Hundreds mourn Columbia crash

Hundreds gathered at National Cathedral Thursday to mourn the loss of the Space Shuttle Columbia, which disintegrated on reentry earlier this month.

Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking at the event, called the fallen astronauts courageous explorers who lost their lives for “the great cause of discovery.”

The Washington Post reported 18 NASA-chartered buses carried workers from the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Md. to the cathedral for the ceremony.

Dignitaries, among the 1,700 at the memorial included former Senator and astronaut John Glen, Cheney, Robert Cabana, NASA’s director of flight crew operations, Attorney General John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, secretary of Homeland Security, and Richard B. Meyers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

MPD to keep the lights on

Metropolitan Police patrol cars will keep dome lights on at all times in an effort to increase the forces’ visibility, Chief Charles Ramsey announced last month.

Ramsey told the Washington Post that he got the idea for the perpetual running lights during a ride-along with Israeli police in Jerusalem.

The Post reported that the roof lights policy was in response to increased complaints from residents about insufficient police presence in their neighborhoods.

“I’d rather get visibility complaints now than complaints about missing police,” Ramsey told the Post.

Cab drivers debate guns

The city Taxicab Commission debated a measure to include guns among the equipment drivers can use to protect themselves while on duty.

Currently cabs can use bulletproof partitions, emergency lights and video cameras.

“The safety devices we have now do not work. The 911 emergency light on top of the cab? You might as well put a flashlight up there and it’s the same thing,” Sandra Seegars, the commission member who proposed the resolution, told the Washington Post. “I heard the mayor’s office say this is just a publicity stunt. Well, that’s right – it’s a stunt to get them more protection.”

Alex Kingsbury, Metro editor

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