Georgetowners of the Year for 2012

A Georgetowner newspaper tradition for decades, the naming of Georgetowners of the Year for 2012 focuses on a citizen, business persons and a city institution. Each year may cite one person, several or an entire group. For 2012, we select Jennifer Altemus for her work at the Citizens Association of Georgetown; restaurateurs Tony Cibel and Greg Casten for their commitment to stay and rebuild at Washington Harbour; the chic Four Seasons Hotel, ever improving, as a Georgetown institution.

Jennifer Altemus
Since 2009, Jennifer Altemus has been president of the Citizens Association of Georgetown and headed the town’s premier neighborhood group, which endeavors to protect, preserve and beautify Georgetown on many levels.

Altemus, who lives in Georgetown and also graduated from Georgetown University, hails from Bethesda. An event management expert, she works at the Library of Congress. Her energy, intelligence and charisma has amped up the neighborhood group’s image as surely as those traits helped her deal with representatives of Georgetown University, which worked with CAG and other groups to find common ground and agreement on its campus plan, a huge years-old struggle.

Tracing its civic roots to 1878, CAG has a full range of services and programs that keep Georgetown functioning on a high level: an oral history project, a local artist gallery show, timely discussions on such subjects as real estate, social media, the CIA and the Redskins, concerts in Volta or Rose Park and other benefits — and who does not love dancing at its annual glitzy gala? CAG is also involved in public safety, zoning issues and tree planting. The list goes on. Altemus knows that all could not be done without the work of CAG executive director Betsy Cooley, its superlative board of directors and many volunteers.

Altemus’s drive and presence have taken CAG itself to a new level. For such accomplishments — above and beyond — Jennifer Altemus is Georgetowner of the Year for 2012.

Tony Cibel and Greg Casten
After the damaging April 2011 flood, when things looked bad, the anchor restaurants of Washington Harbour on the Potomac — Tony and Joe’s Seafood Place and Nick’s Riverside Grill — came back strong this fall. There were grand re-openings for both popular river-viewing spots and a 25th anniversary party for Tony & Joe’s, to boot, with many old fans in attendance, including the likes of Sonny Jurgensen and Marion Barry. The newly opened ice rink, is a smash hit.

Native Washingtonian Tony Cibel, patriarch of the family business which has included the Dancing Crab, Nick’s Riverside Grille, Kaufmanns Tavern, Cabanas and the Rockfish, committed to a $4-million reconstruction with nephew partner Greg Casten, who always seems to be on the job, as well as Dean Cibel and Nick Cibel. Casten also heads up ProFish, one of D.C.’s largest seafood wholesalers.

With its great re-design, Tony & Joes has set the culinary bar higher with its new executive chef David Stein. They stayed the course and made their eateries shine anew for newer fans. For such accomplishments — above and beyond — Tony Cibel and Greg Casten are Georgetowners of the Year for 2012

The Four Seasons Hotel
Since 1979, the Four Seasons, an AAA 5-star luxury hotel, has stood at the eastern gateway of Georgetown. Its very name evokes cool chic and the possibility of seeing a head of state, actor or rock star. The 222-room hotel was refurbished in 2005 at a cost of $40 million and again in 2009 for $40 million — and just last year renovated its famed breakfast and lunch-only restaurant for a cool million. For 2013, a $2-million renovation is underway for the spa rooms and event space, and the Eno Wine Bar is under construction. The Bourbon Steak restaurant under award-winning chef Michael Mina hosted for the Obamas for their wedding anniversary dinner last year.

The Four Seasons hosts three major fundraisers for cancer research: Drive Fore the Cure golf tournament, Sprint Four the Cure run and Georgetown Jingle Christmas parties. These events have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars. Hotel general manager Dirk Burghartz, hotel manager Yvette Thomas-Henry and chief concierge Javier Loureiro, along with the hotel’s entire staff deserves praise for its work and its commitment to Georgetown and the Washington community. For such accomplishments — above and beyond — the Four Seasons Hotel is a Georgetowner of the Year for 2012

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