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Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation

(UPI) — President Barack Obama on Tuesday made good on his promise to veto legislation in support of the Keystone XL oil pipeline should it cross his desk.
He vetoed the bill that called for the 1,179-mile pipeline’s construction to transport crude oil from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast.

The House of Representatives passed the bill with a vote of 270-152 earlier this month, and the Senate passed it with a vote of 62-36 in January. Neither vote was strong enough to overcome a presidential veto.

The bill “attempts to circumvent longstanding and proven processes for determining whether or not building and operating a cross-border pipeline serves the national interest,” Obama said in his veto message.
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Norton Introduces Bill to Give D.C. a Local Prosecutor

Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) recently introduced the District of Columbia Local Prosecutor Establishment Act of 2015 to establish a local prosecutor’s office, designated under local law, to prosecute all local crimes in the District of Columbia. Currently, the U.S. Attorney for the District of Columbia, a federal official, prosecutes most of D.C.’s criminal laws. Following a 2010 referendum, D.C. residents elected their first Attorney General, Karl Racine, in November, but his duties do not include prosecuting most local crimes.
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Bowser Administration Outlines the District’s Marijuana Laws

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Police Chief Cathy Lanier and other administration officials outlined the District’s plan to ensure the safe, responsible administration of Initiative 71.

“In November, residents of the District of Columbia voted to legalize small amounts of marijuana by adults for personal, in-home use in the District,” said Mayor Bowser. “We will uphold the letter and the spirit of the initiative that was passed last year, and we will establish the Initiative 71 Task Force to coordinate our enforcement, awareness and engagement efforts and address policy questions as they arise.”

Implementation of Initiative 71 represents an incremental change from the District’s law which decriminalized marijuana. The Bowser Administration has laid out clear expectations for what is lawful and what remains illegal. Continue reading

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African-Americans Disproportionately Affected by Hunger Despite Economic Upturn

African-Americans continue to suffer disproportionately high rates of hunger and poverty despite the growing economy, according to a new analysis released recently by Bread for the World. The shortage of good, stable jobs and the impact of mass incarceration on the community continues to worsen the situation.

“As African-Americans, we still suffer from some of the highest rates of hunger and poverty in the country despite the growth of our country’s economy since 2008,” said Eric Mitchell, director of government relations at Bread for the World. “The lack of jobs that pay fair wages is preventing people of color from moving out of poverty and the recession.”
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Students can now Easily Enroll Online to Black Colleges and Universities

– HBCUBound.com is a new online student platform that alleviates the stress of the college admissions process to HBCUs. —

The college admissions process is among the most stressful things for a college bound high school seniors. However, one online platform, HBCUbound.com, is helping to reduce stress for students with a desire to attend historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).

According to a 2010 survey conducted by the American College Counselling, Inc., 76 percent of high school students bound for college admit that they feel stressed about the college admissions process. The reason cited was the lack of resources for expert guidance.
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Anti-poverty programs cut Washington, DC’s 
child poverty rate nearly in half

According to “ Measuring Access to Opportunity in the United States,” a new Data Snapshot by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, anti-poverty programs have protected a large number of the District of Columbia’s children from some of the worst effects of economic hardship. The new KIDS COUNT® Data Snapshot explores how the Supplemental Poverty Measure (SPM) provides a better indicator of poverty than the commonly used, official poverty measure, which fails to illustrate the effect of programs designed to help families.

Unlike the official poverty measure, the SPM accounts for important anti-poverty programs, including non-cash assistance programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC), and is adjusted for geographic differences in the cost of living.
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Events DC Partners with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) To Kick off Offseason Player Training

Events DC, the official convention and sports authority for the District of Columbia, has teamed up with the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) to participate in its annual player externship program that began February 16 and runs through March 6. As part of the three-week externship program, New England Patriots’ Justin Green and former Baltimore Raven Ryan Bartholomew have been drafted in the Communications and Marketing and Government Relations Departments at Events DC to gain valuable post-NFL career insight and hands-on experience to further their skills in the game of life.

“We are honored for Events DC to be among one of the NFLPA externship host companies,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president and chief executive officer of Events DC. “This is a remarkable program built by the NFLPA and Events DC is committed to providing these players with a first-class learning experience that will assist them in trading in their helmets for a professional career off the field.”
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March on Washington Film Festival & the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) Announce Strategic Partnership

The Film Festival Teams Up with ASALH, Creators of Black History Month, In Celebration of its Centennial Year

On Tuesday, February 24th, the March on Washington Film Festival and The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) announce their strategic partnership in the research and promotion of information about Black history and culture. This unique collaboration will include sharing academic resources from scholars and universities from around the country, and creating artistic venues and multimedia platforms to disseminate information about Black history with the public. Both organizations share a mission to increase awareness of the events and unsung heroes of African American history in the United States, and to inspire a renewed passion for activism. Continue reading

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Girls on the Run – DC Sneaker Soiree Mayor Muriel Bowser, Tiombe Hurd and Najla Husseini

Girls on the Run – DC supporters, businesses and community leaders gather Thursday, February 26, at the Pepco Edison Gallery for the Sneaker Soiree, the primary fundraising event that benefits Girls on the Run – DC’s efforts to bring the life-changing program to as many girls as possible, regardless of financial situation across the District of Columbia.

Guests will enjoy a fun evening from 6-8:30 p.m. with a reception, unique art at the Gallery, and special guest speakers including Mayor Muriel Bowser, Tiombe Hurd, American Triple Jump Record Holder and Najla Husseini, Director of DC Public School Partnerships. The evening will raise money to support girls across all eight wards participate in lessons that teach them about who they are and what’s important to them, about teamwork and healthy relationships, and finally how they can positively connect with and shape the world around them.
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Exelon and Pepco Holdings Enhance Proposed Merger Benefits in D.C.

Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and Pepco Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POM) have enhanced their proposed package of merger benefits in the District of Columbia to provide even greater benefits to Pepco customers, their communities and the District. The improved package of benefits was outlined in testimony filed with the Public Service Commission of the District of Columbia (PSC) and aligns with settlements achieved in New Jersey and Delaware.

“We’ve listened to the feedback of stakeholders in the District of Columbia,” said Exelon President and CEO Chris Crane, “and have substantially enhanced our proposed package to deliver even more value to Pepco customers and their communities.”
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District Bans Firms from Securities Business

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking’s Acting Commissioner Chester A. McPherson announced that a D.C. securities firm has agreed to pay $12.5 million to investors after engaging in unlawful securities transactions with 65 investors, including some current and former National Football League and National Basketball Association players.

The firm, Success Trade Securities, Inc., its holding company Success Trade, Inc. and its CEO Fuad Ahmed are barred from doing securities business in the District. This includes their two operating subdivisions, Just2Trade.com and LowTrades.com. They must pay $12,529,804 to investors and also pay a civil penalty of $650,000 to the District.
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DPR Opens Registration for the 32nd Annual DC Senior Games 



The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) open registration for the 32nd Annual DC Senior Games. Online and in person registration will be available through Friday, April 24, 2014 at 11:59 pm, however early registration is highly recommended. The DC Senior Games (DCSG) are scheduled to take place Monday, May 4- Friday, May 15, 2014 at various locations throughout the District of Columbia. Participants can register in-person at any recreation center; download and submit the application in-person; or register online.
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DC Metro Teens Announced as 2015 Regional Scholastic Writing Award Winners

255 Young Writers From the Greater Washington Region Recognized for their Original Writing

Two hundred and fifty-five teens from the Greater Washington DC area received recognition for their writing from the Scholastic Art & Writing Awards. Presented by the nonprofit Alliance for Young Artists & Writers and Regional Affiliate Writopia Lab, the Awards is the country’s longest-running and most prestigious writing recognition program for creative students in grades 7–12. The DC Metro Writing Region received more than 1000 submissions of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, and dramatic scripts from teens throughout Maryland, Northern Virginia and Washington DC. A ceremony will be held in their honor on March 8th, 2015 at The Gala Hispanic Theatre in Washington, DC at 2pm.
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Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly Leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in 
Singin’ in the Rain

Principal Pops Conductor Jack Everly leads the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in performances of Singin’ in the Rain, Thursday, March 26, at 8 p.m. at The Music Center at Strathmore and Friday, March 27, at 8 p.m., Saturday, March 28, at 8 p.m., and Sunday, March 29, at 3 p.m. at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall. Ranked by the American Film Institute (AFI) as the No. 1 movie musical of all time, Singin’ in the Rain stars Gene Kelly, Donald O’Connor and Debbie Reynolds, and features a lighthearted portrayal of iconic dance and memorable songs, including “Make ’em Laugh,” “Fit as a Fiddle” and more. The film will be projected on a large screen above the Orchestra while Maestro Everly leads the BSO in the moving classic score. Please see below for complete program details.
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DC Maryland Students… Time to get Accepted into College on the Spot!

