This was the year that Washington discovered it is not recession-proof; 1982 saw unprecedented numbers of city residents at shelters for the homeless, in unemployment lines and cheese lines.
There were transportation catastrophies, indictments of people who held the public trust, record unemployment and foreclosures and increased evictions.
Yet, the District optimistically chose a new name for itself as it continued to press to gain statehood and launched a campaign to attract more visitors. Donations to holiday charity drives poured in. The District had its first two million-dollar lottery winners and it witnessed the burying of old animosities at a new memorial for Vietnam veterans.
Here then are some of the highlights, good and bad, of 1982 in the District: January
In the middle of a massive, traffic-jamming snowstorm, an Air Florida jet carrying 79 persons hit the 14th Street Bridge and plunged into the frozen Potomac, killing all but five aboard. Four motorists on the 14th Street Bridge were also killed. A mere half-hour later, three persons were killed in Metro's first fatal subway accident when a manually operated car derailed.
Lenny Skutnik became a hero for the city and the country when, as the nation watched on television, he dove into the icy Potomac to save drowning air crash victim Priscilla Tirado.
About 3,600 of the District's poorest residents lined up at churches to get free five-pound boxes of cheese in a huge federal giveaway of surplus products that had been rotting in government warehouses. February
In a showdown between Mayor Barry and the City Council over the fiscal 1983 budget, the council refused to include an $11.6 million increase in city taxes to balance the budget and the mayor threatened to veto the measure in return. In the end, the mayor approved the budget without the taxes, but that did not end the city's wranglings over its confused financial situation. Before year's end the mayor was predicting a $110 million deficit for fiscal 1983.
Mary Treadwell and four other officers of P.I. Properties, an offshoot of Youth Pride Inc., were indicted on charges of stealing and misappropriating hundreds of thousands of dollars from three federally funded low-income housing projects run by the organization. Treadwell's trial is to begin in March.
The Metropolitan Washington YMCA abruptly closed its 70-year-old Anthony Bowen building in the Shaw area -- the home of the nation's first black YMCA chapter and one of only two in the city that serve black neighborhoods -- saying it was a fire hazard and a financial drain. After months of controversy, the city stepped in with a plan to rehabilitate the structure. Final plans have yet to be developed by a commission appointed by the mayor. March
In unrelated bribery cases, former D.C. permit examiner Warner B. Jenkins was convicted of soliciting and accepting bribes in exchange for lowering building renovation permit fees; Washington lawyer William A. Borders Jr., a member of the D.C. commission that helps select local judges, was convicted in Atlanta of conspiring to take a $150,000 bribe as a middleman for U.S. District Judge Alcee L. Hastings and Robert C. Lewis, former Alcoholic Beverage Control Board chairman, and his one-time aide, James E. Boardley, were convicted on charges of conspiring to trade a liquor license for future profits in a liquor store.
Hsing-Hsing and Ling-Ling, the star-crossed giant pandas at the National Zoo failed to mate for the sixth season. April
John W. Hinckley Jr. went to trial for the attempted assassination of President Reagan and wounding of three others on March 30, 1981.
Thirty-nine District police recruits, out of a class of 165, were suspended after they were given surprise tests to see if they had been using marijuana. Twenty-four were reinstated and graduated with their class in May after the police chief admitted the department had mishandled the test.
School Superintendent Floretta D. McKenzie proposed closing 14 schools that were being used at less than 40 percent of capacity to cut costs. The school board first rejected the whole plan but later voted to close two of the targeted elementary schools. May
The Washington Times, owned by the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church, began publishing.
The statehood convention developed a constitution containing some unorthodox components after three months of sometimes acrimonious debate. Approved by the voters in November, the document faces an uncertain future in Congress, which may amend or reject it. The delegates also chose a name for the proposed 51st state -- New Columbia.
McLean Gardens, the city's largest condominium conversion project, was taken over by Continental Illinois National Bank in foreclosure from the developer in a vivid sign of the worst housing slump since the Depression. The bank hired a developer to finish the project and sell the units not already owned by individual buyers.
Father Horace B. McKenna, a Jesuit priest who devoted his life to the poor of Washington and started So Others Might Eat, a soup kitchen on O Street NW, died at 83. June
Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity for the attempted assassination of Reagan and sent to St. Elizabeths Hospital for the mentally ill, stirring widespread debate over the insanity defense and the quality of D.C. juries.
