News and Analysis

Rewards for tips that lead to recovering illegal guns and guns used in violent crimes increased Wednesday. File photo by Charlie Lee | Hatchet Staff Photographer

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced increases in rewards for tips that lead to recovering illegal guns and guns used in violent crimes Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo.

District Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday that rewards for tips about guns involved in violent crimes will now be worth as much as $10,000, Washington City Paper reported.

Tips that lead police to recovering illegal guns, which had previously earned $1,000, are now worth $2,500. And if the gun was used in a shooting, the tipster will earn $10,000, according to Washington City Paper. The District also offers $25,000 to people who give tips on homicides.

The mayor cited increasing violence in the District as the main reason for increasing the rewards. The murder rate in D.C. has increased by more than 30 percent over the past year, and crimes involving guns in D.C. have increased by 20 percent so far this year, according to data published this month. Murders have increased by 18 percent this year alone, WTOP reported last month.

The mayor’s announcement comes a day after police investigated three separate fatal shootings in the District.

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier said her department was more than willing to increase the rewards for tips, according to Washington City Paper.

“We’ll step up to the plate,” Lanier said. “We’ll add to the money.”

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Gelman Library will continue to be open 24/7, Provost Steven Lerman announced Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo

Gelman Library will continue to be open 24/7, Provost Steven Lerman announced Wednesday. Hatchet File Photo

Gelman Library will no longer change its 24/7 availability after students complained of the new restricted hours for the building, according to a statement from Provost Steven Lerman Wednesday afternoon.

The University had initially changed Gelman’s hours according to a posting in the library widely circulated online Tuesday night. The changes, which were to start on Aug. 31, meant that the library would close on Fridays at 11 p.m. before reopening on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and closing at 10 p.m. to open again at noon on Sunday. The 24-hour access would have remained Mondays through Thursdays.

“We continuously try to balance the need to make sure that there is high quality study space available and operational efficiency,” Lerman said in the statement.

Barbra Giorgini, the executive director of GW Libraries, said in a statement that the change in hours was considered as an option when determining how to best use library resources, based on the times when Gelman was used most frequently.

“However, we have heard clearly the need to keep Gelman open and operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” Giorgini said.

The initial change in hours caused strong responses from many students, who circulated a petition to keep the 24/7 availability that attracted nearly 2,000 signatures.

Casey Syron, the Student Association executive vice president, thanked SA president Andie Dowd and Dean of Student Affairs Peter Konwerski for their work on the issue in a tweet.

Dowd said in an interview that she had been emailing Lerman about the situation, but while in Rice Hall – where a majority of GW’s top administrators, including University President Steven Knapp, work – ran into Konwerski and Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs and Planning Forrest Maltzman, and they discussed maintaining Gelman’s availability.

“We just took the necessary steps to reach out to the administration. Luckily, we were able to talk to a lot of them today,” Dowd said. “I think it was exciting – we got to see how everyone banded together and that everyone was very passionate about this.”

Jacqueline Thomsen contributed reporting.

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Gelman Library will no longer be open to students 24 hours seven days a week, starting this month. Hatchet File Photo

Gelman Library will no longer be open to students 24 hours seven days a week, starting this month. Hatchet File Photo

An online petition to restore Gelman Library’s hours to 24 hours a day, seven days a week has received more than 1,500 signatures less than a day after going online.

The petition was created in response to a University posting in the library announcing the reduced hours for the fall semester. The petition was launched Monday night after a GW alumnus posted a picture of the flyer in the library to “Overheard at GW,” a popular Facebook group where students post pictures of events and other observations on campus.

From Aug. 31 until Dec. 6, the library will be open 24 hours a day Monday through Thursday, will close at 11 p.m. on Friday, will be open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and reopen on Sunday at noon. A University spokeswoman did not immediately return requests for comment on why the hours had changed.

