This week in history: New Smithsonian African American Museum opens

Saturday, Sept. 24, 2016, marks a milestone in the long struggle to recognize the impact that African Americans have had on shaping our country. It’s the Grand Opening of the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

Efforts to erect such a museum go back as far as 1915, when it was originally proposed by African-American Civil War veterans. Initially authorized by an act of Congress in 1929, the Museum languished for several decades until Rep. John Lewis co-sponsored the legislation to create the Museum in 1988, which he reintroduced every year for 15 years. Finally, in 2003 Pres. George W. Bush signed the law creating the Museum, and Congress promised $250 million to help build it, requiring that it be matched by $250 million from private sources.

The Smithsonian broke ground for the Museum in February 2012: All the decades of persistence will finally pay off on September 24th.
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District of Columbia Unemployment Rate at 6.0 Percent

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services (DOES) reported today that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 6.0 percent in August – up 0.1 percentage point from the reported July unemployment rate.

The District’s preliminary August job estimates show a decrease of 11,700 jobs, for a total of 772,400 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 900 jobs while the public sector payrolls decreased by 10,800 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers.

The number of employed District residents was down 2,300 from 373,500 in July 2016 to 371,200 in August 2016.  “The summer jobs season ending and youth returning to school have slightly impacted the District’s employment numbers,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser.  “But our economy is healthy, and my administration remains committed to ensuring District residents have the tools and skills needed to land good paying jobs, and succeed on a pathway to the middle class.”
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HHS awards $557,034 for health centers’ IT enhancements in the District of Columbia

Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced $557,034 in funding for 8 health centers in District of Columbia for health information technology enhancements. In total, today’s announcement includes $87 million in funding for 1,310 health centers in every U.S. state, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands and the Pacific Basin.

“Health centers across the country are instrumental in providing high-quality, comprehensive primary health care to millions of people,” said Secretary Burwell. “This investment will help unlock health care data and put it to work, improving health outcomes and building a better health care system for the American people.”

The funding will support health information technology enhancements to accelerate health centers’ transition to value-based models of care, improve efforts to share and use information to support better decisions, and increase engagement in delivery system transformation. To support these goals, all purchases or upgrades of electronic health record systems made with the funding must use technology that is certified by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. This is the first significant investment since 2009 directly awarded to health centers to support the purchase of health information technology.
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Susan G. Komen Announces $27 Million Health Equity Initiative to Reduce Breast Cancer Deaths in African-American Community

10-City Initiative Complements Komen’s Decades-Long Service to Medically Underserved

The Susan G. Komen breast cancer organization gathered philanthropic, civic, medical and business leaders in Washington recently to formally launch a $27 million,10-city initiative to reduce breast cancer death rates among African-American women.

“African-American women are almost 40 percent more likely to die of breast cancer than white women in the U.S. and in some cities, that number is as high as 74 percent. That makes this a public health crisis that must be addressed immediately,” said Komen President and CEO Dr. Judith A. Salerno. “We are deeply appreciative of friends and partners who are working with us to do so.”

Salerno thanked the Fund II Foundation and its president Robert F. Smith for the $27 million grant that made the Komen African-American Health Equity Initiative possible. “This investment in women’s health will truly save lives,” Salerno said.
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District students encouraged to celebrate the environment in creative writing

The District of Columbia’s Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) and the U.S. Department of Justice launched an environmental essay contest open to all sixth through eighth grade students in the District. The contest, in support of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s 202Creates citywide effort to showcase the District’s diverse and vibrant creative community, challenges students to address the following question in 300-500 words: What do you think is an important environmental issue facing the District, and how can you be part of the solution?

The deadline for entry is November 1, 2016. Entries will be reviewed by a panel of judges consisting of professionals in the fields of education and environment. Ten finalists will receive prizes, including solar backpacks, and will be recognized at an awards ceremony hosted by the Department of Justice on December 9, 2016 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m.
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Single largest foundation grant received by the non-profit in its 30+ year history

( — The Coca-Cola Foundation has awarded a $50,000 grant to Teenshop, Inc., a national organization dedicated to nurturing “girls with goals.”® The grant will be used to enhance Teenshop’s successful college preparatory programs and initiatives, including college campus tours, pre-college summer program, and book scholarships for Teenshop’s graduating seniors.

“We support programs focused on strengthening communities and Teenshop, Inc. is a great example of an organization that is truly making a difference in the Philadelphia area,” said Lauren Craig, Senior Manager, Public Affairs & Communications, Coca-Cola North America. “Our investment is designed to maximize Teenshop’s impact by helping teenage girls from underserved communities successfully matriculate to college.
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Statewide Challenge to Increase Seat Belt Use among Teens and Youth Kicks Off in Virginia; More Than 70 High and Middle Schools Across the State Participating

More than seventy high and middle schools across Virginia are kicking off a statewide campaign to increase seat belt usage rates among teens and youth. (See list of schools below)

The four‐week challenge, “Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up” will encourage youth and teens to develop a lifelong buckle up habit by reminding them that seat belts are critical safety equipment for every driver and passenger. Using the slogan, “Seat Belts Are Your Safety Equipment,” the campaign emphasizes that seat belts are critical safety equipment in a vehicle and are designed to protect and save lives. Just as football players always wear a helmet, drivers and passengers should always buckle up for safety is a central message of the campaign.

Save Your Tailgate, Buckle Up is sponsored by Youth of Virginia Speak Out About Traffic Safety (YOVASO), the Virginia State Police (VSP), and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles Highway Safety Office. State Farm Insurance is also partnering on the program to fund materials and campaign prizes.
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Mayor Bowser Announces More Than 10,000 Trained in FEMS Hands on Hearts CPR Program

Record numbers signing up to become lifesavers 

Mayor Muriel Bowser joined Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief Gregory Dean to announce official training totals of the FEMS Hands on Hearts CPR program since its launch last fall. The Hands On Hearts program provides free life-saving, hands-only CPR training to communities across the District. The initiative was launched by Mayor Bowser in October 2015 with the goal of training 5,000 people by September 2016. Working with Serve DC, the Mayor’s Office on Volunteerism, FEMS has more than doubled this number and continues to build on their record.

“Our first responders have always known the life-saving benefits of CPR, and residents always play a hand in creating a safer, stronger DC,” said Mayor Bowser. “With over 10,000 people across the District trained in this life-saving technique, we are at the ready to help our neighbors in the event of a life-threatening cardiac emergency. It is heartwarming to see so many Washingtonians step up to learn this life-saving technique, and we will keep pushing others to do the same.”
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Washington, DC Ranks 6th Among 50 Top Swim Cities in the US

For the Second Year in A Row DC Ranks in Top Ten

Washington, DC has been named sixth among the 50 Top Swim Cities in the United States according to a research study commissioned by USA Swimming and leading swimwear company Speedo USA.  To earn the “Top Swim City” designation, cities must have an impressive number of top-level swimmers, swim clubs, active swimmers, and accessible pools.

“The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) is a national leader in the aquatics industry,” said DPR Director Keith A. Anderson.  “DPR committed to offered swimming lessons to people of all ages and increasing opportunities for minorities to learn life-saving skills.  Not only are we pleased with ranking sixth among top swim cities, DPR also recently exceeded industry standards in an unannounced aquatics safety audit, in which lifeguards were unaware they were being observed.”
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District Eatery Receives Top Score, While Its Hometown Rivals Get a ’’C’

The demand for healthy and humane plant-based meals—including the ever-popular veggie burger—continues to skyrocket. Now, PETA has released letter grades for burger joints across the country, noting which spots offer delicious vegan entrées and which need to play ketchup—and several D.C. restaurants are standouts on the list.

Local favorite Ben’s Chili Bowl rocked the rankings with an “A” grade for offering multiple vegan entrées, including a veggie burger and veggie chili, while its competitors, Burger King, Fuddruckers, and Smashburger, fell short by not offering vegan-friendly versions of vegetarian menu options.
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Mayor Muriel Bowser Names Ely S. Ross as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs

Mayor Bowser announces the appointment of Ely S. Ross as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs effective September 19, 2016. Director Ross, a third-generation veteran, previously served as the Attorney-Advisor for the Office of Proceedings & the Office of Government and Public Affairs at the U.S. Surface Transportation Board.

“With 17 years of strong leadership experience and having served our country during Operation Iraqi Freedom, I have no doubt that Ely S. Ross will be an asset at the helm of the Mayor’s Office of Veterans Affairs, said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “He has served in advisory positions with both the General Services Administration as well as the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – experience that well-equips him to serve veterans in all eight wards of the District.”
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Giant Food donates $125,000 to USO of Metropolitan Washington – Baltimore

(left to right): Allen Tubis, Marketing Director, Barbecue Battle; Charm Wright, Branch Manager, PNC Bank; Gordon Reid, President, Giant Food of Landover, Md.; Elaine Rogers, President, USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore; Greg Repka, Account Business Manager, Colgate-Palmolive Company; and Daniel Shoop, SVP In-Store Program Lead, PNC Bank.

On September 14, Giant and its vendor partners presented a check for $125,000 to the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore.  In-store campaigns and fundraising during this summer’s 24th Annual Giant National Capital Barbecue Battle produced the significant donation. Giant supports the USO of Metropolitan Washington-Baltimore through a partnership which began in 2011.



Giant Food of Landover, Md. and its affiliated companies, committed to being a better neighbor, have eliminated one billion grocery bags from the environment. That’s the equivalent of eliminating enough bags to circle the earth seven times.

In 2011, Giant committed to the billion-bag reduction milestone, which was reached this summer. Over the past five years, Giant has encouraged customers to remember to bring reusable bags with them each and every time they shop. In addition, better bagging efforts were introduced to cashiers and baggers to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags used by ensuring they are properly filled and avoiding extra bags unnecessarily. Giant remains committed to this effort, partnering with its associates and customers to continue reducing bag usage in the future
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President Barack Obama plans 30% increase in refugees admitted to U.S.

President Barack Obama, seen here during a campaign event for Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton in Philadelphia on Tuesday, plans to increase the number of worldwide refugees accepted into the United States next year to at least 110,000.

(UPI) — President Barack Obama‘s administration plans to increase the number of worldwide refugees accepted into the United States next year to at least 110,000 — a nearly 30 percent jump from those welcomed in 2016.

Secretary of State John Kerry briefed Congress on Tuesday about the White House decision. Obama’s plan for the 2017 fiscal year, beginning Oct. 1, would accept 110,000 refugees fleeing persecution and conflict throughout the world — a nearly 60 percent increase over the 2015 fiscal year.

