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Ward 4 Dispatch: Mask Mandate, John Lewis Elementary, and Thanksgiving!

Dear Neighbors,

I’m excited to update you on all that’s happening in our community. There’s no shortage of events, giveaways, legislative updates, resources, and celebrations leading up to Thanksgiving – including our Turkey giveaway at Riggs LaSalle Rec Center tomorrow for Ward 4 families in need. I had an early start to the Thanksgiving festivities this week since I got to host a Thanksgiving luncheon with our Ward 4 seniors at Hattie Holmes. Thank you to all of the seniors who came to be in community with us and enjoy a hearty meal and live music! I hope you all have an amazing Thanksgiving week full of rest, gratitude, and delicious food.

Ward 4 News and Legislative Updates

DC Redistricting: Ward 4 On Track to Keep Current Boundaries

Yesterday, after extensive community engagement, the Council’s Redistricting Subcommittee released its proposed map to redraw DC’s Ward boundaries. It brought good news to current Ward 4 residents: it looks like we will all get to stay in the best Ward in the District! I encourage you to review the map yourselves, but some important changes include proposing to move the Armed Forces Retirement Home (Old Soldiers Home) from Ward 5 to Ward 1. This will be the site of a massive 80-acre development that also shares a border with Ward 4 on Rock Creek Church Road. There were significant changes in other Wards, including moving Navy Yard to Ward 8 and Hill East to Ward 7. This proposed map was marked up and approved by the Redistricting Subcommittee today. Next, it moves to the Committee of the Whole where Chairman Mendelson can make adjustments (he previously said he will only consider stepping in if there are highly controversial changes). Then the map will be finalized with two Council votes on December 7 and December 21. The fun won’t end there: even after we finalize Ward boundaries this year, the Council still has to redraw ANC boundaries in 2022. Find a wealth of information on DC’s Redistricting process on Councilmember Silverman’s dedicated web page.

First Dose and Second Dose Vaccine Clinics for Children 5-11

Parents of children ages 5-11, we have several school pop-up clinics coming up. These are free, no-appointment needed clinics in our local schools. Lately, these clinics have had plenty doses for all who come, and have had little-to-no wait times.

  • Saturday, Nov. 20 at 10am-3pm: Lafayette Elementary (5701 Broad Branch Rd NW)
  • Saturday, Nov. 20 at 10am-3pm: DC Bilingual (33 Riggs Rd NE)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 3:30pm: Friendship Public Charter (6130 North Capitol St NW)
  • Tuesday, Nov. 23 at 3:30pm: LaSalle-Backus (201 Riggs Rd NE)

Also, DC Health has now released its schedule of second-dose vaccine clinics. Families are encouraged to go to the same site where their child received their first dose. During my call with the Mayor’s team today I asked for flexibility for families who cannot make it to their specific second-dose clinic, especially due to Thanksgiving travel. DC Health confirmed that they will allow families to go to other first-dose or second-dose clinics if they cannot go to the site where they received their first dose and 3 weeks have passed since their first dose. DC also has a large number of health providers and pharmacies where families can book appointments to get their child’s first or second dose.

And if your child was vaccinated at the LAMB school clinic on November 13, sign up for the second-dose clinic at LAMB at this link.

Mayor Lifts DC Mask Mandate Starting Monday, November 22

This week the Mayor announced that DC would be lifting its indoor mask mandate starting this Monday, November 22 at 5pm with some significant exceptions. Masks will still be required, regardless of vaccination status, in the following places:

  • Any private business that wants a mask requirement;
  • On public transit like buses and trains, inside train stations, in airports, and while in ride-share vehicles;
  • Inside schools, childcare facilities, and libraries;
  • Congregate facilities, such as nursing homes, assisted living facilities, shelters, dorms, and correctional facilities;
  • In DC government facilities where there is direct interaction between employees and the public (the DMV; DHS service center, etc)

In response, I and nine other Councilmembers wrote to the Mayor asking her to reverse the decision given the rising number of COVID cases going into the winter months, the large number of children who are not vaccinated yet, and the challenges this will cause for many businesses. This evening DC Health released an order detailing the updated mask polices in the District.

Council Approves Renaming West as John Lewis Elementary

On Tuesday the Council passed emergency legislation approving the renaming of West Elementary in Ward 4 to John Lewis Elementary. Now generations of DC students who attend the school will benefit from the example of the late great John Lewis, a fearless crusader for civil rights, democracy, and justice. The renaming is part of the District’s efforts to rename public buildings and spaces named after figures who oppressed people of color and other marginalized communities or enslaved people. John Lewis Elementary was previously named after Joseph Rodman West, who served as a Union general in the US Army and infamously ordered the killing of an Apache chief who met with him to discuss peace. The renaming will be made permanent on December 7, when the Council has its second vote on the permanent legislation. John Lewis Elementary also underwent modernization this past year, and now has a state-of-the-art, energy-efficient school building.

