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On Black Friday Families Cut Down Fresh Firs For Christmas

GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA) --- There's plenty of buzz at Butler's Orchard where families spend the day after Thanksgiving picking out and cutting down a live evergreen.

"We love the smell of it in our house and our daughter loves the tradition," says Brett Loehmann with wife and daughter at his side.

Other families also said the visit to the tree farm allows them to pick out the most suitable tree.

"It's just a nice thing to do...to come out here for Black Friday," says Bob Reeves who bought a tall and lean tree to fit under the cathedral-styled ceiling of his house.

Owner Wade Butler shares tips on keeping the tree fresh through Christmas:

Student Hit by Car at Clemente Jr. Highschool

A concerned Germantown parent sent us this message:

An 8th grade girl was hit by a car on Waring Station Rd on Monday morning while attempting to cross the road to go to Roberto Clemente Middle School in Germantown. She was initially unconcious, but was taken to the hospital (possibly Shady Grove Adventist) and is expected to make a full recovery.

Parents like myself and my wife were notified by voicemail messages from the school during the day. Just thought I would pass this on for concerned parents.

Sneak Peek: Behind the Wheel on the New ICC

DERWOOD, Md. (WUSA) -- Opening day for the first 7-mile section of the Intercounty Connector is not yet set, but the time is now being measured in weeks as the controversial highway is taking its final shape.

"We're getting closer," said ICC spokesman Ray Feldman. "But there are still a lot of items on our punch list."

9News' Scott Broom was escorted onto the still closed highway to see the progress between I-370/Shady Grove and Georgia Ave. which will be the first section of the road to be opened in late December or early January if the weather is cooperative.

The pavement is pristine and the colors of the crisply painted lines are bright.

Workers were busy installing sections of guard rail and major signs are still not up.

The most critical unfinished work is the final installation and testing of the electronic systems that will be used to make the ICC Maryland's first completely cash-free toll road.

Germantown Motorcyclist Dies Near Great Seneca Highway

GERMANTOWN, MD-- (WUSA) Larry Talley of Germantown lost control of his 2004 Suzuki motorcycle Saturday afternoon while he was riding on Mateny Road near the intersection of Great Seneca Highway.  

The 33 year old died from the injuries he sustained after falling off the bike and possibly striking his head against a parked van. Montgomery County police say Talley was not wearing a helmet and did not have a license to operate a motorcycle at the time of the crash. 

Police are waiting for a final accident reconstruction report to determine how fast  Talley was travelling before he lost control or what caused him to do so.

The riderless Suzuki travelled several hundred feet, struck two vehicles and came to a rest by a light pole on Great Seneca Highway. No one in the cars was hurt. 

Tax Payers Charged Twice for Pumping Station

By Brian Hughes

Examiner Staff Writer

Developers charged taxpayers an extra $2 million by essentially billing Montgomery County residents twice for the same Germantown wastewater pumping station, according to local government officials  who also say those findings were ignored by top brass in County Executive Ike Leggett’s administration.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, the water agency for Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, gave $2 million in payments and credits to developers for a wastewater pumping station in the West Germantown Development District — a pocket where residents pay additional taxes for improvements in the community. However, the developers, the Artery Group of Bethesda and Arcola Investment Associates of Hyattsville, already had been paid by the county through bonds ultimately financed by taxpayers in the development district, sources said.

MVA: 1,300 Could Be Driving With Bad Licenses

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- The head of Maryland's Motor Vehicle Administration says more than 1,300 residents may be driving on licenses that could be suspended or revoked.

MVA officials reviewed more than 10,000 licenses with eight or more violation points after a state audit revealed problems with oversight at the administration.

MVA Administrator John Kuo says more than 1,300 cases drew potential red flags and are being reviewed manually. He told lawmakers Tuesday that automated software that translates data from courts into points on people's licenses was responsible for the failure to notice the problem.

Kuo says he has addressed other issues uncovered by the audit, including a conclusion that MVA electronic databases left drivers' personal information vulnerable to theft.

Sunday Liquor Sales Approved In Montgomery County

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) -- Liquor stores in Montgomery County will soon be opening their doors on Sundays.

The Washington Examiner reports that County Executive Isiah Leggett has issued an executive order to allow Sunday liquor sales. The order is expected to be finalized Wednesday.

County spokeswoman Donna Bigler says the plan is for Sunday sales to begin sometime this month.

Distilled spirits can only be purchased in Montgomery at two dozen county-owned stores. The county also acts as a distributor to restaurants and private stores that sell beer and wine. Those shops can open on Sundays.

Earlier this year, Councilman Mike Knapp estimated the county would make an additional $1.5 million to $2 million a year by opening its liquor stores on Sunday.

But some argue the change will hurt private shops.