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Sidewalk Closed

The Architect of the Capitol will close sidewalks adjacent to the Capitol Power Plant next month as work begins on the “beautification” of the facility’s grounds. [IMGCAP(1)]

The landscaping project is being completed in conjunction with an expansion of the Power Plant that will add 16,500 square feet to the facility’s West Refrigeration Plant.

The AOC will block pedestrian access to sidewalks along South Capitol Street between Virginia Avenue and E Street Southeast, and along E Street Southeast between South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue Southeast beginning April 5. The sidewalks will remain closed until December 2005 and March 2006, respectively.

In July 2005, the AOC will also close the section of sidewalk along New Jersey Avenue that borders the Power Plant’s east side.

In addition, the project will require the closure of the south parking lane on E Street between South Capitol Street and New Jersey Avenue from April 5 through March 2006.

“We will be constructing a park area along the South Capitol Street corridor, installing a new wrought-iron fence, planting trees and undertaking other landscaping projects, as well as improving the overall security of the site,” Architect Alan Hantman said in a statement.

Built in 1909, the Capitol Power Plant provides steam heat and chilled water to the Congressional complex, as well as the Library of Congress, Supreme Court and other facilities.

Election Panel. Former Senate Minority Leader Tom Daschle (D-S.D.), former House Minority Leader Bob Michel (R-Ill.), and former Reps. Lee Hamilton (D-Ind.) and Susan Molinari (R-N.Y.) are slated to join a blue-ribbon panel to examine the state of America’s federal elections and recommend improvements.

The newly assembled private Commission on Federal Election Reform will be headed by former President Jimmy Carter and former Secretary of State James Baker.

The panel, which is planning hearings in April and June, will look at voting irregularities and the implementation of the Help America Vote Act of 2002. It aims to make recommendations on improving the nation’s electoral process through a report scheduled for September, when Congress returns from its Labor Day recess.

— Jennifer Yachnin and Amy Keller

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