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No Pictures: These days, just about everyone has a high-powered camera attached to their cell phones. So maybe it’s not surprising that homegrown photography chain Penn Camera is closing up shop—but it’s still a shame. Business over the holiday season apparently was precipitously low, and the Beltsville-based firm decided not to bother going on after that. Five stores will close immediately; three others will host going-out-of-business clearance sales. The chain operated for 58 years. As it happens, Kodak also filed for bankruptcy today. Now smile for the camera! -3
Special, And Expensive, Election?: Word broke last night that Ward 5 D.C. Councilmember Harry Thomas Jr.—he of the motorcycle and SUV that are now in federal custody—was considering a plea deal in which he’d resign his seat in exchange for a shorter prison sentence springing from an FBI and IRS investigation into his nonprofit, Team Thomas. Which might be good news for his constituents, if he’s guilty of the charges against him, but it would also be bad news for the District’s budget. The next election is scheduled to be held in 90 days, on April 3—too soon to roll a special election to fill Thomas’ seat onto the ballot, under city law. But a Ward 5-only election would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Naturally, the only way to change the law to avoid the cost would be through an act of Congress. -3
District Of Dating: And now for another installment of meaningless national rankings! Today’s episode: Dating. Using a hodgepodge of Census data and Google Trends stats, the Daily Beast has produced a traffic-whoring slideshow masquerading as a list of cities where it’s easiest to get a date. Alexandria came in at number 19, and D.C. ranked 10. Which, actually, may explain the constant influx of Virginians to District bars; after they strike out across the river, they head our way. +1
Bikeshare, Brought To You By The Letter B: Those red bikes dashing around the city lately may soon double as billboards. District Department of Transportation officials are considering corporate sponsorships for Capital Bikeshare, complete with logos on the stations, the bikes, and even the program’s name. The idea would be to reduce the amount of public money that’s spent on the bikes, which in turn might keep Eric Cantor from nosing around the program. +1
Yesterday’s Needle rating: 53 Today’s score: -4 Today’s Needle rating: 49