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IN CASE YOU MISSED IT—-‘Council Approves Medical Marijuana Bill in Preliminary Vote‘; and tweets galore!

Morning all. And like that, it’s gone: A day after local politicians lined up against a guns-for-vote deal, Eleanor Holmes Norton and House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer withdrew the D.C. House Voting Rights Act from the House floor schedule yesterday—-meaning Del. Norton likely won’t become Rep. Norton anytime soon. Writing in WaPo, Ann Marimow and Ben Pershing call it ‘an extraordinary reversal that came less than a week after Hoyer said he would revive the legislation on the House floor as early as Wednesday in spite of the gun language.’ Why was Norton willing to go forward with a deal last week only to get cold feet now? In a statement, she said she was ‘shocked’ that NRA-sponsored gun language would have been significantly more severe than the Senate language already passed. Shocked, she tells us. Shocked! Meanwhile, the gun provisions threatened to peel off liberal Democratic support for the bill in both houses, and the opposition of onetime Senate Republican ally Orrin Hatch further complicated matters.

AFTER THE JUMP—-Nickles intervenes to keep Skinner off banned-contractor list; medical pot passes council vote; regional execs want to step up Metro oversight; IGU charter nixed by board; Senate finally votes through Judge Demeo; RIP Dorothy Height

MORE—-‘Norton said the “egregious changes” by Reps. Travis Childers (D-Miss.) and Mark Souder (R-Ind.) would “directly proliferate guns throughout the District” in addition to eroding support for the bill among liberal Democrats, particularly in the Senate. Norton said that legislation would have restricted the District from prohibiting concealed or openly carried firearms….Former representative Thomas M. Davis III, the Virginia Republican who drafted the original bill, said the measure is “absolutely dead” if it does not come up for a vote before the next Congress. The Democratic majority could narrow after the November elections, and the political compromise with Utah could unwind with the reapportionment of House seats based on the census. Sen. Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Md.) said proponents would “continue the fight,” but he expressed frustration that the issue was stuck yet again. “This was a compromise of a compromise, and then we had another compromise put on top of it,” Cardin said. “This was a very modest proposal, and if you can’t get this modest proposal moving forward, I don’t know what it means in the short term.”…House Democratic leaders had planned an elaborate floor strategy that would have enabled the legislation to pass without forcing any liberal lawmakers to vote in favor of the gun-rights language they disliked. Under the plan, the House would have voted on three separate bills—-one creating the new House seats, one changing the District’s gun laws and one dealing with the cost of the measure—-that would have been automatically combined into one bill once the three had passed.’

GUN LANGUAGE—-‘Childers and Souder crafted the gun language in response to new gun laws passed by the D.C. Council after the landmark Supreme Court decision in 2008. Childers, in a statement, urged the House leadership to move forward with the bipartisan legislation to “end D.C.’s unconstitutional gun ban.” Andrew Arulanandam, a spokesman for the National Rifle Association, said the organization is trying to ensure that the District complies with the court ruling because the council and Fenty have “thumbed their nose at the Supreme Court” with the new laws.’

REACTION—-WaPo editorial page collects VIP reactions. Davis says: ‘This bill could still be resurrected by attaching it to another bill, addressing it in a lame-duck session or strong-arming it through. It is clear, however, that after this Congress adjourns, the D.C. Voting Rights Act will go into a deep sleep. It is said that victory has a thousand fathers and that defeat is an orphan. All the finger-pointing in the world will not resuscitate this bill.’ Mary Cheh writes that ‘[a]ll District residents should be greatly relieved that Congress is not moving forward with a voting rights bill that included a dangerous and deeply offensive amendment.’ Ilir Zherka of D.C. Vote, of course, backs Norton without fail. And Kris Baumann of the D.C. police union laments the move: ‘The District lost not only its opportunity to gain a House vote Tuesday; it lost its chance to begin an effective war on crime. District politicians decided it was more important to preserve their one-sentence shield to questions about the violence run amok in the District: “We have the toughest gun laws in the nation.”‘ And D.C. Wire and @SegravesWTOP collect councilmember reactions at yesterday’s breakfast meeting. Writes Craig: ‘In an emotional closed-door debate over breakfast this morning, council members decried the gun amendment, calling it an insulting infringement on Home Rule. Many members spoke passionately about District residents who have died from gun violence. “I’ve got to look people in the faces and when they look back at me, I want them to respect me,” council Chairman Vincent C. Gray (D) said. “I honestly believe they will not respect me when they hear I traded their safety for a vote” in Congress….[David Catania] argued that the National Rifle Association, which pushed for the gun amendment would probably revive the effort to undo the city’s gun laws in another form later this year if the voting rights bill is shelved….[Jack Evans] and [Yvette Alexander] also appeared open to supporting the voting rights bill, even with the gun amendment. “There are not going to be legal guns committing these crimes, it’s going to be illegal guns,” Alexander said. “There are still going to be AK-47s, even without the gun amendment.”‘

