I hope you have been keeping cool this week and looking forward to the cooler days we have ahead! In addition to community events, local news, and updates on city services, I want to try something new this week and shine a light on some great but under-appreciated DC programs:
DC Programs We Should All Know
Throughout the year, we work on improving DC government through Council oversight, legislation, and budget investment so we can better meet the needs of our communities. Today I also want to highlight great DC programs and services that are already in place but go underutilized because not enough people know about them. I will keep each description brief but link to more information on each program so neighbors can take advantage of them.
New Parents and Children
- Free infant cars seats and booster seats for DC children. Not only does DC provide parents these free car seats, but a Certified Passenger Child Safety Technician can also help you safely install them in your car at the DMV Inspection Station.
- Free monthly books for children under 5. DCPL’s Books from Birth program provides all children in DC a free book in the mail each month from birth until they turn 5.
- DC Paid Family Leave. DC now guarantees 12 weeks of paid leave to care for a new child, 12 weeks to care for an ill family member, 12 weeks to recover from serious illness, and 2 weeks of prenatal leave to workers in the private sector.
- Strong Start. DC’s Strong Start Early Intervention program provides early intervention therapeutic services for infants and toddlers with disabilities and developmental delays.
- Early Stages. Early Stages is a free DCPS diagnostic center for children between the ages of 2 years 8 months and 5 years 10 months that helps diagnose developmental delays and arranges services to address them.
DC Public Libraries
- Free Color Printing. DC libraries offer free color printing up to 20 pages per day.
- Library Meeting Rooms. Neighbors can reserve meeting rooms and study spaces.
- Free eBooks and Audiobooks. DCPL makes free eBooks, audiobooks, and digital magazines available on your phone, tablet, or eReader through the Libby app.
- Free Classes. DCPL offers a great selection of free classes, including computer classes, American Sign Language classes, and US Citizenship Exam classes.
- Amazing Resources. DCPL also provides neighbors access to dance and recording studios, a sewing and 3D printing lab, and hygiene packages.
Resources for Seniors
- Senior/Disability Property Tax Deduction. DC seniors 65+ and persons with disabilities who make less than $149,400 can reduce their property tax by 50%.
- Free Dental Services. Seniors aged 65 and older with no dental insurance coverage are eligible for free dental services through DC Health — including crowns and dentures.
- Safety Adaptations for Senior Homes. DACL’s Safe at Home program provides safety adaptations in and around the homes of qualifying seniors and adults with disabilities.
- Senior Wellness Centers. DC has seven senior wellness centers that offer excellent programs, daily activities, exercise equipment, computer labs, and opportunities to socialize for senior citizens — including our Hattie Holmes Center in Ward 4!
Community Safety and Traffic Safety
- Security Cameras for Homes, Businesses, and Churches. DC will cover or heavily subsidize the cost of installing a security camera for homes, businesses, and houses of worship through OVSJG’s Private Security Camera System Incentive Program.
- Graffiti Removal. Neighbors can contact 311 to report graffiti for DPW to remove on public property. They also remove graffiti from private property with owners’ permission.
- Support for Crime Victims. The Crime Victims Compensation Fund managed by DC Courts and recently expanded by the DC Council reimburses crime victims for medical expenses, mental health counseling, lost wages, property damage, and other expenses.
- Request Traffic Calming. If you need traffic calming on your street, the first step is to submit a Traffic Safety Input request via 311. DDOT prioritizes 200 traffic safety requests in DC each quarter to investigate and address with traffic calming.
- Traffic Safety Input Request Database. DDOT’s database helps you track traffic safety input requests in your neighborhood, including forthcoming traffic safety improvements, prioritized requests, and outstanding requests DDOT will consider in the future.
- Free Metro for DC students. The Kids Ride Free program allows DC students to ride for free on MetroBus, MetroRail, and the DC Circulator while traveling within DC.
- Request a Bike Rack. DC residents can request a bike and scooter rack to be installed in a public space by submitting a request to 311 under the “Bicycle Services” category.
