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Ward 4 Dispatch: Military Road School, WMATA, and Labor Day!

Dear Neighbors,

Council may be in recess, but it was another action-packed week with Upshur Day, school supply giveaways, the first week of school, and a new early learning center in Ward 4!

There are at least two neighborhood block parties happening this weekend for 16th Street Heights and 7th Place in Takoma, so don’t miss those if you live in the area.

I’m also writing to share important service updates related to WMATA, a reminder about the deadline to renew your driver’s licenses by September 9, and a much-needed extension for our splash parks.

And scroll all the way down for a tribute to Mr. Harry White, a Petworth resident and World War II veteran who celebrated his 105th birthday this week!


Ward 4 News

Ward 4 Back to School Update

There was a lot of excitement across Ward 4 this week as students returned for the start of school! I spent Monday morning at Whittier Elementary School, Wells Middle School, and MacFarland Middle School welcoming back our Ward 4 scholars. Last week I wrote extensively about touring all Ward 4 DCPS schools and the health and safety preparations for this uniquely challenging school year. I’m grateful that by Monday morning all major maintenance issues had been resolved in our schools, including Takoma Elementary, Whittier Elementary, and Powell Elementary. Our agencies should have not cut it this close, but I’m relieved that all of our Ward 4 students had functional air conditioning, air filtration, and cool temperatures in their classrooms – and I’m grateful to our school leaders, educators, school staff, parents, and DGS and Central Office employees for working hard to get everything ready for this week. My team and I will continue working on the remaining (smaller) supply and maintenance issues in our schools as this year unfolds. I also continue to believe and will continue pushing for an expanded virtual option, a less restrictive medical eligibility form for virtual learning, a stronger vaccine requirement, and other safety measures to keep our students and educators safe.

Big Changes Coming to Metro Rail and Bus Service

Starting Sunday, September 5 there are many exciting changes coming to WMATA that might affect your commute. I wanted to share them with you here:

  • Free transfers from rail to bus and bus to rail.
  • Metro will have $2 weekend fares no matter where you’re going, and will offer more weekend train service so your wait is shorter.
  • Longer hours: Metro will remain open until 1am on Fridays and Saturdays (1 hour later) and open at 7am on Sundays (1 hour earlier).
  • Unlimited passes will be on sale for half off from September 16 to October 15
  • Popular bus lines will get more frequent bus service, while other lines will be restored. Check out a full list of bus changes at this link.
  • The preservation of the 63 bus! After initially proposing its elimination and strong community pushback, WMATA is preserving the 63 bus line. Here is a map of what the revised 63 bus route will look like starting this Sunday
  • The return of the Yellow Line to Ward 4! After a long hiatus for a platform improvement project,  the Yellow Line will resume service to Petworth Station and all stations north of Mt. Vernon Square on Tuesday, September 7.

I’ll keep building on these improvements and working with our community to bring back other bus routes that were scaled back during the pandemic. Reliable public transit is essential!

What to Expect for Labor Day

As we head into Labor Day Weekend, let’s take a moment to reflect on the immense contributions and sacrifices that workers make on a daily basis – and all that unions and worker organizations have done to empower and lift up working people in the past and present. I hope the holiday weekend brings rest and relaxation from your own labor in whatever shape it may take. Let’s live up to the spirit of Labor Day year round by standing in solidarity with workers in their struggles for more just, more democratic workplaces.

Practically, speaking, I wanted to share how Labor Day will impact DC government operations. Some services will remain open (shelters, DPR parks, and some outdoor pools) while most other services (including the DMV, DC-operated vaccine and testing sites, DOES, and public libraries) will be closed. Meanwhile, DPW trash and recycling collection will be suspended on Monday and the normal schedule will ‘slide’ a day, meaning Monday pickup will take place on Tuesday, Tuesday pickup will take place on Wednesday, and so on. And of course, all parking enforcement and street sweeping (except Streetcar ticketing) will be suspended. More details can be found in this announcement.

