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by Tim Regan — July 26, 2016 at 2:40 pm 0

The head of Logan Circle’s neighborhood commission will cast a vote to nominate Hillary Clinton at the Democratic National Convention later today.

John Fanning, chair of ANC 2F, will be among D.C.’s 44 delegates to cast a vote during today’s roll call at the convention in Philadelphia. Fanning is joined by D.C. Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau and Jack Evans, Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton and Mayor Muriel Bowser.

During the televised roll call vote, which is slated to begin a little after 4 p.m. today, delegates from across the country will vote to nominate the next Democratic presidential candidate in a largely symbolic contest between Sen. Bernie Sanders and Clinton.

Fanning, who was elected as a Clinton delegate along with Evans, Nadeau and other local figures in May, said it’s a dream come true to participate in a such an important event.

“It’s something that I always wanted to do and I finally have achieved as a community activist and a community leader,” Fanning said. “And it’s a historic moment. We’re electing the first female to a major office.”

Though Fanning told us he won’t be front and center during the voting process, those watching at home might be able to spot him on camera “toward the left of the District of Columbia marker.”

“I’m just honored and grateful that I was elected to represent D.C.,” Fanning said. “It’s quite an experience that I will share more of when I return home.”

Locals can watch the convention live for free on the Democratic National Convention’s Youtube page.

by Borderstan.com — July 12, 2016 at 2:50 pm 6 Comments

"I Voted" sticker(Updated at 2:55 p.m.) The race to enter (or stay in) the lowest level of elected office in the D.C. government officially has begun.

More than 20 locals who live in or near the Borderstan coverage area yesterday picked up nominating petitions to serve as members of District’s Advisory Neighborhood Commissions.

Monday was the first day prospective candidates could get the nominating materials. They have until Aug. 10 to collect the signatures of 25 of their neighbors in their single member districts to get on the Nov. 8 ballot.

So far, the candidates include:

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by Tim Regan — May 24, 2016 at 1:30 pm 2 Comments

John_Fanning_BorderstanA longstanding member of Logan Circle’s ANC has been chosen to help represent the District during the upcoming Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.

John Fanning, who serves as chair of ANC 2F, will likely head to the convention in July with a list of other delegates that includes D.C. Councilmembers Jack Evans and Brianne Nadeau, according to the preliminary election results from the May 21 D.C. Democratic Pre-Primary Qualifying Caucus.

“It’s an honor to have been selected by the voters in Wards 1, 2 ,6 and 8… and to represent them at the Democratic National Convention,” Fanning told us via email.

Fanning, along with Evans, Nadeau and other local figures, have pledged as delegates to cast a vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.

But getting elected wasn’t easy. According to Metro Weekly, Fanning and 59 other delegate hopefuls faced an election where “the methods of selection are so oblique, the process so tangled, it’s no wonder the average voter is clueless.”

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by Tim Regan — May 10, 2016 at 3:55 pm 6 Comments

(Updated at 4:22 p.m.) Some local dog owners are butting heads with the National Park Service and other members of the community over where their dogs should be allowed to frolic in Logan Circle park.

According to the National Park Service, leashed dogs are allowed to roam the park but are not allowed in the inner circle that surrounds the statue of Major General John A. Logan. Dog owners who disobey that rule could be cited, said to NPS spokeswoman Sgt. Anna Rose.

Humans, however, are allowed in the inner circle. Logan Circle’s ANC 2F discussed the issue during its monthly general meeting last week.

“There’s dogs running around the statue, kids climbing on it. All the grass is gone,” said 2F chair John Fanning during that meeting.

Fanning later added in an email to Borderstan that locals “should all be mindful and respectful that we all have a role in protecting the park’s beautification and historical significance.”

To deter dog owners from walking their dogs in the inner circle, the NPS erected signs throughout the park. But someone stole those signs on two different occasions, Rose said.

“The original signs were posted on a pole in two different entrance areas of the park,” recalled Fanning. “The replacement signs, which were posted over a year ago on the smaller fencing area… went missing one by one.”

An anonymous letter that circulated through the Logan Circle community in March lamented that dogs had filled the park’s inner circle with bare patches, holes and poop. That letter, addressed to the NPS, asked for better enforcement of the no-dogs rule.

