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May 16, 2010

Misbegotten Enthusiasms

Dear Enthusiasts:

Whenever I think of the misbegotten enthusiasms of the food police, I think of Jack LaLanne, the exercise and diet guru. LaLanne has a standard rule for choosing which foods to eat: “If it tastes good, spit it out.” In a capsule, that is the hair shirt nutritionalism that is behind efforts to retrain children to avoid the foods they actually like. That is why the two top targets of the food police today are sugar and salt, ingredients that pose no real dietary or health dangers to the average person, but that make food taste good. An article in the current issue of Time Magazine (,9171,1987591,00.html#ixzz0oA1zd8iX) extolls the anti-salt movement, but includes Anthony Bourdain’s commonsense refutation of it: “Traditional, intelligent and skilled used of salt has become confused in the minds of nanny-state nitwits with the sneaking of salt into processed convenience foods. Nothing else encapsulates the mission of the food ideologues better than this latest intrusion: they desire a world without flavor.” (Of course, all foods have been proven to kill you, not just sugar and salt, and there are “scientific studies” that prove nearly all foods should be avoided. Over the last several decades, eggs, milk, coffee, chocolate, meats of all kinds, bread, pasta, coffee again, grains, butter, yogurt, soy, and coffee again have been targeted by nutritionists and “food scientists” as health dangers.)

A photograph taken at an event at Alice Deal Middle School on Thursday ( epitomizes the excesses of the anti-pleasure cult. It shows Council Chairman Vincent Gray and US Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack celebrating the passage of Councilmember Mary Cheh’s Healthy Schools initiative by serving the students large portions of steamed kale and roasted garlic cauliflower, both undoubtedly prepared without any salt. Imagine how grateful the students must have been to have been served a lunch of kale and cauliflower. And imagine how much the expenses of this program have been underestimated, since the estimates don’t include the cost of composting and recycling all the wasted food that students will discard, the foods that students really will spit out because they don’t taste good to them.

Gary Imhoff


Campaign Snapshot
Dorothy Brizill,

On Saturday, the Ward 8 Democrats held a candidates forum and straw poll at Matthews Memorial Baptist Church for mayoral candidates in the September Democratic primary. Leo Alexander, Sulaimon Brown, Adrian Fenty, Vincent Gray, Ernest Jackson, Dennis Sobin, and Patrick Tayman participated in the forum and responded to questions from Washington Post reporter Mike DeBonis (formerly Loose Lips with the Washington City Paper). The initial tabulation of the votes cast in the straw poll was Alexander, 8; Fenty, 49; and Gray 59. However, although voting was supposed to be restricted to registered Democrats who lived in Ward 8, 23 individuals who were not registered voters prior to Saturday cast challenged ballots. When the challenged ballots were added to the other votes cast, Fenty received 69 votes, Gray 61, and Alexander 10.

The Ward 8 forum, unfortunately, provided an early indication of things to come in the mayoral campaign. Fenty allies Ron Moten and Juahar Abraham, cofounders of Peaceoholics, brought a large number of young people to the forum who wore green Fenty stickers on their Peaceoholics and HICKSDC (Helping Innter City Kids Succeed) T-shirts. Although most of these young people were not registered voters prior to the forum, the insisted on being allowed to register at the forum and to cast challenged ballots. Outside the church, the young people bragged about how they had been paid $100 to attend the forum.


No Support Here for the Soda Tax
Anne C. Sullivan,

I object strongly to Councilmember Cheh’s proposed soda tax. Saying it’s a penny per ounce minimizes the absurdly large tax rate. If I buy a twelve-pack of twelve-ounce cans for full price (around $6), the tax would be $1.44, or around 24 percent. If that twelve-pack is on sale for $3, the tax rate would be nearly 50 percent. A two-liter bottle on sale for 99 cents results in a nearly 65 percent tax rate! If I have reason to be in Maryland or Virginia if this proposal is approved, you can bet I will be buying my soda there. Claiming that this tax is designed to improve the health of citizens is disingenuous, at best. It’s clearly a money grab. What’s next? A 50 percent tax on butter? A 25 percent tax on products with cholesterol? A chocolate fee?