OBAMA SAYS—-‘The president has been very clear on his feelings about voting rights for D.C. and that folks who live in D.C. should have voting rights,’ White House Deputy Press Secretary Bill Burton told reporters on Air Force One.

ALSO—-Examiner, WaTimes, Politico, The Hill, Salt Lake Tribune, New York Times, NY Daily News, USA Today, McClatchy, WAMU-FM, AP, NC8. And Fox News’ Chad Pergram pens an excellent analysis piece: ‘After championing the cause for voting rights, Norton could have secured a vote for the city on the House floor. But that would come at a price: more firearms on the city streets. Hoyer could have had the vote. But that may have ignited a civil war in the Democratic Caucus between pro and anti-gun members. And Democrats gun-shy from the health care fight aren’t ready to go to the mat on firearms. Call it inflation. Call it gouging. Call it extortion. Democrats are bargain shopping. This bill would have drained what political capital they had left in the bank. And in this election climate, the price was simply too high.’


Helluva story from Examiner’s Bill Myers, who reports that Attorney General Peter Nickles personally intervened to keep mayoral crony Sinclair Skinner off of a District procurement ‘debarment’ list—-which would have meant Skinner was ineligible to receive city contracts. ‘Contracting officials drafted a letter that would have barred Sinclair Skinner from city contracts, [Nickles], a longtime friend and confidant of the mayor, ordered the letter rewritten to delay the action until Skinner could respond. “That’s what we call due process,” Nickles said. “The first draft of the letter wasn’t adequate.”…Last fall, Skinner skipped a public hearing on the contracting scandal. Councilman Harry Thomas, D-Ward 5, asked city contracting chief David Gragan to have Skinner put on the city’s “excluded parties list.” In mid-March, a letter was ready to go out. City law requires businesses and their owners to be given a chance to respond to debarment allegations, but Nickles has never intervened in a debarment before, a source said….Nickles denied that there was anything special in his attention to detail in the Skinner matter. “I don’t intervene unless I see something that’s not in comportment with regulations,” he said.’

Another good one from WaTimes’ Jim McElhatton, who reports on convicted gangster and long-term D.C. Jail inmate Larry Wilkerson, who is making a novel argument regarding his incarceration. ‘Convicted of murder, conspiracy and drug offenses, Wilkerson finally had his sentencing on Tuesday in federal court in Washington after years of post-trial litigation. His attorney, Sebastian Graber, made a novel — but not unprecedented — plea: Conditions are so bad at the D.C. Jail, he argued, that nine years served there ought to equal 20 or more years in a federal prison….At the hearing, Wilkerson told of moldy jail cells, questionable strip searches, broken locks on cell doors, staph infections, rodents and violent assaults at the city jail….”It’s a shame it’s in the shape it is,” [U.S. District Judge Thomas F. Hogan] said of the jail. “I don’t know why the D.C. government can’t provide better conditions.”…William Streit, a peace activist who testified Tuesday for Wilkerson, said he’s served time at jails and prisons across the country after being arrested in various protests, including twice in Washington. He said the D.C. Jail is the only place where he’s feared for his life. He said it has a reputation “hands down” as the worst jail east of the Mississippi River among the activist community.’ Wilkerson got life in federal prison anyway.


