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Obama celebrates Affordable Care Act

(UPI) — President Barack Obama spoke on Wednesday, celebrating the 5-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, which has insured more than 16 million Americans.
Obama said the health care law is “working better than many of us — including me — anticipated.” The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010.
“The bottom line is this for the American people: this law is saving money for families and for businesses,” he said. “This law is also saving lives, lives that touch all of us. It’s working despite countless attempts to repeal, undermine, defund and defame this law.”
The health care law was a major reason there have been 50,000 fewer preventable patient deaths in hospitals, according to Obama.
Statistics provided by the White House find that about 30 million young adults can no longer be denied coverage for a pre-existing condition and about 105 million Americans no longer have a lifetime limit on health coverage.
About 76 million are benefiting from preventive care coverage.

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Mayor Bowser Launches $9.5 Million Early Learning Quality Improvement Network

Initiative provides high-quality education and health services for infants, toddlers and families

Mayor Muriel Bowser, DC State Superintendent of Education Hanseul Kang and Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles officially launched the District of Columbia’s Early Learning Quality Improvement Network (QIN). Funded by a $9.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Early Learning QIN highlights the District’s efforts to provide high-quality early learning education and health services for the District’s infants, toddlers and families. The announcement, held at United Planning Organization-Frederick Douglass in Southeast, is the first in a week of policy announcements leading up to Mayor Bowser’s first State of the District of Address.

“This public-private partnership will help ensure that our youngest and most vulnerable community is provided every opportunity to succeed in life as we continue our efforts to create a stable pathway to the middle class,” said Mayor Bowser. “Through the Early Learning Quality Improvement Network, we will provide comprehensive support services that enhance the physical, social, emotional and intellectual development of our children so they are fully prepared to enter kindergarten.”
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Mayor Bowser and DCPS Chancellor Henderson Announce New Middle Grades Investments

Efforts give a renewed focus on enrichment, summer programming, international travel and more

Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced new efforts to support District of Columbia Public Schools (DCPS) middle schools and students with a renewed focus on enrichment, partnerships, summer programming, international travel and athletics. Today’s event, held at the newly built Brookland Middle School in Ward 5, is part of a week-long effort leading up to Mayor Bowser’s March 31st State of the District Address to highlight ways the Administration is helping to create Pathways to the Middle Class for D.C. residents.

“Middle school is such a critical time in a child’s life. It is when our young people begin to explore the challenges of adulthood – thinking about college, careers and their future – while still wrestling with the challenges of growing up,” said Mayor Bowser. “Investing in the city’s middle schools will help ensure that our young people have the skills they need to succeed in high school and beyond. A good middle grade education will help put our young people on a pathway to the middle class later in life.”
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Washington, DC Leads Nation with Most Energy Star® Certified Buildings

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released its 2015 list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the most ENERGY STAR certified buildings and the District of Columbia ranked number one, knocking Los Angeles, CA, out of the top spot for the first time since the program began in 2009. This achievement confirms the District’s commitment to providing building owners and managers with the technical guidance, best practices, and training they need to make their buildings more energy efficient, save money and cut pollution.

At the Building Energy Summit, EPA Regional Administrator Shawn M. Garvin presented the District of Columbia with a certificate commemorating this exciting milestone. Tommy Wells, Acting Director of the District Department of the Environment (DDOE), accepted the award on behalf of DC Mayor Muriel Bowser.
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District’s “War on Potholes”

Annual campaign will expedite pothole repairs across the District

Mayor Muriel Bowser and District Department of Transportation (DDOT) Director Leif Dormsjo kicked off the District’s annual Potholepalooza, the District’s “war on potholes” campaign to accelerate pothole repair time on roadways across the District. The event was part of Mayor Bowser’s Pathways to the Middle Class Tour, a week-long effort leading up to Mayor Bowser’s March 31 State of the District Address to highlight ways the Administration is helping to create Pathways to the Middle Class for D.C. residents.

“Today we are taking a fresh approach to pothole repairs in the District,” said Mayor Bowser. “By adopting new strategies and technologies we are better able to identify potholes, repair them quickly and ensure residents can drive on District roads that are smooth, comfortable, and most importantly, safe.”
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Intergenerational Approach to Fighting Obesity Comes to DC Area

New Program Helps Older Adults and Kids Learn Healthy Habits Together
March is National Nutrition Month
Considerable focus has been placed on programs to address the issue of childhood obesity, thanks in part to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and the “Let’s Move!” initiative. In celebration of National Nutrition Month in March, a new program in the DC area is taking that approach a step further, pairing adult volunteers age 50 and older with elementary school-age children. Together, they are learning about healthier eating choices and the value of regular exercise and physical activity, with impressive results.
The OASIS CATCH Healthy Habits program has partnered with the Amerigroup Foundation in two Silver Spring locations: Viers Mill Elementary and the White Oak Community Recreation Center. In each location, adult volunteers provide lessons on good nutrition, introduce healthy snacks, and lead a variety of games and other physical activities to get both generations up and moving. Both programs run through the week of March 30. Both local programs are made possible through a grant from the Amerigroup Foundation. Continue reading

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VA Study Shows Exercise Lowers Risk of Developing Chronic Kidney Disease

In the article, “Exercise Capacity and Risk of Chronic Kidney Disease in US Veterans: A Cohort Study”, to be published in the April, 2015 issue of Mayo Clinic Proceedings, researchers have found that higher aerobic fitness levels lower the risk of developing chronic kidney disease (CKD).

The study, led by Washington DC VA Medical Center’s exercise physiologist, Peter Kokkinos, PhD, and the Chief of Medical Service, Charles Faselis, MD, included 5,812 middle-aged male Veterans from the medical center who were CKD-free prior to entering the study.

