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Ward 4 Dispatch: Our Libraries, Spring Events, Small Business Spotlight, and DC Emancipation Day

Dear Neighbors,

As we start the holiday weekend, I want to share the most important updates on the Council’s budget process, city services, community safety, and upcoming events. While our office will be closed this Monday in observance of Emancipation Day and the Council will be in spring recess next week, we will be hard at work beginning to make changes to the proposed DC budget based on the input we received from DC residents. Here’s everything you need to know:

Ward 4 Business Spotlight: Hedzole and Coffee on Kennedy

Please join me in giving a big Ward 4 welcome to Hedzole, a new fast casual restaurant in Sixteenth Street Heights with incredible West African cuisine, a great space, and a friendly team! Hedzole is located at 5505 Colorado Ave NW (the previous Social Kitchen location) and is currently open on Tuesdays-Saturdays from 12pm-5pm. Owner Candice Mensah uplifts her Ghanaian heritage through each meal. Come support this great new Black woman-owned business in our community. Also, today beloved Takoma coffee shop Lost Sock Roasters opened a pop-up location at ANXO —bringing its coffee brews to Kennedy Street! As Petworth News reported, the pop-up features “a Slayer espresso machine pulling house and single origin espresso shots on Mahlkonig grinders,” as well as “drip coffee, nitro cold brew, and their full lineup of retail bags.” In addition to coffee, Lost Sock is also offering delicious empanadas and other breakfast items. You can visit the pop-up at 711 Kennedy Street NW on Tuesdays-Fridays from 7am-1pm and Saturdays-Sundays from 8am-1pm. There’s a block party planned for this Sunday from 10am-3pm with Lost Sock, ANXO, Brightwood Pizza, Everyday Sundae, and HR Records to celebrate the new pop-up!

Fighting for Our Public Libraries

Ward 4 showed up strong for our budget oversight hearing with DC Public Library this week. One after another, community members and ANC Commissioners shared powerful testimony about the need to save and improve our Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park Library, and to build a new public library on Kennedy Street to serve Brightwood Park and Manor Park, where we have a massive library service gap. As I have shared with you before, DC Public Library has $25 million in capital funds budgeted to build a new, full-service library in Ward 4. Every indication we have received from DC Public Library in recent months is that it wants to close our library in Shepherd Park, replace it with a new library at the Parks at Walter Reed, and leave the service gap in Brightwood Park and Manor Park unaddressed. This plan fails to do right by our communities and I do not support it.

DCPL’s plan is based on a faulty analysis of the existing Juanita E. Thornton Shepherd Park Library. And it neglects the library’s rich history, its invaluable services for our community, and its role as a stabilizing force for small businesses on Upper Georgia Avenue. Instead of demolishing the library that is already serving our Shepherd Park, Brightwood, Colonial Village, North Portal, and the Parks communities to move it somewhere else, we need to keep this community asset and make the improvements it needs to become an even better place for neighbors to gather, learn, and better their lives. At the same time, DCPL needs to step up and close the critical library service gap that it identified in Brightwood Park and Manor Park by building the new library on Kennedy Street. This is an area with a high concentration of senior citizens, immigrants, job seekers, lower-income families, single-parent households, children ages birth-to-9, and many child care centers and schools. Despite these vast needs, Kennedy Street has been systematically underinvested in over decades and passed up for public resources that other DC neighborhoods take for granted. This has exacerbated many of the issues that Kennedy Street faces now — from blighted buildings to public safety. As one community member put it, right now “it is easier to buy a beer on Kennedy Street than it is to get a book.” Together with our community, I called on DCPL to change that by transparently engaging Ward 4 residents and bringing a public library to Kennedy Street.

Public libraries are not businesses. They do not need to relocate to where they can get the most ‘customers’ or have the newest, shiniest buildings. Public libraries are community assets that should be equitably distributed across our city in the places where people need them most.

Community Safety: Arrests, DC Budget, and Ward 4 Job Fair

My team and I continue to work with DC agencies and our community in Ward 4 to improve public safety. In recent months, our community has been experiencing a string of robberies — including some targeting students on their way to school. MPD recently announced the arrests of eight individuals linked with five robberies in Ward 4 and several others across DC. At the same time, I am working with Councilmembers to reverse cuts to violence prevention programs in the proposed DC budget and secure new Ward 4 investments that make our community safer through programs for at-risk youth, improving security in and around schools, and transitional employment programs. When we talk about confronting gun violence and crime, we need to be focused on both short-term interventions and addressing the root causes of crime so we can build lasting peace in our neighborhoods. Both in DC and nationally, jobs and opportunities are directly linked with significantly lower crime rates. Time after time, I have seen how the stability of a good job has transformed the lives of people in our community. Our Ward 4 Community Job Fair is only a week away. Please take a moment to share the flyer and registration link with your neighbors, especially any DC residents who are looking for work.