A unanimous first-reading vote in favor of medical marijuana, on 4/20 no less, headlines the happenings at yesterday’s council legislative meeting. If it passes a second vote and earns Mayor Adrian M. Fenty‘s signature, ‘Hundreds of chronically ill District residents will be able to buy government-sanctioned marijuana by the end of the year,’ Tim Craig writes in WaPo. ‘Without debate, the council authorized five medical marijuana distribution centers throughout the city, a number that could grow to eight in coming years. A patient who has HIV, glaucoma, cancer or a “chronic and lasting disease” will be able to receive a doctor’s recommendation to possess up to 2 ounces of marijuana in a 30-day period. Patients would not be allowed to grow marijuana but could buy it from dispensaries that are licensed and regulated by the Department of Health. Underprivileged residents who qualify will be eligible to purchase their drugs free or at reduced cost….But critics say the [highly regulated] approach could be problematic for the success of the program. Although the District’s proposal specifies that growers need to cultivate “pharmaceutical” grade marijuana, distributors say only three companies in the world produce that grade. When asked which companies might be interested in locating in the District, council staff members singled out Bedrocan International, which produces pharmaceutical-grade medical marijuana in the Netherlands. Company officials, however, said they cannot move to the District because they do not want to operate in conflict with U.S. law.’ Also WTOP, Wonkette.


—-Emergency legislation should ‘make it easier for foster families to provide permanent homes for children, especially older ones, who often languish in the child welfare system,’ Henri Cauvin reports in WaPo. ‘For years, some foster parents who wanted to adopt or to become legal guardians have opted not to because it would mean an earlier end to the subsidy that many rely on to help care for the children they take into their homes. Under the new law, instead of losing the subsidy when the child is 18, a legal guardian or adoptive parent will keep the subsidy until the child turns 21—-the same age at which it ends for a foster child.’ Says Judith Sandalow of the Children’s Law Center: ‘I think it’s the biggest step forward in getting kids out of foster care and into permanent families in my 10 years here.’

—-Harry Thomas Jr.’s attempt to force the rehire of the teachers RIF’d last fall didn’t go anywhere, WaPo’s Bill Turque notes on his blog. ‘The proposal faced huge legal barriers, not least of which was the Home Rule Charter, which expressly reserves hiring and firing for the executive branch….Shortly before the session began, [Mary Cheh] sat in the corner of the chambers scribbling amendments to make the proposal more explicit that DCPS has the authority to decide whether to re-hire the teachers. “There’s not a person on this council who is not deeply disturbed about the events that occurred with the teachers,” Cheh said of the layoffs…”The problem with the resolution is that it doesn’t make sufficiently clear that we have no authority to order reinstatement or direct reinstatement in any way.”‘ The matter has been postponed until May, after DCPS/OCFO budget testimony. Also Examiner.

—-Marion Barry‘s attempts to disapprove various contracts and reprogrammings also went nowhere, Craig reports at D.C. Wire—-though the personality clash between him and Catania continues apace. ‘”David is an independent Republican and I am a progressive Democrat,” [Barry said.] “He holds some values that are diametrically opposed by us progressive, liberal Democrats.” Barry went on to accuse Catania, the chairman of the Health Committee, of ignoring the health needs of residents in Ward 8….Catania initially did not want to respond to Barry’s charges. But then Catania quickly fired back. “Marion had his way as mayor for 16 years and did nothing on the matter of health care for this city,” Catania said. Catania said that under his leadership, the city has slashed its rate of uninsured residents, placed a nurse in almost city school and pumped tens of millions into hospitals and other medical facilities….”I have real work to do,” Catania said. “When was the last time Marion Barry delivered for Ward 8, and a 1984 summer job doesn’t count anymore?”‘

—-Jim Graham floats a 10-cent-per-gallon gas tax to fund Metro, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner—-‘an unprecedented move in a region that lacks a permanent funding stream for the transit agency.’ Still: ‘;the bill is considered a long shot as it contains a caveat that the tax would take effect only if the Maryland and Virginia jurisdictions in Metro’s compact enacted the same increases.’ Maybe it would have a shot in Maryland, but Virginia? Fuhgeddaboutit. Also WBJ, NC8, GGW, and WTOP, which notes the hike would give D.C. the ninth-highest gas tax in the nation.

