MARCH 2014 EAST of the RIVER MAGAZINE
What: DC Government Economic Development Cluster’s “Building Bridges to Success” Information Seminar Description: At this seminar, DC Government staff will present information to current and future small business owners on the regulatory process of obtaining a business license, grant opportunities and gaining an in-depth knowledge of how to apply for the Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) program. • Licensing Process (DCRA) • Great Streets Small Business Capital Improvement Grants (DMPED) • Small Business Assistance and Façade Improvement (DHCD) • Certified Business Enterprise (CBE) Program (DSLBD) • Green Financial Incentive Grant Program (DDOE) When: Monday, March 17, 2014 beginning at 4:00 pm through 7:00 pm Where: 4058 Minnesota Ave, NE Washington, DC 20019 (Minnesota Avenue Metro Stop - Orange Line) What: How to Open a Business Through DCRA’s Regulatory Processes Description: At this training session, DCRA staff will walk you through everything you need to do to open a new business: • • • • • •
Benefits of incorporating or creating an LLC Types of business licenses and how much they cost How to apply for a business license Zoning requirements for types of businesses Obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy What building permits are needed to do renovations • How to apply for a building permit When: Wednesday, March 12, 2014 beginning at 9:00 am through 12:00 pm Where: 1100 4th Street SW 2nd Floor Room E-200, Washington D.C. 20024
FOR MORE INFO PLEASE VISIT: HTTP://BIZDC.ECENTERDIRECT.COM OR CALL 202-442-4538
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EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 | CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM
08......... What’s on Washington 10......... East of the River Calendar
EAST OF THE RIVER ELECTION SPECIAL 2014 18......... The District Beat • by Andrew Lightman
22......... A Race that Matters • by Denise Romano 26......... Benjamin Thomas Speaks Out • by Charnice A. Milton
28......... The Bulletin Board
33......... Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Could Block ANC 7B Residents by Charnice A. Milton
34......... The Numbers • by Jenny Reed 36......... Strictly Business • by Miriam Savad 38......... FEMS Needs a Change • by Charnice A. Milton 40......... New Bill Aims to “Ban the Box” • by Charnice A. Milton 41......... Shepherd Parkway Clean-up Enters Third Year
by Charnice A. Milton
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE 42......... In Your Kitchen • by Twyla Alston
44......... Anacostia Playhouse Hosts Spring Productions by John Muller
45......... Ninth Annual DC Love Locs Natural Hair Expo • by Ferzana 46......... Improving Adult Literacy Improves DC by Stephen Lilienthal
48......... Rising Above Depression • by Candace Y.A. Montague 50......... Jazz Avenues • by Steve Monroe
51......... Changing Hands • compiled by Don Denton
KIDS & FAMILY
52......... Kids & Family Notebook • by Kathleen Donner 57......... Friendship Collegiate Senior Overcomes Obstacles, Wins Posse Scholarship • by John Muller
58......... DCPS Teacher of the Year Is First Lady’s Guest at State of the Union • by Charnice A. Milton
THE CLASSIFIEDS 60......... The Classifieds
CROSSWORD 62 ........ The Crossword
ON THE COVER:
Brandon Iracks-Edelin, a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy, will attend Sewanee University on a Posse Scholarship in the fall. Story on page 57.
March 6, 2014 â€“ January 4, 2015
oday, China and the United States are the worldâ€™s two largest economies, major powers that often cooperate strategically. They also share a complicated history. The two have been World War II allies and Cold War enemies, partners and rivals. Using mail and stamps, Pacific Exchange brings a human scale to Chinese-U.S. relations in three areas: commerce, culture, and community. The exhibit focuses on the 1860s to the 1970s, a time of extraordinary change in China. It also explores Chinese immigration to the United States, now home to four million Chinese Americans.
www.postalmuseum.si.edu/PACIFICEXCHANGE 2 Massachusetts Ave. NE (Next door to Union Station) EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 5
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Look for Next Issue of East of the River on April 12 Online Daily, Printed Monthly | www.eastoftheriverdcnews.com
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BEAUTY, Health& Fitness Patricia Cinelli • firstname.lastname@example.org Mariessa Terrell • email@example.com Candace Y.A. Montague • firstname.lastname@example.org Jazelle Hunt • email@example.com KIDS & FAMILY Kathleen Donner • firstname.lastname@example.org Susan Johnson • email@example.com Society & Events Mickey Thompson • firstname.lastname@example.org Homes & Gardens Rindy O’Brien • email@example.com Derek Thomas • firstname.lastname@example.org Judith Capen • email@example.com HomeStyle: Mark Johnson • firstname.lastname@example.org Catherine Plume • email@example.com COMMENTARY Ethelbert Miller • firstname.lastname@example.org The Nose • email@example.com Production/Graphic/web Design Art Director: Jason Yen • firstname.lastname@example.org Graphic Designer: Kyungmin Lee • email@example.com Web Master: Andrew Lightman • firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising & Sales Account Executive: Kira Means, 202.543.8300 X16 • email@example.com Account Executive: Jennifer Zatkowski, 202.543.8300 X20 • Jenn@hillrag.com Classified Advertising: Maria Carolina Lopez, 202.543.8300 X12 • firstname.lastname@example.org Billing: Sara Walder, 202.400.3511 • Sara@hillrag.com Distribution Distribution Manager: Andrew Lightman Distributors: MediaPoint, LLC Distribution Information: email@example.com Deadlines & CONTACTS Advertising: firstname.lastname@example.org Display Ads: 15th of each month Classified Ads: 10th of each month Editorial: 15th of each month; email@example.com Bulletin Board & Calendar: 15th of each month; firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
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see our website for more events! www.whatsonwashington.com
Photo: Kate Warren
After a brief hiatus, Corcoran Uncorked is back! Join them on the third Wednesday of every month, 5-9 p.m., for a new and different kind of Corcoran experience. Each month brings with it a different themed evening and will include creative art making activities, playful and enlightening gallery talks, tours and games, lively music and a cash bar. The theme for Corcoran Uncorked on March 18 is “I Love Spring Break.” Admission is $12, and pre-registration is recommended. Otherwise it’s first come, first served. Corcoran Gallery of Art, 500 17th St. NW. 202-639-1700. corcoran.org/corcoran-uncorked
Soar into spring at the annual Blossom Kite Festival on the grounds of the Washington Monument. Photo: Nick Eckert
Blossom Kite Festival on the Washington Monument Grounds
On Saturday, Mar. 29, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., spring is literally in the air. The fourth annual Blossom Kite Festival presented by the National Cherry Blossom Festival showcases the creativity of kite makers and skill of kite fliers from across the US and other countries through a variety of competitions and demonstrations including the popular Hot Tricks Showdown and the Rokkaku Battle. Bring your own kites or children can make a kite at an activity station (while supplies last) to fly on the Public Field. The Blossom Kite Festival includes five areas to enjoy: the Competition & Demonstration Field, Family Field, Kite Club Display Area, Activity Tents, and Public Field. Participation is free.
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The celestial hues of the Crab Nebula, a supernova remnant in the constellation of Taurus, captured in Hidden Universe. Photo: NASA, ESA, J. Hester and A. Loll (Arizona State University)
“Hidden Universe 3D” IMAX at Air and Space
An extraordinary journey into deep space, Hidden Universe 3D brings to life the farthest reaches of our universe with unprecedented clarity through real images captured by the world’s most powerful telescopes. Stunning, highresolution 3D images of space allow you to peer deep inside the earliest galaxies and nebulae, watch stars being born in vivid clouds of gas and dust, tour the surface terrain of Mars, and witness images of distant celestial structures including awe-inspiring views of the Sun. Seen for the first time in IMAX 3D, these dramatic new images offer fresh insight into the origins and evolution of the universe. National Air and Space Museum on the Mall. airandspace.si.edu
Photo: Courtesy of the Washington Nationals
It may be cold and rainy but for DC fans, the Nat’s season begins with a spring training game (schedule magnet for first 20,000 fans) on Mar. 29, 2:05 p.m. vs. the Tigers. Opening Day (Opening Day cap for first 30,000 fans) is on Apr. 4, 1:05 p.m. vs. the Braves. Capital Community News covers the season through September in the Calendar and Kids and Family Notebook. There you’ll find t-shirt, cap and tote giveaways, $1 hot dogs, “Pups in the Park” games, autograph opportunities (Signature Sundays), chances for kids to run the bases and more. Tickets are on sale now at the box office and at washington.nationals.mlb.com. Tickets start at $5 for same-day grandstand seats ($15 for marquee games).
Central NorthEast Civic Association Mayoral Candidates Forum
Central NorthEast Civic Association is hosting a Mayoral Candidates Forum on Tuesday, March 18, 7:00-9:00 p.m., at Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd St. NE. Sam Ford of Channel 7 ABC News will moderate. Some of the questions and topics of discussion are: “With your various experiences, why do you want to be mayor of our great city? What will you do to move us closer to statehood to enable us to participate fully in the political process? What are your ‘lift as I climb’ economic development plans for Ward 7?” Candidates will also take questions from the audience. For more information email email@example.com with “Candidate Forum” in the subject line. Also, the Collaborative Mayoral Candidates Forum, Wednesday, March 26, 2014,6-8:30 pm, Eastern High School, 1700 East Capitol Street, NE. Sponsored by: DC Federation of Civic Associations and others.
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SAINT PATRICK’S CELEBRATIONS St Patrick’s Day 8K. Mar 9, 9:00 AM, Freedom Plaza. This event offers a great downtown course, a deep awards structure, team competition, a 1K Kids Run, Irish dancing, refreshments, random prizes, and much more. Bring the family for a day of fun and help support Special Olympics DC, Habitat for Humanity & Back on My Feet. $40. 301-8710400. runwashington.com Christ Church St Patrick’s Dinner and Auction. Mar 15, 5:30 PM. This much-anticipated neighborhood event is their biggest fun and fund raiser each year. For more than 40 years they have celebrated St. Patrick’s with a feast of corned beef and cabbage. $25 at the door. Children under 14 are free. Christ Church, 620 G St. SE. 202-547-9300. washingtonparish.org DC St Patricks Day Parade. Mar 16, noon, Constitution Ave. between Seventh St. and 17th St. NW. The colorful three-hour procession of floats, marching bands, and drill teams will also feature antique bicycles, cars, fire trucks, and Irish wolfhounds. Grandstand seats are $15. 202-670-0317. dcstpatsparade.com The Chieftains at George Mason University’s Center for the Arts. Mar 16, 4:00 PM. This is a spirited St. Patrick’s Day celebration that captures the profound beauty of the Emerald Isle. For more than fifty years, these six-time Grammy Award winners have uncovered centuries of Irish song and made these traditional works their own. Center for the Arts at Mason, 4400 University Drive, MS 2F5, Fairfax, VA. cfa.gmu.edu St Patrick’s Day Concert at National Geographic. Mar 17, 7:00 PM. Enjoy a lively St. Patrick’s Day celebration with Runa, a group that is fast gaining a following for their refreshing approach to traditional and contemporary Celtic material. Based in the Philadelphia area, Runa won Best Song in the traditional music category of the 2012 Independent Music Awards. $30, up. National Geographic, 1600 M St. NW. 202-857-7700. nationalgeographic.com National ShamrockFest ‘14. Mar 22, 3:009:00 PM at RFK Stadium grounds. Event features nine musical stages, tented party areas, beer stations, bar-game areas and athletic competitions, craft, food and beverage markets and strolling entertainers and more. shamrockfest.com Dubliner. Mar 17, 10:00 AM-3:00 AM. Three bands on two stages and giveaways. Full menus served with $10 cover. The Dubliner also features live Irish music every night at 9 p.m.; Sundays at 7 p.m. 4 “F” St. NW. 202737-3773. dublinerdc.com Kelly’s Irish Times. Mar 17, 10:30 AM-3:00 AM. Live Irish music all day. 14 F St. NW. 202-543-5433. kellysirishtimesdc.com Molly Malone’s. Mar 17, 11:00 AM-2:00 AM. Discounted Irish whiskey and beer. Drink and
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Josh Gibson of the Homestead Grays. Photo: Courtesy of the Anacostia Community Museum
Separate and Unequaled: Black Baseball in the District of Columbia
On view indefinitely. From Reconstruction to the second half of the 20th century, baseball, the great American pastime, was played in Washington, DC, on segregated fields. “Separate and Unequaled” looks at the phenomenal popularity and community draw of this sport when played by African Americans. Featured are such personalities as Josh Gibson and “Buck” Leonard, star players of the Negro Leagues most celebrated team, the Washington Homestead Grays. The show also highlights community teams that gave rise to the various amateur, collegiate and semi-pro black baseball teams and leagues. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu
Spring Training MLB Game
Nats vs Tigers. Mar 29, 2:05 PM, at Nationals Park. (Home Opener, Apr 4, vs Braves) washington.nationals. mlb.com food specials. 713 Eighth St. SE. 202-5471222. mollymalonescapitolhillsaloon.com
ton Monument Grounds, 15th St. and Constitution Ave. NW.
THE CHERRY BLOSSOMS
Official Japanese Stone Lantern Lighting Ceremony. Apr 6, 2:30-4:00 PM. The ceremony features traditional Japanese music, the presentation of the United States and Japan Cherry Blossom Queens, along with the 2012 Cherry Blossom Princesses, and remarks by a number of dignitaries, including the Ambassador of Japan to the United States. Japanese Stone Lantern at the Tidal Basin at Independence Ave. and 17th St. SW.
Southwest Waterfront Fireworks Festival. Apr 5, 1:00-9:00 PM (Fireworks start at 8:30 PM, rain or shine). The Southwest Waterfront community is the perfect place to enjoy more than eight celebratory hours of free music, family friendly water-related activities, cultural experiences, live entertainment and foods at multiple outdoor venues. Southwest Waterfront, 600-900 Water St. SW. Credit Union Cherry Blossom Ten Mile Run. Apr 6, 7:15 AM. The best viewing points to see the runners on the course are located at the Lincoln Memorial Circle (1.2 miles, 2.5 miles and 3.5 miles) and along Independence Ave. near the Tidal Basin (5 miles). Washing-
Blossoms and Baseball. Apr 9, 7:00 PM. Celebrate spring with blossoms and baseball as the Washington Nationals take on the Florida Marlins. Purchase discounted tickets at nationals.com/cherryblossom for Blossoms and Baseball. A $5 donation will be given to the Festival for each ticket purchased. Nationals Park, 1500 S. Capitol St. SE. nationals.com
National Cherry Blossom Festival Parade. Apr 12, 10:00 AM-noon. Vibrant costumes and blossom-inspired décor create the look of nation’s premier springtime parade. Giant colorful helium balloons, elaborate floats, marching bands from across the country, and performers burst down Constitution Ave. in a grand spectacle of music and showmanship seen only once a year during the Festival. Parade runs down Constitution Ave. NW, from 7th to 17th Sts. Sakura Matsuri--Japanese Street Festival. Apr 12, 10:30 AM-6:00 PM. Enjoy the familyfriendly atmosphere of the largest Japanese cultural festival in the United States, featuring food, arts and culture, merchandise, and live traditional and J-Pop performances on four stages, including martial arts demonstrations. $10, children 12 and under free. 12th St. and Pennsylvania Ave. NW. sakuramatsuri.org
Beyond the Tidal Basin: Introducing Other Great Flowering Cherries (self-guided tour). Mar 20-Apr 14, 8:00 AM-5:00 PM. Arboretum is open on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays and Mondays only. Come to the US National Arboretum to explore nearly forty different types of flowering cherries and discover the great diversity of shapes, sizes, flower colors, and bloom times these trees feature. Look for three new varieties developed by Arboretum scientists and don’t miss the remarkable weeping Yoshinos. Drive, bike, or walk over several miles of Arboretum roads to see them all. Pick up a brochure in the Visitor Information Center or download one at the Arboretum website after Mar. 15. Free. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Ave. NE, and the other at 24th and R Sts. NE, off of Bladensburg Rd. 202-2452726. usna.usda.gov Blossoms by Bike River Ride. Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Mar 22-Apr 13, 1:00 PM. Join Bike and Roll on this three hour specially-crafted tour, riding along the scenic Mount Vernon Trail from Old Town Alexandria to Washington, DC, and experience magnificent views of the cherry blossoms from across the Potomac River. The tour continues into DC and around the tidal basin where bikers will see the blossoms up close and learn the history of these beautiful gifts before heading back to Alexandria. $40 (must be 13 years or older). bikethesites. com/tours Alexandria Cherry Blossom Boat Tours. Saturday and Sunday, Mar 29Apr 13, 11:30 AM, 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30 PM. $14-$26. Departs from Cameron and Union Sts., Alexandria, VA. potomacriverboatco.com/blossoms2014 Bike to the Blossoms. Capital Bikeshare will be having extra corrals during the three weekends of the National Cherry Blossom Festival: Mar. 23, 24, 30, 31 and Apr. 6 and 7. All will operate from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. The corrals will be at Ohio Dr. and W. Basin Dr. SW. During the Festival, the National Park Service will place bike racks at Independence Ave. and 15th St. SW, close to the Tidal Basin, which bikers with their own locks can utilize for free. A map showing the location of bike parking is available on nps.gov.
