NPR Has Bees on Its Roof, but Isn’t in It for the Honey

Jeff Miller rolls up in his BMW convertible to the gleaming new headquarters of NPR one wet, gusty Monday morning. Miller, a real estate developer, isn’t there to check out the building, a modern mass of concrete and glass and lights on North Capitol Street. He’s delivering cargo: 20,000 European honey bees, buzzing in two wooden boxes destined for NPR’s rooftop.

Miller moonlights as a beekeeper with DC Honeybees, a nonprofit devoted to growing and sustaining bee colonies in the city, and NPR is the latest to solicit his services. Miller has already installed 100 hives this year (including one at a house in Tenleytown earlier that morning), a huge uptick from the 50 he set up during his first year with DC Honeybees in 2009.

Miller is joined by Katy Nally, a 25-year-old Center for Clean Air Policy employee with a bee tattoo behind her ear, who assists with installations. Maury Schlesinger, NPR’s director of real estate and administrative services, follows as Miller pushes a dolly stacked with a vat of sugar water and the two bee boxes through the back channels of the NPR building.

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Nixing Neonics

You’ve probably heard about them — the ubiquitous insecticide that lurks within the plant and isn’t sprayed on like traditional pesticides. Neonicotinoids, as the name suggests, are similar in composition to nicotine and cause certain neurological receptors to be over-stimulated in insects. As a result, bugs that feast on plant tissue that has absorbed the chemical soon incur neurological damage, which can cause paralysis and death. This systemic type of pesticide, which includes imidacloprid, thiamethoxam, and clothianidin, is applied to seeds and absorbed into the plant as it grows, creating an life-long resistance to mostly corn- and soybean-hungry insects. Throughout the European Union, they’re also applied to sunflowers, oil seed rape (canola) and sugar beets.

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Legalized It

Keeping step with other urban-ag-conscious cities, DC Mayor Vincent Gray recently signed a bill into effect that would formally legalize backyard beekeeping in DC. The legislation, which is part of the Sustainable DC Plan, specifically targets urban beekeeping as a means to promote urban agriculture.

Highlighting the broad initiative of sustainable “food,” the plan aims to “put 20 additional acres of land under cultivation for growing food” by 2032. The legislation notes, “A stronger local food supply and distribution system will ensure that District residents have better access to healthy and affordable food from full-service grocery stores, farmers’ markets, and community and commercial agriculture projects within their neighborhoods.” Where local garden and agriculture projects are taking shape, honeybees are an obvious step toward increased crop yield and easier access to nutritious food.

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Nonprofit Releases Plan To Retire Coal Plant, Redevelop Land

The American Clean Skies Foundation took steps Wednesday toward the transformation of the north end of Old Town and its waterfront. As part of an ongoing endeavor to retire the 62-year-old coal-fired electricity plant, the Washington, D.C. nonprofit released a $450 million plan that would reconstruct the site by around 2017.

“Ambitious, but possible,” ACSF Chief Executive Greg Staple told a group of reporters at the National Press Club.

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Rosa To OMB: Stop Stalling

Rosa DeLauroWASHINGTON—After waiting well over the usual 90-day period, U.S. Rep. Rosa DeLauro is urging the Office of Management and Budget to take action on a rule that would broaden federal regulations of E. coli.

Back in January, the USDA Food Safety Inspection Service submitted a rule to the OMB that would expand regulations on six strains of E. coli. However the OMB has “delayed” making a decision on the proposed E. coli rule, which, DeLauro said, comes at the detriment to Americans’ health and safety. She sent a letter Wednesday to Director of OMB Jacob Lew calling for action on the proposal.

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Lieberman Reaffirms His Loyalty To Israel With Resolution

Joseph LiebermanWASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman reaffirmed his support for Israel last week when he and another senator introduced a resolution stating the United States has a duty to help Israel defend and maintain its borders.

According to the, Hatch-Lieberman Israel Resolution, having Israel’s borders return to the 1967 armistice lines goes against U.S. policy as well as our national security.

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CT Congressmen Will Return Donations From Weiner

WASHINGTON – Both Connecticut representatives who received campaign contributions from Anthony Weiner, D-NY,  have announced they will donate those funds to local charities.

U.S. Reps. Joe Courtney and Jim Himes will donate a total of $3,000 they received over the years from Weiner to various charities. Himes to call for Weiner to resign, saying the New York congressman’s actions surrounding photos he sent via Twitter were distracting Congress.

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VA Clears Up Confusion Over Conflicting Education Benefits

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is making sure new language in the GI Bill will not work against veterans seeking to use both state and federal benefits to attend Connecticut’s public universities.

The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs is making sure new language in the GI Bill will not work against veterans seeking to use both state and federal benefits to attend Connecticut’s public universities.

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The Attractions Are Here, Now Where Are Those Tourists?

Farmington has a lot to offer for a small town — history, arts, wildlife, recreation — in fact, it’s a perfect destination spot for a tourist. And now, since Gov. Dannel Malloy put Connecticut back on the map by paying for the state’s lapsed membership on DiscoverNewEngland.org, local organizations are hoping an increased tourism push will follow, and with that, more tourists.

Towns like Avon and Farmington attract tourists mostly through historic “hidden treasures,” hiking trails and antiquing, said Nancy Anstey, executive director of the Farmington Valley Visitors Association. Continue reading…