2018 preview: A look at the big stories to come

WASHINGTON — Another year, another inauguration, election and maybe a new soccer stadium.

Here’s a look at the big stories WTOP will cover in the coming year.

Bleachers and a reviewing stand are erected in preparation for the January inauguration of Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)

Virginia inauguration

Ralph Northam will be sworn in as the 73rd governor of Virginia on Saturday, Jan. 13. Workers have been busy setting up risers for the event, which will be followed by a parade in Richmond. Northam, a Norfolk Democrat, enters office with a General Assembly that will be friendlier to his policy goals than his predecessor Terry McAuliffe had, thanks to the November election that flipped enough Republican-held seats in the House of Delegates to challenge Republican control of the chamber. (AP/Steve Helber) (AP/Steve Helber)
Generic image of a Metro pole. (WTOP/Amanda Iacone)

Maryland, Virginia assemblies convene

Dedicated funding for the region’s Metrorail system will be one critical issue expected to be debated when Maryland and Virginia’s general assemblies begin meeting in January. Outgoing Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe has proposed $150 million in funding from Virginia, and Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan has suggested the state would contribute $125 million. Hogan is expected to again push for redistricting reform. In Virginia, Gov.-elect Ralph Northam is expected to push for Medicaid expansion. With the new wave of Democrats in the House, gun law reforms and even paid family leave are also likely to be considered. (WTOP/Amanda Iacone) (WTOP/Amanda Iacone)

Carlos Bell trial

The trial for accused child abuser Carlos Bell is set to begin in Charles County on Jan. 8. The former teacher’s aide and track coach faces 206 charges for sexually abusing and exploiting 42 children. The case exposed a chronic backlog of digital evidence waiting to be analyzed in Maryland. As many as eight children were victimized after police first began investigating Bell and had seized his cellphones. (WTOP/Mike Murillo) (WTOP/Mike Murillo)
People walk by an official mascot of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games, white tiger "Soohorang" in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. South Korea's Pyeongchang is the host city of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games which will be held from February 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)

Winter Olympics

The Winter Olympics begin Feb. 9 and run through Feb. 25 in Pyeongchang in South Korea. Several D.C.-area athletes will take part in the 2018 Games, including Maame Biney, of Reston, Virginia, who is the first black woman to ever make the U.S. speedskating team. She’ll join speedskating teammate Thomas Hong, of Laurel, Maryland. (AP/Lee Jin-man) (AP/Lee Jin-man)
Picture of what DC United's stadium will look like

A new home for DC United — eventually

DC United could be homeless in the 2018 season, which kicks off in March. The team has yet to announce where it would play its home opener. Team officials hope to welcome guests to the new stadium this summer. Meanwhile construction continues on the $300 million facility a few blocks from Nationals Park. Construction began on Audi Field in February 2017. The team played 22 seasons at the decaying RFK Stadium, the future of which remains uncertain. (Courtesy DC United)   (Courtesy DC United)
Savopoulos

Savopoulos murders trial

Daron Wint, the man charged with killing three members of the Savopoulos family and their housekeeper, is scheduled to stand trial in September. Known as the D.C. mansion murders, Wint is accused of holding the four hostage in exchange for $40,000 in ransom money. DNA left on a slice of pizza was used to identify Wint, whom police have said likely did not work alone. However, no one else has ever been charged in the case. Savvas Savopoulos, his wife Amy and son Philip along with Veralicia Figueroa were found dead inside the family’s multimillion dollar home, which had been set on fire, in May 2015. The house has since been torn down. Wint faces 20 charges in connection with the slayings. (Credit Tony Powell/Washington Life/Polaris) (Credit Tony Powell/Washington Life/Polaris)
Helmets to be used for testing football helmet to helmet collisions sit in a rack at a laboratory in the Cleveland Clinic's Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. Under the direction of Spine Research Laboratory director Lars Gilbertson, the Clinic will soon begin testing to research concussions and other sports-related head and neck injuries. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)

Where does football and the NFL go from here?

The protests and clashes among players, fans, ownership and the NFL commissioner’s office aside, football’s biggest issue still looms large over the sport at every level — concussions and CTE. Will the league actually fund the necessary research to figure out what’s happening to players’ brains? Parents play a role, too, as more and more consider the game too dangerous for their kids. (AP/Mark Duncan) (AP/Mark Duncan)
Empty chairs are seen at a polling place Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Elections

Get ready for more election upheaval in 2018. Congressional midterm elections will be the first national test of voter sentiment since Donald Trump’s presidential victory in 2016. Since then, Alabama sent the first Democrat to the Senate in 25 years. And voters severely eroded the power of Virginia Republicans in the General Assembly. In Maryland, Sen. Ben Cardin is up for re-election. And in Northern Virginia, Democrats are lining up for the chance to run against two-term incumbent Rep. Barbara Comstock. Sen. Tim Kaine is running for re-election in Virginia; a competitive Republican primary — including Republican firebrand Corey Stewart — is expected to determine who will challenge the former governor in November. Meanwhile, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is running for re-election. Voters will also decide the council chair, and choose officials to represent at-large and Wards 1, 3, 5 and 6. And Democrats are lining up in Maryland for the chance to face Gov. Larry Hogan in November. Votes in Maryland will decide other statewide offices, including lieutenant governor, attorney general and comptroller. State Senate and House of Delegates seats also are up for grabs. (AP/Alex Brandon) (AP/Alex Brandon)
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Bleachers and a reviewing stand are erected in preparation for the January inauguration of Virginia Governor-elect Ralph Northam at the Capitol in Richmond, Va., Monday, Nov. 20, 2017. (AP Photo/Steve Helber)
Generic image of a Metro pole. (WTOP/Amanda Iacone)
People walk by an official mascot of the 2018 Pyeongchang Olympic Winter Games, white tiger "Soohorang" in downtown Seoul, South Korea, Friday, Dec. 29, 2017. South Korea's Pyeongchang is the host city of the 2018 Olympic and Paralympic Winter Games which will be held from February 2018. (AP Photo/Lee Jin-man)
Picture of what DC United's stadium will look like
Savopoulos
Helmets to be used for testing football helmet to helmet collisions sit in a rack at a laboratory in the Cleveland Clinic's Lutheran Hospital in Cleveland Thursday, Sept. 23, 2010. Under the direction of Spine Research Laboratory director Lars Gilbertson, the Clinic will soon begin testing to research concussions and other sports-related head and neck injuries. (AP Photo/Mark Duncan)
Empty chairs are seen at a polling place Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017, in Alexandria, Va. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

WTOP’s Noah Frank and Rob Woodfork contributed to this report. 


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