The Wall Street Journal reports 40,000 refugees would be authorized from the region of Near East/South Asia, which includes Syria. About 35,000 refugees would be accepted from Africa and 14,000 refugee slots were not listed as allocated.
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DC DMV is Hosting Free Child Car Seat Check and Install

Child Passenger Safety Week is September 19-24, 2016, and the District of Columbia Department of Motor Vehicles (DC DMV) is kicking off the week by hosting a child car seat safety check and install on Monday, September 19, 2016 from 2pm-6pm at its Inspection Station located at 1001 Half Street, SW.

DC DMV Director Lucinda Babers says, “The key to keeping children safe is to ensure they are in the right seat for their age, weight, and height, as well as make sure that the seat is correctly installed in the vehicle.” Child safety seats save hundreds of young lives every year, so it is vitally important that children have the proper child seat and it is correctly installed.

While supplies last, free booster seats will be provided to children who are least four years old. The booster seats are only available to District residents, and the child must be present.
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A general view of the exterior of the Pepco Holdings Inc corporate headquarters in Washington

Pepco Receives ‘Utility of the Year’ Award for Easing Access to Solar

Pepco’s effort to make it easier, faster and less expensive for customers to access solar has been hailed as a national model by the Smart Electric Power Alliance, an influential solar organization.

SEPA named Pepco 2016 Utility of the Year and recognized the company for promoting solar, creating programs that drive smart utility growth and expanding access to solar for customers.

“We’re pleased that our work to facilitate and manage the growth and integration of solar into the electrical grid is being recognized,” said Dave Velazquez, President and CEO, Pepco Holdings. “We remain committed to listening to what our customers need and want, and streamlining our systems to be responsive.”

Pepco Holdings, an Exelon Company, has 32,000 solar systems online and 10,000 systems expected to power up in the near future. It receives about 2,000 residential interconnection applications monthly.

Pepco, which provides service to Washington, D.C. and suburban Maryland, was selected for the award by a seven-member panel of judges with diverse experience in the utility and solar industries. Pepco and winners in four other categories were honored at an awards ceremony yesterday at Solar Power International (SPI) in Las Vegas.
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D.C. Council to Reconvene September 15th

On September 15, 2016, the new Legislative Session at the D.C. Council will begin. There are two hearings of importance you should be aware of.

On Monday, September 26th, a public hearing will be held at 11:30 a.m. in room 412 of the John A. Wilson Building a public hearing before the Committee of the Whole on Bill 21-321, the “Kennedy Street, N.W., Economic Development and Small Business Revitalization Advisory Committee Establishment Act of 2015.”

The stated purpose of Bill 21-321 (introduced by Councilmember Todd) is to establish the Kennedy Street, NW, Economic Development and Small Business Revitalization Adivsory Committee.  As introduced, the legislation would create such a committee consisting of 11 members:  the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development, the Director of the Office of Planning, the Ward 4 Councilmember, two business owners from Kennedy Street, the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs, the Director of the Department of Small and Local Business Development, a representative chosen by the local ANC, a representative from the Economic Development Partnership, and two community members chosen by the Ward 4 Councilmember.

Those who wish to testify are asked to email the Committee of the Whole at, or call Randi Powell, Legislative Policy Advisor at (202) 724-8092 by close of business Thursday, September 22, 2016.  Persons wishing to testify are encouraged, but not required, to submit 15 copies of written testimony.

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New data show major improvements in health care access, affordability, and quality in District of Columbia under the Affordable Care Act

American families saving $3,600 from slower growth in employer premiums since 2010


New studies released this week show Washingtonians are experiencing slower growth in health care premiums, increased access to coverage, and higher quality of care under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).


  • More Affordable: The average premium for families with employer-sponsored health plans grew just 3.4 percent in 2016, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation and Health Research and Educational Trust survey, extending a period of unusually slow growth since 2010. The White House Council of Economic Advisers calculates that the average family premium was $3,600 lower in 2016 than if premiums had grown at the same rate as the pre-ACA decade.

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The Blueprint Global Group & 100 Black Men of Greater Washington, DC Inc. Presents The Made Man – Celebrity Charity Reception and Suit Drive

 3rd Annual Congressional Black Caucus Legislative Weekend

100 Black Men of Greater Washington, DC Inc., one of the nation’s most esteemed African American male advocacy and youth mentorship organizations, and Blueprint Global Group, executive producer and founder of The Made Man initiative announced a strategic partnership to present the national “The Made Man” initiative at the 2016 Congressional Black Caucus Annual Legislative Conference in Washington DC.

The Made Man Initiative is a national platform designed to showcase philanthropy and honor the achievements of notable influencers, while building a bridge to empowerment for underserved men by suiting them for change. To date, The Made Man initiative has collected over 10,000 suits as well as positioned the community based organizations with direct access to donors, activist and influencers.

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Poverty Rates Improve, but Housing Remains a Challenge

Data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau show improvement in household income and poverty over the past year. Median household income in the U.S. is more than 5% higher, while 3.5 million fewer Americans live in poverty in 2015 than in 2014. The National Low Income Housing Coalition welcomes this news, but recognizes that not all Americans are benefitting from the improving economy.

“The poverty rate remains unchanged for persons with disabilities and stubbornly high for minorities, young children, and people without a high school diploma,” said Diane Yentel, president and CEO of the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC). “More than 43 million Americans remain in poverty, and many struggle to afford basic necessities such as housing.”
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Shown in the photo is MenzFit founder and President, Rhonda Willingham (right) and Willie Wiggins (left), District Manager, a 20-year employee for ACE Cash Express, in Washington, DC. (Photo by Robert Roberts)

To assist MenzFit in the organization’s ongoing effort to provide clothing assistance and financial literacy education to individuals seeking to enter into the nation’s workforce, ACE Cash Express, Inc., recently donated $7,500 to the group. MenzFit’s primary mission has been to “ensure long-term gainful employment and financial fitness to low-income men” in the Philadelphia, PA and Washington, DC areas.

“For nearly a decade, we have enjoyed a wonderful partnership with ACE Cash Express,” says MenzFit’s Founder & President Rhonda Willingham. “We are very appreciative of the continued support that ACE has given our organization as we strive to help men to become financially fit.”

Founded in 2001, with offices in Washington, DC and Philadelphia, PA, MenzFit is an educational, non-profit organization whose client base are veterans, terminated or laid-off workers, recent immigrants, recovering addicts, the disabled, homeless, ex-offenders and public assistance recipients.
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National Child Poverty Rate Drops; Still Higher Than 2007: Small Relief for Black Children

First Rise in Median Family Income since 2007: Black Families with Children Lag Behind

U.S. Census Bureau data released today reveal 43.1 million poor people in America in 2015, 3.5 million fewer than 2014, but higher than before the recession began in 2007. One in three is a child. Children remain the poorest age group in America, with more than 14.5 million poor, one million fewer than in 2014. Although the child poverty rate decreased by 6.6 percent from 21.1 percent to 19.7 percent in 2015, the number of poor children remains stubbornly high. The Black child poverty rate dropped by 11 percent in 2015, after rising 10 percent in 2014, however with nearly one in three Black children in poverty, the odds continue to be stacked against their success.

“While we celebrate that one million children were lifted out of poverty in 2015, America must stop having two classes of children, with millions living in third world conditions,” said Marian Wright Edelman, president of Children’s Defense Fund. “It is a national moral disgrace that millions of poor children languish and fall behind in this rich land of opportunity for some. We can and must end child poverty by expanding and investing in programs we know work. That’s what national leaders need to be talking about and doing. We all need to vote in November and then hold them accountable for their action or inaction to end child poverty now.”

The more than 6.5 million extremely poor children exceeds the combined populations of Alaska, Delaware, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, Wyoming, and the District of Columbia. The youngest children are the poorest during years of rapid brain development; the damage can last a lifetime. Research shows children growing up poor are less likely to succeed in school, to grow up healthy, and more likely to be poor as adults. More than 1 in 5 children under age 5 are poor; nearly half of them live in extreme poverty on $33 a day for a family of four.

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Obesity Linked to Greater Prostate Cancer Risk in Blacks

Study should encourage physicians to take note of findings

Blacks have a higher risk of developing prostate cancer than whites; for obese black men, that risk can quadruple as their weight increases, a recent study finds.

Roughly six in 10 prostate cancer cases occur in men older than 65, according to the American Cancer Society. For unknown reasons, it has long been known that black men, at any age, face a greater overall risk for the disease than men of other races. They also have the highest risk for aggressive prostate cancer and death.

This study, led by Wendy Barrington, an assistant professor in the school of nursing at the University of Washington, was designed to explore a possible connection between obesity and prostate cancer. Investigators analyzed data collected from nearly 3,400 black men and almost 22,700 white men between 2001 and 2011 as part of the Selenium and Vitamin E Cancer Prevention Trial. All of the men, age 55 and older, were cancer-free at the start of the trial.
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Exercise Keeps Medical Costs Down

You may have lower annual medical costs by exercising at recommended levels weekly, according to a study released Wednesday.

It’s known that regular moderate exercise can reduce risk of heart disease, stroke and chronic conditions such as diabetes and high blood pressure. The study’s findings also “emphasize the favorable impact on how much you pay for health care,” said Khurram Nasir, M.D., director of the Center for Healthcare Advancement & Outcomes and the High Risk Cardiovascular Disease Clinic at Baptist Health South Florida in Coral Gables.
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New Census Data Show the Gender Wage Gap is ‘Persistent, Pernicious and Especially Punishing’ to Key Groups of America’s Women

Statement of Debra L. Ness, President, National Partnership for Women & Families

“New data released by the U.S. Census Bureau reveal that the gender-based wage gap in the United States has not changed in a statistically significant way since these data were last released one year ago. Women who hold full-time, year-round jobs are now typically paid just 80 cents for every dollar paid to men who hold full-time, year-round jobs. That amounts to $10,470 in lost income every year that could go toward basic necessities. In fact, according to a new analysis of the data conducted by the National Partnership for Women & Families, a woman could pay for 1.5 more years’ worth of food if that gap were closed.

The gender wage gap in this country is persistent, pernicious and especially punishing to women of color and young women, who represent key groups in this country. According to our new analysis, African American women who hold full-time, year-round jobs are typically paid only 63 cents for every dollar paid to white, non-Hispanic men in full-time, year-round jobs. Latinas are typically paid just 54 cents and Asian women 85 cents for every dollar paid to white men. The gap is much larger for some ethnic subgroups of Asian women. These differences amount to appalling losses of tens of thousands of dollars each year for these women, their families and communities.
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See Well for a Lifetime: Take Care of Your Eyes and Continue Looking Forward to the Future

Aging is a process that brings about many opportunities and changes, from major transformations such as becoming a grandparent or going back to school, to simple lifestyle changes like starting a new exercise program. Don’t miss out on any of these opportunities. Take stock of your eye health to make sure your eyes are healthy and you are seeing your best.

