Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 22, 2014

Posts in "National Mall"

December 2, 2014

Virtual ‘Giving Tower’ Visible on National Mall

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Marker for the Giving Tower. (Courtesy Trust for the National Mall)

Visitors to the National Mall can point their smartphone or tablet at a new structure Tuesday, and a holographic, multicolored tower will appear on their screen, representing charitable donations made on “Giving Tuesday.”

“I think that the interesting and amazing thing about the National Mall is it is this open and diverse place where the Park Service is getting more creative about how its used,” Caroline Cunningham, president of the Trust for the National Mall, said Tuesday in a phone interview. ”I do think [the tower] is a new way to engage people who visit the National Mall.” Full story

October 28, 2014

Grant Gerber, Nevada Activist, Dies From Fall Sustained on Horseback Ride to Capitol Hill

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Participants in the Grass March Cowboy Express visited Capitol Hill. (Hannah Hess/CQ Roll Call)

A horseback protest that trotted through Washington on Oct. 16 turned out to be one of the final rides of Nevada conservative activist Grant Gerber’s life.

The Elko County Commissioner, hailed by friends as a “freedom fighter,” died nine days after visiting Capitol Hill with the Grass March Cowboy Express to voice frustrations over Bureau of Land Management grazing policies. Gerber was 72.

Twelve days into the cross-country journey, Gerber sustained a severe concussion when the horse he was riding took a tumble in Kansas. He was examined and released from a St. Louis, Mo., hospital with no sign of bleeding. Gerber felt he was healing as the caravan continued on its quest. An ominous email written before the ride began explained his determination. Full story

October 1, 2014

NPS Is Live-Streaming From Top of National Monument

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A tiny webcam is capturing action on the National Mall from the top of the Washington Monument. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

Just in time for the debut of a massive art exhibit spanning six acres of the National Mall, engineers have installed a live-streaming webcam near the top of the Washington Monument.

The National Park Service has partnered with EarthCam to fit a small, powerful camera into a pre-existing hole in the 555 foot tall national landmark. The feed, which captures the World War II Memorial, the reflecting pool and other iconic scenery, also shows Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada’s facescape, “Out of Many, One.”

Throughout September, more than 2,000 tons of sand, 800 tons of soil and 10,000 wooden pegs were installed on the mall for a work of art similar to what Rodríguez-Gerada has created for cities around the world, including in Belfast and Barcelona. The National Stone, Sand and Gravel Association helped make the project viewable to the public with EarthCam.

This temporary installation is a composite portrait, blending the features of 18- to 25-year-old men from a variety of racial and ethnic backgrounds whom Rodríguez-Gerada photographed on the streets of Washington, D.C. Full story

September 19, 2014

Treaties Exhibit Ushers in 10 Years of American Indian Museum

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Indigenous leaders from the Cowboy and Indian Alliance participate in a Capitol Hill protest in April. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Museum of the American Indian will open its first exhibit exploring the contentious issue of treaties between the U.S. government and Indian nations next week.

“This exhibit is a tangible reminder of the federal government’s relationship with sovereign tribal nations of this country,” Senate Indian Affairs Chairman Jon Tester, D-Mont., said Thursday. “It’s also a reminder of the moral and legal obligations that the United States has to honor and uphold our treaties with Indian country.”

Tester addressed a group gathered at a day-long symposium at the museum discussing the exhibit. “Nation to Nation: Treaties Between the United States and American Indian Nations” opened on Sunday, the 10th anniversary of the opening of the museum. The exhibit will continue until the fall of 2018.

Museum Director Kevin Gover said during a preview Tuesday the display was years in the making and came at the request of a number of tribes and members of Congress. Full story

August 25, 2014

Jorge Rodriguez-Gerada Hopes to Change Perception of ‘Melting Pot’ With National Mall Exhibit

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“Out of Many, One,” a massive facescape, will transform the National Mall this fall. (CQ Roll Call File Photo)

The National Mall is getting a new face this fall, composed of approximately 2,000 tons of sand, 800 tons of soil, 10,000 wooden pegs and miles of twine.

