Lori's A.M. Buzz: Snow, ICC, Jack Johnson
Good morning. It's Tuesday -- but it may be an extended holiday for some students. We've got school delays and closings in several counties including a two-hour delay in Montgomery County and D.C. Some MTA commuter buses are running about an hour late, but MARC, VRE and WMATA are running regular schedules today. Be careful out there and be sure to let us know if you're seeing problems, issues with roads, etc. -- @gridlocktip or firstname.lastname@example.org.
The forecast. Talk about weather whiplash. Last week, it was shorts weather (at least for the very brave among us) -- and now we're back to snow, school closings and icy roads. Well, it IS still February, after all. The Capital Weather Gang says the snow should taper off by around 7 a.m. but it's going to be a cold one today. Temperatures are expected to be in the upper 20's to low 30's with light breezes. In other words, very little chance the snow will melt before you get home tonight. Sigh.
ICC opening delayed. Though the ribbon-cutting went forward as planned on Monday, the opening of the first 7.2 mile leg of the Intercounty Connector, originally scheduled for today has been delayed until Wednesday, thanks to the snow.
A very different portrait of Jack Johnson. From a recent indictment and court papers, we're getting more details of the case federal prosecutors are building against former Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson. The papers include extensive quotes from wiretaps of Johnson and paint a very different picture from the public image Johnson spent years cultivating. At one point in July, for example, the indictment said Johnson was talking to his housing director and friend about how taking bribes can be lucrative. "Two years, you got a couple hundred thousand dollars, you know, cash, then you can go and ah, and you, you get your little retirement, you know, you buy yourself a nice, you get a, you, you just want something nice in South Carolina, you know what I mean," Johnson said in the wiretap.
A push to prevent future tragedy. The parents of a Virginia teenager who took his life as he struggled with the fallout of a suspension from a Fairfax high school are calling on the county to change its disciplinary policies. If you haven't read it already, here's the original story about Nick Stuban, who was just 15, when he committed suicide. It's a sad and difficult tale. Post columnist Petula Dvork also weighs in on discipline in the schools.
A fish story. Maryland's Natural Resources Police have stepped up patrols in the waters around the state -- on the hunt for rockfish poachers. So far this month, police have found about 26,000 pounds of rockfish - nearly 13 tons - in illegal nets. The poaching has already forced the state to shut down commercial rockfish fishing, possibly for the whole month -- a significant loss for the Maryland's already struggling watermen. The Post's Darryl Fears spends time with the crews charged with stopping poachers.
Was the moonroof really necessary? Did you read the one about D.C.Council Chair Kwame Brown's fully loaded Lincoln Navigator L with a DVD entertainment system, power moonroof and polished aluminum wheels? You know, the one, D.C. taxpayers are footing the bill for? If you haven't read it, what are you waiting for? In the meantime, here's your chance to build your own Lincoln Navigator L (moonroof optional, of course).
In short. Metro is piloting a new style of floor tile in hopes of making platforms safer. The new style of tile has already been installed at the Takoma Park station (Post); Nearly one in four Maryland residents who register to vote through the state's DMV offices never turn up on voter roles. (The Baltimore Sun); In Virginia, escalating costs are forcing state legislators to rethink a law passed nearly a decade ago that allowed officials to keep dangerous sexual predators locked up even after their prison sentences have ended. (Post)
Thanksgiving in February. More than 75 restaurants in Montgomery County are getting into the Thanksgiving spirit today by donating 10 percent to 20 percent of their sales to 11 Montgomery County agencies that provide emergency food to those in need. Here are more details about "Thanksgiving in February."
That's it for now. Thanks for reading and if you're heading out today, be careful. The snow has stopped falling (at least in D.C.) but the roads are still slick and icy. Be sure to check back with us for more headlines and updates throughout the day. And if you're interested in what's D.C.-area bloggers are saying, check back in this space for my afternoon roundup of great posts from the D.C.-area blogosphere.