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Ward 4 Dispatch: Vaccines for Kids Under 5, Election Day, Stop Signs, and Community Events!

Dear Neighbors,

I hope you’re staying cool and making the most of these early days of summer. Thank you to everyone who sent me well wishes while dealing with COVID. I am feeling better and was excited to be back in our community this week!

As always, I’m writing to fill you in on everything you need to know about our community, Election Day, Juneteenth, vaccines for children under the age of 5, and more. This weekend will include some great events, including Juneteenth Freedom Festival at Zion Baptist Church, a used book sale from the Friends of Petworth Library, and the launch of Jazz in The Parks at Walter Reed. We also have Ward 4 CARE Day in Lamond coming up next week (June 22) and have a new date for the Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting (June 29). And save the date next Friday, June 24 at 6pm-10pm for an outdoor movie night screening of Zootopia and family festival on Kennedy Street!

Ward 4 News

A Tale of Missing Stop Signs and Traffic Safety 

For decades now, Petworth residents have advocated for an all-way stop at the intersection of 5th and Webster NW. Drivers come flying through this intersection to enter or exit Grant Circle and crash onto oncoming cars, who often assume there is a 4-way stop already here. Several ANC petitions dating back to 2015 have been turned down, even as nearby neighbors witnessed countless crashes and near-misses at this intersection, which is within a quarter-mile radius of five schools and daycare centers, a playground, and a church. On Thursday, for the third time this month, residents near 5th and Webster woke up to another car crash — the third this month. There are five consecutive intersections along 5th Street north of Grant Circle, and this is the only intersection without an all-way stop, as well as the only intersection where we have repeated crashes. Thursday’s crash reinforced pressure from myself and the community.

I’m relieved to share that today DDOT finally approved a 4-way stop at 5th and Webster NW. A Notice of Intent will be issued shortly, and the new stop signs will be installed after the public comment period ends. A couple of new stop signs may not seem like a major development for our community, but this intersection tells a broader story about traffic safety. As DC confronts a surge in aggressive driving and a tragic rise in traffic fatalities, it is so important for us to trust our communities when they tell us that an intersection is unsafe and step in to address it. It should not take years, repeated crashes, multiple ANC requests, and the direct intervention of a Councilmember to do what neighbors have been asking for. My charge as your Councilmember is to both fight for all the changes we need on our streets and improve the systems for making these decisions so they can be more responsive, accessible, and effective. Still, the four-way stop at 5th and Webster will improve safety for hundreds of families that cross this intersection daily. I’m grateful to all the past and present Commissioners, neighbors, and the Barnard PTA who advocated for this change to happen.

COVID Vaccines for Children Under 5 Years Old  

I know many parents have been eagerly awaiting the opportunity to vaccinate their young children under the age of 5. The FDA authorized COVID vaccines for children as young as 6 months old this week, and the CDC is expected to formally greenlight them this Saturday (tomorrow). DC will receive its first shipment of vaccines on Monday, so the earliest children younger than 5 years old can be vaccinated will be Tuesday. DC families will be able to get their children vaccinated at any DC COVID Center, select retail pharmacies, or at their pediatrician. If you plan to go to a DC COVID Center, you will be required to show proof of DC residency to have your child vaccinated during this early phase of vaccination for children under the age of 5. COVID Centers will carry both the Moderna (2-shot series) and Pfizer (3-shot series) vaccines for children under 5, but more Moderna than Pfizer. Each COVID Center will have 200 shots per day for children under 5. Please keep in mind that there will likely be high demand for these vaccines during the first few days of distribution, so please factor that into your plan for getting your little ones vaccinated. Also, some retail pharmacies are not allowed to vaccinate children younger than 3, so check their website before visiting.

DC Primary Election Day: Tuesday, June 21

If, like me, you’ve received enough political mailers to last a lifetime, we’re all about to get a break because Election Day for the DC Primary is finally upon us this Tuesday! Ward 4 will have no less than 14 voting centers open from 7am-8pm on Election Day (see full list below). But you don’t need to wait for election day to vote! You can beat the crowds by visiting one of Ward 4’s four early vote centers at Lafayette Elementary, Shepherd Rec, Raymond Rec, or Emery Heights Community Center between 8:30am-7pm on Saturday or Sunday (early voting centers are closed on Monday) to cast a ballot or drop off your filled out mailed ballot. Alternatively, you can still return your mailed ballot quickly by mail (no postage required) or return your mailed ballot to one of DC’s 55 secure drop boxes by Election Day. Remember: if you received a mailed ballot but would rather cast your vote in person, remember to bring your mailed ballot so it can be properly disposed of. Find more detailed information on how to participate in the DC Primary Election on my websiteAnd happy voting!

Neighborhood Events

Juneteenth Freedom Festival at Zion Baptist Church

On Saturday, June 18 from 11am-3pm Zion Baptist Church (4850 Blagden Ave NW) will host a Juneteenth Freedom Day bazar to celebrate Black excellence in the past, present, and future. Clothes, jewelry, soaps, music, and food will all be part of the festivities. See you there!