Six acres of land midway between the World War II and Lincoln memorials will transform into a grand landscape etching by Cuban-American urban artist Jorge Rodríguez-Gerada. The work is a composite portrait, blending the features of 18 to 25-year-old males from a variety of different racial and ethnic backgrounds whom Rodríguez-Gerada photographed on the streets of Washington, D.C.

“It’s a good time to contemplate our young men,” the artist told CQ Roll Call in a phone call from Spain. “We’re born with an identity and a face. It’s something we didn’t choose, but it affects us for the rest of our life.” Full story

August 8, 2014

‘House of Cards’ Film Crew Hits National Mall on Saturday

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Could more filming be coming to the Capitol grounds? (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

“House of Cards” is filming around the National Mall on Saturday, according to the D.C. Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.

It’s unlikely fans of the wildly popular Netflix series will spot stars Kevin Spacey or Robin Wright during the 10-hour set. Crews will be “shooting ‘drive-bys’, b-roll, and a mock-motorcade scene,” says a notice posted on the agency’s site.

Local officials would love to have the show, which shoots most of its scenes in Baltimore and other areas, do more production in the District, but filming in D.C. has its challenges — especially on the Capitol grounds. Full story

July 7, 2014

Volkswagen Helps Clean Up Fourth of July Debris on National Mall

One of Europe’s largest carmakers helped America take out the trash after its 238th birthday.

Volkswagen Group of America Inc. — part of the German-based auto manufacturer that makes Volkswagen, Audi, Lamborghini and Bentley cars — volunteered 250 hours of service to help clean up the National Mall in the wake of Independence Day celebrations.

“There’s 60 or 70 employees, and they do service,” Michael Horn, president and CEO of Volkswagen Group of America, said during a water break near the Washington Monument. ”They clean up the leftovers from the Fourth of July. They paint the fences.” Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 12:28 p.m.
Campus, National Mall

June 9, 2014

Lunchtime Music on the Mall Launches Tuesday

Escape Capitol Hill and take your lunch to the National Mall on Tuesday to hear blues and jazz riffs performed on a 21-string harp.

A summertime music series featuring local musicians and spoken word artists kicks off at noon with a performance by West African Manding Diali percussionist Amadou Kouyate near the Smithsonian Metro Station, at 12th Street and Jefferson Drive Southwest.

Kouyate comes from a long line of musicians, and has studied and performed Mand­ing music since age three. He plays the kora, a lute-like instrument that dates back nearly 800 years. With the help of a synthesizer, he blends the traditional sound with contemporary music genres. Full story

May 28, 2014

NPS Examining Repeat Problems With Washington Monument Elevator

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(Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call File Photo)

After two weeks of sporadic glitches with the Washington Monument’s lone elevator, National Park Service leaders are dispelling rumors of  elevator “free falls” and reassuring employees that the machinery is safe to operate.

In a May 23 memo to his staff, National Mall and Memorial Parks Superintendent Robert Vogel acknowledged recurring problems throughout the month of May and said NPS contractor Quality Elevator is continuing to monitor the elevator.

“I have been assured by experts we have called in to diagnose why the elevator has experienced stoppages that the elevator is safe to operate,” Vogel wrote in an internal document obtained by CQ Roll Call, which suggested the root of some elevator problems might be human error. Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 12:53 p.m.
National Mall

May 15, 2014

Washington Monument Elevator Breakdown: Norton Raises Alarm

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At the Washington Monument reopening, Sgt. 1st Class Crystal Lee and Staff Sgt. Troy Paolantonio of the U.S. Army Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps perform on National Mall. (Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Two days after the Washington Monument reopened following a $15 million, 32 month renovation, an elevator breakdown briefly stranded visitors near the top of the 555-foot-tall national landmark.

The elevator stopped functioning at 10:53 a.m. Wednesday, according to the National Park Service. A contractor put the elevator back into service at 12:25 p.m.

The temporary glitch forced one group of visitors to walk down 896 steps from the observation level, while 18 others aboard the non-functioning elevator were able to get off on the ground level. All of the nearly 80 visitors inside were evacuated safely.

Full story

By Hannah Hess Posted at 12:34 p.m.
National Mall

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