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THE MONEY TREE: D.C. School Modernization

HALFWAY through D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson’s recently released report on the city’s school modernization spending between 2010 and 2013 by the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization and the Department of General Services, I was sufficiently alarmed that I picked up my telephone and dialed Attorney General Karl Racine’s office. Has he read the report, I asked, his spokesman.

The report is filled with examples of blatant violations of local laws by government officials and their contracted agents. There are numerous instances of undocumented spending. Money may not have been stolen. But there is indisputable evidence of waste and abuse that could be interpreted as misfeasance.

In my opinion, an investigation into spending by DGS and its contracted partners DCPEP is needed.

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THE GIFT: An Interactive Arts Healing and Reconciliation Experience

The ultimate intent of this powerful six-hour program produced by Esther Productions is to bring participants closer to self-reconciliation, greater self-appreciation, self-love and forgiveness, diminishing potential violence against themselves and others.

Write to estherproductionsinc@gmail.com for more information

THE SHAPERS OF MALES

Saving males of color has become a cause across America. Even before President Obama put his imprimatur on the issue, touting his My Brother’s Keeper initiative, nonprofit organizations began researching the psyche and socioeconomic status of black and Hispanic males. They also had begun proposing various solutions. D.C. jumped into the game this year, when Mayor Muriel E. Bowser (D) and Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced a $20 million, three-year Empowering Males of Color initiative. It involves the creation of an “application only,” all-male college-preparatory high school, hundreds of mentorships and school-based grants.

Many initiatives ignore this indisputable fact: Women shape young men. According to the Census Bureau, 25 percent of all U.S. families are headed by single women. That percentage increases to 70 percent in the black community. How equipped are these women for the job of shaping responsible males?

TELLING STORIES, PRESERVING CULTURE

Review: Flying Home: seven stories of the secret city
By David Nicholson
$12.95pbk–147 pp
Paycock Press. Arlington, VA.

David Nicholson’s Flying Home, features cinematic storytelling, rich in lyrical, descriptive language and filled with authentic African- American characters. This debut fiction collection reminds us of people and African-American communities we may have forgotten, as the old die and neighborhoods become more racially and economically diversified. But his powerful stories do not smother us in a nostalgic rendition of all things black. Rather they take us to parts of present day Washington, D.C., behind the monuments, the museums and the enclave of federal office buildings. We travel past commercial corridors, like U St. NW and H. St. NE. made popular by journalists who refuse to travel to the city’s bountiful and beautiful interior.