During a median follow-up period of 7.9 years, 1,000 Veterans had developed CKD. The CKD risk was 22% lower for every 1-MET (metabolic equivalent) increase in exercise capacity. The average exercise capacity necessary to realize these health benefits was just over 6.5 METs. This is good news, as this level of fitness is easily achievable by many middle-aged and older adults who participate in daily exercise such as brisk walking.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces Federal Job Skills Grant

~ The $22.3 million award will fund workforce training for individuals who receive benefits through SNAP ~

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Virginia has been awarded a $22.3 million federal grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture for a pilot program to help increase job skills training for SNAP recipients.

“I’m proud that Virginia has received this grant award, which will allow my administration to help transition SNAP recipients to the workforce and improve workforce development training. Both are key components in my plan to build a new Virginia economy,” Governor McAuliffe said. “It’s essential that Virginians be trained and ready to work in high-demand fields. This grant will help advance my goal to have Virginians attain 50,000 workforce credentials, licenses and degrees during my term.”
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Celebrate Kid Pan Alley’s 15th Anniversary with a free concert in Washington, VA

Kid Pan Alley started 15 years ago with a brilliant but obvious discovery—kids make the greatest co-writers—especially when you are writing songs for kids. Paul Reisler, songwriter, composer, master songwriting teacher and founder of Trapezoid, learned this during an elementary school songwriting residency project in rural Rappahannock County, VA. Inspired by the 50 songs he wrote with over 600 children, he invited a diverse group of the community’s professional musicians to record one song each for Tidal Wave of Song.

Come celebrate those 15 years and 2,500 songs written with over 35,000 children across the country with a free concert on March 27th at 7 pm with the Kid Pan Alley Band performing songs they wrote with the children right back where it started—at Rappahannock Elementary School.
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H Street NE Small Business Capital Improvement Grants

Businesses located in the H Street – Bladensburg Road – Benning Road NE corridor

The Office of the Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) invites the submission of applications for the H Street NE Small Business Capital Improvement Grants. Funding for this program is authorized under the “H Street NE Retail Priority Area Incentive Act of 2010,” effective April 8, 2011 (D.C. Law 18-354; D.C. Official Code § 1-325.171 et seq.), and as amended by the “H Street NE Retail Priority Area Incentive Amendment Act of 2012,” effective September 20, 2012 (D.C. Law 19-168).
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Maryland Teachers See Hunger in Schools Daily

‘Hunger in Our Schools’ report showcases childhood hunger from the perspective of Maryland educators, Supports Baltimore schools implementing Breakfast After the Bell as a solution

In a national report released this month, Maryland-based educators are revealing the effects that hunger and poverty have on kids, and what they see as the solution. “These are children whose basic needs aren’t being provided for. They’ve labeled them as having learning defects or behavior problems, but it could just be that they’re hungry,” noted Fifth-Grade Maryland Teacher Roney Wynn.

Maryland teachers and educators played an integral role in the 2015 Hunger in Our Schools report, based on a survey of more than 1,000 educators. The report released by Share Our Strengths No Kid Hungry campaign provides first-hand testimonials and observations on the impact programs such as Breakfast After the Bell have on their children.
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Governor McAuliffe Unveils Spring Stewardship Virginia Campaign

Stewardship Virginia, a statewide campaign to encourage and recognize voluntary activities with a tangible impact on Virginia’s natural resources, continues this year with events across the state. The campaign features activities in the spring and fall. The spring portion runs from April 1 through May 31.

“Stewardship Virginia gives us all an opportunity to make real contributions to our natural and historic resources. Virginia’s landscapes and waterways are important for their ecological value, scenic beauty and recreational opportunities,” said Governor Terry McAuliffe. “Stewardship Virginia projects give volunteers the tools, guidance and structure to continue to enhance these valuable resources. I encourage all Virginians to get involved.”
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Governor McAuliffe Signs Directive Establishing Center for Behavioral Health and Justice

Governor McAuliffe recently signed Executive Directive Four to establish the Center for Behavioral Health and Justice, an interagency collaborative to better coordinate behavioral health and justice services. The announcement came during the final meeting of the Governor’s Task Force for Improving Mental Health Services and Crisis Response, which originated under former Governor McDonnell and was continued by Governor McAuliffe in April 2014.

“Nearly a year ago, I asked this Task Force to continue its work and develop bold ideas to help the Commonwealth address the gaps in our behavioral health system,” said Governor McAuliffe. “Today I am proud to sign this directive making the centerpiece of their recommendations a reality. Through the Center we will achieve better coordination of programs and services, state and local governments, and our public and private sectors. This will help ensure that Virginians with behavioral health needs in our justice system are treated with dignity and receive the health care services they desperately need.”
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ST. John’s College High School Performs at the Walt Disney World Resort

Students take part in the Disney Performing Arts Program in Orlando, Fla.

Members of St. John’s College High School Regimental Band became stars of their own Disney show on March 21, 2015 when they entertained resort guests at the Magic Kingdom. The group traveled from Washington, D.C. to the Walt Disney World Resort in Florida to take part in the Disney Performing Arts Program.

The marching band, under the direction of Kenneth Hammann, entertained hundreds of Magic Kingdom Park guests as they marched through Frontierland and around Cinderella Castle and onto Main Street, U.S.A before the “Festival of Fantasy Parade”. The group’s performance included “The Army Goes Rolling Along.
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Giant Food and Ripken Baseball Host 2nd Annual “Get Out & Play” Clinics

Free clinics combine baseball fundamentals and nutritional programming for youth and their families

Giant Food, LLC and Ripken Baseball are again collaborating to host a series of health and fitness clinics throughout the Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. regions. The Second Annual “Get Out and Play” clinics will combine baseball instruction with nutritional programming to create a fun and informative program for youth and their families. The free clinics begin Monday, April 27 and run through Wednesday, June 3.