While vision loss and blindness are not a normal part of aging, some vision changes such as losing focus, having trouble distinguishing between colors such as blue and black, and needing more light to see well are common. These changes can often be corrected with contact lenses or glasses and improved lighting.

People are also at higher risk for vision loss from certain eye diseases and conditions as they age, including the following:

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Program inspires healthier choices for kids by providing free fruit in produce section

It’s good to be a kid at Giant. Beginning today, Giant Food of Landover, Md. is launching its Free Fruit for Kids program in all 169 of its stores. The Free Fruit for Kids program offers free fruit to kids ages 10 and under.

Parents and caregivers have to go no further than the produce department to find a healthy snack option for kids while they are shopping. With support from produce partners, the Free Fruit for Kids program focuses on providing healthy snacking for kids while parents or caregivers shop.

“Giant is always pleased to provide opportunities for healthy eating, whether it’s at home or in the store,” said Lisa Coleman, Lead Nutritionist for Giant Food of Landover, Md. “This program is one more way Giant helps children consume enough fruits and vegetables, further emphasizing our commitment to helping customers of all ages eat well and make healthy choices for themselves and their families.”

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United Way NCA Expands Successful Physical Fitness Program to Target Middle School Students

In 7th Year, “Fun, Fly & Fit” Grows to Help National Capital Area Students Combat Childhood Obesity Epidemic

With the start of the 2016-17 school year, United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA) today announced an expansion of the highly successful Fun, Fly & Fit youth fitness program that will also target middle school students throughout Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia. United Way NCA is committed to impacting 12,000 middle school students over five years to help them graduate on time by succeeding in school and at home through a variety of educational programs.

The Fun, Fly & Fit program was launched as a pilot program in seven D.C. public schools in 2009 by United Way NCA, the region’s preeminent convener, collaborator and catalyst for social change throughout the National Capital community.
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Brian Ferguson Named as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs

Mayor Muriel Bowser announces the appointment of Brian Ferguson as Director of the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs (MORCA), effective September 12, 2016. A native Washingtonian and Ward 4 resident, Ferguson previously served as the Human Rights Officer and Investigator within the DC Office of Human Rights, where he led public outreach and trainings pursuant to the District’s new Fair Criminal Record Screening Amendment Act (otherwise known as ‘Ban the Box’).

“Brian Ferguson’s personal story as a returning citizen and experience in developing innovative strategies for engaging the community make him well suited to lead the Mayor’s Office of Returning Citizens Affairs as we continue to implement programs District-wide to ensure returning citizens have a fair shot at pathways to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “I also want to thank Charles Thornton for his long service to the returning citizen community through his leadership at MORCA and his tireless advocacy for men and women coming home to the District of Columbia.” 

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Home-made Pinball Machines, Audio Sculptures, Hands-On Family Activities at Maker Faire Silver Spring

Interactive activities and hands-on family fun abound at Maker Faire Silver Spring on Sunday, September 25th, 12:00-5:00pm at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Admission and activities are free to the public.

KID Museum organizes this festival for all ages which celebrates creative, hands-on electronics, art, engineering, science, and crafts activities.  Maker Faire is a unique festival featuring the work of inventors, hackers, crafters, artists, and do-it-yourselfers of all kinds.  Projects range from robotics and electronics, to metal working and larger-than-life interactive artwork.

Maker Faire Silver Spring is part of KID Museum’s ongoing effort to bring STEM learning to diverse populations, including those who are traditionally under-represented in STEM fields. KID Museum is committed to creating opportunities for all kids to engage in maker education, both in and out of schools. KID Museum has quickly become a leader in this arena, advising and partnering with schools about how to incorporate maker education into their curriculum, taking part in policy discussions and outreach events like National Robotics Week, and hosting Title I schools, as well as other public and private schools, at their start-up space in Bethesda’s Davis Library.

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All Thirteen DC Councilmember parking spots will be converted to mini parks

 A global tradition started in 2005, PARK(ing) Day is an annual event that brings community leaders, artists, and activists together to transform metered parking spaces into temporary parks. This year, spearheaded by the Maryland/DC Chapter of The Nature Conservancy, Washington Parks & People, Living Classrooms Foundation and the DC Council, the event will convert all 13 Councilmember parking spots in front of the John A. Wilson Building (1350 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW) to temporary parks on Friday, September 16 from 9:00AM-3:00PM.

PARK(ing) Day began in San Francisco with a single parking spot and has evolved into a global movement that calls attention to the need for more urban green space and to improve the quality of urban human habitat. Ward 6 DC Councilmember Charles Allen, who organized this year’s involvement by the DC Council, said, “It’s exciting to have all members of Council participating for the second time, making the Wilson Building parklet one of the largest in the District showcasing the importance of green space in an urban environment.”
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WETA and WHUT Examine the Future of Education

Rethinking High School with Soledad O’Brien Town Hall Event at Howard University

Greater Washington public television stations WETA and WHUT are partnering to produce the one-hour town hall event Rethinking High School with Soledad O’Brien, which will feature a moderated panel discussion with students, teachers, education leaders, and parents on innovating high school education. The event, held at the Founders Library on the historic campus of Howard University, will stream on Facebook live on Thursday, September 15 at 5:30pm ET, with a future television broadcast via local Washington, DC stations WETA and WHUT.

Rethinking High School with Soledad O’Brien seeks to broker a meaningful dialogue around public education in America and how to improve its prospects for the future. Topics covered will include current curriculum standards; the effectiveness of teaching technologies; and the need for new innovative solutions. Featured panelists include Kaya Henderson, D.C. Schools Chancellor; Andrew Rotherham, co-founder and partner at Bellwether Education Partners, a national nonprofit organization working to support educational innovation; and Tony Wagner, an Expert In Residence at Harvard University’s new Innovation Lab and author of “Most Likely To Succeed: Preparing Our Kids for The Innovation Era.” Audience participation will include dozens of administrators, parents, students and teachers such as Aris Pangilinan, who has taught STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) for 21 years at Francis L. Cardozo High School in Washington, D.C.

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Exelon and Pepco Offer First Responders Free Legal Help

Exelon and Pepco, in partnership with area law firms, are bringing the Wills for Heroes program to the District of Columbia to provide firefighters, police officers and other first responders pro-bono legal support.

This new partnership pairs lawyers and legal administrators with first responders in the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia to help the emergency workers and their spouses create wills to provide assurance about the future of their families and their estates.

“Helping first responders with estate planning is a small gesture of appreciation for the sacrifices that they make each day on behalf of our safety,” said Dave Velazquez, Pepco Holdings CEO. “Giving them some peace of mind by providing these services is an honor.”

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Capitol Hill Arts Workshop’s October 2016 Events

September 9, 2016–The Capitol Hill Arts Workshop (CHAW) presents the following events in October 2016:

Saturday, October 1 – October 22 – Theatre Performance – Taffety Punk Theatre Company Presents: An Iliad by Lisa Peterson and Denis O’Hare, based on Homer’s The Iliad, translated by Robert Fagles. Directed by Dan Crane and starring Esther Williamson, with live music by Hand Grenade Job.

The show will be held in the accolade-winning black box theatre at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop, 545 7th St. SE (just two blocks south of the Eastern Market metro on the orange/blue/silver lines).

Show dates are as follows:

  • Performances take place Wednesdays-Saturdays, October 1-October 22, at 8:00pm
  • A special Monday performance will be held on October 10 at 8:00pm
  • Matinees will be held Thursday, October 20 at 12:00pm (noon) & Saturday, October 22 at 3:00pm

Tickets are $15 (October 1 and October 5 preview shows are pay-what-you-can).  For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or, or call CHAW at (202) 547-6839.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces $13 Million in National Service Program Funding

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced nearly $13 million in FY-17 funding for Virginia through the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) to support more than 5,700 people of all ages and backgrounds as they help to meet local needs, strengthen communities, and increase civic engagement through national service in Virginia.

National service members serve through AmeriCorps, VISTA, Foster Grandparents, RSVP and Senior Companion programs at more than 660 locations throughout the Commonwealth. Members serve in many of Virginia’s most impoverished communities providing vital support to schools, homeless shelters, youth centers, veteran service facilities, and other nonprofit organizations at a time of growing demand for services.

“Virginia’s national service members reflect the Commonwealth’s dedication to service and volunteerism that strengthen our communities,” said Governor McAuliffe. “These grants will provide critical resources for our communities in need and give individuals better tools to engage in civic service across the state. As we work to create jobs and build a new Virginia economy, fostering a spirit of service and volunteerism is equally important to a future where every Virginia family can live, work and thrive here in our Commonwealth.”

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AT&T Contributes $1 Million to the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C.

/PRNewswire/ — AT&T* (NYSE: T) is giving $1 million to the National Museum for African American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. The contribution qualifies AT&T as a Founding Donor.

The museum opens to the public on Sept. 24, on the National Mall. It will tell the full story of African Americans through 11 galleries. Visitors will learn about the rich history, community and culture.

“It’s important to understand the challenges and contributions of a culture because it helps us to understand who we are as a country,” said David Huntley, senior executive vice president and chief compliance officer. “Supporting the preservation and recognition of this history and rich culture is also important to AT&T.”

AT&T history is also African American history.

Alexander Graham Bell hired African American inventor Lewis Latimer in the 1800s. He developed the drawings necessary for the first telephone’s patent.
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Dominion Accepting Applications for $1 Million in Grants Supporting Critical Community Needs

Grants to focus on programs providing shelter, access to health care and food security Online applications due by Oct. 10, 2016

Nonprofit organizations in the regions served by Dominion are invited to apply for grants of up to $50,000 each for programs that provide essential community services in areas of housing, food security, medicine and medical services. Dominion’s philanthropic arm, the Dominion Foundation, has pledged to provide grants totaling $1 million this year for eligible programs meeting these critical community needs.

“We had a very strong response to the call for grants last year, so we know the need is great for these essential services in our communities,” said Hunter A. Applewhite, president of the Dominion Foundation. “The grants will provide greater stability for many people by providing nutritious food, shelter and access to medicine and health care.”

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Catholic University to Host World Premiere of The Loser Letters

Chellsie Memmel, 2008 Olympics winner of the Silver Medal for the Best All Around in women’s gymnastics, will go for the gold when she makes her theatrical debut in the world premiere of Mary Eberstadt’s The Loser Letters at Catholic University’s Hartke Theatre Sept. 29 through Oct. 9.

