National Sec

No Credible Reports of ‘Plot on the Homeland’

President Barack Obama delivers a statement on national security

(UPI) — President Barack Obama encouraged Americans to go about their business and remain vigilant during the Thanksgiving weekend in an effort to assuage fears of a Paris-like attack on the United States.

Obama said Wednesday there have been no credible, specific reports of a “plot on the homeland,” adding national security services “are on the case.” He said the United States is going after the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, ISIL and Daesh, “wherever they may hide.”

“They are working overtime. They are continually monitoring threats at home and abroad. They are constantly working to protect all of us,” he said of his national security team. “We are taking every precaution to keep our homeland safe.”

Obama delivered his remarks after an hour-long meeting in the Situation Room with Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, Attorney General Loretta Lynch, FBI Director James Comey and others.

The security update comes a day after Obama and French President Francois Hollande called for all Western nations to step up the fight against the IS.


President Barack Obama, hosts President François Hollande of France

The leaders met to discuss coordination of their efforts in the war against ISIL in the aftermath of the attacks in Paris

(UPI) — President Barack Obama reaffirmed Tuesday the United States’ commitment to France and leading an international campaign against the Islamic State, but stopped short of supporting a French-proposed coalition that would include Russia.

Obama, in a joint news conference with French President Francois Hollande, said there is no plot to exclude Russia from the broad-base coalition to take out the IS, but Moscow has been “focused on propping [Syrian President Bashar al-Assad] rather than focusing on ISIL.”
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Events DC

Mayor Bowser, Events DC Unveil New Businesses at Walter E. Washington Convention Center

DC-based business leaders come together to highlight District’s thriving tourism, hospitality, and development sectors

Mayor Muriel Bowser, At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange, and Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans joined Events DC – the convention and sports authority for the District – to announce six new retail and restaurant tenants that will soon occupy spaces that have been vacant for years at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center. These businesses will bring highly anticipated economic activity and jobs to Washington, DC, and more community services to the Shaw Corridor.

“The realized potential of the convention center’s retail is yet another sign of DC’s economic vibrancy,” said Mayor Bowser.  “I’m excited to see District-based businesses bring new services to residents and tourists in the Shaw neighborhood.  My Administration will continue to work with our locally based businesses and the labor community to attract good-paying jobs and place more residents on a pathway to the middle class.”
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DISB Re-accredited by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners

This certification represents a continuation of excellence in the District’s insurance regulation

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) received accreditation for another five years by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC) on Nov. 18. DISB has been accredited since 1995.

“The NAIC accreditation demonstrates that DISB continues to meet national standards for regulating insurance companies operating in the District,” said Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor. “It is a credit to the hard work of DISB’s staff to ensure we maintain this important regulatory certification for the protection of District of Columbia residents.”
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District of Columbia Adds 8,400 Private Sector Jobs

Highest increases among education, health, professional and business industries

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported today that 8,400 jobs were added to the District’s private sector industries during October 2015. The seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.6 percent – down by 0.1 percentage point from the reported and revised September unemployment rate.

The District’s preliminary October job estimates show public sector payrolls decreased by 200 jobs, for a total of 773,000 jobs in the District. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers.
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New one-stop website connects residents to full- and
part-time green jobs and internships

The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) recently launched Green Pathways, a new online portal to connect residents with full-time and part-time green employment, internships, fellowships, volunteer opportunities, and summer jobs at DOEE. Through this program, DOEE anticipates hiring more than 60 full-time and part-time employees during the 2016 fiscal year.

Committed to providing individuals with the opportunity to learn, gain valuable experience, and develop skills to help them progress in their education and career, DOEE’s Green Pathways has opportunities for individuals with varying levels of education, skills, and experience. This program enables interested applicants to apply for current green employment opportunities or submit a resume for future opportunities.

Through Green Pathways, DOEE has just launched its Green Fellows program and is accepting applications for its inaugural cohort. Graduate students enrolled in higher education institutions within the District of Columbia are eligible and are encouraged to apply. Areas of responsibility will include research and policy, writing and editing, and project management. Each Green Fellow’s term culminates in a final presentation to the DOEE director and senior staff.

DOEE is the leading authority on energy and environmental issues affecting the District of Columbia. The mission of the agency is to improve the quality of life for the residents and natural inhabitants of the nation’s capital by protecting and restoring the environment, conserving natural resources, mitigating pollution, increasing access to clean and renewable energy, and educating the public on ways to secure a sustainable future.

For more information about DOEE, or to browse Green Pathways opportunities, visit



Health Expo and Job Fair Are Part of 16th Annual Community Event at Walter E. Washington Convention Center

For the 16th consecutive year, Safeway and Events DC set the stage for the Feast of Sharing at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center on Wednesday, Nov. 25, which provided a festive holiday meal, along with a variety of services, for District residents in need.  This annual community event featured a health and wellness expo to include free flu shots and diabetes testing, and free clothing giveaway.  The doors opened at 9:30 a.m. with a traditional turkey dinner being served from 11:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.

Approximately 5,000 city residents were invited to attend the Safeway Feast of Sharing, which brings together a host of community partners and volunteers, including The Salvation Army, Unity Health Care, Events DC, SunTrust Bank, Centerplate/NBSE and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
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New Report Exposes Hidden Costs of Hunger in Health Care

 A new study commissioned by Bread for the World Institute shows that last year alone, hunger and food insecurity increased health expenditures in the United States by $160 billion. The study is highlighted in the Institute’s new report, The Nourishing Effect: Ending Hunger, Improving Health, Reducing Inequality.

“Nowhere are the hidden costs of hunger and food insecurity greater than in health care,” said Rev. David Beckmann, president of Bread for the World. “Access to nutritious food is essential to healthy growth and development, and can prevent the need for costly medical care. Many chronic diseases—the main causes of poor health as well as the main drivers of healthcare costs—are related to diet.”

Food insecurity is associated with higher rates of depression, cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, and other physical and mental health conditions. Food assistance programs such as SNAP (formerly known as food stamps) and school lunches save money in the long run by improving educational and health outcomes.
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CCCIE Joins New Partnership to Increase English Proficiency within the Retail Sector

Made Possible by a $1.2 Million Grant from the Walmart Foundation

The Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education (CCCIE) has joined with leadership of the National Immigration Forum, Miami Dade College, and the Walmart Foundation to develop an innovative new program, Skills and Opportunity for the New American Workforce, to increase the English language skills among retail workers for whom English is a second language. The program is being made possible by a one-year, $1.2 million grant from the Walmart Foundation.

Working together, the Forum, Miami Dade College and CCCIE, a national network of community colleges which is hosted and led by Westchester Community College in Valhalla, New York, will design and implement a contextualized English language learning program, utilizing online and worksite training methods. The program will be piloted in Houston, Miami and the New York metro area, with a range of retail businesses. Initial business partners include retail partners of the Forum’s existing program, New American Workforce.

The retail sector has one of the highest levels of limited-English-proficient workers, at nearly 1.5 million, approximately half of whom are women. Leaders within the retail sector are recognizing the profound impact that improved access to educational opportunities can have on advancement, retention, improved work quality, and economic success. This program creates a scalable, sector-wide contextualized English language learning program that will help retailers build stronger career pathways for their employees.

One of the first of its kind specific to the retail sector, the program is part of the Forum’s New American Workforce initiative. The initiative works to create public-private partnerships between employers and service providers to increase employee English language proficiency, and in turn help accelerate their advancement and mobility in the retail sector.

CCCIE National Survey Cites Need for Job-Related ESL

CCCIE’s involvement in the program was announced at its Washington, D.C. briefing held recently to discuss the results of CCCIE’s new National Survey for Increasing Opportunities for New Americans at Community Colleges. A majority of the community college respondents indicated a need for strengthening their ties with employers and developing more job-related training and support for immigrants, including contextualized ESL career pathway programs.

“Employer engagement is critical to building high-quality programs that benefit immigrant workers and the businesses that employ them,” said Teresita Wisell, Executive Director of the Community College Consortium for Immigrant Education and Vice President of Continuing Education and Workforce Development at Westchester Community College. “Our partnership with the National Immigration Forum, Miami Dade College, and the Walmart Foundation truly represents a win-win opportunity to support retail employees’ personal and career growth through acquisition of work-related English language skills and at the same time contribute to increased productivity and effectiveness among retailers and the sector as a whole.” Miami Dade College is a CCCIE member and also participates in the Forum’s New American Workforce initiative.

Training Will Reach 750 Retail Employees in the First Year

What sets this program apart from traditional language software or academic English programs is the fact that it integrates English language training with skills needed in the workplace such as active listening, industry-specific vocabulary and spontaneous conversation skills. Training will be focused on building the vocabulary and context employees need to be successful at their jobs, increasing customer satisfaction, improving communication with their colleagues and supervisors, and improving safety.

The program will be largely focused on non-supervisory positions, such as cashiers, stockers, greeters, etc., where Limited English Proficient individuals are most concentrated, but may include higher level (non-management) employees as appropriate. The goal in the first year is to reach 750 individuals, in preparation for potential broader scaling in the future. Corporate and managerial involvement and support in development, delivery, and assessment of training will be a key element in the program. Support from the Walmart Foundation makes it possible to provide the training to participants for free.

“Through education programs that focus on the development of tangible skill sets, we have an opportunity to set retail workers on a clear road to advancement,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, president of the Walmart Foundation and chief sustainability officer at Walmart. “Our work with the National Immigration Forum is part of our $100 million Opportunity initiative announced earlier this year. Working together with business, government and nonprofit partners, we can help increase the economic mobility of entry-level workers across the country.”

“It is an honor to partner with such forward-thinking and compassionate organizations to make a difference in an area where so much impact can be made. As an immigrant, I know the importance of learning English in order to achieve the American Dream,” said Eduardo J. Padrón, President of Miami Dade College. “We are proud to continue offering real and innovative solutions to address our nation’s workforce challenges.”

