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Archive for March, 2012

From the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The grand opening of Mayfair & Pine (2218 Wisconsin Ave.) has been delayed a few weeks, says chef and co-owner Emily Sprissler. “We really wanted to be open by the last week of April,” she says. “Now we’re looking at the first or second week of May.” Though Sprissler plans few changes to the old Town Hall property, the process of securing approvals from city agencies including the Department of Health and the Fire Marshal is taking longer than anticipated. “There are a lot of parties involved,” she says.

One potential source of delay was an Alcoholic Beverage Regulation Administration investigation regarding a New Year’s Eve party at the old Town Hall. The event featured a DJ, but the restaurant neglected to apply for permission to provide entertainment, according to an ABRA investigation. On March 2, the Town Hall owners’ group paid a $250 fine to resolve the matter, clearing the way for a license transfer to Mayfair & Pine. Town Hall moved to its current location, 2340 Wisconsin Ave., in early January.

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From the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

Is there a massage business operating at 2352 Wisconsin Ave. (next door to Bourbon), the former home of Shade and Shutter Shack? It’s hard to say. We hear secondhand that the top two floors of the long-vacant building have been leased to a legitimate therapeutic massage business, but Brad Rozansky, the leasing realtor, will not confirm or refute this. The building has a troubled history with massage: in December of 2007, an illegal sexual massage parlor located in the basement of the property was shut down after a police raid.

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On May 5th, revelers will leave Town Hall (2340 Wisconsin Ave.) by chartered bus to attend the Virginia Gold Cup steeplechase race. The $130 all-inclusive bus ticket covers refreshments on the bus, private catered tents with full bar at the race, and a private party at Town Hall upon the bus’s return. Free overnight parking is also included. Proceeds will benefit the DC homeless services agency SOME.

Tickets for the bus trip go on sale today at thgoldcup.eventbrite.com.

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In the early morning hours of February 21, someone entered Monarch Paint & Wallcovering (2130 Wisconsin Ave.) using keys, then turned off the alarm and stole $267, according to a police report. No arrest has been made in the case, a police spokesperson says.

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From the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

2317 Wisconsin Ave., the former site of Margarita’s Restaurant, has a new owner—and it should soon have a new tenant. Remy Esquenet, a local real estate investor, bought the property on March 19 and hoped to lease it within a week, he told us shortly after the closing. “I’ve been speaking with some local restaurant-type tenants who are interested in the space,” he said. “If I can’t work something out with one of them, I’ll probably expand the first floor” to the rear to make the tiny storefront more attractive to national tenants.

A graduate of American University law school, Esquenet, 41, says he’s in Glover Park for the long haul. “I intend to own the building when I’m 80.” Esquenet owns several other small retail properties in the District, and he’s looking for more space in Glover Park, he says: “If you know someone who would like to sell their property and is looking for a good buyer, I’m a good buyer.”

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On Friday, two Guy Mason Recreation Center workers were attacked inside the 3600 Calvert St. facility, The Washington Post reports. The Post states that a man entered the building and accused the two victims of taking his belongings. He slammed one woman into a file cabinet and threw her across the floor; pushed another person against a wall; threw a coffee pot; and pulled a phone from the wall, the Post states. The suspect, who has no fixed address, was arrested, according to a police department spokesman.

A poster to the Glover Park Yahoo newsgroup suggests a possible motivation for the assault. For some time, a homeless man had been camping at Guy Mason and picking up trash on the grounds, she writes. On Wednesday, the list member saw “four police cars, one motorcycle cop, and a larger police vehicle (all Secret Service, not DC)” speed to the man’s encampment, where he was standing with a Guy Mason employee. “The Guy Mason employee, the homeless man, and the police were still there about 20 minutes later when I walked by with my dog,” the list member writes. “They were photographing the homeless man.”

On Friday, the list member noticed that the homeless man’s belongings “were suddenly gone.” She speculates that a confrontation on Wednesday may have led to the removal of the homeless man’s belongings on Friday, which in turn triggered the violent outburst.

