Richard Myrick: 1920 – 2012 (32nd Street)

June 12, 2013

Richard Myrick died Feb. 2 in Santa Barbara, Calif., where he was born in 1920. A graduate of the Thacher School and Princeton’s class of 1943, Myrick went on to earn his Ph.D. in social psychology at Claremont. He served in the Army Corps of Engineers during WWII and then moved to Georgetown where he lived for 50 years and worked at the National Institute on Drug Abuse. After retirement, Myrick spent his summers in Deer Isle, Maine, painting, gardening and supporting the Deer Isle Artist Association, and his winters in his Georgetown studio painting Maine landscapes. Myrick had a way with art, literature and gardening and was always interested in helping others. He was married for a time to Susan Mordecai of Madera, Calif., and is survived by his sister Julie Myrick Allen and three nephews, Pete, Scott and Ted Allen.

Think Twice Before Stepping into D.C. Cabs

June 18, 2012

Too many shopping bags in hand from a day on M Street? Most of us would just put up our hand to hail a cab, but maybe we should just struggle and walk the distance now after the D.C. Taxicab Commission reports that seven taxi drivers have been arrested for allegedly assaulting passengers within the past few weeks.

One victim was a Georgetown University student who reported to the Department of Public Safety at approximately 1:23 a.m. on March 29, that he (or she) was assaulted by a taxi driver around midnight who was also making inappropriate sexual comments.

“What we’re seeing is an increase in [cab drivers] physically manhandling their fares,” D.C. Taxicab Commission Chairman Ron Linton told ABC7 News. “Striking them. Pulling them out of their cabs. One woman was pulled out by her ankles.”

Linton has put out a warning, especially to females, as six out of the seven victims were women, to be cautious.

Due to the increase in attacks, the commission has proposed a plan to install panic buttons in to all cabs by December. GPS units and cash-free meter systems that will allow riders to pay with plastic are also expected to be placed in D.C. taxis for a much needed upgrade.

Gracious Weddings in the Virginia Countryside

Tucked away between the Blue Ridge Mountains and the nation’s capital, along dirt roads and country curving streets, lies a secret garden of green pastures growing local produce, freshly painted farms with white picket fences and acres of vineyards with large succulent grapes and tasting rooms filling visitors’ glasses with the latest and greatest new wines.

Hidden in these foothills are also lists of wedding venues, vendors and anxious brides hoping to secure their spot in peak season at the pavilions located here. Say goodbye to the destination weddings on sugar white sandy beaches in the Caribbean and hello to the horses and historical lands in the country side of Virginia.

There is something to be said when a small town stubborn girl from the rocky coast of southern Maine who doesn’t think anything is more pristine and precious than her local beach town in New England begins to have second thoughts when driving along Loudoun County. This area may lack the sound of crashing waves, but it is smothered with kindness, tranquility and nature that could de-stress any city slicker.

This area is truly the spot where fairy tale weddings come alive and bride’s dreams come true. Allow yourself to explore the opportunities each season will bring to your special day in a handful of options ranging from bed and breakfasts and farms to vineyards and mansions.

The Goodstone Inn & Estate
Location: Middleburg, Va.
Cost: $23,935- $30,174
Contact: Emily Tabachka
540 687 3092

This bed and breakfast is more than a place to rest your head, but an inn where you will be swept away. With 265 acres of open fields and cottages with rooms filled with original antique furniture and four post beds, a bride can live like a princess for a weekend with up to 150 friends and family members. Elegant weddings over the meadows on this estate are hosted poolside by the façade of an old mansion with overgrown ivy and gardens. Rehearsal dinners and receptions can be held outdoors or inside at the Carriage House, where guests can enjoy local food and wine designed by executive chef William Walden. Wherever you choose to say your vows, a picturesque view of the country side is sure to be in sight.

Why we love it here: The Goodstone Inn & Estate offers in-house catering and planners to help make your event exclusive and as easy to plan as possible.

