Georgetown Observer Nov. 2, 2011

Halloween Turns Ugly: Shooting on M, Robbery on N

Georgetown’s Halloween customs of residents greeting young trick-or-treaters at their doors in the early evening and of the later, older reveling crowds along M Street and Wisconsin Avenue were shattered Oct. 31 just before 11 p.m. with gunfire near 28th and M Streets. One teenager remains in grave condition and is on life support.

According to sources close to the Metropolitan Police Department, a 17-year-old boy was shot in the head after a fight between two groups. Also, a woman was robbed at 36th and N Street around 8 p.m.; four black males were arrested by MPD. Sources also said that a person with a sawed-off shot gun was arrested near Wisconsin Avenue and M Street. One source, recounting walking along M Street, said “Rough crowd . . . large groups pushing through sidewalk . . . intimidating.” Checking out the scene in his neighborhood district, commissioner Bill Starrels was shoved on the sidewalk, he said.

According to the Washington Post, Sofiene Ben Mansour, owner of George’s falafel restaurant at 28th and M streets, said he heard three gunshots about 10:50 p.m. The shots set off a scramble amid the throng in the street, he said, with people “just going all over.” According to the accounts he heard from witnesses, Ben Mansour said, an automobile passed between two groups of people, and shots were apparently fired from it. It threw a fright into the crowd, he said, leaving people talking rapidly and “just scared.” He said they were “saying ‘like, a car just shot somebody.’?”

From WJLA, this report: The victim’s injuries appear to be life threatening, according to D.C. police source. The victim has been transported to an area hospital. Officers have closed M Street. ABC7’s Pamela Brown reports hearing three shots and seeing people scatter. Witnesses say two groups of people were involved in a confrontation earlier in the night on Wisconsin and M, allegedly jumping on cars and yelling at each other. Thirty minutes later, the same two groups were arguing at 28th and M. One witness says a man across the street started firing shots at the group, and one victim fell to the ground.

From George Washington University’s student newspaper, the Hatchet, comes this entry: Metropolitan Police officers arrested multiple suspects on campus in connection with a shooting in Georgetown late Monday night. Three to five shots ripped through M and 28th streets after 10:30 p.m., near the Georgetown Four Seasons Hotel. Later, at least one person was transported away from the scene in an ambulance. An officer said he suspected the incident would be labeled a homicide.

Two suspects were arrested by Metropolitan Police officers near the Foggy Bottom Metro. “At approximately 11:15 p.m., the George Washington University Police Department was notified of armed suspects in the I Street Mall area.

Both suspects have been arrested by the Metropolitan Police Department,” university spokeswoman Michelle Sherrard said. The I Street Mall area is also the Foggy Bottom Metro area.

It’s a Contest for Next GBA President

Rokas Beresniovas, vice president of the Georgetown Business Association, who works at HSBC Bank USA, and Ed Solomon, an advisory neighborhood commissioner and owner of Wedding Creations on P Street, are vying to be the next GBA president. Also under consideration for position at the GBA: Riyad Said and Beth Webster for vice president; Janine Schoonover for secretary; Karen Ohri and Alan Helfer for treasurer. Other board positions are being determined as well.

The GBA is a non-profit membership organization. Its two principal goals are to: “connect Georgetown businesses with potential customers, other businesses and Georgetown and D.C. leadership” and “advocate on behalf of the Georgetown businesses and professionals.”

Fine Arts Commission Approves Kennedy Center’s Double Stairs to Potomac

Here is the report from the Commission of Fine Arts on the Kennedy Center stairs, linking its west esplanade to parkland on the banks of the Potomac River:

In its Oct. 20 meeting, the Commission of Fine Arts reviewed the revised concept submission for pedestrian access stairs and elevators to link the Kennedy Center terrace with the recreation trail of the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway. Commending the elegance of the design, the commission approved the submission with the following comments.

With their endorsement of the revised design, the commission members raised several questions about the long-term maintenance of the project. Noting that the lack of a ramp makes the elevators a critical component for accessibility, they emphasized the need for an ongoing program of maintenance. Likewise, they raised concerns about several material selections—including the non-slip glass treads, the glass guardrails, and the metal mesh—as potentially burdensome to keep clean and safe.

In their discussion of the proposed plaza and landscape, the commission members made several suggestions to refine the details of the design, emphasizing the importance of considering the transition from the park trail to the plaza, including the design of such elements as the pavement and the railing along the bulkhead at the river’s edge. They also recommended simplifying the form of the stone plinth intended to prevent circulation beneath the stairs, and they suggested increasing the number of trees as possible within the constraints of the site to make the plaza a more comfortable place for visitors and provide a sense of separation from the adjacent roadway.

The commission looks forward to a submission that addresses its concerns and comments regarding the refinement of the proposal’s details.

Monumental, Prime Property: GSA’s West Heating Plant on 29th Street

The West Heating Plant and property is now listed as “excess property” by the General Services Administration, setting up a sale to the public. The government buildings and land – a two-acre site – border 29th Street, the C&O Canal, Rock Creek and K Street. It sits south of the Four Seasons Hotel. Completed in 1948, the steam plant generated power for federal office buildings to the east. Later, it converted to natural gas and then closed 10 years ago. “It has racked up $3.5 million in maintenance costs,” according to the White House which wants to speed up sale of unused government property.

In meetings to come, the neighborhood will have its say on how the property can be re-used: whether restoring some of the land into a park, leading to the creek, and revamping the huge building on 29th Street or some other plans.

‘Spirit of Georgetown’ Honors the Smiths

Page and Howard Smith were awarded the “Freddy” by the Georgetown Ministry Center at the Spirit of Georgetown Benefit Oct. 13 for their volunteering and assistance to the homeless since the late 1980s as well as work at Christ Church, Tudor Place, the GMC board and the Children’s Law Center. The award in its new version is named after Freddy, a homeless man who died of exposure on the street in 1984. His death prompted the creation of the Georgetown Ministry Center, headquartered at Grace Church.

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