Also on the legislative side: the DC Council held two important hearings this week I wanted to make sure you knew about. On Thursday the Judiciary Committee heard testimony on the VOICE Act, which would implement ranked-choice voting in DC. Then today several committees held a joint hearing to consider legislation that would legalize marijuana sales in the District (if and when Congress lifts the rider preventing DC from doing so).

Traffic Safety Updates: Rock Creek Church Road and 1st & Riggs NE

And I am continuing to work closely with neighbors and ANC Commissioners to bring traffic safety improvements to our neighborhoods. This week I am reporting back on progress at two locations. First, we have significant improvements at Rock Creek Church Road. My team and I were there with Commissioner Jonah Goodman (4C10), neighbors, and DDOT in July to discuss how to make this stretch in our community safer. We now have two speed stables on Rock Creek Church Road (on either side of where it meets Quincy Street), extended sidewalks to improve pedestrian safety, and improved signage to calm traffic and help keep our residents safe. Stay tuned for more on speed bumps from me next week!

This week I also visited 1st and Riggs NE, where DDOT is in the process of installing a traffic light! Much like Georgia Avenue, Riggs Road is one of the most dangerous streets in Ward 4. A parent and child were recently struck there and a Metrobus crashed into a retaining wall nearby this past summer. The traffic light will go a long way in allowing residents to cross safely (especially our students and seniors) and calm traffic. A big shoutout to Commissioner Alison Brooks (4B08), who worked tirelessly to accelerate the construction of the traffic signal. We will stay vigilant and continue to work to make our streets safe for our neighbors.

Neighborhood Events (Thanksgiving Edition)

Celebrate Takoma Park Neighborhood Library’s 110th Birthday. On Saturday, November 20 from 11am-3pm DC Public Library and Friends of Takoma Park Library are hosting a celebration for the library’s 110th birthday with crafts, treats, a free book exchange for children’s books and cookbooks, and a few surprises! Takoma Park Neighborhood Library opened its doors on November 17, 1911 as the first purpose-build neighborhood library in the system. It’s one of only four Carnegie-funded library buildings in DC. Check out a photo of the library from a century ago in this post.

Petworth Local Legends Community Fitness Event. On Saturday, November 20 from 10am-11:30am FIT DC and the Petworth Get Wise Coalition are hosting a fitness event at the Petworth Recreation Center (801 Taylor St NW). Bundle up and join them for a free, fun-filled event with a martial arts demonstration, bootcamp/HIIT workout, and yoga cool down. RSVP and find more information online.

Launch of the Uptown Craft District in Ward 4! All day on Sunday, November 21 3 Stars Brewing, Hellbender Brewing, ANXO Cidery, and Chacho Spirits are coming together to launch the Uptown Craft District! Each will be open for residents to come enjoy beer, cider, spirits, food, live music, and fun activities. Get the ultimate experience by hopping from one location to the other. If you stamp your card at all four locations you’ll win a prize!

Bulb Plantings in Petworth This WeekendPetworth Blooms is hosting two bulb plantings this weekend for those who would enjoy some community gardening. Join them on Saturday, November 20 at 2pm at the 3rd & Ingraham Triangle Park and on Sunday, November 21 at 3pm at Lorenzo Allen Park at 9th & Gallatin. You can help plant daffodils, tulips, and other spring flowers in our neighborhood parks. No gardening experience is necessary, and these are kid friendly events. Bring a spade and gloves if you have them, but extras will be available.

Emery Heights Thanksgiving Holiday Giveaway. On Monday, November 22 from 6pm-8pm the Department of Parks and Recreation is hosting a Thanksgiving Holiday Giveaway at Emery Heights Recreation Center. Supplies are limited so reserve a spot for you and your children here!

2021 Crestwood Turkey Trot. On Thursday, November 25 at 9am the Crestwood Citizens Association is hosting its annual 5k fun run starting at the Triangle at 18th and Argyle NW. Registration comes with a Crestwood Turkey Trot t-shirt! Learn more and sign up here.

Roosevelt Rough Riders Compete in the Turkey Bowl! On Thursday, November 25 at 11am Roosevelt High School is facing off against Woodson High School in the annual Turkey Bowl at Eastern Senior High School (1700 East Capitol St NE). Come start off your Thanksgiving Day by cheering on our Ward 4 school. The winner will advance to the DCSAA championship game. Go Rough Riders!

