This Week On Metro Connection: Makeovers (Transcript) | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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This Week On Metro Connection: Makeovers

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

Welcome to "Metro Connection." I’m Rebecca Sheir and if you've flipped your TV on over the past, I don't know, like decade, you may very well have caught a glimpse of programs like this…

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

In case you haven't noticed, makeovers are everywhere, with all these people trying to transform themselves on national television. Now, dear "Metro Connection" listeners, we love you just the way you are. So on today's show we're not going to try and change your hair or your clothes or your home decor. But we are going to present an entire hour on the topic of makeovers. But not necessarily the kinds you see on reality TV.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

We'll meet a woman who worked as the FBI's first female criminal profiler and hear how she's changing her life in retirement. We'll talk with the man who designed that nutrition facts label on your cereal box and find out how he feels about the label's impending re-design. And we'll visit what may be one of the last dairy barns inside the Beltway and hear from residents who are trying to give it a new lease on life.

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

First, though, we'll travel to Deal Island on Maryland's Eastern Shore, where oyster season is in full swing. Since the end of the 1800s, watermen on the Chesapeake Bay have harvested oysters with these quick, nimble boats known as skipjacks and the Chesapeake's commercial skipjack fleet used to number in the hundreds. Nowadays, though, it's down to six or five, rather…

MS. REBECCA SHEIR

Should I come under there, too?

CAPT. STONEY WHITELOCK

Yeah, sure.

SHEIR

Okay.

SHEIR

Since one of these boats…

SHEIR

I’m under the boat here.

SHEIR

…a sleek, white, 50-footer named Kathryn…

SHEIR

I'm trying not to hit my head.

SHEIR

…has been out of commission since 2011.

WHITELOCK

So here's what's going on.

SHEIR

Yeah, what's going on?

WHITELOCK

Here's what's going on. Everything below the waterline is being replaced, including the standard standing frames. Like all of these frames will be replaced and you can see the new ones that we're adding in right now.

SHEIR

Eastern Shore native Stoney Whitelock captains the skipjack Kathryn.

WHITELOCK

This is part of my heritage and this is where I came from and this is what my family did. Let's see, my great-great grandfather was a skipjack captain. My great grandfather, my grandfather, my father and now my son's doing it.

SHEIR

On Labor Day weekend, 2011, Kathryn was damaged in the annual skipjack race when her port, or her left side, struck a buoy.

WHITELOCK

We had a stiff breeze that day and this boat likes a stiff breeze. But we hit up in the forward port side and we were taking on water and that's a whole 'nother story.

SHEIR

A whole 'nother story that involved Kathryn's two-dozen passengers using five-gallon buckets to bail out the water, before she was towed back to land, and moved here, inside a massive, blue-and-white tent near the Bay.

SHEIR

I have to say, it's pretty amazing to be--I've never stood inside the bottom of a boat. Like, this would normally be underwater, where we're standing right now.

WHITELOCK

Yeah, this is the underwater part, yeah.

SHEIR

And that underwater part is pretty busted up, I've got to say, though it's come a long way since that fateful Labor Day weekend, thanks, in no small part, to a guy I visited in the nearby town of St. Michaels.

MR. MICHAEL VLAHOVICH

I am Michael Vlahovich, founding director of the nonprofit organization, Coastal Heritage Alliance.

SHEIR

The Coastal Heritage Alliance is all about promoting the heritage of commercial fishermen. So Vlahovich has been instrumental in raising money to restore the skipjack Kathryn. And as a master shipwright, he's also been doing actual restoration work himself, through a grant that's funding 240 hours of labor.

VLAHOVICH

And that means staff and tools and materials three days a month. And that's the time when we solicit volunteerism and that's when we get interns down from the local college. People are welcome at any time, but those are really designated days.

SHEIR

I wasn't in town on one of those designated days, but Michael Vlahovich's son, Anthony, has helped out on several of them. And he says when he first saw the inside frame of the skipjack…

MR. ANTHONY VLAHOVICH

I'd hardly even call it wood, it's more like mulch.

SHEIR

Because here's the thing, Kathryn was built in 1901, okay. And as Michael Vlahovich points out, her fellow remaining skipjacks are similarly long in the tooth.

SHEIR

I mean, skipjacks aren't supposed to last hundreds of years, right?

VLAHOVICH

Well, no. No. They were never expected to last this long. And Kathryn, like all the other skipjacks, has received repair work in the past.

SHEIR

So actually, even before the Labor Day incident, Kathryn wasn't exactly in tip-top shape. Like Vlahovich says, she'd had some work done here and there. At one point, the Chesapeake Bay skipjack fleet was actually in line to receive $50,000 apiece from the state of Maryland. But when those funds ran out earlier than expected, Vlahovich, who'd spent his life building and fishing on boats, stood up and said, you know what…

VLAHOVICH

If the state can't do it, I'll do it. And that's when and why I founded Coastal Heritage Alliance.

