10 December 2008

The Latest and Greaterest

Just a quick update to redirect you to my new bloggy home as a contributor to Greater Greater Washington. Devoted to improving the vitality of Washington, DC and the walkable cities and neighborhoods in the Washington metropolitan area, GGW seemed like the perfect fit for me as I look forward to attending UMD for a Master in Community Planning in fall 2009. So far, I've only been able to contribute a couple of posts, but the volume will grow, and you can get to them directly here - though you really should be reading every bit of this great resource ;)

28 July 2008

I Lived In and Loved...

The short and bittersweet of it is this: I lived in and loved Woodridge for 3 years. I started this blog as my small way of serving the community (among a number of things I was involved in offline). Due to personal circumstances far beyond my control, I no longer live in the neighborhood, though I remain in DC. Actually, everything on my end changed just after I made a resolution to post more frequently this year....Keeping my life outside of this blog intact became the priority.

My heartfelt thanks go to everyone who supported this endeavor in one way or another - readers, commenters, lurkers, linkers, etc, and particularly to BrooklandJess for jumping on board for a bit. Perhaps one or more of you will think about starting your own neighborhood blog in this neck of the woods.

For now I'll leave everything up - I still haven't decided if I should move the blog with me to my new neighborhood (where neighbloggers already abound), or leave it here for "posterity."

Again, thank you. Remember to be kind to each other, appreciate each day, and continue to work in any way you can to strengthen our community.

01 July 2008

Forgotten Neighbors and Lost Houses

WJLA reports: This Woodridge home might appear abandoned, but it turns out there's a very long-time resident still living there. By my math, her family has had the house since 1949. With no water, no electricity, and no services, Eva Rusk, 72, still scrapes by. Although, for better or for worse, times are changing for her and it's a safe bet she'll be in more modern comforts before long.

Reading the article and watching the video, I tried to make out the corner. 1847 Which St? My eyesight (and my video resolution) not being what it could be, can anyone tell what intersection this is?

Just curious: When this house gets sold off and refurbished, at a significant increase in value, is it still gentrification? How much of gentrification is about protecting the poor and old (including an unexpectedly tenacious old white lady) and how much is about keeping the historic racial/ethnic character of a neighborhood? Of course, up until far too recently, this same neighborhood had covenants to keep African-Americans from buying. This family bought just as the rules were overturned and as Woodridge went from a predominately White neighborhood to largely African-American.

Of course, I don't know anything about the Rusks or their history in Woodridge and I don't mean to imply anything. I'm just taking this one story and using it to ask other questions. All around, it's an interesting story.

18 May 2008

Cardinal's Nest Closed After Saturday's Shooting - UPDATED

I just heard on NBC4 that the Cardinal's Nest has been closed after yesterday's shooting/homicide (though the shooting did not actually happen at the club/restaurant). I can't find a link, but will hopefully post one tomorrow.

**UPDATE** Robert Vinson Brannum has just announced that the Summary Suspension against the Cardinal's Nest has been lifted and the ABC Board will not be review the matter at its hearing tomorrow as initially planned. The incident will be on the agenda for the Thursday 5D-CAC meeting.

17 May 2008

Triple Shooting on 10th Street NE; 1 Dead

From MPD-5D, with my edits:
Detectives assigned to the Metropolitan Police Department’s Homicide and Sexual Offenses Branch are investigating a triple shooting which resulted in one fatality that occurred on 10th Street, NE.

On Saturday, May 17, 2008, at approximately 2:25 am, Fifth District officers on patrol in the area responded to 10th and Perry Streets, NE to investigate the sound of gunfire. Several minutes later, three shooting victims from that location arrived at a local hospital via a private vehicle.

One of the victims, who was suffering from multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body, was pronounced dead. He has been identified as 26-year-old Clifton Nate Chaney, of the 1400 block of Florida Avenue, NW. The other two victims were treated for non-life-threatening injuries. Their identities are being withheld because they are witnesses in the case.

