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The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

Blackbird Salon at 8th and Virginia Avenue, SE, is open. For more information, go here:  https://www.facebook.com/DistrictBlackbird/

Say what you will about the Capitol Hill Historic District, this pop up in the 1300 block of Maryland Avenue, NE, shows how badly things can go outside of it.

Though slightly askew, this fire call box on First Street between the Jefferson and Adams LOC Buildings, might be the last complete one on Capitol Hill.

One of eight DC Statehood Murals in the alley next to the Atlas Theater on H Street, NE…

and a second…

and a third, More next week.

The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

August 23, 2020

Monday, August 24

ANC6A Community Outreach Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm. 

For those attending via WebEx: use this link:

https://dcnet.webex.com/dcnet/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8ef982b15b462a158b33a10fa34a8a34

Call-in Number: 202-860-2110 – Meeting number (access code): 160 950 6384

Among items on the draft agenda:

7:05 pm Community Listening Session

The COC wishes to share guidance as to how community listening sessions are conducted at the Committee’s regular meetings. First, as always, the public is welcome at the COC meetings. COC asks that everyone remember to be respectful, even when passions are high. All members of the public are muted during a WebEx Event until recognized to speak by the Chair.

The guidelines are as follows:

  • When you join the WebEx call, audience members should type into the Q&A section indicating that you would like to speak during the meeting.
  • When recognized by the Chair, please introduce yourself and identify which SMD (or block) you live in. Each speaker will have 3 minutes for comments.
  • If someone else has made the point you wished to make, please only say you agree with the point and add any other comments.

7:50 pm Letter to the Department of Parks and Recreation – Reopening public spaces during COVID-19

8:00 pm Education Issues

8:25 pm Other Committee Business

Tuesday, August 25

ANC6B Executive Committee holds virtual meeting at 7:00pm to set the agenda for the September meeting of the ANC.

Meeting link: https://dcnet.webex.com/dcnet/j.php?MTID=m8b3346cc4d9c6663cdb40dd04f9146f4

For more ways to join the meeting, go here:  https://www.anc6b.org/calendar/

Wednesday, August 26

Virtual briefing by the Department of General Services for the Eastern Market Metro Plaza Advisory Team at 1:30pm.

Below are both the link to the web conference and dial-in number.

https://global.gotomeeting.com/join/237263053

You can also dial in using your phone.

United States: +1 (872) 240-3212

Access Code: 237-263-053

Thursday, August 27

The ANC6C Grants Committee is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting at 7:30pm.

As of press time, agenda and link to join had not been distributed.  Update to follow. 

 

 

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Two Overnight Assault and Robbery Incidents: 6th and PA Ave SE & 9th & North Carolina SE

Two Overnight Assault and Robbery Incidents: 6th and PA Ave SE & 9th & North Carolina SE

by Larry Janezich

MPD Lieutenant Seth Anderson, First District, reported the two incidents on the MPD First District Community Discussion group  listserv.

On Saturday, August 22, at about 11:05 pm, First District officers responded to the 900 block of North Carolina Avenue SE for a report of a robbery.   On the scene, officers met with an adult female victim who stated that she was approached by two suspects who shoved her to the ground and punched her. The suspects then stole her personal belongings and fled on foot. The victim was not able to provide a detailed description of the suspects. Fortunately, the victim sustained only minor injuries as a result of the robbery.

Early Sunday morning, August 23, at about 3:56 am, First District officers responded to the 600 block of Pennsylvania Avenue SE for a report of a robbery.   On the scene, officers met with an adult male victim who stated that he was asleep when two suspects approached him and began assaulting him. During the assault, the suspects took his coat and money. The suspects fled on foot. The victim had minor injuries from the assault. The suspects were described as two black males riding scooters.

First District detectives are actively investigating this incident. Should any member of the public have information regarding this incident, please contact the First District detectives office at (202) 299-2025, or the Metropolitan Police Department’s Command Information Center at (202) 727-9099.