SHEIR

Another source of funds for the skipjack Kathryn is a little less official and a little less grown-up, I guess you could say, but the way Capt. Stoney Whitelock sees it, it's no less important.

SHEIR

Which one did your granddaughter do?

WHITELOCK

This one here.

SHEIR

We're in Capt. Stoney's living room, where you'll find about a dozen children's drawings, framed and hung on the wall.

SHEIR

They are so sweet. They're so colorful. And most of them say…

WHITELOCK

They're beautiful.

SHEIR

Yeah, they all say, Get well, Kathryn.

WHITELOCK

Get well, Kathryn, yeah.

SHEIR

Capt. Stoney's granddaughter's then-second-grade class drew these get well pictures of Kathryn just after Labor Day, 2011.

WHITELOCK

Some of them are quite the artist.

SHEIR

Right. And lots of imagination. In some of them she's brown. In some of them she's bright green. Over there she's red.

WHITELOCK

That's right. That's right.

SHEIR

All these images were eventually made into t-shirts, which are now for sale.

WHITELOCK

Half the proceeds go to the PTA and the local Deal Island School and we take the other half to work on the Kathryn.

SHEIR

Capt. Stoney estimates they have about $200,000 to go, that's a lot of t-shirts, but he's confident they'll get there, and that Kathryn will be ship-shape by next year, ideally, in time for the next skipjack race.

WHITELOCK

When we get back, we plan on winning the race.

SHEIR

In the meantime, though, he says he's touched to see so many people lend a buck, or a hand, or a crayon-drawn get well card, in support of Kathryn. Though he also says he isn't surprised.

WHITELOCK

Just everybody that got on the boat to take a sail, they just left everything ashore. I mean, you could tell they were brighter when they left than they were when they came aboard. And it's true, this boat got its own soul.

SHEIR

And soon enough he says she'll have a brand new, lovingly repaired body to match that more than 100-year-old soul.

SHEIR

To see photographs of Kathryn, before and after Labor Day, 2011, and to see some of those get well Kathryn t-shirts, visit our website metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

Okay, so makeovers can be physical, right? Like the restoration of the skipjack Kathryn. But they can also be professional, like, say, if you're making over your career. In the late 1970s, Rosanne Russo was working as a school psychologist. But she was itching to do something a little more exciting with her life. Russo's career makeover landed her at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Va. And now, after nearly three decades with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Russo is on makeover number two. Jacob Fenston brings us her story.

MR. JACOB FENSTON

Television and movies have made famous the FBI's behavioral science unit, so-called criminal profilers who use psychology to help track down bad guys. Many of these fictional crime-solvers are women, as in NBC's drama "Profiler," or the movie "Silence of the Lambs."

MR. JACOB FENSTON

In real life, Rosanne Russo was one of the FBI's first two female profilers.

MS. ROSANNE RUSSO

Well, I used to watch the FBI story with Efrem Zimbalist, Jr. I think it was aired every Sunday.

MS. ROSANNE RUSSO

But never dreamed as a female that I would be an FBI special agent or that it was even a possibility for me.

FENSTON

That's because when she was growing up, there were no female FBI agents.

FENSTON

Bureau director J. Edgar Hoover refused to admit women for whom he said the job would be too dangerous.

RUSSO

The very first female special agents that came into the FBI were shortly after Hoover's death in '72.

FENSTON

Just one week after Hoover was buried, the FBI announced it would sign on women as special agents. The bureau also let up on the dress code, shirt colors other than white would be allowed and sideburns could be grown out to the ear. A few years later, when Russo started at the FBI in 1979, she says there were still only 200 female agents, out of 10,000 total. These days, one in five FBI agents is female. I asked Russo how women's roles at the bureau changed during her three decades there.

RUSSO

I think back in those earlier years, for some of the men it was a capability question, would a women be able to do this job. And I think, you know, once they all knew we had to qualify with our firearm, that that certainly wasn't an issue for women. We certainly were able to shoot a weapon. I think it was just more of some of our male colleagues -- it was an adjustment in the sense that they hadn't had a woman as a partner. And I think that was an issue for some, but certainly not most.

FENSTON

We're still having these discussions in society, with the role of women in combat in the military, for example.

RUSSO

Yeah, that's exactly right, and that's exactly what I was thinking as we were -- yeah, it's amazing how things just evolve, but the issue is similar.

FENSTON

Did you feel like your role was unique at all, as a woman in the FBI, that you ever felt like you played a unique role?

RUSSO

I would have to go back to, again, being an FBI agent in those earlier years. My first office was in Milwaukee. And I remember being received very well in the Milwaukee office by my male colleagues. And I got to do a whole variety of things, because they found that they felt they could blend in better with me at their side. We could look like we were a couple eating at a restaurant and not look suspicious like we are the FBI. So I think that in the earlier years I was afforded a lot more opportunities because I was female.