—-The $8.1M tax break for a Hilton Garden Inn in NoMa gets a provisional thumbs-up from the council, Michael Neibauer reports in WBJ—-despite OCFO’s opposition. ‘By a 12-1 vote, the council backed property and sale tax exemptions for the $59 million, 204-room, 128,500-square-foot property developed by Spartanburg, S.C.-based OTO Hospitality Development Co. The hotel, expected to open in 2011, will be part of the Constitution Square development in the North of Massachusetts Avenue neighborhood. Councilman Kwame Brown, D-At large, was the lone vote in opposition.’


Fenty joins with governors Martin O’Malley and Bob McDonnell to call for tougher oversight of Metro by its constituent jurisdictions—-a plan that would immediately toughen the now-toothless Tri-State Oversight Committee. And, Ann Scott Tyson reports in WaPo, ‘In the long term, and with congressional approval, the leaders said the committee would be replaced either with direct federal safety oversight of Metro by the Federal Transit Administration, which would require the implementation of minimum federal safety standards as proposed in House and Senate legislation supported by the Obama administration, or with a locally and federally funded Metro Safety Commission set up by the jurisdictions….”We need more direct executive oversight of [WMATA] because of these safety issues, rather than less,” McDonnell said during a news conference held by the three leaders after their private meeting. Describing riders’ “frustration” with Metro, Fenty said he and the two governors will play a more “hands-on” role in improving Metro and plan to meet soon with the agency’s new interim general manager.’ Also some scene from WaPo’s Frederick Kunkle, who is impressed by the mayoral Smart car, plus AP, WTTG-TV.

DETAILS—-‘The new oversight plan, outlined in an 11-page white paper issued Tuesday, will require the committee chairman to be a full-time staff member and extend his term from one year to two or three. The chairman will be given greater authority and be “empowered to make executive decisions for the TOC and address immediate real-time safety issues at Metro and approve correspondences and corrective actions,” said Jack Cahalan, spokesman for the Maryland Department of Transportation….The plan will also create a six-person Policy Committee made up of the three local transportation secretaries and three alternates to which the Tri-State committee will report monthly on the status of accident investigations and corrective actions as well as “outstanding safety issues.” The Tri-State committee will be required to provide monthly briefings to Metro’s board, general manager and safety committee. It will also be required to brief the Federal Transit Administration on safety issues and deficiencies at Metro, the status of investigations and the implementation of corrective actions.’ GGW calls the proposal ‘extremely ironic since these three have plenty of oversight authority already which they’ve neglected to exercise.’

TODAY—-‘The push for tougher accountability of Metro came on the eve of a congressional hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning that will also probe Metro’s safety practices, its yawning budget gap…as well as its need for effective long-term leadership. Sarles, the former head of New Jersey Transit, will appear before the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform in his first congressional testimony as Metro’s temporary chief.’ More at WTOP.


The District is seeking $25M in federal funds to extend construction of the H Street/Benning Road NE streetcar line across the Anacostia River, Lisa Rein reports in WaPo. ‘Transportation chief Gabe Klein laid out the plan Tuesday at a community meeting at Wheatley Elementary school attended by about 100 residents of Northeast….Klein said DDOT also plans to extend the H Street line to Union Station by building tracks on a right of way underneath existing Amtrak tracks. The resulting underpass, now being designed, would provide streetcar riders “with a seamless connection to Metro and Amtrak service” at Union Station, said Scott Kubly, who is in charge of the streetcar project.’ Much more on the meeting from Housing Complex and GGW, which notes that Klein said ‘that DDOT is working with the National Capital Planning Commission (NCPC) on a compromise regarding overhead wires as a power source for the streetcars, stating NCPC is “very open to compromise.”‘

More details on the Wilson HS student-teacher carjacking, which is heading straight for News of the Weird: MoCo police say the student-carjacker ‘didn’t realize it was [his teacher] until he had forced his way into her sport-utility vehicle,’ WaPo reports. ‘”It was a complete coincidence,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery police spokesman. “He didn’t know it was his teacher until the crime started.” New details emerged Tuesday in the bizarre case, including the arrest of the uncle and a police account that the student greeted his teacher and that they spoke during the abduction….The juvenile was arrested on Sunday by police in the District. He told detectives the assailant who approached from driver’s side was his uncle. Montgomery detectives obtained an arrest warrant for [Jeremiah Juwley, 25] on Monday, and by Tuesday he was in custody, according to online court records. They charged him with first-degree assault, second-degree assault, robbery, false imprisonment and theft, according to court records.’ Also Examiner, WTTG-TV, Gazette.

