<![CDATA[NBC4 Washington - Local News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/WASH+NBC4+BLUE.png NBC4 Washington http://www.nbcwashington.comen-usThu, 23 Feb 2017 14:02:51 -0500Thu, 23 Feb 2017 14:02:51 -0500NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Teen Mechanics Cashing in on Skills They Learn in Class]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:17:55 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Damascus+High+Mechanics+Class.jpg

A Damascus High School class teaches students the nuts and bolts of fixing cars, and Saturday they’ll be selling the cars to raise money for more parts in the future. Aimee Cho visited the class.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Virginia Girl Found Safe]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 12:30:41 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Makayla+Mattei1.jpg

A 15-year-old girl who disappeared in Virginia last week has been found safe, police said.

Makayla Mattei was found traveling with a 21-year-old man who has been arrested.

Makayla disappeared Feb. 17, when she walked away from her home in Dumfries, Prince William County police said last week. She was found near Harrisonburg, about 100 miles away from her home.

The man Makayla was found with, Estonian national Meiti Metsla, has been charged with “using a communication device to solicit certain offenses involving children.” Metsla had “inappropriate” online conversations with Makayla before her disappearance, police said.

Police are currently working to reunite Makayla with her family.  

Photo Credit: FBI ]]>
<![CDATA[New TV Movie Inspired by Locally Owned Media Company]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:17:46 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017867027_1200x675_883366979531.jpg

The stars of 'Media' join News4's Erika Gonzalez to discuss their upcoming movie inspired by the Silver Spring-based founder of Radio One. 'Media' premieres Saturday on TV One.

<![CDATA[Enjoy the Taste of New Orleans for a DC Mardi Gras]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:20:04 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017867034_1200x675_883378755519.jpg

Mardi Gras is coming up next Tuesday, making this the perfect weekend to take a taste of New Orleans. Eaghmon Banks, co-owner of Bayou, and executive chef Rusty Holman join News4's Eun Yang to show off some of their restaurant's classic dishes.

<![CDATA[16-Year-Old Boy Missing From Silver Spring]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 06:16:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/missing-teen-Silver-Spring.jpg

A 16-year-old boy is missing from the Woodside area of Silver Spring.

Hilmer Anibal Espino, of Lanier Drive, was reported missing by his family, said Montgomery County Police.

Espino is 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs 130 pounds. He has black hair and brown eyes. He has tattoos of Snoopy on his chest and "Estella" on his left arm.

Police and family are concerned for his well-being.

Anyone with information on his whereabouts is asked to call Montgomery County Police at 240-773-5400 or the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

<![CDATA[Man Barricades Self in Garage After Fatal Shooting: Police]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 05:53:42 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Richard-Jerome-Harriday.jpg

Police say a man fatally shot another man in Frederick, Maryland, during an altercation and then barricaded himself in a nearby garage for more than two hours before surrendering.

Frederick Police responded to the report of a shooting in the 400 block of W. South Street about 10 p.m. Wednesday. They said an altercation appeared to have begun inside an apartment and then continued outside.

The suspect, 62-year-old Richard Jerome Harriday, pulled out a handgun and shot the victim once in the upper body, police said.

The victim has been identified as Zachary Winters, 28, of the 400 block of W. South Street.

Police said Harriday fled the scene and went to a garage located off Hoffman's Alley, where he locked himself inside for about two hours. Harriday spoke with Frederick Police Department negotiators during the barricade incident and surrendered to authories, authorities said.

Harriday was taken into custody and is awaiting a court appearance.

He is facing charges of first-degree murder, second-degree murder, using a handgun in the commission of a violent crime, and having a handgun on his person.

Photo Credit: Frederick Police Department]]>
<![CDATA[1 Hurt in Multi-Vehicle Crash on DC-295; All Lanes Reopened]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:00:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/thurs-crash-2017-02-23_0531.jpg

Multiple vehicles were involved in a crash about 3:15 a.m. Thursday on DC-295.

The crash happened in the northbound lanes of DC-295 at Malcolm X Avenue SE. It's unclear what led up to the crash, or how many vehicles were involved.

At least one person was taken to a hospital. There's no word on that person's condition.

The northbound lanes of DC-295 were initially closed, but reopened gradually throughout the morning. All lanes had reopened before 7 a.m.

The southbound lanes remained open throughout the aftermath of the crash.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Last Live Performance at the MLK Library Until 2020]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 13:16:17 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017866886_1200x675_883346499613.jpg

Anna Fuhrman and Kevin Bayly discuss the release of ALB Rock The Stacks, a compilation album they helped put together. Catch the release party this Friday night at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, the library's last live performance before it closes for renovation.