- Neighborhood Connect. An on-demand shared-ride shuttle service that operates seven days a week in parts of Wards 1, 4, 5, 6, and 8 and costs DC residents only $3 per ride.
- 50% Reduced Metro Fares. If you are enrolled in SNAP benefits, WMATA’s Metro Lift program will discount your Metro fares and bus fares by 50%.
- Capital Bikeshare. Easy, affordable bike-sharing program that offers both classic bikes or ebikes for rent. And households that receive SNAP, TANF, WIC, LIHEAD, or Medicaid qualify for even more affordable $5 annual memberships.
That’s all I can squeeze in this week, but if neighbors find this to be helpful I will share more DC programs in areas that we haven’t covered yet in a future newsletter!
More Frequent MetroRail Service Beginning Monday
WMATA announced yet another increase in MetroRail service starting Monday, September 11 — including on the Green Line and Red Line that have stations in Ward 4. The specific level of service depends on the time of day and station you’re in, but customers should see more train frequency systemwide during peak hours. Learn more from WMATA’s announcement.
Responding to HVAC Issues at Schools
This week, several schools in DC experienced serious HVAC failures in either specific classrooms or facility-wide as rising temperatures further strained some of our older HVAC systems. It is unacceptable for our students and educators to be left without functioning air conditioning on a week when we experienced consecutive heat emergencies. All week long, my team and I have been supporting schools facing outages by coordinating with DGS to install contingency cooling units quickly and to resolve the underlying issues. As Chair of the Committee on Facilities and Family Services, I have been pressing DGS to be proactive in preparing school buildings to host students by conducting citywide school readiness tours early this summer, increasing DGS’ facility operations budget, passing and funding school safety legislation, and directly engaging our schools and agencies to make the necessary repairs. Our students deserve nothing short of safe and comfortable learning environments, so we need to keep doing everything in our power to prevent these failures in the future.
DC Youth Hiring Fair and DC Jobs and Opportunities
DC government is making a big push to fill vacancies and provide opportunities to residents. This announcement lists several upcoming opportunities, including a District Youth Hiring Fair open to youth 18-24 on September 9, an Afterschool Opportunities Fair on September 9, a DGS Vendor Open House on September 12, a DC-area job fair on September 12, and hiring opportunities with MPD, OUC, and OSSE school bus drivers and attendants.
Some Pools and Spray Parks to Stay Open!
DPR is keeping open two outdoor pools and 18 spray parks through September 21 to keep families cool during these hot September days. Hearst Pool (3701 37th St NW) and Oxon Run Pool (501 Mississippi Ave SE) will remain open six days a week per their summer operating schedule. And our Ward 4 spray parks at Petworth Rec Center, Lafayette-Pointer Park, and Takoma Rec Center will remain open daily from 11am-5pm too through September 21. You can find all the details in DPR’s announcement.
WMATA Green Line Stations Have Reopened
After summer-long closures, Greenbelt, College Park, Hyattsville Crossing, and West Hyattsville stations on the Green Line reopened last weekend. During the closures, Metro installed more than 220,000 feet of fiber-optic cable to improve its radio and signal capabilities.
Kids Ride Metro Free Program
The Kids Ride Free program allows students to ride MetroBus, MetroRail, and the DC Circulator for free while traveling within DC. The only requirement is that they live in DC, be between the ages of 5-21, and be enrolled in a public, charter, private, or parochial school in DC. For the 2023-24 School Year, DC students can collect their new Kids Ride Free SmartTrip cards from their school ID administrators at their respective schools, and last year’s Kids Ride Free SmarTrip cards will remain valid through September 30, 2023. Learn more from DDOT.
Job Openings at Our Ward 4 Council Office
As we begin a new fiscal year, we are adding to our Ward 4 Council team to serve our growing Ward 4 community. Please share these job openings with someone who would be a great fit.
