Wal-Mart hopes to spur sales by offering in store tax refunds

Wal-Mart Stores has found a new way to get more customers into its stores: getting their own hard-earned cash more quickly.

The retailer is allowing customers to cash out their tax refunds and receive up to $7,500 in cash at about 3,000 stores under a service it is calling “Direct2Cash,” its latest move to broaden the financial services it offers to its low-income customers and increase the number of visits customers pay to its stores. Customers could already use the tax preparation services in Wal-Mart stores and get their refund via direct deposit or check.

Last April, it launched a money transfer service that has challenged the dominance of Western Union Co. and MoneyGram , and aimed squarely at its low-income customers, many of whom live paycheck to paycheck. Two weeks later, it started an insurance price comparison service. Continue reading

State of The Union

Obama wants to ‘turn the page’ for America’s middle class

(UPI) — After a “breakthrough year for America,” President Barack Obama stressed the importance of protecting middle-class working families in Tuesday’s State of the Union address.
In his annual speech, Obama touted some of the nation’s economic improvements since a “vicious recession spread across our nation.”

After a breakthrough year for America, our economy is growing and creating jobs at the fastest pace since 1999,” he said. “Our unemployment rate is now lower than it was before the financial crisis. More of our kids are graduating than ever before; more of our people are insured than ever before; we are as free from the grip of foreign oil as we’ve been in almost 30 years.” Continue reading


Mayor Bowser & DCPS Launch Bold, New Initiative to Empower Males of Color

District’s My Brother’s Keeper Efforts Centered Around Mentoring, Targeted Funding and New Partnerships

Mayor Muriel Bowser and District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) Chancellor Kaya Henderson launched Empowering Males of Color. The effort is part of the Bowser Administration’s effort to advance achievement and opportunity and reduce racial disparities for boys and men of color across Washington, DC. Currently, male students of color make up 43 percent of the overall DCPS student population and those students as a whole are not meeting their potential. Black male students in particular have the lowest attendance and student satisfaction rates. Continue reading


Bowser Announces New Director of ServeDC

Mayor Bowser announced the appointment of Kristal Knight as Executive Director of Serve DC – The Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism. Knight will spearhead the Bowser Administration’s efforts to promote volunteerism and organizational partnerships for community benefit.

“Yesterday, we celebrated the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. – a tireless fighter and an instrumental leader during the Civil Rights Movements. Every year we continue to honor his legacy by recommitting ourselves to his vision and by volunteering in our communities to help make his dream, a reality,” said Mayor Bowser. “I am thrilled to have Kristal join my Administration where she will work every day to expand the District’s culture of volunteerism. Kristal’s track record of developing innovative and sustainable solutions to address social challenges will be an asset for residents in all 8 wards.” Continue reading


New Youth-Focused Online Mentoring Community helps High School and College Students Share Their Challenges and Triumphs

YoTale.org, a unique online mentoring community geared to help youth share their challenges and triumphs, has today officially announced its grand opening. The online community is designed to let today’s youth share their stories, and inspire and lend support to others facing similar hurdles.
Some peoples life stories just need to be told, stated Yo Tale President Orey Brockington III. Yo Tale delivers a unique format for exactly that purpose. Continue reading


Changing climate, changing cities

Next week leaders from across the nation will gather to explore strategies across all levels of government to increase resiliency

The American economy and local communities – big and small, urban and rural – across the county will face significant, widespread disruptions from climate change. Our health, safety and prosperity are threatened unless policymakers and businesses take immediate action to respond to and reduce climate risk.

“No challenge poses a greater threat to future generations than climate change,” President Obama said in his State of the Union address on Tuesday, describing its impacts as “immediate risks to our national security.” Continue reading


Microsoft creates device to charge Smartphones with light beam

(UPI) — A Microsoft team in China has created a prototype device that automatically locates and charges smartphones with a light beam.
Currently called AutoCharge, the prototype uses a Microsoft Kinect camera to look for smartphones and an LED flashlight torch to charge the phone via solar power technology.
The AutoCharge device can be put in the ceiling of a room and will identify the opportunity to charge when someone puts a smartphone on a desk “instead of forcing a user to explicitly indicate the intention of charging,” the Microsoft team said in a publication. Continue reading


Historic Slide for U.S. Gasoline Nearing its End

(UPI) — Though gasoline prices continue to fall nation-wide, a fuels analyst said Tuesday the trend may reverse as U.S. refineries start entering a maintenance phase.
Motor club AAA reports a national average price for a gallon of regular unleaded gasoline at $2.05, a slight decline from Monday but $1.23 less than this date in 2014. Half of all states are reporting averages below the $2 mark, with Missouri posting the lowest price at $1.76 per gallon.
The low price at the pump is a reflection of crude oil prices, which are off more than 50 percent from their June values. While the low price of oil is leaving producers and those in secondary energy industries struggling, low gasoline prices are seen as a de facto stimulus for U.S. consumers.
Continue reading


U.S. Fund for UNICEF Partners with Consortium of African American Faith-Based Leaders to Help Stop Ebola

Fundraising initiative to support UNICEF’s lifesaving work in West Africa will launch during Black History Month
The U.S. Fund for UNICEF is proud to announce a new partnership to combat Ebola with a consortium of noted faith-based leaders who head up some of the largest African American churches and religious organizations in the country. The joint initiative, I AM #STOPPINGEBOLA, will launch during Black History Month and aims to raise funds in support of UNICEF’s work to halt the spread of Ebola in Liberia, one of the West African countries hardest hit by the virus.
“We are thrilled to join forces with the heads of African American religious groups in the fight against Ebola. These leaders have stepped up to the plate at just the right time. Global attention on the crisis is fading, but children and their families in West Africa still need our support,” said Caryl Stern, president and CEO of the U.S. Fund for UNICEF. Continue reading


‘No Excuses’ Report
 Oversimplifies Its Analysis

Role of attrition, limited sample among shortcomings in study of charter schools

A recent report that suggests “No Excuses” charter schools are closing achievement gaps between white and minority students substantially overstates its findings, according to a new review published recently.

Jeanne M. Powers of Arizona State University reviewed No Excuses Charter Schools: A Meta-Analysis of the Experimental Evidence for the Think Twice think tank review project. The review is published by the National Education Policy Center, housed at the University of Colorado Boulder School of Education. Dr. Powers is a sociologist and an associate professor in the Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College at ASU. Her research focuses on school segregation, school choice, and school finance litigation.
Continue reading


275,000 Students Receive Free Tickets to Academy Award®-Nominated “SELMA”

– 12 More Cities Join the Movement. “SELMA” is Nominated for an Academy Award® for Best Picture and Best Original Song for “Glory” by Common & John Legend —
An additional 12 locations have joined the growing movement led by African-American business leaders to raise funds for students across the country to see the Academy Award®-nominated film “SELMA,” expanding the first-of-its-kind campaign to 25 locations nationwide.

Due to the generous contributions by so many of the country‟s most prominent African-American business leaders, more than 275,000 middle and high school students across the U.S. will experience the critically acclaimed film for free at participating theaters while supplies last. Continue reading


Naval Academy Accepting Applications for Summer Seminar

”Applications are now being accepted through March 31 for the Naval Academy™s Summer Seminar. Students have the opportunity to choose from three different sessions: May 30 – June 4, June 6 -11, and June 13 -18.
The Naval Academy Summer Seminar is a fast-paced, six-day experience for high achievers who have completed their junior year in high school. Summer Seminar teaches students about life at the Naval Academy, where academics, athletics, and professional training play equally important roles in developing our nation’s leaders.
Summer Seminar accepts 2,550 students (850 for each of the three sessions) from roughly 8,000 applications each year.
Tuition for Summer Seminar is $450 and covers room and board, as well as a variety of materials. Students should plan on bringing extra cash for snacks and souvenirs.
Continue reading


This Year’s Retool Your School

The Home Depot to award $50,000 to three HBCU ’s with a total of up to $255,000 to nine winning HBCUs for campus and facility upgrades

The Home Depot, the world’s largest home improvement retailer, announced that applications are now being accepted for its 2015 Retool Your School Campus Improvement Grant Program.This program, established in 2010, provides support for campus improvement projects at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) across the country. Since the program’s inception, approximately one million dollars in grant money has been awarded.

