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Ward 4 Dispatch: Leaf Collection, Vaccines for 5-11 Year Olds, and Halloween!

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you’re feeling as excited as I am for Halloween! Although the weather is sour today, Saturday and Sunday are looking a lot better for all of the festivities and community events happening in our community. Below I shared a breakdown of Ward 4 Halloween events to keep on your radar as you plan out your weekend.

I also have important updates about DC’s plans to provide access to the vaccine to children ages 5-11 once the CDC gives its final approval next week, as well as DC’s schedule for leaf collection this year and sustainable ways to dispose of your pumpkins and gourds once they’ve served their purpose – so be sure to scroll down for that.

This was a jam-packed legislative week with several back-to-back hearings. We had hearings on my legislation to improve education governance in DC, as well as my bill to improve DC’s handling of abandoned vehicles. The Council also held hearings to consider the confirmation of a new director at DDOT, a student vaccine mandate, and redistricting in Ward 4. And now that STAY DC has stopped accepting new applications, I’m working to secure more rental assistance funds to keep DC residents from losing their homes.

Read the full synopsis of what’s happening in our community and at the DC Council below!


Halloween Weekend in Ward 4!

No one goes all in on Halloween quite like Ward 4! I’m excited to see our community joyfully and safely celebrating this weekend, and for our youngest Ward 4 residents to stock up on delicious treats. Look out for me around Ward 4 in a very topical Halloween costume!

There are so many events to keep track of this weekend so I thought it’d be helpful to compile them for you here, roughly broken down by neighborhood. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, and that it doesn’t list the trick-or-treating that will take place on Sunday evening in pretty much every neighborhood in Ward 4. I also included a couple of events that aren’t about Halloween but are part of our broader weekend festivities.

And if you still need to get into the Halloween spirit before celebrating, be sure to check out DC Public Library’s phenomenal Evil Laugh Contest video, featuring several cameos by your spooky Ward 4 neighbors!

Petworth and Crestwood

DPR Haunted House at Raymond Recreation Center!

On Friday, October 29 from 5pm-8:30pm DPR is inviting neighbors to check out its haunted house at Raymond Recreation Center! Thrill-seekers will love a frightful tour through the Raymond Haunted House. Not into being scared? There are plenty of non-spooky activities to participate in, including a costume contest, dance battles with spooky music, bobbing for apples, and a host of other great things. RSVP here.

4th Annual Dia de los Muertos Celebration in Petworth! 

On Saturday, October 30 from 9am-1pm join the Petworth Arts Collaborative at the Petworth Farmers Market (9th & Upshur St NW) for a spectacular day of Altar Making Workshops, Calavera face painting, live performances, and more! Our community will gather to remember lives lost, to celebrate life lived, and honor our loved ones.

Crestwood Halloween Parade and Treats!

On Sunday, October 31 at 3:30pm the Crestwood Citizens Association is hosting a Halloween parade starting at the Point (18th & Shepherd NW). Join in your costume for a loop around Argyle and Quincy. The parade will kick off with neighbors cheering on neighborhood pets in their spooktacular glory, then it will be kids’ turn to show off their costumes! Afterwards a delicious array of snacks and prizes will be provided, and there will be games set up and a haunted house background for family photos.

The Sherman Circle Halloween Spooktacular! 

On Sunday, October 31 from 4pm-6pm Petworth Peanuts, DC Kids Makerspace, and ANC 4C/4D are planning a free Halloween Spooktacular event at Sherman Circle with free goodies, a costume contest (with prizes), magicians, caricature artists, dance lessons, balloon artists, lawn games, a firetruck, and lots of other spooky fun! Masks and social distancing are required. This event is brought to you by ANC 4D and Petworth Peanuts.

Mount Zion Baptist Church Harvest Fest

On Sunday, October 31 from 5pm-7pm Mount Zion Baptist Church (4850 Blagden Ave NW) will host its annual Harvest Fest with plenty of music, crafts, bingo, food, and more! Bring a blanket to stay cozy and remember to register if you plan to come.

Brightwood, Brightwood Park, and Sixteenth Street Heights

Community Boo Treats at Fort Stevens.