And how, exactly, will this money be used? Money grabbed from DC shoppers via this tax is supposed to make school lunches more healthful. One provision is to use locally grown produce. How is a green bean from Maryland more healthful than one from New Jersey? What happens to shopping for dollar value? It goes out the window when DCPS food vendors are limited to locally grown produce. What assessments of the current food vendor have been done to show that the goals of the healthful breakfasts/lunches cannot be met with the current level of funding or our tax base? Is it true that this soda tax money grab is also supposed to fund increased requirements for PE classes in DCPS? Really? Will it cover the costs for the additional PE teachers that will be needed? Will daily PE classes replace some of the academic classes, or will the school day be extended? Will this mean a new round of contract negotiations for the WTU and the Chancellor? Wouldn’t that be fun!

And I’ve heard that Councilmember Cheh wants faculty/staff in schools to grow produce on school land and/or have compost heaps. Well, I guess that’s an improvement over her previous attempt to sell off the Janney Elementary School soccer field to a developer to build condos on school property (a failed attempt — so far, that is. Stay tuned.) I think the school personnel have enough on their hands without adding an agricultural curriculum on top of the academics. Then there is the matter of trusting the government to use this proposed tax the way they say they will. It would be nice to have that trust. I’m sorry, but my trust disappeared (or should I say, my cynicism was reinforced) when I learned the “bag tax” (fee) would be used to fund street sweeping instead of cleaning the Anacostia. Fans of the bag tax point proudly to reduced bag usage in the District. Would someone please provide the data that shows this bag tax has resulted in fewer bags in the Anacostia? A cleaner river? Anyone?

The proposed soda tax is another in the list of “feel good” legislation that Councilmember Cheh has carelessly proposed. There was the “reunite the rodent family act” or the “leave the bats in your belfry act,” the “close Klingle Road because I say so” move, and the bag tax (although in retrospect, at least it’s not as ludicrous as the proposed beverage tax rate). I wish that our city council was comprised of members who were interested in their oversight roles and were focussed on good, sound, fiscal management. Clearly, the passage of this proposed soda tax, along with other proposed increased taxes and fees, would indicate that is not the case in the District of Columbia.


Is This Bill Nutty or Not?
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

Bryce A. Suderow (themail, May 12) opposes taxing soda because . . . well, I’m not sure. Because it’s a tax, I guess. Though the District budget is in trouble, soda is fattening and bad for one’s health, and childhood obesity is rampant and increasing. Anyway, I respect — though don’t fully understand — opposing taxes when presumably useful public services (schools, police, fire departments, social services, roads, transit) are threatened. But I can’t parse the logic of “The money is supposed to go towards a lunch program for school kids. Cheh is proposing this at a time when the city is awash in red ink and has just laid off a hundred child care workers.”

But yes. Isn’t that when a new tax would be proposed to support a lunch program, when the city is awash in red ink and has just laid off a hundred child care workers? When else? When the city is faced with alarming budget surpluses?


The Gandhi Nomination to the Board of Elections and Ethics
Dick Wolf,

Ironically, this person seems to have violated the Hatch Act by serving as a member of the ABC board while fundraising for Fenty. And he is supposed to judge these issues at the Board of Elections and Ethics? Give me a break.


Richard Layman,

Gary, you so don’t know much about transportation planning, and why streetcars were overtaken by the automobile, that I wouldn’t know where to begin. I could write a response that easily would take up an entire issue, but I won’t. The issue is how should the city plan for the future. Should it focus on optimizing automobility, when a majority of work trips are by transit, walking, and bicycling, when the city’s residents own fewer cars than the national and regional average, and when a significant number of nonwork trips are by transit, walking, and bicycling, or should the city focus on strengthening and extending the transit infrastructure to further the city’s economic and competitive advantages around transit, reducing dependence on automobility and on oil.

