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Ward 4 Dispatch: Small Businesses, Safety Updates, CARE Day in Manor Park, and Happy Mother’s Day!

Dear Neighbors,

We’re in the final stretch of the DC budget process. On Monday, the Chairman will release a revised budget, and on Tuesday, the Council will hold its first and most impactful vote on the DC budget and any budget amendments that Councilmembers propose. Now is the most important time to contact Councilmembers about the budget needs that matter most to you — from Ward 4 investments to citywide programs that make our communities safer and stronger. Please make your voice heard, and stay tuned for major budget updates from me next week.

My newsletter this week includes important public safety updates, highlights new Ward 4 businesses, news on our spray parks and DPR summer programs, information on the school boundary revision process, and features many neighborhood events. Check it all out here.

Welcoming New Businesses in Ward 4

I want to quickly spotlight several businesses that are opening in our community so Ward 4 residents can support them and benefit from all that they have to offer. In Sixteenth Street Heights, we are excited to welcome Zeke’s Coffee to the neighborhood at 4602 14th St NW. Stop by for their grand opening on Saturday, May 13 from 7am-4pm, where they will be serving free drip coffee and cold brew all day long. Over in PetworthFlowers by Alexes has already become a neighborhood staple and held its official grand opening last weekend. Alexes is carrying on her father’s legacy by opening her own flower shop on Upshur Street (851 Upshur St NW). Meanwhile, the Shepherd Market corner store on 13th & Shepherd NW just reopened in style under new management but has a history that dates back an entire century. And after closing for repairs in 2019, we are lucky to have The Pitch Tavern back open (4015 Georgia Ave NW) serving our community — with a patio and rooftop lounge coming soon too. Further up Georgia Avenue between Brightwood and Manor ParkPlaza Teontepec opened as a classic Mexican carryout with tacos and other favorites. Visit them at 6214 Georgia Ave NW to try it out.

Confronting Violence in Our Community

This evening I joined residents from Decatur Street and the surrounding neighborhood as they held a vigil to mourn 24-year-old Aaron Derricott Jr, who was shot and killed just days earlier in broad daylight. Neighbors also gathered in solidarity to call for action in response to this horrific act of violence. As a community, we condemn gun violence and those who perpetrate it — and we refuse to accept bullets and vigils as a normal part of our lives. MPD is actively investigating the case and following up on leads to bring the individuals responsible to justice. MPD is also seeking information from the public. Community members can share tips or footage with law enforcement by calling 202-727-9099 or texting 50411. MPD has increased patrols along Decatur and the surrounding area, and it is placing a light tower on the block to improve safety. We are also mobilizing agency and community resources to work to prevent retaliation, support impacted families, and address issues that undermine safety in the neighborhood. At the same time, we are responding to a recent surge in gun violence in the Lamond neighborhood largely driven by domestic conflicts. Our team has been engaging neighbors directly, gathering information, and helping coordinate a response to this unacceptable violence. There will be a community safety walk with residents, community leaders, and MPD next Thursday, May 18 at 6pm (location will be confirmed soon) in order to determine next steps. Lastly, the frustration, fear, and grief caused by each shooting is shaping my engagement on the DC budget. We are working to reverse harmful cuts to violence prevention, victims services, and programs that make our communities safer by preventing hunger and housing instability.

Carolina Restaurant Finally Fenced In

After years of Council, ANC, and resident requests — and a positive recent meeting — the abandoned Carolina Restaurant property at 14th & Spring NW has finally been fenced in and boarded up. We have been advocating alongside our community for the abatement and cleanup of this corner since 2021, and I am glad there is finally progress. Before it was secured, the property was contributing to significant safety issues in the neighborhood. The fence installed by the Department of Buildings will help secure the property as we wait for a new owner to restore it as a beneficial part of our community. Given the surge in crime and violence across DC, we need our agencies to respond decisively when neighbors identify conditions that exacerbate public safety problems. Thank you to DOB, Councilmember Nadeau, Commissioners Daniel Alexander, Gary Decker, Jeremy Sherman, and neighbors. 