This year, the Retool Your School Grant Program will use a new grant structure which will award a total of $255,000 in grants to nine accredited HBCUs in $50,000, $25,000 and $10,000 grant denominations. Based on student enrollment, schools will be categorized into one of three clusters — schools with 4,000 students or more, schools with between 3,999 and 1,201 students, or schools with less than 1,200 students. Continue reading


Langley Elementary Wins Second Sprint to Savings Competition

DGS Announces Winner of the 2nd Annual Sprint to Savings Energy Competition

Mark Chambers, DGS Associate Director for Sustainability and Energy, announced
recently the winners of the 2nd Annual Sprint to Savings energy competition. Langley Elementary School in Northeast Washington, DC, captured the top prize for the second year in a row, reducing its electricity consumption by an impressive 36 percent compared to the baseline period. As the winning school, $50,000 will be dedicated to further reduce energy consumption at Langley. The project will be co-financed by the
Department of General Services, which operates the competition, and sponsoring partner, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility. Continue reading


The American Folklife Center Celebrates the Alan Lomax Centennial

To mark the centennial birthday of the influential folklorist Alan Lomax (1915-2002), the Library’s American Folklife Center (AFC) is presenting a year-long series of public programs, special events and other activities to celebrate Lomax and the Lomax family’s contributions to the preservation and promotion of traditional music and dance. The center will also work with outside researchers, organizations and performers interested in traditional folk music to highlight the depth and diversity of AFC’s Lomax family collections, which include important fieldwork by Alan’s father John Lomax, his stepmother Ruby Terrill Lomax and his sister Bess Lomax Hawes.
The centennial of Lomax’s birth is Saturday, Jan. 31. AFC kicks off the celebrations on Monday, Feb. 2, with the opening of a display of 21 items from the Library’s Lomax collections, including photographs, manuscripts and notebooks. The display will be located in the South Gallery of the Great Hall in the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C., Monday – Saturday, from 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m., through March 28. Continue reading


Speakers Event Examines Evolution of Montgomery County’s Agricultural Reserve

Panelists to discuss current challenges to working farms and landscapes in preserved rural area

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is hosting the fourth session in its Winter Speakers Series on Wednesday, February 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Planning Department Headquarters (8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, Md.). The series is called “A Once and Future County: Lessons on How Planning Politics Shaped Montgomery County” and is hosted by Royce Hanson, former chairman of the County’s Planning Board. Continue reading


Latino Leaders Network to Honor Mayor Alvin Brown and Executive Rushern Baker III

The Latino Leaders Network (LLN) will host a Tribute to Mayors dinner on Thursday, January 22nd in Washington, D.C. The event will honor Mayor Alvin Brown of Jacksonville, FL with the Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award. In addition, Executive Rushern Baker III of Prince George’s County, MD will be honored with the Chairman’s Award.

The Antonio Villaraigosa Leadership Award is presented to a mayor from a city with a significant minority population who has exhibited an outstanding commitment to bringing diverse communities together. Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will deliver tribute to Mayor Brown and present the award along with LLN founder and chairman, Mickey Ibarra. The Chairman’s Award is given to elected officials in recognition of outstanding leadership for bringing all communities together. Continue reading


National Postal Museum Announces New Exhibition Opening

Exhibition Devoted Entirely to African American History
“Freedom Just Around the Corner: Black America from Civil War to Civil Rights,” opening Feb. 12 at the Smithsonian’s National Postal Museum, is the museum’s first exhibition devoted entirely to African American history. Marking 150 years since the end of the Civil War and the abolition of slavery throughout the United States, the exhibition chronicles the African American experience through the perspective of stamps and mail.
The exhibition includes letters carried by enslaved Americans, mail sent by and to leaders of the civil rights movement and original artwork for numerous stamps issued by the United States Postal Service. More than 100 items from the museum’s collection are on display, augmented by outstanding pieces on loan from other institutions and private collections. Continue reading


DPR Announces Summer Camps 2015 Reduced Rate Information Fair and Camp Registration Dates

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced two new “Summer Camps Reduced Rate Information Fairs,” as well as the registration and session dates for the upcoming 2015 DPR Summer Camps season. 

Beginning on Tuesday, January 20, 2015, DPR will open the Reduced Rate Pre-Qualification Period for DC residents. Residents may either attend one of the two fairs being offered this year, or visit DPR’s Summer Camps Office at 1480 Girard Street, NW – 4th floor, to complete a reduced rate application. Please note that reduced rate applications must be submitted in person only. Qualification requirements can be found on DPR’s Summer Camp website – summercamps.dc.gov. The goal of the pre-qualification period is to assist residents with completing their reduced rate applications in advance, so that applicants can be prepared when camp registration opens on February 23, 2015. Continue reading


$6.2 Million in Federal Energy Assistance Funding for Maryland Families with Modest Incomes

U.S. Senators Barbara A. Mikulski and Ben Cardin (both D-Md.) recently announced that Maryland will receive an additional $6.2 million in federal energy assistance through the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program (LIHEAP) to help families with modest incomes stay warm this winter. This brings Maryland’s total to $68.3 million in federal funds and is made possible through the recently-passed Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015 law.
Continue reading


Capitol Hill Arts Workshop and DC Brau Brewing Company Present 
CHAW & Brau: Arts & Craft Beer Fundraiser

The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) is pleased to announce its upcoming partnership with local DC brewers, DC Brau, for a special Arts & Craft Beer fundraising event. DC Brau holds free tours during its Growler Hours every Saturday, 12pm-5pm, and this February 7th, attendees can make great art possible while exploring the local craft beer scene: attendees will receive a free growler from DC Brau with a $30+ donation to CHAW, and $1 from every pint sold that day will be donated to CHAW’s tuition assistance program. Continue reading


Disney Dreamers Academy Selects 100 students for 2015 program

Five Washington, D.C.-area Dreamers selected from nearly 10,000 applicants at eighth-annual career and mentoring event in March

Walt Disney World Resort has announced the 100 high school students selected for the 2015 Disney Dreamers Academy with Steve Harvey and ESSENCE Magazine, March 5-8. The teens, along with a parent or guardian, will receive an all-expense-paid trip to Walt Disney World Resort, where they will take part in a once-in-lifetime educational and mentoring program designed to inspire them to dream big, discover a world of possibilities and prepare for their future. Continue reading


Madame Tussauds DC to kick off Black History Month with Unveiling of never before seen Frederick Douglass Wax Figure

Madame Tussauds Washington, D.C. is honored to present the never before seen wax figure of abolitionist Frederick Douglass as they kick-off their tradition of celebrating Black History Month with some of the most iconic Civil Rights leaders of our nation’s past. The brand new figure will be officially unveiled in a ceremony at the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site (1411 W Street Southeast) on Tuesday, January 27 at 10:30 a.m. Continue reading

Boogie Down

“Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits” Opens Feb. 27 at the Smithsonian American Art Museum

Exhibition Features Artworks Tracing Career of Imaginary D.C.-based Soul Superstar

The Smithsonian American Art Museum’s “Mingering Mike’s Supersonic Greatest Hits” presents more than 100 works of art by a Washington, D.C., artist known only by his alter ego, “Mingering Mike.” The collection, created between 1968 and 1976, comprises artworks constructed as part of the artist’s youthful fantasy of becoming a famous soul singer and songwriter, including LP albums made from painted cardboard, original album art, song lyrics and liner notes, self-recorded 45 rpm singles and more, all tracing the career of a would-be superstar. The works powerfully evoke the black entertainers of the late 1960s and ’70s and are a window onto an historical moment when black radio and Washington-based performers were gaining national attention and transforming the American music scene.
Continue reading


Haiti’s president ruling by decree following parliament’s dissolution

(UPI) — Haiti’s Parliament was dissolved Tuesday after negotiations to establish a new electoral law failed.
The conflict left President Michel Martelly, whose term of office expires in 2016, effectively ruling by decree. Legislative and municipal elections have been delayed for years and it is unclear when they will be held.
The United Nations reiterated its support for the president following the Parliament’s dissolution and chastised the legislative body for becoming “dysfunctional.” Continue reading


Family of Metro Smoke Incident Victim Raising Funds For Funeral Expenses

While National Transportation Safety Board investigators are currently working to find what exactly caused the tunnel and a train just outside the L’Enfant Metro station to fill with smoke on Monday, the family of the incident’s sole victim has started a memorial fund.