<![CDATA[Park Police Officer Fires at Driver Who Rammed Cruiser]]> Thu, 23 Feb 2017 07:09:39 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/thurs-2017-02-23_0520.jpg

A U.S. Park Police officer fired at a driver who rammed the officer's vehicle early Thursday morning, police said.

Just before 4 a.m., officers attempted to stop a dark, older-model Dodge Charger in the area of Talbert Street and Talbert Terrace SE. After an officer got out of his cruiser and began to approach the Charger, the driver reversed and rammed the cruiser, also striking the officer, police said.

The officer's leg was injured. He fired his weapon, but it is unclear if the suspect was struck.

The suspect fled the scene and remains at large.

The officer is being treated at a hospital; he is expected to be OK.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Officer Who Helped During Md. Apartment Explosion Honored]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 23:32:30 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017858165_1200x675_882943043575.jpg

Montgomery County honored more than two dozen police officers who’ve gone above and beyond the call of duty. News4’s Shomari Stone talked with one officer who helped save lives after a deadly explosion at an apartment complex in Silver Spring, Maryland.

<![CDATA[More Tourists Than Ever Visiting DC From Overseas]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:52:02 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/national+mall+aerial+generic.jpg

District officials say tourists are visiting the city in record numbers, with more people coming from overseas, but could the new administration change that? News4's Tom Sherwood reports.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Ocean City Makes Trip Advisor's Top 10 Beaches List]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 16:37:24 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Ocean+City+Beach1.jpg

Maryland's favorite destination for summertime family vacations has out-ranked beaches in Hawaii, Florida and California in a list of the best beaches in the United States.

Ocean City, Maryland, nabbed the number 10 spot on Trip Advisor's 2017 Traveler's Choice awards list of the top 25 beaches.

The top destination on the list is Siesta Beach, Florida, and most of the other beaches in the top 10 ranking are also in the Sunshine State. Hawaii claims two of the beaches.

Many people who commented on NBC Washington's Facebook page after this story was first published were in disbelief that Ocean City made the list.

"Nope. No way," said one man. Other commenters saying, "Yeeeah no" and "OC is far too crowded."

But a few others have disagreed. One said, "Love taking my family here!"

Check out the full list of top 25 beaches below:

1. Siesta Beach, Florida

2. Ka'anapali Beach – Lahaina, Maui, Hawaii

3. St. Pete Beach – St. Pete Beach, Florida

4. Clearwater Beach – Clearwater, Florida

5. Beach at Panama City – Panama City Beach, Florida

6. Hollywood Beach – Hollywood, Florida

7. Pensacola Beach – Pensacola Beach, Florida

8. Saint Augustine Beach – Saint Augustine Beach, Florida

9. Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve – Honolulu, Hawaii

10. Ocean City Beach – Ocean City, Maryland

11. Fort Lauderdale Beach - Fort Lauderdale, Florida

12. South Beach - Miami Beach, Florida

13. Wai'anapanapa State Park - Hana, Hawaii

14. Ogunquit Beach - Ogunquit, Maine

15. Wailea Beach - Wailea, Hawaii

16. Lanikai Beach - Kailua, Hawaii

17. Henderson Beach State Park - Destin, Florida

18. Driftwood Beach - Jekyll Island, Georgia

19. Virginia Beach - Virginia Beach, Virginia

20. Santa Monica Beach - Santa Monica, California

21. La Jolla Shores Park - La Jolla, California

22. Hapuna Beach - Waimea, Hawaii

23. Race Point Beach - Provincetown, Massachusetts

24. Carlsbad State Beach - Carlsbad, California

25. Poipu Beach Park - Poipu, Hawaii

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Bao Bao Touches Down in China]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:39:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170222_0174kh.jpg

Bao Bao and her panda team arrived safely in China.

Aboard the FedEx Panda Express, Bao Bao, her keeper Marty Dearie and Dr. Katharine Hope arrived at Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport around 5:59 a.m. EST.

After a 16-hour direct flight aboard the custom-decaled 777F aircraft, Bao Bao ate, drank and slept normally during the flight, according to a statement made by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo.

“Bao Bao was a real champion during the flight,” Dearie said in a statement.

“All the weeks of training and preparation served her really well. She’s in excellent hands now and I’m glad I get to transition with our Chinese partners and have my ‘goodbye’ in a couple days.”

Once she arrived in Chengdu, Bao Bao’s new keepers from the China Conservation and Research Center for the Giant Panda drove her to Dujiangyan Panda Base, a temporary home where she will stay in quarantine for about 30 days.

It has not yet been confirmed whether she will stay there after the quarantine period ends.

Dearie will stay with Bao Bao for three days while she gets used to her new surroundings. Bao Bao will enter the giant panda breeding program once she reaches sexual maturity, which is between 5 and 6 years old.