The play — a wickedly witty satire that chronicles the conversion of a young woman of faith to atheism — features an all-female cast and largely female creative team. Memmel portrays the ever-present Shadow: The Young Woman’s Inner Demon.

Eberstadt describes the play as “a great leap of faith – and I don’t mean a religious leap of faith necessarily. This is about trusting other people.”

University President John Garvey said, “We are delighted to host The Loser Letters at The Catholic University of America . Mary Eberstadt is one of the wisest and wittiest writers alive.  Our students will enjoy their introduction to her. She has given them a lot to think about.”
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“The President’s Own” Presents October Performances

Fall Chamber Music Series Concerts in Washington, D.C.

Musicians of “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band and Marine Chamber Orchestra will present the following free concerts in October at the John Philip Sousa Band Hall, Marine Barracks Annex located at 7th & K Streets, SE, Washington, D.C. All performances are free and tickets are not required. For more details, directions, and parking information, patrons may call the 24-hour Concert Information Line at (202) 433-4011 or visit

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DPR Announces First 2016/2017 “DPR Fun Day” During DC Public Schools’ Professional Development Days

First of Three DPR Fun Days held on September 30th

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced that during the 2016/2017 school year, when DC Public Schools (DCPS) is closed for staff development, the agency will offer “DPR Fun Day,” a free, single-day program offering 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 three days: Friday, September, 30, 2016; Friday, December 2, 2016; and Friday, February 17, 2017.

DPR will offer the first Fun Day on Friday, September 30, from 9 am to 5 pm. DPR Fun Day will incorporate DPR’s “Move, Grow and Be Green” initiative, as DPR continues to plant the seeds of personal development and environmental responsibility.  Please note that before and after care are not offered for DPR Fun Days.
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Iconic Ground Zero Flag Thought to Be Lost Is Returning to NYC


A U.S. flag that turned up in Washington state in 2014 is believed to be the flag that was raised by firefighters above the site of the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York.

KOMO reports the finding comes after a two-year investigation by the Everett Police Department, with assistance from forensic experts. The flag will be donated to the National September 11 Memorial & Museum.

Exactly how the flag wound up in Everett, a city about 30 miles north of Seattle, remains a mystery. The flag disappeared from ground zero sometime during the site cleanup. The police investigation began in November 2014, when a man dropped off a flag at an Everett fire station.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said “our detectives concluded that there was enough compelling evidence to determine that this was likely the ground zero flag.”

Detectives’ investigation included DNA analysis, photographic comparisons and eyewitness identification.


Join Councilmember Todd’s Weekly Running Group!

In an effort to help the residents of Ward 4 further connect with their mind, body, and spirit, Councilmember Todd – an avid runner – has decided to form a Ward 4 running group! This fitness-forward group will meet once a week, on Wednesday mornings, for an early morning 3-mile run. The catch; each week, the jogging group will meet at a different location in the Ward! To find where the group will meet each week, you’ll have to follow Councilmember Todd on Facebook and Twitter — the information will be posted weekly prior to Wednesday


2016 Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area Kicks Off Encouraging Federal Employees to Show Some Love

The Combined Federal Campaign of the National Capital Area (CFCNCA) today launched its 2016 campaign and associated theme—Show Some Love. The CFCNCA is the annual workplace giving opportunity for Federal employees in the Washington Metropolitan Area. In 2015, Federal employees gave more than $46 million through the CFCNCA to support local, national and international charities. This year’s goal is $47 million.

“I am truly inspired by the generosity of my fellow Federal employees and am excited about what we will do together this year to support charities doing amazing work in the U.S. and abroad,” said Vince Micone, Chairperson of the Local Federal Coordinating Committee that oversees the CFCNCA. “Through this year’s campaign, we will help to educate the next generation, support our veterans, make significant advances in medical research and so much more.”
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Capital Bikeshare rental station near McPherson Square Metro (WM

Capital Bikeshare Celebrates Installation of 400th Station

Capital Bikeshare celebrates the installation of its 400th station. This milestone comes as the system approaches the 6th anniversary of the region’s bike sharing system September 20.

The installation team from Motivate International, operator of Capital Bikeshare, installed a 15-dock station at the intersection of Division Avenue and Foote Street, NE, in Ward 7 in the District — marking the 400th publicly accessible station to be added to the Capital Bikeshare system.

To celebrate the milestone, Capital Bikeshare is holding a one day system-wide scavenger hunt for all riders. One hundred limited-edition Capital Bikeshare CitySeat padded seat covers have been randomly placed on bicycles throughout the system, and today, September 2, riders are eligible to find and claim the seat covers.
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Study Finds High Demand for Afterschool Programs

Well-run afterschool and summer programs provide a safe, supervised environment in which children from varied backgrounds can play sports, get homework help, explore new topics, do crafts, and receive nutritious snacks and meals. Research has found these programs have a positive impact on students’ educational achievement and social skills.

So, it’s not surprising that these programs are in high demand in communities of concentrated poverty, as found in the study released on August 30, 2016 by the Afterschool Alliance, America After 3PM Special Report: Afterschool in Communities of Concentrated Poverty. According to the study, the demand is higher than the national average by 15 percent.

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Fried, Grilled or Baked? Cooking may affect Type 2 Diabetes risk

Changing the way you cook could help reduce your risk of getting type 2 diabetes, a new study suggests.

Boiling, steaming and poaching look like the safest way to go, researchers say.

When you fry, grill or bake foods — also called dry-heat cooking — foods produce substances called advanced glycation end products (AGEs).

Higher levels of AGEs have been linked to insulin resistance, stress on the body’s cells and inflammation, according to the study authors. These are troublemakers in terms of diabetes risk.

Insulin is a hormone that helps blood sugar from food get into cells for energy. Without insulin, or with insulin resistance, too much sugar remains in the blood. This can lead to serious problems for the heart, eyes, kidneys and other organs.

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Dollar General Literacy Foundation Awards Youth Literacy Grants to Area Organizations

The Dollar General Literacy Foundation recently announced Lothian Elementary School in Lothian, Maryland and University of Maryland College Park Foundation in College Park, Maryland received youth literacy grants in the amount of $2,000 each.  These grants are part of $4.5 million in youth literacy grants awarded to approximately 1,000 organizations across the 43 states that Dollar General serves. Given at the beginning of the academic school year, these grants are aimed at supporting teachers, schools and organizations with resources to strengthen and enhance literacy instruction.


“By awarding these grants, the Dollar General Literacy Foundation is committed to making a meaningful impact in our local communities,” said Todd Vasos, Dollar General’s chief executive officer. “These grants provide funds to support youth literacy initiatives and educational programs throughout the communities we serve to ensure a successful academic year for students.”


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PHEN’s 12th Annual African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit

Summit will Focus on the Next Chapter in Prostate Cancer Screening, Increasing Participation in Clinical Trials, Challenges of Educating and Mobilizing Black Communities on Prostate Cancer Issues


The Prostate Health Education Network (PHEN) will host its Twelfth Annual “African American Prostate Cancer Disparity Summit,” on Thursday, September 15th, from 9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m., at the United States Capitol Visitors Center, (Room HVC 201AB) and on Friday, September 16th, at the Washington Convention Center (801 MT. Vernon Place NW, Washington, DC 20004, Room 144C), as part of the Congressional Black Caucus’ (CBC) 16th Annual Legislative Conference, from 9:00 a.m. -12:00 p.m. This year’s Summit will include the sessions: Prostate Cancer Early Detection PSA Testing – The Next Chapter; Increasing African American Participation in Prostate Cancer Clinical Trials; and Meeting the Challenges of Educating and Mobilizing Black Communities on Prostate Cancer Issues.

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Giant Food kicks off new Pediatric Cancer Fundraising Program

Grocer commits to raise $1.6 million in 2016, launches new program during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month  

Giant Food of Landover, Md. announced today the launch of a new fundraising program to benefit the Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc. Giant’s Pediatric Cancer Fundraising Program aims to raise $1.6 million this year through sales of $5 coupon books valued at $85. One hundred percent of proceeds will go directly to support pediatric cancer research and care.

“The entire Giant family is excited to, again, support the great work of two local organizations – Johns Hopkins Kimmel Cancer Center and The Children’s Cancer Foundation, Inc.,” said Gordon Reid, President, Giant Food of Landover, Md. “Every year, I am inspired by our stores’ enthusiasm to raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer research and care.”


Each year, four local children who are patients at the center are chosen to serve as program ambassadors. Each ambassador, profiled below, has faced a variety of challenges but the treatments they have received enable them to enjoy their childhood more fully.

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WalkingTown DC Returns September 17 — September 25

More than 50 Free Walking Tours Highlight the History, Art, and Culture of the District of Columbia


Events DC presents Walking Town DC 2016, A Cultural Tourism DC Signature Event, this September 17-25.  Now in its 17th year, WalkingTown DC returns with more than 50 free, guided walking tours that showcase unique aspects of the District of Columbia.  This popular annual event introduces DC residents and visitors to the culture, history, and stories of Washington’s neighborhoods through a series of “bite-size” lunchtime tours, after-work “happy hour” tours, and tours throughout the day on weekends. 


Cultural Tourism DC (CTDC) has organized WalkingTown DC since 2000.  WalkingTown DC is an eagerly anticipated annual event in the community, expanding to highlight new development and neighborhood changes within the District. Dozens of city explorers can experience these one-of-a-kind strolls and hear the stories of the city’s heritage. As one of Cultural Tourism DC’s signature programs, WalkingTown DC has attracted culture enthusiasts, local residents, and visitors to the city’s historic neighborhoods.
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Governor McAuliffe Celebrates 15th Anniversary of Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Program


~ FAMIS program has provided health insurance to over 630,000 children in Virginia since 2001 ~


Governor Terry McAuliffe recently joined Dr. Rosa Atkins, the Superintendent of Charlottesville Public Schools; Dr. Karen Rheuban, a Pediatric Cardiologist at University of Virginia and a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics; and Deborah Oswalt, Executive Director of the Virginia Health Care Foundation to celebrate the fifteenth anniversary of the Family Access to Medical Insurance Security program (FAMIS) in Virginia. FAMIS, Virginia’s Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provides quality, low-cost health insurance to children and teenagers of working families across the Commonwealth.


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Select DPR Fitness and Cardio Centers to Temporarily Close for Renovations

The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announced the temporary closures of select DPR fitness and cardio centers. To better serve our residents, the centers will undergo renovations beginning Tuesday, September 6, 2016. Renovations will be done by the DC Department of General Services (DGS).