Brian Betts, slain principal of Shaw @ Garnet-Patterson MS, ‘was out as a gay man to a circle of friends and D.C. public school system colleagues,’ Lou Chibbaro Jr. reports at DC Agenda. ‘One gay man who knew Betts from the time Betts lived in D.C.’s Shaw neighborhood said Betts had a circle of gay friends and was seen patronizing the Dupont Circle gay bars Omega and Fireplace. Another gay man who knew him said he assumed Betts was “out” as gay because many people in the gay community knew him in gay circles. “He was definitely a member of the GLBT community,” said the man, who spoke to D.C. Agenda on condition that he was not identified. Capt. Paul Starks, director of the Montgomery County police’s public affairs office, declined to comment on Betts’ sexual orientation or whether police were looking into whether the case was a possible hate crime or pick-up murder.’ Meanwhile, Betts’ sister speaks to WRC-TV and WUSA-TV. WaPo’s Michael Birnbaum writes about how friend and Wilson HS principal Peter Cahall is dealing with the loss: ‘The bizarre spasm of violence, along with an operatic series of developments in the progress of the teachers’ contract last week, has teachers and administrators taking a deep breath when their phones ring, worried about what might be waiting for them next. “Honestly, if it weren’t for the kids and the staff, I don’t know what I’d do,” Cahall said.’ And WTTG-TV reports that police are scouring phone and computer records. Also CNN.

ALSO—-A wake will be held for Betts from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. this evening at Pierce Funeral Home, 9609 Center Street, Manassas, Va. And a public memorial service has been set for Saturday, May 1, at 11 a.m. in the Cardozo HS auditorium.

Four new charter schools get the thumbs-up from the Public Charter School Board, WaPo’s Turque reports: ‘[Inspired Teaching Demonstration School], which intends to locate either in Ward 1, 4 or 6, will be run by an established D.C. nonprofit that trains teachers. One of the school’s objectives is to give teachers-in-training a chance to partner with master educators. [Munde Verde Bilingual School], which plans to operate in Wards 2, 5 or 6, will stress cross-cultural communication and the importance of environmentally sustainable policies. [Shining Stars Montessori Academy], which lists its location as 1616 Georgia Ave. in Ward 1, will bring the Montessori approach to at-risk children, [Richard Wright School for Journalism and Media Arts], which plans to open in Ward 7, will emphasize a curriculum connecting students to the classics by focusing on strong writing skills and vocabulary.’ Not on the list: University High PCS, the controversial proposal set to be located on the campus of International Graduate University. Outstanding question: Where will they all go?

SAVE THE DATE—-Vince Gray for Mayor campaign kickoff rally is set for 4:30 p.m. Saturday at the Carnegie Library. Perhaps he’ll have a speech ready for this one? Tonight is a fundraiser at Judith Terra‘s Gold Coast manse.

Kwame Brown demands to know from former council staffer turned Pepco lobbyist Donna Cooper whether her colleague Vincent Orange is planning a run for council chairman. Nikita Stewart writes at D.C. Wire. ‘Cooper was at the council meeting to monitor legislation, but Brown prodded her about Orange’s plans and whether Pepco would support him. “I asked her, ‘Does Pepco have this candidate running for chair?'” Brown confirmed in an interview. “She was there. Hey, she works at Pepco. I asked her.” Is Brown worried about competition? “I could care less. It’s a democracy,” he said….The buzz is that Orange, who gave up his Ward 5 seat for an unsuccessful bid for mayor in 2006, would like to jump in the race if Evans decides to bow out. Evans said in a brief interview that he’s still in….Brown later said he was joking and did not know he would be taken so seriously.’