It’s great that you focus on streetcars from fifty or sixty years ago. But I don’t understand why you and all the other people who make similar arguments refuse to acknowledge how surface rail transit, either streetcars or light rail, function successfully today, in North America as well as Europe. You’re making a straw man argument that is almost completely irrelevant to today’s mobility needs, not to mention the reality that in a situation where oil supplies are declining and demand is increasing, planning for automobile-centric mobility is dangerous. Basically, the issue is how the real estate industry wanted to maximize profit from land development and how the automobile industry wanted to sell its product meant that the land use and transportation paradigm had to change. And it did, towards a deconcentrated and spread-out development pattern.

But it is for this reason that streetcars and similar transit technologies ceased to be economic, rather than because they were “obsolete.” Automobiles were and are subsidized by massive public road building. Taxes and fees by motor vehicle operators pay about 50 percent of the cost of roads. Without subsidies, and with a regulatory apparatus that made it difficult to raise rates, privately owned transit systems were unable to compete against the triple whammy of road subsidies to the automobile user, housing policies that favored spread-out suburban locations, and the inability to raise rates. This problem was accentuated as workplaces spread out from the central business district or major manufacturing locations.

I will grant you that many people preferred to have individual transportation rather than mass transportation. But transportation that is efficient for the individual isn’t necessarily efficient for the mass. A mass transportation system optimizes the mobility of public transit vehicles (and walking). A personalized transportation system optimizes the mobility of the automobile. The problem is that it is not possible to build an efficient road (transportation) system where every adult conducts five to eight trips a day by automobile. Furthermore, center cities in general and Washington in particular were designed to optimize walking and transit (bicycling works well in the same urban form). So optimal mobility in the city in particular is best achieved by focusing on transit.

DC’s economic competitive advantage within the Washington metropolitan region is specifically tied to transit, successful and robust transit. In fact, in DC generally, and in the core of the city specifically, more trips are conducted by walking, bicycling, and transit per capita than any other city in the US, except for NYC. DC resident commuter times are at about the national average, and are second in the region only to Arlington (which is about one third the size of DC so it is more compact), but are much better than every other county in the region. Furthermore, DC households own fewer cars than the national average, and more DC households do not own cars, compared to other jurisdictions in the region ( So, if you ask me, it makes sense to focus on the next generation mass mobility technologies of today — streetcars, light rail, and subways — rather than the obsolete individualized mobility technologies of last century — the automobile.


Richard Layman Is Right
Lee Watkins IV,

Richard Layman was right on this one. This was my first time reading themail@dcwatch. It will probably also be the last. Mainly because your post was so completely clueless about the actual history of transportation, land-use patterns, technology, energy, and especially, as Layman pointed out, the difference between group benefit versus individual benefit — i.e., game theory, as it relates to maximum working-group efficiency.

For a better understanding of this read about Ivan Illich, “The main notion of Ivan Illich is the concept of counterproductivity which describes an inconvenient phenomenon: when they reach a critical point (and form a monopoly), big institutions of modern industrial societies become, without knowing it, impediments to their own performance. For example, Ivan Illich calculated that, in America in the 70’s, if you add the time spent to work to earn the money to buy a car, the time spent in the car (including traffic jam), the time spent in the health care industry because of a car crash, the time spent in the oil industry to fuel cars . . . etc., and you divide that by the number of kilometres traveled per year, you obtain the following calculation: 1600 hours per year per American divided by 10000 km per year per person equals 6 km per hour. So the real speed of a car would be about 3.7 miles per hour.”