“The Walmart Foundation’s investment in this innovative project allows immigrants to increase their skills, creating new opportunities for the individual worker, their employer and the retail sector overall,” said Ali Noorani, executive director of the National Immigration Forum. “New Americans are crucial contributors to the retail sector, and the new Skills and Opportunity for the New American Workforce program helps the sector increase productivity, workforce engagement and retention, and employee skill and satisfaction.”


Lending Club Opens to Retail Investors in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, and the District of Columbia

Lending Club (NYSE: LC), the world’s largest online marketplace connecting borrowers and investors, announced today that its marketplace is now available to retail investors in Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, and Washington, D.C., bringing the total number of states open to retail investors to 41 plus the District of Columbia. Lending Club’s platform was previously available to accredited investors only in Kentucky.

“Individual investors continue to be key to the long term growth and efficiency of the Lending Club marketplace, and are fueling many of the network effects that have helped the platform to double again over the last 12 months,” said Lending Club founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche. “There are now well over 100,000 active retail investors participating in the Lending Club marketplace, and we’re excited that investors in 41 states and our nation’s capital can now enjoy the benefits of investing in consumer credit, an asset class that was previously only available to banks and large institutions.”

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MillerCoors Renews Commitment to Thurgood Marshall College Fund with a Milestone $1.2 Million Donation

Steve Canal, National Community Affairs, MillerCoors presents Thurgood Marshall College Fund President and CEO Johnny C. Taylor with $1.2 million donation during 27th Annual TMCF Gala held in Washington, DC

MillerCoors, founding corporate sponsor of the Thurgood Marshall College Fund, recently presented the organization with a$1.2 million donation to support its programming and scholarships during TMCF’s 27th Anniversary Awards Gala on Monday at the Hilton Washington, DC.

“We have deep tradition in supporting education and are extremely proud of our longstanding partnership with TMCF. This amazing organization continues to help thousands of students professionally develop and attain a higher education,”said Steve Canal, national community affairs for MillerCoors. “MillerCoors is committed to empowering the next generation of leaders by providing educational resources and guidance.”

“As a founding partner, MillerCoors has been there for TMCF and our 300,000 students from day one,” said TMCF President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “Last night, MillerCoors gave our community $1.2 million to open the door yet again for more black college teachers to bring their best to America’s public K-12 classrooms and more HBCU college graduates to become future business leaders — beginning and building their careers at an iconic company like MillerCoors. Their commitment to TMCF for over 28 years has continued to demonstrate to other companies why supporting HBCUs is smart for our country — and we are most grateful!”

The funding will support their Teacher Quality and Retention program; as well as a number of students will receive a scholarship. MillerCoors also provides real-world experience for program scholars through its summer internship program, career readiness counseling and on-site student interviews during its annual career fairs. Furthermore, MillerCoors actively recruits students for employment opportunities. For more information please visit



The Famed DC Attraction Welcomed the Figure of Nelson Mandela Upon its Arrival in the Nation’s Capital With the Help of the George Washington University

Madame Tussauds Washington, DC is honored to celebrate the life of Nelson Mandela by welcoming his wax figure to the nation’s capital for the first time. To remember his life and recognize the two years since his tragic passing, his wax figure will be placed next to the historic “Free Mandela” Sidewalk Slab located on the George Washington University’s campus on Tuesday, December 1 from 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Nearly $3 Million in Grants to Expand No Wrong Door Program

Program seeks to streamline access to long-term services

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Virginia has been awarded nearly $3 million in federal funding to help ease difficulties older adults and people with disabilities may face when they seek support services from state agencies, health care systems and community organizations.

The Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services won two grants from the Administration on Community Living to expand Virginia’s No Wrong Door system and further streamline access to long-term services that allow individuals to remain in the community.

“This grant money will help the No Wrong Door program connect Virginians to services faster, help them understand their options for support and assistance, provide successful transitions for those returning home after a hospital stay, and allow service providers to better understand what’s happening in the individuals’ lives between doctor visits,” said Governor McAuliffe. “We welcome these federal funds because they help us to improve access to and quality of health care services for Virginians, while making the system more efficient for our taxpayers.”
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Dominion Gives $1 Million to Community Organizations That Provide Housing, Food and Medical Care

Dominion Resources recently announced that it is providing $1 million in grants through its charitable foundation to help feed, shelter and care for people in need across 12 states this holiday season. Donations will be shared by 119 non-profit organizations that are providing essential community services in areas of housing, food security, medicine and medical services. The Critical Community Needs grants will be awarded by the Dominion Foundation.

“The grants will support proven programs that provide the basic necessities we all need to survive and thrive, such as safe shelter, nutritious meals and medical care,” said Thomas F. Farrell II, chairman, president and CEO. “These essential programs strengthen the fabric of our communities by improving lives and providing hope for people in need.”
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The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore will be dropping ticket prices in December and modifying hours in January and February as winter comes our way.

From December 1 until December 31 admission will be $12 per person, with children under two still free. Hours remain 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. The Zoo will be closed on Christmas Day.

Beginning Friday, January 1, 2016 and continuing through Monday, February 29, the Zoo will be open each Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday, from 10:00 am until 4:00 pm. Admission during January and February is $10.00 per person.   Children under 2 and Zoo members are always free!
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Bicycle Master Plan Moves Ahead

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is making progress on the Bicycle Master Plan for the County through several initiatives.

On Thursday, November 19, the Planning Board approved the 21-member Bicycle Master Plan Community Advisory Group, which will advise Planning staff as the Master Plan develops. The group consists of 13 members from cycling and other organizations, and eight community members who applied to be part of the effort. These County residents were chosen from 60 applicants. The 21 members of the group are listed on the Bicycle Master Plan website.
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U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, joined a bicameral group of Congressional Members in sending a letter to U.S. Secretary of Labor Thomas Perez to encourage the Employee Benefits Security Administration to issue guidance on innovations to help workers retain retirement savings between jobs. When workers change jobs, many choose to cash out their retirement savings and start over with a new savings plan at their new job. Withdrawing these savings before retirement is known as “leakage,” and it could subject workers to additional taxes and have an impact on an individual’s ability to save adequately for retirement, especially among low-wage workers.

“For families who work hard and play by the rules, saving for retirement should be a source of stability, not a financial nightmare,” Senator Mikulski said. “Men and women in the workforce who change jobs need a government on their side when it comes to carrying over their hard-earned retirement savings. I’ll continue to stand up for Marylanders on the job so they aren’t penalized when preparing to live active and independent futures in retirement once the job’s done.”
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DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s “Ladies’ Night” Nurtures the Mind, Body and Spirit of Women Veterans

On Friday night, November 20, the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s Atrium was transformed into a haven of wellness and a festive ballroom as more than 170 women  Veterans were welcomed to “Ladies’ Night”.  The annual outreach event was created to introduce women Veterans to VA health care, benefits and services as well as resources available within the community.  The evening of engagement, appreciation and camaraderie offered an opportunity for women Veterans to see the cultural transformation taking place within the medical center.

The women enjoyed complementary and alternative therapies such as acupuncture, Reiki, massage and meditation in addition health screenings, flu shots and VA informational booths such as enrollment and eligibility, MyHealtheVet, E-Benefits.  Many visited the medical center’s Women’s Health Center which offers comprehensive and personalized health care, as well as 2-D and 3-D mammography.
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DPR Offers “DPR Fun Day” on December 4th During DC Public Schools’ Professional Development Days

Second of Four DPR Fun Days Held During DCPS 2015/2016 School Year

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced during the 2015-2016 school year, when DC Public Schools (DCPS) is closed for staff development, the agency will offer “DPR Fun Day,” a free, single-day program that offers fun and enriching activities (such as sports and athletics, arts and crafts, and more) for children between the ages 6 and 12 years old. DPR strives to meet the needs of District families when DCPS is closed for Professional Development days.

DPR Fun Day will be offered at select DPR sites on the following four days: Friday, October 9, 2015; Friday, December 4, 2015; Friday, February 12, 2016; and Friday, May 6, 2016.
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Georgetown GLOW Returns December 11-20

The seasonal celebration, featuring public light-art installations, expands from three days to 10 in its second year

Georgetown GLOW—the popular holiday celebration featuring outdoor public light-art installations that invite visitors to “re-imagine the season of light,”—is even bigger for 2015. In its second year, Georgetown GLOW will expand from a weekend-long celebration to a 10-day exhibition from December 11-20, with works lit from 6 – 10 p.m. nightly. Georgetown GLOW is a signature winter event celebrating the holiday season organized by the Georgetown Business Improvement District (BID). Visit for announcements and updates.
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New Development Database Tool Launched by County Executive, Planning Department and Montgomery Business Development Corporation 

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, has helped the Office of the County Executive launch a new online tool in partnership with the Montgomery Business Development Corporation for tracking the progress of development in the County. Called the Development Database, this digital resource builds on existing digital information about planned and projects under construction. Its introduction was announced at a press conference held on Monday, November 23 in the County’s Executive’s Conference Room in Rockville.

“Montgomery County has made tremendous investments in making our community more attractive, walkable and vibrant, even during the worst economic downturn,” said County Executive Ike Leggett, “because quality of place is essential to attracting businesses and talent.”
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Music School to Present Christmas Concert for Charity

The Catholic University of America will kick off its Christmas celebrations Dec. 4 with a night of seasonal sacred music during the 26th Annual Christmas Concert for Charity. This year’s concert will benefit the Little Workers of the Sacred Hearts, a Catholic religious order that provides catechesis, medical services for the poor, educational services, and other charitable works.

The concert, which is cosponsored by the Benjamin T. Rome School of Music and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, will take place at 7:30 p.m. in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church.

