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Happy Thursday, D.C. Enjoy those sunny skies, the 60-degree temps, and the free coffee from Wawa.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Social workers in D.C.’s child welfare agency describe an environment where caseloads are often so high, and the pressure to close them so immense, that both children and workers suffer devastating consequences. Despite cherishing their jobs and responsibilities, they characterize the Child and Family Services Agency’s culture as one of “fear.”

    • Their primary allegations revolve around the intentional manipulation of caseload data, a charge that a court-appointed monitor has substantiated in previous reports but that the agency director insists it has resolved.

    • Social workers report that their higher-ups routinely encourage them to prematurely close referrals and investigations so that they meet the court monitor’s exit standards.

  • The Caps begin their defense of the Stanley Cup starting tonight. Game 1 of the first-round series against the Carolina Hurricanes will begin at 7:30 p.m. City Paper contributor Jason Rogers chatted with Mike Bolt, the Keeper of the Cup, and Caps players about what makes the Stanley Cup so special.

  • What happens when the chef who can fix any kitchen confronts a disease with no real cure?

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Councilmember Jack Evans is not worried about the feds. [Twitter]

  • The Washington Post argues to have a high schooler’s $250 million libel lawsuit thrown out. The Covington Catholic student claims the Postdefamed him in its coverage of his encounter with a Native American activist near the Lincoln Memorial. [WTOP]

  • DCPS retirement plan providers make millions through “unnecessary fees predatory sales tactics.” [DC Line]

  • A man escaped from a D.C. halfway house and is now accused of murdering a man in Tennessee shortly after. The victim’s widow is suing the D.C. Department of Corrections and the halfway house from which the accused escaped. [NBC4]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Five ways D.C.’s beer scene could be even better according to DC Beer‘s outgoing editor. [WCP]

  • These bars are happy to provide a lesson on what you’re drinking. [Washingtonian]

  • A review of Old Ebbitt Grill reminds D.C. that it’s still a quality classic. [Post]

  • A map to the best pastrami sandwiches in the area. [Eater]

ARTS LINKS, by Matt Cohen (tips? mcohen@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • In the go-go v. gentrification fight, go-go wins. [WCP]

  • Model Home is the best experimental hip-hop unit on this and several other planes of existence. [Post]

  • Mosaic Theater announces its 2019/2020 season. [DC Theatre Scene]

  • Five ceramicists in the D.C. area you should know. [DCist]

  • Breakin’ Even Fest announces this year’s festival, taking place at the end of the month. [Hometown Sounds]

HOUSING COMPLEX LINKS, by Morgan Baskin (tips? mbaskin@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Renters in the D.C. area aren’t getting the same bang for their buck. [Urban Turf]

  • Construction on the Kennedy Center expansion is nearing the final phase. [WBJ]

  • A man, a Bethesda home, a plot to build a network of secret nuclear bunker tunnels. [WTOP]

SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Which big-name D.C. pro athlete fills the star power void that Bryce Harper has left? Ryan Zimmerman, Natasha Cloud, and D.C. sportswriters weigh in. [WCP]

  • Wizards rookie Troy Brown Jr. heads into the off-season knowing he still has a lot to prove. [WCP]

  • With the 10th overall pick in the WNBA Draft, the Mystics selected N.C. State guard Kiara Leslie. They later added Louisville forward Sam Fuehring with the 34th pick.  [Washington Times]

HAPPENING TODAY, by Kayla Randall (tips? krandall@washingtoncitypaper.com)

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