DPR fitness and cardio centers reopen schedule:

?. Banneker Cardio Center (2500 Georgia Avenue, NW – Ward 1) will reopen on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

?. King Greenleaf Cardio Center (201 N Street, SW – Ward 6) will reopen on Thursday, September 15, 2016.

?. North Michigan Park Fitness Center (1333 Emerson Street, NE  – Ward 5) will reopen on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

?. Sherwood Fitness Center (640 10th Street, NE  – Ward 6) will reopen on Thursday, September 15, 2016.

?. Trinidad Fitness Center (1310 Childress Street, NE  – Ward 5) will reopen on Tuesday, September 20, 2016.

Please note that re-open dates may be subject to change, should any unforeseen maintenance issues occur.

Patrons will be notified if a center re-open date will be delayed. See this link for DPR fitness centers.

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Governor McAuliffe Announces Nearly 5 Million Meal Increase in School Breakfast Program

Governor Terry McAuliffe today announced that 4.88 million more school breakfasts were served to Virginia students during the 2015-16 school year compared to the prior year, during a visit to Oak Grove-Bellemeade Elementary School with First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe and NBA All-Star, Charles Oakley. 


In the 2015 legislative session, the McAuliffe administration worked to get $537,000 in funding for 244 schools to provide healthy breakfasts to students. As a result, funded schools saw a 13.6 percent increase in participation on average. To build on the amendment’s success, Governor McAuliffe worked with the General Assembly to provide over $2 million in additional support for breakfast program expansion in the 2016 session. The funding will again encourage the adoption of alternative service models that allow for breakfast consumption in the classroom, after the school day begins.

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Lowe’s contributes $68,000 grant and volunteer support to revitalize the Riverdale Community

Lowe’s Heroes employee volunteers will be among more than 50 volunteers to join forces with Habitat for Humanity Metro Maryland leading up to September 10th, 2016 to revitalize a Riverdale neighborhood. Lowe’s awarded Habitat Metro Maryland a $68,000 grant to help complete the project.

The money awarded to Habitat Metro Maryland will in part support the community’s “Neighborhood Beautification Challenge”, that will provide 40 families will receive $500 gift cards from Lowe’s, which they will use to improve the exterior of their homes. The remainder of the funding from Lowe’s will provide trashcans to 200 families in the community and finance major home repair projects, which will address critical health and safety issues for three families.

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(Washington, D.C.) Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater announces the complete company for Carousel directed by Artistic Director Molly Smith, with music by Richard Rodgers and book and lyrics by Oscar Hammerstein II. Named the best musical of the 20th century by Time magazine, Carousel follows Billy Bigelow and Julie Jordan through their journey of love, loss and redemption and soars with unforgettable songs including “If I Loved You,” “June Is Bustin’ Out All Over” and “You’ll Never Walk Alone.” Featuring Musical Direction by Paul Sportelli and Choreography by Parker Esse, Carousel runs October 28-December 24 in the iconic in-the-round Fichandler Stage.

Carousel is Rodgers and Hammerstein’s most glorious and lush score with a wild and dramatically beautiful story on the coast of Maine,” says Smith. “Full of rich and complex characters, it asks the question: Do we each deserve a second chance?”

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Barack Obama speech on climate change

Obama calls for $10B in yearly conservation funding to push back climate change

(UPI) — President Barack Obama rolled out new environmental initiatives during a trip to Lake Tahoe Wednesday that are intended to help states, especially those in the West, adapt to climate change.

The president spoke at the 20th Lake Tahoe Summit, an annual gathering at the famous northwest Nevada recreation area intended to spur greater protection of the natural environment.

“For thousands of years, this place has been a spiritual one,” Obama said in his keynote address. “That’s why we are here — to protect this special pristine place, to keep these waters crystal clear, to keep the air as pure as the heavens, to keep alive Tahoe’s spirit.”

Obama’s remarks reflected new national initiatives the White House says are “built on the spirit of collaboration and innovation that first catalyzed Lake Tahoe’s historic conservation efforts.”
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Free solar panels for some low-income neighborhoods

Free solar panels are beginning to cover the skyline. It’s all a part of an initiative that the city jump-started in 2012. Now, Washingtonians’ pockets are reaping the benefits.

“We’ve spoken to residents who have been in this community for as many as 40 years,” said Ted Trabue, the managing Director of D.C. Sustainable Energy Utility. “It is really a life-changing event when you can invest in solar rays like this on a home.”

For example, a family of four that makes around $64,000 or less is eligible.

Telana Felder took advantage of the offering. She lives and manages an apartment complex off of Southern Avenue in Southeast. Her utility bill is, on average, about $100 less a month.

She said the extra cash helped her send her son to school and buy a car.

“I can get up and go when I want,” she said. “Don’t have to wait on the bus, don’t have to wait on the train, just jump in my vehicle and go.”
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OSSE Announces Improved Statewide PARCC Results

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles, and State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang announced the District’s 2016 statewide results on the Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) assessment. In its second year of administration, statewide PARCC results show the percentage of DC students who are on track for the next grade level and to leave high school prepared for success in college and career (scoring at level  4 or higher out of five possible levels) increased overall in mathematics and English language arts (ELA).

Administered in the spring of the 2015-16 school year, the PARCC assessment measures the knowledge and skills that matter most for students’ future academic success —such as reading complex texts, writing, and problem-solving. Last year’s scores set an important baseline for students and provide a starting point for assessing their readiness for college and career success.

“The gains we are seeing in these results highlight that more students in our public schools are learning the real-world skills they will need for future success,” said  Mayor Bowser. “We will continue to work hard to ensure that more and more of our students are meeting or exceeding expectations on this exam.”
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DISB Orders CareFirst to Issue Rebates with Excess Surplus

Commissioner’s order provides plan for dedicating $51.3 million in excess surplus to subscribers 

Commissioner Stephen C. Taylor of the District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) issued a final Decision and Order in the 2011 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.

The Commissioner’s August 30 order is the final action to implement a 2014 decision by the former DISB Acting Commissioner who found that GHMSI’s 2011 surplus of $963 million was excessive and that $56.2 million of the excess surplus was attributable to the District. In this order, Commissioner Taylor determined that approximately $4.9 million in rate reductions qualified as community health reinvestment and ordered GHMSI to issue the remaining $51.3 million in excess surplus in the form of rebates to their subscribers.
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Super producer/ rapper and Oprah giving away scholarships to African American student

( — Every year, billions of dollars in financial aid and scholarships are given away to students to help them pay for college tuition, books, and other college-related expenses. As the year winds down, here are the top national scholarship programs for African American students and others that are still accepting applications:

#1 – Ford HBCU Community Challenge: The Ford HBCU Challenge invites college students to submit their ideas for building sustainable communities for a chance to win a college scholarship and other awards. Students must have a strong interest in their communities and the environment. Project ideas must include innovative ideas on how to build sustainable communities. The deadline to apply is in December 2016. Apply now at
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Back to School – Walk Your Child’s Route to School

It is Back to School Time and parents and students are getting acclimated to new schools. Part of that process is determining the best route to get there. If the school is not that far, why not Walk Your Child to School? This daily activity can have exponential health benefits for both parent and child.

“Physical inactivity during childhood can lead to many preventable chronic diseases, such as diabetes, obesity and heart disease,” said Dr. Steve Owens, Associate Executive Director, Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE). “All communities should welcome opportunities that encourage their children to be more physically active.” Dr. Owens is the principal investigator of the DHPE’s National Implementation and Dissemination for Chronic Disease Prevention grant that is funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Community Health.
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The Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) seeks eligible entities to help control, prevent, and remediate nonpoint sources of polluted runoff to District of Columbia waters and the Chesapeake Bay. Engaging, educating, and empowering District residents to become stewards of the District’s waters and the Chesapeake Bay are important facets of this Request For Applications (RFA). The amount available for projects is approximately $2,440,000.  DOEE is seeking applications for ten projects in this RFA:
    •        Schoolyard Conservation Site Education Program

  • Innovative Low Impact Development – Green Infrastructure Demonstration Program
  • Green Infrastructure Job Training Program
  • Kingman and Heritage Islands Planning and Feasibility Study
  • Overnight Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for Fifth Grade Students
  • Pervious Paver Rebate Program
  • RiverSmart Communities Demonstration Program
  • Stream Restoration Monitoring
  • Trash-Focused Meaningful Watershed Educational Experiences for Third through Eighth Grade Students
  • Watershed Training and Information Dissemination for District Residents

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District Announces Investment in Philanthropic Technology Company GoodWorld

City will match $485,000 with private investors to support District-based social media donation platform

The District of Columbia Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking recently announced a $485,000 investment in the social payment technology company GoodWorld through its Innovation Finance Fund, an alternative to commercial financing where the District co-invests with private capital sources.

  • “My administration is committed to supporting mission-oriented, socially-conscious businesses like GoodWorld that have a tremendous positive impact both in the District and globally,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “GoodWorld is an example of an innovative business choosing the District as its home and using technology to help those most in need.”
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Hospital Earns Primary Stroke Center Designation

The Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Services Systems (MIEMSS) has designated Doctors Community Hospital as a Primary Stroke Center. This recognition highlights the hospital’s ability to provide quality and specialized medical care to patients who may have suffered a stroke.

To earn this designation, the hospital underwent an extensive evaluation, which included demonstrating how its team complied with national quality and clinical excellence standards for stroke care.  The effective and consistent use of such guidelines can save lives while reducing the rate of long-term complications such as paralysis.

“This highly noteworthy achievement is one of many examples of how we continue to be dedicated to offering quality care to the community,” shared Dr. Patricia Christensen, vice president of nursing and patient care services at Doctors Community Hospital. “We are proud to be recognized for offering consistently excellent care to patients who suffer from such a pervasive condition.”
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Fall/Winter Hours for DC DMV’s Inspection Station Begin on Tuesday, September 6th

The hours of operation for DC DMV’s Inspection Station are changing on Tuesday, September 6, 2016 when the Fall/Winter hours begin.

District residents will be able to get their vehicles inspected:

  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from 7:00am – 3:00pm, and
  • Wednesday from 8:00am – 3:00pm.

Additionally, child car seat inspections and installations will be available on:

  • Tuesday from 7:00am – 3:00pm, and
  • Wednesday from 8:00am – 3:00pm.

