24 January 2008

Ward 5 Leadership Meeting - Saturday, January 26

What: Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners, Presidents and leaders of
Ward 5 community organizations, and concerned citizens are invited to join Councilmember Thomas to discuss and shape the Ward 5 agenda for 2008.

When: Saturday, January 26, 2008; 10 a.m. - Registration, 10:30 a.m-12 p.m. - Meeting

Where: Woodridge Neighborhood Library, 1801 Hamlin Street NE (18th and Rhode Island Avenue NE)

Additional Information: Please call 202.724.8028

5A-07 Commissioner and ANC-5A Officer Election Results

From Don Padou, newly elected Commissioner of SMD 5A-07:
Hello Neighbors

Tonight's election results are in, and the biggest surprise to me was the turnout. It seemed like most of the neighborhood was there, and that was great. I was also surprised and pleased that I won.

I want to thank everyone who came out to vote. I particularly want to thank the gentleman who stopped off to vote on his way to the airport--that's the kind of attitude that makes Brookland a special place.

The way I look at it, Brookland just hired me for a job and I certainly plan to do the best I can. If you have any problems you think I can help you with, please drop me an email or give me a call at (202) 832-4038.


Congrats to Don!

- - -

ANC-5A Officers for 2008:

Chair - Angel Alston, 5A-03
Vice Chair - Mary Baird-Currie, 5A-06
Recording Secretary - Janae Grant, 5A-11
Treasurer - Sandi Washington, 5A-01
Corresponding Secretary - Timothy Thomas, 5A-08
Parliamentarian - Robert King, 5A-12

Personal "I-have-an-issue" moment: Angel Alston was 5A's 2007 Recording Secretary, and we've yet to see any minutes posted from last year....How does that past record jive with her newly elected position as Chair?

22 January 2008

Brookland's Tropicana Co-Owner Charged in Illegal License Scheme

From The Examiner:
A local restaurant owner was part of a scheme to provide illegal immigrants with fraudulent driver’s licenses, authorities said Thursday as new details about a raid on the D.C. Department of Motor Vehicles center in Georgetown emerged.

Inside the courtroom, defendants Gloria Gonzalez-Paz, 34, of Prince George’s County, and Dora Romero Morales, 29, of Vienna, appeared in separate hearings. Both women, who are in the U.S. on temporary work permits, wore headphones to listen to an interpreter.

Gonzalez-Paz, who owns a Tropicana Eatery franchise on 12th Street Northeast in D.C. with her husband, wiped tears from her cheeks.

ANC-5A Monthly Meeting and 5A-07 Special Election - Wednesday, January 23

What: Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 at 7 p.m.

Where: Luke Moore Academy, 1001 Monroe Street, NE

Agenda Includes:
· Election of Officers for 5A
· Election of Commissioner for 5A-07 (see below)
· Announce the Vacancy of 5A-05
· MPD-5D and 4D police reports
· Community Concerns

Next 5A Monthly Meeting: Wednesday, February 23, 2008 at 7 p.m. - Taft School, 18th and Perry Street NE

- - -

What: Special election for vacant SMD 5A-07 Commissioner seat (formerly William Boston, Chair)

When: Wednesday, January 23, 2008, 7-8:30 p.m.

Where: Luke Moore Academy, 1001 Monroe Street, NE

· Don Padou
· Carolyn Steptoe
· Bob Artisst

*NOTE: In order to vote in the Special Election you must live in SMD 5A-07 and have your voter registration card OR be listed as a voter on the voter registration list provided by the Board of Elections.

15 January 2008

School Closing Hearings and Links

By now you likely know about the consolidated school closure hearings on Thursday, January 17 [pdf], and "The People's Meeting" co-sponsored by Councilmembers Thomas and Barry. Whichever you choose, if you are able to make it to one of the meetings on Thursday, you will be making an impact.