Clang, Clang, Clang Goes the Trolley
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

Gary’s editorial (themail, May 12) disparaged trolleys. Here’s a friend’s response — a native San Franciscan, married to a native San Franciscan, both lifelong SF residents. Gary: “Cities that have preserved a few streetcar lines, like San Francisco, keep them as novelties, as tourist attractions, and it is the tourists rather than the locals who use them.” San Franciscan: “This is BS. There are five ‘non-tourist’ streetcar lines (J, K, L, M, N) and one tourist one (F) that operates historic cars. These are all ‘regular’ fare lines, and can be ridden with a monthly pass at no extra charge. These cars are relatively new from Breda, a major Italian streetcar maker. Streetcars are widely used in Europe too. I believe New Orleans has operating streetcars, Seattle just opened a new light rail vehicle line that runs north to south (light rail vehicle is the modern name for streetcars). I dunno about other cities. There are three remaining cable car lines, Powell, Hyde, and California. They charge a premium fare to all riders, except seniors before 7:00 a.m. and after 9:00 p.m. (who knew we needed this?).

Gary: “Streetcars, of course, are a failed urban transportation alternative from the past.” SF residents: “There is a movie about the propaganda and economic war waged by SO and GM to drive out streetcars, principally in LA. It is a ‘Michael Moore-type’ expose, don’t remember the title. Might be at the foot of There are also references to this incident in Who Framed Roger Rabbit. I believe that most unbiased observers (including the US Supremes) concluded that the cabal acted unlawfully.”


Public Uses, Private Interests
William Haskett,

I think I have learned something in the past week about something that has continually troubled me about what is termed “public debate” in American communities and groups. This is that it is taken for granted that the “public” interest in some development or other is always embodied in an objectionable rule or regulation taken by the “old Satan government, to the disadvantage or discomfort of some worthy object of “private” interest. This is more truly a “theology” than anything that might be taken to be a reasonable interest in the collective interest of everyone involved.

Thus, we are told by Gary Imhoff that, “Streetcars, of course, are a failed urban transportation system,” only favored by unnamed “transportation and urban planners” who “hate automobiles which allow people to choose their own routes” as an expression of personal freedom. This, of course, applies to all American Cities, and their surroundings -- as with the “freedom” enjoyed by commuters from Frederick and Baltimore on 270 and 95, morning and evenings, not to mention the open road of the Beltway (495), at almost any hour of any workday; or, as with the obvious daily workday congestion of the Washington downtown, where the pedestrian population each day doubles, to the doubtful benefit of their freedom, and the obvious obstruction of the buses. We increase the 80 percent of the population that now live in urban and metropolitan areas, give each of them (and their teen-age children) a car, and our freedom to move (very, very slowly) is perfected and more complete.

Generals generally fight the last war in the present one, and Gary seems intent on arguing the case against any form of public transportation with the problematic solution of the automobile for most purposes -- perhaps in all -- for the dubious outcome that we are all compelled to adopt the prime source of today’s congestion, overcrowding, and the daily absolute discipline of the private commute to work. I count myself one of the lucky ones, since the D-6 bus takes me to the center of Gary’s car-based congestion on an old-fashioned means, my own legs and a willingness to walk.


Streetcars and Trolleys
Lisa Swanson, Petworth,

Take another look at streetcars and trolleys. Yes, the rails are fixed, actually dug into the streets. That’s actually one of the plusses, because riders know where they’re going to end up, and when trolleys take a corner, it’ll be into the near lane, not the second or third as for many cars.

The streetcars enjoying a resurgence in Portland — and the lines that never went away in European cities and San Francisco — are used by tourists and commuting residents alike. I wonder about your dreamy idea about the ability for car drivers to “choose their own routes and timetables for travel.” Not in DC. Route, variable; timetable, running late.

As for their 19th century origin, you must not have been happy to hear about the Potomac River ferry idea. Boats were mentioned in Genesis, for Pete’s sake. How retro is that? Http:// has lots of information.


Imhoff versus Layman on H Street Trolley
Dino Drudi,

I guess I would add a different view, viz, cars get in the way of trolleys and slow them down, which is why “light rail,” except in limited places in the Central Business District (Salt Lake City is a good example) needs to be on a separate right-of-way. This may mean depaving streets and rededicating traffic lanes to exclusive, grade-separated “light-rail” rights-of-way. At intersections, when the trolley is waiting, traffic signals in all four directions would turn red until the trolley clears the intersection.