Opening the New Military Road Early Learning Center

There is a new DCPS Early Learning Center in Ward 4! Yesterday with the Mayor, DCPS Chancellor, and Principal Amelia Hunt we celebrated the opening of the Military Road School, which will serve Pre-K3 and Pre-K4 students from across the District. The school also has capacity to offer self-contained special education classes for Pre-K3 and Pre-K4. This is only the second DCPS early learning center after Stevens Early Learning Center in Ward 2. The original Military Road School opened in 1864 and was one of the District’s first schools to serve Black children. We were fortunate to have Patricia Tyson with us yesterday, who was part of the Military Road Class of 1954, the last class before the school shut down. She was moved to see the school reopen and welcome back DC students after so many years. I want to again thank everyone who worked and advocated for the creation of Military Road Early Learning Center. You made this day possible!


Neighborhood Events

16th Street Neighborhood Association Summer Block Party! On Saturday, September 4 from 12pm-4pm the 16th Street Neighborhood Association is hosting its annual summer bash at the 1500 Block of Allison St NW. Be safe and social distance. There will be food, games, music, special kids events, and more… Hamburgers, hot dogs, veggie options, ice cream, and beverages will be provided. Bring a dish to share!

7th Place between Van Buren St and Underwood St Block Party! On Sunday, September 5 from 2pm-6pm neighbors on 7th Place in Takoma are coming together for a block party. Bring your lawn chairs and join your neighbors for music, games, food, and drinks! Special thanks to DHS, DPR, DC Fire and EMS, MPD, Piney Branch Safeway, The Parks at Walter Reed, Upper Georgia Avenue, Hines/Urban-Atlantic, and Trident Urban Development Corp for their support.

Labor Day Petworth Summer Saturdays Concert! On Saturday, September 3 from 5pm-7pm Petworth Summer Saturdays will host its Labor Day concert with Sligo Water Dogs, a rock, punk, and blues band from Takoma Park. The performance will take place in front of Willow on Upshur Street, NW – with excellent food and drink options nearby. All are welcome!

Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail and Pedestrian Bridge Project Public Meeting #2. On Tuesday, September 7 at 6:30pm-7:30pm DDOT and NPS will host their second public meeting to update the public on the construction progress made year to date and outline construction activities for the next phase of the Rehabilitation of Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail and Pedestrian Bridge project. RSVP here to attend.

Housing Rights & Accommodations: Disability and Long Covid. On Tuesday, September 7 at 6pm-7:30pm the Equal Rights Center will join Douglass CLT to share a presentation on Housing Rights for people with disability, including the effects of Long Covid. Join them to learn about what counts as a “disability,” what modifications or exceptions you are entitled to ask for to improve your living situation, and where you can receive assistance if your rights are not being respected. RSVP and find more information on Eventbrite.

Six Free National Symphony Orchestra Concerts in Ward 4. From September 11 to September 22, the National Symphony Orchestra will perform no less than six free concerts across Ward 4 as part of the “NSO In Your Neighborhood” series. Catch the talented musicians at La Coop Coffee, the Great Lawn at The Parks at Walter Reed, Rock Creek Nature Park Center, Roosevelt High School, Fort Slocum Park, and Emery Recreation Center! Get the details from Cesse Ip in Petworth News!

Planning Your Fall/Winter Garden Event. On Saturday, September 11 at 10:30am-1pm the Share a Seed project and Slow Food DC will host an interactive garden planning and cover crop event at Upshur Community Garden (1325 Upshur Street NW). They will be celebrating the launch of the seed library project and helping neighbors prep their gardens for the fall and winter season. All attendees will be given their own FREE bag of cover crop seed while supplies last (priority will be given to those who RSVP). RSVP here!

Free Pet Vaccinations at Lorenzo Allen Park! On Saturday, September 11 from 10am-12:30pm the Humane Rescue Alliance will host a free Pet Health Fair at Lorenzo Larry Allen Memorial Park (9th & Gallatin NW) to administer distemper and rabies vaccines to community pets free of charge, no appointments necessary. You can find additional information at this link. There will be a Pet Health Fair in each Ward, but Ward 4 comes first!