The National Zoo is helping Bei Bei make the transition into moving into Bao Bao’s old yard. At 18 months old, Bei Bei will begin to separate from his mother Mei Xiang, as is customary for giant panda cubs at this age.

Mei Xiang and Bei Bei had their first opportunity to spend time together in Bao Bao’s old yard Wednesday.

If Bei Bei becomes familiar with this yard while he is still living with his mother, the transition to living on his own will run much smoother, the zoo said. Everything went well Wednesday morning.

Photo Credit: Katharine Hope/Smithsonian's National Zoo]]>
<![CDATA[Effort to Turn Bethesda Parking Lots Into Parks Gains Momentum]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:07:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017857145_1200x675_882767939925.jpg

News 4's Transportation reporter Adam Tuss looks at the debate over a grassroots effort to turn hundreds of parking lots in downtown Bethesda into parks.

<![CDATA[MGM Launches Program to Help Prevent Gambling Addiction]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:49:31 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017857103_1200x675_882769987715.jpg

News4's Tracee Wilkins reports a program at MGM National Harbor and other MGM locations will help customers recognize if they have an addiction to gambling and provide resources to those who may already be addicted.

<![CDATA[Missing Virginia Girl May Be Traveling With Man]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:40:17 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Makayla+Mattei1.jpg

A 15-year-old girl who has gone missing in Virginia may be traveling with a man, police say.

Makayla Mattei was last seen on Friday, Feb. 17 when she walked away from her home on the 2800 block of Banks Court in Dumfries, Prince William County police said. Police believe she may be with Meiti Metsla, an Estonian national.

The FBI has released a photo of Metsla, but no description of his appearance or possible clothing has been given at this time. It is unclear how Metsla knows Makayla.

Makayla is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing dark-colored leggings, a pink zip-up Georgia State hoodie and a black Georgia State backpack.

Makayla didn’t take medication she needs with her and may need medical attention, police said.

Anyone with information that can help police is asked to call (703) 792-6500.

Photo Credit: FBI ]]>
<![CDATA[Consumer Reports Tests Multitasking Blenders]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:41:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017857083_1200x675_882771011800.jpg

Some of the most popular blenders on the market can cost hundreds of dollars. Consumer Reporter Susan Hogan has results of Consumer Reports' tests of blenders that can multitask and be used all year.

<![CDATA['Chocolates Galore' YMCA Fundraiser Is Friday]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:36:20 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017857358_1200x675_882784323585.jpg

The Loudoun YMCA hosts one of its biggest fundraisers of the year, the Chocolates Galore event at Lansdowne Resort & Spa, on Friday. Check out one chef's demonstration making sliders here.

<![CDATA[New Citizens React to President Trump's Immigration Enforcement]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:32:40 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017857200_1200x675_882772035919.jpg

Northern Virginia Bureau Chief Julie Carey got reaction from new citizens about President Donald Trump's latest rules on immigration.

<![CDATA[African-American Playwright Brings Ancestors' Story to Life]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 19:22:43 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/20170222+Circus.jpg

Not everything was laughs and music behind the scenes of the nation's first African-American circus. But the love of the couple who founded it triumphed. Now, the love of their great-great-grandson has brought the couple's story back to prominence. News4's Meagan Fitzgerald reports on "The Very Last Days of the First Colored Circus," on stage now at the Anacostia Playhouse.

<![CDATA[Recreating History at George Washington’s Boyhood Home]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:46:29 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/George+Washington+Home.jpg

On what would have been George Washington’s 285th birthday, we're getting our first look inside his boyhood home. News4 Northern Virginia Bureau Reporter David Culver explains why you'll soon get a chance to stand where our first president once played.

<![CDATA[Talk Around Town: Local Reaction to Trump's Visit to African American Museum]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 18:30:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Donald+Trump+Museum+of+African+American+History+and+Culture+GettyImages-643433598.jpg

WHUR's Troy Johnson talks with News4's Pat Lawson Muse about President Donald Trump's recent visit to the National Museum of African American History and Culture.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Laptop Stolen After Va. Man Took It to Staples for Service]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:19:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/558270061.jpg

After a Virginia man’s laptop computer disappeared from the store he took it to for service, the compensation he was offered left him unsatisfied.

Bobby Fontaine of Lorton took his laptop to Staples in Springfield a few months ago. The store told him he could expect a call in three days, maybe sooner, when it was ready for pickup.

When he hadn’t heard from them three days later, he started calling the store. Employees were vague about the laptop’s whereabouts, Fontaine said.

“Then a little more prodding, and it’s like, ‘OK, someone stole it,’” he said. “And I was like, ‘OK, the computer was stolen. When was it stolen?’ He doesn't know.”

