The top 10 stories of 2013: #10-6
#10 - A vandal hits the Lincoln Memorial and National Cathedral
The Lincoln Memorial was temporarily closed in late July after a vandal splattered green paint on the statue of our nation’s 16th president. It was the first time the memorial was vandalized since its dedication in 1922.
Removing the green paint from the memorial was a painstaking task for the National Park Service.
Around the same time, a statue near the Smithsonian Castle, a church in Logan Circle, and the National Cathedral were also vandalized with green paint.
Jiamei Tian is accused of vandalizing the Cathedral, but was never formally charged for the other acts of vandalism, though police believe they’re likely related.
#9 - The District spars with Walmart over wages
The District of Columbia and Walmart went toe-to-toe this past summer over a push to force big retailers to pay their employees $12.50 per hour, which is more than $4 per hour higher than the city's minimum wage. The nation's largest retailer strongly objected to the bill and threatened to pull its six planned D.C. stores if Mayor Vincent Gray signed the bill.
The D.C. Council did pass the bill, but after a lengthy delay, Gray ended up vetoing the legislation, paving the way for Walmart to open in early December on Georgia Avenue and H Street Northeast. The Council later passed a bill increasing the city's minimum wage to $11.50 per hour over several years.
#8 - Doug Gansler's tumultuous year
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler saw more than his share of controversy and media attention this year.
Most recently he admitted to having a “rough week” after a photo surfaced of him alongside teenage partiers at a Delaware beach. The Instagram photo made national headlines and Gansler quickly became the butt of late night talk show jokes.
The Democratic candidate for governor also took some heat in October after The Washington Post reported that he regularly ordered state troopers to speed and run red lights to avoid traffic. Gansler denies the accusations.
#7 - Bao Bao captures the nation's attention
The National Zoo welcomed a new little one in 2013 with the August arrival of Bao Bao the panda cub. The baby girl was born Aug. 23 and almost immediately sent the area into a panda frenzy.
Views on the National Zoo’s ever-popular PandaCam spiked (except when it was tragically turned off during the government shutdown) and fans of the baby bear watched closely for news of each checkup and milestone.
In keeping with Chinese tradition, Bao Bao wasn’t officially named until she turned 100 days old, and its name was selected by voters on the zoo’s website.
#6 - D.C.'s sweeping police and fire issues
To say that 2013 was a tumultuous year for D.C.'s biggest public service agencies would probably be an understatement.
D.C. Fire was ravaged all year by issues with personnel and equipment. Ambulances broke down. Medical units caught fire. Response times were criticized. Chief Ken Ellerbe was repeatedly scolded by public officials. An independent report called the condition of the department's trucks poor.
Meanwhile, Chief Cathy Lanier's Metropolitan Police Department is in the midst of a crisis with some of its personnel. One cop is accused of running a teenage prostitution ring. Another was said to have taken naked pictures of a teenage girl - that officer, Marc Washington, was later found dead.