Carol Glover, the 61-year-old mother and grandmother from Alexandria, was killed in Monday’s incident, despite the desperate attempts from fellow passengers and firefighters to save her life. Members of Glover’s family are looking to raise $10,000 “[towards] funeral or general unplanned expenses.”
Continue reading


Mayor Bowser Announces the Office of Talent and Appointments

Mayor Muriel Bowser unveiled the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments (MOTA) along with a new way for Washingtonians to join Boards and Commissions or seek senior-level appointed positions. The website, mota.dc.gov, will be the key entry point for District residents and other interested applicants to apply for appointment to leadership staff positions or boards and commission. The new office, directed by Steve Walker, will oversee a team tasked with recruiting energetic, forward-thinking individuals who are committed to helping the District of Columbia make a fresh start.
Continue reading


Leaders of Black Methodist Denominations Unite In Ferguson to Provide Scholarships for Normandy Students

Senior Bishops of the three historical Black Methodist denominations: Methodist Episcopal Church (AME), African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church (AMEZ), and the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME) – will travel to Normandy High School to announce the establishment of several full tuition scholarships to Historically Black Colleges and Universities that are traditionally affiliated with these denominations.
At a special surprise assembly for the students at Normandy High school, the same school the late Michael Brown, Jr. attended, the announcement of the ‘Michael Brown Change Foundation’ scholarship endowment fund will be made. Continue reading


The American Association of Blacks in Energy Convenes National Leaders for a 2-Day Energy Policy Summit in Washington, DC

The American Association of Blacks in Energy (AABE) is set to discuss energy policy and its impact on communities of color at the upcoming 2015 Energy Policy Summit, scheduled for February 26-27, at The W Hotel in Washington, DC.

The two-day conference agenda will feature industry leaders, policy makers and stakeholders for a dynamic insider conversation on today’s energy issues and how those issues impact communities of color.

Notable sessions will focus on energy issues in the 114thCongress, President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Changing Economics of Energy, and the Evolving Distribution System. Representatives from national organizations, policy makers, industry executives, entrepreneurs and legislatives experts are being invited. Continue reading


Apple Nabs Remote Photo, Motion Control Patents

(UPI) — Apple was granted patents for taking photographs with a remote control and for gesture-based controls, driving stock prices down for at least one competitor.
Based on a sketch filed with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, Apple’s patent for remote control photo-taking is perhaps meant to team up the iPhone’s camera with the company’s forthcoming Apple Watch. Continue reading


Google to release voice-recognizing language translation

(UPI) — Google will be announcing a new update for its translation app that recognizes voices and translates them into the desired language, The New York Times reports.
Google Translate currently has 90 languages available, and since Skype has released a feature that translates spoken language, Google is coming out with its own version. Instead of attempting to type a language into the app to translate it, users will now be able to speak into the phone for immediate translation.
Previously released apps like World Lens have attempted to make it possible to translate a road sign by pointing your camera at it, and the Times reports that the Google update may come with similar features.
Skype’s version of voice translation requires a headset. It uses neural networks to understand and “learn” words that a speaker uses.


McDonald’s® Announces the 12th Annual McDonald’s Educates Scholarship Program For Greater Washington D.C. Area Students

The McDonald’s Family Restaurants of Greater Washington, D.C. will honor area high school seniors through the annual McDonald’s Educates Scholarship Program. Eligible students can download an application by visiting www.McDonaldsEducates.com. Applications must be postmarked by Friday, March 6, 2015.

The scholarship program is open to high school seniors currently attending a high school within the Greater Washington, D.C., area – including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, Northern Virginia, and West Virginia. Applicants must plan to enroll as an undergraduate student at a college or university in fall 2015. Continue reading


Paying for college: What are the options for student borrowers?

As college application deadlines loom, it’s time for students and their families to consider how to pay for higher education. If you are one of the seven in 10 college students who will need help paying for their education, it’s hard to know where to begin or how to get help. One thing is certain: The earlier you learn about your options, the faster you can get on the path to becoming debt free post-graduation. Consumer Action has surveyed some of the best student borrower resources available and compiled them into its new Student Loan and Education Resource List. Continue reading


Universal Flu Vaccine in Development, Could be Ready Soon

(UPI) — Researchers at Mount Sinai Health System say a universal flu vaccine is currently in the works. While the vaccine has yet to prove it can protect humans, researchers say the science is sound and the vaccine may soon be a reality.
“We would hope that in a couple of years we’ll have a universal flu vaccine,” Mount Sinai Health System CEO and President Kenneth Davis told CNBC last week.
A universal flu vaccine would protect against all strains of the flu and would remain effective for at least a decade, maybe more. Continue reading


The Skin Cancer Foundation Shares Tips for Reversing Sun Damage

Summers spent poolside and sunny vacations during winter can do more than provide relaxation. Exposure to the sun’s ultraviolet (UV) rays leaves behind lasting damage on the skin – including wrinkles, leathery or sagging skin and brown spots. In fact, more than 90 percent of these visible changes commonly attributed to skin aging are caused by the sun. Though sun damage is cumulative, there are ways to repair, and even reverse the damage.
“Contrary to popular belief, the harmful effects of exposure to UV radiation can be almost immediate,” said Skin Cancer Foundation Senior Vice President Deborah S. Sarnoff, MD. “That’s why practicing proper sun protection is so critical. You’ll help prevent future damage and you may even reverse some of the damage that has already been done.” Continue reading


Nearly 300 Mayors in D.C. for the 83rd Winter Meeting of the United States Conference of Mayors

Community Policing, The Economy, Innovation & Transportation Top Agenda During Three-Day Session with More Than 40 Newly-Elected Mayors*
On the heels of President Obama’s State of the Union Address (SOTU) and under the leadership of USCM Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, more than 290 of the nation’s mayors will convene in Washington, D.C. at the Capital Hilton Hotel to engage with Administration officials, Congressional leaders business leaders to ensure the health and economic recovery of America’s cities. This meeting comes at a critical time as the 114th Congress begins, with many new leaders and members in both the House and Senate. Continue reading


The National Coalition to Prevent Child Sexual Abuse & Exploitation Announces their “Six Pillars for Prevention”

For ten years a group of leading experts and organizations has worked together to pool their knowledge and resources about how to end child sexual abuse and exploitation. Together, they have developed a national plan and now are releasing an innovative approach to policy change.

The Prevention Coalition released today their “Six Pillars of Prevention,” a guiding document that outlines six critical components to the prevention of abuse. With the release of this document, the Prevention Coalition is hoping to build a dialogue around the creation of a comprehensive policy agenda to benefit children and prevent sexual abuse. Continue reading

Family Tree

Is there more to see in your family tree?

Find out if glaucoma runs in your family
It may be easy to see that beauty is deeply rooted in your family tree. But some things that are passed down from generation to generation are not as easily seen—like glaucoma, an eye disease that runs in families and often has no warning signs.

