City Desk

The Needle: One in a Million

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner: A Capitol Heights woman won $1 million from the D.C. lottery and says she plans to spend a chunk of her money buying gifts for sick children as part of her nonprofit work. +6

Football Turnover: The Washington football team could have three starting quarterbacks this season for the first time since 2002 if the team starts Colt McCoy Monday. -2

Read more The Needle: One in a Million

Formal Apology Could End Our Long Municipal Upside-Down Flag Nightmare

 

flag upside down

The cover-up was worse than the initial blunder, and now the D.C. Board of Elections wants the District's voters to know that it's very, very sorry—for everything.

Last week, the board sent out a voter guide printed with —whoops—an upside-down version of the D.C. flag. But instead of saying the whole thing was one giant Photoshop mishap, the agency said it did it as a way to engage voters. (City Desk took the bait.) It ultimately reneged on this and admitted it was indeed a mistake.

The folly earned condemnation from Mayor Vince Gray, who called the whole thing a "fiasco" and said his "faith has been severely tested."

DCBOE issued a formal apology today saying, "Well, we messed up. BIG time."

"The cover of the Voter's Guide recently mailed to you had an image of the District’s flag turned upside down," the apology reads. "That is our fault, and we apologize for displaying the flag in that manner. If that weren’t enough, we also fumbled our handling of the issue, and we apologize to you for that as well."

The apology also recommends that people read what's inside the voter's guide and vote. Read the full apology here. It seems sincere. Let's move on—and vote.

You Can Order a Flu Shot from Uber Today

There's Uber for ice cream, Uber for your convenience store necessities, and now—even though you likely never asked for this—there's Uber for your medical procedures.

Uber announced the creation of UberHEALTH—a service in which Uber will deliver a real-live nurse to your door to administer a flu shot.  For one day only—that day is today—Uber will operate a pilot program partnering with Vaccine Finder to provide this service free of charge.

The service is available today from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Choose the UberHEALTH option on your Uber app, and once the registered nurse arrives in an UberSUV to the requested location, he or she can administer the shot to up to ten people. Uber asks that you arrange for a "suitable indoor environment" to get the shots.

"Flu season is just around the corner and trying to squeeze in your latest immunization this fall may not be on the top of you To Do List," Uber wrote in an announcement. "That's why today we're leveraging the reliability and efficiency of the Uber platform and launching a one-day pilot program-UberHEALTH."

Sedan picture via Shutterstock

District Line Daily: The Margin Walkers

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

This week's cover story looks at Fugazi's influential 13 Songs album 25 years after it was first released. It's a retrospective in the words of the people who lived and learned from it.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • Audits show that one of the leading attorney general candidates, Karl Racine, overcharged clients—including the District government—by hundreds of thousands of dollars while he was the managing partner of the big Venable law firm. [Loose Lips]
  • D.C.'s picturesque tiny houses in Stronghold are splitting up—and it's not amicable. [City Desk]
  • Another man jumped the White House fence Wednesday evening, though he was quickly bitten by a guard dog and apprehended. Two dogs were taken to the veterinarian for injuries sustained during the incident. [Washington Post]
  • Concealed-carry permits are now available in D.C. [News4]

RECENT CITY PAPER STORIES TO HELP YOU MAKE SENSE OF YOUR DAY:

Read more District Line Daily: The Margin Walkers

A Confusing Street in 16th Street Heights Could Soon Make More Sense

4500ArkAve2

A car smashed into this parked car on Arkansas Avenue NW last week.

A busy one-mile stretch of Arkansas Avenue NW in 16th Street Heights is about to get smaller—and that's just what the neighborhood wants.

Local residents have long said Arkansas Avenue between Georgia Avenue NW and 16th Street NW is hazardous, and they've called on the District Department of Transportation to make some modifications, specifically to permanently slim the street down to two lanes—one in each direction. The current setup, residents say, is confusing: During rush hour, parking is restricted along the northbound side of Arkansas, and the street turns into three lanes in both directions. (There are no parking restrictions on the southbound lane, so it's always one lane.)

There are no markings on the wide avenue to designate parking spots, leaving drivers unsure where they can park and where they can drive. On top of that, the wide lanes encourage fast driving.

Last year, a drunk driver severely injured resident Kelly Dillon's leg while Dillon was standing between two parked cars on Arkansas when the driver crashed into one of them, crushing her between the two. And just last week, another 16th Street Heights household—on the 4500 block of Arkansas Avenue NW—had its parked car mangled after a speedy vehicle crashed into it. Resident have even launched a website chronicling the accidents on the street and updating the community about communication with the transportation agency.