The first portion of the concert will feature the Choir of the Basilica, conducted by Peter Latona, director of music. The second half will feature the CUA Chamber Choir, the University Singers, University Chorus, and the CUA Symphony Orchestra conducted by Leo Nestor, Justine Bayard Ward Professor, director of choral studies, and director of the Institute of Sacred Music.
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Mayor Bowser Breaks Ground of New Fire Station; First Development at Walter Reed Campus

$12 million state-of-the-art facility will improve emergency services; paves way for more jobs and affordable housing in Ward 4

Mayor Muriel Bowser joined with city leaders for the groundbreaking ceremony on a $12 million state-of-the-art fire station at Walter Reed in Ward 4. The groundbreaking is the first major development to begin on the Walter Reed Campus.

“Today marks a significant milestone for Walter Reed and Ward 4 residents,” said Mayor Bowser. “A new DCFEMS Engine 22 means improved emergency services for Ward 4 residents and businesses. It also puts us on a trajectory to bring thousands of jobs and much needed affordable housing to this community. Once completed, Walter Reed will play a major role in our efforts to build more pathways to the middle class.”

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First Lady Michelle Obama Recognizes CityDance DREAM at the White House

First Lady Michelle Obama with CityDance DREAM Director Kelli Quinn and student Valeria Cruz
Photo Credit: Steven E. Purcell

CityDance Presented With Nation’s Highest Honor For Youth Arts and Humanities Programs 

CityDance, a D.C. non-profit dance organization, was awarded the National Arts and Humanities Youth Programming Award (NAHYP) for its after-school DREAM program on November 18th at the White House. First Lady Michelle Obama and the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities presented the award to CityDance DREAM Director Kelli Quinn and DREAM student Valeria Cruz.

Each year the NAHYP award recognizes the nation’s leading after-school programs for their use of arts and the humanities to increase academic achievement, graduation rates, and college enrollment. This year CityDance was among the 12 honorees selected from a pool of more than 285 nominations across the country, and the only organization hailing from the nation’s capital.

“The evidence is crystal clear. We know what arts means to kids. Kids who get involved in the arts or humanities have higher grades. They have higher graduation rates. They have higher college enrollment rates,” said Mrs. Obama at yesterday’s ceremony.
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Ward 7 & 8 Residents forming area’s first Solar co-op to go Solar together, Get a discount

Neighbors in Wards 7 and 8 have formed the East of the River Solar Co-op to save money and make going solar easier, while building a network of solar supporters. The Fairlawn Citizens Association and DC SUN are the co-op sponsors. The group is seeking members and will host an information meeting November 24 at the   to educate the community about solar and the co-op process.

“I wish I had known when I was looking at going solar about solar co-ops.   I’m an attorney and the process was confusing,” said Synta Keeling, a co-op organizer. “Co-ops allow residents to collectively research pricing and terms to ensure they get effective solar options at the most affordable price.”
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The NAACP Washington, D.C. Branch announced receipt of a $15,000 grant from the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association to fight obesity and promote healthy living and physical fitness in neighborhoods with some of the highest poverty rates in Washington, D.C.  This grant will provide healthy living and physical fitness initiatives for residents of Wards 7 and 8 in Washington, D.C., and will expand fitness classes from six months to a full year in 2016 for more than 200 residents, mainly women and teenage girls.

“The grant from the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America and the Maryland-Delaware-D.C. Beverage Association will not only enable us to expand the number of fitness classes but will have a significant impact on the health of the community,” said Akosua Ali, President of the NAACP DC Branch. “Our residents need programs that will help them exercise and learn healthy living strategies so we can reduce the high rate of obesity and disease.”
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By Stephen Jackson,

Educational Consultant, Principals Panel Chair, and Community Activist

Two Black male teachers with a group of male students at Dunbar High School in Washington, DC – the first public high school for African Americans

( — Over the past seven years, DCPS (DC Public Schools) stood as the epicenter of education reform. District residents have seen marked improvements. Chancellor Kaya Henderson’s Capital Commitment Campaign is in full swing and enrollment is steadily climbing. Most recently, Henderson with the mayor’s full support announced the Empowering Men of Color initiative aimed at serving the population that has experienced the least amount of success, historically, in our school system. This is not only a strong statement acknowledging the District’s need to support Black and Latino men (in the same fashion they have every other subgroup in the city), it tells every household of color that their presence and existence is valuable and necessary to the foundation and diverse culture the city has grown to become. Ironically, DCPS has a major challenge: How to achieve the goals of the Empowering Young Males of Color initiative without having a solid and significant cohort of strong Black male educators?
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Gas prices flirting with historic low

(UPI) — Low oil prices and the ending of a season of heavy refinery maintenance are pushing the U.S. average price for gas close to a historic record, analysts say.

Motor club AAA says refinery issues in the Midwest are winding down. Those issues during the late summer driving season skewed the national average higher as some retail stations in metropolitan areas like Chicago were selling gas above the $3 mark.

“Historically, gasoline demand tends to decline during the month of November, and with the autumn refinery maintenance season nearing completion, pump prices are expected to move lower to close out the year, barring any unanticipated outages or supply disruptions,” AAA said in a weekly retail report.
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Navy Rear Admiral Craig S. Faller will deliver the keynote address.

The Friends of the National World War II Memorial (Friends) and the National Park Service (NPS) will remember and honor all those who died in the December 7, 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor during a special event at the National World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C. on Monday, December 7, 2015 at 1:53 p.m.
As part of the commemoration, nearly twenty World War II veterans will present wreaths at the Freedom Wall in remembrance of the more than 400,000 Americans who lost their lives during World War II, including the more than 2,400 who lost their lives on December 7, 1941.

Among the World War II veterans taking part in this solemn ritual will be:

  • Frank Levingston of Lake Charles, Louisiana, who at 110-years-old is believed to be the oldest living WWII veteran.
  • Pearl Harbor survivor and D-Day+6 veteran Dale “Red” Robinson of Wise County, Texas.
  • WWII veterans visiting Washington, DC with Honor Flight DFW (Texas).

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Multiple cups of coffee a day linked to lower risk of death

(UPI) — For years, studies have cautiously shown that moderate amounts of coffee can be beneficial for brain and liver health, as well as reduce the risk for several types of cancer.

Researchers have now linked three to five cups of coffee per day to an overall lower risk of death, according to a new review of data on more than 200,000 health professionals.

The lowered risk was associated with a moderate amount of coffee, as opposed to those who drink only a cup or two, or no coffee at all, who did not see the health benefits. And when researchers adjusted for those who smoke cigarettes, the benefits of all that coffee were even greater.
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16th annual Safeway Feast of Sharing, Wednesday, November 25th

Safeway will host it’s annual Safeway Feast of Sharing at the Walter Washington Convention Center, 801 Mount Vernon Place, NW from 9:30 am to 1 pm.

The event is a wonderful Free Thanksgiving Dinner and event for seniors and those in need, and is served by dedicated volunteers!  The day’s events include a Free Job Fair and Health Screenings (West Salon) at 9:30 am, and Free Dinner.

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Shop Small #ShopDC in Ward 4, Saturday, November 28th

Join the Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLB) and discover all the cool DC neighborhoods on Small Business Saturday, November 28, 2015. Have an impact in your city while you shop!  #ShopSmall #ShopDC

To find awesome retail and restaurants in Ward 4, please join me and Ward 4 residents, along with people throughout the District, in shopping at small businesses in Ward 4 on Small Business Saturday, November 28, 2015.
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MPD Hosts Its First-Ever Community Bike Ride, Sunday, November 29th

The Metropolitan Police Department is rolling out a plan for community engagement with it’s first-ever community bike ride. Amid debate about the mayor’s plan to increase police presence on the streets, officers will pedal their way through neighborhoods alongside community members.  Have you ever wondered what it’s like to patrol on a bicycle as a police officer? Want to Ride-Along with MPD on your bike?

The start and end point of the ride will be at MPD Headquarters (300 Indiana Avenue, NW). The ride will begin at 10:00am and will be approximately 14.65 miles, which should take about 2.5 hours to complete. The ride will run through the 1st, 4th and 5th Districts. We will be including the Metropolitan Branch Trail. Please note: Helmets will be required for this ride!

If you have any questions about the ride, you can contact me at 202-360-7981, or Lt. Lamond (4D) at 202-437-0434, or Sgt. Wear (1D) at 202-277-7897. You can also email for more details.

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Students Receive Grants for Education or Community Project – Capitol Hill to Host Ceremony 

The Hispanic Heritage Foundation (HHF) recently announced the recipients of the Washington, DC Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Awards (see names below). Twenty-one local high school seniors will be honored for their leadership in the classroom and the community during a ceremony at the Rayburn House Office Building, Rayburn Gold Room 2168, 45 Independence Ave SW, Washington, DC 20515. In commemoration of the 17th anniversary of the Youth Awards, the ceremony will spotlight past Youth Awardees with special guests in attendance.
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Governor Announces Tax Savings for Virginia Employers in 2016

Employers across the Commonwealth estimated to save approximately $74M next year

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that Virginia employers will enjoy lower unemployment insurance (UI) taxes next year as a result of Virginia’s improved economy.

Employers will not pay the UI fund builder tax in 2016 because of the solvency of the UI trust fund.  The Virginia Employment Commission estimates that, as a result of the elimination of the fund builder tax, employers across the state will save a total of $55 million next year, which is a savings of up to $240 on average for individual employers.