To join an MPD Community Discussion group and receive crime updates, go here:  https://mpdc.dc.gov/node/211702

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Mayor Bowser’s COVID Briefing – Events over 5 people and Travel Cited as COVID Drivers

Mayor Bowser’s Situational Briefing Today, August 17

Mayor Bowser’s COVID Briefing – Events over 5 people and Travel Cited as COVID Drivers

by Larry Janezich

Mayor Bowser held a COVID-19 Situational Briefing this morning and Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt reported on a recent analysis of contact tracing regarding 971 positive cases reported between July 31 and August 13.

The analysis revealed the characteristics of cases connected to attendance of “large events” with five or more people.

145 of the 971 cases (15%) reported attending a large event during their exposure. Types of large events included gatherings of places of worship, cookouts, parties, meetings, etc.  Over 60% of cases indicated that some part of the event occurred indoors.  The majority of people attending large events indicated that social distancing was not observed at some point during the event (62%) or they were unsure (5%).

Also, the study revealed the characteristics of cases connected to travel.

102 of the 971 cases (10.5%) reported traveling by at least one travel mode during their exposure.  Some travelers used more than one mode of travel.

Plane – 71.1%

Rideshare – 33.3%

Public transportation – 6.7%

Shared van/shuttle – 8.9%

Train/commuter rail – 4.4%

Another thing contact tracers looked at was the extent of community spread – cases without known contact to someone who was diagnosed with COVID.

Of the 971 cases, 711 cases answered the question about whether they had contact with a person diagnosed with Covid 19 during the exposure period.

36% said yes – 51% said no – 2% were unsure, meaning a majority of the cases were not directly connected to someone with the virus, indicating a high rate of community spread.

Asked if there was a percentage of cases attributable to one sector – business or activity – that would trigger walking back the Phase II opening, Nesbitt said they were not looking for a specific percentage that would trigger additional “non-pharmaceutical interventions”. Instead they look for proportional contributions – when any sector becomes a dominant contributor – then will look at scaling back.  She said she’s frequently asked when she would recommend halting indoor dining, and said that indoor dining is a high risk, but most cases are coming from the workplace, travel and social events.  Mayor Bowser said that some cases have a number of contributing factors and urged residents not to get complacent.

Asked about today’s beginning of the two-week Restaurant Week, Nesbitt says she prefers Restaurant Week diners dine outdoors

Other points made during the briefing:

  • The Mayor said she wanted polling places in all 144 precincts open for the November election, and will approach the Board of Elections with a proposal to use DC government volunteers to staff polling places.  She is concerned about “unprecedented voter suppression” and will meet with the Board of Elections, the City Council Chair, and the oversight committee chair Charles Allen to make sure voters have as many options as possible.
  • The Rev. Al Sharpton’s march in DC next week has been “reimagined” and is not a march, but a seated event outside with limited access, ticketing, and speakers from a stage.  People will be discouraged from standing and will be checked going into the event.
  • Bowser said she learned of former City Administrator Rashad Young’s pursuit of a job with Howard University on July 31, and they agreed it was time to draw a bright line between old and new job.  Young resigned suddenly last Friday.  A report the Mayor requested from DC Board of Ethics and Government Accountability will be made public.  Several months agod, Young negotiated some $300 million in tax breaks and public funding for construction of Howard University’s new hospital.

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The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

Here’s a photo of the elegant arches of the Fredrick Douglas Bridge from the Navy Yard Riber Walk. Click to enlarge.

The last component of the sixth unfinished arch of the Fredrick Douglas Bridge was hoisted into place on Thursday. The “Christmas tree” atop the just-finished arch is in keeping with a construction tradition whereby a tree is attached to the top of a structure as part of a “topping-out” ceremony signifying that the highest element has been placed.

