by Tim Regan March 16, 2016 at 12:00 pm 0

Nina Brekelmans, photo via Nelson A. Rockefeller CenterFriends of one of the victims of last year’s deadly house fire on Riggs Place NW will hold a memorial race in her honor this weekend.

The Nina Brekelmans Memorial Scholarship 5K Race will be held at Georgetown University (3700 O St NW) Saturday at 8 a.m.

Brekelmans, 25, graduated last May from Georgetown University with a Master of Arts in Arabic Studies. She was killed when a fire broke out in the rowhouse she lived in at 1610 Riggs Place NW last June. She is remembered by family and friends as an avid runner and a lover of languages.


by Bryan Doyle June 11, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

Luis Gomez Photos

Bike vs. Car — “Two short videos show how difficult people in cars can make it for those on bikes to use the bike lanes on New York Avenue NW and L Street NW.” [Greater Greater Washington]

A Runner at Heart — In a touching memorial service, yesterday the Georgetown community celebrated the life of Nina Brekelmans, who died in a tragic fire on Riggs Place near Dupont Circle last week. [Borderstan]

Pride, Take 1 — The Washington Blade’s Mark Lee criticizes a story from Christina Cauterucci, in which the City Paper staffer calls out the commercialization of Pride Week. Lee said Cauterucci’s story shows an “obsession with radical sloganeering and extremist terminology.” [Washington Blade]

Pride, Take 2 — In the original piece by Cauterucci, the reporter looks at how the Pride events have changed over the years. The opening line: “They call it gay Christmas, but it feels more like New Year’s Eve.” [Washington City Paper]

by Bryan Doyle June 10, 2015 at 3:55 pm 0

Hundreds gathered at the Dahlgren Chapel of the Sacred Heart at Georgetown University to say goodbye to Nina Brekelmans, an accomplished student, avid runner, and passionate advocate for women in the Middle East.

Brekelmans, 25, lost her life in a tragic house fire at 1610 Riggs Place NW last week near Dupont Circle. Today, her family, friends, and mentors remembered a woman who led a full, compassionate life.

Imam Yahya Hendi, director of Muslim Life at Georgetown and one of Brekelmans’ mentors, opened the service in Arabic, Hebrew, and English, in her honor.

“Nina was a citizen of the world,” he said. “[She was a] hero in the way she loved unconditionally.”

That sentiment was echoed by Alice Gissinger, who grew close with Brekelmans after the two studied abroad together in Jordan

“She told you she loved you, and she did that a lot,” she said. “She would do it with so little reserve, it was so clear that it was honest.”

Just weeks ago, Brekelmans completed her Masters degree in Arab Studies at Georgetown. A dedicated runner, Nina incorporated her passion for the sport into her travels all over the world. She was due to return to Jordan later this year as a Fulbright Scholar. She planned to study running as an avenue for female empowerment in the region.

As a tribute to her global reach, her friends living in Morocco and Jordan have led separate memorial services to Brekelmans.  Members of the Jordanian Athletic Association have organized a run in Jordan for her tomorrow, according to her professors.

Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies will establish a scholarship fund in Nina’s memory to promote the empowerment of women in the Middle East. The university asks that donors direct inquiries and contributions to Rania­­­ Kiblawi at the Center for Contemporary Arab Studies, and to reference the Nina Brekelmans Scholarship Fund.

Some of Brekelmans’ friends have talked about organizing local tributes such as a charity 5K to raise money for her scholarship fund, though no formal plans have been set. Members of her family told Borderstan that they plan to travel to Dartmouth, where Brekelmans studied as an undergrad, to plant a tree on campus in her memory.

“I don’t know how the next months and years will go without Nina in our lives,” her brother Rob said, as he described how he can honor his sister by working to incorporate her values into his daily life. “At the very least, this may be the motivation I need to train for a 5K run.”

Borderstan reporter Kishan Putta contributed to this post.

by Bryan Doyle June 10, 2015 at 9:00 am 0

U Street Mural

Riggs Place Fire — The townhouse that burned down last week in a fire near Dupont Circle was not licensed for rental. Two people — Nina Brekelmans, 25, and Michael Patrick McLoughlin, 24 — died in the blaze.  [The Washington Post]

Pop-Up Regulations — The D.C. Zoning Commission has approved new restrictions on floor additions in an area of the District that will include Columbia Heights, Petworth and Adams Morgan. The commission also voted to limit conversions of homes into multi-unit condominium buildings. [WAMU]

Potomac Phil — Dupont Circle’s beloved taxidermied groundhog will make an appearance in this year’s Pride Parade, riding on top of a Popemobile. [Borderstan]

More 14th Street Imbibing — Taqueria Habanero, the Mexican eatery near the Red Derby on 14th Street, has applied for a liquor license. The restaurant is popular in the north Columbia Heights area, and holds a 4.5-star rating on Yelp. [New Columbia Heights]

by Bryan Doyle June 9, 2015 at 9:00 am 0


“Our Teammate Nina” — A touching tribute to Nina Brekelmans, the Georgetown student who lost her life in the tragic Riggs Place fire last week, from the members of her running club. [Georgetown Running Club]

Metro changes — The new 7000 series of rail cars made its debut on the Red Line on Monday. Metro plans to replace the entire 1000-series, which have been in service since the system’s opening in 1976. [DCist]

Dupont Development — The St. Thomas’ Parish’s planned development project on 1772 Church Street is one step closer to approval. [DC Urban Turf]

Crime — A man has pleaded guilty to a Meridian Hill Park sexual assault that occurred in April.  Glen Green, 23, faces a possible 19-year prison sentence. [Borderstan]


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