Fontaine was furious. Banking, medical and other private financial information is on that stolen computer.

“At that point I was still concerned about, OK, who's got the computer?” he said. “What information is on there?”

Staples offered to replace the laptop with something it had in stock, but what they had wasn't comparable, Fontaine said. Staples then offered $1,000 and that wasn’t fair to Fontaine, either.

“So it's like we want you to pay what you owe us, and they wouldn't do that,” he said.

He called police and the Better Business Bureau, and nothing happened.

His wife, Cindy, suggested contacting NBC4 Responds.

If a unit is stolen from their store, Staples will offer to replace it or give a cash equivalent, the store told NBC4 Responds. In this case, Staples "valued the unit at $799.99" plus "$149.99 for office software."

The Fontaines "were asking for $3,000," Staples said.

They were happy to accept a compromise for $1,500.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Officers Working With Thousands of Students Lack Guidelines]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:18:48 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Generic+School+Hallway+022217.jpg

As many as 130,000 D.C.-area students are in schools that don't have clear guidelines for how officers should interact with kids and teens on school grounds, according to a News4 I-Team and NBC News analysis of policing and arrests in school districts in the DMV and nationwide.

The most recent numbers available from the U.S. Department of Education showed 65,000 arrests in schools across the country during the 2013-2014 academic year, and a disproportionate amount of those arrests happened in Maryland.

Even though the state ranked 19th in school enrollment size compared to all other states, Maryland was 10th in the nation for the number of students arrested. Nationwide, the numbers also showed black students and students with disabilities were almost three times as likely to be arrested compared to their peers.

'311, Not 911'

Don Bridges heads the National Association of School Resource Officers (NASRO), which trains law enforcement officers to work in schools, and also serves as a school resource officer in Baltimore County. He told the I-Team escalating too many on-campus incidents to an arrest level is a problem.

"Most issues within the school are not 911, they're 311," Bridges said. "If there is something that is of a criminal nature that occurs within the school, we handle it, but that does not mean that has to lead to criminal charges."

Education and justice activists have pointed to in-school arrests, expulsions, suspensions and other punitive actions in meting out school discipline as contributors to the "school-to-prison pipeline."

"We have to make sure that our officers understand that the way our schoolhouse is policed is far different from the strategies that you use on the street," Bridges said, adding that training police to serve as mentors and educators in schools is paramount to everyone's success.

Lack of Guidelines Can Be 'a Disaster'

School Resource Officer Steve Radtke said he received special training to work with students in Frederick County Public Schools.

"A majority of the time when there's an issue going on, you walk in, you deescalate the situation, and it goes through pretty easily," he said as the I-Team shadowed him on duty in February.

The district also has an agreement with the police department, known as a memorandum of understanding, or MOU. That document specifies when and how officers should respond to incidents on school grounds and makes clear school staff should always respond first to any violations of school policy.

"I've never had to put handcuffs on a student in a school setting," Radtke said, in between greeting students and teachers in the hallways of West Frederick Middle School. "There's so much intervention before that would even take place."

An MOU is key for any successful school resource officer program, Bridges said.

"That becomes your playbook that lays out specifically what the roles are," he said. "If you don't have that done appropriately, it is a disaster, and that is what you don't want."

Last fall, President Barack Obama's administration issued a memo to all school districts urging them to get those guidelines in place if they didn't already exist for their school resource officers.

The I-Team asked a dozen of the area's largest public school districts if they have MOU agreements in place with their local police departments. D.C., Montgomery County, Frederick County, Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Calvert County, Fairfax County, Loudoun County, Prince William County, Arlintgon County and Alexandria City all provided their MOUs.

Prince George's County Public Schools, which has a current enrollment of more than 130,000 students, did not provide an MOU. A PGCPS spokesperson told the I-Team: "PGCPS security staff is currently working with our PGPD partners to draft a formal Memorandum of Understanding to guide efforts moving forward, as is currently practiced with other school district partners. The MOU is expected to be complete this spring."

Focusing on Relationships

While Bridges and NASRO promote training and MOUs as crucial components of any school resource officer program, Bridges also stressed the importance of an officer's personal investment in getting to know students.

"Our title is 'school resource officer,' but it could very easily be 'school relationships officer,'" Bridges said. "Without a relationship [with students and staff], none of this works."

Officer Radtke agrees and said he's gotten to know a lot of students well during his five years with the force.

"When I'm mad or something and I go to the office, he's there to calm me down and everything," one eighth-grader at West Frederick Middle School said about her interactions with Radtke. "Seeing him, you feel protected."

"The kids don't see you as just an enforcer," Radtke said. "You're almost putting a hat on as a counselor, as a friend."

More Analysis

The News4 I-Team worked with NBC News and NBC-owned stations in crunching the numbers from the U.S. Department of Education on school discipline and arrests.