Neighborhood Events

Spring Cleanup at Lafayette-Pointer Park

On Saturday, May 13 from 9am-12pm the Friends of Lafayette-Pointer Park will host a spring cleanup of the park. This will be a family-friendly cleanup, and students are welcome to pick up community service hours. Enjoy the spring weather, meet your neighbors, and have fun! 

Four-Hour Fiction Book Sale at Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library

On Saturday, May 13 from 11am-3pm the Friends of the Juanita E. Thornton-Shepherd Park Library will hold a “Four-Hour Fiction” book sale with adult and young-adult fiction titles, as well as a huge number of DVDs for sale too. All items will be just $1 each, so come on by!

Mother’s Day FREE Market

On Saturday, May 13 from 12pm-4pm Ward 4 Mutual Aid and Petworth Peanuts will host a Mother’s Day FREE Market at Emory United Methodist Church (6100 Georgia Ave NW). People can come pick up free gently-used maternity clothes, baby and kids’ clothes, strollers, toys, and gear. Volunteers are also needed to sort the donations, set up, and clean up the event. Please contact or 202-854-9830 for more information.

Bike Ride to Our Libraries in Lamond Riggs, Takoma, and Shepherd Park

On Sunday, May 14 at 12:30pm DC Public Library will host the 14th Tour de DCPL, a fun-filled bike tour of four of our local public libraries. The tour will kick off at Lillian J. Huff/Lamond-Riggs Library, visit Takoma Neighborhood Library, then Juanita E. Thornton Neighborhood Library, ride through Rock Creek Park, then finish at the Mount Pleasant Neighborhood Library. There will be free swag, refreshments, library trivia, and more. Please register to take part.

AKA Xi Omega Senior Fair: Aging Unbound with Seniors

On Monday, May 15 at 10:30am-2:30pm Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Xi Omega Chapter will host a senior fair in partnership with DACL at the Xi Omega Center (4411 14th Street NW). Free activities include live music; packaged lunch; blood pressure, glucose, and glaucoma screenings; senior care; finance and retirement planning; information on aging in place safety; health information; and food demos, prizes, and grocery gift card giveaways.

Ward 4 CARE Day in Manor Park

On Wednesday, May 17 from 4pm-7pm I will be hosting our first CARE Day in Manor Park, starting from the Fort Slocum Park Pavilion (5800 Kansas Ave NW). Come join us for a resource fair with DC agencies, outreach to check in on neighbors, constituent services support, and a day of bringing our community closer together. Please RSVP online.

DPR Cultural Arts Showcase at Riggs LaSalle

On Thursday, May 18 from 6pm-8pm DPR will host a Cultural Arts Showcase highlighting DPR Cultural Arts programs and activities at Riggs LaSalle Rec Center (501 Riggs Road NE).

Author Talk at Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library 

On Thursday, May 18 from 6pm-7:30pm DCPL and Loyalty Bookstores will host an in-person author talk at Lillian J. Huff Lamond-Riggs Library with Angeline Boulley and Nick Brooks to celebrate their latest releases, Warrior Girl Unearthed and Promise BoysRegistration is required, and the event will take place on the first floor in the large meeting room.

Ward 4 Community Bike to Work Day

On Friday, May 19 at 8am Ward 4 will have its annual Community Bike-to-Work Day Ride starting from the Capitol Bikeshare Station at 14th & Crittenden NW. Join your neighbors for a fun, social-paced ride Downtown to celebrate.

Universal High Tea at Takoma Community Center

On Friday, May 19 from 11am-2:30pm Takoma Community Center (300 Van Buren Street NW) will host a Universal High Tea event, which promises to be an “exquisite afternoon tea where young ladies will dress up, socialize, and learn about proper etiquette.”

Family Fun Game Night at Fort Stevens Rec

On Friday, May 19 from 5pm-7pm, Fort Stevens Rec Center (1327 Van Buren St NW) will host a Family Fun Game Night for the community. Come play games, color, play, or just enjoy the park with family.

Petworth Arts Fest and Teddy Bear Picnic

On Saturday, May 20 at 10am-1pm Petworth Peanuts and the Petworth Arts Collaborative are teaming up for a Petworth Arts Fest and Teddy Bear Picnic at Sherman Circle. They will transform Sherman Circle into an engaging art space with live music, art demonstrations, and interactive art activities for all ages, including painting and nature crafts. RSVP on Facebook.

