Local Stories You Couldn't Make Up

By Colbert I. King
Saturday, April 11, 2009

Here are a few local stories that your morning newspaper may have missed.

Alumni in the News

Timely information on events involving youths who have been in the custody of the D.C. Department of Youth Rehabilitation Services.

Alumni Jovan Johnson, 18, and Dimitri Carswell, 17, graduated to the adult criminal justice system last month.

The U.S. attorney's office in the District announced March 26 that Johnson and Carswell were sentenced in D.C. Superior Court on March 24, 2009, to 120 months and 84 months' incarceration, respectively, for six brazen robberies and attempted robberies committed in the District on Nov. 8 and 10 last year.

When I contacted DYRS last week for comment about this latest alumni report, Reggie Sanders, spokesman for director Vincent Schiraldi said, "We are precluded by law from commenting on cases involving individual youth." Such modesty.

D.C. Foreign Aid Program Derailed

Town known as "sexscape" loses District donation.

Until last week, the District was on its way to becoming a competitor of the U.S. Agency for International Development in the delivery of foreign assistance.

An "emergency" rule quietly published in the D.C. Register on March 20 by the D.C. Office of Contracting and Procurement (OCP) authorized the city to donate gifts -- a surplus fire truck and ambulance -- to Peaceoholics, a D.C. nonprofit that works with troubled youths.

Peaceoholics co-founder Ron Moten said his group arranged to ship the ambulance and truck to Sosua, a beach town popular with tourists in the Dominican Republic.

Alerted to the transaction, D.C. Council member Mary Cheh (D-Ward 3) chair of the committee that oversees the OCP, demanded answers from city officials.

Asked by the council's Judiciary Committee chairman, Phil Mendelson (D-At Large), about the Sosua donation and a six-day trip to Sosua by a deputy fire chief at city expense, Chief Dennis Rubin said, "I was clueless." Hapless, too?

D.C. Attorney General Peter Nickles demanded that the gifts be returned to the District but, after an investigation, found no wrongdoing.

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