29 February 2008

A Place to Play: Playground Initiative Grows in Brookland

We won't know for sure until the 2010 census, but it sure feels like there's been a baby-boom in Brookland/Michigan Park/Woodridge. A quick survey of local playgrounds turns up a number of dilapidated and sometimes vandalized play areas which don't do much to inspire parents to bring their children out. Healthy and accessible open space and play areas are no small asset for parents raising children in the city. Getting outside, getting exercise, and connecting with the community are only a few of the perks of well attended playgrounds.

A number of local neighbors have begun organizing to do something about the neighborhoods' lack and we invite you to get involved. You don't have to be a parent to care about playgrounds. It's a benefit to us all when children of all ages have safe and healthy places to play.

Three ways to get involved:

Dream a Little Dream:
We are soliciting ideas for the ideal park and playground. We are looking to the neighbors to tell us what you want to see in a new playground. The group intends to target a particular site to put our efforts behind, so gathering together the vision of the neighborhood helps. What are your favorite parks and why? What is your child's/nephew's/grandchild's favorite activity? Send your comments to brooklandjess@earthlink.net by Thursday March 6th.

Make Some Noise for Noyes:
The group quickly uncovered that the Noyes Park (map) is mired in budget politicking. Two years ago, the Department of Parks and Recreation completed a fantastic set of plans for development of the empty parcel bordered by 10th Street NE and Franklin Street NE. The park includes landscaped area and would be a benefit to all residents, not just families with children. Each year, during the usual round of cuts, this park is waylaid. The 2009 budget is presented in March and finalized in June, so this is our window of opportunity to lobby to keep this park in the budget!

It's valid to note that Ward 5's own Councilmember Tommy Thomas is the chair of the Committee on Libraries, Parks, and Recreation. Other councilmembers include Carol Schwartz, At-Large, David A. Catania, At-Large, Phil Mendelson, At-Large, and Yvette Alexander, Ward 7.

Here is a sample letter. Please tailor it to reflect your concerns.
I am writing to ask for a moment of your time to email our council
member and mayor to include the funding for Noyes Park (the field at
10th & Franklin) in the 2009 budget.

Detailed plans for this site were drawn up over a year ago. The 2009 budget is being finalized over the next couple of months so it is a good time to support the addition of a beautiful landscaped park and playground to the neighborhood.

Join us for a Cuppa: Join the Brookland Playground Group at the next open meeting, March 8, 11 am, at Cardinals Nest for coffee and planning, 3748 10th Street, NE. The group is new and we are eager to invite input from the neighborhood.

Photo by elfrenetico

28 February 2008

Casey Trees

Each year, the city loses a number of mature trees to disease, age, and overpruning. Last year, many of our trees suffered in the drought and many did not survive. With new construction or home addition, old trees are lost and all too often builders and new homeowners don't think to replant. Don't be daunted by the cost of new trees or the dilemma of what kind or where to put them. Take advantage of one of the best local organizations in D.C. - Casey Trees.

Casey Trees will soon be headquartered in Brookland (pdf) at 3030 12th Street NE, which is a welcome addition to the neighborhood. For those that aren't familiar with them, this is a great time to catch up on their calendar of Spring plantings. No experience necessary and the more the merrier.

Browse their Spring 2008 Tree Planting Events here.

Additionally, don't miss their homeowner workshops (pdf), "Design Your Yard with Trees." The sessions are free and attendants will receive a FREE TREE! Bring photographs or drawings and measurements of your yard and map out existing trees, buildings and powerlines.

Advanced registration is required and workshops are limited to 30 participants, so sign up now:

Tuesday March 11th (6:30 p.m.-9 p.m.)
Wednesday March 19th (6:30 p.m.-9 p.m.)

Casey Trees 1425 K St, NW, Suite 1050

26 February 2008

ANC-5A Monthly Meeting - Wednesday, February 27

What: Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday, February 27, 2008 at 7 p.m.

