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When Gen. Julius Becton announced earlier this month that D.C. schools would open three weeks late, parents and school employees did a collective freakout, bombarding the schools czar with hate mail and bellyaching about day-care hassles. The Afro-American Counseling & Psychotherapy Institute Inc., a Georgia Avenue NW clinic, deemed the trauma severe enough to warrant a free series of “Anger Management” seminars. Judging from the turnout at a session held last Wednesday, though, the disaffected are relying on the traditional method of venting anger (i.e., cursing at Becton & Co.). A mere two attendeesboth school employeeswere lured by a clinic flier promising to “address the self-defeating emotions of anger, anxiety, and depression.” Organizers Dr. Roosevelt Martin Johnson, of the University of the District of Columbia, and Thomas Childs, a counselor at Ballou High School, plumbed the implications of the school delay for the crowd. “In this incredulous psychological ecosystem, learning will not take place,” said Johnson, articulating an extraordinary insight repeated ad nauseam in the session. Childs, at least, was taken with Johnson’s musings on anger control. “Dr. Johnson is a very charismatic speaker,” he gushed. “I doubt there are 15 counselors in D.C. schools that don’t know who he is.”
When Walter James temporarily closed his bustling McDonald’s on Southern Avenue SE earlier this month, he wasn’t responding to a federal beef recall; he was taking cover from a huge cloud of dust that had wafted over from a nearby demolition site. “I had to throw out food,” says James. “They did not hose down the material the way it was supposed to be.” After wiping down his restaurant, James and some community activists went to the source. Former D.C. Councilmember H.R. Crawford’s development firm is tearing down nearby Ridgecrest Heights Apartments, a crime-ridden housing complex, to make room for a town-house development. Like any low-rent complex, Ridgecrest Heights is full of plaster and concretedust waiting to happen. Greg Prioleau, a spokesman for Crawford contractor Harkins Builders, says demolition crews are using water from city hydrants to control the airborne debris. But Prioleau contends the complaints weren’t justified to begin with. “There was never really a dusty condition that I deemed intolerable,” he says. Maybe he never tried it on his Quarter Pounder.
With the Redskins’ departure for the suburbs, you’d think RFK Stadium and its operator, the D.C. Sports Commission, would be mourning the loss of a cash cow. But commission executive director Jim Dalrymple says the team’s departure is actually a big-time opportunity. In the days of burgundy and gold, the NFL handcuffed stadium schedulers by waiting until May to announce the Skins’ home datesa ritual that ruled out fall events requiring more than five months of planning. “We don’t have that problem nowadays,” says Dalrymple. Stadium planners, though, have little to show for their newfound flexibility. For now, the commission has snared only a November commitment from the Third World Cultural Festival, a Moonie-sponsored event. Dalrymple says he’s hoping to bring a new class of hogs to RFK with an annual Ivy League football gameperfect for alumni-rich Washington. Other notions seem a bit more fanciful, like luring an NCAA bowl game to RFK. But how would D.C. compete against warm-weather bowl havens like Honolulu and Tempe? “It’s been cold for playoff games, but we never had problems with those,” he explains.