Sunday, September 14, 2008

Wedding Photos: Picture Perfect Locations

Wedding Week 2008: Click for Special Report

After spending all that money on the dress and the hair and the makeup (among other things), there is only one thing left to do: make sure you never forget how good you looked on your wedding day. Hence the importance of wedding photos. And couples aren't just going to the chapel for pictures, they're heading to other locations before or after the ceremony. The Jefferson, the Lincoln and the Mall are obvious choices for great scenery; here are a few of our picks for photo options off the beaten path.

Although a lot of D.C. has a decidedly urban vibe, it isn't hard to find a little greenery. At the Arboretum alone there are 446 acres of picture-appropriate locations to choose from. The azalea collection would certainly make a nice backdrop as would the grove of state trees. Or add a little architecture to the mix by heading to the curved archway of the Chinese moon gate at the bonsai museum or the freestanding Corinthian columns that once lined the east portico of the Capitol.

In search of a more aquatic backdrop? Hains Point, the tip of land where the Potomac and Anacostia rivers meet, offers a mix of views, plus lots of trees and grass. For an only-in-D.C. feel, take photos at the Tidal Basin, but if it's anytime near the Cherry Blossom peak, get there super early, unless of course you think tourists would perfectly complement the wedding party.

If a background with a view of the city is important, your first stop should be Netherlands Carillon. On a hill nestled between Arlington Cemetery and Iwo Jima, the bell tower that was a gift from the people of the Netherlands is not the only interesting site. Face away from the carillon and capture a perfect view of the Mall, the Potomac and Memorial Bridge. After that head down GW Parkway to either Gravelly Point or Lady Bird Johnson Park, where the views of the Washington skyline are at their most impressive.

If you appreciate the urban landscape and want to capture some of the D.C. architecture, I can only begin to scratch the surface. Both the colonnade facade and the arched interior of Union Station could spice up some photos, while the starkness of the Temple of the Scottish Rite would make an interesting contrast against a seafoam green wedding party. Better yet, head to Kalorama and take photos at the Spanish Steps where 22nd dead-ends off S Street. While the D.C. version isn't quite up to the caliber of Rome's, this little-known gem lined with flowers and tucked away behind a cul-de-sac is one of the more romantic spots in the city.

One other thing to note is that in May, the Park Service began charging anywhere from $50 to $250 for wedding photos. Rumor has it that the new policy isn't being strictly enforced, but it's definitely something to keep in mind.

Court Says Police Illegally Taped Nursing Home Sex

Police illegally videotaped a Wisconsin man having sex with his wife while she was in a coma in her nursing home room, an appeals court ruled Thursday.The District 4 Court of Appeals ruled that David W. Johnson, 59, had an expectation to privacy when he visited his wife at Divine Savior Nursing Home in Portage. Therefore, police violated his Fourth Amendment rights against unreasonable searches when they installed a hidden video camera in the room, the court said."We are satisfied that Johnson's expectation of privacy while visiting his wife in her nursing home room is one that society would recognize as reasonable," a unanimous three-judge panel wrote.
The ruling means prosecutors cannot introduce the video tapes as evidence in their case against Johnson, who is charged with felony sexual assault for having intercourse with his wife without her consent at least three times in 2005.Johnson's wife, Leah, was admitted to the nursing home after suffering a stroke, unable to speak or sit up. Nursing home staff members fed, cleaned and turned her, checking on her at least every two hours. Prosecutors said she was comatose.Johnson's attorney Christopher Kelly said his client would visit the woman he married in 1988 every day, reading her the Bible and moving her arms and legs so her muscles wouldn't atrophy. The woman's sister, who is now her legal guardian, is upset that prosecutors brought charges against him, Kelly said."She believes her sister's husband was merely expressing his love for his wife and was trying everything he could to bring her back to consciousness," Kelly said.But nursing home staff members feared she was in danger because they suspected he was forcing her to have sex and tipped off police. Police obtained a search warrant to videotape the room and installed the camera, which ran for three weeks. Johnson, who is free on bail, was charged based on that evidence in 2005.Sauk County Circuit Judge Patrick Taggart, who heard the case out of Columbia County because of a request for a substitute judge, tossed out the videotape evidence last year, ruling it was an illegal search. Prosecutors appealed, arguing Johnson had a right to privacy when he visited his wife to care for her but not when he used the room for intercourse.The appeals court affirmed Taggart's ruling. Johnson believed he could spend time alone with his wife in private, was lawfully on the premises and took precautions to seek privacy such as closing the door, the court said.The court rejected the prosecution's argument that Johnson forfeited his right to privacy when he illegally had sex with his wife, noting proof of the assault "has not been admitted.""The salient inquiry is whether Johnson's claim of privacy is consistent with historical notions of privacy involving a visit between spouses in a room in a nursing home," the court wrote. "We conclude that it is."Department of Justice spokesman Bill Cosh said prosecutors are evaluating whether to ask the state Supreme Court to review the case.

