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Plans for New World-Class Soccer Stadium

The DC Council has formally approved the deal to provide up to $150 million in city funding toward a new stadium for DC United. Mayor Vincent C. Gray and City Administrator Allen Y. Lew negotiated a deal with the MLS franchise to develop and operate the new, state-of-the-art, LEED certified soccer stadium at Buzzard Point. The stadium is expected to generate in excess of $1.6 billion in economic activity, support 1,059 full time equivalent jobs, and generate $64.7 million in fiscal benefits.


The District will act as a horizontal developer and assume the cost of land acquisition and infrastructure, capped at no more than $150 million, while DC United will construct the stadium at the estimated cost of approximately $150 million. The team will also develop adjacent property to support the stadium.

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Obama announces sweeping changes to U.S.-Cuba relations

(UPI) — The U.S. will “chart a new course in our relations with Cuba,” the White House announced Wednesday.
Speaking from the White House Wednesday, U.S. President Barack Obama unveiled sweeping changes to U.S.-Cuba relations following the release of detained American Alan Gross.
“We will begin to normalize relations between our two countries,” Obama stated. The changes, he observed, are an historical development in a complicated relationship that has “played out against the backdrop of the Cold War.”
“Isolation has not worked,” Obama concluded. “It’s time for a new approach.”
That new course, he said, will involve steps toward normalizing diplomatic relations between the two countries and an easing of U.S.-imposed sanctions.

“I believe this contact will ultimately do more to empower the Cuban people.”
Continue reading

HEADLINES

End to Federal Court Oversight of District of Columbia Special Education System

In a major victory for the District of Columbia, Mayor Vincent C. Gray and Interim Attorney General Eugene A. Adams announced that a longstanding challenge to the District’s handling of special education cases was dismissed today. Judge Paul Friedman of the United States District Court for the District dismissed Jones, et al., v. District of Columbia, a class action lawsuit regarding special education.

Jones, filed in 1997, alleged systemic deficiencies in the ability of the District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) to timely implement Hearing Officer Decisions (HODs) and Settlement Agreements (SAs) in violation of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA).

“We have worked tirelessly over the last four years to improve education outcomes for children with disabilities,” said Mayor Gray. “Today’s decision demonstrates that the improvements we have made have helped create the best special education system that the District of Columbia has seen in many, many years. The ruling will enable the District to continue serving as a model for special education reform.” Continue reading

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DC Marks Milestone Nine Miles of Bike Lanes in 2014

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) recently celebrated the public opening of the 4th Street, NW to SW, bicycle route with a ribbon-cutting ceremony, setting an unprecedented record for bike lane installations in 2014; making it more than nine miles of bike lane construction this year.

“DDOT is building a sustainable, bicycle transportation network and infrastructure around the District of Columbia,” said DDOT Director Matthew Brown. “With the 4th Street bike lanes, residents and visitors can ride a bicycle from Nationals Ballpark, across the Mall to downtown and beyond. We are pleased with this accomplishment as it contributes to Mayor Vincent Gray’s vision of a multimodal city, where everyone is offered an option for his or her transportation choices.”

The new 4th Street bike lanes connect from School Street, SW, to Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, and connect an important gap between the Pennsylvania Avenue protected bike lanes and the growing Southwest Waterfront and Capital Riverfront neighborhoods. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Top Environmental Groups Pledge to Reveal Diversity Data

Six of the nation’s top environmental organizations have formally pledged to submit their diversity data by February 2015, it was announced at Green 2.0 and New America Media’s “Breaking the Green Ceiling” Forum on December 9th. The Natural Resource Defense Council, The Sierra Club, Resource Media, The Audubon Society, Earthjustice and the Environmental Defense Fund have agreed to submit their diversity data to their GuideStar profiles.

EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy spoke at the briefing and underscored the value of the Green 2.0’s initiative, measuring what we value and creating plans to improve diversity. She told the standing room only crowd that in order to grow the movement, it was essential for the EPA and the broader environmental leadership to reflect the communities most in need of being heard. This would further help meet the goals of clean air, clean water, and healthy land for every American.

Gwendolyn Keyes Fleming, Chief of Staff to the EPA Administrator – and daughter of a Tuskegee Airman – noted that the Green 2.0 initiative helps EPA and sector to understand what has improved, how far we have to go, in having staffs that represent, and can speak for, communities all across the country. Continue reading

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AAA predicts record numbers in U.S. will travel for the holidays this year

Both air fares and gas prices are down this year in the United States compared to the holiday season last year, AAA said
(UPI) — With lower gas prices giving Americans more spare cash, 98.6 million people will travel at least 50 miles from home during the holidays, AAA predicted Tuesday.
Most of those travelers will drive, the group said. It predicted 89.5 million, 91.5 percent of all holiday travelers, would take to the roads, up 4 percent from 2013.

AAA said 5.7 million travelers are expected to go by air, up 5 percent from last year. The growth rate in holiday travel is expected to be the highest since 2009 and the total number the biggest since AAA began counting holiday travelers in 2001. Continue reading

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America’s State Parks to Host First Day Hikes

Kick-start your New Year’s resolution to keep in shape with an invigorating First Day Hike at a state park near you! All 50 states are participating in the fourth annual national event that invites families to celebrate the New Year with guided outdoor adventures. Last year, more than 27,000 people covered around 66,000 miles on 885 hikes in state parks across the country.

“First Day Hikes offer a healthy way for people of all ages to get outside and take in these beautiful natural areas,” said Priscilla Geigis, president of the National Association of State Park Directors (NASPD). “State Parks provide unique opportunities for visitors to experience historical and cultural areas, seasonal flora and wildlife alongside dedicated park staff and volunteers.”

The sponsored hikes range from less than one mile journeys, to longer, more intense workouts, depending on the state and terrain. In addition, some states are also sponsoring trail adventures for cyclists and equestrians, as an added way for guests to appreciate nature. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Virginia Receives Federal Health Innovation Grant

$2.6 million federal grant to develop new statewide health care model

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced Tuesday that Virginia has been awarded a $2.6 million federal grant to develop new statewide health care models. These will be built around a series of aggressive public health goals ranging from reductions in tobacco use to improved mental health care.

“This grant enables my administration to pursue innovative models and achieve my goals for better health, better care and lower costs for all Virginians,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Virginia is ready to move forward and create lasting change for the better in our health care system.”

The one-year grant awarded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will provide financial and technical support beginning in January to develop the Virginia Health Innovation Plan. The goal of the plan is to improve health outcomes for all Virginians, regardless of insurance status. Continue reading

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U.S. drivers saving millions of dollars on gas

Retail prices down more than $1 from April peak at the pump

(UPI) — Consumer benefits of low oil prices are “abundantly clear” as U.S. drivers are saving more than $400 million per day on gasoline, motor club AAA said.
AAA reports a national average retail price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.53 for Tuesday, about a penny less than Monday and 70 cents less than this date in 2013.
“Holiday cheer has come early for the motoring public, with the average for retail gasoline at its lowest level in more than five years,” the motor club said in a Monday price briefing. Continue reading

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FCC Host Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference

The FCC‘s Office of Communications Business Opportunities (“OCBO”) will host a Small Business & Emerging Technologies Conference and Tech Fair on Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at FCC Headquarters, Commission Meeting Room, 445 12th Street SW, Washington, DC.
This important event will focus on innovation by fledgling entrepreneurs in information technology and telecomm. We will be highlighting small businesses, and particularly minority and women-owned tech start-ups. We will be examining some of the challenges that tech start-ups face, as well as some of the more specific issues that often preclude technical innovation in the minority business community. This conference and tech fair will be an all-day event with panel discussions on entity formation and incubation, early stage investment strategies, and a showcase of app designers, software/hardware manufacturers, and internet based business owners. Continue reading

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Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies: Live in DC

Straight from a sold-out concert in New York City, winning FOX’s So You Can Dance crew battle, and viral videos (A Tap Salute to Beyoncé) Chloe Arnold’s Syncopated Ladies are headed to the nation’s capital for a one night only concert Friday, December 19, 2014 at The Howard Theatre – 620 T Street NW Washington, DC 20001. Tickets starting at $25 are on sale now at ticketmaster.com.