Glaucoma is a group of diseases that damages the eye’s optic nerve, which carries visual signals to the brain. It can lead to vision loss or blindness if left untreated. Primary open-angle glaucoma is the most common form of this disease. Quite often, by the time people are diagnosed with glaucoma they have already begun to notice changes in their side, or peripheral, vision. It’s important not to wait until you notice vision problems to see your eye care professional.
Continue reading


Washington National Cathedral Celebrates Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Gospel choirs, dancers and spoken word artists and more gather to honor and continue King’s legacy

On Monday, January 19, Washington National Cathedral will host “All God’s Children,” its annual tribute celebrating the life and legacy of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. The event will feature musical and poetry performances presented by the District’s rich performing arts community, celebrating the lessons of Dr. King and lifting up a vision for peace and justice in our lifetime. Continue reading


Governor McAuliffe Announces Equal Opportunity Legislative Agenda

Governor McAuliffe recently announced a series of legislative proposals aimed at ensuring that every Virginian has equal opportunity to succeed and contribute to the Commonwealth’s economic growth. The policies outlined in the Governor’s Equal Opportunity Agenda build upon the progress the McAuliffe Administration has made during its first year to create an environment that is open and welcoming to all who want to live, work, or start their businesses here.

“In a new Virginia economy, we need to be able to attract the best and brightest entrepreneurs here, build a workforce for the 21st Century, and ensure that the next generation of Virginians has greater opportunity to succeed,” stated Governor McAuliffe. “All that depends on having a business-friendly environment where every Virginian is treated equally and fairly under the law, no matter their background, gender, or whom they love.” Continue reading

10th anniv no banner-hats fixed lo res

10th Anniversary Concert of National Philharmonic at Strathmore

​Photo Credit: Marc Apter

Much like the orchestra itself, many players had to come together before the National Philharmonic could reach the harmonious arrangement with the Music Center at Strathmore it enjoys today. The 2014-2015 season marks a decade of these two entities literally making beautiful music together. The National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale is kicking off its 10th anniversary celebration Sunday, February 8, at 3 pm in the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda. The concert will include works by Beethoven, Chopin, Tchaikovsky and Makris. Ticket prices for these performances, featuring Maestro Piotr Gajewski, pianist Brian Ganz and cellist Summer Hu, start at $28 and are free for children ages 7 to 17, but must be reserved by calling or visiting the Strathmore Ticket Office. For more information or to purchase tickets, visit www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301.581.5100. Continue reading


National Film Registry Titles Highlighted in February

Feature films, shorts and cartoons named to the National Film Registry for posterity will be showcased at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia, in February. Dating from 1913 to 2000, these films have been named to the registry because of their cultural, historic and/or aesthetic significance.

Many of the registry titles being screened were listed in the most recent annual selection of 25 motion pictures added to the National Film Registry in December 2014. Included on the schedule are the popular Hollywood features “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “The Big Lebowski,” “Rio Bravo,” “The Gang’s All Here” and “The Wild Bunch.” Continue reading


Jazz Pianist Bill Harris Performs ‘Timeless Love Songs’ January 24

On Saturday, January 24 at 8 p.m., at the Theatre at Washington, Virginia, jazz pianist Bill Harris will give a solo recital, “Timeless Love Songs,” in which he explores the American Songbook and improvises on his favorite melodies and lyrics. Think Nat Cole, Frank Sinatra and Tony Bennett with great standards such as “More Than You Know” and “If I Had You.” Continue reading


New Art Resolutions Opens at All We Art in Washington, DC

Art space in Georgetown opens 2015 with a group show of international artists

All We Art, a venue specializing in contemporary international art, with an emphasis on Latin America, opens New Art Resolutions. The exhibition, a group show featuring ten international, mixed media artists, will open with a public reception on Thursday, January 15, 2015 from 6:00 – 9:00 PM at the gallery located at 1666 33rd Street, NW in Georgetown, Washington, DC. Continue reading


Co-Founder of Rosa Parks Foundation To Share Recollections of Civil Rights Icon

The Library of Congress, the Library of Congress Chapter of Blacks in Government and the Daniel A.P. Murray African American Culture Association of the Library of Congress will co-host a panel discussion, “Rosa Parks: Beyond the Bus,” with Elaine Steele, a longtime associate of civil rights leader Rosa Parks and co-founder of the Rosa and Raymond Parks Institute for Self Development. Joining Steele are Ella McCall Haygan, who also worked for Parks and is co-director of Pathways to Freedom, and Anita Peek, current executive director of the institute.

The program, which is free and open to the public, takes place from 12:30 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 15 in the Coolidge Auditorium of the Library’s Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets are not needed. Continue reading


Day of Service to Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday

This year, Montgomery County’s Day of Service activities in honor of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Monday, January 19, will take place at several sites throughout the County. Locations, times and registration information can be found at www.montgomeryserves.org/mlk-day-service-2015.
Montgomery County’s Volunteer Center will coordinate indoor, family-friendly service projects from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd. Projects include tying paracord bracelets for members of the military, preparing bagged lunches for County shelters, creating fleece blankets for Montgomery Hospice, making pet toys for local animal shelters, assembling snow day boxes for Meals on Wheels, decorating holiday cards for seniors and assembling care kits for foster children. Continue reading


UberOffices Raises More Than $14 Million to Fund Growth and Expansion

UberOffices, the premier coworking platform and creative business community for innovative entrepreneurs, startups, and small businesses in the Washington, D.C. metro area, today announced that it has raised more than $14 million in two rounds of capital funding in 2014.

On December 31, 2014, UberOffices received its second round of funding. MRP Realty led this second round along with a follow-on investment from the Current Yield with Participation Fund (CYwP Fund), a Maryland-based private equity firm, which provided UberOffices with its first round of funding earlier in 2014.

With this capital, UberOffices has begun the development of three new locations in the D.C. metro area that will nearly double its square footage under management. The company aims to continue its swift growth by opening multiple coworking locations in Philadelphia and Chicago in mid-2015 and plans to expand into other metropolitan areas by the end of this year.
Continue reading


Leggett Cuts Ribbon Opening New MCPS Food Distribution Facility – a “Smart Growth Initiative” Project

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett along with County Council Member Craig Rice, Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) Superintendent Joshua Starr and Board of Education Member Patricia O’Neill celebrated the opening of the new MCPS Food Distribution Facility – located at the Montgomery County Multi Agency Service Park, 8301 Turkey Thicket Drive, off Snouffer School Road in Montgomery Village. This is another of Leggett’s Smart Growth Initiative (SGI) projects that is revitalizing an old industrial area by creating an urban village near the Shady Grove Metro station. Leggett’s SGI provides substantial economic opportunities for future growth while implementing the goals of the Shady Grove Sector Plan. Continue reading


Number of Sales, Prices, Inventory End the 2014 Northern Virginia Real Estate Market on a Long-Awaited Upward Trend

With the conclusion of 2014, the Northern Virginia real estate market ended the year with impressive December home sales results. The increase of more than 10 percent of total homes sold in the NVAR footprint
– the 1,596 homes sold – makes a record number for year-end sales for the past eight years. This time last year, there were 1,444 homes sold. In December 2006, our region had 1,755 closed transactions.
“We are encouraged to see a 29 percent rise in inventory compared to 2013 as well as the best December sales numbers since before the recession,” said Mary Bayat, 2015 NVAR Chair of the Board. “Also, the average sale price and median sale price increased more than 3 percent, which closes out the year with favorable market metrics. This trend can be sustained as long as there is no Arctic deep-freeze. Job and wage growth would help, too.” Continue reading


DC’s 5×5 Project Named One of the Top 10 Exhibitions in the U.S.

Project recognized for allowing artists to create “memorable public art”
The DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) is proud to announce that the 2014 edition of its signature public art exhibition, 5×5, was named as one of the top 10 art exhibitions in the United States for 2014.

