Archive for the ‘News’ Category

Double, Double, Toil and Trouble

Well, as some of you may be aware, because you are either extra stinky today, thirsty, or just plain out of the wet stuff, WSSC reported a water main failure this morning in Montgomery County. Now, as of the most recent update, it’s now two breaks, which occurred after initiating standard procedures to shut down valves to identify where the leaks are occurring and what is affected overall. There are a number of government closings listed here (aren’t you glad school’s out?!). Good news, and there supposedly is some of it, by 7:30pm tonight we’ll have our water back, but as with every upside, there is a down. The water purification recommendations will be in effect for the next three days (until Thursday).

For those of you who will need potable water, it is recommended that you boil your water (rolling boil) for over a minute before you use it (and for those who need cold water, don’t add ice cubes from your automatic ice maker, unless it’s got a filter on it, wait for it to reach room temperature or cool it in your fridge). Other methods for treating your water can also be achieved through typical backpackers methods such as a SteriPen or purification tablets (REI, HTO, or other outdoor store) for larger volumes.

New dining options in Vienna

Famous Dave’s has a new drive-through at their location on Rt 123.

Photo courtesy of UUMickey

0605082027a.jpg, courtesy of UUMickey

White House Bomb Scare (Part 111231239)

We’ve gotten reports (including some from our own David K) that there’s a bombscare on the western side of the White House (no, it wasn’t the ducks) which has Pennsylvania and 17th Street turned into a real mess. If you can avoid that area for a few hours while they figure out it’s a box of napkins, or something like that, you’d probably be doing yourself a favor.

WTOP Adds Video Re: Water Mains

Check out the cool short video from WTOP about the Water Mains:


This is from earlier, when it was still an “unknown origin” surge.

Broken Mains

Earlier today, we mentioned there were six major breaches in the Water Mains in Southeast, crippling most of the water network. Now, WTOP is reporting their cause is an unknown surge in water pressure from outside the system, which caused major disruption in service as the mains couldn’t handle the pressure and burst. The Post, however, says they’re related to the cleaning of a nearby reservoir last night.

The bursts are all currently being repaired by every crew that WASA can get their hands on. My email to WASA has not yet been returned, requesting a timeline for repairs. I suspect it may not be until tomorrow that the water pressure throughout the area south and east of the Anacostia is restored.

This does bring up an important problem, though, in that DC Fire & EMS depend on the availability of good water pressure to power their firefighting efforts. A good portion of the city, to the south of the Anacostia, is unprotected in case of a fire, as there’s nowhere to get water pressure to attach the fire hoses to. No statement from the Fire Department is available at this time.

bubbling up — Originally uploaded by JamesCalder

Twitter as Modern Local News: Falls Church Explosion Not Serious

I’ve been on Twitter for over a year now, and it never fails to amuse me, but today it did something new: it impressed me. In 30 minutes, a number of tweets from various people cropped up wondering what the explosion was, wondering where it was, how many it had affected, and generally spreading the news of the event. See this twitter search:


Click for larger

A number of people were immediately concerned, trying to find out information, trying to see what happened. People raised the alarm, and then just as quickly, found out what it was.

How awesome is that?

Sure, it’s still dependent on outlets that employ fulltime reporters like WTOP, and the various other mainstream news outlets, but that people could raise a number of individuals who are free and able to search for events like this, and report facts regarding them, it’s nothing short of outstanding and amazing. Thank you, intertubes, and thank you especially, Twitter.

Oh, the Explosion? Part of construction at Fort Belvoir, related to the new National Geospatial Intelligence Agency.

[Update] Or maybe not! Via DCist:

I just wanted to let you know we at Fort Belvoir received a call from the U.S. Geological Survey National Earthquake Information Center indicating an earthquake had occurred about 1:30 p.m. today. Media reports circulating that Belvoir officials had confirmed blasting here caused the reported rumbles are inaccurate. No one from this office had any information to indicate that was the case. Our scheduled subterranean blasts were set for 4:30 p.m. today. There was no unscheduled blasting at the site.
Hope that helps.
Don Dees
Fort Belvoir Public Affairs

Huh! Earthquakes! In DC! What’s next?

Infrastructure Issues?

watermainbreaks.png I love AlertDC. The idea is so simple: send you text messages when something’s up.

Today’s something is six major water mains (8″ to 16″ in diameter) in Southeast DC being broken. Yeah. Five. Check out the map that shows where they are. Thanks to WASA for the service call information for each that’s in the google maps locations. Five of the Six are listed as “High” impact, which probably means there’s a lot of places that don’t have water right now.

Meanwhile, the other link on their front page? An 8.5% Rate Increased Proposed for Next Year. Looks like they might need one…

[Update] WASA is having a press conference at 12:30pm at 14th & B Sts SE. Sadly I can’t get there (damn you, work!) but I should hopefully have another update by 1:30 or 2pm.

Best in the World?

In case you missed it Tuesday, the NHL nominated Ovechkin and two other guys for the Hart Trophy. The Capitals’ captain and centerman is up against Pittsburgh’s Evgeni Malkin and Calgary’s Jarome Iginla.

Honestly, I’m pretty sure they only added Malkin and Iginla because they had to have three nominees.

Yes, yes, I’m solidly in favor of Ovechkin snagging this trophy, despite being a solid Penguins supporter. But I also acknowledge talent; Ovechkin personifies the essence of the Hart and he deservedly should win it.

