29 March 2007

DC Likely to Reimburse Feds $3.36M Over Closed DMV Inspection Station

Photo copyright Greg Whitesell-Examiner. Hawk One Security Officer Coleman guards the closed DMV Inspection Station at 1827 West Virginia Ave. NE on Wednesday.
From today's Examiner:
The District anticipates having to repay more than $3 million to the federal government now that the Department of Motor Vehicles has decided not to reopen its Northeast Inspection Station.

Outdated, in disrepair and poorly equipped, the station, located at 1827 West Virginia Ave. NE closed in 1999 for reconstruction. Today, despite having spent nearly $8 million to rebuild it, the facility remains shuttered, and the decision has been made to keep the bays locked permanently.

DMV Interim Director Lucinda Babers recently told a D.C. Council committee that the agency’s lone inspection station, at 1001 Half St. SW., experiences "little to no lines" except on Mondays, at lunchtime and after holidays. Waits were reduced through improved staffing and new equipment that streamlined the process, she said.

"We realize that it may be more inconvenient for customers who have to still come to Southwest," Babers said. "But the cost effectiveness isn’t there."

The District spent $7.9 million, including $3.36 million in federal highway funds, to rebuild the Northeast facility.

D.C. officials say the feds likely will have to be reimbursed, though the government has yet to ask for its money back.

Just in case, D.C. is working "to identify the appropriate source of funding," mayoral spokesman Mafara Hobson said.

"Nothing’s concrete in terms of how we’re going to pay them back, but we’re sure we’re going to come up with something so we can proceed," Babers told the council committee.

The building, now 90 percent complete, likely will be turned over to the Department of Public Works for use in fleet maintenance.

The city stopped work on the station in 2003 out of frustration with delays it blamed on the contractor. The District ended up paying D.C.-based HRGM Corp. nearly $3.7 million in two installments to settle the matter.

Ward 1 Council Member Jim Graham, who has oversight of the DMV, said the federal reimbursement is an important but unanswered question. But not operating the Northeast station, he said, should save the District money in the long run.

"It certainly makes sense to pause and not do it if we don’t need it," Graham said.

28 March 2007

7-Year-Old Missing in NE

The Metropolitan Police Department is asking for the public's assitance in finding a missing 7-year-old boy.

Police said William Jones was last seen Tuesday at 8:30pm leaving his home in the 5000 block of Jay Street, NE.

Jones is described as a black male, 4 feet in height, weighing about 48 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing multicolored pants (red, white, blue), a multicolored shirt (red, white, blue), and a camouflage coat.

Anyone who knows his whereabouts is asked to contact the Metropolitan Police Department at 202.727.9099.

I'll post a picture if/when one becomes available.

Homicide on Mount Olivet Road

**UPDATE** This case was closed on Wednesday, April 11, 2007 with the arrest of 18-year-old Cordell Anthony Smith, of the 2600 block of Brinkley Road in Temple Hills, Maryland. He has been charged with Murder I while Armed and is scheduled to be arraigned in DC Superior Court.

From MPD:
At approximately 1:30 this morning, Wednesday, March 28, 2007, police were called inside a 2nd floor hallway of an apartment building located at 1060 Mount Olivet Road, NE, for the report of a shooting. Upon arrival officers located 20-year-old Rayshard Austin, of the 1100 block of Cherry Hill Road, in Beltsville, Maryland, suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds to the body. DC Fire Department emergency medical personnel responded to the scene, but could find no signs consistent with life. He was taken to the DC Medical Examiner’s Office and pronounced dead.

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

26 March 2007

Brookland Ties for Worst Neighborhood to Grab a Bite to Eat

Though it was sweet of the new Share Your DC site to include Brookland in its survey, Michael Grass at FreeRide wonders if Brookland was included as a "sacrificial lamb":
So we'll see what the crafty marketers extract from the input of experts and everyday people like you and me. Maybe, just maybe, we'll get a slogan like this: "Explore Your Nation's Capital: Just Don't Eat in Brookland."

Don't hate the messenger, hate the reality of the message, particularly based on recent negative reactions to the Cardinal's Nest and the limited options for sit-down dining. What do you think?

