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The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Thomas Watkins. The president of Rockville-based Human Genome Sciences is waiting anxiously on a Food and Drug Administration decision about whether to approve a new drug for lupus. A go-ahead would approve the first new treatment for the debilitating disease in 50 years and provide a bump to the region’s biotech industry.

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Posted at 03:38 PM/ET, 03/08/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

Paul Bognanno. Never heard of Bognanno, or the Reston-based Mortgage Electronic Registration Systems Corporation, of which he’s president? Turns out this obscure company has been allegedly taking over property records from government agencies for years—and it’s trying to foreclose on homeowners. As the New York Times said yesterday, “How can MERS claim title to those mortgages, and foreclose on homeowners, when it has not invested a dollar in a single loan?.” We imagine there are a lot of property owners with a lot of questions for Bognanno.

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Posted at 01:17 PM/ET, 03/07/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Lauranett Lee. The African-American history coordinator of the Virginia Historical Society has an exciting new project on her plate, one that will bridge the gap between past and present. The group has just won a big grant to create a database of names and personal information about people who were held as slaves in Virginia, drawing on the manuscripts in the society’s collections. In doing so, the society will give a lot of people more information about their family history.

• DeMaurice Smith. The National Football League Players Association executive, whom The Washingtonian profiled in January, is working on down-to-the-wire negotiations with the NFL and owners to try to make sure there’ll be a football season in 2011. The players and owners are sharply divided over how to share the league’s revenue and an owner-backed plan to extend the football season at a time when the news is full of stories about traumatic brain injuries in the sport.

• Johnny Barnes. The director of the DC chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union is teaming up with his counterparts in Maryland and Virginia to sue Metro to stop random searches of riders’ bags. We’d love to hear their thoughts on alternate plans to keep riders’ bodies and belongings—as well as their civil liberties—safe.

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Posted at 12:45 PM/ET, 03/04/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

David Neuman. The University of Virginia’s historic Jefferson Rotunda is in a worrisome state of decay. But the university is restricted from using its endowment on capital construction projects, and the state legislature adjourned for the year without allocating the $51 million it would take to restore Thomas Jefferson’s monument to learning. Let’s just hope that Neuman, UVA’s architect, can find a way to hold it together for another year.

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Posted at 01:00 PM/ET, 03/02/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Brian Kelley. The former CIA officer spent four years under suspicion for passing secrets to the Russians, crimes that were actually committed by FBI mole Robert Hanssen. Kelley is finally speaking about his ordeal—and illuminating how hard it can be to catch a traitor, particularly the right one.

• Gibby Dean. The president of the Chesapeake Bay Commercial Fishermen’s Association is worried after his members got hit with a terrible rockfishing season, done in by poachers and poor weather. We’d love to know how to cut down on waste from confiscation and poaching while eating local fish to support a local industry.

• Albert Small. The real-estate developer is giving a huge collection of Washingtoniana to George Washington University—and kicking in $5 million for a new museum at the university and the renovation of Woodhull House, a 156-year-old historic home. The District’s rich history sometimes gets lost in the political events that happen here. We’re glad Small is laying down a marker in favor of his hometown’s own stories.

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Posted at 02:44 PM/ET, 03/01/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight

• Susanne Eisner. Arlington County’s human-services director must be doing something right in the programs she oversees—ranging from public-health services to aging and disability programs: The American Human Development Project just announced that Virginia’s 8th Congressional District is the healthiest in the country. At a time when health-care costs are spiraling, anything that keeps people from needing care is good health policy and good business.

• Paul Quander. We’d like to ask the District’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice a few questions after learning that furloughs of city employees left 200 emergency calls unanswered February 22. We know times are tight. But emergency services probably aren’t the place to start cutting costs.

• Pat Ronsteel. Speaking of tough times, the director of Frederick County Head Start is trying to use $250,000 in new budgets to talk Head Start teachers who have left for higher-paying jobs back into the program. That money doesn’t match the $2.3 million in funding the program lost earlier this month, and it remains to be seen what will happen as a federal contractor takes over. But 135 children are about to be cut from the program unless teachers come back.

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Posted at 01:16 PM/ET, 02/28/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Sarah Phillips. Move over, Maryland crabs. Or maybe not—the lobsters washing up on the shores of the Potomac are likely the result of a Virginia church that releases crustaceans into the river as part of Chinese New Year celebrations, says Phillips, the Leesylvania State Park Chief Ranger. It’s too bad we’re not entering a new frontier in eating locally, but we’d love to know what other weird mysteries Phillips has to solve.

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Posted at 02:05 PM/ET, 02/24/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Captain David Bitonti. The chief of staff at the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda has led a complicated transition as the hospital merges with Walter Reed Army Medical Center this year. While the move might be bittersweet for Naval Center veterans, it could be good for Walter Reed—Navy Medical is one of the national leaders in treatment of traumatic brain injury, the signature wound of the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

• Ed Lazere. The chief of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute has a new report out with a pleasant surprise. No matter how it might seem or feel, District residents actually pay the lowest taxes in the region, followed closely by Virginians without cars. Whether the report causes anyone to move into D.C or provides a boost to smart-growth advocates, at least it’s a little less taxation in exchange for no representation?

• Thomas Miller and Susan Lee. The Maryland Senate president and the House delegate are squaring off over a contentious issue: whether to replace the US Capitol statue of founding father John Hanson, president of the Continental Congress, with one of Harriet Tubman, the famous former slave turned conductor on the Underground Railroad. Each state gets to contribute two statues to the Capitol, so just adding Tubman isn’t an option. The debate has pitted women’s groups, led by Lee, who introduced a bill to make the change, and armchair historians, led by Miller.

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Posted at 11:56 AM/ET, 02/23/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Livan Hernandez. The Nationals pitcher told the team he’d play for just $1 million this year (though he can earn an additional $750,000 if he meets certain performance targets), even though he could have gotten much more on the open market. The veteran is committing to Washington—we’d like to hear his thoughts on how the team can make other players feel that same sense of dedication.

• Barbara Edmondson. The mother of four and veteran principal of the Gambrills-based School of the Incarnation will lead the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s school system. As she takes over one of the oldest Catholic-school networks in the country, Edmondson will have to think about how to revitalize a system that’s seen 28 schools close since 2000 and how to make Catholic schools count in the regional and national debate over education reform.

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Posted at 01:41 PM/ET, 02/22/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()
The Washingtonians in headlines today we’d like to have dinner with tonight By Alyssa Rosenberg

• Jim Abdo. The developer just broke ground on his third condo building in Rosslyn as part of a new wave of development in the once business-heavy neighborhood. Abdo says Rosslyn’s becoming more pedestrian-friendly, and that there’s more demand than he expected for homes there. And with the new multiple-use art space Artisphere thriving in Rosslyn, across the river could become the new U Street.

• Charlie Davies. After a horrific car crash on the George Washington Parkway that cost him his spot on the U.S.’s World Cup team and set back his career with a French team, Davies is returning to Washington to play for D.C. United—and looking for redemption. He’ll have to earn his spot on United and see if he can again become the internationally competitive striker he once was.

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Posted at 09:41 AM/ET, 02/17/2011 | Permalink | Comments ()