SPECIAL EVENTS Shakespeare’s Birthday Open House at the Folger. Apr 6, noon-4:00 PM. Come celebrate Will’s birthday with jugglers and jesters, music, song, dance, and more. Take your chance to perform your favorite lines of Shakespeare on the Folger stage, and enjoy tours and treasure hunts of the Folger’s reading rooms. Try your hand at EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 11
CALENDAR crafty Elizabethan activities to take home. Plus, birthday cake for all, cut by Queen Elizabeth I! Free. Folger Shakespeare Library, E. Capitol St. SE. 202-544-7077. folger.edu Blessing of the Fleets. Apr 12, 1:00-5:00 PM. Passed down through generations of sailors and navies around the world, the centuries-old ceremony is intended to safeguard crews and ships from the danger of the seas through a traditional blessing given by a clergyman at the water’s edge. United States Navy Memorial, 701 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. navymemorial.org
AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD Primary Urges-Brad Fesmire, Vanessa Irzyk & Sarah Boyts Yoder at Honfleur Gallery. Through Apr 25. Though singular in voice, the work of Brad Fesmire, Vanessa Irzyk, and Sarah Boyts Yoder shares a sense of urgency imparted through the handling of their selected materials. In their distinct compositions, each artist makes clear that bringing their engrossments with color, line, and fabrication into the tactile world is paramount to their practice. Primary Urges brings together works by each artist that highlight conversations about process, narrative, and the handmade that resonate between them. Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-365-8392. honfleurgallery.com Adrian Loving-Fade 2 Grey at Vivid Solutions. Through Apr 25. Fade 2 Grey is a groundbreaking new solo art exhibition by artist Adrian Loving. His works explore androgyny, gender roles, fashion and the sensationalism of style in 80’s pop music. The Gallery at Vivid Solutions, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-365-8392. vividsolutionsgallery.com Home Sewn: Quilts from the Lower Mississippi Valley. Through Sept 21, 2014. The first in a series of collections-focused exhibitions, Home Sewn features quilts created by Annie Dennis (1904¬¬–1997) and Emma Russell (1909¬¬–2004). Quilts represent classic American quilt patterns and techniques passed down through five generations. This exhibition examine the generational, social, and economic fabric of an African American quilting community in rural Mississippi. In addition, fieldwork and interviews with present-day African American women quilters give voice to the continuing tradition of quilting in these communities. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202633-4820. anacostia.si.edu “Stitched DC” Quilt Show at Anacostia Arts Center. Through Mar 29 (opening reception Feb15, 4:00-7:00 PM). Anacostia Arts Center will present a curated exhibition of DC-area quilters. Working primarily with local powerhouse quilt organizations, DC Modern Quilt Guild and Daughters of Dorcus, it will showcase two dozen quilts in a variety of styles and sizes around the Center’s Lounge and common areas. Anacostia Arts Center, 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE. “Fate of A Salesman” Screening at Anacostia Community Museum. Mar 13, 11:00 AM-1:00 PM. Politics, gentrification, and cool clothes collide in this documentary that
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examines the rise and demise of a beloved Washington, DC, clothing store. Free; call 202-633-4844 for information or to attend. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu Let’s Talk Quilts! at Anacostia Community Museum. Mar 15, 11:00 AM-2:00 PM. Representatives from the esteemed quilting consortium Daughters of Dorcas & Sons give a quilting demonstration and lead participants in a hands-on opportunity to engage their own quilting creativity. Free. For information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu Women’s History Month Program at Anacostia Community Museum. Mar 16, 2:004:00 PM. Pianist and program founder Amy K. Bormet along with vocalist Jessica BoykinsSettles perform the music of Washington’s own jazz icon, Shirley Horn. Free. For information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. Selection from the Washington, DC Environmental Film Festival. Mar 21 and 28, 6:30-9:00 PM. The museum screens an environmentally-conscious film every month through May as part of this annual event. Group discussion follows each screening. Free. For more information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu Double Time Jazz @ THEARC Theater presents Shana Tucker. Mar 21, 8:00 PM. Transcending genre distinctions, Shana Tucker is a “ChamberSoul” cellist and singer/songwriter whose music is a sultry pastiche of acoustic pop and soulful, jazz-influenced contemporary folk. Many of the grooves have a bossa-nova/latin heartbeat, translated through percussive vocal phrasing. $15. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-8895901. thearcdc.org Environmental Film Festival: ‘Black Out’ at Francis A. Gregory Library. Mar 23, 2:00 PM. Every day during exam season, as the sun sets over Conakry, Guinea, hundreds of school children begin a nightly pilgrimage to the airport, gas stations and the wealthy parts of the city, searching for light to enable them to study. This evocative documentary tells the story of these children’s inspiring struggle for education in the face of their country’s own fight for change. Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-698-6373. dclibrary.org/francis Rhythm Cafe: BeBop Redux. Mar 23, 2:004:00 PM. Learn about the life of bebop jazz vocalist Anita O’Day, followed by a performance tribute featuring Howard University jazz vocalist Mikaela Carlton. Free. For more information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu Chess Tournament for Adults at Dorothy I. Height/Benning Library. Mar 29, 1:00 PM. Chess tournament for adults held the last Saturday of each month. This program is free and open to the public. Dorothy I. Height/ Benning Neighborhood Library, 3935 Ben-
National Tree Climbing Championship at the National Arboretum
Apr 5 (rain date, Apr 12), 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. Watch professional climbers compete for prizes in five different events in specially selected trees on the Arboretum grounds. Along with the climbing there will be educational exhibits, commercial vendors, demonstrations, children’s activities (including kids’ climbing), some of DC’s best food trucks, and more. Enter the R Street gate and follow the signs to the event. Free admission. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Ave. NE, and the other at 24th and R Sts. NE, off of Bladensburg Rd. 202-245-2726. usna.usda.gov This is the first year the National Tree Climbing Championship will be held at the National Arboretum. Photo: Courtesy of the US National Arboretum
ning Rd. NE. 202-281-2583. dclibrary.org/ benning Rhythm Cafe: The Life and Music of Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman. Apr 12, 2:00-4:00 PM. In celebration of Jazz Appreciation Month (JAM), the Anacostia Community Museum and the National Portrait Gallery present the life, contributions, and music of Thelonious Monk and Ornette Coleman. Willard Jenkins, an independent arts consultant/producer, writer, and WPFW-89.3FM broadcaster moderates the discussion. Afterwards, listen to their music performed by the award-winning Howard University Jazz
Ensemble under the direction of Fred Irby III. Free. For more information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia.si.edu Poetry with Delores Kendrick at Anacostia Community Museum. Apr 12, 10:30 AM-12:30 PM. DC’s Poet Laureate Delores Kendrick reads her work that is infused with personal anecdotes from her life and experiences. Presented in recognition of National Poetry Month. Free; for information or to attend, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. anacostia. si.edu
Knitting and Crocheting at Francis A. Gregory Library. Mondays, 6:30 PM. Come to the weekly knitting/ crocheting meeting. Knitting will be the primary focus, but crocheting lessons and support will continued to be provided. All levels of experience welcome. Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-698-6373. dclibrary.org/francis
SPORTS, DANCE AND FITNESS Washington Capitals Ice Hockey. Mar 8, 10, 14, 16, 25, 29; Apr 1. Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-628-3200. capitals.nhl.com DC Rollergirls. Mar 9, 4:00 PM. (Doors open at 3:00 p.m.) Tickets are $12 for ages 12 and up, $6 for children 6-11, and free for kids 5 and under. Tickets are available in advance at ticketmaster.com or at the door on bout day. Individuals with a valid military ID can purchase tickets for $10 at the door. Temple Hills Skating Center, 3132 Branch Ave., Temple Hills, MD. dcrollergirls.com Washington Wizards Basketball. Mar 12, 15, 26, 28, 29; Apr 2 and 5. Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW. 202-397SEAT. nba.com/wizards DC United at RFK. Mar 29, 4:00 PM vs. Chicago; Apr 5, 7:00 PM vs. New England. RFK Stadium. dcunited.com The Washington Ballet Adult African Dance Classes at THEARC. Thursdays, 11:00 AM-noon. $12 ($6 for residents with 20020 and 20032 zip codes). THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. thearcdc.org The Washington Ballet Zumba Classes at THEARC. Mondays, 7:158:15 PM and Saturdays, 9:00-10:00 AM. $12 ($6 for residents with 20020 and 20032 zip codes). THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. thearcdc.org Yoga @ the Library. Every Saturday, 10:00 AM. Wear some comfortable clothing and bring a mat, but if you donâ€™t have one, yoga mats are available for use during the class. The classes are taught by Yoga Activist and are held on the lower level of the library in the Larger Meeting Room. This class is free and open to the public. Dorothy I. Height/Benning Neighborhood Library, 3935 Benning Rd. NE. 202-281-2583. dclibrary.org/ benning Canal Park Ice Rink. Open through mid-March (weather permitting), Monday-Friday, noon-9:00 PM; Saturday, 10:00 AM-10:00 PM; Sunday 10:00 AM-7:00 PM. Adult fee is $8; children, seniors (55+) and military fees are $7. Skate rental is $3. On Tuesdays, two
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EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 13
CALENDAR can skate for the price of one from 4:006:00 PM. The park is at Second and M sts. SE, one block from the Navy Yard Metro (New Jersey Avenue exit). canalparkdc.org Ice Skating at the National Gallery of Art Sculpture Garden. Open through mid-Mar (weather permitting). Monday-Thursday, 10:00 AM-9:00 PM; Friday-Saturday, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM; Sunday, 11:00 AM-9:00 PM. $7 for adults, $6 for children 12 and under, students with ID and seniors 50 and over. Skate rental is $3. Seventh St. and Constitution Ave. NW. 202-289-3361. nga.gov/ ginfo/skating Fort Dupont Ice Arena. Closes for the season on Mar. 16 and re-opens June 30. For more information, call 202-584-5007. Fort Dupont Ice Arena, 3779 Ely Pl. NE. fdia.org Washington Harbour Ice Skating. Open through mid-Mar (weather permitting). Monday-Thursday, noon-9:00 PM; Friday, noon-10:00 PM; Saturday, 10:00 AM-10:00 PM; Sunday, 10:00 AM-7:00 PM. At 11,800 square feet, the new Washington Harbour Ice Rink is DC’s largest outdoor ice skating venue, and is also larger than New York City’s Rockefeller Center rink. Adults, $10; children/seniors/military, $8. Skate rental is $5. 3050 K St. NW. thewashingtonharbour.com Pentagon Row Outdoor Ice Skating. Open through mid-Mar, 10:00 AM-11:00 PM. $7$8. $3 for skate rental. 1201 South Joyce St. Arlington, VA. 703-418-6666. pentagonrowskating.com Tidal Basin 3K Monthly Run. Third Wednesday of each month at noon. This run is free and informal. West Potomac Park (meet on Ohio Dr. at West Basin Dr., near the Tourmobile stand). 703-505-3567. dcroadrunners.org Rock N Roll Marathon Registration Open. Marathon is Mar 15. runrocknroll.competitor.com Rock N Roll Mini Marathon (new in 2014). Mar 15. Feel all of the excitement in just 3.1 miles. Participate in the Mini Marathon, which will be an officially timed 5k. runrocknroll.competitor.com Spring 5K. Mar 16, 8:00 AM. Starts at Hains Point, 927 Ohio Dr SW (East Potomac Park). 703-486-1466. racepacket.com Scope It Out 5K Run/Walk for Colon Cancer Awareness. Mar 23, 9:00 AM. Freedom Plaza. 1-855-610-1733. scopeitout5k.com The Runway 5K & 5 Miler-Where Fashion Meets Fitness. Mar 29, 8:00 AM. Hains Point East Potomac Park. 240-472-9201. dcrunningclub.com Race4Respect. Mar 30, 9:00 AM. Pennsylvania Ave on Freedom Plaza. crowdrise. com/raceforrespect Woodrow Wilson Bridge Half Marathon. Oct 5. Registration now open. 703-5874321. wilsonbridgehalf.com Marine Corps Marathon Registration.
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Register online at marinemarathon.com. Marathon is Sunday, Oct 26.
MARKETS Anacostia Big Chair Flea Market. Reopens in April. Saturdays, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. The market features a diverse mix of art, crafts, imports, antiques, collectibles and furniture every Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The market will also feature local specialty food items such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, preserves, prepared foods and beverages. 2215 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. bigchairmarket.com RFK Stadium Farmers’ Market. Open Saturdays, year-round (weather permitting), 8:00 AM-3:00 PM. The market also has merchandise vendors. It can be seen in the RFK parking lot from the interestion of Benning Rd. and Oklahoma Ave. NE. Branch Avenue Pawn Parking Lot Flea Market. Saturdays. Set up (depending on the weather) after 10:00 AM. 3128 Branch Ave., Temple Hills, MD Fresh Tuesdays at Eastern Market. Every Tuesday, 3:00-7:00 PM. Tuesday afternoon farmers’ line of fresh produce. Eastern Market, 200 block of Seventh St. SE. 202-6985253. easternmarket-dc.com Union Market. Tuesday-Friday, 11:00 AM8:00 PM; Saturday-Sunday, 8:00 AM-8:00 PM. Union Market is an artisanal, curated, year-round food market featuring over 40 local vendors. 1309 Fifth St. NE. 301-6527400. unionmarketdc.com Eastern Market. Daily except Mondays and important holidays. Weekdays, 7:00 AM7:00 PM; Saturdays, 7:00 AM-5:00 PM; Sundays, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. Flea market and arts and crafts market open Saturdays and Sundays, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM. Eastern Market is Washington’s last continually operated “old world” market. On weekends the market area comes alive with farmers bringing in fresh produce, craft and flower vendors, artists, a flea market and street musicians. 200 block of Seventh St. SE. 202-698-5253. easternmarket-dc.com Anacostia Big Chair Flea Market. Saturdays, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. The market features a diverse mix of art, crafts, imports, antiques, collectibles and furniture every Saturday, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. The market will also feature local specialty food items such as fruits and vegetables, flowers, preserves, prepared foods and beverages. 2215 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. bigchairmarket.com Dupont Circle Farmers Market. Sundays year round (rain or shine), 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. The Wall Street Journal and The Financial Times of London named the market one of the top farmers’ markets in the country. During the peak season, there are more than 30 farmers offering fruits and vegetables, meat, poultry, fish, cheeses, fruit pies, breads, fresh pasta, cut flowers, potted plants, soaps and herbal products. 20th St. and Mass. Ave. NW, 1500 block of 20th St. NW (between Mass. Ave. and Q St. in
the adjacent parking lot of PNC Bank). 202362-8889. freshfarmmarket.org
Body Meeting. Fourth Monday, except Aug. and Dec., 6:30 PM. 1350 49th St. NE.
Georgetown Flea Market. Sundays year around (except in the case of very inclement weather), 8:00 AM- 4:00 PM. The crowd is as diverse as the items for sale! Antiques, collectibles, art, furniture, rugs, pottery, china, jewelry, silver, stained glass, books and photographs are an example of the available items. 1819 35th St. NW. 202-775-3532. or georgetownfleamarket.com
Deanwood Citizens Association General Body Meeting. Fourth Monday, except Aug. and Dec., 6:30 PM. 1350 49th St. NE.
CIVIC LIFE Central NorthEast Civic Association Mayoral Candidates Forum. Mar 18, 7:00-9:00 PM. Forum is at Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd St. NE. Sam Ford of Channel 7 ABC News will moderate. Small Business Brief Advice Legal Clinic. Mar 22, 9:30 AM-noon. This clinic is for aspiring or existing small business owners. Attendees will meet one-on-one with attorneys for brief advice on any legal issues their businesses may be facing. DC Women’s Business Center, 727 15th St. NW (10th floor). Grosso Near You (informal) Meeting. Third Thursday, 8:00-9:30 AM, Big Chair Coffee and Grill, 2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. The meetings will provide the opportunity for constituents to bring ideas and issues directly to Councilmember Grosso as part of an effort to make the DC Council more accessible. Congresswoman Norton’s SE District Office. Open weekdays, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM. 2041 MLK Ave. SE, #238. 202-678-8900. norton.house.gov Councilmember Alexander’s Constituent Services Office. Open weekdays, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM. 2524 Penn. Ave. SE. 202-5811560. Councilmember Barry’s Constituent Services Office. Open weekdays, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. 2100 MLK Ave, SE, #307. 202-6982185. Anacostia Coordinating Council Meeting. Last Tuesday, noon-2:00 PM. Anacostia Museum, 1901 Fort St. SE. For further details, contact Philip Pannell, 202-889-4900. Capitol View Civic Association Meeting. Third Monday, 6:30 PM. Hughes Memorial United Methodist, 25 53rd St. NE. capitolviewcivicassoc.org Historical Anacostia Block Association. Second Thursday, 7:00-9:00 PM. UPO-Anacostia Service Center, 1649 Good Hope Rd. SE. For further details, contact Charles Wilson, 202-834-0600. Anacostia High School School Improvement Team Meeting. Fourth Tuesday. 6:00 PM. Anacostia High School, 16th and R sts. SE.
Eastland Gardens Civic Association Meeting. Third Tuesday. 6:30-8:30 PM. Kenilworth Elementary School (auditorium), 1300 44th St. NE. Greg Rhett jrhett3009@ aol.com or 202-388-1532. Fairlawn Citizens Association. Third Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Ora L. Glover Community Room at the Anacostia Public Library, 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE.
ANC MONTHLY MEETINGS ANC 7B. Third Thursday, 7:00 PM. Ryland Epworth United Methodist Church, 3200 S St. SE (Branch Ave and S St. SE). 202-5843400. firstname.lastname@example.org. anc7b.us ANC 7C. Second Thursday, 7:00 PM. Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church, 5109 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. NE. 202-398-5100. email@example.com ANC 7D. Second Tuesday, 6:30 PM. Sixth District Police Station, 100 42nd St. NE. 202-398-5258. 7D06@anc.dc.gov ANC 7E. Second Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 PM. Jones Memorial Church, 4625 G St. SE. 202582-6360. 7E@anc.dc.gov ANC 7F. Third Tuesday, 6:30 PM. Washington Tennis and Education Foundation, 200 Stoddert Place, SE ANC 8A. First Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Anacostia UPO Service Center, 1649 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-889-6600. anc8adc.org ANC 8B. Third Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Seventh District Police Station Community Center, Alabama and McGee Sts. SE. 202-610-1818. anc8b.org ANC 8C. First Wednesday, 7:00 PM. 2907 MLK Jr Ave. SE. 202-388-2244. ANC 8D. Fourth Thursday, 7:00 PM. Specialty Hospital of Washington, 4601 MLK Jr. Ave. SW. 202 561-0774 u
Saturday, March 8th 6:30pm International Spy Museum 800 F Street, NW Please join BASIS families and friends in celebrating BASIS teachers and a world-class education. All proceeds support the BASIS DC Annual Teacher Fund. Ticket Price: $80
questions volunteer donate contact: firstname.lastname@example.org www.facebook.com/BASISStarsGala
Deanwood Citizens Association General EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 15
Vote Tuesday, April 1 in the 2014 Primary Election Polls will be open from 7am to 8pm.
During a closed Primary, only Democratic, Republican, Libertarian, or DC Statehood Green voters may participate. All voters, regardless of affiliation, may vote in the General Election on November 4, 2014. To find your polling place or confirm your registration information, visit dcboee.org or call (202) 727-2525. Some polling places have recently changed.
Want to vote early?
Vote early at One Judiciary Square starting March 17, or any Early Voting Center in the District starting March 22. Early Voting Centers are open daily from 8:30am until 7pm, except Sunday, March 23.
Early Voting Centers
Need to Register?
To register at the polls, bring a driver’s license or DMV identification card to cast a provisional/special ballot.