ANC-5A Monthly Meeting - Wednesday, March 28th

What: Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5A Monthly Meeting

When: Wednesday, March 28th, 2007 at 7pm

Where: Mt. Horeb Baptist Church - Fellowship Hall, 2914 Bladensburg Road, NE

Agenda Includes:
· ANC Business
· Police Report - MPD-5D
· Crime Solvers - Presentation
· DC Rape Crisis Center - Presentation
· Community Concerns

Next Meeting: Wednesday, April 25th, 2007 at 7pm, Turkey Thicket Recreation Center, 1100 Michigan Avenue, NE

Providence Hospital Community Health Fair - Wednesday, March 28th

What: Providence Hospital is hosting its 5th annual community health fair

When: Wednesday March 28th, 2007, 12:30-4:00pm

Where: Providence Hospital's Carroll Manor Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, 1150 Varnum Street, NE

Etc: In celebration of National Nutrition Month, National Kidney Month, and National Social Workers' Month, the fair will have over 40 representatives from local and regional health organizations. The American Kidney Fund will sponsor a free kidney screening. For additional information please call 202.269.7100.

23 March 2007

Drum Circle at Café Sureia - Sunday, March 25th

What: Café Sureia presents a community drum circle to celebrate the arrival of the spring/vernal equinox

When: Sunday, March 25, 2007, 2-4pm

Where: Café Sureia, 3629 12th Street, NE

Details: Join your neighbors to celebrate the coming of SPRING! Feel the primal rhythm of the universe, play midwife to SPRING and drum your ass off! NO EXPERIENCE necessary. All ages and all levels of experience are welcome. Just bring your joy for life and prepare to have the time of your life. Jerry Peloquin, Brookland resident, organizational psychologist, and a drummer who played with such famous artists as Nina Simone, Paul Winter Consort, and Jefferson Airplane will facilitate the drum circle.

Bring your percussion instruments — hand drums, shakers, claves, tambourines, etc. (no snares, please). A donation of $5.00 per person is requested.

About Drum Circles: Drumming and rhythm are natural parts of our daily lives. Our very life blood and existence are driven by the beat or our hearts and the steady rhythmic pattern of our breathing. The sea pulses upon the shore. The clock ticks away the hours. We are naturally attuned to the beat. It is a profound part of our nature and once we reconnect, it frees us and binds us. When the beat builds and is driven by the group, it links us all together.

22 March 2007

National Marathon, NE Street Closures, and Volunteer Opportunities - Saturday, March 24th

Folks in Eckington and Bloomingdale, along the North Capitol Street leg of the National Marathon, are planning on helping out tomorrow by cheering and handing out cups of water. A water station will be set up at North Capitol and Quincy Place (I'm not sure if it'll be on the NE or NW side), and race officials are asking that they be prepared by 8:45am tomorrow morning, March 24th. If you can add to the needed 30 gallons of water and 1000 small cups, I'm sure it will much appreciated.

» DC.gov info about street closures from 7am-2pm, Saturday, March 24th - the only ways over North Capitol during that time, unless you go north of Michigan Avenue or south of K Street, will be the bridges on Rhode Island and New York Avenues.
» View the National Marathon course map here (PDF).
» View the race turn-by-turn here (PDF).

9th Street Galleries' Spring/Summer Reception - Friday, March 23rd

What: 9th Street Galleries' wine and cheese reception for the opening of the spring and summer season

When: Friday, March 23rd, 2007, 6-8pm

· Wohlfarth Galleries, 3418 9th Street NE (Fine Painting and Drawings, and Sculpture)

· Washington Works on Paper, 3420 9th Street NE (A nonprofit gallery; will be showing local artist Ray Allard's Prints)

· Roxanne's Artiques & Gallery, 3426 9th Street NE (Paintings, Sculpture, Jewelry)

21 March 2007

Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro Redevelopment Update

Image from DCmud
DCmud has an update on the proposed development coming to the Rhode Island Avenue-Brentwood Metro. If we're lucky, it will block the views of the Rhode Island Place (or RIP - my household's pet name) and perhaps even spur the management to take better care of it. Better yet, I hope it creates a clamor in the Ward 5 community to demand urban-style, pedestrian-friendly, dense development rather than suburban-style strip malls floating in seas of asphalt.