Hyperallergic, a critically acclaimed art blog, praised 5×5 saying that the exhibition’s “open and multifaceted nature allowed participants to generate some truly memorable public art.” 5×5 is the only Washington, DC exhibit – and the only public art exhibition – on the blog’s top 10 list for 2014.

“It is truly an honor to have 5×5 gain this recognition,” said Edmund C. Fleet, Chair of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “We are pleased to see Washington, DC, receiving national attention for creating world-class art that is enjoyed by thousands of residents and visitors of the District.”

“One of the goals of 5×5 is to create contemporary public art that is both memorable and innovative,” said Lionell Thomas, Executive Director of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. “Being listed as a top 10 exhibition by the acclaimed Hyperallergic blog is a testament to 5×5’s success and to the District of Columbia as a world cultural city.”

Click here to view Hyperallergic’s entire 2014 Top 10 list.

5×5, A Project of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, is the District’s largest public art project. A District-wide program of contemporary, ephemeral public art, 5×5 is dedicated to exploring new perspectives on the District of Columbia through the lens of five curators and 25 artists. The 2014 project began in early September and closed in December.


DC State Athletic Association Is Accepting Applications for 2014-15 Student-Athlete Scholarship Awards Program

The DC State Athletic Association is accepting applications for the DCSAA 2014-15 Student-Athlete Scholarship Awards program. Now in its second year, the program provides $1,000 college scholarships to 17 of the District’s top high school student-athletes as part of the DCSAA’s partnerships with Modell’s Sporting Goods and Wendy’s restaurants.
The scholarships are designated for DC high school seniors who have played at least two seasons of varsity sports and maintain at least a 3.0 grade-point average. More information and an application can be found at http://www.dcsaasports.org/2014-2015-student-athlete-scholarship. Continue reading


Award of $50 Million Loan to the City of Alexandria to Build a New Potomac Yard Metrorail Station

~ Station secures integral piece of financing plan for important economic development project ~

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that the Commonwealth Transportation Board has approved a $50 million loan from the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank (VTIB) for the City of Alexandria to construct a Metrorail station in the Potomac Yard area.

The Potomac Yard Metrorail Station will be built on Metrorail’s Yellow and Blue Lines, between the existing Braddock Road and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport stations, and is expected to generate billions of dollars in new private sector investment. The resulting development around the station will support up to 26,000 new jobs within one-quarter mile, and 13,000 new residents within one-half mile. Continue reading


The March on Washington Film Festival Sponsors DCPS Students to See “Selma”

Funds Raised by the Civil Rights Film Festival Will Go To Tickets for DC Students
District business leaders and the March on Washington Film Festival are raising money to send public school students in Washington, DC to see Ava Duvernay’s Selma, the historical drama based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches. This is part of similar #SelmaForStudents projects across the country, led by Bill Lewis, Charles Phillips and Toni Cook Bush in Washington. Continue reading


BGE Presents $30,000 to Eleven Schools Across Central Maryland

Awards range from $1,000 to $10,000 and recognize students for creativity, teamwork and the highest number of online votes

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) is pleased to announce that it has awarded $30,000 in funding for school enrichment projects to 11 elementary schools in its central Maryland service area as part of the third annual BGE Wires Down Video Challenge. The eleven winning schools and their videos were selected from a field of 26 videos from 24 participating elementary schools. Continue reading


DHCD Awards More Than $30 Million to 11 Multifamily Projects in Latest Competitive Funding Round

Eleven affordable rental housing projects throughout Maryland will receive more than $19.1 million in Rental Housing Funds and $11 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits in the latest competitive funding round, DHCD announced.
The 11 projects will create or preserve 106 rental housing units and put more than $167 million into the economy. Just as importantly, the projects will help meet the affordable rental housing needs for working families and senior citizens in Baltimore City and six counties. Continue reading


D.C. Teacher Surprised with Milken Educator Award and $25,000 Cash

Amid cheers and applause from students and dignitaries alike, second-grade teacher Michelle Johnson was the first educator in 2015 to be surprised with the prestigious Milken Educator Award and $25,000 during a morning assembly at D.C.’s Seaton Elementary School today.
Milken Family Foundation Co-Founder Mike Milken, together with Interim State Superintendent Amy Maisterra, delivered the news to the shocked young teacher.
“During her relatively short time as an educator, Michelle Johnson has had a profound impact on her school, her district and her students,” said Milken. “By getting kids in her classroom excited about learning and thinking for themselves, she significantly improved their achievement levels. Her work captures the spirit of the Milken Educator Awards, which for 28 years have recognized and rewarded outstanding teachers in the same ways we celebrate heroes from other fields.” Continue reading


Wizards Beat Spurs for 1st time Since November 2005

(ABC)–John Wall broke yet another personal 0-for-forever streak, this one against an entire team, scoring 25 points with eight assists Tuesday night in a 101-93 win over the San Antonio Spurs that gave him his first taste of success against the reigning NBA champs.
Wall had been 0-7 against the Spurs since he was drafted No. 1 overall in 2010, and the Wizards as a whole had not beaten San Antonio since Nov. 12, 2005 – a streak of 17 games.
Wall has been bursting similar barriers all season: He had a 0-6 one-on-one history against Chris Paul before last month’s win over the Los Angeles Clippers, and last week’s victory over the Chicago Bulls ended a 0-5 mark of futility against Derrick Rose. Continue reading


Ohio State Wins 1st Playoff-Era Title, Beating Oregon 42-20

(ABC)–Ohio State can add the newest version of the national championship trophy to a case that already has a bunch of the old ones.
The Buckeyes’ third-stringer matched Oregon’s Heisman winner as Cardale Jones led Ohio State past Marcus Mariota and the Ducks 42-20 in the first College Football Playoff national championship game Monday night at the $1.2 billion home of the Dallas Cowboys.
Behind their bullish backup quarterback and the relentless running of Ezekiel Elliott, the Buckeyes (14-1) completed a remarkable in-season turnaround with a dominating performance against the Ducks (13-2). Continue reading


Georgetown Downs DePaul 78-72

(CBS)–D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera scored 25 points, including 6 of 8 free throws in the final minute, and Georgetown surged in the second half to beat DePaul 78-72 on Tuesday.

The Hoyas (11-5, 3-2 Big East Conference) also got 11 points from Jabril Trawick and made 26 of 32 free throws.

Myke Henry led DePaul (9-9, 3-2) with 17, Billy Garrett Jr. had 16, Jamee Crockett 12, and Aaron Simpson 11. Continue reading


Hernandez Jurors Asked If They’re Patriots Fans

(NBC)–Prospective jurors in the murder trial of former New England Patriots star Aaron Hernandez have been asked whether they are Patriots fans, whether they have attended any games and if so, how many.
More than 1,000 prospective jurors filled out a questionnaire during the first phase of jury selection, which ended Tuesday. The court released the 51-question form late Tuesday afternoon. Continue reading

Marcus Mariota

Oregon Quarterback Marcus Mariota to Enter NFL Draft

As expected, Oregon junior quarterback Marcus Mariota, winner of the Heisman Trophy for the 2014 season, is entering the 2015 NFL draft.
Mariota announced his decision in a release Wednesday.
“After meeting with my family I have decided to forego my final year of eligibility and apply for the 2015 NFL Draft,” Mariota said. “My four years at the University of Oregon have been an awesome experience. I cannot thank Coach Kelly, Coach Helfrich, Coach Frost, the rest of the Oregon coaches and the support staff enough for molding me as a person, player and student-athlete. Continue reading


Advocates Call On Bowser, Zoning Commission To Strengthen Affordable Housing Policies

