City Desk

The Needle: Pokémon Edition

Games Without Frontiers: In the mid-1990s, Pokémon video games, anime cartoons, and merchandise were wildly popular, despite the fact that the TV show caused occasional seizures. Now comes news on two related fronts: Pokémon still exists, and the D.C. area is home to one of its champions. McLean resident Wolfe Glick, 15, won the Masters Division of a national Pokémon tournament over the weekend in Indianapolis, and will go on to represent the United States in a worldwide competition in San Diego in August. So what if the Capitals keep crashing out of the Stanley Cup playoffs? At least the region is a winner in something. +1

Alexandria Is Killing Us: It's been 164 years since Alexandria returned itself to Virginia, breaking off from the District. Had that never happened, Mayor Vince Gray would probably not need to involve the Environmental Protection Agency in order to close down a power plant on the eastern bank of the Potomac that may be spewing dangerous amounts of sulfur dioxide across the river to Ward 8. But since the plant is outside the D.C. government's jurisdiction, that's what the Sierra Club wants him to do. (Meanwhile, the thought of sulfur coming from Virginia confirms some of our suspicions about the state.) -3

Going Up: When Metro launched subway service in 1976, it seemed modern, clean, and cutting-edge. How far it's fallen since then can be marked by the cheers that greeted the installation of a new escalator in the Foggy Bottom station on the Blue and Orange lines, the first new escalator to come on line in the system in 15 years. Another eight new escalators will debut eventually. No word on whether Metro's official policy—that escalators are not meant to be walked on—will be changed as a result. +2

Thermal Overdrive: File this under "you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows": As heat and humidity surged today, the D.C. government declared a hyperthermia alert. The wonky sounding name actually brings along some emergency measures, though; 60 cooling centers run by the Department of Parks and Recreation opened. Pools, of course, are already in business. Tomorrow's expected to be even muggier. Can we just fast-forward to October? -3

Friday's Needle rating: 51 Today's score: -3 Today's Needle rating: 48

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