But some members of a recently created group called “Logan Circle Dogs” are crying foul over the rule. Members say banning dogs from the circle is “a slippery slope,” as the group wrote in response to that letter.

“It should be a reminder to respect our park, if your pup digs holes, stop it; if your pup pees on the statue, stop it,” the post reads. “Let’s all respect and enjoy our park.”

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by Tim Regan — May 5, 2016 at 1:55 pm 0

Whitman-Walker Rendering

Logan Circle’s community leaders have given their blessing to a plan to redevelop Whitman-Walker Health’s former home, the Elizabeth Taylor Medical Center at 14th and R streets NW.

Members of ANC 2F voted on a proposal last night to send a letter to the Historic Preservation Review Board (HPRB) commending Whitman-Walker’s design, which includes the preservation of the original Elizabeth Taylor Center as well as a new mixed-use development that would span 155,000 square feet and six stories.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — December 10, 2015 at 2:45 pm 0

Naylor Stabes

A controversial outdoor tavern won’t be coming to Shaw after all.

The proprietors behind the restaurant and bar, which had tentatively been called Naylor Stables, have recalled their liquor license application to open a new tavern at 1322 9th St. NW “due to lack of support from the neighborhood.”

According to the original liquor license application from August, the tavern would have been a “vibrant community gathering place serving kitchen-garden produce, District-made beers and spirits … grilled meats, hearth baked breads and pastries” with outdoor seating for more than 300 people.

(more…)

by Tim Regan — October 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm 0

A piece of Logan Circle’s seedier past is changing for good.

Construction crews could be seen dismantling most of the building that once held the “men’s parties” sex club at 1618 14th Street NW yesterday afternoon. Though a black tarp obscured some of the work, a quick peek behind revealed that most of the building’s interior had already been gutted. Only the building’s façade that faces Corcoran Street NW remains.

It was immediately unclear what the purpose of the work was. In February, the Washington Business Journal reported that the building’s owner was issued a permit to rebuild and repair the bottom third of the building’s façade.

The building, once known for housing the infamous “wrestling club” and “men’s parties” events, has been the talk of the neighborhood for years. A man died there in 2009, prompting the city to file suit to shut it down. After the building’s owners decided to raze it in 2013, ANC 2F debated preserving the building before ultimately granting a conditional demolition endorsement one year later.

by Tim Regan — October 8, 2015 at 3:25 pm 0

The prospect of Logan Circle’s ANC 2F pushing for a historic status for Barrel House Liquor’s façade is getting dimmer.

The commission picked apart the idea during its general meeting at the Washington Plaza Hotel in Thomas Circle last night.

A little background if you haven’t followed along thus far: Barrel House Liquor — known around the neighborhood for its iconic barrel-shaped facade at 1341 14th St. NW — announced it planned to move next door last month. Though the liquor store will live on, what might happen to the big barrel it’s leaving behind is unknown.

A week after the news broke that the liquor store would move, Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, floated the idea of saving its iconic barrel façade by applying for a historic status.

“We want to hear if this is something that the community wants to stay,” Tuma told Borderstan in September. “I personally want it. Everyone I’ve talked to wants it. But that’s the first step, that making sure this is representative of the greater community.”

Only a few parties can apply for a historic status, noted Tuma, and that includes the property owner and the local ANC. Though Tuma said he’d like the owner, Eric Meyers, to apply for the status himself, he said he was willing to push the ANC to move forward in applying with or without his help.

Some members of the public cheered on the effort. ANC 2F’s community development committee did not. Several ANC 2F commissioners echoed the committee’s skepticism last night.

Meyers spoke about the property and its iconic barrel during the meeting.

“This property has been an integral and very important part of our lives for almost 44 years,” Meyers said. “I could never conceive demolishing [the barrel], much less trying to move it anywhere.”

But Meyers stopped short of saying he wanted to apply for a historic status. “I want to make sure that the ANC understands that the property is already located in a historic district, and any renovation, any potential demolition — and I don’t know how you’d move that thing no matter what — would be subject to Historic Preservation Board approval,” he said. “But my wife and I own this property and have for decades, and we don’t intend to dispose of it.”

