News

D.C. snow drought approaches record-breaking levels

Illustration of a caution sign with a snowflake instead of a circle in the exclamation point.

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

D.C. is in a snow drought, but there's a slim chance we might see some flakes soon.

What’s happening: The Washington area is close to breaking the record for going the longest without snow, per National Weather Service data going back to 1874.

Cuneyt Dil
Jan 30, 2023 - News

A hotel, apartments, and Dave Chappelle comedy are in the mix for Reeves Center redevelopment

Reeves Center

The Reeves Center site takes up a full city block. Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A Dave Chappelle Comedy Club, Marion Barry Square, hundreds of apartments, a hotel, and a new NAACP headquarters are all in the mix for a big redevelopment on 14th and U streets.

Why it matters: D.C. is transforming the vast and aging Reeves Center municipal building into something that better fits the area's booming nightlife and honors the Black history of the U Street corridor.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Jan 27, 2023 - News

The fight against fentanyl at school

Pills scattered on a yellow surface.

Photo: Eric Baradat/AFP via Getty Images.

Two suspected fentanyl overdoses among teenagers this month have Montgomery County school officials pushing back with an outreach to parents.

Why it matters: Youth fentanyl overdoses increased by 78% in 2022, county officials say, including both fatal and non-fatal overdoses.

  • Last year, 11 young people in Montgomery County died of an overdose compared to five in 2021.

Driving the news: A 15-year-old public school student died this month of a suspected overdose, and just this week, a student at a Wheaton high school who suffered a suspected fentanyl overdose while at school was revived with naloxone, an overdose-reversing drug.

What’s happening: Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery Goes Purple, a substance use and overdose awareness campaign, will have a family forum on Saturday morning at Clarksburg High School about the risks of fentanyl. It will include training on how to administer naloxone, and naloxone kits will be distributed.

County officials told reporters this week that naloxone is available in the nurse’s office at all public schools and staff are trained on how to use it. They are considering increasing the number of people who carry it and putting naloxone in locations where defibrillators are placed throughout the school.

  • All county fire stations also have free naloxone kits, which officials tell Axios that minors can access.

Officials say young people are likely to be using drugs they perceive to be prescription painkillers, like oxycodone.

Zoom out: Fentanyl, a potent synthetic opioid, is a growing threat nationwide, flooding the illegal drug market and being laced into other drugs.

What they’re saying: An increasing number of clients are coming to Children’s National Hospital's addiction program for opioid use, as more young people seek treatment, says Siva Kaliamurthy, a psychiatrist at the hospital.

  • “When we look at the national data, substance use trends in adolescents have stayed the same or decreased compared to the past years, but overdose rates have increased. This is likely due to contamination with illicitly manufactured fentanyl,” Kaliamurthy says.
  • He urges families to start conversations about substance use early with children and to avoid punishment and yelling. Maryland parents have access to a free online resource that guides them on how to have these conversations.

Of note: Maryland has a Good Samaritan law that protects people from legal trouble if they administer naloxone or try to help someone who has overdosed.

Saturday’s forum at Clarksburg High School is from 9:30am-11:30am.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Jan 26, 2023 - News

George Washington University installs Plan B vending machine

Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

George Washington University now has a vending machine for emergency contraception.

Why it matters: Students advocated for the vending machine after the overturn of Roe v. Wade sparked concerns about access to reproductive health care, student body president Christian Zidouemba tells Axios.

Cuneyt Dil
Jan 26, 2023 - News

D.C.'s top two leaders disagree on how to save downtown

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson

The two disagree on development. Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C.’s top two leaders aren't seeing eye-to-eye about how to revive downtown, with Council chair Phil Mendelson opposing Mayor Muriel Bowser's proposals to raise building height limits and increase development.

Why it matters: The stark differences portend a stalemate between the mayor and the council over how to revitalize the District in the aftermath of the pandemic.

Cuneyt Dil
Jan 25, 2023 - News
Town Talker

Scoop: Congress comes for D.C. crime laws

Illustration of hands drawing red lines over the US Capitol. 

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

House Republicans are ushering in a new era of intervention in local D.C. affairs, and their first target is the city's handling of crime.

What I’m hearing: Wielding the authority that Congress has final say over the capital city, Rep. Andrew Clyde (R-Ga.) is leading the charge with a bill that would block the D.C. Council’s attempts to lessen penalties for some violent crimes.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Jan 24, 2023 - News

Virginia lawmakers introduce bill that would allow a casino in Fairfax County

A new casino could go along the Silver Line in Fairfax County. Photo: Eric Lee/The Washington Post via Getty Images

Two Virginia lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow a casino to be built in Fairfax County, right along the Silver Line, the Washington Business Journal reports.

Why it matters: Virginia code currently only allows casinos in cities of a certain size, but the new legislation would amend it to have them in counties under certain conditions, and Fairfax County is the only one that would qualify, per WBJ.

Cuneyt Dil
Jan 24, 2023 - News

George Washington Parkway repairs will cut traffic lanes into 2025

A map of the GW Parkway through Northern Virginia along the Potomac

The timeline of the project running from Spout Run Parkway to the Beltway. Map: Axios edit of National Park Service map

The northern portion of the George Washington Parkway is undergoing a major repair project that will cause headaches for drivers — and restore several lost views of the Potomac Gorge.

Why it matters: The Virginia roadway is a historic gateway into Washington for around 26 million drivers each year. The northern section was completed in 1962 and is now reaching the end of its lifespan.

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