“We are thrilled to have Giant Food returning as a partner to help host youth baseball clinics throughout the Mid-Atlantic region,” said Colin Clark, Vice President of Brand Marketing for Ripken Baseball. “These clinics serve as a great opportunity to provide our youth with the fundamentals of baseball and the value of healthy eating and staying active, the Ripken Way.”
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BGE Encourages Customers to Kick Off Spring Cleaning with a $50 Reward for Recycling Old Appliances

Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE) reminds customers that spring cleaning season is a great time to not only clear out home clutter, but also reduce waste, save money and take advantage of recycling rewards from the BGE Smart Energy Savers Program. BGE’s Appliance Recycling Program helps customers remove their old and inefficient, but still working, refrigerators, freezers, room air conditioners and dehumidifiers for recycling. Customers who participate can receive a $50 reward when they recycle a refrigerator or freezer and get an additional $25 bonus if they recycle a room air conditioning unit and/or dehumidifier at the same time.
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National Walking Day at Springfield Town Center

National Walking Day is April 1st and to help encourage people to participate, we’re hosting a National Walking Day event at the Springfield Town Center from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m. The event will begin at 6500 Springfield Center Dr, Grand Court entrance near the Starbucks and is free for everyone to participate. We’re partnering up with Sheehy Auto Stores to provide a fun, family-friendly event that will get people to walk around the mall, and teach them about Stroke, CPR, and much more. There will also be some great giveaways, courtesy of several partnering stores.
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The Phillips Collection Unveils Prism.K12, an Arts-Integrated Teaching Tool for K-12 Educators

Prism.K12 provides teachers with tools to enhance learning and engagement through arts-integrated lessons.

The Phillips Collection announced recently a new education initiative, Prism.K12, which connects the 21st-century museum to K-12 education by focusing on the integration of the visual arts with core subject areas. Prism.K12 grew out of the museum’s award-winning work in the field of K-12 teaching and learning, and includes multimedia teaching kits, national educator initiatives, and comprehensive local school partnerships.

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Mayor Muriel Bowser Partners with Montgomery and Prince George’s County Execs to Tackle Homelessness

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III joined forces at the Regional Summit on Homelessness. The event was organized by area leadership as a call to action to funders, developers, banks, employers, landlords, service providers, schools, institutes of higher learning, and community members to join in the work to end homelessness.

The Summit was held at Community Vision at Progress Place, a facility in Montgomery County, Maryland, that provides services for persons experiencing homelessness, and commenced with remarks from the leaders of each of the three jurisdictions. “We all know that we are going to have to be proactive to solve this issue. Our response cannot be limited to sheltering people today. If we are ever going to get ahead of this issue, we must go further to truly address the root causes of housing instability,” said Mayor Bowser.

“Every one of us standing in this room plays a critical role. And for that reason, we are eager to be kicking off this long overdue regional collaboration between the District, Montgomery County, Prince George’s County – and all of you,” she continued.
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DDOT Announces Start of Construction on 16th Street Bridge

Mayor Muriel Bowser and the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) announced the start of second phase construction to replace the 16th Street Bridge over Military Road, NW. Construction will begin on Friday, March 27 at the end of the morning rush hour and will last up to four months, weather permitting.

Second phase construction will involve the complete replacement of the 16th Street Bridge over Military Road, NW. In addition to replacing the existing, 57-year-old bridge structure, DDOT will refurbish the roadway, install new drainage infrastructure and upgrade traffic signals and street lights on 16th Street, NW.
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District’s Unemployment Rate at 7.7 Percent

The District of Columbia Department of Employment Services reported recently that the preliminary January job estimates show a decrease of 10,600 jobs, for a total of 753,400 jobs in the District. The private sector decreased by 9,600 jobs, while the public sector payrolls decreased by 1,000 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 District’s seasonally adjusted preliminary unemployment rate was 7.7 percent in January. The number of unemployed District residents was up 100 from 29,600 in December 2014 to 29,700 in January 2015.

Based on more complete reporting from employers, previously released December estimates were revised upward to show an over-the-month (November-December) total non-farm employment decrease of 3,800 jobs. The December revised unemployment rate is 7.7 percent which is up 0.4 percent from the December preliminary rate of 7.3 percent.

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Housing Advocates Applaud Introduction of Legislation Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure

The National Housing Law Project (NHLP), the National Law Center on Homelessness & Poverty (NLCHP), and the National Low Income Housing Coalition (NLIHC) applaud Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) and Representative Keith Ellison (D-MN) for introducing legislation to permanently extend the Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA).

“The PTFA provides critical protection to innocent renter families whose homes have been foreclosed. PTFA is an important tool, especially now, given the significant national shortage of rental housing,” said NHLP Executive Director Marcia Rosen.
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Coast Guard honors Pioneering Black Woman

On Thursday March 12th a ceremony was held at Coast Guard Sector New York in Staten Island, New York, to officially rename the Sector New York Galley in honor of Dr. Olivia Hooker, 100, who holds the distinction of being the first African-American woman admitted into the U.S. Coast Guard. Our COMDT, Adm. Paul Zukunft presided over the ceremony and unveiled a plaque that hangs in the dining hall in honor of Dr. Hooker.

In 1945, Olivia Hooker, a 30-year-old black woman from Tulsa, Oklahoma, joined the U.S. Coast Guard. The now-Dr. Olivia Hooker holds a PhD in psychology, worked until she was 87, and just turned 100 in February. But 70 ago when she enlisted she became the Coast Guard’s first African-American woman on active duty.

Thursday, Coast Guard brass honored her by naming a dining hall on Staten Island in her honor. But the commandant of the Coast Guard sent word that a training center at Coast Guard Headquarters in Washington, D.C., would also bear the name of this 100-year-old pioneer.