Meyers added that the barrel, which is made from poured concrete, cannot be moved or dismantled without destroying it.

“We will do the right thing for the property, we will do the right thing for preservation, and for the tenant if the tenant allows us to do so,” said Meyers.

Commissioner Kate Gordon, 2F-01, asked him pointedly: “Are you in favor of a historic landmark status for the facade of your building or not?”

“I am in favor of letting the Historic Preservation Board make that decision,” responded Meyers. “I am in favor of keeping it as part of any design for the property if M.G. [whose full name is Mesfun Ghebrelul] is no longer there operating in the business. I think it would be great to keep it there as a lobby or retail for the apartments above. But we’re nowhere near that sort of determination before we know more.”

Though Tuma said he felt like it was too early to push for an ANC motion, he said he’d like to see more research and documentation from architects. “I would not feel comfortable putting forth [a motion] without that kind of research,” Tuma said.

Charlie Bengel, 2F-06, strongly opposed applying for a historic landmark status for the barrel.

“Unless the owner specifically wants his property to be designated as historic, there’s no way I would ever support designating it as historic,” Bengel said.

“I think it limits his ability to run his business,” he added. “I think it would be a perfect example of government overreach to the nth degree, to the point where it could be fodder for late night comedians. I really feel strongly for private property rights.”

Commissioner and Chair John Fanning, 2F-04, echoed Bengel’s opposition to applying for a historic status.

“I think it’s kind of confusing and it’s an awkward situation because the barrel is the icon of the business,” said Fanning. “Where’s the real Barrel House? I would hope that you guys can work something out.”

Speaking from the audience, community development committee at-large representative Helen Kramer summed up her thoughts.

“I think it’s inappropriate getting involved in a landmark designation when there’s no imminent threat to the barrel,” Kramer said. “The owner of the property has stated that he has no intention of altering or destroying it, so the whole issue is moot.”

by Tim Regan — September 25, 2015 at 10:40 am 0

Talks to grant an imperiled Logan Circle liquor store’s facade a historic status may have hit some preliminary bumps in the road.

A panel of representatives and ANC 2F commissioners weighed concerns and asked questions about the idea during a community development committee meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) last night.

Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, made his case before the panel. He said that, although the owner of the building at 1341 14th Street NW and Barrel House Liquor owner Mesfun Ghebrelulare — who also goes by M.G. — are discussing ways to keep or move the facade, he’d like to have a plan in case those talks fall through.

“A lot of the members of the neighborhood and myself personally are interested in … preserving the facade of this building within the parameters of D.C.’s historic preservation law,” Tuma said. “The important thing to do is to recognize the historic landmark of this facade and begin the process of working with the D.C. government and with neighbors to ensure that, if this is what folks want, we have all our ducks lined up in a row.”

But members of the ANC’s committee had concerns about granting historic status to the building when Ghebrelulare has already said he plans to move next door.

“I’m concerned because … if that happens, are we going to have two liquor stores side-by-side?” said Helen Kramer, at-large representative. Kramer also noted that granting the property a historic status would mean that the barrel could not be “chopped off and moved somewhere else.”

“I hear your concerns,” responded Tuma. “I think we would obviously like to minimize confusion to customers and the neighborhood about where Barrel House is. I think that’s a very good point.”

But Kramer reiterated her point. “I’m just very concerned that if this is designated as a historic landmark, what are they going to do to the property?” she said. “The sensible use would be a liquor store. I don’t think it’s desirable to have two side-by-side liquor stores.”

Other concerns raised by the panel included whether the building’s facade truly is historic and whether it fits with 14th Street’s historic theme of being “automobile row.”

“The facade, which I think represents elements that people are really looking to preserve, was built in the early 1950s and has the historic … roadside style of architecture style of development that is rare in Washington D.C.,” Tuma said.

“If it is understood to be an example of roadside architecture, it could conceivably fit within the historic district as automobile row,” he added. “But that’s certainly above my pay grade. Everything is above your pay grade when you’re an ANC commissioner.”

In an interview with Borderstan, Tuma stressed that the committee’s discussion was necessary to move forward with a concrete ANC proposal.