- - -

Ward 5 schools to be closed (in parentheses) and their meeting locations:

· Taft Recreation Center (Burroughs ES), 1800 Perry Street NE

· Brookland ES (Bunker Hill ES), 1150 Michigan Avenue NE

· LaSalle ES (Backus MS), 501 Riggs Road NE

· Eastern SHS (M.M. Washington SHS), 1700 East Capitol Street NE

· Kelly Miller MS (Douglass and Taft CHOICE Academies and Centers), 301 49th Street NE

· Emery ES (J.F. Cook ES), 1720 1st Street NE

· Noyes ES (Slowe ES), 2725 10th Street NE

· Cleveland ES (Gage-Eckington ES), 1825 8th Street NW (Gage-Eckington is in Ward 1, just outside Ward 5)

- - -

Some links relevant to Ward 5 and DCPS:

» Save John Burroughs DC - Friends of John Burroughs Elementary
John Burroughs proudly ranks 15 out of all 81 DC Public Schools in Reading and 12 out of 81 in Math. Our enrollment is 244 and rising - we are only 7% away from full enrollment!!!....Save this model school from closure.

» "School closings plan draws opposition" - Examiner, Wednesday, January 15
“What [Burroughs Elementary School] has accomplished is incredible given the few resources it has,” said Gary Spinner, whose granddaughter is in second grade. “We were in the process to petition the mayor and chancellor for more support; in turn, we found out we would be closed.”

Spinner and other Burroughs representatives touted the fact that the school is ranked 15th out of 81 citywide in reading and that its standardized test scores last year rose by double digits. Enrollment also has been going up, they said, making it the wrong time for closure.

Chancellor Michelle Rhee has explained that the 23 schools suggested for closure were chosen mainly for building occupancy, rather than test scores or overall program quality. That numbers-driven approach was challenged Monday.

» "One DC Public School Has Fewer Than 100 Students" - WUSA9, Monday, January 14
When Principal Pat Mabry came to Slowe Elementary, the neighborhood school at 14th and Jackson Streets in Northeast had 619 students. Today, Slowe's student enrollment has plummeted to only 84 students.

There are only five classes held in the entire building for DC public school students.

DC School Chancellor Michelle Rhee pointed 9NEWS NOW to Slowe Elementary as example of why up to 23 school buildings have been put on a proposed list for closing.

This has nothing to do with academic performance. It has everything to do with what the city is paying for unused space; staffing, utility and maintenance costs.

Principal Mabry isn't fighting the closing; but she and her parents don't like the plan to send Slowe students to a nearby school where students have been beefing with Slowe's young people.

» "Fixing D.C.'s Schools" - Washington Post investigative series, multiple parts posted since June 2007

Martin Luther King, Jr. Program at Woodridge Library - Wednesday, January 16

What: The Woodridge Neighborhood Library is hosting an open forum - "Reminiscences of April 4, 1968: How the Assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. Affected Our Community" - in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. Participants will share their thoughts of the day that Dr. King was assassinated, the impact of his death, and the subsequent events following this tragedy.

When: Wednesday, January 16 at 7 p.m.

Where: Woodridge Neighborhood Library, 1801 Hamlin Street NE

Additional Information: Call the library at 202.541.6226

11 January 2008

Quick Links - 2 Good, 2 Bad

» "At 108, 'It's a Beautiful Life'" - WaPo, Saturday, January 5. Believed to be the District's oldest resident, Eddye L. Williams lives in NE.

» "KDNY brings Joan of Arc to D.C.'s Dance Place" - DCist, Friday, January 11. The performances will be Saturday at 8 p.m. and Sunday at 4 p.m. A neighbor on the Brookland listserv reminds us:
Dance Place sets aside free tickets to each Sunday performance held at Dance Place for Brookland residents! All you have to do is call 202-269-1600 to see if tickets are still available. You must have either a 20017 or 20018 zip code to be able to receive free tickets. Each caller can reserve up to two tickets.

» A drive-by shooting near Langdon Park injures one Friday afternoon; the suspect has been taken into custody - WUSA9, Friday, January 11.

» MPD-5D officer arrested for inappropriately touching a 19-year-old woman on November 16, 2007, while on duty in the area of the 1300 block of Okie Street, NE - MPD, Friday, January 11.

NE DC Historical Society Meeting: Beyond NE, Hillcrest and the Highlands of SE - Sunday, January 13

What: Join the NE DC Historical Society as they continue to explore the history of our Northeast Washington communities - past, present, and in years to come. This month they will again reach out beyond NE DC to discover the beautiful and historic neighborhood of Hillcrest in Southeast Washington. Presentations will include "A Broader View: Hillcrest and the 'Highlands' of Southeast DC" by James Byers, neighborhood historian, author, and tour leader and "From Hilltop to Hillsdale: The Anacostia of Solomon Brown" by C.R. Gibbs, lecturer, author, and historian.

