Best and worst from this week’s headlines

It hasn’t been easy keeping up with all the news in 2017.

From President Donald Trump’s inauguration in January, to devastating hurricanes in the summer and the tragic Las Vegas shooting in October, it has been an important time to pay attention to the news.

Although it is beneficial to stay up-to-date on national news, it’s essential to understand what is happening in and around the DMV every week.

So here’s the best and worst news from around campus and the District this week.

Thumbs Up:

D.C. should be proud this week. Its very own Washingtonian, Olympic swimmer Katie Ledecky, was named Associated Press’ Female Athlete of the Year Tuesday.

The award, which started in 1931, has historically been given to tennis and golf players. In fact, champion tennis player Serena Williams won the same award in 2015, which was her fourth time taking the title. This year, Ledecky was the first Washingtonian to ever receive the award.

Ledecky won gold in five freestyle races at the World Championships this year. She also currently holds more world titles than any other female swimmer.

The winner of the award is determined by AP sports editors and news directors who assign points to each athlete based on their performance in the calendar year. Ledecky’s record outshined athletes such as Williams and Olympic runner Allyson Felix.

While she was born in the District, Ledecky grew up in Bethesda, Md. She didn’t leave the DMV until she started college at Stanford University on a swimming scholarship last year.

The sophomore has accomplished a lot of firsts this year. Ledecky is the first college student, at only 20 years old, to win the AP award before her senior year. She was also named the youngest inductee into the D.C. Sports Hall of Fame in July. She may be breaking records around the globe with her athletic performances, but it’s mind-blowing to remember that she’s the same age as many students on campus. And much like other sophomores around the world, she is also dealing with college issues – like deciding between political science and psychology for her major.

It has been a stellar year for Ledecky and a time of pride for D.C., so let’s hope her good luck continues as she trains for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

Thumbs Down:

It turns out DMV residents aren’t exaggerating when they complain about the traffic in the area.

A study by the Network Science Institute at Northeastern University found that D.C. ranks the worst of 40 other major metropolitan areas in the country when it comes to traffic resiliency – which is the ability to deal with unforeseen events on the road that fall outside of usual traffic patterns, like inclement weather, sporting events and major accidents.

The study further drove home the point of just how poorly the DMV handles anything out of the traffic norm by citing one example involving a minor snow incident in January of last year. Despite only an inch of snow falling over the region, commuters faced a chaotic trip home full of delays. Although you may think more advanced notice to plan for snow and emergency response would have prevented this, researchers found that traffic would still have deteriorated into a gridlock.

With the Capital Weather Gang predicting that the DMV will get more snow this winter than last year, the study’s findings may raise some concerns about how traffic will fare as we go into the new year.

In contrast, the study found that unexpected events in Los Angeles – which is even more notorious for its traffic – had little effect on a driver’s commute because the city offers greater access to back-up roads.

This spells bad news for all of the DMV residents trying to return home after going out of town for the holiday season. Traffic was already two and a half times heavier than usual last week as people left the area.

Residents are sure to face slower-than-usual commutes as they return from holiday travel, and this time they’ll have confirmation that the DMV is just as bad as we thought at handling anything more than normal traffic conditions.

Irene Ly and Renee Pineda are The Hatchet’s opinions editor and contributing opinions editor.

Want to respond to this piece? Submit a letter to the editor.

The Hatchet has disabled comments on our website. Learn more.