Occasionally, Capitol Hill Corner is features a photo of one of Capitol Hill’s Community Gardens. This one is of the 27 plot Pomegranate Alley Community Garden behind Ginko Gardens at 911 11th Street, SE. This, like most or all other Capitol Hill Community Gardens, has a waiting list to join.

The on-ramp from 8th Street, SE, to I-695 had some unused greenspace.

Guerilla Gardeners is transforming it into a pollinator habitat. For more photos and information, go here:  https://bit.ly/31TrkWG  

Need a mask? Masquarade, a new vendor at Eastern Market, takes creative mask making to new heights.

The Week Ahead…& Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

Monday, August 17

ANC 6A Transportation & Public Space Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm via WebEx.

For those attending via WebEx: use this link:

https://dcnet.webex.com/dcnet/onstage/g.php?MTID=e8ed16cc56a6bd6e067101b6bacaa9ea3

To join by telephone:

Call-in Number: 202-860-2110 – Meeting number (access code): 160 638 1014

Among items on the agenda:

Update from Andrew DeFrank – Community Engagement at DDOT – on outstanding traffic calming issues, and if a “comprehensive study” request is necessary for H Street NE (rather than a TSA).

Slow Streets program – feedback on signage and requests to expand

    • Slow Streets currently on:
    • 12th Street NE (from Lincoln Park to K Street NE)
    • G Street NE (from 2nd Street to 15th Street NE)
    • Gales Street NE (from 15th Street NE to 21st Street NE

Consideration of additional pedestrian/traffic safety issues, as suggested by commissioners and community members.

    • Request for letter of support for 20-00105420, speed humps in 1600 and 2000 blocks of D Street NE (perhaps substitute raised crosswalks)
    • Making Acute Angle Intersections Safer – Drivers make fast turns from diagonal streets(NC/TN/MD) onto letter/number streets. Requesting raised crosswalks/speedhumps/traffic calming
    1. 1300 block of A Street NE
    2. 1100 and 1200 block of F Street NE
    3. 1300 block of G Street, NE, south of Maryland Avenue, NE
    • Crosswalk Striping:
    1. D Street at each intersection from 9th to 14th Street, plus 16th and 19th Street
    2. 12th Street at C, D & E Streets, Wylie Court and I Street
    3. I Street from 8th Street to Florida Avenue NE
    4. 13th Street at D, E & F Streets NE
    • Bike Lane (missing segments in network/lane ends):
    1. D Street from 13th to 21st Streets NE
    2. North Carolina Avenue from 13th to 14th Streets NE

Tuesday, August 18

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm via WebEx at 7:00. 

For those joining via WebEx: use this link:

https://dcnet.webex.com/dcnet/onstage/g.php?MTID=ebc68f8f4721c996677cfc22068b7e7de

To join by telephone:

Call-in Number: 202-860-2110 – Meeting number (access code): 160 459 8847

Among items on the draft agenda:

Discussion of request by DC Culinary Academy at 1357-1359 H Street N.E., for a modification to the establishment’s settlement agreement and ABRA license to add a Summer Garden endorsement.

Discussion of requests by Duffy’s Irish Pub at 1016 H Street NE for:

    • Modification to the establishment’s settlement agreement and ABRA license to allow live entertainment in the establishment’s beer garden on Friday and Saturday nights;
    • Modification to the establishment’s settlement agreement and ABRA license to expand the establishment’s beer garden.

Wednesday, August 19

ANC6B 1333 M Street SE PUD Subcommittee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm via WebEx. 

Agenda has not been distributed at press time.

For a WebEx link and other information on joining the meeting, go here: https://www.anc6b.org/calendar/

ANC 6A Economic Development and Zoning Committee is scheduled to hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm via WebEx.

Agenda has not been distributed at press time. 

Instructions for accessing the meeting via WebEx has been posted under Hot Topics at https://anc6a.org/

Call-in information will be announced via listserv announcement and posted 24 hours prior to the meeting on ANC6A’s Community Calendar: https://anc6a.org/community-calendar/

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9th Street Neighbors in Month-Long Dispute with Marines Over Construction Issues

The disputed dumpster on 9th Street, SE.