Gary Imhoff,

I’m resigned to the likelihood that DC will spend millions, tens of millions, and eventually hundreds of millions of dollars on streetcars, because transportation planners and enthusiastic and politicians will be able to pose for dozens of photo opportunities for the massive, costly public works projects. Like the baseball stadium, it’s a matter of big toys for big boys. But if government is spending like a drunken sailor on things like sports stadiums and streetcars, don’t tell me it’s too broke to pay for basic public services. I’m certain, however, that streetcars will remain a niche mode of transportation, limited in the number and lengths of lines, limited in ridership, and maintained only by massive subsidies. Let’s get together in a few decades to determine who’s right.

Richard Layman and Lee Watkins argue that too many people, if left to their own preferences, will stubbornly make the wrong choices — suburban, spread-out living and private transportation. They believe that it is not government’s job to enable people to make their own choices and to help them live the lives they prefer. Instead, it is the role of government to force people to make the choices that experts determine are best for them. People should live in centralized cities, forego their cars, rely on public transportation, and reduce their travel to the minimum. If they don’t like that, government should make it too expensive and inconvenient for them to live any other way.

The San Franciscans are right that San Francisco runs a few modern streetcar lines as a modest part of its public transportation system, in addition to the cable car lines; it’s the only US city to have even a small network of streetcar lines. The New Orleans streetcar lines are the St. Charles line, which runs from the French Quarter to the Garden District; the Canal Street Line, which runs from the Mississippi River in the central business district to the fairgrounds; and the Riverfront Line, which runs for about two miles along the riverfront starting from the French Quarter. All three lines serve tourist districts, though obviously some locals who live along them also use them. Seattle has a single, 1.3 mile streetcar line, just as it has a single one-mile monorail that runs from the downtown business district to the old Seattle World’s Fair grounds. The movie mentioned by the San Franciscans is Taken for a Ride, which is available on YouTube, As they note, it is about as balanced as a typical Michael Moore film; it is hardly an objective or accurate account.

There was a court case alleging a conspiracy to drive streetcar lines out of business (US v. National City Lines, Inc.), but the result was not what the San Franciscans believe. First, the Supreme Court’s only role in the case was to permit a change in venue from southern California to northern Illinois. Second, the defendants were found not guilty of the charge of conspiring to monopolize transportation services. They were found guilty of the charge of conspiring to monopolize the provision of parts and supplies to their subsidiary services. The seriousness with which the court held this charge is suggested by the punishment: the company was fined five thousand dollars, and the directors of the company were fined a dollar each. What the conspiracy theory neglects was that there were two sides in the competition for urban transit business. On one side were the gasoline companies and the bus and automobile manufacturing companies; on the other side were the electricity and streetcar companies. Streetcars were losing customers to buses and cars; they lost money for years before they were bought out by competing bus companies, and that is why bus companies were able to afford to buy them. Cars and buses won because of consumer preferences.


City Rights
Brian Lang,

As a native Clevelander, I take offense when it’s unnecessarily pilloried in the media. The link about the streetcars clearly states the project is in that “other” city in Ohio — Cincinnati. I’m sure you’ll receive a lot of pierogis rightly hurled in your general direction for this offense. Otherwise, keep up the good work!

[You mean that Cleveland and Cincinnati aren’t the same city? Does that get me more pierogis? — Gary Imhoff]


Urban Barn Dance
Gabe Goldberg, gabe at gabegold dot com

Clyde Howard (themail, May 12) mocked the idea of traffic signal sequencing periodically stopping all traffic flow to allow flexible pedestrian crossing, chastising “young, dumb persons [who] lead our agencies [with] no sense of history.”

