Friday, August 15, 2008


Plastic Buckets Cause Scare Near White House

Police closed the area around McPherson Square near the White House for about three hours yesterday to check several plastic containers that appeared suspicious and were left on a sidewalk.

Alan Etter, a spokesman for D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services, said a hazmat team and bomb technicians found nothing dangerous in the seven empty containers left at 15th and I streets NW. The plastic buckets had at some point contained a chlorine-based substance, "not unlike something you'd use to clean your pool," Etter said.

The scare prompted the closure of the area at noontime and the arrival of numerous emergency response vehicles. Authorities said they did not know why the containers had been left there.

-- Mary Beth Sheridan


8 Teachers Tell Union They Back Pay Proposal

A small group of D.C. public school teachers gathered yesterday at their union's headquarters to support a new pay package proposed by Chancellor Michelle A. Rhee.

The eight teachers had planned a demonstration but instead met for 90 minutes with George Parker, president of the Washington Teachers Union. They emerged satisfied that they eventually will get a chance to vote on the pay package, which offers $100,000-plus salaries for tenured teachers willing to risk dismissal by going on probation for a year. Teachers unwilling to relinquish tenure would still get significant raises under the proposal.

"All my questions were answered," said Heather Migdon, a fifth-grade teacher at Nalle Elementary in Southeast. "I feel better about things."

The teachers were upset by reports that Parker regarded the probation requirement as a serious obstacle, possibly "a deal-breaker," according to one union source. Parker told them -- and reporters afterward -- that probation might be acceptable if teachers who were fired had an appeals process that was "expeditious" and conducted by a neutral party.

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