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The National Zoo may have traded on the cute and cuddly looks of its star panda, but Hsing-Hsing’s keepers knew the late bear was actually kind of a jerk. So you’d think they’d have all gotten behind the push to have the beloved panda stuffed and preserved for new generations of zoogoers: After all, the posthumous Hsing-Hsing would have been as cute as ever but wouldn’t have, like, mauled anybody. No such luck: The zoo today nixed the taxidermy scheme.
Hsing-Hsing isn’t the only D.C. institution that won’t be spending its afterlife here: Metropolitan Baptist Church—which had been threatening to leave for the suburbs ever since fussy Shaw neighbors made the city banish parishioners’ cars from a nearby ballfield—today found a new site in Prince George’s County, not far from FedEx Field. So now we’ll all know who to blame when the Redskins start tripping over oversized Lincoln Town Cars on the 10-yard line.
And also: Folks stuck in the city that Metropolitan Baptist is leaving should write to the president about voting rights, says D.C. Congressional Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton. Norton says we needn’t even worry about buying extra stamps: Just tuck your note about representation right in there with the tax form you mail the IRS next week.
D.C. Ducks offers tourists a combo road-and-river tour of the city thanks to amphibious crafts that first saw action in World War II landings like D-Day. Today, though, the Ducks offered visitors their own version of Dunkirk: After a boat ran aground on the Virginia side of the Potomac, D.C. police had to rescue two dozen tourists.
Even more tourists might have been on that boat if D.C. still had its pandas, says Mayor Anthony A. Williams. With the Smithsonian set to shell out a million bucks a year for nonstuffed Hsing-Hsing replacements, Williams today offered to chip in $100,000 annually out of the city’s coffers. The D.C. Council soon nixed the scheme.
The World Wide Web may not be as wide as we thought. Two African-American plaintiffs today filed suit against online video-rental firm Kozmo.com after being told that Kozmo wouldn’t deliver outside of Northwest D.C. The firm responded by saying that it doesn’t deliver to rich Maryland suburbs, either. So there.
It was dirty, stinkin’ hippies as far as the eye could see.
More protesters today, but they were in the rain and thus not nearly so photogenic.
So much for that romantic getaway to Minneapolis. A year ago, when Michael Graves designed a cool blue scaffolding to cover the Washington Monument during its renovation, locals raved about the groovy new look—so much, in fact, that Target Corp., the renovation’s sponsor, announced plans to re-erect the monument shell in Minnesota. But today, the department-store chain canceled the plans for the expensive, awkward new Midwestern obelisk.
And also: Maybe D.C. can start using all that scrap metal to shore up apartments in Columbia Heights. Vietnamese and Hispanic tenants today filed suit against the city, charging that it was more than a pesky coincidence that they were the first victims of a housing-code crackdown that shuttered apartment houses owned by slumlords. If you believe D.C.’s explanations, well, there’s a monument we’d like to sell you….
If Marion Barry had himself been evicted from office back in 1998, he might actually be keeping his promise to retire from politics. Instead, the undefeated ex-mayor has spent much of his 16 months since leaving office answering questions about what would have happened if he had run again. And today, Barry began another round of playing footsy with the media over whether he’ll try to answer that question anew: In a Washington Post story, Barry says he’s “seriously considering” a run for an at-large D.C. Council seat.
Must be something in the water. Now Barry’s successor is maneuvering for election, too. Williams—who managed to make a friendly D.C. Council hate him in just under a year—has announced that “[getting] everything accomplished that we want to achieve is going to take…longer than four years.” Williams today set up his very own re-election committee, to help get a leg up on Councilmember Barry or whoever else wants to knock him out in 2002.
And also: Whoever runs this fall will have at least one new target to rail against: Antoine Jones. The teenager is alleged to be the gunman who shot six kids at the National Zoo today. He’ll get tried as an adult, and, given the fury over the shooting, it’s a wonder no one’s pushing to have the defendant stuffed, too.
Jones’ elevation to being D.C.’s least popular defendant comes just in the nick of time. Carl Cooper today pleaded guilty to the 1997 Starbucks slayings. He could have faced the federal death penalty, but his plea saves him from that fate.
We’re doing a better job locking up our crooks than our liquids. A water main broke today in Tenleytown, flooding a half-dozen homes.
Damn, but those D.C. government shrinks must be a bunch of miracle workers! Just two months after a jury found Tomar Cooper Locker not guilty by reason of insanity for the slaying of boxer Ruben Bell, Locker’s lawyers now say…he’s cured. Funny how post-trial life just cleans those pesky issues right up.
Locker’s been awaiting release almost as long as D.C.’s annual audit. Thirteen weeks after her deadline, now-ousted Chief Financial Officer Valerie Holt finally delivered her audit today—and, other than the bungling en route, it seems to be full of good news: It shows an $86.4 million surplus. That’s enough for 860 years of D.C. panda subsidies, for those of you keeping score at home.—Michael Schaffer