Marisa Demeo was confirmed by the U.S. Senate late yesterday as a D.C. Superior Court judge on a partisan 66-32 vote. Legal Times covers the background: ‘As a lawyer for a prominent Latino civil rights group, [Demeo] opposed the nomination of Miguel Estrada to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit at the beginning of George W. Bush‘s presidency. Today, Republicans invoked that conflict in an unsuccessful attempt to oppose Demeo’s own judicial nomination. “She would appear to support only the Latino nominees who agree with her politically,” said Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) in a speech on the Senate floor today….In a separate speech, Sen. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) said Demeo’s opposition to Estrada “sounds like ethnic bullying.” DeMint and Sessions noted that Demeo also opposed Linda Chavez, Bush’s first nominee for secretary of labor.’ In a much less contentious nomination, DOJ lawyer Stuart Nash was also confirmed to the Superior Court. Also yesterday, three other Superior Court nominees got committe hearings.

Hiccup at WASA pumping station early yesterday morning meant high levels of chlorine in drinking water in parts of Northwest. The utility issued a warning not to use the water, which was lifted by the afternoon. Examiner’s Myers finds a woman whose goldfish died. From WASA release: ‘As our customer, you have a right to know what happened, what you should do, and what we did to correct this situation. We routinely monitor for the presence of drinking water contaminants. Results we received earlier today showed that our system exceeded the maximum residual disinfectant level (MRDL) for chlorine. The standard for chlorine is 4 milligrams per liter (mg/L). Chlorine was measured at 6.4 mg/L. Levels have returned to normal.’ Also WaPo.

Police identify the woman killed in the fiery car crash Monday night on Alabama Avenue SE: Mary Elizabeth Wimbush, 37, died ‘after the car she was driving was struck head-on by a van heading in the opposite direction,’ WaPo reports. ‘Investigators said the driver of the van, Ajene Jones, 34, of no fixed address crossed the double-yellow line and has been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Wimbush, who was pinned in the car, was removed by D.C. firefighters and airlifted to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead about an hour later. A 2-year-old girl who was thrown from the car and the three other children were taken to Children’s Hospital in critical condition.’ NC8 speaks with eyewitness. WUSA-TV notes that Jones ‘has a long record of alleged driving violations.’ WTTG-TV reports that ‘the impact was so hard the license plate from the van was embedded in the car’s engine.’

KUMAR GETS MUGGED—-Kal Penn, the ‘Harold & Kumar’ actor turned White House aide, was robbed early Tuesday morning on the 1500 block of S Street NW, near his home. According to Scott McCabe in Examiner, ‘a man with a dark-colored pistol ran up to him and demanded his belongings, police said. When Penn asked what the man wanted, the gunman is said to have replied, “Everything.” Penn, 32, handed over his wallet, cash, his White House identification and two cell phones. The gunman ordered the actor to the ground and fled.’ In his Examiner column, Harry Jaffe takes the mugging and a Monday stick-up at Nellie’s as evidence of a crime wave that should have politicians ‘running scared. Fenty becomes vulnerable. Council Chairman Vince Gray, who would be mayor, can’t paint himself as tough on crime.’

German priest who had been ministering to D.C.’s German community is sent home after allegations of sex abuse surface, WaPo reports. ‘The priest, Michael Schapfel, was removed from ministry after the German Bishops’ Conference and the Diocese of Mainz in that country learned of the allegations March 30, reported them to authorities and called Schapfel at home during the Easter holiday. An archdiocese spokeswoman said local church officials were not told about it until Tuesday. The Archdiocese of Washington said it has not received any reports of abuse by Schapfel during his time in the District.’

Lydia DePillis at Housing Complex notes a brewing fight in Congress Heights over a group home being developed by Peaceaholics. An ANC meeting last night ended in chaos after commissioners verbally tusseled with Ron Moten & Co.