Community Events

ANC 4B Spring Clean Up Week

From April 15 through April 22 ANC 4B will host a series of community clean ups, which will also include tutorials on submitting 311 requests and support for local businesses. Supplies and snacks will be provided, and neighbors are encouraged to join with their family:

  • Saturday, April 15 at 9am: Kevin Gilligan, 4B05; 9th & Quackenbos NW
  • Sunday, April 16 at 10am: Jenna Cevasco, neighbor; Takoma Elementary School (7010 Piney Branch Road, NW); free “I <3 Takoma” t-shirts for the first 15 kids who participate
  • Monday, April 17 at 9 am: Erin Palmer, 4B02; Van Buren & Piney Branch NW; Donut Run donuts provided
  • Tuesday, April 18 at 5pm: Upper Georgia Avenue Main Street; 8th & Missouri NW; with Taco Tuesday at J&J Mex-Taqueria afterward (6231 Georgia Ave NW)
  • Wednesday, April 19 at 4pm: Main Street Takoma; 4th & Cedar Street & Blair NW; with happy hour at Takoma Station afterward (6914 4th St NW)
  • Thursday, April 20 at 9am: Alison Horn, ANC 4B Housing Justice Committee Member; 5th & Tuckerman NW; with support from the Ida B Wells Adopt-a-Block team
  • Friday, April 21 at 9am: Jim Nichols, Adopt-a-Block neighbor; 5th & Aspen NW
  • Saturday, April 22 at 10am; Alison Brooks, 4B08, Chair of ANC 4B; 1st & Riggs NE

Extreme Rock Creek Cleanups in Ward 4

From April 15 through April 22, the Rock Creek Conservancy and National Park Service are hosting clean up events across Ward 4, including events in Rock Creek, Pinehurst Branch, Peirce Mill, Piney Branch, Fort Slocum, Carter Barron, and Fort Totten. Join an event near you!

Health and Wellness Fair at Emory Fellowship

On Saturday, April 15 from 10am-12pm Emory Fellowship’s Health Ministry will host a Health and Wellness Fair. The fair will feature interactive sessions like Yoga, Zumba, Kids Fitness, and Exercise for Seniors — as well as medical experts for neighbors to check in with.

Legal Help and Financial Counseling Clinic

On Saturday, April 15 from 10:30am-12:30pm Tzedek DC will host a Legal Help and Financial Counseling Drop-In Clinic for residents with questions or concerns regarding debt collectors or credit report problems. Lawyers and financial counselors will be present to help!

Art & Things Market at the Stew on Emerson Street

On Saturday, April 15 from 11am-3pm The Stew at 925 Emerson Street NW will host their 6th Bi-Annual Art & Things Market so neighbors can meet 17 local creators, learn about their processes, and shop direct from them! More details on Eventbrite.

Spring Celebration and Egg Roll at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Saturday, April 15 from 3pm-5pm the Parks at Walter Reed will host a Spring Celebration and Egg Roll on the Great Lawn. The event will feature happy hour time, a DJ, a moonbounce, beverages to purchase, and amazing local food trucks. Come prepared to hunt for eggs and get moving with games, relay races, yoga, and more! RSVP on The Parks website.

Blueprint for Wellness and Pharmacy Clinic

On Sunday, April 16 from 11am-3pm Nineteenth Street Baptist Church (4606 16th St NW) will host a Blueprint for Wellness event and simultaneous Giant Pharmacy Clinic where residents can get vital information about their metabolic, weight, and coronary indicators — as well as COVID vaccines, boosters, flu shots, and shingles shots. This is a free event but registration is required, so please call or text 410-804-9325 to reserve your spot.

Kennedy Street Block Party to Welcome Lost Sock

On Sunday, April 16 from 10am-3pm ANXO, Brightwood Pizza, HR Records, and Everyday Sundae will host a Block Party at 711 Kennedy Street NW to welcome the Lost Sock Coffee Roasters pop-up! Come for coffee, breakfast, ice cream, tunes, pizza, cider, and games!

4B06 Emancipation Day Clean Up at Fort Slocum

On Monday, April 17 from 10am-12pm 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Johnson will host an Emancipation Day Community Clean Up at Fort Slocum, starting from Fort Slocum Pavilion.

Virtual Narcan Training with DBH

On Wednesday, April 19 from 6pm-8pm 4B06 Commissioner Tiffani Johnson will host a free virtual training with the DC Department of Behavioral Health on how to administer Narcan, a lifesaving medication that helps reverse opioid overdoses. RSVP to attend on Eventbrite.