9th Street Neighbors in Month-Long Dispute with Marines Over Construction Issues

by Larry Janezich

August 13, 2010

The residential neighbors on 9th Street across from the Marine Barracks are up in arms over the restoration and renovation of Building 8 – which runs the length of 9th Street.

After unhappy experiences in recent years with Marine Barracks construction projects, neighbors had pressed the Marines for several years to consult with them before beginning the long-planned Building 8 renovation work. According to the neighbors, the Marines promised to engage with them as late as last winter. In February, the firm-fixed-price contract was awarded to John C. Grimberg Co., Inc., Rockville, Maryland.

On July 7, neighbors were shocked to receive an email saying that commencement of the work on the $20,987,000 two-year project was imminent and demolition would last until mid-December. Neighbors felt blind-sided; according to some who had met with Barracks officials, neighbors had received consistent assurances they would be notified and consulted before anything happened.

Two days later, ACM Services – a contractor for the project – began demolition. Complaints from residents – about noise, dust, blockage of access to street and alley, traffic and safety concerns, working outside of permitted hours, and concern about disposal of asbestos – piled up as neighbors rallied and began an extensive back and forth with the Marines and DC Department of Transportation (DDOT).

Some of the issues were partially addressed by DDOT, but aggrieved neighbors, suffering the sting of feeling misled by the Marines on the underlying issue of consultation, continued to express their concerns.

On July 29, seven 9th Street residents sent a letter to Marine Barracks Commanding Officer, Colonel Teague A. Pastel, formally requesting that all work using 9th Street, SE, for [construction, demolition, debris, removal, and related activities] “immediately cease.” The letter listed the following points in support of the request:

  • The noise, neighborhood disruption and street and alley blockages
  • The “alarming” level of secrecy surrounding this project

The letter added, that if work must continue, “we respectfully suggest the debris collection and removal process be managed inside the Barracks and windows on the 9th Street side remain closed.

Pastel’s response came the same day. It was reserved, expressing empathy with the neighbors, but not acknowledging a failure to consult. “…we have complied with all federal and city regulations to ensure the project is completed safely and historically correct. “

Pastel offered an apology “… if you feel our work is ‘secretive and inconsiderate,’ because this is not my intent.” He encouraged the group to pursue its request for permits detailing the construction plans through Naval Facilities Engineering Command (NAVFAC). He said, “I also share your disappointment if a contractor is not acting considerately,” but stated that he is not allowed to engage with the workers on issues like this, and again referred neighbors to NAVFAC.

Pastel claimed that ANC6B had been a part of the planning and coordination process as early as March, though what he is referring to is unclear, since the minutes of the ANC6B March and February meetings make no reference to the project.

Pastel concludes, “I am honored to remain your point of contact if you have general concerns and are not sure where to turn for information. … “I value your input and will continue to consider feasible options to reduce the impact of the renovation project t on the neighborhood.”

Neighbors, characterizing the response as “stonewalling” followed up on August 11, with an appeal to the DC Department of Transportation, copying CM Charles Allen and ANC6B Commissioner Kirstin Oldenburg. The appeal requested revocation of the permit for placing a dumpster on 9th Street until the Marines carry out the demolition and construction from inside the Barracks grounds. The letter cited among other complaints:

  • Numerous safety and work place issues with the contractor
  • Refusal of Marines to allow DDOE inspector access to the site regarding asbestos mitigation
  • No attempt to abate the “intolerable” noise levels

The appeal noted, “The Marines have not involved any community organization or the neighbors IN ANY WAY concerning the undertaking of this construction, and have been deliberately deceptive in springing this undertaking on the neighbors.”