An Eaton ES teachers’ analysis of NAEP test scores determines that the ‘achievement gap’ in DCPS is actually growing, and WUSA-TV picks up the story: ‘”They’ve been cited as proof that education reform in DCPS is succeeding,” [Christopher Bergfalk] explained to the panel led by Chairman Vincent Gray on Saturday. “But if you are going to use this gold standard as proof that reform is succeeding, than we need to look at what all the NAEP data says.”…From 2007-2009, DCPS had among the largest increase in scores in the country. “However if you look at the data you’ll see that score increase is not evenly distributed throughout the population,” said Bergfalk…”The increase in scores was disproportionately larger for small groups, for white students, for hispanic students and for those that don’t qualify for free and reduced lunch,” he said.’

Columbia Heights snowball case is dismissed. Finally. The defendant, Maria Lewis, tells WaPo, ‘The whole thing was so ridiculous.’

Young boy was struck by a car on the 1200 block of Kenilworth Avenue NE last night, NC8 reports. ‘The boy was transported with serious, life-threatening injuries.’

Demarco Nathan Scott, 20, is arrested for robbery of Northeast video game store. Examiner’s McCabe writes that Scott ‘apologized to the workers before fleeing with hundreds of dollars in cash, later telling police that he needed the money to help his brother.’

GGW wonders if there’s any logic behind the Fenty budget’s proposal to raise some parking fines but not others. Answer: They raised the fines for the most common violations.

Could construction finally begin on first Northwest One residential development? ‘Mission First Development, The Henson Development Company and project sponsor Golden Rule Apartments, Inc. (GRA) are working with architects Grimm + Parker to build 60 residential units to replace the former Golden Rules Center that occupied the site until its demolition in early 2009. The empty lot will be developed in phases, beginning with a 100% subsidized project at First and K Streets, NW,’ DCmud reports. Ground could be broken this summer.

Twenty British high-school students hang out at MLK Library while waiting for flight home.

Tractor-trailer overturns on 295 ramp just before rush hour.

DOH’s Pierre Vigilance talks to GWU about ‘Stress, Sex, and Sugar.’ Some health pointers: ‘Among his ten tips, he said, “Don’t smoke (anything!), eat right (don’t add the word ‘now’ after this), and wash your hands (if you see someone coming out of the bathroom a little too quickly, you can call them out).” Other rules included move more, love responsibly, reduce stress, see your doctor, know your family history, make peace, and be prepared.’

OCTO’s Bryan Sivak talks ‘real time data’ in London.

Leo Alexander shows up at Citizens Association of Georgetown meeting, when members were planning for war against the new Georgetown campus plan.

Cheh2010.com is live.

D.C. Bond is back.

Why Don Peebles is ‘haute.’

Think laying off 266 teachers is bad? In Detroit, Robert Bobb just sent pink slips to 2,000.

Dorothy Height, ‘grand dame of the civil rights movement,’ died yesterday morning at 98. The WaPo editorial board notes her recent cameo in city politics: ‘Even as her age advanced, she continued to advocate for black families, preach self-reliance and despair over the lack of voting rights for the District. Recently, when she thought a worthy tennis program for children was threatened, she put her prestige on the line. Just as words can’t fully capture her, so they fail to describe the void left by her death.’ Cora Masters Barry tells WaPo, ‘I’m so grateful that the kids at the Southeast Tennis and Learning Center knew her.’ She adds that Height’s recent visit to the center ‘may have been Height’s last public appearance.’ Fenty, who famously snubbed Height in the course of the tennis saga, ordered flags flown at half staff yesterday and today in her memory.

D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-10 a.m.: Committee on Aging and Community Affairs budget hearing on Office on Human Rights, Office of Latino Affairs, and Serve DC, JAWB 412; Committee on Health budget hearing on Department of Health, JAWB 500; 10:30 a.m.: Committee on Finance and Revenue hearing on PR18-773 (‘1522 K Street, LLC Recovery Zone Facility Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2010’), PR18-774 (‘Independent Sector Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2010’), and PR18-775 (‘World Wildlife Fund, Inc. Refunding Revenue Bonds Project Approval Resolution of 2010’), JAWB 120; 2 p.m.: Committee on Economic Development budget hearing on Washington Convention Center and Sports Authority, Commission on Arts and Humanities, and Boxing and Wrestling Commission, JAWB 412.

ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-10 a.m.: testimony, FY2011 congressional appropriations hearing, 2362B Rayburn HOB.