Preliminary investigation indicates that the victims had just left the Cardinal's Nest, located in the 3500 block of 10th St., NE, and while they were inside of a motor vehicle, a lone gunman approached the vehicle and opened fire. Subsequently, the suspect fled the scene on foot and the operator of the vehicle that was fired upon drove to an area hospital.

Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 202-727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIM[E]. Anonymous information can also be sent to the department’s text tip line by text messaging 50411.

The department currently offers a reward of up to TWENTY-FIVE THOUSAND DOLLARS to anyone who provides information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons responsible for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

13 May 2008

SMD 5A-09 & PSA 503 Joint Monthly Meeting - Wednesday, May 14

What: SMD 5A-09 & PSA 503 Joint Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday, May 14 2008, 6:30 p.m.

Where: Hospital for Sick Children/HSC Pediatric Center, 1731 Bunker Hill Road NE

Agenda: Public safety and community concerns, including those addressed in the letter below, written by a neighbor on Otis Street NE:
Dear Neighbors-

In case you haven't heard, a big developer, Alliance Holdings LLC, purchased a tiny piece of land between our home and our neighbor (2212 Otis St NE, Square 4242, Lot 10). It is 25 feet wide, and according to zoning regulations the owner may NOT build as a matter of right.

We recently learned that Taiwo Demuren, presumably with Alliance Holdings LLC, has applied for significant variances from lot area, and lot width requirements, as well as from side yard requirements in order to build a single family dwelling.

In an effort to keep the lot, as it is, open green space, our next-door neighbor made numerous attempts to purchase the lot – but as you can imagine, it is difficult to outbid a developer with deep pockets.

We are very concerned about how this will change the character of our neighborhood. Many of us moved here for the space, and greenery. If these variances are granted, there are many other small lots in our neighborhood that would be able to be developed in a similar manner. Demuren's requested variances would establish a precedent to grant additional variances for these other lots to be more easily developed.

We also fear that since it is often more profitable to knock down an old home and rebuild multiple new homes within the same footprint, than it is to renovate the old home, that this decision could encourage more developers to purchase old homes on these lots, knock them down and build two or more houses in the same plot of land (We have seen this in N. Arlington, VA). Again, we believe that Demuren's requested variances will set a precedent and make the development described above much easier for the next builder.

Of an even greater concern is the beautiful and historic old oak tree that is located on the lot line between the undeveloped lot and our neighbor's home (2216 Otis St, NE). An arborist has certified that this is the SECOND OLDEST TREE IN THE ENTIRE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA. The tree measures approximately 180 inches in diameter and is estimated to be 300-400 years old. The arborist has also certified that because of the tree's extensive root system, the construction of a structure on the vacant lot will kill this ancient tree.

There are three meetings where attendance by the community members is important if you are interested in helping to stop the proposed development. The first is on May 14, 2008.

*The proposed use of this land is on the agenda for the ANC 5A09 & PSA 503Joint Monthly Meeting on Wednesday, May 14, 2008, at 6:30 PM, at the Hospital for Sick Children located at 18th St and Bunker Hill Rd., NE. ANC 5A09 Commissioner Shirley Rivens-Smith will be there and would like to know what the citizens of ANC 5 think of this development.*

* *

*The second meeting is the ANC 5A meeting on May 28, 2008, when all of the ANC 5A commissioners will vote whether to deny or approve support of the developers zoning variances. This meeting will be held at the Taft Recreation Center, 18th and Perry St NE, at 7:00 PM.*

The final meeting will be at the zoning hearing, which will take place on July 8, 2008.

We would certainly appreciate any support, advice, and suggestions from our neighbors on this matter.

We are not against development – we just believe that the zoning regulations were established for a reason, and chose to move to this area because of the open space and the character and charm of our neighborhood. Although we do love our neighbors, and feel rather fortunate to know such nice folks on our block, if we wanted to be on top of them we would have stayed in a condominium. We also love the beautiful old trees and feel it would be a terrible shame for this gift of nature to be destroyed.