12th Annual BLACK COLLEGE EXPO making educational dreams come true.

The 12th Annual Black College Expo (BCE) hosted by the National College Resources Foundation (NCRF) on Saturday, March 14, 2015 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Bowie State University (Gym), 14000 Jericho Park Rd, Bowie, MD 20715 welcomes all students to participate. Tickets are $7 for groups of 15 or more, $8 online and $10 at the door. Students will save up to hundreds of dollars immediately, because many colleges will be waiving application fees this day. This event will bring a vast array of education opportunities for high school students and college transfer students, and even career opportunities for college students and graduates. Continue reading

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DC VA Medical Center Hosts “Ladies’ Night” outreach to Promote Whole Health for Women Veterans; Mind, Body and Spirit

On February 27, the Washington DC VA Medical Center will welcome hundreds of women Veterans from all eras to its annual “Ladies’ Night”. This well-received outreach event is hosted to introduce women Veterans and transitioning active duty personnel to VA health care, benefits and services.

Women are the fastest growing population of Veterans. Currently, there are over 14,000 women enrolled for care at the DC VA Medical Center. This figure will continue to rise as women now represent over 13 percent of the OEF/OIF/OND Veterans who served during the Iraq and Afghanistan era.
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Smithsonian Latino Center Accepting Applications for 2015 Young Ambassadors Program

The Smithsonian Latino Center is now accepting applications for the 2015 Young Ambassadors Program June 21 through July 31. The application deadline is April 6, before 5 p.m. EDT. The Young Ambassadors Program is a national program for graduating high school seniors aimed at fostering the next generation of Latino leaders in the arts, sciences and humanities via the Smithsonian and its resources. The program is made possible by the Ford Motor Company Fund.

Students interested and committed to the arts, sciences and humanities, as it pertains to Latino communities and cultures, are selected to travel to Washington, D.C., for a weeklong seminar at the Smithsonian. The week consists of visits to the Smithsonian’s Latino collections and one-on-one interaction with experts from various fields, including museum professionals. Following the week in Washington, students participate in a four-week interdisciplinary internship in museums and cultural institutions in 19 cities across the U.S. and Puerto Rico, including Smithsonian-affiliated organizations.
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“Food for Thought” Art Exhibit Opening on Capitol Hill

The Capitol Hill Art League will host its annual region-wide art competition show with an opening reception on Saturday, March7th from 5-7 PM at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW), located at 545 Seventh Street, S.E, Washington, DC, 20003. CHAW is located three blocks south of the renowned Eastern Market on Capitol Hill. Refreshments will be provided at this free event where all are welcome.

The show, entitled Food for Thought, juried by well-known Washington food writer Bonny Wolf, pays note to Washington, D.C.’s status as a foodie town. From creative fare to celebrity chefs to unique venues, the nation’s capital boasts diverse restaurants that fit any palette and price range. Continue reading

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Governor Announces Partnerships to Leverage Public Higher Education for Economic Development

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Virginia’s public institutions of higher education renewed and expanded their commitment to economic development. College and university leaders signed a new Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), and the Center for Innovative Technology (CIT).

Governor McAuliffe said, “Virginia’s economic strengths are in its workforce and business friendly climate. Partnerships between higher education and economic development are vital to our efforts to establish a new Virginia economy that is responsive to business needs and creates greater employment opportunities for our graduates.”
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James Cotton

Close out Black History Month 2015 with a bang!

James Cotton brings his award-winning notes to Montpelier Arts Center…

Blues harmonica player, singer, and songwriter James Cotton has performed and recorded with many of the great blues artists of his time. Although he played drums early in his career, Cotton is most famous for his work on the harmonica. In 1965 he formed the James Cotton Blues Quartet, and in the 1970s, Cotton played harmonica on Muddy Waters’ Grammy winning 1977 album Hard Again, produced by Johnny Winter. Continue reading

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Below average temperatures across eastern U.S. may set new record lows

(UPI) — Temperatures will plummet to about 25 to 30 degrees below normal across the eastern half of the United States as a cold weather system moves toward the East Coast.
An air mass some meteorologists call the “Siberian Express,” because it originated in the region of Siberia, will bring the coldest temperatures as it moves south. Below zero overnight temperatures are forecast through parts of Tennessee and Kentucky on Thursday.

For Thursday morning, the low for Nashville, Tenn., is negative three degrees and Frankfort, Ky., may reach a low of negative eight degrees.
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Brendon Shane

Brendan Shane to Serve as North American Regional Director of International Climate Change Organization, C40 Cities

Tommy Wells, acting director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), announced recently that Brendan Shane, current Chief of the Office of Policy and Sustainability at DDOE, will serve as the new North American Regional Director for C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group, an international climate change organization.

Shane will be responsible for supporting ground-breaking policy and programs among the 14 U.S. and Canadian C40 cities, promoting green building, energy efficiency and renewables, cleaner transportation, and resilience in the face of a changing climate. Shane played a pivotal role in advancing environmental and urban sustainability goals in the District of Columbia, first at the Anacostia Waterfront Corporation and then at DDOE as part of the Mayor’s Sustainable DC initiative.
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Mayor Bowser To Host First of Three Budget Engagement Forums

Mayor Bowser and Administration Officials will host the first of three Budget Engagement Forums throughout the District during Fresh Start February.

The first Budget Engagement Forum is scheduled for Thursday, February 19 at 7:00 p.m. at Woodrow Wilson High School, located at 3950 Chesapeake Street, NW.

The Administration’s Budget Engagement Forums are designed as interactive discussions where D.C. residents can provide input to help shape priorities.

“My Administration will continue to make fiscal responsibility and transparency a priority,” said Mayor Bowser. “We look forward to engaging with the public to close the budget gap, while funding programs to support key priorities, including investments in affordable housing, initiatives to end homelessness, job training and improving education.”
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DC Health Link Continues Health Insurance Enrollment This week to Meet High Demand

The DC Health Benefit Exchange Authority (DCHBX) announced that it will continue to enroll District residents for individual and family coverage through DC Health Link past the February 15, 2015 deadline. DCHBX made this decision to ensure that all residents who tried to enroll before the February 15 deadline, but may have experienced some difficulty, will have health insurance coverage starting March 1, 2015.

During the final days of the Open Enrollment Period, DC Health Link experienced a surge in last-minute shoppers; resulting in longer lines at enrollment centers, higher call volume at the Contact Center, and increased traffic on DCHealthLink.com. Additionally, DC Health Link was forced to cancel two final day enrollment events due to weather conditions.
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Mayor Bowser and Attorney General Racine Agree to Request Pause on Budget-Autonomy Appeal

Move Offers Mayor 30-Day Period to Review Position, Removes OAG from Representing Her
Mayor Muriel Bowser and her attorneys, in consultation with Attorney General Karl A. Racine, today filed a motion in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit to hold in abeyance the District’s appeal of a lower federal court’s ruling against the D.C. Budget Autonomy Referendum. The referendum was approved by voters in 2013.
In addition, the unopposed motion notes the withdrawal of attorneys associated with the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) from representing the Mayor in the appeal. The D.C. Circuit held arguments on the appeal October 17, prior to Mayor Bowser’s election. If granted, the effect of the motion for abeyance is to allow the Mayor and her counsel 30 days to review the case and her position.

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Peace Corps Announces 2015 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

For the second time in three years, schools in the state of Washington produced the most Peace Corps volunteers across small, medium and large-sized undergraduate colleges and universities nationwide. The University of Washington reclaimed the top spot among large schools with 72 alumni currently in service, and Western Washington University and Gonzaga University again topped medium and small schools with 47 and 20 currently serving alumni, respectively. Washington is the only state to top all three of Peace Corps’ undergraduate school ranking categories, and the state has long appeared on the agency’s rankings of the top volunteer-producing states and metropolitan areas.
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Obesity

The Volunteer Farm Fights Obesity

The goal of the Volunteer Farm is to increase the availability of nutritious foods to the food insecure residing in the Shenandoah Valley, Northern and Central Piedmont, and Northern Virginia. Crops include beans, cabbage, cucumbers, onions, peppers, potatoes, summer/winter squash, tomatoes, turnips, watermelon, and cantaloupe.

