Monthly Archives: August 2016

300 Hill Easters Welcome the First Annual 257th Army Band Summer Concert – Photos

"The Band of the Nation's Capitol"

“The Band of the Nation’s Capitol” (click to enlarge)

2016-08-02 19.08.53




300 Hill Easters Welcome the First Annual 257th Army Band Summer Concert – Photos

by Larry Janezich

Tuesday, August 2, the 257th Army Band comprised of members of the DC National Guard, inaugurated the first of an annual summer concert in Lincoln Park.  Conductor First Sergeant Brian D. Jones said that the Band’s annual Holiday Concert at Holy Comforter St. Cyprian’s Church (at 1357 East Capitol Street, S.E.), had proved so popular that a summer concert seemed a natural step.

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DC Cuts Back Funding To Transport Residents with Disabilities – Thousands Affected

DC Cuts Back Funding To Transport Residents with Disabilities – Thousands Affected

Advocates for More Options Meet with City Officials – Protest at City Council Meeting

by Larry Janezich

On July 22, DC cut back drastically on a subsidized ride service for the residents with disabilities, leaving thousands of residents of the city in need of transport assistance – in some cases on a moment’s notice.  According to an advocate Heidi Case, one rider was forced to ask strangers to help with traditional taxi fare so that she could travel home in the mid-day heat.  She had the $5 that would have covered a Transport DC ride the previous day.

Today, a group of some 25 advocates for disabled residents met with Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Brenda Donald and a host of DC agency officials to bring their concerns and stories to the attention of the city.

Heidi Case, a coordinator for the advocates, said the new restrictions “so invaded and changed the world of the disabled.”  She feels that today’s meeting did not seem likely to result in any change regarding how the cut backs are going to be administered this Fiscal Year ending September 30 and she is “less optimistic now that before the meeting” that the city will change the way that budget cuts are being made to the program in FY 17.  She said that officials did say they were open to talking about how the program would be administered in FY 2017.  A second meeting will  occur in two weeks.

The program in question is called DC Transit.  The city pays three taxi companies $28 for every ride given to an ADA certified disabled person.  (Until July 22, a person could go anywhere in DC, 24/7.)  Of the $24, the taxi company gets $13, the driver $15, and the driver gets another $5 from the passenger.  In the face of the funding shortfall, the taxi companies offered to reduce their cut by $5 to $8 for the company, with the driver still getting $20.  That didn’t help sway the city, which effected changes limiting the rides to medical and work purposes only, and the hours from 5:00am – 7:00pm weekdays, and 7:00am – 7:00pm, Saturday and Sunday.

The program started in October of 2014 to take disabled persons to medical appointments – a few hundred a month – and was expanded in May of 2015 to take the disabled to any location.  Last month, trips totaled more than 16,000, requiring the reduction in services.

The alternative federal ADA transportation program – Metro Access – costs passengers $3.50 – $6.50 and receives a $51 subsidy per trip, but the trip must be scheduled in advance, is a shared ride service making drop off times inconsistent.

Case says users of DC transit can live with a restriction on the number of rides per user per day under a system that allows the rides to be used for any purpose.  She challenges any of the officials to “spend one week depending on Metro Access or the Transit DC under its current operating restrictions” and that the disabled are only asking for the right to make transportation choices that others take for granted.

News reports say that this fall, the city will issue a request for proposals aimed at further outsourcing transportation for the disabled, with the goal of enlisting bids from companies like Uber and Lyft to provide para transporting services where a wheelchair is not involved.  Such a service could be in place by early 2017.

Still, that does nothing to address the immediate concerns faced by Heidi Case – who uses a wheelchair – and those for whom she advocates.  Case says that she and her determined group of advocates took their protest to the City Council on July 26, and said “we got a lot of support” citing the concerns expressed by CM Jack Evans in particular.

CHC will continue to provide updates on this issue as they develop.

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SER Spanish Restaurant Looks Like It’s Opening Outlet Near Eastern Market

The former home of Sona Creamery and Wine Bar scheduled for re-purposing as a new Spanish restaurant

The former home of Sona Creamery and Wine Bar is scheduled for re-purposing as a new restaurant

SER Spanish Restaurant Looks Like It’s Opening Outlet Near Eastern Market

by Larry Janezich

It looks like Javier and Christiana Candon intend to open a sister restaurant to SER – their hot Spanish dining experience in Ballston – on Pennsylvania Avenue, SE.  Last week, Javier Candon – co-owner of SER –  took out a building permit to remodel 660 Pennsylvania Avenue for continued use as a restaurant.  The location is the former home of Sona Creamery and Wine Bar.

SER (Simple Easy Real) opened in Ballston in March of last year, after the Candons – who had been seeking a DC location – won a competition for a location in Ballston where a developer was offering substantial incentives to locate a restaurant.  Since opening, SER has won rave reviews from food critics.

The restaurant, which the Candons co-own with famed chef Josu Zubikarai of DC’s Taberna del Alabardero, concentrates on classic Spanish dishes and home cooking rather than the standard tapas fare.

For a look at SER’s menus, go here:

According to SER’s website, Candon’s 20 plus years of experience includes stints at several fine dining establishments both here and abroad, including Taberna del Alabardero.  The website notes, “Javier graduated with honors from Europe’s prestigious Escuela Superior de Hosteleria de Sevilla.… In his spare time, he fervently watches Real Madrid games, cooks with his favorite 5 and 8 year olds, and dreams about his next restaurant adventure with Christiana.”

CHC’s efforts to reach SER’s media contact and management for comment were unsuccessful.

Sona, which opened in February of 2014, closed earlier this year after falling behind some $100,000 in rent to its landlord Stanton Development.


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