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A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

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Unless you’ve been avoiding all forms of media and human contact for the past 17 hours, you’re certainly aware that Metro has decided to close the rail system today in order to do 600 cable inspections systemwide. Fortunately, regional commuters have alternatives like buses, bikes, rideshare services, taxis, and good old-fashioned walking. Weighing in on the closure, Mayor Muriel Bowser said she was “shocked”; the Post’s editorial board was a bit harsher, calling Metro “a national embarrassment.”

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Despite the shutdown, D.C. Public Schools are open today, but absences and tardies will be excused. [Post]
  • Takes: Given the status quo, Metro’s shutdown is actually a good—even necessary—thing. [Post, Washingtonian]
  • The D.C. campaign office of Marco Rubio, who dropped out of the presidential race on Tuesday night, was evacuated due to a suspicious white powder yesterday afternoon. [ABC News, NBC4]
  • Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans has a new job at a law firm that employs two city hall lobbyists. [Loose Lips]
  • Two new D.C. Council bills would increase access to public housing and government facilities. [City Desk]
  • After Forest Haven closed, what replaced it wasn’t much better. [WAMU]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

  • Farewell, Fried Chicken: Dupont Circle’s fried chicken and doughnut shop GBD closes today, but a new restaurant will replace it.
  • Cherry Blossoms: The National Park Service has again changed the projected peak bloom dates for them.
  • James Beard Award Finalists: A handful of D.C.-area chefs and food writers have gotten through to the finals.

LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Will Sommer (tips? wsommer@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Jack Evans somehow gets an even sketchier second job. [LL]
  • Muriel Bowser says she wasn’t “out of the loop” on Metro shutdown. [WUSA, City Desk]
  • Post ed board: “Metro is a national embarrassment.” [Post]
  • Vince Gray, others mad about J. Harvey‘s Ward 7 song. [DCist, WAMU]
  • Can DCPS provide its own food after contract woes? [WAMU]
  • Washington football team plans a “prison.” [WBJ]
  • People with developmental disabilities and their run-ins with the D.C. government. [WAMU]

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

  • A Q&A with Green Corps Director Karen Loeschner about the new documentary City of Trees. [DCist]
  • A playlist of the bands playing D.C.’s SXSW showcases. [DC Music Download]
  • Listen to a new Puff Pieces [NPR Music]
  • Ward 7 Council candidates also don’t like PJ Harvey‘s new song very much. [DCist]
  • With “No Sharps, No Flats,” local artists and musicians come together for a bold new exhibition. [DC Music Download]

YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Jessica Sidman (tips? jsidman@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • Early happy hours and specials for the Metro shutdown [Washingtonian]
  • One of the most important names in D.C. brewing is back, with help from DC Brau. [Post]
  • The seven hottest whiskey bars in D.C. [Zagat]
  • New bar called Exilesis planned for former Stetson’s [Borderstan]
  • Where to find green drink specials for St. Patrick’s Day [Eater]
  • Restaurant and lounge coming to former Ri Ra Irish Pub space in Clarendon. [ARLnow]