New Sign-Up Process for DC Council Hearings
Signing up to speak at a DC Council hearing is now simpler and easier: the Council has launched a new centralized sign-up platform for all of its hearings. You can simply go to the Council’s list of hearings, select your preferred hearing, and choose either “Register to Testify” or “Submit Testimony” to sign up to speak or send in written comments.
Zenith Meet the Artists Reception for Stephen Hansen
On Friday, September 8 from 4pm-8pm and Saturday, September 9 from 2pm-6pm Zenith Gallery (1429 Iris Street NW) will host a Friday Reception and Saturday Reception on Stephen Hansen’s sixth Great Moments in Art exhibition. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend!
Art of Noize Opening Reception for “Skin Deep”
On Friday, September 8 at 7pm Art of Noize Gallery in Ward 4 will host an opening reception for their new “Skin Deep” exhibit featuring the work of Candice Tavares and Vanessa Villarreal, who offer an “intimate look into their visions of black beauty.”
Larry F. Kinney Memorial Tennis Tournament at Fort Stevens
On Saturday, September 9 from 8am-1pm Fort Stevens Rec Center (1327 Van Buren Street Northwest) will host the Larry F. Kinney 2nd Annual Memorial Tennis Tournament in honor of former DPR employee Larry F. Kinney. The tournament will be preceded by a Fort Stevens family game night on Friday, September 8 from 4pm-8pm with many games and activities.
Senior Mens 3 on 3 Basketball at Lamond Rec Center
On Saturday, September 9 from 10am-3pm Lamond Rec Center (20 Tuckerman St NE) will host a Senior Mens’s 3 on 3 Basketball Tournament. Get your fun and exercise in all at once!
Friends of Shepherd Park Library Book Sale
On Saturday, September 9 from 10am-4pm and Sunday, September 10 from 1pm-4pm the Friends of Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park Library will host their next used book sale. Children’s books are 50 cents each, while all other books are only $1. Stop by to pick up new reading material for the fall!
Cover Crop Workshop at Upshur Community Garden
On Saturday, September 9 from 10:30am-1pm Share a Seed will host a day of seed sharing, cover crop training, and fall garden planning at Upshur Community Garden (1325 Upshur Street NW). Learn about the benefits and importance of cover cropping – a foundational sustainable growing practice – to building soil health! RSVP on Eventbrite to attend.
Upshur Pool Doggy Paddle!
On Saturday, September 9 from 11am-4pm DPR will host its annual Doggy Paddle at Upshur Pool and at three other outdoor DC pools. This is a once-in-a-year opportunity for our Ward 4 pups to swim freely in public pools with other dogs before the pools close up for the season. Check out DPR’s event page for details on what you need to participate in this free event.
Jazz in The Parks at Walter Reed: Rochelle Rice and Heidi Martin
On Saturday, September 9 from 5pm-8pm The Parks at Walter Reed will host their final Jazz in The Parks performance on the Great Lawn. Bring your own picnic, blanket and refreshments — and enjoy popular local food vendors. RSVP on Eventbrite to attend.
Takoma Park Folk Festival Returns!
On Sunday, September 10 from 11am-6:30pm Takoma Park Folk Festival returns to Takoma Park Middle School (7611 Piney Branch Rd). This free festival will feature live folk music, a crafts sale, food vendors, community tables, and children’s activities. Here’s the full schedule!
Colorado Avenue Community Clean Up
On Sunday, September 10 starting at 12pm the Carter Barron East Neighborhood Association will host a clean up of the 5200-5400 blocks of Colorado Avenue NW. Neighbors will meet by Gold Coast Cafe, and the cleanup will be followed by lunch at Moreland’s Tavern.
Crestwood Annual End of Summer Picnic
On Sunday, September 10 from 5pm-7pm the Crestwood Citizens Association will host its annual End of Summer Picnic at Crestwood Triangle Park (Argyle Terrace & 18th NW). Neighbors are encouraged to bring a favorite dish or beverage to share, as well as a blanket or folding chair, while water, cutlery, condiments, ice, and paper products will be provided.
