, but an increasing number of D.C.-area communities are installing red-light cameras to help foil speeders and increase traffic safety (though some argue that it's all about making money). Here's the scoop on how the cameras work in the District, Maryland and Virginia, what you'll have to pay if you get ticketed, and -- perhaps most importantly -- where the cameras are located.
A Post Town Hall on race and the recession. Thanks to all of you who attended our Town Hall meeting examiner the recession and its impact on the African-American community Wednesday night at Prince George's County Community College. Among the points of discussion: a Washington Post/Kaiser Family Foundation/Harvard University poll done as part of the project found that African Americans have been more adversely affected by the recession than whites or Hispanics, and also more optimistic about the future than either group. For those who missed it or for those who attended but would like to read more -- here's a story as well as a video of the meeting.
In short. Intersex fish, sharks and now lobsters have been found in the Potomac (WTOP); a Maryland woman has been struck and killed by a school bus driven by her son (WUSA); despite ominous predictions, a new report finds that D.C. business have not been harmed by the city's 5-cent bag tax, though city's revenues from the program has been far below expectations. (Post)
Isn't that . . . President Abraham Lincoln -- or rather "President Abraham Lincoln" -- arrived in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday, the 150th anniversary of his trip from his home in Springfield to his inauguration in D.C. The event, sponsored by the National Parks Service as part of its Civil War sesquicentennial observance, featured Lincoln impersonator Fritz Klein, who looked so authentic it's no wonder he drew double-takes. Check out the story and photo gallery.