On Friday, October 29 from 4:30pm-6:30pm DPR is planning some harvest holiday fun for children ages 6-12 at Fort Stevens Recreation Center with sweets, face paintings, and crafts for the family.

Trunk or Treat at Emery Heights.

On Friday, October 29 and Saturday, October 30 from 6pm-8pm on both days DPR will host Trunk and Treat Halloween Extravaganza at the Emery Heights Community Center, featuring a haunted house on the park site and a kids movie on the Basketball Court. Sign up at this link.

ANXO 4th annual Happy Trees Harvest Festival.

On Saturday, October 30 from 12pm-5pm ANXO (711 Kennedy St NW) is hosting friends and neighbors for their 4th annual Happy Trees Harvest Festival! This year’s list of free activities is bigger than ever: kids costume contest at 1pm; dog costume contest at 3pm; Chef Alex’s famous seafood paella for sale at 1pm and 3pm; pumpkin painting; hot mulled cider and hot toddies; live apple pressing; great prizes, and more!

14th Street Graffiti Museum Screening “Dreams Don’t Die”

On Saturday, October 30 from 8pm-10pm the 14th Street Graffiti Museum (4632 14th Street NW) will be hosting a free family-friendly screening of the the movie “Dreams Don’t Die.” Come by early to check out the new artwork in the alley gallery from 7pm-10pm. They’ll have plenty of candy to hand out, and you can enjoy tacos, baleadas, pupusas, sandwiches, and pizza from restaurants on the block.

Lamond Riggs, Riggs Park, and Manor Park

Riggs-LaSalle Treat Giveaway. 

On Friday, October 29 from 6pm-8pm DPR is planning a fun evening of music, games, and a costume contest at Riggs-LaSalle Recreation Center. Guaranteed to be a great time! Save a slot here.

Halloween Yoga at Fort Slocum Park.

On Sunday, October 31 from 2:30pm-3:30pm Ward 4’s own Lighthouse Yoga Center is offering a fun and festive Halloween yoga class outdoors at Fort Slocum Park. The class is open to kids and adults and costumes are encouraged. They’ll be striking spooky poses and sharing lots of candy-corny jokes.

Shepherd Park and Takoma

DPR Glow in the Dark Egg Hunt at Takoma Community Center

On Friday, October 29 from 5pm-7pm DPR is inviting children ages 3-12 to Takoma Community Center to search for candy-filled glow-in-the-dark eggs and do arts and craft activities. Join the fun at this link.

DPR Hosts Halloween at Shepherd Park Community Center

On Friday, October 29 from 6pm-8pm DPR is planning a fun evening of music, games, and a costume contest at Shepherd Park Community Center for children ages 5-12. Save a spot to attend.

First Annual S’Pet-Tacular Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest!

On Saturday, October 30 at 12pm-2pm (rain date: Sunday, October 31) the newly-opened dog park at The Parks at Walter Reed will host the first annual SPCA S’Pet-Tacular Halloween Pet Parade and Costume Contest! There will be prizes that were generously donated by One Leg Up and The Big Bad Woof. Celebrity judges include Carin Ruff of Dog-Friendly Shepherd Park, Vickie Davis of Hines Urban Atlantic, and your Ward 4 Councilmember! Remember to wear a mask and come cheer on our Ward 4 pets!

Monster Bash in Takoma Park, MD

On Saturday, October 30 at 1pm-5pm just over the border in Maryland, Takoma Park will bring back the ever popular Monster Bash. The kickoff event is at Takoma Park Middle School (7611 Piney Branch Rd) and features a magic show, DJ, and more. Then the parade will start at 2pm and travel down to the culminating celebration in the Library/Community Center parking lot. There will be costume judging during the parade and a local band performing at 2:30pm. Also, a selfie station and games! Learn more here.

Chevy Chase, Barnaby Woods, and Hawthorne

Afternoon Fright and Fun at Lafayette-Pointer.

On Friday, October 29 at 3:30pm-5:30pm DPR is planning a fun-filled afternoon of costumes, candy, and activities at Lafayette-Pointer Recreation Center. Children ages 0-13 are all welcome! Sign up to be there on DPR’s website.

Spooktacular on Connecticut Avenue!