Rhode Island Place before the AJ Wright, et al. addition - Photo by Richard Layman
Images from Mid-City Urban, LLC and A&R Development, respectively, below.

Image from Mid-City Urban, LLC
Image from A&R Companies

Free Rita's Ice and Dunkin' Donuts' Iced Coffee - TODAY

To celebrate the first full day of spring, both Rita's Ice and Dunkin' Donuts are offering free goodies!

» Free regular Italian Ice at Rita's - 2318 Rhode Island Avenue, NE (near the corner of Rhode Island and South Dakota Avenues)

» Free 16oz small iced coffee at Dunkin' Donuts - 1803 Rhode Island Avenue, NE

20 March 2007

Washington Central Parks Community Meeting - Thursday, March 22nd

What: Washington Central Parks Community Meeting (see this entry for more info on their recent Fort Totten Park tour)

When: Thursday, March 22nd, 2007, 7:30pm

Where: 801 Shepherd Street, NW (MPD's Northern Regional Operation Command Center/ROC)

· Learn more about the Washington Central Parks concept and where the project stands
· Hear about the status of development plans at the Armed Forces Retirement Home and McMillan Park
· Find out how to become involved in this exciting initiative

Image from Washington Central Parks
- - -

Washington Central Parks is a community-based organization that is working to reopen and revitalize the historic parks and open space network of North-Central Washington.

Three parks - Fort Totten, Old Soldiers’ Home, and McMillan Park (reservoir and filtration field) could be threaded together with pedestrian and bicycle trails to create a unified network of open space and parks that would serve neighborhoods from Brightwood to Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Park View and Petworth to Catholic University and Brookland.

We are seeking the support and help of our community in this important endeavor. PLEASE JOIN US TO REOPEN WASHINGTON CENTRAL PARKS – NOW! For more information, contact Reyn Anderson.

19 March 2007

ANC-5C Monthly Meeting - Tuesday, March 20th

What: Advisory Neighborhood Commission 5C Monthly Meeting

When: Tuesday, March 20th, 2007, 7-9pm

Where: McKinley Technology High School, 151 T Street, NE

Agenda Includes:
· Update on Armstrong School Renovation plans
· Update on National Marathon run through ANC5C
· Update on Bloomingdale Farmers Market plans
· Update on Saint Martin's Housing Plan
· MPD-5D public safety report
· Update from Julius Bell, whose proposed sitdown restaurant "J. Bell's" should be opening soon at North Capitol and P Streets, NW

16 March 2007

NE DC Historical Society Meeting on the Terra Cotta Neighborhood - Sunday, March 18th (Updated Date and Agenda)

**Due to special events and holidays in March and April, the normal Sunday monthly meeting of the NE DC Historical Society has been changed to Sunday, March 18th and Sunday, April 15th, respectively.**

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.

When: Sunday, March 18th, 2007, 2-4pm

Where: Washingtoniana Program Room in the Washingtoniana Division
of The Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW

Presentations will include: "Search & Discovery" session at the Washingtoniana Division of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial Library. The focus for this session will be a topic of recent interest and debate — "Terra Cotta." This session will be of interest to inhabitants along the Metropolitan Branch of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad from Brookland to Takoma Park. Join us as we go beyond the bricks, sewer pipes, and train wrecks of times long past to uncover more than one site for Terra Cotta.

Etc.: For those unable to attend this meeting, don't miss our next month's meeting to be held from 2:00-4:00 pm on Sunday, April 15, 2007. Our host will be the Plymouth Congregational United Church of Christ at 5301 North Capitol Street, NE in Manor Park. They will share with us their "Youth in the Ministry" church and community history project.

Our meetings take place the second Sunday of every month. During the months of March and April we will meet the third Sunday of the month. Contact queenstowndc@yahoo.com for further information.

