Politics and Prose Under New Ownership

June 18, 2013

Politics and Prose came under new owners last week after Barbara Meade and David Cohen, who started the store 27 years ago, decided to sell four months before Cohen’s wife, Carla, died in October.

Bradley Graham and Lissa Muscatine, both Washington journalism and public policy veterans, will become the store’s new owners later on this spring.

“The legacy of Barbara and Carla remains relevant and influential,” Muscatine told [Chevy Chase Patch] (http://chevychase.patch.com/articles/politics-and-prose-the-legacy-continues). “For me, it’s still one of those places for people to stop, to think and exchange ideas. We really think it’s an oasis — represents an alternative to instant news.”

Politics & Prose was founded 27 years ago by Barbara Meade and Carla Cohen in the Chevy Chase neighborhood. The two women announced their decision to retire last June. Despite wide-ranging changes in the book industry, the store has experienced rising revenues.

“Graham and Muscatine have the passion and wisdom to further strengthen Politics & Prose as a community institution that disseminates ideas and stands as a respected and revered public space,” Meade and Cohen said in a statement. “We are confident that they have the wherewithal and vision to sustain Politics & Prose for many years.”

Meade and Cohen spent nearly nine months interviewing prospective owners. Graham and Muscatine’s commitment to serve full-time as hands-on booksellers was a key factor in their selection.

“What was evident to us throughout the sale process was that Barbara and David were not selling just a business,” Graham and Muscatine wrote in a [Washington Post op-ed April 1] (http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/why-we-bought-politics-and-prose/2011/04/01/AFDjweJC_story.html). “They were selling a cultural institution that was part discussion forum, part neighborhood meeting ground, part event stage. And they were determined that Politics and Prose not only survive and thrive, but continue to reflect Barbara and Carla’s legacy.

D.C. Statehood & Emancipation Day Linked

More than 3,100 slaves were freed on April 16, 1862. 149 years later, DC will host a celebration of the occasion with a federal holiday on April 15 and a daylong festival and parade on April 16. Including a student essay contest on ‘What Does DC Emancipation Mean to Me?” musical events, poetry and speeches, the day marks Emancipation Day, which was made an official public holiday in 2005.

The enslaved community in Washington, DC were freed nine months before President Abraham Lincoln issued his famous Emancipation Proclamation. On April 16, 1862 President Lincoln signed the Compensated Emancipation Act, for the release of certain persons held to service or labor in the District of Columbia, making DC residents the “First Freed” by the federal government. Emancipation Day celebrations were held annually from 1866 through 1901 and then picked back up in 2002. This year, D.C. local government and public schools will close.

“It (Franklin Square) is where the original march was held when the first slaves were freed,” said Anise Jenkins, organizer of the commemoration of the rally and president of Stand Up for Democracy. “We link it to statehood because we need to be equal to the rest of America. We can visit Congress all day, but we won’t be equal to the rest of the country until we have our equal vote in Congress.”

This year taxpayers will get an extra three days to file their federal tax returns because the District of Columbia will observe Emancipation Day on Friday, April 15. Taxpayers will have until midnight Monday, April 18 to file their 2010 returns.

A rally for the D.C. Statehood will be held after at Franklin Square, on I St. NW, between 13th and 14th Streets.

Tis’ the Season for Farmers Markets

The Penn Quarter FRESHFarm Market reopened for the year in March between D and E Streets on 8th St. NW. New this year to the market are fresh milk and cheese from Clear Spring Creamery in Maryland, heat-and-eat meals from local seasonal ingredients by Harvest and Red Apron, which provides meats, hot dogs and half smokes. Local fruits, vegetables, eggs, baked goods, handmade soaps, orchids and more are available every Thursday from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. through December 22. The By the White House FRESHFarm Market opens on May 5 between H and I Streets on Vermont Avenue and continues through October 27. The market will be open every Thursday, from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Youth Art Poster Contest at Union Station

The National Cherry Blossom Festival invited students from DC public and charter schools in grades K through 12 to participate in the poster art contest by submitting a poster they designed inspired by the Cherry Blossom trees, which holds a message of goodwill and friendship. This year, 24 schools submitted student artwork to the contest, which is now being showcased in a public exhibition in the West Hall of Union Station until Saturday, April 23, 2011.

Find Out More About Your Neighborhood

The Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership’s 2011 Neighborhood Profiles book is now available, which overviews 37 District communities and major commercial corridors, including Downtown DC. Though designed for businesses to make decisions on the best places to place themselves, it also gives individuals tools for their neighborhood demographics, maps, local highlights and contact information for investment opportunities. The profiles enable national, regional and local retailers to learn how DC and its neighborhoods are changing and what opportunities exist now and in the future. This year’s highlights include new maps highlighting retail anchors and traffic generators, as well as updated Metrorail rider counts and walk scores, which measure the walkability of neighborhoods. Copies of the Profiles are available online at WDCEP.com.

