Lessons in Greed

Former Head of Teachers Union Testifies

She and two other teachers union leaders never blinked at the cost of personal items, instead focusing on how to hide how they charged the expenses to the union. That was the gist of testimony from former Washington Teachers' Union president Barbara A. Bullock in U.S. District Court.

Some jurors and spectators stared in amazement at her account of spending sprees. She wanted a $50,000 silver flatware set; she charged it. Former office manager Gwendolyn Hemphill and former treasurer James O. Baxter II did some of the same, she said in the government case against the other two former union leaders.

Bullock, 70, is serving nine years in prison after pleading guilty to her role in the $5 million embezzlement.

Looking for the Union Label

Stadium Deal Guarantees Jobs for Residents

A built-by-union-labor tag on the new baseball stadium means that unions will hire and train hundreds of District residents for the construction, under an agreement with the city.

Almost a year of closed-door negotiations led up to the pact, which says, essentially, that bidders for work must have union shops or agree to have their workers join a union. Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) said that was a small concession because unions agreed that half of all apprentices hired will be city residents and that the unions will create a summer program for city youths.

Mothers United for Peace

Ballou Shooter Is Sentenced to 16 Years

Two moms embraced each other after the sentencing of one's son in the slaying of the other's. That dramatic moment marked the sentencing of Thomas J. Boykin, 19, who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the shooting of James Richardson, 17, at Ballou Senior High School. Boykin received a 16-year prison term.

Richardson's mother, Michelle Richardson-Patterson, told Pearl Boykin, "You're not going through this by yourself." The two joined in a prayer for peace in the area surrounding Ballou.

Too Hot to Teach

With No Cooling in Some Schools, All Close

All city public schools were ordered to close early Tuesday after some principals reported temperatures close to 100 degrees, focusing attention on one of the system's long-standing problems: inadequate cooling and heating systems.

Officials said the order to close all schools early was to minimize disruption for families with children at more than one school. The move was not met with unanimous happiness from parents.

Smoke-Free Movement Gains

Mayor, Council Majority Favor Change

A comprehensive smoking ban in District bars and restaurants is now supported by Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and a majority of the council. The District could be smoke-free by the end of the year.

The council is considering three bills that would require that all District workplaces, including bars and restaurants, be smoke-free.

Ticket Fatigue

City Reconsiders Speed Limits

Those pesky speed cameras have caught so many drivers that their complaints have driven city officials to order a study of city speed limits -- are they too low? -- particularly where cameras are watching.

At a hearing on the issue, D.C. Council member Carol Schwartz (R-At Large) said the city is "known as a 'gotcha' government" and said the city needs to make sure the speed limits are fair and not unnaturally low.

The city's transportation director said each location has its own history and quirks and defended the limits.

Saving the Shade Survey teams are checking more than 8,500 American elms on D.C. streets, like this tree on the Mall, for signs of Dutch elm disease.