In addition, the pool tax, a second component of the UI employer tax structure, will be reduced from 0.14% to 0.07%.  This will save the average employer a maximum of $84 next year resulting in an additional tax savings of $19.25 million across the state in 2016.
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Dominion Construction Projects to Produce $10 Billion in Economic Benefits for Virginia

Investments by Dominion over the next six years for projects to strengthen Virginia’s energy infrastructure and meet environmental goals will create thousands of jobs and inject $10.1 billion into the state’s economy, according to a new study by Chmura Economic & Analytics available here:

“Our growing commonwealth requires an expanding and reliable energy infrastructure,” said Paul Koonce, CEO of Dominion’s Energy Infrastructure Group and President of Dominion Virginia Power. “Our capital investment program over the next six years is designed to meet that need and achieve environmental goals related to the federal Clean Power Plan. We are very pleased that in doing so it will create a huge economic and jobs impact in Virginia.”
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Annapolis Symphony Orchestra Celebrates 100th Birthday of Frank Sinatra with Simply Sinatra Christmas

On Friday December 18, at 8:00pm, the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra, under the musical direction of José-Luis Novo, performs our Holiday Pops concert, entitled Simply Sinatra Christmas, featuring Steve Lippia, at Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts.  The performance is presented by PNC Wealth Management.

Simply Sinatra Christmas is a festive holiday show featuring pops sensation Steve Lippia.  In this show, Steve performs some of the most well-know and beloved Frank Sinatra songs as well as a variety of popular Christmas songs.  This show is a wonderful blend of holiday cheer, memories and jazz/swing standards with an energetic flair that only a big band can provide.
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MLB: Colorado Rockies at Washington Nationals

Strasburg Had Surgery to Remove Growth from Back

(CBS)–Stephen Strasburg’s agent says the Washington Nationals pitcher has had surgery to remove a non-cancerous growth from his back.

Speaking Wednesday at the general managers’ meetings, Scott Boras said Strasburg was bothered by the growth when he pitched. Boras says the surgery took place about a month ago and added: “He’s fine now.”

Strasburg was 11-7 with a career-high 3.46 ERA. He was on the disabled list from May 30 to June 23 because of neck tightness and from July 5 to Aug. 8 due to a left oblique strain. The 27-year-old right-hander, who was sidelined from August 2010 until September 2011 because of Tommy John surgery, can become a free agent after next season.


Skins Put C Lichtensteiger on IR-return; Sign de la Puente

(CBS)–The Washington Redskins have put center Kory Lichtensteiger on injured reserve with a designation to return and replaced him on the roster by signing free agent center Brian de la Puente.
The team announced the moves Tuesday.
Lichtensteiger has been dealing with a neck injury and missed Washington’s past three games.
De la Puente has started 50 games in the NFL over the past four seasons with the New Orleans Saints and Chicago Bears.
He went on injured reserve a year ago while with the Bears, then became a free agent in the offseason.
The Redskins (3-5) host the Saints (4-5) on Sunday.


Redskins Come Up Short Against the Patriots

(ABC)–It was more than 10 minutes into the game and the score was already lopsided.

New England touchdowns: 2. Washington total plays from scrimmage: 1.

Julian Edelman and LeGarrette Blount scored touchdowns before the Redskins ran their second play, and the New England Patriots won 27-10 on Sunday to remain unbeaten.

Tom Brady completed 26 of 39 passes for 299 yards and two touchdowns, including an 8-yard TD to Edelman on the opening drive. New England (8-0) then pulled off a surprise onside kick, but that drive stalled when Edelman fumbled.

Washington could manage only a single play: Kirk Cousins’ pass that bounced off Pierre Garcon and was intercepted by Logan Ryan. New England then marched down the field to make it 14-0 on Blount’s 5-yard score.
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Adidas Offers to Help Eliminate Native American Mascots

(FOX)–Adidas is offering to help high schools nationwide drop Native American mascots.
The athletic shoe and apparel maker said Thursday it will provide free design resources to schools looking to shelve Native American mascots, nicknames, imagery or symbolism. The German company also pledged to provide financial support to ensure the cost of changing is not prohibitive.

Adidas announced the initiative in conjunction with the White House Tribal Nations Conference in Washington, which includes leaders from the 567 federally recognized tribes.

The company, which has its North American headquarters in Portland, Oregon, also said it will be a founding member of a coalition that addresses Native American mascots in sports.
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Mayor Bowser Announces Funding for Major Development Projects in DC

$155M in foreign investment will support local projects, create jobs for DC residents

This week, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced $155M of foreign investments into District development projects that will produce more affordable housing and job opportunities for DC residents. The announcement came at the InvestDC forum in Shanghai, an event that gave District-based real estate development firms and local small businesses an opportunity to pitch several projects and services to Chinese investors.

“For the District of Columbia to reach its full potential, we need more investment in affordable housing and job creation,” said Mayor Bowser. As Mayor, I will continue to identify opportunities – at home and abroad – that strengthen communities and create pathways to the middle class.”
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Obama to appeal immigration ruling to Supreme Court

A federal appeals court upheld a ruling that blocks the Obama administration’s deferred deportation program for four million undocumented immigrants

(UPI) — The Obama administration announced it will ask the Supreme Court to overturn a lower court ruling that blocks the deferred deportation for more than 5 million undocumented immigrants.

The announcement comes hours after a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit said the lower court “did not err and most assuredly did not abuse its discretion” in a challenge brought by Texas and 25 other states with Republican governors who sought to block President Barack Obama’s 2014 immigration initiative.
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Cathy Lanier


The NAACP DC Branch host Cathy L. Lanier, chief of the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia (MPDC) as guest speaker for their November   General Body Meeting. Lanier, who has served as the District’s chief since 2007, will address citizen’s concerns, including the District’s spike in gun violence, body cameras and staffing shortages.

Lanier has spent her entire law enforcement career with the Metropolitan Police Department, beginning in 1990. Much of her career has been in uniformed patrol, where she served as Commander of the Fourth District, one of the largest and most diverse residential patrol districts in the city. She also served as the Commanding Officer of the Department’s Major Narcotics Branch and Vehicular Homicide Units. Lanier is the first woman to serve as MPDC Chief.
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Lower blood pressure better at preventing heart attacks

(UPI) — Earlier this year, researchers stopped a clinical trial two years early because lowering systolic blood pressure below current guidelines was so successful at reducing death from heart disease and heart failure.

Results from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, were published in the New England Journal of Medicine, showing 27 percent fewer deaths and 38 percent fewer cases of heart failure among participants whose systolic pressure was lowered to 120, rather than the recommended 140.

Systolic blood pressure, the pressure put on blood vessels when they contract, is the higher of the two numbers used to measure blood pressure. More than 70 million people in the United States have hypertension, which is considered systolic pressure above 140 and diastolic pressure of 90.
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Wells Fargo, UNCF, Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins and Natasha Eubanks Team Up to Empower HBCU Students

Company hosts My Life, My Story, #MyUntold Town Hall event for more than 300Atlanta University Center Consortium (AUCC) students to promote the #MyUntoldsocial media campaignas a platform to affirm positive cultural perceptions.

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) and UNCF (United Negro College Fund) rallied students from three of the nation’s leading Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) —Clark Atlanta University, Morehouse College and Spelman College — for an interactive town hall event to promote positive images of African American youth. HBCU alumni, Terrence ‘J’ Jenkins, actor and philanthropist, and Natasha Eubanks, founder and CEO of, joined Wells Fargo and UNCF leaders to inspire students to use social media to share personal experiences that proactivelyaddress cultural mischaracterizations.
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Walmart Foundation Supports Education, Women’s Empowerment & Healthy Eating Initiatives in Washington, DC

State Giving Program Donations to Benefit N Street Village, Higher Achievement & YMCA

The Walmart Foundation recently announced that in an effort to further its commitment to build better communities, the organization’s State Giving Program donated $125,000 in grants to three DC-based not-for-profit organizations: Higher Achievement, N Street Village & YMCA of Metropolitan Washington. The Walmart Foundation’s State Giving Program supports organizations that create opportunities so people can live better, awarding grants that have a long-lasting, positive impact on communities across the U.S.

“The Walmart Foundation is proud to support this cycle’s three State Giving Program grantees – N Street Village, Higher Achievement and the YMCA – as they embody the foundation’s mission of creating opportunities so people can live better,” said Jennifer Hoehn, Director of Public Affairs for Walmart. “Each of these organizations is doing their part to forge a stronger community by working to expand available resources, increase opportunity and improve the quality of life for our neighbors across the city.”
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Hampton Students


Hampton Students attending event (Photo credit: Lambert Belandres)

Tour made stops at University of Maryland, Hampton University and Clark Atlanta University

ESSENCE, the preeminent brand for African-American women, completed its 2015 ESSENCE College Tour at the University of Maryland on Friday, November 6th. The purpose of the College Tour is to empower African-American college students to lead successful, focused and healthy lives. The tour also made stops recently at Hampton University and Clark Atlanta University. The tour officially kicked off in September when ESSENCE hosted a higher education panel featuring First Lady Michelle Obama during her visit to Howard Community College in Columbia, Maryland, as part of her “Reach Higher” education initiative.
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Our Children Can Succeed But Only With Our Help

By Brian L. Pauling

Students across the nation are well into their classes. While some students are meeting or exceeding expectations for their grade level; unfortunately, a significant number have already fallen behind. Their academic success is in jeopardy unless someone intervenes. To parents, teachers, administrators and community members, I say that someone is us!

It’s up to us to work as a cohesive and collaborative support system for our children. That will mean holding ourselves and each other accountable to ensure that each student has been taught and has learned the required coursework for their grade level and is ready to advance to the next grade, without remediation, by the end of the school year.

We are expecting a lot from our children, but what, in turn, should our children expect from us?
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Federal Grant Provides $3.8 Million for Bullying Prevention in the District

Research-Based Program Aims to Improve School Climate in Participating Schools

The youth-research organization Child Trends, the District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR), and the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) recently announced they will receive a $3.8 million grant from the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) to focus on school climate and bullying prevention in District schools through implementation of the evidence-based Safe School Certification Program (SSCP).

