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Residents of upper Northwest are used to contending with daily bumper-to-bumper traffic on their streets. But Northwesterners are making a big stink over a plan by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to add mammoth dump trucks bearing water treatment waste to the gridlock. Under the plan, the trucks would carry 36 tons of sludge each day from the Dalecarlia Water Treatment Plant to a disposal site somewhere in Maryland—a route that would traverse Western Avenue, River Road, and other residential streets in Northwest. The disposal scheme was prompted by a recent ruling by the Environmental Protection Agency prohibiting Dalecarlia from dumping the sludge in the Potomac. The new disposal site won’t be up and running until 2001, but opponents of the plan are organizing now. “This is a family-oriented area, and we shouldn’t bear the burden because the buses have already been re-routed along Western,” says Adina Kanefield, who lives on the District side of Western Avenue in American University Park. Residents are outraged that an environmental study has not been done, but you can bet Northwestern NIMBYs will be doing plenty of their own.
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Bailiffs and Broomsticks District residents condemned to jury duty this Friday may behold a curious sight: judges wielding brooms and dustpans instead of gavels. D.C. Superior Court Executive Officer Ulysses Hammond has christened June 7 “Spring Spirit Spruce-Up Day,” and staffers will spend it cleaning up their own work spaces. The courthouse is adorned with colorful posters advertising the event, for which employees must buy special T-shirts in order to get hot dogs at the cookout afterward. While staffers may succeed in rousting the Fritos bags from under their desks, it’s not likely they’ll make much of a difference in the heavily trafficked courthouse, where thousands of dollars in maintenance outlays fail to fix idle escalators and overflowing toilets. Last week, runoff from a stopped-up sink leaked down two floors, flooding the basement and forcing the cafeteria to close for a day. But in a recent memo, Hammond appealed to rank-and-file court workers to fix the building’s chronic maintenance problems: “Let us use this special day to revitalize our working space and to make our facilities more attractive places to spend our working hours.”
Lost Cause In 1994, Sharon Prost made national news when she lost custody of her two children in a divorce battle after a D.C. judge ruled that she was too career-oriented to care for her kids. The Women’s Legal Defense Fund immediately took up her cause. Prost’s boss, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), helped her raise nearly $20,000 for legal fees, and 15 members of Congress wrote a letter protesting the judge’s decision. But now the Supreme Court may be Prost’s only hope for relief. The D.C. Court of Appeals recently upheld Superior Court Judge Mildred Edwards’ decision to throw out Prost’s claim that her ex-husband Kenneth Green had physically assaulted her. The court also upheld Edwards’ decision to award Green $1,200 in attorney’s fees because Green was forced to defend himself from the litigation initiated by his wealthy ex-wife and her high-powered legal team, which included former Watergate prosecutor Charles F.C. Ruff (now D.C.’s Corporation Counsel). “I’m sure it pisses her off,” says Sandra Wilkof, Green’s attorney. “But as far as I’m concerned, this resolves all the issues in the case.”