Roe v. Wade Turns 40

April 11, 2016

The Jan. 22, 1973, United States Supreme Court ruling, which established that restricting a woman’s access to an abortion is unconstitutional and violates the 14th Amendment’s guaranteed right to privacy, is celebrating its 40th anniversary today.

Abortion, a heavily debated and consistently controversial human rights issue, will receive substantial attention this week, as opponents and proponents alike remember the decision.

Every January, Washington, D.C., is the destination for numerous gatherings, protests and celebrations, hosting people from across the country who assemble in the nation’s capital.

One of such demonstrations is the March for Life Education and Defense Fund, an annual anti-abortion event that culminates in a march to the Supreme Court, to be held this year on Friday, Jan. 25, beginning at noon.

According to March for Life, the rally “draws thousands of pro-life activists and supporters” to D.C. each year.

In addition to this rally and subsequent march, related events will occur throughout the weekend, information for which is available at Other organizations similarly convene in the District to express discontentment with the legalization of abortion, in conjunction with the ongoing movement to overturn Roe v. Wade.

However, the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade is likewise an opportunity for abortion advocates to commemorate this landmark decision.

NARAL Pro-Choice America and the National Organization for Women are some of the pro-choice groups holding events in downtown D.C.

While today marks four decades of abortion access for women, it also represents a human rights debate that has been intensifying since 1973. Various laws at state and national levels have since been passed, according to the Planned Parenthood website, altering the processes required to obtain abortions.

Efforts to change existing abortion laws persist.

Rep. Marsha Blackburn, R-Tenn., recently introduced the first pro-life legislation for the 113th Congress. The Title X Abortion Provider Prohibition Act would prevent the Department of Health and Human Services from “providing federal family planning assistance under Title X to abortion businesses until they certify they won’t provide and refer for abortions,” as stated on the congresswoman’s website. Such a bill, introduced before in the House of Representatives, would de-fund groups like Planned Parenthood.

This is but one example of action in response to the Roe v. Wade precedent.

Abortion remains provocative and multifaceted, stimulating passion from individuals on both sides of the issue, nationwide. The Roe v. Wade 40th anniversary certainly reflects this debate’s significance and serves as an occasion to recognize its complexity.

Q&A with RAMW President Kathy Hollinger

August 15, 2013

With just over a month under her belt as president of Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington (RAMW), Kathy Hollinger is excited to move forward. She assumed the position Dec. 15, 2012, succeeding Lynne Breaux, the organization’s former president.

Hollinger was previously Agency Director and Film Commissioner of D.C. Motion Picture and TV Development, and founded Storyboard, LLC, a strategic communications agency dedicated to improving visibility for clients in both the private and public sectors. She has also worked for Comcast Cable, the Council of the District of Columbia, and American University, as an adjunct professor of entertainment communication. She has a Master of Arts in Public Communication and Public Policy from George Mason University, and a Bachelor of Arts from American University. Hollinger’s background and experience in strategic communications, public relations, marketing, external affairs and advocacy, namely, have equipped her with the knowledge and ability to help lead RAMW while working to represent and advance the restaurant industry in the District.

Hollinger shared reflections with The Georgetowner about her new presidency and the organization’s future, as well as her interests and personal life.

How have your past experiences helped to prepare you for this position as president of RAMW?

I think that the common thread is advocacy. I think in every position that I’ve been in, I have had to be an advocate for an industry. A lot of what the Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington is about is focusing on that type of advocacy, to make sure that we are helping to position these restaurants to succeed, and continue to succeed, and focus on growth and ways to better serve and address the needs of industry stakeholders. I did that with film in the film community. I did that with Comcast and Comcast’s business interests. So, people who have worked locally and in this market understand that advocacy really is defined in many ways, but a lot of it has to do with representing the best interests of that industry at the time.

I think that having the opportunity to work in private sector, public sector, academia, political – in all of those arenas – has very much prepared me to come in, and work, and run an association. A lot of the core task of what I had to do in previous roles centered around advocacy and working with the business community. Those relationships that I have created over the last 20 years are really helpful in helping to continue the momentum of this association, and really build on all that we want to do moving forward.

What are you most looking forward to about working in this capacity?

