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Ward 4 Dispatch: Boil Water Advisory, Safety Meeting Recap, New Sidewalks, and Snow!

Dear Neighbors,

I am sorry for a delayed newsletter today — my team and I have been out in our community today responding to the snow emergency and the widespread water issues in Ward 4.

We have plenty of important updates this week — a recap of our Ward 4 safety meeting, summer food assistance for families with school-aged children, new sidewalks coming to Ward 4, a new ANC Commissioner in Lamond Riggs, DC’s updated leaf collections status, community surveys, and local events — but first I want to update you on the water outages and boil water advisory that Ward 4 is currently experiencing.


Boil Water Advisory

Earlier today, DC Water issued a Boil Water Advisory that impacts most Ward 4 residents as well as some nearby neighborhoods. The water boil advisory was issued as a precautionary measure after widespread water outages in several neighborhoods.

I encourage everyone in the impacted area to read the full advisory and follow its instructions closely. Here are some key points worth highlighting.

  • Right now, there is no evidence of contamination in our water. The boil water advisory is a precautional measure DC Water takes when there is a loss of pressure in our water system.
  • The boil advisory will be lifted after two consecutive days of testing that confirms our water is safe for normal use. That means the earliest the advisory can be lifted is Sunday, January 21. We expect DC Water to report on the results of its water tests daily.
  • DC Water is still investigating the cause of the water outage and working to address it as soon as possible. Many Ward 4 residents have had their water service restored already, while others have not yet.
  • Please keep an eye on the news section of DC Water’s website for updates over the course of the weekend. We will also continue sharing updates on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and community list serves.
  • DC Water workers are working around the clock in frigid cold and snow to address this issue and ensure our water is safe. I was with their crews in Barnaby Woods this afternoon as they repaired a major water main break, and I saw their tireless efforts first-hand. If you see DC Water teams in your neighborhood, please share some gratitude.

I also want to thank all the Ward 4 residents who have been reporting the outages to DC Water, sharing the news of the boil water advisory, or helping their neighbors get through this stretch. That is what our community is all about!


Ward 4 Safety Meeting Recap

Thank you to the more than 150 neighbors who joined us on Thursday to discuss solutions to improve safety in Ward 4 and across our city. It was critical for our leaders to hear directly from our community about the specific issues we are facing and speak about the actions being taken to move us forward. I am grateful to MPD Chief Pamela Smith, Fourth District Commander Nikki Lavenhouse, DC Attorney General Brian Schwalb, and Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Lindsey Appiah for listening to our community last night and sharing what strategies they will employ to prevent and deter crime. I am also grateful to Mayor Bowser for joining us and pledging her support to our collective efforts to improve safety. And a special thanks to EL Haynes PCS for hosting us and to AARP DC for supporting the event.

Safety Strategies and Interventions

For this recap, I am outlining some of the specific safety interventions that were discussed:

  • Secure DC legislation. At our next legislative meeting, the Council will vote on sweeping public safety legislation called Secure DC. The legislation includes provisions from more than a dozen bills (some that I co-introduced) and makes more than 100 interventions across our criminal justice system. The bill will help DC confront crime in several ways: strengthening our laws to make it easier to prosecute violent crime, adding investigation tools to help MPD close cases, and improving oversight and coordination across DC government. The bill also has some provisions that do nothing to improve safety and that I hope we can remove before the bill passes — like rolling back police transparency measures when it comes to officer misconduct legislation.
  • Driving down robberies and car theft. 93% of the increase in crime in Ward 4 compared to 2022 stems from a surge in robberies and car thefts (including carjackings). Chief Smith committed to helping drive down these violent crimes by deploying additional officers from MPD’s Robbery Suppression and Operation Atlas initiatives.
  • Doubling CCTV security cameras in Ward 4. Through funds I secured in the DC budget and additional investments made by the Chief and the Mayor, we more than doubled the number of closed-circuit security cameras in Ward 4 since the summer. In addition to having a deterrent effect, the cameras capture high-quality footage used to identify suspects when crimes occur so offenders can be held accountable.  
  • Real-time crime center. MPD and other local and federal law enforcement agencies launched a Real Time Crime Center to combat crime by empowering them to monitor closed-circuit camera footage, emergency calls, and other technology and respond to criminal activities in real time. This allows the District to begin addressing crimes as soon as they are reported — rather than later when an officer arrives at the scene.
  • Crime Lab partial reaccreditation. The recent partial reaccreditation for DC’s crime lab will make it easier to prosecute cases that involve DNA testing or drug testing. We will work to ensure that other divisions of the crime lab (such as the firearms unit) are reaccredited and to fully staff the lab center so it can execute its mission.
  • Retail theft. Commander Lavenhouse shared that Fourth District made seven arrests for retail theft at CVS stores in Ward 4 this week and will continue to enforce these offenses in the coming weeks. MPD has also established a division focused on retail theft, and some of the changes in Secure DC will make it easier to prosecute retail theft cases.
  • Violence prevention programs. We are deploying some of our most effective violence prevention programs in Ward 4 to combat crime: ONSE Leadership Academies to support at-risk youth in schools, a Pathways cohort to provide transitional employment to returning citizens, and a Cure the Streets violence interruption team from the DC Attorney General’s Office (which was present last night).
  • Addressing social worker vacancies. The Council passed and fully funded a bill that will create a free Master’s in Social Work degree at UDC to create a pipeline of social workers to serve the District. This will address the severe shortage of social workers in our schools and housing agencies that prevents us from getting critical resources to the people who need them.
  • 211 Warmline. There was a lot of discussion about the need to ensure families are receiving the support they need to care for their children. The District is rolling out a new 211 Warmline to connect parents, relatives, and guardians with the citywide resources they need to keep their child safe.
  • Increased food assistance. Later this year, the District will expand SNAP benefits for 140,000 DC residents and also provide families with school-aged children assistance with groceries over the summer — when kids are most vulnerable to hunger (more on that below). These investments will help meet people’s essential nutritional needs and provide stability for struggling families.
  • Improving safety in Manor Park. In response to disturbing robbery and carjacking offenses in Manor Park, DDOT is improving lighting in the neighborhood and MPD added a light tower at 4th & Oneida to increase visibility and deter crime. Manor Park is already a focus area for increased MPD patrols. In addition, Secure DC will update the carjacking statute to make incidents like these easier to prosecute.
  • Lookout in Upshur Street shooting. MPD has also released a lookout for a blue Mercedes Benz involved in a shooting on the 200 block of Upshur Street NW. While the victim’s injuries were non-life-threatening, the shooting was traumatizing and could have been deadly. If you have any information or footage of the incident or this vehicle, please share it with law enforcement by calling 202-727-9099 or texting 50411. 
  • Increased resources and patrols in specific areas. Neighbors at our safety meeting also called for additional patrols and/or resources in specific areas like Petworth Metro, Sherman Circle, Riggs Park, Fort Slocum, Chevy Chase, and around our schools.


Community Resources

New 4B10 Commissioner for Lamond Riggs

Our Lamond Riggs community in SMD 4B10 has a new ANC Commissioner! Please join me in thanking Commissioner Jinin Berry for stepping up to serve her neighbors. She can be reached at 4B10@anc.dc.gov. As of today, all our ANC vacancies in Ward 4 have been filled.

Summer EBT for Families with School-Aged Kids

More good news for District families and our fight to eliminate hunger: DHS confirmed this week that it plans to participate in the USDA’s 2024 Summer EBT program. This program will deliver additional food assistance during the summer to DC families with school-aged children who are eligible for free or reduced-price lunches at school. More than one out of every three DC residents faces food insecurity, and the rate is even higher for families with children. The summer is when children are most vulnerable to food insecurity because they do not attend school, where meals are regularly provided to children regardless of income. This federal program will keep DC families fed during the summer at little expense to the District.

Speak at Council Performance Oversight Hearings

We are officially in performance oversight season, when any DC resident can come before the Council and the agency director to speak about the changes they want to see in DC government. Please check out the performance oversight hearing schedule for January and February and sign up to speak at the hearing that matters most to you.  If you have any questions about the process or want me to help raise your testimony with an agency, just reach out to my office at teamjaneese@dccouncil.gov. Key upcoming hearings include:

Leaf Collection Continues in 4B, and 4C Is Next

Due to inclement weather, DPW will continue its second pass of leaf collection in Section 4B this coming week. After that, the second pass of leaf collection will begin in Section 4C the week of January 22. If you are a Ward 4 resident in Lamond, Riggs Park, South Manor Park, or Manor Park and Takoma east of 8th Street NW, please rake your leaves to your curb, tree box, or easement by Sunday, January 28 for DPW crews to collect. Neighbors can monitor progress on DPW’s online leaf tracker and report missed leaf collection via 311.