Thirty-six public and public charter schools which elect to participate in the SSCP will receive expert support and technical assistance in using student and teacher input to identify needs, identifying and implementing strategies to improve climate and prevent bullying, and using data to assess effectiveness of the strategies. Schools participating in the three-year program will be announced next year, and will begin the program in the 2016 – 2017 school year.
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Gala Celebrates Hospital’s 40th Anniversary While Raising Funds to Support Free Community Health Programs

Doctors Community Hospital Foundation will host its 23rd annual fundraising gala on Saturday, November 14, starting at 7 p.m. at the Ritz-Carlton in McLean, Virginia.  With a “Moment in Time” theme, the gala will celebrate the hospital’s 40th anniversary with all donations supporting free health services provided to the community.  Tony Perkins, evening news anchor with Fox 5 News, will be the master of ceremony.

For 40 years, Doctors Community Hospital has been committed to caring for the health of people – regardless of their ability to pay – in Prince George’s County and the region.  In addition to providing $14,726,686 in charity care in fiscal year 2014, the hospital contributed to the health of the community by providing numerous free wellness programs, preventative health screenings and educational opportunities.
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National health associations issue call to prioritize blood pressure control

Evidence shows uncontrolled high blood pressure contributes to major health issues

Two of the country’s preeminent health organizations, the American Heart Association (AHA) and the American Medical Association (AMA), recently announced a new nationwide initiative aimed at addressing the growing burden of high blood pressure in the U.S.

Target: BP™ will support physicians and care teams in helping their patients with high blood pressure reach a blood pressure goal of lower than 140/90 mm Hg, based on current AHA guidelines.
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National Action Network and Cause Celebre to Present Special Production of Powerful Play, When Truth Is Not Enough

The National Action Network (NAN), in partnership with non-profit theater company Cause Celebre, will present a special production of When Truth Is Not Enough, a powerful and emotional new play about voter suppression in the U.S.

The play will be on Monday, November 9, from 6:00–8:00 PM at The Shiloh Baptist Church, 150 Ninth Street NW
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Effort Will Provide Holiday Food for Food Banks and Their Clients

Safeway is pleased to announce its Turkey Bucks program as a new charitable giving opportunity for both customers and Safeway to support local food banks serving Maryland, Virginia, Delaware and Washington, D.C. The Turkey Bucks effort launches in all 125 Eastern Division stores on Wednesday, Oct. 28.

Between October 28 and November 26, customers will be asked if they wish to make a donation of $1, $5 or $10 (or rounding up their order to the next dollar) with those funds being designated for the food bank. At the end of the program period, the division will provide the feeding agencies with food equal to the amount donated by customers at stores within the service area of the respective food bank. The food received can help provide for a traditional holiday meal to persons or families in need.
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Hip-Hop Nonprofit Teaches the #ScienceofDope and it’s Not What You Think

On Saturday, November 14th, D.C. Hip-Hop nonprofit, Words Beats & Life Inc., will host the 10th Anniversary of Bum Rush the Boards Hip-Hop chess tournament at the Columbia Heights Recreation Center from 10am-4pm.

Words Beats & Life, Inc. throws STEM on the wall, graffitis in an “A,” knocks negative mainstream stereotypes of Hip-Hop out of the way, and bridges the gap between Hip-Hop culture and education. With free workshops like the physics of breakdancing and the sound engineering behind Hip-Hop production, WBL Inc. is focused on its mission of being unapologetic advocates of Hip-Hop, proving the necessity and presence of intellect within the culture.

This is critical to the millions of youth who aspire to live Hip-Hop – critical to those presented with and often represented by a repetitive and frequently destructive image of Hip-Hop culture. Words Beats & Life wants youth to be so proud of and confident in their intellect so that their minds become their weapon of choice.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Updates to the Commonwealth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Measurement System

- “Innovation Dashboard” guides investments in the new Virginia economy -

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently updates to the Commonwealth Innovation and Entrepreneurship Measurement System (IEMS), a web-based portal that uses key metrics and outcomes to track the performance of Virginia’s innovation economy.

“As we continue to build the new Virginia economy, we know that innovation is the premier path to economic expansion both domestically and globally,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Here in Virginia, the drivers of this innovation are entrepreneurs of emerging, high-growth technology companies.”

According to the Kauffman Foundation, a leader in advancing innovation and entrepreneurship, “Entrepreneurs who launch new businesses are the driving force behind a vibrant society when they create new jobs, renew the economy and expand human welfare.” (Kauffman, ).
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Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center to Hold an Access Stand Down for DC Metropolitan Area Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs is committed to providing timely care to Veterans as determined by their clinical needs. At the Washington DC VA Medical Center, we strive to offer all Veterans high-quality, personalized and timely care. Toward this end, many Veterans who currently receive care at the DC VA Medical Center will be scheduled to participate in the first ever Access Stand Down. Expanded specialty care service hours, this Saturday, November 14, at the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center, 50 Irving Street, NW will offer over 200 Veterans access to weekend clinic appointments.

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 U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) joined with Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and 17 Senate colleagues to introduce the Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act), legislation to boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans and other Americans following last month’s announcement that there will be a zero cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.

“I believe that ‘Honor thy mother and father’ isn’t just a good commandment to live by, it’s good public policy to govern by,” Senator Mikulski said. “This legislation will help 1.1 million seniors, veterans of Social Security age and federal employee retirees in Maryland so they aren’t left out in the cold when it comes to the Social Security benefits they’ve earned and deserve. An adjustment in 2016 Social Security benefits for seniors will go a long way when it comes to visits to the doctor, putting food on the table or a roof over head. I will continue to fight so that seniors, veterans and federal employees have a government on their side.”
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National Philharmonic Singers



The National Philharmonic Singers and Takoma Ensemble, under the direction of conductors Stan Engebretson and Victoria Gau, will present holiday concerts on Friday, December 4 at 8 pm at the Church of the Ascension, 633 Sligo Avenue, Silver Spring, Maryland and on Saturday, December 5 at 8 pm at the Christ Episcopal Church, 107 South Washington Street, Rockville, Maryland.

Included in the program will be three premieres: The King Shall Come in its choral/orchestral version, which is the first by Alistair Coleman. Alistair is a multi-talented young musician currently attending Walt Whitman High School who has received many awards for his work, including winning the National Association of Music Educators (NAfME) National Young Composers Competition in 2013.  Second is the choral-orchestral version of Veni Sancte Spiritus by Virginia composer Peter Gjon Kadeli, who has a double degree in Composition and Music Education from George Mason University.  Also, National Philharmonic Singer Ed Rejuney will debut his new work, The Scottish Elder’s Carol.  The concert concludes with favorite carols by the choir, including Stille Nacht and our ever-popular Carol Sing with the Twelve Days of Christmas.
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First ever Maryland Sibling Conference a Success

On October 17, more than 200 siblings of people with developmental disabilities, parents, family members and professionals gathered for Maryland’s first-ever conference focused on sibling issues. The one-day conference – MDSibs 2015 – was held at the Hilton Baltimore BWI Airport Hotel and featured Maryland Delegate Eric Luedtke as Master of Ceremonies and over 35 speakers in sessions tailored for participants from ages 6 to 75 years old.

MDSibs 2015 attendees traveled from 11 counties in Maryland with representation from DC, Virginia and five states around the nation to listen to keynote speaker Don Meyer of The Sibling Support Project and to hear the unique stories and experiences of Maryland siblings of people with developmental disabilities. The conference emphasized three themes: sharing inspiring stories, tips on increasing family communication and lessons learned throughout the process. Traveling from Salisbury to attend the event, Marcia Yamashiro reflected, “We finally found our people.”
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Md Business Award

BGE Emergency Response and Safety Grant Program Recognized with Maryland Business Philanthropy Award

Photo Caption: Sheela Murthy, Board Chair, Maryland Chamber of Commerce presents Stephen J. Woerner, BGE president and chief operating officer with the Maryland Business Philanthropy Award

The Maryland Chamber of Commerce and Baltimore Business Journal recently presented Baltimore Gas and Electric with the Maryland Business Philanthropy Award in the large business category for recognition of BGE’s Emergency Response and Safety Grant program. The awards were presented as part of the Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP)-Maryland Chapter’s Philanthropy Day luncheon held at the Baltimore Marriott Waterfront Hotel.
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National Philharmonic Singers

National Philharmonic Performs Handel’s Messiah
at the Music Center at Strathmore

Photo credit for the National Philharmonic Chorale is Don Lassell.

Hear the genius of Handel as the National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale perform his most beloved oratorio, the Messiah, on Saturday, December 19 at 8pm and Sunday, December 20 at 3pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. Led by Artistic Director Stan Engebretson, the concert will feature the National Philharmonic’s nearly 200 voice all-volunteer Chorale, as well as soloists Danielle Talamantes (soprano); Margaret Mezzacappa (mezzo-soprano); Matthew Smith (tenor); and Christòpheren Nomura (baritone).
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Business and Property Owners Can Receive Up to $10,000 through Effort to Strengthen City’s Commercial Districts

The Hogan administration is launching a program to help small businesses and other property owners in Baltimore’s commercial districts brighten up and improve their exteriors.

Through the $650,000 façade improvement program, property owners in the city’s commercial districts can receive up to $10,000 for beautification projects such as exterior painting, masonry repairs, restoration of architectural details, replacement of windows and doors, awning and signage installation, exterior lighting, and other approved capital improvements.

The program is the latest in the Hogan administration’s multi-pronged effort to support business recovery and economic development in the city.
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Encore Chorale Concert

Smithsonian Encore Chorale Presents Free Holiday Choral Concert

The Smithsonian Encore Chorale invites the community to a FREE Holiday Choral Concert on Thursday, December 17, 2015 at 7:30pm at the Church of the Epiphany located at 1317 G Street, NW, Washington DC.