I’ve been here a month, but I have had the pleasure of working with the association over the years, when the previous president was in place, so I’m familiar with the association. I’m looking forward most to working with – and building personal relationships with – current members, and reaching out to new ones. We are seeing such growth. We want to make sure that we can reach as many new members [as possible], as well as continuing to provide value to our current members so that all restaurants are experiencing the renaissance in this region and are also represented, and have great representation, when it comes to their interests from a business owner’s standpoint.

What do you believe will be your biggest challenge this year?

Anyone who knows me knows that I don’t really think about it in terms of a challenge. But, I do think about it in terms of opportunities: to really find ways to enhance our programming, to augment some of the services that are currently offered, and to help restaurants in the region to build stronger businesses. I think that currently we have some great services that we offer to our membership, but [must also] really listen to the industry to see how we can refine those services and create additional ones.

Restaurant Week is Feb. 4-10. How many restaurants traditionally participate?

Over the last couple of years, we have had about 200 to 250 restaurants participate. The association has worked very hard to grow the promotion of this Restaurant Week with the launch of a new website. We have helped to develop marketing packages and tools to make sure that our members can get their messages out and make the most of their investment in the event. We have seen so much energy and so much enthusiasm, so we are hoping for and expecting the same level of participation, if not more.

How would you like to see participation grow? Have you used social media to help with publicizing Restaurant Week?

We have seen such a spike in traffic directed to our Restaurant Week website and social media, and that has been a very big deal for us; the association has really taken a lot of time to invest in a website that is going to make a lot of sense for those participating, and really give the type of information that consumers want when they are thinking about where to participate during that week.

We are a small staff, but a very, very talented and driven staff. To be able to put effort into something that is just yielding such positive returns is really rewarding for everyone.

We absolutely know that we have to use and leverage social media more. It is definitely a priority for us, going forward. Facebook and Twitter are incredible tools that restaurants use, and we want to make sure as an association that we use those same tools.

Will you be participating in Restaurant Week?

I participate literally every year: I personally do, my friends do, my family does. It’s something that we always look forward to, and we plan to do the same this year.

Do you have a favorite Valentine’s Day restaurant?

I don’t have a favorite Valentine’s Day restaurant, but I do always try to go out for Valentine’s Day. I don’t know if it will be a family Valentine’s Day or a date night Valentine’s Day.

What I do love about Valentine’s Day is that it is another opportunity for restaurants to really be able to promote and market their individual packages. I’m hoping that the city sees a lot of excitement coming off of Restaurant Week and that it sees the same excitement going out for Valentine’s Day.

Where are you from originally, and where do you live now?

I grew up in Philadelphia, and I have been in D.C. for 25 years. I came down to go to American University, and I virtually never left. I live very close to the university, and I am very tied to this area. It’s very near and dear to me. I still live in D.C. and I live in The Palisades.

What is your favorite food?

I don’t know if I can answer that one… I can answer it by saying that I really love food – I do genuinely love it all. There are very, very few things that I do not eat.

What is your favorite music?

I would have to say that Stevie Wonder is one of my favorite artists. If I had to pick a genre that I really love, I would pick jazz.

What do you like to do for fun?

I love to walk, I love to hike, I love to bike, and I love spending time with my family, especially my five-year-old. He’s a little boy with a lot of energy, and he has already in his five years grown up in the restaurant industry, eating out constantly.

Gems Along the Chesapeake Bay’s Eastern Shore

March 28, 2013

We have all heard about the Eastern Shore. Area natives, especially, know it as a conglomeration of vacation destinations along the eastern side of the Chesapeake Bay. Tourist spots. Fishing villages. Colonial towns. Communities that thrive in the summer months but are deserted for the rest of the year. While there might be truth to some of these notions, there is infinitely more to say about the diverse areas of Maryland and Virginia that constitute this collective waterfront region.

The Eastern Shore is composed of distinct locales, which house residents and host visitors with their inimitable personalities. They are undoubtedly recognized for their summer appeal but should not be completely discounted leading up to the heat. Many of these towns are celebrated for their historical significance, tranquil quality and distinguishing identity – you should consider exploring some of them in the coming months.

Featured towns: Eastern Shore, Md.

