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Reminder: Vacuum Leaf Collection Program Terminated

As a result of strict cost savings measures implemented last year, Prince George's County terminated the Vacuum Leaf Collection Program.  For more than 25 years, only 351 communities in the county received the special service, which was both expensive and time intensive. At the time of implementation, it was intended that the service would be expanded beyond the original communities, but due to a continued lack of identified funding, it was not.

Rushern Baker To Focus On Education And Jobs In Prince George's

(WUSA) -- Prince George's County's presumptive next county executive has his top two priorities in order: education and job creation.

Democrat Rushern Baker visited 9NEWS NOW Wednesday morning. He is not facing a Republican challenger in the November 2 election, and is expected to succeed Jack Johnson as county executive.

Baker said during the recent primary campaign, the top question he got was about improving schools and education in Prince George's County. "It's the reason I ran for county executive," he told 9NEWS NOW's Andrea Roane. Baker said he wants to "make sure we focus on quality teachers in every classroom. That's what we need to have in Prince George's County. That would improve the quality of education throughout the county."

Prince George's Council Members Vote to Raise Their Pay

The Gazette reports that the Prince George's County Council voted today to increase its $96,417 annual salary — the highest amount earned by council members in Maryland — despite sharp criticism from at least one presumptive councilman and two current members who said they should scale back the pay hikes.

"This is a really bad idea," said Mel Franklin, the presumptive District 9 county councilman, who is unopposed in the general election.

County Resolution 105, which was introduced and approved immediately by the council today after members agreed to suspend normal legislative procedure, sets new salary terms to start in December 2011 for the nine council members.

Prince George's County Bus Strike Ends After 5 Weeks

Upper Marlboro, MD (AP)- Bus drivers in Prince George's County have ended a five-week bus strike and are returning to work.

Tommy Ratliff, president of the union that represents drivers and mechanics, said union members approved a three-year contract with the bus operator Veolia Transportation on Monday. Ratliff says the union sought better job security and health insurance, higher wages and changes to a disciplinary policy.

The new contract includes a $1-an-hour pay increase, an additional holiday and continued pension contributions and health care options.

Valerie Michael, a spokeswoman for Veolia, says employees will start returning to work on Tuesday.

Veolia had run limited service for weeks. The company employs 136 full-time and 26 part-time workers in the county.

Town Council Member Suspended During Ticket Investigation

MORNINGSIDE Md. (WUSA) -- A Morningside town council member has been suspended from her job as clerk of the town's police department while state police investigate an audit of Morningside's Red Light Camera Program.

The clerk, Regina Foster, serves on the town council with her husband Terry Foster. Together the couple are two of the three seats on the town council.

Police Chief Eugene C. Mills Jr. has asked the Maryland State Police to do an independent investigation of the town's Red Light Camera program. But Mills will not say why, citing the ongoing investigation.

Sources with knowledge of the case say Mills called in outside investigators over suspicions that Foster has been fixing tickets for some people, although the scale of the suspicions are unclear.

Morningside is a small municipality with about 1300 residents and only 6 police officers.

Prince George’s County Voters Can Vote Early Beginning October 22 Through October 28

The Prince George’s County Board of Elections announces Early Voting!!  In addition to Election Day, now, Prince George’s County voters will have six additional days to vote.  Early voting begins on Friday October 22 through Thursday, October 28.  The early voting centers will be closed on Sunday, October 24 2010. 

“The Board of Elections is excited about early voting.  This will give Prince George’s County voters an opportunity to vote at their convenience.  Nearly three percent of the voters in the county voted early for the Primary Election.  I challenge the voters of Prince George’s County to take advantage of the opportunity” said Elections Administrator Alisha Alexander. 

Prince George’s County has five early voting centers:

Man Files $1.5 Million Lawsuit Against Prince George's County Police

UPPER MARLBORO, MD. (AP) — A former Prince George's County police academy cadet has filed a lawsuit in federal court seeking $1.5 million after he says he was dismissed for being outspoken about alleged cheating at the academy.

Attorneys for Steven LaPier filed the lawsuit Thursday. According to the lawsuit, LaPier was dismissed after a medical board declared him unfit for duty. Before being dismissed he had complained that instructors gave test answers to the cadet class. The lawsuit says the police department tried to "silence" LaPier as "retaliation for voicing his complaints."

The instructor denies wrongdoing, but an investigation is ongoing. A county spokesman declined to comment on the lawsuit.