International pillow fight day in D.C.

23 Apr

International Pillow Fight Day was celebrated around the globe in many different countries. In D.C., hundreds bashed each other with pillows until all were declared winners.


Training for the 39-mile Avon walk against breast cancer

20 Mar

Scores of people turned out in Bethesda, Maryland for an eight-mile training hike to prepare for the official 39-mile Avon walk against breast cancer. We caught up with Teresa Ryan, who says she must walk now and in years to come. Teresa estimates she will raise a total of about $55,000 by the completion of the summer.

Glen Echo: “Then and Wow”

13 Mar

The sign marked the entrance to the park until the 1970s. Courtesy of Glen Echo Park

Glen Echo Park is a national arts, crafts, and dance park located a few miles across the D.C. boarder in Maryland

by Maria Hallas

Children and adults took a step back in time as Glen Echo Park celebrated its 91st season.  The“Then & Wow” festival explored the park’s past and present and featured roving performers, glass blowing and pottery stands, theater and puppet shows and lots of dancing.

  •         all of the buildings are renovated to their original art deco style

The "cuddle up" building -- an example of the park's art deco style -- was a romantic ride; now the building houses a puppet theater. By Maria Hallas

Glen Echo Park Ranger Franice Sewell gave a tour during the festival that explained the history of the
Park. Glen Echo became an amusement park in the late 1890s.  The park closed in the late 1960s during riots in D.C. and later reopened as an arts park that offers crafts, music, theater and dancing to adults and children.

Park Ranger Sewell in front of the private line street car that brought D.C. residents to the park until the late 1960s. By Maria Hallas

Massive renovations returned the outsides of park buildings to their original design — art deco.  Inside the buildings there are no longer rides but something entirely different.   For example, the park’s original arcade — that is, with real guns and bullets — is now a children’s theatre.   The snack and popcorn building now exhibits art.

  •         the carousel – the park’s only ride — is the oldest carousel in the nation

Michelle Schwartz explored the hand-painted horses. By Maria Hallas

“The carousel is the gem of the park and boasts a windpipe organ and 44 animals,” said Sewell.  “There are painted horses, giraffes, ostriches, rabbits, lions and tigers . . .  The kids love it.”

Children’s laughter came from all directions during the day but mostly from the carousel.

“The big animals don’t scare me.  They are fun . . . “said six-year-old Debbie Schwartz.  “Can I ride again?” she said, turning to her mother.  Debbie did ride the carousel again with her big brother and many other children.

  •        live music entertains adults in the Spanish Ballroom

Dancers swinging to live orchestra music. By Maria Hallas

Adults appeared to enjoyed the festival too.  A band played waltz music in the former bumper car pavilion and about 70 people danced for three hours there.   After waltzing, the park offered swing dancing in its Spanish Ballroom.

All of these dances are called “social dances.”  Listen to Ranger Sewell describe the Spanish Ballroom and what social dancing means at Glen Echo; hear patrons discuss their reactions.

“That couple told me today that they had their first kiss here forty years ago and now they’re dancing the waltz,” Sewell said, pointing to the bumper car pavilion.

The “Then & Wow” festival may be over but an exhibition with the same name continues through October. Also, there are many other events posted on its website calendar for children and adults. Glen Echo hosts some Halloween events throughout October. Two future dance events are the “Family Dance,” where families can square dance together, and “The D.C. Dance Challenge,” a one-day adult dance competition which promises to be lots of fun to watch.

Central Farm Market brings local organic produce to Bethesda

3 Mar

Music fills the air at the Bethesda Central Farm Market.  But that isn’t the main attraction; it’s the organic food and other produce fresh off the farm.  Some people wade through the sea of stands and others simply hover.   Among locals, the year-round event is becoming a leisurely habit every Sunday morning.

Scores try-out for Washington Nationals mascots

24 Feb

The Washington Nationals held its try-outs for the racing presidents over Presidents Weekend.  The racing presidents are the mascots of the team and include four presidents — Teddy Roosevelt, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington and Abe Lincoln.

Out of 300 applications, sixty hopefuls were selected for the physical competition on February 18, 2012.  Watch them in action.

Occupy D.C. surpasses some Fortune 500 companies in one area

9 Dec



Listen to this audio story to find out why Occupiers are far more sophisticated than many Fortune 500 companies.


5K walk/run honors Bethesda murder victim (web and audio story)

22 Sep

No insanity plea from defendant as trial date approaches

By Maria Hallas

Lululemon closed after the murder; the store reopened several months later

A 5K Walk/Run in Bethesda last Sunday honored 30-year-old Jayna Murray, who was murdered last March while working at the sports clothing store Lululemon.

Listen to an audio story about the Walk/Run

Authorities say co worker Brittany Norwood killed Murray. The trial begins in October.

  •  many paid tribute to the slain 30-year-old

“We had over 600 registrants, [and] 500 runners . . . I mean it was really amazing for a first year. It so far exceeded our expectations. It was heartwarming for the family as well,” said volunteer Nicole Crane.

Crane believes the event allowed the Bethesda community, rocked by the slaying, to show support for the victim.

In Bethesda, shown here, Murray's death was the first slaying in twenty years.

“There were some wet eyes obviously . . . I think overall it [the sentiment] was very positive . . . you want something positive to come out of a tragedy,” Crane said.

  • trial is fast approaching

During the same week as the marathon, developments occurred in the trial over Murray’s death.

Attorneys for Norwood apparently missed their deadline this week to plead her insanity (or lack of criminal intent), according to the court’s docket.

It is unclear what the defense strategy will be.

Prosecutors allege that Norwood pretended to be a victim after she killed Murray to cover up her guilt.

When police found both women at the store, Norwood was bound and allegedly told investigators that she had been sexually assaulted. No sexual assault had occurred say prosecutors.

The evening before, Murray allegedly found stolen store merchandise in Norwood’s purse after Murray’s manager instructed Murray search it.

Norwood allegedly called Murray later in the evening and asked Murray to return to the store because she left her wallet there.

Murray returned, and Norwood allegedly killed her.  Authorities say that Norwood allegedly smashed Murray’s skull and spinal cord.