On Sunday, October 31 at 2pm-5pm the Chevy Chase Citizens Association is bringing back Spooktacular on Connecticut Avenue. Local businesses will be providing trick-or-treats along the corridor. Bring the kids, your dog, or just yourself! If you have any questions, please email president@chevychasecitizens.org


Legislative Updates

Advocating for More Rental Relief to Keep DC Residents Housed

Now that STAY DC is no longer accepting new applications for federal rental assistance, I led a resolution with nine fellow Councilmembers calling on:

  • The US Treasury to provide additional federal rental assistance to the District
  • The Mayor to dedicate local funds to rent relief for DC families

In the face of overwhelming need, DC made a huge effort to distribute the rental assistance funds it received from the federal government. Now it’s time for the US Treasury to follow through on its plan to provide additional funds to localities that have distributed rental assistance effectively and still have significant need.

But additional federal funds may not come until the late spring, if they come at all. And there’s no guarantee we’ll receive sufficient funds to meet the enormous need in a city where nearly 60% of residents are renters. DC has some local funds squared away for emergency rental assistance, but it’s a small fraction of what we need to keep DC residents who have no way to pay rent from losing their home. The Mayor has the ability to dedicate more local funds to this program to help prevent a wave of evictions in our communities. 

Education Governance, Redistricting, Abandoned Cars, and DDOT

I had Council hearings on all of these issues this week. Here’s what went down:

  • On Tuesday the Committee on Transportation held a hearing on my legislation to improve DC’s handling of abandoned vehicles, which is an issue that affects Ward 4 neighborhoods and residents across the city. I’m grateful to the community members and ANC Commissioners who shared their experiences and support for the bill. Catch up on what you missed through the video or this article in The Wash.
  • That same hearing also doubled as a hearing to consider the nomination of Everett Lott, the interim director of DDOT, to become the agency’s permanent director. DDOT recently announced that starting next month it will implement reforms that speed up traffic safety upgrades in our communities (more on that from me sometime soon). The hearing was an important opportunity to drill down on the urgency of breaking through the bureaucracy to save lives by making our streets safer for people.
  • And somehow that same day we also had a landmark hearing on legislation to improve education governance in DC by making the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) an independent agency. I believe that taking this step will lead to stronger oversight and accountability in our education system and better schools that truly meet the needs of our communities. I’m in awe of the powerful testimony I heard from parents, educators, and community leaders about this issue. You can watch the hearing online.
  • And on Thursday the Council had its hearing on Redistricting in Ward 4 with fascinating testimony from residents and ANC Commissioners (you can watch the hearing at this link). The Subcommittee plans to introduce three new map proposals on Monday morning based on the feedback they received. DC residents can still weigh in by testifying at the citywide redistricting roundtable on November 5 or emailing their written comments to redistricting@dccouncil.us by November 5.

As we close out this week, I want to thank my mighty legislative team, Joanna and Will. They work tirelessly to help write legislation that meets Ward 4 needs, prepare for hearings, follow up on constituent feedback, and work with me to systemically address the issues that are impacting you. It was great having them both by my side this week!


Other Neighborhoods Events

Grant Circle Autumn Clean Up Project and Illinois Ave Yard Sale. On Saturday, October 30 at 8am-10am Petworth Get Wise is hosting its cleanup of Grant Circle, starting at the South Triangle of the Park. Bring your gardening tools and the spirit of caring to help clean up your community! There will also be a neighborhood-wide yard sale kicking off at 11am-4pm on the 4100 Block of Illinois Avenue NW. Check out their flyer for more information.

Whittier Elementary School Beautification Day! On Saturday, October 30 at 8am-11am the Whittier community is coming together for a Beautification Day at the school garden, which will feature mindfulness exercises and plant yoga to kick things off. Come by to help build garden beds, plant fall crops, sort and recycle, and paint words of affirmation. Find a full schedule and details on Whittier’s website

Block Party and Red Bike Theater Performance at The Parks at Walter Reed. On Saturday, November 6 from 2pm-5pm the Parks will be hosting a block party and theater performance by Pan Underground, Red Bike makes its regional premier staged on bike and experienced like never before. Attendees will gather in a unique space behind the historic hospital at The Parks at Walter Reed campus. The community-focused event will feature vendors, local businesses, music, and food. The immersive staging of Caridad Svich’s play will take place on bike and grow out of the celebration. Learn more and get your tickets here!