- - -

» Washington City Paper on the "Terra Cotta" neighborhood, Fort Totten/Lamond-Riggs
» Topographic map of Terra Cotta in DC

Trinidad Recreation Center Grand Opening - Saturday, March 17th

Image from DPR
What: Mayor Adrian Fenty and DC Parks and Recreation invite you to the Grand Opening of the Trinidad Recreation Center

When: Saturday, March 10th, 2007 at 10am

Where: Trinidad Recreation Center, 1380 Childress Street, NE

Etc.: The reopening follows an extensive, two-year, $6.8 million renovation. The new 21,000 square-foot state-of-the art facility features an indoor gymnasium, multi-purpose room, weight room, arcade/game room, enhanced landscaping, computer room and an arts and crafts room. The outdoor basketball court and tot-lot playground will be completed later in the spring 2007. The grand opening activities will include entertainment, demonstrations and a facility tour.

13 March 2007

Brookland's Primal Fitness Featured in Express

Primal Fitness, located at 903 Girard Street, NE, is featured in today's Express "Fit" insert. You can also view the article on the FreeRide blog.

Primal Fitness describes it's brand of training:
Primal Fitness combines the proven fitness methods of CrossFit with the functional fitness gained by practice in Parkour - essentially obstacle coursing through your everyday environment - to develop skills to overcome any obstacle using only the natural movements of the human body. Classes can include weight training, conditioning, rope climbing, medicine ball throwing, box jumping, vaulting, and a host of other fun, functional fitness!

Possible Human Skull Found Near CUA

Image from The CUA Tower
Police said the partially decomposed skull was discovered about 6 p.m. Monday near a 7-Eleven at Hawaii Avenue and Taylor Street, NE. This morning a DC Police cadaver dog discovered skeletal remains in the woods, near the corner of Hawaii Avenue and Fort Totten Drive, NE.

**UPDATE 7:18pm: Investigators discovered a rope near the crime scene, and are looking at the possibility that this was a suicide.**

» The CUA Tower
» WaPo
» NBC4
» The Examiner

12 March 2007

MPD Community Survey Deadline - Wednesday, March 14th

The Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) of the District of Columbia, under the new leadership of Acting Chief of Police Cathy Lanier, is committed to reducing crime and the fear of crime by establishing "customized community policing" strategies to address individual neighborhood problems. As part of this, the Department is conducting a citywide survey to identify ways to improve services to all community members.

Who Can Participate?
District residents and business owners, commuters and visitors are welcome to participate in the survey.

How do I Participate?
Your participation is voluntary, but is very important to the success of the survey. To complete the survey, click on the link below, which will take you to a companion website hosted by SurveyMonkey:

· MPD Community Survey 2007
· MPD Community Survey 2007 (en Español)

Alternatively, you can download a PDF of the printed Community Survey, fill it out, and send to us via US Mail by March 14, 2007, to:

Annie Russell, Director
Policing for Prevention Division
300 Indiana Avenue, NW
Room 5140
Washington, DC 20001

When Does the Survey Close?
Survey respondents are asked to complete the survey by March 14, 2007, whether they do so electronically or via a printed form.

How Do I Learn More?
Call Annie Russell at 202.727.1585 or annie.russell@dc.gov

Is the Survey Confidential?
Your answers are confidential and will be used only to help the Department understand community issues. MPD plans to track its progress over time through additional surveys just like this.

11 March 2007

SMD 5A-11 Meeting - Monday, March 12th

What: SMD 5A-11 meeting with new Commissioner Janae Grant

When: Monday, March 12th, 2007, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Friendship Public Charter School - Woodridge Campus, 2959 Carlton Avenue, NE

Agenda: Includes discussion on the South Dakota Avenue Bridge repair over the CSX railroad

09 March 2007

Fort Totten Park Tour - Sunday, March 11th

Petworth News has a post and a collection of photos from Sunday's tour.

Please join Washington Central Parks this Sunday, March 11 at 12:30pm (don't forget Daylight Savings this weekend!) to explore one of the emeralds in Washington’s green necklace – Fort Totten Park.

