WTOP’s Top 5 morning stories

The Wizards\' Nene shoots against the New Jersey Nets\' Gerald Wallace Wednesday night. The Wizards won 108-89 in Nene\'s debut, and the Brazilian center had 22 points and 10 rebounds. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

Good morning, Washington area — Five stories to keep you informed and get you going:

Science, care preserve D.C.’s original cherry trees: Arborists and horticulturists working for the National Park Service have taken special care of the original cherry trees, pruning and watering them to keep them alive as long as possible. Cherry trees typically live about 60 years in high traffic areas where soil and roots become compacted beneath visitors’ feet. http://bit.ly/GGpgVw

Many of today’s terrorists are ‘American kids’: In the decade since the 9/11 attacks took place, a new, unsettling phenomenon has sprouted. “The terrorists that we’re prosecuting today in many instances are American kids who grew up in suburban high schools, and you can still see them on the pages of the drama club or the skateboard club,” U.S. Attorney Neil MacBride says. http://bit.ly/GF6YmN

Safety compelled roads to close during funeral procession: After a large funeral procession Tuesday morning for Maj. Robert J. Marchanti II from Maryland, comments came in to WTOP about the need to close major roads for these types of events. Maryland State Police tell WTOP the plan for Tuesday morning was actually to have traffic and the procession rolling together. But bad weather, coupled with a very large motorcade including dozens of motorcycles, necessitated shutting down some roads. http://bit.ly/GGpMmt

Police: Islamic gunman dead after French standoff: Mohamed Merah, a 23-year-old Frenchman, died after a 32-hour standoff with police in the southern city of Toulouse. Merah was suspected of killing three schoolchildren, a rabbi and three paratroopers. He had traveled to Afghanistan and Pakistan for training. http://bit.ly/GGIKDc

Fans of ‘Hunger Games’ gather ahead of movie: Fans came together for a “Hunger Games” party Wednesday night at a Barnes & Noble store in Bethesda, Md. Party-goers, many of them dressed as characters from the books, took part in trivia and costume contests for prizes, enjoyed free refreshments and picked up temporary tattoos. http://bit.ly/GGpuMm

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