NEW DATE: Takoma Flea Market

On Saturday, May 20 from 10am-4pm Takoma Flea Market will take place on Grant Avenue in Takoma Park with an outdoor market of clothing, jewelry, housewares, furniture, records, and more — as well as great food options. Find event details on the Takoma Main Street website. This event was originally supposed to take place on May 13, but was postponed due to rain.

Ward 4 Farmers Markets This Weekend

It’s officially Farmers Market season, and Ward 4 has several great options:

Community Resources

Two Ward 4 Spray Parks Opening This Monday

Good news: some DC spray parks will open early this season to help keep families cool as temperatures rise. Starting Monday, May 15, our Ward 4 spray parks at Petworth Rec Center (801 Taylor Street, NW) and Lafayette-Pointer Rec Center (5900 33rd Street NW) will be open daily from 12pm-4pm. Here’s the citywide list of spray park openings. Thank you, DPR!

Register for DPR Summer Programs Next Week

Next week, residents can start signing up for summer programs on a first-come, first-serve basis. Registration for aquatics programs only will begin on Tuesday, May 16 at noon, while registration for all other programs will begin on Wednesday, May 17 at noon. DPR will utilize a virtual “waiting room” on both program registration days in order to manage the high demand for programs. Available programs include learning to swim, aquatic fitness, senior aquatics, water polo, lifeguard instruction, soccer, pickleball, tennis, adult basketball, co-ed softball, the 2023-24 Cooperative Play program for children ages 1.5-4, and fitness classes like bootcamp, Zumba, cardio, bike-spin, yoga, and senior fitness.

Weigh in on School Boundaries and Feeder Patterns

Next week the Office of the Deputy Mayor of Education will hold two virtual town halls on Tuesday, May 16 at 6pm-7:30pm and Wednesday, May 17 at 6pm-7:30pm to discuss the Boundary & Student Assignment Study that will help reshape school boundaries and feeder patterns. Both town halls will cover the same content, so register to learn more and weigh in.

Part of Fort Totten Park Remains Closed for Safety

Rock Creek Park NPS announced that a section of Fort Totten Park will remain closed after an NPS employee found two WWI-era military munitions in mounds of soil last month. The park will be temporarily closed east of Fort Totten Drive, south of Gallatin Street/Metropolitan Branch Trail, and north of Brookland Ave NE/Farragut Street with “No Trespassing” signs and fences installed around the area where the munitions were found. A majority of Fort Totten Park is still open for recreation, but visitors should stay on the Metropolitan Branch Trail and the grassy areas of the fort itself. NPS says it is implementing a partial closure out of an abundance of caution and while the US Army completes its investigation and determines the next steps.

Lamond-Riggs Library Closed on May 20

Lamond-Riggs/Lilian J. Huff Library will be temporarily closed on Saturday, May 20 to allow for the installation of outdoor concrete benches. The work is expected to only last a day, with the library likely reopening on Sunday, May 21. There will be minor road closures and parking restrictions in the neighborhood during this work, as detailed by DDOT’s traffic control plan.

Uptown Pride 2023 Seeking Volunteers

Uptown Pride 2023 is coming to Ward 4 on Saturday, June 10 at Colorado Triangle (5500 Colorado Ave NW) and they are seeking volunteers for a variety of roles, including planning, organizing, coordinating with vendors, and assisting the day of the festival. All volunteers will receive a free inaugural 2023 Uptown Pride t-shirt and contribute to an amazing event.

Updated Dates for Mutual Aid Grocery Distribution

Ward 4 Mutual Aid will be providing free gift cards, diapers, and other items at Brightwood Park UMC (744 Jefferson St NW) to the first 100 families that arrive on the following dates: Saturday, May 20 at noon; and Saturday, June 24 at noon. Thank you to everyone involved with Ward 4 Mutual Aid for your work supporting our community.