AP Enterprise: Drugs affect more drinking water

Testing prompted by an Associated Press story that revealed trace amounts of pharmaceuticals in drinking water supplies has shown that more Americans are affected by the problem than previously thought — at least 46 million.

That's up from 41 million people reported by the AP in March as part of an investigation into the presence of pharmaceuticals in the nation's waterways.

The AP stories prompted federal and local legislative hearings, brought about calls for mandatory testing and disclosure, and led officials in at least 27 additional metropolitan areas to analyze their drinking water. Positive tests were reported in 17 cases, including Reno, Nev., Savannah, Ga., Colorado Springs, Colo., and Huntsville, Ala. Results are pending in three others.

The test results, added to data from communities and water utilities that bowed to pressure to disclose earlier test results, produce the new total of Americans known to be exposed to drug-contaminated drinking water supplies.

The overwhelming majority of U.S. cities have not tested drinking water while eight cities — including Boston, Phoenix and Seattle — were relieved that tests showed no detections.

"We didn't think we'd find anything because our water comes from a pristine source, but after the AP stories we wanted to make sure and reassure our customers," said Andy Ryan, spokesman for Seattle Public Utilities.

The substances detected in the latest tests mirrored those cited in the earlier AP report.

Chicago, for example, found a cholesterol medication and a nicotine derivative. Many cities found the anti-convulsant carbamazepine. Officials in one of those communities, Colorado Springs, say they detected five pharmaceuticals in all, including a tranquilizer and a hormone.

"This is obviously an emerging issue and after the AP stories came out we felt it was the responsible thing for us to do, as a utility, to find out where we stand. We believe that at these levels, based on current science, that the water is completely safe for our customers," said Colorado Springs spokesman Steve Berry. "We don't want to create unnecessary alarm, but at the same time we have a responsibility as a municipal utility to communicate with our customers and let them know."

Fargo's water director, Bruce Grubb, said the concentrations of three drugs detected there were so incredibly minute — parts per trillion — that he sent them to the local health officer to figure out how to interpret the information for the community.

"We plan to put this into some kind of context other than just scientific nomenclature, so folks can get some level of understanding about what it means," said Grubb.

The drug residues detected in water supplies are generally flushed into sewers and waterways through human excretion. Many of the pharmaceuticals are known to slip through sewage and drinking water treatment plants.

While the comprehensive risks are still unclear, researchers are finding evidence that even extremely diluted concentrations of pharmaceutical residues harm fish, frogs and other aquatic species in the wild and impair the workings of human cells in the laboratory.

And while the new survey expands the known extent of the problem, the overwhelming majority of U.S. communities have yet to test, including the single largest water provider in the country, New York City's Department of Environmental Protection, which delivers water to 9 million people.

In April, New York City council members insisted during an emergency hearing that their drinking water be tested. But DEP officials subsequently declared that "the testing of finished tap water is not warranted at this time."