Ward 4 Community Conversation with HIPS

On Thursday, April 20 at 6pm my office and HIPS DC will co-host a community conversation with neighbors at Emery Heights Community Center on public health-based and community-led strategies to address community safety issues such as substance abuse, mental health emergencies, and community violence. The event will offer free dinner from Oohh’s and Aahh’s and will provide a safe forum to discuss individual experiences without punishment or stigma.

Takoma Easter Egg Block Party

On Friday, April 21 from 2pm-7pm Takoma Community Center and DPR will host a Takoma Easter Egg Block Party, featuring an egg celebration and hunt for kids in the neighborhood.

Ward 4 Community Jobs Fair at Coolidge

On Saturday, April 22 from 11am-3pm I will co-host a Ward 4 Jobs Fair with the DC Business Gun Violence Prevention Coalition and ANC 4B at Coolidge (6315 5th St NW) with lunch provided! Residents can register on Eventbrite. Spread the word with this flyer!

Petworth Porchfest Returns on April 22

On Saturday, April 22 from 2pm-6pm Petworth Porchfest returns to porches across Greater Petworth! Join your Ward 4 neighbors as we enjoy nearly 200 bands performing across 80 stages, with plenty of local businesses and community sponsors taking part too. Learn more!

Community Hype Squad: Cheer on Takoma Scholars 

On Tuesday, April 25 from 8:15am-9am and Thursday, April 27 from 8:15am-9am the Takoma Elementary School PTO is organizing a ‘community hype squad’ of volunteers to high-five, hold signs, and cheer on our Takoma ES students as they walk into school to take their PARCC tests. Singing and dancing welcomed too! Sign up to join either morning. 

Petworth Community Clean Up Day 

On Saturday, April 29 from 10am-2pm ANC 4C Commissioners, community groups, and neighbors are teaming up for a Petworth Clean Up Day to clean up the neighborhood, plant flowers, and build community. All clean-up supplies will be provided and each event will get a free pizza from Cafe Vino Food Truck. Sign up to join the clean up closest to you! Here are the starting locationsWebster & Georgia NW (4C01); 711 Parking Lot on Georgia (4C02); Spring & 11th NW (4C03) Spring & 14th NW (4C04); Webster & 7th (4C05); Shepherd & New Hampshire NW (4C06); Taylor & New Hampshire NW (4C07); Petworth Rec Center at 801 Taylor Street NW (Friends of Petworth Park); Illinois & Upshur NW or Petworth Library (Petworth Get Wise Coalition); Raymond Rec Center (Petworth Action Committee); Grant Circle (Petworth Blooms); and Grant Circle Playground (Petworth Peanuts). RSVP here!

Community Resources

Changes to DC Services for Emancipation Day Weekend

DC government is observing Emancipation Day on Monday, April 17. Here is a detailed update on how city services are affected. DPR indoor rec centers and pools will be closed on Monday, while outdoor DPR fields and playgrounds will remain open. Libraries will be closed on Sunday but will have a handful of locations open on Monday, including Petworth Library. And DPW trash and recycling collection will ‘slide’ one day later next week into Saturday.

Free Curbside Composting Pilot Program in DC!

This summer DPW will launch a Curbside Composting Pilot Program to provide curbside food waste collection to 12,000 single-family households in DC for a full year. The pilot program will only serve 1,500 households per Ward on a first-come, first-served basis — and sign-ups begin on Saturday, April 22 at 9am. Visit DPW’s webpage to learn more and sign up on the 22nd!

2020 Annual Visitor Parking Pass Ending April 15

DDOT shared that the 2020 Annual Visitor Parking Passes (paper placards) will no longer be valid after April 15, 2023. Neighbors who want to keep accessing Visitor Parking Permits need to sign up in ParkDC Permits through the Park DC websiteapp, or by calling 202-671-2631.

Ward 4 Mutual Aid Grocery Distribution

Ward 4 Mutual Aid is providing free gift cards, diapers, food, and other items at Brightwood Park UMC (744 Jefferson St NW) to the first 100 families that arrive on the following dates: Wednesday, April 19 at 5pmSaturday, April 22 at 12pmSaturday, May 20 at noon; and Saturday, June 24 at noon.

Public Litter Cans Being Reinstalled in Ward 4 

Following up on legislation I introduced and strong advocacy from our ANC Commissioners, DPW has started reinstalling public litter cans that were removed from Ward 4. Is there a public litter can that was removed from your neighborhood and should be reinstalled? You can now request a public litter can to be installed on the 311 website311 mobile app, or 311 call center under Public Space Litter Can Installation. Let your ANC Commissioner know you’re submitting the request because they will be asked to weigh in on the request by DPW. 