The program, conducted by Jeanne Kelly and Jeffrey Dokken, will feature holiday and seasonal pieces including Rise Up and Follow that Star, Ose Shalom, and A Musicological Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas. Guest artist for the concert will be clarinetist Edna Huang. In addition, the audience will be invited to join the chorale in a sing-along of holiday favorites.
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Mayor Bowser and Councilmember Orange Announce Bold FY16 CBE Spending Goal

Bowser Administration rolls out ‘Opportunity Guide,’ website and suite of services for Certified Business Enterprises to navigate the local government procurement process

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Councilmember Vincent announce the Fiscal Year 2016 (FY16) Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) spending goal.  The Bowser Administration also unveiled a new website,, that will help CBEs better navigate the local government procurement process.

Small businesses are the engine of our economy. As Mayor, I am committed to creating an environment where District businesses can start, thrive and grow,” said Mayor Bowser. “That includes leveraging the District’s local procurement dollars to support small businesses. We are re-envisioning the way we approach procurement by setting ambitious goals and providing tools so our small businesses can succeed and continue to create pathways to the middle class.” Continue reading


Apprentice Spotlight: Leon Speller, Electrician Apprentice, Freestate Electrical Contractors

Microsoft Word - Document5This week we are celebrating National Apprenticeship Week. Did you know that over 1,300 District residents are registered apprentices? Apprentices earn wages while receiving on-the-job training, technical instruction, and additional education – not to mention the fact that apprenticeships prepare our residents for a long-term career in a variety of fields.

To celebrate the week, we spotlight a local resident who is in a local apprenticeship program. Leon Speller, is a 30-year-old Ward 7 resident who is a graduate of Friendship Edison Collegiate Academy. Continue reading


Obama Administration Highlights District Programs to Train Returning Citizens for High-Tech Careers

The White House recently highlighted the District of Columbia as a community taking action to expand high-tech jobs to returning citizens. As part of the Obama Administration’s TechHire Initiative, the DC Department of Employment Services (DOES) is working with a group of stakeholders to train and put 200 returning citizens to work in high-tech careers.

“The District shares the President’s commitment to giving returning citizens the tools they need to succeed when they get home,” said Mayor Bowser. “By focusing on high-growth industries like technology, we are preparing our residents for long-term careers that put them on a pathway to the middle class. I have charged District government agencies to work with local and federal partners to expand economic opportunities for all residents, including our returning citizens.”
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A Big Step Toward Closing DC General

This week, the District took a bold step forward in our fight against homelessness. The Council of the District of Columbia passed my Administration’s legislation that paves the way for the development of small, dignified, emergency family housing across the city. These neighborhood-based facilities will have private rooms that are safe and clean. There will be common spaces for children to play and do homework, and services like housing assistance and job placement — the very things that are proven to help families exit shelter and get back on their feet. Once these facilities are in place, we will be able to shut down D.C. General once and for all.
For possibly the first time in our city, we have a chance to end homelessness — making it rare, brief, and nonrecurring. It’s not going to be easy. We have to take new approaches that break the status quo. But it’s worth it, because by getting this right, we will help families get back to a place they call home. – Muriel Bowser

Graduation cap and Diploma

Tuition outpaces inflation; student borrowing declines

(UPI) — College tuition and fees have risen slightly in the past year while student borrowing has been on the decline, the College Board, the nonprofit behind the SAT, said.

Published tuition and fees crept up 3 percent from last year even though the economy has been at an even keel in the past year. At the same time, student borrowing was down for the fourth year in row.

Overall, the College Board’s annual 2015 “Trends in Student Aid” and “Trends in College Pricing” reports showed a leveling out in the 2015-16 school year since the recession, when college costs, student borrowing and student loan default rates increased dramatically. Still, it is cause for increased attention, the College Board said.

“These data provoke a necessary conversation about college financing,” said Jack Buckley, senior vice president of research at the College Board. “As the price of postsecondary education continues to rise, we need innovative thinking around federal, state and institutional aid that will allow all students and families to feel confident that they will be able to pay for college.” Continue reading

Tom Joyner 2016 Scholarship


– One student will win a scholarship to cover all expenses as an HBCU of their choice, joining an impressive group of previous Full Ride Scholars –

The Tom Joyner Foundation® announced the ‘Full Ride’ scholarship program that will cover all the expenses of one student planning to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) in the fall of 2016.“The cost of a college education isn’t getting any cheaper,” said Tom Joyner, chairman of his Foundation and host of the top-ranked nationally syndicated Tom Joyner Morning show. “So, I want to help a graduating high school senior with a chance to attend a black college to pursue their dreams.”

Past Full Ride Scholars have impressive backgrounds, including last year’s winner, JoAnna Jones from Ashville, North Carolina’s Buncombe County Early College High Show who is attending Winston-Salem State University where she is pursuing a degree in nursing. Other winners are Titus Zeigler, who was a top student at Atlanta’s Henry W. Grady High School. The future trauma surgeon was a member of the Junior ROTC program, tutored kids at a local middle school and volunteered at the Atlanta Food Bank.
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Apprenticeship in America

Everett Jordan

Director Education, The Apprentice School

Apprentice School graduate, Class of 1977

Apprenticeship isn’t necessarily the first thought when we think about continuing education, but perhaps we need to rethink what it means to be a college student today.

Just ask Elise Feldt, a single mom of two who, until four years ago, juggled two jobs trying to make ends meet. Or Shanae Hilliard, a native of Alamogordo, New Mexico, who learned of The Apprentice School from a fellow basketball player who was recruited by The Lady Builders, the Apprentice School’s women’s basketball team.

The Apprentice School at Newport News Shipbuilding is proud to be a leading member of ApprenticeshipUSA, a national effort that recognizes how students like Hilliard and Feldt can benefit from an educational experience other than the traditional college route. The campaign’s mission is to double the number of registered apprenticeships over the next five years. It comes at an important time and is intended to make apprenticeship more viable today than ever. Continue reading


AARP Launches Accountability Effort for Presidential Candidates

Voters Expect Those Running for President to ‘Take a Stand’ on the Future of Social Security

Recently AARP launched their 2016 election accountability campaign called Take a Stand, which demands on behalf of all voters that Presidential candidates take a stand on their plans to update Social Security. AARP expects every presidential candidate to lay out their plans to make Social Security financially sound so current and future generations can receive the adequate benefits they’ve earned.

“Our members and voters of all ages believe that having a plan to ensure Social Security is strong for future generations is a true test of Presidential leadership,” said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy LeaMond. “We will work to ensure that voters know which candidates have a real plan for updating Social Security and which don’t.” Continue reading


Groundbreaking Report Reveals High Rate of Employment Discrimination Against Transgender Job Applicants

Testing shows 48 percent discrimination rate for resumes with transgender identifiers

The District of Columbia Office of Human Rights (OHR) recently released a report showing employers appeared to prefer less-qualified applicants over more-qualified transgender applicants in 48 percent of tests that received a response from the employer. The high rate of employment discrimination was calculated after 200 cover letters and resumes were submitted to 50 job openings, with each opening receiving two applications from individuals who appeared to be transgender and two applications from individuals who did not. The study is the first known government-conducted resume testing to focus on discrimination against transgender and gender non-conforming job applicants.

“Statistical and anecdotal evidence tells us transgender and gender non-conforming people are experiencing employment discrimination at very high rates, and this testing project confirms that unfortunate truth,” said OHR Director Mónica Palacio. “It is vital that government, the business community and advocates work together to end this chronic injustice affecting the transgender and gender non-conforming communities, both in the District and nationwide.” Continue reading

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Mayor Bowser to Host First-Ever ‘Scissors & Shovels Day’

Event Showcases New Developments Popping Up Across the District

On Friday, November 6th, Mayor Muriel Bowser will join District officials, business leaders and community members to host DC’s first-ever “Scissors & Shovels Day.”

The full day of events will showcase the District’s progress in expanding economic opportunity across the city – through the ribbon cuttings of new businesses and affordable housing units, and the groundbreakings of future developments.  The day’s festivities include the opening of the Turning Natural Juice Bar in Ward 8, the groundbreaking ceremony for the Kenilworth Recreation Center in Ward 7, and more.

“The District is a city on the move.  Businesses are opening, jobs are being created and economic opportunity is coming to all corners of our city,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through ’Scissors & Shovels,’ we celebrate DC’s progress in putting more residents on their pathway to the middle class.”
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All Benefits From The Celebrity Chef Event Will Go To Fighting Hunger In DC

DC Central Kitchen is hosting its annual fundraiser, the Capital Food Fight on November 12th at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center (RRB/ITC). The star-studded event will feature an Iron Chef-type competition with four chefs battling it out on the main stage with a secret ingredient, and four pastry chef teams competing in the High Stakes Cakes competition. 100% of proceeds from the Capital Food Fight support DC Central Kitchen’s mission to provide job training, healthy food access, and equitable economic opportunities for the DC community.

“We are proud to sponsor DC Central Kitchen’s Capital Food Fight at the RRB/ITC because it is about raising money to support the community in which we live,” said John P. Drew, President and CEO of Trade Center Management Associates (TCMA), the company that operates the RRB/ITC. “The cause, energy and atmosphere of the Capital Food Fight make this event one of the liveliest of the year and the proceeds ensure that DC Central Kitchen can continue its work to combat hunger and reshape the lives of people in our community.”
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BGE Reminds Customers of the Importance of Natural Gas Safety

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) would like to remind customers to familiarize themselves with natural gas safety tips by reviewing BGE’s natural gas safety brochure being distributed to homes and businesses in and around BGE’s natural gas service area. With cooler temperatures and the heating season on the horizon, customers should be mindful that households and businesses not served directly by natural gas are still in proximity to BGE’s and other operators’ gas equipment. It is essential that all residents know how to recognize, report, and respond to natural gas leaks and help prevent damage to the gas system.