More Development Coming to China Town, Metro Center

Douglas Development Corporation nabbed real estate on the northeast corner of 7th and H Streets near one of the city’s busiest pedestrian intersections and where Douglas redeveloped the historic block of 7th Street between G and H Streets in Chinatown. The company partnered with McCaffery Interests, Inc., a fully integrated Chicago-based real estate firm, to purchase 675 H Street, formerly occupied by CVS near the Chinatown Arch. According to Downtown BID, there will be national and international retail stores coming in at the 45,000 square feet site. The property, boarded up for years, will be redeveloped into mixed-use development. It abuts three neighboring lots, 627-631 H Street, purchased recently by Monument Realty. Those properties were once home to the popular China Doll Gourmet restaurant and will be developed into an 80,000 square feet office building.

Whitman-Walker Named Clinic of the Year

Whitman-Walker Clinic was named Clinic of the Year by the Capital City Area Health Education Center based on multiple roles in training future health care providers. Whitman-Walker was also recognized for its support of AHEC’s programs. AHEC’s mission is to educate a diverse health care workforce.
“We are very honored to receive this recognition from AHEC,” said Whitman-Walker Executive Director Don Blanchon. “Our work with them helps to better educate health care workers about community health, and especially issues of HIV/AIDS and LGBT care. That helps to ensure that the communities we serve will have even greater access to high quality health care.”

Established in 1978, Whitman-Walker Clinic is a non-profit, community-based provider of health care in the Washington metropolitan area. Through two sites in the District of Columbia, the Clinic offers primary medical and dental care, mental health and addictions counseling and treatment, HIV education, prevention, and testing, legal services and medical adherence case management.

State of the Downtown Forum Cancelled, Citing Protest Conflicts

Downtown DC BID cancelled their State of the Downtown Forum scheduled last week after the Metropolitan AFL-CIO announced a protest during that same time outside the Newseum, where the forum was to be held.
“We have an ongoing dispute with the union involving a pending court case with the DC court of appeals that spurred the protest,” said Karyn LeBlan, director of communications for DC BID. Though she acknowledged their right to protest, she said the decision was based off of a potentially uncomfortable environment for attendees. “We’ve had a number of people have a discussion about it, and based on information we had seen on their website we thought it would be best.” She also mentioned that in the past, protestors have entered buildings where they’ve held meetings, causing disruptions, which they wanted to avoid for the Newseum, “ We didn’t want to do that to the Newseum.”

Though the Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO could not be reached for comment, in a press release April 28 they stated, “the workers, frustrated with pay and sick leave issues, voted for a union nearly two years ago, but the BID has continued to drag its feet, recently appealing the April 4 decision by the National Labor Relations Board dismissing the BID’s claims of union intimidation.”

The 2010 State of Downtown Report can be obtained through e-mailing Karyn@downtowndc.org.

4th Annual Passport DC

Passport DC, the fourth annual celebration of international culture presented by Cultural Tourism DC, will showcase Washington D.C.’s embassies and cultural organizations with a wide range of performances, talks and exhibits, starting May 7 and running through 24. In addition to embassy open houses and events, several Washington, DC museums participate in Passport DC with special programming. On Saturday, May 7, the Embassies of the European Union and the Delegation of the European Commission to the United States will open their doors to the public, offering a rare look at the diverse EU cultures.

Other participating embassies through the nearly month-long celebration are Australia, Bahrain, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Japan, Haiti and Egypt. Shuttles will run from Dupont Cirlce and go to embassies located in Georgetown, Foggy Bottom, Embassy Row and International Drive. For more information, go to CulturalTourismDC.org.

GI Film Festival

The GI Film Festival, coming up from May 9 to 15, presents both classic and premier films that showcase stories of the American Armed Forces and experiences of service members. Held just before Memorial Day weekend, the festival includes 31 film screenings and presentations by award-winning Hollywood actors and directors, as well as panel discussions with soldiers, journalists, authors and filmmakers.

Emmy award winning actor William Devane, known for “Knot’s Landing,” “West Wing” and “Missiles of October,” stars in “Flag of My Father” and will attend the screening on Friday, May 13 at Arleigh & Roberta Burke Theater inside the U.S. Navy Memorial.

Another well-known actor, Emmy and Golden Globe winner Gary Sinise, perhaps best known for his role as Lt. Dan Taylor in “Forrest Gump,” will serve as the keynote speaker at a Congressional reception on Wednesday, May 11 at the Capitol Visitor’s Center.

This year, film topics include the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War, the War in Afghanistan, World War II, Vietnam and issues facing military families and returning GIs. The festival will also host an international block of films from Denmark, Holland, Australia, New Zealand and Canada at the Canadian Embassy. Go to GIFilmfestival.com for more information.