You can see more about how your state and district compare to others here.

If you have a school discipline issue you want the I-Team to look into, contact us by filling out this form.

Reported by Scott MacFarlane; produced by Ashley Brown, Ron Campbell and Rick Yarborough; shot and edited by Jeff Piper, with additional shooting by Steve Jones. Data visualization designed and developed by Nelson Hsu, Vaughn Hagerty, Nina Lin and Jessica Glazer.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington
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<![CDATA[Construction Workers Shot in Southeast DC]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 20:29:58 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/2017-02-22_1120.jpg

Two construction workers were shot in broad daylight Wednesday morning in southeast D.C.

A coworker of the victims at a Capitol Hill construction site said they were called home for an emergency, and as they walked down Alabama Avenue, they were struck by gunfire at 9th Place. One of the victims ran to a nearby church for help.

The shooting victims were conscious and breathing when they were taken to a hospital. One is in critical condition. 

A teenage girl was stabbed just a block away from the shooting scene at 8th Place and Alabama Avenue SE, police confirmed. Police said the crimes may not be related.

The suspect or suspects remain at large.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[8 National Margarita Day Deals in DC to Help You Celebrate]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 17:20:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-643559766-%281%29.jpg

National Margarita Day only comes once a year, so don't miss out on these eight D.C.-area deals that will help you celebrate on a budget Wednesday.

El Camino (108 Rhode Island Ave. NW) -- El Camino will be offering three special margaritas: peach, grapefruit and the El Cadillac.

Pepita (4000 Wilson Blvd., Suite D, Arlington, Virginia) -- Pepita will have $7 blood orange margaritas all day long.

Del Campo (777 I St. NW) -- At Del Campo, drink specials include a cucumber cilantro, blueberry sage and peach fresno margarita.

Tico (1926 14th St. NW) -- Tico's happy hour starts at 3 p.m. and includes a hibiscus margarita for $6.

El Centro (1819 14th St. NW) -- El Centro will be offering $5 margaritas, $6 Coronas and $7 CoronaRitas all day long.

Lauriol Plaza (1835 18th St. NW) -- Lauriol Plaza is offering margaritas at $4.95 per glass and a half pitcher for $14.95 from 3 to 7 p.m.

Tortilla Coast (400 First St. SE; 1460 P St. NW) -- Tortilla Coast will be celebrating with 32-ounce frozen margaritas for $12 and Gold Coast Rocks margaritas for $15 all week long.

H Street Country Club (1335 H St. NE) -- H Street will be offering $5 classic margaritas all night long.

Photo Credit: Photo by Jason Kempin/Getty Images for Tequila Herradura]]>
<![CDATA[Top 10 Day Trips Less Than 100 Miles From DC]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 11:10:38 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/shutterstock_146652008.jpg Where do you go when you want to get away... and also sleep in your own bed that night?

Photo Credit: Shutterstock]]>
<![CDATA[New Eatery HoneySuckle Brings Nordic Flair to Southern Food]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:53:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017851905_1200x675_882487363644.jpg

Chef Hamilton Johnson of HoneySuckle makes his version of oyster stew. Joined by Sous Chef Megan Henley, Hamilton talks about his Southern upbringing and how he blends Southern food with Nordic cuisine.

<![CDATA[Loudoun Chef Demos Slider Recipe for YMCA Fundraiser]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:05:50 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017852001_1200x675_882487363855.jpg

Chef Marcus Repp of Lansdowne Resort & Spa demonstrates making sliders for the 30th Chocolates Galore fundraiser for the Loudoun County YMCA's youth programs.

<![CDATA['Underground' Stars Talk Season 2 and More]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:09:21 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/215*120/2017-02-22_1308.png

Jurnee Smollett-Bell and Aldis Hodge talk with NBC4's Melissa Mollet about the upcoming second season of "Underground."

<![CDATA[Boy, 5, Killed in Fire Was Playing With Lighter Before Blaze]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 15:32:15 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/242*120/2017-02-22_1242.png

The 5-year-old boy who was killed in a fire in Lorton, Virginia, had been playing with a lighter before the blaze, Fairfax County fire officials say. 

Firefighters were called to the 8100 block of Arcade Street shortly after 5 p.m. Tuesday for reports of a fire. When crews arrived, they learned the little boy was trapped inside the home's garage. 

He has been identified as Stellan Lotuno, Fairfax County fire officials said Wednesday afternoon.

Investigators believe the boy was playing with a lighter when the fire started.

"The mom was there, and she was frantically calling for her child," said neighbor Derek Ganley.

Ganley was one of many neighbors who tried to enter the garage to save the child. Ty Harrington, a retired firefighter, and another neighbor who works for the fire department tried to get inside the house to make a rescue. They were pushed back by smoke.

