Month: November 2019

Pets, Places, & Things, Urban Garden

Keep Holiday Plants Looking Their Best

Urban Garden By Melinda Myers Poinsettia and other holiday plants should be kept in a cool, brightly lit location.  Photo credit:  Melinda Myers, LLC Keep Holiday Plants Looking Their Best The holiday season has arrived.  That means you will be on the giving or receiving end of a poinsettia, Christmas cactus, cyclamen, amaryllis or other holiday plant.  Extend the beauty and longevity of these holiday beauties with proper care. And that starts the minute you leave the florist or garden center.  Always protect your gift plants from the harsh outdoors.  Professional florists and garden center staff will provide a care tag and wrap your plants in a plastic or paper sleeve.         Remove the wrap as soon as you arrive home. This is especially important when caring for poinsettias. The upturned leaves emit ethylene, a ripening hormone, that can shorten the longevity of your poinsettia’s colorful display.      Rewrap your holiday plant anytime you move it outdoors and never leave it sitting in a cold car while running errands. A chilled plant looks fine until it thaws. By the next day the plant turns grayish-green, wilts and may die.  Not such a nice gift after all.     Once your plant arrives home, place it in a cool, brightly lit location.  The cool temperatures and indirect light help the blooms last longer.  Avoid drafts of hot and cold air.  These can dry or chill the plant, resulting in leaf and blossom drop.  Fold down the foil wrap to allow sunlight to reach all the leaves.      Keep the soil moist, like a damp sponge, but not wet. A quick touch of the top inch or two of soil will let you know when it is time to water. Water thoroughly whenever the top few inches of…

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On the Road, Pets, Places, & Things

On the Road-December 2019

The  OTC’s Last Word column writer, Miriam Kramer, took a copy of the publication with her on her trip to Moscow for a Russia-US Municipal conference. While there, she stayed at the historic Metropol Hotel, built in 1905 adjacent to Red Square where this photo was taken in front of St. Basil’s Cathedral. The cathedral was completed in 1561 and is an amazing piece of architecture. Be sure to catch her column in this issue.

Arts & Entertainment, High Notes

Light It Up by Katelyn Macs

By Ron Powers Light It Up by Katelyn Macs I was recently talking to a friend of mine in the music business who knows I am always looking for outstanding new artists to review. He said, “Light It Up, Katelyn Macs, check it out”.  Well my friend is very successful and knowledgeable and a very good judge of talent, so I wasted no time in finding the song on Spotify and saving it to my favorite pop playlist. Now I’m here telling you about a song I can’t stop listening to. It was a surprise to learn that Light It Up is Katelyn Macs’ first single. The quality of this track is truly amazing. Katelyn steps directly into the big league of pop music here. Competition in the music business is intense. Every day there are over 40,000 new songs uploaded to streaming services. Standing out has never been more of a challenge. However, if Macs continues to release tracks of this caliber, there is absolutely nothing that can stop her. The chorus for Light It Up is what hooked me. It reminds me a little of Shake It Off by Taylor Swift. Katelyn Macs’ melodies are very memorable. In fact, I found myself singing along to the chorus before I finished the song for the first time. Light It Up is the kind of track that stays in your head for days. So, be prepared to enjoy yourself. This song does not disappoint. Top 40 Billboard charting rapper “Waka Flocka Flame” is featured alongside Macs on Light It Up. These two talented artists complement each other well. There’s a clear synergy between them which has resulted in an instant pop gem. Katelyn Macs’ smooth and cool vocal delivery mixes well with Waka’s aggressive and seasoned flow. This collaboration is…

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Pets of the Month, Pets, Places, & Things

Pets of the Month- December 2019

Pets of the Month – December 2019 Moose and Reed, Young, Spayed Female and Neutered Male, Black and Grey Long-haired Rabbits Deep down, under all of those layers of fluff, Moose and Reed are cuddle-bugs are heart. Content to snuggle in the arms of their friends, these bonded buns are all about affection. Even the way the share their hay, each starting from one end like Lady and the Tramp, shows their sweet natures. So if you’re searching for a pair of pets with hair as big as their hearts, stop by the AWLA to meet Moose and Reed today. Adoption profile: Adoption information: Moose and Reed’s Photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Baby, Senior, Spayed Female, Gray Tabby Domestic Short Hair People always tell me, “Baby, it’s cold outside.” To which I reply, “Yes, that’s why we should stay right here on the couch instead.” Although I’m not the Baby I was in my younger years, I find myself only improving with age. Like a finely-aged wine, my sweetest notes are only becoming more pronounced. Regardless of how you feel about sweet wine, you’re sure to love sweet me. As for my name, yes, I will still be your Baby because the more of your attention I get, the better. You can call me Baby, and I’ll call you best friend. Adoption profile: Adoption information: Baby’s Photo courtesy of Alison Lane Photography Ms. Sparkle, Adult, Spayed Female, Brindle with White American Pit Bull Terrier Ms. Sparkle is looking for a best friend who will help her shine. True to her name, Ms. Sparkle’s multifaceted awesomeness radiates from her for everyone to enjoy. Looking for a smart pup who is always ready to learn new things? Ms. Sparkle is ready! Looking for a sweet pup who can’t stop wagging her…