Those who need to have their vehicles inspected are encouraged to schedule an appointment online. Details on how to do so are available at  Note: an appointment is not necessary to have your vehicle inspected.
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Mayor Muriel Bowser Names Mark J. Chastang as Chief Executive Officer of Saint Elizabeths Hospital

Veteran Hospital Administrator Selected Through a National Search

Mayor Bowser appoints veteran hospital administrator Mark J. Chastang as the Chief Executive Officer of Saint Elizabeths Hospital effective August 29, 2016. Saint Elizabeths is the District’s inpatient psychiatric facility.

“Mark J. Chastang has an established record of improving patient care, efficiently managing hospital operations and building high-performing teams,” said Mayor Bowser. “He knows the value of strong partnerships with the community.”

Chastang was chosen after a national search conducted by the Mayor’s Office of Talent and Appointments over several months with input from community stakeholders, Saint Elizabeths staff and patients.

 Having served in executive leadership positions in complex urban hospitals and health systems with multiple operating sites, academic medical centers and teaching hospitals, he was the Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of the Grady Health System in Atlanta, Georgia; Vice President of Operations and Transplant Services at the University of Chicago Medical Center; and the Executive Director of the University of Toledo Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio.
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Continuing its 2016–2017 Season, the Shakespeare Theatre Company (STC) presents Romeo & Juliet, directed by STC Associate Artistic Director Alan Paul, and featuring STC Affiliated Artist Andrew Veenstra as Romeo and Ayana Workman as Juliet. Romeo & Juliet runs at the Lansburgh Theatre (450 7th St NW), September 13–November 6.

In 1986, STC Artistic Director Michael Kahn opened the newly-established Shakespeare Theatre Company with his production of Romeo & Juliet. It played to sold-out houses and earned Kahn a Helen Hayes Award nomination for Outstanding Director, Resident Production. Three decades later, after nine years at STC, Alan Paul prepares to direct his first Shakespeare production for the Company to launch its 30th Season.

Michael Kahn said: “I’m pleased that a director of Alan’s talent, intelligence and care is going to present Romeo & Juliet for this generation. This play continues to speak to all of us in new ways because how we think about the issues and relationships changes depending on the decade. We see this play through the eyes of the world we live in.”
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BGE Launches Fifth Annual Electric Safety Contest for Elementary Students

Baltimore Gas and Electric has announced the beginning of its fifth annual BGE Wires Down Video Challenge to educate elementary school-aged children on the importance of practicing electrical safety.  From now until Nov. 18, 2016, elementary school teachers (kindergarten through fifth grade) in public and private elementary schools across BGE’s electric service area are encouraged to work with their class to submit 30 to 45-second videos of their interpretation of BGE’s popular “Wires Down” electrical safety commercial. Entries have a chance to win between $1,000 and $10,000 to fund a school enrichment project.  At least one winning school will be chosen as a winner from each participating county. Up to $34,000 will be awarded this year to winning schools with an additional $500 awarded to the submitting teacher from the first place winning school.

Originally produced in 2000, the Emmy Award-winning BGE “Wires Down” commercial with its “do not, do not, do not touch” melody aims to help raise awareness of electricity hazards, especially among young children.  Last year’s $10,000 grand prize winning school, Krieger Schechter Day School, used the funding to install scientific discovery tools for their playground to include outdoor equipment that demonstrates scientific principles such as swings, balance ramps and gears and an outdoor shed which would house magnifying glasses, measuring tools and butterfly nets.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Virginia’s First Community Solar Project

  Governor commissions BARC Electric’s solar facility for community member-owners in the region

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently commissioned Virginia’s first community solar project at the BARC Electric facility in Rockbridge, Virginia. BARC Electric has developed the first community solar project for the benefit of the member-owners who reside in Rockbridge, Bath, Highland, Augusta and Alleghany counties.

“Virginia’s short- and long-term energy security depends on the investments we make today in energy technology and infrastructure,” said Governor McAuliffe, speaking at today’s announcement. “BARC’s community solar project is an excellent model for stabilizing and reducing energy costs, while delivering clean solar power to large segments of households on the grid. We will continue to invest in energy infrastructure and support innovative approaches to bring low-cost, renewable energy to all corners of the Commonwealth.”
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United Way of the National Capital Area Launches Back-to-School Collection Drive to Support Area Students

Thurs., September 1st Kick-Off at Lord & Taylor’s Tysons Corner to Provide Food and School Supplies as Part of United Way NCA’s “Stuff the Bus” Campaign

United Way of the National Capital Area (United Way NCA), the region’s preeminent convener, collaborator and catalyst for social change throughout the National Capital community, will bring together area residents to help assemble backpacks full of school supplies, non-perishable food products and personal care items for area students.  This is the official kick-off of collection drives around the region.

United Way NCA staff and volunteers will be on hand for the collection drive from 2:00 – 4:00 pm (ET) outside of the entrance to the Lord & Taylor store located in Tysons Corner.  During the collection drive, volunteers will be assembling “Stuff the Bus” backpacks and will also be accepting donations from area residents.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Launch of International Trade Show Assistance Program

~ Program to help Virginia companies exhibit at international trade shows ~

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the launch of the Virginia Trade Show Assistance Program, administered by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s (VEDP) International Trade Division.  This new program, funded by the General Assembly in its biennial budget, provides a way for eligible Virginia companies to connect with new customers and grow international sales by exhibiting their products and services at international trade shows.

“International trade shows are a proven driver for getting Virginia products and services into markets all over the world,” said Governor McAuliffe.  “The Virginia Trade Show Assistance Program will be a game-changer for businesses in the Commonwealth, further helping companies network with potential partners and clients across the globe. We will continue to ensure Virginia’s private-sector companies have the resources to grow and diversify their customer base, bringing revenue back to the Commonwealth and helping us build a new Virginia economy.”

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6th Annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Summit and Networking Symposium Linking Businesses to Opportunities for Growth (Washington, DC)

The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) and the D.C. Division of the Federal Highway Administration in the U.S. Department of Transportation today announced the 6th Annual Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) Summit and Networking Symposium will be held September 30, 2016.


The Summit is an opportunity for DDOT and Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) -certified DBE firms and other small business enterprises to learn about upcoming federal-assisted business opportunities.  It will also offer attendees the opportunity to network with highway and bridge construction-related prime contractors , architectural and engineering consultant firms, DDOT’s project managers, and other DBE firms and small businesses within the transportation industry.  Participants may also attend industry-related concurrent workshops.

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Safeway Partners with Sunoco to Bring Popular Gas Rewards Program to East Coast Sunoco Stations

Even more customers can now make shopping for groceries count at the pump


Safeway and Sunoco LP have teamed up to expand Safeway’s popular Gas Rewards program to Sunoco stations in parts of Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington D.C.

Safeway customers who earn Gas Rewards when they shop now have the option of redeeming their Rewards, up to 20 cents off per gallon, at Sunoco stations.  The expansion of the Gas Rewards program helps to maximize value and savings for both Safeway and Sunoco customers through the combination of quality, convenience and rewards.

“Our Gas Rewards program is an easy and convenient way to save money while doing something you do every week — shop for groceries,” said Safeway Eastern Division President Dan Valenzuela . “We’re excited to team up with Sunoco, a powerhouse in the fuel industry that has stations throughout the East Coast, to bring Sunoco customers, as well as our own valued customers, additional savings when they fuel up at Sunoco stations.”
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Don’t fret, Fall is the best season at The Maryland Zoo! Sure the kids are back in school, but the Zoo is still open seven days a week and we’ve got some special events planned that are fun for the whole family!   Most events are free with paid Zoo admission (or FREE if you are a Zoo member) unless noted by the ($) symbol. For tickets and event information, please visit our website at



September 3│10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.│

What’s a primate you ask? Well, humans are primates, but here at the Zoo the non-human primates you can learn about are the chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and the lemurs on Lemur Lane – ring-tailed, red-ruffed and sifaka! Learn about how important zoos are in helping these endangered species, as well as see enrichment demos, ask the keepers questions and participate in themed activities.
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Colin Kaepernick Explains Why He Sat During National Anthem

(NFL)–San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has willingly immersed himself into controversy by refusing to stand for the playing of the national anthem in protest of what he deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the United States.
His latest refusal to stand for the anthem — he has done this in at least one other preseason game — came before the 49ers’ preseason loss to Green Bay at Levi’s Stadium on Friday night.
“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media in an exclusive interview after the game. “To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The 49ers issued a statement about Kaepernick’s decision: “The national anthem is and always will be a special part of the pre-game ceremony. It is an opportunity to honor our country and reflect on the great liberties we are afforded as its citizens. In respecting such American principles as freedom of religion and freedom of expression, we recognize the right of an individual to choose and participate, or not, in our celebration of the national anthem.”
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Standout OL Marcus Minor reflects on decision to join the Terps

(CBS)–“New era.”
The term has been used a lot in conversations about Maryland football since new head coach DJ Durkin stepped on the College Park campus.
As the high-energy leader works to institute the changes necessary for establishing consistent success and prominence in the competitive college sphere, looking beyond just this first upcoming season is key.
And based on the staff’s current strides in the recruiting game, big potential – and lots of local faces – rest on the horizon.
So far, the Terps have received commitments from eleven DMV-area recruits, including five four-stars (247Sports). The fifth is DeMatha offensive lineman Marcus Minor, who’s final decision came down to the Terrapins and the Hurricanes.
“Change of coaching staff and helping, like knowing that they were low with linemen helped me make my decision. I was gonna choose between Maryland and Miami and Maryland felt like home to me,” the 6’2” tackle said.
Minor’s current head coach, Elijah Brooks of DeMatha, said he overhears some of the way these highly-sought-after athletes make their college decisions.
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Less is more? Rules experts trying to simplify the complex game of golf

For the last five years, the top rules experts in golf have come together from around the world to study a jigsaw puzzle. That’s what Thomas Pagel of the USGA refers to as the book more commonly known as the Rules of Golf.
The purpose of these private meetings essentially is to break up the puzzle and start over so the rules make more sense, without losing sight of the tradition or ethos of a game with six centuries behind it. Sessions can last at least eight hours. The singular goal is to make the rules less complicated.

It has not been easy.

“Everyone wants the game to be simple, but it’s a complex game,” Pagel, the USGA’s senior director of rules, said in an interview at the Olympics. “You have a little white ball that can and will go anywhere, and the rules try to handle all those situations. There’s always going to be a level of complexity. But how can we modernize the rules so they’re easier to understand and easier to apply so golfers can play confidently that they at least understand the basics?”
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Cousins Finds Rhythm Against Reserves as Redskins Beat Bills

(ABC)–Kirk Cousins found a groove and undrafted rookie running back Robert Kelley made the most of his chance and the Washington Redskins beat the Buffalo Bills 21-16 Friday night in the third preseason game.

