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by Andrea Swalec — February 27, 2015 at 4:45 pm 0

Eastern High School (Photo via Eastern High School)Middle schoolers east of the Anacostia River now have the option to attend the high school in Hill East.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced a change to school boundaries today that will allow students of Kelly Miller Middle School in Deanwood to attend the school at 1700 E. Capitol St. NE.

Students at Miller previously were assigned to Woodson High School, which is also in Ward 7.

The boundary change was made to give children east of the river access to schools west of the river, according to information from the mayor’s office. The change may increase enrollment and demand for seats at Eastern, the mayor’s office said.

“Providing dual rights for rising 9th grade Kelly Miller students to Eastern HS and HD
Woodson HS may cause an increase in the enrollment at Eastern HS, which may result in fewer out of boundary students admitted to Eastern,” an official information sheet says.

Enrollment at Eastern in the 2013-2014 school year was 783 students, according to D.C. Public Schools.

Joe Weedon, the D.C. State Board of Education member-elect for Ward 6, said officials will have to take a closer look at Eastern’s capacity as enrollment at Hill middle schools increases, creating more demand for seats at the high school.

“As middle schools grow, we’re going to see more and more pressure on Eastern from a numbers standpoint,” Weedon said. “That could take five years, that could take 10 years.”

The middle schools that feed to Eastern now are Brown, Eliot-Hine, Jefferson and Stuart-Hobson.

by Andrew Ramonas — February 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm 0

Scott Magnuson, Shaaren Pine and their 7-year-old daughter (Photo courtesy of Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine)

Argonaut owners Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine have a message for families struggling with addiction: Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Released this month, the married couple’s memoir, “Torn Together: One Family’s Journey Through Addiction, Treatment & the Restaurant Industry,” explores the battle they have fought as Magnuson works to put drugs and alcohol behind him and run the H Street NE bar and restaurant.

A self-described “recovering alcoholic and addict,” Magnuson first experimented with drugs at age 14 and then “pretty much [did] everything but stick a needle in my arm.” He entered a drug treatment program in 2011.

“You’re beat down,” said Magnuson. “You’re at a bottom.”

Magnuson, 36, said he was told he would have to leave the restaurant industry if he wanted to remain sober. But he couldn’t give up The Argonaut, which opened in 2005 and helped kick off the revitalization of H Street NE.

The restaurateur had to learn it’s not “party time” when he arrives for work. He hasn’t had a drink since August, though the menu at the family’s 1433 H St. NE bar lists a dozen draft beers.

After he started rehabilitation, Magnuson launched Restaurant Recovery, a nonprofit that helps industry workers find and pay for rehab programs. In the process of creating the group, they decided to write a book together about how they handle addiction, run a restaurant and raise their 7-year-old daughter.

“It’s really a family disease,” said Pine, who recently wrote for The Washington Post about her experience as an adoptee.

Magnuson and Pine will hold a book launch party on the second floor of The Argonaut on Sunday, March 8 at 3 p.m. They’ll also discuss the book at the Brookland location of Busboys and Poets (625 Monroe St. NE) on April 6 at 6:30 p.m.

“It will be interesting to see what people think,” Pine said.

Photo courtesy of Scott Magnuson and Shaaren Pine

by HillNow.com — February 27, 2015 at 2:35 pm 0

On Fridays, we take a moment to thank the sponsors and advertisers that make Hill Now possible. Thanks!

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by Andrew Ramonas — February 27, 2015 at 2:00 pm 0

Relisha Rudd flier (Photo via Mt. Paran Baptist Church)

A prayer service and candle-lit walk will be held in honor of Relisha Rudd on Sunday, one year after the 8-year-old disappeared from the homeless shelter at D.C. General.

Participants in the vigil to be held at 2 p.m. Sunday at Mt. Paran Baptist Church (1341 K St. SE) will first have a prayer service and then will walk from the church to D.C. General. There, they will give residents “Care Kits” in the child’s honor, a flier for the event says.

Relisha, who attended Payne Elementary School, was last seen by family at the homeless shelter on March 1, 2014. Her mother told police the child had been under the care of Kahil Tatum, a janitor at the shelter who had previous felony convictions. Tatum shot his wife, police said, and then was found dead in a park on March 31.

The investigation into Relisha’s death is still open, as Washington City Paper reported.

Photo via Mt. Paran Baptist Church

by Andrea Swalec — February 27, 2015 at 12:25 pm 0

Girl Scout Cookies (Photo via Flickr/Brian PDX)You can stock up on Thin Mints and Samoas this weekend.

Scouts decked out in badge-covered sashes and vests will sell their signature treats tomorrow and through mid-March on the Hill, in Navy Yard and near the H Street corridor — including at Frager’s Hardware and the Pennsylvania Avenue game shop Labyrinth.