It’s indeed fortunate that Washington made it to the playoffs – I highly doubt Ovie would’ve been nominated otherwise, though that travesty would’ve been unforgivable, I think.

We’ll find out for sure on June 12 in Toronto, when the 2008 NHL awards are doled out. And if you didn’t know, Nicklas Backstrom is up for the Calder Trophy for top rookie, too – but he’s going to lose that to Chicago’s Jonathan Toews.

Another Capitals member is an awards finalist – Bruce Boudreau was tagged today as a Jack Adams finalist, which goes to the coach who has “contributed the most to his team’s success.” Boudreau replaced Glen Hanlon in late November last year, where the Caps lay belly-up in the Southeast cellar at 6-14-1. Since then, he led the Caps to a 37-17-7 regular season mark (with seven straight wins at the end of the season) and three hard-fought playoff wins before succumbing to the Flyers in Game Seven. He was also the fastest coach to 20 victories (34 games) in Caps history.

Ovie’s already snapped up the titles for most goals (65) and points (112) on the season. The sole reason the Caps even made it into the playoffs by a hair was because Ovechkin carried them on his back. If Ovie wasn’t playing, the Caps would deservedly be in the dregs of the league along with Tampa and L.A.

Ignila makes sense as a nominee – second career 50+ goal season, 98 points total, and spearheading the Flames’ own run into the playoffs. But he didn’t electrify his team or the home crowds like Ovechkin did.

The sole player at a shot of sneaking away with the Hart is the Penguins’ Malkin. And really, despite locking in 106 points with 47 goals – 46 points and 20 goals during a 28 game stretch that kept the Penguins on playoff afterburners when Crosby went down – the only real reason he could skate away with it is if the Penguins win the Cup.

But even I don’t think that’s likely to happen. I foresee quite the Caps ‘sweep’ of the awards in June.

So my heartfelt congratulations to Alex Ovechkin and the rest of the Caps for an electrifying season. I truly hope you all keep that fire lit for next year; it’ll make some awesome match ups for me and my Penguin friends to look forward to.

Metered Response

Photo courtesy of drewsaunders

D.C. Mayor Fenty put the kibosh on any further extensions for cabbies working in the District to install meters. Bottom line? Those cabdrivers have to have meters installed by May 1 or face a $1,000 fine each time they pick up a fare.

Now, I know what you’re all thinking – “All those cabbies are going to have meters installed in a week? But there’s like, a ton of them and only a few installation garages!”

You’d be correct.

So there’s an extension – but it’s not called an extension. I call it “a bone” that’s been thrown to the cabdrivers. Basically, if they’re caught without a meter between May 1 and May 31, then they’ll get a warning. If no meter by June 1, all those warnings will convert to the monetary fine. After June 1, the fines are enforced. This gives them an extra four weeks to get metering devices installed.

All this because Fenty won the court ruling yesterday that upheld the city’s plan to require time-and-distance meters, as opposed to the eons-old zone-fare-customer-ripoff system.

Hey, it’s a good thing.

Although I really suspect cab customers are going to be out of luck snagging a metered cab in May; with the constant temper-tantrums the cabbies have been throwing over this changeover, it wouldn’t surprise me in the least to find many of them riding with dozens of warnings until June 1, in order to soak as many customers as possible.

Meantimes, the drivers are sending their lawyer to the D.C. Court of Appeals, in order to prevent scrapping the zone-ripoff system while the appeal is pending. We’ll see.

Cabs will be spot-checked in May and warnings handed out. Citizens can also report unmetered cabs. According to the press release put out by the mayor’s office, “Passengers who wish to file a complaint against an unmetered cab should obtain the taxicab driver’s name, company and license number and report it to the DC Taxicab Commission at (202) 645-6018 or”

I’ll stick to Metro and my own two feet until this mess is all over.

Cab stand at downtown Hyatt, courtesy of drewsaunders

Capital Sinking



That’s as good a word as any for Capital fans today, after last night’s loss to the Flyers. They now trail the surging Philly team 3-1 in the series.

By far, it was Washington’s best game of this year’s playoffs. But it fell short by a Mike Knuble goal in the second overtime.

I really thought the Caps would take this one away from Philly last night; I watched in awe as Ovechkin delivered a thunderous hit on Knuble in the early stages of the first period and saw that fire in him that reminded me of the last two weeks of the Cap’s regular season. The team was tight, calm, and focused.

It just wasn’t enough.

A less-than-stellar first period start didn’t derail the team, unlike the last two games, with the Caps shutting down the Flyer’s power play after practically giving them three penalties in a row early on. The lead changed hands all night, with Eminger netting his first playoff goal and giving the Caps the lead briefly in the third.

The Caps played hard – they led the game in hits, 38-29 – but the Flyers were ready for them. The lackluster showing last Sunday here in Game Two has really come back to haunt them. Ovechkin and the Caps now face elimination on Saturday, and the stats are not favorable. Philly is 15-2 all-time when leading a best-of-seven series 3-1. It’s rare for a team to roar back from being two games back and unless the Caps can dig deep and find the energy they had in the race to the playoffs, I don’t think they’re much longer for Round One. Winning three games in a row against a physical team that is peaking at the right time is a daunting challenge indeed.

Still, it’s a possibility, and I won’t count the Caps out yet. It’s not over until the final horn sounds.

8 ball, courtesy of jiariles

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