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Ward 4 Dispatch: Jubilee Recap, Council News, Leaf Collection, and Piney Branch Parkway!

Dear Neighbors,

I’m excited to share the latest on our work at the Council and all that’s happening in Ward 4!

Ward 4 and Legislative News

A Joyful Ward 4 Senior Jubilee

It was an honor to host so many of our seniors this week at our Ward 4 Senior Jubilee. We gathered at Fort Stevens Park and enjoyed music, dancing, food, drinks, prizes, and a resource fair with over a dozen DC agencies and community groups. My favorite moment came at the end, when Ward 4’s own Shirleta Settles sang Happy Birthday to all our seniors who celebrate an October birthday. I’m so grateful to everyone who joined us for the day, as well as all my staff, volunteers, agencies, and community groups who made this day possible. Special thank you to DPR and the staff at Fort Stevens for giving us their time and beautiful space. I’m already looking forward to next year’s Jubilee. Ward 4 loves its seniors, and we show it!

Weekly Legislative Updates 

Quite a bit happened at the Council this week, so I want to give you a quick recap:

  • My Safe Routes to School Act legislation passed its markup hearing in the Committee on Transportation and the Environment. The marked up version of the bill differs from the original bill in some significant ways, but the bill as a whole will still bring sweeping improvements in traffic safety around schools.
  • Meanwhile, my CLEAN Collections Act bill had its bill hearing today and received solid support from community members who testified. The bill would help address trash overflow, rodent infestation, and illegal dumping across DC by requiring adequate trash and recycling cans and frequent waste collection in multifamily buildings.
  • The Domestic Worker Employment Rights Act passed its markup hearing in the Committee on Government Operations and Facilities, coming one step closer to passage. The bill would provide legal protections for the first time in DC to domestic workers like nannies and housekeepers.
  • The Council also had important hearings on a bill to reform DC’s short-term rapid rehousing program so that residents can secure stable housing after utilizing the program, the permanent bill to create the Office of Migrant Services that will support migrants arriving in the District, and an important bill to end the use of solitary confinement in DC jails and youth detention facilities.
  • And at our Council legislative session earlier this week, we passed emergency reforms to the DC Housing Authority in response to the appalling failures highlighted by HUD. Reforms include requiring training for DCHA leadership, increasing transparency, and shoring up consumer protections. The Council is also working on permanent legislation to make the systemic changes that are needed at the agency.

Piney Branch Parkway and Trail Back Open

It’s been a long time coming! Piney Branch Parkway and the adjacent multiuse trail are now back open. Reopening the Parkway will help ease the traffic congestion that our community has been experiencing these past few weeks (which I’ve seen first hand!). Meanwhile, the new trail next to the Parkway is a big improvement over the narrow, part-dirt, and often-muddy path that existed there before. It should provide residents a much safer and more accessible way to walk, roll, run, or bike in the park. There will be some additional construction done on the Parkway over two weeks in November, but this time at least one lane will remain open and traffic flaggers will be on site to direct traffic. Learn more about the full Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail project spanning 3.7 miles and four Wards. Here are photos of the Parkway and new trail. It was great to see plenty of drivers, pedestrians, and cyclists, and pets enjoying Piney Branch so soon after it reopened!

Neighborhood Events

Fresh Taste of Uptown at the Farmers Market

On Saturday, October 22 from 9am-1pm the FRESHFARM Uptown Market will be hosting the Fresh Taste of Uptown event. This will be a fun-filled day with free samples from all your favorite farmers and producers all market long. FRESHFARM is also giving away $5 in market money to anyone who downloads their coupon and redeems it at the market.

Hellbender Neighborhood Cleanup and Invasive Plant Removal

On Saturday, October 22 from 10am-1pm Casey Trees is hosting a neighborhood clean up and invasive plant species removal in the area around Hellbender Brewery. Join them on Hellbender Hill (5788 2nd Street NE) and don’t forget to RSVP.

Takoma Elementary PTO Fall Festival

On Saturday, October 22 from 12pm-4pm the Takoma Elementary PTO will host its Fall Festival. Children will be able to go pumpkin picking, get their faces painted, and participate in a lot of fun, fall-themed activities!

