States Told Not to Ban Driver Cell Phone Use: The Governors Highway Safety Association issued a report advising states not to ban cell phone use, since they say research on distracted driving is contradictory and inconclusive. It does, however, say that distractions are the cause of 15 to 25 percent of all car crashes, and that texting while driving is more likely to cause a crash than simply talking on the phone, WTOP reports. Both DC and Maryland have blanket bans on handheld devices while driving; Virginia has a ban on text messaging while driving. You can view the full report here.
DC Police Could Be Lax on Reporting Anti-LGBT Crimes: DC Police Chief Cathy Lanier agreed to meet with Councilmember Phil Mendelson after a council hearing yesterday about citizen complaints regarding LGBT issues. Community leaders have issued several complaints about the police's reluctance to report bias-related incidents and hate crimes required by the police department's own policy when responding to 911 calls. Lanier defended the department's engagement with the LGBT community, reports June Q. Wu at the Washington Post, citing the department's attendance at community meetings and public events. "We engage in every way we can," Lanier said at yesterday's hearing.
Gray Stepping Up Summer Jobs Safety: After two participants in DC's summer jobs program alleged incidents of sexual assault, Tom Sherwood at NBC4 reports Mayor Vince Gray promises to step up efforts to protect young people in the program. One 17-year-old alleged victim reported fondling by a file clerk at the DC Department of Employment Services, and a 19-year-old alleged victim reported Friday inappropriate touching by a building contractor. The DC Council pledges to hold a hearing on the issue.
DC Ranks High in Sustainability: A new survey of 27 cities ranks DC eighth overall in green cities, putting the city in the number one spot for environmental governance, Aaron Morrissey writes at DCist. The report says the city has some work to do, however, when it comes to water conservation and waste reduction, where it ranked 18th and 24th, respectively.
Weather's New "Normal" Warmer, Less Snowy: The Capital Weather Gang has the skinny on the National Climate Data Center's new baselines, or "normals," for the Washington area. The area's average annual temperature has increased by 0.64 degrees, with the average annual low temperature warming by almost a full degree. Average annual snowfall dropped as well, from 15.2 inches to 14.5 inches.
Goats Mow Lawns in Gaithersburg: City officials in Gaithersburg are experimenting with two herds of Eco-Goats on the property of the Izaak Walton League headquarters on Muddy Branch Road, NBC4 reports. The goats are part of an effort to combat invasive plant spices that have sprung up on the property without using chemical herbicides.
Briefly Noted: Metro officials will likely recommend the "U Street/African American Civil War Memorial/Cardozo" Metro stop's name to just "U Street/Cardozo" today. . . . Loudoun County will throw $150 million toward the $3.5 billion Dulles rail project. . . . Washington City Paper's Dave McKenna has some complaints about his beloved Upshur pool.