This colonial town on the Chester River entices travelers to experience its historic homes, shops, arts scene and restaurants. As part of Kent County, it is surrounded by the Chesapeake Bay’s estuaries and farmland, and holds annual events and holiday functions throughout the year.
Chestertown is also home base to the Schooner Sultana, “a replica of a Boston-built merchant vessel that served four years as the smallest schooner ever in the British Royal Navy,” according to its website. The ship is known as the “Schoolship of the Chesapeake,” as it offers educational programming through sailing tours.
The Chestertown website offers additional suggestions for visitors, including self-guided tours, museums, theaters, scenic views and recreational activities. There are more than 40 lodging options in the vicinity, though it is known for its bed and breakfasts.

You are likely familiar with St. Michaels, as its Bay presence has become less subtle over time, and it is now better known for its tourist draw. Its marina and boating opportunities contribute to its charm, but St. Michaels is equally beloved for its memorable attractions, dining, spas and special events.
The Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, the St. Michaels Winery, War of 1812 reenactments, the St. Michaels Fresh Farm Market, various cruise lines and fresh seafood meals are among the services that continue to bring visitors to the area. Vacation rentals and quaint hotels provide an array of lodging alternatives, and the website’s suggested itineraries aid with planning the ideal vacation.

This seaside village invites people to discover its character year-round. In addition to crabbing, sailing, kayaking and canoeing, Easton is a relaxing town with outlets for exploration and enjoyment – despite the weather. Its buildings represent a fusion of Colonial and Victorian architecture, and the town is renowned for its displayed appreciation of art and music. The Avalon Theatre presents comedy, art shows, theatrical performances and assorted concerts that make it a staple venue for both vacationers and locals.
Antiquing in downtown Easton, stargazing in the countryside and watching wildlife are just some of the many activities highlighted on the website. Other components of a visit might involve walking tours, community coffee shops, public golf courses, annual festivals and Victorian bed and breakfasts. An events calendar, which consistently outlines a plethora of activities for tourists, can be found on the website.

Situated on the Choptank River is Cambridge: it was settled in 1684, and is now one of the Eastern Shore’s prime destinations. The historic downtown, centered around Cambridge’s Main Street, is more than “beautiful buildings” and “one-of-a-kind shops,” as the downtown touts itself. Rather, it has a powerful presence that stems from its rich history and is apparent to any visitor.
Quirky celebrations add another dimension to the pulse: “Zip Code Day,” “Taste of Cambridge Crab Cook-Off” and “Summer Send-Off: Blues, Brews & BBQ,” to name a few.
Cambridge is home to several noteworthy attractions – the Brannock Maritime Museum, the Richardson Maritime Museum and La Grange Plantation – and other galleries, boutiques and art districts. Great Marsh Park, Sailwinds Park and the Choptank River Fishing Pier are other area favorites.

Featured Towns: Eastern Shore, Va.

As the County Seat of Accomack County, this small but significant town attracts people with its history and charm. It was originally established as the Town of Drummond in 1786 and, subsequently, Drummondtown. It did not receive its present name until 1893.
One of Accomac’s strongest tourist draws is perhaps its walking tour, during which people can gain understanding of the town’s evolution, through architectural changes in churches, cottages and houses. The Eastern Shore Public Library, Debtor’s Prison, Bloodworth Cottage and St. James Episcopal Church are among the notable points on the downtown tour. People live in the private residences, illustrating the community’s intimate nature and appreciation for historic preservation.

Originally serving as a port town, Onancock aided transportation for steamboats between Baltimore, Md., and Norfolk, Va., with the Onancock Creek leading to the Bay. It is now one of the Eastern Shore’s more heavily populated towns, with more than 1,500 residents.
Onancock has substantial marine- and wild- life populations and water travel opportunities. Whether you bring your own boat, take a guided trip or just want to get a full taste of Onancock, the Town Wharf is a must-see. And, the Ferry to Tangier Island, a nearby fishing village, lets visitors venture beyond the town.
As a self-described “rural waterfront village,” Onancock’s visitor-friendly atmosphere and easily navigated downtown make it a desirable spot for tourists who enjoy biking and strolling. More information is listed on its website.