No driver’s license? Bring any of the following showing your current name and address in the District:
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• • • •
Bank statement Utility bill Lease or residential agreement Occupancy statement
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University housing or tuition bill Statement from a homeless shelter Other government document
EAST OF THE RIVER ELECTION SPECIAL 2014
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The District Beat
A City in Crisis?
ranes dot the District’s skyline, Mayor Vincent C. Gray is fond of pointing out. Their number is a visual barometer of the city’s desirability and success, he argues – a claim bolstered by the monthly growth in the city’s population, declining unemployment, flourishing restaurants, and pedestrian traffic jams created by large number of strollers on the sidewalks. Bullet-ridden corpses on the street, the sight of a mayor in handcuffs, the demands of a congressionally imposed Control Board are distant memories. Let the good times roll! At every whistle-stop Gray touts lower unemployment, increased development, stable finances, high bond ratings, rising student test
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by Andrew Lightman
scores, and successful school reform. “I have a record I am very proud of,” he declares. In the mayoral campaign’s debates his claims are echoed by opponents Jack Evans (DWard 2) and Vincent B. Orange (D-At Large), who together form his Greek chorus, disputing only the credit for the city’s renaissance. The city’s success, Evans and Orange argue, should be laid at the door of popular former Mayor Anthony A. Williams. Wrapping themselves in his mantle, they claim to be essential members of the merry band of councilmembers who assisted the city’s climb out of bankruptcy and laid the foundations for its current growth. Evans, the Al Gore of DC politics, takes credit for everything from the Verizon Center and Nationals Stadium to the P Street Whole Foods. Orange, for his part, touts his involvement in the Home Depot/Giant on Rhode Island Avenue NE and the modernization of McKinley Technology Education Campus. The only thing left to fight over is the surplus. Evans supports the mayor’s decision to stash it in the city’s rainy day accounts. Orange, accusing the mayor of “hording our money at the expense of citizens,” departs from his brethren, arguing they are too focused on pleasing Wall Street. And businessman Andy Shallal agrees: “We are saving too much.” EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 19
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A City in Crisis?
In contrast to the mayor and his two backup singers, Councilmember Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), Councilmember Muriel Bowser (D-Ward 4), and Shallal all argue the city is in crisis: • The corrupt mayor cheated to get elected. • Homeless children are housed in rec centers. • The city can’t count its ambulances. • Residents are dying of heart attacks in front of firehouses. • The Oﬃce of Tax and Revenue is selling residents’ tax liens to shysters. • The achievement gap between black and white students is widening under school reform. These charges are hurled at Gray at every debate. “Why do we have a surplus when we have that much need?” asks Bowser rhetorically. “We need to be concerned not just about our bond rating on Wall Street but about our human rating on Main Street,” chimes in Wells. “We have a surplus in our budget and a deficit in our vision. Cranes are pushing aside people,” charges Shallal.
Ethics is the leading edge of the troika’s attack on Gray. They have plenty of material to draw from, with three former councilmembers convicted, a host of 2010 Gray campaign aides entering guilty pleas, revelations of payoffs to a minor candidate, and an illegal shadow campaign financed by a city contractor. Gray, for his part, aside from a general apology in his kickoff speech, has largely stayed mum on the subject of 2010’s campaign shenanigans, citing legal advice. Both Wells and Bowser have called for his resignation over the matter. Wells takes his critique of Gray a step further. He questions the mayor’s decision to settle a contract dispute with DC Charted Health, owned by the alleged funder of the shadow campaign. This decision, claims Wells, 20 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
resulted in a $40 million loss to the city. Wells, who voted for the settlement, claims to have been duped. Bowser keeps her criticism of the mayor more general. The public has lost confidence in their government, she states. Moreover, the federal investigation into the 2010 campaign has created a major distraction. New leadership would allow the city to put the scandals of 2010 behind it. She urges voters to help her drive out the incumbent. Bowser also touts the ethics legislation that she steered through the council. She points to the ethics actions taken against Orange and Marion Barry by the Board of Ethics and Government Accountability. “The message has been sent across the government that there is a sheriff in town,” declares Bowser. Wells, who is known for tilting at legislative windmills on the dais, faults his colleagues explicitly for not adopting stronger standards such as the banning of corporate contributions. Permitting donations from limited liability corporations, whose ownership is often opaque, allows an individual to sidestep the cap placed on the donations of individual citizens, giving them outsized influence. Wells himself has refused to accept any corporate donations. Wells along with Evans also supports ending the council’s role in contract approvals. In addition he believes that donations from city lobbyists and contractors should be banned. He concurs with Orange that councilmembers should forgo outside employment.
Wells, Shallal, and Bowser argue for a return to the Housing First policies of the Fenty administration. The idea is to rapidly rehouse families first and then provide wraparound services to stabilize them. Wells touts his work in shepherding this initiative through council and faults the mayor for abandoning it. The three critics argue for spending money on the Emergency Rental Assistance Program, which subsidizes families to prevent them from losing their residences in the first place. They also want increased funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund. “We have to step up and pay for it,” states Bowser. “Use the Trust Fund. We need to act now,” echoes Wells. Affordable housing is also central to the critique of Gray’s stadium deal. It must be a central element of any project involving city land, argue Bowser, Wells, and Shallal. Bowser also questions the methods the administration is using to value the Reeves Center, saying they should be market-based. Shallal complains, “We have turned the city into a pawnshop. We need to make sure we get our money’s worth for public property.” He would like the Reeves Center turned into an uptown Torpedo Factory. Gray defends his homeless policy vigorously. He points to significant recent increases in funding for the Trust Fund. He faults the council for not providing him with greater flexibility in interpreting the city’s right-to-housing law.
Homelessness and the Less Fortunate
Tax Lien Sales and the Elderly
With DC General’s shelter at capacity and the city stashing needy families in Maryland hotels and rec centers, homelessness has emerged as a major campaign issue. The blame rests squarely on the mayor’s shoulders, Wells believes. DC General was at capacity in the fall, and the administration did not plan for additional capacity during hypothermia season. “We just don’t have to give up,” Wells states. It costs $54,000 per year to house a family at DC General, states Shallal.
Bowser, Orange, and Wells among others support legislation designed to end abuses resulting from the sale of residential tax liens. Bowser, however, also believes that elderly residents of the city need to be better protected against rises in property taxes. Under current law, the elderly are exempted from half the taxes assessed on their properties. Bowser supports legislation proposed by Anita Bonds (D-At Large) that would completely exempt long-term residents with household incomes under $60,000 from taxes.
Bowser says the income limit is too low. Gray and Wells prefer to increase the standard deduction, which they argue will put money in the pockets of a larger number of less-well-off residents including renters. Wells also wants to create a District-owned transportation system that is more affordable than WMATA to help reduce the costs of living in the city for the less fortunate.
Bowser, Wells, and Shallal attack Gray’s stewardship of school reform. They cite the 62-point achievement gap between black and white student test scores, which had narrowed during Fenty’s tenure then widened and has been constant since 2011. The councilmembers’ policy fixes are specific, while Shallal questions the whole enterprise. DC’s middle schools are the problem-children of school reform, according to Bowser. Her model is Ward 3’s hugely successful Alice Deal. Funding such institutions is her number-one fiscal priority. In addition she wants to make sure that public charter and traditional public schools complement one another. “Every family in DC should have a great local elementary school,” declares Wells. Ward 6’s schools have been so successful that the ward is adding traditional public schools, unlike its neighbors. The key, says Wells, is to empower principals to take an entrepreneurial approach to education, giving parents what they request. “I’ve done it in Ward 6 and I can do it citywide.” Shallal attacks the entire school reform enterprise. To begin with he promises to end the closing of public schools and to limit the growth of charters. He questions the current test-oriented evaluation of teachers. He has also suggested DC go back to an elected school board. In response Gray touts increases in test scores and takes credit for DC’s
commitment to early childhood education, which he championed as chair of the council. He also points at efforts to reinvigorate vocational education. Lastly he lauds his appointment of Chancellor Kaya Henderson.
Fire and Emergency Services
The recent tragic death of 77-yearold Cecil Mills across the street from a firehouse has propelled DC’s troubled Fire and Emergency Services Department (DCFEMS) into the center of the campaign. In the debates Wells, whose council committee holds jurisdiction over the department, has blamed the mayor for its dysfunction. Aside from Mills’ death he points to the inability of DCFEMS to service or even count its equipment. Wells has recently called for the resignations of both the fire chief and the deputy mayor for public safety.
Is the Mud Sticking?
Gray’s challengers argue that an incompetent mayor has led the city into a crisis. Moreover, they argue, the mayor’s removal is of paramount importance when voters make their choice on April’s ballot. Given the District’s current renaissance and budget surplus, this is a fairly difficult sell. In a recent Marist Poll commissioned by NBC4, WAMU, and the Washington Informer, 56 percent of Democrats approved of Gray’s handling of the city and 31 percent believed that he deserved to be reelected. On the other hand, 41 percent of Democrats polled stated that they would definitely vote against the mayor in the general election in November. So, some of the mud flying around the debates may be sticking. Yet, can any of the challengers harness this “anyone but Gray” sentiment in time to play the ultimate joke on the incumbent on April 1? u EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 21
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A Race that Matters
At-Large Council Race is Largely Under-the-Radar
rimary elections are fast approaching on April 1. But while all eyes are on the mayoral campaign, the councilmember at-large race is also happening, with incumbent Anita Bonds trying to secure her second term. Her opponents are Nate Bennett Fleming, Pedro Rubio and John F. Settles II. The winner of the primary will face Kevin Valentine, Jr., Brian Hart, G. Lee Aikin, Marc Morgan, Eugene Puryear and Frederick Steiner in the Nov.4 general election. Bonds was elected councilmember atlarge in late 2012 after being appointed by the Democratic Party. She ran again in a special election in April, 2013 in order to fill a seat vacated by now-Council Chair Phil Mendelson. Bonds garnered just 2,979 votes more than the closest of her six opponents, or 31.49 percent of the total vote. This time around, Bonds has more support. She has secured key union endorsements, including the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFCSME) and the Service Employees International Union (SEIU). DC for Democracy chose to
endorse Bennett-Fleming, while the Gertrude Stein Democratic Club has not made an endorsement as this paper went to press. Bonds has made more appearances during this campaign than last. In spring 2013, sources say that Bonds hardly showed up at any debates. But Bonds attended a candidate forum held in late January at the Sixth and I Street Synagogue, talking about the need for job creation, economic development and marijuana decriminalization in DC. This was the only forum of its kind this election season.
About Anita Bonds
by Denise Romano Anita Bonds
Bonds grew up in Ward 7, where her mother still lives. She attended John Philip Sousa Junior High School, McKinley Technology HighSchool and then Berkeley University in California, majoring in chemistry, before returning to the District, where she married and raised three children living in neighborhoods in Wards 2, 5 and 8.
Bonds became involved with the Young Democrats of America, Women’s Strike for Peace and National Women’s Political Caucus. From there, she went on to serve as an advisor and cabinet member to Mayors Marion Barry, Sharon Pratt and Anthony Williams. During her time in government, Bonds served as chair of Advisory Neighborhood Council 5C for four terms; was president of the
At-Large Council Chair Race
ossibly even more under the radar this primary election is the at-large council chair race. Chair Phil Mendelson faces one opponent, Calvin Gurley. Mendelson was elected to the Council in November, 1998 as an at-large councilmember, where he served until June, 2012. In November, 2012 he was elected chair of the council, where he presides over all legislative matters, as well as the Committee of the Whole which includes the DC Auditor, Board of Zoning Adjustment, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and the Office of Planning, among others. Prior to becoming chair, Mendelson was chair of the Council’s Committee on the Judiciary for eight years, responsible for overseeing DC’s public safety agencies. He also served as an ANC Commissioner for almost two decades.
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Mendelson came to DC from Cleveland, Ohio in 1970 to attend American University, where he earned a degree in political science. He currently lives in Northwest and has a daughter who attends DC public schools. His lone opponent is accountant and auditor Calvin Gurley, a native Washingtonian. During his 15 years working for the federal government, he has overseen financial and operation audits in the Office of Comptroller Currency, the FDIC and the US Treasury Department. Gurley is also currently on the mayor’s Blue Ribbon Commission on DC Public Housing; is president of the Fairlawn Civic Association; vice president of the first Orange Hat Patrol in DC, aiming to keep streets safer with citizen patrolling and is president of the Takoma Civic Association; Gurley and his wife live in Takoma. They have two children who graduated from local schools. u
Perry School Community Services Center for several terms and served as an officer of the Basic Civic Association and the DC Federation of Civic Associations. In 2006, Bonds was elected chair of the DC Democratic Party, with the assistance of Marion Barry, with whom she has been working since the 1970’s. She was re-elected for that position in 2010, as well as elected to the executive board of the Democratic National Committee and was re-elected to the executive board in 2013. Bonds served as a delegate to the 2008 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions, and paved the way for the DNC’s passage of a resolution in support of DC statehood in 2012. Bonds is no stranger to controversy. Besides being accused by critics of voting in lockstep with Barry, Bonds has ties to Fort Myer Construction, the city’s largest roadpaving contractor. She was a top-ranking executive at the company until she resigned after she won the 2012 election. According to her chief of communications, David Meadows, Bonds has had no outside employment since then and has spent every weekend “out on the community, meeting with residents,” not even taking a vacation. However, some find her ties to Fort Myer questionable. The city pays Fort Myer about $80 million a year directly and even more indirectly through subcontracts on construction projects. Fort Myer’s owners have also given more than $150,000 in campaign contributions, according to campaign finance records.
A “legislative lightweight?”
During her time in office, Bonds has authored four pieces of legislation, the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013, the Standard Deduction Adjustment Act of 2013, the Affordable Homeownership Preservation of Equity Accumulation Amendment Act of 2013 and the Criteria for Council
Review of Contracts Subcontractor Requirement Amendment Act of 2013. None have passed, but the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax and Affordable Homeownership Preservation of Equity Act are well on their way. According to Bonds, her significant achievements while in office are authoring the Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act; co introducing the Living Wage for All Act of 2013 and creating her Community Action Summits. The Property Tax Relief Act is poised to be passed by the council and will take effect this fall. It will eliminate property taxes for homeowners aged 75 and older who have maintained DC residence for 15 years or longer and who earn $60,000 or less annually. The Living Wage for All Act will raise the minimum wage to $11.50 per hour for all DC residents. The DC Fiscal Policy Institute supports the concept of the Senior Citizen Real Estate bill, but not necessarily the particulars. Executive Director Ed Lazere said that he opposes the way the bill is structured, but not the goal. “In the end, it looks like something that will pass that directs more help to those that are either coping with high property taxes or rising house costs,” he told this paper. “She can take credit for that.” Political activist and former council candidate Bryan Weaver said that he commonly hears Bonds referred to as a “legislative lightweight.” He said that she may come across to some as a flip-flopper. “Some feel she has no central compass, but conversations that I have had with her, [show] that she can get new information and change her mind,” Weaver said.
John Settles II grew up in Shepherd Park and attended Shepherd Elementary, St. Ann’s and St. John’s. He graduated from Howard University with a master’s degree in architec-
ture and a bachelor’s degree in finance. Settles then worked at the US Department of Housing and Urban Development, joined the private sector as a realtor and then held management roles at Wells Fargo and Fleet Boston. Settles then founded a real estate development firm, using green practices focusing on low-to-moderate income areas. He also volunteers, serving as director of Lifting Voices and as former board chair of the Capitol Hill Group Ministry. Settles lives with his wife and three children who all attend DC public schools. According to his wife, Jacqui Allen-Settles, he had not received any endorsements as of press time, although she is “quite optimistic” that a few high profile ones will come in within the next few weeks. Settles released a plan for a Jobs Trust Fund that aims to lower the city’s unemployment rate by investing in local businesses that would hire residents in communities that need them most. According to a December, 2013 survey by the District DepartEAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 23
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ment of Employment Services, Ward 3 has a 1.7 unemployment rate and Ward 2 has a 3.3 percent unemployment rate. Meanwhile, Ward 5’s unemployment rate is 9.4 percent and Ward 8’s is 11.6 percent. Settles said the Fund would lower DC’s income gap. It would be an independent entity funded by the city through budgetary surpluses and investments by other public and private sector sources. A ruling body made up of a board appointed by the mayor, the council, local member institutions and other organizations, would oversee the Fund. Instead of investing in traditional enterprises, Settles would make sure funding went to projects in communities that need them most. He said that the initiatives would not only provide immediate employment, but also sustainability and growth opportunities. Ideas include building a laundry facility, installing solar panels in local homes and businesses, creating an urban growing facility and building an ink and toner cartridge recycling facility. “We must give local organizations, community leaders and other key stakeholders a seat at the table,” said Settles. “These groups 24 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
and individuals have an in-depth understanding of the specific needs and wants of neighborhoods Their expertise coupled with the vast resources of the District government will create a partnership that could uniquely and effectively develop community-supported, sustainable businesses.” Settles has detailed platforms on affordable housing, education, seniors and public safety, as well. His plan to increase affordable housing includes initiatives such as: giving developers incentives to create three and four bedroom units for young families and micro-unites for young professionals and seniors; giving middle class families, individuals and seniors smart home ownership programs who have been here for more than a decade; put vacant land and underutilized properties to better use by creating affordable housing and creating an independent government entity that would handle “strategic land banding and development to ensure future availability of property.” Settles said that he will also try to help DC’s senior population. If elected, he said that he will work on fixing common problems that they often face, including the rising cost of food and housing outpacing income; not enough transportation options and isolation.
Pedro Rubio was born and raised in Ward 4. The son of Salvadorian immigrants, Rubio graduated from American University and is currently a M.P.S candidate for Georgetown University focused on affordable housing. He is an elected board member of the DC Latino Caucus. Rubio works as an accountant for the Department of Health and Human Services, managing federal budgets. He previously managed government contracts for the Department of Interior, the US Fish and Wild-
life Service and currently works with the Department of Defense. He also co-founded a non-profit that builds playgrounds in Latin America, volunteers at Georgetown University Hospital’s Oncology Department, and tutors at-risk teens through DC Courts. Rubio said that he was once a troubled student, “but turned his life around” and wants others to do so, as well. If elected, Rubio said that he will focus on education and public safety. He wants to “ensure that all students have an after-school program to go to,” make sure that DC is walkable and safe and provide more affordable housing and neighborhood development. Rubio lives with his sister and her two children, who attend a public school in Ward 4.
Nate Benning Fleming
Nate Benning Fleming is currently the US Representative in Congress for DC, commonly known as the Shadow Representative, advocating for voting congressional representation, self-determination rights, and statehood for the District of Columbia. He is the youngest citywide official since Home Rule and has used his office to hold over 100 meetings in the past year with Congressional offices to boost the number of co-sponsors for the statehood bills, with 59 members of the House of Representatives now co-sponsoring the bill. Fleming is a DC native and an adjunct law professor at the University of the District of Columbia’s David A. Clarke School of Law. In 2007, he received a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College and graduated from University of California, Berkeley, School of Law in 2011. Prior to that, Fleming worked at Goldman Sachs and served as Deputy National Director for African-American Religious Outreach for the Kerry-Edwards Presidential Campaign. He also worked in the office of Congressmember Eleanor H. Norton. u
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 25
ELECT ON SPECIAL
Benjamin Thomas Speaks Out
he Washington Post once called Benjamin Thomas an “unofficial mayor of the city,” due to his community advocacy work in the Benning Heights neighborhood. “This government doesn’t hear very well,” the Post quoted him, “but I don’t give up very easily.” That was 16 years ago. “I feel so disappointed in what’s going on now,” said Thomas, who will turn 91 this month. However, he is still speaking out against an unresponsive government.