FENSTON

In 2008, Rosanne Russo retired from the FBI. But you know how in the movies, they always have to call up the retired agent to help out?

RUSSO

I was asked if I would come back and basically manage a program.

FENSTON

But now she's retired for good. And this is makeover number two.

RUSSO

This happens to so many of my colleagues, as you get near to retirement, your life is just so busy. You don't have a lot of time to think about yourself and any transition. I just never had the time because there was just always so much demand and deadlines. And it wasn't really until after I retired that I started to go through that transition thought process of, okay, now, I've got this time, but I don't want to waste this time, so what can I do that would still be valuable and would still be contributing to society?

FENSTON

She's contributing by volunteering every week, helping feed the homeless, giving tours at the Kennedy Center and helping out here at WAMU where I sat down to talk with her in our newsroom. But does she miss the FBI?

RUSSO

I think what I'd have to say is I miss that camaraderie and just that commitment and that work atmosphere. But do I miss the long hours? I do not.

FENSTON

I'm Jacob Fenston.

SHEIR

Are you undergoing a career makeover? If so, tell us how it's going. Our email address is metro@wamu.org.

SHEIR

Time for a break, but when we get back, making over a Virginia relic.

MS. LESLIE STONE

Well, the barn turned 75 years old last year. And I think that in our county, with such rapid development, it's really important to save a slice a history where you can.

SHEIR

And preparing for a major makeover in a D.C. industrial neighborhood.

MR. MATT CRONIN

You're going to see major construction and changes over the next two years, three years. Five to seven years, that's when you'll see everyone kind of comfortably saying this is complete different than I remember it.

SHEIR

That and more in a minute on "Metro Connection," here on WAMU 88.5.

SHEIR

I'm Rebecca Sheir. Welcome back to "Metro Connection." Today our theme is makeovers. And in this next segment we're going to be talking about neighborhood transformations. In just a bit we'll head to one of the more industrial sections of D.C. to look at the changes coming there, but first, Lauren Landau takes us to Northern Virginia for a story about a more than 75-year-old building and what it's fate may be.

MS. LAUREN LANDAU

Standing at the top of the Tower Club in Tyson's Corner, you've got a bird's-eye view of the Beltway, McLean and Northwest Washington.

MR. PAUL KOHLENBERGER

Below us is the largest urban center between New York and Atlanta. And 50 years ago, the only thing in sight would have been a farmhouse to the northwest and the Pimmit Barn to the northeast.

SHEIR

Paul Kohlenberger is president of the McLean Historical Society. And he's currently involved in efforts to save the Pimmit Barn, which stands on a hill about a mile from the Tower Club. From the balcony, you can spot the white barn peeking out from behind some trees.

KOHLENBERGER

There's absolutely nothing that hints at the agricultural past. We have a Metro, we have 12 lanes of the Beltway. We have innumerable skyscrapers, the National Counterterrorism Center and a 1937 vintage cinderblock dairy barn.

LANDAU

Through extensive research, Kohlenberger learned that the Pimmit Barn is the oldest structure in the Pimmit Hills neighborhood and the last agricultural building in the greater Tysons area. It's also the last Virginia dairy barn inside the Beltway and the only surviving example of a concrete dairy barn in the urbanized portion of Fairfax County.

KOHLENBERGER

As of the time of this barn's operation, agricultural pursuits were by far the largest employer and economic activity. Dairying was two-thirds of this for the county. So this was incredibly important in the areas livelihood.

LANDAU

Lesley Stone lives next door to the Pimmit Barn and says she would like to one day teach her 2-year-old son that milk comes from cows, not plastic jugs.

STONE

Because I want my son to know about the history of the region, which is predominantly dairy farming. And I think the Tysons area of shopping malls and high-rise office buildings doesn't really reflect that anymore and so this one little slice of history is, I think, important to keep.

LANDAU

In May, Leslie started a petition to save the last vestige of her community's agricultural past. At the time there was a proposal that threatened to demolish it and use the space for a group home for seniors and disabled adults.

STONE

Right now it belongs to the Fairfax County Park Authority. And they proposed giving it to another branch of the county government that would tear it down. So we wanted to make it clear to the Fairfax County Park Authority and to the Board of Supervisors that there's widespread community support for saving the barn.

LANDAU

Thus far the petition has gotten nearly 500 signatures. And a survey circulated around the neighborhood shows that only 1 to 2 percent of respondents favor tearing down the barn over saving it.

STONE

In general, a community is interested in saving the barn because we have less park space than other R4 zoned areas. So people like the green space. People think it's a historically important structure, build in 1937 and the last dairy barn of its kind in Fairfax County.

LANDAU

Paul Kohlenberger recently submitted an application to the Fairfax Historical Commission to get the Pimmit Barn listed as a historical site, which he says won't protect the barn, but it could convince the Park Authority that the site is worth saving.

KOHLENBERGER

The historic nomination, we hope, will convince the Park Authority that they have a cultural resource that is worth maintaining and protecting, while also convincing them that the half-acre site is large enough to provide passive recreational activities to the local residents while preserving natural open green space for future generations.

