Washington D.C. is considered, by many in the media, as the sweet spot of news. This year did not disappoint, whether it was the city council, the city's fight for independence, self-sufficiency and autonomy; or crises within local transportation, housing, and business sectors. The Informer chronicled the effects of the economic meltdown that blanketed other parts of the country. And while the Washington metro area largely escaped the devastation from the meltdown, stagnation, and job loss; the area suffered wild weather patterns as evidenced by the derecho, which brought heavy rains, high winds, toppled, trees and power lines, and caused power outages across the region.
Thomas Resignation – Sadness, Anger and Questions of Who's Next Days after Harry Thomas Jr.'s sudden fall from grace, District residents were left confounded by the former councilmember's admission of having taken more than $350,000 of public money to fund his personal activities. Most were angered and saddened by his actions. On Friday, Jan. 6, following months of public denials, Thomas, pled guilty to two felonies before a District Court judge and faces between 37 and 46 months in prison after being sentenced on May 3. The 51-year-old legislator admitted mitted to diverting funds that were supposed to pay for youth baseball programs, summer programs and other sporting activities. The money financed an extravagant lifestyle that included the purchase of vehicles, a motorcycle, golf trips to Las Vegas and Pebble Beach, Calif., clothing and food, according to prosecutors.
Mayor Vincent C. Gray – who marks a year in office this month, has released a report summarizing major achievements in each of his four major priority areas. Among them are job growth and economic development, quality education for all, fiscal stability and building safe communities. Gray has also focused on the District's self-determination cause and sustainability.
Eddye L. Williams – celebrates her 112th birthday on January 4.
The Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday Parade is Back!
The yearly parade honoring Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. makes its return to the District of Columbia on Monday, Jan. 16 and this year promises to be just as thrilling and exciting as it was in the past.
Mayor, Officials Receive Praise for Surplus – City officials are patting themselves on the back for the District being able to amass a budget surplus. But critics suggest that whatever success the city enjoys has come at the expense of ordinary residents and businesses. The budget windfall has been fueled by exorbitant parking fees, the five-cent bag tax, higher taxes for local businesses and increased income taxes for the wealthiest D.C. residents. And even as elected officials crow about their success the news belies the grim reality on the ground. While the District is not in as dire straits as other jurisdictions, the pain felt by the 2008 economic meltdown and a stubborn recession has spared the lives of middle-class and low-income residents.
Gray Says D.C. is 'Getting Stronger' – In his second State of the District address, D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray talked about how his administration is making the nation's capital a better place to live despite the struggling national economy. Gray delivered his address on Tuesday, Feb. 7 before hundreds of people who included federal officials, administration officials, D.C. Council members, neighborhood and civic leaders, and entrepreneurs from the private sector. He chose the Sixth and I Historical Synagogue in Northwest as the site of his speech because "this special place connects our past, our present and our future."
Groundbreaking Marks Start of Shops at Dakota Crossing – Michele V. Hagans' years-long effort to create a large-scale retail development took an important step to becoming reality when Hagans, a number of elected officials, business people and members of the community took part in a groundbreaking ceremony at the construction site on Ft. Lincoln Drive in Northeast.
Washington Informer Hosts Second Annual African American Heritage Tour
Washington Informer Sponsors 30th Annual Spelling Bee
Howard Theatre Reopens – The new Howard Theatre got off to a rollicking start Monday when a large and animated gathering crowded into the square in front of the theatre to mark the attraction's rebirth. About 1,000 curious onlookers listened to a succession of politicians and community leaders wax poetic about the importance of the Howard Theatre's reemergence to the city's economy and image, but the real importance of the Community Day arose from the opportunity of old timers to stroll down memory lane.
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray and members of the City Council were met with cheers as they exited U.S. Capitol Police Headquarters – at First and D Streets Northeast, Tuesday morning, following their arrest for unlawful assembly while protesting the city's lack of budgetary autonomy. The arrests came during a rally sponsored by D.C. Vote, an advocacy organization that supports full citizenship rights for residents of the District of Columbia, Mon., April 10. It attracted more than 200 protesters who marked the near shutdown of the D.C. government on Fri., April 8, the last straw in an ongoing battle to govern the city without congressional interference.
Former D.C. Councilmember Vincent Orange, a Democrat, defeated a large field of candidates -- in a special election that was held on Tue., April 26, to choose the successor to Kwame Brown, an at-large member who was elected chairman of the D.C. Council in 2010. Orange's victory was greeted with cheers by some city residents.
Sporting a Dallas Cowboys hat, a brace on his left leg, and crutches to support his six-foot frame, Antwan Williams recently visited Unity Health Care's new Anacostia Health Center – on Galen Street in Southeast, a stone's throw away from the Frederick Douglass National Historic Site. The former Anacostia Health Center in the World War II era Quonset hut on W Street is now officially closed.
Kenyan McDuffie has officially taken the oath of office as the D.C Council member for Ward 5 – McDuffie replaces Harry Thomas Jr., who abruptly resigned in January amid embezzlement charges. McDuffie won the special election in early May and his will expire in 2014.
The One City One Hire Program – which was borrowed from Atlanta by D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) and Department of Employment Services (DOES) Director Lisa Mallory placed its 3,000th resident in a job.
Recreation – DPR is leading Play DC, a multi-year, citywide renovation project, expected to improve 32 of the city's 78 playground spaces by October 2013.