Archive for the ‘Department of Health’ category

Midlands & Wonderland told Dogs Not Allowed! Who’s Next?

September 20, 2017

Andy sitting outside the entrance of Midlands, which has been informed that dogs are no longer permitted (Photo from Midlands Facebook page).

Following last week’s news that the Department of Health (DOH) visited Wonderland and informed them that dogs were no longer allowed anywhere on the premises, yesterday I was informed that the DOH visited the Midland’s and delivered the same message. This is Nuts! It appears to be a sustained DOH effort that will put all dog-friendly summer gardens and sidewalk cafes at risk if not addressed quickly — a prospect that I dread.

As a Ward 1 resident and someone who has patronized both Wonderland and Midlands, I find this recent engagement from the DOH unwelcomed. If it is based in District law, as they’ve stated, that law should be reviewed and amended to permit businesses the option of offering dog-friendly outdoor spaces or not. In my experience, these spaces have not been a problem. Neighboring Arlington, in fact, went so far as to ament their laws to allow dogs at restaurants in 2013. There is no reason that District law shouldn’t follow that example.

To highlight the lunacy of this, outdoor spaces are subject to the elements. That isn’t just dust, pollen, and rain. It is also mosquitoes, other insects, birds and occasionally rats of which we have plenty. So banning dogs from outdoor eating spaces really doesn’t make them healthier or safer — it just makes them less friendly and community serving.

I have already contacted the Mayor’s office and am seeking a solution.

Rat Riddance Event Scheduled for June 10th in Foggy Bottom

May 23, 2017

If you hat rats and would like to know more about why we have them in cities, you will likely be interested in the June 10th Rat Riddance Rodent Academy that is scheduled for Duques Hall (see flyer below for details). This sounds a lot like the Ward 1 Rat Summit that then Councilmember Graham held back in November 2013.  Like the event scheduled for June 10th, the featured speaker was Dr. Robert Corrigan who is very knowledgeable on rats, their behavior, and what they need to thrive.

Dr. Corrigan is an excellent speaker and worth hearing if you’ve never participated in one of his programs before.

Free Dog and Cat Vaccinations For District Residents at Upshur Dog Park Animal Health Fair This Saturday

May 17, 2016

During April, May, and June the Department of Health’s 2016 Animal Health Fairs are traveling throughout the District. In addition to learning about animal laws and getting dog licenses, free vaccinations are provided for dogs and cats belonging to District residents. The Ward 1 fair isn’t until Saturday, June 4th (and will be held at Walter Pierce Dog Park).

However, you don’t have to wait that long. The Ward 4 animal health fair will be held at Upshur Dog Park from 9:00 am to 11:30 am on Saturday May 21st. Upshur Dog Park is located at 4300 Arkansas Avenue making it more convenient for Park View pet owners.

The flyer below contains details and contact information.

2016 Animal Health Fair

Overview of the Ward 1 Rat Summit

November 12, 2013
Dr. Robert Corrigan speaking during the Ward 1 rat summit.

Dr. Robert Corrigan speaking during the Ward 1 rat summit.

On Saturday, November 9th, the District Department of Health, along with Councilmember Jim Graham, Department of Public Works Director William Howland, and Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs Director Nicholas Majett, hosted a rat summit at the Columbia Heights Recreation Center at 1480 Girard Street, NW. The summit began at 10 a.m. and wrapped up shortly after noon. It was an excellent opportunity for residents to learn more about reducing rat populations, current trends, and ask District officials about specific problem areas.

The featured speaker was Dr. Robert Corrigan, a noted authority on rodent control, especially knowledgeable on rats. His presentation was both informative and interesting. Corrigan was especially helpful as he presented factual information based on years of research and scientific data.

One item that I found to be of particular interest for residents in the Park View area was the relationship between feral cats and rat populations. It was clearly presented that the belief that having cats in the community will help control rodents is a myth! It is a scientific fact – proven at least 20 years ago – that feral cat colonies do not reduce rat populations. Few cats will challenge a rat. Although some cats hunt for mice, many cats tolerate rats or mice, especially when they are well-fed. It could be said that more rats and mice have been fed by cat food than killed by a cat. Director Howland was particularly emphatic that it is illegal to leave cat food out in an uncontrolled manner – including in public alleys.

Among other details learned at the summit were:

  • We have had a decade of mild winters, and this has resulted in larger rat populations. Sever winters stress rat populations and reduce populations with younger or weaker rats perishing;
  • A rat’s home range is from 90 to 450 feet in Washington. The range depends on the availability of food. This range is not only horizontally, but also up and down;
  • Rats will eat dog feces – in fact, they like it. It is imperative for pet owners to clean up after their pets;
  • Rats are known to carry 55 different diseases that they can transmit to humans;
  • While poison is effective, it should be considered the last option to get rid of rats. Baiting for rats is no substitute for good sanitation;
  • A rat will typically live 6 months to a year;
  • When landscaping a property, it is best to plant shrubs that are vase shaped with few low branches or growth. Rats have long hairs above their eyes, and when they come in contact with foliage, a rat will instinctively begin to dig creating a burrow;
  • Rat’s incisors (the front teeth) are hard — harder than iron, platinum and copper. Measured on the Mohs hardness scale, the rat’s lower incisors rank 5.5 (diamond is a 10). Human enemel is not quite this hard, measuring 5 on the Mohs hardness scale. This is why a rat can, and will, gnaw through trash cans and water pipes to get to food when they smell is.