DDOT recommended that the lane should be narrowed months ago, but didn't provide concrete details on how or when it should be done. But last week, DDOT released a new report saying it would actually start construction and paint clear parking boxes on the street within 30 days. Rush hour parking restrictions will be eliminated, so Arkansas Avenue will always be one lane of traffic in each direction, with strips of clearly designated parking spots on the north and southbound sides of the street. Read more A Confusing Street in 16th Street Heights Could Soon Make More Sense

The Needle: We’re Toast

Food for Some Yuppie Thought: Slipstream, a new coffee and cocktail shop on 14th Street NW, offers artisanal toast and coffee in cocktail glasses. -3

Foo Fight: What will people do for a $23 Foo Fighters ticket at the Black Cat? They will give some up some weed and $350 on Craigslist-1

Read more The Needle: We’re Toast

A Tiny House Divided

Tiny Houses

D.C.’s tiny houses are the architectural equivalent of that perfect couple you used to envy on Facebook: ultraphotogenic, cultured (they hosted a series of one-act plays last month), and so much quirkier and more interesting than anything going on in your bloated apartment. But now the status has flipped: The tiny houses are divorcing.

After two years of living on their Stronghold lot and inspiring a national housing conversation with their 140-to-200-square-foot homes, the three members of the Boneyard Studios tiny house showcase are breaking up. It’s not amicable. The novel, communal lifestyle presented in Pinky Swear Productions’ Tiny House Plays is absent as the end unfolds—a forced eviction gone public following months of internal squabbling.

On Aug. 19, two of the three trailer owners, Jay Austin and Lee Pera, announced on the community’s website that they would be leaving the lot and taking the Boneyard name with them. (For the purpose of the District’s zoning laws, the houses are technically trailers—they each have wheels, and cannot serve as permanent residences.) The third member, lot owner Brian Levy, would not be joining them in their to-be-determined new location in D.C.

Austin set the scene on his personal blog. “I left behind my tiny house community in May and came back in August to find it in ruins, the short-sighted work of a friend-turned-landlord, landlord-turned-slumlord,” he wrote in a Sept. 25 post. “I’ll soon find myself part of a tiny house community-in-exile, and I’ve spent a lot of time grappling with that: the uncertainty, the loss, the betrayal.”

None of Boneyard’s bike-riding, rainwater-catching, sustainable-living advocates wanted “to devolve this into a Jerry Springer show in a trailer park,” Levy told me. After all, Boneyard was supposed to be an exemplar for a utopian vision: In a city with sky-high rent and gentrification-ravaged neighborhoods, here was genuinely affordable housing (Austin built his for just more than $40,000), conceived in an ultra-sustainable manner, capable of bringing a community together.

Instead, the District’s only tiny house community is falling apart over construction, vegetables, name-calling, and poop.

Read more A Tiny House Divided

Substitute Teacher at D.C. School Accused of Performing Oral Sex On Student

A substitute teacher was charged Tuesday with first degree sexual abuse of a minor after she allegedly performed oral sex on a 17-year-old student behind a desk in a classroom at Options Public Charter School.

The female teacher, 22-year-old Symone Greene, met the student last week while he was serving as her office assistant. According to documents from D.C. Superior Court, the student says he flirted with and gave Greene his number during class. Soon after giving the teacher his number, the student says he received a text message from her. He eventually asked Greene if she was "kinky." Greene responded: "I don't tell I show."

The student later went back to her classroom while the rest of the school was at a pep rally and asked if she would "give him [a number of] sucks for the [number] that he wears on his jersey," according to the affidavit. Greene agreed and she performed oral sex on him while he fondled her underneath her skirt. The student was recording the teacher the entire time without her knowledge. Greene later told him not to tell anyone about the encounter because she was a teacher and he was a student, but court documents say that the student showed the video to five players on the football team and a childhood friend.

The affidavit does not specify how police became aware of the incident, but police obtained the video of the sexual encounter by Monday. Officials had the student text the teacher again, under supervision, asking to meet up. The teacher told him to "chill" and that they need to be "slick" with this so she doesn't get in trouble.

Options Public Charter, located on the 1300 block of E Street NE, was founded in 1996 and specializes in serving students most at risk for dropping out. The school recently came under fire after the city accused its former leaders of diverting more than $3 million away from the school.