Ward 4 Weekly Farmer’s Markets. We have: 


Community Resources

Leaf Collection Kicks Off on November 1! As leaves begin to turn and drop, DPW is kicking off leaf collection, which will occur twice in each neighborhood throughout the season. DPW will be using a vacuum process for collecting leaves. Residents whose homes are serviced by DPW are asked to rake their leaves for collection to the curb or into the tree box at the front of their residence on the Sunday before their collection week (check out the schedule for the first collection in Ward 4 above). To help facilitate the vacuum process, residents are also asked to keep vehicles away from the curb lanes on scheduled collection days. For missed leaf collections, residents can call 311 (202-737-4404) or visit 311.dc.gov to open a “Leaf Season Collection” service request. All DC residents can also bring their leaves to Fort Totten Transfer Station (4900 Bates Road, NE) on Mondays-Saturdays from 10am-2pm. For more information, check out DPW’s leaf collection brochuredatabase, and frequently-asked questions. And don’t make it all work; be sure to stroll through Rock Creek Park, Fort Slocum, or one of our many scenic parks and neighborhoods to enjoy the foliage!

Pumpkin/Food Drop Off Sites Starting November 6. Starting the week of November 6, most pumpkins and gourds can be taken to one of nine food waste collection sites in DC for composting, in support of the District’s zero waste efforts. Our drop-off site in Ward 4 is Uptown Farmers Market (14th St & Kennedy St NW) on Saturdays from 9am-1pm until November 20. Please note that pumpkins decorated with paint, glitter or other inorganic matter cannot be composted.

The Parks at Walter Reed Neighborhood History Project. The Parks at Walter Reed is partnering with the DC History Center on a history-gathering project in fall 2021 to uncover historical facts and stories from the people and neighborhoods surrounding the former historic Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Specific focus will be placed on stories from the historically Black communities surrounding the campus in the neighborhoods of Shepherd Park, Colonial Village, Brightwood, North Portal Estates, Takoma, and environs. Do you have stories to tell? Know a neighbor or friend who does? Please get out your photo albums and come to the last community meeting this fall: Thursday, November 4 at 7:30-9:30pm.

Update on the COVID Vaccine for Children Ages 5-11 in DC! With the CDC set to approve the Pfizer COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11 as early as this coming Tuesday, DC Health and Mayor Bowser shared initial plans for how families will be able to get their children in that age range vaccinated. More than 60 pharmacies, hospitals, and health centers in DC will have age-appropriate doses of the COVID vaccine, so many families will be able to go to their pediatrician or a hospital like Children’s to get their kid’s shot.

But DC also announced that it will have vaccine pop-up clinics in schools across the city, including at least five initial pop-up clinics in Ward 4:

  • Dorothy Height Elementary on November 8
  • Center City Public Charter (Brightwood) on November 9
  • EL Haynes Public Charter on November 18
  • Lafayette Elementary on November 19
  • Whittier Elementary on November 20

Details on the hours, documents needed, and other information about these clinics will be announced soon. Today we have a call with the Mayor’s team so I raised a lot of the questions I immediately received from parents about the news. Most of the pop-up vaccine sites will be first come, first serve. However, a smaller number will require appointments. DC Health plans to require that a parent or guardian accompany the child being vaccinated. These clinics will be held outside of school hours, and it is likely that more will be added. Stay tuned for more details!


I want to end with a big shoutout to the Friends of Carter Barron for putting on a fantastic concert last weekend for an important cause. The only thing better than listening to great live music is get to listen to great live music in the middle of Rock Creek Park! It was great to see so many neighbors there enjoying the event, and we are all indebted to the Friends of Carter Barron for their efforts to restore and revitalize this historic and scenic music venue in Ward 4.

And lastly, be warned that there is a Zebra on the loose in Ward 4 handing out candy to kiddies! She was last spotted at Whittier Elementary School with Principal Johnson.

Happy Halloween, everyone. Stay safe and have fun!

Yours in Community,
—Janeese