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January 8, 2013 / Christian Clansky

Horizon Foundation launches Better Beverage Finder…D.C. neighborhood ranks among the best for arts in the country…State education policies graded [News, 1.8.13]

HEALTH | The Horizon Foundation leads a group that has launched a project called the Better Beverage Finder, an online database that compares sugar content in hundreds of drinks. The database aims to help parents find alternatives to sugary drinks like soda. The project also features facts that seek to discourage consumption of health drinks. For example (WaPo, 1/8):

[I]f each student in the typical Howard County middle school drank just a single 12-ounce can of soda each day, they would consume approximately 10 tons of sugar over the course of a year.

ARTS | ArtPlace released a report that names 12 communities nationwide that “most successfully combine art, artists and venues for creativity and expression with independent businesses, retail shops and restaurants, and a walkable lifestyle to make vibrant neighborhoods.”

Ranking up there with San Fran’s Mission District, NYC’s Manhattan Valley, and Seattle’s Pike-Pine Corridor is our very own intersection of Adams Morgan, U Street, and Dupont Circle! Check out pages 31-32 in the report to see what makes this neighborhood so unique. Also included in the longer list of top 44 metro areas is Alexandria. (ArtPlace, 1/8)

EDUCATION
– Michelle Rhee’s nonprofit, StudentsFirst, has released a list of grades for education policies across the 50 states and D.C. The District ranks 4th (C+) while Maryland is 17th (D+) and Virginia 38th (D-). The rankings are based on categories including teacher quality, parental involvement, and financial management. (Examiner, 1/8) D.C. was graded well thanks to the IMPACT evaluation system, which Rhee created.

- Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley has proposed $336 million in spending for school construction and improvements next year. (WaPo, 1/8)

- Federal complaint details cheating allegations at D.C. public school (WaPo, 1/9)

HIV/AIDS | Whitman-Walker Health has announced that it will open a new health care facility on 14th St. in mid-2014. Executive Director Don Blanchon says:

Whitman-Walker has nearly doubled our patient base over the past six years and we expect growth to continue as more residents access care through the new health reform law…This new facility will enable WWH to meet the health care needs of our community and provide the highest quality care in a 21st Century health care home.

LOCAL
– If you see a helicopter buzzing a few feet over your head, don’t worry – you aren’t about to be abducted as part of some ultra-secret government conspiracy (probably). The National Nuclear Security Administration is just testing D.C. for gamma rays using a specially outfitted helicopter. Which leads me to believe that we could have a real hulk of a problem on our hands. (WaPo, 1/8)

- Our region’s natives and those who have lived here for a while are probably familiar with Randy Lokke, either by reputation or from seeing him around town. Randy, who passed away recently, was a local legend. He rode his bike all over the region and supported high school sports teams.

He was a good luck charm for many of the teams, a cherished community member, an avid volunteer, and the subject of so many wonderful stories. My favorite is the urban legend that Randy wound up on the front page of the Post standing behind Bill Clinton at a press conference. You never knew where he’d pop up. Read more about him here. (Georgetowner, 1/8)

EVENT | Over the last year, a group of WRAG members have been convening as the Convergence Partnership – funders who, as the name suggests, are interested in the ways in which various issues affecting our region converge with each other. The group has been exploring food systems as an intersection of issues like health, obesity, and workforce development.

This Friday and Saturday, WRAG’s Convergence Partnership is excited to co-sponsor an Agricultural Planning Conference that will look at how the next generation of farmers in Montgomery and Frederick counties can be productive and profitable. Read more and register here.


As our country’s infrastructure continues to crumble, the Netherlands is implementing an efficient, effective, inexpensive, and really freakin’ cool new road project – glow in the dark roads. Photo-luminescent powder will line the roads. It charges with sunlight during the day and glows for ten hours in the dark. Plus, snowflake shapes will show up on the road when there is a danger of ice. Amazing stuff!

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