The Fox Den at Briar Patch
Location: Middleburg, Va.
Cost: $10,000 + tax
Contact: Charlotte John
703 327 5911

This historical bed and breakfast has unlimited possibilities for today’s bride. On 47 acres of property dating back to 1805, the guests stay the weekend to enjoy family, friends, Virginia wines and mountain views. Rehearsal dinners, receptions and ceremonies can all be accommodated for groups up to 200 people (and your pets are welcome, too). Whether you choose to say “I do” outside or in, Briar Patch has several options to choose from. Dance the night away in the Fox Den, a spacious hall filled with white linen tables, floor to ceiling windows and plenty of room to mingle. Have your first kiss by the shaded trees along the property or choose to have your event poolside in the warmer season.

Why we love it here: When you book your wedding here, you’re given access to it all and have the option of getting married at just about any spot on the property.

The Pavilion at The Farm at Broad Run
Location: Broad Run, Va.
Cost: $1,750
Contact: Michelle DeWitt
703 753 3548

Greenhouses, vegetable patches, fresh fruits and animals graze this 72-acre family-owned farm located just a short trip down a classic gravel driveway. At first glance, this may look like an unexpected place for a grandiose affair, but look again. The family recently opened “The Pavilion” to host events including weddings, which owner Michelle DeWitt said have often been over the top. The contrast between the relaxed and comfortable atmosphere of the farm mixed with an elegant white gown has been simply majestic here and word is spreading. Events are booking frequently and we’re not surprised. The Farm at Broad Run offers a solely outdoor wedding with a covered pavilion protecting a large, outdoor, artisan stonework kitchen with granite countertops, stainless steel appliances and a grill to allow your chosen caterers to complete a fantastic meal for your guests (and the option of eating produce right from the farm).

Why we love it here: A newly built two-bed, two-bath farmhouse with a wrap-around porch and exquisite decor has been placed on the property for the convenience of the wedding party to relax and prepare before the main event.

Whitehall Manor
Location: Bluemont, Va.
Cost: $4,500 – $8,000
Contact: Douglas Armstrong
(703) 948- 2999

Stepping in to Whitehall Manor is like stepping back in time. This mansion, built in 1790, was once occupied by our first president’s brother, John Augustine Washington, and survived the Civil War’s Battle of Snickersville. A catering company later purchased the property from dairy farmers in the 1990s and has since turned the home in to the ultimate wedding venue (and offering, of course, a gourmet meal for your guests). Brides are given access to the entire first floor of the mansion to prepare prior to the ceremony and to unwind during and after the reception, which takes place in the newly added pavilion built in 2005. This space holds 225 guests comfortably and boasts a large dance floor for those who choose to kick off their shoes and let their hair down after a bit of bubbly.

Why we love it here: Your wedding photos will never fail with the mix of historical and modern architecture, green grassy pastures, large trees and views of nearby farms and mountains.

The Stable at Bluemont Vineyard
Location: Bluemont, Va.
Cost: $3,000 – $6,000
Contact: Debbie Zurschmeide Schoeb
540 554 2073

Off the beaten path and beyond the hustle and bustle you’ll find a vineyard hidden on top a hill with breathtaking panoramic views spanning as far as the Washington Monument. Event planners and coordinators specialize in making your day special and allow you to work with other vendors to perfect your dream wedding. The Stable is one of the largest event facilities in the county holding more than 200 people in a climate-controlled space with stamped cement floors, natural light and original wooden beams from when it was first built decades ago. Step outside the country doors to say your vows and step back in for cocktails on the patio and back in to The Stable for dinner and dancing wherever you choose.

Why we love it here: Since I can’t mention the view again (or can I?), I must say the next best thing is that having a wedding on a vineyard means having a wedding with fresh and locally produced wines as well as farm fresh ingredients in all menu items.
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Finding Passion in His Soles

May 17, 2012

Stepping inside the Running Company near Key Bridge in Georgetown as a runner is like stepping in to Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory for candy lovers. The space might be small, but the contents inside are top-of-the-line shoes and apparel to make every runner’s experience on parkland paths or marathon routes not just a success but a stylish race, right on time for spring.