The Volunteer Farm strives to provide these nutritious foods because obesity is a major issue with the food insecure as they often consume inexpensive, empty-calorie foods. Fresh produce from the Volunteer Farms provides clients of the food banks and pantries with a nutritious alternative to the prepared foods normally available. Additionally, the crops from the Volunteer Farm are fresh – within a matter of hours they travel straight from the field to the recipient food bank or pantry and directly into the hands of the clients. Nutrients and flavor are at their highest levels.
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NBCI joins with Cedisus to offer Churches and Families Emergency Water Supplies

Partnership will improve disaster preparedness, well-being

The National Black Church Initiative (NBCI), a faith-based coalition of 34,000 churches comprised of 15 denominations and 15.7 million African Americans, announced plans to partner with Cedisus, LLC to help bring access to emergency water supplies to its congregants and churches so members can be more prepared in disaster events, in addition to improving overall health.
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Family Theater for No Limits Theater’s Silent No More


A Collection of Inspiring Life Stories Shared by Individuals with Hearing Loss, Followed by Audience Q&A
No Limits Theater Group, a nonprofit national theater program for children with hearing loss who are learning to speak and listen, today announced that tickets are on sale to the public for a one-night showing of their hit original production Silent NO MORE at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C. The group will perform on Saturday, March 28, 2015 at 7:30p.m. on the Kennedy Center’s Family Theater stage, and will follow the production with an open-forum question & answer session and reception for the audience.
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U.S. High School Graduation Rate Hits New Record High

U.S. students are graduating from high school at a higher rate than ever before, according to new data from the U.S. Department of Education’s National Center for Education Statistics. The nation’s high school graduation rate hit 81 percent in 2012-13, the highest level since states adopted a new uniform way of calculating graduation rates five years ago.

“America’s students have achieved another record-setting milestone,” U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said. “We can take pride as a nation in knowing that we’re seeing promising gains, including for students of color. This is a vital step toward readiness for success in college and careers for every student in this country, and these improvements are thanks to the hard work of teachers, principals, students and families.”
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OHR Highlights Proactive Work and Innovative Reporting Methods in Fiscal Year 2014 Report

Annual report shares discrimination complaint statistics and agency successes

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) saw a 41 percent increase in the number of discrimination cases docketed in fiscal year 2014, attributable in part to increased outreach and innovative reporting methods, according to its Highlights of Fiscal Year 2014 report released today. The report shows claims of discrimination based on sex were the most commonly filed with the agency, followed by complaints based on race and then disability. OHR also cites progress in bullying prevention policy compliance at District schools, and a social media-based campaign reminding businesses that single-occupancy bathrooms must be labeled in a gender-neutral manner, as key achievements.
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University of Phoenix Road to Success Scholarship Offered to Those Making a Difference in the African American Community

Forty full-tuition scholarships to be offered to those supporting the educational needs of African Americans
University of Phoenix recognizes the impact just one individual’s educational achievement can have in inspiring a family or even an entire community to strive for success. To help inspire the next generation of college students and professionals, the University today announced the launch of the University of Phoenix Road to Success Scholarship program. The program offers 40 full-tuition scholarships to complete a bachelor’s or master’s degree program at University of Phoenix to individuals engaged in advancing opportunities for others in the African American community.
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Love Your Heart This February

Practical Heart Health Tips from Giant’s Nutritionists

February is National Heart Health Month and the nutritionists at Giant Food are committed to helping you care for your heart. Good nutrition is at the center of our health, and by making smarter food choices, you can help your heart beat longer and stronger. Here are some practical ways to make the dietary guidelines for a healthy heart part of your everyday life.
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Washington, D.C. Students Win Regional National Science Bowl® Competition, Secure Spot in National Finals in Washington, D.C.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz recently announced that a team of high school students from Washington, D.C. won their regional competition for the 2015 National Science Bowl® (NSB) this past weekend and are advancing to compete at the National Finals in Washington, D.C., in April. This year marks the 25th time the national competition has been held.

“The National Science Bowl® has grown into one of the most prestigious science academic competitions in the country and challenges students to excel in fields vital to America’s future,” U.S. Energy Secretary Moniz said. “I congratulate these students for advancing to the National Finals, where they will be among some of the brightest science and math students from across the country.”
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Washington, D.C. Area IHOPs Celebrate National Pancake Day

Donations Made in Lieu of Payment for Free Short Stack of Pancakes Will Benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society

IHOP’s ™ National Pancake Day returns on Tuesday, March 3, when participating local IHOPs celebrate by giving away one free short stack of pancakes to all who dine throughout the day. A much-anticipated event, all proceeds that day benefit The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) National Capital Area Chapter, with the hopes that patrons will make a donation to LLS in lieu of payment for pancakes.
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National Gallery of Art Reunites Rubens’ Portraits of the Three Magi for the First Time in More Than a Century

This spring three paintings of the Magi, or wise men, by the Flemish master Peter Paul Rubens (1577–1640) will be reunited at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, for the first time in more than 130 years. On view in the West Building of the Gallery from March 22 through July 5, 2015, Peter Paul Rubens: The Three Magi Reunited also explores the relationship between the artist and Balthasar Moretus the Elder (1574–1641), head of the prestigious Plantin Press, the largest publishing house in 16th- and 17th-century Europe.

Balthasar Moretus, a close childhood friend of Rubens, commissioned these paintings around 1618. Moretus and his two brothers were named after the Three Magi (Balthasar, Melchior, and Gaspar), thus these works had a special personal meaning for both the artist and his patron. Rubens executed these bust-length images with strong colors and vigorous brushstrokes that bring these biblical figures to life.
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$565,000 in USDA Specialty Crop Block Grants Available for Virginia Agricultural Interests

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) is accepting applications for federal grants benefitting specialty crops. The Agricultural Marketing Service Specialty Crop Block Grant is offered through the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Agricultural associations, industry groups, community-based organizations, and producer groups that seek to improve the competitiveness of specialty crops in Virginia are eligible to submit proposals for grants up to $60,000 per project. VDACS anticipates administering nearly $565,000 in funds for the development of specialty crop projects. The deadline for returning applications is April 2, 2015.
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Ragtime is Back!

Russell Wilson, a Theatre at Washington favorite, is back with a rousing Ragtime piano concert at the Theatre on Saturday, February 28 at 8 p.m.
The music will span the 1890s to the 1920s and then merge into Stride music of the ’20s and ’30s. The program will include Scott Joplin’s ever popular piano rags along with Stride compositions by James P. Johnson and others.
“Ragtime can be thought of as Dixieland jazz for solo piano,” says Wilson. Sometimes, he explains, Ragtime music can sound as if the tuba and banjo are being played by the left hand while the melody in the right hand is being played on a trumpet or clarinet. Continue reading

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Annapolis Symphony Orchestra to Perform at Strathmore Music Center

The Annapolis Symphony Orchestra (ASO) will travel to North Bethesda on Sunday March 1, to perform at The Music Center at Strathmore. ASO Music Director José-Luis Novo will conduct a program that includes The Garden of Fand by Sir Arnold Bax, Ein Heldenleben (A Hero’s Life) by Richard Strauss, and the Piano Concerto in G major by Maurice Ravel with Simone Dinnerstein as soloist.
The program titled “Dinnerstein, Ravel, and A Hero’s Life” marks the ASO’s independent debut at Strathmore and is the first of four annual appearances scheduled in the acoustically superb 2,000-seat concert hall. Tickets for the 3:00PM performance are priced at $30 for adults and $10 for students, and may be purchased online at www.strathmore.org or by calling the Strathmore Ticket Office at (301) 581-5100. Continue reading

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Ten Prince George’s County High Schools Compete in the AmeriGroup Challenge

– $5,000 to be Donated to School with the Most Annual Wellness Exams –

March Madness may be a month away, but the competition is heating up around the Greater District of Columbia area this month. In an effort to increase rates of adolescent wellness exams, Amerigroup has teamed up with 10 Prince George’s County high schools to promote the Amerigroup Challenge.