Shepherd Elementary PTO Fall Fest

On Sunday, October 23 from 12pm-4pm the Shepherd Elementary PTO will host their annual Fall Fest. It will feature bounce houses, a DJ, carnival games, arts and crafts, cotton candy, popcorn, snow cones, and more! Learn more and get your tickets at this link.

Petworth Blooms Beautifying Triangle Park in Petworth

On Sunday, October 23 at 10am Petworth Blooms will be at Triangle Park (4th & Shepherd NW) to beautify the park by removing weeds and planting flowers. Join them if you can!

Weed Warriors Take on Shepherd Field

On Sunday, October 23 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Weed Warriors will take on invasive plants on the slope of Shepherd Field. Bring work gloves and pruners if you have them, and reach out to if you have any questions.

Join us for Ward 4 CARE Day in Brightwood Park

On Thursday, October 27 from 4pm-7pm I will host our final Ward 4 CARE Day in the beautiful neighborhood of Brightwood Park! You can visit our resource fair with DC agencies at Larry Allen Park (9th & Gallatin NW), volunteer as we reach out to neighbors, or simply look for me or our team if we visit your block. I’m excited to connect with Brightwood Park neighbors!

E-Cycling Events near Lafayette Pointer and Petworth Library

On Saturday, October 29 from 10am-2pm Ward 4 will benefit from two simultaneous free e-cycling events at Petworth Neighborhood Library (near 4200 Kansas Ave NW) and near Lafayette Pointer Rec Center (collection vehicle expected to be on 33rd Street NW between Quesada and Patterson). Check out the list of electronics that will be accepted at the events.

Sherman Circle Halloween Spooktacular

On Sunday, October 30 from 3pm-6pm Petworth Peanuts and ANC 4D are bringing back the Sherman Circle Spooktacular, a free Halloween event at Sherman Circle and the surrounding parks. Activities will include face painting, a magician, a stilt walker, balloon artistry, live music, STEAM activities, roving entertainers, dance lessons, a police cruiser and a fire truck, a reading corner, photography, yard games, giveaways, and a costume contest with prizes!

Crestwood Halloween Parade

On Sunday, October 30 at 4pm the Crestwood community will host its annual Crestwood Halloween Parade starting from The Point (18th & Shepherd NW) for a loop around Quincy Street. Neighborhood pets will march first in their spooktacular glory, followed by children and adults in their spooky costumes. Community members will gather afterwards for snacks.

2nd Annual SPet-tacular Halloween Parade and Costume Contest

On Sunday, October 30 from 2pm-4pm the Shepherd Park Citizens Association is hosting its second annual SPet-tacular Halloween Parade and Costume Contest at the Parks at Walter Reed. Dress up your dog to impress and win a prize! I’m excited to serve as a judge for the pet costume contest. RSVP and see you there!

Visit your local Farmers Market before the season ends: 

Community Resources

DPW Leaf Collection Schedule

The schedule for leaf collection in Ward 4 has now been released and is being mailed to DC households serviced by DPW! Collection in Ward 4 will start the week of November 7-12 in Brightwood, Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, North Portal, Hawthorne, Barnaby Woods, Chevy Chase, and other areas in the northwestern corner of our Ward (Area A in the map above). Be sure to rake your leaves onto the tree box or the curb of your street the Sunday before your collection week. If your leaves aren’t collected as planned, please submit a 311 request for “Leaf Collection Missed.” The schedule can shift based on staffing changes and weather, since the same crews who collect leaves are also responsible for snow removal. Check out DPW’s full brochure with more information.

Take the WMATA Better Bus Survey

WMATA’s Better Bus initiative seeks to create to create an improved MetroBus network that is fast, frequent, reliable, and easier to understand. Residents are encouraged to take the Better Bus survey to provide the information that WMATA needs to improve its bus operations. Anyone who participates by November 11 will have a chance to win a $50 SmarTrip card!