Main Street Park(ing) Day and Art All Night! On Friday, September 17 from 9am-4pm Uptown Main Street will host Main Street Park(ing) Day on Kennedy Street. Then a week later on Friday, September 24 from 5pm-11:30pm Uptown Main Street will host Art All Night 2021! This free arts festival will include live music, documentary screenings, visual arts and more! Volunteer for either event by emailing info@uptownmainstreet.org. More details to come!

Chevy Chase Day. On Saturday, September 18 from 1pm-4pm the Chevy Chase Citizens Association is bringing back Chevy Chase Day on Connecticut Avenue at the Commons. Plan to come for the music, puppet show, juggler, magician, balloon art, outdoor yoga, sidewalk chalk art, the free ice cream giveaway, and so much more!

Tour de Roosevelt! On Sunday, September 19 at 10am at the main entrance of Roosevelt High School (4301 13th St NW) Roosevelt High School its annual community bike ride! The event is free and open to all riders regardless of age skill level. The ride will follow Roosevelt’s in-boundary geographic feeder map. Please RSVP at this link. Remember to wear orange and blue, wear a helmet, and bring water and a snack.

Northern Bus Garage Fall Community Engagement Meeting. On Tuesday, September 21 at 6pm WMATA is hosting its fall community engagement meeting on the Northern Bus Garage Reconstruction Project. Join Metro to discuss recent project updates. Topics will include design and fieldwork updates, Metro’s zero-emission strategy, and a follow-up on environmental management process.

Art All Night Brings Film and Fun to Georgia Avenue! On Friday, September 24 and Saturday, September 25 Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street is organizing a weekend of fun for the city’s annual Art All Night celebration. On Friday, September 24 at 7pm kick off the weekend at Cinema Night + Art All Night Launch on the Great Lawn at The Parks at Walter Reed. Then, come out again on Saturday, September 25 at 7pm for four more Art All Night activations along Georgia Avenue:

  • Arts & culture walk featuring jazz at Nile Ethiopian Restaurant, visual arts at Tomoka Coffee House, poetry readings led by Huffington Post contributor and founder of Day Eight Robert Bettmann, Zenith Gallery pop-up and mobile woodshop at PS2G, and more in the 7300-7800 blocks of Georgia Ave NW.
  • African cultural bands and ping pong in the 6400 block of Georgia Ave NW.
  • Family-friendly comedy talk show led by Brandon Wetherbee, who has performed at the Kennedy Center and was featured in Washingtonian Magazine, at the Emory United Methodist Church, 6100 Georgia Ave NW.
  • Latin American cultural bands with art and retail vendors in front of the Fourth District MPD Headquarters, 6001 block of Georgia Ave NW.

Save the Date: The Parks Main Street Art All Night. On Friday evening, September 24 the Parks Main Street will host Art All Night, a free arts festival that showcases performances from musical, visual, and movement artists. If you’re interested in performing or vending at the festival, fill out this form. And get your free tickets at this link!

Save the Date: Celebrate Petworth! On Saturday, September 25 between 11am-5pm Celebrate Petworth makes its grand return. This is a free neighborhood festival organized by and for the residents of Petworth—celebrating the creativity, diversity, culture, and people of Petworth and its surrounding neighborhoods. It takes place on the 800 block of Upshur Street NW and features a Kids Zone with music, a Fire Engine, a soda explosion experiment, chalking, and a Balloon Bounce Community Art Project!

Save the Date: Open Streets Returns to Georgia Avenue. On Saturday, October 2 from 10am-3pm Open Streets will return to Georgia Avenue in Wards 1 and 4. During that time period, a miles-long stretch of Georgia Avenue will close to cars and will instead host an urban festival of activities ranging from food, drinks, fitness classes, obstacle courses, children’s games, live music, and other educational and entertainment programming.