Commitment to the Community
A DC resident since 1938, Thomas moved to his Chaplin Street home on Jan. 30, 1958. However, he has been active in community service since age 18. Over the years Thomas served as president of the Benning Ridge Civic Association, vice-chair of the Far-North Southeast Council, and chair of the Sixth District Citizen Advisory Council. He was also an elected delegate to the 1980 White House Conference on Aging and Families. But he is most known for serving for 18 years as an advisory neighborhood commissioner on Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 7E. One of his proudest accomplishments was successfully lobbying to get a traffic light at the intersection of Benning Road and Southern Avenue. “I fought for 10 years to get that light,” Thomas said. He also helped limit the amount of illegal activities occurring around Davis Elementary School. Today he regularly attends community meetings and gives advice to neighbors needing help.
The State of Ward 7
“When something happens, people usually call me,” he said. As a result he often writes, calls, and faxes government entities on behalf of neighbors. “But,” Thomas explained, “I can’t get anything done.” He described his frustration, for example, at playing phone tag with government officials during a recent water-main break and receiving little to no response. “No one made an effort until I called the Ward 7 councilmember,” he said. Thomas is also worried about the high crime rate. “Some seniors are afraid to go out of the house,” he declared. 26 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
by Charnice A. Milton
Thomas recounted recovering stolen purses, getting carjacked at gunpoint, having someone steal two tires from his wife’s car, and seeing six cars getting burned near the corner of Burns Street and Hillside Road. Thomas noted a lack of response from city services. “Those of us in Wards 7 and 8 complain about the problems to no avail. Our complaints fall on deaf ears,” he wrote in an undated open letter. “The police officials only let patrol officers patrol certain areas, the ambulances get lost, and it takes two years to replace a damaged super can.”
On Property Issues
Another issue Thomas finds problematic involves falling property values in Ward 7. “In the last few years tax rates have gone up and property values have gone down,” he said. “I wrote to four councilmembers and no one responded. In one letter addressed to Councilmember Yvette Alexander (Ward 7) he referred to her Sept. 9, 2013, response to concerns about property-tax liens. “I am concerned about the practices of these investors who take advantage of the current tax lien sales procedures by increasing legal fees, making it nearly impossible for homeowner to pay their property tax bill,” she wrote. “This unfair practice is affecting many of our residents who are long-time homeowners now living on a limited income, such as our senior citizens and disabled.” In his letter Thomas wrote about his lower property assessment and then-high citywide tax rate ($0.85). “For the last three years I have contacted the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR),” he wrote. “They have refused to give me [an] appointment to discuss the reason for this biased and unfair increase.” He hoped Councilmember Alexander would bring up his concerns with OTR. While he did not receive an answer, he was disappointed with Mayor Vincent Gray and the council’s response to the tax-lien scandal: passing legislation that dealt with the effects but not the causes.
Time to Speak Up
With primary elections next month, Thomas hopes that residents pay closer attention to who they want representing them. “People don’t real-
Benjamin Thomas, who turns 91 this month, is still active in his community. The Washington Post named him “unofﬁcial mayor” of Washington DC in 1998. Photo: Benjamin Thomas
ize this, but the government has something to do with everything you do,” he said. “If you don’t have the right people representing you, who knows what could happen?” He is also worried about the lack of resident participation in community affairs. “Community meetings used to be packed with people,” Thomas said. “I know 18 men on my block. I’m the only one who regularly attends meetings.” While community meetings are places to present opinions and concerns, a lack of response from elected officials can get frustrating, which is why Thomas left his ANC position after one term in 2008. “I gave up. There was no point in going on,” he said. “You couldn’t do anything because they wouldn’t respond.” However, he is still making his voice heard as an activist. “Other people won’t speak up, but if you’re right, you’re right,” he said. u
COLLABORATIVE MAYORAL CANDIDATES FORUM Wednesday, March 26, 2014 Eastern High School
6:00 to 8:30 PM
1700 East Capitol Street, NE
Sponsored by: DC Federation of Civic Associations Advisory Neighborhood Commission 6A East of the River Newspaper Anacostia Coordinating Council River East Emerging Leaders United Planning Organization National Association of Minority Contractors Federal City Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority Friends of McMillan Park Divest DC Ecolocity Returning Citizens United The National Association for Peer Support Simplicity Matters Earth Institute EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 27
BULLETIN BOARD Volunteers get a boat ride back to the dock with bags and bags of trash picked up along the Anacostia River during the 2013 Earth Day Cleanup. Photo: Courtesy Anacostia Watershed Society
Anacostia Watershed Society 2014 Earth Day Clean-up and Celebration
“forWARD 8: Investing in Our Future” Launched
Mayor Gray has announced the launch of “forWARD 8: Investing in Our Future,” awarding $2.5 million to support a package of District-led careertraining and business-development projects for Ward 8 residents. The projects focus on preparing and connecting Ward 8 residents to jobs, while building skills and laying the groundwork for new business development within the community. The Center for Construction Careers project is to focus on training unemployed Ward 8 residents who are interested in the construction industry. The goal of the $350,000 project is to train and place between 30 and 40 people in the infrastructure construction for the St. Elizabeth’s East Campus project
that is set to begin this year. The initiative also is to include a culinary and entrepreneurship training program with Department of Employment Services (DOES) training in the classroom and kitchen on advanced culinary methods. This $250,000 project is to train 10 to 15 residents who will be matched with local dining and catering businesses in the city, according to city officials. An entrepreneurship program is to provide training for men and women interested in starting businesses. About $110,000 would be earmarked for the program to train between 20 and 30 Ward 8 residents, the city said. Another $1.75 million is to go toward what Gray officials call a Demonstration Center project to provide more entrepreneurship and workforce
28 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
development, city officials said. The project would connect residents and local businesses to technology and educational programs and would offer computer training to seniors, small business owners and others. Under the initiative, a Ward 8 Business Directory is to be developed to highlight small businesses in the ward. That is expected to cost about $44,000, Gray officials said.
Trinity at THEARC General Studies Information Sessions
Come to an information session on Mar. 27, Apr. 8 or Apr. 23, 6-7:30 p.m. at THEARC to learn more about Trinity’s Associate of Arts Degree in General Studies. Trinity at THEARC is currently accepting applications for their upcoming summer and fall semesters. There is a new
On Saturday, Apr. 5, 9 a.m.-noon, join 2000 volunteers as they remove thousands of pounds of trash from neighborhoods, streams, and the Anacostia River. Clean-up is at approximately 20 sites around the Anacostia Watershed in Washington DC, and Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties in Maryland. Registration is required at anacostiaws.org/earthday2014. The celebration following the clean-up is from noon-2 p.m. at RFK Stadium. It will include free food and drink prepared by Seafarers Yacht Club. There will also be live music, local exhibitors, and notable speakers. All volunteers are welcome. Registration is not required for the celebration. The mission of the Anacostia Watershed Society is to protect and restore the Anacostia River and its watershed communities by cleaning the water, recovering the shores, and honoring the heritage. The vision is to make the Anacostia River and its tributaries swimmable and fishable for the health and enjoyment of everyone in the community. Anacostia Watershed Society’s programs include environmental education, stewardship, recreation, and engaging the community through public affairs. anacostiaws.org concentration in early childhood education. Classes offered evenings and weekends. For more information, call the office of admissions at 202-884-9400.
Kresge Foundation Loan Fund for Artists and Artists Studios
DC-ARCH Development Corporation (ADC) announces two new programs that will continue its work to create a home for small businesses, artists, arts and cultural organizations to fulfill its commitment to the revitalization and sustainable economic development of Historic Anacostia. The Kresge Foundation Loan Fund for Artists, Art Organizations, and Hive Creative Industry Businesses will offer a total of seven different types of loans all designed to jumpstart artistic and entrepreneurial
endeavors in Wards 7 and 8, and specifically Historic Anacostia. Another project ADC is starting this spring is offering renovated artist studios for rent at 2208 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. This will bring five affordable commercial rental spaces, outfitted for any type of visual artist, to the core of Historic Anacostia. ADC is holding a meeting on both these projects on Mar. 12 at 6:30 p.m. at Honfleur Gallery, 1241 Good Hope Rd. SE. Please RSVP at email@example.com.
Ward 8’s Conway Health and Resource Center Grand Opening
Community of Hope’s grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Conway Health and Resource Center, 4 Atlantic St. SW, is on Mar. 17, 10 a.m. The Conway Center offers a wide range of services for the entire family. Their mission is to improve the health and quality of life for low-income, homeless, and underserved families and individuals in the District of Columbia by providing healthcare, housing with supportive services, educational opportunities, and spiritual support. communityofhopedc.org
Fort Dupont Ice Arena Closes for Season
Fort Dupont Ice Arena closes for the season on Mar. 16 and reopens June 30. For more information, call 202-584-5007. Fort Dupont Ice Arena, 3779 Ely Pl. NE. fdia.org
Volunteer Event at Kenilworth Park
On Saturday, Mar. 22, 9 a.m.noon, volunteers are needed to assist National Park Service staff with park improvement projects. The service project will start at 9 a.m. with on-site registration opening 30 minutes prior to the start of the event. Please arrive no later than 8:45 a.m. so they can start promptly. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is at 1550 Anacostia Ave. NE. The park has ample free, off-street parking and is metro accessible (Deanwood). RSVP recommended.
Contact Tina O’Connell at tina@ friendsofkenilworthgardens.org.
Barry Farm Recreation Center Closed
Barry Farm Recreation Center at 1230 Sumner Rd. SE will be closed through Dec. 2014. The current recreation center will be demolished to make way for a new facility. While it is under construction, programming will relocate to the Birney School, 2501 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., SE; entrance is on the parking lot side. The new center will be a 30,000 gross-square foot, LEED-certified facility that will include a gymnasium with spectator seating, multipurpose room, kitchen, fitness room, teens’ room, game area, computer lab, a seniors’ room and lounge. The outdoor spaces will include a new synthetic athletic field for football, baseball and soccer with spectator seating and press box; two new basketball courts; new play space; parking garage and courtyard. The outdoor pool is being converted to an indoor pool facility with lap lanes and a leisure pool with a slide and dump bucket features. The new Play DC playground will feature a launch pad, rocket and planet theme. The playground and pool are slated for completion this summer. Residents are asked to remain off the grounds while construction takes place.
DDOT Enhancing Nearly 200 Traffic Signals
The District Department of Transportation has begun implementing a traffic signal optimization project. The project will enhance traffic signals in Wards 6, 7 and 8, improving the traffic signal timing patterns at nearly 200 intersections. This project will affect the following areas: South and east of the Anacostia River, including roadways such as Pennsylvania Ave., E. Capitol St., Minnesota Ave., Alabama Ave., Benning Rd., Suitland Pkwy., and others roads within this area, and areas around the Nationals Park. DDOT will be monitoring these improvements and making EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 29
BULLETIN BOARD positions DPR has to offer; speak with representative from various divisions. There will also be opportunities to fill out an application at the fair. All applicants are asked to dress in professional, interview attire and bring both an electronic and paper copy of their resume. To find out more information about DPR’s Summer Employment opportunities, position descriptions, program descriptions and for future hiring fair dates, visit summer. dpr.dc.gov.
NURISH Food & Drink Opens Café in Historic Downtown Anacostia
Kera Carpenter, owner of well-loved Domku Bar & Café in Petworth, has opened NURISH Food & Drink, a French-themed café, in historic Anacostia. NURISH is located inside the Anacostia Arts Center at 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE, upstairs from the co-working and business incubator space The Hive 2.0. NURISH Food & Drink will offer a “French Express” menu with terrines, whole grain salads, fresh baked goods and baguette sandwiches. In the evenings, NURISH adds cheese and charcuterie to the menu to accompany a list of affordable wines and beers. Dedicated to the local community, the café will contribute 15% of its profits to its sister nonprofit, NURISH: The Center for a Creative Culinary Economy, which will operate a culinary entrepreneurship training program called NURISH: Youth, a two-week summer camp for young adults with a passion for the food business. Hours are Tuesday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m.; Friday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-9 p.m.; and Sunday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m. 202-903-7134. nurishfoodanddrink.com
adjustments to traffic signal timing throughout March. Motorists should use caution in these areas as drivers become acclimated to the new signal timing patterns.
Artist Studio Tour: Washington, DC and Maryland
On Saturday, Mar. 22, 10:30 a.m.-3 p.m., visit the studios of Akili Ron Anderson, who created the Columbia Heights stained glass subway enclosure at the subway entrances on both sides of 14th St. NW. Then visit the studios of Diane Tuckman, a Maryland silk painter, and Gallery Myrtis in Baltimore. Bus leaves promptly from the Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. There is a $10 transportation fee. Call 30 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
MPD’s 6th District Headquarters Construction Project Begins
Nam Kim, L.A. Daniels and Kera Carpenter of NURISH. Photo: Kathleen Donner
202-633-4844 for information or to attend. There will be other Artist Studio Tours on Apr. 19 and May 17. anacostia.si.edu
New Faith Based Enrollment Centers Help Enroll Residents in Health Plans
The Mar. 31 deadline for enrolling in health insurance is approaching fast. Faith based organizations and institutions are answering the call by providing locations for residents and small business to get information about health insurance plans and offer assistance with the enrollment process. Consumers are encouraged to visit newly opened enrollment centers to beat the last minute rush and avoid the tax penalty. DC Health Link assisters and licensed health insurance brokers will be at each of the faith based enrollment locations to provide information, answer questions and encourage residents to avoid the rush and the penalty this year, by signing up before the Mar. 31, 2014 deadline. Education and enrollment activities
will continue to occur throughout the city until the end of the open enrollment period. In Ward 7, Good Success Christian Church and Ministries, 4401 Sheriff Rd. NE, is open Mondays, 9 a.m.-noon; Wednesdays, 5:307:30 p.m.; Fridays, 9 a.m.-noon; and Sundays, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. In Ward 7, Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd St. NE, is open Sundays, 11 a.m. (enrollment following service). In Ward 8, Union Temple Baptist Church Enrollment Center, 1225 W St., SE, is open Thursdays, 6-8:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; and Sundays, 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. (enrollment following service). In Ward 8, Allen Chapel AME Church, 2498 Alabama Ave. SE, is open Mondays, 3- 7 p.m.; Wednesdays, 3-6 p.m.; and Sundays, 8 a.m.
DPR Summer Job Hiring Fairs
Summer hiring applications will be accepted throughout the summer. Two DPR hiring fairs will take place on Saturday, Mar. 15 and Saturday, Apr. 19. The time and locations for the fairs will be available on summer.dpr.dc.gov shortly. Prospective applicants will be able to learn about the many
On Feb. 7, Mayor Gray joined public-safety officials to celebrate the start of construction that will transform Ward 7’s vacant Merritt Middle School into the new headquarters for the Metropolitan Police Department’s Sixth District Headquarters and Youth Investigations Division. The outdated, 38-year-old building will be converted into an 80,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility to include an office building, with support spaces, a gymnasium and community room, on-site parking, and environmentally sustainable landscaping. The first phase of the project will focus on transforming the base building into the Youth Investigations Division offices and is set to be completed by the end of 2014. The second phase of the project will build out the Sixth District headquarters and should be completed by summer, 2015.
Team Leader Training at Kenilworth Park
Team Leader Training is on Mar. 29 (rain or shine), 9 a.m.-noon. Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens is at 1550 Anacostia Ave. NE. The park has ample free, off-street parking and is metro accessible (Deanwood). They will have granola bars or other light snacks for volunteers. Please bring a water bottle! Wear clothing long sleeve shirts, long pants, and no open toe shoes. You may also want to bring an extra set of clothes, just in case. Gloves and all equipment will be provided. Volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. Volunteers with special needs should email the volunteer co-
ordinator in advance of the event. For more information, contact Tina O’Connell at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Paul Robeson Universal Unionist Awards
First Annual Commemoration Celebration. Past & Current LOCAL UNION PRESIDENT’S Amalgamated Transit Local Union 689 will be honored at this elegant dinner including speakers, dancing and live entertainment. Saturday, April 12, 2014, 6 p.m. at the Local 689 Union Hall, 2701 Whitney Pl., Forestville, MD. Call 301-5686899 for more information.
Zinio for Libraries: Free Magazines Online
Zinio Read digital issues of your favorite magazines with Zinio, the ultimate one-stop shop for magazine lovers, completely free with your DC Public Library card. Access 175 titles and counting of your favorite print magazines, available online to view in your browser or to download to your device. And with Zinio apps for Apple, Android, Kindle Fire, Blackberry, Nook and Windows products, you can take your digital issue on the run! All you need to begin is your library card number, simply register for a Zinio account, and browse DC Public Library’s Zinio collection to get started. Visit DC Public Library’s homepage or read their Librarian-created LibGuide on getting started with Zinio. If you want in-person instruction, stop by the Francis A. Gregory Library on Mar. 23 at 2 p.m. Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-698-6373. dclibrary.org/francis
“Suffer the Little Children” Remembering Birmingham Art Quilt Exhibit
Through Mar. 14, fourteen powerful and soul-stirring quilts are exhibited in the Lecture Hall of Matthews Memorial Baptist Church, 2616 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE. This exhibit is in memory of Denise McNair, Carole Robertson,
Addie Mae Collins, and Cynthia Wesley killed during the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama, at 10:22 a.m., on Sunday, Sept. 15, 1963. It was youth day at the church and the four girls were freshening up in the women’s room before going upstairs to the sanctuary. Their death was a seminal moment in the Civil Rights Movement that touched this nation and the world. This exhibit is presented by the Anacostia Art Quilters, an auxiliary of the Daughters of Dorcas and Sons. For more information, call Barbara Alford at 301-806-4015. For directions to the church, call 202-889-3709.
It’s All “About Boating Safely” Class
Starting on Mar. 31, the Washington, DC flotilla of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary will be offering “About Boating Safely”, an eighthour overview of the world of boating. Are you a new boat owner or new to boating? Looking forward to spending warm weekends on the water? Or are you a boater in need of a safety refresher? Whatever the reason, “About Boating Safely” goes through all the basics of boating, from proper equipment to navigation rules. Taught by knowledgeable members of the Coast Guard Auxiliary and accessible by Metro, this course will fulfill local requirements for taking a boating safety course, is open to students of all experience levels, and boat ownership is not required. For more information, and to register, go to washingtonflotilla.org.