ANC6B Commissioner Oldenburg weighed in with a letter to DDOT, supporting the 9th Street neighbors’ request for revocation of the permit. She added, “To my surprise last month, there was no prior consultation by MBW with the neighbors about any of the construction details. Instead everyone, including myself, was just informed of decisions made days before the arrival of the dumpster. I attempted to get MBW to change the position knowing of the havoc the dumpster would cause 9th Street residents during months of demolition work. But my request was ignored.”

Matthew Marcou, Associate Director of DDOT responded to Oldenburg the same day:

“Thank you for reaching out about this. Some of the issues raised below are outside of DDOT’s authority to address/require.

In response to neighbor complaints the Public Space Inspections inspected the site and met with the contractors. In addition to addressing concerns about the placement of the roll off debris container, the working hours were reduced to 9:30 am – 3:30 pm.

We are sending an inspector to the site to ensure compliance and will provide a full report upon completion.”

One has the feeling there is more to come.

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ANC6B Completes Ward 6 COVID Humanitarian Grant Awards Totaling $45,000

ANC6B Completes Ward 6 COVID Humanitarian Grant Awards Totaling $45,000

by Larry Janezich

August 12, 2020

Tuesday night, ANC6B awarded the last four of the one-time humanitarian grants to Ward Six organizations providing  COVID related relief to Ward Six residents.  After two previous grants of $15,000 to Serve Your City for PEP, cleaning supplies, bath tissue, computer equipment and support, Wi Fi access, etc., and  $5,000 to Shirley’s Place for winter clothing for the homeless, $25,000 remained of the original $45,000 allocated for grants.  Those funds came from the ANC’s annual operating budget, with encouragement from the City Council.

The only group receiving full funding for its request was Capitol Hill United Methodist Church.  They asked for $9,000 to fund their Food and Friendship program for Capitol Hill’s homeless for three months.  The congregation initially contributed $15,000 to initiate the program after the Mayor’s Order closed indoor food service.  Now the service is grab and go and meals and meals delivered to the homeless who are unable or unwilling to go to homeless shelters.  The church also provides wellness checks, PPE, essential clothing and connection with case workers working to provide  permanent housing. Volunteers drop off meals to 25 people each day, Monday through Friday.  The church provides 40 grab and go meals on Sunday.  Three fourths of the funds are spent for food and food preparation in local stores and businesses, including Peregrine, Firehook, Mr. Henry’s and Eastern Market.

Capitol Community Partners received $8,000 of the requested $15,000 to provide equipment and Wi-Fi services to students and teachers of Ward Six.  In support of the application, the organization offered to match the grant with up to $10,000 of their own funding.  Capitol Community Partners works through school principals to identify students and teachers who need technology for virtual class rooms.

Light House DC asked for $15,000 for its COVID Relief Program to help Ward Six homeless and low income individuals who have secured housing, providing PPE, sanitizers, food and grocery gift cards.  The ANC awarded the group $4,000.  The group provides humanitarian aid in all 8 wards, and uses DC DHS and intermediaries such as Halfway to Housing to identify clients.  The latter group testified they have 96 clients in Ward Six who would benefit from the grant.

Eastern Market Main Street requested $5,000 to help small businesses and Eastern Market street vendors, and the committee wrestled with whether the proposal, which included marketing and technical assistance – in addition to distribution of PPE – technically met the definition of humanitarian aid.  In the end, a majority of the commission found reason to support the request to and awarded a grant of the remaining $4000.

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Here’s a Preview and Photo Essay of the SE Safeway:  Grand Opening at 6:00am Wednesday, August 12

Safeway says “welcome.” This is what you see when you walk in the door.

The deli and the Kitchen run the length of the north side of the building and the first part of it you encounter is the sushi bar.

The Kitchen has several components designed to appeal to tenants in the residences above the store as well as neighborhood shoppers.

Such as BBQ (click to enlarge)

And Poutine

And Poke Bowls

Chicago’s favorite popcorn in six flavors including a new Old Bay recipe.