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Let's Eat, Wining & Dining

White House Egg Nog

Let’s Eat By Walter Scheib et al. This recipe from former White House Chef Walter Scheib, The American Chef, was published in this space shortly after he left his post on Pennsylvania Avenue.  We met Walter at the inaugural Food & Wine Festival in National Harbor 9 years or so ago and formed a nice friendship then. Chef Scheib co-authored a column called “Cooking Fran and Wally” with longtime Old Town Crier contributor Frances Killpatrick for several years in the mid 2000’s. He was the Executive Chef at the Whitehouse from 1994 to 2005 during the administrations of both George H.W. Bush and Bill Clinton. He died in the summer of 2015 while hiking in the mountains surrounding Taos, New Mexico. He is remembered for his memoir, The White House Chef: Eleven Years, Two Presidents, One Kitchen. We hope you enjoy this holiday memory. White House Eggnog 6 or 7 egg yolks (5 ounces, pasteurized if possible) 1 cup sugar ¾ cups each, bourbon, cognac, dark rum, such as Meyers 6 or 7 egg whites (7 ounces, pasteurized if possible) 1 teaspoon salt 2 cups heavy cream 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract 1 quart milk, more if needed Freshly grated nutmeg for serving 1.      Put the yolks and sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and whip until yellow ribbons form, 5 to 7 minutes. 2.      Add the bourbon, cognac and rum, whip well, scrape down the sides and mix again. Transfer the mixture to a 6-quart bowl. 3. In a separate clean mixer bowl using a clean beater, whip the egg whites and salt until very stiff. Fold into the eggnog mixture. 4.      Wipe out the mixer bowl, pour in the cream and vanilla and whip until very stiff peaks form.  Pour this into the eggnog…

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History, History Column

Executive Privilege and Impeachment

Copyright ©2019 Sarah Becker Written by ©2019 Sarah Becker Executive Privilege and Impeachment “The President of the United States is impeachable at any time during his continuance in office,” James Madison wrote (Federalist Paper No. 39).  The 2019 calendar is turning and still the country contemplates President Donald Trump’s (R-NY/FL) conduct in office.  “If impeached, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors, [the President will be] removed from office; and would afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.”  Last October the U.S. House of Representatives, Democrats especially voted to further its impeachment inquiry. “The legislative, executive, and judiciary departments ought to be separate and distinct,” Alexander Hamilton concluded.  “Power being almost always the rival of power, the general government will at all times stand ready to check the usurpations….”  Power: the ability or capacity to perform effectively; to control.   President Donald Trump and, in turn, the Executive branch have repeatedly refused to respond to Congressional subpoenas; requests for information related to the un-redacted Robert Mueller report, citizenship and the 2020 census, Ukraine and an acknowledged Executive quid pro quo.  Quid pro quo: thing given as compensation; return made for a gift or favor.  Trump’s failure to reply to the latter may result in obstruction of Congress charges. Executive privilege is an implied power, “derived from the concept of ‘process privilege.’”  It allows the president and other high officials of the Executive branch to keep “sensitive” communications private should the disclosure of such prove disruptive to the Executive branch.  Executive privilege was not legally explained until 1974—United States v. Richard M. Nixon—and mostly applies to matters of foreign policy, national security, and or national defense.      President George Washington first exerted his Executive prerogative in 1795.  President…

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Go Fish, Pets, Places, & Things

Fishing for Holiday Gifts?

By Steve Chaconas Fishing for Holiday Gifts? Shopping for anglers is frustrating; but for the person on the receiving end, there’s a guaranteed stint in the return line! Choose gifts for on and off the water! Sport team logos on hoodies might show team spirit but won’t hold up. Walls has manufactured work wear, western wear and hunting gear for men and women since 1938. The Walls 3LB Heavyweight Hoodie is a thick, heavy, durable, full zip, water repellent hoodie.  Articulated elbows provide greater reach. A three-panel hood enables greater peripheral vision. Finishing the 3LBer off is a rib knit waistband and cuffs, hand warmer pockets and even metal tipped draw cords. A zippered chest pocket stows phone, wallet and truck key securely. The Walls 3LB Hoodie raises the bar beyond the reach of any other hoodie, setting the standard as the thickest, toughest and burliest of the bunch. Beat bulky jackets or the tattered old hoodies and grab a Walls 3LB hoodie! From the beginning of the 20th century Carl Grundén, a Swedish fisherman’s son, knew not to count on the weatherman for accurate weather forecasts. Grundens’ Charter Gore-Tex® Jacket is a packable storm protection jacket. Nothing better than proven Gore-Tex® waterproof/breathable performance to keep you dry. Anglers testing the limits of Mother Nature will choose to weather the storm or outrun it. Stick around and make one more cast. But the Grundens Charter Gore-Tex jacket is versatile and doubles as protection from pop up storms and especially for airport travel. Zippered hand warmer pockets, adjustable hood and hook and loop cuff closures, and even a kill switch anchor add features to a comfortable and functional rain jacket. Women deserve outdoors clothing! Since 1897, Filson has provided rugged outdoor wear for miners, prospectors and lumbermen. This tough…

