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Morning all. Here’s the money quote, in Examiner, from Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells: ‘In the past there has been a lot of drama about schools being ready…This year is notable for the lack of drama.’ Well, if it’s drama you want, how about the sons of Mayor Adrian M. Fenty appearing at Lafayette Elementary School yesterday? WaPo notes this morning that Lafayette is ‘one of the District’s most coveted elementary schools, with a more affluent and ethnically diverse student body — and significantly higher test scores’ than Hizzoner’s neighborhood elementary across the park. And, as LL noted yesterday evening, Fenty is not volunteering any answers on how his kids ended up there. So is the mayor entitled to ‘some privilege with the job,’ as one Lafayette parent tells WaPo?
AFTER THE JUMP—-$100M in school renovations make debut; new WaPo columnist gets off to super start; Fenty’s name is plastered across ballfield; homeless man robs bank, badly; and detox clinic closing deemed ‘new height of insensitivity’
Bill Turque and Tim Craig‘s WaPo first-day-of-school story—-besides covering the Fenty kids—-goes deep into the new renovations at several city schools, calling them ‘the next step in the Fenty administration’s ambitious overhaul of a system notorious for its decrepit, aging buildings.’ Political fixture Terry Lynch, for one, approves of the School Without Walls reno: ‘Fabulous, first-class job,’ the Walls parent tells WaPo. Leah Fabel‘s report in Examiner also includes a visit to the trailer compound that passes for Eastern SHS these days. ‘Construction workers on Sunday completed final touches to the school’s collection of portables abutting Eastern’s historic campus. Custodians collected the last of the stray nails remaining on the decks connecting the classrooms. “Actually, I don’t think it looks that bad,” said Bonnie Duffy Page, who dropped off her granddaughter Monday morning.’ Wells’ assessment is echoed by WUSA-TV, which cites ‘very few glitches’ on the first day of school. Also WRC-TV.
NEW COLUMNIST! NEW COLUMNIST!—-Petula Dvorak debuts her WaPo Metro column with a classic juxtaposition of haves and have-nots. Rather, the workaday back-to-school concerns of Dvorak vs. those of have-nots in our city. She worries about freezer packs, peanut-free sammiches, and clothing labels. The teachers at Anne Beers ES in Penn Branch worry about ‘how to spot physical, sexual and mental abuse among their students’ because no one will have seen their scars for months. ‘This is not the back-to-school I know. I think store sales, stiff new clothes, haircuts, immunization, the smell of paste and lunchboxes. Not child abuse. But for some of our children, summer is a time when awful things happen to them — when they go without meals, without baths, without supervised bedtimes. When schools are closed, the children’s welts can heal before anyone notices. And only when they return to those shiny, linoleum-floored classrooms do they come across anyone who cares.’ Kickin’ McCartney’s butt already! ALSO: Fab pic!
WaPo’s Tim Craig attends the ribbon-cutting for new athletic field at Harriet Tubman ES. There, he notices, ‘the easiest thing to spot on the field, which school officials said replaces an unsafe dirt facility, is Fenty’s name….The middle of the field features a huge city logo that stretches for at least 30 yards. If you’re sitting in the bleachers, the name “Mayor Adrian M. Fenty” encompasses much of your view….When asked if it was common for a mayor’s name to be featured so prominently on a school athletic field, Fenty said, “I don’t know.”‘ Allen Lew (ahem, ‘Allen Y. Yew’?) says it was his idea.
ALSO—-Craig notes some first-day-of-school politicking from Muriel Bowser, who, with ‘about 10 supporters,’ was ‘at Nebraska Avenue and Broad Branch Road NW…waving signs that read: “Muriel Bowser said, ‘Slow Down, Kids are Heading Back to School.'”‘
A Metro employee stationed at the Bladensburg Road bus garage has been charged with assaulting a fellow employee with a screwdriver, Kytja Weir reports in Examiner. Said attack took place in January. ‘Mechanic Daryl Lee Redfearn declined to say what prompted the dispute. The 42-year-old was not injured but he was charged with simple assault and possession of a prohibited weapon, court records show. He was fired a month after the stabbing occurred. He is fighting to get rehired.’
ALSO—-Metro investigation determines that last week’s death at the same bus garage was due to victim’s contact with live wire, WaPo reports.