Produce

The cheese stands alone.

Plants disquised as meat.

Plants disquised as meat…

vs. the real thing.

The 500 bottle walk-in wine celler. (A wine steward is available to assist customers.)

Here’s a Preview and Photo Essay of the SE Safeway:  Grand Opening at 6:00am Wednesday, August 12

by Larry Janezich

August 11, 2020

Safeway’s new 60,000 square foot 24/7 store reopens to the public at 6:00am on Wednesday.  The store will carry 3,700 new items – hundreds of them in dairy and frozen foods – with an emphasis on natural, organic, specialty, healthy and ethnic products – according to the press release.   The selection of prepared foods has been greatly expanded and there is a notable shift to self-checkout  – the store has just five checkout stands but 12 self-checkout counters.

Among the new and returning features:

  • BBQ sandwich bar
  • Sushi bar
  • Raw seafood bar
  • Nuts on Clark popcorn shop
  • Specialty cheese shop
  • Starbucks Coffee bar
  • Key maker and Coinstar and Redbox machines
  • Underground parking and racks for bicycles

The deli provides a wide array of new items, including poutine (French fries and cheese curds topped with gravy – the “national dish” of Canada), a BBQ sandwich bar, a sushi bar, poke bowls, charcuterie and grab and go meal options.  The Italian style gelato and sorbet bar will carry 24 flavors available in cups, cones or ice cream sandwiches.

The produce department offers numerous organic choices, a new array of ethnic choices, an expanded selection of fresh cut fruits and vegetables, and an assortment of juice and beverages – including Kombucha, the sweet, fermented, effervescent, tea from East Asia.

The meat department features dry-aged beef and plant based protein masquerading as meat.  The seafood department has a raw oyster bar with a selection of nine local oysters, such as roaring point, blackberry and Chincoteague.

Beer, wine and spirits are sold from 7:00am until midnight.

The pharmacy will be open 7 days a week; it will offer a variety of immunizations as well as flu shots and clinics.

One notable deficiency is the sparse availability of gluten free options – Safeway seemingly hasn’t caught on yet to that preference or necessity for a substantial portion of the population.

The store has café seating (all temporarily closed, a concession to the pandemic) both inside next to the deli and the Starbucks, and outside at a sidewalk café.

The new store – at 14th and D Streets, SE –  is 10,000 square feet larger than the old store, which closed two years ago.  It occupies the ground floor of the Beckert’s Park development, beneath 325 residential units.

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The Week Ahead & Some Photos from Last Week (Bittergrace Boutique Is Coming to Barracks Row)

The fine print announces the coming to Barracks Row of Bittergrace Clothing Boutique at 526 8th Street, between Nooshi and Jeni’s Ice Cream.  Timing uncertain. Go here for more information: https://bittergraceboutique.com/

The ground floor of the National Gallery’s West Building is open for visitors with timed entry tickets.  Here’s where your get them:  https://www.nga.gov/visit/reopening.html  When you go, the entrance in on the ground level on the Constitution Avenue (north) side of the building.  The exhibitions are limited – a couple of rooms of paintings, the small sculpture gallery and the American furniture gallery.  But the café and the gift shop/bookstore on the concourse between the West and the (closed) East wing is open.

The Degas at the Opera Exhibit.

and the True to Nature Exhibit.

On the Concourse, the cafe and the bookstore are open.  The tables are spaced according to generous social distensing requirements.  The waterfall is dry.

In nearby Southeast, the reconstruction of the Arthur Capper Senior Residence Building at 900 5th Street, SE, nears completion.  On September 19th, 2018, a major fire destroyed the 162 unit building, displacing dozens of residents. There were no fatalities, and only minor injuries.

The Week Ahead …

by Larry Janezich

August 9, 2020

Tuesday, August 11

ANC6B holds a virtual Special Call Meeting to consider ANC 6B’s Grant Applications, 7:00pm. 