Senior SmarTrip Cards for Metro Are Now Free

Good news for our seniors: Senior SmarTrip Cards are now free. Seniors can now pick up free Senior SmarTrip cards and always get 50% off all their fares. Senior SmarTrip cards can be picked up at the Transit Accessibility Center (655 Virginia Ave SW) and a few other locations. Learn about Senior SmarTrip Cards and how to access them on WMATA’s website.

Take The Parks at Walter Reed 2024 Survey

Ward 4 residents can share their feedback on what events they would like to see at The Parks at Walter Reed in 2024 through a brief online survey. Community feedback will shape the programming at The Parks throughout this year. Take a moment to weigh in!

Pick Lower Georgia Avenue’s New Street Banners

Neighbors can also help choose the designs of new street banners for Lower Georgia Avenue, which spans from Barry Place to Upshur Street. Cast your vote at this link before the end of the month.

Free Rapid COVID Tests at DC Libraries  

With COVID cases and hospitalizations surging again this winter, I want to remind neighbors that you can still pick up free rapid COVID tests at select DC libraries during their regular operating hours, including our local Petworth, Takoma, Chevy Chase, Juanita E Thornton/Shepherd Park, and Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J Huff libraries. Check out the full list of libraries with free rapid COVID tests. Distribution is expected to continue until March.  

Volunteer for the DC Point in Time Count  

On Wednesday, January 24 from 8pm-2am community members, outreach teams, and DC government employees will conduct the annual DC Point-in-Time Homelessness Count. The event is critical because it secures federal funding and allows DC to better meet the needs of our unhoused neighbors. Sign up to volunteer for the Point-in-Time Count by January 15.  

School Lottery Deadline for Grades 9-12 

Families with children attending Grades 9-12 next school year have until Thursday, February 1 to submit their applications for the DC School Lottery. As always, I encourage neighbors to consider one of our amazing Ward 4 high schools! 

Christmas Trees and Holiday Greenery Collection 

DPW is continuing to collect holiday trees and greenery for DPW-serviced households. All you need to do is take off any decorations from your tree and place it on the curb or treebox in front of your home for DPW crews to collect. If it is not collected within 7 days, you can report it to 311 under the “Christmas Tree Removal – Seasonal” service category. All trees and greenery collected by March will be composted, and DC residents can collect up to five 32-gallon bags of the free compost year-round at the Fort Totten Transfer Station

New Sidewalks Coming to Ward 4

DDOT has undertaken a long-term project to add sidewalks on residential streets that do not already have them. The District has a massive gap in sidewalks that needs to be addressed in order to improve pedestrian safety. This project will prioritize sidewalks based on factors like safety, proximity to schools and parks, and bus stop data. Check out the project website for a more detailed breakdown. Property owners on streets set to receive new sidewalks will receive a detailed notice and will have the chance to weigh in on the design of the new sidewalks. Here is the list of new sidewalks coming to Ward 4 in 2024, which are mainly located in the Colonial Village and Lamond Riggs neighborhoods:


Neighborhood Events

Walmart Wellness Day in Riggs Park and Manor Park

On Saturday, January 20 from 10am-2pm the Walmart stores in Riggs Park (310 Riggs Rd NE) and Manor Park (5929 Georgie Ave NW) will host a Walmart Wellness Day with free health screenings, free and low-cost immunizations, and the opportunity to talk with a local Walmart pharmacist. Insurance is not required to receive a COVID vaccination, which is available at no cost, and other vaccines are covered under most major insurance plans.

Weekly Chevy Chase Farmers Market 

On Saturday, January 20 from 9am-1pm and every Saturday year-round the Chevy Chase Farmers Market takes place at Lafayette Elementary (5701 Broad Branch Rd NW) and brings fresh, local food and goods to Chevy Chase neighbors. 

DC Tutoring & Mentoring in Petworth (Volunteer)

On Saturday, January 20 from 11am-12pm the DC Tutoring & Mentoring Initiative will host a volunteer onboarding event at Petworth Library for neighbors looking to support its mission of providing tutoring and mentorship to elementary, middle, and high school students in DC.

Free Health Screenings and Shots at NSBC

On Sunday, January 21 from 10am-3pm Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) will be hosting a community health event offering free Blueprint for Wellness health screenings; COVID vaccines and boosters, as well as Flu, RSV, and Shingles vaccines; and prevention of blindness glaucoma screenings. Sign up by contacting Health Navigator Janyce Jefferson at 410-804-9325 or jfjhealthnavigator19@gmail.com.