We understand there is an expectation of many more jobs and people moving to the area over the next few years, but as a realtor I can tell you there are plenty of vacant properties available for housing all over the city, and not enough buyers and renters to fill them.

Again – we feel this could set a terrible precedent that could significantly affect the character of the greater Brookland/Woodridge/Michigan Park neighborhood, and are *asking for your support*.

Please join us at the ANC 5A09 meeting to show your support.

Thank you!

Brookland Farmers Market Opens!

The market will open this Sunday from 10am - 2pm located next to the CVS on Newton, off 12th St.

The market will have Agora Frams veggies, New Starts Farm with starts for your garden, and soon enough the bread guy Chris will be back (with the best chocolate croissant in the city, in my studied opinion)

The market has a new manager, Avner Ofer, who is looking for more vendors, including artisans. If you have any ideas or suggestions, contact him directly. One good question: willwe be having the Tuesday market as well? My week is not complete without visiting Mike Tabor and getting apples for the kids.

Photo from Tuesday Market.
Learning about fresh produce at the Tuesday Farmers Market, Brookland, DC
Originally uploaded by brooklandcdc.

8.5% Rate Increase from WASA?

If this is a concern to you, DC WASA has set up a series of community meetings.
The Board reports that the new rate will raise the average monthly bill by approximately $4.24.

The local meeting is:
TUESDAY, MAY 20 6:30 pm- 8:30 PM
Washington Center for the Aging
2601 18th Street, NE

For a full list of the meetings across the District, visit their online release.

photo by Linda Badner

11 May 2008

May is National Foster Care Month - FAN Needs Your Support

As the founding vice-chair and current secretary of the board for Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso (FAN), I find myself in the delicate situation of asking for your financial support for our grassroots 501(c)3 on our community blog. I keep reminding myself that I've asked my readers to support a number of community organizations and events that I have no official ties to, all in the name of community and civic investment, and this is really no different aside from my personal commitment to FAN. This is not my day job, it truly is a volunteer labor of love. Please, read the information below, and, if possible, contribute to FAN and help us stay on track in fulfilling our mission to provide safety, security, love, and understanding for DC's foster adolescents....

Can you imagine being separated from your family, moving from place to place, not knowing if you'll be in the same school, same neighborhood, or same house from one day to the next?

Nearly 3,000 children in foster care from Washington, DC live with this uncertainty every day, staying in care for 3 years on average and living in 3 different homes during that time. The crisis-driven child welfare system is so focused on what's wrong with teens in foster care, that they fail to see what's "right" with this group of young people.

FAN works with some of the city's most vulnerable youth: teens in foster care, in a daily after school and summer positive youth development program that engages youth in academic support, extracurricular instruction, community service, group mentoring, and cultural enrichment. Youth are provided with opportunities to belong, to develop their talents and skills, to develop meaningful relationships with peers and adults, and to experience success. FAN serves as a source of stability, consistency, and support that enhances the well-being and positive development of youth. Please visit our website at www.fan-dc.org to learn more about our organization and to join our mailing list.

May is National Foster Care Month. Make a difference in the lives of teens in foster care with your tax deductible donation of $10, $25, $50, $100, or more. To be a part of FAN's success, please mail a check today or donate online on our website through
Network for Good.

I cannot thank you enough for your generosity!

Fihankra Akoma Ntoaso / FAN
1227 Good Hope Road SE, Room 106
Washington, DC 20020
202.889.5000 x114
202.889.5035 (fax)

05 May 2008

Arrest made in Ward 5 shooting

On Saturday, May 3rd, 5th Police District made an arrest in the slaying of a local youth. On Sunday, April 20, 2008, George Douglas, 18, of 35th Street NE as found slain at the 2700 block of 26th Street, NE.

MPD report online.
WaPo article online.

The arrest happened on the year's first All Hands On Deck initiative. Thank you to MPD 5th District! The
5D Citizens Advisory Council/CAC Monthly Meeting meets 4th Thursday of every month at 7pm, Fifth District Police Station, 1805 Bladensburg Road, NE.

