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A Question of Substance


Usually it’s the Supreme Court justices who get to ask the tough questions. But every so often, prominent public figures come to Georgetown, and undergraduates glean the rare opportunity to ask questions in return.

Last Wednesday, those who attended Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor’s lecture received an index card where they could write one question for Sotomayor to answer during the standard post-lecture question-and-answer session — a Gaston Hall standard that usually fosters a candid discussion and enriches university programming. In Wednesday’s case, however, the questions were screened and posed by a university official, rather than the student or event attendee who originally wanted an answer.

Permit denied for controversial Capitol Hill treehouse

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- A permit was denied Thursday for a treehouse in the Capitol Hill neighborhood that ignited a small controversy. 

The Public Space Committee voted 4-0 to deny the Psychas family's request to let their treehouse extend into public space.

The family built the treehouse five months ago, and it stretches out about 20 inches past their property line into a public alley called Archibald Walk. Neighbors complained that the treehouse encroached on public space.

PREVIOUS STORYTreehouse causes controversy in SE DC community

Thursday's vote could mean the treehouse must come down, or at least be altered.

One member of the Public Space Committee abstained from the vote. 

Congressional staffer arrested after loaded gun found in bag

WASHINGTON (AP) - The U.S. Capitol Police say they have arrested a congressional staff member who tried to enter a Senate office building with a loaded handgun.

A Capitol Police spokeswoman says Christopher Carpenter of Stafford, Virginia was arrested on Tuesday when routine x-ray screening revealed a loaded 9mm handgun in a backpack.

Capt. Kimberly Schneider said Carpenter was charged with unlawful activities, possession of an unregistered firearm and unregistered ammunition.

Carpenter works for the Senate Sergeant at Arms, the chamber's protocol and chief law enforcement officer. The office is also responsible for most administrative issues in the Senate.

A spokeswoman for that office said Carpenter is the manager of the office that processes Senate identification badges and would eventually return to work.

Man who landed gyrocopter outside Capitol rejects deal

WASHINGTON (AP) - A man who landed a gyrocopter on the West Lawn of the Capitol as part of a protest against the influence of big money in politics says he rejected a plea deal that would strip him of his right to vote.

Douglas Hughes said Thursday that prosecutors offered to let him plead guilty to one felony count. But he said he rejected that deal because pleading guilty to a felony would mean he can't vote or run for office in Florida, where he lives. In Florida, people convicted of a felony have to wait at least five years after finishing their sentences and any supervised release before applying to get those rights restored.

Hughes, who is from Ruskin, Florida, was arrested following his April 15 flight.

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Pack Light, Pack Right While Traveling by Air This Fall

Pack Light, Pack Right While Traveling by Air This Fall

Fall is a time when millions of people around the country begin to make their travel plans. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the busiest travel times of the year are just around the corner, which include Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s. There are some great reasons why packing light will help make your trip easier and more enjoyable. And the good news is that it’s not difficult to do, either.

“If you want to pack right when you travel then you really need to focus on packing light,” explains Tina Aldatz, chief executive officer of Savvy Travelers. “There’s much less hassle and stress when you pack light and stick to the basics. You can put your focus on your travel, rather than having all of your attention go to dragging around way too much luggage.”

Here are some Savvy Travelers tips for packing light and right for fall and holiday air travel:

Trader Joe's to open new store in Capitol Hill

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- Trader Joe's plans to open a third store in D.C., and its first in a new part of the city. 

The company announced Wednesday they'll be opening a store in Capitol Hill in Summer 2017 at 750 Pennslyvania Avenue SE near the Eastern Market Metro Station.

According to Trader Joe's, the new store will be approximately 11,000 square feet.

This will be Trader Joe's third store in D.C. and first outside the Northwest section of the city. The company also has multiple stores in Maryland and Northern Virginia.  

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Head of US Capitol Police to step down in January

WASHINGTON (AP) - The chief of the U.S. Capitol Police is planning to retire in January.

In a statement late Monday, the U.S. Capitol Police Board said Kim Dine would step down and thanked him for his leadership after more than 2½ years.

The Capitol Police are responsible for providing security for lawmakers, staff and visitors to the Capitol. They also police the Capitol grounds and the surrounding area.

Man seen exposing himself in Capitol Hill park

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- What started off as a fun day at a local playground in Capital Hill Thursday afternoon quickly changed after several mothers told WUSA9 they saw a man exposing himself while sitting on a bench nearby.

"I was just really shaken up. I called my husband on our walk home right away. Everyone was fine, but I was crying," Stacy Durand, a mother who was at Stanton Park while the man exposed himself said.

Durand, who frequently visits Stanton Park with her son, was here at 1 p.m. Thursday when the incident happened.

There are no bathrooms near the park, and sometimes when the little kids can't hold it they go in some bushes near a bench.

"They were pulling down their pants to go potty, and he was watching them and doing you know what to himself," Durand said.

Parents immediately left the park and Durand called 911.

METRO SCHOOL of the ARTS ACADEMY AUDITIONS, SUN., MAR. 1; for 2015-2016 School Year

METRO SCHOOL of the ARTS ACADEMY AUDITIONS, SUN., MAR. 1; for 2015-2016 School Year

Students interested in attending the Metropolitan School of the Arts (MSA) of Alexandria and Lorton, Va. can audition on Sun., Mar. 1 at MSA Lorton Campus at 9601 Ox Road. Auditions are required as part of the 2015-2016 academy registration. The MSA Academy audition is for performing arts students from 6th grade to 12th grade. Students should call 703-339-0444 ext.3 or visit www.metropolitanarts.org to register for an audition time. 

The audition process will give prospective students an opportunity to demonstrate his or her skills in dance, music and theater for the chairs of the respective arts departments.  Applicants must attend a live audition if they live within three geographical states of MSA.  Prospective students living beyond the three-state radius may submit a DVD audition. 

GOP pushes abortion bill through House after earlier stumble

WASHINGTON (AP) - Republicans have muscled legislation through the House tightening federal restrictions on abortions, as thousands of abortion foes staged their annual protest march just down the street.

The House approved the broadened abortion curbs by a near party-line 242-179 vote. The White House warned that President Barack Obama would veto the measure, all but ensuring that it would never become law.

GOP leaders hurriedly pushed the bill onto the House floor hours after abruptly abandoning another bill banning most late-term abortions. They dropped that legislation after a rebellion led by female Republican lawmakers left them short of votes.

The approved bill would permanently bar federal funds for any abortion coverage and block tax credits for many people and businesses buying health insurance that covers abortions. That would exceed current abortion restrictions.