“Oh, this is beyond my wildest dreams. I’d never even imagine,” Dr. Hooker said. “It’s still astonishing to me. I’m so grateful that the sun was shining today and we were able to get here.”
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Exelon and Pepco Holding Inc. Reach Settlement Agreement with Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties

Exelon Corporation (NYSE: EXC) and Pepco Holdings Inc. (NYSE: POM) today announced that they have reached a settlement agreement with Montgomery and Prince George’s counties in the proceeding before the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) to review the companies’ proposed merger, which was announced on April 30, 2014. The two counties represent all of Pepco’s Maryland customers and nearly three-fourths of Pepco Holdings total customers in Maryland. The settlement, which is subject to the approval of the Commissioners of the PSC, was filed by Exelon and Pepco Holdings and signed by Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, the National Consumer Law Center, National Housing Trust, Maryland Affordable Housing Coalition, the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers and a consortium of nine recreational trail advocacy organizations led by the Mid-Atlantic Off-Road Enthusiasts (MORE).
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NAACP DC and UTBC Hosts Nutrition Justice and Health Disparities Town Hall Meeting

The NAACP DC Branch and Union Temple Baptist Church partner to host a Nutrition Justice and Health Disparities Town Hall Meeting in honor of National Nutrition Month and the 50th Anniversary of Selma. The meeting will be held on Monday, March 23, 2015 at 7:00PM at the Union Temple Baptist Church located at 1225 W Street, SE Washington, DC 20020. This meeting will address the food justice issues and health disparities facing East of the River communities. One of the strategic priorities of the NAACP DC Branch is to combat obesity and promote health and wellness to address the diet-related illnesses such as heart disease, diabetes, hypertension and asthma. As a result we plan to inform and engage families, faith-based leaders, business leaders, media and policy makers to promote health and combat the diet-related illnesses plaguing our communities. Continue reading

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DC Students Win Regional National Science Bowl® Competition, Secure Spot in National Finals in Washington, D.C.

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

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

DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities to Convene Creativity and Teaching Workshops

Creative thinking is increasingly seen by experts in the field of education as an essential life skill to be cultivated in youth. This month, as part of National Arts Education Month, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities (DCCAH) engages the District’s arts and education communities in dialogues and workshops to encourage both creative teaching and parenting. Two seminars are free and open to the public on March 20 and March 24.
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Events DC Welcomes the Return of the Library of Congress National Book Festival

The Annual Treasured Event Will Celebrate Its 15th Anniversary Milestone

In collaboration with the Library of Congress, Events DC is pleased to announce that the 2015 National Book Festival will return to the Walter E. Washington Convention Center after a successful transition from the National Mall to the Convention Center last year. The Festival will take place Labor Day weekend – Saturday, September 5 from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and programming will remain free of charge.

The Library of Congress and its highly popular celebration of authors and readers, the National Book Festival, will mark a double anniversary in 2015. In addition to recognizing the Festival’s 15th year since its founding by Laura Bush and Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, the event will celebrate 200 years since the Library’s acquisition of Thomas Jefferson’s personal library. Continue reading

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Giant Food Donated $14.9 Million in 2014

Contributions supported efforts to fight hunger and help kids in local communities
Giant Food, LLC recently announced that its 2014 charitable donations, facilitated by in store campaigns and initiatives, exceeded $14.9 million in combined cash and product donations, including contributions from customers, vendors and associates—an increase from $13 million in 2013. As part of its ongoing better neighbor and responsible retailing efforts, Giant is committed to supporting organizations that help eradicate hunger and improve the quality of life for children throughout the communities it serves. Continue reading

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DPR Announces 2015 Spring/Summer Programs Registration

Participate in Community Gardening, Basketball, Senior Events and more

This week the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) began registration for the 2015 Spring/Summer Programs offered at DPR. From sports programs such as swimming, softball, and tennis; to fitness programs such as aerobics and Tai Chi; to educational programs such as photography, there are myriad options for DC residents to recreate, educate or just relax. DPR offers a variety of programs and activities for all ages!!!
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INTERGENERATIONAL APPROACH TO FIGHTING OBESITY COMES TO DC AREA

New Program Helps Older Adults and Kids Learn Healthy Habits Together March is National Nutrition Month
Considerable focus has been placed on programs to address the issue of childhood obesity, thanks in part to the efforts of First Lady Michelle Obama and the “Let’s Move!” initiative. In celebration of National Nutrition Month in March, a new program in the DC area is taking that approach a step further, pairing adult volunteers age 50 and older with elementary school-age children. Together, they are learning about healthier eating choices and the value of regular exercise and physical activity, with impressive results.
The OASIS CATCH Healthy Habits program has partnered with the Amerigroup Foundation in two Silver Spring locations: Viers Mill Elementary and the White Oak Community Recreation Center. In each location, adult volunteers provide lessons on good nutrition, introduce healthy snacks, and lead a variety of games and other physical activities to get both generations up and moving. Both programs run through the week of March 30. Both local programs are made possible through a grant from the Amerigroup Foundation. Continue reading

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Tickets on Sale Now for Newseum’s Annual Summer Fun Deal Promotion

Beginning July 1, the Newseum will launch its annual Summer Fun Deal promotion offering kids 18 and younger free admission to the interactive museum of news in Washington, D.C. Through Sept. 7, the museum will waive the youth admission fee, regularly $13.95, for up to four kids with the purchase of at least one general adult or senior admission. Like all Newseum tickets, Summer Fun Deal tickets are valid for two consecutive days.
In 2014, the Newseum was designated one of TripAdvisor’s 2014 Travelers’ Choice Top 10 Museums in the United States. Featuring seven levels packed with 15 permanent exhibit galleries and 15 documentary theaters, the Newseum explores how news affects our shared experience of historic moments. Continue reading

Students bill of Rights

Obama Announces ‘Student Aid Bill of Rights’ to help Borrowers pay student loans

(UPI) — President Barack Obama announced a “Student Aid Bill of Rights” on Tuesday at Atlanta’s Georgia Institute of Technology directing government agencies to help students repay loans.
The bill aims to increase transparency from lenders and increase fairness in terms of fees.
Plans would require that third-party lenders inform borrowers about more available repayment options and that extra payments made go to pay off loans with the highest interest first.
“Every student deserves access to a quality, affordable education at a college that’s cutting costs and increasing learning,” the White House said, as tenets of the bill. “Every student should be able to access the resources needed to pay for college.” Continue reading

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Multi-Million Dollar Investment in Intersection at MLK & Malcolm X

Mayor Muriel Bowser, Director of Planning Eric Shaw, DDOT Director Leif Dormsjo and Deputy DDOT Director Greer Gillis announced a $5 million investment for the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X Avenues, SE to improve the safety of the intersection. The investment is part of the District’s Vision Zero initiative.