CARE Day in Riggs Park and South Manor Park
On Tuesday, September 12 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Community Day for our Riggs Park and South Manor Park neighborhoods — starting at Riggs LaSalle Community Center (501 Riggs Rd NE). Come out to engage me and my team, receive resources from DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP if you plan to be there.
Ward 4 CARE Day in Takoma
On Thursday, September 14 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our Ward 4 CARE Community Day for our Takoma community — starting from Coolidge Recreation Field (300 Van Buren Street, NW). Come find us there to engage me and my team, receive resources from DC agencies, door-to-door outreach to neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP if you plan to be there.
Uptown Park(ing) Day on Kennedy Street
On Friday, September 15 from 9am-7pm Uptown Main Street will host its annual Park(ing) Day at 713 Kennedy Street NW. This event will feature free ice cream, coffee, local treats, games, activities, and more! Come see what happens when parking spaces transform into public parks where people can gather, relax, play, and connect.
Community Meeting on Upshur Modernization
On Monday, September 18 at 6pm DPR and DGS will host an initial community meeting on the exciting $16 million modernization of Upshur Park and Pool. Come hear about the scope of work, share initial hopes for the project, and meet the project manager! The meeting will take place as an in-person walkthrough at Upshur Recreation Center (4300 Arkansas Ave NW).
Check Out Our Ward 4 Farmers Markets
Get your fresh goods, crafts, and dose of community at our Ward 4 Farmers Markets:
- Uptown Farmers Market at 5501 Colorado Ave NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Chevy Chase Farmers Market at Lafayette ES on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Petworth Community Market at 9th & Upshur NW on Saturdays from 9am-1pm
- Takoma Park Farmers Market at 6931 Laurel Ave on Sundays from 10am-2pm
- Whittier Farm Stand at 6201 5th St NW on Tuesdays from 3:30pm-5:30pm
Ward 4 in the News
DCist: Some DC Classrooms Don’t Have Air Conditioning During Record Heat
Washingtonian: Why Is There a New Pay Phone on a Quiet Street in Chevy Chase?
Next Stop… Riggs Park: “That Sunday Sound” at Hellbender – September Lineup
Briya PCS: Briya Moves into Remodeled Building on Shepherd Street in Petworth
DDOT Traffic Advisory: Temporary Lane and Shoulder Closures for 16th Street Bridge Rehabilitation Project in Sixteenth Street Heights
First Baptist Church: Calling All Singers Ages 5-18 to Join the Church’s Youth Choir
DCist: After Delays, DC Finally Launches Citywide Curbside Composting Pilot
Petworth News: So what happened to Petworth Social Bar & Grill anyway?
Washington Informer: DC Residents Embrace March on Washington 60th Anniversary
PopVille: Soleluna to Bring its French Pastries and Ecuadorian Coffee to Petworth
Petworth News: Sign up for the Dog Show or Volunteer at Celebrate Petworth Festival
DCist: DC OAG Says Financial Elder Abuse Is On The Rise, Encourages Reporting
Washingtonian: Why Street Sense Is One of DC’s Most Important News Outlets
Last Week’s Dispatch: Labor Day, Raymond Elementary, and First Week of School!
As we head into next week, I want to wish Shanah Tovah to everyone in our community who will be observing Rosh Hashanah and መልካም አዲስ ዓመት to all our neighbors celebrating the Ethiopian New Year! May this year bring each of us peace, justice, joy, and good health. Next week we will also begin celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month and the countless contributions and achievements of our Hispanic and Latino neighbors!
This week I want to leave you with this amazing profile of Home Rule Records store on Kennedy Street on our neighbor Charvis Campbell by Kenji Jasper in Petworth News. HR Records is one of less than 40 remaining Black-owned record stores in the country. Beyond selling great records, Charvis is always finding ways to support local artists, lift up DC music and culture, host neighborhood events, and give back to our community. Visit HR Records at 702 Kennedy Street NW seven days a week for the best in used jazz, soul, R&B, and funk!
Have a great weekend, Ward 4!
Yours in Community,