Good morning. It’s Friday and it’s . . . April Fool’s Day. (But really, it IS Friday, no fooling.) Lots going on on the first day of April. Our commutes may be longer, but there is good news: The National
Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that traffic deaths have dropped to their lowest level since 1949. In the District, D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray is expected to release his budget plan later today. And in Virginia, Falls Church has a new schools superintendent.
Good news for allergy suffers. Yes, it’s gray, cold and wet, but if you’re an allergy sufferer like me, there is a bright side to our latest weather pattern: It’s keeping the pollen count down. But we’ll all have to bundle up until at least Sunday or Monday when temperatures will start to warm up again. The Capital Weather Gang says we’ll have a cloudy, breezy day with temperatures hovering around 50. There may be some rain mixed in with a bit of sleet/snow in some areas west and northwest of town.
The D.C. budget. Fresh off his State of the City address this week, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray releases his budget plan sometime today. The Post’s Mike DeBonis offers his take on what the mayor will do to address an estimated $322 million shortfall. Will Gray cut spending or will he raise taxes? Check back with us for the latest updates.
Remembering a great spirit. Funeral services will be held in Richmond on Saturday for Taylor Anderson, the Virginia woman believed to be among the first American victims of the Japanese earthquake and tsunami. Anderson, 24, was teaching English in Ishinomaki, a city about 240 miles north of Tokyo. She was last seen riding her bike away from an elementary school after making sure students were safe following the earthquake. VCU plays Saturday. Did you hear? VCU plays Butler in the Final Four on Saturday in Houston and there’s much excitement throughout the region. Even Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) got into the act — encouraging state businesses to give their employees a casual day on Friday — provided they wear the black and gold colors of Virginia Commonwealth University and make a donation to VCU’s Massey Cancer Center. Post education writer Jenna Johnson will be blogging about the VCU campus scene this weekend. Also, here’s a video of the team’s arrival in Houston for the big game.
Va. officials clear homeless encampment. Virginia officials on Thursday cleared out a homeless encampment near Interstate 95, leaving about 80 people to find a new place to live. The land was owned by the Virginia Department of Transportation; officials decided to clear the area after receiving complaints from the office of Virginia State Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William).
Metro considers service cuts. The good news: It’s unlikely that Metro officials will increase fares to help make up for a $72 million shortfall in their operating budget. The bad news: you may have to wait longer for the Metro or you may end up losing your bus route if it’s considered an “underperformer.”
New abortion restrictions in Va.? Gov. Robert McDonnell added an amendment to restrict abortion coverage to a bill that would establish a health care exchange as part of the federal health care overhaul. McDonnell’s amendment would prohibit any insurance plan offered as part of the exchange from covering abortions except in cases of rape or incest or when the health of the mother is in danger.
In short. An alert Metrobus rider discovered a flaw in the fareboxes on Metrobus (Washington Examiner); Prince George’s Council members allegedly spent $3,000 on meals during a recent council retreat (Washington Examiner); a salmonella outbreak in Maryland has been linked to sausages served at a 4-H fund-raising event in Thurmont. (The Gazette)
Wanted: code breakers. Everyone loves a good mystery and here’s a great one: The FBI is seeking the public’s help in decoding two pages of ciphers recovered in 1999 by St. Charles County, Mo., sheriffs investigating the suspected homicide of a man named Ricky McCormick. The FBI said its folks had worked on cracking the code but admitted its “really good” staff was stumped. Now it’s your turn to step up.
That’s it for now. Just a quick note:Next week, you’ll be seeing a new face in this spot. Patricia Sullivan, a veteran journalist and blogger, will be taking over A.M. Buzz. A big thank you for reading, retweeting and putting up with the occasional typo in Lori’s A.M. Buzz. It’s been great fun writing Buzz and getting to know our readers as well as all the great bloggers throughout the D.C.-area. I’ll still be at The Post and if you’re curious about what I’m up to, you can follow me via Twitter. Take care – have a great day.