The Syncopated Ladies features critically acclaimed DC native tap dancer and choreographer Chloe Arnold, with world renowned female tap dancers Maud Arnold (Duke Ellington Alumna), Sarah Reich, Anissa Lee, Pamela Yasutake and Melissa Tannus. Syncopated Ladies was created by Chloe Arnold who was discovered at an early age in Washington D.C. by legendary dance icon Debbie Allen. Chloe has since gone on to perform on stages around the globe (in 27 countries and over 35 states), worked with celebrated artists including Beyoncé, and appeared on national TV shows like “Dancing with the Stars”, “America’s Got Talent” and “Boardwalk Empire.” Continue reading

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National Women’s History Museum Bill Heads To President’s Desk After 16 Year Legislative Effort


U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) recently announced that after 16 years of work, a bill to form a commission on the creation of a National Women’s History Museum (H.R. 863/S. 398) will soon become law. Senators Mikulski and Susan Collins (R-Maine) together with U.S. Representatives Carolyn B. Maloney (D-N.Y.), Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-D.C.) hailed the achievement as a major victory for women.

“Women’s history is American history,” said Senator Mikulski. “Women have been trailblazers throughout our history, using grit, passion, and determination to seize the day and to make a difference. We must not only honor the past – we must learn from it. A National Women’s History Museum will be a fitting tribute to recognize their lasting legacy while inspiring future generations of women and girls.” Continue reading

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Celebrate the Winter Solstice

Enjoy a Hike, Visit an Extraordinary Holiday Railway Exhibit, and much more

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has tons of activities going on in parks and at facilities this holiday season. Take time to visit and enjoy these festive offerings—many of which are free and perfect for families.

HOLIDAY EVENTS AND FESTIVALS:

FREE Garden Railway Exhibit: Sights, Sounds, Action! is up and running for the 10th year in the South Conservatory at Brookside Gardens! The exhibit features trains and trollies as well as detailed miniature models of iconic landmarks in the region such as Germantown’s famous Cider Barrel, the Dentzel Carousel at Glen Echo Park and the historic Red Door Store in Sandy Spring. Continue reading

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BGE Provides Options for Customers to Help Those in Need this Holiday Season

The holiday giving season is officially upon us and Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) has kicked off its annual Gift of Energy Program and the annual Fuel Fund of Maryland envelope campaign. These two campaigns provide BGE customers looking for ways to give back during the holidays with opportunities to share the warmth of the season with those in need, making the holidays brighter for families throughout central Maryland who may be struggling financially. In December, BGE launches its giving campaign to support the Fuel Fund of Maryland, an independent 501(c)3 nonprofit organization, through bge.com and via postage-paid envelopes enclosed in customers’ bills. This annual, customer-funded effort makes energy assistance available to limited income customers who apply for assistance from the Fuel Fund of Maryland, after exhausting other resources. BGE and its customers also support households in need year-round by providing $1 in bill credits for every $2 paid by Fuel Fund and its clients.
Continue reading

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Governor McAuliffe Invests $500,000 in Community College Program to Credential Virginians in High-demand Sectors

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that seven of Virginia’s Community Colleges will receive direct incentives totaling $500,000 for student completion of credentials identified regionally as high-demand by business and industry. The pilot program is an initiative of Governor McAuliffe’s New Virginia Economy Strategic Plan and supports his goal of seeing an additional 50,000 credentials in the Virginia economy before the end of his term. These credentials can lead an individual into careers that boast median wages at or above the Commonwealth’s per capita personal income of $48,377.

Participating community colleges include Blue Ridge Community College, Germanna Community College, Thomas Nelson Community College, Virginia Western Community College, and the three colleges that comprise the Southern VA Works collaborative – Danville Community College, Patrick Henry Community College, and Southside Virginia Community College. Continue reading

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Three Kings Day Celebration

For 39 years, GALA has celebrated the holidays with its traditional event for the community, Fiesta de los Reyes Magos/The Three Kings Day Celebration. GALA will again tell the timeless story of the Magi with song, dance and storytelling at two performances on Sunday, January 4, 2015 at 11:30 am and 2:30 pm. These bilingual presentations for the entire family preserve one of the most popular celebrations of Latino cultures.
Fiesta de los Reyes Magos takes place at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW. Admission is free, but a small gift for a child is suggested. Tickets for the 11:30 am presentation will be distributed at GALA’s Box Office at 10 am on a first-come, first serve basis. Tickets for the 2:30 pm presentation will be distributed at the Box Office at 12 pm for the 2:30 pm presentation. Continue reading

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CentroNía opens to a newly renovated Early Childhood

On Wednesday, December 17th, CentroNía openied its doors to a newly renovated Early Childhood Center. In the midst of national momentum to improve the quality of Early Childhood Education, this expansion is due in part to a district wide effort to increase services to those families that need it most. As President Obama has stated “Early education is one of the best investments we can make, not just in a child’s future, but in our country”.

CentroNía’s Upshur center will be the home of the Early Head Start DC program and a new extension of CentroNía’s Infants and Toddlers program. The center will serve 60 students ages 3 months – 3.5 years. The program is fully bilingual – each classroom is taught by one native Spanish speaking educator and one English speaking educator.

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Capital Area Food Bank’s New Partnership with Rideshare Company Makes Donating Food During the Holidays Uber-easy

The Capital Area Food Bank, the region’s largest hunger organization, has partnered with Uber, the rising ridesharing company to help get food to children, seniors and families during the holiday rush.

“Hunger is at all time highs in the DC area with more than 700,000 people in need,”
said Nancy Roman, President and CEO of the Captial Area Food Bank. “This innovative partnership solves a bottleneck and will help us get thousands of small donations to children, seniors and families who need them.”

Here’s how it works: Uber will provide first-time riders who use the promo code “CAFB” a free ride of up to $25 to one of the CAFB’s donation locations. Continue reading

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DMV Reminds Virginians to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over”

Semi-Annual Crackdown on Drunk Driving Gets Under Way
This holiday season, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles’ (DMV) Highway Safety Office is reminding motorists to “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” Law enforcement officers across the country – and Virginia – will be out in full force now through January 1 actively searching for drunk drivers.
“Drunk driving crashes are 100 percent preventable, but innocent people die every day because drivers get behind the wheel after they’ve consumed alcohol,” said DMV Commissioner Richard D. Holcomb, the Governor’s Highway Safety Representative. “We don’t want a single family to get that terrible news this holiday season.” Continue reading

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January Films Spotlight Library’s Film Preservation Work

Feature films and short subjects from the silent era through the 1960s—all preserved on 35 mm film by the Library of Congress Film Preservation Lab—will be screened in January at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia.

The process of preserving a motion picture can be a long and tedious endeavor. Repairing old, fragile film frame-by-frame can take weeks, followed by extensive timing, printing and processing. Added to that is the level of expertise and skill necessary for photochemical preservation. This month’s selections, curated by the lab staff, show off some of their best preservation work and include some of their favorite titles. Continue reading

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Coming Together for a Good Laugh and a Good Cause

On Thursday, February 12 (6:00-9:00 pm), MC Live presents, A “Special” Evening of Comedy to benefit seven Jewish community organizations dedicated to providing the best quality of life to individuals with disabilities. MC Live is a collaborative venture hosted by Capital Camps, Friendship Circle, the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, the Jewish Foundation for Group Homes, the Jewish Social Service Agency, Matan, and Sulam.