Weekly Takoma Park Farmers Market  

On Sunday, January 21 from 10am-2pm and every Sunday year-round the Takoma Park Farmers Market takes place at 6931 Laurel Ave in Takoma Park, MD. Come find seasonal produce, breads, meats, artisan cheese, eggs, baked goods, and more from local farms. 

Listening Session for Petworth and Brightwood Park

On Tuesday, January 23 from 6:30pm-8:30pm I will host our Listen As We Climb community listening session for neighbors in Petworth and Brightwood Park at Roosevelt High School (4301 13th St NW). The insights and ideas neighbors share at our listening sessions will shape my legislation, budget, and agency oversight work. Sign up to join this event or one of the other listening sessions we will host in Ward 4 (including a virtual option).

Race, History, and Rock Creek

On Wednesday, January 24 at 5:30pm-7pm Rock Creek Park NPS Acting Superintendent Brian Joyner and historian Joan Zenzen will lead a virtual discussion titled “Race, History, and Rock Creek” on the park’s establishment and management over time in the context of public use, park management, and the field of preservation. Sign up to attend.

Brightwood Small Business Networking Forum

On Thursday, January 25 from 11:30am-1pm Emory Beacon of Light, Inc will host a Brightwood small business networking forum with lunch provided to attendees. Sign up at this link to gain valuable knowledge and make connections that will help your business thrive.

Listening Session for Takoma and Manor Park

On Thursday, January 25 from 6:30pm-8:30pm I will host our Listen As We Climb community listening session for neighbors in Takoma and Manor Park at Coolidge High School (6315 5th St. NW). The insights and ideas neighbors share at our listening sessions will shape my legislation, budget, and agency oversight work. Sign up to join this event or one of the other listening sessions we will host in Ward 4 (including a virtual option).

Watch “Hidden Figures” at Lamond-Riggs Library

On Friday, January 26 at 2pm our Lamond-Riggs Lillian J. Huff Library (5401 South Dakota Ave NE) will host a screening of Hidden Figures. The event is sponsored by the Lamond-Riggs/Lillian J. Huff  Library Friends in honor of the recent Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday.

Shepherd Field Invasive Plant Removal

On Sunday, January 28 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will be back at Shepherd Field to remove invasive plants that threaten our local ecosystem. Join them!

ANC 4C Public Safety Meeting for Petworth

On Wednesday, January 31 from 6pm-8pm ANC 4C will host a public safety meeting at Roosevelt High School focused on the safety needs of the Petworth area. The event will include my office, representatives from the Mayor’s office, MPD, and more.

For more local events, check out DPR, DC Public Library, NPS, and Rock Creek Conservancy.


Ward 4 in the News

DCist: There’s A Growing Push To Develop Social Housing In DC. What Is It?

Channel 7: Residents Share Concerns Amid Juvenile Crime, Discuss School Safety Bills

City Paper: A Bright Future Ahead for Local Ethiopian American Photographer Redeat Wondemu

DDOT: Traffic Advisory for the 6700-6900 Blocks of Piney Branch Road NW for DC PLUG

DDOT: Metropolitan Branch Trail Fort Totten to Takoma January Newsletter 

Next Stop… Riggs Park: MLK Day Gallatin-Galloway Trail Cleanup

Petworth News: Learn About Volunteering to Mentor Students in Our Area

DCist: DC Council Audit Finds Fault In Housing Inspections System

City Paper: Washington Gas Deploys Lobbyists to Kill Legislation Promoting Electric Appliances

City Paper: WJLA’s Sam Ford Signs Off

Post Opinion: We Can’t Talk About Crime in DC Without Talking About Hunger

Washington Informer: The Collins Council Report (January 9, 2024)

Washington City Paper: DC is Cutting Badly Needed Funding for Housing and Homelessness Nonprofits

Ward 4 Dispatch: Conflict Resolution, Safety Meeting, SNAP, and MLK Day Weekend


One of the bright spots of the snowy weather this week has been seeing Ward 4 residents step up to clear sidewalks for neighbors who have difficulty doing it themselves. Thank you to each and every one of you for lending a helping hand. Another bright spot has been seeing so many kids out and about enjoying the snow (some for the very first time). Here’s a photo of some prime-time, hillside sledding this week courtesy of The Parks at Walter Reed.

Let’s do our best to stay warm, follow the boil water advisory instructions, and keep looking out for each other.

Yours in Community,
—Janeese