by April 26, 2012 at 10:00 am 1,472 0

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

"Borderstan""U Street NW"

The ill Metro bus driver was working the 52 and 54 lines last Friday morning on 14th Street NW. (Cody Telep, file photo)

Just when you thought your biggest worry was the bus actually showing up, here’s some scary news. Metro issued a viral meningitis warning for the 14th Street bus line.

Huffington Post broke the story on Monday that a driver working the 14th Street to L’Enfant Plaza morning shift was diagnosed with viral meningitis. Apparently it was the 52 and 54 lines.

(And if you don’t understand my reference to Professor Plum, read up!)

The operator is clearly not working any longer and is recovering; the bus was removed from service to be sanitized. Other buses in the Northern Division were also sanitized.

Viral meningitis is not typically fatal and most adults with a good immune system recover within a week or so. But if you rode the 52 or 54 on Friday morning and feel ill, see the doctor!

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by April 26, 2012 at 6:27 am 2,050 0

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

Look, I don’t care if you don’t like hockey or know anything about it. But a seven-game series (that means the teams were tied at 3 games a piece, and all series are best of 7 games), all decided by one goal, with four going to overtime? It’s about time you become a Capitals hockey fan — last night the Caps beat the Boston Bruins (who won the Stanley Cup last year) in the seventh game of the first round. Moreover, the Caps won the series with their third line goalie.


The Caps, who play at the Verizon Center, advanced Wednesday night in the playoffs in Boston. (Scott Leibowitz, file photo)

SB Nation brings you the game winning goal (in overtime, again) and here’s the story in the The Washington Post. At the very least, you need to skim an article so you can keep up at the water cooler today.

There’s not much reason for joy in DC sports, so grab a seat on the bandwagon and Rock the Red! The Caps are headed to the Eastern Conference semifinals of the Stanley Cup playoffs.

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by April 23, 2012 at 2:00 pm 1,980 2 Comments

By Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email: michellel[AT]

The owner of Black and Orange, a popular local burger place at 14th and U NW, has been through the wringer with DC licensing restrictions and bares all in his interview with the Washington Blade. (See Black and Orange Opens at 14th and U.)

"Borderstan""Black & Orange""Raymold Mendizabal"

Chef and owner Raynold Mendizabal at the opening of Black & Orange in January. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Raynold Mendizabal went through legal proceedings with Rogue States, the precursor to Black and Orange. Unfortunately, his opponents objecting to the burger smell were a well-known law firm. This time, Mendizabal has been working to obtain a liquor license and regulatory approval for a sidewalk patio area.

While you may argue with Mark Lee’s favoring of the business owner over concerns of local residents, it seems difficult to conclude that the existing license and regulation system is working. For example, the nearby McDonald’s is allowed to operate 24/7. No, they do not serve alcohol (although they may serve those who have consumed it and think a Big Mac is a great 3 am idea).

But clearly an extended hours Black and Orange would still be required to observe the liquor laws, and serve only food after the booze cut-off times. Whether the protesters were aware of this, don’t care and object to late-night places in general, or simply hate the idea of more liquor licenses on the street is unclear. We do hope they inform us soon.

Related Posts

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by March 21, 2012 at 9:30 am 1,871 1 Comment

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

DC, Water, ep_jhu

Your DC tap water may smell a bit like a swimming pool for the next  six weeks. (Photo by ep_jhu in Borderstan flickr pool)

For years, the John Birch Society warned people about the ‘communist plot’ led by the government to put fluoride in drinking water. Well, we’re here to tell you that if your water smells a tiny bit like a swimming pool, it’s totally cool.

We promise.

Just as your house needs sprucing up in this time of spring cleaning, so do DC’s water pipes. According to DC Water, that means chlorine instead of chloramine for a system-flushing and cleaning process starting March 26 and ending around May 7. This is a routine cleaning for DC and water systems around the country, and there is a monitoring system in place to track amounts of chlorine in drinking water.

If you’re still freaking out, the press release from DC Water provides a few ways to reduce the odor or amount all together in drinking water. For example, DC Water recommends running the cold water tap for approximately two minutes and refrigerating cold tap water for a few hours to reduce taste and odor. Water filters are also effective in reducing chlorine taste and odor.

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by February 23, 2012 at 1:30 pm 1,300 0


Borderstan: News from Dupont-Logan-U Street

By Michelle Lancaster. You can follow her and let her know your news on Twitter @MichLancaster. Email her at michellel[AT]

The U Street fire station of Engine No. 9 has been in the news recently. A resident, grateful that his home was saved by the firefighters, dropped off some beer as a ‘thank you’ last September at the station on the 1600 block of U Street NW.

Now, the battalion chief is facing a demotion for failing to appropriately reprimand the firefighters for accepting the gift and putting it briefly inside the refrigerator. WTOP reports that letters of reprimand were sent later and no suspensions were given out, but the Fire Chief feels strongly about the beer even being inside the station.

Is it demotion-worthy, an oversight worthy of reprimand or is this a lot of brouhaha over some brew?

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by January 23, 2012 at 8:00 am 4,351 4 Comments

"Borderstan""Shaw Dog Park"

George and his dogs at the Shaw Dog Park on 11th Street NW. (Luis Gomez Photos)

Today we talk to George Kassouf, best known for his role with Shaw Dogs and the Shaw Dog Park on the 1600 block of 11th Street NW. 