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Winners of Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge Grants Announced
Mayor Gray has announced the winners of the second annual Sustainable DC Innovation Challenge, a grant competition among District agencies to test forward-thinking sustainability initiatives. Four District agencies and other partnering agencies have accepted funding for seven innovative projects. The University of the District of Columbia was awarded $519,500 to establish and operate EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 31
at least three aquaponic demonstration projects in Wards 3, 5, and 7 to breed fish and serve as a base for job-skills and entrepreneurship training for low-skilled and semiskilled District residents. When combined with a small greenhouse, each facility is expected to generate 500 pounds of fish and 5,000 pounds of produce annually. UDC was also awarded $280,000 to establish a business-incubator kitchen in Ward 8 for food and nutrition education and job-skills and entrepreneurship training. The District Department of Transportation received $400,000 to install rain gardens and other low-impact development features to reduce stormwater pollution from streets surrounding Oxon Run Park in Ward 8. This stormwater runoff currently flows untreated into Oxon Run. These permanent facilities complement DDOT’s ongoing work to improve recreational trails along Oxon Run. The Department of Parks and Recreation was awarded $200,000 to rebuild two long-neglected DPR greenhouses in Wards 4 and 7 so that the community can have access to healthy food. The facilities will include publicly available greenhouse space and seedling production, cooperative management programming with non-profit organizations, and training opportunities (particularly for youth).
United for a Healthy Anacostia River Coalition Formed
Seven leading environmental and business groups have formed United for a Healthy Anacostia River, a new coalition that will work to educate key audiences about the toxics in the bottom sediments of the Anacostia River. United for a Healthy Anacostia River is reviewing the Anacostia River Sediment Project Remedial Investigation Work Plan released by the District Department of the Environment (DDOE) on Jan. 30. The workplan lays out a framework to guide future clean-up of toxins from the bottom sediments of the Anacostia River. A central component of the coalition’s work will be a robust digital and social media campaign to edu32 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
cate key audiences about the state of the river and encourage them to be advocates for cleaning it up. A centerpiece of that effort is an online petition addressed to Mayor Gray and members of the DC Council, asking them to, “make a commitment to fully cleaning up the toxic chemicals found in and around the Anacostia … [and] pledge to have the toxic cleanup underway by Jan. 2017--three years from now.” The petition is located at change.org/ petitions/the-mayor-of-dc-anddc-councilmembers-please-makecleaning-up-the-toxins-in-the-anacostia-river-a-top-priority.
Spring Shepherd Parkway Community Clean-Ups
Join your neighbors from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturdays, Mar. 22; Apr. 26, and May 17. Meet at picnic tables near the corner of Martin Luther King and Malcolm X Aves. SE. Gloves, bags, and light refreshments will be provided. Wear boots and clothes you can get dirty. Since 2011, they’ve removed tens of thousands of pounds of trash and invasive species. The 205 acres of Shepherd Parkway are the cleanest they’ve been in decades, but there is much work still to be done. For more information, contact Nathan Harrington at email@example.com or 301-758-5892.
Annual Potholepalooza Campaign Begins
This year’s Potholepalooza will start in mid-to-late March, when DDOT will add extra crews to fill potholes and aims to repair identified locations within 48 hours (the normal response time is within 72 hours). To report potholes, call 311; use the online request service at 311.dc.gov; or the new DC311 smartphone application. Those who report potholes should identify the precise location, including the correct quadrant (NW, NE, SW or SE), and provide as much detail as possible about the hazard (including the approximate size and depth of the pothole). DDOT crews will also be out and about proactively identifying potholes. u
Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Could Block ANC 7B Residents by Charnice A. Milton
n March 15 the city will host the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon and Half Marathon. It is the only race that takes place entirely in the city, with runners passing through all but one ward. Traffic issues are to be expected, but some areas located east of the Anacostia River will be completely blocked as a result. While some advisory neighborhood commissioners express concerns and frustration with the process, they hope to work with the marathon’s organizers to find a solution.
Traffic Issues in 7B
“I have no problems with the race itself ” said Patricia Howard-Chittams, commissioner for advisory neighborhood commission (ANC) singlemember district (SMD) 7B01. “I have issues with it being disproportionate to my constituents.” On race day a large portion of Minnesota Avenue, a major street in the SMD, will be closed for up to five hours. Runners will cross Pennsylvania Avenue to Minnesota, then run uphill toward East Capital Street. As a result many residents in 7B01 and nearby 7B03 would be blocked from the rest of the city, with no transportation going in or out. According to a road closure notice, only pedestrian traffic would be allowed on Minnesota between L’Enfant Square and East Capital Street. However, Commissioner Howard-Chittams said that interactions between community members and the Metropolitan Police Department (MPD) have not been pleasant on past race days. “Last year a church had a funeral scheduled on the same day,” she said. “My husband had to beg MPD to work with the church.”
Commissioner Howard-Chittams, along with fellow Commissioner Gary Butler (7B03), met with marathon organizers as well as representatives from the MPD and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) on Feb. 19. “I made all parties aware” that Diane Thomas of the Greater Washington Sports Alliance, the race’s organizer, “promised to bring the interested parties to the table for a discussion about the location of the race route early in the planning last year,” she wrote in an email to her constituents. “Unfortunately, that meeting did not occur. Instead, we were meeting in
February, with the race less than one month away.” During the meeting the parties discussed alternatives, including changing the course. Fairlawn Avenue and the Anacostia River Trails were suggested as potential course spots, but the organizers did not approve. Another suggestion was renting a shuttle bus to transport residents from Randle Circle to the Anacostia Metro station. “Rightly, neither the community nor Metro should bear the cost,” said Commissioner HowardChittams. However, marathon organizers would not commit to pay for a shuttle bus at the time.
ANC Success Stories
Previous marathons have caused traffic and transportation issues for all residents, not just those living east of the river. “In the past, the route was either difficult to get out of or hard to cross,” said ANC 6A04 Commissioner Nick Alberti. While his commission requested organizers to change the route, he said that it took much discussion before they reached an agreement. “At one point we threatened not to support the event until they made changes,” he said. While the commission suggested reversing a section of the course, marathon organizers worked with MPD to assist residents who wanted to leave their homes during the race. “I understand the difficulty in planning this event,” Commissioner Alberti explained, “but it doesn’t give them to right to alienate the residents.” “We had a feeling that the race would close off about 6,000 people,” said ANC 6D04 Commissioner Andy Litsky. “We have two rivers and Fort McNair for boundaries, so we already have a limited amount of space.” ANC 6D contacted the media, specifically News Channel 8 and NBC 4. “We showed how we would be impacted and the protests,” Commissioner Litsky explained. “We needed the city to know our displeasure.” This led to a meeting with marathon organizers and city officials to find better solutions. The commis-
Map of the complete course for the 2014 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon. The route section in question encompasses miles 24 and 25. Photo: Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon website
sion successfully requested advanced notifications on course changes, better signage visibility, and a course that allows for two access streets.
Commissioners Litsky and Alberti gave advice to others in a similar situation. “It’s a matter of working with them and them working with you,” said Litsky. Alberti agreed, saying, “Everyone wants to do the right thing. You have to work constructively with them. This is especially true when asking organizers to change the course.” They also advised getting assistance from the DC government. Alberti suggested working with their councilmember (in ANC 7B’s case, Yvette Alexander) while making course suggestions. Litsky advised consulting the mayor’s Special Event Task Force Group, whose member agencies include MPD, the Executive Office of the Mayor, and the DC Department of Transportation. “ANCs are supposed to make suggestions,” said Litsky, “but the Task Force ultimately makes the final decision.” u EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 33
A Budget Wish List
DC Financial Policy Institute’s Suggestions on Closing the Income Gap
ncome inequality is a concern all across the country, and especially here in the nation’s capital. The gap between rich and poor in the District is one of the highest among the largest cities in the United States. While many residents are doing very well in DC’s higher-education driven economy, those without these credentials are falling further behind, and their kids will likely, too. That’s not a healthy scenario for our city. All the resources being put into education reform, for example, will have limited impact if thousands of youngsters are not ready to learn because they don’t have a safe and stable place to live. Mayor Gray and the DC Council have an opportunity with next year’s budget to start narrowing the income gap and increasing opportunity for DC residents through investments in affordable housing, education, health care, job assistance, and targeted tax reductions. The mayor will present his budget proposal by April 3. The Council then will have eight weeks to analyze the package and make changes-though the budget must remain balanced. The following key investments in next year’s budget can help make the District a city where all can prosper and thrive.
A Safe and Secure Place for Every DC Resident to Live
The surge of families in DC emergency shelter this winter has 34 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
by Jenny Reed put the District’s severe lack of affordable housing into sharp focus. The District needs to maximize its tools to both maintain and create housing for various income levels, including those who make DC’s minimum wage. This should include funding for programs that help people rent as well as own a home. The most versatile tool in the affordable housing toolbox is the Housing Production Trust Fund. The current dedicated funding stream is not sufficient to keep on track with DC’s stated goal of creating 10,000 new affordable housing units by 2020. DCFPI recommends that Mayor Gray include $50 million addition dollars for the trust fund to next year’s budget. This would bring the fund to nearly $100 million and be enough to build or renovate over 1,300 homes. Part of the trust fund should be set aside to directly combat chronic homelessness. Providing housing and supportive services to these residents, who typically suffer from severe health conditions and/or severe mental illness, is a proven model both to save lives and the city money. The DC Interagency Council on Homelessness has determined this can be accomplished through a $38 million setaside from the Housing Production Trust Fund and an addition $13 million to the homeless services budget. Mayor Gray and the Council would be wise to make this allocation. Programs to help working families with the gap between what’s reason-
able to spend on rent and the market rates should also be bolstered. DC’s Local Rent Supplement Program makes housing affordable to residents with very low-incomes in two ways, both by giving vouchers directly to residents as well as providing funds to keep units in buildings affordable. A $10 million investment split between both approaches could create 830 affordable housing opportunities. We also need to help those who are currently in our city’s emergency shelter system. Rapid re-housing moves people out of shelter quickly and into housing with short-term rental assistance and supportive services, but currently only serves families and veterans. An investment of $5.8 million for rapid re-housing could help end homelessness for at least 270 homeless individuals.
And we also need to make sure that individuals and families can buy a home too. DC’s First Right Purchase program has preserved nearly 1,400 affordable homes for low- and moderate-income residents since 2002. It is DC’s key anti-displacement tool. Yet funds haven’t been sufficient to meet the need of tenants seeking assistance to purchase their building when it’s put up for sale. A $20 million allocation could support nearly 300 units for first right purchase in FY 2015.
Preparing DC Residents for the Future
Education remains a top concern, and next year’s budget should make key investments not only in our kids, but in parents as well. For
youngsters in DC’s publicallyfunded traditional and charter schools, DCFPI strongly supports changing the school funding formula to direct more resources to high-poverty schools. The idea of a new weight in the formula for “at risk” students was blessed by the DC Council in legislation adopted last fall. That law authorized additional monies for the 30,000 students who are homeless, in foster care, or eligible for food stamps or welfare benefits. It also requires that 90 percent of these funds go directly to schools, with autonomy for principals on how best to use those funds. A recently released study commissioned by the Deputy Mayor for Education largely agreed. This would require $33 million in new funds. Helping moms and dads prepare for work is also important. This year, the Gray administration made $5.5 million available to fund assessment, occupational literacy, postsecondary education and digital literacy for residents seeking employment help from both the city’s employment services agency and Temporary Assistance for Needy Families. An additional $1 million went to accelerated learning programs to help adults transition from adult education to postsecondary training and education. These funds should be built into the budget for the Office of the State Superintendent for Education next year and beyond. DC’s Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program is another important tool to help families reach stability by providing job training and cash assistance to families with children. Yet, there is only capacity to offer job training to about half of the parents on TANF who need it. Increasing the number of job training slots will allow parents to begin making progress immediately, rather than languishing on a wait list for months. With time limits on these benefits, quick access to training is critical. A $30 million investment would help double the number of
job training slots available Further, the low level of DC’s TANF benefits leaves many families in a state of constant crisis. TANF parents report that both their TANF and SNAP benefits (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, commonly known as food stamps) run out before the end of the month. This is not surprising as DC’s TANF and SNAP benefits bring families to just under 60 percent of the federal poverty line. A $10 million investment would raise these benefits by 15 percent and add a cost-of-living adjustment to ensure benefits don’t continue to erode over time.
Making DC’s Tax System More Progressive
DC can play a role in making sure that when families work, they are rewarded. DC’s tax system is currently structured so those who make the most money keep the most money because they pay the lowest percentage of their income in combined DC taxes. Meanwhile, DC’s low and middle income residents pay a much higher share of their income in taxes. DC’s Tax Revision Commission made several recommendations to improve the income tax system: increasing DC’s personal exemption and standard deduction, reducing tax rates on middle income households, and increasing Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefits for childless workers. Together, this package would provide tax relief to DC’s low and middle-income residents. The DC budget is a statement of our priorities as a city. DCFPI looks forward to working with Mayor Gray and the DC Council on these, and other critical priorities, to make sure that we allocate resources to create a healthy, prosperous city for all. DCFPI seeks to inform public debates on budget and tax issues and to ensure that the needs of lowincome residents are considered. www.dcfpi.org u
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Cutting The Red Tape to Work from Home
aving your own home-based business may seem ideal – a chance to do what you enjoy, be your own boss and simply have more control over your time. Yet in DC, the steps to be able to actually work out of your home are not the easiest to climb, let alone understand. And specifically for the many renters in the District, the time and energy needed to understand the process is often too great a startup cost. On the website for the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA), there is a page about business licensing with some basic FAQs. One question familiar to this writer asks, “I’m employed but I do some freelance work on the side; do I need a Basic Business License? If you are conducting business in the District, are registered with the Office of Tax and Revenue to do business in the District, and are not otherwise licensed, you are required to have a Basic Business License.” This rather ambiguous answer is all too familiar for Rossana Espinoza. As the DC Small Business Coach/Trainer at the Latino Economic Development Center, a regional small business and economic development nonprofit, Espinoza assists entrepreneurs as they are starting their businesses. Sorting through information on the DCRA website and the subsequent phone calls to DCRA that sometimes results in conflicting information from staff, many aspiring entrepreneurs turn to her to guide them through the process. Yet, it’s only through trial and error that she herself has grown into an expert. The Small Business Resource Center, established in 2011 by the city, has been a good
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by Miriam Savad
step forward in providing clearer answers and information to potential entrepreneurs, a crucial ally for Espinoza and her clients. As DCRA spokesperson Matt Orlins states, “The process for starting a home-based business as a renter should be a straightforward one. DCRA offers support to entrepreneurs through its Small Business Resource Center. Those interested in starting a business can set up a one-on-one appointment with the Resource Center, which will guide them through all the steps necessary to set up their new business. Business operators are also invited to call or email with individual questions. The Resource Center…has been helping small businesses successfully navigate the District’s processes for nearly three years.” Yet many residents remain unaware of this resource. When one DC resident, who wishes to remain anonymous, made the decision to leave a larger, shared business to work for himself, he did extensive research into taxes, permits and licenses. But all his time and research led him running in the opposite direction. He stated, “As far as I can tell, the process involves acquiring a certificate of occupancy. Getting that could require approval from one’s landlord, from neighbors, and from the zoning board… Requiring a certificate of occupancy for all businesses regardless of their type seems unnecessarily onerous, especially for very small businesses whose office might consist of one smart phone. That
requirement alone stops me from even considering getting an official business license from the District.” After extensive digging and back-and-forth with DCRA, the process is surprisingly more straightforward than the above-mentioned DC resident believed. In actuality, a Certificate of Occupancy is a permit that a property owner, not renter, must obtain, which indicates that the use of the building conforms to zoning regulations and building code. DCRA states that the process has simplified and the forms have been changed in the past several years. A renter needs to only obtain one permit, which does not require a landlord’s permission. Orlins states,
“Conducting business out of a home triggers a requirement to obtain a Home Occupation Permit (HOP) under the District’s zoning regulations. Home Occupation means an accessory or incidental use of a house or apartment by a homeowner or tenant who also lives in the residence. For example, consulting, web design, and other largely office-based functions would qualify.” In Espinoza’s experience, she finds that most potential entrepreneurs stop the process after incorporating. The initial step of incorporating is relatively straightforward, but once they discover the length and complexity of the rest of the process, and that obtaining the business license is the most difficult component, their plans unravel. She explains that a caterer, for example, could be home-based, but would require a commercial kitchen, inspections, a clean hands form, etc. – costly obstacles that discourage potential caterers to proceed. In fact, despite the fines, some food vendors have chosen to continue operating illegally by selling food on the street rather than obtain the appropriate permits and licenses. After some time doing freelance work in digital media, a DC couple, who also wish to remain anonymous, decided to pursue a more consistent revenue stream and form a business. After obtaining an Employer Identification Number (EIN), attending workshops from several local technical assistance providers and meeting with a pro bono attorney, it was still a long and slow process to become an LLC. As renters in a group house, they also believed that obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy was necessary but nearly impossible, requiring a letter of permission from the landlord. With the encouragement of their attorney, and no foreseeable repercussions, they also opted out of obtaining a business license. Small changes could, at a minimum, help to reduce the confusion around the process and make
the steps clearer for potential entrepreneurs. As Tim Flanagan, Executive Director of the Washington Area Community Investment Fund, points out, some progress has been made. “You have to hand it to [DCRA] Director Majett – he and his management team are trying to make things easier for small businesses. The regulations didn’t get this complicated overnight, and they won’t be completely simplified overnight. The DCRA management team has to keep making progress – you can only eat a dinosaur one bite at a time.” So DCRA, here are my three simple suggestions to make the process more transparent: 1. Remove any outdated forms that are searchable through Google or on the DCRA website, 2. Establish a more detailed, online checklist that spells out the steps, fees and forms needed for home-based businesses, and 3. Broaden the outreach of the Small Business Resource Center, include hours on its website and offer the website in multiple languages. For readers interested in learning more about the DC Small Business Resource Center visit http://dcbiz.ecenterdirect.com/, and to provide feedback to DCRA visit grade.dc.gov.
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Miriam Savad is an activist for community economic empowerment living in Washington, DC. Strictly Business is a column for small businesses in Washington, DC, examining individual cases and exploring how the city could be more small business friendly. u
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EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 37
FEMS Needs a Change
n Feb. 25 Councilmember Tommy Wells (Ward 6) sent a letter to Mayor Vincent Gray calling for the resignation of Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander and Fire and Emergency Medical Services (FEMS) Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. Only the day before that Councilmember Wells, chair of the Committee on Judiciary and Public Safety, had engaged both at an oversight hearing regarding the case of Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr. “This request is not
by Charnice A. Milton
based on a single incident,” he wrote. “There is systemic mismanagement throughout the Department ... this Department has enormous and urgent challenges to overcome.”
Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr.
FEMS has been under scrutiny for inadequate responses to emergencies for years; however, the death of 77-year-old Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr. from a heart attack became what Councilmember Wells called “the tip
of the iceberg.” On Jan. 25 Mills and his daughter Marie were at Brentwood Shopping Center when he collapsed in the parking lot. While a shopkeeper called 911, bystanders ran across the street to Fire Engine House 26 for help. According to Quander’s Feb. 20 report on the case, a probationary firefighter, Remy Jones, “placed a call on the Public Announcement (PA) system asking for [Lieutenant Kellene Davis] to report to the watch desk.” Lt. Davis, who was in her bunk room, failed to
respond, even after the Jones made a second announcement. Three other firefighters also heard the announcement, but one of them told Jones that they needed to inform Lt. Davis as they were not dispatched to the call. After talking to Lt. Davis the firefighter went to his car, gathered his study books and other items, and went to his bunkroom after being told to ask for the address. Meanwhile the Office of Unified Communications (OUC) received the 911 call and the Computer Aid Dispatch (CAD) recorded it. However, the call-taker assigned it to the wrong quadrant. After repeated corrections the call-taker entered the location as Northeast after erroneously entering Northwest. However, the lead dispatcher and radio operators failed to see the correction and sent emergency services to the wrong address. It was only after a police officer flagged down another ambulance that Mills finally received medical attention. The ambulance sent to the wrong address arrived at the scene later. While Lt. Davis claimed she investigated the scene, Quander reported that none of the five firefighters provided medical care. Mills died later at Washington Hospital Center.
History of Problems
Deputy Mayor for Public Safety and Justice Paul Quander testifies during Feb. 24 oversight hearing on the case of Medric “Cecil” Mills Jr. Photo: Charnice A. Milton
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FEMS and OUC were at fault in the Mills case, but FEMS received most of the attention due to the department’s history of mistakes and failures. The oversight hearing featured another case of FEMS neglect: Jose Santos Ruiz Perez, who died Jan. 10. His employer testified that Perez called FEMS, then waited outside his
building. Two police officers intercepted the ambulance and told them not to treat him. While the ambulance left, the officers escorted Perez back to his apartment, where he was found dead six hours later. However, Quander testified that Perez (mistakenly named “Juan” in the written testimony) was seen falling down, seemingly drunk, and a passerby called FEMS. A Spanish-speaking officer asked Perez if he needed to go to the hospital, but he refused and asked to go home. The two EMTs who assessed him found no signs of trauma, heaving breathing, or complaints of pain. Since Perez declined to go to the hospital, they left. However, the EMTs did not follow protocol by contacting the emergency liaison officer to discuss the case and properly document their actions. Issues like uncertified fire trucks, a questionable training program, and a lack of equipment and manpower are well-documented, but it is FEMS’ professional climate that offers more insight. “While there are many problems that the public is just now becoming aware of, there are even more that have been covered up for years,” said Gene Ryan, a firefighter/paramedic and former oversight officer. It was his job to assess FEMS’ operations and abilities. According to his findings, FEMS deceived the National Registry of EMTs regarding employee suitability for service and certification; mismanaged a controlled narcotics program; and engaged in forgeries. Since being dismissed from the oversight-officer position, Ryan said, he was subject to harassment including violent threats and countless investigations. “The department is trying to punish, discredit, and silence me,” he said. “They’re also sending a strong message to my fellow employees that they need to keep their mouth shut.”
Councilmember Muriel Bowser (Ward 4), who arrived midway through the hearing, addressed issues with morale in FEMS. “To all the firefighters that I see around the city, I ask them the same questions: ‘How’s the morale in the department?’ ‘What’s going on in the department?’ I got to tell you, I hear a variety of views. I hear views that say, ‘Chief Ellerbe is doing everything exactly right.’ I hear views of people saying, ‘We think that we need some changes, but we don’t like the shift change.’ I hear views that there’s longlasting strife and nepotism in the Fire Department that makes things unfair.” Councilmember Bowser declared that with so many viewpoints and arguments, “somebody gets hurt. It could be a firefighter; it could be
an EMS. This time it was Mr. Mills.” Former reporter Elissa Silverman agreed that there could be a morale issue in FEMS stemming from the fact that the department does not have a unified purpose. “When the Fire Department and Emergency Medical Services merged, the mission changed,” she explained. While the department provides fire safety and emergency medical services (EMS), 82 percent of calls are for EMS. However, since ambulances have to serve multiple destinations, fire trucks have the quicker response time. As a result, at least one EMT must be with each truck. “I think the question is, ‘Do firefighters see themselves as doing both?’” Silverman said. She believes that while there might be a way for the department to serve both purposes, separating Fire and EMS could be an option.
In his testimony Quander outlined how FEMS planned to address problems stemming from the Mills case. First, he announced that five firefighters (including Lt. Davis, who is filing for retirement) are facing disciplinary action. Second, Chief Ellerbe sent a department-wide memo reminding employees of proper protocol. Third, Quander announced a series of policies and initiatives to better prepare employees, including enhanced training focusing on situational awareness. However, Councilmember Wells said there should be a more systemic response, including meetings within each firehouse. As for call responses, OUC Director Jennifer Green noted that FEMS service is based on the available unit closest to the scene, depending on the call and its need. However, MPD has a different dispatch plan, in which a unit can get redirected if a high-priority event occurs nearby. Quander said that he is looking into both dispatch plans to determine which is better suited for FEMS. While there are still other possible solutions, including changing the overall culture, this is just the beginning of a larger conversation. “To the public, to your neighbors: be vigilant and demand real change,” said Kenneth Lyons, president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3721, “or these hearings and these type of hearings will be held very soon.” The Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety will hold another oversight hearing about FEMS on Friday, March 7, at 10:00 a.m. The hearing will be in Room 500 at 1350 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington DC 20004. u EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 39
New Bill Aims to “Ban the Box” by Charnice A. Milton
n the past, job seekers would fill out applications asking questions about skills and employment history. Today one question applicants might not see is, “Have you ever been convicted of a crime?” This is due to the “Ban the Box” campaign, named for the application box noting criminal history. “For far too long, returning citizens have been discriminated against and unreasonably denied jobs for which they are otherwise qualified,” said Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells. He, along with fellow Councilmembers Marion Barry (Ward 8), Anita Bonds (At-Large), Jim Graham (Ward 1), Kenyan McDuffie (Ward 5 and chair pro tempore), Phil Mendelson (chair), and Vincent Orange (At-Large), cointroduced the “Fair Criminal Records Screening Amendment Act of 2014” in January. If passed it would be one of the strongest pieces of legislation of its kind.
Ban the Box in DC
Currently “ban the box” laws affect more than 50 cities and 10 states. In DC about 60,000 residents have criminal records; of the approximately 8,000 residents who return from prison, 50 would return within three years. One way returning citizens can avoid going back is by gaining employment; however, a 2003 study from the American Journal of Sociology shows that a criminal record decreases chances for a callback by 50 percent. The study also shows that AfricanAmericans with criminal records fare worse than their white counterparts. Advocates argue that by removing the box, returning citizens would be judged more on their qualifications than their criminal histories. DC’s first “ban the box” legisla40 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
tion, the “Returning Citizen Public Employment Inclusion Amendment Act of 2010,” became effective on March 31, 2011. The law sets guidelines for when and under what circumstances the DC government can consider an applicant’s criminal history. According to Councilmember Wells’ Jan. 7 press release, the Office of Human Resources found that “76 percent of applicants with criminal records were still suitable for government employment....”
The New Bill
If enacted the “Fair Criminal Records Screening Amendment Act of 2014” would prohibit private employers from asking about an applicant’s criminal history until they present a job offer. However, an employer could withdraw that offer if there was a legitimate business reason. The applicant would then have 30 days to request a Statement of Denial detailing the reasoning behind the withdrawal. If there is evidence of discrimination the applicant could file an administrative complaint with the Office of Human Rights. Before January 1, 2015, employers would be subjected to a fine of up to $500 for each violation. After that date employers would receive a written warning for the first violation, with a fine of up to $500 if not remedied after 30 days. The penalty for subsequent violations could cost between $1,000 to $5,000, depending on the company’s size. The victim could be awarded back pay, reinstatement, compensatory damages, and reasonable attorney’s fees.
Arguments against “Ban the Box”
“For a lot of African-American men, in particular in Wards 7 and 8,
their criminal record is a large barrier to employment,” said David Oberting, executive director of Economic Growth DC, a nonprofit organization dedicated to improving the city’s economy. “That is what, I think, the authors of ‘ban the box’ are trying to address, but the problem is that it’s not going to work. It’s going to have the exact opposite effect and it’s going to harm the people that they think they’re trying to help.” Oberting points to a 2006 study Ward 6 Councilmember Tommy Wells oversees Feb. 10 public showing that employ- hearing on the “Fair Criminal Record Screening Act of 2014.” The bill is the latest piece of legislation addressing unemployers who use background ment among returning citizens. Photo: Charnice A. Milton checks are more likely to hire African-American on employment. men; this effect is stronger among employers with an aversion to hiring ex-offenders. The Conversation Continues “Whether that’s all good or bad While Oberting was not at the is irrelevant, because what’s go- Feb. 10 public hearing on the “Fair ing to happen is that employers will Criminal Record Screening Act of perceive that it’s more risky to hire 2014,” many witnesses discussed anyone,” Oberting explained. “If you the bill. While some suggested perceive something to be more risky, adding a housing component and then you do less of it.” He suggests questioned its impact on small a less costly alternative: “Right now, businesses, they agreed that someyou cannot seal any felonies in the thing must be done. “If that box is District of Columbia, and I think we not banned from the employment should move aggressively toward a application, someone like mybroader expungement record-sealing self will continue to be prejudged process.” Record-sealing, he argues, and not given a fair chance to be removes certain convictions from an considered for employment,” said applicant’s record, giving them a bet- Courtney Stewart, chairman of the ter chance at employment. Economic Reentry Network for Returning Growth DC is working with the US Citizens and former felon. “All I’m Attorney General’s Office and the asking for is a chance to compete Center for Court Excellence to re- in the job market beyond screening search the effects of record-sealing of that box.” u
Shepherd Parkway Clean-up Enters Third Year
unning parallel to Interstate 295, Shepherd Parkway spans 205 acres of wooded area. It is home to a variety of wildlife including snakes, deer, groundhogs, wild turkeys, and two bald eagle nests. Volunteers met on Jan. 18 at the park area on the corner of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X avenues. From there it is a short drive to an area behind Brothers Place, where tires, bottles, and other types of trash are scattered around the trees. This area is part of Shepherd Parkway, one of 19 sites under National Capital Parks-East, a section of the National Parks Service (NPS). According to clean-up organizer Nathan Harrington, it is one of the most neglected parks in the city. Shepherd Park holds the remains of two Civil War defense sites: Fort Greble and Battery Carroll. Built to prevent attacks on the Navy Yard and Washington Arsenal, the sites saw little action but became training grounds for soldiers and refuges for runaway slaves. In 1927 the National Capital Parks and Planning Commission acquired the area in an attempt to connect all Civil War-era sites with the proposed “Fort Drive.” However, circumstances, including a lack of finances and interest from Congress, forced proponents to abandon the idea. Shepherd Parkway did not become a part of NPS until 1933.
The Problem and Solution
Before he moved to Congress Heights in 2009, Harrington considered himself an outdoors man. “We have a lot of green space here,” he said. “However, I was upset at how it was being mistreated.” Over the years, he explained, Shepherd Parkway became a dumping ground for residents and outsiders. The effects are not aesthetically pleasing, and the pollution eventually makes its way to the Anacostia and Potomac rivers through rain runoff. National Capital Parks-East has the responsibility to maintain the park, but it has limited resources for maintenance. Seeing that other parks located west of the Anacostia River had better resources than others, Harrington began cleaning the park himself. “There needs to be a lot of structural changes and education to help facilitate change,” Harrington said. “We can start by undoing the damage.” In 2011 Congress Heights Community Association (CHCA) president Philip Pannell asked Harrington to chair a committee responsible for maintaining Shepherd Parkway. Since then the
by Charnice A. Milton
group and other volunteers have met one Saturday a month to pick up trash and get rid of invasive species such as English Ivy.
Partners and Volunteers
In three years the committee has partnered with many organizations including the Anacostia Watershed volunteers welcome others to January’s clean-up event. Nathan Harrington (second from left) has led Society, Anacos- Two the effort since 2011. Photo: Charnice A. Milton tia Coordinator Council, and outward sign of what they feel: dejected and tossed Steinbruck Center for Urban Studies. Harrington aside,” he explained. “It only takes a small percentcredits National Capital Parks-East as their big- age to help change a mindset.” He admits that gest supporter, providing bags, gloves, and staff some residents perceive the clean-up as an act of members for each event. “Without their support, gentrification, due to the amount of outside help. this wouldn’t be possible,” he said. “We’re not doing this because more people are The Shepherd Parkway Clean-up has become moving in,” Gloster explained. “It’s about showing a well-known volunteer event, attracting groups pride in our neighborhood.” from as far as Canada. The Jan. 18 event was no exception. The official “Restore Shepherd Parkway” blog named more than 20 volunteers from a church Environmental Justice Harrington declared that they will do the youth group in Charlottesville, Va., 15 students from Sandy Spring Friends School, several Ameri- clean-ups “as long as it takes,” but his ultimate goal Corps members and alumni, and a member of the is environmental justice. “We have a lot of green Alice Ferguson Foundation, a Maryland-based space,” he reiterated, “but there is a discrepancy nonprofit organization. in how much money is spent.” He points out that parks in high-income areas have more resources to keep them maintained; other parks, like ShepBringing in More of the Community Many of the volunteers come from other parts herd Parkway, require the same amount of care and of the city, but few Congress Heights residents at- maintenance. “People don’t realize that it’s there,” tend. “Sometimes, we get one-timers,” said CHCA he said. “They just see it as a place to get rid of member John Gloster. “Other times, neighborhood stuff.” He believes the clean-ups help keep Shepkids come to help.” The event needs more communi- herd Parkway clean, and he acknowledges that ty volunteers, he said. “When some residents come there is still work to be done. to help, it’s usually in a passive role. All urban parks are important. This is an unrealized opportunity for For more information, including future dates, visit people to get in touch with nature.” shepherdparkway.blogspot.com or contact Nathan According to Gloster, Shepherd Parkway has Harrington at email@example.com or 301become a symbol for Congress Heights. “It’s an 758-5892. u EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 41
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE
Kera Carpenter by Twyla Alston
Artistic Renaissance: Vibrancy Renewed from the Past
Entering the lounge at the Anacostia Art Center, the first burst of light that grabs me is reflective. The light bounces into a space filled with patrons and visitors and back again to my own image, centered on a floorto-ceiling panorama of glass framed by a sign, “NÜRISH Food & Drink.” At this site – leased to the Woolworth Company from the 1930s to 1999 – an artistic renaissance is
evolving. It is one reminiscent of the U Street corridor in 1930s in an area called Black Broadway. Today, gazing through the window, I see dashikis lounging across from lace blouses, and pea coats across from business suits. They are the picture of poetry being scribed in open air before my eyes, an emerging sonnet.
Called to Cuisine: The Warmth of Good Flavor
From left: L.A.(cafe worker), Nam Kim (General Manager) and Kera Carpenter (Owner). Photo: Twyla Alston
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The café is a place of subtle mystique as I travel through the modern lounge past sculptures, paintings, artists’ quilts, an Etsy store, and design studio. My tour ends at a vibrant nook in the back of the center. The welcome of the place forms in the rich aroma of coffee that meets me before the subtle lights at the white granite bar. I am easily drawn to order coffee, and then café owner Kera Carpenter emerges to begin our time. NÜRISH offers light French fair that is “simple, minimalist and fo-
cused on freshness,” says Carpenter. “I like pâté.” Pausing, she clarifies, “I love pâté” She finds baguettes and French cheese completely addictive. Along with light Kera Carpenter. healthy salads these are foods she would eat daily. “Well, let’s cook first before the lunch rush picks up” she cautions. Carpenter has chosen to prepare mussels in a white wine broth because it is “simple, quick and makes you eat slowly,” she says smiling. An English literature graduate from Oxford University, she is articulate at each step: from trimming the fronds of the fennel, to adding a delicate amount of cream to the broth to balance out the acidity of the wine. Within 15 minutes we are scooping out mussels, dabbing French bread into an absolutely addictive broth, and chatting with passersby who stop in for a taste. Savoring the smell, one gentleman simply fans wisps of the aroma from the bowl into his face and begins scripting the fragrance, “garlic, white wine, fennel.…” I am impressed. “OMG, those are good,” exclaims Kate, another patron who had the good fortune to want coffee when the day’s special made its debut.
International Influence: Transferring Strength to Last
Finally Carpenter and I pull away
to chat. “So tell me how your love for food began,” I ask. “I started reading,” she replies. Somewhat parallel to her undergraduate studies at Oxford, her journey into the world of food began. After graduation she taught English for a year in France and began to travel and taste Europe. After three years in Poland she returned to the States and began working in the food industry. She moved to the Brightwood neighborhood in 2001 and quickly found it difficult to find a place to have dinner and a cup of good coffee. Domku Bar and Café was born. The restaurant would prepare Scandinavian and Slavic foods as well as foods from the Caucasus region. Her mission then, as now, was to bring good options to communities underserved by food businesses. The first seven years were hard. “Attracting dependable people to work in Petworth was challenging,” she recalls. Her experience seemed to be trial by fire, so she learned to execute every job in the restaurant. When asked if there was ever a time she wanted to give up, she scoffed and chuckled, “Many.” She adds, “I didn’t take a paycheck” sometimes
Customers trying to Daily Special. Photo: Twyla Alston
for months. “There were days I would question my sanity. I’d sit all day and no one would come in. What saved me was the neighborhood. People would come back and some still come today. According to Carpenter the last two years at Domku have been the best.
