A vial of the Moderna COVID-19 vaccine. Photo by Darrow Montgomery.

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While the national media fawned over the A-listers in town to celebrate the Kennedy Center Honors and lamented the loss of long-serving Senator Bob Dole, locals worried about the spread of the Omicron variant and D.C.’s rising crime rate. Here’s what you may have missed over the weekend:

“Take the Shot” Campaign Expands to Ages 5 to 11

Starting today, families with children ages 5 to 11 have more vaccination options for the whole family, as City Paper reported. Apart from Safeway-operated walk-up sites at the Columbia Heights Education Campus and Fort Stanton Recreation Center serving individuals 12 and older, vaccines for people ages 5 and up will be available at city-run pop-up sites. Also starting today, families can make an appointment to get children vaccinated at home by calling 1 (855) 363-0333. 

Mayor Muriel Bowser and D.C. Health Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt announced this expansion of the “Take the Shot” campaign and implemented a mask “advisory” late last week amid nationwide concerns over the newest COVID variant, Omicron. In response to questions about why she wasn’t reinstating the mask mandate instead, Bowser said she wasn’t worried right now, citing steady COVID-19 infection case rates and similar guidelines in other major cities. Since then, three Omicron cases have been identified in Maryland. Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George wrote via Twitter, “It won’t be long before DC does too. Reinstating our indoor mask mandate is still the right and responsible thing to do.”

In his media briefing this morning, Council Chair Phil Mendelson criticized Bowser’s refusal to reinstate a mask mandate but said the Council will not intervene yet.

Contee Holds Crime Summit with D.C. Youth

D.C. Police Chief Robert Contee held a summit on Saturday at Eastern High School in Ward 6 to talk to the city’s youth about the effects of crime on their communities, WTOP reports. The event, “Elevating Youth Voices,” was a collaboration between the Rethinking DC Youth and Policing Program at George Washington University and the Metropolitan Police Department.

“In some spaces, young people have been sidelined in silence and your voices are not being heard,” Contee said at the summit. “That stops today, you have direct access to the chief of police of the Metropolitan Police Department.”

Que Wallace, a former D.C. police sergeant whose teen daughter was killed by a stray bullet in 2017, joined Contee in talking to the group about the impact of decisions around violence. “There are other ways to deal with conflict,” Wallace said. “You don’t have to pick up a gun and shoot nobody.”

When given the floor after focus group discussions, many teens in attendance said that they saw a lot of negatives in the police presence in their neighborhoods. They cited bullying, metal detectors, lack of police training, and racial profiling as just some of the factors contributing to bad police-community relations and barriers to improving crime. 

Doling Out Memories

Washingtonians remembered the former U.S. Senator and 1996 Republican presidential nominee Bob Dole, who died yesterday at age 98. Dole, a World War II veteran, advocated for veterans’ rights and raised millions to build the World War II Memorial on the National Mall. 

Dole would spend his Saturdays swapping stories with veterans from all over the world at the memorial after it opened to the public in 2004. Yesterday, veterans visited the memorial to honor and exchange their own stories about Dole. Swedish veteran Robert Humeur surveyed the tribute to the war in the Pacific and told WUSA9 that the WWII Memorial helped him reflect on his service alongside American troops in Afghanistan. 

“It’s very nice to remember,” said Humeur. “It brings back memories from service abroad.”

Watergate complex concierge Martina Narayanan, who got to know Dole when he moved into the building, said the senator financially supported her and her family when her husband had a heart attack and was unable to work for months. 

Ambar Castillo (tips? acastillo@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • To see today’s COVID-19 data, visit our coronavirus tracker.
  • About half of D.C. jail residents have been moved to other federal facilities due to squalid living conditions. [WTOP]
  • Mayor Bowser is re-upping The Food Access Fund, which encourages restaurants and grocers to open stores in areas with less culinary options. [Axios]

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

  • Attorney General Karl Racine endorses Zachary Parker for the Ward 5 Council seat. [Axios]
  • AG’s office to take a more aggressive approach to affordable housing. [Urban Turf]

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

Credit: Mykl Wu

What You Need to Know Before Hitting Restaurant and Bar Holiday Markets

If you’re in search of the perfect gift, skip the search bar and buy presents […]

  • A new Persian restaurant opens in Georgetown. [Washingtonian]
  • ​​The owners of 2Fifty Texas BBQ take over Dumm’s Pizza and Subs next door. [Post]

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

Major Life Music’s Holiday Giveback

Keeping in the spirit of the holiday season, D.C.’s boutique, independent record label, Major Life […]

  • The Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture will help support the James Solomon Russell–Saint Paul’s College Museum and Archives, which pays tribute to the shuttered Saint Paul’s College, a private, historically Black college that operated from 1888 to 2013. [NBC Washington]
  • The Kennedy Center Honors returned this weekend, with a president once again in the presidential box, celebrating Bette Midler, Lorne Michaels, Joni Mitchell, Berry Gordy, and Justino Díaz. [Post]
  • A new Capital Hill store will help you shop local this holiday season [Washingtonian]

By Sarah Marloff (tips? smarloff@washingtoncitypaper.com)

  • The Washington Football Team has now won four games in a row. [NFL.com
  • Maryland football will face Virginia Tech in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 29 at Yankee Stadium. [Testudo Times]
  • The Washington Spirit traded defender Tegan McGrady, a 2022 first round college draft pick, and a 2022 international roster spot pick to the San Diego Wave. In exchange, the Wave cannot select any Spirit players in the Dec. 16 expansion draft. [Black & Red United]

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

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