The basketball-themed campaign encourages students to help their school score a $5,000 grand prize by completing wellness exams with their local Primary Care Physician (PCP) in February. One winning school will also receive 100 tickets and VIP areas access for Torrey Smith’s All-Star Ravens vs. Redskins “Battle of the Beltway” celebrity basketball game.
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U.S. temporarily suspends operations at Yemen embassy

(UPI) — The U.S. embassy in Yemen is temporarily suspending all operations and withdrawing all staff due to increasing unrest, U.S. officials said Tuesday.
Senior officials confirmed the temporary closure to ABC News, saying the few remaining staffers at the embassy — including Ambassador Matthew Tueller — would be evacuated within the next 24 hours. The remaining staffers were being guarded by about 100 U.S. Marines.

U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki would not confirm the closure, but said the department’s “focus remains on what’s in the best interests of our staff.”
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Obama asks Congress for power to use military force against Islamic State

(UPI) — President Barack Obama has formally asked Congress for permission to engage military forces against the Islamic State.
The bill would restrict fighting to three years and prohibit the use of “enduring offensive ground forces.” The battlefield would not be restricted to Iraq and Syria, congressional sources told The Guardian.
Obama sent his formal request to Congress on Wednesday.

The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) draft bill may allow the 3,000 troops currently deployed in Iraq to assist in the war by spotting for airstrikes. It may also permit the use of special operations forces to rescue U.S. or coalition personnel or to carry out attacks on Islamic State leadership.
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Mayor Bowser Expands Summer Youth Employment Program to 22-24 Year Olds

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced that her administration will reprogram an additional $5 million to expand the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP) to serve District youth ages 22 to 24. The added funding will also support an increase in wages and associated transportation costs for program participants.

“My administration is committed to investing in our young people to ensure they have the skills they need to transition from summer jobs to long-term sustainable employment,” said Mayor Bowser. “This investment builds on the success of the Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program and reaches a core group of young people who need help finding pathways to good-paying jobs.”
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New Radio Encryption Protocol for First Responders

Mayor Muriel Bowser’s Administration announced new protocols for the use of encrypted channels as the default communications protocol for D.C. FEMS (D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services). Following the Navy Yard Shooting, the District changed protocols for first responders to use only encrypted channels. That protocol has been changed to ease day-to-day communications between first responders from regional jurisdictions.
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Nickelodeon Celebrates Black History Month Through Multiplatform Partnership with Because of them, We Can™ Initiative

Kids Depicting Notable African Americans Featured in PSA Campaign Launching Today on Nickelodeon
Nickelodeon is partnering with the Because of Them, We Can™ initiative to commemorate Black History Month through a campaign launching across the network’s multiple platforms, including on-air, digital and social. Nickelodeon will air three original 30-second PSAs that feature kids portraying distinguished African Americans, including Maya Angelou, Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X. The PSAs, which were produced by Because of Them, We Can™, will air throughout February and also will be showcased on a dedicated web site (http://www.nick.com/thanks) that provides kids and families with additional information about Black History Month.
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Promising Alzheimer’s research stalled by lack of volunteers for studies

(UPI) — Researchers suggest that by 2020, the number of Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease will have tripled, from about 5 to 15 million people. In the meantime, research into the best ways to prevent and treat the disease will continue.
But while promising new discoveries are made each year (and will likely continue to be made in the coming decades), doctors and scientists worry the pace of Alzheimer’s research is too slow. They also worry the race for a cure may be a distraction from the pressing need to develop more effective treatments — treatments that don’t just stop Alzheimer’s in its tracks, but also work to reverse the damage done.
Part of the reason for both these problems, doctors say, is the dearth of Alzheimer’s patients willing and ready to participate in various types of medical studies.
“It is in general a tremendous problem nationwide to recruit an adequate number of people to participate in Alzheimer’s studies,” says Dr. Robert Stern, clinical director at the Boston University Alzheimer’s Disease Center. Continue reading

HEADLINES

First Clothes Dryers to Earn EPA’s Energy Star Label Now Available Nationwide

Energy Star dryers offer Americans savings of up to $1.5 billion annually



The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced today that Energy Star certified clothes dryers are now available nationwide through major retailers. At least 45 models of dryers earning the Energy Star label, including Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore, LG, and Safemate, are at least 20 percent more efficient and now available at prices comparable to standard dryers.

“Dryers are one of the most common household appliances and the biggest energy users,” said U.S. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “EPA’s Energy Star certified clothes dryers offer Americans an opportunity to save energy and do their part to combat climate change. By working with industry, we are bringing innovative technology to market that’s good for the planet.”
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DDOT Offers Training Sessions on DDOT Standards for Highways and Structures (Gold Book) for Small Businesses

Open to all DDOT/WMATA-certified DBE firms and other
 construction-related small businesses

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT)’s Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Supportive Services Program, in partnership with the 11th Street Bridge Project Program Management Team, will host two training sessions on the DDOT Standard Specifications for Highways and Structures (Gold Book). Each training session will provide contractors with an overview of changes that have been made from the 2009 Standard Specifications for Highways and Structures (Blue Book) to the Gold Book that includes the following:
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Now is the Time to Plan for the Spring Homebuying Season

The housing market in Washington, DC is nothing if not robust. Are you trying to buy into this market? DC is a high priced housing market and would be home buyers need to prepare as much as possible. Housing Counseling Services, Inc., (HCS) a HUD approved non-profit housing counseling agency, wants to help. We offer a free weekly Pre-Purchase Orientation that provides an introduction to the home buying process, an introduction to DC first-time home buying programs, and valuable information about what lenders look for when reviewing your credit.
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Poll: Only 6 Percent of DC Voters Support Proposed Pepco-Exelon Merger

The first poll conducted to test DC voters’ support for the proposed buyout of Pepco by Chicago-based Exelon shows extremely low support for the merger. Only six percent of likely voters in DC expressed support, with 44 percent opposing the proposed purchase of Pepco by Exelon for $6.8 billion.

The poll was released on the first day of the DC Public Service Commission’s formal evidentiary hearings on the proposed merger. It showed that support for Exelon buying Pepco is particularly low in Wards 4, 5, 6, 7 and 8, ranging from 7 percent support in Ward 8 to 4 percent support in Wards 6 and 7. Overall, 59 percent of DC likely voters are aware of the proposed merger.
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Apply Now! Library of Congress 2015 Summer Teacher Institute

Applications are now being accepted for the Library of Congress Summer Teacher Institute for Primary Sources in Science Education. The week-long professional development opportunity, taking place July 20-24, is designed for K-12 educators who teach science or collaborate with science teachers.
Selected educators will spend a week in Washington, D.C., immersed in the institution that holds papers of the Wright Brothers, Alexander Graham Bell, Carl Sagan, Benjamin Franklin, J. Robert Oppenheimer, Margaret Mead, and many others. In the Institute sessions, we will investigate strategies for using primary sources in the science classroom and build participants’ skills in teaching effectively with photographs, manuscripts, drawings, maps, and other formats from the Library’s collections. Continue reading

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The Voice of Class Act Community Youth Awards

The Voice of Class Act Community Youth Awards is now in full production and planning of our third community award ceremony. We are honoring fourteen youth ranging from ages eight to twenty-one for their commitment to excellence in education and community service. Our youth are spearheading the planning of the event and are extremely excited! Together, we have scheduled a series of fundraisers and activities for the awardees leading up to and including the ceremony.
Some of our fundraisers and community activities include a back to school cookout; a radio interview for Childhood Obesity awareness in September along with a live show the day of the event on ‘The Voice of Class Act’ radio show; Feed the Families Thanksgiving Drive; Christmas Toys for Tots for children hospitalized at the Children’s National Medical Center; and helping the youth create a ‘Go Fund Me’ site to raise money for the event. Continue reading

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‘Unless’ Turns Clause into Cause for Celebration

The DC Lottery breaks through the clutter of the expected with the ‘Unless I Win the Lottery’ advertising campaign. Launching February 15, the commercials feature comedic applications of the familiar phrase to equally familiar situations. ‘Unless’ turns the commonplace into a celebration—just by winning the lottery.