Old favorites like Tagalongs will be sold, plus recent additions including gluten-free Toffee-Tastics and oatmeal Rah-Rah Raisins with yogurt chips.

Here’s the complete list of when and where to find Girl Scout Cookies in Ward 6, according to the Scouts’ cookie finder tool:

Frager’s Hardware, 1323 E St. SE
Feb. 28, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 1, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
March 7, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Labyrinth, 645 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
Feb. 28, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 1, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m.
March 7, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 8, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 14, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 15, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 21, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
March 22, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Port City Java, 701 North Carolina Ave. SE
Feb. 28, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 1, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 7, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 15, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 21, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 22, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Union Market, 1309 5th St. NE
Feb. 28; March 7, 12 to 2 p.m.

J.O. Wilson Elementary School, 660 K St. NE
March 2, 3:30 to 5:30 p.m.

We, The Pizza, 305 Pennsylvania Ave. SE
March 7, 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Navy Yard Conference Center
March 15, 2 to 6 p.m.

All proceeds from the $4 boxes of cookies benefit local Girl Scout troops. The sweets will be sold through March 22.

Photo via Flickr/Brian PDX

by Andrea Swalec — February 27, 2015 at 10:55 am 1 Comment

Plans are advancing for the construction of affordable housing for seniors in the former Eastern Branch Boys and Girls Club building, and ANC commissioners say the city is rejecting the proposal that’s most popular with neighbors.

The D.C. Department of General Services — which accepted bids for redevelopment of the 261 17th St. SE building — released more information this week on the final two companies vying for the space. A proposal by the firm Dantes Partners would create 49 affordable units and add two stories to the long-closed city building, as Hill Now previously reported. A competing bid from Century Associates would create 25 market-rate units and maintain the building’s height.

A new District law requires developers to designate at least 30 percent of units in city-owned buildings as affordable, which eliminates the all-market rate Century proposal. And the newly released documents show that DGS is still planning to issue a 25-year lease for the property, which Century president Joel Kelty previously said will make it impossible for him to get financing for his project.

DGS officials said they want to find a solution pleasing to everyone.

“Our goal has been to provide great latitude to the proposers, and to positively reactivate the site,” DGS planner Stephen Campbell wrote in a letter to ANC 6B commissioners Brian Flahaven and Denise Krepp.

Flahaven said he was frustrated by the latest news from DGS.

“Instead of providing additional flexibility in the [best and final offer responses], DGS essentially doubled-down on their original [request for proposals] terms, including the ridiculously short lease requirement,” he wrote on his website. “I’m extremely frustrated that this process has led to a choice of one.”

Flahaven and Krepp requested specific financial information on each proposal and were told by DGS that that information cannot be provided to ANCs.

“While the ANC is an advisory body, it does not participate in the deliberative process,” DGS management analyst Melissa Millar wrote in an email to the commissioners.

“The ANC’s role is certainly to provide comments to which the District is obligated to give ‘great weight’ to decisions affecting its boundaries, but this is limited to areas that directly affect the ANC and its constituents, such as advising on the appropriateness of a facility, whether it supports the health and well-being of a community, and does not run counter to or disrupt community goals,” she continued.

Krepp argued that ANC 6B is entitled to detailed information on the senior housing development plan.

“Essentially, according to DGS, we are an useless entity that the agency does not have to listen to. Appalling,” she wrote.

A poll of 81 people who live within two block of the Boys and Girls Club site found that 51 percent of people prefer the all-market rate Century proposal, 32 percent preferred neither proposal and 17 percent preferred the all-affordable Dantes proposal, Capitol Hill Corner reported.

ANC 6B commissioners will discuss the project at their planning and zoning committee meeting 7 p.m. Tuesday at St. Coletta of Greater Washington (1901 Independence Ave. SE).

by Andrea Swalec — February 27, 2015 at 9:00 am 1 Comment

Commandant's House at the Marine Barracks

Small Plates Bistro Opening on H Street NE — A seasonal vegetable-oriented restaurant called Sally’s Middle Name will replace Pizza Parts & Service at 1320 H St. NE. Its name is a joke about how the owner has a middle name but his sister doesn’t. [Washington City Paper]

D.C. Apologizes for Delayed Trash Pickup — After trash and recycling in some areas has sat outside for weeks, crews will work through the weekend to catch up, the Bowser administration announced. Hazardous conditions in unplowed alleys delayed pickup. “Our crews are going all hands on deck and will work through the weekend to ensure that all trash is picked up in the next 72 hours,” a statement from the city said.