Well, yes, history (and facts) matter. In fact, this traffic technique isn’t a “barn dance,” it’s the Barnes Dance, named for Henry Barnes. Though he didn’t invent the pedestrian scramble, he was first to use it on a large scale. See and

Rather than having been “eliminated . . . as being too dangerous,” as Howard claims, Wikipedia notes that, “In Hartford, Connecticut, every crossing outside of the city center requires all traffic to stop. Many crossings in the city center do the same, such as the city’s busiest intersection at Main and Gold Streets. In Japan, where over three hundred such intersections exist, it is known as a scramble crossing. In Toronto, Ontario, Canada, the intersection of Yonge Street and Dundas Street, adjacent to Yonge-Dundas Square, is a scramble intersection as is Yonge Street and Bloor Street. More intersections in Toronto are expected to follow this method of pedestrian crossing.

“In Auckland, New Zealand, the Barnes Dance was introduced in 1958, and became a feature of the city’s main street, Queen Street, as well as being adopted in other New Zealand cities. In recent years it has been criticized by some traffic planners, but is still widely used on the street. It is also still used on several intersections on Colombo Street in Christchurch, but the only application in Dunedin at Cargill’s Corner was abandoned during the 1980s. In London, UK, diagonal crossings have been constructed at Thatto Heath in St. Helens in 1994, Balham in 2005, and Oxford Circus in 2009. In Washington, DC. USA, diagonal crossing existed at several downtown intersections until the mid-1980’s. It is being tried again on an experimental basis in May 2010.”


Barnes, Not Barns
Art Spitzer,

[Re: Barn Dance, themail, May 12] Actually, it was punningly called the “Barnes Dance,” after the traffic engineer Henry Barnes, who introduced it in New York City when I was growing up. See


It’s Not a Barn Dance
Harold Goldstein,

It is the Barnes Dance, named for the man who first instituted its use on a large scale. It hasn’t been abandoned for safety reasons, or any reasons for that matter. It is still widely used worldwide in “appropriate” situations. Tying these intersections with the rest of the system in terms of light timing, etc., is a big hurdle. It is very pedestrian friendly but it needs to be clear that it does not negatively effect traffic.


InTowner May Issue Now Online
P.L. Wolff,

This is to advise that the April 2010 online edition has been uploaded and may be accessed at Included are the lead stories, community news items, ABC Board action reports, editorials (including prior months’ archived), restaurant reviews (prior months’ also archived), and the text from the ever-popular “Scenes from the Past” feature (the accompanying images can be seen in the archived PDF version). The Selected Street Crimes feature, which presently covers the period through April 5, will be updated later on, at which time we will send an advisory to our new content upload notification list recipients.

The complete issue (along with prior issues back to January 2002) also is available in PDF file format directly from our home page at no charge simply by clicking the front page image graphic. Here you will be able to view the entire issue as it appears in print, including all photos and advertisements. The next issue will publish on June 11 (the second Friday of the month as usual). The complete PDF version will be posted by the preceding night or early that Friday morning at the latest, following which the text of the lead stories, community news, and selected features will be uploaded shortly thereafter.

To read this month’s lead stories, simply click the link on the home page to the following headlines: 1) “City Council Hearing Spotlights New Libraries in Shaw and Elsewhere — Mt. Pleasant Controversy Aired”; 2) “Connecticut Avenue Restaurants to Host May 18 Spring Tastings Event”; 3) “Dogs Dance in Adams Morgan.”



Taste of Connecticut Avenue, May 18
Robin Diener,

Building on its popular fall Taste of Dupont, Historic Dupont Circle Main Streets will focus on Connecticut Avenue for its spring fundraiser. HDCMS oversees projects like the Clean Team and the Connecticut Avenue Median Landscaping. Create your own progressive dinner with individual tasting tickets redeemed at any of the participating dining establishments, many of which will have specially priced cocktails or wines paired with your tasting. Tickets for individual tastings are $5 each, or purchase a tasting ticket package of five tickets for $20. Get details, reserve tickets, and check out menu offerings at Tuesday, May 18, 6:00-9:00 p.m.


