Downtowner: Voting Data Hackers, Campus Threats, New Addiction Center

Hackers May Have Gotten a Hold of D.C. Voter Information 

District and federal agencies are investigating after a hacking group says they accessed 600,000 lines of U.S. voting data kept by the D.C. Board of Elections. Earlier this month, the hacking group claimed responsibility for the action. Agencies investigating the breach include the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and more.  

American University Staff Member Receives Threatening Note 

Late last month, a Palestinian staff member at American University found a threatening, hate-filled note under their office door. The incident came at the heels of anti-semitic graffiti on Jewish students’ dorm room doors. The university is collaborating with the FBI to investigate. AU President Sylvia Burwell said that university is supporting the targeted staffer who received the note under their door. She also encouraged faculty or staff to reach out if they’re in need of help through the School of Public Affairs dean’s office or other HR employee relations.   

American University is currently investigating two separate hate incidents on campus. Courtesy AU.

D.C. Opens New 24/7 Center to Help People Dealing with Addiction 

The D.C. area opened a new building Monday for those who struggle with addiction. The center, called a “stabilization center,” is located on K Street in NE and will be open 24/7. People who visit the center can get connected to long-term care and other programs to support recovery. The opening comes on the heels of about 300 opioid-related deaths in D.C. this year.  

Panda Exhibit to Undergo Renovations 

After the pandas at The National Zoo leave, there are plans for extensive renovations to their habitat. The Director of Planning, Facilities, and Exhibits at The National Zoo, Mike Beglinger, spoke to WTOP saying the project will cost $2.4 million and will last 8-10 months. A smoke evacuation system will be added. Mei Xiang, 25, Tian Tian, 26, and their son Xiao Qi Ji, 3, will leave for China before November 15.  

The National Zoo panda exhibit will receive extensive renovations after the pandas currently living in it leave for China. Courtesy Smithsonian.

Renaissance Washington Reopens as Westin Washington 

The Renaissance Washington, D.C. has now reopened as the Westin Washington, D.C. The hotel is fresh off an $80 million renovation that focuses on health and wellness. The hotel houses the city’s biggest hotel fitness center (at 10,000 square-feet) and includes Peloton studio rooms and three one-bedroom Peloton suites with exercise bikes overlooking the city or in cozy alcoves. The fitness center includes a weight room, yoga room and stretching studio. The hotel has 807 rooms and is located at 9th and K Streets NW.  

The Renaissance Washington reopens as a Westin, focusing on fitness. Courtesy Sunstone Hotel Investors.

Ice Skating Returns to National Gallery of Art’s Sculpture Garden 

The popular ice-skating rink at the National Gallery of Art’s sculpture garden will reopen Monday Nov. 20, three days before Thanksgiving (weather permitting, of course). The rink will be open daily (check website for specific times) and hot beverages like hot chocolate, cider, and coffee will be available to purchase.  

Photo by Jeff Malet.









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