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During the six years that the H&H Flotation Spa was open near Hechinger’s on Wisconsin Avenue, many Tenleytown neighbors were convinced that the place was a seedy massage parlor. They called in the vice squad, but in the end, no one could ever prove that H&H (short for Health and Happiness) offered anything more salacious than new-agey stress reduction floats in a sensory-deprivation tank full of salt water. H&H was forced to move after its old building was shaved off to widen the alley next to Fresh Fields, but last week, spa owner Leyla Oday resurfaced before the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) with a zoning request. Oday wants to offer massage therapy along with floats and hot-tub soaks at her new location over a Chinese restaurant at 5200 Wisconsin. Suspicions from her previous operation left the ANC deadlocked over the application. “There were concerns that it was not a legitimate business,” says ANC commissioner Beth Kravetz, who adds that Oday is open until 11 p.m. on weeknights. But Oday says the ANC’s concerns are unfounded. “So many bad places open here, so you know, you’re sort of shoved out with a lot of bad fish,” she says. “That’s what the meeting was for, to let them know I’m not a stinky fish.”
Taken for Granted Over the past couple of years, working conditions in the District’s child welfare system have been so bad that social workers have fled faster than the agency can hire replacements. As a result, it’s been forced to use unlicensed workers in violation of a 1991 court order. Under the circumstances, a U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) program to subsidize social workers in training from local universities seemed like a godsend. University of the District of Columbia (UDC) grad Miranda Grant joined 17 other local students in the program. In exchange for a stipend, the students completed an unpaid internship arranged by the D.C. Commission on Social Services and agreed to work for the District for one year after graduation. Uncle Sam was supposed to pay 75 percent of the cost, but so far, Grant and five other UDC grads have not received the $6,000 stipends they were promised nearly a year ago. As it turns out, the commission didn’t start filing the claims for the social-work students until last week, months after students began complaining. HHS spokesman Michael Kharfan says the funds should be released within five days after the forms are filed, but as Grant notes, “It would have been quicker to write Bill Cosby and ask him for $6,000.”