Wachapreague is an appropriately named seaside town – its website defines “Wachapreague” as “Little City by the Sea.” Bird watching and biking keep people coming throughout the year, as do the fishing and seafood.
The Hotel Wachapreague, the town’s first hotel and one of the largest on the Eastern Shore, was constructed in 1902 and remains open today. A marine railroad and commercial fishing are some of the many draws to this charming fishing community. ([].

Cape Charles has a history that dates back to the 1880s. Following its colonization, it was predominantly comprised of farmlands and wetlands, but as stated on its website, it developed into a railroad region when the Bay Coast Railroad was constructed. It is the largest town in Northampton County with 1,000 residents and under 3,000 acres of land.
The Historic District of Cape Charles displays a variety of architecture, including Colonial Revival, Neoclassical and Victorian style homes. Golf clubs, horseback riding stables, wildlife refuges, state parks – plus the water, beaches and fishing – make this town a great place to investigate. [](
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Dean & DeLuca Reopens One Day After Closure

February 28, 2013

Georgetown’s Dean & DeLuca grocery store has reopened after being forced to close Feb. 6, due to violations of D.C. food code regulations.

The store’s closing generated lots of media attention in a town and city, known for its rodent problems

The gourmet market’s customers discovered a closed business and locked doors Wednesday morning, which was explained by the “Food Establishment Closure Notice” from the Department of Health, taped to the window. As was stated on the sign, the violations presented “imminent health hazard(s) to the public.”

Among these health threats were “live birds, rat droppings and mice droppings found inside of the café” and “live roaches and mice droppings cited around the cheese section in the customer service and product display area,” according to the Food Establishment Inspection Report. There were eight critical violations and 11 noncritical violations in total.

The report also said that every risk factor “must be abated and approved” by the Department of Health and that a re-inspection fee would be required for the license to be reinstated. The store was cleaned. It passed re-inspection Feb. 7 and was allowed to reopen.

While the M Street operation reopened to the public Thursday afternoon, the patio-style espresso bar — which is outside the store — remains closed until further notice. It may re-open within the store sometime in the next few weeks, one employee said.

Dean & DeLuca’s corporate office issued this statement Feb. 7:

“Yesterday, our Georgetown store was temporarily closed, primarily due to issues in our open-air cafe that arose from major construction next door. We have been working closely with the health department today to immediately address all areas of concern and are pleased to report that the market has re-opened.

“The cafe outside remains closed for service, but only because there are birds that have flown into the open air space. While we are unable to serve food and beverages at the cafe, guests are still welcome to sit there and enjoy food bought inside the market. Additionally, we are in the process of temporarily moving the espresso bar inside, until the outdoor cafe issues are resolved. We hope to re-open with full service as soon as possible.

“As always, Dean & DeLuca is committed to offering our team and guests the cleanest and most hygienic environment, and we will continue to work tirelessly to achieve the highest standards.”

Founded 1977 in the SoHo neighborhood of New York City, Dean & DeLuca opened at 3276 M St., NW, in 1993 — the first of the franchise outside New York City. The Georgetown location has been the site of a market of one sort or another for about 200 years. Today, Dean & DeLuca, headquarted in Wichita, Kan., boasts stores and cafes from California to Singapore and Qatar.
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‘Sugar & Champagne’ Goes to the Dogs on Jan. 31

February 7, 2013

The Washington Humane Society will host its 12th Annual Sugar & Champagne Affair Thursday, Jan. 31, at the Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center, recognizing community activists against animal cruelty and raising funds for the District’s homeless pets.

Washington Humane Society’s humane law enforcement officers, humane educators and animal care and control officers are among the evening’s honorees. The popular, canine-friendly Sugar & Champagne Affair welcomes guests to bring their dogs to the event. Not many other galas in the city allow that.

New components have also been added to this WHS tradition. “The Golden Ticket” invites guests to enter a drawing, the winner of which will receive a tasting at RdV Vineyards for ten people and dinner at Market Salamander.

Guests may also participate in the “Cake Walk Challenge,” another new addition to the evening’s activities, in which cakes – created by five notable chefs – will be auctioned to the highest bidders.

The main event, which begins at 7 p.m., will feature Washington, D.C.-area pastry chefs, as well as champagnes and wines, to celebrate supporters of WHS efforts to fight animal maltreatment. Chef Todd Gray and Ellen Kassoff Gray of Equinox Restaurant and Muse at the Corcoran Gallery of Art are the reception’s hosts.