National Building Museum Events, May 19
Johanna Weber,

May 19, 9:30 a.m.-12:15 p.m.; 2:15-5:00 p.m., Power, Architecture, and Politics: The Design of Washington and the US Commission of Fine Arts Symposium. One hundred years ago, Congress established the US Commission of Fine Arts to guide the development of the nation’s capital. In this day-long symposium, noted historians discuss the design and planning of Washington, DC, from 1910 to today. Free; registration required. Walk-in registration based on availability.

May 19, 12:30-1:30 p.m., Charles Atherton Memorial Lecture: Daniel Libeskind. Noted architect Daniel Libeskind discusses the symbolism and architectural expression of commemoration as the 2010 Charles H. Atherton Memorial lecturer. $12 members, free students, $20 nonmembers. Prepaid registration required. Walk in registration based on availability. Both events at the National Building Museum, 401 F Street, NW, Judiciary Square Metro station. Register for events at


St. Thomas Church Open House, May 20
Robin Diener,

The Dupont Circle community is invited to learn about the design for the “new” St. Thomas Parish Church at a reception with the architect. Since the destruction of the original gothic stone building by arson in 1970, St. Thomas’ has graciously lent its sanctuary-without-walls to the community in the form of a garden. Now the congregation plans a rebuilding to shelter its growing membership. Join neighbors for a presentation of the design plans. For more information, see Thursday, May 20, 1772 Church Street, NW, 6:30-8:30 p.m.


Send a Kid to Theater Camp Benefit, May 21
Robin Diener,

Great fun for a great cause. Special guests include former Councilmember Carol Schwartz and political reporter Tom Sherwood. Featured will be highlights from The Theatre Lab’s Life Stores Projects for incarcerated and at-risk youth, and the return of the Bard-a-Thon, an honored tradition in which local celebrities perform Shakespeare in their pajamas to raise funds for scholarships. RSVP 824-0449. At the Theatre Lab School of the Dramatic Arts, 733 8th Street, NW (Gallery Place Metro), Friday May 21, 7:00-10:00 p.m.


Scratch Day 2010, May 22
Phil Shapiro,

Scratch is a free computer programming resource that makes it easy to create your own interactive stories, animations, games, music, and art — and share your creations on the web at

All interested students, parents and teachers are invited to learn more about Scratch and robotics, featuring Junior FIRST LEGO League, FIRST LEGO League, FIRST Tech Challenge, VEX Robotics and Sea Perch underwater robotics on Saturday, May 22, 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m., at Archbishop Carroll High School, 4300 Harewood Road NE. Price: free.

It’s been my experience that Scratch can be enjoyed by children as young as second grade (maybe younger, too) right up through eighth grade. Scratch has been called, “The best educational software on the planet.”


DC Youth Orchestra Program Turns Fifty, August 21
Susan Ousley,

In 1960, some remarkable revolutionaries brought children and adults together to share their love of music in the DC Youth Orchestra Program. Since then, tens of thousands of musicians have shared that experience. Were you one of them? We’re trying to connect with all our alumni. If you’re a DCYOP alum, E-mail with your name, instrument, and years you played at DCYOP. You can find other alumni and keep up with the program by joining DCYOP on Facebook.

Please help us celebrate our inspiring and living legacy on August 21: 1:30-3:00 p.m., Alumni Lunch, 600 Restaurant, Watergate Hotel, catch up with friends and current members. 6:00-7:00 p.m., Alumni Orchestra Concert at the Kennedy Center’s Concert Hall. Marvin Hamlisch, host and guest conductor, with Maestro Jesus Manuel Berard, DCYO Conductor and Music Director and DCYOP founder Maestro Lyn McLain as guest conductor. Free, no tickets required. 7:30-9:30 p.m., reception and fundraiser, 600 Restaurant.

For tickets and if you’d like to be considered for the alumni orchestra, go to To help with celebration preparations (especially finding your orchestra-mates), please E-mail To reach our Executive Director, Ava Spece, call 723-1612 or E-mail, or visit


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