This event was first held in Montgomery County in May of 2014, and as a result of the overwhelming positive feedback, the decision was made to bring the event to the District this past summer and back to Rockville in February in honor of Jewish Disability Awareness Month. Continue reading

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The Phillips Collection Showcases Jacob Lawrence’s Struggle … From the History of The American People

The Phillips Collection announces an upcoming exhibition of works by preeminent artist Jacob Lawrence. Produced between 1954 and 1956, Struggle … From the History of the American People portrays scenes from American history, chronicling events from the Revolutionary War through the great westward expansion of 1817. The Phillips will display 12 panels from the series, on loan from the Harvey and Harvey-Ann Ross collection, in Jacob Lawrence: Struggle … From the History of the American People. The exhibition runs January 10 through August 9, 2015. Continue reading

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Bowser appoints Rashad M. Young as City Administrator


Mayor-elect says Young will help bring a fresh start to the day-to-day operations of the District’s government
Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser announced the appointment of Rashad M. Young as City Administrator. In this role, Young will be charged with ensuring efficient, accountable and well-managed service delivery to all residents, business owners and visitors on behalf of the Mayor.
Young currently serves as City Manager of Alexandria, VA where he is credited with forming the Office of Performance and Accountability (OPA) to develop a culture and practice of performance management and data-driven decision making. He also formed the Department of Project Implementation (DPI) to more effectively manage the growing and expansive list of City infrastructure capital projects. In addition, Young enhanced civic engagement in Alexandria by developing and deploying technology such as Call.Click.Connect that allows citizens and stakeholders to communicate directly with staff at all levels of the organization. Continue reading

HEADLINES

District Awarded $900,000 for Early Learning Quality Improvement Network

At the White House Summit on Early Learning, President Obama announced the District was awarded $900,000 through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Head Start. This funding will supplement the $8.3 million of local dollars Mayor Vincent C. Gray has already invested in the creation of an Early Learning Quality Improvement Network (QIN). Following through on his 2014 State of the District promise to raise the bar on infant and toddler programs, the QIN will provide critical resources to help subsidized child care providers meet the rigorous federal Early Head Start standards further increasing the health, learning, and development of infants and toddlers District-wide.

“We are excited to partner with the White House to build on what is already by many measures the best early childhood education program in the country by expanding the supply of evidenced-based, affordable infant and toddler care,” said Mayor Gray. “This supports our goal of putting the necessary resources in place so that all children and families in the District of Columbia are thriving through the collaboration of multiple city agencies and community partners.” Continue reading

HEADLINES

Leaders Sign Deed for New Fire Station at Walter Reed


Ceremony Marks the First Transfer of Walter Reed Land from the Army to the District

Mayor Vincent C. Gray joined Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, Assistant Secretary of the Army Katherine Hammack, Ward 4 Councilmember and Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser, and Department of Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief Eugene A. Jones in a ceremonial signing of the deed transferring Building 18 at the former Walter Reed Army Medical Center to the District for adaptive reuse as a new fire station.

“This is a momentous occasion, as today’s ceremony marks the first transfer of land at Walter Reed to the District and clears the way for building a vital community benefit for the Ward 4 neighborhood,” said Mayor Gray. “My administration has worked closely with the Army to acquire Walter Reed so that we can begin transforming this historic campus into a vibrant destination that meets the needs and desires of the neighboring community.” Continue reading

HEADLINES

HHS awards $166,331 in Affordable Care Act funding

Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell today announced $166,331 in Affordable Care Act funding to 5 health centers in District of Columbia to recognize health center quality improvement achievements and invest in ongoing quality improvement activities. District of Columbia health centers receiving awards today are proven leaders in areas such as chronic disease management, preventive care and the use of Electronic Health Records (EHRs) to report quality data.


“This funding rewards District of Columbia health centers that have a proven track record in clinical quality improvement, which translates to better patient care, and it allows them to expand and improve their systems and infrastructure to bring the highest quality primary care services to the communities they serve,” said Secretary Burwell. “With these funds, health centers in District of Columbia will continue to provide access to high quality, comprehensive primary and preventive health care to the patients that need it the most.”
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HEADLINES

Taking Energy Efficient Measures Now Can Loosen Winter’s Grip on Your Home, Wallet

If this winter is anything like last year’s, brace yourself for some high heating bills again. One way to lessen the squeeze on your wallet is by taking steps to make your home more energy efficient. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ENERGY STAR program offers energy and money-saving changes people can begin to make today.

Homeowners can start out by using ENERGY STAR’s Home Energy Yardstick, a free online home energy efficiency assessment tool. With information on the last 12 months of utility bills, the home’s square footage, and ZIP code, the Yardstick will tell a homeowner how their home’s energy efficiency compares with similar homes on a 1-10 scale (with 10 being the most efficient). Continue reading

HEADLINES

Report Makes Effort to Calculate Economic Boost from Closing Achievement Gap

Past research suggests that the economic well-being of a society is related to the health and success of the society’s educational system. A new report estimates that if Black and Hispanic high school math scores increased to become equal to those of White high school students, the size of the U.S. economy would increase by $20 trillion by 2050. It also projects that tax revenues would rise by $4 trillion for federal and $3 trillion for state and local. The report therefore argues for substantial public investment aimed at closing achievement gaps.
However, a review published today concludes that, while the new report’s broader claim that closing achievement gaps would likely produce economic gains is sound, the report’s specific calculations are insufficiently supported by detail and checks of accuracy. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Bank of America Charitable Foundation Awards $763,000 in Grants to Greater Washington Area Nonprofits

The Bank of America Charitable Foundation announced $763,000 in grants to 39 nonprofits in Greater Washington to help individuals and families build better financial lives. The nonprofits awarded the grants are dedicated to helping those in need through access to affordable housing and basic human services programs, all of which help communities thrive.
“Access to affordable housing, financial education, and food services are critical to long-term financial stability and independence,” said Jeff Wood, Greater Washington market president Bank of America. “Bank of America is dedicated to helping our nonprofit partners provide vital services that help our community thrive.”
Some of the organizations receiving funding include: Continue reading

HEADLINES

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors Celebrates News of Americans Living Longer

Americans are surviving infancy and living longer than ever before according to the National Health Report, a surveillance summary report recently released from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
This new report, tracking data from 2005 to the current data year, reveals the implications of successfully protecting and extending life. By 2030, it is estimated that cancer will surpass heart disease as the leading cause of death, largely as a result of successes in heart disease prevention.
Yet with Americans born today living to an historic average of 79 years, more time is given for cancers to form in the body, thus driving up cancer deaths. Moreover, the number of older adults in the U.S. is expected to double by 2030 which explains the report’s finding that Alzheimer’s may become the fourth leading cause of death by 2030. Continue reading

HEADLINES

HUD and VA Team up to Help Additional 2,000 Homeless Veterans Find Permanent Homes 



$13.5 million in HUD-VASH vouchers to build on national effort to end veteran homelessness
The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) today announced the second round of housing assistance to help 1,984 homeless veterans find permanent supportive housing. The rental assistance announced today is provided through the HUD-Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) Program which combines rental assistance from HUD with case management and clinical services provided by VA. Last October, the two agencies awarded $62 million in HUD-VASH vouchers to assist more than 9,000 homeless veterans.
With HUD approaching its 50th anniversary next year, Secretary Julián Castro is focused on advancing policies that create opportunities for all Americans, including the broader Administration goal of ending homelessness among veterans. Continue reading

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CDC says this year’s Predominant Flu strain is particularly bad