Friends of Petworth Library Used Book Sale

On Saturday, June 18 from 9am-1pm the Friends of the Petworth Library will be hosting a used book sale at the Petworth Farmers Market! This is an awesome chance to find a great summer read, support your local community, and learn how to get involved with the Friends of the Petworth Library. This is a great bonus for visiting our great Petworth Farmers Market!

Create by the Creek Celebration at Peirce Mill

On Saturday, June 18 from 10am-4pm there will be a celebration of art and community in Rock Creek Park. This day-long festival will include free, outdoor workshops led by local artists, art supplies to borrow, and a meet-up for landscape painters. Artists of all ages and abilities are invited to come down to Peirce Mill to create by the creek!

14th Annual Columbia Heights Day

On Saturday, June 18 from 11am-6pm our Ward 1 neighbors will host the 14th annual Columbia Heights Day! The event will take place across three public spaces and include the farmers market, bike repair, live music, games, vendors, a carnival, and plenty of specials from local businesses. Check out their interactive map and website for more details. This is perfect for Ward 4 residents who live in or just north of Columbia Heights.

Jazz in The Parks at Walter Reed: Akua Allrich and Baba Ras D

On Saturday, June 18 from 5pm-8pm Jazz in The Parks returns to the Walter Reed Campus with a 5pm performance by children’s performer Baba Ras D (get ready to dance!) and a 6pm performance by headliner Akua Allrich, whose extraordinary talent has roots in blues, soul, and rhythm and blues, with a clear grounding in jazz and pan-African music. Bring your own picnic, blanket, and refreshments — or enjoy popular food trucks, including J&J Taqueria, Pepe (José Andrés’ food truck), Capital Kettle Corn, and ice cream! Also, save the date for future Jazz in The Parks evenings on July 16 (Brent Birckhead) and August 20 (Mark Meadows).

Juneteenth Celebration of Freedom at Nineteenth Street Baptist Church

On Monday, June 20 from 2pm-5pm the Nineteenth Street Baptist Church Leadership Council for Healthy Communities will host a day of entertainment, education and cultural exchange. Come out for a community dialogue on the importance of Juneteenth and the state of health in our community. There will be live jazz, catering, vendors, giveaways, free COVID tests, vaccines, and more! Doors open for this event at 1:30pm.

Join Ward 4 CARE Day in Lamond

On Wednesday, June 22 from 4pm-7pm my team and I, as well as community volunteers and agency partners, will be bringing Ward 4 CARE Day to the Lamond neighborhood, starting from the Lamond Rec Center at 20 Tuckerman St NE. RSVP to join as we check in on neighbors, share resources, problem solve with DC agencies, and bring our community closer together.

Summer in the Parks: Carter Barron

On Wednesday, June 22 from 5pm-7pm join Rock Creek Park and Rock Creek Conservancy for a Summer in the Parks event at the Carter Barron Amphitheater. Music from DJ Lance Reynolds and family-friendly games and activities will bring the Rock Creek community together to celebrate our urban oasis and recreate responsibly in our parks.

First Public Meeting on the Rehabilitation of Eastern Avenue 

On Wednesday, June 22 from 6:30pm-8pm DDOT will host its first virtual meeting on the Rehabilitation of Eastern Avenue Project, which will include full-depth roadway reconstruction, signal modifications and ADA improvements, the addition of new sidewalks, addition of bicycle lanes, improved drainage and lighting, new streetscape elements, and reduction in vehicle speeds with curb extensions.

DC Youth Orchestra Concert at the Parks at Walter Reed

On Wednesday, June 22 at 6:45pm DC’s Youth Orchestra will host a 90-minute free concert on the Great Lawn at The Parks at Walter Reed before setting off to tour Spain and Portugal. The repertoire includes several premieres! Come hear these 70 talented young musicians and fill this summer evening with music.

“Zootopia” Outdoor Movie Night and Family Fest on Kennedy Street

On Friday, June 24 starting at 6pm Uptown Main Street and Everyday Sundae are celebrating the start of summer with a family festival and movie night that includes music, games, food, popcorn, and ice cream (!) at Johnson & Jenkins (716 Kennedy Street NW). Dance Loft will offer free dance classes to the beat of Disney’s Zootopia from 7pm-8pm, and the screening of Zootopia will kick off at 8:30pm. Bring lawn chairs or a picnic blanket, and kids are encouraged to come dressed as their favorite animal!

Lamond Community Action Group Community Day 

On Saturday, June 25 from 11am-2pm the Lamond Community Action Group is hosting their 2022 Community Day! It will be a day full of food, fun, family, and friends over at Milligant Point (Sligo Mill Rd & Rittenhouse St NE). If you live in the area, come meet your neighbors!

Wear Your Pride Uptown Main Street Block Party

On Saturday, June 25 from 1pm-4pm Uptown Main Street will host their second annual Wear Your Pride Block Party on Upper 14th Street, sponsored by Solar Solutions. They’ll have music, outdoor games, raffles, food, drinks, and specials from the local businesses. Join the party and bring the family!