“We need a fresh start to the way we make our roads safer. The goal of Vision Zero is simple: reduce serious injuries and fatalities on our streets to zero by 2024. By adopting a comprehensive approach to transportation safety – from behavior to road design – we will make our city a safer place to live and visit,” said Mayor Bowser. “The improvements we’re making near the intersection of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X Avenues are an important step to realizing the goals of Vision Zero.”
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Mayor Muriel Bowser Joins Local 25 Union and DC United to Announce Labor Agreement

Mayor Muriel Bowser joined UNITE HERE Local 25, the union representing hotel and food service workers in Washington, DC, and the DC United soccer franchise to announce a labor peace agreement between Local 25 and the team.
The labor peace agreement provides a fair process for hotel and food service workers at the proposed stadium at Buzzard Point to join the union and negotiate a first contract. In return, the union agrees not to strike or picket at the stadium.
The agreement follows the team’s 2013 commitment to fair labor practices in the construction of the project, on the heels of the execution of a Project Labor Agreement. Continue reading

54Congress Islamic State

Authorization of force against IS urged at Hearing

(UPI) — Obama administration officials told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee Wednesday a revised authorization would be a mandate to defeat the Islamic State.
They testified in support of an updated “authorized use of military force” and urged approval of the three-page document designed to replace the 2002 authorization for the United States’ military involvement in Iraq.
“Your unity would also send an unmistakable message to the leaders of [the Islamic State]. They have to understand they cannot divide us … and they have no hope of defeating us,” said Secretary of State John Kerry. His comments were followed by similar urges to approve the authorization by Defense Secretary Ashton Carter and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey. Continue reading

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Cybersecurity has a talent shortage

The cybersecurity industry is grappling with a new threat: hiring.
Information security experts and executives said the fast-growing cybersecurity field is facing a scarce talent pool, with thousands of positions to fill as demand grows.
“It is pretty much impossible to hire folks within the indicated backgrounds,” said Alex Stamos, Yahoo’s chief information officer and a world-renowned cybersecurity expert. “There are maybe four or five thousand people in North America I can hire right now who have the technical skills keen to us.”
Stamos is one of many U.S. security professionals having trouble hiring people as cyberattacks and data breaches continue to increase. A recent independent survey by the Ponemon Institute, sponsored by IBM, showed that personal information of almost half of the nation’s adults — 110 million Americans — was hacked in 2014. Continue reading

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Winter of Discontent Segues to Strong Spring Housing Season 
Inventory

Foot Traffic on the Uptick; Homes Sales Remain Stable

This may have been the winter of discontent, but the region’s 2015 housing market has survived it just fine. Low interest rates and strong employment growth point to a sound local market.
“Considering our record-breaking cold and snowy conditions, the fact that 1,075 homes successfully closed in February is a victory,” said Mary Bayat, the 2015 NVAR chair of the board and owner of Bayat Realty in Alexandria.
“With average sales prices up 4 percent and median prices up 6 percent compared with 2014, our 2015 market is off to a strong start,” she said. The increased inventory and relatively stable prices, as well as low interest rates compared to those just last year, create a good opportunity to buy or sell properties in Northern Virginia, she explained. Continue reading

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Urban Multicultural High School History Teacher Named National Family Teacher of the Year

$20,000 prize will fund D.C. area family learning summer camp

A Washington, D.C., high school teacher who is an expert at engaging students’ families in their children’s education was named the 2015 Toyota Family Teacher of the Year. Kristen Whitaker – who teaches history and government at Columbia Heights Education Campus (CHEC), a Washington, D.C.-based school of 100 percent minority and 90 percent low-income students – was surprised with the award this morning during what was billed as a routine assembly at her school. She was joined by more than 400 attendees, including teachers, students, local and national education and civic leaders, representatives of the National Center for Families Learning (NCFL) who presented Whitaker with a $20,000 grant that she will use to fund a family summer camp program for low-income minority students and their families. She is the first high school teacher to win this annual award.
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43rd Annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Gala

The 43rd Annual Whitney M. Young, Jr. Memorial Gala will be held on Friday, March 13, from 6:30pm to 10pm at the Omni Shoreham Hotel, 2500 Calvert Street NW, Washington, DC – GWUL to host Black Tie & Sneakers Affair (after-party) immediately following the gala.
The gala will bring together a constellation of supporters, sponsors, staff and friends of GWUL for an event that is the organization’s oldest and largest annual fundraiser. This year’s theme, Let Us Entertain You!, features Georgetown University Sociology professor and author Dr. Michael Eric Dyson, Elaine Kwon, a prize-winning concert pianist and martial artist, and violinist Kendall Isadore. There will also be a special performance by DC councilmembers Kenyan McDuffie, Yvette Alexander and Anita Bonds. Veteran NBC News4 Anchor Jim Vance will serve as master of ceremonies. Immediately after the gala will be a “Black Tie & Sneakers Affair” after-party sponsored by GWUL’s Thursday Network Young Professionals auxiliary.

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18,465 DC consumers are enrolled in 2015 Health Insurance Marketplace coverage

9,399 young people selected a plan or were re-enrolled; 1,994 people with plan selections qualify for financial assistance to help with the cost of monthly premiums
In District of Columbia, 18,465 consumers selected or were automatically re-enrolled in quality, affordable health insurance coverage through the Health Insurance Marketplace as of Feb. 22, according to a report released today by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Of the consumers with a Marketplace plan selection, 11 percent (1,994 people) qualified for financial assistance to help with the cost of monthly premiums.

In District of Columbia, 9,399 consumers under the age of 35 are signed up for Marketplace coverage (51 percent of all plan selections). And 7,958 consumers 18 to 34 years of age (43 percent of all plan selections) are signed up for Marketplace coverage.
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Science and Business Lecture Series

The spring lecture series from the Science, Technology and Business Division at the Library of Congress will include illustrated talks on a wide variety of topics—chemical warfare, community gardens, Ebola, health and the human microbiome, the Mediterranean Diet, the ozone, and volcanism in the outer solar system.