With the Bills (1-2) resting almost their entire starting defense, Cousins overcame a rough start to finish 12 of 23 for 188 yards, three touchdowns and an interception.

Despite coming mostly against Buffalo’s second- and third-stringers, it was an important recovery for Cousins, who had thrown only five passes in the preseason and didn’t play last week in an effort to test backup Colt McCoy.

Kelley ran for 51 yards on 12 carries in a personal showcase with Matt Jones and Chris Thompson out and after seventh-round pick Keith Marshall sprained his left elbow on his only carry of the game.

Bills starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor played only two series, by coach Rex Ryan’s design, going 2 of 5 for 11 yards before being replaced by E.J. Manuel.
Ryan also opted to rest running back LeSean McCoy and several key defenders, including defensive tackle Kyle Williams, linebacker Jerry Hughes and cornerbacks Ronald Darby and Stephon Gilmore.
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Assistant Chief Peter Newsham chosen as interim D.C. police chief

Assistant D.C. Police Chief Peter Newsham, who frequently is the face of the department as he discusses major crimes before reporters or addresses the D.C. Council, was named interim police chief Tuesday to take over for the retiring Cathy L. Lanier.

Newsham has been an assistant chief for 14 years of his 27 years on the force and now serves as head of the criminal investigation division, overseeing all homicide cases and high-profile robberies, burglaries and assaults.

The 52-year-old, a lawyer and member of the Maryland State Bar Association, will take over Sept. 17, the scheduled last day for Lanier, who is leaving to be chief of security for the National Football League.

Newsham takes on the interim role amid an ongoing search for the next permanent chief under Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D).

Bowser has said she will concentrate on internal candidates but accept applicants from department outsiders.

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Councilmember Todd Celebrates School Modernizations in Ward 4

Ribbon Cutting at Roosevelt Senior High School

This past week, Councilmember Todd joined the Roosevelt Rough Rider community to celebrate the full modernization of Roosevelt Senior High School — the first high school in Ward 4 to be fully modernized! The $140 million modernization invested in Roosevelt supported improvements such as a restored auditorium and swimming pool; basketball and tennis courts; a brand new atrium; state of the art facilities, computers, furniture, and equipment; and, for the first time in decades, the opening of the 13th Street entrance.

There is no better way to show our students we care about their education and their future than rewarding them with a state of the art, world-class school like this one. Councilmember Todd remains intensely focused on ensuring our students have the resources they need to compete on a global scale.

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Councilmember Todd Joins the “Senior Zone” Radio Program

On Monday, Councilmember Todd joined The Senior Zone radio program with host Shawn Perry to discuss the state of the nearly 17,000 senior residents of Ward 4.

On the program, Councilmember Todd spoke to his tireless work fighting on behalf of our seniors. For example, Councilmember Todd discussed his legislative efforts to create the UDC Elder Law Clinic to provide our seniors with free legal help. In addition, the Councilmember described his new partnership with Verizon to provide seniors with smartphone technology training workshops. Finally, he emphasized his role as District Ambassador of the D.C. Age Friendly Taskforce, where he spotlights local businesses who utilize senior-friendly practices.


District of Columbia Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 5.9 Percent

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported that the seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 5.9 percent in July – unchanged from the reported June unemployment rate.

The District’s preliminary July estimates show an increase of 12,300 jobs, for a total of 787,600 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 1,500 jobs while the public sector payrolls increased by 13,800 jobs. The numbers are drawn from the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) through its monthly survey of the District of Columbia’s employers.

The number of employed District residents was down 900 from 374,300 in June 2016 to 373,400 in July 2016.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released June estimates were revised downward to show an over-the-month (May 16- June 16) total non-farm employment decrease of 2,200 jobs.


Back to School

By Marian Wright Edelman

President of the Children’s Defense Fund

As a new school year begins, parents, teachers and administrators are all thinking about how to make it the best year ever. One of the keys to student success sounds very simple but can make a profound difference: making sure every student is in school every day. This is not the case in many schools and school districts across the country. The Department of Education estimates that five to seven and a half million students miss 18 or more days of school each year, or nearly an entire month or more.

Chronic absenteeism is defined as missing at least 10 percent of school days in a school year for any reason. As part of the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Initiative, the U.S. Departments of Education, Health and Human Services, Housing and Urban Development, and Justice have joined together to launch Every Student, Every Day: A National Initiative to Address and Eliminate Chronic Absenteeism. I was honored to participate in their national symposium to share what the Children’s Defense Fund has learned since our first report in 1974, Children Out of School in America. We found from examining census data that at least 2 million children were out of school for at least 3 months, including 750,000 between 7-13 years old. But there was no clear information on who they were or why they were out of school — so we knocked on thousands of doors in a variety of census tracts across our country to find and ask families why their children were home and not in school.
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The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) is excited to welcome 10,000 attendees at its 46th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC), scheduled for September 14 – 18, 2016, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. The ALC is the premier conference of its kind nationwide, offering more than 70 forums on public policy issues facing African Americans. Honorary co-chairs of this year’s conference are U.S. Representatives Karen Bass of California and William Lacy Clay of Missouri.

This year’s theme, “Defining the Moment – Building the Movement,” will highlight a culmination of social and political moments in American History that define the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) and the CBCF. It will also explore the critical policy issues of voter suppression, police brutality and economic opportunity-and identify forward-looking solutions that empower people to change their lives, communities and futures.

“The ALC is one of the nation’s most influential conferences of African-American entrepreneurs, business leaders, legislators and community activists. This year more than ever, it is imperative that beyond measuring the status of racial democracy and economics we take actionable steps towards equalizing those disparities,” said R. Donahue Peebles, chairman of the CBCF board of directors. “We intend for this conference to accelerate solutions to the most threatening problems facing African Americans.”
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HHS awards $716,598 to District of Columbia to improve 
health center quality

District of Columbia is receiving eight awards totaling $716,598 to invest in health center quality improvement efforts, and to provide high quality comprehensive care. Health centers in District of Columbia will use these funds to expand current quality improvement systems and infrastructure and to improve primary care service delivery in the communities they serve.

“Millions of Americans rely on health centers to provide them with quality health care,” said Dr. Mary Wakefield, HHS Acting Deputy Secretary. “These quality improvement awards will support health centers to continue to deliver superior health care that engages patients, improves care coordination and bridges overall access to care.”

Health centers are receiving these FY 16 funds based upon high levels of To learn more about HRSA’s Health Center Program, visit: in one or more of the following categories: Improving Quality of Care, Advancing Health Equity, Maintaining Patient-Centered Medical Home (PCMH) Recognition, Enhancing Access to Care, and Delivering Value. This funding comes from the Affordable Care Act’s Community Health Center (CHC) Fund, which was extended with bipartisan support in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015.
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First Child to Undergo a Bilateral Hand Transplant Marks One Year since Surgery at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

–CHOP, Penn Medicine and Shriners Hospitals for Children Celebrate Their Collaboration on Groundbreaking Surgery–

/PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Today, nine-year-old Zion Harvey can throw a baseball over home plate. He can write in his journal, prepare himself lunch and manage zippers on his clothes. However, for most of his life, these and many other ordinary actions were impossible for this little boy.

Then, in the summer of 2015, surgeons at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and Penn Medicine joined with colleagues from Shriners Hospitals for Children – Philadelphia, to complete the world’s first bilateral hand transplant on a child. The surgical team successfully transplanted donor hands and forearms onto then eight-year-old Zion Harvey who, several years earlier, had undergone amputation of his hands and feet and a kidney transplant following a serious infection. Read more about this historic transplant surgery here:
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Greater Washington Urban League Distributes Over 1,000 Backpacks

In partnership with Thurgood Marshall Center Trust, Inc. (TMCT) and Trusted Health Plan (THP), GWUL hosted its 4th Annual Community Health and Wellness Back to School Festival.

It was a jam packed day of family fun activities, safe food handling demonstrations by USDA and healthy cooking demonstrations by City Weeds. GWUL also distributed fresh fruits and vegetables donated by Capital Area Food Bank.

Area residents received health screenings provided by Trusted Health Plan as well as pediatric dental screenings led by Essence Dental and Howard University College of Dentistry.  Free haircuts and hairstyles for kids were provided by Hair Academy New Carrollton while service providers assisted residents with enrollment in health plans and other resources.

Thanks to our sponsors Andrews Federal Credit Union, M&T Bank, Washington Mystics, as well as Foreman Mills, Whole Foods Markets, and Sports Zone Elite for their generous raffle prize gifts.


Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center to Host a Mental Health Summit

Washington DC Veterans Affairs Medical Center’s multidisciplinary team will host the 2016 Mental Health Summit to enhance mental health care for Veterans through dialogue and collaboration between VA, private and local government mental health stakeholders, Veteran Service Organizations and the community.

The Summit will take place on September 15, from 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. at Saint Elizabeths Hospital 1100 Alabama Avenue, S.E. Washington, DC. 

The Washington DC VA Medical Center’s Mental Health Service team is working to increase the public’s understanding of mental health concerns and challenges of Veterans as well as bringing an awareness of VA services and community resources available. This is the 4th year the medical center has hosted a Mental Health Summit to bring together area psychologists, social workers, clergy members, law enforcement, paramedics, elected officials, Veteran Service Organization members and other community stakeholders.
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Medical Society of the District of Columbia Urges DC Residents to Make Back-to-School Vaccinations a Family Affair

Ensure That All Family Members are Up-to-Date on Immunizations

The Medical Society of the District of Columbia (MSDC), the largest medical organization in the District of Columbia representing Washington-area physicians, encourages DC parents to get their children the required school vaccinations and to have a conversation with their health care provider about the appropriate vaccine schedule for the entire family. Herd immunity – or the protection conferred on an entire community when a high enough percentage of its members are vaccinated – is critical not only to DC students, but residents of all ages, and particularly for those vulnerable populations unable to be vaccinated, including infants, the elderly, and those who are immunocompromised.

“Vaccines are one of the most effective public health tools for protecting our students from a broad range of potentially dangerous illnesses, including measles, mumps, whooping cough, and meningitis. However, the threat of disease and the protection conferred by vaccines are not limited to our children,” said MSDC President Carla C. Sandy, MD. “MSDC encourages parents having back-to-school conversations with their health care providers to ask about the most appropriate vaccine schedule for their entire family, including college-age students returning to school and parents or grandparents who are also susceptible to vaccine-preventable illnesses.”
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Virginia’s Unemployment Rate Holds Steady at 3.7%

Commonwealth posts 28 consecutive months of year-over-year employment growth

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate held steady at 3.7 percent in July while year-over-year job growth continued for the 28th consecutive month.