There’s the obligatory corporate presentation, the oversized sofa that needs moving, the next gig with the band, and the weather report—all at the top of your ever-growing list of things to do… unless you win the lottery.
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DPR to Host 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet



 Swim Teams to “Mark Your Place in History” at National Event


The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will host the 29th Annual Black History Invitational Swim Meet (BHISM) to be held from Friday, February 13 through Sunday, February 15, 2015, at DPR’s Takoma Aquatic Center located at 300 Van Buren Street, NW – Washington, DC 20012. Takoma will close at 12 noon on Thursday, February 12 in order to prepare for the BHISM, and will reopen to the public on Tuesday, February 17, 2015. 


This year’s theme is “Mark Your Place in History.” A total of 762 youth athletes from 28 teams will participate from the District of Columbia, the island of St. Lucia and 9 states including: Delaware, Georgia, Maryland, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina and Virginia; in this three-day, highly competitive, national swim meet. An Honoree’s Reception will take place on Saturday, February 14, 2015 at 12 noon inside the Takoma Community Center (next door to the aquatic center). 

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DHCD Launches Initiative to Increase Access to Fresh and Healthy Foods in Maryland’s “Food Deserts”

Maryland is joining the growing movement to expand access to fresh fruits and vegetables in under-served communities known as food deserts.

Food deserts are communities that do not have easy access to affordable healthy foods, typically because those communities do not have a local supermarket or grocery store. They can be in urban, suburban or rural communities.

Maryland’s Fresh Food Financing Initiative provides flexible financing for the start-up, rehabilitation or expansion of businesses and nonprofits in designated food desert or sustainable communities with an emphasis on using Maryland farmers. The goal is to invest in lending partners that will in turn support the development of food-related enterprises within designated Food Deserts and Sustainable Communities. Continue reading

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New Housing Virginia Study Finds Residents of Energy Efficient Affordable Rental Housing Save Over $600 per Year on Electricity Bills

Housing Virginia recently released the findings of a first-of-its-kind study that demonstrates the impact of energy efficient construction requirements in affordable rental housing. The new report shows that the average resident of an energy efficient apartment saves $54 per month on their electricity bill, which amounts to $648 annually.

The year-long study conducted by Virginia Tech’s Center for Housing Research also finds that apartments built to higher energy efficient standards, including third party testing and inspection, outperform new standard construction housing by more than 40% with respect to energy consumption.

The study is the first of its kind in Virginia and one of the first in the nation to verify actual electricity usage in apartments built to meet high level efficiency standards.

“Virginia has been a leader in encouraging energy efficiency in the affordable rental housing market and this study verifies the effectiveness of this strategy,” said Robert Adams, Executive Director of Housing Virginia. “The energy efficient design and standards add to the economic benefit that these lower income families and seniors receive. Every dollar not paid for utilities can go to other important family budget items, including food, transportation, and healthcare.”
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Legislation prioritizes NIH funding over next six years

Increases federal funding to restore NIH’s purchasing power

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), Vice Chairwoman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, recently announced that she has introduced the Accelerating Biomedical Research Act, legislation to increase America’s investment in the National Institutes of Health (NIH), supporting critical health research to discover new cures and treatments, save lives and protect America’s innovation advantage. U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-Md.), a member of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Health Care, is an original cosponsor of the legislation.
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Governor Urges Virginians to Sign Up for Health Insurance before the February 15 Deadline

329,500 Virginians have enrolled or renewed their coverage on the federal Marketplace since November 15.

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that 329,500 Virginians have signed up for health insurance or renewed their plans on the Federal Marketplace during the current enrollment, which ends February 15.

Governor McAuliffe visited the Hotchkiss Community Center in Richmond, which is hosting a two-day health event in which individuals can get free in-person application assistance to make sure they select the best insurance plan for themselves and their families.

“I’m here to remind Virginians who have not yet signed up that the deadline is nine days away,” Governor McAuliffe said. “Eighty-three percent of Virginians who have purchased insurance on the Marketplace qualified for financial assistance. A key theme of my Healthy Virginia plan is this: We must reach Virginians who already qualify for low-cost health care, educate them about their choices and help them sign up.”
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District Recycling to get Artistic Redesign

Call to District Artists to Create Artworks to Wrap Recycling Trucks

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is soliciting proposals from local artists for artworks to be featured on District recycling trucks for an exciting new public art initiative called Designed to Recycle.

Designed to Recycle is a partnership with DCCAH and the Department of Public Works (DPW) that will transform recycling trucks into mobile public art works. Artworks will be printed on vinyl and wrapped onto recycling trucks that circulate through all eight wards of the District.
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Music School to Give Two Performances at Little Flower Church

The Benjamin T. Rome School of Music will present two events this semester at the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Md. The events, which are free and open to the public, are part of the school’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. On Feb. 20, the Composition Division will premiere 14 original pieces of music inspired by the Stations of the Cross. On March 1, the CUA Symphony Orchestra will pay tribute to Polish composer and CUA honorary doctorate recipient Henryk Gorecki.
According to Grayson Wagstaff, dean of the music school, the two events represent a long-term connection to the Church of the Little Flower, where several graduate students in sacred music have worked. Alumnus Jonathan Hellerman, who graduated in 2008, currently serves as organist.
“Monsignor Peter Vaghi (pastor) is an outspoken proponent for great music and has frequently invited our students and faculty to perform at Little Flower,” said Wagstaff. “In addition to a previous concert by the orchestra, our University Singers and Chamber Choir gave a combined concert; the Piano Division has also presented students in concert in this beautiful parish. We consider the parish one of our favorite off-campus venues because of the kindness and welcome we receive.” Continue reading

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USPS to Dedicate Black Heritage Stamp Honoring Robert Robinson Taylor

Ceremony Coincides with Smithsonian African American History Exhibit Opening
Postmaster General Megan Brennan official dedicates the Black Heritage Forever stamp honoring Robert Robinson Taylor. The event will take place at the Smithsonian National Postal Museum 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE Washington, DC on February.

Believed to have been both the first African-American graduate of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the country’s first academically trained black architect, Robert Robinson Taylor (1868–1942) becomes the 38th inductee into the Postal Service’s Black Heritage stamp series.
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9th Annual Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic Returns to D.C. with Record 1,000+ Teams


In 2015, the Presidents Day long weekend coincides with Valentine’s Day, a fitting time for more than 12,000 young women, ages 10-18, who love volleyball to compete at the 9th annual Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic. This tournament is pure girl power: More than 900 teams and 35,000 spectators will transform the Walter E. Washington Convention Center into a network of 700 volleyball courts and sports marketplace. The three-day event is expected to generate an economic impact of more than $18.9 million for Washington, DC, energizing a traditionally slow season for visitation.

“The Capitol Hill Volleyball Classic is the result of ongoing partnerships between the Metro American Volleyball Club, Events DC, and Destination DC that delivers entertainment to a loyal fan-base, collegiate scouting opportunities for thousands of young women, and economic productivity for the District,” said Gregory A. O’Dell, president & CEO of Events DC. “This tournament has become an economic boost during a typically slow holiday weekend in the District – and in just nine years, it has grown from one exhibit hall to all exhibit halls in our Convention Center, becoming one of the top tournaments in the nation.”
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Celebrate Presidents Day Weekend with Madame Tussauds DC and all 44 United States Commander-in-Chiefs

In honor of the upcoming Presidents Day holiday, Madame Tussauds Washington D.C. invites you to spend time touring their iconic Presidential Gallery, which features the wax figures of every man to serve as the U.S. President. Starting today and running through Monday, February 16th, visitors who purchase their tickets online will save 45% on the cost of regular admission. Tickets can be purchased here: https://www.madametussauds.com/Washington/BuyTickets/Default.aspx.
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Contemporary Art by Local Visual Artists presented by the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities

Exhibition features works by grantees of 2015 Artist Fellowship Program

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is proud to announce the 2015 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) Exhibition. This exhibition presents some of the District’s finest visual artists, who each were awarded a FY15 Artist Fellowship Program (AFP) grant from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. The exhibition and its programs are free and open to the public.

The 24 AFP artists will each exhibit a small body of work that illuminates their unique artistic perspective. The collection of these artworks within the I Street Galleries underscores the importance of establishing the first District government-operated public gallery, and captures the broad scope of the dynamic, Washington, DC art scene. The gallery provides an opportunity for artists to share their work with the public on a daily basis, especially with those that may not visit museums or galleries regularly. While on display, the work will receive exposure from residents, art patrons and the press. Many works are available for purchase directly from the artists.
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The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) presents the following events in March

Fridays, March 6 & 20 – DROP-IN FIGURE DRAWING – The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) hosts a drop-in “Working from the Figure” session on Friday, March 6 and 20, 2015 from 6:30-9:30 p.m. at CHAW, 545 7th Street, SE. Work on drawings or paintings in front of a live model in a session without formal instruction, facilitated by artist Will Fleishell. Please bring your own drawing materials. Easels are available. The session is $20 for drop-in students and $76 for a four-class pass. For more information, visit www.chaw.org or call (202) 547-6839.