Leading up to Dr. Corrigan’s presentation, Director Howland informed the assembly that by June of 2014 all of our trash and recycling cans will be replaced on a city-wide basis. Currently, the city will repair broken trash can lids and wheels for free (call 311), but damaged trash can bodies are only replaced with payment of a $45 replacement fee. It is good news that all containers will be replaced within the year.

Councilmember Graham specifically asked about construction and how it related to disturbing rat populations. Director Majett, during his presentation, shared that only raze permits alert the Department of Health to inspect a property, and bait it, prior to building activity. Thus, other construction activities will disturb rat populations and cause them to seek other locations. However, Corrigan noted that this disturbance of rat population only occurs with properties that already have an infestation problem. Thus, returning the discussion to the absolute necessity of having good sanitation.

Lastly, clean alleys and neighborhoods that practice good sanitation will stress a rat population by reducing the amount of food available. When rats are stressed, they live shorter lives and have been known to attack each other. By residents, businesses, and the city all doing their part, they can go a long way in decreasing the number of rats in the District.

Answering community questions during Director Howland's presentation.

Answering community questions during Director Howland’s presentation.

Ward 1 Rat Summit Scheduled for Saturday, November 9th

November 6, 2013

ratsRats! Everyone hates them and our neighborhoods continue to work with the city to reduce the population.  Last year’s warm winter made the population soar this summer. It has also been my experience that a big part of the problem is human behavior as we improperly dispose of trash and debris. If you’d like to know more about rats and how to get rid of them, consider attending the Ward 1 Rat Summit this Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street N.W.

The full announcement is below (printable version here).



The D.C. Department of Health (DOH) is sponsoring a one day Rat Summit in each of the city’s eight (8) wards starting Saturday, November 9, 2013, in Ward One. Business owners, residents, neighborhood associations and community leaders are all welcomed to attend.

What prompted the Rat Summits?

DOH has received a number of citizens’ complaints about the increased rat presence throughout the city. In an attempt to abate the rat population, the Department would like to provide information and education to community groups, residents, and business owners on topics such as proper waste storage, rodent proofing, and their ability to assist with rodent abatement.

DOH has a number of featured guests and speakers lined up for the Summits. Councilmember Jim Graham, Ward One representative; Mr. Robert Corrigan, PhD. author of Rodent Control, A Practical Guide For Pest Management Professionals. Mr. Corrigan has authored more than seventy technical publications on pest control and the principal the “Development of IPM Rodent Plan.” Featured presenters ar Dr. Joxel Garcia, Director e Mr. William Howland, Director, the Department of Public Works; Mr. Nicholas Majett, Director, the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs. The Directors will discuss their agencies role in reducing rats in the District.

The first Rat Summit will be held Saturday, November 9, 2013 at 10:00 A.M. at the Columbia Heights Community Center, 1480 Girard Street N.W.

District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative Holds Medical Marijuana Town Hall Meeting

February 11, 2011

Last night, February 10, 2011, the District of Columbia Patients’ Cooperative (DCPC) organized a panel to discuss the District of Columbia’s medical cannabis program. The town hall meeting was held at All Souls Unitarian Church and started at 7 p.m.

I attended the meeting hoping to learn more about plans for dispensary locations, security, and possible crime and safety concerns … especially in light of the September, 2010, ANC 1A meeting at which concerns about all of these issues were raised after the Commission was contacted about its opinion of locating a dispensary on Georgia Avenue. These issues were largely absent from last night’s meeting. Rather, the focus of the meeting was primarily on the concerns of patients seeking information on qualifying for cannabis, getting a doctor’s recommendation, and the licensing of cultivation centers or dispensaries.

It seems that the chief obstacle preventing the implementation of medical marijuana is that Mayor Gray  has not finalized the draft regulations, which many had anticipated would be done by now. Until this is done, the Board that would run the program can not be created. This tends to leave things a bit up in the air.

To the subject of dispensaries, the following details were shared. A total of 5 are planed for the District. Their locations have not been decided, but DCPC hopes they are distributed throughout the city rather than in close proximity. Ideally, DCPC would have liked 8 dispensaries — one for each Ward — but that isn’t likely anytime soon.

Once the DC program begins, those interested in running a dispensary will have to pay a $5,000 application fee ($200 non-refundable) as well as get a license which will cost $10,000/year. Those interested in operating a dispensary will similarly need a license at a rate of $5,000/year.