The series runs from April 2 to June 11. All lectures, which are free and open to the public, will take place in the Library’s James Madison Memorial Building, 101 Independence Ave. S.E., Washington, D.C. Tickets and reservations are not needed. The programs are one hour in length.
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National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale performs Bach’s masterpiece St. John Passion

The National Philharmonic Orchestra and Chorale, led by National Philharmonic Associate Conductor Victoria Gau, will perform Bach’s masterpiece St. John Passion on Saturday, April 11, at 8 pm at the Music Center at Strathmore. A free pre-concert lecture will be offered in the Concert Hall at 6:45 p.m. Tickets start at $28 and are free for children age 7-17 through the ALL KIDS, ALL FREE, ALL THE TIME program (sponsored by The Gazette). ALL KIDS tickets must be reserved by calling (301-581-5100) or visiting the Strathmore Box Office. Parking is complimentary. Strathmore is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda, MD. For more information or to purchase tickets, go to www.nationalphilharmonic.org or call 301-581-5100.
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US Club Soccer 4th Annual Maryland Cup

Team registrations are now being accepted for the 2015 US Club Soccer “Maryland Cup” scheduled for the weekend of April 24th – 25th in Westminster.

The event is open to US Club Soccer affiliated teams located in the mid-Atlantic, and features boys and girls 11V11 competitions in the single age levels of U12 through 17 in the Super (Red), Premier (White) and Travel (Blue) competition levels.

The first place team from the Super and Premier levels will receive a paid entry to a US Club Soccer regional qualifier for entry into the July National Cup in Westfield, IN. All other division champion and finalist teams will receive awards.
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17th Annual Old Line State Soccer Classic

Team registrations are now being accepted for the Central Maryland Soccer Association’s 18th Annual Old Line State Classic. The event is scheduled to take place the weekend of May 2nd and 3rd at venues within Jarrettsville, MD.

The Classic is open to all USSF youth affiliated school, recreation and club teams within in the mid-Atlantic region. Boys and Girls competition is offered for the single age categories of U8 through U15, and the dual age high school levels of U15 – 18. The tournament features a round-robin format with all teams being guaranteed a minimum of three games. The first and second place finishers in each division will receive team and individual awards.

The tournament registration deadline is April 13th. Registration forms are available on the tournament’s home page located at www.cmsasoccer.com.

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Washington Wizards help tip off National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month

NBA Team Works With Nonprofit to Raise Awareness for Second-Leading Cancer Killer in the U.S.

The Washington Wizards are helping to usher in March as National Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month, raising awareness and making an impact with the charity Fight Colorectal Cancer (Fight CRC). The Wizards will be involved in Fight CRC’s public awareness campaign, One Million Strong, inspired by the more than one million colon and rectal cancer survivors and those who’ve shown tremendous strength in fighting the disease.
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Family Matters of Greater Washington Dresses4Dreams hosts 4th Annual Event

To Help Collect Funding and Gently-Used/New Prom Dresses for Low-Income Teens
Family Matters of Greater Washington Dresses4Dreams Networking Reception hosted by Remy Martin and WPGC’s “
Sunni and the City.” The event will be on Wednesday, March 25, from 6pm-8:30pm at Dirty Martini, 1223 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Featuring Remy Cointreau Cocktails by Remy Martin and hosted WPGC’s “Sunni and the City,” the event will feature cocktails and appetizers. Admission to the event is the donation of a gently-used/ new dress or $20. Continue reading

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National Black Memorabilia, Fine Art & Crafts Show

The 31st annual National Black Memorabilia, Fine Art & Crafts Show April 11 & 12, will be at the Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut Street, Gaithersburg, Maryland 20877. Admission is only $7 and students are admitted free. Show hours are 10am to 7pm Saturday and 10am to 5pm Sunday. The show is all indoors. There will be good food and free parking. At the show there will be many vendors from across the United States with black memorabilia, fine art and crafts for sale. Continue reading

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April Events at the Maryland Zoo

Spring is coming and with it, Easter arrives early this year. So, we are springing into April with Mary Sue Candies Bunny BonanZOO April 3rd through the 5th! Green grass, colorful outfits and 15,000 Mary Sue Candies crème eggs �what’s not to love? For the adults, we are partnering with Power Plant Live! for a bar crawl in support of the Zoo’s education, conservation and animal programs on April 11th. Rounding out the month is our Party for the Planet celebrating Earth Day.
Some 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 www.marylandzoo.org.
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Dominion Virginia Power Contributes $1 Million to EnergyShare

The prolonged frigid temperatures are taking a toll on some Virginians, leaving them struggling to pay bills to heat their homes. Recognizing the urgency, Dominion Virginia Power has contributed $1 million to EnergyShare, an energy assistance program that helps eligible customers pay their heating bills, no matter the heating source.

“We see the need and are reaching out to assist,” said Robert M. Blue, president of Dominion Virginia Power. “Weather like we have had recently is challenging for everyone, especially those on fixed incomes or who are otherwise pressed to pay their bills. We are asking our neighbors and the business community to consider making a donation as well so more people can be helped.”
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Virginia Receives Federally Funded Support to Advance Pay for Success in Early Childhood Health Care

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently announced that the Commonwealth of Virginia has been selected as part of a national competition to assess the feasibility of implementing Pay for Success to expand nurse visiting programs to the high-risk pregnant women in Virginia who need these services, but are not receiving them.

Third Sector Capital Partners, Inc. (Third Sector), the organization that ran the competition, will provide federally funded technical assistance throughout 2015 for a joint initiative between the Virginia Department of Health and the Virginia Pay for Success Council, along with six other awardees.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “Pay for Success has the potential to demonstrate that quality prenatal home visiting programs for women with lower incomes significantly reduce infant healthcare costs and future taxpayer burdens while improving the lives of our children. This is the first time Virginia has considered the Pay for Success model, and we are grateful for the opportunity to work with Third Sector to advance this unique approach.”
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Mayor Bowser Signs Administration’s First Agreement for Major Development Project

Long-awaited plan will bring over 100 affordable housing units, 120 jobs to D.C.
Mayor Muriel Bowser, joined by Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, signed her first Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) for a roughly 2 acre parcel of the Hill East District Development, a 67-acre site located between the eastern edge of the Capitol Hill neighborhood and the western shore of the Anacostia River.