LANDAU

A few months ago Drainesville supervisor John Foust supported the plan to convert the barn into a group home, but that was before the Friends of Pimmit Barn assembled and began making a case for saving the building. He now says that as long as he's supervisor the barn won't be torn down.

MR. JOHN FOUST

Now that they've focused us, I definitely think it should be saved. We're living in a very rapidly urbanizing area. Tysons Corner is immediately next door to Pimmit Hills and the opportunity to preserve something that is part of our history is something I would like to pursue and work with them to see if we can do it.

LANDAU

But it won't be easy.

FOUST

We don't know what renovations are needed. So we don't know what just getting it to the point where it can stay as is will cost. Then secondly, we don't really know what uses could be made of it.

LANDAU

Even though the proposal for a group home has been tabled, the Pimmit Barn still isn't safe. The cost of renovating is a real concern and proponents for saving the structure need to rustle up some real cash to back their efforts.

LANDAU

They say in the short term they'd like to see benches, a historical marker and community garden plots at the site. There'll be fundraising to make that all happen and say they have even bigger plans for the future. I'm Lauren Landau.

SHEIR

We turn now from a makeover involving our rural past to a makeover that's all about our urban future. This one has to do with the redevelopment of one of D.C.'s industrial zones, just off New York Avenue in the center of Ward 5. A newly formed mayoral task force is looking at make the neighborhood greener and more modern while still keeping it business-friendly. And smack dab in the middle of all the old buildings, some hopping party venues are already putting former warehouses to use.

SHEIR

Among them, Echostage, the city's largest dedicated concert space. Echostage is currently closed as it undergoes its own renovation, but earlier this week, outside the club, Jonathan Wilson caught up with its general manager Matt Cronin to talk about the changes in store for the venue and for the neighborhood.

MR. JONATHAN WILSON

So for people who haven't been to Echostage, never went to it and haven't heard of it, what is it like inside there and what are you guys aiming for with this renovation?

CRONIN

Kind of like a modern warehouse concept, a hybrid concept, if you will. A crossover between nightclub amenities without losing a true venue in concertgoer's experience. Meaning we have the large open floor, but we also have the mezzanines, which are 21 and up, that cater to more of like a high-end experience without getting jostled into, where you can get a drink comfortably.

WILSON

In terms of the part of town that you guys are in, you guys are kind of hidden back here. If you aren't looking for a party, you wouldn't know it was here. Do you guys like that or is that something that you, you know, see changing in the future for this part of D.C.?

CRONIN

I think when you're dealing with real estate and locations and when you're scouting potential areas to start a business, you have to look down the road a little bit. And this area is under a lot of development, the corridor is great in terms of access to suburban customers, with Virginia and Maryland having 50 connecting right into 95 North, 495, you know, 395. You can't beat the location as far as accessibility. And it's really being beautified and becoming nicer every week that we see.

WILSON

Is there any cachet having this kind of industry around you? The fact that the venue is kind of hidden back here, not near any residential area, not near any commercial right now? Or would you guys like it if this area's completely transformed like, I think, some people would like it to be?

CRONIN

You know, it's a Catch-22. In the music industry, people love the warehouse feel. They love kind of like that edgy warehouse district feel. But then there is a comfortable aspect that has to be approached and taken care of. So, you know, we're just going to grow with the neighborhood, work with our area and the community and try to make it as comfortable for our neighbors and as comfortable for the concertgoers as possible.

WILSON

What have you heard from the city and from, you know, I guess developers around here, about the possibilities for this neighborhood? What's in store for around us? Obviously, there's a lot of construction going on as we speak. There seems to be a lot of empty buildings, or at least buildings that are maybe underused or, you know, not quite certain what's going to happen with them. What do you see and hear about the future here?

CRONIN

Not far from here at all, less than a mile, the Hex Building, which is a Washington, D.C. landmark, Douglas development is currently beginning a huge mass of renovation of that are, multiple city blocks, which is going to help us out tremendously. Obviously, with the NOMA area right over off of New York, with that Metro station, all those new massive apartment buildings, all of the Harris Teeters and the Starbucks. I mean the area's growing. I see it every day. And it will be down here. It's just a matter of time.

WILSON

So tell me, in terms of the renovation, when did you guys kind of shut up shop to renovate and when will it reopen?

CRONIN

This renovation was always planned since we initially started the project. The renovation will be done sometime in mid-March. Our first show in March, March 23 is going to be a mega (word?) promo, which is Excision. Followed the next week by two nights of David Guetta. So, you know, we'll be open March 23, ready to rock and roll.

WILSON

In terms of, you know, we're talking about this neighborhood, how fast do you think things will happen?