A group of D.C. housing advocates are calling on new mayor Muriel Bowser and the D.C. Zoning Commission to strengthen the city’s affordable housing policy, specifically, Inclusionary Zoning, a program that requires new developments to produce lower-priced units.
In an open letter to Bowser, signed by a number of organizations—including the Coalition for Smarter Growth, the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO, D.C. the Fiscal Policy Institute, Jews United for Justice, City First Homes, PolicyLink and Somerset Development.—they ask the Zoning Commission to strengthen its Inclusionary Zoning program to “ensure it can best achieve its goal to creat a mix of low- and moderate-income affordable housing throughout the District.” Continue reading


Researchers Develop Soil-Derived Antibiotic

(UPI) — An international team of scientists claim to have created one of the most powerful antibiotic drugs in decades, capable of killing the microorganisms that cause pneumonia, staph, tuberculosis, blood infections and more. And they found it in a pile of dirt.
​The new antibiotic, teixobactin, operates differently than previous antibiotics; its power and uniqueness has moved some scientists to suggest germs may never be able to develop resistance to it.
​”Our impres­sion is that nature pro­duced a com­pound that evolved to be free of resis­tance,” explained lead researcher Kim Lewis, a professor at Northeastern University. “This chal­lenges the dogma that we’ve oper­ated under that bac­teria will always develop resistance. Well, maybe not in this case.” Continue reading

Mayor Bowser

Mayor Bowser Announces Additional Staff Hires

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the appointments of LaDavia Drane, as Director of the Office of Federal and Regional Affairs, Maia Estes, as Director of the Office of Policy and Legislative Affairs, Ronald Ross, as Deputy Director of the Mayor’s Office of Legal Counsel, and Jenny Reed, as Deputy Budget Director.

“I am excited to have these experienced professionals join my administration,” said Mayor Bowser. “They are passionate about public service, and I look forward to having them on our team. We are moving forward with our goal to provide a more accountable and trustworthy government for all 8 wards.” Continue reading


Border drones are not cost-effective

(UPI) — Expanding the use of drones for surveillance on the U.S.-Mexican border would be a waste of money, an internal audit said.
The report released Tuesday by John Roth, inspector general of the Department of Homeland Security, said that the nine Predator B drones currently in use are grounded much of the time by weather or maintenance problems and are not effective when they are in the air. Roth called the drones “dubious 
achievers” and suggested the $400 million plan to add to the program could be used more effectively on manned planes and helicopters or ground-based sensors.

A Customs and Border Patrol spokesman said the agency plans to use the money that has been authorized to replace a drone that crashed last year and to upgrade infrastructure so the drones will be more effective, instead of adding to the fleet. Continue reading


Raise Cervical Cancer Awareness this January

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), cervical cancer was the leading cause of death by cancer for women in the United States. Over the last forty years, the number of cervical cancer cases and deaths has dramatically decreased thanks to cervical cancer awareness. This January, we urge TRICARE beneficiaries to raise their own awareness about this disease and take preventive measures to safeguard against cervical cancer.

The first step in protecting yourself from cervical cancer is to schedule your well-woman visit. Cervical cancer is highly curable when detected and treated in the early stages. Cervical cancer usually doesn’t show signs or symptoms in the early stages but, as the cancer advances, some women may notice abnormal symptoms. If you experience any discomfort, it is important to visit your doctor. TRICARE covers pelvic exams and Pap smear testing for women 18 years of age or older (or younger if sexually active). Continue reading


Bad luck plays a big role in getting cancer, study says

(UPI) — A new study from John Hopkins University claims many common cancers are mostly caused by “bad luck.”
“All cancers are caused by a combination of bad luck, the environment and heredity, and we’ve created a model that may help quantify how much of these three factors contribute to cancer development,” said Bert Vogelstein, M.D., the Clayton Professor of Oncology at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Continue reading


Program Helps Minority Business Owners Obtain Business Credit, without Using their Personal Credit

Corporate Credit Info is a program that is reaching out to business owners to help them, not only to get their businesses incorporated, but also to build company credit and raise strong business credit lines without using their personal credit – or even their Social Security number.

The 38-year old program is especially reaching out to minority business owners, who are often victims of discrimination and predatory lending at banks. The program also aims to help people who have poor or bad credit. Continue reading


College Degrees Lead to Better Health? Not So Fast, Says New Study

by Carmel Ferrer

Higher education and upward mobility are often touted as a ticket to better health. Yet a new study suggests that the positive health effects of a good education are felt less by blacks than by whites.

Consider this scenario: Four adults are sitting in a doctor’s office. Two are black and two are white. One black adult and one white adult have high school diplomas; the other two have college degrees.

You might reasonably expect that the two college graduates would be healthier than the ones who finished only high school, owing to the improved access to health insurance, fresh foods, and safe housing that higher education often brings. But the study shows that the health benefits of educational attainment for African Americans may in fact be offset by racial discrimination and other associated stresses. Continue reading


Sony Relaunches Walkman as high-end $1,100 personal music player

(UPI) — In the age of portable music streaming services such as Spotify and Pandora, rather than use its once flagship product to compete in the increasingly cloud-based mobile electronics field, Sony is instead relaunching the Walkman as a high-end digital music player aimed at audiophiles and studio professionals.
Armed with the ability to easily play high-resolution and lossless FLAC files without forcing users to download additional software or follow a series of complicated steps, as is required for iPhone users looking to bypass the limitations of MP3 and AAC files, Sony’s Walkman NW-ZX2 won’t come cheap — the device will retail for $1,119.99 when released in the spring. Continue reading


Best Cities for African Americans to Find Jobs and Business Opportunities

Finding the perfect city in which to live generally includes comparing factors such as housing costs, availability of good jobs, cost of living, and good schools. Many minorities such as African Americans also look for areas that provide all these benefits in addition to equal opportunities. Studies have shown that African Americans look at other factors, too, in order to determine where they will find the best opportunities and overall standard of living. Continue reading


Verizon approaches AOL for possible acquisition

(UPI) — Verizon Communications Inc. has approached AOL Inc. about a potential acquisition or joint project with the mass media company to expand its services.
Bloomberg reports that Verizon wants to further develop mobile-video services and is mainly interested in AOL’s advertising technology, which buys and sells ads automatically.

Verizon hasn’t formally made a proposal to AOL and representatives for both companies declined to comment. Continue reading


Girl Scouts unveil three new cookie flavors for 2015

(UPI) — Fans of Girl Scout cookies will have more to choose from in 2015.
The Girl Scouts announced Monday that the organization’s beloved line of boxed cookies will include three new flavors for 2015: Rah-Rah Raisins, Toffee-tastic and Trios.
Rah-Rah Raisins are oatmeal raisin cookies with Greek-yoghurt flavored chunks. Toffee-tastic are “buttery cookies with toffee bits,” while Trios are made of peanut butter, chocolate chips and oats. Both Toffee-tastic and Trios are gluten-free.
Girl Scouts CEO Anna Maria Chávez said in a release that Girl Scouts sell $800 million worth of cookies every year. Continue reading

Taxi Drivers

United for Human Rights & Innocents at Risk To Host Ongoing Taxi Driver Training

Deborah Sigmund, founder and director of Innocents at Risk, a nonprofit organization started to fight child exploitation and human trafficking, addresses DC cab drivers in the first in a series of training workshops on how to spot human trafficking of our youth and how they can help held at the Church of Scientology National Affairs Office.

How to Spot and Report Potential Human Trafficking Situations
Taxi drivers sometimes find themselves confronted by situations that lead them to suspect there might be something wrong. Could it be a human trafficking situation? How do you know? What can you do about it?

Answering these questions: How to spot human trafficking and what to do if they suspect it, is what Sylvia Stanard, of United for Human Rights, a humanitarian program supported by the Church of Scientology, and Deborah Sigmund, founder and director of Innocents at Risk, a nonprofit organization founded to fight child exploitation and human trafficking, have started doing with DC cab drivers this week.
Continue reading


Bills to Support Small Businesses, Reform Surrogacy Laws, and Improve Rail Safety In The District

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen introduced the Small Business Incubator Act of 2015 and the Collaborative Reproduction Amendment Act of 2015, and co-introduced the State Safety and Security Oversight Agency Establishment Act of 2015 at the opening legislative meeting of Council Period 21.