"It's pretty unique to see that many people jump in to help," Harrington said. 

Battalion Chief Will Bailey said the firefighters tried to aggressively attack the fire through the house but were pushed back. After putting out the fire, they did a search and discovered the boy's body in the garage.

Two dogs and three pet birds also died in the fire. 

Three men and one woman were transported from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries. Two other dogs were rescued.

Photo Credit: Fairfax County Fire
This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story in your web browser.]]>
<![CDATA[Food Fears: Is Sugar Worse Than Tobacco?]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:54:09 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/WRC_0000000017846845_1200x675_882337347610.jpg

Is sugar worse than tobacco? News4's Doreen Gentzler explains why it depends.


<![CDATA[ 'Infinity Mirrors' to Open Thursday at Hirshhorn]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 21:31:59 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/sparkles+katy+perry+instagram.png

Japanese artist Yayaoi Kusama's much-anticipated exhibit will open Thursday at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden.

"Infinity Mirrors" will feature six of Kusama's iconic kaleidoscopic spaces, the most to ever be featured together, according to the museum. A number of Kusama's other works, such as paintings and her "Pumpkin" statue, also will be on display. 

An artist and a novelist, Kusama started using mirrors in her work in 1965. She has created more than 20 infinity mirror rooms, according to the museum. The rooms and Kusama's other works have received worldwide admiration.

Members of the general public can get free tickets on the museum's website. The museum is releasing a week's worth of passes at a time, but they've been snapped up quickly for the exhibit's first two weeks. New batches of tickets will be available each Monday at noon.

The Hirshhorn is releasing these timed passes because large crowds are expected to visit the exhibit. The rooms are small, despite their captivating illusion of infinity.

The exhibit will be open daily from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

The exhibit will be on view until May 14. A limited number of same-day passes will also be available at the museum on a first-come, first-served basis.

Photo Credit: Katy Perry Instagram]]>
<![CDATA[Sherwood's Notebook: Make a Date...to Be Heard! "]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 12:22:26 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/122016+dc+council+paid+family+leave.jpg

The D.C. Council meets year-round except for a two-month summer recess.

There is no busier time than now, with the annual agency performance oversight hearings underway. They are followed quickly by the budget hearings for the coming year.

If you want to add your two cents, review the schedules and how to get on the witness list.

The oversight hearings — which are happening now — can be found at dccouncil.us/calendar. The budget hearings start after Mayor Muriel Bowser submits her 2017-2018 budget proposal on March 24, with various committees holding their reviews between April 6 and April 28. Final adoption of the budget is due May 31.

The oversight and budget hearings are the deepest dive into how an agency functions. But be warned. Every department head responds to questions in elaborate bureaucratese that is daunting even for veterans of legislative business. Problems are opportunities. Failures are unexpected shortcomings. Successes are heralded in tones that might be sung by a Hallelujah choir.

Even if you can’t make the hearings, the D.C. Council website will soon enough have the official written testimony as well as video of the hearings. Be a good citizen. Join in.

■ Citizenship Award goes to ... There’s lots of grumbling that Utah Republican Jason Chaffetz is spending so much time on purely local District of Columbia issues. The chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee failed in his attempt to disapprove the city’s new “Death with Dignity” law. But Hill sources say he and other Republicans simply will try to kill the measure by amending the annual appropriations bill.

The Republicans may also attack the city’s gun control and other laws this way, despite the 1973 home rule legislation designed to get Congress out of the day-to-day affairs of the District.

Now comes Washingtonian magazine editor Michael Schaffer with a new idea.

Rather than just complaining about Chaffetz’s intrusion into local matters, Schaffer suggested in a tweet that the District “reward” Chaffetz with official proclamations for spending so much time on D.C. affairs when he could be serving the Utah citizens who elected him. Of course, the D.C. awards would be prominently publicized in Utah so Chaffetz’s constituents know how he is spending his time in Washington.

“Really it’s all about framing,” Schaffer told us in an email. “Over the years, the jobs overseeing DC have often gone to these back-bench mediocrities from far-right constituencies, and when voters back home hear that their congressman has been beating up on liberal diverse big-city types, it might actually help the congressman win their affection. But if you … let the constituents know that their guy is wasting time playing mayor of Washington when he could have been working for his district, it’s not so appealing, is it?”

For sure, being passive is not a very effective strategy. It’s also a chance for the Notebook to repeat that the District needs its own political action committee, one made up of business, labor, individuals and private groups. It could be an effective way to lobby for not only the District, but the Metro system and other regional needs.

