Here are our picks for the top local stories today:

The Smithsonian Arts & Industries Building, seen in this undated handout photo, was built in 1881 but "shuttered in 2004 after years of neglect and underuse.” (National Trust for Historic Preservation/Smithsonian Institution)

Smithsonian statue to be removed: The 10-foot-tall “Columbia” statue will be repainted while the rest of the Arts and Industries building undergoes renovations.

Waxing historic: Madame Tussauds has unveiled a new wax figure of Harriet Tubman. “It feels like she’s leading you through the Underground Railroad,” her ancestors told the Post.

Autism gets insurance coverage: Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell has signed a bill that requires health insurers to pay for specialized treatment for autistic children.

Today on Post Local:

--Cupcakes. Which ones are best? Tim Carman hosts our Free Range on Food chat at noon.

--Chat with the Post’s investigative journalists about our congressional earmarks series, today at 11 a.m.

--Keep an eye on today’s impending rain/snow mix with the Capital Weather Gang.