The VIP Chefs’ Tasting Room, “an exclusive savory gathering prepared by the finest chefs of the national capital region,” begins at 6 p.m. before the main event, according to the WHS website.

Tickets for both the VIP event and general reception may be purchased at

According to WHS, reception proceeds “directly benefit the animals and programs of the Washington Humane Society.”

WHS has served the Washington, D.C., region since 1870, working to ensure the well being and protection of animals through various services, such as adoption, sheltering, rehabilitation programs and humane law enforcement, among others.
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Chancellor’s Plan to Close 15 Public Schools Faces Opposition

Following last week’s announcement that 15 Washington, D.C., public schools have been scheduled to close, Chancellor of D.C. Public Schools Kaya Henderson testified before the District Council’s education committee Jan. 23 to discuss the rationale behind the plan that has sparked opposition from community members and local organizations.

“For the first time in a long time, people have hope about the District of Columbia public schools,” Henderson told the council.

D.C. Public Schools finalized the changes that will take effect at the end of this academic year, including the consolidation of 13 of the identified schools – the other two of which are slated to close the following year – and “several expanded quality program offerings.”

The initial proposal to close 20 schools was altered after DCPS received enormous feedback and eliminated five schools from the list. The revised and current plan will affect more than 2,400 students and 540 employees, as first reported by the Washington Post.

Some people are opposed to Henderson’s plan — but not simply because it will force students to relocate to different schools.

Empower D.C., a local grassroots organization, believes Henderson’s plan is discriminatory, “blocking the school doors for hundreds of black and brown students,” according to attorney Johnny Barnes.

Barnes is working with Empower D.C. to combat the school closings plan. Its litigation strategy was announced at a press conference Jan. 23 in front of the Wilson Building on Pennsylvania Avenue, during the chancellor’s meeting with the council.

“We intend to vigorously and zealously pursue those legal avenues available to the parents and children affected so that all young people in Washington, D.C., have the same access to quality education,” Barnes said in a Jan. 18 statement.

Another feared consequence of Henderson’s plan is that DCPS will struggle to compete with the public charter schools that already serve more than 40 percent of public school students in the District, according to the Washington Post. Many worry closing 15 schools could exacerbate the problem, driving students to these charter schools rather than other conventional public schools.

However, DCPS says it believes the plan will ultimately prove to be advantageous, as funds and resources from the under-enrolled schools can be reallocated and more efficiently utilized.

“We’ve spent the last two months combing over every single comment, data point and proposal,” Henderson said in a Jan. 17 statement. “Now, it’s time for us to look to the future, for us to plan for the best ways that we can support our students.”

Restaurant Week Returns Next Week

Restaurant Week hits D.C. Feb. 4 through Feb. 10, once again inviting food lovers to enjoy affordable three-course meals at top-notch restaurants.

This semiannual culinary celebration, presented by Restaurant Association Metropolitan Washington, is known throughout the region for some great deals: prix fixe $20.13 lunches and $35.13 dinners that are generally pricey, comparably. It entices people to explore the growing restaurant scene and take advantage of fine dining experiences they otherwise might not.

More than 240 restaurants will participate this year, offering diverse cuisine from D.C.-metro area neighborhoods, including parts of Northern Virginia and Maryland. More than 20 Georgetown establishments will partake in the program, with menus representing flavors from Mexico, Italy, Spain, France and Latin America.

The Georgetown spots include:

1789 Restaursant

Bistro Francais

Bistrot Lepic & Wine Bar

Bodega Spanish Tapas & Lounge

Cafe Milano

Clyde’s of Georgetown

Farmers Fishers Bakers

Filomena Ristorante

Il Canale

La Chaumiere

M Street Bar & Grill

Morton’s The Steakhouse-Georgetown

Neyla Restaurant

Nick’s Riverside Grill

Ristorante Piccolo

Sea Catch

Thunder Burger & Bar

Tony & Joe’s Seafood Place

Unum Restaurant

A full list of member restaurants is available on the new Restaurant Week website: RAMW President Kathy Hollinger said that the association worked hard to create a site that effectively provides potential consumers with important event information.

And do we need to add this advice? Make reservations now or as early as possible.