(UPI) — The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the current flu season may be a particularly bad one and this year’s vaccine may be less effective, to boot.
The health organization said so far in the 2014-15 flu season, H3N2 has been the most common, a concerning trend. The three most deadly flu seasons in the past 11 years — 2012-13, 2007-08 and 2003-04 — each featured H3N2 as the predominant strains.
H3N2 viruses are characterized as “moderately severe” by the CDC.
“It’s too early to say for sure that this will be a severe flu season, but Americans should be prepared,” CDC director Tom Frieden said in a statement released last week. “We can save lives with a three-pronged effort to fight the flu: vaccination, prompt treatment for people at high risk of complications, and preventive health measures, such as staying home when you’re sick, to reduce flu spread.” Adding to the problem is that this year’s flu vaccine doesn’t fully cover H3N2.
Each year’s flu vaccine is created to stop the three or four most common strains of the virus currently circulating. Since the 2014-15 vaccine was created, the predominant H3N2 variant changed slightly, or “drifted.”
The vaccine will still protect against H3N2 to some degree, though, the CDC s ays. In the 2007-08 flu season, H3N2 drifted, but the vaccine still had an overall efficacy of 37 percent and 42 percent efficacy against H3N2.
“While the vaccine’s ability to protect against drifted H3N2 viruses this season may be reduced, we are still strongly recommending vaccination,” said Joseph Bresee, M.D., Chief of the Influenza Epidemiology and Prevention Branch at CDC. “Vaccination has been found to provide some protection against drifted viruses in past seasons. Also, vaccination will offer protection against other flu viruses that may become more common later in the season.”
Flu activity is currently low in the United States, but it’s not too late to get vaccinated. Those at high risk for serious complications from the virus are children younger than 5 years old, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women and those with chronic health conditions.
The CDC recommends these high-risk patients should immediately take antiviral drugs like Tamiflu and Relenza if flu symptoms appear, and not wait for lab tests to confirm flu infection.
Flu symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuff nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue.
Earlier this year, a CDC report said more than 100 children died of the flu during the 2013-14 season, 99 of whom were unvaccinated.

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HIV is turning into AIDS more slowly, study finds

(UPI) — As HIV evolves as a virus and adapts to the human immune system, a new study finds it becomes less deadly and takes longer to turn into AIDS.
The study from researchers at the University of Oxford investigated cases in Botswana and South Africa and found the effect of HIV weakening could make the virus harmless eventually.
“It is quite striking. You can see the ability to replicate is 10% lower in Botswana than South Africa and that’s quite exciting. We are observing evolution happening in front of us and it is surprising how quickly the process is happening,” University of Oxford Professor Philip Goulder told the BBC. Continue reading

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Top 10 Scholarships for Black and Minority Students for 2015

2015 is expected to be a great year for students because a record-number of foundations and organizations are planning to give away billions of dollars in legit scholarships. These scholarships usually have different criteria to qualify, but once obtained can be used to pay for college tuition, books, and room and board.
Here are the top 2015 scholarship programs for African American and minority students with upcoming deadlines in December or January:
#1 – Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride” Scholarship: Awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with high academic records. The deadline to apply is in January 2015. Continue reading

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DC Prepares to Launch parkDC: Chinatown/Penn Quarter, Downtown’s New Parking Program

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) recently announced the launch of parkDC: Chinatown/Penn Quarter, the multimodal value pricing pilot, which is expected to make parking easier and reduce congestion. The pilot will encompass all 1,300 metered on-street parking spaces in the area bounded by H Street, NW; E Street, NW; 11th Street, NW; and 3rd Street, NW. This pilot will use the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area as a laboratory to test state-of-the-art strategies to make it easier to find parking spaces and reduce congestion. The project will accomplish this by doing the following:
(a) Providing real-time parking-availability information so customers spend less time searching, and
(b) Changing parking pricing so more spaces are available,
(c) Making parking signage more easily understood. Continue reading

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Governor McAuliffe announces the Commonwealth’s first Business Plan Competition

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Virginia will host a world class business plan competition during the spring and summer of 2015. The business plan competition will be overseen by the Office of the Secretary of Commerce and Trade and will focus exclusively on the strategic growth sectors of Agriculture, Bio-Life Sciences, Cybersecurity, Energy, and Social Entrepreneurism.
“Hosting this world-class business plan competition in Virginia is another step forward in our efforts to create a new Virginia economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “It is through growth in these important sectors that we will see economic benefits in our rural communities and across the Commonwealth. This competition is one piece of my administration’s efforts to systematically generate more startup enterprises in Virginia, especially in Virginia’s key growth sectors.” Continue reading

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$1 Million Grant to Trust for the National Mall to Restore Historic Lockkeeper’s House

American Express today announced a $1 million grant to the Trust for the National Mall to preserve and restore the 178-year old Lockkeeper’s House, the oldest remaining structure on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. The Lockkeeper’s House stands as a rare artifact of early 19th-century Washington, D.C. when commerce was conducted via a system of canals designed to transport goods connecting the Capital to the Nation. The House has been boarded up for more than 40 years and is in a state of extreme disrepair, despite its prominent location between the iconic Washington Monument and National War Memorials at the corner of Constitution Avenue and 17th Street, NW.
As part of the grant funding from American Express, the Lockkeeper’s House will be lifted and moved back approximately 32 feet, away from the road and heavy street traffic. Continue reading

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AARP Opposes Secret Attack by Congress on Retiree Pensions

AARP Senior Vice President Joyce Rogers released this statement in opposition to the Kline-Miller amendment to the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, an amendment that the Los Angeles Times says “could be a disaster” that would potentially harm millions of current retirees:

“This last minute backroom deal would, for the first time, amend the pension law to allow the earned vested benefits of retirees to be cut. After a lifetime of hard work to earn their pensions, retirees don’t deserve to receive a bad deal, in which they’ve had no say, cut behind closed doors and excluding the very people who would be impacted most.”
Continue reading

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Secretary Jewell, Assistant Secretary Kia’aina to Host Panel Discussion
on Climate Change

Impacts to Pacific Islands Nations in Free Association with the United States 

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell will offer opening remarks tomorrow at a panel discussion on climate change impacts facing three Pacific island nations freely associated with the United States. Assistant Secretary for Insular Areas Esther Kia’aina and Interior’s Office of Insular Affairs are hosting the dialogue. 

The panel discussion will include remarks from the Ambassadors of the Freely Associated States which include the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia and the Republic of Palau. These Pacific island Nations have had close historical ties with the United States dating back to World War II and their current relationships with the U.S. are enshrined in Compacts of Free Association. Continue reading

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“Rescuing the Evidence: Three Minutes in Poland”

The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and Sixth & I Historic Synagogue will host Glenn Kurtz, author of the just-released Three Minutes in Poland: Discovering a Lost World in a 1938 Family Film (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, November 2014), as he recounts the extraordinary discoveries made when he donated his grandfather’s home-movie footage to the Museum’s Steven Spielberg Film and Video Archive.

The program is part of the Museum’s National Conversation exploring the ongoing relevance of the Holocaust. Continue reading

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Hidden Behind an Empty Smile

Paso Nuevo, GALA’s award-winning youth education program, presents Hidden Behind an Empty Smile/Escondidos detra de una falsa sonrisa, an evening of original work brought to the stage by a new group of Paso Nuevo participants and directed by Quique Avíles, Matthew Vaky and Alina Collins Maldonado. Performed in English and Spanish, Hidden Behind an Empty Smile will be presented on Friday, December 19 at 8 pm at GALA Theatre, 3333 14th Street, NW.
Through a collage of poems, monologues, and scenes, Hidden Behind an Empty Smile explores social issues facing the community and nation and personal struggles experienced by the youth. The show also features special dance performances by guest artists Sally Yu and La Union. Continue reading

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Annapolis – One of America’s Best College Towns


The Annapolis & Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau (AAACCVB) invites families who will be checking out colleges over winter break to include Annapolis in their itinerary. Travel & Leisure just named Maryland’s Capital City one of “America’s Best College Towns.” Favorable votes from participants in Travel & Leisure’s “America’s Favorite Places” reader survey helped earn Annapolis the 14th slot on a list of 22 recommended college towns. The “America’s Favorite Places” reader survey evaluated hundreds of towns for live music, pizza, dive bars, hamburgers and other offerings. Continue reading

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Montgomery County Planning Department Studies Cycle Track for Connecticut Avenue to Serve Purple Line Station


