04/27/15 11:20am

pain sculpture

From the Mayor’s office:

“Today, Mayor Muriel Bowser ordered a corrective action plan for the District’s Department of Forensic Science (DFS). DFS has halted all DNA testing and the District is in the process of identifying third party labs to support DFS’ mission while the corrective action plan is carried out. The corrective actions come after the completion of two audits of DFS’ DNA mixture interpretation results.

Last year, the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia (USAO) first raised issues concerning the lab’s DNA mixture interpretation protocols. As a result in January, USAO stopped sending new DNA cases to the lab. The USAO commissioned an audit and Mayor Bowser commissioned a separate audit by the ANSI-ASQ National Accreditation Board (ANAB) to provide a third party independent review of the work produced by the lab.

Both audits were finalized last week and found similar deficiencies in training and review at DFS. Currently, DFS risks losing its accreditation as a result of problematic practices and procedures.

Following the USAO and ANAB reports, Mayor Bowser has initiated a 30-day corrective action plan for all of DFS’ work.

“I am troubled by the longstanding issues at DFS as identified in the audits,” said Mayor Muriel Bowser. “District residents spent $200 million to build a state-of-the-art facility and expect its work to be beyond reproach. Deputy City Administrator Kevin Donahue will oversee a thorough review of all forensic and scientific practices performed at DFS and implement a corrective action plan that addresses the USAO and ANAB’s concerns.”

The corrective action plan will include a root cause analysis of the deficiencies identified in the audits, specifically with the DNA mixture interpretation protocols. This root cause analysis will include reviews of training, management and complaint handling. Simultaneously, a similar third party independent review will commence focusing on each one of the other forensic disciplines within the agency, including fingerprints and firearms. DFS scientific staff is currently engaged in a thorough, all hands assessment and are working to remediate the nonconformities identified in the audit.

Additionally, DNA analyses performed by DFS using the protocols in question have been or are in the process of being reviewed to ensure that there are no errors in those cases. The review will not stop the investigation or prosecution of crimes in the District.

Mayor Bowser continued, “We will continue to work with residents, the Council, the Office of Attorney General and our criminal justice partners, including the Scientific Advisory Board and Stakeholder Council, to make sure the lab operates at a level consistent with accepted scientific and forensic standards.”

04/27/15 10:55am

Photo by PoPville flickr user wolfpackWX

“Dear PoPville,

OH MY GOSH. Did anyone else witness the world’s biggest asshole driving down 14th last night/this morning?? [going south past Taylor and Shepherd]

I was awoken by persistent honking around 3:00am. Living on 14th Street I’m used to being woken up by car alarms, sirens, and even the occasional drunk person yelling, however last night was probably the most ridiculous thing I’ve witnessed since I moved to the city. A pick up truck with Maryland plates and what looked like construction equipment in the bed of the truck was driving at a snail’s pace (probably > 5 MPH) and deliberately preventing anyone from passing him. The driver was swerving into oncoming traffic so people couldn’t go around him, and when drivers behind him would honk, he so kindly responded by holding down his horn as if it were all just a fun game. He also came to a complete stop a few times, as if to let people go around him, but when cars would try, he would swerve in front of them again.

To make matters worse, while cars were lining up behind him, I saw him leaning out his window to talk to a group of people who were walking up 14th (not sure if he was harassing them, or if they also thought it was a hilarious game to play at 3:00 in the morning). All of this continued for as long as I could see him from my window, and I could still hear the honking for a few minutes after.

In no way do I blame the drivers who were honking at him; I definitely would have done the same thing. It’s the fact that even at 3 in the morning 14th is a busy street, and yet someone would still act so recklessly just because they think it’s funny. It’s astonishing.

I realize there’s not much we can do at this point, but I’m just curious if anyone else saw this all go down?”

04/27/15 10:40am

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jacques Arsenault

From the National Zoo:

“After carefully monitoring the behavior of both its giant pandas and female Mei Xiang’s hormones for weeks, the Smithsonian’s National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s team of reproductive scientists, veterinarians and panda keepers performed two artificial inseminations within the last 24 hours. The first procedure started at 6 p.m. on April 26, and the second began at 7:30 this morning, April 27. Daily hormone reports showed Mei Xiang’s progesterone levels peaked Sunday morning, an indication that she was in estrus and able to become pregnant.

For the first time this year, scientists used semen collected from a giant panda living at the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda in Wolong, China. The chosen male panda, Hui Hui (pronounced “h-WEI h-WEI”), was determined to be one of the best genetic matches for Mei Xiang.

Although the Zoo’s male panda Tian Tian is not as genetically valuable as Mei Xiang, he is still important to the panda population. Scientists also used high-quality fresh semen collected from Tian Tian for the artificial inseminations. The first procedure used a combination of sperm from Hui Hui and Tian Tian. The second procedure also used thawed sperm from Hui Hui and sperm refrigerated overnight from Tian Tian. If Mei Xiang gives birth, scientists will use a DNA test to determine which male sired the cub. Mei Xiang was put under general anesthesia for the non-surgical artificial insemination(s). Each procedure took about an hour. The Zoo live-streamed portions of the first procedure on Twitter using Perioscope and live-posted to Instagram using #PandaStory. (more…)

04/27/15 9:55am


A reader tweets us:

“Ooh, CVS at 23rd and M is an imminent health hazard. Wonder what happened. @PoPville”

Another reader reports:

“Thought this was interesting- I’ve been to both the CVS next to the SweetGreen on M St in West End and on L St by 20th St. NW in the past two days, and both had signs up and all their food items blocked off- just like Target did a couple of weeks ago. I’m pretty grossed out that even major retailers can’t seem to get their acts together and keep the critters away…ew.”

04/27/15 9:30am

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

You can talk about whatever is on your mind – quality of life issues, a beautiful tree you spotted, scuttlebutt, or any random questions/thoughts you may have. But please no personal attacks and no need to correct people’s grammar. This is a place to vent and/or celebrate things about daily life in DC.

04/27/15 8:50am

Lots of readers tweeted us last night around 11:30pm:

“Pretty sure a drive-by shooting just happened on 7th & P street NW – multiple gunshots, man stumbles & collapses, police now here @PoPville”

From MPD:

“The Third District is investigating a shooting that occurred at 6th and P Street Northwest.

Anyone with information is encouraged to call the Metropolitan Police Department on 202-727-9099.”

04/26/15 10:22pm

974 Palmer Alley, NW

The placard for Centrolina says:

“An European-inspired gourmet restaurant, which will be located within a full-service grocery store, selling food and alcoholic beverages for consumption on the premises. Seating capacity is 72. Total occupancy load is 105. Summer Garden with seating for 34.”

And lots more great info from their video: