GOVERNMENT | Mayor Gray released the first round of reviews from the Grade DC Initiative, where residents can grade the performance of various city agencies. Most agencies fare in the B-to-C range. In a gift to D.C. stand-up comedians, the worst faring agency is the DMV, with a C-minus. (WaPo, 7/24)
HEALTH | Virginia is dragging its feet in adopting a health care exchange, as required by the recently upheld Affordable Care Act. Failure to do so could cause federal officials to create the exchange for Virginia, meaning state officials would have much less say in how the exchange is structured. (Connection Newspapers, 7/24)
TRANSIT-ORIENTED DEVELOPMENT | The State of Maryland has recently designated a cluster of inner-beltway communities along the Blue Line as “Sustainable Communities.” This means they will be eligible for state grant funds to make their communities more walkable, transit-friendly, and environmentally friendly. Designated communities include Capitol Heights, Fairmont Heights and Seat Pleasant. Previous recipients of this designation include Hyattsville and Laurel. (Gazette, 7/24)
ARTS & CULTURE | Fiesta DC, D.C.’s annual Hispanic Heritage Festival, will be held on Pennsylvania Avenue this September. D.C. Councilmember Jim Graham says that the festival has outgrown its original Mount Pleasant location, but he and others are concerned about the impact of pulling the festival out of the historic center of D.C.’s Hispanic community. (WaPo, 7/24)
HOUSING | As we shared yesterday, the Arlington County Board approved moving forward with a street car on Columbia Pike at its meeting on Monday night. At the same time, they approved the Columbia Pike Neighborhoods Area Plan. ARLnow has an in-depth look at the discussion around adopting the plan, especially how they intend to preserve affordable housing in the area.
HIV/AIDS | Thousands of protesters marched to the White House to call for more resources in the HIV/AIDS fight. 13 people were arrested in front of the White House. (Examiner, 7/24)
Related: “The Normal Heart” raises funds for the Washington AIDS Partnership. (Washington Examiner, 7/24)
Also Related: Jennifer Jue, Program Officer with the Washington AIDS Partnership, shares this cool, interactive look at the AIDS quilt, created by Microsoft Research Connections.
EDUCATION| The Fairfax chapter of the NAACP and an advocacy group called Coalition of The Silence have filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education against Thomas Jefferson High School in Fairfax County, a science and technology magnet program, claiming that black and Latino students are being shut out of the prestigious high school because of the county school system’s systemic failure to identify gifted minority students starting in early elementary gifted-education programs. Black and Latino students currently comprise 4% of the student body, despite making up 32% of the county’s student population. (WaPo, 7/23)
I don’t know about you, but I can’t help but be a bit unnerved by the extremely sudden and massive melting of Greenland’s ice sheet. When an event is described as a “freak event that surprised scientists,” that’s usually not a good sign. At least we’re having some relatively mild weather here today!