The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, recently commissioned Toole Design Group of Silver Spring, MD, nationally recognized experts in bicycle planning and design, to develop conceptual designs for a “cycle track” on Connecticut Avenue between Manor Road and Chevy Chase Lake Drive. These concepts incorporate the latest research and best practices to facilitate bicycle access to the future Capital Crescent Trail, Connecticut Avenue Purple Line station and future development around the station.
The 2013 Chevy Chase Lake Sector Plan recommends a shared-use path on the east side of Connecticut Avenue that transitions to a separate sidewalk and bike-only route in the vicinity of the Purple Line station. Separating bicycles and pedestrians in this area is important due to the substantial pedestrian activity anticipated around the Purple Line station. Continue reading

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Community Invited to Participate in Feedback Loop on Bethesda Downtown Plan Concepts

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is inviting stakeholders and residents to participate in the online “Feedback Loop” from December 8 through December 19 for the ongoing Bethesda Downtown Plan.
This online questionnaire encourages the public to offer views on a number of concepts, ranging from bike paths to building heights, proposed for the Plan. From this feedback, planners will be able to confirm their understanding of the community’s priorities for Downtown Bethesda. Continue reading

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Maryland Department of Planning to Run National Clearinghouse on Smart Growth

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Taps Department to Lead Information Dissemination
In a nation with ever-changing demographics and economic shifts, the challenges of planning for growth and development continue to require a comprehensive approach. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which funds a national smart growth website and network, this month awarded a grant to host and coordinate duties to the Maryland Department of Planning (MDP).

MDP staff, who applied for the grant last spring, assumed the role of hosting the national Smart Growth Information Clearinghouse and helping staff the Smart Growth Network immediately. Continue reading

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Leggett and Public Safety Chiefs Offer Critical Holiday Safety Tips

Remind Drivers to Respect Designated Disability Parking Spaces; Kick-off “Shop with a Cop or Firefighter” Campaign
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined Police Chief Tom Manger and Fire Chief Steve Lohr at the Congressional Plaza shopping center in Rockville, to encourage community members to make safety a priority this holiday season.
“We are here in a busy shopping center to emphasize awareness of seasonal and parking lot/pedestrian safety,” said Leggett. “Drivers are all about trying to find an open parking space in crowded lots. Shoppers are loaded down with packages and trying to remember where they parked. Our slogan, ‘Heads Up in Parking Lots,’ encourages both pedestrians and drivers to be on the lookout for one another.” Continue reading

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JSSA and Community Partners Help Local Families Celebrate the Holidays By Providing Gifts

Now through the end of the year, JSSA (The Jewish Social Service Agency) and community partners are collecting monetary donations and gift cards for its nonsectarian “Give-a-Gift” program. Monetary and gift card contributions will afford families the dignity of choosing what is most important to them: holiday foods, warm winter clothing, toys for the children, or special items that will make their lives more comfortable throughout the year. The program supports newborns to 103-year-old adults including frail Holocaust survivors. Continue reading

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Maryland Awarded $15 Million Grant to Expand Access to Pre-K Programs

Governor O’Malley and Lt. Governor Brown announced recently that Maryland has been awarded a $15 million federal grant to expand access to high quality prekindergarten for four-year olds. As a result, MSDE will continue to increase access to prekindergarten for families who, until now, did not meet income eligibility requirements to enroll in the programs, building on the State’s initial expansion this year. Continue reading

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Governor McAuliffe Announces 95 Express Lanes Open December 14

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced trecently that the 95 Express Lanes on I-95 in Northern Virginia are opening early and on budget. The new lanes will open on December 14 to drivers, who have an opportunity to enjoy them for free until tolling commences on December 29.
Governor McAuliffe also announced that he will offer legislation in the upcoming General Assembly session making key reforms to the process the state uses to procure projects under the Public-Private Transportation Act. This public-private partnership (P3) process allows the private sector to invest in and deliver highway projects such as the 95 Express Lanes. Continue reading

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Nine Maryland Properties to Receive Historic Preservation Tax Credits

Maryland Sustainable Communities Program Restores Buildings, Boosts Economies
State officials announced $10 million in state tax credits that will fund nine historic restoration projects across Maryland. The tax credit will infuse positive change and jobs to communities from Cumberland to Cambridge.
By offsetting the costs of historic renovation, the Sustainable Communities Tax Credit Program helps owners of historic structures preserve some of Maryland’s best places as well as provides an economic boost to their communities. The awards were announced in the Old Post Office in Ellicott City, near the site of a tax credit project. Continue reading

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Frank Young Named Deputy Superintendent of Rock Creek Park

Superintendent Tara Morrison is pleased to announce the selection of Frank Young as the deputy superintendent of Rock Creek Park. In this role, Young will oversee the day-to-day operations of Rock Creek Park and supervise numerous park projects and programs. Young is a veteran of the National Park Service (NPS) with nearly 27 years of experience working in national parks in Washington. He begins his new assignment in mid-December. Continue reading

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Wizards’ Wall Breaks Down in Tears After Dedicating Win to Girl Who Died of Cancer

(ABC)–Washington Wizards point guard John Wall didn’t sound or look like someone who’d just scored his team’s final 10 points in Monday night’s double overtime win against the Boston Celtics.

Instead, he broke down during a post-game television interview and was somber in the locker room on the day he learned that Damiyah Telemaque-Nelson, a 6-year-old cancer patient he befriended, had died.
“This game was really meant for her. It would’ve been an even tougher day to lose it,” said Wall, who received the news via text message Monday morning and dedicated the game to his friend. “I just went into a mode where I didn’t want to lose this game.” Continue reading

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Rams Benefit Most from Trade That Allowed Skins to Draft RG3

(ABC)–The St. Louis Rams got a ton of draft picks. The Washington Redskins got Robert Griffin III.
Neither team is exactly steamrolling through the NFL, but the deal looks better for the Rams as time goes by.
The Rams (5-7) and Redskins (3-9) are getting back together Sunday, and St. Louis will have likely have Michael Brockers, Janoris Jenkins, Alec Ogletree and Greg Robinson in the starting lineup with Stedman Bailey and Zac Stacy also contributing – part of a three-year haul of players stemming from the 2012 blockbuster trade with Washington.
“We had a lot of holes and had a lot of work to do,” St. Louis coach Jeff Fisher said. “So it was an easy decision for us. … We’re building to compete in the division, and, because of the trade, we got off to a great start.”
Griffin will watch from the sideline, benched for the second time in two seasons and now the backup to Colt McCoy.
The Redskins gambled that Griffin would solve their overlong quest for a franchise quarterback. The early returns were promising when he won the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year award while running a zone-read offense, but he’s also suffered two major injuries and has struggled over the past two years to adjust his game. Continue reading

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Panthers QB Cam Newton Fractures Back in Car Accident

(NBC)–Panthers quarterback Cam Newton suffered fractures to his lower back in a two-car crash Tuesday and will spend the night in the hospital, a team spokesman said Tuesday.
Newton was in fair condition, had no other internal injuries and would not need surgery, team spokesman Charlie Dayton said during a news conference outside a Charlotte hospital. It was unclear if Newton would be able to practice or play Sunday against the Buccaneers, Dayton said.
“Right now we have thought about Cam’s well-being and we understand there was someone else in the other car who was injured,” Dayton said. “We just hope that they’re all OK.” Continue reading

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LeBron James, Brooklyn Nets Wear “I Can’t Breathe” Shirts

(NBC)–LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and multiple players on the Brooklyn Nets wore “I Can’t Breathe” shirts as they warmed up for a game between the Cleveland Cavaliers and Brooklyn.
Kevin Garnett and Deron Williams were among four Nets wearing the shirts before the game in support of the family of Eric Garner, who died July 17 after a police officer placed him in a chokehold when he was being arrested for selling loose, untaxed cigarettes. Continue reading

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Special Election to Fill the Ward 4 Council Vacancy Will be Held on April 28, 2015:

The District of Columbia Board of Elections (DCBOE) announced it has certified the November 4, 2014 General Election results as well as the vacancy of the Ward 4 seat for the Council of the District of Columbia.
The Vacancy for the Ward 4 Council seat was created upon receipt of resignation from Councilmember Muriel Bowser on Tuesday, December 2, 2014. The resignation letter effective for January 1, 2015 allowed the Board to move forward with setting a date for a Special Election to fill the Ward 4 Council seat.
The Board announced that the Special Election to fill the Ward 4 Council vacancy will be held on April 28, 2015. Prospective candidates interested in appearing on the ballot must obtain the signatures of 500 registered voters who reside in Ward 4 during the petition circulation period. Nominating petitions for the Ward 4 seat will be made available on Monday, December 8, 2014 and are due by Wednesday, January 28, 2015.

