Downtown Observer, Oct. 5, 2011

A New D.C. Circulator Route

The D.C. Department of Transportation launched a new Circulator Route, the first ever to provide service east of the Anacostia River.

The new route runs from the Potomac Avenue Metro Station to Skyland and the Good Hope

Marketplace Shopping Center via Barracks Row.

The route was launched by a gathering of city officials including Mayor Vincent Gray, D.C. Council Chairman Kwame Brown, Councilmembers Marion Barry (Ward 8), Yvette Alexander (Ward 7), Tommy Wells (Ward 6) and DOT Director Terry Bellamy.

“When you provide better transit service and improve mobility, there are a host of benefits, not the least of which is better access to jobs, “Mayor Gray said. “The new route connects these communities east of the River-where jobs are scarce-with the employment centers across the district.”

The route will run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, initially.

First They Closed, Then They Didn’t

A hugely unpopular announcement that the district government would have to close the Martin Luther King Jr. Library on Sundays because of an unavailability of funds was reversed recently with the announcement from the mayor’s office that funding will be made available to ensure the library stays open on Sundays.

The library is getting the necessary $316,000 that will ensure it will stay open on Sundays and that it will have service seven days a week. The library has been open on Sundays since it opened in 1972.

The mayor, Councilmember Tommy Wells and Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper welcomed district residents back to the library in an announcement Oct. 2.

“Mayor Gray is one of the library’s strongest supporters,” Cooper said. “It is a priority to keep libraries open as many hours as possible and we are able to continue to do offer this important service to district residents.

It’s Official: MLK Jr. Memorial to be Dedicated Oct. 16

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial, originally scheduled to be dedicated ceremonially and formally back on Aug. 28, will finally have its dedication ceremony Oct. 16.

Hurricane Irene put a big damper on a lot of things back in September, and forced the cancellation of the dedication ceremonies of the impressive memorial which includes an imposing, stern sculpture of Martin Luther King Jr. looking across the Potomac at the Jefferson Memorial.

The memorial has been open for a number of weeks already and has attracted thousands of visitors. “Due to the postponement we are planning an event much smaller in scale,” Harry E. Johnson, Sr., president and CEO of the Washington D.C. Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Project Foundation, said. “But it will be just as big in spirit.”

Still, the dedication program, which begins at 9 a.m. in West Potomac Park, will have President Barack Obama, Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, members and of the King family and a number of civil rights leaders on hand.

The MLK Jr. Memorial is on the National Mall, adjacent to the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial, in a direct line between the Lincoln and Jefferson Memorials, and in close proximity to three of the nation’s war memorials—World War II, Viet Nam and Korea.

D.C. Reads

Speaking of the Martin Luther King Library, D.C. Reads, an annual city-wide celebration of the joy of reading will focus on “The Other Wes Moore” by Wes Moore for focus, discussion and reading Oct. 15 through Nov. 16. “The Other Wes Moore” is a book that tells the life story of two boys sharing the same name but a very different life. One grew up to be a Rhodes Scholar, decorated combat veteran, White House Fellow and business leader; the other is serving a life sentence in prison for felony murder.

The events opened with a reception and book signing with Wes Moore this week, but will also include a Facebook chat Oct. 13 at 7:30 p.m. (Facebook.com/dclibrary), an online book chat Nov. 1 (EdcLibrary.org/dcreads) and a book discussion at the D.C. Regional Library for the Blind and

Physically Handicapped Nov. 10 at 11 a.m.

Honoring Jim Lehrer

Jim Lehrer, PBS news anchor, presidential debate monitor, author of books on politics and atmospheric novels that can be loosely described as elegantly written thrillers has been selected as the winner of the National Press Club’s 2011 Fourth Estate Award, the highest honor presented by the organization.

He is the 39th journalist to be the recipient of the National Press Club award for career achievement and is in very, very good company. Previous winners have included Walter Cronkite, David Broder and Christiane Amanpour. Club President Mark Hamrick praised Lehrer as “the true voice of reason, balancer and fairness” in his political commentary. “He has never appeared to underestimate the intelligence of sensitivities of members of his audience. Acknowledged as the dean of presidential debate moderators, Jim Lehrer has provided invaluable assistance for Americans choosing whom they want to lead the nation.”

Lehrer co-hosted MacNeil/Lehrer on PBS for seven years and took over the anchor role when Robert McNeil retired in 1996. He won a National Humanities Medal and is a member of the Television Hall of Fame. His latest book is just out, “Tension City,” a highly readable account of his life as a moderator of presidential debates.

Lehrer will be honored at the Press Club’s 2011 Fourth Estate Award Dinner Oct. 28.

Theatre Washington Gala

Now that the Helen Hayes Awards has re-branded and changed its name to Theatre Washington, it can announce its star gala and benefit auction with that name.

The gala is Oct. 28 at the Four Seasons, which is a 22-year-tradition for the organization which raises funds and awareness, and promotes audience development and education services for theatres, artists and audiences.

The gala will include a silent auction, a three-course dinner a live auction conducted by Sebastian Clarke of Doyle New York and Antiques Roadshow, show tunes and the presentation of Helen’s Star.

Come get a Taste of D.C.

It is said that good taste is the offspring of a good community. Taste of D.C., a food, wine, beer and music festival, is back in the District again this year.

Featuring 60 plus restaurants and eateries, Taste of D.C. is being brought back to life by the Entrepreneur Steuart Martens of NBC’s season 10 of “The Apprentice.”

The Taste of D.C. is a movement that brings the best food, beverages and fun to the streets of Washington. Some of the restaurants involved are Ben’s Chili Bowl, Luke’s Lobster, Sprinkles Cupcakes and many more. The event will launch at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8. It will last all weekend and end at 10 p.m. Monday, Oct. 10.

There will be alcohol for sale and tickets for food tasting. World-class wines and craft beers will be available to sip throughout the day. The event is open to all ages and there will be some fun stage performances included. There will be culinary performances and bands such as Big & Rich, Styx and Rusted Root. These contributions are part of Taste of D.C.’s chance to give the community an amusing environment.

The event partnered with 4 local charities which all invest their interests in health and food: DC Central Kitchen, Bread for the City, Luke’s Wings and the American Red Cross North Capital Region.

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