Much of this can be credited to the store’s manager, Edoardo Rincon, who says he cannot imagine working anywhere else. “I’ve been doing this for almost ten years, and I don’t think I want to do anything different,” he said.

An avid trail runner while growing up in Colombia, Rincon brings personal expertise to the shop on the corner of 34th and M streets. All his wisdom comes from his passion for the sport and the time he has spent experimenting with gear from different companies.

“Find what you like to do, and you never have to work. A lot of people like to run but do something else for work but not me,” he said.

For almost ten years now, Rincon has helped communities around the globe find the right pair of shoes and articles of clothing for the sport. He also puts on races all along the East Coast, including a 5k race each December back in South America.

Once a week, the company has experienced athletes lead nightly runs around the area. “It is great for people who are new or don’t know where to run, what is safe,” he said. All paces are welcome to join in on the three- to six-mile loop on Wednesdays at 7 p.m.

Rincon is also a huge supporter of the non-profit, D.C. Road Runners. While proudly wearing one of its t-shirts, Rincon says that the organization offers training programs for beginners to highly skilled runners.

He hand delivers shoes to children back in Colombia twice a year and sends shoes through the mail to his home country as well as to Africa whenever he receives a phone call that someone is in need. Rincon says people are encouraged to drop off their old sneakers at the store so that they, too, can help make a difference.

“Changing people,” he said. “You know, that’s my favorite thing about working here. The people in the community and the feeling that I’m changing a lot of lives for the people here.”

“A lot of people think I own this store,” he said laughing. “I don’t.” He just simply loves what he does.

For more info on running, visit

McGovern’s MUSE: DreamHome Designers On Renwick’s ’40’

Forty artists under forty years of age will be featured at the Smithsonian American Art Museum’s Renwick Gallery this summer, exploring the evolving notions of craft within traditional media such as ceramics, metalwork, sculpture, industrial design, fashion and sustainable manufacturing.

The artwork selected for the display were all created after Sept. 11, 2001. The exhibit will reflect the changed world that we live in today, posing new challenges and considerations for artists. These artists are united by philosophies for living differently in modern society with an emphasis on sustainability, a return to valuing the hand-made and what it means to live in a state of persistent conflict and unease.

To help gear up for the opening, the D.C. Design Center, which opened its 2012 DreamHome March 15, celebrating eight emerging interior designers, chosen to create rooms inspired by the works to be featured in the “40 Under 40: Craft Futures” exhibit at the Renwick Gallery this July.

Each room in the DreamHome provides inspiration for how the store’s furnishings, fabric and decor can be combined into spectacular residential spaces. The designers were each given a piece of artwork that will be on display this summer and were asked to base their room off of it by exploring color, texture, scale and perspective.

William McGovern, one of the eight chosen interior designers, was assigned the bedroom. His piece of art used for inspiration was Stephanie Liner’s “Momentos of a Doomed Construct.” Created in 2008, Liner uses upholstery, plywood, fabric, sequins, yarn, embroidery, adhesive, cardboard and a live model to illustrate the constrained psyche and tension between masculinity and femininity, architecture and fashion, contemporary and classical.

This piece, although intimidating McGovern at first, couldn’t have been a better selection for the young designer. His passion has always been historic preservation, although he does a lot of modern work. After graduating from Pittsburgh University with a bachelor of arts degree in art history and architecture and then having received a double masters of arts in interior design and historic preservation from Savannah College of Art and Design, he moved to D.C. to work for ForrestPerkins, a architecture and design firm on Wisconsin Avenue. It opened his eyes to a vast array of projects, he said, teaching him more than his own graduate program did.

“I got to do a lot of good high-end projects,” he said. “The Nines Hotel in Portland, Ore., was a lot of contemporary, nostalgic modern, glamourous, but with traditional touches. The Jefferson Hotel, a career maker for me, was a lot of interior architecture details, custom finishes and furnishings.”