Read the document below:

This post has been updated to redact the student's jersey number.

Photo by Darrow Montgomery

Gear Prudence: How Can I Avoid Dating Dainty-Legged Dudes?

gearprudence

Gear Prudence: While I know this isn’t a lonely hearts column, I’m writing with a love question. Recently I broke up with a man who claimed to be an avid cyclist, and he was the owner of a very fine, upscale sort of bicycle. Shortly before he ended the relationship, critical information came to my attention. Instead of biking from his apartment (Eastern Market) to mine (near Dupont Circle), he rode the Metro several stops to Metro Center, disembarked, and then biked the rest of the trip and completed the reverse when returning home. He told me he found the journey too strenuous, noting the significant climb up Capitol Hill. This is a distance I rode often on an iron-tank Bikeshare bicycle none the worse for wear. Where would you suggest I begin to avoid the delicate-legged in the future? —Seeking Indefatigable Nice Guys Loving Exercise

Dear SINGLE: Oh, what a tangled web we weave! As we all know, cycling prowess makes one irresistible to romantic partners, and falsely advertising one’s avidness is a most duplicitous deceit. But be honest with yourself: There were probably clues along the way. Did he “jokingly” wear his helmet backwards the first time you rode together? Did he mistakenly believe the Giro d’Italia to be some kind of Tuscan pita sandwich? Did he claim to go for weekend centuries but return a mere hour later citing an undisclosed “mechanical” and smelling suspiciously of a mimosa brunch? While there’s nothing wrong with combining bike rides and Metro trips, if you value a partner who isn’t daunted by a bit of uphill effort, then maybe it’s for the best that this relationship was a DNF. Read more Gear Prudence: How Can I Avoid Dating Dainty-Legged Dudes?

So Long, Washington City Paper, and Thanks for Tolerating My Desk Squalor

By the time I'd worked at Washington City Paper for two years, my desk looked like I'd been piling crap on it for about 20. So when E. Brady Robinson, a talented D.C. photographer, asked in February 2012 if she could shoot my work area for her ongoing series of "Arts Desks" portraits, I wondered whether it was finally the time to tidy up. But on the day Robinson was scheduled to visit City Paper's office—this was before we moved out of our labyrinthine, wonderfully ramshackle digs on Champlain Street NW—I realized cleaning would be disrespectful to her project. Other than obscuring an idea about Arena Stage I'd written on my whiteboard, I left my desk as it was, down to the yellowing back issues, the unwashed wine glass, and the actual garbage. Here's what Robinson captured:

ebrady

Eventually I did clean—and then, after City Paper moved from Adams Morgan to downtown, I occasionally willed myself to toss or give away my accumulated book galleys, promo CDs, and press releases from the many obscure arts organizations that still send missives to anyone who ever worked here and had the title of arts editor. (Brad McKee and Leonard Roberge, you've got mail.) But a few of the things in that photo from 2012, and a bunch of things I've acquired since, became my trophies—tiny symbols of why I've felt so lucky to work at Washington City Paper, with such a smart and fearless group of journalists, for the last four years and 10 months.

Yesterday was my last as Washington City Paper's managing editor; tomorrow I start a new gig. Here are the objects I took with me: Read more So Long, Washington City Paper, and Thanks for Tolerating My Desk Squalor

District Line Daily: Remembering Ben Bradlee

A morning roundup of news, opinion, and links from Washington City Paper and around the District. Send tips and ideas to citydesk@washingtoncitypaper.com.

Sign up: To get District Line Daily—or any of our other email newsletters—sent straight to your mailbox, click here.

Legendary Washington Post editor Ben Bradlee—who presided over the paper during Watergate and the Pentagon Papers—died Tuesday at the age of 93. Read the Post's obituary here and some anecdotes of how Bradlee oversaw the Marion Barry coverage that  ended in a FBI sting catching the mayor smoking crack on video.

LEADING THE MORNING NEWS:

  • The District released a two-year action plan for implementing its ambitious moveDC transportation plan, which includes dedicated bus lanes on parts of Georgia Avenue NW, real-time bus arrival information on bus shelters throughout the city, and 15 miles of new or upgraded bike lanes in the next two years. [Housing Complex]
  • The David Catania camp sent out a Scandal-themed flyer—as in the TV show—showing all the ways he thinks Muriel Bowser is corrupt. [Washington Post]
  • Mayor Vince Gray said the Board of Elections sending out a voter guide with an upside D.C. flag was a "complete fiasco" and that his "faith has been tested severely." [Washington Post]
  • Three sexual assault incidents were reported within hours Sunday evening; one in Georgetown, one in Foggy Bottom, and one in Dupont. Police do not believe the incidents are related. [News4]

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Read more District Line Daily: Remembering Ben Bradlee

Ben Bradlee, Legendary Post Editor, Dies at 93

Benjamin_C._Bradlee

Unless you haven't read it in about 50 years, the Washington Post as you know it is the way it is because of Benjamin Bradlee.

