- The Washington Times - Monday, December 26, 2011

Post-Christmas shopping begins; Report: Va. needs roughly $20M for recommended child mental health services; Outside firm will check for cheating on D.C student tests; Prince George’s 911 operators slowed by odd calls; Montgomery Co. wants to join Capital Bikeshare network.

Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the crunch time of last-minute Christmas shopping are past, but retailers say they anticipate an equally busy Monday as shoppers take advantage of the three-day holiday weekend. Officials at Tysons Corner Center in Northern Virginia said they are preparing for more than a crush of customers seeking to return or exchange unwanted gifts, reports Meredith Somers of The Washington Times.

Virginia needs nearly $20 million to fund services recommended by a recent study for children’s behavioral health across the state — a perennial problem complicated by the commonwealth’s tight fiscal picture, reports David Sherfinski of The Times.

A D.C. government education agency is seeking an outside firm to investigate the city’s 2011 standardized test scores. Officials said the probe will be part of a strengthened set of procedures to ensure the validity of results on the annual D.C. Comprehensive Assessment System. Scores from previous years have come under scrutiny. In May, the D.C. schools invalidated some 2010 results at three schools after an investigation found evidence of or reasons for a strong suspicion of cheating, according to The Washington Post.

Prince George’s County 911 operators are answering emergency phone calls faster since officials revamped the county’s nonemergency hotline. Bogged down by trivial calls for information about everything from baking tips to parking tickets, operators at the county’s new 911 call center in Bowie were answering phone calls at a slower pace than required by state law, according to Charlynn Flaherty, the center’s associate director, the Washington Examiner reports.

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation wants to bring Capital Bikeshare, a bicycle-sharing program in place in the District of Columbia and Arlington County. The Washington Post reports that county transportation officials have applied for a $1 million grant from the Maryland Department of Transportation.

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