City Desk

The Needle: Fish Invasion Edition

The Snakeheads Are Coming: When snakehead fish first appeared in Maryland a few years back, it was easy enough to be amused at the prospect of land-borne invasive fish, at least if you didn't live near Crofton, where they were first spotted; the whole thing sounded like a horror movie concept that didn't quite make it to production. The fish, though, had the last laugh: Snakeheads have now been seen in the Rhodes River near Annapolis, which means they've escaped the Potomac and could be spreading faster. Maybe there's a b-movie plot in there, after all. -1

Feed The Meter By Phone: Parking in the District no longer requires hoarding quarters (which is probably good, as a quarter doesn't buy you much time anymore, anyway). The pay-by-phone system city officials rolled out recently is up and running, and early returns look pretty good: More than 37,000 transactions were recorded this month and last, with only 250 mistaken tickets issued—an error rate of less than 1 percent. The typical cause of a problem? Human error. If only smartphones could run everything. +2

In Bloom: The District doesn't always get the same kind of recognition from federal agencies that states do; it took a while to get a D.C.-designed quarter approved, Congress won't let us have two statues, and then there was the whole taxation without sanitation thing. But the Postal Service is showing the District some love. A stamp will debut next year featuring cherry blossoms and the Tidal Basin. Be a good D.C. nationalist, and use the stamps to mail in your angry letters about budget autonomy. +2

Energy Drain: No one would accuse today's weather of being particularly pleasant—it's in the mid-90s, muggy, and thunderstorms are brewing. But the real heat predicted for later in the week is still 24 hours or more away. Lest they be more overwhelmed than usual, Pepco issued some guidelines on how to save power when it heats up: Turn up thermostats, turn on fans, keep the refrigerator closed, shutter windows. Not mentioned: Live in a region with a reliable utility. -1

Yesterday's Needle rating: 43 Today's score: +2 Today's Needle rating: 45

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  • Charles

    Sadly, Bruce Boxleitner "starred" in 2004's "Snakehead Terror" on the SciFi Channel.

  • drez

    The key fact that is missing from the snakehead scare is that in many parts of the world they are considered excellent eating, and have the advantage of remaining fresh for longer than waterbreathing fish because they don't die soon after being brought to the surface.

    Cold comfort, sure, but you gotta work with what you've got...

  • Rocko

    Ummmm, not to be nit picky but there has been a DC stamp featuring the Cherry Blossoms for years...we used it for the stamp on our wedding RSVPs over 6 years ago.