Where: John Burroughs Elementary School, 1820 Monroe Street NE

Agenda Includes:
· ANC Business
· MPD-5D and 4D Police Reports
· Harry Thomas – Ward 5 Councilmember
· DCPS School Presentation
· Ty Simpson – Stone Hedge Restaurant
· Community Concerns

20 February 2008

Ward 5 Economic Development Summit - Saturday, February 23

What: Ward 5 Economic Development Summit

When: Saturday, February 23, 2008

10:00 a.m.: Registration

10:15 a.m.–10:30 a.m.: Opening Remarks

10:30 a.m.–11:30 a.m.: Panel: Stimulating Neighborhood Economic Development, moderated by Ward 5 Planner Deborah Crain. Panelists include: Steve Moore, WDC Economic Partnership; Derrick Woody, Great Streets Initiative; Phyllis Love, Restore DC's Main Street Initiative; Vinnie Wolhfarth, Brookland CDC/Brookland Main Street; Pat Mitchell, North Capitol Main Street; and Ana Harvey, Greater Washington Hispanic Chamber of Commerce.

11:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.: Mini Workshop on Negotiating Community Benefits Packages, moderated by Collaboration DC's Mary Jacksteit

12:30 p.m.–1:00 p.m.: Lunch

1:00 p.m.–2:30 p.m.: Break Out Sessions on Economic Development Projects. You will be able to meet with and ask questions of developers with projects in Ward 5. Each developer will have a table. To-date, developers for the following projects have RSVPed: Rhode Island Station; Arbor Place, McMillan Reservior; Art Space at Fort Totten; Armed Forces Retirement Home; New Town at Capital City Market; St Paul's Townhome project; and the 30th Street Townhome project.

2:30 p.m.–2:45 p.m.: Wrap Up

Where: Catholic University Caldwell Hall, main floor (view campus map here)

Questions and additional information: Call 202.724.8028.

17 February 2008

Clearing up the Confusion - Man Who Shot MPD Officer is Killed

A number of news outlets are reporting that the man who shot an MPD officer on Friday also shot a PG County sheriff's deputy before he was shot and killed. While Dorian Ray was the intended recipient of the initial paternity warrant, he was not the shooter. The Washington Post clarifies the situation best:
A Prince George's County sheriff's deputy was shot and seriously wounded early yesterday in a motel room in the Laurel area by a man who had shot a D.C. police officer in the face Friday, authorities said.

Other law enforcement officers in the motel room opened fire and killed the suspect, police said. He was identified last night by Howard County police as Aaron M. Lowry, 31, of Washington.


The Prince George's deputy and several other members of the Capital Area Regional Fugitive Task Force had gone to an EconoLodge in the 9700 block of Route 1 near Laurel about 3:30 p.m. in search of the man who shot the D.C. officer. The man was also wanted on charges of attempted murder and robbery, police said.

They found Lowry in a room at the motel, Howard police said. When he shot at them, they returned fire and killed him, police said.


Lowry apparently came into contact with D.C. police about 1:15 p.m. Friday in the 700 block of Irving Street NE, where members of the task force had gone to serve a paternity support warrant on another man, according to a police account.

The task force members saw someone who appeared to match the description of the man they were seeking, police said. As officers approached, Lowry pulled out a gun and fired three times, grazing Duncan in the face, authorities said. They said the officers did not fire back.


The gunman ran and was last seen heading south on Eighth Street NE, Lanier said. Police officers and marshals swarmed the area, which includes Catholic University, and helicopters hovered. Lanier said she extended the shifts of some officers who would have finished their days at 3 p.m.

During the search, police said they found the man wanted in the paternity warrant and took him into custody. He was identified as Dorian M. Ray, 36, of the 600 block of Hamlin Street NE. Ray was not charged in the D.C. officer's shooting.

16 February 2008

Florida Market Tour - Saturday, February 23

Florida Market
Join Richard (Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space) and Elise (Frozen Tropics) for another installment of the popular walking tours of the Florida Avenue Market, February 23, 2008 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m.

There are considerable development pressures on the area and it's important that the neighbors understand what is there now so we can better understand what stands to be lost or gained by development. There are many resources for more information on the Market, but none of these will replace walking the Market yourself.

» Capital City/Florida Market posts at Frozen Tropics
» "The Bigness Complex, Urbanism and the Florida Market" from Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space
» Capital City Market (aka Florida Market) blog (also in the sidebar)
» Capital City Market interactive piece from Josh Williams
» FreeRide's wrap-up
» DCmud on the redevelopment plans
» Sang Oh Choi's vision for the Gateway Market & Residences, "The Gateway to the Next Great Place"

15 February 2008

MPD Officer Shot in NE; Police Searching Near Brookland and Brentwood Metro Stations

**UPDATE** The suspect, 36-year-old Dorian Maurice Ray, has been taken into custody. Ray was being served a paternity warrant when he allegedly shot 37-year-old detective Antonio Duncan, a 14-year-veteran of the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, a U.S. marshal-led task force.