“This is a great day for a community that began planning Hill East’s revitalization nearly 12 years ago,” said Mayor Bowser. “The signing of this agreement will advance this catalytic project and transform an historic neighborhood, bringing more affordable housing to residents in the District of Columbia.”
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Mayor Bowser Names Gregory Dean as Fire EMS Chief

Mayor Muriel Bowser names Gregory M. Dean as Chief of the District of Columbia Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department (FEMS).

“The safety and well-being of District residents is my top priority and FEMS is at the frontlines of this effort. Chief Dean is a proven, collaborative leader who led a department with an international reputation for its fire-based EMS performance. I am certain that he will work with our emergency first responders and the community to move the department forward in exciting ways,” said Mayor Bowser.
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Mayor Bowser Takes Fresh Approach to Redeveloping Vacant Fletcher Johnson School in Ward 7

Education and Economic Development Teams to Collaborate on New Solicitations for Site

Mayor Muriel Bowser, with Acting Deputy Mayor for Education Jennie Niles and Acting Deputy Mayor for Planning and Economic Development Brian Kenner, announced a new way forward for the redevelopment of the Fletcher Johnson campus in Ward 7.

The goal of the new two part solicitation process is to create a community hub including an adult education campus and neighborhood development through joint partnerships between charter schools, developers, and the District of Columbia.
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What D.C. Residents Should Know About Anthem Insurance Breach

District insurance officials urge residents to know who is affected and what to do

The D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking encourages District of Columbia residents to take proactive steps to protect their identities and personal information if they are impacted by the recent data security breach of Anthem Blue Cross Blue Shield.

Anthem reported that the compromised data, which dates back to 2004, includes information about 102,800 individuals with a last known address in District. Anthem does little direct business in D.C. However, District residents could have received services from an Anthem affiliate or from the Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) BlueCard program, which is a national program enabling members of one BCBS plan to obtain healthcare services while traveling or living in another BCBS service area. To see a full list of affected companies, visit www.AnthemFacts.com.
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Postal Service Previews Maya Angelou Stamp Image

Forever Stamp Image is a Painting Resembling a Photograph
The U.S. Postal Service previewed the Dr. Maya Angelou Forever Stamp image and announced that the First-Day-of-Issue stamp dedication ceremony will take place at 11 a.m., Tue., April 7, at the Warner Theater in Washington, DC. The event is free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The stamps may be pre-ordered now at this link for delivery shortly after April 7.
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In Search of K-6 Grade Teachers to Become Educational Change Agents

The Delta Research and Educational Foundation, in collaboration with Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is looking for certified professionals currently teaching students enrolled in pre-kindergarten through 6th grade in urban school districts to become educational change agents. The nationwide search is a key component of the Delta Teacher Efficacy Campaign (DTEC), a three-year, ground-breaking effort to enhance teachers’ confidence in their ability to inspire and lead predominantly at-risk, urban students to academic success.
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First-of-its-Kind Alzheimer’s Disease Study Seeks African American Volunteers

– Study Needs Healthy Volunteers to Test Whether Alzheimers Can be Stopped Before it Even Starts —

More than 5 million Americans are currently suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and scientists expect this number to triple by 2050. Experts say that African Americans are two to three times more likely than white Americans to develop the disease. A groundbreaking study testing whether an investigational drug can slow the development of Alzheimer’s seeks volunteers – including African Americans – who have just the earliest changes in their brain associated with the disease but don’t yet have any symptoms.
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Harry Thomas Playground

DC’s Harry Thomas Sr. Playground Ranked #2 of 50 Best Playgrounds in America



Early Childhood Education Zone Ranks Playgrounds Nationwide

The Harry Thomas Sr. playground, named for the late 3-term Ward 5 DC Councilmember, has been ranked second among the 50 Best Playgrounds in America by the Early Childhood Education (ECE) Zone, an online early childhood educational website that offers advice, articles and useful tools to parents and teachers. The Harry Thomas Sr. Playground is a District owned play space operated by the DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR). The top five playgrounds, listed by rank, are: 1. Zachary’s Playground (St. Peters, MO); 2. Harry Thomas Sr. Playground (Washington, DC); 3. Grange Insurance Audubon Park (Columbus, OH); 4. Clemyjontri Playground (McLean, VA); and 5. New York Hall of Science Playground (Corona, NY).

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Mikulski Announces 5th Term will be her Last; Will Focus on Working for her Constituents

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) announces she has decided not to run for re-election. Senator Mikulski, who will complete her 5th term in office in January, 2017, says she wants to focus for the next two years on working for her constituents and for the nation.

“Because every day, I want to wake up thinking about you — the little guys and gals, the watermen, automobile workers, researchers, small business owners and families,” Senator Mikulski said. “I want to give you 120 percent of my time with all of my energy focused on you and your futures. Because it’s always been about you, never about me. That’s what it takes to be a good senator by my expectations and by my standards.”
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Residential Mechanical Street Sweeping Resumes March 9

Residential street sweeping season to continue through October 31.
The Department of Public Works is postponing the start of the residential mechanical street sweeping program to Monday, March 9 because of long-range forecasts of possible snow and other wintry precipitation next week. This seasonal sanitation program is scheduled to run each year from March 1-October 31 but the start has been delayed in the past because of weather.

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Relisha Rudd

Mayor Bowser and Officials Mark the Year Since the Disappearance of Relisha Rudd

To mark the year since the disappearance of Relisha Rudd, Mayor Muriel Bowser, Administration Officials and partner agencies held a joint press conference to provide an update on the ongoing investigation. Relisha was last seen one year ago on March 1, 2014 in the 1600 block of Maryland Ave, NE.