CRONIN

Based off of what I've seen in other parts of the city -- and this is just me throwing it out there -- I would say about five to seven years, probably, before it really is unrecognizable. But you're going to see major construction and changes over the next two years, three years. Five to seven years, that's when you'll see everyone kind of comfortably saying, "This is completely different than I remember it." Same thing happened at Columbia Heights, U Street, H Street. I mean, that's just the way it works.

SHEIR

That was Echostage general manager Matt Cronin talking with Jonathan Wilson. The mayor's Ward 5 Industrial Land Transformation Task Force has a year to do its work. It is scheduled to submit a report to the mayor in January of next year. If you want to see pictures of the neighborhood around Echostage on Queens Chapel Road, visit our website, metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

And now, our weekly trip around the region. On today's Door To Door, we visit Spring Valley in Northwest D.C. and the Maplewood neighborhood of Bethesda, Md.

DR. JEFFREY KRASKIN

I'm Dr. Jeffrey Kraskin. And I'm 58 years old and this is the Spring Valley neighborhood in upper Northwest D.C. We're located between Massachusetts Avenue and Loughboro, right by American University. I've lived here since 1960. One of the uniquenesses of Spring Valley is that it was the first neighborhood to have what are referred to as curvilinear streets.

DR. JEFFREY KRASKIN

That means the streets are following the natural curves. And the intent was to keep as many of the natural amenities, the creek, the spring, why it's Spring Valley and the tree line. So we have many trees and in fact we work to keep that. There are actually underground water springs that run under homes throughout the area. And they come out to light at times in Spring Valley Park, in which a lot of the neighbors like to walk their dogs.

DR. JEFFREY KRASKIN

If we go back into the early 19th century, it was farmland, owned by a number of families. And in 1918 the military used it for some World War I munitions testing. And then later, 1920s, '28, into the 1920s, the W.C. and A.N. Miller companies started developing and purchased the land and began developing homes.

MS. JEANNE LEVIN

My name is Jeanne Levin and I've been living in Maplewood for 53 years, before the Beltway, before the Metro, before all the progress we see here now. Maplewood is called Maplewood, I'm pretty sure, because of all the beautiful trees we had here, and a great many maple trees that we had in the area. And there are many old trees now, unfortunately a lot of them do have to come down now because they've gotten quite old and some of them have fallen, but there's still quite a few here.

MS. JEANNE LEVIN

My particular area where I'm living now was really a forest. Right at the end of the street was a barbed wire, which we didn't even know who was at the other end of the street because of all the trees here.

MS. JEANNE LEVIN

And I walk my dog up in the area. It's a wonderful place to walk the dog. And there's a dog park up the street, too. And the place really is filled with young children and young families and dogs. Almost everyone has a dog here and that's how you get the neighborhood. I've met everybody because of my dog and when the children were here, because of the children. So we get to know them. The place has many, many young people here now.

SHEIR

We heard from Jeff Kraskin in Spring Valley and Jeanne Levin in Maplewood. Your neighborhood can be part of Door To Door, too. Just send an email to metro@wamu.org or visit us on Facebook. That's facebook.com/metroconnection.org. And to see a map of all the doors we've knocked on so far visit our website metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

Up next…

MR. JOHN CAMPBELL

There was a lot of money up there then. And I said, "Gee, if I can go ahead and get me a barbershop and do the things that they're doing, I will soon be rich."

SHEIR

We'll meet a D.C. barber who set out to make money, but found his work offered other rewards. Plus, rehabbing the reputation of a man who remade D.C. in the 1800s.

MS. CAROLYN CROUCH

My favorite phrase for what he did for Washington was that he put meat on the bones of Pierre L'Enfant's plan.

SHEIR

That and more is coming your way on "Metro Connection," on WAMU 88.5.

SHEIR

Welcome back to "Metro Connection." I'm Rebecca Sheir and this week we are all about makeovers. So far we've met a criminal profiler who is making over her life after retiring from the FBI. We've visited D.C.'s largest concert venue, which is receiving a tremendous makeover of its own. And in just a bit we'll meet the local man responsible for the nutrition label on the food we eat and hear about plans to revamp that label.

SHEIR

But first, we're going to talk about a fellow, a native Washingtonian actually, who, you could kind of say, is associated with two makeovers.

CROUCH

In his case, there's the makeover of a physical place. And then later, there's somewhat of a rehabilitation makeover of his reputation.

SHEIR

That's Carolyn Crouch, owner of the walking-tour company, Washington Walks. I met up with her on 14th and E in Northwest D.C., right next to a statue of the rather infamous guy she's talking about, Alexander Robey Shepherd, who directed the Board of Public Works during Washington's Territorial Government period from 1871 to 1874.

CROUCH

He was instrumental in allowing the city to flourish after the Civil War as a city that finally had sewage under the ground in nice pipes, water flowing to people's homes, paved, graded streets. He created a massive tree canopy in Washington, D.C.

SHEIR

How many trees did he plant?

CROUCH

64,000 trees under his time as the head of the Public Works of Washington, D.C.