Saturday, March 7 – GALLERY OPENING – The Capitol Hill Art League presents “Food for Thought” a juried exhibit celebrating DC’s new “foodie” status and creatively representing all things edible, opening on Saturday, March 7, 2015 from 5:00-7:00 p.m at CHAW, 545 7th Street, SE. Gallery hours are: 9:30 am–9:00 pm (M-Th), 9:30 am–6:00 pm (F), and 9:00 am–2:00 pm (Sat). Gallery is free and open to the public. For more information, visit http://www.caphillartleague.org/ or www.chaw.org, or call (202) 547-6839.
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Local Women Entrepreneurs Learn the Importance of Teaming and Collaboration to Increase for Business Growth

The Women Business Owners (WBO) of Prince George’s County will welcome local women business owners at its monthly meeting entitled “Making the Right Connections: Teaming and Collaboration” on Tuesday February 17, 2015 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at the Country Club at Woodmore in Mitchellville, MD.

WBO kicked off 2015 with an emphasis on evaluating goals and systems at the “Best Year Ever” January monthly meeting. Now in their 29th year, WBO’s 2014/15 season theme is “Booming Your Business: Maximizing Opportunity Through Growth Strategies”. Each monthly meeting offers diverse, innovative strategies focused on increasing business, and will culminate this Spring in the organization’s signature event, the “It’s All About ME!” (IAAM) Women’s Business and Wellness Conference – 10th Anniversary Edition. Continue reading

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2014 Military Bowl®
Pumps More than $17 Million into the Annapolis/Washington Economy

The Virginia Tech Hokies aren’t the only ones who came out on top with the 2014 Military Bowl® presented by Northrop Grumman, benefiting the USO. The Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACCVB) reports the December 27 event at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium generated more than $17 million for the Annapolis/Washington region, a nearly 25 percent increase from the 2013 game.

AAACCVB President and CEO Connie Del Signore says the game was a win/win for all involved. “The excitement of hosting the Military Bowl was magnified by the fact that it took place at a time of year when hotels and downtown businesses typically could use a boost,” Del Signore said. “While some of the fans may have experienced Annapolis during sailing season, the December game gave visitors an open invitation to discover the vibrancy of Annapolis and the Chesapeake Bay during the brisk winter months.” Continue reading

Purple Line

United for the Purple Line: Business & Public Officials Move Forward on Purple Line

16-Mile Line Critical to Advancing Jobs, Development, Mobility in Montgomery & Prince George’s Counties – and State
As the new State administration considers transportation priorities for the next four years, business leaders and public officials met on Wednesday at the University of Maryland to reaffirm their strong commitment to the development of the 16-mile Purple Line that would run from Bethesda to College Park. This project, the number one transportation priority of both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, is critical to the economic growth of the region and to the State of Maryland. This $2.4 billion public/private project is estimated to create 27,000 permanent jobs, increase property values along the route by nearly $10 billion, and provide another transportation option to help reduce traffic congestion, as well as linking the University of Maryland campus in College Park and federal employment centers. Continue reading

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More Than 77 Percent of Callers Satisfied or Extremely Satisfied with Montgomery County’s 311 Call Center

A recent Customer Satisfaction Survey of hundreds of users of the County’s MC311 call center showed that more than 77 percent of callers were satisfied with their overall 311 experience. The survey also showed that more than 80 percent were satisfied with the call taker’s ability to find the information and more than 89 percent were satisfied with how long it took to reach a representative. More than 82 percent were satisfied with the handling of their call. More than 90 percent of web site customers found what they were looking for and were satisfied with their visit to www.mc311.com.

“The MC311 call center is providing a valuable service to our residents,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “Our call takers are all dedicated and knowledgeable employees who have helped to make our 311 call system such a success.”
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Jewish War Veterans Foundation to Hold Gala Celebrating Medal of Honor Recipients

The Jewish War Veterans of the United States of America Foundation, Inc. (JWVF) will hold a Medal of Honor Celebration, a night to honor Jewish and all Medal of Honor recipients.

The gala will take place Saturday, February 14, 2015, from 7:00 pm to 11:00 pm at the Crystal City Marriott in Arlington, Virginia. This important event will feature Medal of Honor recipients Colonel Jack Jacobs, an NBC News military analyst, and Lieutenant General Robert Foley, the Director of Army Emergency Relief. The U.S. Army Band, “Pershing’s Own,” will play patriotic tunes during the meet-and-greet cocktail hour. Continue reading

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Atlantic Coast Pipeline Estimated to Save Consumers, Businesses $377 Million Annually in Energy Costs

Consumers and businesses in Virginia and North Carolina could save an estimated $377 million annually in lower energy costs thanks to the proposed Atlantic Coast Pipeline, according to an analysis by Virginia-based consulting firm ICF International.
“Virginia and North Carolina electricity consumers benefit from (the Atlantic Coast Pipeline) because the lower cost of natural gas to fuel power generation will, in turn, result in lower electricity bills for consumers,” ICF International said in its report.
ICF also found that more than 2,200 full-time, permanent jobs could be created in the two states because of the lower energy prices. The new jobs would come from businesses being able to reinvest their energy savings in growth and from business growth because of consumers having more disposable income.
“The Atlantic Coast Pipeline may be the largest private economic growth driver in Virginia and North Carolina for the next decade,” said Diane Leopold, president of Dominion Energy. “The substantial long-term benefits identified in this analysis are just one part of the story. Not only will billions of dollars be injected into the regional economy by the construction project itself, there may be even greater gains as businesses and industry are attracted by new supplies of low-cost energy.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces $38 Million Investment in Henrico County

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced this week that San-J International, Inc., a leading producer of tamari sauce, will invest $38 million to expand its operation in Henrico County. With a significant rise in customer demand for gluten-free products, the Henrico facility will increase production volumes with state-of-the-art equipment and create 18 new jobs. Virginia successfully competed against Oregon for the project, which is a result of the Governor’s meeting with company officials in Tokyo during his Asia Marketing Mission in October 2014.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Creating advanced manufacturing jobs is critical as we work to build a new Virginia economy, and I am proud that San-J is a part of that effort. With this tremendous investment and expansion, San-J International can meet increasing demand by making more of its product right here in Virginia. I had the honor of meeting with company officials in Tokyo last October, and I am thrilled to celebrate the fruition of this significant win.” Continue reading

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BGE Reminds Customers to Shop Maryland’s Upcoming Tax-Free Weekend

Customers can combine savings from tax-free shopping with BGE Smart Energy Savers Program® rebates from $30 to $500 on energy-efficient appliances.
Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) encourages customers who are in the market for new, energy-efficient appliances and lighting products to take advantage of Shop Maryland Energy weekend this weekend, Feb. 14 – 16, to avoid paying the state’s 6 percent sales tax on select energy-efficient models. Shoppers can maximize their savings by combining the rebates regularly offered through the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program with discounts offered by retailers and manufacturers as part of the annual sales specials during Presidents’ Day Weekend. During Shop Maryland Energy weekend, the following ENERGY STAR products are tax-free and also rebated by the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program: Continue reading

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Cricket Wireless Celebrates Black History Month and Salutes #CommunityStars for Their Positive Contributions

In celebration of Black History Month, Cricket Wireless encourages its employees, customers, fans and followers to engage on social media via Twitter to highlight the positive contributions of local community stars. Using #CommunityStars, these posts can highlight personal efforts or salute others for community support, volunteering efforts, mentoring outreach, and progress in the work setting that inspires others.

