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With cherry-blossom time less than a month away, tiny buds are forming on the 1,678 cherry trees around the Tidal Basin. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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Pansies behind the Smithsonian Castle brighten the Mall on Monday, and cherry blossoms shouldn't be too far behind, thanks to a mild winter and forecast for a warm March. Peak season for the cherry blossoms will be announced March 1. (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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(Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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D.C. Council member Jim Graham (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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**FILE** University of Maryland president Wallace D. Loh (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** D.C. Council member Marion Barry (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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** FILE ** D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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Vincent B. Orange (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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Vincent B. Orange (far left) (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)

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Photographs by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times Washington Nationals fans display their favorites Friday while watching the Nats take on the New York Mets at home.

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Photographs by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times Tammy Hill of Woodbridge, Va., and Roger Harris of Catlett, Va., sport Washington Nationals jerseys bearing the name of pitcher Stephen Strasburg at Nationals Stadium on Friday. Strasburg returns to the majors Tuesday after elbow surgery.

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BARBARA L. SALISBURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES The doors to Shaw's Tavern in the District closed Saturday after the upscale restaurant had several missteps in its efforts to obtain permits from the city. The residents of the Shaw neighborhood have rallied behind the tavern in hopes it will reopen, but the process could take months.

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BARBARA L. SALISBURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES A sign in a window of Shaw's Tavern in the District notes the restaurant has been shut down until it is able to obtain a liquor license. The tavern's management team reportedly failed to acquire basic business, occupancy and liquor licenses from the city.

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BARBARA L. SALISBURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley says aggressive cuts in the federal budget could double or even triple his state's anticipated $1 billion shortfall next year, increasing the probability of a tax increase.

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BARBARA L. SALISBURY/THE WASHINGTON TIMES Berend Weijs, a 6-foot-10 center, weighed 198 pounds at season's end last year. He's added 10 pounds this summer, but his fat percentage has decreased because of his workout regimen.

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Photographs by Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times Ronald Wallen, of Indio, Calif., displays a photo of his deceased partner at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Wednesday. Mr. Wallen testified that he was denied federal benefits after his partner's death because of the Defense of Marriage Act.

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D.C. Council member Mary M. Cheh (Barbara L. Salisbury/The Washington Times)