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Tuesday, April 17, 2012 4:57 p.m.

D.C. universities outline energy reduction goal

University President Steven Knapp signed a pledge in February to commit D.C. universities to helping the city become more energy efficient. Hatchet File Photo

GW joined eight other District universities Tuesday in pledging to reduce energy use by enough to power 720 U.S. households every year, part of a city-wide sustainability initiative.

The goal to rein in heat energy use will be tracked on a D.C.-hosted website for Mayor Vincent Gray’s “Sustainable D.C. Vision,” which will be unveiled next week.

“As a sector, we hope to continue to offer a model of sustainability innovation for citizens and organizations across the District,” Meghan Chapple-Brown, director of GW’s Office of Sustainability, said in a news release. “Universities tend to have a big impact on climate change through energy use in our buildings, and we challenge other building owners in D.C. to increase energy efficiency.”

University President Steven Knapp – who has prioritized sustainability since joining GW in 2007 – signed a pact in February with nine other D.C. university presidents to make strides in helping the city become more eco-friendly.

D.C. Department of the Environment Director Christophe Tulou announced the specific commitment with Chapple-Brown Tuesday.

GW has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent by 2025 and become carbon neutral by 2040.

The University has seen its green push pay off, earning a nod Tuesday as one of the top 322 green colleges by the Princeton Review, the second time it has received the accolade in the guide’s three years. Students will also be able to minor in sustainability next year when GW offers more than 60 green leaf courses in social, economic or environmental sustainability.

Measured against other D.C. schools though, American and Georgetown universities and the University of the District of Columbia finished ahead of GW in the eight-week intercollegiate Reyclemania competition in results announced April 13.

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Thursday, May 13, 2010 12:24 p.m.

Crime reports show spike in iPhone robberies

Overall crime in the Foggy Bottom neighborhood decreased this year in comparison to last year, but trends show a spike in Apple iPhone robberies.

Metropolitan Police Department Commander Matthew Klein said total robberies in Foggy Bottom, part of the Second District, are down but, according to MPD data provided by Klein, as of May 11 the number of unarmed robberies increased by 39 percent this month compared to a year ago.

Klein offered GW students the same advice he gives to the general public – to avoid walking around at night while on a cell phone.

“This [iPhone] device is very attractive to thieves,” Klein said. “Sometimes, walking and being fully engrossed on the cell phone takes away from paying attention to surroundings.”

He also warned against leaving cell phones on tables at restaurants, an act which could draw thieves.

A female was allegedly robbed near the GW Hospital in January while talking on her cell phone before a thief snatched it and ran away.

Feb 24, a female was allegedly robbed of an iPhone at 22nd  and H streets. Another man was allegedly robbed of a cell phone earlier that day at 25th  and I streets.

Klein said the increase in iPhone robberies has been particularly noticeable in the Dupont Circle and Georgetown neighborhoods though total crime is down 16 percent this year.

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Metro riders will soon be able to carry their phone calls underground, thanks to hardware installations beginning this weekend that will enable Verizon Wireless, Sprint Nextel, AT&T and T-Mobile to provide coverage at Metro stations.

The installations will occur in phases, beginning at the 20 busiest stations, and are part of a $1.5 billion stimulus bill passed by Congress last year. The first 20 stations are expected to be outfitted with coverage by Oct. 16, according to the Metro Web site. The entire Metro system is expected to be completed by October 2012.

Currently only Verizon customers and Sprint customers who pick up the Verizon signal get service underground. For other users, the expansion may be spotty at first because the signal will only be available at the 20 stations, leaving the other 27 stations and tunnels without coverage.

The wireless signals will be provided from “large, cabinet-like enclosures that will house the hardware at the ends of station platforms or on mezzanines, in areas that will not impede the flow of customers or impact the safe operation of the Metrorail system,” according to a Metro statement.

The first 20 stations that will receive coverage  will be the Ballston-MU, Bethesda, Crystal City, Columbia Heights, Dupont Circle, Farragut West, Farragut North, Federal Triangle, Foggy Bottom-GWU, Friendship Heights, Gallery Place-Chinatown, Judiciary Square, L’Enfant Plaza, McPherson Square, Metro Center, Pentagon, Pentagon City, Rosslyn, Smithsonian, and Union Station stops.

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Metro officials are monitoring train control circuits at the Foggy Bottom Metro station and five other stops after the system failed to detect the presence of trains, the Washington Post reported earlier this week.

The Metro system has come under intense scrutiny following a Red Line collision last month that killed nine passengers. The circuit at the site of the accident had been malfunctioning since September 2007, according to the National Transportation Safety Board. Metro officials have now identified six problem circuits, including one located at the Foggy Bottom stop, and disabled some of them, according to the Post’s report.

Disabling the circuits causes delays up and down the lines because the trains must pass through one at a time at maximum speeds of 15 miles per hour, according to the Metro Web site. Trains still communicate with and are visible to Metro controllers in the Operations Control Center, according to the site.

Metro has posted a video taken at the command center to illustrate how trains pass through disabled circuits.

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Three males who appeared to be juveniles robbed a 15-year-old boy on Pennsylvania Avenue near 26th Street last Wednesday, according to a Metropolitan Police Department report.

The alleged victim was walking on the street at 6 p.m. when the three males approached him, according to the report. One of the males asked him, “What do you have in your pockets?” and lifted his shirt to reveal a black handgun, the report states. The victim gave him $5 and the three males ran south down 26th Street.