McGovern, who left ForrestPerkins after six years to work on his own and stays inspired by and current with the latest trends. He reads magazines, domestic and international, always keeping an eye on what is hot in Europe, knowing that it will eventually become popular in the U.S. “I think if you just work and work and work and don’t look up, your work starts to become stale,” he said.

For him, knowledge of the fashion world and global markets are on his news lists. “The economy has effects on the color palette,” he said. In the early 1980s, the favored color was beige. It became brighter and punchier when the U.S. picked up, moving to luxury textures and patterns. “Then, with the most recent recession, colors went to gray and white,” he said.

No matter the mood of the nation and the most recent trends, McGovern said, “I kind of pride myself in that each project has its own unique set of standards. We’ll talk about concepts, clients, reflecting a sense of history, aesthetics, market appeal, depending on what the property is.”

Lately, McGovern has discovered the need to go green isn’t as much a request as it is a demand. “There are always still needs for incandescent lighting, but it really has almost become kind of an unconscious decision now,” he said in regards to always choosing the most sustainable products when designing. “It has gotten to a point where I almost don’t even think about it first because most companies just have sustainable materials now.”

McGovern Design Studio has revamped several multi-million dollar homes in the city as well as businesses, such as Nectar Skin Bar on the 1600 block of Wisconsin Avenue. His studio is also working on Lafayette Square’s Decatur House, owned by the National Trust and soon to house the history of the White House.

There is no doubt that William McGovern is successful and is being noticed by those in the design world. He believes the D.C. Design Center discovered him after it nominated him in 2011 as one of the “Ones to Watch.”

He has more than earned that title in this year’s DreamHome as he creatively captured exactly what inspired artist Stephanie Liner in her work. “It’s all about tension,” he said. “She uses really feminine patterns symbolizing beauty and then very rigid architecture to make the structure symbolize masculinity. We took that approach very literally in the design of the room.”

McGovern matched the art piece’s whimsical and surreal mood. Liner created an orb with wood and medal and then upholstered it with a floral fabric. Inside the structure is a live model, indulged by her surroundings, wearing the same fabric as the exterior. To turn this art into a bedroom, McGovern showed the balance of tension by using masculine colors like black and white but contrasting them with a lipstick red painted French poster bed, patterned draperies and a black woven wall covering, but with silver metallic threading to make it sparkle with a touch of femininity.

The room also features a mannequin, whose dress is coming from the flow of the drapery on the window behind her, capturing the same essence of the model’s dress being the exact fabric as the orb.

“As with Ms. Liner’s work, the room we created symbolizes the universal notions of beauty, fashion, gender and the internal struggle to impose societal pressures upon one’s self,” McGovern said.

This bedroom, and the rest of the 2012 DreamHome, will be on display at the D.C. Design Center through Nov. 30.


Shanon Munn, of Ambi Design Studio, designs sophisticated, comfortable spaces while enhancing the client’s personal style. She prefers to highlight surrounding architecture and use eco-friendly materials whenever possible, such as low- VOC paint, when designing any space from residential to hospitality to commercial properties. The DreamHome team chose Munn to design the office space. Munn wanted to evoke a strong, powerful, feminine presence. “Vera Wang was our muse,” she said. “Like our inspiration piece (Crane Chair by Christy Oates, an inlaid wall-art piece that turns into a functional chair), we utilized a fairly neutral palette with pops of color.” She said her projects are always very tailored as she asks to see inspirational pieces, which have been as varied as handbags and table settings. “In that regard,” she said, “this was a very natural way for me to design.”

Scott Cooke of Scott Cooke Design, started out in the fashion industry before attaining a BFA in Interior Design. A multi-faceted designer, Cooke credits his grandfather who commissioned famed architect, Frank Lloyd Wright, to build the house he spent many years in as a kid in Virginia Beach. The home impacted Cooke and the designs and styles in the home stay with him today as he works from his studio in Logan Circle. He created the living room in the DreamHome, which is inspired by Cristina Córdova’s “Dulce.” He produced a nineteenth century drawing room, keeping the backdrop of the room neutral but made bright and bold colors pop for dramatic effect in the drapery panels, pillows and artwork on the walls.