“Many of our customers will be increasing their use of natural gas with cooler temperatures now arriving in the Mid-Atlantic region so we are asking them to be cognizant of natural gas safety, as they should year-round,” said Christie McMullen, vice president gas distribution for BGE. “BGE remains committed to maintaining a safe and reliable natural gas system and we start that process by educating our customers on how to live and work safely around natural gas, pipelines and facilities.”
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Virginia and Maryland Awarded Nearly $5 Million in Federal Funds to Install Ethanol Pumps

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Virginia, in partnership with Maryland, was selected for a U.S. Department of Agriculture grant totaling nearly $5 million to install ethanol refueling infrastructure in Virginia. The states will work with private sector stakeholders to add at least 41 additional ethanol refueling stations and nearly 200 more pumps. The Virginia-Maryland collaboration was the only multi-state proposal selected for award. The $5 million in federal funds is being matched by $3 million from private sector partners.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “This project will bring greater regional access to competitively priced, clean, and home-grown renewable fuel.  Increasing deployment of diverse fueling infrastructure gives more Virginians access to a broader range of fuel options, helping power our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.  I am excited about partnering with our neighbors from Maryland to develop this important infrastructure.”
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National Museum of African American History and Culture Comes Alive

Projection Mapping Event Celebrates Countdown to Museum’s Grand Opening;
Commemorates Anniversaries of 13th Amendment, Voting Rights Act and Civil War’s End

Kicking off the countdown to its grand opening next fall, the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will come alive for three nights this month as the façade of the building will be illuminated with moving images in a spectacular display. The event, “Commemorate and Celebrate Freedom,” takes place Nov. 16–18 from 5:30 p.m. to 9 p.m.

On Monday evening, Nov. 16, the display will be preceded by a lively program of music, performance and poetry and brief remarks by District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser, Congressional Delegate to Congress Eleanor Holmes Norton and Museum Director Lonnie Bunch III. The event pays tribute to three important milestones in African American history: ratification of the 13th Amendment, which officially ended the institution of slavery (1865), passage of the Voting Rights Act (Aug. 6, 1965) and the end of the Civil War (surrender at Appomattox, Va., April 8, 1865).
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Fair Oaks Mall to Celebrate the Holidays with Beloved ‘Peanuts Gang’

Exclusive, interactive Ice Palace captures the magic of ‘The Peanuts Movie’ in theaters Nov. 6

To celebrate the launch of The Peanuts Movie, in theaters everywhere on Friday, November 6, a special family-friendly holiday experience is being offered exclusively at Fair Oaks Mall from November 6 through December 24.

Developed in partnership with 20th Century Fox, the iconic Peanuts characters will take center stage within unique, interactive Ice Palaces at each participating mall. The indoor holiday displays will feature a 30-foot dome complete with falling snow, a light show and other activities for the entire family.
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Capitol Hill Art League Presents its Annual Small Works Art Sale: “Good Things Come in Small Packages”

Looking for a unique shopping experience for the holidays?  Take a three-block stroll down 7th Street, S.E. from the famous Eastern Market and stop by the Small Works Art Sale at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) on Saturday, November 7th from 3-7 PM.

Shoppers and art enthusiasts will find unique, one of a kind pieces – pottery, glass, wall art, photographs, original notecards, and craft items. Hundreds of pieces of art will be offered in an easy-to-view display space. Customers who purchase art are offered free wrapping services so a gift purchase is ready to present.

The artists, members of the Capitol Hill Art League (CHAL), represent a broad range of talents and skills. For this special event, CHAL members offer work with the holiday spirit in mind for those looking for the perfect gift.
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Smithsonian Jazz orchestra

The Legacy of Duke Ellington, DC Native

Dr. John Hasse and the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO

Photo Credit: Hugh Talman

Explored With Music and Words at Castleton with Dr. John Hasse, “Ellington’s Best Biographer,” And Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra

Musician and Grammy-nominated music writer Dr. John Edward Hasse, the creator of Jazz Appreciation Month, will be joined by the Smithsonian Jazz Masterworks Orchestra (SJMO), which he founded, for a look into the life, times and music of Duke Ellington at 4 pm on Sunday, Nov. 8 at the Castleton Theatre House, 664 Castleton View Rd., Castleton, Va. Lauded by The Washington Post as “Ellington’s best biographer,” The author of “Beyond Category:  The Life and Genius of Duke Ellington,” Dr. Hasse has appeared on NPR, PBS, CBS, and has lectured in 20 countries. Dr. Hasse will share insights about Ellington during during the first half of the program followed by a SJMO performance of some of Ellington’s works, to include Take the “A” Train, Caravan and Blue Pepper. Tickets for the Castleton in Performance presentation range from $20 to $40. For more information call 703-489-8704 and to reserve seats, go to
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DPR Offers a Cornucopia of Events in November

During this season of plenty, the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) invites everyone to come out and enjoy an array of events including Thanksgiving events, food and clothing drives, a Hip-Hop Chess Tournament and more!

To find more information on DPR events and programs – visit the special events calendar on DPR’s home page (, visit any DPR center, register for programs ( or call DPR at (202) 673-7647. To receive the latest up to the minute DPR Facility updates, sign up for Nixle on DPR’s home page ( You can also receive updates by visiting our Twitter @DCDPR or subscribe to receive press releases or advisories. Continue reading

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As BGE Completes Preparations for Winter, Now is a Good Time for Customers to Prepare Too

This year, BGE is investing more than $650 million in the electric and natural gas systems serving customers with safe and reliable energy

As temperatures begin to drop, BGE has completed upgrades of its electric and natural gas systems and conducted a comprehensive review of its preparedness plans in advance of the winter season.

In 2015, BGE is investing approximately $175 million in the company’s natural gas system to provide safe and reliable service for customers. This work includes equipment inspections, repairs and replacements, and preventive maintenance on the company’s natural gas system. The company regularly installs new gas pipelines to meet customer demand, such as a recently installed 11-mile segment of pipeline in Carroll County between Westminster and Mt. Airy.  Major gas system reinforcements were also installed in Anne Arundel County this year, and in Baltimore City, Harford and Baltimore counties prior to last winter.
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GOP nominates Paul Ryan to be the next Speaker of the House

Republicans on Wednesday rallied behind Rep. Paul Ryan to be the next Speaker of the House, declaring him the best candidate to turn the page and unify a fractured GOP conference.

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican and the 2012 vice presidential nominee, easily defeated his only rival for the top job, GOP Rep. Daniel Webster, a former Speaker in the Florida statehouse.

Ryan routed Webster in a 200-43 vote during a closed-door conference meeting in the cavernous Ways and Means Committee hearing room where Ryan now presides as committee chairman. House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) received one vote, as did Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.).

The full House is expected to elect Ryan as Speaker in a formal floor vote Thursday morning, transferring the gavel from Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), who is resigning Friday after a quarter century in Congress. Continue reading

Fort Totten Walmart

Fort Totten Walmart Supercenter now Open

New Walmart provides more than 400 jobs and seamless savings on wide selection 
in store and on

A new Walmart Supercenter in Fort Totten opened Wednesday, Oct. 28, bringing a broad assortment of fresh groceries and general merchandise at everyday low prices. Customers will also enjoy convenient on-site services such as a full pharmacy and a free store pickup service providing an easy way to shop millions of products on, with many items available for pickup the same day. The new store will employ more than 400 full- and part-time associates.

“Our new store is a welcome addition to the Fort Totten neighborhood, and we are eager to be of service to our new friends and neighbors, especially as the holiday season kicks into high gear,” said Paul Hill, store manager.

“The Fort Totten Walmart is a big deal for the District and a great addition to Ward 4,” said Mayor Bowser. “The store will provide the community with access to products and services, and will create jobs for District residents.  With Walmart as an anchor, Fort Totten Square is on a path to strengthen this neighborhood and create pathways to the middle class.” Continue reading


Continued Improvement in Schools’ Test Scores

District of Columbia Remains Fastest Improving Urban School District in the Country

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently highlighted significant gains made by District of Columbia public school students. On the 2015 National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), fourth grade students in the District of Columbia posted significant gains in reading and math, while reading and math scores for eighth grade students remained statistically even with 2013 results. Moreover, DC achieved the biggest gains of any state in fourth grade reading, with an average scale score increase of seven points between 2013 and 2015. In math, fourth graders increased their scores by three points in that same timeframe.

“The hard work of our students and educators is remarkable,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am proud of the progress being made across our public schools as we prepare our students for college and career. We are seeing the result of the investments we are making for our families and I look forward to our students’ continued success.”

The District’s Tyler Elementary School in Ward 6 was selected by the Department of Education as the site for the national release of the 2015 NAEP. The District was one of only three states to see improvements in fourth grade math and one of 13 states to improve in fourth grade reading. Eighth grade reading and math results remained consistent with 2013 results in the District. Twenty-two states saw significant declines in math and eight other states saw significant declines in reading. Continue reading


Mayor Bowser Celebrates the Grand Opening of DCI Washington Training Center

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently joined Dynamic Concepts, Inc. (DCI), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, and U.S. Small Business Administration Deputy Administrator Douglas J. Kramer in a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the DC-based company’s newly opened training center in Ward 7.

The new facility is dedicated to providing baseline training in the fields of technology networking and utility infrastructure construction. DCI anticipates training and putting to work more than 100 District residents over the next year with an economic impact of over $10 million to the local economy. Mayor Bowser applauded DCI for investing in the District of Columbia and its residents. Continue reading


Mayor Bowser Launches Small Business Program with Airports Authority

Initiative will focus on ways to increase DC small business participation in MWAA opportunities

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently signed an agreement between the Government of the District of Columbia and the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA), signifying both parties’ commitment to increase the number of District based small businesses that participate in MWAA contracting opportunities.

Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy, creating jobs, contributing to our tax base, and providing vital services to District residents,” said Mayor Bowser.  “When they succeed, more people have pathways to the middle class. That is why my Administration is committed to giving small businesses the resources and partnerships they need to grow, and to thrive.”

