• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Judge Theresa Carroll Buchanan. The federal judge has an explosive international case in her Alexandria courtroom, as lawyers for the federal government and WikiLeaks battle over whether Twitter account information is protected by the First Amendment. Buchanan will have to decide whether leaking secret information is a free-speech right or whether the First Amendment stops short when government secrets are involved.
• Lawrence Hughes. After a shooting in Manassas killed three people and left three others in the hospital, the city’s manager is trying to find ways to make the Georgetown South neighborhood a better place to live, from encouraging schools to come up with new and creative after-school activities to coming up with new land-use plans to increasing police foot patrols in troubled neighborhoods. The shooting is a tragedy, but if Hughes can use it to mobilize Manassas, maybe some good can come of it.
• Scott Steffan. The principal of Wheaton’s Highland Elementary School is leading efforts to get Latino parents more involved in the school system. Wheaton is on the leading edge of Montgomery County’s transition from a majority-white community to one that’s majority minority. We’d love to know if he has lessons in multiracial, multilingual education to share with Kaya Henderson, Michelle Rhee’s deputy, who seems likely to take her place permanently as the chancellor of the District’s school system.
• Randy Edsall. The new University of Maryland football coach was always going to have to meet high expectations as the first major athletic hire under new president Wallace Loh—especially after the university bought out his predecessor’s contract rather than keeping him on. But after a Baltimore Sun investigation found that the university had spent $40,000 on travel during the candidate search and there were three candidates in contention the day before Edsall was offered the job, the pressure to live up to the hype is higher than ever.
• The Saturday-night waitstaff at the Country Club of Virginia. Virginia governor Bob McDonnell dined with former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty, a presumptive Republican presidential candidate, at the club Saturday night. We can’t imagine that the other 14 guests are talking about what the two Republican rising stars discussed, but we bet the servers got some interesting snippets that might hint at whether McDonnell is ready for the national stage.
• Eleanor Holmes Norton. Actually, we don’t want to have dinner with the delegate from the District—we want to go on the tour of Washington that she’s giving freshman Republican representative Trey Gowdy today. Gowdy, a South Carolina conservative who unseated long-term incumbent Bob Inglis in a primary last year, is chairing the House subcommittee on District affairs, but his views on DC are largely unknown. We want to know what Norton tells him about the city and how he reacts to his first field trip through it.
• Tom O’Connor. George Mason University’s athletic director has a great basketball program. Up next? The Redskins. The football team is in early conversations with GMU about moving its training camp to the Fairfax school’s campus. For a school whose motto is “Innovation is tradition,” partnering with the Redskins could be a great way to improve George Mason’s visibility—and an alternate way to fund new athletic facilities.
• Yesha Callahan. The University of Maryland faculty recruiter called Gawker about (suddenly) former Representative Chris Lee, whom she met on Craigslist, after checking out his e-mail address and realizing he was lying to her about his age, profession, and most of all, his marital status. Callahan mostly appears to have been motivated by disgust over Lee’s dishonesty with her and worries that he’d lie to other women who might not investigate him as diligently. And for not selling out, and doing women everywhere a solid favor, we’d like to buy her dinner.
• Tommy Wells. The DC City Councilman turned a money-saving proposal to end late-night weekend Metro service into a question of Washington’s greatness. “We’re a world-class city,” Wells said at the council’s Metro committee meeting Thursday. “To be a world-class city you have to support nightlife.” We had thought that concerns about safety might be enough to sink the proposal, but hey, we’ll let Wells lead the charge.
• Art Silber. The Potomac Nationals owner is kicking in $70,000 of his own money, and Prince William County and the Prince William Park Authority will invest equal amounts to modernize the Potomac Nationals Stadium. We’re sure the team’s players will be glad to have more than one bathroom in their clubhouse. And it’s good to see investment in the Nationals’ minor-league affiliates—good major-league teams need good minor-league organizations behind them to develop strong young players and young executives.
• Brian Moran. After Senator Jim Webb announced he wouldn’t seek a second term (he squeaked past then-senator George Allen in 2006), Webb left the Virginia Democratic Party chairman with some difficult decisions. Should the party back former representative Tom Perriello, the 5th District Democrat who lost his seat in last fall’s wave election and who says he’s “keeping his options open”? Will former governor Tim Kaine jump into the race? Either way, Webb’s departure leaves Moran and other Virginia Democrats fighting to tip their purple state into the blue column on Election Day next year.
• Rye Rye. The 19-year-old Baltimore rapper blew up headphones nationally yesterday when she released an insanely catchy remix of Miley Cyrus’s smash hit “Party in the USA” along with a new mix tape. Her first album, produced by indie-rap superstar M.I.A., is due out later this year. Sure, we like Wale. But after his career’s fits and starts, it’s good to have another star proving that the DMV hip-hop scene deserves a truly national audience.
• Thomas Manger. The Montgomery County chief of police has an unsettling problem: 911 calls to the department appear to be rerouting to Prince George’s County and DC, making it harder for MoCo residents to get emergency services. County lawmakers are investigating whether there’s a persistent glitch in Verizon’s call-routing system during emergencies like large snow storms. One family already appears to have lost its home to a mis-routed call, and the department and the county want answers—and a fix.
• Jill Reddecliff. The development manager of Frederick’s Weinberg Center for the Arts just landed a $12,000 grant that’s going toward keeping an unusual art—organ playing during silent movies—alive. The center has one of the last Wurlitzer organs in the country, and the only one in
Virginia Maryland that’s still in the original location where it was installed. That grant will refurbish the organ for the first time since 1976—and will keep Ray Brubacher, who has been playing the organ during screenings at various theaters for decades, at the keys so he can train a successor.
• Pablo Chavez. Google’s top Washington lobbyist is in for a bumpy ride as Microsoft and other technology companies and advocates ramp up the push for an antitrust investigation against the search-and-software giant. The fall of Microsoft in a similar investigation left a void that Google filled. And as the company increases its hardware business on the back of its Android operating systems and fights with rival search engine Bing, a federal investigation has to be Google’s worst nightmare.
This month, the National Gallery of Art’s French-painting curator brings Washington one of the year’s biggest shows, the largest look at Paul Gauguin’s work in a quarter century.
With Verizon Wireless finally getting the iPhone and a new fast 4G network, the company’s regional president has much to celebrate.