UPDATED LOCATION: 12th Annual Free Sit-Down Thanksgiving Day Dinner. On Thursday, November 25 at 3pm-7:30pm Cease Fire will host its annual free Thanksgiving Day dinner for unhoused residents, seniors, returning citizens, current and former gang members, and anyone else who would like to join at Crittenden & Decatur St NW for a Thanksgiving meal from Highlands Restaurant. Cease Fire is an organization that has worked for decades to build peace in our communities and lift up neighbors in need.

Holiday Tree and Menorah Lighting at The Parks at Walter Reed. On Saturday, December 4 from 5pm-6:30pm The Parks at Walter Reed will kick off the holiday season with a lighting of their 20-foot tree and 12-foot menorah for Hanukkah on the Great Lawn. Come sing carols, drink hot beverages, cozy up to the fire pit, and enjoy tasty treats for free. You can also help wrap and label holiday gifts for hundreds of children at Housing Up’s permanent supportive housing program. More information here.

Congresswoman Norton with the National Park Service. On Thursday, December 9 at 7pm our Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton is hosting a joint community meeting with National Park Service representatives. NPS manages many of our local parks, so if you have any questions or issues to raise with the agency, this is a great opportunity to do so. Please email to RSVP for the event and receive the Zoom link.

Ward 4 has several weekly Farmer’s Markets: 

Turkey Giveaway on Saturday for Ward 4 Families in Need. It’s the giving season and many of our neighbors are struggling, especially with the lingering effects of the pandemic. If you know a Ward 4 family who needs a free turkey this Thanksgiving, please let them know about the Turkey Giveaway I’m hosting in partnership with the Lamond Riggs Citizens Association. It will take place on Saturday, November 20 at Riggs LaSalle Recreation Center (501 Riggs Rd NE) starting at 11am until supplies run out. We’re providing one turkey per family with proof of Ward 4 residency on a first come, first serve basis. There’s a flyer available in English and Spanish to help get the word out. Thank you to the individuals and organizations who are making this event possible, and to every neighbor who is finding ways to give back this holiday season. It’s what makes our community so strong!

Kid’s Coat Giveaway in Ward 4. Morris Miller Wine & Spirits (7804 Alaska Avenue NW) and Patron Tequila are having a kid’s coat giveaway (including infants) for up to 100 children. Interested persons should come to the store and complete a form for the child in need. The deadline is next Sunday, November 27 and the coats will be available on December 16.

Keeping Warm and Safe in Colder Temperatures. November 1 through March 31 is hypothermia season in DC. If you encounter a neighbor who may need shelter, please offer to call DC’s Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093. It helps to include the specific time, location, and description of the person when you call. The Shelter Hotline operates 24/7.

Free After-School Meals at DPR Facilities. Come have supper at no cost for children 18 years of age and younger at 13 DPR facilities, including Emery Heights Recreation Center in Ward 4. Meals are available Monday through Friday from 4pm-5pm. No application or ID is required. Find more information at this link

Petworth (East of Georgia Ave) and Part of Brightwood Park: Leaf Collection This Week! DPW is continuing leaf collection, which occurs twice 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. This coming week’s collection will be in Petworth (East of Georgia Avenue) and part of Brightwood Park. 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 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.

Last Chance for Pumpkin/Food Drop Offs at Uptown Farmers Market. 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.

Take the Northern Bus Garage Art in Transit Survey. Metro’s Art in Transit team is asking for residents to help determine the location and type of artwork that will be permanently displayed at the new and modernized Northern Bus Garage. Take a moment to complete this survey by December 10.

Legal Help for People in Debt. DC’s moratorium on debt collection has ended, and now new debt collection cases are being filed and hearings that were cancelled because of the pandemic are being rescheduled. Tzedek DC shared this flyer with the many legal protections that DC residents have with debt or credit-related problems. You can also contact Tzedek DC if you are sued for debt collection by calling 202-274-7386 or by completing an online form.

Roosevelt Pool Is Now Open! Speaking of community resources, this is a friendly reminder that Roosevelt Pool is now open for community members to enjoy on Monday-Friday from 6am-8am and 5pm-9pm. Enter through the new entrance on Upshur Street!

I won’t be sending out a newsletter next week so I’ll to take a moment now to wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving. And don’t forget to support our local shops and restaurants on Small Business Saturday!

My team and I set aside some time this week to volunteer with Food and Friends (an incredible organization in our community that delivers nutritional meals to residents with HIV/AIDS, cancer, and other serious illnesses). Nearly all of the other volunteers there – on a Monday, no less – were Ward 4 residents who regularly volunteer with the group. It reminded me that the spirit of service and solidarity that is so strong in our community! I’m so grateful to all of the Ward 4 residents who find ways to lift up our neighbors day in and day out.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ward 4!

Yours in Community,