Marion Barry

Memorial Celebration for Mayor Marion Barry Jr.

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, through Saturday, December 6, 2014, the family of Mayor Marion Barry Jr. will have a Celebration of Life Remembrance Ceremony to honor Mayor Marion Barry Jr. The following street and route closures for this celebration will take place in the District of Columbia. In conjunction with this event, there will also be several temporary street closures that motorists should take into consideration:

On Thursday, December 4, 2014, from 8 am to midnight, Mayor Marion Barry Jr., will lie in repose at the Wilson Building. During these hours, the road ways on Pennsylvania Avenue NW, between 12th Street and 14th Street, NW, will have intermitted street closures as needed.

On Friday, December 5, 2014, from 6 am until 9 am, Mayor Marion Barry Jr., will lie in repose at the Wilson Building. The road ways on Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W., between 12th Street and 14th Street, NW, will have intermitted street closures as needed.

Following the viewing, there will be intermitted street closures from 9 am until 12:30 pm, for the citywide processional, which will begin at the Wilson Building and conclude at the Temple of Praise Church, located at 700 Southern Avenue, SE. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Mayor-Elect Bowser’s Public-Private Partnership Bill Unanimously Approved

Legislation paves way for greater private investment in major public works projects

This week, the D.C. Council unanimously passed legislation written by Mayor-Elect Muriel Bowser that will help secure funding for large-scale infrastructure projects in the District.

The Public-Private Partnership Act of 2014 is an innovative piece of legislation that encourages private investment in major public works projects and establishes a clear framework for securing public-private partnerships (P3s) in the District of Columbia.
Continue reading

HEADLINES

Council Passes McDuffie’s Bill to Increase Pay Equity and Transparency

Councilmember Kenyan R. McDuffie’s (D – Ward 5) “Wage Transparency Amendment Act of 2014” received final approval by the Council of the District of Columbia. The legislation will increase pay equity and transparency by prohibiting retaliation against employees for discussing their wages and eliminating wage non-disclosure agreements, or so-called “pay secrecy” policies. The bill was introduced in April of this year to coincide with Equal Pay Day – the day that symbolizes how far into 2014 women must work to earn what men earned in 2013, on average. Continue reading

HEADLINES

DGS Launches 2nd Annual Sprint to Savings Energy Competition

December 1, marked the start of the 2nd annual Sprint to Savings energy competition held by the Department of General Services (DGS) Sustainability and Energy Division. Twenty six (26) DC Public Schools are competing in the five week competition, which aims to reduce energy use by engaging students and changing behavior. The innovative program is a partnership between the DC Government, US Green Building Council National Capital Region Chapter and DC Sustainable Energy Utility. Continue reading

HEADLINES

President Obama and First Family Light the National Christmas Tree

The National Park Service and the National Park Foundation are excited to announce that President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and their family will officially light the National Christmas Tree on Thursday, December 4 at the 92nd annual National Christmas Tree Lighting ceremony on the Ellipse in President’s Park, one of America’s 401 national parks. Follow @TheNationalTree on Twitter and visit www.thenationaltree.org for the most up-to-date event information including how to tune in and watch the online live stream of the show. Continue reading

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Sen. Warner to Host 2nd Annual Virginia Science Summit

On Friday, December 5, U.S. Sen. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) will bring together a cross-section of Virginia’s leaders in science on Friday for the second annual Virginia Summit on Science, Engineering and Medicine, co-hosted by Sen. Warner, the Virginia Academy of Science, Engineering, and Medicine (VASEM) and Virginia Tech. This summit will provide an opportunity for VASEM members and their protégés to join with representatives from government, industry, and institutions of higher education in Virginia to discuss Big Data and its implications for science, technology, healthcare and industry.
Continue reading

HEADLINES

RCN Business Makes Working Away From Office Easy With “Office Mobility”

New app allows users to receive and manage business calls through smart devices

RCN Business, a communications provider delivering network solutions for voice, data and video, announces today that it has launched the Office Mobility app as an additional feature to its Hosted Voice and Business Phone with Call Manager products. This new app empowers employees to collaborate more effectively with co-workers, vendors and customers in a timely manner, with a secure, remote connection to their business phone. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Physicians Are Leaving Medicare Because of “Doc Fix” Process

“It’s a sad state of affairs when doctors are forced to risk the financial health of their practices just to take on new Medicare patients,” said Dr. David Hogberg, senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Research. “But that’s the result of the uncertainty created by threatened cuts to Medicare physician fees.”


In an a new National Policy Analysis paper entitled “To Bring Doctors Back to Medicare, Fix The ‘Doc Fix’,” Dr. Hogberg argues that it is time to end the threat of physician cuts.
 Continue reading

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Smoking rate down a bit, from 18.1 percent to 17.8 percent

The latest survey data from the CDC, collected over last year, reveal an ongoing salutary trend in our nation’s adult smoking rate: it is now down to 17.8 percent, as compared to 2012’s 18.1 percent. Unfortunately, the number of adult smokers remains in the low 40 millions, and the number who smoke daily was about 32 million in 2013, not much different from the 2012 results: 33 million. Continue reading

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DC Lottery Makes Winning Move!

Agency relocates operations to new office building in Anacostia

Effective December 12, 2014, the DC Lottery’s headquarters will relocate to 2235 Shannon Place, SE. While physically just one block from its current location inside what was formerly a furniture warehouse on Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE, the move represents a new age of operations for the 32-year old revenue-generating DC Government agency. Continue reading

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DDOE Launches 311 Tip App for Local Environmental Violations

Public Urged to Report Potential Harm to the Environment and Community
The District Department of the Environment (DDOE) has further enhanced its efforts to enforce the District’s environmental laws and regulations with the launch of a new Environmental Tips Mobile Application (App).

The new app encourages public activism by allowing residents to report violations, including sharing photos and comments, to DDOE. A tracking number is provided for the public to follow up on each reported incident.

The app will support the following DDOE programs/activities: Continue reading

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Mayor Gray Puts Forth Legislation for Hill East Redevelopment

Plan includes affordable housing, new retail and other neighborhood amenities
Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently said he put forth legislation that paves the way for the redevelopment of two District of Columbia-owned parcels located in the Hill East District neighborhood. The legislation will allow the District to dispose of the property to the development team of Donatelli Development and Blue Skye Development in order to create a vibrant, mixed-income, mixed-use urban waterfront community. Continue reading

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DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Congratulates Local NEA Grant Recipients

The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) congratulates the DC-based artists and organizations that have been selected to receive grants from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA).