No Metro Fare Hikes for Now — Metro officials announced they have put on hold a plan to raise fares and substantially cut service. [Metro]

Taylor Gourmet and Chop’t to Open Near Nationals Park? — JDLand hears that the two fast-casual restaurants will open locations on 1st Street SE between M and N. [JDLand]

Staff Announcement — Hill Now has a new reporter: Andrew Ramonas. He comes to us from The National Law Journal and previously worked for Mainjustice.com. Originally from Illinois, he has lived in the D.C. area since 2005 and is a George Washington University alum. You can follow him at @andrewramonas. Welcome, Andrew!

by HillNow.com — February 26, 2015 at 5:50 pm 0

Gibbs Elementary School (Photo via Google Maps)A charter school for children in foster care and another that will serve adults are slated to give a glimpse of their future at a meeting next week.

Officials from Monument Academy and the Community College Prep Adult Education are holding an information session for the public on their plans for the former Gibbs Elementary School. The Rosedale Community Center at 1701 Gales St. NE will host the meeting at 6 p.m. Monday.

CCPA will assist adults looking to attend community college. Monument will serve as a residential school for children in foster care.

Gibbs Elementary, located at 500 19th St. NE, has been vacant since 2008. A total of three schools bid for the property through the D.C. Department of General Services, as Hill Now reported. CCPA and Monument were selected in December, The Washington Post reported.

Photo via Google Maps

by Andrea Swalec — February 26, 2015 at 3:50 pm 0

Miner Elementary School (Photo via DCPS)The latest evaluations of D.C. teachers are out, and most instructors in Ward 6 received good scores.

D.C. Public Schools released 2012-2013 data from its IMPACT system, which rates teachers based on in-classroom observations, student achievement, professionalism and the extent to which they collaborate with their colleagues.

Here’s how Ward 6 teachers ranked:

Highly Effective: 33 percent
Effective: 42 percent
Developing: 18 percent
Minimally Effective: 5 percent
Ineffective: 2 percent

Here’s how teachers at a handful of local schools ranked:

Brent Elementary School: 92 percent Effective or Highly Effective; 0 percent Minimally Effective or Ineffective
Eastern High School: 82 percent Effective or Highly Effective; 5 percent Minimally Effective or Ineffective
Miner Elementary School: 73 percent Effective or Highly Effective; 7 percent Minimally Effective or Ineffective
Stuart-Hobson Middle School: 72 percent Effective or Highly Effective; 8 percent Minimally Effective or Ineffective
Tyler Elementary School: 73 percent Effective or Highly Effective; 12 percent Minimally Effective or Ineffective

Full school-by-school data can be viewed in a chart created by The Washington Post.

DCPS awards bonuses of as much as $20,000 to highly effective teachers, with differences according to whether schools are located in high-poverty or low-poverty areas.

Photo via DCPS

by Andrea Swalec — February 26, 2015 at 2:30 pm 1 Comment

Items left unattended in a car (Photo courtesy of Samantha Nolan)A staggering proportion of crimes are fully preventable.

That’s the message behind a crime-prevention training the Metropolitan Police Department will host early next month on Capitol Hill.

Samantha Nolan, who has run similar trainings for the MPD for the past 14 years, will remind locals to be vigilant and get to know their neighbors. She estimates that 80 percent of crimes committed in the District can be stopped.

“What I teach are behavior changes that reduce the likelihood of becoming a crime victim,” she said. “Through our behaviors, we allow some crimes to happen. Through changing our behaviors, we can prevent those crimes.”

Nolan will remind locals to avoid leaving valuables within view in cars, displaying electronics while walking down the street and walking alone at night.

Reducing preventable crimes lets police focus on bigger cases, she said.

“Instead of police writing up a report on a stolen purse, they can look for suspects that have just conducted a robbery,” she said.

The free, hour-long session will be held at 7 p.m. Monday, March 9 at Brent Elementary School (301 N. Carolina Ave.).

Photo courtesy of Samantha Nolan

by Andrea Swalec — February 26, 2015 at 1:15 pm 0

Nando's Peri Peri (Photo via Facebook/Nando's Peri Peri)With some marijuana use and possession legal in D.C. today, Nando’s Peri Peri is getting into the spirit.

All four District locations of the restaurant — including at 300 Tingey St. in Navy Yard — are serving up free flame-grilled chicken at 4:20 p.m., some pot smokers’ favorite time of day.

Each customer eating inside the restaurant can get a quarter chicken, chicken pita or chicken wrap, on a first come, first served basis. The promotion will run until 5:20 p.m., Nando’s announced.

A smoke shop on H Street NE and garden supply center on the Hill told us yesterday that they’re expecting an uptick in sales related to marijuana. Here’s what’s legal starting today.

Photo via Facebook/Nando’s Peri Peri

by Andrea Swalec — February 26, 2015 at 11:45 am 0

Pothole map (Image via NBC Washington)A new map by NBC Washington shows how quickly the District Department of Transportation repairs potholes.

While the data shows that most potholes in Ward 6 are repaired within days of being reported, craters in a few areas remained for longer.

