Paige Hopkins
Aug 18, 2022 - News

D.C.'s “new” neighborhoods, and how they came to be

Illustration of a construction crane lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane, which is lifting another crane.
Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

For those of us who’ve called D.C. home for a decade or more, it sometimes feels as if we’re living in an entirely new city. 

The leafy Southwest quadrant used to feel off the grid to many Washingtonians, prized by members of Congress and a couple of Supreme Court justices who wanted to stay out of the spotlight. Today the neighborhood is home to Arena Stage’s cutting-edge architecture and a mini city-within-a-city along the waterfront at The Wharf. 

Paige Hopkins
Aug 17, 2022 - News

D.C.'s federal workforce fears Schedule F

Photo illustration of President Trump pointing with an image of a person carrying a box of office supplies
Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Former President Trump’s plan to weed out government employees who aren’t aligned with his policies has struck fear in the local rank and file.

What’s happening: Federal unions and other organizations supporting workers are pushing back against the so-called Schedule F plan and widely supporting legislation that would protect the government's merit-based employment system.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Aug 16, 2022 - News

D.C. to crack down on marijuana gifting shops

Photo: Bill O'Leary/The Washington Post via Getty Images

A D.C. task force will begin cracking down on I-71 shops that gift marijuana in exchange for purchases.

Catch up quick: Such gifting shops cropped up after a 2014 law legalized possessing small amounts of marijuana in D.C., but not buying or selling it.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Aug 15, 2022 - News

D.C. expands monkeypox vaccine eligibility

Photo by Stefani Reynolds/AFP via Getty Images.

D.C. announced on August 12 that it is expanding eligibility for monkeypox vaccine doses to include anyone who has had multiple sexual partners during the past two weeks.

Details: The expanded eligibility also includes some non-D.C. residents, such as people who work in D.C., local college students, and anyone who has received care from health services in D.C.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Aug 11, 2022 - News

Hains Point pool fight between D.C., architect

Hains Point pool.
Photo: Paige Hopkins/Axios

D.C. has been locked in a behind-the-scenes legal battle with an architect over the renovation of the pool at Hains Point — leaving it without any timeline for reopening. 

Why it matters: This makes six summers that the Olympic-sized pool — a popular destination for swim teams — has been shuttered.   

Catch up quick: The city had planned to replace the pool, pool deck, and bathhouse. 

  • But in 2020 the project was halted because the site kept filling up with groundwater as crews were working. 

What’s happening: The city proceeded to sue Hughes Group Architects for breach of contract and wants the company to pay more than $14 million to cover the project costs. 

Details: D.C.’s Department of General Services alleges that it received an “inaccurate” report from Hughes misstating the groundwater level, according to the lawsuit.

  • The groundwater depth was cited as 23 feet, the agency tells Axios — deep enough for the new pool. 
  • But once construction began, it turned out the level was “significantly more shallow,” the agency says, and the site “consistently filled with water.” 

The upshot: The renovation couldn’t go forward “without substantial additional investment,” per the agency. 

The other side: Hughes denies that it broke its obligation to the city and says that the city began construction without its own contractor flagging discrepancies, according to the company’s filings.

  • Additionally, when a potential solution for completing the project surfaced, "DGS failed to mitigate its damages by abandoning the project, and destroying some of the improvements made, instead of finishing it," per the filings.
  • A lawyer for Hughes declined to comment to Axios. 

What’s next: The city says that the Contract Appeals Board has a hearing scheduled for February 2023. In the meantime, staff is still working to stabilize the pool.

Paige Hopkins
Aug 9, 2022 - News

Poll: D.C. Metro riders' work-arounds, nightmares

A commuter waits for the Metro.
Photo: Bill Clark/CQ-Roll Call via Getty Images

Nearly 400 of you took our poll from last week to share how Metro messes over the previous nine months have impacted your life and commute. 

  • Albeit unscientific, the survey shows that the agency has a long way to go to re-earn your trust.

Why it matters: New CEO Randy Clarke has spent his first two weeks on the job running something of a listening tour, broadcasting to riders that he hears us and knows how much work there is to do.

What you’re saying: 70% of respondents have been riding Metro less since wait times increased last fall.

  • Almost 40% have pivoted to driving or carpools.
  • Roughly 30% have resorted to rideshare apps.

Metro’s unreliability is taking a financial toll: 70% of you say you’re shelling out more on transportation. 

  • Estimates ranged from an extra $50 to $200 per month.

Zoom in: Some respondents say they’ve stopped using the city’s public transportation for important activities. Others wrote in with their horror stories.

  • A respondent who said they’re an officer at the Pentagon was 90 minutes late for a briefing.
  • A parent said they were late picking up their child, which cost them a $100 fee.
  • One respondent missed a doctor's appointment that was scheduled three months prior.
  • A couple missed their reservation for their 49th-anniversary dinner. They ended up "at home eating hot dogs!”
  • Also: A respondent who ID’ed themselves as a Metro consultant was late for a meeting…with a Metro VP. 

What’s next: No surprise here. The vast majority of you say more frequent service, a return of the 7000-series cars, and a higher prioritization of safety would boost your confidence in the agency.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Aug 4, 2022 - News

Children's National is interrupting violence one child at a time

Photo: Sarah Silbiger/Getty Images

For the first time ever, Children’s National Hospital has a violence intervention program aimed at youth victims.

Why it matters: Just last year, 12 children ages 17 and younger were victims of homicide in D.C., up from 11 in 2020.

Chelsea Cirruzzo
Aug 1, 2022 - News

D.C. AG wants to freeze Casa Ruby's bank account

Ruby Corado sits with former and current clients of Casa Ruby. Photo: Linda Davidson/The Washington Post via Getty Images

D.C.’s attorney general wants to freeze the financial accounts of a non-profit that once provided housing to LGBTQ+ youth, after a bombshell Washington Post report detailed financial mismanagement by the organization.

Why it matters: The attorney general’s office is responsible for policing non-profit organizations to ensure they are using funds consistent with their mission.

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