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Financial Focus, Pets, Places, & Things

Saving for Retirement and Your Child’s College Education

By Carl Trevison and Stephen Bearce Saving for Retirement and Your Child’s College Education You want to retire comfortably when the time comes. But you also want to help your child pay for college. With the cost of college tuition increasing and no guarantee that Social Security will be around at the time you retire, the amount of money you need to save may seem overwhelming. How do you balance both of those goals? By starting to plan now, you can strike a strategic balance between saving for retirement and saving for college, says Will Larson, Retirement Planning Strategist for Wells Fargo Advisors. “A good way to help achieve both goals is to sit down with your financial advisor as soon as possible and create an investment plan,” he says. Your financial advisor will talk to you about your goals, estimate how much money you need, and then put together a plan to get you on your way toward saving for both retirement and your child’s college education. These strategies can be a good place to start. Pay yourself first. Your top priority should be saving for retirement, Larson says. He recommends putting aside around 15% of your income every year. Don’t make the mistake of thinking you can tap into your retirement plan to pay tuition — taxes and penalties mean you’ll take a big hit. Invest your money in tax-advantaged accounts. Your money will work harder for you if you take advantage of tax-friendly accounts like 529 savings plans. The key is starting as early as possible, says Kirk Pacatte, Planning and Life Events Specialist at Wells Fargo Advisors. “The earlier you get money in there, the better the potential for it to grow tax-deferred and compound,” he says. “That’s especially important when saving for education because you…

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Exploring VA Wines, Wining & Dining

Zero to One

By Doug Fabbioli Zero to One The scariest step is always the first! This concept is consistent through business, relationships and life. The learning curve for the first time of doing something is always the steepest. Kissing a girl, getting behind the wheel of a car or making a batch of wine can all be intimidating the first time. It’s amazing how having an understanding coach, and doing a little homework ahead of time on what you might expect can help ease some of that anxiety. As a grape grower, I remember very well the first time that I surveyed and planted my first vineyard. Even though I had been growing the grapes at another vineyard for a number of years, I had never started from scratch before. In this instance, it was my own vineyard that I was putting in the ground. I have worked vineyards before where the rows are curved. That is not an engineered plan and can be a major issue down the road. You also have the health of the vines, the team coming in to help do the job, the weather, the soil conditions and a variety of other factors that can go wrong that you don’t even know about, considering it’s your first time. Once you have been down the road a few times on a few different projects, the confidence begins to build. Currently, my Zero to One effort is to try some alternative packaging for our wines. Years ago, premium wineries were concerned about the world wide cork shortage and the high prices for quality wine corks because of it. Over time, the suppliers came up with plastic corks, screw caps and the such to offer an alternative to a natural cork for a closure. The biggest concern for wineries was…

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Personality Profile

Scott Shaw-A Man on the Go!

By Bob Tagert Scott Shaw – A Man On the Go! You may have seen him walking around Old Town going from his office in Founders Hall to one of his restaurants, or attending a media briefing along the waterfront regarding the new Tall Ship Providence. He is not flamboyant, but is always on the go. Today Scott Shaw is a principle in Alexandria Restaurant Partners (ARP) which own and operate seven restaurants in Alexandria and Shirlington as well as one in Orlando, Florida. Shaw was also the motivating force in bringing the city government and the private sector together to bring the Providence to the Old Town waterfront. All this, however, was years in the making. Originally from Coconut Grove, Florida, Shaw moved here in 1994 to reconnect with Rob Wilder, a college roommate who had recently opened the South Austin Grill at 801 King Street. Wilder and Shaw had met in Austin, Texas in the early 80’s and opened a homemade ice cream shop. The Austin Grill was an immediate hit and Shaw helped grow the business to eight locations around the DC metro area. In 2000, Shaw left the Austin Grills and started another Alexandria based company called Fishbowl, which is comprised of marketing software and analytics for restaurants. In 2016 he sold Fishbowl and went back to his first love of running restaurants. Some friends who then owned Virtue Feed & Grain restaurant and were struggling were looking for someone to help. Shaw contacted two friends he used to work with in Florida and they came up to do a “restaurant rescue”. They were only planning to stay for about 90 days but both men fell in love with the building and the city and eventually signed a long term management contract with the restaurant owners….

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