Jeff Akseizer and Jamie Brown, of Akseizer Design Group, look to always create a great functioning room paired with outstanding form. Aksiezer has been a design professional in Washington for over 10 years and has won local and national awards. Brown has completed projects all over the east coast and has been featured in both the Washington Times and Washington Spaces magazine. The Akseizer Design Group purchased and developed their own millwork factory in Boswell, PA in 2008 to produce custom case goods to use in their homes and buildings. Akseizer and Brown created the Modern Lounge room in the DreamHome, inspired by an art piece by Shawn Smith.

Miriam Dillon leads the interior design department of Barnes Vanze Architects, Inc. She has practiced architecture and interior design for over 18 years. For the DreamHome, Dillon designed the modern study with comfortable furniture, mixed metals, decorative accents and a splash of color inspired by artist Sabrina Gschwandtner’s Hula Hoop piece.

Catherine Hailey, of Hailey Design LLC, specializes in contemporary residential work as well as restaurant and retail design. She has traveled all over the world to design in cities like Miami, Aspen, Paris and Hong Kong. Hailey has designed DC area restaurants like Rustico, Buzz, Evening Star, Masa 14, Birth and Barley/Churchkey. She believes her contemporary style and texture and material choices are part of the reason she was chosen to help design the DC DreamHome. She worked on the dining room and entertainment area at the Design Center, inspired by Uhuru’s Cyclone Chaise Lounge. She hopes to continue working on contemporary spaces using green products. She said clients mainly seem to be concerned with the bottom line cost and the end aesthetic result of the project, however, she hopes the green trend will continue so that the cost of the materials will go down and the variety will increase.

Christine Philp, of Palindrome Design, has worked on properties in D.C., Bel-Air, Calif. and Southampton, N.Y. She’s been told she has an eye for color, scale and form and designs rooms that delight, while remaining sensitive to budget. Her breakfast room in the DreamHome was inspired by Lara Knutson’s “Soft Glass Basket,” a woven basket made from reflective glass fabric and steel wire. When designing the room, Philp played off of the natural curved lines and organic feel of the piece, incorporating elements of metal on various pieces of furniture in the room.

Kori Keyser, of Keyser Interiors, Inc. brought her 16 years of experience in designing homes to DC DreamHome’s Sitting Room inspired by Andy Paiko’s Spinning Wheel, made from blown glass, cocobolo wood, steel, brass and leather. She said the room is perfect for someone to read or enjoy a glass of wine alone, but is also inviting for a small gathering. Keyser holds a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design from La Roche College in Pittsburgh and is a professional member of ASID and NCIDQ certified. In the future, she’d love to design a line of furniture. [gallery ids="100716,120598,120591,120584,120577,120569,120561,120555,120548,120540,120530,120523,120612,120515,120616,120623,120507,120629,120604" nav="thumbs"]

Luigi Parasmo

With over 30 years of experience, Luigi Parasmo opened his own namesake salon in Georgetown last week. Parasmo, who was born in Rome, Italy, has styled for iconic brands such as Valentino, Armani, D&G, and Versace during Fashion Week Milan, and Tory Burch and Thyphoon at Fashion Week New York. He has lived in D.C. for 20 years now and has previously worked at Watergate, Erin Gomez and Toka Salon. [gallery ids="100746,121704,121686,121699,121694" nav="thumbs"]

The Switch From Processed to Fresh in School Lunches: Harder Than You Think

May 3, 2012

Three years ago, Sarah Wu, a speech pathologist for Chicago public schools, didn’t have time to pack her own lunch. Not thinking anything of it, she left home, drove to work, taught her students and when the lunch bell rang, she walked down the hall towards the cafeteria. As she read the menu options, Wu was not impressed. Soggy bagels, tater tots, mushy over-microwaved frozen pizzas. Feeling the gurgle in her own stomach, she was thinking more about the 90 percent of kids who qualify for free lunch and consider these options to be the best they’ll get all day.

