Archive for the ‘People’ category

MPD Investigating Whether Officers Hit Boy and Left Scene

July 3, 2017

On the evening of June 30th, I was notified by neighbors living on 6th Street between Newton and Otis that at around 7:35 p.m. they heard a thud outside and a child scream. They indicated that it appeared to them that the police car had hit the child. Shortly thereafter, the offices left with the injured boy and his damaged bicycle still in the alley. According to the Washington Post, (read article here), this incident is currently being investigated.

Immediately after receiving the report of this incident, I reached out to Chief Newsham, Assistant Chief Greene, and the Fourth District Commander Manlapaz seeking answers. Both Chief Newsham and Commander Manlapaz responded quickly that they were aware of the incident and investigating it. I’ve since scheduled a meeting with Chief Newsham later this week at which I’ll be addressing this incident among my other public safety concerns.

Regardless of the details of the incident, one thing to me is quite clear … leaving the scene of the incident before an ambulance could arrive to make sure the 11-year old boy was alright is not acceptable. This is not the relationship that we should have between the community and those entrusted to ensure our public safety. Additionally, I think the incident highlights a symptom of a much larger problem — one made worse by the number of retirements and new hires that MPD is currently working through. Because of the attrition rate and efforts to hire new officers, I believe we currently have police offers who are disconnected from the communities they serve for a variety of reasons.

On a human level, no one who knew the community and those who live in it would have left a child in need sitting in an alley. This was demonstrated by the residents of 6th Street who took it upon themselves to ensure that an ambulance was called and made sure that everything would turn out alright. While they were doing the right thing as any neighbor would, to me they are heroes.

For my part, I’ll be seeking a resolution to this that ensures that MPD takes the appropriate corrective action and restores confidence that the incident currently being investigate never happens again.

WAMU Features Mt. Pleasant’s Woodner — and How It and the Neighborhood has Changed over the Years

June 28, 2017

A view of the Woodner through the center of a round patio and staircase in the back of the building.
Tyrone Turner / WAMU

This morning I awoke to hear this WAMU feature on Mt. Pleasant’s Woodner Apartment building and its history. I found it to be an interesting history on how life in the building, and the surrounding Mt. Pleasant and Columbia Heights neighborhoods, have changed over the years. The article touches upon segregation, gentrification, and the impacts that change has on a neighborhood.

While the focus of the feature is on the Woodner and Mt. Pleasant, I find that the story is relevant to all Ward 1 neighborhoods and well worth the listen.

First Friday Launches in Park View on May 5th

May 4, 2017
The lower Georgia Avenue businesses are launching First Friday tomorrow, on May 5th, from 6-8 pm. This will be a monthly recurring activity with a growing number of businesses offering specials, highlighting DC artists and musicians. Check out the First Friday Facebook page for more details and a list of participating businesses.

First Friday is organized by Georgia Avenue Thrive, which is partnering with the Petworth Arts Collaborative on this with a vision for a vibrant First Friday from Upshur to Euclid in the hopefully not too distant future.

Washington’s 1967 Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim Pools

April 26, 2017

In May 1967, Vice President Hubert Humphrey announced that Washington would get 15 new swimming pools. The new pools would be 20-by-40-foot pools and were expected to be completed by July. The pools were designed to be shallow pools and to be located on playgrounds or community centers (including Park View), where they would be intended to be used by small children for wading and learning to swim.

The Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Park View Recreation Center.

Image of Watkins pool with leaked water — from the Washington Evening Star, July 16, 1967.

The total cost budgeted for the new swimming pools was $40,000. The first three — at Watkins Recreation Center, Barry Farm, and Deanwood — were completed and open by July 16. However, they were found to have a design flaw that caused water to flow out of the pools and onto the grass surrounding them. The worst conditions were at Barry Farm and Watkins. At Watkins, the water ran to the sidelines of the softball diamond. At Barry Farm, the water ran downhill onto a children’s play area and directly under a set of swings. Efforts were undertaken to correct the problems and adjust construction of the other twelve pools then being built.

