City Desk

The Needle: Better Than Google+ Edition

Metro+: Rush hour on Metrorail is not, for the most part, a pleasant experience. Crowded trains, jammed platforms, occasional delays—it's enough to make you stay at work late just to avoid it all. The transit system is rolling out a new plan to deal with the worst of it, called Rush+, which will expand service to certain routes during the busiest times. Sadly, they missed the chance to turn the whole thing into an elaborate Google+ parody by calling the expanded routes circles. +1

Upper Northwest Underworld: The battles in Spring Valley these days tend to be of the town v. gown or developer v. NIMBY variety. But during World War I, when the neighborhood was a test site for chemical weapons, things were much uglier. Now officials think they've found a site referred to in photos from the last century as "Hades," where canisters of mustard gas were buried when the testing was done. Residents aren't sure they've got the right place. Either way, we're pretty sure that's not the sort of nickname you want anyone applying to your neighborhood. -3

Get The Lead Out: Not only was D.C. tap water heavily polluted with lead about a decade ago, but the city lied to the Environmental Protection Agency about it. Or so says a report out from the District's Office of Inspector General, which charges that officials stopped testing water for lead in areas where they expected to find lots of it. We tried to think of a joke here, but all the tap water we drank between 2001 and 2003 seems to have killed too many brain cells to write a good one. -3

March Sadness: There weren't many D.C. area teams in the NCAA men's basketball tournament to begin with, and now there are none. The Georgetown Hoyas lost a brutal game yesterday to North Carolina State, and every other school from Maryland or Virginia was bounced by the end of the first weekend, too. That's the bad news. The good news: Only a few more months before Kenner League and Goodman League games start up again. -2

Friday's Needle rating: 65 Today's score: -7 Today's Needle rating: 58

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