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Landscaping Contracts Spurs Controversy In D.C.

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has taken some flak for ditching a Maryland-based landscaping company in favor of a District-based one that costs substantially more.
Martin Cathrae: http://www.flickr.com/photos/suckamc/4576900792/
D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has taken some flak for ditching a Maryland-based landscaping company in favor of a District-based one that costs substantially more.

A pair of city-contracts to cut the grass at District ball fields is stirring up controversy at city hall. 

For two straight days The Washington Post editorial page has raised questions about why Mayor Vincent Gray initially wanted to cancel the lawn-mowing contract for a Maryland company, but keep the contract for the District-based firm, even though it was charging substantially more. 

On Wednesday, the Mayor lashed out: "Well, I find it interesting that we would spend as much ink on a grass-cutting contract that is very explicable, it just seems fictional."

Gray says he wants to make sure companies based in the District have opportunities to compete for city contracts. Under procurement rules, the city, like many other jurisdictions, gives preferential treatment to local firms in the bidding process. 

On Friday the D.C. Council is holding a hearing on the issue, to help, in one member’s words, “clear the air.”

NPR

Peruvians Love Their Chicha Street Art. The Government ... Not So Much

Walk down a street in Peru and you'll likely see an example of the glow-in-the-dark posters and murals. Lots of people love them. But the upper crust — and the government — aren't impressed.
NPR

Tea-Infused Sweets: Chocolate + Jasmine Tea Is A Match Made In Heaven

Smoky and floral brews can provide a kick of flavor to desserts, especially when blended with chocolate. Pastry chef Naomi Gallego shows us a few tricks for surprising the palate with tea.
WAMU 88.5

America's First Ladies

They walk a tricky line: closest adviser to the President of the United States and hostess in chief. A new book examines the evolution of the role of first lady of the United States.

WAMU 88.5

E-Cigarettes and Vaping

Last week, the D.C. Council voted to designate e-cigarettes and "similar vapor products containing nicotine" as tobacco products. That means that their sales tax will jump from the regular 5.75% sales tax to the 70% tax that's tacked onto sales of products like cigarettes and cigars. We explore what this means for the evolving public health debate surrounding e-cigarettes.

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