“Those concerns that were raised in there, about confusion and potential trademark issues, are significant issues with which we’ll be concerned,” Tuma said. “But none of those independently mean that we should not investigate and concern ourselves with the historic nature of the facade.”

“I’ve shopped there for 17 years, maybe longer, and it’s a piece of history” Tuma said. “Hopefully there’s a way to preserve the architectural history and ensure that M.G. and Barrel House have another 20 years of success in the neighborhood.”

by Tim Regan — September 21, 2015 at 12:00 pm 0

STOCK-5The District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is set to install several new bike lanes in and around Logan Circle.

DDOT representatives will share the department’s plans during an upcoming ANC 2F meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) this Thursday at 7 p.m.

During the meeting, the department will give its notice of intent for installation of bike lanes in the following locations:

  • N St. NW between 15th St. and Vermont Ave. NW
  • M St. NW between 9th St. NW and Blagden Alley
  • 12th St. NW between Pennsylvania Ave. and L St. NW

If the projects meet the ANC’s approval, DDOT will begin installing the lanes in October, said department communications specialist Michelle Phipps-Evans.

by Tim Regan — September 18, 2015 at 3:50 pm 2 Comments

barrel house liquors

An imperiled Logan Circle business could receive a historic status.

Washington City Paper reported last week that Barrel House Liquor — known around the neighborhood for its iconic barrel-shaped facade at 1341 14th St. NW — is being forced to move next door due to rising rent. Though the liquor store will live on, what might happen to the big barrel is unknown.

Or maybe not. At least, not if Logan Circle’s ANC 2F can help it. The neighborhood commission is currently discussing applying for a historic status for the building’s facade, which would make it difficult for future tenants to modify or remove it.

Commissioner Pepin Tuma, 2F-03, is the one leading the effort.

“I first heard that M.G. [whose full name is Mesfun Ghebrelul] would be moving last Thursday. I heard that the landlord was doubling their rent every lease term, which is unfortunate,” said Tuma. “He’s been a great neighbor. They’ve won the Logan Circle Community Association award several times. I’ve been shopping there almost 17 years.”

Tuma and his fellow 2F commissioners plan to hear public comments regarding giving the building a historic status during a community development meeting at the National City Christian Church (5 Thomas Circle NW) next Thursday at 7 p.m.

“We want to hear if this is something that the community wants to stay,” Tuma said. “I personally want it. Everyone I’ve talked to wants it. But that’s the first step, that making sure this is representative of the greater community.”

The neighborhood commission will also hear from members of the public during its general ANC meeting in the first week in October.

Provided the ANC reaches a consensus, Tuma said it will move forward with applying for the historic status, preferably with the property owner’s blessing.

“Because the property owner is part of the community, we would like to have a situation where everyone is moving toward the end result,” Tuma said. “We are going to do it. I hope the property owner signs on.”

But Tuma added that it’s not necessary to have the landlord’s approval before applying for the status.

“I think that there really is a desire among the community and the commission to preserve the history of Logan Circle. That’s why we live there,” said Tuma. “Whether it’s a building built in 1893 or Barrel House, the beauty of Logan Circle is everything that it was and everything that it will be.”

by Tim Regan — August 20, 2015 at 3:30 pm 0

Police cars, photo via Flickr.com/MPDPolice and elected officials will meet with members of the community tonight at the Thurgood Marshall Center (1816 12th Street NW) to talk about crime in Columbia Heights, LeDroit Park Shaw and U Street.

During the meeting, members of the community will be able to talk with and learn about crime statistics from police Lieutenant Jonathan Dorrough and ANC 1B-12 commissioner and public safety committee chair John Green.

The meeting will also include a special presentation by ANC 2F Commissioner Charlie Bengel, who made headlines earlier this week by calling on Mayor Muriel Bowser for a new ten-point crime plan.

Photo via Flickr.com/MPD

by Tim Regan — August 17, 2015 at 9:45 am 2 Comments

Police cars, photo via Flickr.com/MPD

An ANC commissioner is calling on D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser to implement a new crime plan following the deadly shooting of an American University student in Shaw on Saturday.