Regarding safety, the following information was shared. Each proposed dispensary will go through a rating process, where 25% of the rating will be based on the applicant’s proposed security and 25% will be based on the location. Employees of dispensaries can not be felons or have a drug related misdemeanor on their record. For cultivation centers, when employees are present there must be a minimum of two staff on site, both of whom must have absolutely no record of drug related crimes.

Proponents of medical marijuana also point out that the difference between medicinal and non-medicinal cannabis is the difference between the compounds CBD (which eases pain) and THC (which creates the high) which occur in different quantities depending upon the cultivar. Because of this it was stated that the cannabis used for medicinal purposes is undesirable by those seeking to get high due to its lower THC levels.

The city estimates in its fiscal impact statement that there will be 800 registered patients and 400 registered caregivers the first year. Some feel this estimation is low.  The only real certainty I came away from the meeting with is that this issue is sure to come up again, there are still details that need to be decided, and nothing is definitive regarding the location of dispensaries.


Ward 1 Senior Wellness Center Cuts Ribbon, has Soft Opening

September 10, 2010

Mayor Fenty and Councilmember Graham were among those officially opening the Senior Wellness Center

With many of the area’s seniors in attendance, the opening ceremonies for the city’s newest Senior Wellness Center began shortly before 10:00 a.m. this morning.

The Ward One Senior Wellness Center at 3531 Georgia Avenue finally opened after nine years of false starts and waiting. During the opening speeches, Councilmember Graham recounted the long struggle to make the center a reality and lauded Fenty for his participation in making it a reality.

The $5.2 million facility contains 15,000 square feet of space on three floors. The building is pursuing LEED Silver Gold Green building Rating and contains solar panels for heating hot water in addition to a green roof.

While the center is not fully furnished, it is expected to be completed by the end of the month. Its features and amenities will eventually include programs focused on nutrition education, fitness, and computer training. The facility also includes conference rooms, handicapped parking by appointment, and an accessible roof with seating and a great view of the surrounding area.

Ward One is home to nearly 8,000 seniors.

Additional photos of today’s event can be seen after the jump (more…)

Medical Marijuana on Georgia Avenue?

September 10, 2010

One of the more interesting topics to be discussed at Wednesday’s (9/8/10) ANC1A meeting in a while was that of medical marijuana and the question of a dispensary on Georgia Avenue.

According to information shared at the meeting, ANC1A08 Commissioner Cliff Valenti was contacted a few weeks ago by an individual seeking feedback on the appropriateness of a dispensary for medical marijuana located on Lower Georgia Avenue. Most 1A commissioners indicated that they had not been monitoring this issue closely prior to this contact. Valenti additionally indicated that the caller seemed to be feeling out the neighborhood’s response as a result of Takoma Park’s resistance to a dispensary in their community.

There was general agreement and concern from the commissioners that Georgia Avenue was not an appropriate location for a marijuana dispensary, and concern that the current rules proposed for the management of the District’s new medical marijuana program, which will take effect January 1, 2011, weren’t sufficient. Several commissioners also expressed concern over impacts on crime and safety around dispensaries, citing increased crime around dispensaries in Denver, Colorado, and Sacramento, California. (more…)

Is Rat Control Important to You?

June 23, 2010

It is hoped that the alleys in yellow can be targeted in one or two rat abatement visits

Rats, and the need to keep them in check, is an issue that comes up from time to time. The current effort to do a comprehensive baiting effort in northern Park View is not the first, nor will it be the last. It is also a problem common to the majority of the city.

In order to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the Department of Health’s Rodent and Vector Control Division when they visit the community to bait the alley’s, the Park View UNC — with John Hanly leading the effort — is taking the proactive approach of getting signed petitions in place granting the DoH permission to enter onto private property if they see rat burrows.

As you can see from the accompanying map, the alleys in yellow are the target alleys. The areas in green indicate blocks where volunteers have stepped up take the lead in gathering signatures.

The deadline for the collection of signatures is the next UNC meeting on July 7th. If you haven’t been approached and want to grant permission — or, if you want to volunteer to collect signatures — feel free to contact Hanly at the following email address: johnhanly (at) mac (dot) com

Hanly’s message to the Park View UNC listserv included the following message:

It was made clear in the last survey of the neighborhood that Rats are one of the major problems we have. The UNC is working with the city on a UNC wide Rat abatement effort. This will be part education and part action. For the action part we are coordinating with the city to have inspectors check all the alleys in a short space of time which we hope will be more effective than them just coming out to check one house at a time.

In order for this to be really effective the city would like access to as many back yards as possible to check for problems and fix them. Permission to access your back yard is given by signing the petition. This is where you come in. We need two things

  1. People to help gather the signatures from your neighbors
  2. People who’s backyards back onto an alley to sign the petition

We have 12 alleys to work on so really need people to help make this possible.


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