Exterior of D.C.'s Department of Employment Services headquarters
D.C.'s Department of Employment Services. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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With news of the Supreme Court ruling allowing a Texas anti-abortion law to go into effect, the fall of the last stronghold of resistance in Afghanistan, and the sobering stories of Ida-related casualties all occurring on or just before Labor Day weekend, it’s been tough to keep up with local, national, and international news. We’ve got you covered, at least on the local front. 

Here’s a roundup of some major District-area news that developed over or just before the weekend: 

Bye x 5 to Some Federal Unemployment Benefits 

The federal unemployment benefit programs listed below ended for qualifying D.C. residents on Sept. 4

  • Pandemic Unemployment Assistance
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation
  • Extended Benefits
  • $300 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation 
  • $100 Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation 

The pandemic-specific benefits, originally set to expire earlier this year, were extended to early September through the American Rescue Plan Act. Late last month, D.C. residents expressed frustration after Committee on Labor and Workforce Development Chair and Councilmember Elissa Silverman shared a Legal Aid Society explainer on the action and resources for impacted folks on Twitter. Legal Aid encourages residents in this situation to apply for programs like SNAP benefits, TANF, Alliance/Immigrant Children’s Program, Medicaid, and rental and utility assistance. 

Eligible D.C. residents who get traditional unemployment benefits will continue to receive them, but may need to file a new claim or reopen an existing one to determine their eligibility if their traditional benefits have been exhausted or have expired, according to the Department of Employment Services (DOES) website. 

The Green and Yellow lines are back and other Metro changes

Four stations on Metro’s Green and Yellow lines officially reopened today: Greenbelt, College Park, Prince George’s Plaza, and West Hyattsville. Starting in late May, trains stopped at Fort Totten so WMATA could repair and update the platforms. WMATA also increased the frequency of trains and discounted fares. Here are all the changes that took effect Sept. 5:

  • Weekend rides will be a flat $2 fare for a one-way trip. Bus transfers are free.
  • Weekday trains will run no more than 3 to 10 minutes apart during morning (6:30 a.m. to 9:30 a.m.) and evening (3 p.m. to 7 p.m.) rush hours.
  • Weeknight trains will run every 4 to 12 minutes between 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. and every 5 to 15 minutes after 9:30 p.m.
  • Metro will now stay open until 1 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights and open at 7 a.m. Sunday. Weekend trains will also run every 5 to 15 minutes.

Activists Respond to Supreme Court Ruling

A ruling from the highest court in the land Wednesday upheld a restrictive abortion law in Texas that many fear will inspire similar laws aross the country. The day the Supreme Court ruled in favor of the Texas law, Women’s March leaders announced nationwide protests that will take place on Oct. 2. Meanwhile, local activists are responding. This Thursday from 6 to 7 p.m., reproductive justice organization Reproaction will hold a teach-in about self-managed abortion outside the Supreme Court

Public Schools COVID Update

With the first week of classes over, DCPS parents and local officials’ calls for Mayor Muriel Bowser to allow virtual instruction are growing louder. Since Aug. 19, there have been 60 notices of COVID-positive cases across the District’s public schools, some of them reflecting multiple cases at the same schools. 65 percent of those notices were reported since the start of school. 

DCPS parent Carletta Allen is one of many parents who have seen and reported long lines of students awaiting entry outside DCPS facilities throughout the first week of in-person classes, stressing concerns around a lack of social distancing even before students enter the building. 

“Our children are not testers, expendable, nor to be used to ‘see how things will go’,” Allen wrote to a city official on Sept. 1, describing her child’s experiences roaming high-traffic school hallways while searching for her correct schedule. “This isn’t fair.” 

No Labor Day Away from COVID

Such is the Labor Day tradition: Despite the recent surge of COVID-19 cases from the delta variant, residents in and outside the DMV traveled to spend time with family and friends this weekend. It wasn’t without significant risk. The number of COVID-related hospitalizations this Labor Day rose by more than 160 percent compared to last year’s, the Post reports. On Sept. 7 last year, 38,192 people across the nation were hospitalized with the virus, while the number shot up to 99,270 on Monday, despite vaccines being widely available now and unavailable last fall.  

While COVID positivity rates in the District remain relatively low compared to other cities, the number of COVID-related hospitalizations has risen, including among children, a population long seen as less at risk.

Concerns around delta have now been complicated by a new and possibly more dangerous COVID strain: Mu, which has been reported in the District as well as in 47 states nationwide. Mu, a variant of interest (VOI), is being evaluated for properties that may offer it immunity from COVID-19 vaccines, which would make it a variant of concern (VOC). We can only hope it doesn’t make the cut.

Ambar Castillo and Bailey Vogt (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com and bvogt@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s coronavirus cases and more information, visit our coronavirus dashboard
  • Four people died and at least four others were wounded in string of shootings in Brightwood Park and Park View. [DCist]
  • Police arrested two 13-year-olds Friday on charges of carjacking, armed robbery, and theft following a string of incidents from Aug. 27 to Sept. 3. [WTOP
  • Howard University cancelled Tuesday classes after a ransomware attack. Officials are investigating but say they’ve found no evidence of stolen personal data. [WTOP]
  • The Frederick Douglass Memorial Bridge is on its way to opening ahead of schedule. It’s open to pedestrians now, and will be fully open to vehicles in both directions by Thursday. [NBC4]
  • A fire spread across three townhomes in Marshall Heights. No injuries were reported. [WTOP]

By Ambar Castillo and Bailey Vogt (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com and bvogt@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • At-Large Councilmember Christina Henderson had her second baby. [Twitter]
  • An’Twan Gilmore’s death at the hands of a D.C. cop has changed Jordan White, the woman who stopped to record. [Post
  • Donald Trump is inching closer to selling his leasing rights to his D.C. hotel. [Axios]

By Mitch Ryals (tips? mryals@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • A delivery-only outpost of HipCityVeg is coming to Brentwood. [Washingtonian]
  • Where to pick apples this season. [Thrillist]
  • The story behind the Taste of Eurasia takeaway restaurant in Alexandria. [Post]

By Laura Hayes (tips? lhayes@washingtoncitypaper.com)

City Lights: Moomin Animations Loves Love and Chosen Family

You’ll recognize Moomintroll when you see him: He’s a white, doughy, hippo-looking creature with big, […]

  • D.C.’s small venues are keeping the music alive this fall. [Post]
  • At long last, E Street Cinema is reopening. [Washingtonian]
  • Howard University fully establishes the Chadwick A. Boseman College of Fine Arts to honor the late actor and alum. [Twitter, YouTube]
  • COVID is throwing a wrench in a long-running jazz jam’s plans. [DCist]

By Emma Sarappo (tips? esarappo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

Kelyn Soong is away from his desk. Sports links will return Sept. 13.

By Kelyn Soong (tips? ksoong@washingtoncitypaper.com)