By Gordon Martinelli
Washington Post Staff Writer
DC Blackout Leaves Many Questions Unanswered; Devastation In Its Wake - WASHINGTON, DC — The nation's capital continues to clean up and recover what it can, after the most destructive disaster to befall an American city in decades, if not almost a century, leaves in its wake damage felt round the world in ways that make September 11th pale in comparison.
Even a month after the terrible tragedy, Utility companies and police have no further information on the cause, which has been the source of great consternation amongst the public and media, hungry for answers.
Earlier rumors of connections to a religious sect called
the Church of Abaddon Ascendant have been dismissed now, but no better theories have surfaced to replace them either. Mayor Anthony Williams has vehemently maintained that the Church is not connected to the Blackouts and law enforcement personnel should cease and desist any further harassment of the group. Phone calls to the only listed number for the group continue to go unanswered.
Schools, Banks and Government buildings have reopened, but many are short staffed. DC Public Schools are extending the school year into July, as voted in by the School Board in an emergency meeting held last week. Some universities are simply declaring the Fall Semester a "Freebie", giving students a simple passing grade and making plans to restart in the Spring Semester.
Financial institutions are still working overtime to correct the massive fluctuations the event caused in the world markets. Many local businesses were destroyed, literally and or financially, by the consequences of the blackout.
MYSTERY PUBLIC SITE CLEANINGS CONTINUE -- SOUTHWEST:
Local staff of the U.S. Parks Department report that in addition to prior locations throughout Washington that appear to have been mysteriously "cleaned up," that now apparently right under their noses, the mystery ecologists have sanitized and restored the waters of the Reflecting Pool on The Mall. No explanation for the rash of mystery "cleanings" has been found as of yet.
GEORGETOWN UNIVERSITY LEADS THE WAY - ALL DC CITY UNIVERSITIES AFFECTED BY THE BLACKOUT EXTEND ACADEMIC YEAR -- The President of Georgetown University made an announcement last week, after which nearly every University and several private schools followed suit. Georgetown has decided that far too much disruption was incurred by the Blackouts, and has granted those students who did not withdraw already, a passing grade in every class for the Fall Semester, to remove the pressure of finals with so much going on in everyone's lives. Students who already left may be granted the same status if they contact the Ombudsman's Office before the end of term. Students who are officially considered missing will have their transcripts held pending a decision by the Board of Trustees on the matter. Deceased students, as has been Georgetown's tradition, will be granted a degree posthumously, presented to the next-of-kin.
Classes will resume as normal in January.
By Gordon Martinelli
Washington Post Staff Writer
DCPD is maintaining a local ongoing database of the dead and missing after the Blackout of October 2004. The very fact that there are still bodies and other finds being discovered on the sites from September 11th, 2001 only goes to prove the overwhelming need for such a central clearinghouse of information for years to come.
As a public service, the Post has been logging Missing Persons Reports and will post random selections from the pool in the next several issues, hoping to reunite the displaced and missing with loved ones.
[DCPD Reports On File]
[OOC NOTE: If you intend to follow up on any of these missing characters IC, please see Icey immediately]
Blackout Turns The Light Off for Four Rising Stars - SOUTHEAST -- VHHV, an increasingly popular, enigmatic gothic industrial band from New York, that was scheduled to open for Disturbed at Web of Night in early November, is now counted among the casualties taken by the recent blackout.
The band, having just arrived in Washington by bus, was en route to The Web to prepare for their performance opening for Disturbed here in the Nation's Capital, when the blackout fell over the city. Upon reaching an intersection in Southeast, coming off 295, the band's tour bus was broadsided by a tractor trailer who was unable to see the bus clearly in time due to the lack of street lighting anywhere in the area.
The bus driver, Ryan McDonald (43), drummer Joseph McGuire (30), and keyboardist Nicole Hammel (30) were killed instantly in the crash. Vocalist and guitarist Sarah Ravenscraft (24) and bassist Scott Gravens (32) were rushed to DC General, where Gravens later died of internal injuries. Ravenscraft was kept for observation, then released. The driver of the truck, 27 year old Mack Rexrode of Shenandoah, Virginia, remains in a coma at DC General, and the prognosis that he will recover is guarded at best.
Miss Ravenscraft was unavailable for comment, however, the band's new general manager, William Sprinks, spoke to the press on the Band's behalf, saying "She [Ravenscraft] spoke with me earlier, and had already been talking about moving here to Washington. Sarah is rather shaken up over the accident, but is already bravely talking about moving on and looking for a new band. She's a strong girl and won't be down long. She was the legacy of what VHHV was, to live on, and be part of the history of something reborn from this great loss."
As the human and financial costs grow in the aftermath of the Great Blackout of 2004, which some now call Black November, it's difficult to understand why it all happened. However, when tragedy strikes for people with a full life still ahead of them, like the members of VHHV, it adds a more poignant tinge to the losses, as for many it feels as if it takes all that hope with them. We can only hope that, like the thousands of others rebuilding their lives now, Washington opens its arms for Sarah Ravenscraft and her new musical endeavors, and that she continues to entertain its people in return as she so loved to do with VHHV.
Japanese team discovers
3,500-year-old mummy in Egypt - TOKYO (AFP) -
A Japanese research team has found "a
perfect mummy" in an undisturbed Egyptian tomb believed to be more than
3,500 years old, the team's leader said.
FROM THE ASHES...
We are pleased to report that several popular venues in Washington have begun to come back to life, after weeks of cleaning up and restocking following the blackout.
The first to rise up from the destruction, true to its nature as the Mecca of dreams and fantasies, was The Phantasm. Soon after were Bryan's Black Iron, and At Your Service Conciergerie in Northwest.
We anticipate that the Web, Rabble, Cap Hill and Bound should all be opening in another week or two.
MUSIC NEWS: Prior to the blackout, Loki and 1200 Murdered Brothers had been collaborating on a set of new Anti-Drug PSA's to be released this Spring on DC Radio and TV stations. Those plans have been put on hold now until further notice, pending dealing with personal losses suffered in the blackout, and the fact that front-man Kareem Oakley is one of the missing.
IT'S ABOUT TIME (AND MONEY): Prior to the disaster, sources say that one Raine Drouven and Meghan Ambrose were out and about town shopping for shiny treasures - the gold and diamond rings kind. Clearly they've weathered the Rape Trial That Almost Was... Stay tuned to see if she goes through with it this time, though, or if we have Runaway Bride III in the works.
THE ROCKS ARE ROLLING: Box O' Rocks and the Fairfield entourage made tracks for London during the blackout, and have decided to remain there to work on a new deal offered to them by Virgin Records (ironic, no?). The band has rented a large flat West of town and settled in nicely across the pond.