The NEA’s Art Works grants supports the creation of art that meets the highest standards of excellence, public engagement with diverse and excellent art, lifelong learning in the arts, and the strengthening of communities through the arts. Continue reading

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Experience the Magic of Opportunity and the Miracle of the Human Spirit

7th Annual “Magic & Miracles,” To Benefit Ready, Willing & Working

Ready, Willing, and Working (RWW), a 501(c)3 organization aimed at ending the cycles of homelessness, welfare dependency, and substance abuse in Washington, D.C., will be hosting the 7th Annual Magic and Miracles, on December 4 from 6:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., at The Atlas Performing Arts Center, 1333 H Street, NE, in Washington, D.C. WAMU 88.5 Talk Show Host Kojo Nnamdi will serve as the M.C. for the evening. Continue reading

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Donate Toys for Washington area Military Families

Operation Homefront, the national non-profit organization that provides emergency financial and other assistance to military families, is joining with Dollar Tree to launch its annual Holiday Toy Drive to collect gifts for military kids. Operation Homefront is teaming up with more than 70 Dollar Tree stores in and around Washington to collect purchased toys to be distributed to the children of service members this holiday season. Thursday will be the last day to donate. Continue reading

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Governor McAuliffe Announces $12 Million Investment in King George County

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Commercial Metals Company (NYSE: CMC), a global, low-cost metals recycling, manufacturing, fabricating, and trading enterprise, will invest $12 million to relocate and expand its manufacturing operation in King George County. The project will retain approximately 40 existing jobs and create another 20 new jobs.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “My top priority as Governor is to create a new Virginia economy, and Commercial Metals Company’s investment in the Fredericksburg region is another step forward in this goal. Virginia is proud to retain a valued employer and corporate partner like CMC, and King George County’s manufacturing site with rail service meets the company’s current growth needs and provides capacity for future expansion.”

“Commercial Metals Company is a great asset to the Fredericksburg region and the Commonwealth,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Advanced manufacturing is an increasingly important sector for catalyzing economic growth and job creation in Virginia. We look forward to CMC’s future in King George County.”

Commercial Metals Company and its subsidiaries manufacture, recycle and market steel and metal products, related materials and services through a network including steel minimills, steel fabrication and processing plants, construction-related product warehouses, metal recycling facilities and marketing and distribution offices in the United States and in strategic international markets.

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with King George County and the Fredericksburg Regional Alliance to secure the project for Virginia. The company is eligible for rail access funding from the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation. Funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“King George is proud to Welcome CMC to our industrial park,” said Joe Grzeika, Board Chairman of the King George Board of Supervisors. “We look forward to forging another strong corporate partnership with their firm, as we have with our other businesses. CMC will bring additional high-paying manufacturing jobs and revenues to our County, and we believe they will find King George a great place to enhance and grow their business. This addition serves as another positive step in our vision as we work to build out this park. Today is a great day for CMC and King George County.”

“Considering the highly competitive nature of economic development, it is exciting to be able to add a Fortune 500 Company of CMC’s caliber to King George County,” said Linwood Thomas, King George County Economic Development Director. “This project will also help to bring additional infrastructure to the King George Industrial Park, making it a destination for manufacturing corporations nationally and internationally looking to grow and expand between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, strategically located on the eastern seaboard.

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BGE and Its Employees Support Give Corps’ #GivingTuesday through Charitable Giving and Volunteer Events Across Maryland


In support of #GivingTuesday, the official opening of the giving season, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) and its employees teamed up with GiveCorps, for the second year in a row, in an effort to make Baltimore the most generous city in America. #GivingTuesday is a nation-wide effort by GiveCorps to encourage charitable giving and volunteer efforts, in the spirit of the holiday season. BGE and parent company Exelon Corporation will match each and every monetary gift, dollar-for-dollar, that its employees make to various nonprofit organizations as part of #GivingTuesday Continue reading

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Local children perform in Great Russian Nutcracker side-by-side with 40 professionals

Local ballet students audition, rehearse and perform in Moscow Ballet’s Great Russian Nutcracker side-by-side with the company of 40 professionals. Moscow Ballet auditions local children ages 7 to 16 years for roles that are created to suit different age and skill levels in the 23 year old “Dance with Us” program. “Our local Dance with Us kids..had an experience you couldn’t put into words. It was amazing.”Jordan Petersen-Fitts, co-owner Cuyahoga Falls Dance Studio, MB Host Dance Studio. Continue reading

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BGE to Assess Opt-Out Fees for Customers Who Have Not Responded to Attempts to Upgrade Their Electric and Gas Meters

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) can consider customers who have not responded to multiple requests to install a smart meter as opting-out of the meter upgrade, based on the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) order issued on November 25, 2014. After 15 attempts at contact, BGE will automatically enroll these customers into the smart meter opt-out program and assess the related fees. The latest PSC order on smart meters follows an order from February 2014 that stated that Maryland customers who do not want a smart meter can have a standard meter at an initial cost of $75, billed in three installments of $25, and an additional monthly fee of $11. BGE will provide 30-day notice to customers who have not responded to installation attempts before assessing the opt-out fees. Continue reading

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DC-based Hospitals Among 35 Nationally Recognized Treatment Centers Ready to Handle Ebola

The DC Department of Health (DOH) reaffirms its commitment to preparing for potential cases of Ebola Virus Disease by announcing the first tier of acute care hospitals ready to address Ebola in the District of Columbia. DOH, with the support of the US Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified Children’s National Medical Center, Medstar Washington Hospital Center and George Washington University Hospital as the first group of nationally recognized Ebola preparedness hospitals in the District of Columbia. The CDC and DOH have visited, evaluated and determined these facilities capable of providing extensive clinical treatment. Continue reading

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Metro Announces Weekends Largely Free of Track Work for the Holiday Season:

Whether you’re traveling to go shopping, visiting family or friends, or heading out of town, Metro will make getting around a bit easier this holiday season with very limited rebuilding work affecting train schedules between now and Christmas.
“Thanks to all of the intense rebuilding work that has happened up to this point, we are in a position where we can ease up on track work for a few weekends and let our customers enjoy the season,” said Metro Deputy General Manager Rob Troup. “We are also mindful of the role Metro plays in supporting the regional economy, and it is gratifying to be in a position to support the business community with good service this holiday season.” Continue reading

Anacostia

A Hidden Southeast Treasure

By Tiamoyo Harris
Between the 24-hour express market and the grocery store on the intersection of Good Hope Road and Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue in southeast Washington, D.C. lies a 9,300 square foot apple green building. It’s enhanced with a glass front displaying artwork to attract onlookers as they pass by. On the sidewalk, a tree grows right in the middle of the front view of the store, with its branches partially covering up the Art Center’s sign. However, the tree branches haven’t stopped customers from filing into the Anacostia Arts Center every day since June 2013 when it opened. Continue reading

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Georgetown BID Announces Artists for Georgetown GLOW December 12-14

From Friday, December 12 through Sunday, December 14, re-imagine the season of light at Georgetown GLOW, a new, FREE holiday event that includes the region’s only curated outdoor exhibition of modern light-art installations set against the historic backdrop of D.C.’s oldest neighborhood. Seven local, regional, and international artists were chosen from 26 applicants to create site-specific work for the first annual exhibition. Continue reading

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Nation Reacts to grand jury decision in Ferguson

(UPI) — Pockets of unrest roiled for a second night in Ferguson as protesters took to the streets again in response to a grand jury decision not to indict a white police officer in the fatal shooting of an unarmed 18-year-old black teenager.
Protests also unfolded in cities across the U.S. as thousands took to the streets to express their unhappiness with the grand jury’s decision.
Protests in Ferguson were mostly peaceful for much of the day, but tensions increased once night fell. Continue reading

DC Councilman Marion Barry may be facing censure after a council vote today.

The District of Columbia Invites Residents to Express Condolences for the Late Marion S. Barry, Jr., at Wilson Building

Mayor Vincent C. Gray; Council Chairman Phil Mendelson and the Council of the District of Columbia invite residents to sign an official Book of Condolence for Ward 8 Councilmember and former Mayor Marion S. Barry, Jr.

The condolence book can be sign through November 28th
 from 9:00 am – 5:30 pm at the John A. Wilson Building
 First Floor Grand Foyer
 1350 Pennsylvania Avenue. The Book of Condolence offers residents an opportunity to express their sympathy and appreciation for the life and legacy of the four-term Mayor and three-term Councilmember. To many, Mr. Barry represented hope and justice. He championed policies to help “the last, the lost and the least” – as he would often say. Mr. Barry loved the District of Columbia, and so many residents loved him.