The final six pools opened in mid-August, behind schedule. They were the pools at Wilson, Benning Stoddert, Parkside, Lincoln-Capper, Garrison, and North Michigan Park.

While the pools were considered a success, when children began to enter the pools after hours the recreation department adopted a process of emptying each pool on a nightly basis, with each pool holding between 14,000 and 35,000 gallons of water — a very wasteful and time consuming practice. It also meant that the pools were not filled or used at all in 1977 due to an area water crisis.

With the pools now reaching their 50th anniversary, I reviewed the sites of each pool and discovered that only four of the original 15 pools still exist. These are at Park View, Watkins, and Lincoln-Capper. The map below shows the location of all 15 pools, with existing pools in blue and pools no longer existing in red.

Reviewing the locations of the Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pools also provides insight into the changing nature of playgrounds in the District of Columbia. For example, some pools have been replaced by aquatic centers (Barry Farm and Deanwood), some merely are gone while the playgrounds still exist, and in some cases the entire playground/recreation center no longer exists. An extreme example of the latter is with the old Garrison Playground which is nothing more than an empty field today.

(To the south of Garrison Elementary School is an empty field which was once the location of the Garrison Playground.)

It is difficult to tell what the future may hold for the remaining four Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pools. While the ones at Park View, Happy Hollow, and Watkins still appear to be going strong, the playground around the old Lincoln-Capper pool is currently surrounded by work to upgrade the surrounding playground, presumably to partially accommodate the neighboring Van Ness school.

Below are photos of Watkins and Lincoln-Capper as they currently appear.

(Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Watkins.)

(Walk-to-Learn-to-Swim pool at Lincoln-Capper.)

Two Bruce Monroe @ Park View Families Facing Deportation Proceedings — Assistance from Community Being Sought

March 9, 2017

I’ve been informed that two families with children enrolled at the Bruce Monroe @ Park View Elementary School are currently facing deportation proceedings and are approaching the community for help. A fundraiser has been started to raise money to provide legal representation to the families who are currently in deportation proceedings. As of last night, 45% of the $10,000 goal had been raised.

Local charities are not taking new cases, but attorneys willing to represent the families for a reduced fee have been found. The organizers are asking for help from the community. Any money not spent representing these or other families in deportation proceedings will be donated to the CAIR coalition and CARECEN in equal parts.

Colony Club Hosts WTF Spokefolk Open Bike Night on Wednesday, February 22nd

February 21, 2017

SpokefolkOver the weekend I learned that Colony Club will be hosting WTF Spokefolk Open Bike Night tomorrow, Wednesday, January February 22 from 8 pm to 10 pm. Sign up time is at 7:30 pm.

In looking at the Facebook Event page, here are some additional details:

“Join us for Open Bike Night with WTF Spokefolk at Colony Club! This is an open mic to share bike stories, adventures, fears, dreams, traumas by way of story, poetry, song, etc.

“This is an open event (all may attend but the mic is open to women, trans, and femme folk). New and seasoned storytellers are welcome. Come with your friends, date, boo thangs, and neighbors 🙂

“WTF Spokefolk DC is a group for women, trans, femme folk to learn everything bike. For more information about WTF Spokefolk DC, visit the WTF Spokefolk DC Facebook group.

Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center Celebrates Five Years

March 2, 2016

Senior Wellness Center anniversary(The gymnasium of the Ward 1 center packed during the anniversary program.)

Yesterday the Ward 1 Bernice Fonteneau Senior Wellness Center celebrated their five year anniversary. It was a great event that began at 1:30 pm and ran for about two hours. There were remarks from Office on Aging Executive Director Laura Newland; Tania Jackson, Chief of Staff for Councilmember Nadeau; former Councilmember Jim Graham; and others interspersed by performances of singing and dancing by seniors from the center. Below is a short video of dancing from Twitter.

After the anniversary program, members enjoyed conversation and light refreshments.

It was a great celebration and I wish the Senior Wellness Center many, many more years of health and success.


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