Downtowner: NPS Fees, D.C. Duped, Other News

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The National Park Service administers more than 1,000 acres in Washington, D.C. U.S. Park Police photo.

NPS Proposes Fees for National Mall Use

Earlier this year, the National Park Service — which has been director-less for nearly two years — introduced a set of proposals that would close most of the White House sidewalk to demonstrators, require a fee for permits and eliminate a rule to respond to permit requests within 24 hours for certain areas of the National Mall. The public comments period for the NPS proposals ended Oct. 15. It may take months for the NPS to review the 120,000 comments it received. The Park Service is under the Department of the Interior, led by embattled Trump appointee Ryan Zinke.

D.C. Government Falls Victim to $700K Scam

The D.C. government thought it was paying a vendor’s bill connected with housing for the homeless. Instead, scammers posing as a vendor got the city to pay them nearly $700,000. The funds were wired to a bank account last summer and, to date, none have been recovered. The incident has led to stricter security in District CFO Jeffrey DeWitt’s office, US News reported. Since bank fraud is a felony, the Treasury Department is handling the investigation.

Mayor’s Rally Didn’t Break the Rules

Government watchdog group Public Citizen accused D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser of violating campaign finance rules, calling Bowser’s Oct. 14 get-out-the-vote rally, which featured at-large District Council candidates Anita Bonds (D) and Dionne Reeder (I), an unacceptable donation to their campaigns. However, the D.C. Office of Campaign Finance dismissed the complaint on Oct. 31.

Tom Marmet. Family photo.

Stray Bullet Kills 22-Year-Old in Northeast D.C.

Local 22-year-old Tom Marmet was killed by a stray bullet or caught in crossfire at the intersection of Bladensburg Road and 17th Street NE on Oct. 24. He was waiting at a red light while driving home from his social worker job at So Others Might Eat’s Conway Center in Anacostia. Marmet, who grew up in Chevy Chase, Maryland, attended the Maret School and graduated from the University of Vermont earlier this year, was pronounced dead at Medstar Washington Hospital Center.

Courtesy Ford Motor Company.

D.C. to Get Driverless Cars in 2019

The future is here: Ford has announced plans to launch autonomous vehicles in all eight wards of the District next year. The company’s intention is for the pilot program to become a self-driving taxi and delivery service by 2021. A Pittsburgh-based company, Argo AI, is developing the system. Ford invested $1 billion in the company last year. Argo AI already has cars with drivers on our streets.

Courtesy Muving.

Faux Vespas Next in Dockless Travel?

First there were dockless bikes, then came dockless scooters. Now, dockless Vespa-like electric motor scooters — with a top speed of 30 mph — may join the growing list of transportation options in the District. European-based company Muving has been in talks with the District Department of Transportation to discuss entering the dockless vehicle program, according to reports.

Adams Morgan Metro K in Jeopardy

Ho Sang Cho, owner of Adams Morgan grocer Metro K Supermarket on Columbia Road NW, is facing a 30-percent rent increase. His landlord is also asking for renovations that could cost as much as $150,000. Cho, who took over the market 16 years ago, is worried about being forced to close, according to Washington City Paper. The management company said it has an executed lease with a new grocer, so Metro K is likely on its way out.

 

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