DC Residents Need to Renew Their Medicaid 

For the first time since before the pandemic, DC residents will need to renew their Medicaid coverage from April 1, 2023 to June 1, 2024. The first step DC residents should take is to visit DistrictDirect on their computer or mobile app and update their contact information. Learn more about the renewal process on DHCF’s website, and please contact my constituent services team if you need support with renewing your coverage. 

Shepherd Playground Closed for Repairs

On Tuesday, April 11 Shepherd Playground temporarily closed for surfacing repairs and is set to reopen later this spring. DPR will alert the community once repairs are done, and residents can also sign up for DPR Alerts by texting DCDPR to 888777.

No Pets Allowed on Roosevelt Field 

Our school communities are reminding neighbors that pets are not permitted on Roosevelt field on Iowa Avenue. Please keep in mind that this field is primarily used by our Ward 4 students, who deserve a clean and hygienic field to exercise and play. We have other great parks!

Tax Reminders for Tax Season

With April 18 around the corner, I want to remind neighbors who are eligible to apply for the Senior Citizen Property Tax Deduction to reduce property taxes for our seniors, as well as the Homestead and Disability Property Tax deductions under the same program. This is a really important year for lower-income families to file their taxes because in January DC will start providing eligible families a new monthly cash payment program by doubling the District’s local match to the federal Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefit. I co-led the Council in passing this program through the Homes and Hearts Amendment, and you can learn more about it this dedicated website. Also, Ward 4 residents can receive free income tax prep assistance from the AARP Foundation at Petworth Library on Mondays and Fridays from 12pm-4pm by appointment only. Visit this link or call 202-656-1341 to book an appointment.

Repaving Parts of Missouri Avenue NW

From April 17 through May 12, DDOT will be repaving parts of Missouri Avenue, including 8th to Nicholson NW, 3rd Street to 3rd Place NW, and North Capitol to 1st NW (weather permitting). To minimize disruption on neighbors, DDOT will repave whole road segments sequentially — 2 lanes at a time, with 2 lanes open to traffic — within the four-week duration.

Crowded Streets in Petworth and Brightwood Park on April 22

Petworth Porchfest on Saturday, April 22 from 2pm-6pm is one of the most fun events of the year, but with nearly 200 performances scheduled across porches in Petworth, Brightwood Park, Park View, Columbia Heights, and Sixteenth Street Heights, it will be harder than usual to get around the neighborhood, and there will be music playing on residential streets for a few hours. Check out the full map of performances so you can plan ahead and enjoy the event!

Local News Links

Washington Post: Proposed DC budget scales down road safety, cuts Circulator routes

Washington Informer: Proposal Zeroes Out Funding for Key Environmental Challenges

DCist: As Local Opioid Fatalities Climb, Harm Reduction Advocates Push For Overdose Prevention Center

Washington Informer: DC Councilmember Parker Targets Gun Manufacturers in New Bill

Petworth News: Petworth is doing a clean up day, and you’re invited to help!

Washington Post: In the Galleries (featuring “Black Like Me” exhibit at Zenith Gallery)

ANC 4B: Earth Day Resource Fair at Whittier Elementary on April 29

Next Stop… Riggs Park: LRCA Scholarship Applications Due May 5

Pink Rocki Advocacy Foundation: Scholarship Applications Due April 30

Washington Post: New condos part of makeover of DC’s historic Walter Reed campus

DCist: DC Kicks Off Once-A-Decade Process To Redraw School Boundaries

Previous Ward 4 Dispatch: Egg Hunts, Spring Clean Ups, and Budget Hearings

I want to wish our Christian Orthodox neighbors a Happy Easter! Ward 4 has several vibrant, tight-knit Ethiopian, Eritrean, Antiochian, Coptic, Greek, Russian, and Eastern Orthodox Christian communities who celebrate Easter on a separate calendar.

This Sunday, April 16, 2023 marks the 161st anniversary of Emancipation Day, when 3,100 enslaved people were freed in the District. Each year we honor Emancipation Day as the “first blow against the edifice of slavery” and the day our city was freed “from the thrall of slavery forever.” This year, we hold a special place in our hearts for Peter Hanes, a Ward 4 resident who recently passed away. Together with his mother, the late great Loretta Carter Hanes, Peter played a critical role in reviving commemorations for Emancipation Day in DC. As we celebrate Emancipation Day this year, we lift up Peter and Loretta’s legacy and we deepen our commitment to fighting for full equality for the District of Columbia: the future 51st State.

Happy Emancipation Day, DC.

Yours in Community,