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April 9, 2012 / Christian Clansky

MoCo and Prince George’s see huge drops in property value…Aging residents face challenges looking for jobs…Using the arts to showcase neighborhoods to tourists [News, 4.9.12]

LOCAL | Both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties are experiencing major drops in property values. Prince George’s has dropped $20 billion in value and Montgomery has fallen an “unprecedented” $10 billion – which has lead to tax hikes and service cuts. (Examiner 4/9)

Two factors are causing the drops — the recession and Maryland’s assessment process, said Stephen Fuller, director of George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.

“Housing stock in suburban Maryland broadly — but Montgomery County is the best of that — is still losing value,” he said.

Maryland assesses one-third of its properties each year, which is causing those values to drop long after those elsewhere have begun to rebound, Fuller said.

– The Post looks at gentrification in the District’s Mount Vernon Triangle (which recently got a delicious Chipotle). (WaPo, 4/9)

AGING/WORKFORCE | Mayor Gray’s One City Hire program is aiming to connect 10,000 District residents to jobs by this September. But the program is having trouble reaching the city’s older residents who lack the skills and advanced education of younger workers. (WaPo, 4/9)

ARTS | The District attracts a lot of tourists – especially for the Cherry Blossom Festival – but most of the visitors stick to attractions on the Mall. This year, the city has been working to draw visitors into neighborhoods. Part of the effort is the 5×5 art project from the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities, which gave five curators grants to scatter temporary arts pieces throughout the city. (Atlantic, 4/9)

“Tourists don’t know about the truly rich communities we have outside downtown,” says Mary Beth Brown, the public art coordinator for the D.C. Commission on the Arts and Humanities…”We wanted to excite people and get them out and exploring.”

EDUCATION | The Washington Teachers’ Union is planning to protest budget cuts by marching on the Wilson Building this afternoon – and union leader Nathan Saunders says that tensions between DCPS and teachers are strained. (Examiner, 4/9) The rally is named “Stop Hurting D.C. Kids” – which seems like a manipulative use of emotion to me.

TRANSIT | Good news – Metro fares might not increase as much as predicted. (Examiner, 4/9) I’m baffled by the amount of wall and train space that Metro doesn’t sell to advertisers.

Hope you all enjoyed the beautiful weekend. On a sad note, Mike Wallace passed away yesterday at age 93. I’d say that one could make a serious case (and I would) that Wallace was second only to Edward R. Murrow in importance to the field of journalism.

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