Virginia’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate, which has remained stable at 3.7 percent for three straight months, is significantly below the national rate, also unchanged in July at 4.9 percent.

Compared to July 2015, Virginia’s nonfarm payroll employment was up 57,200 jobs. Virginia’s over-the-year employment growth was 1.5 percent in July—the 28th consecutive month of positive over-the-year growth. Nationally, employment grew 1.7 percent from last July.

Virginia had the lowest seasonally adjusted unemployment rate among the Southeast states and the third best rate among the states east of the Mississippi.

Compared to last July, the seasonally unadjusted private sector average weekly earnings grew by $32.97, or 3.6 percent, to $938.90.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces $60 Million Investment in Rockingham County

MillerCoors to expand brewery, creating 27 new jobs 

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that MillerCoors, a joint venture between SABMiller and Molson Coors Brewing Company, will invest $60 million to expand its Shenandoah brewery in Rockingham County. The brewery is the newest in the MillerCoors network and is used to service Northeast markets. The project will create 27 new jobs.

“Virginia continues to solidify its status as a leading state for the brewing industry,” said Governor McAuliffe. “MillerCoors has been present in Rockingham County for nearly 30 years, providing quality jobs. The Shenandoah Valley offers the ideal business climate and workforce needed to brew world-class beer that consumers can enjoy all over the country and world. I am thrilled to have MillerCoors as a partner in our work to build a new Virginia economy.”

“MillerCoors’ expansion in Rockingham County is a testament to the locality and to the Commonwealth’s stellar workforce and business environment,” said Secretary of Commerce and Trade Maurice Jones. “Business expansion is the best way to grow the Virginia economy, and I thank the company for its continued confidence in our state and our strong, long-lasting partnership. I look forward to witnessing another 30 years of growth!”
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David Sanborn Headlines Silver Spring Jazz Festival September 10

David Sanborn Electric Band will headline the 2016 Silver Spring Jazz Festival on Saturday, September 10, from 3:00 to 10:00 pm in downtown Silver Spring.  Each year, the Silver Spring Jazz Festival has presented a mix of many jazz genres, including straight ahead, smooth, Latin, and other popular jazz forms.  This year the festival stars six-time Grammy award winner David Sanborn and his mix of genres, including instrumental pop, R&B and more traditional jazz; smooth jazz from popular local favorite Marcus Johnson; modern R&B and jazz vocalist Tamara Wellons; Baltimore’s own straight ahead jazz bass saxophonist Todd Marcus; and an eclectic mix from the Jazz Academy of Music, located in Silver Spring.

Silver Spring Jazz Festival Line-up

3:00pm Festival Welcome

3:15pm Jazz Academy of Music

4:30pm Todd Marcus Quintet

5:45pm  Tamara Wellons Band

7:00pm Marcus Johnson presents The Urban Jam Band

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Auditions to be held in New York City at the Apollo, in Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.

Contestants chosen will secure a spot in the Amateur Night at the Apollo 2017 season line-up Competing for a chance to win a new Grand Prize of $20,000

The Apollo Theater announced today that it will hold auditions for its legendary Amateur Night show, now in its 82nd year, in multiple cities this Fall. Auditions will be held in Philadelphia at the Kimmel Center on Saturday, September 17th, in New York City at the Apollo Theater on Saturday, September 24th and will conclude in Washington, D.C. at Howard University on Saturday, October 1st. Amateur Night producers will screen hundreds of vocalists, rappers, dancers, comedians, spoken word artists, and other performers vying for a coveted spot on the Apollo’s stage, where they will then compete for a chance to win the new grand prize amount of $20,000.


“The Apollo is driven by a commitment to explore all possibilities of contemporary artistic expression. One way to achieve this is by opening our Amateur Night 2017 auditions to a geographically-diverse pool of talent,” said Jonelle Procope, President and CEO of the Apollo Theater. “Amateur Night is not only a beloved live, weekly show but also a great catalyst renown for sparking the careers of so many legendary performers.”

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Studio Theatre announces another extension of Robert Askins’s Hand to God, now playing through September 18th. Running in Stage 4 as part of Studio X, the production is directed by Joanie Schultz and stars Studio favorite Liam Forde (Jumpers for Goalposts, Helen Hayes Award nomination) as Jason/Tyrone.

Joining the cast beginning August 31 are Helen Coxe in the role of Margery, previously played by Susan Rome, and Tim Barker in the role of Pastor Greg, previously played by Tim Getman. Ms. Coxe has been seen on Broadway in Sideman and Off Broadway in Tail!Spin!, The Shanghai Gesture, Bug, As Bees in Honey Drown, among others, and holds an MFA from the American Conservatory Theatre. Mr. Barker has performed in the Oregon, Chicago & Stratford (Canada) Shakespeare festivals, as well as regional theatres including the Ogunquit/Gateway Playhouse, Two River Theater Co., St. Louis Rep, and CTC Minneapolis.
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Secretary Jewell, Deputy Secretary Connor to Embark on Nationwide Tour to Commemorate 100th Anniversary of National Park Service

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell, Deputy Secretary Mike Connor and other senior Obama Administration officials next week will embark on a nationwide tour to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the National Park Service (NPS) – often called “America’s Best Idea.”

Secretary Jewell and Deputy Secretary Connor will highlight efforts to connect with and create the next generation of park visitors, supporters and advocates; mitigate against the devastating impacts of climate change; tell a more inclusive story; preserve and protect natural, historic and cultural resources; create economic opportunities for local communities; and engage more diverse audiences.

With special events across the country, and free admission to all 412 national parks from August 25 – 28, the National Park Service is encouraging everyone to #FindYourPark / #EncuentraTuParque for the centennial.
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Have an Un-FAIR-gettable Experience at the 135th Maryland State Fair

Let MDOT’s MTA Be Your Ride to the State’s Annual Funfest  

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) is ready to help you reach all of the fun, food and festivities at the 135th annual Maryland State Fair. From cotton candy and whack-a-mole to funnel cakes and the Ferris wheel, the MTA is your direct connection to the fairgrounds and visitors are encouraged to leave their cars at home and take convenient, inexpensive public transit to the fair.

With the Timonium Light Rail stop just a short walk from the entrance, Light Rail remains the best transit option to the fairgrounds. Additionally, MTA’s Local Bus Nos. 8 and 9 also offer great connections.

Attendees can take Light Rail to the Timonium Light Rail stop for direct access to the fairgrounds entrance. The last north and southbound Light Rail trains will leave Timonium Fairgrounds at 11 p.m. each day of the fair. On Sunday, August 28; Sunday, September 4; and Monday, September 5, northbound trains to Hunt Valley and southbound trains to Cromwell Station/BWI Stations will depart from Timonium Fairgrounds on the hour beginning at 8 p.m. until 11 p.m. These trains will make all station stops.
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National Museum of African American History and Culture 
Announces Five Grand-Opening Sponsors

The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture today announced that it has received five $2 million sponsorships from Bank of America, Kaiser Permanente, Prudential Financial Inc., Target and Toyota to support the museum’s grand-opening celebrations and inaugural events. Each is a founding donor of the museum, and the sponsorship of the museum’s opening represents additional support for the museum.

“These corporations have been longstanding, essential partners in the campaign to build this museum,” said Lonnie G. Bunch III, founding director of the museum. “Now, their support as sponsors will enable the museum to host a public celebration that reflects the historic significance of this event: the opening of the first national museum dedicated to the African American experience.”

The museum will officially open Sept. 24. President Barack Obama and other dignitaries will dedicate the museum at an outdoor ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. The public is invited to gather on the Washington Monument grounds across the street from the museum to witness the ceremony on Jumbotrons and enjoy a three-day festival.


Mayor Bowser to Launch Effort Showcasing District’s Creative Economy

“202Creates” will Highlight DC’s Diverse and Vibrant Arts and Cultural Scene 

Mayor Muriel Bowser recently announced the inaugural “202Creates,” a citywide effort launching in September to showcase the District’s diverse and vibrant creative economy. Through an array of events, 202Creates will promote the artists, makers, and entrepreneurs who contribute to the District’s thriving creative industries.

“We are showcasing that the nation’s capital is also the capital of creativity,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “Every corner of our city hosts a diversity of creative industries that employ District residents and improve our quality of life. These are the people that day in and day out contribute to the heartbeat of our creative economy and help to define who we are as a city. With 202Creates, we are celebrating the creative contributions of our residents.”

Led by the DC Office of Cable Television, Film, Music and Entertainment (OCTFME) and the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities (CAH), 202Creates aims to engage residents in the month of September through events and activities that build and enrich our communities across all 8 Wards. 202Creates will also feature conversations with innovators, residents, and businesses with a goal of furthering engagement between government and the creative community.
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“Art + Science,” at The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden

The Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden announces “Art + Science,” a provocative new three-part discussion series that brings together internationally renowned digital artists and research scientists from top universities to investigate humanity and identity in the digital world.

Recent advances in technology enable computer programs to mimic facial expressions, decision making and even emotions. Tools such as artificial intelligence software, facial substitution and swapping-once restricted to scientists or governments-are now available for artists to incorporate into their practice.

Held Sept. 29, Oct. 20 and Nov. 17, each “Art + Science” event will explore crucial questions about creativity, technology and humanity in order to discover the potential-and challenges-of these digital tools for the future of both science and art.

The series is presented in conjunction with the Hirshhorn’s current exhibition “Suspended Animation,” which highlights artists who use digitally generated images to question reality.
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Montgomery County Local Small Business Initiative Celebrates 10th Anniversary

The Montgomery County Office of Procurement’s Local Small Business Reserve Program (LSBRP), has been a success. To help boost the local economy, Montgomery County Government launched the Program and it was voted into law by the County Council in 2006.

The Program ensures local, small vendors compete solely with businesses of similar size and resources for County LSBRP-designated contracts. More than 1,000 vendors have submitted applications and the Office of Procurement has fully certified 455 of them, with plans to complete the remaining certifications by the end of this calendar year.

“To support the LSBRP, County departments pledge to spend 20% of their budget with local small businesses,” said Montgomery County Office of Procurement Director, Cherri Branson. “I’m pleased to tell you the County spent $88.5 million, nearly 24% of total eligible spending with local small businesses in FY15,” the most recent year for which data are available.

The Program has launched a new logo that will be featured prominently on each vendor’s LSBRP certificate. An electronic version will also be sent to them to encourage each qualified business to promote their certified status with Montgomery County by displaying the logo on their websites, social media outlets, printed marketing materials and correspondence.
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