In a post written yesterday, ANC 2F Commissioner Charlie Bengel, 2F-06, laid out his concerns with “Mayor Muriel Bowser’s failure to protect the citizens of the District of Columbia.”

“Matt Shlonsky was 23 years old, a 2014 graduate of American University and an employee at Deloitte,” wrote Bengel on the deadly shooting in Shaw. “He was walking near the Shaw Metro station yesterday, minding his own business, when he was randomly killed, a victim of a drive by shooting in what has become a lawless Shaw community.”

Bengel continues: “As an elected city official I call on the mayor to immediately implement a true plan, with specific actions, to take back our communities from the violent crime we’ve seen recently.”

Below are Bengel’s 10 strategies for crime prevention in the District:

1. Use the bully pulpit of the mayor’s position to discuss with communities the importance of coming forward with information that could lead to the closure of open cases of violent crime. We must overcome the culture of a hero being labeled a snitch.

2. Increase the reward from $25,000 to $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for homicides. Year to date the city has seen 93 homicides and more than half remain unsolved.

3. Re-introduce district-based plain clothes vice units. The Third District vice unit was responsible for 1,400 arrests and 100 gun seizures alone in 2014. Crime suppression teams, fully uniformed and in marked, and very visible, police cruisers, are unable to be as effective as the vice units were.

4. Increase enforcement of public housing and Section 8 rules. With 70,000 residents on the waiting list for housing assistance, we cannot tolerate any public housing or Section 8 residents who harbor criminals or break rules – or allow their guests to. When a public housing or Section 8 resident is convicted of a felony that news needs to be shared amongst agencies and result in an eviction per the public housing rules.

5. Set up zero tolerance policing zones where arrests will occur, without warning, to anyone committing any crime – including quality of life crimes such as drinking in public, prostitution, public urination, marijuana use, illegal gambling and the like.

6. Unrestricted police overtime. The police department needs as many officers on the street as possible to get us through the summer.

7. Curfew enforcement. The law says juveniles under the age of 17 shall be inside by midnight in the summer and that law needs to be strictly enforced.

8. The city needs to greatly increase the use of high definition surveillance and recording cameras and give grants to businesses willing to install exterior cameras and share the live feed with the police department.

9. The same people are getting arrested over and over again and it becomes a “badge of honor”, as one officer told me. We need to look closely at how many arrests are not prosecuted and what comes of those cases that are. The reality is a tiny portion of people commit the violent crime and we need to get them locked up for a long time.

10. All District agencies must work together to combat crime and the agency directors need to be held accountable. It should not have taken three months after a homicide across from Kennedy Rec Center in Shaw for DPR & DGS to get a contract for cameras executed.

Bengel also called for more ANC commissioners to speak out about violence in the District.

“I call on my fellow Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners to keep up the pressure,” he wrote. “Don’t be afraid to speak out. Don’t let this issue slip when crime drops with the temperature. Demand that our leaders in the executive branch come up with long term solutions to what is an always anticipated rise in crime in the summer.”

Photo via Flickr/MPD

by Tim Regan — July 2, 2015 at 3:35 pm 2,228 0

Guggenmos at ANC 2F

Number Nine and Town Danceboutique co-owner John Guggenmos seeks to open a “comfortable” new tavern on 14th Street NW.

Guggenmos said last night during a monthly ANC 2F meeting that the new business would be located at 1410 14th Street NW in the space under Black Whiskey.

That storefront is currently occupied by Jrink juicery, which will move to Shaw in August.

If all goes according to plan, the new tavern — still unnamed — will have a small dance floor, live DJs and feature architectural design elements made from salvaged materials.

“One of the things we’ll be looking to do here is use materials that give them all a second life,” said Guggenmos during his presentation to ANC 2F’s commissioners.

For instance, Guggenmos said he would like to build an outdoor seating area’s fence out of wood found in the wreckage of a barn destroyed by a tornado.

“You take down this wonderful old barn wood and give it a second life,” he said. “These big, thick old planks; you couldn’t buy something new that has that character.”

Guggenmos hopes the salvaged materials will lend the tavern a comfortable feel.

“I was criticized with Number Nine for making it too nice,” said Guggenmos. “People didn’t feel like they could put their feet up.”

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