The Small Business Incubator Act is designed to help small business owners and entrepreneurs test business concepts without long-term financial gambles. The bill creates a mechanism for these entrepreneurs to obtain short-term business licenses, as well as expedited permitting for those that wish to occupy a currently vacant building or storefront.
“I am committed to making DC a great place to do business and create jobs. One way to invest in the success of our small businesses is to reduce regulatory barriers and make it easier for them to open their doors in our neighborhoods. This bill will support entrepreneurs as they take risks and bring new ideas to the marketplace,” said Allen. Continue reading


Governor O’Malley Honors Harriet Tubman with Bust at Government House

Governor, dignitaries celebrate addition to the State Archive and Government House art collection

Governor Martin O’Malley joined state officials and dignitaries at Government House to unveil a bronze bust of Harriet Tubman — the first bust of an African American to be displayed in the Governor’s residence in Annapolis, Maryland.

Joining Governor O’Malley for the ceremony were First Lady Katie O’Malley, descendants of Harriet Tubman, artist Brendan O’Neill Sr., U.S. Congressman Elijah Cummings, and Dr. Joni Jones Floyd, Director of the Banneker Douglass Museum of Annapolis and Executive Director of the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture. Continue reading


BGE Prepared for Consecutive Days of Frigid Temperatures

Provides Customers with Tips for Saving Energy Even During Extremely Cold Weather

As temperatures dip and an artic weather system moves into central Maryland this week, Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) provides customers with energy saving tips to help ease the sting of the frigid temperatures. Just as BGE prepares for the colder winter months, the company encourages customers to ensure they are prepared for winter weather by having a winter emergency plan and supplies in place, before bad weather arrives. The forecasted weather system may bring high wind and wind gusts, which has the potential to bring tree limbs down onto power lines and electric delivery equipment. Customers are reminded to stay away from downed wires and to report both downed wires and power outages by calling BGE at 877.778.2222. Customers may also report power outages via mobile phones and devices at bge.com. Continue reading


Library of Congress Presents Talks and Film Series Focusing on Civil Rights Movement

Library’s Exhibition “A Long Struggle for Freedom” Continues Through Sept. 2015

The Library of Congress will present events in January and February that examine the Civil Rights Movement, including a talk by author Clay Risen about the Civil Rights Act of 1964, a discussion about Rosa Parks, a film series and a talk for teens about the 1965 Selma Voting Rights March.

The programming complements the Library’s exhibition “The Civil Rights Act of 1964: A Long Struggle for Freedom,” which is free and open to the public Monday through Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the Southwest Gallery on the second level of the Thomas Jefferson Building, 10 First St. S.E., Washington, D.C. The last day is Sept. 12, 2015.
Continue reading


Warm up at Mount Vernon! 
Special Winter Activities and Events

George Washington’s Mount Vernon offers a special month of activities at the home of the first president! Take tea with “Martha Washington” or learn about the decorative arts of Mount Vernon through a new tour. Listen to a free book talk at the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington. Experience “snow” in Mount Vernon’s Revolutionary War Theater. For more information, please visit mountvernon.org.

Tea with Lady Washington
Saturdays, January 10, 17, 24, 31, and February 7. 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Continue reading


EPA Approves Maryland’s New Limits on Trash in Lower Patapsco Waterways, Including Baltimore Harbor

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Maryland today announced a new set of pollution limits for trash for portions of the Patapsco River. These limits, also known as a Total Maximum Daily Load or TMDL, require the control of trash entering the tidal shoreline of the Middle Branch and Northwest Branch of the Patapsco River, including Baltimore Harbor and the upstream watersheds of Jones Falls and Gwynns Falls.

Each year, hundreds of tons of trash and debris are washed into the Patapsco watershed from stormwater runoff, or dumped, not only creating a nuisance and an eyesore, but endangering birds, fish and other wildlife that ingest or become entangled in the debris. Continue reading


August Wilson’s King Hedley II At Arena Stage

Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the full company for August Wilson’s classic drama King Hedley II. Set in the 1980s Hill District of Pittsburgh, the ninth installment of Pulitzer Prize winner Wilson’s acclaimed play cycle examining Black America follows a scarred ex-convict who struggles to turn his life around and lock away his past. The drama is directed by Timothy Douglas, who worked with the late playwright on the world premiere of Radio Golf and has directed eight plays out of Wilson’s 10-play cycle. King Hedley II runs February 6-March 8, 2015 in the Fichandler Stage. Continue reading


Montgomery County Business Innovation Network to host Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Conference

Montgomery County Business Innovation Network to host Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Conference on January 9, 2015; Participating Federal Agencies to include DOD, NIH, NASA, DOE and NSF
The Montgomery County Business Innovation Network will present the Maryland SBIR Conference 2015 on January 9 at the Johns Hopkins University – Montgomery Campus in Gilchrest Hall, 9601 Medical Center Drive, Rockville, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The conference will offer local companies the opportunity to learn more about the SBIR (Small Business Innovation Research) program, including recent updates to eligibility and the application process. Continue reading

San Francisco 49ers 2009 Headshots

Redskins to Hire Scot McCloughan as New GM

(ABC)–The Washington Redskins are finalizing a deal to make Scot McCloughan their next general manager, a source confirmed to ESPN. It’s a big step toward restructuring their organization after another dismal season.

The NFL Network earlier reported the deal. McCloughan told ESPN 980’s Kevin Sheehan that he met with Redskins owner Dan Snyder for six hours Tuesday and that a deal is close. The move would give McCloughan control over player personnel and would leave Bruce Allen as team president rather than serving two roles.
McCloughan was named San Francisco’s vice president of player personnel in 2005 then promoted to general manager in 2008. Continue reading


Longtime ESPN sportscaster Stuart Scott dies at 49

Stuart Scott was in his element, working a “Monday Night Football” game, when he was forced to leave for an appendix operation.

Doctors discovered a tumor during surgery and Scott was diagnosed with cancer. But he made a point of continuing to live his life – at work and outside of it.
“You beat cancer by how you live,” he would later say. “So live. Live. Fight like hell.”
That fight ended Sunday when Scott, the longtime “SportsCenter” anchor and ESPN personality known for his enthusiasm and ubiquity, died at age 49.
Scott remained dedicated to his craft even as he suffered through chemotherapy, radiation and surgery.
ESPN President John Skipper said in a statement that Scott was “a true friend and a uniquely inspirational figure” and that his “energetic and unwavering devotion to his family and to his work while fighting the battle of his life left us in awe, and he leaves a void that can never be replaced.”
Skipper also marveled at Scott’s dedication to keep fighting – literally. Continue reading


Ravens Dominate Steelers 30-17 in AFC Wild Card Game

(ABC)–Joe Flacco and the NFL’s playoff road warriors are heading to New England with their swagger – and their pass rush – fully intact.
The rarely flustered Flacco tossed two second-half touchdowns and the Baltimore Ravens dominated the Pittsburgh Steelers 30-17 on Saturday night in the AFC wild-card game.
Flacco hit Torrey Smith for an 11-yard score in the third quarter and found Crockett Gillmore with a 21-yard pass in the fourth one play after Terrell Suggs picked off Ben Roethlisberger. The Ravens won in Pittsburgh for the first time in the postseason.
Baltimore (11-6) sacked Roethlisberger five times and kept the NFL’s second-ranked offense off-balance. Roethlisberger passed for 334 yards, but the Steelers (11-6) settled for field goals while the Ravens kept scoring touchdowns against their AFC North rival. Continue reading


