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HOW the District government responded to the 2001 drinking water crisis and what happened to Sarah Barkley’s son offer a teachable moment as the nation’s capital faces yet another possible drinking water debacle.

“No one ever once apologized. Never once was action taken to measure and to identify the kids and the harm that was done. We all just moved on,” said Yanna Lambrinidou, a professor and researcher at Virginia Tech, who has studied the problem of lead in drinking water in schools nationally and the responses by various government entities.

Is it 2001 all over again? What will the city do this time, other than sample the water? How will children and their families be treated?

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Jonetta Rose Barras to be Inducted into the Hall of Fame

CBS News White House correspondent Bill Plante, longtime New Yorker magazine Washington reporter Elizabeth Drew, and freelancer and former Washington Post columnist Jonetta Rose Barras will be inducted to the Hall of Fame of the D.C. Pro Chapter, Society of Professional Journalists, June 14, 2016.

BUILDING FAMILY: A Moderated Conversation–June 11, 2016

How do we retain or build family after a divorce? What is family in this 21st Century? Is it still the most important structure in our society?

These are questions that will be answered during Building Family: A Moderated Conversation presented by The Fatherless Daughter Reconciliation Project, a division of Esther Productions, Inc. on June 11, 2016. For more information call 202-829-0591 or write esterproductionsinc@gmail.com

Dear Suburbanites: Won’t You Help?

By Richard Hébert

In October 1997, a daily commuter to D.C. from Arlington, Va., wrote a letter to the editor of Washington’s “City Paper” in which she posed an interesting argument:
“… I certainly benefit from the city’s services,” she wrote, “but I actually thought that I gave back to the District by using its Metro system and patronizing its restaurants, bars, shops, and businesses.”

I responded with these comments, which I don’t believe were ever printed (at least I can find no evidence that they were). Here they are, still relevant today:

D.C. STATEHOOD: A History Lesson To Build On

By Richard Hébert

I seldom, if ever, find much to cheer about on Income Tax Day – April 15 – especially if it concerns news from Washington, D.C. This year, I cheered lustily. The occasion: Mayor Muriel Bowser’s address to civil rights activists that morning honoring the 154th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. The Washington Post headline said it all: D.C. mayor calls for citywide vote to make nation’s capital the 51st state.

I cheered because memories came flooding back from wherever they’d been hiding, memories of the statehood movement I’d been deeply engaged in 20-plus years ago. Memories that reached back even farther than that. Memories that explained vividly, at least to me, why I so ardently support the very idea that the District of Columbia become a state, with all the rights that would entail. Not for nothing is D.C. often referred to as “the last colony.”