SHEIR

Didn't they also call him the czar of the Public Works?

CROUCH

They might have, but his name that stuck was Boss. Boss Shepherd, as in Boss Tweed, frankly, of Tammany Hall in New York City, because there were allegations of mismanagement of funds, misappropriation of funds, cronyism. Nothing was ever legally proven that he did anything illegal, but I think that's what made the name Boss Shepherd attach to his reputation during his time. Not only as the head of the Department of Public Works here, but then for about nine months he was the territorial governor of the District of Columbia.

SHEIR

Why only nine months?

CROUCH

Well, two things happened. He was removed from that position and the territorial government was dissolved by the Congress. The overspending of his budget, which was extravagant overspending and sort of these rumors that kept chasing him about sort of wheeling and dealing that might not have been above board caused the Congress just to lose confidence in the leadership. And that was the end of home rule in Washington, D.C. for 100 years. It didn't come back until the 1970s.

SHEIR

And what became of Boss Shepherd? Did he hang his head in shame and walk away with his tail between his legs?

CROUCH

He was not that type of person. Sadly, he does all this for the city, makes the city look worthy of the nation's capital. Sadly for him, there was a depression in 1873 and he had to file bankruptcy I think in 1876. So he had to figure out what his second act was going to be. He decides to take a chance on silver mining. Moves his family to the Chihuahua State in Mexico, reopens an abandoned silver mine, doesn't make a big success of it.

CROUCH

It doesn't kind of recoup his original fortune that he made here in Washington, because he also early on had invested in real estate here at a time when nobody was investing in real estate. So he wasn't able to recoup that. He spent the last 22 years of his life living in Mexico. That's where he died, but, you know what? He's buried in Rock Creek Cemetery, right in his hometown.

SHEIR

And now he has this statue here on 14th and E, but I understand this is not the original home of this statue.

CROUCH

Well, this actually is very close to the original home of the statue. It was placed here in 1909. So in 1909 people then are wanting to pay tribute to him, this man who did so much for the look, the infrastructure, the built environment of their hometown, their city. And this statute stood here for many decades.

CROUCH

Then it was moved, when the Federal Triangle project occurred, not far from here, in this vicinity. But then in the 1970s it was removed from this area. And it had this rather inauspicious home on Shepherd Street Southwest, which is right by the Blue Plains water treatment facility. And that's where his statue stayed for a few decades. And it seems that his reputation as someone who mishandled money, maybe didn't manage things very well, maybe did indulge in cronyism, that dominated a lot of discussions about Alexander Shepherd.

CROUCH

Then there was a group of Washingtonians who had just about enough of that because they realized that that may be true, but the contributions that he made to Washington could not go unsung. And that his statute needed to back here as a reminder of the important role he had in really creating a Washington D.C. that was worthy to be called nation's capital. So this organization, called the Association of Oldest Inhabitants started a campaign to get this statue back here. And by 2005 it was re-erected on this site.

CROUCH

A few years later, funding was acquired to have it restored, cleaned and shined up nicely. Lighting was added so at night when you drive by you can see him. And they put on their website, the nicest encapsulation about Boss Shepherd. You know, all the story about him is there, but certainly you can read their account of his life in Washington and see that he really gave a lot to our city. A controversial person, but one who really deserved to be remembered and I think, in many people's minds, honored and thanks for what he did.

SHEIR

Carolyn Crouch is the owner and founder of Washington Walks. For more on Alexander Shepherd and to find that AOI website Carolyn mentioned, visit our website, metroconnection.org.

SHEIR

All right, so we'll head now from E Street northwest to N Street northwest, right near DuPont Circle, that's where you'll find the brand marketing firm, Greenfield/Belser.

MS. DONNA GREENFIELD

My name is Donna Greenfield-Belser, my married name is Belser. I'm married to Burkey Belser, who is sitting beside me. We live in Bethesda, Maryland.

SHEIR

The husband and wife design team is quite accustomed to reinventing brands from top to bottom, and their most famous brand? Well, you've definitely seen it before.

GREENFIELD

Burkey designed the nutrition facts label, which is on just about every food package that you'll ever see.

SHEIR

The label dates back more than 20 years, to 1992, and now, the Food and Drug Administration has announced its making over the nutrition facts label to incorporate modern nutrition science. Emily Berman sat down with Donna and Burkey to discuss his design, and what this new label might look like.

MS. EMILY BERMAN

When you tell people you designed something as iconic as the nutrition facts label, you get all kinds of reactions. But mainly, Donna Greenfield says, most people want to know if they get royalties.

GREENFIELD

Which, of course, we do not. If we got royalties, we would be the richest people in the world right now.

BERMAN

That black and white box is printed on just about every food item sold in the United States. But chances are, according to its designer, Burkey Belser, you've probably never really looked at it.

MR. BURKEY BELSER

If we've done our job right, it in fact is very unimpressive.