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Adapted from the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

A move to win official city “dog park” status for the fenced dog run at Guy Mason Recreation Center (3600 Calvert St.) has raised hackles among professional dog walkers and the people who depend on them. In early March, the Friends of Guy Mason (FOGM) civic organization issued a call for volunteers to help draft an application to win official status for the dog play area. The move, says Dan Melman of FOGM, would establish rules concerning the use of the park, including a possible dog-per-person maximum that might exclude dog walkers hoping to exercise large groups.

As it stands, there’s widely rumored to be a three-dog maximum at Guy Mason already, but the rule is not consistently observed, and it isn’t written down anywhere, as far as Melman knows. Dog walkers sometimes bring as many as 10 dogs to the park, which some local dog owners appreciate as extra playmates for their pets, but others eye warily as potentially uncontrolled animals. Some posters to the Glover Park Yahoo newsgroup have complained of feeling crowded out of the park by unruly play.

The Department of Parks and Recreation first started encouraging its parks to formalize their dog play areas in late 2007, Melman says, but at the time, Guy Mason’s dog run wasn’t targeted because the building was due for a complete renovation. Sometime within the past year, though, a Department of Parks and Recreation employee told Melman that the Guy Mason dog park was “on the radar again,” he says. Melman declined to identify the official, but says that he understood the statement as a threat to the very existence of the dog run. “There is no reason for that fence to be there,” he explains. “That fence could disappear tomorrow.” DPR spokesman John Stokes confirms that the agency “has been reaching out to the community to actively manage the park.”

In a phone conversation, Melman seemed more concerned with the preservation of the dog run than with the possible banishment of dog walkers—or the rise in local dog-walking rates that might be created if walkers can only exercise a few dogs at a time. But some of the people who volunteered for the committee have expressed support for the walkers, even as others have expressed reservations.

The committee was planning its first meeting at press time.

Photograph by Adriana Cordero

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Vasile Graure, 41, who splashed Good Guys (2311 Wisconsin Ave.) with gasoline and set it ablaze in November, 2007, was sentenced Friday to 35 years in prison for the murder of a club employee, the United States Attorney announced. Graure is already serving a 30-year term for other charges related to the arson, in which the employee, Vladimir Djordjevic, was seriously burned. Djordjevic spent the rest of his life in the hospital and died of his injuries in May, 2010, at the age of 28.

“This additional prison sentence—on top of the 30 years that this arsonist is already serving—holds him fully accountable for burning a man to death,” said U.S. Attorney Ronald C. Machen Jr. “A club manager was doused in gasoline, set on fire, and lingered for years before finally succumbing to his severe injuries. A lifetime behind bars is just punishment for inflicting such needless pain on another human being.”

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From the April 2012 edition of the Glover Park Gazette:

The owners of 2412 Wisconsin Ave., the former site of JP’s Night Club, are in lease negotiations with a prospective tenant for the long-vacant property, according to Barbara Alafoginis, who is both the leasing realtor and a member of the family group that owns the building. Alafoginis says she’s “not at liberty” to reveal the identity of the would-be tenant, though.

It’s hard to figure out what this means. JP’s has been closed since its original building was destroyed in a January, 2008 fire. Last year, the strip club signed a lease to return to the reconstructed property, but that deal apparently fell through, and the building was later listed for lease by an agency that specializes in restaurant clientele.

Now, that agency is out, and Alafoginis has become the leasing agent. (She’s also the listing agent on the building, which is for sale.) Meanwhile, the JP’s liquor license—which can only be used at 2412 Wisconsin Ave.—is in the hands of a mysterious new owner named Brian Petruska, who provided a nonworking telephone number to the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board and whose attorney, representative, Andrew Kline of the Veritas law firm, won’t return our calls even to say “no comment.” Hmph. (UPDATE: A tipster points out that Kline’s license to practice law in the District is currently suspended for violating “numerous Rules of Professional Conduct,” including forging a client’s signature, commingling funds, and deceiving a client about a case.)

The best we can say is that something is up. Given the rarity and high price of liquor licenses that allow nude dancing in the District, it seems at least possible that JP’s is angling for a comeback.

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Sometime between February 13 and February 17, two air conditioning units with a combined value of $5,000 were stolen from the rear of 2201 Wisconsin Ave., the office building where Hair Lounge and Wide World of Wines are located—and where Ligne Roset will soon be. Although the perpetrator was caught on surveillance video, police have no suspects in the case, according to an incident report.

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