“Apart from faculty and course offerings, there is no single aspect of a university more important for the education and success of its students than a library,” the petition said. “In cutting Gelman Library’s 24/7 hours, the University has demonstrated their disregard for that success – the success of their own students.”

Many students who signed the petition wrote notes explaining why they backed changing Gelman’s hours back to 24/7, arguing that keeping the library open gives students who have jobs during the day a quiet place to study. Out of GW’s 14 peer institutions, New York University is the only college with a library open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Last year, Gelman Library’s budget increased for the first time in a decade, and GW plans to spend $35 million of its $1 billion fundraising campaign on libraries.

Students, faculty and administrators took to Twitter to discuss the change in hours.

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Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 8:17 p.m.

Gelman Library drops 24/7 availability

Gelman Library will no longer be open to students 24 hours seven days a week, starting this month. Hatchet File Photo

Gelman Library will no longer be open to students 24 hours seven days a week, starting this month. Hatchet File Photo

Updated: Aug. 18, 2015 at 11:03 p.m.

Gelman Library shortened its hours for the upcoming semester, according to a University posting in the library on Tuesday.

From August 31 until Dec. 6, the library will be open 24 hours a day on Mondays through Thursdays, will close at 11 p.m. on Fridays, open 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturdays and reopen Sundays at noon. Previously, the library was open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The schedule was also posted on Gelman Library’s website.

Last year the library’s budget increased for the first time in more than a decade. The University plans to dedicate $35 million of its $1 billion fundraising campaign to the library.

Students took to Twitter to react to the change:

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Tuesday, Aug. 18, 2015 4:32 p.m.

WMATA proposes changing 100 bus routes

Metrobus riders hoping to catch a lift to Dulles Airport will have to find an alternative if Metro’s proposed service changes are approved.

The Washington Metro Area Transit Authority has proposed changing nearly 100 bus routes, Greater Greater Washington reported Tuesday.

The changes would “improve overall on-time performance and customer satisfaction, increase ridership and improve cost recovery,” according to a from WMATA statement.

WMATA justified closing the 5A route to Dulles Airport because of a declining ridership after the Silver Line opened last summer.

The changes will take effect this December if WMATA’s board approves the changes in October. The board will take community feedback into consideration when deciding on the changes. Residents can submit feedback to Metro through email, an online survey or in person at a public hearing.

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A chemistry professor will take the next four years and $750,000 to find a way to get a better look into mammals’ brains, according to a University release.

Peter Nemes, an assistant chemistry professor, received the Beckman Young Investigator Award presented by the Arnold and Mabel Beckman Foundation, a group focused on funding research projects centered around chemistry and life science. Nemes’ project will look at a new way to “identify and quantify proteins expressed by a single neuron in the mammalian brain,” the release said. He’ll receive the $750,000 grant over the next four years.

“It is a great honor for me personally and for GW,” said Nemes, who is one of just eight researchers to receive the award this year. “It shows that the direction I’m taking to combine technology development and biology raises new potentials to advance human health.”

The project’s goal is to create a way to develop a technology that will allow scientists to observe neurons singularly rather than in groups. The human brain has about 100 billion neurons. The technology could help scientists better understand what’s behind disorders like schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s disease and autism, the release said.

“Ultimately, we need a new instrument that can downscale chemical analysis to the level of a single cell,” Nemes said in the release.

Nemes joined the chemistry department in 2005 as a Ph.D student, under the advisement of chemistry professor Akos Vertes, who released technology in June to examine small molecules for dangerous materials. Nemes’ previous research at GW revolved around human disease, the release said.

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Monday, Aug. 17, 2015 1:32 p.m.

Alumna named CNN chief political correspondent

Dana Bash

Dana Bash spoke to students and parents during Colonials Weekend in 2009. Hatchet file photo.

One of the School of Media and Public Affairs’ most prominent alumni has risen to become CNN’s chief political correspondent, Variety reported Monday.

