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Caribbean Conning: What’s up with the healthy Venn overlap between the DMV, the Dominican Republic, municipal vehicles, and mysterious dealings? Five years after a D.C. firetruck found itself being shipped to the island nation under shadowy circumstances, the D.R. is back in the news again, with a Maryland man pleading guilty to posing as a Dominican diplomat. Francisco Alberto Gautreaux Calcano used his cover to raise money to send nonexistent utility vehicles to the country. +3

Chefs on a Boat: The Top Chef cruise is on for April 2013, and D.C. celeb-chefs Mike Isabella and Spike Mendelsohn will be on board. At last, your chance to play shuffleboard with Spike. +1

Metro Employees Sleepy: Metro is giving back pay to bus drivers who are unable to operate buses while they wait to find out whether they have sleep apnea. Elsewhere in Metro, perhaps sleepy employees are to blame for a Red Line car’s door opening this morning. -2

Tear Down This Wall: 14th Street’s “Before I Die…” chalkboard, which held the bucket lists of so many, is nearly no more. Dancing like nobody’s watching and loving like you’ve never been hurt to continue. +5

Monday’s Needle rating: 75 Today’s score: +7 Today’s Needle rating: 82