Local News from WAMU 88.5

Friday, October 9, 2015

In Damp Metro Tunnels, Prehistoric Plants Thrive

Metro's dimly lit stations and damp leaky walls are the perfect environment for a fern species dating back 65 million years. But does the ferns' presence indicate maintenance problems in Washington's subway system?

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Groups Push Smithsonian To Provide Workers Space To Pump Breast Milk

The institution is violating the rights of female employees, according to the American Civil Liberties Union and the First Shift Justice project.

As Repossessions Pile Up, Critics Of Car-Title Lenders Call For Change

When a car is an economically vulnerable person's connection to work, school or childcare, a repossession is especially tough. So some local, state and federal officials are trying to limit consumers' exposure to loans that are more likely to end up with a vehicle being taken away.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

With New Search For School Superintendent, Montgomery County Hopes To Avoid Past Mistakes

"I think the problem with the previous search is that it started in the spring, which apparently is late for an academic search of this sort," says Frances Frost, president of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

For Metro, A Shift To Federal Oversight Might Bring More Questions, Not Fewer

Does the Federal Railroad Administration have what it takes to help turn Metro around? Experts say that oversight from the agency would come with its own gaps and challenges.

Pepco-Exelon Deal, Now With Bowser's Blessing, Awaits Commission's Review

As proponents and critics of the takeover battled in public, the Mayor Muriel Bowser's administration was working behind the scenes to demand greater concessions out of Exelon.

For Military Personnel, High-Interest Lenders Aren't Far Away

Military communities across the country are enticing targets for high-interest lenders, but the story plays out with particular intensity in Virginia. The commonwealth offers a wealth of military personnel, a regulatory environment that's relatively friendly to high-interest lenders, and a geographical advantage for lenders, too.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Suburban Commuters Take Issue With Planned I-66 Tolling

From some suburban commuters' perspective, charging $9 to use I-66 east of the Beltway during morning rush hour is a ripoff.

U.S. May Lag On Paid Parental Leave, But D.C. Could Jump Ahead With 16 Weeks

Under a bill introduced on Tuesday, all D.C. residents would be eligible for 16 weeks of paid family and medical leave — more than anywhere else in the country.

How Virginia Became The Region's Hub For High-Interest Loans

After creating and then stifling Virginia's payday lending industry, state lawmakers opened the door to car-title lending in 2010. Since then, these businesses have stayed a step ahead of efforts to limit how much interest they charge.

Monday, October 5, 2015

Montgomery County Lawmakers Reach Compromise On Lawn Pesticides

All year, the Montgomery County council has been debating a bill that would prevent certain pesticides from being used on lawns. But a day before council members are scheduled to vote on that bill, a compromise has been reached that looks like it will pass.

Metro Plan To Cut Service On Four Of Six Lines Is Dead

A proposal to cut rush hour service on four of six lines in order to reduce wait times on the Blue Line is dead.

Inside The Fast-Cash World Of Virginia Car-Title Lenders

Part 1 of "The Debt Trap," reporter Michael Pope's series on the car-title lending industry in Virginia: The state cracked down on payday lenders in 2009, but critics say the industry that's cropped up to replace them is just as predatory.

Can Metro Find The Next Richard Ravitch?

In the early '80s, he approached New York's subway problems with a strong will, a skill for talking to politicians, a deep concern for ordinary riders and desire to learn the nuts and bolts of the system.

Tension Over Funding Marked For 'High Needs' Schools In Montgomery County

A report prompted by the county Council has left the School Board on the defensive about $50 million in funding.