Dana Bash, a 1993 alumna, will fill the position that has been open at CNN since December, when Candy Crowley left the network after 27 years. Bash had previously served as CNN’s chief congressional correspondent, covering news in the U.S. House and Senate, according to her CNN biography page.

Bash has visited campus a few times since receiving her bachelor’s degree in political communication, most recently in October 2011 when she was part of a panel discussion about covering politics. She also spoke at Colonials Weekend in 2009 to talk about her career in journalism.

Bash has won awards including the Dirksen Award from the National Press Foundation in 2010 for her work at CNN, her CNN biography page reads. She has covered the U.S. Congress since 2006 with the network and also helped to produce “Late Edition with Frank Sesno,” the weekend show hosted by the SMPA director.

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The number of violent crimes and homicides in D.C. has decreased and then flatlined recently compared to the numbers from 20 years ago, according to a recent report from the Urban Institute.

Violent crime peaked in the city in the 1990s, and homicides totaled 397 in 1996, the study found. Homicides hit a record low 88 in 2012, though that number has increased since then to about 100 homicides per year.

“D.C. stands out as particularly successful at extending that crime decline over time,” the report reads. “That success is largely the result of a renewed emphasis on community-oriented policing and evidence-based tactics, as well as changing demographics and economic growth.”

The study credits the decline in violent crime to policies and practices from the Metropolitan Police Department including foot patrols, a tip line, engagement on social media, gunfire detection sensors and improved crime data.

Since Metropolitan Police Chief Cathy Lanier became the head of the department in 2007, she has also rejected policies that alienate residents like “hot spot” and zero-tolerance policing where officers crack down on minor offenses and swarm high-crime areas – that shift has also helped the crime rate because more residents are willing to help police, the report found.

Economic growth, demographic changes and faster response times from D.C. Fire and EMS has also helped crime drop over time, according to the study.

Of the 39 neighborhood clusters in the city studied, most of the areas showed a slight decrease in the incidents of violent crime between 2000 to 2014. The area including GW, Foggy Bottom and West End had four fewer violent crimes per 1,000 residents in that time period.

“Much of DC’s reduction in violent crime is the result of big declines in a few neighborhoods that previously had high levels of violence,” the report reads.

Gun crime is up 20 percent this year, and Lanier has recently been in meetings and press conferences to condemn the spike in violence this summer.

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The District purchased a wind farm in southwestern Pennsylvania in an effort to use more sustainable energy in the city government buildings, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced Wednesday.

The 46-megawatt wind farm is capable of producing 35 percent of the energy used by District government buildings, according to a press release. The deal is the largest power deal a U.S. city has ever entered.

City officials projected that the deal will save the city $45 million over the next two decades. The city will receive 125,000 MW hours of the wind energy per year.

Bowser announced the purchase at a press conference on the roof of the Frank D. Reeves Center for Municipal Affairs. She said in the release the purchase will allow D.C. to “lead the nation in the fight against climate change.”

“We are supporting green building, promoting energy and water efficiency and fostering renewable energy. This wind agreement exemplifies how my Administration will use energy policy to boost our economy and create cleaner air for current and future generations,” she said in the release.

“Now, more than ever, is a critical time for the District to show leadership in energy for our residents and businesses,” said Tommy Wells, a former D.C. Council member and the director of the Department of Energy and the Environment.

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The D.C. housing market hit its highest level in a decade, the Washington Business Journal reported Monday.

The number of closed sales from the month of July increased more than 15 percent since the year before and signed contracts increased nearly 10 percent.

In the past year, the number of housing options in the greater D.C. area went up as well, an increase of about 12 percent. Condo inventories grew about 23 percent in the past year, according to the data.

The median sales price increased by a 1.1 percent rate to $432,500. Last July, the median price matched the highest July since 2007.

Last June, the number of houses sold in the D.C. metropolitan area reached a high not seensince June 2006, and the increases are on par with citywide population growth for the past decade.

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