City Desk

The Needle: ¡Ay, Que Calor! Edition

Yes, Actually, It Is Hot Enough For Me: Leave town. Now. That's the only reasonable advice for how to deal with the early heat wave that's suffocating the region today—it is, after all, still only spring. The high temperature at National Airport was 102 degrees, tying a record first set in 1874, and combined with last summer's ridiculous heat, makes this the first back-to-back years with three-digit temperatures in June since 1933-34. We had a joke to make here, but we went outside a few hours ago, and our brains are still recovering. -4

We Don't Need No Water: No matter how well the city trains its firefighters, no matter how quickly they respond to calls, and no matter how well people in a burning building remember their "stop, drop, and roll" elementary school-era instructions, there's one essential component to dealing with any fire: water. This year, unlike in past years, there should be enough of it if it's needed. Fire hydrants and underground pipes like the ones that failed in blazes at the Georgetown Library in 2007 and Peggy Cafritz Cooper's house in 2009 are now in good shape, officials say. The city set a goal of having not more than 1 percent of hydrants out of service at any one time; as of June 1, the total was .41 percent. Which is good news for everyone except the people who live on whatever block the hydrant's busted on. +2

Crimefighters-R-Us: Constituent service is the lifeblood of local politics. Here in the District, Yvette Alexander really means it, apparently. The Ward 7 D.C. Council member helped catch a guy who'd stolen a Kindle near Freedom Plaza Wednesday, then yelled at the unlucky thief as Fox 5's cameras rolled. Phil Mendelson, who chairs the public safety committee, better watch out; Alexander has hands-on experience now. +2

Two If By Sea: Driving during rush hour is bad for blood pressure; taking Metro means unexplained delays and rising fares. How about getting to work by boat? Evidently, that won't work either; American River Taxi, which launched a Southwest waterfront-to-Georgetown route in April, has shut its morning service down. The ride was $8, and took 30 minutes, making it both more expensive and slower than other, non-riparian forms of public transit. Then again, maybe it'd be worth it to be able to respond to emails on the way to work with a simple, "I'm on a boat." -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 57 Today's score: -1 Today's Needle rating: 56

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