These lunches are provided by the National School Lunch program which feeds students in more than 101,000 public and non-profit private schools and residential child care institutions across the country.

The government claims that it provides nutritionally balanced, low-cost or free lunches to more than 31 million children each and every school day. Are those meals truly healthful?

Wu went home angry and started a blog, Fed Up With Lunch, in which she ate in her cafeteria every day for a year and wrote about the meals. At the same time, First Lady Michelle Obama was beginning her Let’s Move campaign and chef Jamie Oliver was beginning his television show, Food Revolution, bringing national attention to the problems in our school cafeterias today.

In the U.S., 12.5 million children are obese. Could Congress be to blame since it has claimed pizza as a vegetable and have tried removing the potato from the program all together?

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) fought to keep the vegetable on the menu and won. “Here is the federal government trying to teach people to eat whole foods, to eat locally grown foods — there are all these farm-to-school programs to teach children where food comes from — and to try to get them to eat it in a way that is not processed heavily and [removing the potato] is contrary to all of that,” she said.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) fought alongside Collins on the issue. “Can you imagine not having a potato in the school lunch program?” Snowe asked. “I don’t understand it.”

Andrea Northup, director and founder of D.C. Farm to School Network, a coalition of stakeholders working to incorporate more healthful, local foods into D.C. school meals, has revolutionized the food in school cafeterias across the Washington area. She says that despite the potato fiasco, there has been a huge positive shift in the cafeteria thanks to programs like her own. “We’ve gone from prepackaged airplane style meals, Frosted Flakes and Otis Spunkmeyer, to minimally processed meals prepared from whole ingredients.”

The Farm to School Network connects students with where their food comes from, provides health, food and environmental education opportunities and supports the local food economy. The network, which began four years ago in D.C. serves two-thirds of all school-aged children in the city. Each of the 63 schools — participating and serving meals approved by the Healthy Schools Act, a local law that went into effect in 2010 which sets nutrition and serving standards for D.C. schools participating in the federal school meal program — receives supplemental funding from the local government.

Northup does face daily challenges. One example involves getting the kids to eat these foods. “There are a lot of issues now where the kids are not familiar with a roasted sweet potato when they are used to eating french fries or sauteed broccoli when they’re used to green beans in a can,” she said. “School menus now look more like a restaurant than what you particularly think school meals would be. If you looked up the menus, you’d be flabbergasted at the words you’d see like ‘chipotle roasted,’ ‘lemon sauteed,’ as you think of these words when you think of restaurant meals. It is really impressive what the institution and community support of all of us has been able to do.”

Another drawback is funding. Northup has been fortunate enough to have incredible partners, such as Sweetgreen, a salad and frozen yogurt restaurant establishment, which contributes financially as well as works with the children on salad-making classes in the schools. Northrup adds that it is up to D.C. Public Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson to decide whether funding D.C. Farm to School and feeding the children locally and sustainably is worth the check.

“You’re getting what you pay for when you invest in healthier school meals,” Northup says. “Even slightly higher costs in the short term, in my opinion, pay off in terms of higher attentiveness of the children, better outcomes for the children, higher productivity in school and in life. We are preventing these more costly diseases materializing in the future by investing now. It is something that doesn’t resonate well with someone like the chancellor who is in charge of balancing the books now, and you can’t blame her for that.”

Northup says that because of the Healthy Schools Act, the law which was just recently passed by the D.C. Council, providing funding incentives and institutional support to schools that serve healthful food, Farm to School has gone from a “Huh, what’s that?” notion to a household name.

