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Fate of RFK revitalization bill, which could lure Commanders back to DC, tied to team’s old logo – WTOP News

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Fate of RFK revitalization bill, which could lure Commanders back to DC, tied to team’s old logo – WTOP News


A U.S. Senate panel has begun considering legislation that could help D.C. in its effort to redevelop the RFK stadium site and bring back the Washington Commanders.

For all the latest developments in Congress, follow WTOP Capitol Hill correspondent Mitchell Miller at Today on the Hill.

A U.S. Senate panel has begun considering legislation that could help D.C. in its effort to redevelop the RFK stadium site and bring back the Washington Commanders. But the bill remains a long way from the legislative goal line.

The Senate National Parks Subcommittee on Wednesday took up the measure, as Sen. Steve Daines, R-Mont., kicked off an effort to use his political leverage to advance the legislation on his terms.

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Daines said he will hold up the bill, unless the Commanders work out an agreement with the Native American family that was involved in creating the team’s logo that was featured during its heyday.

Daines said he wants to help the family of Walter “Blackie” Wetzel, a member of the Blackfeet Nation from his state, get the recognition he feels is deserved.

Wetzel designed the logo that appeared prominently on the team’s helmets and a wide range of team paraphernalia for decades.

As he spoke on Wednesday, Daines placed an old helmet featuring the logo and autographs from former players on the dais in front of him.

“I am proud to display it here today,” said Daines, noting he has no intention to bring back the team’s old name. “This logo was inspired and envisioned by Wetzel as a tribute to Native Americans.”

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Daines said he spoke with the Wetzel family Tuesday night and hopes the matter can be resolved.

The Washington Post reported this week that a Wetzel family member had met with team representatives and that initial discussions were positive.

The House has already passed the legislation that is now before the Senate. The bill would allow D.C. to enter into a 99-year lease for the site, which is currently under the control of the National Park Service.

RFK Stadium was cleared for demolition earlier this month.

Mayor Muriel Bowser is a supporter of the legislation, which she said she hopes will usher in a new era with the Commanders in the District. Maryland hopes to keep the team, as its new owners consider possible stadium sites. Virginia has also offered up various proposals to attract the team to the Commonwealth.

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Washington, D.C

Veterans visit D.C. ahead of Memorial Day with Honor Flight Tri-State

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Veterans visit D.C. ahead of Memorial Day with Honor Flight Tri-State


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On Wednesday, 88 military veterans flew from Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport to Washington D.C. for a whirlwind tour of monuments and memorials put on by Honor Flight Tri-State.

But the tour is just part of it. The nonprofit, with its 18 years of experience, has made it so the typical hassles of travel disappear and the vets can focus on connecting with each other and the public. Director Cheryl Popp has led 87 flights herself.

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More: Cheryl Popp ‘lives the mission of Honor Flight Tri-State,’ says volunteer

They shared laughs and tears and a raucous homecoming that many of them missed the first time they returned from overseas.

Honor Flight Tri-State started in 2006. Over the years, their flights and buses have gone from being filled with World War II veterans to nearly all Vietnam- and Cold War-era veterans. Even those who served during the Korean War are seldom seen these days.

The organization tries to accommodate everyone with the smoothest trip possible. The normal security checks are bypassed, there are always enough wheelchairs and there’s a team of volunteer medics that accompany every trip. In D.C., the buses even get the occasional police escort.

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As one volunteer said, the military is a lot of hurry-up-and-wait, so on these trips, they’ve removed as much waiting as possible.

It’s made possible with an army of volunteers and hundreds of thousands of dollars of donations.

“We will leave no one behind,” the organization states.

Honor Flight Tri-State is doing four trips a year. The trips cost veterans nothing. They just have to apply online. Any veteran 65 or older is eligible whether they served overseas or stateside.

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Here are some of their stories.

Reynolds Robertson

Reynolds Robertson, a Clermont County Air Force veteran, touches the flag as he passes underneath it with his daughter Amandalouise Robertson.

The flag send-off has become a tradition for Honor Flight Tri-State.

Robertson said his family has over 300 years of military service dating back at least three generations. On Memorial Day, he’ll be cleaning up five small cemeteries around Clermont County with other Disabled American Veterans members.

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Terry Reid

Terry Reid is a Marine who served in Vietnam.

He was enlisted from 1963 to 1967 and served in a mortar infantry battalion there.

After he returned home, he was in the Reserves for over 22 years, worked as a police officer at the University of Cincinnati for 31 years and worked another 11 years at Hughes High School.

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His daughter, Karla Tolbert also served in the Army Reserves. “I just feel my patriotism has grown 100%,” Tolbert said of the trip.

David Barry

David Barry visited the Arlington National Cemetery’s Memorial Amphitheater in Washington, D.C., traveling with other veterans and his daughter, Sonya Williams, on the honor flight from Ohio.

Barry served in the Marines from 1966 to 1970. He was wounded twice in Vietnam and had to be taken to Japan on a medevac helicopter.

“This is the welcome home,” Barry said of the trip.

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“When I came back from Vietnam there wasn’t anybody there. A lot of vets didn’t even say they were in Vietnam back in the day.”

Paul Dargis

Paul Dargis calls people “man” and sometimes “dude.”

He is an Army veteran who spent his service from 1968 to 1972 in Key West and Germany. His brother was a Vietnam vet “who didn’t talk about it,” Paul said.