From Michelle Lancaster. Follow her and tell her your news on Twitter @MichLancaster or email her at [email protected].

Borderstan: Many area residents have you to thank for the Shaw Dog Park, at least as they currently know it. What prompted your turn from dog owner to community organizer for park improvements? 

Kassouf: Frankly, I just got tired of getting kicked off of fields for letting my dog off-leash. I learned that there were other dog owners around the District organizing for legal dog parks, and I joined forces with them. As far as Shaw Dog Park goes, it really was a team effort of dog owners and non-dog-owners alike, the police, community groups, ANCs [Advisory Neighborhood Commissions], and at least one PTA, believe it or not. Perhaps, I was just the most dogged — I wouldn’t accept no as an answer. But it definitely wouldn’t have happened without the intervention of ANC 2C Commissioner Alex Padro, Councilmember Jack Evans [D-Ward 2} and then-Mayor Adrian Fenty.

Borderstan: Most people think DC is a bureaucratic nightmare, especially when it comes to grants and money decisions. After going through the grant process, do you agree? What advice do you have for other residents considering going after a grant?

Kassouf: Applying for the grant was a piece of cake. The nightmare came after the award letter, when you have to report to several agencies, not just one, both quarterly and annually. I had a very difficult time with the bureaucratic-speak.   But the recent improvements at the dog park that came from the Neighborhood Investment Fund grant definitely made it worth the hassle. I would encourage others to go after the grant but just be ready to enter a world of confusing jargon.

Borderstan: If you encountered a hypothetical concerned taxpayer, how would you assure them the grant money was well-spent in the dog park improvements?

Kassouf: I would invite them to the dog park on any evening to watch people who might never cross paths socializing and talking to one another. That’s what makes a neighborhood. The dog park is our own front porch, where we can gather after work to relax and spend time with our best friends and perhaps some new friends. And for those who might criticize spending money on dog parks, I’d argue, we spend gobs of money building soccer fields not for soccer balls but for soccer players; we construct tennis courts for tennis players, not tennis balls. The same applies to dog parks; it’s for the dog owners.

Borderstan: Dog park etiquette time — what’s the worst breach of it that you’ve seen? How should an owner respond?

Kassouf: That’s a hard question perhaps because “breach” is such a harsh word. I do get ticked off when owners aren’t watching their dogs and fail to notice when they poop and then you have to find the owner and notify him or her (who might be staring at his or her phone). My biggest beef though is when someone comes in with more than the three dogs. The law allows only three, and I know that having my two in the park completely occupies my attention. There is no way to effectively watch more than three.  More than three, to me, becomes a safety issue.  I’ve tried to stop several dog walkers from doing so several times, and have been verbally and physically assaulted.  If you see that, call the Urban Park Rangers — the enforcement arm of the Department of Parks and Recreation– to let them handle it.

Borderstan: What is necessary for a ‘good’ dog park, in terms of amenities? Or conversely, what should dog parks in DC avoid in the future? (Author’s note: I used to live directly by the 17th and S NW Dog Park.)

Kassouf: A dog park needs to be at least 10,000 square feet. Otherwise, it just gets too crowded and that can be a bad mix, despite everyone’s best efforts. There is really no one to prevent overcrowding — all the dog park rules are self-enforced — and creating a large enough fenced-in space can take that problem off the table. You have to have running water both for hydration for the dogs and for cleaning the surface. When it’s hot outside, the odor can be a bit overwhelming, so you need to be able to wash it.  To make the dog park even better, have plenty of benches and shade. It really does transform the public space.

Borderstan: You also run your own business in Shaw, as a personal trainer. How would you rate DC as a place to be a small business owner?

Kassouf: DC law and regulations made it relatively easy to start up my own business. Now, I have a one-person shop — it’s just me. I don’t know how simple it would be if you have employees and have to comply with additional worker-related laws.

Borderstan: You’re clearly committed to the neighborhood. How long have you been in Shaw? What prompted you to move to DC and to Shaw?

Kassouf: I moved to Shaw almost 10 years ago, and I chose this area because it was the only affordable house I could find and still be close to the things about this city that I like —  movies, restaurants, the Mall, parks, etc. And I wanted to buy a house so that I could have a dog again.  I missed that.

Borderstan: Best ‘new and improved’ changes in Shaw (you can’t count your own project!)? Least pleasant change or transition?

Kassouf: More people adopting dogs is one of the best changes!  In addition, I love seeing some of these old crumbling buildings get restored, get a second life.  Least pleasant change — less on-street residential parking.

Borderstan: What are the best places to go out in Shaw that correspond to your personal training business — and what are we allowed to order? Best doggie-friendly places in the area

Kassouf: You can find whatever healthy or unhealthy thing you’re looking for at any restaurant. I’m a vegetarian, so I can scan a menu fairly quickly to find what I want. With respect to my personal training business, I say “eat up, eat big” — it keeps me in business!  No, seriously, you can find yummy, healthy dishes at any local restaurant.

What we tend to overlook though when we eat out, which adds a lot of calories to a meal, is alcohol. With respect to dog-friendly places, I like the patio of Hotel Helix, the outside eating area of The Commissary, shopping in Logan Hardware and Pulp, and being able to take my dogs into TD and PNC Banks. Combining errands with dog-walking makes life a little smoother.


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