BERMAN

That's the thing about design, he says, when it works, it looks like it's always been there. But in this case, it was brand new.

BELSER

In the Depression, there was very little food labeling. But what food labeling there was, was really responsive to a diet of scarcity. Imagine, there are no superhighways, there are no coolers everywhere, there are no large grocery stores, and food that's basically fresh.

BERMAN

The nutrition labeling consisted of a short of vitamins and minerals, just what you needed to avoid rickets and scurvy. But then, in the 1950s, we built the interstate highway system and began shipping food long distances.

BELSER

Suddenly around 1980, we're looking at a completely different issue. We're looking at a diet of surfeit.

BERMAN

The United States was getting obese, and so in 1990, President George H.W. Bush signed a law that gave the Food and Drug Administration authority to require nutritional labeling on most foods. They had spent years deciding what should be on the label, but in order to make consumers notice it, they would need a designer to jazz it up.

BELSER

We tried pie charts, and bar charts, and what we learned about charting mechanisms is that they are actually a second level of literacy.

BERMAN

They tried creating a logo of a rising sun.

BELSER

We thought that would be a wonderful expression of health, the rising sun. Well, in fact, people couldn't tell whether the sun was rising or setting.

BERMAN

Belser turned then to color, which didn't work either.

BELSER

Does red say, don't use this food? Is that a warning? Does green say this food is good, when the food may in fact not be the healthy choice?

BERMAN

It took 35 versions, until finally, we had a winner.

BELSER

There's a title on nutrition facts, that was critical. Here this shouted out, nutrition facts, we're a thing.

BERMAN

There's a thin border that goes all the way around the label, creating a box.

BELSER

What it did was it kept manufacturers off that turf.

BERMAN

The minimum type size is 8 point, which isn't huge, but it's readable.

BELSER

And when you're wrestling with a manufacturer for space on the package, the size of that type is huge consideration for them, because that means it's going to simply occupy more real estate.

BERMAN

Two thick lines separate the macronutrients, like the fats, sodium, and carbohydrates, from the micronutrients, the vitamins and minerals.

BELSER

The bold type guides the reader through the structure of the label itself, the light type provides the backup to what's under those bold headlines.

BERMAN

Belser was happy with it, the public accepted it, the FDA loved it, but its biggest fan was perhaps Italian designer Massimo Vignelli.

GREENFIELD

"The first time I saw the nutrition facts label, it earned my unlimited enthusiasm."

BERMAN

Vignelli wrote an op-ed for AIGA's magazine, that's the magazine of the Professional Association of Designers.

GREENFIELD

"The label is a statement of social responsibility, and a masterpiece of graphic design."

BELSER

Wow, yeah, that was pretty exciting.

BERMAN

Exciting, sure, but how can a nutrition facts label actually be a success, in a country with a skyrocketing obesity rate?

BELSER

I often ask myself whether the label actually works.

BERMAN

The label is now in its 20th year, and the FDA confirms it is, in fact, getting a makeover.

BELSER

Something that's frequently brought up is the idea of sugars, and why isn't there a percent daily value for sugars on the right-hand part of the food label and because, in fact, you can't identify one.

BERMAN

Belser says he has been involved with the redesign, and says we probably won't see sugar treated any differently. We will likely see more information about allergens and artificial ingredients, he says.

BELSER

Yes, the goal is to change behavior. The real question is, can behavior be changed?

BERMAN

Belser says he's a bit fearful his original award-winning design will be ruined, but for the greater good and improved public health, he's willing to let it rest in peace, up somewhere in design Heaven. I'm Emily Berman.

SHEIR

We're curious, what do you think the new nutrition facts label should or should not include? Send us a tweet. Our handle is @wamumetro or reach us by email, our address is metro@wamu.org.

SHEIR

Our last story today is about a guy who knows a thing or two about makeovers. His name is John Campbell, and he's been a barber in the Benning Road area of southeast Washington for more than 40 years. Jocelyn Frank recently spent a Saturday afternoon with Campbell at his shop.

MS. JOCELYN FRANK

Welcome to John Campbell's barbershop. Around here, Campbell runs the show.

CAMPBELL

How you doing, Miss DeeDee? Yes, sir, well come on. Come on, I got you.

FRANK

Campbell's in his 60s, with dark, short, cropped hair, and a thick, horseshoe shaped goatee. He wears round glasses, and a white lab coat, whenever he has scissors or electric clippers in his hands, which is nearly all the time. At Campbell's Barbershop, it isn't just about the haircuts, shapeups, or close shaves. This is a base of operations, from which John Campbell strives to help the whole community with a makeover.

CAMPBELL

We interconnect with each other. That's what the barbershop is, it's a place of knowledge and information where we all grow together, we all help each other.

MR. MARIO MURPHY

You need some clothes, he'll help you out with some clothes, you need some shoes, he'll help you out with some shoes. He can point you right in the right direction.