When: Sunday, January 13, 2008, 2-4 p.m.

Where: Lutheran Church Of the Holy Comforter, 3319 Alabama Avenue SE (Holy Comforter is the low 1950's-modern building on the corner diagonally opposite the large more traditional East Washington Heights Baptist Church. The church parking lot and alley have available spaces

Etc.: For those unable to attend this meeting, don't miss next month's meeting - back in NE - to be held from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, February 10, 2008. The meeting will take place at the Cardinal's Nest Restaurant at 3748 10th Street NE. Presentations will include "Saving Brookland's 1937 Art Moderne Park and Shop: A Historic Failure" by Daniel Wolkoff, Historic Restoration Artist with Adams Morgan Stained Glass, Richard Layman of the Brookland Community Development Corporation, and Dan Vera, a resident of the Brookland neighborhood.

NE DC Historical Society meetings take place the second Sunday of every month. Contact queenstowndc@yahoo.com for further information.

10 January 2008

17-Year-Old Arrested for Rhode Island Avenue Homicide

From MPD:
On Thursday, January 10, 2008, at approximately 11:30 am, a homicide was closed with the arrest of a 17-year-old District youth. His name is being withheld at this time because of his age. He has been charged with Murder Two while Armed. This case remains under active investigation and more arrests are possible.

On Tuesday, January 8, 2008, at approximately 9:25 pm, police were called to a D.C. Fire Department Engine Company located in the 1300 block of Brentwood Road, NE to investigate the report of three male shooting victims. Upon arrival, officers determined that three teenage victims reportedly had been shot a short time earlier while in the vicinity of the 1300 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE and made their way to the firehouse for help. The victims were transported to area hospitals for treatment.

One of the victims died as the result of his injuries. He is identified as 17-year-old Julian Agurs, of the 4900 block of North Capitol Street, NE. He suffered apparent multiple gunshot wounds to the body. The other two victims were transported to an area hospital for treatment of apparent non-life-threatening injuries. Their identities are being withheld because they are witnesses in the case.

The case is under investigation by members of the department’s Violent Crimes Branch. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call 202-727-9099.

The department currently offers a reward of up to $25,000 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.

Tom Knott vs. the RI Avenue Home Depot "De-Facto Refugee Center"

Read Knott's take on "Third World denizens," "ticket-writing workaholics," and $299,000 Georgetown rowhouses (?!) in today's Washington Times. Someone send me a link to a $300K Georgetown anything stat.

09 January 2008

GWU's DC Neighborhood College Now Accepting Applications

My experience in the DC Neighborhood College (DCNC) over the past year has been an eye-opening and extremely informative experience. I strongly urge you to apply if you have an interest in community development, activism, and leadership. The 2008-09 cohort will be a year-long commitment that includes one module per month (Thursday and Friday after work and Saturday during the day) along with an independent, community-based project that culminates in a public poster session and presentation.

George Washington University's Center for Excellence in Public Leadership (CEPL) is the home of the DC Neighborhood College, a citywide program that trains community and civic leaders to lead, organize, and influence positive change in their communities [this program was formally a DC Agenda program).

The program’s goals include developing cross-District networks of highly skilled community and civic leaders who are:

· Active in neighborhood revitalization and working to take advantage of opportunities afforded by government and private initiatives
· Connected to local, regional, and national resources
· Informed by knowledge of best practices and successful innovations in neighborhood empowerment and revitalization
· Supported by sustained training and involvement of thought and practice leaders

The Neighborhood College seeks applicants from all eight of the District’s wards and a broad representation of ages, ethnicities, and civic organizations. Participants must be District residents and are selected through a competitive application process.

Download a DC Neighborhood College brochure (PDF/744Kb).

Applications are due Friday, January 18, 2008 by 3:00 p.m. Click here to read more about the Neighborhood College.

“I use the knowledge I've gained about economic development, project management, and leadership skills on a daily basis. I'd love to participate in other programs that DC Neighborhood College offers and encourage anyone that will listen to consider participating in the program. It was truly a great experience.”
— Neighborhood College Graduate

For more information or an application, contact:
DC Neighborhood College
(202) 994-5390
Email: dcnc@gwu.edu

» If accepted, you will receive a full scholarship to attend.
» You can view the 2008-09 schedule here.
» You can download the application here.