HEADLINES

DC Prepares to Launch New Parking Program Downtown

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced today the launch of the Chinatown Multimodal Value Pricing Pilot. The pilot will encompass all 1,300 metered on-street parking spaces in the area bounded by H Street, NW; E Street, NW; 12th Street, NW; and 3rd Street, NW. This initial project is using the Chinatown/Penn Quarter area as a laboratory to test state-of-the-art strategies to make it easier to find parking spaces. The project will accomplish this by: Continue reading

HEADLINES

District of Columbia Requires DC Contractors to Repay Unpaid Living Wages

Mayor Vincent C. Gray announced recently that the District of Columbia government has directed several DC contractors to pay back a total of $2,840,270 to 1,314 impacted employees who were entitled to receive the 2013 living wage rate of $13.50 per hour, but were underpaid. The Department of Employment Services (DOES) has negotiated retroactive payments for the living wage associated amounts for FY 2013-2014.

Under the Living Wage Act of 2006, District of Columbia government contractors and recipients of government assistance (e.g., grants, loans, tax increment financing) in the amount of $100,000 or more shall pay affiliated employees no less than the current living wage rate. Subcontractors of DC government contractors who receive $15,000 or more from the contract and subcontractors of the recipients of government assistance who receive $50,000 or more from the assistance are required to pay their employees no less than the current living wage. Continue reading

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Charter Board Releases 2014 Performance Management Framework (PMF) Results

The DC Public Charter School Board (PCSB) and Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced the annual quality ratings for public charter schools, which show that students in nearly every Ward of the city are achieving at high levels in top-performing Tier 1 schools.

The number of students educated by these schools (including their early childhood programs) in 2014 is 12,437, a nine percent increase from the previous year, and the highest number ever of students attending Tier 1 charter schools.

As students in DC continue to attend public charter schools – 44% of all DC public school students in 2014 – judging the quality of the education programs becomes increasingly important. Continue reading

HEADLINES

District of Columbia Economy Adds 8,300 Jobs

Unemployment Rate at 7.6 Percent
The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that the preliminary October job estimates show an increase of 8,300 jobs, for a total of 761,800 jobs in the District. The private sector increased by 7,800 jobs, while the public sector payrolls increased by 500 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers. Continue reading

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Ferguson probe: Conflicting witnesses, ME Denied access

Evidence released in the shooting of Michael Brown sheds light on how a grand jury concluded there was no probable cause to indict Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson in the unarmed teenager’s death.
The file, released by St. Louis County prosecutor Robert McCulloch, also illuminates complaints from the Medical Examiner that he was denied access to some evidence in the case.
In testimony to the grand jury, whose decision not to indict was announced Monday, sparking protests, Wilson described the killing as self-defense and said the incident began with punches. Continue reading

HEADLINES

Food Security, the Environment and Waste: Issues for a World of 7 Billion People

In a world of seven billion people, is there a way to keep our international institutions accountable for serving the global population and the environment? At the 113th American Anthropological Association (AAA) Annual Meeting the world’s top anthropologists will present their work and discuss issues regarding waste, safeguarding the environment, and the World Bank’s role in these questions. Continue reading

HEADLINES

SBA Partners with National Restaurant Association to Boost Dining Out on Small Business Saturday

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Administrator, Maria Contreras-Sweet, announced that the federal agency is partnering with the National Restaurant Association to promote dining out during Small Business Saturday on November 29th. The partnership will amplify restaurants during the national push to support our nation’s small businesses on the busiest shopping weekend of the year. Continue reading

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DPR Winter Wondercamp Schedule

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) will offer DPR Winter Wondercamp in conjunction with the DC Public Schools (DCPS) winter holiday break. DPR will operate only one session for the 2014 Winter Wondercamp on Monday, December 22; Tuesday, December 23; Monday, December 29; Tuesday, December 30; and Friday, January 2.

Winter Wondercamp is offered for children ages 6 to 12 years old and a sports camp is offered for youth 8 – 13 years old. Registration will open at 12 noon on Monday, November 24, 2014. Continue reading

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Ring in the Holidays at the Encore Chorale Free Holiday Concert

Encore Chorale will present a free holiday choral concert with a distinctly international flair on Thursday, December 18 at 7:30pm at the National Museum of the American Indian Rasmuson Theater, located at 4th Street & Independence Avenue, NW, Washington, DC. More than 150 Encore Chorale singers will perform a repertoire that includes traditional favorites for Christmas and Hanukkah, as well as music that reflects holiday traditions around the world. Continue reading

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$100 Million Mortgage Initiative for Homebuyers in Prince George’s County

Homebuyers in County Eligible for Significant Rate Reduction, Up to $20,000 in Downpayment Assistance

Acting Secretary Clarence Snuggs, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler today announced the launch of the Maryland Mortgage Program TriplePlay Initiative in Prince George’s County for potential homebuyers.

This new $100 million mortgage initiative is designed to help stabilize county neighborhoods by promoting homeownership.
Here’s why the initiative is called TriplePlay: First, families looking to buy a home in Prince George’s County through the Maryland Mortgage Program may be eligible for up to $20,000 of downpayment and closing cost assistance. Second, they are eligible for a reduced Maryland Mortgage Program interest rate. Third, the state is waiving its fee to receive the Maryland HomeCredit, which allows homebuyers to claim a federal income tax credit of up to $2,000 for as long as the Maryland Mortgage Program loan is outstanding. Continue reading

Washington Wizards Thanksgiving

Wizards Beal & Wall Hosted Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway

Bradley Beal and John Wall partnered to host “Backcourt Baskets” on Thursday, Nov. 20 at John H. Ketcham Elementary School located at 1919 15th Street, SE, Washington, D.C., 20020. The Wizards dynamic duo gave away 400 Thanksgiving baskets to the entire student and teacher population.

“It’s an opportunity for us to show that we care about the city and we’re trying to make people aware that there are a lot of people in need, especially during this time of year, ” said Beal. Continue reading

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Dominion Virginia Power Continues to Urge Customers to Protect Themselves from Scams

Dominion Virginia Power is advising its customers to be on guard against on-going scammers who threaten to disconnect electrical service if payment is not made. The company never asks for immediate payment of cash, a “green dot” card or PayPal as a prerequisite to keeping lights on.

“Public safety is a priority for Dominion, whether it comes in the form of physical security or protecting our customers from those who would violate their trust,” said Dan Jenkins, director-Corporate Security, Safety and Health.“That is why we are continuing to work closely with law enforcement partners throughout our service area to quickly report incidents and provide them with information they need to bring these criminals to justice.”
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Montgomery Parks Thanksgiving Holiday Weekend Operating Schedule

All Montgomery Parks’ facilities and programs will be closed on Thanksgiving, November 27, 2014, including Brookside Gardens Visitors Center and Conservatory, ice skating rinks, nature centers, the park permits office, tennis centers, Regional and Recreational athletic fields and the South Germantown Driving Range.

Below are additional details on operating hours at various facilities including information on park programs and classes taking place over the holiday weekend.   

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New National Children’s Museum Partnership Will Bring International Art to U.S. Kids

The National Children’s Museum (NCM) recently announced a new partnership with the Association of Children’s Museums (ACM) to bring the work of international artist Nek Chand to museums across the United States that serve children and their families. The project will be launched in 2015 and initial research and planning for potential locations is currently underway.

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Governor O’Malley Caves to Oil and Gas Interests, Opens up Maryland to Fracking


“Governor Martin O’Malley’s announcement recently that his administration will release regulations on fracking next month ignores the tens of thousands of Marylanders calling on him to keep fracking out of the state.

“The Maryland Governor, who touts himself as a progressive champion of the environment, cowardly announced right before the Thanksgiving holiday that Maryland will move forward with fracking. He leaves control of fracking’s regulation in the hands of pro-fracking Governor-elect Larry Hogan, someone who sees fracking as a “goldmine” for the state’s coffers. Continue reading

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