2010 YIR

12/29/2010, 10:49 a.m.

A 7.0 seismic earthquake hits Haiti, Jan. 12, causing massive devastation and death. An estimated three million people were affected by the quake: with an estimated 230,000 left dead, 300,000 injured and more than 1,000,000 left homeless. Locally, an outpouring of support came from residents who provided relief donations of clothing, non-perishable foods, and financial contributions. Prayer services for those who died and survivors of the quake took place throughout the city.

The Washington Informer co-sponsors the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Walk

A major snowstorm, nicknamed, "Snowpocalypse", hits the metropolitan area Feb., 5. The storm stranded many motorists and caused thousands to lose power. Area grocers and supply stores quickly ran out of staples after two days of non-stop snow fall. The region was blanketed with more than 36 inches of snow.

The health care bill that President Barack Obama vehemently fought for since Day One at the White House finally passed both houses of Congress and is headed to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue for his signature. As Congressional Black Caucus members celebrated the 219-212 vote, the President put the historic moment into perspective on Sun., March 21.

Political and religious leaders in Prince George's County endorsed a bill in the Maryland House of Delegates that will force lenders to meet with homeowners on the brink of losing their houses and devise a plan so that residents can stay in their homes.

Avery Coffey, an eighth grader at the Howard yUniversity Middle School of Mathematics and Science in Northwest won first place during the Washington Informer City-wide Spelling Bee. He successfully spelled the word "Plankton" to clinch the victory in this year's competition.

D.C. Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) officially kicked off his mayoral campaign, Sat., April 24 before hundreds of enthusiastic supporters who gathered at the Historical Society of Washington on K Street in Northwest. Gray resurrected his successful campaign slogan "One City" and called himself a leader who will bridge the racial and economic divide in the District.

Dorothy Height, the former chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) died on April 20.

D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) has proposed a one-cent tax per ounce of soda and other sugary beverages sold in the District, with the intent of funding her recently passed Healthy School Acts of 2010 legislation. The legislation seeks to improve the nutrition and health of public school students by providing more affordable, healthier meals to students, establishing farm to table programs, and funding wellness and physical fitness programs.

Washington Informer Speller, Avery Coffey, advances to Round 3 of the annual Scripps National Spelling Bee, June 2 through Fri., June 4. The intense competition and media attention did not rattle the Washington Informer's speller, Avery, an eighth grader who attended Howard University Middle School of Mathematics and Science in Northwest.

The D.C. budget process, coupled with a host of new fees levied upon District residents, but required to balance the 2011 budget, have many crying foul and speculating about the possible return of a control board. D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty (D), attempted to close the budget gap for Fiscal Year 2010 by instituting a number of fees on residents and businesses that will carry over to the Fiscal Year 2011 budget. The fees include increasing the fine for passing a school bus while double parked from $50 to $500 and bumping the price of a barber or beautician license from its base fee of $75 by 10 percent, to name a few.

As British Petroleum's deepwater well continues to discharge oil into the Gulf, the economic and public health effects are already being felt across coastal communities. From the bayous of southern Louisiana to the city of New Orleans, this disaster came to represent not only environmental devastation, but also cultural extinction of people who have made their livelihoods on the Gulf for generations.

Rosecroft Raceway, the 61-year-old racetrack in Prince George's County, closed July 1 after struggling for years due to a lack of financial backing and a revolving door of owners. Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) expressed regret at the news, saying he has asked Secretary of State John McDonough to work with stakeholders to find a way to protect positions at Rosecroft.

The "Restoring Honor" rally which took place on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C., brought the issue of race back onto the national forefront. Spearheaded by Glenn Beck of Fox News, the event was viewed as racially divisive as Tea Partiers took to the steps of the Lincoln Memorial on the anniversary of the historic March on Washington, which was also held there in August 1963.

Civil rights and progressive organizations held a rally at Dunbar High School in Northwest and marched to the site of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial on the National Mall to commemorate the 47th anniversary of the historic March on Washington on Sat., Aug. 28. The activities, led by the Rev. Al Sharpton, were designed to "mobilize for political and social action. Young people should also know the history of the civil rights movement," the minister said.

Dorothy Height, the former chair and president emerita of the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) who died on April 20, was the focus of the 25th annual National Black Family Reunion Celebration on Sat., Sept. 11 on the National Mall in Northwest. The Black Family Reunion is the signature program of the NCNW -- which is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year.

Longtime health advocate and WOL-AM radio talk show host Brother Bey died on Sun., Oct. 2 at Stoddard Baptist Home in Northwest, surrounded by family and friends. He was 70.

Controversial D.C. Schools Chancellor Michelle Rhee will step down from her job at the end of October and will be replaced by her deputy, Kaya Henderson as the interim chancellor. Rhee confirmed her departure at the Mayflower Hotel in Northwest on Oct. 13. Rhee said that D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray, the presumptive mayor-elect, has the right to select his own team.

Residents of the District of Columbia voted to elect the chairman of the D.C. Council as its next mayor during the general election on Tue., Nov. 2. D.C. Council Chairman Vincent Gray officially became the sixth elected mayor of the city since the advent of Home Rule in the 1970s.

The recent arrest of the Prince George's County Executive and his wife has sent shockwaves throughout the jurisdiction as residents seek to understand what's going on and what it means for the county. Jack Johnson, the Prince George's county executive and his wife Leslie, who was recently elected to the Prince George's County Council representing District 6, were arrested by FBI agents at their Mitchellville, Md., home on Fri., Nov. 12 for evidence tampering and destroying evidence in an ongoing investigation.

The District of Columbia City Council is considering a bill to outlaw cyber-bullying on public property. The Council joined a growing number of legislative bodies at the local, county, and state levels to address the problems of minors who are being harassed by their peers. The bill, "The Harassment and Intimidation Prevention Act of 2010" is sponsored by D.C. Council member Harry Thomas (D-Ward 5) and would mandate that the D.C. public schools, the Department of Parks and Recreation, the University of the District of Columbia, the charter schools and library system establish policies and prevention programs to discourage and address cyber-bullying and similar offensive behavior.

The incoming county executive of Prince George's County wants to build a stronger partnership with the District of Columbia and improve the economic viability of his jurisdiction. Prince George's County Executive-elect Rushern Baker III, in an interview with the editorial staff of the Washington Informer Newspaper on Thu., Nov. 18 at his law office in Greenbelt, said that the District and Prince George's County have not worked together. "We in Prince George's County and in the District treat our border like it is the Berlin Wall," Baker, 52, said.

The newly-inaugurated county executive of Prince George's County used one word consistently throughout his address to county residents and interested observers: "greatness." Rushern Baker addressed a crowd of hundreds on Mon., Dec. 6, who gathered in front of the County Administration Promenade in Upper Marlboro, Md., on a sunny, yet windy and cold morning to attend the swearing-in ceremony.
A controversial member of the Prince George's County Council took the oath of office despite having to face serious federal charges sometime in the future. Prince George's County Councilmember Leslie Johnson (D-District 6) took her oath during the inauguration of the new County Council which took place at the same time as the swearing-in of the new county executive, Rushern Baker III on Mon., Dec. 6. The Prince George's County Council has since barred Johnson from chairing committees.
One of outgoing D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty's most successful department heads decided to join the new mayoral administration. D.C. Police Chief Cathy Lanier has agreed to stay on her job. Her new boss, D.C. Mayor-elect Vincent Gray, was enthusiastic about keeping Lanier in her position and said so during a press conference at the Reeves Center in Northwest on Thu., Dec. 16. Gray said that Lanier, 43, has been charged with making community policing "an even higher priority."