Save the Date: Down in the Reeds Festival. On Saturday, October 9 from 11am-7pm Down in the Reeds Festival is back in Ward 4 hosted by The Parks at Walter Reed! It’s a free all-day festival celebrating the power of music to heal across communities and cultures. Check out the website for ways to plug in and follow them on FacebookTwitter, or Instagram for updates as the festival takes shape.

Ward 4 Weekly Farmer’s Markets. We have: 


Community Resources

Spray Parks to Remain Open through September 26! Today DPR announced that in light of the hot weather we’re experiencing all 33 of DC’s stand-alone spray (splash) parks will remain open every day, starting September 7 from 11am-5pm through September 26. In Ward 4 we have spray parks at Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center, Fort Stevens Rec Center, Takoma Community Center, Petworth Rec Center, and Riggs-LaSalle Rec Center. Find your nearest spray park on this map.

Reminder: Renew your DC ID or Driver’s License by September 9. After a three month extension, the deadline is coming up to renew your DC ID or Driver’s License this Thursday, September 9. The expiration of IDs and licenses in DC was suspended during the pandemic. Drivers are already supposed to have up-to-date registration as of June 1. The DMV is open to walk up services, and you can find hours for each location here. Keep in mind that there will be a surge of residents going in the coming days, so try to arrive early, leave plenty of time, or visit during atypical hours. If your DC driver license has been expired for more than 545 days, you must take and pass both the knowledge test and the road skills test (by appointment only).

Housing Available at the Vale at The Parks at Walter Reed. The Vale apartment building at The Parks at Walter Reed is now accepting applications for units to rent at both market rate and affordable rates at 50% and 80% average median income. You can find more info and contact information at this link.

Temporary Closure of Beach Drive NW on September 11. DDOT will temporarily close Beach Drive NW between the Rock Creek and Potomac Parkway NW and Tilden Street NW between the hours of 9am-5pm on Saturday, September 11, weather permitting. This temporary closure is necessary to construct the new pedestrian bridge and multi-use trail on Beach Drive over Rock Creek as part of the Rock Creek Park Multi-Use Trail and Pedestrian Bridge project.

Join Us as a Constituent Services Coordinator. I am searching for a new dynamic, caring constituent services coordinator to complement Matt and Tamira in supporting and empowering Ward 4 residents. Please take a moment and share the job listing with any of your neighbors who could be a great fit. Looking forward to having an even bigger team supporting Ward 4!

Important Changes to DOES Unemployment Benefits. Starting tomorrow on September 4, there will be drastic changes to unemployment benefits due to the end of federal funding for unemployment benefits. I want to make you’re prepared, so I’m sharing this helpful flyer from the Legal Society of DC and summarizing these changes below:

  • If you are an independent contractor who receives Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) payments, those payments will end
  • For those who receive regular unemployment benefits, the $300 added payment to your weekly payments (FPUC) will end
  • Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation (PEUC), which extended the time period you could receive regular unemployment benefits, will also end
  • The Mixed Earner Unemployment Compensation(MEUC) program also ends 
  • And starting this Monday, August 30, the work search requirement goes back into effect. That means claimants must complete two job contacts (work search activities) per week as part of their weekly filing.

And thank you to all of the families that stopped by for our Ward 4 school supply giveaways at Emery Rec Center and Brightwood Elementary School, and to Friends of Emery, Elephant Tribe, MCN Build, Georgia Avenue Family Support Collaborative, and all of the sponsors and volunteers that helped make the two events such a success!


I’m reminded every day that we have an incredible community with incredible people. This week we celebrated the 105th birthday of Mr. Harry White, a Petworth neighbor who served in World War II, worked for the Secret Service under 10 US Presidents, and has lived in the District for more than 98 years! In July, the DC Council passed my ceremonial resolution honoring Mr. White.

It’s not everyday you get to receive wisdom from a 105 year old. I asked Mr. White his advice for me as a servant leader. He stated he wanted me to focus on educating people because knowledge is something no one can take from you.

Hear more from Mr. White in news coverage by NBC4 and WUSA9, and join us in wishing him a very happy 105th Birthday!

Happy Labor Day, Ward 4.

Yours in Community,
—Janeese