The Washington Times - August 24, 2011, 08:58AM

The 5.8-magnitude earthquake that hit the Washington region was relatively small, but residents are waking up today to numerous problems, including having to call insurance adjusters about damage to homes and cars, and finding offices shuttered and schools closed.

The U.S. government is open, but at least 11 federal buildings are closed, including the Interior Department headquarters. The Washington Monument and Washington National Cathedral also were damaged. D.C. and Prince George’s public schools and several Virginia schools will not be open today. D.C. firefighters said they responded to numerous calls in Northwest about falling chimneys, The Washington Times reports.


Virginia held primary elections Tuesday for General Assembly seats. Among the highlights is state Senate candidate Barbara Favola, a Democrat, cruising to victory on an election day marked by light turnout and overshadowed by an earthquake that jarred the eastern United States, reports David Shefinski and Meredith Somers of The Washington Times.

A Gaithersburg man being held in Aruba in connection with the disappearance of his traveling companion had been having financial difficulties in the months before he vacationed on the Caribbean island, according to court documents obtained by The Washington Times.

The administration of D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray engaged in cronyism, paid salaries above legal caps and illegally hired the children of senior officials, according to the findings of a D.C. Council investigation released Tuesday, The Washington Times reports.

The three Montgomery County agencies that hand out the most overtime pay — the Montgomery County Police Department, Fire and Rescue Services and Department of Transportation — exceeded their overtime budgets last fiscal year, county officials said Tuesday.

Though officials attributed the excess spending to understaffing, they also said the county did not budget for overtime pay for the U.S. Open, which was held in June at the Congressional Country Club in Bethesda and required all three agencies to pay staff overtime, according to the Washington Examiner.

Maryland officials will announce today a significant drop in the state’s stubbornly high infant mortality rate, to the lowest level on record. Data from the state Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show a drop to 6.7 deaths per 1,000 live births in 2010. That’s a 7 percent drop from the year before, a 16 percent drop from two years before and the lowest rate since recording began in the 1940s, according to the Baltimore Sun.