Beverly Perry, the former Pepco president in D.C., is a special assistant to Mayor Bowser. Perry is using her connections to identify friends on the Hill and in the Trump administration. That’s good, but the city seems to need an all-out effort. Otherwise, one-off demonstrations like last week will sound more hollow with each passing day.

■ School daze. WAMU’s Martin Austermuhle has summarized well the crash-and-burn visit of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to Jefferson Academy in Southwest. She seemed to be polite and impressed visiting the school, but trashed the teachers in another forum as being in “receive mode” and “waiting to be told what they have to do.”

Former D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson weighed in against DeVos’ remarks, saying, “Sorry, lady… .” Henderson wasn’t buying it. And neither was the school, which touted its teachers’ achievements in a series of tweets.

Read the WAMU account at tinyurl.com/wamu-devos.

■ New leader? And Ward 6 Council member Charles Allen is emerging as a new-era leader of the District in its effort to stave off congressional interference. Allen is a modestly polite council member, but deadly serious on issues he takes up. Visit tinyurl.com/wapo-allen for Washington Post reporter Paul Schwartzman’s account.

Tom Sherwood, a Southwest resident, is a political reporter for News 4.

Photo Credit: NBC Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Missing Va. Girl, 15, Doesn't Have Medication She Needs]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 05:37:27 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Makayla+Mattei.jpg

Police say a missing 15-year-old girl may be in danger because she doesn't have the medication she needs for a serious medical condition. 

Makayla Mattei walked away from her home on the 2800 block of Banks Court in Dumfries at 6:45 a.m. on Feb. 17, Prince William County police say. 

Mattei is 5 feet 4 inches tall and weighs 180 pounds. She has black hair and brown eyes. She was last seen wearing dark-colored leggings, a pink zip-up Georgia State hoodie and a black Georgia State backpack. 

Police say Mattei didn't take medication she needs with her. 

Anyone with information that can help police is asked to call 703-792-6500.

<![CDATA[Md. Woman Stunned by Water Bill for Close to $7K]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 23:51:51 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/Diane+Shoemaker+Water+Meter.jpg

After a Maryland woman received an outrageous water bill, she tried to get it corrected, but instead, she was threatened her service would be stopped.

Diane Shoemaker, who has lived in her Kensington home for more than four decades, understands billing mistakes are common, but she was stunned when her Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission bill jumped from the neighborhood of $100 to thousands of dollars.

“I get two bills in the mail, separate envelopes, and each one was a little over $3,000,” she said.

Her water bill is normally around the same price every month, she said.

“I think around $98 to maybe $120, something in there, and I’ve been here forever, and it’s never been higher than that,” she said.

She called WSSC to let them know about the mistake, but instead of getting an answer, she said she was passed from one customer service representative to another.

“Since then I've called three or four times, talked to different people,” she said.

She was told someone would review it, but soon after, WSSC called her to tell her they were going to cut off her water.

“Got a phone call saying, ‘You're behind on your bill, and we're going to cut off your water Feb. 2,’” she said.

Shoemaker was told to pay $347 to avoid the water being turned off. She paid it immediately, but that didn't stop the outrageous bills from coming.

“I wasn’t getting anywhere,” she said. “They weren't calling me back. All they were doing was threatening to turn the water off.”

WSSC told NBC4 Responds Shoemaker’s meter was replaced in September. Prior to that, according to a company spokesperson, "There were inconsistent readings, which triggered our system not to bill until accurate readings could be determined."

As a result, Shoemaker went an extended period of time without receiving a bill, and WSSC determined she "was qualified for the billing adjustments."

Her new balance was $60, ending months of frustration and worry that her water and patience would run out.

“I have been working since October and haven't gotten one phone call back,” she said. “Give the information to you the beginning of the week, and two days later, they've reduced my bill from $7,000 to 60 some dollars. You can't beat that.”

Shoemaker's meter was 16 years old, WSSC said, and they did replace it. The average life of a meter is roughly 30 years. If you suddenly stop getting water bills, contact customer service to see whether there's an issue with your meter so you're not surprised months later with a mega bill.

Photo Credit: NBCWashington]]>
<![CDATA[DC Fire Response Times Improving, Fall Short for Some Calls]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 13:52:47 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/DC+Ambulance.jpg

Nearly one year into the District’s use of a private ambulance service to improve 911 response times and the fire chief is acknowledging the department is "struggling" with the availability of advance life support medic units.

Those are the ambulances staffed by paramedics who are supposed to respond to the most critical emergency calls like cardiac arrest.

In a message sent to fire fighters and obtained by News 4’s Mark Segraves, Chief Gregory Dean said response times for the advance life support units have not improved despite the addition of the private ambulance service.