Farm to School programs are popping up all over the nation, some larger and some smaller than the program established in D.C. While many boggle with how to pay for the newer food choices, the menu seems to be pleasing. Susan Wu, the blogger who took matters into her own hands to fix the lunches her students were eating, is thrilled with the changes taking place in schools across the country and believes that the more involved communities are, the more successful the outcome will be. Wu says she can’t imagine kids going back to what they used to eat and has even made a menu of the future on her blog to show how food is evolving for student lunches, available at [](

For Northup, the real bottom-line choice is this: “Are we willing to look long-term and look strategically at food service because we see that it is very important to health and success of our children, or are we not?”

Empy Nest? Think Again: Your College Grad Is Back

Doesn’t it feel like just yesterday your baby was born? Days were spent taking naps, playing in the mud, jumping in leaves, learning the ABC’s and reading bedtime stories. Money went towards diapers and swing sets, and whatever was left over was placed in savings for college.

Eighteen years went by pretty quickly, didn’t they? Are you wishing you had stashed a little more away?

Today’s statistics for college graduates aren’t pretty. With just a few weeks left before the class of 2012 tosses its caps, many parents are beginning to panic just as much as their children. Not only are their loans weighing on the family’s shoulders, but those vacant bedrooms may soon be full again. Just when you were getting used to an empty nest, your little birdies may soon be frequenting their old stomping grounds a bit more permanently than you had thought. A recent Time magazine survey found that 85 percent of new college grads move back in with mom and dad (up from 67 percent in 2006).

The Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, D.C., last month hosted an event, “Why Am I Still Living In My Parent’s Basement?” where Alex Schriver, the national chairman of the College Republican National Committee, said, “18 percent of youth are unemployed, a number that is more than twice the national average, and graduating student-loan debt has reached record-breaking highs of more than $22,000.”

$25,250 to be exact, according to a National Public Radio. It cited the outstanding student debt at around $1 trillion.

Which part of the country has the highest student debt? Yes, you guessed it. The great and grandiose cherry blossom District of Columbia. CNBC’s special program, “Price of Admission: America’s College Debt Crisis” stated that 67 percent of students leave college with debt and among the highest are of those who attend American University (averaging $36,206 of debt).

So, what does this all mean? When students leave college with such a large amount of debt, they may not shoot for the stars to be the next Barbara Walters or Mark Zuckerberg but settle in to a small office position or retail shop just to pay the bills.

Founder of the Young Entrepreneur Council, Scott Gerber, said that just 54 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds actually holds jobs right now. He says Generation Y has been labeled lazy, but it isn’t necessarily the only reason why many are crawling back home. “The cards are also stacked against them,” he said. “They are going to college and getting a degree that doesn’t equate to anything. More college grads are unemployed than ever.”

Not only are they jobless, but Paul Conway, president of Generation Opportunity, said that 77 percent of today’s youth will also delay a major life decision — such as buying a house, saving for retirement or getting married — because of their debts.

The lack of jobs after graduation, Conway says, is the reason for this delay.

“Graduates are not the first to be hired when the job markets begin to improve,” notes Rick Raymond of the College Parents of America. “We’re seeing a shocking number of people with undergraduates degrees who can’t get work.”

Three million young men and women are expected to graduate from college this year, according to a poll by researcher Twentysomething Inc. Time magazine says these graduates will face a double-digit unemployment rate for their generation.

Such statistics confront both you and your children. Perhaps it is time to remove the boxes you began storing in their rooms upstairs and continue to be a supporting shoulder for them when they move out of their independent college apartment where dreams and aspirations once ran rampant and move back home under the roof where rules and chores will once again be assigned.

My grandfather always says the one thing no one can take away from you is your education. Whether there is a job out there for your child immediately or not, their time in college was not worthless and there will be something to come of it in the future. Allow them to grab the reins, hold on tight and continue to dream, because the mind is a terrible thing to waste.

U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council Lunch With Hillary Clinton and Laura Bush

Honorees, distinguished guests, journalists and friends crowded inside the Benjamin Franklin room at the State Department on March 21 to congratulate the members of the U.S.-Afghan Women’s Council on the 10th anniversary of supporting the women of Afghanistan.