04 May 2008

Michigan Park Citizens' Association Monthly Meeting

What: Michigan Park Citizens' Association

When: Tuesday, May 7, 2008, 7:15 pm

Where: Bunker Hill Elementary, 14th Street and Michigan Avenue, NE

On the Agenda:
The neighbors of Michigan Park Citizens Association will host Mayor Adrian Fenty next week to discuss issues relevant to the community.

1. Excessive Speeding along South Dakota and Michigan Avenues
2. Real Estate Management within the neighborhood

All are neighbors are welcome to join.

22 April 2008

Get Your Green On - Earth Day 2008 and Beyond

Happy Earth Day 2008. Mother Earth is celebrating with rain and more rain, which might have washed out the Earth Day concert on the National Mall, but it's good news for our region still recovering from the drought last year. When the rain clears later this week, the opportunities for a green-themed weekend abound. Here are just a few things to try and cram into your Saturday:

Anacostia Watershed Society’s annual Anacostia River Earth Day Cleanup & Rally Celebration, 8:00 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. Choose from an array of clean-up sites along several tributaries of the Anacostia River. A full list of sites is available, but nearby options include the Northwest Branch/Hyattsville or Bladensburg Waterfront Park.

Household Hazardous Waste Collection and Electronics Recycling Day, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
D.C. Department of Public Works is accepting household hazardous waste at Carter Barron Amphitheatre, 16th and Kennedy Streets, NW. The list of acceptable items is long, but a few of the acceptable items include: antifreeze, asbestos tile, batteries, fluorescent bulbs, fertilizer, mercury thermometers, paint, CD rom drives, cell phones, computers, cords/wire, monitors, printers, TV's and VCR's.

Chesapeake Green Compost Sale, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The Hyattsville Horticulture Society will be holding its annual Chesapeake Green Compost Sale at Community Forklift (4671 Tanglewood Dr., Edmonston, MD 20781) selling Chesapeake Green compost for $3.00 per 40 lb bag *(normally retailing at local garden centers for $5 to $6 per bag). Chesapeake Green is an environmentally friendly soil amendment blended from composted poultry litter, clam shells and wood chips. To preorder or for further information call or email Joe Buriel, 301-864-4882.

Ward 5 Homeowner Tree Giveaway, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Casey Trees is sponsoring a tree giveaway for Ward 5 residents at St. Anthony School, 12th and Monroe St, NE. Homeowners can request up to 2 shade trees for their property. Homeowners must pre-register by emailing dcshadetree@earthlink.net with your name, addy, number and types of tree(s): Princeton American Elm, River Birch, or Black gum/Tupelo. For more info, visit Casey Trees.

Franciscan Monastery Plant Sale, Sat. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sun. 8 a.m. to 3p.m.
(1400 Quincy St NE, DC). Find your favorite organically grown vegetable and herbs, an inventory of perennials and annuals, spectacular Camellias & Azaleas, expansive addition of woody plants and small trees. For more information, visit the Monastery website.

Photo by Yoma Ullman

16 April 2008

Brookland Small Area Plan - Saturday, April 26

Since 2006, the D.C. Office of Planning has been working on a Brookland Small Area Plan. For those that haven't been following the conversations, a Decking Feasibility Plan was just released April 8th, 2008. The feasibility plan explores possible ideas for decking over the tracks at the metro station. When reading the decking study, you will see visions of open plazas, farmers markets, connectivity from Michigan Ave to 10th Street, new residential development and deck parking. It's a grand vision of what the metro area of Brookland could become, but there is a lot of work (and a few reality checks) between us and anything close to the neighborhood portrayed in colorful sketches in the document.

If you want to know more or get involved, there is a meeting coming up. The DC Office of Planning invites you to attend a public meeting about the Brookland/CUA Metro Station Area Plan. All are invited to share comments and questions.

When: Saturday, April 26, 2008
9:30-10:00 a.m., Open House
10 a.m.-noon, Presentation

Where: Noyes Elementary School, 2725 10th St NE The meeting will be in the school auditorium; enter from Franklin Street.