James Hohmann with a languid WaPo late summer feature on the Metro sign shop. Yup, the 10 folks who ‘quietly produce 40,000 signs and decals a year.’ Hahmann strains for wider resonance, calling the shop ‘a glimpse into the aging system that Metro is struggling to maintain 33 years after it opened,’ but does include a few cool did-ya-knows. Such as: ‘A sign under a bridge lasts 10 to 15 years, he said. The life expectancy for an outdoor sign in direct sunlight is closer to seven. North-facing signs last longer than those facing south because they don’t have as much UV exposure.’ But he never asks the most important question: Don’t they ever get sick of Helvetica?
Joshua A. Winckler, who is 37 and homeless, allegedly robbed a bank Saturday, according to a WaPo story by Del Wilber. According to a federal affidavit, he walked into the TD Bank at 7th and G Streets NW, handed a note to a teller, and got $878 in return. He was arrested ‘within sight of the bank’ by D.C. police. ‘Winckler told authorities that he had robbed the bank “because he was homeless and tired of living on the streets.” At a brief hearing Monday in the District’s federal court, a federal magistrate judge ordered that Winckler be held and undergo a mental health examination.’
Prince Ronald Williams, 13, has been missing since Aug. 13 from his home on the 4500 block of B Street SE. Scott McCabe reports for Examiner: ‘Prince is described as about 5 feet tall and weighing between 100 and 110 pounds. He has a medium complexion with black dreadlocks. He was last seen wearing a white shirt and blue pants, possibly bluejeans.’
Two workers injured in midday manhole explosion near Dupont Circle. ‘Pepco spokesman Bob Hainey says the contractors were pulling an old underground cable when it touched a live cable, triggering an electrical shock on Monday. One man suffered facial burns and the other suffered smoke inhalation.’ NC8, WRC-TV, WTTG-TV also have a thorough accounts.
Water main breaks on 2200 block of Southern Avenue SE. Garfield ES was closed due to lack of water flow.
Ward 8 SBOE member William Lockridge explains to WaTimes why new federal advice that schools turn to technology to teach kids sidelined by swine flu is impractical in his neighborhood: ‘It would be very difficult….Living in an economically depressed community, a lot of kids and parents don’t have access to computers. It would be very hard to get students information from the Internet or other methods through computers.’ These thoughts were prompted by yesterday morning’s Fenty/Cabinet presser, covered by NC8.
At Edgewood mural ribbon-cutting, Fenty adds a graffito of his own to the melange: ‘AOAT,’ his personal motto and the name of his running team—-All Out All the Time.
AND: WTTG-TV deems successful the DCPS early-enrollment campaign.
Johnny Allem of the D.C. Recovery Community Alliance has harsh words for the Fenty administration, in a WaPo letter, on the decision to close the city detox clinic for months. ‘This policy marks a new high of insensitivity by the executive branch. Closing the center months before the privatized center can open defies reason. This is an emergency service. The specter of people in acute withdrawal from alcohol poisoning wandering around the city clutching vouchers is pathetic and cruel. We have dual horrors: Bad policy and worse execution.’
Via WaPo editorial, we learn that D.C. has been chosen for a ‘community discussion’ hosted by the White House Office of National AIDS Policy. Date to come.
Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson, Rhee squeeze, recommends that his schools get letter grades.
GGW asks: What happened to the District Department of Transportation Research Program Demonstration Project on Signage? Nothing, thankfully.
WaPo art critic Blake Gopnik profiles mad scientist artist Jim Sanborn.
Local attorney will chair American Bar Association’s Council of Appellate Lawyers.
Stanley Kaplan, remembered by WaPo as a ‘Test-Preparation Pioneer,’ is dead at 90. Perhaps he is better remembered as savior of the Washington Post Co.
APOLOGIES—-Yesterday LL spelled the name of HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius like that of famed Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. LL has been listening to just a little too much of the Lemminkäinen Suite lately.
D.C. COUNCIL TODAY—-No events scheduled.
ADRIAN FENTY TODAY—-4 p.m.: remarks, Henson Ridge Community Association donation to MPD announcement, intersection of Tobias Drive and Webster Place SE; 5:15 p.m.: guest, Situation Room with Suzanne Malveaux, CNN.