A pothole on 3rd Street SW south of A Street SW went unfixed for more than 180 days, the map shows.

On Capitol Hill and in Hill East, sites of potholes with repair times of 31 to 180 days included 8th and A streets SE, South Carolina Avenue between 2nd and 3rd streets SE and 14th Street SE, south of Pennsylvania Avenue SE.

The numbers are pulled from a database of 311 calls for potholes from July 1, 2012 until last week, NBC said.

DDOT aims to fix nearly 40,000 potholes this year, with an official goal to fix them within 72 hours of when they are reported.

DDOT’s Reginald Arno told NBC they plan to tackle “395, 295, 695 first. And then we’ll go look at the New York Avenues, the Massachusetts Avenues, and then we go to the side streets from there.”

The full map is available on NBC Washington’s website.

Image via NBC Washington

by Andrea Swalec — February 26, 2015 at 9:05 am 1 Comment

Snow measurement, H Street NE (Photo via Twitter/HStreetWeather)

Snowfall — About 1.5 inches of snow had fallen on H Street NE as of 7:45 a.m., according to one measurement. [H Street Weather Geek]

A First Look at the Pour House’s Replacement — Stanton & Greene, the Pennsylvania Avenue SE bar that will open soon in the former home of the Pour House, now was “Scandi-modern cedar planks” and minimalist decor. Cocktails will cost an “approachable” $11 or $12 each, and $6 to $9 during happy hour. [Washington Post]

The Troubled Management of D.C. General — As the one-year anniversary of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd’s disappearance nears, advocates for homeless people want management of the shelter at D.C. General to be awarded to another operator. [Washington City Paper]

H Street NE Buildings to Be Razed for Residential Units — The owners of three two-story buildings at 14th and H streets NE want to demolish the buildings and create a 28-unit residential building with ground-floor retail. [District Source]

K Street NE Gallery Profile — Roll Call spoke with the owners of the small gallery at 321 K St. NE, which is tucked into a line of rowhouses. [Roll Call]

Photo via Twitter/HStreetWeather

by Andrea Swalec — February 25, 2015 at 8:10 pm 0

Snowflake (Photo via Flickr/mommamia)(Updated at 10:45 p.m.) The snow plows and brine trucks will be back on the streets soon.

With as much as 1 inch of new snow accumulation by tomorrow afternoon predicted, the District Snow Team is hitting the streets again starting at 11 p.m. tonight.

Mayor Muriel Bowser announced tonight that more than 200 trucks will roll out to help ease the morning commute.

D.C. Public Schools will open on a two-hour delay, officials announced.

Snow is expected on Capitol Hill mainly after 4 a.m., the National Weather Service says. About half an inch could accumulate overnight. Then the flakes will continue to fall on Thursday, mainly before 1 p.m. The low temperature tomorrow is 22 degrees.

Will it put a damper on Day 1 of marijuana legalization?

Photo via Flickr/mommamia

by Andrea Swalec — February 25, 2015 at 6:20 pm 0

Just hours before partial marijuana legalization in the District, a pair of Capitol Hill companies is weighing the new law’s effects on their businesses.

On H Street NE, the smoke shop Island Dyes is expecting a surge in sales starting tomorrow, though owner Glen Schlow is careful to market the store’s dozens of handblown pipes and rolling papers as intended for tobacco use only. The shop even has a buzzing, red “No” button employees can slam when a customer uses two pot-associated “B words” — bong and bowl.

Like the pot-smokers’ holiday “4/20,” Thursday might be a big day for the shop.

“I would think we would see an uptick,” Schlow said.

Opened at 331 H St. NE in June, Island Dyes manufactures its own ultra-shatter-resistant glass pipes, which are so strong they won’t break if nails are driven into them.

Further south, the garden supply center Ginkgo Gardens is fielding inquiries about supplies used to grow marijuana.

Some aspiring pot-growers disclose to Ginkgo Gardens staff how they’ll use growing lamps and rock wool insulation, a material that retains water and can support plant roots. But other customers are sheepish about their requests, manager Tom Hammond said.

“Even if they don’t outright say it, you know what they’re looking for,” he said.

The 911 11th St. SE shop carries growing lamps now and may carry other supplies used by marijuana growers if customers want them.

“When there’s more demand and people use the stuff, we’ll consider carrying it,” Hammond said.

The voter-approved marijuana laws are set to go into effect at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. They will make it legal for adults age 21 and older to possess as much as 2 ounces of pot, use it on private property and grow as many as six marijuana plants, only three of which can be “mature.” The law also allows adults to give as much as 1 ounce of marijuana to someone else, as long as no money, goods or services are exchanged.

The District will move forward with enforcing the laws, despite opposition by some Republican congressmen.

“It is the law,” Attorney General Karl Racine said at a press conference this afternoon, DCist reported. “Nothing more and nothing less.”

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