Bradlee, who died Tuesday at 93, edited the paper for 26 years, presiding over its publication of the Pentagon Papers and its coverage of Watergate, launching the Style section, and turning the Post into an institution that could rival—or at least aim to rival—the New York Times as a national newspaper. (He was also, in one of the bits of luck like those that dot his 1996 memoir A Good Life, fortunate to retire from the job in 1991, before the economics of the print news business soured.)

"Ben Bradlee was the best American newspaper editor of his time and had the greatest impact on his newspaper of any modern editor,” former Post publisher Don Graham told former Post managing editor Robert Kaiser for his obituary of Bradlee.

His biggest journalistic triumphs at the Post were on national news, even if Watergate started out on the Metro desk; his biggest failure, Janet Cooke's invented 1980 piece "Jimmy's World," about an imaginary 8-year-old heroin addict, was a local story. But even though we at Washington City Paper like to snark at the daily now and then, it's impossible to overstate the significance to the city of the Post Bradlee built, along with the late former publisher Katharine Graham and her son Don.

Read more Ben Bradlee, Legendary Post Editor, Dies at 93

The Needle: Foo Fight

Times Like These: If you didn't start lining up outside the Black Cat hours before tickets went on sale today at 6 p.m. for Friday's surprise Foo Fighters show, you didn't stand a chance at getting tickets. Sucks if you wanted to go and, you know, had to work today. -3

Arlington Man: A man was arrested in Arlington for doing naked pushups in the middle of the street while under the influence of PCP. -1 Read more The Needle: Foo Fight

D.C. Struggles to Keep Its Pants Up On Metro

More men have apparently felt the need to drop their pants and expose themselves on the Metrorail system in recent months.

Metro Transit Police said today that in the past two months they have seen an increase in indecent exposure incidents and are currently searching for four men involved in unrelated incidents on the Metrorail system.

"Indecent exposure cases can be a gateway crime to more serious sexual misconduct, which is why we have placed a priority on advancing these investigations," said Metro Transit Police Chief Ron Pavlik. "We are absolutely committed to keeping Metro a safe space for all riders."

The four incidents occurred on a Red Line train at the Rhode Island Metro station at 12:15 a.m. on Sept. 3; a Red Line train at the Gallery Place station at 9:51 p.m. on Aug. 28; a Green Line train at Naylor Road at 11:25 p.m on Sept. 13; and a Red Line train at Glenmont at 2:45 p.m. on Oct. 6.

Anyone with information on these individuals is asked to call Metro Transit Police at (202) 962-1212. Tips can also be sent via text to MyMTPD (696873).

Read more D.C. Struggles to Keep Its Pants Up On Metro

New Law Could Ban Sidewalk Biking Beyond Downtown D.C.

The debate over the etiquette of biking on a sidewalk could soon be resolved on some city streets if a newly introduced law makes it past the D.C. Council.

Ward 1 Councilmember Jim Graham introduced legislation today that would make biking on a sidewalk illegal when there is a bike lane running in the same direction available. Biking on the sidewalk is already illegal in the District's Central Business District—an infraction that comes with a $25 ticket. Outside of the business district, cyclists are permitted to ride on sidewalks provided they do so in a "safe and non-hazardous manner."

The Sidewalk Safety Amendment Act of 2014 would apply to one- or two-wheeled bikes—sorry unicyclers—and Segways. Riders under 12 years of age and bicycles with smaller than 20-inch wheels would still be permitted on the sidewalk.

The legislation defines a bike lane as a "demarcated lane in the public roadway for use primarily by bicycles and other permitted devices."

Graham says he introduced the bill because he has received numerous reports of cyclists recklessly riding on sidewalks without regard for pedestrian safety. He cited a tragedy four years ago in which an elderly man died after he and his wife were struck by a hit-and-run cyclist on the sidewalk near the Convention Center.

Read more New Law Could Ban Sidewalk Biking Beyond Downtown D.C.

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