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Posted at 8:02 AM ET, 03/ 2/2011

A.M. Buzz: Fed workers, iPad, potholes

By Lori Aratani
Washington Post editors

Good morning. It's Wednesday and it's a big day for fans of Apple. The Cupertino-based company will show off he next generation of iPad today at 1 p.m. ET; more details below. Closer to home, efforts to legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland hit an unexpected snag on Tuesday. In D.C., officials received some good news about the budget.  But at the University of Virginia, funds are desperately need to repair the Rotunda, the iconic structure which Thomas Jefferson modeled on the Pantheon in Rome.

It's getting warmer. Slowly but surely we're inching our way toward spring. Temperatures  may even hit the 60's today. The Capital Weather Gang says it will start out cold, but by afternoon temperatures could hit 60 in some areas. It will be sunny and breezy. But don't put away the coat yet -- Mother Nature is fickle and we could be in for a temperature drop on Thursday.

Coming up:

Airport authority to meet. Members of the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority are scheduled to meet today and they have plenty on their agenda. What's not clear is whether the board will vote on who will be its new chief executive. The group is bitterly divided over who will lead the body that oversees two of the Washington area's main airports and a multibillion-dollar project to extend Metrorail to Dulles International. The leading candidate, Nathaniel P. Ford Sr., has had an impressive rise in the transit industry, but some critics question his ability to manage money because of personal financial problems.

iPad the sequel. Yes, folks, today's the day: Apple is set to unveil the next generation of iPad. The show will begin at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. Pacific Time). Our own Rob Pegoraro is on the ground in San Francisco for the big event where he'll be live blogging. Word is that the newest model will be thinner and lighter and will have to include a camera for FaceTime video calling. For more, check back with us this afternoon.

Federal worker stories. Threatened government shutdowns. Pay freezes. Budget cuts. It's not easy to be a federal worker these days. We'd like to hear your stories. What are you and your co-workers talking about? Are key projects and hiring on hold? Is work getting done the way it should? Tell us.

Today's headlines:

A brighter budget outlook. Finally, some good news about D.C.'s finances. Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced Tuesday that the revenue forecast for the coming fiscal year has improved by $105 million -- fueled by an improving local economy. Instead of the $400 to $600 million gap that had been anticipated, it appears that Gray and the Council will face a shortfall of $322 million when they consider the 2012 budget in the spring.

Same-sex marriage measure stalls. A bill that would legalize same-sex marriage in Maryland ran into an unexpected roadblock Tuesday when two delegates who had previously pledged their support deliberately skipped a key voting session needed to move the legislation forward. But after avoiding reporters for most of Tuesday, one of the legislators, Del. Tiffany T. Alston, (D-Prince George's), issued a statement early Wednesday morning saying she is prepared to vote. Alston did not specifically say how she would vote.

Metrobus stabbing. On the same day that D.C.'s Guardian Angels announced they plan to step up patrols of the Metro system, a teenager was stabbed on a Metrobus in SE Tuesday night. He was taken to George Washington University Hospital.

Bag fee in Montgomery? Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, next week, is expected to propose a 5-cent bag fee in Montgomery County to go into effect in Jan. 2012. Leggett says he expects to raise about $1 million from bag tax in the first year -- most of which he said would go toward the purchase of reusable bags for customers and to informing residents about the change.9 (The Gazette)

In short. A court date of March 15 has been set for former Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson for his arraignment on bribery charges (Post); Coca-Cola has bought Bethesda-based Honest Tea (Capital Business); Organizers of the annual Cherry Blossom street fair announced Tuesday that they will begin charging a $5 admission fee (Post)

Other items:

Pothole season. Temperatures have warmed slightly and spring is in the air, which can only mean . . . it's pothole season in the D.C.-area. According to AAA Mid-Atlantic, March is the busiest month for pothole repairs, and drivers may see more potholes this year due to cuts in road maintenance budgets. Why suffer? Here are some handy numbers for reporting pothole problems -- including The Post's own Daily Gripe feature, where you can report potholes and other neighborhood nuisances.

That's it for now. Thanks for reading and be sure to check back with Post Local throughout the day for more updates and headlines. Feeling chatty? The Post's restaurant critic Tom Sietsema will be online today at 11 a.m. ET to chat about restaurants, food, fun and anything else you can come up with. Join him.

By Lori Aratani  | March 2, 2011; 8:02 AM ET
Categories:  AM Buzz  | Tags:  loris am buzz  
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