MPD is trying to crack down on robberies in the Foggy Bottom area, where 16 violent crimes have occurred since May 16, according to data from the MPD crime map Web site. At an Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A meeting earlier this month, MPD’s Sgt. Dustin Nevel said many of the robberies occur during the evening rush hour from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. and that Pennsylvania Avenue is a popular spot because of its proximity to the Foggy Bottom Metro station.

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The escalators at the Foggy Bottom Metro station, which have often been out of service in the past year, will be renovated next year. Shown above, commuters wrapped around the block in November as only one escalator was in service. Anne Wernikoff/assistant photo editor

The escalators at the Foggy Bottom Metro station, which have often been out of service in the past year, will be renovated next year. Shown above, commuters wrapped around the block in November as only one escalator was in service. Anne Wernikoff/assistant photo editor

The Foggy Bottom Metro station will receive new escalators, a staircase and a canopy over the entrance as part of a $177 million Red Line rehabilitation project.

Though the station is not on the Red Line, the updates were included because of necessity, said Metro spokeswoman Taryn McNeil. The Blue Line phase of the Metro overhaul won’t take place for another three to four years, McNeil said.

“We’re adding it to the Red Line phase instead of waiting for the Blue Line phase because the escalators are breaking down,” McNeil said.

The project is slated to begin early next year, spokesperson Candace Smith said.

The Foggy Bottom escalators have often been out of service in the last year, and Metro spokespersons have previously said they are hard to fix because replacement parts are hard to come by.

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Asher Corson, seen here as a senior in 2006, was recently named the new president of the Foggy Bottom Association. Hatchet file photo.

L. Asher Corson, seen here as a senior in 2006, was recently named the new president of the Foggy Bottom Association. Hatchet file photo.

A GW graduate and current GW student have taken the helm of the Foggy Bottom Association, a community group that meets monthly to inform Foggy Bottom residents of current affairs and promote the residential quality of the area.

L. Asher Corson, a 2007 graduate, currently serves as president of the association. No stranger to the community, Corson has also served as the chairman of the Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A, and works as a communications director for D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3).

Lev Trubkovich, a current student, was selected last week as vice president. Born in Moscow, Trubkovich immigrated to New York as a political refugee after the fall of the Soviet Union, and expects to graduate this semester after taking last spring off to get a head start on job hunting. He said he decided to take the three-year position after being asked by Corson because of an interest in politics and an appreciation for the neighborhood.

Trubkovich said that his unique position as both a member of the Foggy Bottom community and a member of the GW community will allow him to foster a better relationship between the school and its neighbors.

“I think that there’s definitely going to be a much more symbiotic relationship with the entities around us and that’s a great thing,” Trubkovich said. “I think an antagonistic relationship with anybody in the neighborhood is not progressive. I think we’re going to foster a good relationship.”

Both Corson and Trubkovich said the FBA’s biggest concern at this time is a membership drive to both increase participation and the number of members paying dues.

“Since Asher and I are both younger, and we definitely were members of the student community at GW, I think one of the biggest new things that we want to do with the FBA is get a lot of student members,” Trubkovich said. “We’re going to try to get more students involved, we’re going to try to raise our membership, we’re going to continue great things that we’ve done.”

Corson said he also hopes to use his relationships with the community and GW to further communications between the vastly different residents of Foggy Bottom.

“I do think I have a better understanding of both GW’s needs and the neighborhood’s needs, just because I can see the needs from both perspectives,” Corson said. “In the past it’s been an unhealthy, uncommunicative relationship, and I hope that we can move forward, keep the lines of communication open on both ends and further the progress in the relationship that my predecessors started.”

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Tuesday, July 7, 2009 8:16 p.m.

Fenty signs bill for plastic bag tax

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty today signed a bill that will require consumers to pay a five-cent tax to use plastic bags at grocery, convenience, and other retail stores in the District, several news outlets have reported.

The D.C. City Council gave final approval to the bill last month. The new law, which is designed to help clean up the Anacostia River, is scheduled to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2010.

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The 30-day Congressional review period for D.C. legislation that would recognize gay marriages performed in other states expired at 12:01 this morning.

Congress has the power to review any bill passed in D.C. in the 30 days after it is signed. But if it is not reviewed or challenged in that time, the bill automatically becomes law.

The bill stipulates that same-sex couples who have married in a different state retain the rights of a married couple in the District. Same-sex marriage has been approved in Connecticut, Iowa, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Vermont. Gay marriages were also performed in California before Proposition 8, a ballot vote to ban same-sex marriages, was passed in late 2008.

Passed in May by the D.C. City Council, the legislation drew sharp protest from some black reverends and leaders, including the lone dissenter on the vote, councilmember Marion Barry, D-Ward 8.

Mayor Adrian M. Fenty signed the bill the day after it was passed.

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Two men have been arrested in the past three weeks for allegedly attempting to shoplift from the University bookstore in the basement of the Marvin Center.

The first arrest occurred June 22 after officers responded to the bookstore for a report of a man who had been barred from campus in April. Officers found that he had concealed three textbooks valued at almost $450 under his jacket and did not have the means to pay for them, according to University and Metropolitan Police Department reports. The man also had an outstanding bench warrant for his arrest, according to the MPD report. He was subsequently arrested for unlawful entry and shoplifting. A similar event occurred in mid-April.

The second attempted shoplifting occurred July 1, when a male GW student allegedly attempted to steal several electronic items, including an iPod Touch from the bookstore. According to the University Police report, he concealed the items in his bag and was stopped as he tried to leave the store. He was placed under arrest by MPD.

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