Mary Pat Rowan – landscape architect and expert on Washington’s natural landscape, plants and geology – will lead the way. Bring your children; your neighbors; a thermos and bagels; your pets; a camera; a ball and a blanket! We’ll meet at the Hitching Post, across from the entrance to the Armed Forces Retirement Home/Old Soldiers’ Home, at the corner of Upshur Street NW and Rock Creek Church Road.

- - -

Washington Central Parks is a community-based organization that is working to reopen and revitalize the historic parks and open space network of North-Central Washington.

Three parks - Fort Totten, Old Soldiers’ Home, and McMillan Park (reservoir and filtration field) could be threaded together with pedestrian and bicycle trails to create a unified network of open space and parks that would serve neighborhoods from Brightwood to Bloomingdale, Columbia Heights, Pleasant Plains, Park View and Petworth to Catholic University and Brookland.

We are seeking the support and help of our community in this important endeavor. PLEASE JOIN US TO REOPEN WASHINGTON CENTRAL PARKS – NOW!

Links from a neighbor on the Brookland listserv:
» Fort Totten Then
» Fort Totten Now
» Fort Totten on Wikipedia

SMD 5A-09 Meeting - Sunday, March 11th

What: SMD 5A-09 meeting with new Commissioner Shirley Smith

When: Sunday, March 11th, 2007, 2-3pm

Where: Woodridge Library, 1801 Hamlin Street, NE

Agenda: TBA

07 March 2007

DCist Exposed Photography Show - Opening Reception Friday, March 9th

I'm honored to be a part of the first DCist Exposed Photography Show; additionally, thanks to Amanda of Creative DC for the plug!

From the press release:
DCist.com is pleased to announce our first ever DCist Exposed Photography Show at the Warehouse Arts Complex from March 9 -16, 2007. More than 35 local photographers, both amateur and professional, were chosen out of over 200 who submitted their work for the show through the DCist Flickr site. Every day DCist.com selects photos from this user-generated photo pool to use in its daily coverage of local news, arts and entertainment, politics, food and sports.

The exhibit will showcase new talent as they reveal the city to us through the eyes of people who live and work in the D.C. metro area. In a city too often seen purely as a collection of federal government buildings or a destination for tourists, these photographers capture the local music, art, architecture, and urban surroundings that give Washington, D.C. its unique cultural vibrancy.

An opening reception will be held Friday, March 9, 2007 from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Warehouse is located at 1017-1021 7th Street NW, between New York Ave. and L St. in downtown Washington, DC, across the street from the new Washington Convention Center.

You can view the list of participants, with links to their photos, here (I'm "wageslaves" on Flickr). Do say hello if you make it out on Friday!

Brookland, Bloomingdale in the Big Blogs Today

Brookland - well, select areas, including the debatable Cardinal's Nest - is featured today in the Express FreeRide blog.

DCist features Bloomingdale's anticipated EC12 restaurant at the corner of North Capitol and Quincy Place, NW. Two cheers for creating sit-down restaurants in Ward 5! From the DC Business Resource Center site:
Vacant for nearly a decade, Old Engine Company 12 will transform into a full-service, sit-down restaurant named "EC-12" with a second-floor cultural and performing arts space programmed by XM Satellite Radio, a marketing partner on the team, who will broadcast live music events from the location. The lounge will also provide community meeting and exhibition space. EC-12 will include a sidewalk café and a renovated rooftop deck to accommodate an outdoor seating area.

Public Workshop #2 for the Brookland/CUA Metro Plan - Thursday, March 8th

I'm terribly bummed that I have a seemingly perpetual Thursday commitment and haven't been able to make it to the last few meetings....

What: The DC Office of Planning invites you to attend the second community workshop in a series for the Brookland/CUA Metro Small Area Plan

When: Thursday, March 8th, 2007, 6:30-8:30pm

Where: Brookland Elementary School, 1150 Michigan Avenue, NE

Discussion topics will include:
· Neighborhood Character & Land Use
· Economic Development and Shopping
· Transportation, Connectivity, and Walkability
· Greenspace and Environmental Issues

RSVP: 202.610.0005 or rsvp@jsallc.com

Questions and additional information:
Deborah Crain, Ward 5 Planner, at 202.442.7615 or deborah.crain@dc.gov