Introducing the Ombudsperson for Children

An incredible resource we have in the District is the Office of the Ombudsperson for Children (OFC)OFC is an independent and impartial agency established last year by the DC Council to help youth, birth parents, foster parents, and other individuals resolve concerns with services provided to children currently or previously involved with CFSA.  Their goal is to foster improved outcomes for CFSA children and families. Check out their websiteonline complaint form, and flyer — or reach out to them direct by emailing

Senior Citizen, Homestead, and Disability Property Tax Relief

I want to remind every eligible resident about DC’s homestead, senior citizen, or disability property tax deductions. Residents can apply online or use a paper form that’s accessible by calling 202-727-4829. Seniors over the age of 65 with household income below $149,400 can claim a 50% reduction in their property taxes!

WMATA News: Yellow Line Is Back and Improved Red Line Service

After eight months of extensive rehabilitation work, the Yellow Line reopened between Huntington and Mount Vernon Square with trains running every 8 minutes on weekdays and every 12 minutes after 9:30pm and during weekends. Additionally, riders are now  getting improved service on the Red Line with trains coming every 6 minutes during weekday peak hours (6am-9am and 3pm-7pm) and every 8 minutes during other daytime and evening hours.

DC Tipped Minimum Wage Rises to $6 Per Hour

On May 1, DC’s tipped minimum wage increased from $5.35 to $6 per hour as the first step of implementing Initiative 82. DC’s tipped minimum wage will increase again to $8 on July 1, 2023 and will keep rising until it matches DC’s full minimum wage by 2027. Until then, employers must make up the difference between DC’s tipped minimum wage and DC’s full minimum wage ($16.10 per hour) if tips alone do not make up the difference.

Local News Links

Washington InformerCampaign for Public Library on Kennedy Street Enters New Stage

Channel 4: Migrants Bused From Texas Arrive at VP’s Residence as Title 42 Ends

Washington Post Opinion: The slow chokehold on the nation’s homeless

Petworth News: Enjoy a great music-filled event at Bourbon & Bluegrass on May 20-21

Down in the Reeds: Festival Cancelled This Year Despite Great Community Efforts

PopVille: Coyote spotted in Rock Creek Park Golf Course

Next Stop… Riggs Park: Riggs Road NE Cycletrack 30% Design Phase

Petworth NewsMother’s Day Free Market with Ward 4 Mutual Aid

DCist: HR Records Was Cool Before Kamala Harris Paid A Visit — But It Just Got Cooler

Washingtonian: 8 Must-Try Restaurants in DC’s Mini Mexico Corridor (Mostly in Ward 4)

DCistCouncil Looks To Increase Funding For Rental Assistance And Vouchers

DPW: DC’s Annual Truck Touch family event on June 3 at RFK Stadium

Ward 4 Dispatch: DC Budget Status, CARE Days, and Events All Over Ward 4

This week we had the chance to honor a true community hero. Mr. Charles Robinson has nearly three decades of service with DC SCORES and Truesdell Elementary as an educator, Dean of Students, and amazing coach. Coach Rob has done so much to support and mentor our young people in Ward 4, and now he’s preparing to retire. To honor Coach Rob, we passed a ceremonial resolution at the DC Council recognizing his extraordinary contributions to our community. Then on Thursday, we surprised Coach Rob by presenting the resolution in front of his colleagues and students at Truesdell. We love you and are so thankful for you, Coach Rob!

This week we celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week (May 8-12), National Nurses Week (May 6-12), and Early Childhood Educator Day (May 12). I couldn’t close out this newsletter without a huge shoutout to every teacher, nurse, and early childhood educator in our city who dedicates themselves to caring for our neighbors or educating the next generation. We know that appreciating our incredible nurses and educators needs to also be coupled with paying them the wages they deserve and addressing the issues they face in the workplace.

I also want to wish a Happy Mother’s Day to everyone in Ward 4! Mothers make the world go around, and their inexhaustible love makes all things possible. A highlight of my week was joining our beautiful seniors at Fort Stevens Rec Center for a special Mother’s Day Tea. I hope we can all find time this weekend to celebrate the mothers in our lives and remind them just how special they are. Happy Mother’s Day to my own mother, Diane, everyone favorite postal worker. I love you, mom!

Happy Mother’s Day Weekend, Ward 4!

Yours in Community,