“I am joined by the many residents around the District, to raise awareness about Relisha a year after her disappearance,” said Mayor Bowser. “Our administration is reevaluating ways to strengthen public safety and our procedures and programming so that we respond efficiently and effectively to families–especially children who are at risk. Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Brenda Donald will work across agencies to ensure thoughtful recommendations are implemented in a timely manner.”
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Spike Mendelsohn

Mayor Bowser Appoints Spike Mendelsohn to Chair District’s Food Policy Council

Chef Mendelsohn to Head New Council to Guide District’s Complex Food Issues
Mayor Bowser recently announced the appointment of D.C. based restaurateur and chef Spike Mendelsohn to chair the District’s newly created Food Policy Council (FPC).
“Spike’s leadership will be a tremendous asset to the D.C. Food Policy Council,” said Mayor Bowser. “The District’s food landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade. Policy makers, non-profit service providers and other sectors of the food system should be equal partners in our efforts to create a nourished D.C. I look forward to Spike’s leadership and expertise as we work collectively to transform our food system.” Continue reading

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IKEA College Park Partners with Nonprofit Room to Rebloom

IKEA to Provide all Children’s Materials and Furnishings for Living Spaces Designed for At-risk Women and their Children

Room to Rebloom, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the living spaces of survivors of domestic violence, has formed a strategic partnership with IKEA College Park. IKEA will now provide all materials and furnishings for children’s rooms created and designed by Room to Rebloom.
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Montgomery County Planning Department Announces Calendar of March Events


Residents invited to get involved with special events and community meetings to discuss plans and regulations for the County’s future

The Montgomery County Planning Department, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, is pleased to announce its events calendar for March 2015. From a public forum on County infrastructure to community meetings focused on master planning, these sessions offer ways to engage with planners and Planning Board members, and help shape the future of Montgomery County. Review the full list of events below and go online to www.montgomeryplanning.org for more details on projects and plans.
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Customers Can Save More on Popular Items at Giant Food vs. Certain Competitors

Price Comparisons Show Giant Prices Lower for Frequently Purchased Products

Giant Food of Landover, Md. is committed to providing customers with the highest quality products at great prices. Today, Giant announced the results of a price comparison study revealing that Giant’s prices were lower relative to Safeway, Shoppers and Harris Teeter, several of our top competitors in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland.

In its continuing efforts to ensure low, everyday prices for customers, Giant selected frequently purchased national and private label brand products and compared its prices against those of other leading supermarkets.
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New Report Urges MD to Help Millennials and Minority Families Hurdle the Barriers to Homeownership

Expanding down payment assistance is one way that Maryland can help members of the millennial generation move out of their parents’ basements and into homeownership and it can help minority families move from the rental market into the housing market.

Both demographics are important to the state’s recovering economy, according to a new report.

The study by Neighborhood Stabilization and Homeownership Workgroup looked at the challenges facing Maryland’s recovering housing market. Click here to see the workgroup’s final report to House Speaker Michael Busch, delivered Jan. 20.

Meeting with focus groups made up of realtors, lenders, community leaders and housing counselors, researchers found that the housing market in much of Maryland is well on the way to a strong recovery. For example, home sales prices have returned to where they were before the housing bubble burst. Continue reading

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Governor McAuliffe Announces $8.8 Million Grant to End Child Hunger in Virginia

~ Virginia is one of five grant recipients to test innovative strategies for ensuring all American children have enough to eat ~

Governor Terry McAuliffe and First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe announced recently that Virginia has been awarded an $8.8 million federal grant for an innovative project designed to help end childhood hunger in the Commonwealth.

The Virginia grant was among $27 million in awards announced by U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in a speech at the 2015 National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference.
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Spark Playful: 1K Wine | Beer Walk Returns to Crystal City

There are only a few spaces left! The 1K Wine | Beer Walk, presented by the Crystal City Business Improvement District (BID) in partnership with the Washington Wine Academy, and Vornado/Charles E. Smith, returns to the Crystal City Shops this Saturday, March 7, 2015. The beer and wine tasting event is better than ever, not to mention half the price. So, don’t miss this opportunity to get your taste buds in shape for the season! Participants can sample artisanal wine from around the world or exclusive brews from local Loudoun County breweries for only $20.
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McDonald’s 12th Annual McDonald’s Educates Scholarship Program for Greater Washington D.C. Area Students

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

The scholarship program is open to high school seniors currently attending a high school within the Greater Washington, D.C., area – including the District of Columbia and parts of Maryland, Northern Virginia, and West Virginia. Applicants must plan to enroll as an undergraduate student at a college or university in fall 2015.
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Governor McAuliffe Announces 700 New Jobs in Fairfax County

~ Bechtel Corporation to invest $10 million in relocation and expansion as a result of global restructuring ~

Governor Terry McAuliffe announced recently that Bechtel Corporation, one of the world’s largest engineering, construction and project management companies, will invest $10 million to relocate its Frederick, Maryland operation to Fairfax County as a result of global restructuring. The project will create 700 new jobs.
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Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Legislation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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African-Americans Disproportionately Affected by Hunger Despite Economic Upturn

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Governor Announces Partnerships to Leverage Public Higher Education for Economic Development

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

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

Close out Black History Month 2015 with a bang!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“My Administration will continue to make fiscal responsibility and transparency a priority,” said Mayor Bowser. “We look forward to engaging with the public to close the budget gap, while funding programs to support key priorities, including investments in affordable housing, initiatives to end homelessness, job training and improving education.”
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HEADLINES

DC Health Link Continues Health Insurance Enrollment This week to Meet High Demand

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

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

Mayor Bowser and Attorney General Racine Agree to Request Pause on Budget-Autonomy Appeal

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

HEADLINES

Peace Corps Announces 2015 Top Volunteer-Producing Schools

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

The Volunteer Farm Fights Obesity

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

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

NBCI joins with Cedisus to offer Churches and Families Emergency Water Supplies

Partnership will improve disaster preparedness, well-being

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


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