The agenda:

  • Capital Community Partners request for $15,000
  • Capitol Hill United Methodist Church request for $9,000
  • Eastern Market Main Street request for $5,000
  • Light House DC request for $15,000

For log in information to join the meeting, go here: https://www.anc6b.org/calendar/

For more information, go here:  https://bit.ly/2C9APs4

Also:

A Celebration of Women’s Suffrage continues through August 26th the 100th Anniversary of the 19th Amendment.  For on-line exhibits and events, go here:  https://womenshistory.si.edu/

Southeast Safeway, 14th and D Streets, SE, reopens.  Details to follow

 

 

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The Barracks Row Street Clock Is Back

The Barracks Row Street Clock, Thursday evening, August 6.

Thursday morning, Barracks Row, circa 7:45am.

The Barracks Row Street Clock Is Back

by Larry Janezich

August 8, 2020

Barracks Row’s early 20th Century-style street clock – the victim of an early morning car crash in December, 2019 – has been restored to its original position in front of 520 8th Street, formerly Orchid, and before that, Senart’s Oyster House.

The clock was a gift to Barracks Row Main Street in 2011 by 9th Street residents Karl and Carrol Kindel and former Barracks Row restaurateur Xavier Cerveras.  The idea originated with the Kindels according to Sharon Bosworth, Marketing Manager, Barracks Row Main Street; “Karl loves clocks and simply wanted to have one in his neighborhood.” The Hill Restaurant group inherited the responsibility for maintenance when Cervera’s restaurants changed hands.

Karl Kindel says, “Carrol and I bought the original clock, the Hill Restaurant Group paid for the (extensive) construction of the base and the electrical hook-up.   Barracks Row Mainstreet had the foresight to insure the clock as part of its signage package with the insurance company.  That insurance paid for the new clock.  There is a new plaque installed that indicates that.”

Bosworth said at the time of the original installation, “As a nonprofit, BRMS could not afford to have it installed and to pay for maintenance and insurance.  Xavier Cervera, … volunteered to do the installation and to cover the maintenance and liability.”

Manufactured by the Verdin Co of Cincinnati, Ohio, founded in 1842, the clock is made of aluminum, finished in black with touches of gold detailing.  Roman numerals represent the hours and the hands of the clock have traditional spade-shaped tips.

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Hill Restaurant Group Gives Up Leases on Two Barracks Row Venues

Finn McCool’s at 713 8th Street, SE

The space formerly housing Orchid at 520 8th Street, SE

Hill Restaurant Group Gives Up Leases on Two Barracks Row Venues

August 7, 2020

By Larry Janezich

Tom Johnson, managing partner of The Hill Restaurant Group, told Capitol Hill Corner that he is giving up the leases on two of Group’s seven restaurants – Finn McCool’s and the space formerly occupied by Orchid.  Both buildings are owned by the Quillian family, and Johnson has been unable to negotiate a way forward for use of the spaces in the current economic climate.   A clause in the lease allowed him to make an exit, and he will turn over the keys this weekend.

He says he hopes someone else will come along and fix the two spaces up – especially, Finn McCool’s. Johnson said he hated to let Orchid go, “but the risk is too high”.  He had planned to turn the former LBGT bar – which closed in August of 2019 – into a high end steakhouse named 8th Street Butcher.

The Group’s remaining restaurants on or near Capitol Hill include Hawk ‘n’ Dove, Lola’s, Tortuga, Willie’s and Ophelia’s Fish House.

Johnson cited some changes coming to some of the remaining restaurants.  Willie’s near Nats Stadium will be transformed into  the Stadium Sports Bar and Smoke House – an upscale casual dining sports bar.  Willie’s will continue operating as a BBQ catering company from the same location.  He also plans on putting a kitchen in Lola’s – which previously shared a kitchen with Finn McCool’s.

Johnson says he anticipates a lot of spaces becoming available in the next few months and expects to pick up a couple more and expand.

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