He said his time was “like heaven” with real food, a bowling alley and even a bar.

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Dargis said he hesitated to go on the honor flight and felt guilty because his service was relatively easy, but his brother reassured, saying, “You served. You served.”

Russel Abney

Russel Abney is a Navy veteran. He was on the USS Belknap, a guided missile frigate, during the Vietnam War cruising the Tonkin Gulf and coordinating strike groups.

“The hardest thing to do was to keep the pilots from trying to run down the MIG-15s,” he laughed. “They would come out and they’d tease and they’d get them to chase them back, but that was nothing more than a trap.”

He said the attitudes toward the military have changed so much in 50 years.

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“If you wore a uniform back then, they just assumed you were over there killing people who should have been killed,” he said.

“Today, it’s so much different. I can go to Kroger and people will come up to me say, ‘Thank you for your service.’”

Randall Roth

Air Force veteran Randall Roth enlisted in 1966, about 24 years before Air Force Master Sgt. Tiffany Davis, a soldier also visiting the U.S. Air Force Memorial in Washington, D.C., was even born.

He spent time in the Philippines and then was assigned to an Air Force base in Louisiana servicing B-52 bombers.

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Roth said he was promoted to the rank of sergeant and wanted to relist, which would have let him rise to the rank Davis had achieved. However, he ended his service after four years because his parents got sick.

Vince Albers

Army veteran Vincent Albers became close to a set of twins during his basic training back in 1968. He had heard rumors they were both killed in Vietnam.

He asked for help looking up their names at the Vietnam Memorial during the trip, but the guide could not find them.

“Maybe that’s good news,” he said.

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Albers served stateside during the Vietnam War. He mainly did funeral details for returning veterans. The secondary job of his unit was being stationed on White House grounds during the massive protests during the war.

“To keep your sanity, you had to separate yourself from your job because we were burying on average three people per week,” Albers said. “It takes a toll. It could have been us.”

Today’s news brings a lot of it back for Albers.

“The lack of empathy in the world that we still have wars. Thousands of people dying because of political idiots,” he said. “The amount of death, unnecessary. It brings back a whole lot of memories. The death is what brings back the memories.”

Jim English

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Air Force veteran Jim English brought a handwritten list of people he had lost in the Vietnam War. During his honor flight visit Wednesday, he found all their names on the memorial wall and photographed them.

During the early years of Honor Flight Tri-State, the organizers spent the longest stretch of the day at the World War II Memorial. Now, most of the veterans on the trips served during the Vietnam War so the tour spends more time at that memorial.

The names of the Vietnam War Memorial are listed in chronological order of when they died. Jim English paused at one spot with his son, James English. Together they found five names grouped together.

“They were all on the same plane,” he told his son.

All told, English said he lost nine people in Vietnam. “It’s stupid having wars,” he said. “The whole secret, it’s like when somebody calls you a name, don’t call it back.”

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Washington, D.C

Police ask for help identifying suspects in Northwest D.C. armed robbery

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Police ask for help identifying suspects in Northwest D.C. armed robbery


Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) detectives are seeking the public’s help to identify a man who robbed a business on the 2700 block of 14th Street, Northwest Washington, D.C.

At around 10:15 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, 2024, officers responded to the report of a robbery.

SEE ALSO: DC police searching for 2 men in Northwest robbery

The man in question entered the business, pulled out a gun, and demanded money. After the employee working at the time handed over the cash, the robber fled.

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Surveillance cameras caught this image of the suspect.

If you recognize this man, MPD are asking for people to call them with information at (202) 727-9099 or to text the Department’s tip line at 50411.



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Washington, D.C

Poll indicates D.C. is most popular pick for new Commanders stadium

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Poll indicates D.C. is most popular pick for new Commanders stadium


If you’re a fan of the Washington NFL franchise and were alive in the 1980s and early 1990s, there was no greater sight than the bleachers at a home game at RFK Stadium.

During some of the biggest games in franchise history, the stadium shook.

The team moved to FedEx Field in suburban Maryland in 1997, and the franchise hasn’t had a home-field advantage since.

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Former owner Dan Snyder had been trying to build a new stadium for years. However, no one in D.C. would consider helping Snyder. That changed when he sold the team to Josh Harris and his partners last summer.

Now, the Commanders have three localities vying to be Washington’s new home: D.C. (at the RFK site), Maryland and Virginia. Some fans, including younger fans or those living outside of the DMV, aren’t as invested in where the new stadium will be. They’re more focused on just seeing a winning team.

However, according to a new poll from The Washington Post, Washington-area residents want the Commanders back in the District.

Here’s a screenshot of the Post’s poll results:

According to the poll, 51% of Washington-area residents believe the stadium should be in Washington, 17% in Maryland and 15% in Virginia. The rest had no preference.

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Among Commanders fans, 63% want the stadium in Washington.

The Commanders are obligated to play at the current stadium until 2027 but can stay longer. There has been good news regarding the RFK site recently, as the D.C. RFK Memorial Stadium Campus Revitalization Act passed through the House in February. The next step is the United States Senate, but one Senator has said he will oppose the bill unless the Commanders honor the team’s former logo.

Regardless of what happens over the next few months, the people have spoken: They want the team to return to D.C. and it certainly appears as if Harris and his partners want the stadium in the District, too.



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