Both Fox5 and NBC4 are reporting the incident:
D.C. police said they are investigating a shooting involving an officer.

Sources told News4 the officer suffered a graze wound to his face in the 700 block of Irving Street in Northeast. There was no word on what the officer was doing when the shooting occurred.

A priest told News4 that he heard three shots and saw the officer on the ground when he went outside. The priest said he was surprised the wound wasn't more serious because it was a close-range shooting.

Police said the gunman was a black man standing 6 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 200 pounds, wearing blue jeans and carrying a black backpack.

The man fled down Eighth Street and was last seen running toward the Brookland Metro Station, police said. Trains were stopped as officers from D.C. police and Metro Transit Police searched the station and tracks for the shooter.

The officer was taken to an area hospital for treatment.

More from WTOP:
An intensive manhunt is underway after a D.C. Police detective was shot in a neighborhood near Catholic University, D.C. Police say.
D.C. Police say the detective was grazed on the side of his face by a bullet after a man opened fire around 1:20 p.m. Friday.

The shooting occurred in the 3100 block of 7th Street in Northeast, near Catholic and Trinity universities.

The detective is a member of the Capitol Area Regional Fugitive Task Force, a U.S. marshal-led task force.

The task force was in the area serving arrest warrants, but it's not clear whether the shooter was wanted by police or just opened fire when he saw the officers.

The suspect is still on the loose and considered armed and dangerous.

He is described as a light complexioned black man, about 36 years old with light facial hair. He is 5 feet, 8 inches tall, and weighs about 160 pounds and was carrying a black backpack.

Police say the detective is expected to be released from the hospital later Friday.

The suspect was last seen fleeing on the railroad tracks east of Catholic University, according to a message on Catholic University's Web site.

Earlier, Catholic University students in the Spellman and Conaty residence halls - the buildings closest to the shooting - were informed to stay in their buildings, but the alert has been lifted.

The university is not on lockdown and there is no evidence to suggest the gunman is anywhere near campus.

14 February 2008

Welcome to a New Contributor!

It takes a lot of eyes and ears to keep up with the heartbeat of a community. I'm glad to be allowed to contribute to Stop, Blog, and Roll. Jaime has done an extraordinary job collecting together many of the resources for Ward 5 residents and I'm hoping to help distill this information into news you can use. You need more than just access to information, but also some sense of the patterns, some ideas how things are interconnected.

I'm joining on here to respond to the needs of readers and neighbors, so please feel free to contact me with your questions. What can we do to clean up RI metro stop? Why is the Brookland escalator constantly broken? What do we have to do to get some spectacular, clean and safe playgrounds? Why is it so difficult to find out where the MPD5 meetings are located? What developments are going on? Which charter schools are moving into the area and how will they impact the neighborhood? From large to small, these issues make up the fabric of our daily lives in these neighborhoods.

I'm sympathetic to the large number of neighbors who can't make week night meetings because of families and jobs but who still want to contribute meaningfully to the community. Blogs and online information become vital tools to connect us.

  • I have deep connections in the community, including my native Washingtonian husband and his extensive family, but I'm fairly new to Ward 5.
  • When asked, I say I live in Brookland. But just between you and me, I live in what a very few might call “University Heights,” a tiny and often forgotten portion of Greater Brookland between Brookland and Michigan Park.
  • I moderate the Brookland Announcements Listserv. I'm the editor of the Capital Sierran for the DC Chapter of the Sierra Club.
  • I'm a mother, an environmentalist, urban planner, educator, activist. I have degrees, a few too many, in English, German, Urban Planning, and Natural Resources.
  • I work hard trying to keep my old house from falling apart, with various degrees of success.
  • When the weather allows, I garden. When it does not permit, I read local blogs and publications while dreaming of better weather.
  • I knit. I cook. I parent a toddler.
  • I look forward to spending a lot of life here in Brookland, which is obviously an exceptional community by any measure.
You can contact me with ideas or news at brooklandjess@earthlink.net.