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    Clean Streets, Anchor Seats and a Statue Called Freedom

    Updated Thursday, May 20, 1999

    Welcome to's Metro Facts Machine, a human search engine delivering the information you want about the capital region.

    • Have a question about something in the news?
    • Need more facts on Virginia's car-tax law?
    • Looking for test data on Maryland or D.C. schools?

    Just ask us at

    The Metro Facts Machine will send you a personal reply and will post some new responses here each week.

    Q: Why is it that some D.C. neighborhoods have designated street cleaning days when other areas do not? How can you go about having your neighborhood street cleaned weekly?Frances V.

    A: Neighborhoods swept regularly meet four criteria, according to public works spokeswoman Linda Grant. They have lots of residents, lots of pedestrian traffic, connect to a major commercial thoroughfare and are on blocks where at least 51 percent of the residents have signed an agreement to move their cars for sweepers each week.

    There's no distinct pattern for when all other streets get cleaned, but Grant insists it occurs at least once per year.

    To request a street cleaning or learn more about the program, call 202-727-1000 or visit the Department of Public Works Web site, which explains services and offers electronic request forms.

    Q: Why did the District give back the 30-something square miles to Virginia in the 1800s? Milton R.

    A: The District really didn't have a say in the return of the 31 square miles that Virginia donated in 1790. In 1846, the residents of that land voted to recede.

    "The people in that part wanted to go back," said Matthew Gilmore, a research librarian for the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

    Q: Are there plans to extend Metrorail's Green Line beyond Greenbelt Station in Maryland?Duane G.

    A: A Greenbelt-to-Rock Springs expansion is on Metro's $1.3 billion wish list of projects, but there's no indication when or if the project will become reality. The Post detailed the proposals in a February story.

    Q: There was supposed to be an information and visitors center in the Ronald Reagan International Trade Center. Is it open yet? Stephen H.

    A: The visitors center opened last week, a spokeswoman at the trade center says. Operated by the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, it offers souvenirs and an interactive display of hotels, restaurants and the attractions that make Washington such a tourist magnet.

    Q: How did the D.C. neighborhood of Adams-Morgan get its name? My dad, who grew up there, said he thought it was after the two elementary schools in the area. Then someone else told me it was from the two old phone exchanges in the area. Any other ideas?Nate T.

    A: Father knows best. Adams-Morgan got its name from John Quincy Adams Elementary School on 19th Street and the now-defunct Morgan School nearby, according to researchers at the Washingtoniana division of the D.C. public library.

    Q: My grandmother recently assumed custody of one of her granddaughters. Her plan was to continue living as long as possible on [her] salary. However, that is a very tight budget when you factor in a 15-year-old. Where can I call, write or read online about any organizations who could provide assistance to these two?Candy M.

    A: According to 1997 U.S. Census figures, 6 percent of children under 18 (3.9 million children) live in a grandparent-headed household, and one-third of them have no parents in that household. The Virginia Department for the Aging has compiled a list of organizations that work with grandparents.

    Q: Do the fancy parking meters in D.C. accept the new quarters?Abbie G.

    A: Yes they do. They also take nickels and dimes! To report a broken meter, call 202-541-6030 or go to the department's Web site, click on Contact Us, then select parking meters from the drop-down menu.

    Q: I was just curious about the Channel 7 (ABC-WJLA) news team. What has happened to Paul Berry? Did I miss something? He has not been around much since Maureen Bunyan came on the scene. What gives?David C.

    A: Berry bounced! Bunyan's back! Ratings rise! So explained the Post's Lisa de Moraes last month. What's next? Stay tuned.

    Q: Who is standing on top of the U.S. Capitol and why?Stefan C.

    A: She's big, brawny, bronze and has stood atop the Capitol dome since 1863, coming down only in 1993 for a brief bath. Why is she there? The answer is in her name. It is Freedom. The U.S. Capitol Web site explains her history and offers a photo.

    Send your questions.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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