September 2023 Downtowner News Briefs

Office of Management and Budget Gets Return-to-Work Letter  

The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments sent a letter to the Office of Management and Budget (OBM) encouraging more in-person work at federal government agencies. The letter — signed by higher-ups at 23 local governments — discussed the importance of predictability of workers commuting to the effectiveness of public transportation. The Biden administration has also expressed interest in more in-person work.   

M Street Restaurant Accused of Wage Theft  

A lawsuit from the D.C. Attorney General’s office says Swahili Village, a fine-dining restaurant serving East African food allegedly stole wages from its employees, which number in the hundreds. The restaurant allegedly filched from everyone at the restaurant, including servers, bartenders, and more. They also neglected to provide legally required overtime and sick leave. Many of the employees working at the restaurant are African immigrants.  

D.C. Youth Curfew in Effect  

September 1 marked the enforcement of a D.C. youth curfew. Police will be targeting seven neighborhoods where crime is on the rise. Those ages 16 and under should be off the streets from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m. Sunday through Thursday and midnight to 6 a.m., Friday and Saturday. Curfewed neighborhoods will include: Chinatown and Navy Yard, U Street, Howard University/Banneker, 14th St. between Otis Place and Spring Road NW, the 4000 block of Georgia Ave. NW, 1300 Congress St. SE, and 4400 Benning Rd. SE.   

Families of District Dogs Canine Flood Victims Meet with Mayor  

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser met with the families who lost their dogs in the District Dogs flood last month, which killed 10 dogs at the facility in Northeast D.C. Bowser told families she’s thinking about removing the certificate of occupancy for the space. At the meeting, Bowser said 911 calls were coming in and the call-takers didn’t realize District Dogs was in such a flood-prone area, The Washington Post reported. ANC Commissioner Colleen Costello said callers made it clear what was happening — walls were collapsing and both people and animals were trapped.   

National Zoo Evacuated Over Bomb Threat  

The Smithsonian National Zoo was evacuated late last month over a bomb threat. The zoo got the threat at 10:42 a.m. and police got the call at 11:09 a.m. Visitors and staff were evacuated and roads around the zoo were closed. The all-clear was eventually given at 1:45 p.m.   

A New Food Hall Opened at Farragut West  

A building just above the Farragut West Metro station has turned into a massive food hall called “The Square.” It just opened in late August and takes up an entire city block. A large interior courtyard and commissary kitchen comprise the 25,000-square-foot space. The hall is operated by Rubén Garcia, who was the former Minibar chef and José Andrés Group creative director, and Richie Brandenburg, who helped create D.C. food halls like Union Market. Expect to see eats like tacos, chicken sandwiches, and more.   






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