FRANK

Mario Murphy grew up in the neighborhood. As a young man, he wasn't sure which path to follow in life. Campbell spent some time on him, and now Mario, a boxer, spends his nights in the ring, and cuts hair during the days at Campbell's shop.

MURPHY

It weren't for this barbershop, I'd be outside somewhere doing something I wasn't supposed to do.

FRANK

From John Campbell's earliest days as a little boy growing up on the Arthur Capper neighborhood of southeast D.C., he was excited about barbershops. About the time he turned 7, his dad gave him a pair of clippers of his own.

CAMPBELL

I started cutting all my sister's doll babies' hair. She was hurt. I told her, I said, don't worry about it, it's gonna grow back, which it never did.

FRANK

Campbell's mischievous plans grew when, as a kid, he took a job sweeping the floors of a local barbershop.

CAMPBELL

They had a lot of activities going on. They sold liquor, they wrote numbers, they gambled in the back. There was a lot of money up there. And I said, gee, if I can go ahead and get me a barbershop, and do the things that they're doing, I would soon be rich.

FRANK

With that as enticement, Campbell set out, first, to finish school. In the summers, he worked a variety of jobs starting, literally, from the ground up. He was a gravedigger on Capitol Hill.

CAMPBELL

At Congressional Cemetery. My second job was working with Marriot. I became a pot washer, then I became a dishwasher.

FRANK

He was a fish-fryer. He also dabbled in psychology and ministry.

CAMPBELL

Then over at (word?) I became a short order cook.

FRANK

Whatever the job, he found ways to make friends, and help people out.

CAMPBELL

What goes around comes around, and I found out that actually a true statement. The way you treat people, treat them good, good things gonna come to you, because you're gonna have that network of people.

FRANK

Campbell finished high school, went on to professional school, and prepared for his barber licensing test. For extra practice, and to diversity his clientele, he gave free haircuts to the homeless and to other people who struggled to afford a trim. What started off as a chance for John Campbell to practice cutting hair, ended up giving him practice in serving those less fortunate.

CAMPBELL

People come back and thank me for what I did for them, to help them. People came back and told me how important I was in their life, and it made me feel great that I was actually doing something, I was actually serving and helping mankind. It was a great feeling.

FRANK

By the time he earned his barbering license, Campbell was less interested in the quick money that barbershops first represented to him. And his commitment to service expanded beyond the walls of his business. He became known for organizing enormous community parties, aimed at getting kids and families to meet up in safe and positive ways.

CAMPBELL

The first event was Campbell's Fun Festival. We had live go-go bands. The crowd got so big, so we had to change the beat, so then I decided to have the fish fry with the gospel show. And it was different, they enjoyed it. Out there praising God. It was nice.

FRANK

In 2012, he hoped to try out a whole new platform for community leadership. He made a run for D.C. City Council, an unsuccessful run. The guys at the shop tease him about his results. Last November, he earned only 3.25 percent of the vote in Ward 7.

FRANK

But Campbell doesn't show any signs of discouragement. If he earned that many votes last time around, he thinks he can gather more if he tries again. And if he does run, he might even try campaigning more widely, like, well, outside the doors of the barbershop. For now, John Campbell seems content helping to make over the city, one haircut and shapeup at a time. I'm Jocelyn Frank.

SHEIR

And that's "Metro Connection" for this week. We heard from WAMU's Jacob Fenston, Jonathan Wilson, Emily Berman, and Lauren Landau, along with reporter Jocelyn Frank. WAMU's managing editor of news is Memo Lyons. Metro Connection's managing producer is Tara Boyle. Lauren Landau is our editorial assistant. Our interns are Rachael Schuster and Robbie Feinberg. Lauren Landau, Rachel Schuster and John Hines produce Door To Door. Thanks, as always, to the WAMU engineering and digital media teams for their help with production and the "Metro Connection" website.

SHEIR

Our theme song, "Every Little Bit Hurts" and our Door To Door theme, "No Girl" are from the album Title Tracks by John Davis and used with permission of the Ernest Jennings Record Company. You can see all the music we use on our website, metroconnection.org. Just click on a story and you'll find information about its accompanying song. Also on metroconnection.org, you can read free transcripts of stories. And if you missed part of today's show, you can hear the whole thing online anytime. You can also find us on iTunes and Stitcher.

SHEIR

We hope you can join us next week, when we'll tip our hats to Valentine's Day, with a show about chemistry. We'll spend time with the matchmakers behind Date Lab, the Washington Post's weekly experiment in blind dating, we'll meet local scientists using chemistry to keep U.S. soldiers safe from explosives, and we'll consider the crafty chemistry of cocktails, with D.C.'s very own mixtress.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE

I love using lavender in cocktails. Lavender is an underlying aphrodisiac. It not only makes you feel sleepy, you know, people like bedtime, but lavender also gives you a feeling of euphoria, love.

SHEIR

I'm Rebecca Sheir, and thanks for listening to "Metro Connection," a production of WAMU 88.5 News.
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