How to Vote in the DC General Election

Earlier this month, the DC Board of Elections started mailing out ballots for the 2022 DC General Election to all registered voters in DC. Residents can check their voter registration status and address at this link, and they can register to vote or update their registration at this link55 mail ballot drop boxes across the District are now open, and residents can also return their completed ballot by mail or in person at any voting center. Early voting will run from October 31 to November 6, and General Election Day is November 8, 2022. Here is a guide with all the information you need on voting this fall!

COVID Bivalent Booster Now Available for Children Ages 5-11

DC Health announced that the bivalent booster is now available for children as young as 5 years old at all COVID Centers as well as all DC Health pop-up, mobile, in-home, and community vaccination locations. The Moderna bivalent booster, which was previously available to people 18 and older, is now available to children ages 6–17. The Pfizer bivalent booster, which was previously available to people 12 and up, is available to kids ages 5–11.

Monkeypox Vaccine Clinics Move to COVID Centers in Wards 2, 3, and 8 

DC’s Monkeypox vaccine clinics (including the Ward 4 clinic) are have moved to the COVID Centers in Ward 2, Ward 3, and Ward 8.  The Monkeypox vaccine will continue to be available for first and second doses without an appointment at these three centers. DC has had a steep decline in new Monkeypox cases since the July peak because eligible residents are choosing to get vaccinated, so if you’re eligible please get your shot! 

DC Public Library Evil Laugh Contest

Today is the last day to submit your nomination for the DC Public Library’s Evil Laugh Contest. All you need to do is submit a 10-second video of yourself doing your most wicked, spine-tingling evil laugh by October 21. Prizes will be distributed and a mash-up video of the best entries will be released for everyone’s enjoyment.

Draft Concepts for the 14th Street Bus Priority Project 

DDOT released its draft concepts for a new Bus Priority Project on 14th Street to improve bus speeds, operations, and reliability — as well as boost pedestrian safety — along the 14th Street corridor from Newton Street up to Arkansas Avenue. The first design features shared bus and bike stops, the second design features red-painted bus stops, and the third design includes protected bike lanes. Residents can weigh in on the three proposed designs by filling out the online survey, emailing, or leaving a voicemail at 202-671-2376.

Local Links

Channel 9DC residents say more needs to be done to make NW intersection safe

Petworth NewsA Green New Deal for affordable housing may be coming to DC

WTOPProposed DC law aims to help ensure school repairs get completed

DC News Now: Retired football star has big surprise for youth team at Emery Heights

Washington City PaperThe Carry-Out Critic Enjoys Many Momos and a Surprising Curry at Moh Moh Licious

Washington Post: Center City Brightwood teacher named DC Teacher of the Year

Instagram: DC Bilingual PCS Celebrates New Addition to Historic Keene Building

Last Ward 4 Dispatch: Three New Bills, Ballot Drop Boxes Open, and Senior Jubilee

Washington PostDan Smith, one of the last children of enslaved Americans, dies at 90

I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Dan Smith this week. Dan’s life was full of acts of courage and service. He was an Army medic in the Korean War, marched for civil rights in Washington and Selma, ran anti-poverty programs in Alabama, developed neighborhood health centers, escorted several Presidents as an usher at National Cathedral, and served our community in a myriad of ways. Dan was a beloved Ward 4 resident in Takoma and will be greatly missed.

My favorite part of fall is getting to go to so many Ward 4 block parties! I’m grateful to neighbors on 3rd Street and everyone who has included me in their neighborhood’s festivities.

One of the complaints I hear from Ward 4 neighbors is that so much of the good that happens in our community does not get the attention it deserves. That’s why I want to end my newsletter this week by shining a light on an act of generosity in the heart of Ward 4. Last night retired NFL star Vernon Davis surprised five youth football teams by visiting their practice at Emery Heights Community Center and donating their football jerseys. The visit was coordinated by Coach Lou and the Emery Heights Soldiers.

As many of you know, Davis grew up in our community, attending Truesdell Elementary and Paul Public Charter School. I’m thankful to him for giving back to the place where he grew up. Part of what makes Ward 4 so special is the countless ways neighbors step up behind the scenes to help others, provide mutual aid, support our students and seniors, keep our neighborhoods clean, and build community with one another.

Thank you for all you do — seen or unseen.

Yours in Service,