Downtowner DC: Fireworks, Lloyd Austin, Nats Apparel, HQ2


What Made the Fireworks So Good?

If you wondered why the Jan. 20 fireworks show celebrating Joe Biden’s inauguration were particularly delightful, you’re not the only one. There were a couple reasons why the display was so spectacular. For one thing, July is a bad time of year for fireworks, as D.C.’s swampy summer heat creates a haze of sorts. Also, with all the closures around the city, the fireworks could be set up and set off without risk to pedestrians or cars.

First Black Secretary of Defense

Retired four-star Gen. Lloyd J. Austin III was named secretary of defense shortly after President Joe Biden’s inauguration. Austin’s nomination was confirmed by a 93-2 vote, officially making him the first Black to hold the position. Legislation was passed to grant him a waiver, since it had not been seven years since he left active duty. Austin was Biden’s second Cabinet nominee after Avril Haines, named director of national intelligence.

D.C. Poll Workers Getting Paid

D.C. poll workers who staffed the November election, victims of long USPS delays, finally started receiving their checks in late January, a month later than promised. The outstanding checks, totaling a half-million dollars, are currently due to around 1,000 workers. The District’s Office of the Chief Financial Officer advised workers to email 2020pollworkers@dc.gov if they do not receive payment soon.

Indoor Dining Resumes in D.C.

Indoor dining resumed in D.C. late last month after a long pause to curb the continuing COVID-19 pandemic. Restaurants are allowed to seat patrons inside at 25-percent capacity. With the citywide closures for the inauguration, D.C. restaurants have had some rough weeks. Former District Council member Michael Brown, who dined in with his wife, encouraged those who don’t feel safe eating inside to place to-go or delivery orders.

Nats Donate World Series Apparel

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and the Washington Nationals announced that the baseball team will be providing first responders with Nationals World Series Champion branded gear and apparel. The Nats are donating the items to thank the first responders for protecting the city throughout the ongoing health pandemic and for their heroic actions during the Jan. 6 invasion of the U.S. Capitol.

Council Overrides 2 Bowser Vetoes

The District Council voted on Fen. 2 to override two of Mayor Muriel Bowser’s vetoes. The votes reiterated the Council’s support for the breakup of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs and for adding an independent ombudsman for D.C.’s Child and Family Services Agency. Bowser stated that the Council’s proposal for splitting DCRA in two was wasteful and the CFSA ombudsman position redundant.

Man Dies in Metrobus Crash

Around midnight on Jan. 22, a Clinton, Maryland, man, Marion Dante Fields, 24, died after slamming his car into an eastbound Metrobus on Minnesota Avenue NE near Benning Road. Two passengers in the vehicle were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Many bus passengers were taken to the hospital with injuries after the head-on collision.

3 Gun Deaths in Under 7 Hours

On Jan. 21, a Thursday, there were three shooting deaths in D.C. in under seven hours starting around 3 p.m. One of the victims, shot on 11thPlace SE, was a 15-year-old boy, Dayvon Lewis. The other fatal shootings were of Damareus Scott, 27, on Alabama Avenue SE, and Andrew Session, also 27, on 3rdStreet SE.

Amazon Unveils HQ2 Plans

Amazon unveiled plans last week for its new “HQ2” headquarters in Arlington, Virginia. The centerpiece of the complex will be 350-foot tower shaped like a conch or a helix, according to artist renderings. Not all the responses were favorable, with some likening it to a Christmas tree and others saying it looked like the poop emoji. Amazon said the structure will be an alternative, post-pandemic workspace, not a traditional office building.

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