The training will include learning the elements of funding and inventory, as well as how to design, source, and cost a menu along with a week of rotations. While the overall vision is to open the program to the entire city, she plans to reach out to community leaders and ask them to nominate candidates Called to Create: for the program. Refreshed Hope with Favor Currently she is in the midCarpenter’s vision for NÜRISH: dle of a baker’s apprenticeship Youth, a culinary entrepreneurship using the NÜRISH: Youth training program, was born out of concept in collaboration with her own experience as a food entre- Mark Furstenberg (DC food preneur. “I wanted to help get people aficionado, entrepreneur, and into businesses related to food. Just fellow crusader for local small because you know how to cook does food businesses). They recruited five not mean you can run a business. You apprentices to go through a program, have to have both. If I can make it and Mark is implementing the vision. for nine years in a neighborhood that In an interview with Clovest, few people believed in, I can teach Carpenter was asked, “Why Anaothers what I l earned,” she explains. costia?” as a location for the café. In 2013 Carpenter came to the Her response was, “I would ask, why ARCH Development Corporation not Anacostia? It’s changing just to pitch NÜRISH: Youth. Later she like every other part of the city … was recruited to assist in finding a people there want to have good food tenant for the planned community- and drink just like anywhere else.” funded café, and eventually she took Statistics from the recent Wards 7 it on. and 8 Community Summits supFifteen percent of the proceeds port this notion. A majority of the from the café are being pooled to be- focus group responses on retail and gin the program with a small group local business indicated that attractof youth. Funding is the key to start- ing and supporting “sit-down” food ing NÜRISH: Youth’s first group. businesses and “cultural centers” was a priority. In our talk Carpenter added, “I see small food businesses (restaurants) as a driver of economic development. I’ve seen it in my neighborhood, I’ve seen it in Bloomingdale … Shaw, H Street … The reason those neighborhoods are thriving now isn’t because Microsoft opened an office. It isn’t because condos went up. Those condos are there because those businesses started the change. So this is ‘me’ living the mission of the nonprofit.” She continued, “It brings people out into a common space. It builds community. It encourages people to stay … spend money … and get jobs BethFerraro trying the Daily Special. Photo: Twyla Alston in their neighborhood, and if
a business succeeds others will come and do the same thing. Hopefully, it won’t take as long as it took in Petworth … Developers are coming, but if the Anacostia Arts Center wasn’t here and the Honfleur wasn’t here, would they really be that interested in coming?” In a groundbreaking study of African-Americans’ leisure activity Marya McQuirter described a similar dynamic of building community in the “world of leisure as a place of confrontation, looking at the way people visited libraries, amusement parks and movie theatres, as well as sought access to departments stores” like the Woolworth department store opened in the 1930s, where NÜRISH Food & Drink and the Art Center stand today. McQuirter described these places as “stages for the performance of urban identity.” Through my time with Carpenter I could see an evolving renaissance, with her café as one of these “stages.” The poetry of her work is clear.
Mussels in a White Wine Broth
3-4 pounds of mussels (clean and debearded) 2 tablespoons olive oil 4 leaves (fronds) of fennel 8 cloves of garlic minced ½ cup of fennel bulb roughly chopped 1⅓ cup of a white wine you enjoy 2 tablespoons of tarragon chopped ½ cup of parsley chopped 1 cup of heavy cream Additional herbs as desired
In a large stockpot solive oil to a pan over medium heat. Immediately add garlic and fennel bulbs and sauté for 3-5 minutes (until the garlic becomes aromatic). Stir in wine and herbs. After broth begins to simmer add the mussels, stir in the broth, and cover. In 5 to 7 minutes peek in to see if the mussels have opened (the steam should begin escaping the lid before checking). If not yet open, resume cooking 3-5 minutes (steam should build up again before checking). When the mussels are fully opened add cream and stir to incorporate. Discard mussels that do not open. Serve immediately. Accompany with hand-cut fries for an authentic French delight (moules-frites) or sliced baguette to savor the broth. NÜRISH Food & Drink 1231 Good Hope Rd. SE Washington, DC 20020 202-903-7134 http://nurishfoodanddrink.com/ wordpress1/ firstname.lastname@example.org Twyla Alston is a writer, artist, minister, and IT manager native to Washington, DC. She is passionate about food, gardening, technology, and community development. She has a bachelor’s degree in information technology management and resides in Ward 8 with her husband and two children. u
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 43
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE
Anacostia Playhouse Hosts Spring Productions
ast month the Anacostia Playhouse at 2020 Shannon Place SE hosted a benefit performance by students from Ballou High School’s Fine Arts Team, held the opening ceremonies for the 196th birthday celebration of Frederick Douglass and, most important to its prolonged success, received, after two years of delays and complications, approval from the IRS of its non-profit status. “Now we are moving into overdrive applying for funding wherever we can,” wrote Adele Robey, CEO of the Playhouse, in an email to supporters and residents. After a brutal winter in Washington filled with sub-freezing temperatures and repeat snowstorms, the much anticipated dawning of spring coincides with an active performance schedule for the Playhouse, a perfect opportunity to get out and enjoy the intimacy of Ward 8’s only black box theatre. From Sunday, March 18 to Saturday, March 22, students from Thurgood Marshall Public Charter School, just down the street from the Playhouse, will be onstage to present their spring production.
QuestFest 2014, a biennial international visual theatre festival
by John Muller
produced by Quest Visual Theatre, returns to venues in the Washington area. It will be at the Anacostia Playhouse March 26 - April 5 and includes five different shows from five different countries. The decision to produce shows in Anacostia was an outgrowth of QuestFest Producer Tim McCarty’s relationship with Robey from her days running the H Street Playhouse. QuestFest features work by professional performers and companies dedicated to the use of movement, gesture and digital media to tell and dramatize stories. By stripping away the artifice of language, QuestFest builds bridges between disparate peoples and cultures. “It is a remarkable thing at QuestFest to see the diversity and richness of visual theatre created by artists from around the world,” McCarty says. “With QuestFest, cultural and language divides evaporate and for the time we all share together in the theatre, we are all simply human.” Among the shows which will be presented at the Anacostia Playhouse as part of QuestFest are:
• Michele Cremaschi from Italy will perform in “Augmented Pinochio” March 26-29. Performer body language engages in dialogue with holograms onstage. Performers
Seña y Verbo from Mexico will perform “Music for the Eyes” April 2-4 at the Anacostia Playhouse.
dissolve, objects fly up and away, settings may or may not be real. Anything is possible.
• The colorful physical comedy and absurd adventure “A Day in the Life of Miss Hiccup” will feature Janomi Shoshinz from Japan March 28-30. Ms. Shoshinz is one of Tokyo’s most renowned clowns.
• The Romanian company PassePartout DP Theatre will present “Two of Us” March 28-30. “Two of Us is the perfect combination of dance and theatre in an elegant story that goes beyond the borders of language and cultures and combines scenically movements, music and images.
• Seña y Verbo from Mexico will perform “Music for the Eyes” April 2-4. This theatre of the deaf company has achieved international recognition for its highquality theatre and for the impact it has had on Mexico’s deaf community. The performance will feature Mexican sign language and spoken Spanish.
• The Merlin Puppet Theatre with performers from Germany and Greece will present “Clowns’ Houses,” at the Anacostia Playhouse April 3 and 5. Through the magic of puppetry, the modern way of living will be portrayed displaying the loneliness of today’s times. Several of the performances will have “Talk Back” post-performance discussions that will provide audience members with insights into the artistic process. Artists participating in QuestFest will conduct master classes and workshops in aspects of visual theatre such as mime, creative sign language, and movement for university students, theatre professionals and the general public. A select number of free tickets will be available to local students. For information on QuestFest and to purchase tickets visit www.questfest.org. For information on the Anacostia Playhouse, upcoming shows and space rentals visit www.anacostiaplayhouse.com or call 202-290-2328. u
Members of Ballou High School’s Marching Band and Drama Club pose before a benefit show held at the Anacostia Playhouse.
44 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
Ninth Annual DC Love Locs Natural Hair Expo For the Love of Natural Hair by Ferzana
atural hair love and education continues to flourish in the African-American community as Tempie Satcher-Ducosin of Asaze Natural Hair plans the ninth Annual DC Love Locs Natural Hair Expo. Satcher-Ducosin’s enthusiasm and passion for natural hair is the driving force in the planning of the event, on a shoestring budget with only a small committee of family and friends helping at the end of the six-month planning process. The event will take place from 12:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, April 19, at the St. Elizabeth’s East Gateway Pavilion. This year’s theme will focus on fitness and nutrition for healthy natural hair. MC Quest will serve as the master of ceremonies as he has in years past. Lauren Jackson of “TheSisterLockedDiva” blog will serve as the designated blogger for the hair expo. The family-friendly program includes a variety of workshops on hair and nutrition, a fitness demonstration by Da Go-Go, and an evening fashion and hair show. Vendors will sell everything from food to hair products and fashion accessories. Tickets may be purchased at www. dclovelocsexpo.com. Although Satcher-Ducosin has a steady base of vendors that participate in the events, she has experienced challenges in finding corporate sponsors for the community event and dreams of all the things that she would do with a proper event budget. She feels blessed that her grassroots efforts have seen the event grow over nine years to several hundred attendees and a day of celebration and education in her community. A certified natural hair stylist with a home-based studio in Northeast, Satcher-Ducosin helps
customers with their traditional and interlock locks. She has had natural hair for almost 30 years, long before it was stylish to have natural locks in the African-American community. She remembers as a tender-headed child being marked by an awful hair experience. Her mother would treat her hair with Vigorol when she was in elementary school. One summer, in York, Pa., her hair was treated with a perm on top of the Vigorol, and the combination proved to be too much. Much of her hair broke off, creating bald spots, at a time when a girl was hard-pressed to find a wig. Today Satcher-Ducosin is impressed with all of the options available to natural-hair-wearing sisters. There is a lot more information available to the public, and she is always checking youtube.com for the latest videos in the natural hair movement. Satcher-Ducosin began her hair journey away from relaxers and chemicals with braided extensions. Though stylish, she was happy to leave the salt-n-pepa asymmetrical haircuts behind, and no longer worried about covering bald patches where her hair had fallen out from harsh chemical relaxers. She transitioned to locks and has been locking her hair for the past 15 years. She had traditional locks for about seven years and still keeps her first set of locks in a glass vase in her natural hair studio in her home. Since cutting off her traditional locks she wears her hair in sisterlocks embellished with a dark red rinse. The thinner gauge of sisterlocks allows for easier curling and added versatility in styling. Satcher-Ducosin maintains her locks with regular appointments with a sisterlocks specialist. She
Tempie leads a planning meeting.
sleeps with a satin scarf covering her locks every night and works diligently on maintaining a good level of moisture in her hair. She routinely massages her scalp with olive oil. Though she knows of societal stereotypes that locks are dry, coarse, and dirty, the locks in her social circle are stylish, moist, clean, and beautiful. “I don’t call them dred locks because locks should not be dreaded. They should be loved. That is why, I call them love locks and named the expo ‘Love Locs.’” Satcher-Ducosin, born and raised in Southeast Washington, is a true gem east of the river. When she is not planning the expo, her “baby,” she is an avid country music karaoke singer a couple of times a week. She infuses her own style of blues into traditional country songs. Her favorite singers include Shania Twain, Tricia Yearwood, and LeAnn Rimes. SatcherDucosin consumes more sushi than soul food with her husband of 13 years, Dennis “DJ Duke” Ducosin, a Hawaiian of Asian ancestry and a former colleague. An optimist, Satcher-Ducosin survived being laid off from federal employment and has thrived in her entrepreneurial ventures. She has collected inspirational words in a selfpublished book, “Don’t Get Discour-
Tempie’s sisterlocks styled in an up-do.
aged … Be Encouraged,” and created a line of soy candles to accompany the daily devotional words. SatcherDucosin uses her creativity to live life on her own terms and pursue her varied interests, of which natural hair is the most important. Ferzana is a thinker, writer, and blogger co-working from the Hive 2.0 in historic Anacostia. You can follow Ferzana’s ramblings at @byFerzana on Twitter or Facebook or check out her start-up blog at www.byFerzana.com. u
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 45
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE
Improving Adult Literacy Improves DC by Stephen Lilienthal
nger interrupts the discussion like a machete striking glass. A literacy worker at a meeting last fall heatedly denounces the local news media’s trumpeting of the latest statistics detailing the high literacy and affluence of DC and the metropolitan region. Except for in-depth reports by WAMU reporter Kavitha Cardoza, DC’s news media and even some policymakers have paid little attention recently to the more than 85,000 DC residents with belowaverage literacy skills. Star McFarland falls on the other side of the statistics of affluence and education, but as a DC native she is representative of many in the District. At the Ward 8 site of Advocacy at the Academy of Hope (AoH) on 9th Street SE, McFarland, 32, declares: “I want to get off of public assistance. That’s why I’m here. I want to try to get a decent job but you cannot get a decent job without a GED [General Educational Development certificate] or a high school diploma.” She’d like to have the wherewithal to move her family from public housing to a safer neighborhood. Stories like McFarland’s are heard less in DC nowadays but they merit attention. Patricia DeFerrari, senior director of policy and advocacy at AoH, which provides DC adults with basic education, high school completion programs, and college prep, says adult learners, whom our schools have often failed 46 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
Evelyn is a 2013 graduate from the Academy of Hope.
in the past, frequently struggle to improve their skills and knowledge even while balancing their studies with work and family life.
Struggling to Rise
McFarland’s father was not involved in her life. Her mother, who left school before graduating, frequently got work cleaning offices or serving as a school crossing guard. After starting high school McFarland became pregnant with China, now 17, a student at Friendship Collegiate Academy. McFarland says, “I stopped going to school. I was still young and immature,” which hindered later attempts to finish her education. “I wanted to
work as a receptionist in an office setting,” she recalls, only to find herself continually pushed back into low-paying fields such as food service and telemarketing. McFarland’s lack of a GED impacts her family. “My 17-year-old’s work [at Friendship] is like what we’re doing now. I could not always help her with her homework.” McFarland wants to better her math and reading so she can help her two younger children, Yahzarah, 9, and Keymani, 4, with their homework. McFarland finds math difficult but has good reading skills. That is not always the case. Addie Brinkley, another AoH learner, had difficulty learning when at-
tending a public school in Georgia and later when enrolled in DC Public Schools. Dropping out of school, she was fortunate to obtain a position delivering mail at the National Institutes of Health. Hoping to raise her low reading ability, Brinkley enrolled at the Washington Literacy Center (WLC). She improved her reading relatively fast but had trouble with comprehension, which her studies at AoH have helped to improve. Brinkley is now enrolled at AoH in the National External Diploma Program, an alternative way to earn a high school diploma. (Adults who pass the GED exam receive a high school equivalency certificate.) She eventually hopes to obtain certification as a home health-care aide from the University of the District of Columbia’s Community College. One benefit of her improved reading is that she knows more about the forms and papers she must sign for health care and for the school her granddaughters attend.
Knowledge Inequality = Income Inequality
DeFerrari says addressing low adult literacy and skills can pay significant dividends for DC. “People don’t know about the scope of the problem,” she declares. The needs of DC’s adult learners differ from those in many other cities. Nationally, says DeFerrari, more than 21 percent of US-born adult learners enrolled
in programs receiving funds from the US Department of Education have high-school-level skills. In DC not even 10 percent of learners are at that level. The rest are either acquiring basic reading and math skills or trying to raise their proficiency to obtain a GED or enter a vocational training program. They must do so to obtain jobs. Georgetown University’s Center on Education and the Workforce (CEWF) issued a report on “Recovery, Job Growth and Education Requirements through 2020” which projects that in DC by 2020 over three-quarters of jobs will require a postsecondary education. Only 24 percent of jobs will not require postsecondary education. Yet, 40 years ago, nationally 32 percent of jobs did not even require a high school diploma. Nicole Smith, senior economist with CEWF, commented in a 2013 blog post on the website of Literacy Volunteers and Advocates (LVA) that health-care support services represents one area where people with GEDs and diplomas can succeed, provided they have good basic skills in reading, writing, and math along with soft skills such as active listening and critical thinking. Census statistics show 20 percent of DC adults lack a high school education; many more adults, graduating during times with less stringent academic expectations, have high school diplomas but lack the proficiency in reading or math that would enable them to succeed in higher education or career training.
Why DC Should Care
Admittedly the illiteracy rate is low in DC’s affluent areas. Why should Ward 3 residents care? DeFerrari argues that “the biggest challenge to economic prosperity that DC faces now is its huge income disparity. Education is at the root of this divide.” Indeed, David L. Kirp, in his book “Improbable Scholars,” cites recent studies in asserting that on average a high school dropout
costs taxpayers “nearly $300,000 in lower tax revenues, additional government benefits, and incarceration costs.” According to Dr. Melissa Clarke of Howard University’s School of Medicine, many studies show that low literacy correlates with increased hospitalizations and emergency care. DeFerrari adds, “To the degree that parents are better educated, their children can do better in school and the whole school benefits. The more high-performing schools we have, the more the city thrives.” A June 2012 D.C. LEARNs research paper, “Improving Children’s Literacy, One Adult at a Time,” by Nahid Al-Tehmazi and Jeff Carter, counters the conventional practice of having literacy rates among adults and children viewed as “entirely separate issues in terms of education policy.” The paper cites a 2010 National Institutes of Health study that finds a mother’s reading skills best determine her child’s chance of academic success. Another cited study shows parents with GED certificates are more likely to help their children with homework.