For more information please contact: Deborah Crain, Ward 5 Planner, DC Office of Planning, 801 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 4000
Phone: 202-442-7615 Fax: 202-442-7638
E-mail: Deborah.Crain@dc.gov
Or visit the DC Office of Planning online.

Please RSVP: 202-610-0005 or rsvp@jsallc.com

04 April 2008

The Community that eats together...

It's short notice but you have two wonderful dinner invites for TONIGHT. You can choose between fundraising for John Burroughs Family Day while enjoying New Orleans cuisine or join Our Saviour Church for a friendly fish fry.

John Burroughs School Family Day Fundraiser
Where: Saint's Bourbon Street which is donating a percentage of the profits.
1812 Hamlin St. NE, Washington, DC 20018 US
When: Friday, April 4, 3:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Phone: 202-576-6039

Our Saviour Episcopal Church, Brookland Parish Fish Fry
Where: Irving between 16th and 17th, NE
When: Friday, April 4, 3 p.m. and 8 p.m.
$7 per dinner (whiting or trout), with potato salad and greens.
Dine in or take out.

photo by Operators Are Standing By

Potomac River Watershed Clean Up Tomorrow - Rain or Shine

We predict rain, but don't let that stop you. You'd just get wet and dirty anyhow.

While on the them of the great outdoors, find some worn out clothes, you know, the ones you can't even try to get rid of at the yard sale, and join the Alice Ferguson Foundation 20th Annual Potomac River Watershed Clean-up.

There are a number of sites but if you want to stick close to home, try the L Street NE clean up (contact Merrit Drucker, NoMa Business Improvement District, 202-722-6716) or Anacostia Park (contact Allison Moller, Email, Southeast White House). Directions are included on the main site.

Outdoor Events of Note

[Edited: Note correction of Monastery Plant Sale dates.]
The sunshine earlier this week had neighbors out and about in anticipation of clearer days. Now the rainy weekend will have a number of us parked in front of the computers again. While puttering on the Internet and fighting the overcast, pull out your calendar and make note of some good outdoor dates:

Moonlit Hike on the Mall, April 18, 7 p.m.: It's not in Ward 5, but it's an opportunity worth mentioning. Sierra Club's MWROP is hosting this hike as part of their "Get to Know DC" series. The family is invited, so long as they can walk 7+ mi. (or a shorter 3 mi.) on relatively level terrain. Bring water. Meet on the Mall side of Constitution Ave., halfway between 15th and 17th Sts. Nearest Metro station is Federal Triangle. For more information, contact the leader, Jim Finucane, at 301/365-3485 (before 9 pm).

Franciscan Monastery Plant Sale, April 26-27: Unless you drive by the Monastery, you might not hear word of this sale. Their annual sale is a spectacular way to get small plant, especially herbs and veggies, for your garden. They also sell annuals, perennials, roses, and trees. I found the prices last year to be very reasonable, often quite lower than Home Depot, with the added bonus of supporting one of the finest (and most hidden) gems of DC.

Great Brookland Yard Sale, April 19: With more than 30 families now participating and several refreshment stations hosted by Menkiti Group, this has grown into an all-neighborhood yard party.

Trees for Ward 5 Homeowners, April 29, 10 a.m - 2 p.m., St. Anthony's School at 12th and Monroe: Our soon-to-be neighbors and all around generous folks at Casey Trees have partnered with DDOE to sponsor a tree giveaway for Ward 5 residents. Homeowners can request up to 2 shade trees for their property. Pre-register by emailing dcshadetree@earthlink.net or calling 202.349.1909 with your name, addy, number and types of tree(s): Princeton American Elm (Ulmus americana ‘Princeton’), River Birch (Betula nigra), or Black gum or Tupelo (Nyssa sylvatica). The trees will be in 10 gallon buckets, so these are small enough for the average homeowner to transport home in a car or even a wheel-barrow if you live close enough.

Photo by sophiagrrl of the Monastery in full bloom.