Doug Buchanan, the chief of communications for DC Fire & EMS, issued a statement late Tuesday evening:

“The bottom line is that we are responding faster to 911 calls. Our first responder response times have improved and our overall ambulance response times have improved. We are taking action to improve our first arriving paramedic times by aggressively hiring paramedics and adding three medic units.”

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is scheduled to hold a press conference with Dean Wednesday to tout the department’s improvements over the past year and to announce changes in the way the district bills insurance companies for ambulance services.

<![CDATA[Child Killed in Fairfax County House Fire]]> Wed, 22 Feb 2017 08:23:46 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/212*120/2017-02-21_2058.png

A young boy was killed and four adults were injured in a house fire in Fairfax County, Virginia, according to authorities.

Fire crews were called to the 8100 block of Arcade Street in Lorton around 5:15 p.m. Tuesday for reports of a garage fire. When crews arrived, they discovered fire in the garage and heavy smoke throughout the house.

Battalion Chief Will Bailey said the crews tried to aggressively attack the fire through the house but were pushed back. After putting out the blaze, they did a search and discovered the body of a young boy inside the home. He said they also discovered the bodies of two pets.

Ofc. Megan Hawkins, with the Fairfax County Police Department, said four adults, three men and one woman, were transported from the scene with non-life-threatening injuries. Two other pets were rescued.

Bailey said two neighbors, one who was a retired firefighter and the other was an off-duty firefighter, tried to go inside the house to make a rescue. They were pushed back by smoke.

Hawkins said homicide detectives, crime scene detectives and fire investigators are working to determine a cause for the fire. The victims have not been identified.

Photo Credit: NBC4 Washington]]>
<![CDATA[Virginia Group Urges Congresswoman to Show Up to Town Hall]]> Tue, 21 Feb 2017 20:13:45 -0500 http://media.nbcwashington.com/images/213*120/imageedit_2_4578398019.jpg

Some citizens of Northern Virginia are pushing for their congresswoman to show up to a town hall meeting they have organized.

They want Rep. Barbara Comstock, a Republican who represents Virginia's 10th District, to answer their questions at a town hall meeting Friday.

But they haven't heard from Comstock that she will attend. Comstock and a staffer did not respond when News4 asked if the congresswoman would be there.

Two residents of Virginia’s 10th District, Kristine Condie and Jan Hyland, said they simply want a face-to-face, public conversation with Comstock.

“We have no desire to be confrontational in our communication with Representative Comstock,” Condie said.

“We’re really looking for her to be our representative and our champion in Washington D.C., and we certainly don’t want to do anything that would be disparaging to her," Condie said. "It would be great to give her the opportunity to speak on her behalf and not have us rely on sound-bites or press releases.”

The meeting was organized by members of Indivisible V10-E, which on its Twitter page calls itself a bipartisan group in northern Virginia "intent on restoring integrity" in government. The group says it is "following" Indivisible, a website that claims it provides “a practical guide for resisting the Trump agenda.”

In a video posted to their Twitter account, the group formally invited Comstock to the Sterling Community Center calling for dialogue. The group says it is expecting 150 residents to attend the Friday evening town hall meeting.

Indivisible has used social media before to urge other members of Congress to meet with constituents. Earlier this month, Indivisible organizers praised the people who packed a Utah town hall held by Rep. Jason Chaffetz — a meeting that sometimes erupted into raucous protest.

Rep. Dave Brat, another Republican from Virginia, has faced some of the same pressure; he held a meeting Tuesday night in the southernmost part of his district, which stretches from Culpeper to well south of Richmond. Last week, the U.S. House's sergeant-at-arms warned members to alert police if they planned to hold town hall meetings in their districts.

Former Virginia Republican delegate Hon. David Ramadan believes constituents should have access to their elected officials.

But he said he doesn’t trust this group’s motives.

"I don’t think this group is asking really for a dialogue or for a real town hall," Ramadan said. "What they’re looking for is a show."

Ramadan believes it will end up like Monday night’s Virginia Beach town hall meeting with first-term Congressman Scott Taylor, who fielded questions from nearly 1,000 people. That meeting, too, grew heated at times.

But Condie, however, said they are not planning on that.

“We are going to have crowd control,” Condie said. “It’s going to be a controlled environment, and it will give folks the opportunity to ask direct questions that she will be able to answer.”

Ramadan said Comstock has been an independent voice for the Virginia 10th District and that her record is known, as she has represented the area for years in the state House and Congress.

He added that he believes Comstock has been fully transparent.

“Tonight, as a matter of fact, she is holding a teleconference call, a tele-town hall, where thousands of people will be able to log in,” Ramadan said.

But Hyland doesn’t think that is enough.

“That doesn’t take the place of the Congresswoman coming out to her district and having community meetings,” Hyland said.

Photo Credit: Jahi Chikwendiu/The Washington Post via Getty Images]]>