The #CommunityStars conversation will be amplified during in-store events scheduled in select locations in Philadelphia, Chicago and Los Angeles. Featuring winners of the Cricket Community Stars: Salute to Solopreneurs contest, these rap sessions are free and open to the public. Additionally, Cricket will join Black History Month celebrations in Atlanta, New York and Miramar, Florida. Continue reading

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No. 5 Maryland Defeats No. 18 Rutgers 80-69

(ABC)–Maryland had far easier wins this season, yet few – if any – provided coach Brenda Frese as much satisfaction and joy as this one against Rutgers.
Lexie Brown scored 19, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 17 and the fifth-ranked Terrapins remained unbeaten in the Big Ten with their 16th consecutive victory, 80-69 over No. 18 Rutgers on Tuesday night.
Four Maryland players reached double figures in scoring and reserve freshman A’Lexus Harrison grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds.
“That was just a lot of fun,” Frese said. “I enjoyed seeing the work that we displayed together, the unselfish play. The poise, the toughness and the confidence that you had to have in his game was tremendous.
“Obviously, different players contributing throughout the entire game, that’s what makes us so special.” Continue reading

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Copeland, Smith-Rivera Help Georgetown Beat Seton Hall 86-67

(ABC)–Junior D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 23 points, freshman Isaac Copeland had a career-high 20 and Georgetown defeated Seton Hall 86-67 on Tuesday night after blowing an early 20-point lead.
Jabril Trawick added 12 points as the Hoyas (16-8, 8-5 Big East) snapped a two-game losing streak and won for the second time in five games. It was a skid that knocked them out of the Top 25.
Georgetown got back on track shooting 52.5 percent from the field and using big spurts to open and close the contest. Continue reading

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Ovechkin Donates NHL All-Star Prize Car to Local Special Hockey Program

Talk about a vehicle for change. The free car that Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin coveted and ultimately won during the NHL’s All-Star weekend last month was delivered Monday at Bill Page Honda in Falls Church.

“I’m very excited, very happy,” said the Capitals superstar.
This ride began a few months ago, when young Ann Schaab met Ovechkin during a clinic for special needs hockey players. That led to a de facto date and a courtship with a cause. Continue reading

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NBA Slam Dunk Contest Glory Casts Tall Shadow for Some

(CBS)–The painting now hangs in Jeremy Evans’ house. No. 40 for the Utah Jazz skies over a shrouded easel, dunking a basketball that seems minuscule stretched out from his unending arms. Flashbulbs pop in the background.

Evans’ flight will last as long as the painting does, his athleticism transcendent through art-as-showmanship. He dunked over that painting in the 2013 Sprite Slam Dunk contest, the one that came a year after he emerged from nowhere to win the event at 2012 NBA All-Star Weekend.

Yet No. 40 for the Utah Jazz is grounded now. He’s planted to the bench in a season loaded with “Did Not Play — Coach’s Decision” box score lines and only the occasional garbage-time minutes. And while 27-year-old Evans is relentlessly optimistic about his future, he wouldn’t be the first NBA player to have a dunk contest championship overshadow his entire playing career: Think Kenny Walker, Harold Miner, Desmond Mason, Fred Jones. Continue reading

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As Outrage over IS Burning Grows, so do Questions

Jordanian King Abdullah II met with President Barack Obama this week in Washington

(UPI) — The barbaric killing of a Jordanian pilot by the Islamic State has been universally condemned, but appropriate responses remain undetermined.

The Arab world was quick to express outrage over the death of Lt. Moaz al-Kasasbeh, the pilot whose F-16 fighter plane crashed in IS-held territory in Syria. A 22-minute video of his execution was released Wednesday, showing al-Kasedeh burned to death while standing in an oil-soaked cage.
In retaliation, Jordan’s King Abdullah II ordered the execution of two Iraqi terrorists convicted held in Jordanian jails, after he returned from Washington to a hero’s welcome. The pro-Western monarch promised, “The response of Jordan and the army, after what happened to our dear son, will be severe.” Continue reading

HEADLINES

District Will Receive $21 Million in Settlement with Wall Street Firm Standard & Poor’s

Settlement Stems from Losses to District Consumers Resulting from 2008 Financial Crisis

Attorney General Karl A. Racine announced yesterday that his office, the U.S. Department of Justice, and 19 state attorneys general have reached a $1.375 billion settlement agreement with Standard and Poor’s Financial Services LLC (S&P). The settlement resolves allegations that S&P misled investors regarding its ratings of structured-finance securities, notably during the run-up to the 2008 financial crisis.

In February 2013 then-Attorney General Irvin B. Nathan, having directed an inquiry into S&P activities affecting the District, announced that the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) had filed a complaint against S&P in D.C. Superior Court. The complaint alleged that, contrary to the company’s repeated public statements that its ratings of structured-finance securities were objective and independent, S&P allowed its desire for business from issuers of securities to influence the process by which it assigned ratings to securities. Continue reading

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District Authorizes First Crowdfunding Investment Offering for D.C. Small Business

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking announced yesterday that it has authorized the first District of Columbia investment-based crowdfunding opportunity for D.C. residents.

This action allows Prequel, LLC, a District-based business, to offer and sell $200,000 of “Class B” membership interests to D.C. residents for a minimum purchase of $100 per interest. Funds raised in the offering will be used to establish a restaurant business in the District. Collectively, “Class B” securities holders will own ten percent of the company.
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Mayor Bowser Launches 2015 Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program

Mayor Muriel Bowser officially launched the District of Columbia’s 2015 Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The program will provide six weeks of meaningful employment and work-readiness training to District youth ages 14 to 21. The application is available online at www.summerjobs.dc.gov.

“I am so excited to present the new Mayor Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program in honor of the program’s founder, devoted youth advocate, and District of Columbia’s ‘Mayor for Life,’ Marion Barry,” said Mayor Bowser. “I pledge that the Mayor Marion S. Barry SYEP will uphold the principles and mission that Marion Barry envisioned for this program; to ensure all youth in the District of Columbia are offered the opportunity to get a summer job and earn meaningful, quality work skills that will last them a lifetime.”
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Mayor Bowser and CFO DeWitt Announce District’s FY 2014 Annual Financial Report

Fund Balance Increases from $1.75 Billion at End of FY 2013 to $1.87 Billion at End of FY 2014

Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Chief Financial Officer Jeffrey S. DeWitt recently released the District’s 2014 Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). This report is the 18th consecutive clean audit for the District.

“This report has found that the District has maintained and enhanced its strong financial position. The District’s record as a fiscally responsible city is an asset to all residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “While we have a lot to be proud of, we still have a lot of work to do as we face a projected quarter billion dollar budget gap. In the coming weeks, my Administration will work with residents and the Council to put together a fiscally responsible budget that continues to invest in key priorities like education, job training and affordable housing. ”
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Fathers Incorporated Readies for National Save Our Sons Night

Leading national nonprofit for the promotion of Responsible Fatherhood, Fathers Incorporated leads first National Save Our Sons Night
On Friday, February 6, 2015, the first annual NATIONAL SAVE OUR SONS NIGHT (NSOSN) will take place across the country. On this evening, various partners from faith-based, national and local nonprofits, and individual community members are hosting events to encourage and facilitate fathers spending more quality time with their sons. Currently there are 106 organizations in 59 cities registered to participate in support of the effort and facilitating activities to engage fathers/men and sons/boys. Continue reading

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Rosa Parks artifacts offer glimpse into Civil Rights struggle

(UPI) — From a handwritten postcard from Martin Luther King Jr. to personal notes, the Rosa Parks Collection opening at the Library of Congress will open Wednesday to offer a rare glimpse into the life of the civil rights icon.
The collection, opening to researchers on Parks’ birthday, contains about 7,500 manuscripts and 2,500 photographs, including her Bible, a photo of the house where she was born and letters to her mother and husband. Continue reading

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Students Nationwide to Compete in 25th Department of Energy National Science Bowl®

Engineer whose pioneering work contributed to visual effects used in The Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Caribbean movies to speak at National Finals in Washington, D.C.

Buzzers, not bells, will ring in the New Year for thousands of middle- and high-school students all across the U.S. That’s because they’ll soon be pitting their math and science knowledge — and their reflexes — against one another in regional competitions of the Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) 25th National Science Bowl (NSB).