I've kept my independent project close to home by creating the framework for a hypothetical Woodridge Community Development Corporation (CDC) focusing initially on the Rhode Island Avenue commercial corridor running through our neighborhood. I've started building a website to coincide with the project, though it's not yet ready to go live. I hope to maintain that site in addition to this blog once my DCNC cohort finishes in March as a way of keeping the community up-to-date on development in the area. If anything, I've gained invaluable knowledge about the inner-workings of DC, community organizing, and leadership that will continue to guide me in my community engagement...do yourself - and your community - a favor and apply.

08 January 2008

3 Boys Found Shot Outside of Engine 26 on RI Avenue - 1 Dead

**UPDATE: The shots were heard at 1300 Brentwood Road NE at about 9:30 p.m....the 17-year-old boy boy shot in the chest has died [NBC4, WUSA9]. Police are on the lookout for a white car, possibly a Kia, that fled the scene.

» "Youth Had Just Turned 17 When He Was Fatally Shot" - WaPo, Thursday, January 10

Just in from Fox5:
Three boys were found shot outside the Engine 26 firehouse [1340 Rhode Island Avenue NE] in Northeast DC Tuesday night.

Firemen inside the station say they heard several gunshots and a car speed away before finding the injured boys outside

A 16-year-old was shot multiple times in the back, a 13-year-old was shot once in the foot, and another boy was shot several times in the chest.

Woodridge Dunkin' Donuts on Rhode Island Ave. Closes

The latest blow for Woodridge's Rhode Island Avenue commercial corridor: our Dunkin' Donuts has closed its doors. While a PSA 502 officer reported yesterday on the MPD-5D listserv that the store was temporarily boarded up due to a fire a few back, it looks like the close is permanent....From Central Baking Company partner Chris Mellgren:
We were forced to close the store due to poor business demand and security issues at the location. We were saddened to have to close the site but the store had been losing significant amounts of money last year and to add to that it was robbed 6 times in 2007 [emphasis mine].

We are looking for another location in the neighborhood but somewhere that is more secure and will generate more guest visits. In the meantime we have a location at 400 Rhode island NW at the corner of Rhode Island and New Jersey Avenue [1739 New Jersey Avenue NW].

01 January 2008

Casey Trees Moving to Brookland in Late 2008

Casey Trees, the DC organization committed to protecting and renewing the city's tree canopy, will be moving to Brookland [pdf] in late 2008:
...Next year [Casey Trees] is moving from 1425 K Street downtown to the Brookland neighborhood at 3030 12th Street and Irving. The group plans to renovate and add to the existing 4000 square foot structure to house a staff that is expected to grow from 20 to 30-35 people over the next 15 years.

“Our central downtown location has been great, but as we’ve grown our need to be based within a neighborhood where we can work hand in hand with our network of community members has increased. We’re looking forward to putting down our own roots as an organization to join the roots of the trees we’ve planted with our volunteers over the past six years” said Mark Buscaino, Casey Trees Executive Director.

Casey Trees has retained Smith Group as its architects who are now working on concepts. Initial thoughts about the building’s construction are for it to be as “green” as possible, incorporating trees, low-impact development stormwater control features, possibly a green roof, and other elements.

You can read Washington Business Journal's article here [pdf].

Happy New Year!

Here's to a happy, healthy, and safe 2008 for Woodridge, Brookland, and beyond!

Each year many of us make resolutions and then spend the next 365 days trying to keep them (if we even remember them a month or two later). I'd like to resolve to spend more time on this blog with the hope of serving the community. While I'm not sure that is possible - partially because I already spend a great deal of time sifting through info to post - I feel it's still a resolution worth making.

Posting has been sporadic lately; I've been working on my final project for the DC Neighborhood College (you still have a few days left to apply for the 2008-09 cohort) which I hope to share with the community in the next month, busy at work, applying for grad school, and taking some quiet time away from the computer while at home. As always, please contact me if you are interested in contributing to "stop, blog, and roll."

Now, back to reality and resolution aside....I'll be out of town twice in January. The first time will be this week for work through early next week, so posting will be light-to-nil. And then there's the catching up, and going back out of town, and catching up....

May your resolutions be easier to keep ;)