NEW DATE: Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Planning Meeting

On Wednesday, June 29 from 5pm-7pm at MacFarland Middle School (4400 Iowa Ave NW), we will host a Ward 4 Summer Safety Strategic Meeting that’s open to all Ward 4 residents. Our office and key agencies will lay out specific actions to address crime and gun violence during the summer, as well as share opportunities for neighbors to support these important efforts. Please RSVP to join us. This will be an in-person meeting, but we will also try to share a livestream so neighbors can watch from home.

And don’t forget to visit your local Ward 4 Farmers Market on Saturdays from 9am-1pm:  

Community Resources

Reminder: Caribbean Restaurant Week Ends This Weekend!

Thank you to everyone who participated in Caribbean Restaurant Week Bingo and has been supporting our local restaurants during Caribbean Restaurant Week (June 12-18). This week our team took the opportunity to combine our staff meeting with takeout from our favorite Caribbean spots in Ward 4. Let’s continue to celebrate our amazing Caribbean-American community and support our local restaurants by visiting them for a meal this weekend. Take it from us: you won’t regret it!

Modified DC Services During Juneteenth Weekend

The Juneteenth Holiday will be observed on Monday, June 20 for DC government employees. While some services will be affected, many essential DC workers will continue to serve. All DC COVID Centers (except Ward 1 and Ward 6) will be open, as well as Test Yourself DC drop-boxes. DPR spray parks, outdoor parks, playgrounds, athletic courts, and fields will also be open on Monday, June 20. DPR rec centers, outdoor pools, and indoor pools will be closed on Monday, but outdoor pools will be open on Saturday and Sunday. Meanwhile, DMV locations will be closed on Saturday, Sunday, and Monday. Also closed on Monday: the COVID Call Center, DC Public Library, the DOES Navigation Center, the American Jobs Center, and DCPS meal sites. And of course, DPW trash and recycling collection will “slide” for the the remainder of the week into Saturday. For example, households that normally receive trash and recycling collections on Monday will be serviced on Tuesday. Check out a detailed breakdown of modified DC services from the Mayor and WMATA’s modified service on Monday, June 20.

$50 Million in Homeownership Assistance Funds to Be Available on June 22

Did you or someone you know fall behind on mortgage or condo payments during the pandemic? Thankfully, DC’s federal relief funds for struggling homeowners will finally open up for DC residents to apply on Wednesday, June 22. Grant funding can cover mortgage payments and other property or housing expenses, including utilities, insurance, internet assistance, and housing association fees, among other benefits. To be eligible, residents must live in a home that they own in DC, have fallen behind on one or more expenses for that home, were impacted the pandemic, and make less than 100% of the Median Family Income (MFI) or $142,300 for a family of four. Also: “Households that identify as ‘Socially Disadvantaged’ may be eligible for mortgage reinstatement assistance with annual income up to 150% of MFI.” As a Councilmember, I extended DC’s ban on foreclosures to protect struggling homeowners while we waited for these funds, and I advocated for these funds to be released to our communities. Please spread the word about this program with anyone who may need it, and let my office know if you face any challenged applying.

DCPL’s Dinosaur Roaring Contest and a Kids’ Photo Contest at Petworth Library

DCPL’s Dinosaur Roaring Contest is back and louder than ever! Send DCPL your best scream, shriek, growl, grunt, or howl by June 30 for the chance to win a trophy or a prize. All ages are welcome to submit a video of 10 seconds or less. Please use this form for entries, and learn more about the contest on DCPL’s website. Here is last year’s contest winner for inspiration! Meanwhile, Petworth Library has a kids’ photography contest for children ages 5-12 to submit their photos by June 29. Winning entries will be displayed in the library!

Running for ANC with Ward 4’s New ANC and SMD Boundaries

With DC’s new ANC and SMD boundaries signed into law, I wanted to take another chance to encourage everyone to consider whether you’re interested in running to become the Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner for your neighborhood. ANC Commissioners are nonpartisan, volunteer elected officials who each represent approximately 2,000 neighbors. Due to redistricting changes driven by Ward 4’s significant population growth in the last decade, at least 13 of Ward 4’s new Single Member Districts will not have an incumbent Commissioner living in them. Check out this unofficial map from a community member that shows some of the new Ward 4 SMDs that don’t have a current Commissioner living within their bounds, although there may be others too if any current Commissioners choose not to run. Prospective candidates should know that nominating petitions will be available from the Board of Elections by July 20. To qualify, prospective candidates must collect at least 25 valid signatures from residents of their SMD and submit them by August 10.

This weekend, in addition to observing Juneteenth, we are also celebrating the fathers in our lives and all they do to build healthy families and healthy communities. I got an early start to the festivities today with a Father’s Day Brunch at Riggs LaSalle Rec Center featuring great food, line-dancing, and community love. Thank you Rev. Hayes, Mr. Foxworth, Ms. Shirleta, and the entire LRCA Father’s Day Committee for celebrating our fathers. And while Father’s Day is bittersweet for me because I will be missing my late father, James Lewis, I am grateful for all amazing fathers in our community.

Ward 4 dads, I hope you get plenty of rest, relaxation, and quality time this weekend!

Yours in Community,