The competitions start this month, with four students from each team facing off in a fast-paced, question-and-answer format. (More information about the date and location of specific regionals can be found through the NSB Homepage http://science.energy.gov/wdts/nsb.) The winning team from each middle- and high-school regional will compete in the National Finals, held in Washington, D.C. from April 30 to May 4, 2015. Continue reading

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Colgate-Palmolive and Children’s Health Fund Launch Online Campaign to Help Make a Difference During Black History Month

In honor of Black History Month, Colgate-Palmolive has partnered with the Children’s Health Fund to encourage consumers and their families to help make a difference by sharing a smile. Colgate’s Honor Your Past, Treasure Your Healthonline campaign will encourage supporters to post photos of their smiles via social media using the hashtag #StartWithASmileas a means to raise funds to help children in need of health services throughout the U.S. Continue reading

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Colgate-Palmolive And Family Dollar Partner To Celebrate Black History Month

Colgate Offers Free Dental Screenings and Oral Care Education at Family Dollar Locations

Colgate-Palmolive Company (“Colgate”) and Family Dollar have partnered to inspire African-American families during February’s Black History Month to honor their past and treasure their future with a healthy smile.

Many Americans, including more than one-third of African-American adults, live with untreated tooth decay[1]. Without proper treatment, tooth decay can progress and eventually result in a cavity or even tooth loss. Colgate and Family Dollar are committed to providing education and improving oral hygiene to families across the U.S. and will be offering exclusive in-store promotions on Colgate® toothpastes, toothbrushes and mouthwash products during February. Continue reading

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Top 10 Black History Month scholarships for February 2015

February is here again, and Black History month is being celebrated all around the country and even in some parts of the world. Although the shortest month of the year, February has been chosen as the official month of the year to pay tribute to famous African Americans who contributed to society.

But actions speak louder than words, and so many organizations and companies have launched various scholarship funds for African American and other minority students. Collectively, the scholarships give away millions in much needed college funding. Continue reading

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Sixth Annual Avoice Heritage Celebration

The CBCF invites you to attend the sixth annual Avoice Heritage Celebration on Tuesday, February 24, 2015 at 6:15 p.m. at the Hamilton in Washington D.C.

The Avoice Heritage Celebration is the CBCF’s official Black History Month event. The 2015 Black History Month theme, “A Century of Black Life, History and Culture,” recognizes the contributions and tireless efforts made by individuals and organizations throughout the years. During the awards ceremony, we will honor the two founding members of the Congressional Black Caucus. Rep. John Conyers, Jr. will receive the Distinguished Leadership Award and Rep. Charles B. Rangel will receive the Distinguished Pioneer award. Continue reading

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DC Citizen Groups to DC Council: Reject Exelon-Pepco Merger

ANCs, Community Leaders Say Buyout Will Harm Residents, Businesses

Testimony during a DC Council hearing last Thursday demonstrated mounting local opposition to a proposed merger between the Chicago-based utility, Exelon, and Pepco. DC community leaders turned out in force, and provided the members of the Committee on Business, Consumer, and Regulatory Affairs with detailed insight into why the proposed deal poses many risks for DC ratepayers and workers, without an obvious public benefit.
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Metro TeenAIDS joins Whitman-Walker Health

Working to improve access to HIV and other health services for young people in the District, Metro TeenAIDS will join the Whitman-Walker Health team to offer expanded care options. “Expanding health care services for metro D.C.’s young people is an important next step for Whitman-Walker,” said Don Blanchon, Executive Director of Whitman-Walker Health. “Metro D.C. youth, especially LGBTQ youth and young adults living with HIV, face many challenges accessing high quality, culturally competent health care. This strategic collaboration brings together the best of both nonprofits to tackle these challenges. This includes expanded offerings for youth, such as medical, mental health and substance abuse services. Our new collaboration is a groundbreaking investment in the future of health care, both inside and outside of the doctor’s office.”

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DDOT Makes Enhancements to the Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS)

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) today announced a significant enhancement to the “Emergency No Parking” sign program within its Transportation Online Permitting System (TOPS).

Any utility companies and developers using TOPS right now can print Emergency No Parking (ENP) signs for any date range within their approved permit “window of opportunity.” This applies to construction staging permits only. Users can return to any TOPS kiosk (six Metropolitan Police Department locations) and print ENP signs displaying current dates and times of proposed temporary occupancy as often as needed during the period of the permit. The dates and times can now be changed to reflect a more accurate situation for each construction site. Initially, the ENP signs would only state the full duration of the occupancy—not the specific beginning and end dates needed. Continue reading

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NAACP DC Investigates Firing of Teachers at Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)²

The NAACP DC Branch is investigating the firing of the teachers at the Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science (MS)². The NAACP DC Branch will investigate allegations of discrimination and claims of racial based injustices that occur within Washington, DC.

The NAACP seeks to promote social justice and equality in the District of Columbia through improving the political, educational, social and economic status of minorities and eliminating racial prejudice. Our Education Committee advocates ending the “School to Prison Pipeline” and promotes Fair Teacher Selection, Teacher Retention, School Resource Equity, Early Childhood Education, STEM Education, School Choice and Family Parental Engagement. The NAACP DC Education Committee is committed to eliminating educational disparities and inequities that hinder the growth and advancement of students of color in the nation’s capital. Continue reading

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More People Homeless Now than Last Year 
Mission’s Long-Term Programs Bring Success

Early results from the city’s Point in Time survey point to a disturbing trend. The number of homeless people already accounted for under the city’s care is over 4,000, close to 500 more people than the same time last year.

City officials have pledged to help by renting more hotel rooms when other shelters are full, an immediate but short-term solution. The long-term approach is more expensive initially, but as Central Union Mission proves, the lasting results return homeless people to being productive, tax-paying members of society.

“Homelessness is a complex problem. Some who have mental or physical disabilities, addictions or mental illness require medical care or supervision. Others, however, have the wherewithal to rejoin their communities when we give them a hand-up,” said David Treadwell, Central Union Mission executive director. “After we meet their immediate needs, people need to be encouraged into programs designed to help them reclaim or improve their lives. Central Union Mission’s methods for this have been working for 130 years.”

Our Spiritual Transformation Program and Ready To Work programs help ease the hurts that cause homelessness in the first place through recovery programs, reconciling with family and counseling. Then we prepare students to return to society by helping them get high school diplomas and certifications for various positions and by teaching basic skills like personal finance, job interviewing and searching, computer familiarity, professional behavior and anger management. At that point, we can help them find their first jobs and suitable independent living arrangements.

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JSSA Launches New Eye Care Program for Holocaust Survivors

JSSA’s (Jewish Social Service Agency) most vulnerable Holocaust survivor clients will be the beneficiary of a new eye care program that is being established through the outstanding generosity of community donors under the leadership of Dr. Michael Berenhaus.
Eyeglass lenses will be fabricated through donated optical lab services, and donated frames will be fitted at no cost to the survivors in five pre-selected Maryland/Northern Virginia “eye care sites.” Medicaid and Medicare will cover the eye exam; the new eye care program will cover all other charges. Loss of vision is one of the most prevalent physical challenges facing the elderly. New eyeglass prescriptions – sometimes annually as vision declines – are among the most critically needed and costly services that JSSA offers to its survivor clients. We believe that this program is unique in the U.S., and can serve as a wonderful model for other communities providing social service assistance to Holocaust survivors. Continue reading

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DPR to Host Cooperative Play Program Open Houses for the 2015-2016 Program Year


The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced that DPR’s Cooperative Play Program will host a variety of Open Houses for new and prospective families for the upcoming 2015-2016 program year. The Cooperative Play program currently operates 5 days a week from September 8, 2014 through May 22, 2015. For the 2015-2016 program year, the Cooperative Play program will operate from September 8, 2015 through May 20, 2016; and will be offered for children between the ages of 18 months to 4 years old. Continue reading

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Montgomery Parks Celebrates Black History Month

Free Guided Tours, Documentary Screenings and Poetry at Josiah Henson Park

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission will celebrate Black History Month with a series of free public events at Josiah Henson Park each Saturday in February. Josiah Henson Park is a historic resource of international significance because of its association with Reverend Henson, whose 1849 autobiography, The Life of Josiah Henson, Formerly a Slave, inspired Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin.
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Indianapolis Colts Linebacker D’Qwell Jackson Arrested for Assault in D.C.

(ABC)–Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was arrested for assault in D.C. Tuesday night, ABC 7 News has learned.
Sources confirm Jackson was arrested and issued a citation for allegedly punching a pizza delivery driver in the face and in the back of the head over a parking spot.
The 31-year-old pizza delivery employee told police he said to Jackson that he was going to use the space momentarily, but Jackson allegedly got upset and told the driver to get the “expletive” out of his parking space before punching the driver in his face and on the back of his head. Continue reading

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