The joint certification program launched at the signing ceremony streamlines the Certified Business Enterprise program, operated by the DC Department of Small and Local Business Development (DSLBD), and MWAA’s small business certification process to make it easier for District based businesses to qualify for MWAA procurement opportunities. Continue reading


House passes two-year Federal Budget to raise spending, borrowing authority

(UPI) — The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday passed a proposed two-year budget that will add billions to federal spending caps and raise the debt ceiling — and make it so the government can’t have any more fiscal fights until 2017.

The House passed the budget bill by a vote of 266-to-167 Wednesday afternoon — more than enough to send the legislation to the Senate.

Now it is up to Senate lawmakers to get the budget proposal to President Barack Obama‘s desk, which could happen before the end of the week. Senate leaders said Wednesday that they want to act quickly — particularly because the Treasury Department cites a Nov. 3 deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., one of the proposal’s architects, promised to immediately address the plan. Continue reading


Student Loan Debt Averages $28,950 for Class of 2014 Debt Levels Rose More than Twice as Fast as Inflation Over Last Decade

New report includes state and college debt levels for 2014 grads, 10-year state trends

Student debt is still rising for new graduates, according to a report released today by the Project on Student Debt at The Institute for College Access & Success (TICAS). At public and nonprofit colleges in 2014, seven in 10 graduating seniors (69%) had student loans. Their average debt was $28,950: up two percent compared to the Class of 2013. About one-sixth of 2014 graduates’ debt (17%) was in private loans, which are typically more costly and provide far fewer consumer protections and repayment options than federal student loans. Because hardly any for-profit colleges voluntarily report their graduates’ average debt, the report’s new debt figures are for public and nonprofit colleges, which award the vast majority of four-year degrees (94%).

Student Debt and the Class of 2014 is TICAS’ tenth annual report on debt at graduation. Using the most recent available data, it finds wide variations in debt levels across states as well as colleges. For the first time, it also includes an analysis of how graduates’ debt changed over the last decade. Nationally, average debt for new bachelor’s degree recipients rose at more than double the rate of inflation from 2004 to 2014, but in some states it grew even faster. Continue reading


Rules Ban Colleges from Steering Students to High Cost Bank Accounts

Abusive college-bank marketing agreements to be reined in

Final rules issued today from the Department of Education will protect college students from being pushed into high-fee bank accounts by their colleges, banks and bank affiliates.  The rules will ban overdraft and other bank fees on some accounts jointly marketed by these financial entities. It will also require that the accounts be marketed more fairly. 

Maura Dundon, Senior Policy Counsel at the Center for Responsible Lending made the following statement:

The new rules will protect students from being steered by their colleges to into high fee accounts. It is simply unconscionable for colleges to join forces with banks and their affiliates to push students into high-fee bank accounts that siphon away their financial aid money through overdraft fees.

The new rule responds to concerns raised over the past several years about the deceptive and unfair nature of college-bank marketing partnerships. Continue reading

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Mayor Bowser Launches “Hands on Hearts” CPR Training for DC Residents

Campaign to train 5,000 people a year on life-saving, hands-only CPR

Mayor Muriel Bowser launches a “Hands on Hearts” initiative to train 5,000 people in hands-only CPR and the use of automated external defibrillators (AED) by September 2016.  Hands-only CPR is a technique that involves chest compressions without artificial respiration. Studies indicate that hands-only CPR performed immediately can increase a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.

“With the right training, anyone can save a life,” said Mayor Bowser. “That is why the District is committed to training residents in life-saving, hands-only CPR.  A 20 minute training could make the difference between life and death for a friend, family member or stranger who needs care before emergency medical services are able to respond.” 

The initiative is a partnership between the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (DCFEMS), ServeDC, the American Heart Association of Greater Washington (AHA), American Red Cross, Serve DC and other partners.  DCFEMS and partner organizations will offer free, 20 minute classes on hands-only CPR and AED awareness.  The training instructs participants to focus on their hand placement, tempo and the number of compressions for two minute intervals. Continue reading

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Mayor Bowser Signs Settlement Agreement With Local 36, Resolving 14-Year Overtime Lawsuit

Mayor Muriel Bowser and Ed Smith, President of the DC Fire Fighters Association IAFF Local 36 signed a settlement agreement, ending a 14-year lawsuit between the Union and the District government.

“I am pleased to announce that the District has resolved the longstanding overtime issue with Local 36, who represents our firefighters and emergency services personnel. Thanks to the hard work of all the parties, we have resolved overtime pay issues for the past, present, and future,” said Mayor Bowser.

“This settlement helps ensure that the hard-working men and women at DCFEMS are paid for the overtime that they have already worked and earned,” continued Bowser.

Beginning on the October 18, 2015 pay period, the District will compensate Union members time and one-half for time worked over 42 hours in a week. Union members impacted will be awarded back pay, dating back to September 23, 2001.  By the end of the year, payments will be made to the vast majority of affected members. Continue reading

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District of Columbia Releases Results of New Standardized Test

New PARCC Assessments Focus on College and Career Readiness

District of Columbia education leaders announced a new baseline for how high school students are performing in DC. As part of its commitment to education reform, the District recently implemented the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC).

These annual assessments, which replace the DC Comprehensive Assessment System (or DC CAS), measure students’ proficiency in English and math. The District moved to the PARCC assessments because they more accurately measure students’ progress toward acquiring the skills and knowledge needed for success in college and in the workplace.

Eleven states along with DC administered the PARCC assessment for the first time last spring, and the high school results are now in. On English II, 25 percent of students met or exceeded expectations. An additional 17 percent of students approached expectations.  On math, 10 percent of students met or exceeded expectations.  An additional 24 percent of students approached expectations. Overall, students scored as follows on the primary high school assessments: Continue reading

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BGE Extends Credit Agreement with Local Banks as Part of Exelon’s Minority and Community Banking Program

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) and its parent company, Exelon Corporation, have arranged credit lines totaling $123 million with  28 minority and community-owned banks located in BGE’s service area and other regions where Exelon operates.  These transactions help grow local businesses, the local economy, and are critical to communities that remain challenged by current economic conditions.

Exelon’s minority and community banking program, which began in 2003, is unique in the energy industry.  Administered by JP Morgan Chase since its inception, the program now has 28 participating banks across the country; more than quadruple the original number.  Locally, Harbor Bank serves as the lead arranger for BGE’s credit line.

“These partnerships are part of BGE’s and Exelon’s ongoing commitment to investing in our communities and engaging diverse suppliers in major transactions,” said Calvin G. Butler Jr., chief executive officer for BGE.  “There are multiple benefits to these relationships: BGE receives an additional source of credit at a competitive price, the banks are able to strengthen their relationships with us a key customer, and the local economy also receives a boost.” Continue reading

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Citywide partnership aims to bring 200,000 free books to D.C. students

As part of an ongoing effort to give more D.C. students access to high-quality books, a citywide partnership was launched on October 22, to provide 200,000 free books to educators, librarians, students and parents. The partnership—which includes DC Public Library, District of Columbia Public Schools, American Federation of Teachers, Feed the Children, First Book, Federal City Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Inc., and the Washington Teachers’ Union—held the first of several book distributions yesterday evening at a family literacy night at Southeast Tennis and Learning Center.

During the current school year, the partnership will hold several large book distributions at different locations throughout the city. Up to 80,000 books will be given out at each event.

In this unprecedented effort, the partners will bring 200,000 brand-new free books—donated by Feed the Children and First Book—to Washington to help build collections at school libraries, home libraries, classroom libraries and public libraries. Continue reading


Hospital Participates in Fundraising Walk to Help Raise Diabetes Awareness

On October 17, Doctors Community Hospital’s Joslin Diabetes Center participated in the Step Out | Walk to Stop Diabetes.  Held at the National Harbor, this American Diabetes Association event focused on raising funds to increase awareness of and find a cure for diabetes.  This year, the hospital’s team – DCH Sugar Stompers – raised an estimated $2,100 to support this cause.

Diabetes is a complex health condition that impacts the lives of both children and adults.  According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Diabetes Statistic Report, there are about 29.1 million Americans or 9.3 percent of the population who have diabetes.  Of that figure, an estimated 21 million are diagnosed and 8.1 million are undiagnosed. In addition to being among the leading causes of death in the community, poorly managed diabetes can lead to long-term complications including heart attacks, strokes, blindness, kidney failure, nerve damage and limb amputation. Continue reading

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 The Association of Zoos and Aquariums (AZA) recently announced that The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore has been recognized with Significant Achievement for the 2015 Edward H. Bean Award for its Project Golden Frog /Proyecto Rana Dorada program.

“This award, which highlights the important work aquariums and zoos are doing to help save species in their own communities as well as in the wild, provides well-deserved national recognition for the leadership of The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore team in conservation science,” said AZA President and CEO Jim Maddy.

The Edward H. Bean Award is a historic award within AZA, established in September 1956, honoring the first director of Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and one of the founders of AZA. The Edward H. Bean Award recognizes propagation or management programs that contribute to the reproductive success of one or more species and/or subspecies. Continue reading

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“Costumes for a Cause!”

6th Annual KidsPeace Trick-or-Trot 5K/1-Mile Walk At Oriole Park, in partnership with Baltimore Orioles

Camden Yards, Costumes and a CAUSE! What could be better? KidsPeace Trick or Trot 5K comes together with the Orioles for the 6th year in a row to run and have some fun, all while raising money for our youth in foster care.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter and his wife Angela host this family-friendly Halloween-themed event. Don’t miss your chance to join in the fun while doing your part for kids in our community. You won’t regret it!

The race begins at 8 a.m. on Saturday, October 31 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Runners will run through the Harbor and finish the race on the beautiful field with the Oriole Bird. Get creative! Prizes will not only be awarded to top runners and age group winners but also best costume! And it doesn’t stop there, there’s a pre-and post-race party with costume contests, face painting, food and Halloween fun. There is still time to register either online or in person Friday night at Dempsey’s Brew Pub, located inside the stadium. Visit for more information. Continue reading

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