Founded in 2002 by President George W. Bush and Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai, the council connects both U.S. and Afghan governments with the private sector, academia and non-governmental organizations to identify needs and to develop and implement initiatives to support Afghan women and girls. The council is based at Georgetown University.

“There is an Afghan proverb: A good year is determined by its spring. I think that is a worthy proverb to keep in mind, and indeed it is a call to action for us to be sure that the spring sets the pace for the kind of good year we hope to see in Afghanistan,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said. “Let there be no doubt that even as the U.S. role in Afghanistan changes during the next few years of transition, we will continue to stand with and work closely with Afghan women.”

“Some may wonder if these efforts and partnerships truly make a difference,” said Zala Ahmad, a student from rural Afghanistan who now studies at Brandeis University in Massachusetts thanks to the council. “I can tell you firsthand that they do.”

While toasting the council with red glasses of hibiscus tea, dining on endive salads and Atlantic cod, and treating tastebuds to the sweet dessert served, a passion fruit clafouti, guests listened to Clinton, former First Lady Laura Bush, John DeGioia, president of Georgetown University, Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer and several other speakers from Afghanistan involved with the council share stories and the astronomical differences in percentages of Afghan females now attending schools and even holding prominent positions.

“Girls make up about 40 percent of the nearly 8 million children going to school in Afghanistan today,” Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan Zalmai Rassoul said. “In 2000, there were no girls at that time.” He also noted that 30 percent of school teachers and 15 percent of university teachers are women. Today, 24 percent of doctors and medical workers across Afghanistan are women.

Even with these positive numbers, he said Afghan women continue to be innocent victims, but the council has helped give them their opportunity back.

“God created a couple,” said Vartan Gregorian, president of Carnegie Corporation of New York. “He did not create men first, women second. He created a couple at the same time. So, there is no way half of the couple can be inferior to the other half of the couple.”

After several rounds of applause credited to the amount of effort and success that has gone in to the council, both Clinton and Bush were presented awards for their dedication by Georgetown University. Clinton was given the Caring for Children Lifetime Achievement Award from the Center for Child and Human Development by DeGioia, who teased that Clinton has been fighting for the rights of women and children since she wrote her scholarly article in 1973 for the Harvard Educational Review. Bush received the Champion for Afghan Women Award from Verveer, who said Bush “led by example, mobilizing resources to ensure that Afghan women and girls gain skills, opportunities, and particularly the education that they were denied under the years of Taliban repression.”

When the luncheon was finished, Verveer said the program was over but the journey to continue fighting for the rights of Afghan women is not. “We hope that we will all continue to work together,” she said.

Georgetown Students, Jack the Bulldog Welcome J.J., Puppy Mascot-in-Training

It is a feel-good story the local media could not ignore.

J.J., or Jack Jr., the bulldog puppy in training to Georgetown University’s Jack the Bulldog, arrived at the university’s Healy Circle April 13 after his cross-country journey. Amid fanfare, TV news cameras and phone cameras, students applauded the puppy from San Diego, a gift from Janice and Marcus Hochstetler, bulldog breeders in California, who have two children at Georgetown.

Jack the Bulldog recently injured his left rear leg and is expected to have surgery soon. He will be returning this fall to continue rooting on the athletes and begin teaching J.J. what it means to be a Hoya. “Jack’s presence will provide important support to J.J. since the older dog is already comfortable with his life as a mascot at Georgetown,” said his handler, Rev. Christopher Steck, S.J., associate professor in theology. “J.J. will be looking for signals from Jack, and Jack’s enthusiasm in different environments will encourage J.J.’s own.”

The crowd sang a song, “Hey, J.J.,” in tune to Bruce Channel’s 1950s song, “Hey, Baby,” which went like this:

Hey, hey, J.J.
We wanna know if you’ll be our dog
Hey, hey, J.J.
We wanna know if you’ll be our dog
When I saw you walking down the street
I said oh, he’s the kind of dog I want to meet
He’s so fierce, oh, he’s fine
I’m gonna make him mine, oh, mine …