Boxing Great Muhammad Ali Released From Hospital

(NBC)–A family spokesman for Muhammad Ali says the boxing great has been released from a hospital after recovering from a severe urinary tract infection.
Ali spokesman Bob Gunnell says the 72-year-old three-time world heavyweight champion is back home after being released from an undisclosed hospital Tuesday night. Ali has been waging a battle with Parkinson’s disease for years. Continue reading


Tiger Woods Could Open PGA Tour Season at Phoenix Open

(CBS)–Super Bowl XLIX will be in the Valley of the Sun.
The Phoenix metropolitan area also will be home to the Waste Management Phoenix Open the same week, a tournament billed as the Greatest Show on Turf which annually attracts more than 500,000 people.
Now add Tiger Woods to the mix.
According to a report Wednesday in Golf.com, which cited two anonymous sources, Woods could make his 2015 debut in the Waste Management Phoenix Open in Scottsdale, Ariz., which begins Jan. 29. Continue reading


Team to Redevelop the Historic Grimke School in the U Street/Shaw District

Mayor Vincent C. Gray today announced the selection of Roadside Development LLC and Sorg Architects to redevelop the historic Grimke School at 1923 Vermont Avenue NW and an adjacent District-owned parcel at 912 U Street NW.
The Roadside-Sorg team will rehabilitate the historic school building, while transforming it into mix of uses which include a permanent home for the African-American Civil War Museum, space for a number of non-profit performing-arts organizations, and commercial office space. The remainder of the school lot will be developed into townhomes while the lot at 912 U Street will be developed into condominiums and ground-floor, neighborhood-serving retail space. Roadside/Sorg’s proposal includes a diverse mix of uses and will create approximately 125 jobs in the area. This will promote daytime use of the site, which will complement the already burgeoning food and entertainment district in the area.
The Grimke School was built in 1887 as the Phelps School and re-named in 1934 after Archibald Grimke, a highly regarded civil-rights activist, journalist, lawyer, and intellectual who also served as president of the NAACP’s Washington chapter, vice president of the national NAACP and as U.S. Consul to the Dominican Republic. The school is a contributing building to the U Street Historic District.

Dr.LaQuandra Nesbitt

Bowser Announces Key Appointments to Address Homelessness, Health Needs in DC

Mayor-elect looks to use experienced personnel to help end homelessness in the District by 2025

Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser announced three key appointments to her Administration to help tackle homelessness and provide critical services to those most in need in the District; Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt as Director of Health (DOH), Laura Zeilinger as Director of Human Services (DHS), and Clinton Lacey as Director of Youth Rehabilitation Services (DYRS).

Nesbitt, Zeilinger and Lacey will help newly appointed Deputy Mayor of Health and Human Services Brenda Donald deliver on Mayor-elect Muriel Bowser’s pledge to end family homelessness by 2018 and overall homelessness in the District by 2025, and improve the health, safety and quality of life for more residents in the District. Continue reading


Record Drops in Unemployment Rates in Wards 5, 7 and 8

Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently announced that the District’s wards hardest hit during the Great Recession have experienced historic and steady decline in unemployment rates over four years. The unemployment rate in Ward 8 that was an alarming 23.2 percent when Mayor Gray took office in January 2011 has dropped by 6.6 percentage points and the rate stands at 16.6 percent as of November 2014. Ward 7’s unemployment rate went from 19.2 percent to 14 percent, a decrease of 5.2 percentage points; and Ward 5’s unemployment rate dropped from 15.8 percent to 11 percent, a decrease of 4.8 percentage points, over the same four-year period. The overall unemployment rate for the District of Columbia is at its lowest level since 2008, now at 7.4 percent, down from a high of 10.2 percent early in Gray’s term. Continue reading

Office of Cable Television and WHUR 96.3 to Launch DC Radio Network

Mayor Vincent C. Gray and the District’s Office of Cable Television (OCT) announced recently that the District government has entered into a partnership with Howard University’s WHUR 96.3-FM that will establish the DC Radio Network. The DC Radio Network will be the official radio station for the District government. The non-commercial channel will launch in spring of 2015 and will feature government, public-affairs and public-interest programming serving residents of the District of Columbia.

“This agreement with WHUR is a major accomplishment for the District government, and it is another avenue in which we’re partnering with our local higher-education community,” said Mayor Gray. “The DC Radio Network provides another platform for District residents to stay connected to the government and is a key piece of our continued efforts to increase transparency. It will prove to be another significant channel for citizen engagement.”
Continue reading


Mayor Gray Announces Redbrick LMD-Gragg Cardona Team as Master Developer for 1st Phase of St. Elizabeths East Campus

Mayor Vincent C. Gray recently announced the selection of Redbrick LMD-Gragg Cardona to redevelop the first phase of the historic St. Elizabeths East Campus, the largest redevelopment opportunity in the District.

“By opening the Gateway DC Pavilion and the R.I.S.E. Demonstration Center, we were able to reintroduce St. Elizabeths East to the community and lay the groundwork for what is possible on this historic campus,” said Mayor Gray. “By selecting a master developer, we can move even closer to realizing that vision and creating an innovative space that’s unlike any other in the District of Columbia.” Continue reading


CDC: 15 children dead, America officially in midst of flu epidemic

(UPI) — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is now classifying the current seasonal influenza outbreak as an epidemic as infection rates around the country continue to climb, leaving 15 children dead.
Twenty-two states in every region of the country have reported a high amount of “influenza-like” illnesses according to the CDC, with children under 4 being hospitalized in greater numbers than any other age group.
The American south has been hit the hardest, with literally every South Atlantic and Gulf state reporting high outbreak levels. Things bode almost as bad for most of the Midwest, where only Iowa and Nebraska have a moderate or lower infection rate. Continue reading


Minimum wage to increase in 21 states

(UPI) — More than 3.6 million workers will see increases to an average of $8 an hour when 21 states and Washington, D.C., raise the minimum wage next year.
The changes, scheduled to take effect Dec. 31 in New York, Jan. 1 in 20 other states and July 1 in the District of Columbia, come soon after it was announced to U.S. economy expanded by five percent in the third quarter.
“The $2.5 billion in added wages generated by next year’s increases will translate into about $1.1 billion in economic growth as those dollars ripple out through the economy,” according to the Economic Policy Institute. Continue reading


2015 Bill Gates Scholarship Program To Give $20K Scholarships To Minority Students

– The deadline to apply is January 15, 2015. —

The Gates Millennium Scholars Program (also known as the Bill Gates Scholarship) awards scholarships each year to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students.

The program, funded by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, selects 1,000 talented students each year to receive a good-through-graduation scholarship to use at any college or university of their choice.
Continue reading


Commissioner Determines CareFirst 2011 Surplus is Excessive

Acting Commissioner Chester A. McPherson of the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking today issued his decision and order in the Surplus Review and Determination for Group Hospitalization and Medical Services, Inc. (GHMSI), a nonprofit hospital and medical services corporation which operates as CareFirst in the District of Columbia.

After an extensive review of law and facts, the commissioner determined that GHMSI’s 2011 surplus of $963 million was excessive and that approximately $56 million of the excess surplus is attributable to the District. Today’s order requires GHMSI to submit a plan for the dedication of the excess surplus to community health reinvestment to the commissioner within 45 days. Continue reading


VA Medical Center Recognized as “Best in Class” by the American Hospital Association

The American Hospital Association’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management has recognized the Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center (DCVAMC) as “Best in Class” for its diversity management programs and initiatives to promote equitable care.

A national benchmarking survey of more than 1,100 U.S. hospitals found DCVAMC “Best in Class” in two categories: Addressing Disparities and Delivering Quality Care and Diversity Management and Strengthening the Workforce. The survey not only recognizes the nation’s most culturally proactive medical centers but offers a snapshot of common strategies to improve quality of care regardless of race or ethnicity.
Continue reading

Dedicated to Equal Rights & Justice