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Posted at 08:01 AM ET, 03/29/2011

Gray’s D.C. speech; Circulator fares; free Cherry Blossom maps

Good morning. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray tried to shift the conversation from controve
rsy to D.C.’s future in his State of the City Address Monday night. Metro’s General Manager Richard Sarles said efforts to improve the transit agency could be jeopardized if Congress cuts $150 million in funding. And book lovers across the region (not to mention authors across the country) rejoiced with news that the venerable Politics and Prose bookstore has found new buyers.

A slight warm-up. Looks like Mother Nature is giving us a bit of a break today. Temperatures are still below seasonable norms, but today is shaping up to be the nicest of the week. The Capital Weather Gang says it should be mostly sunny today with temperatures warming to the low 50’s. It’ll be colder tonight and there’s a chance we’ll get a mix of rain and snow tomorrow morning. Nothing likely to stick though, so it’s safe to keep that snow shovel in the garage.

Coming up:

Police review in Fairfax? The Fairfax County Board of Supervisors is expected today to discuss a proposal that would give the county auditor the authority to investigate police misconduct cases in the event individuals are dissatisfied with the outcome of internal police reviews. A citizens group had proposed that an independent police review board that would include county residents be created, but County Executive Anthony H. Griffin turned down the proposal.

The state of Prince George’s County. Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is set to deliver his first State of the County Address tonight at 6 p.m. at the 10th annual Prince George’s Chamber of Commerce economic development showcase. The event will be held at the Riggs Alumni Center at the University of Maryland at College Park. Baker’s speech is likely to highlight several of his legislative priorities including ethics reform, economic development and school reform. Ethics reform has been a huge issue in the county following the arrests of former Prince George’s County Executive Jack B. Johnson and his wife Leslie Johnson, who is currently a member of the Prince George’s County Council. We’ll have complete coverage of Baker’s speech.

Today’s headlines:

Gray tries to change the conversation. D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray gave his “State of the City” address Monday night hoping to shift attention away from recent controversies that have dogged his administration and back to his campaign theme of uniting the city. The address received cheers and applause from the standing-room-only-crowd at Eastern High School. Earlier in the day, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) held the first of two hearings aimed at unraveling recent hires in Gray’s Administration, including that of Sulaimon Brown, who alleges that campaign staff gave him money to verbally attack former D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty during last fall’s campaign and also helped him find a job in Gray’s administration.

Circulator fares to increase? D.C. officials recently announced cab fares in the District will increase by $1, and now it appears as if fans of the Circulator buses could be paying more for a ride as well. The D.C. Department of Transportation is looking at a plan that would double the fare — from $1 to $2 — for folks who pay cash to ride the bus. Those who pay with their SmarTrip card would only pay 50 cents more. (Washington Examiner)

In short. Montgomery County School Board again denied requests by two groups to open charter schools in the county (Post); Maryland officials say they’ve detected trace amounts of radioactive Iodine-131 in a rainwater sample from Baltimore that can be linked to the ongoing nuclear catastrophe in Japan. (WUSA)

Other items:

Kite Festival rescheduled. Officials have rescheduled the 45 Annual Blossom Kite Festival that was canceled due to bad weather. The kites are now scheduled to fly April 10.

Free cherry blossom maps. And speaking of cherry blossoms — The Post’s social media crew will be out and about today through Thursday handing out free maps of the cherry blossoms. You can get one by doing one of two things: Check in with us on Foursquare or tweet a picture to @PostLocal using the hash tag #postblossoms, which we’ll put in our cherry blossom photo gallery. We’ll then trade you a map for the picture. Sound good? Check back on @PostLocal or @GoingOutGuide today at noon for your first location.

That’s it for now. Thanks for reading and have a great day. Enjoy the sunshine and in between be sure to check back with Post Local for headlines and updates throughout the day. (After all, you don’t want to miss anything). If you’re on the go, you can still get the best local headlines on our mobile site.

By  |  08:01 AM ET, 03/29/2011

 
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