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Sharp shooter: Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson will participate in Wednesday’s free throw contest on Capitol Hill.(Franck Rife/Getty Images/AFP)

Healthy Honors

Thanks to health care reform, the issue has been a fixture in the news cycle over the last year or two.

On Tuesday, head over to the Andrew W. Mellon Auditorium, 1301 Constitution Ave., N.W., and join Research! America as it honors the year’s most outstanding advocates for medical, health, and scientific research at its annual Advocacy Awards Dinner. This year’s honorees include Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, D-Ill., PBS’s Charlie Rose, and New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg.


The event starts at 5:45 p.m. with a VIP Tribute Reception for donors of $10,000 or more. It continues at 6:30 with a grand reception for other donors and finishes up with dinner and awards at 7:15. Tickets start at $500. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit

Slam Dunk

March Madness starts this week, and basketball fever is sweeping the country, including Capitol Hill.  On Wednesday, the U.S. Olympic Committee and the Congressional Olympic and Paralympic Caucus team up for a star-studded free throw contest in Room 2226 of the Rayburn House Office Building.

Stop by to watch members of Congress and staffers shoot hoops with Olympic and Paralympic champions, including gymnastics gold medalist Shawn Johnson, ice skating gold medalist Evan Lysacek, and Paralympic track and field gold medalist April Holmes. We’d expect caucus co-founders Sens. Michael Bennet, D-Colo., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn.; and Reps. Jim Langevin, D-R.I., Ed Perlmutter, D-Colo., and Dave Reichert, R-Wash., to be on hand as well.


The event starts at 1 p.m. and is designed not only to find out who has the best free throw on Capitol Hill, but also to educate members about USOC programs. For more information, visit

Soy Lunch

There’s so much more to soybeans than tofu and soy sauce. That’s what the American Soybean Association wants to prove with its annual Congressional Soyfoods Lunch on Capitol Hill.

On Wednesday, all members of Congress, their staffs, and staff from the Agriculture Department are invited to feast on all things soy. Last year’s menu ranged from Thai “beef” salad to edamame risotto.  The ASA hopes to showcase products and demonstrate the importance of soyfoods to good nutrition. The association provides advocacy for and represents more than 22,000 soybean farmers in 31 states.

The event is by invitation and starts at noon at 1302 Longworth House Office Building. Invitees should RSVP to For more information, contact Michelle Siegel at



Speak French? Love French culture or French food? The Grande Fête de la Francophonie is for you.

On Friday, head over to La Maison Française, 4101 Reservoir Rd., N.W., to celebrate everything French-speaking countries have to offer. More than 35 countries and associations will be on hand to present their culinary specialties and traditions. From 7-10 p.m., plan on hopping from table to table sampling each country’s foods and beverages while admiring their specialty arts and crafts. At 8 p.m., a concert featuring the music of the Francophone world will provide the entertainment. The party cranks up at 10 p.m., when the dance floor and the cash bar open.

Tickets start at $30 for general admission, $50 for benefactors. Tickets are available at For more information, visit


CERAWeek may be over in Houston, but it doesn’t mean that people are done talking about energy. In fact, D.C.’s own Environmental Film Festival is just gearing up. Starting Tuesday and running through March 27, the festival promises 150 films from 40 countries.

On Saturday, head over to Silver Spring’s AFI Silver Theater and Cultural Center, 8633 Coleville Rd., to catch a special screening of “Windfall,” a documentary about wind power.

The film tells the story of Meredith, N.Y., and its experience with wind turbines. The documentary raises questions about the impact of wind turbines and their future in renewable energy. Filmmaker Laura Israel and subject Lisa Linowes, executive director of the Industrial Wind Action Group, will be in attendance.

The screening starts at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $11 for general admission, $8.50 for AFI members and can be purchased at the box office or online at For more information about “Windfall” and the Environmental Film Festival, visit

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This article appears in the March 14, 2011 edition of NJ Daily.

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