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2012 Year in Review - Around the Region

WI Staff | 12/26/2012, 9:32 a.m.

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."