After months of pitched battlesbetween the city's trial lawyers and consumer groups, the City Council approved landmark legislation mandating no-fault auto insurance for District drivers.
The mayor announced that the city's new municipal office center would be located at 14th and U streets NW, in an effort to revive an area devastated by the 1968 riots and now known mainly as a drug-dealing center. July
The City Council's housing committee, headed by mayoral candidate Charlene Drew Jarvis (D-Ward 4), refused to act on legislation to allow tenants to repair their own apartments and deduct the costs from their rent, effectively tabling the matter for the session. A June rally by about 200 tenants at the District Building had sought to force a vote on it.
Nannie J. Taylor, a frail seamstress who insisted on caring for herself alone rather than going to a nursing home, died of a heart ailment at 98. August
The city's first legal lottery began. On the first day, 750,000 tickets were sold and three contestants won $10,000 prizes.
The city's June unemployment figures were reported. The jobless rate was at the highest level in the 12 years of record-keeping. The record-high rate continued in July.
Abe Pollin, owner of the Washington Capitals, won the last of his demands for keeping the hockey team in Washington when Prince George's County approved six years of tax relief for the team. Local companies pitched in to guarantee sellouts for the first 10 home games.
Ling-Ling wasn't pregnant--again. Attempts at artificial insemination had failed. September
In a primary election characterized by confusion, long-lines and flaring tempers, the names of about 20,000 voters were lost on the computerized registration lists. Marion Barry was, in essence, re-elected, though his Republican opponent E. Brooke Lee Jr. gamely fought on to the November general election.
Hundreds of students at William McKinley High School in Northeast walked out of class in protest over the reassignment of the popular acting principal Mary Brown. Bettye Topps, who took over in October, was named principal, nevertheless.
A 12-year-old girl created a storm of parent and community outrage and concern when she said she was raped in the bathroom of a Southeast elementary school. The girl later said she lied.
Sudie Black, the extroverted "Belle of Dupont Circle," died of cancer at 67. Her ashes were scattered around the ever-changing neighborhood where she was a fixture at restaurants and parties for 27 years, making friends with strangers from all spheres of life. October
District planning officials unveiled a comprehensive land-use proposal to restrict most future commercial growth to the downtown area and most industrial development to the New York Avenue NE corridor. It was the first major step toward devising a master plan for the city and for overhauling outmoded zoning laws.
The worst rabies outbreak in memory plagued the Washington area, beginning in the suburbs. Health officials' warnings that rabies would soon be found in the city as well proved true when two cases of rabid animals were confirmed here.
The Metro Board bowed to the near-inevitability of air conditioning breakdowns on buses next summer and voted to spend $475,215 on refitting 150 of its new buses with windows that open. November
About 15,000 Vietnam Veterans marched down Constitution Avenue and gathered on the Mall for the dedication of the National Vietnam Veterans Memorial, as a crowd of 150,000 watched, culminating a week-long salute to the veterans. The events symbolized reconciliation after a decade of repression and denial surrounding America's most unpopular war.
Mayor Barry, predictably, breezed to reelection for a second term with 80 percent of the vote.
A new analysis of the 1980 census showed the Washington area is at the cutting edge of social change with its singles boom, baby bust and large numbers of working women.
Landlords paid hefty overtime fees to U.S. marshals to start evicting tenants on weekends in an attempt to pare down a backlog of 4,000 authorized evictions. Scores of families were sent to the already overburdened city shelters for the homeless until the mayor prevailed on the U.S. Marshals Service to stop.
The District's first million-dollar lottery prizes were won by Charles Puryear, a security guard and father of eight, and Mara Spade, a widowed banquet bartender.
Hundreds of protesters at an anti-Ku Klux Klan rally went on a rampage, hurling rocks and bottles at police and other protesters, smashing store windows and looting. Twelve police officers were injured as they tried to disperse the demonstrators with tear gas and horseback charges. There were 38 arrests. December
Norman Mayer, a Miami maintenance man, kept police at bay for 10 hours at the Washington Monument when he threatened to set off dynamite which he said was in a truck that he had parked at the monument's base. Mayer, who said he was protesting the spread of nuclear weapons, was killed by a hail of police bullets as he tried to drive away. The truck contained no explosives.
The mammoth $98.7 million Washington Convention Center -- which city officials are counting on to bring lucrative convention business to the District -- had its grand opening after four years of planning and construction.