The newly formed DC Adult & Family Literacy Coalition, which includes AoH, LVA, WLC, So Others Might Eat, YWCA, Southeast Ministry, and others, is seeking to better acquaint DC policymakers with the importance of adult literacy and adult education. As for Star McFarland, she admits her life has been limited by her lack of a high school diploma or GED certificate and resulting gaps in her knowledge due to leaving school. Studying at AoH is helping to erase those gaps and improving her self-confidence. Now, thanks to adult education, McFarland’s once distant dream of college and even owning her own food truck seems more within reach. “We definitely need adult education,” she says. Stephen Lilienthal is a tutor for the Academy of Hope and helps to write LVA’s blog posts. u
Get Your East of the River Location
River Terrace Rec Center & Elemantary School 420 34th St , NE CVS - East River Park 320 40th St , NE Safeway – NE 322 40th St , NE 6th District Police Dept - Main 100 42nd St , NE Ward Memorial AME 240 42nd St NE Kennilworth Elementary School 1300 44th ST NE Unity East of the River Health Center 123 45th ST NE First Baptist Church of Deanwood 1008 45th St NE Deanwood Public Library 1350 49th ST NE Hughes Memorial United Methodist 25 53rd St NE Capitol Gateway Senior Apts 201 58th St , NE Marvin Gaye Rec Center 6201 Banks Pl NE Watts Branch Recreation Center 6201 Banks St , NE Langston Community Library 2600 Benning Rd , NE Anacostia Neighborhood Library 1800 Good Hope Road SE Benning Branch Library 3935 Benning Rd NE Marshall Heights CDC 3939 Benning Rd , NE Kelly Miller Recreation Center 4900 Brooks St , NE Tabernacle baptist Church 719 Division Ave NE 4417 Douglas St NE Randall Memorial Baptist Church East Capital Church of christ 5026 E Capitol St NE Seat Pleasant CARE Pharmacy 350 Eastern Ave , NE 7-Eleven 950 Eastern AVE NE Riverside Center 5200 Foote St , NE Mayfair Mansions 3744 ½ Hayes St NE Citibank: East River Park 3917 Minnesota Ave , NE Chartered Health Center NE 3924 Minnesota Ave , NE Vending Machines – Deanwood Metro 4720 Minnesota Ave , NE The Minnicks Market 4401 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE Lederer Gardens 4800 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave NE Suburban Market 4600 Sherriff Rd NE Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church 4601 Sheriff Road NE Dave Brown Liquors 4721 Sheriff Road Northeast Dave Brown Liquor 4721 Sherriff Rd NE A & S Grocery 4748 Sheriff Rd NE St Rose Pentecostal Church 4816 Sherriff Rd NE Malcolm X Rec Center 3200 13th st SE St More Catholic Church 4275 4th St SE 1400 41st St , SE Fort Davis Recreation Center Ferebee Hope Recreation Center 3999 8th St , SE Emanuel Baptist Church 2409 Ainger Place SE IHOP Restauarant 1523 Alabama Ave, SE Giant Food Store 1535 Alabama Ave , SE SunTrust Bank 1571 Alabama Ave , SE Parklands-Turner Community Library 1547 Alabama Ave , SE Manor Village Apartments Leasing Office 1717 Alabama Ave , SE Garfield Elementary 2435 Alabama Ave 7th District Station 2455 Alabama Ave , SE 6th District Police Dept - Satellite Station 2839 Alabama Ave , SE Service Cleaners 2841 Alabama Ave , SE Safeway – SE 2845 Alabama Ave SE Pizza Hut 2859 Alabama Ave , SE America’s Best Wings 2863 Alabama Ave , SE M&T Bank 2865 Alabama Ave , SE Washington Senior Wellness Center 3001 Alabama Ave , SE St Timothys Episcopal Church 3601 Alabama Ave SE Francis A Gregory Neighborhood Library 3660 Alabama Ave , SE 1900 Anacostia Dr , SE National Capital Parks--EAST Kid smiles 4837 Benning Road SE Pimento Grill 4405 Bowen Rd SE East Washington Heights Baptist Church 2220 Branch Ave ,SE St Johns Baptist Church 5228 Call Place SE Capitol View Branch Library 5001 Central Ave , SE Marie Winston Elementary School 3100 Denver St , SE
FA G O N C O M M U N I T Y G U I D E
Subway 4525 East Capitol St Our Lady Queen of Peace Church 3800 Ely Pl , SE Anacostia Museum for African Amer History 1901 Fort Pl SE - Back Door Smithsonian Anacostia Marcia Burris 1901 Fort Place SE - Back Door DC Center for Therapeutic Recreation 3030 G ST SE ARCH 1227 Good Hope Rd , SE Anacostia Pizzeria 1243 Good Hope Rd , SE SunTrust Bank 1340 Good Hope Rd , SE Unity Health Care Inc 1638 Good Hope Rd , SE Bread for the City 1640 Good Hope Rd , SE Marbury Plaza Tenants Assoc 2300 Good Hope Rd , SE 1453 Howard Rd , SE Dollar Plus Supermarket Ascensions Psychological & Community Services 1526 Howard Rd , SE Dupont Park SDA Church 3985 Massachusettes Ave SE Orr Elementary School 2200 Minnesota Ave SE Hart Recreation Center 601 Mississippi Ave , SE Southeast Tennis and Learning Center 701 Mississippi Ave , SE The ARC 1901 Mississippi Ave , SE Neighborhood Pharmacy 1932 Martin Luther King Jr , SE PNC Bank 2000 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE Bank of America 2100 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE C Aidan Salon 2100 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE Big Chair Coffee 2122 Martin Luther King Jr Ave SE Animal Clinic of Anacostia 2210 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE Max Robinson Center of Whitman-Walker Clinic 2301 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE The United Black Fund 2500 Martin Luther King Ave SE The Pizza Place 2910 Martin Luther King Ave SE Metropol Educational Services, 3rd Floor 3029 Marin Luther King Jr Ave , SE National Children’s Center Southeast Campus 3400 Martin Luther King Jr , SE Assumption Catholic Church 3401 Martin Luther King Ave SE Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center 3500 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE Congress Heights Health Center 3720 Martin Luther King Jr Ave , SE CVS - Skyland 2646 Naylor Rd , SE 1350 Pennsylvania Ave SE Harris Teeter Thai Orchid Kitchen 2314 Pennsylvania Ave SE St Francis Xavier Church 2800 Pennsylvania Ave SE Pennsylvania Ave Baptist Church 3000 Pennsylvania Ave SE CVS – Penn Branch 3240 Pennsylvania Ave , SE Congress Heights Recreation Center 100 Randle Pl , SE Johnson Memorial Baptist Church 800 Ridge Rd SE Ridge Recreation Center 800 Ridge Rd , SE Savoy Recreation Center 2440 Shannon Pl SE PNC Bank 4100 South Capitol St , SE Rite Aid 4635 South Capitol St , SE United Medical Center 1310 Southern Ave , SE Benning Park Community Center 5100 Southern Ave SE Benning Stoddert Recreation Center 100 Stoddert Pl , SE Union Temple Baptist Church 1225 W ST SE Senior Living at Wayne Place 114 Wayne Place SE Washington Highlands Neighborhood Library 115 Atlantic St , SW Bald Eagle At Fort Greble 100 Joliet St SW Covenant Baptist Church 3845 South Capitol St Faith Presbyterian Church 4161 South Capitol St SW Henson Ridge Town Homes Office 1804 Stanton Terrace, SE 1350 Pennsylvania Ave NW The Wilson Building CCN office 224 7th ST SE Eastern Market 225 7th St SE YMCA Capitol View 2118 Ridgecrest Court SE CW Harris Elementary School 301 53rd Street, SE DC Child & Family Services Agency 200 I Street SE
For more distribution locations, contact 202.543.8300 x.19 EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 47
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE
Rising Above Depression
A Local Pastor Pens Her Battle with Depression in a New Book by Candace Y.A. Montague
astor Nadine Tyree-Anderson could be shopping in a store, watching television, or even coming out of church when the spirit of depression hits her. She describes it as a voice that talks down to her, discourages her, and clouds her sunny days with doubt. Depression, she says, is a voice that “wants to talk you to death.” In the past depression has had a debilitating effect on her life. But she has learned that we must fight the voice of depression with the voice of victory. She summarizes her life’s lessons and ties them to Scriptures in her new book, “I Will Rise above It! Who Invited the Spirit of Depression to Dinner?” Preventing depression from stealing her joy has been a long-term battle for Tyree-Anderson. In her book she recalls many occasions where fear and doubt threatened to destroy her. Sometimes depression won. Other times she used strategies such as positive talk and Scriptures to suppress those feelings of sadness. She writes, “When you are depressed, you have to move and do something. Play inspirational music, worship, call a positive friend, or go get some ice cream. You have to pull up and get out of yourself. Don’t you know self-pity will kill you? But if you keep seeking Jesus you will find Him because He’s always there.” Her book is chock full of Scriptures, anecdotes, and advice for how to swim against the waves of depression. “Depression is a spirit. And it must be fought with a spirit. And with the word of God I am an overcomer. This book is about overcoming. This book is about disabling it,” says Tyree-Anderson. Writing the book helped her to get hold of her symptoms, but they can return at times. “I’ve been writing this book for over four years. I started keeping a [journal] notebook. I started writing and it started working. Revelations started coming. But it can return at anytime. Anything can trigger it. A phone call. A knock at the door. Something on television. But now that I’m aware of it depression doesn’t come as often.”
Deanwood native Pastor Nadine Tyree-Anderson writes about depression and spirituality in her new book, “I Will Rise above It!” Photo: Glamour Shots
48 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that 25 million Americans suffer from depression, which occurs 70 percent more frequently in women than men. Some myths that
surround mental health issues within the African-American community are: • Depression isn’t a disease
• Blacks don’t get depressed because they are the descendants of slaves • Blacks need God not a doctor
• If someone suﬀers from depression they are weak African-American women may show signs of depression in ways that may be dismissed. Signs can include persistent irritability (some might say, “She’s just evil”), constant negativity, lack of interest in activities that once were pleasurable, changes in sleep, appetite, or energy, diﬃculty with remembering or thinking, and thoughts of death or suicide. Signs of depression can also interfere with day-to-day living. Women who suffer from depression may feel like the world is on their shoulders and they have no time to confront it. Shakira Gantt, executive assistant at the Georgia Avenue Family Support Collaborative, says women are burdened with many stressors that contribute to depression. “Depression is most certainly an issue for clients that we work with. Many families are headed by women who are doing all they can to keep the household running. Some are dealing with past traumas such as domestic violence while at the same time trying to maintain housing and employment.” Over time, says Gantt, women may start to unravel under pressure and it begins to manifest in their lives. “Many women stick with the notion that they’ve got to keep it all together, but without help it’s just a matter of time before they break down. Maybe they start missing work, or the kids don’t make it to school that day because mom was too depressed to leave the house. There is a lot of self-medicating going on with drugs or alcohol to escape the issue. There needs to be more education about mental illnesses such as depression, particularly in communities of color where there is still a strong stigma about it.”
There is a plethora of mental health professionals in and around the District to counsel people. The first step is to find the right one. Only 12 percent of AfricanAmerican women seek treatment for symptoms of depression. In her book Tyree-Anderson highly recommends seeking care
from a therapist. “Forget about the taboo that is attached to seeing a psychiatrist,” she writes. “Don’t we go see a doctor for the flu, diabetes, heart attacks, and other illnesses? If you need to seek a physician/psychiatrist, do so with my blessing and with the Word of God.” Culturally sensitive care is also very important when it comes to seeking help. Many African-American women avoid seeking help because they feel like mental health professionals don’t “get it.” Dr. Kimberly Parker, assistant professor of health studies at Texas Woman’s University, states that African-American women have unique circumstances that lead them to therapy. “Black women often function in society within the space of intersectionality; they interact within the world as (1) women, (2) as a Black person, and (3) as a Black woman. Understanding the impact of these various identities is essential to providing culturally sensitive mental health service because each experience may vary.” She adds that blacks can definitely receive culturally sensitive care from therapists of other races. “I do believe anyone can serve as a therapist or counsel a Black female. Both must feel comfortable with each other due to the great deal of sharing the client must engage in and there must be a level of trust based on cultural competency.” For those who seek the religious route, Tyree-Anderson suggests that a Christian therapist can bridge the gap between religion and mental health care. “A Christian psychologist will not only minister medicine to you, they will minister the word of God to you. God uses doctors. He puts them in positions to speak to us.” Using faith to battle depression has been a winning game plan for Tyree-Anderson, and through her writing she hopes to deliver more people out of the spirit of despair. Tyree-Anderson will launch her book, “I Will Rise above It! Who Invited the Spirit of Depression to Dinner?” on Saturday, March 29, at 4:00 p.m. at Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, 4625 G St. SE. She will be signing her book on Saturday, April 19, at 11:00 a.m. at John 3:16 Christian Bookstore, 7953 Annapolis Rd., Lanham, Md. Visit www.westbowpress. com for more information about the author and to purchase your copy. Candace Y.A. Montague is the health reporter for East of the River. u
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Call 202.654.5126 EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 49
EAST WASHINGTON LIFE
Amy K. Bormet’s fourth annual Washington Women in Jazz Festival kicks off on March 15 with vocalist Integriti Reeves at Bohemian Caverns.
by Steve Monroe
“Four” Is More for Washington Women in Jazz Festival
More than 30 women have been showcased by the Washington Women in Jazz Festival (WWJF) in just the first three years, ranging from jazz legend Geri Allen to the annual Young Artists contest that brings together the very best young female jazz musicians, declares the Washington Women in Jazz Festival website. More enriching and enlivening of the area jazz scene is in store this March for Women’s History Month, with the fourth annual festival featuring Jessica Boykin-Settles doing a tribute to Shirley Horn, trumpeter Carol Morgan with the Bohemian Caverns Jazz Orchestra, saxophonist Leigh Pilzer doing a tribute to Melba Liston, and edgy guitarist Mary Halvorson playing with a group that includes the festival founder, pianist Amy K. Bormet. “I’m so thrilled to present the fourth year of DC’s finest jazz women,” says Bormet. “Every year the festival generates support from the DC community and brings out the best in our unique music scene. Drummer Allison Miller is returning for our gala show Wednesday night [March 19] with the all-stars and special guest guitarist Mary Halvorson.” Vocalist Integriti Reeves starts things off with an opening night show, March 15, at Bohemian Caverns. See www.washingtonwomeninjazz.com for complete information. Also this month, check out the Transparent Jazz Productions performance of Jen Chapin, March 16, at Bohemian Caverns, and Double Time Jazz with Shana Tucker, March 21, at THEARC Theater (www. thearcdc.org) in Southeast Washington, and also Twins Jazz’s “Women In Jazz Series at the famed U Street club every Sunday. See www.twinsjazz. 50 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
com for details.
InPerson… Nelson Mandela Tribute Concert
A star-studded tribute concert last month for the recently departed Nelson Mandela drew a large crowd at Cramton Auditorium on the campus of Howard University, with headliners trumpeter Hugh Masekela and pianist Larry Willis delivering vintage performances. Also in fine form were vocalist Akua Allrich and Howard University’s award-winning Afro Blue vocal ensemble. The highlight was Masekela’s storytelling, particularly his relating his time in New York during his early years, when he met Willis, and when he was told by many people, including Harry Belafonte and Miles Davis, that he should be playing more of his South African music while also playing the bebop that he had come to love. Masekela said Miles told him, “If you put together your stuff from your country, and the stuff that we are playing, you would really have something.” Actually, Masekela brought the house down laughing because he told the story in Miles’ own words, flavored with Miles’ offcolor language.
InPerson… Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival
Saxophonist and educator Paul Carr’s fifth annual Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival in Rockville drew good crowds for some fine performers including Carr himself with his group that did a tribute to the late pianist Mulgrew Miller. Other highlights included performances by guitarist Josh Bayer, vocalists Kristin Callahan and Vanessa Rubin, the Howard University Jazz Ensemble and special guest alto saxophonist Bobby Watson,
and the legendary saxophonist and composer Benny Golson, a witty and humorous storyteller himself. March Highlights: Women In Jazz Series, March 2, 9, 16, 23, 30, Twins Jazz ... Howard University Jazz Ensemble w/Hubert Laws, March 6, HU Rankin Chapel ... Double Time Jazz/Snarky Puppy, March 7, THEARC Theater ... Kenny Rittenhouse Quintet w/Darden Purcell, March 7, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... Akua Allrich, March 8, Atlas Performing Arts Center … Lisa Sokolov Duo, March 9, Bohemian Caverns ... Eldar Trio, March 12, Blues Alley ... Charles Rahmat Woods Trio, March 12, 26, Maggiano’s Restaurant … 4 Generations of Miles: Jimmy Cobb-Mike Stern, March 13, Blues Alley ... Jazz Masters with Charles Covington, March 14, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... Sine Qua Non, March 14, Bohemian Caverns ... Integriti Reeves, March 15, Bohemian Caverns ... Jessica BoykinSettles presents Shirley Horn, March 16, Anacostia Community Museum ... Carol Morgan with BCJO, March 17, Bohemian Caverns ... Mary Halvorson, Allison Miller, Sarah Hughes, Amy Bormet, March 19, Union Arts ... Leigh Pilzer Tribute to Melba Liston, March 20, Smithsonian American Art Museum ... Craig Handy, March 21-22, Bohemian Caverns ... Kevin Eubanks, March 20-23, Blues Alley ... Double Time Jazz/Shana
Tucker, March 21, THEARC Theater ... Shannon Gunn and the Bullettes, March 21, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... UDC JazzALIVE Forum/ Dr. Arthur C. Dawkins, March 24 … UDC Greater U Street Jazz Collective, March 27, Twins Jazz ... Antonio Parker Jazz Quintet, March 28, Westminster Presbyterian Church ... Tim Whalen, March 28-29, Twins Jazz ... Steve Davis and Larry Willis Quintet, March 30, Caton Castle/Baltimore March Birthdays: Benny Powell 1; Eddie “Lockjaw” Davis, Doug Watkins 2; Jimmy Garrison 3; Ricky Ford 4; Wes Montgomery 6; George Coleman 8; Herschel Evans, Ornette Coleman 9; Bix Biederbecke 10; Leroy Jenkins, Bobby McFerrin 11; Terence Blanchard 13; Quincy Jones 14; Cecil Taylor, Charles Lloyd 15; Tommy Flanagan 16; Nat King Cole 17; Harold Mabern, Charles Thompson 21; George Benson 22; King Pleasure 24; Ben Webster, Sarah Vaughan 27; Thad Jones 28; Michael Brecker 29; Freddie Green 31 u
Property Management & Sales
Changing hands is a list of most residential sales in the District of Columbia from the previous month. A feature of every issue, this list, based on the MRIS, is provided courtesy of Don Denton, manager of the Coldwell Banker office on Capitol Hill. The list includes address, sales price and number of bedrooms.
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Neighborhood Price BR Fee Simple
1928 NAYLOR RD SE 1710 U ST SE 1340 MORRIS RD SE 2310 NICHOLSON ST SE 2108 16TH ST SE 1637 R ST SE 1350 TALBERT TER SE
$287,000 $279,500 $279,000 $269,000 $190,000 $185,000 $136,000
3 3 4 5 2 2 2
115 MADISON ST NW 1 MISSOURI AVE NW 41 MILMARSON PL NW
$515,000 $385,000 $310,000
96 BRANDYWINE PL SW 130 YUMA ST SE
3 3 2 2 2
5005 AMES ST NE 5115 F ST SE 720 49TH PL NE 3828 BLAINE ST NE 4409 HAYES ST NE 3910 CAPITOL ST NE 4407 SHERIFF RD NE 930 52ND ST NE 3967 AMES ST NE 3969 AMES ST NE 3902 AMES ST NE 203 63RD ST NE
$380,000 $303,000 $290,000 $260,000 $259,000 $255,000 $221,000 $219,777 $210,500 $162,500 $144,500 $90,000
3 4 3 3 3 3 2 2 3 3 4 2
313 59TH ST NE 1054 48TH ST NE 1052 48TH ST NE
$88,000 $74,900 $74,900
FORT DUPONT PARK
1688 FORT DUPONT ST SE 4328 CHAPLIN ST SE 3421 B ST SE 4025 D ST SE 4214 MASSACHUSETTS AVE SE
$265,500 $255,000 $155,000 $137,500 $120,000
HILL CREST 2916 S ST SE
MARSHALL HEIGHTS 5122 E ST SE
2008 TRENTON PL SE 2014 SAVANNAH PL SE 1835 FREDERICK DOUGLASS PL SE 1879 ALABAMA AVE SE 1824 TUBMAN RD SE
$235,000 $234,900 $219,000 $105,300 $219,922
2 3 2 3 2 3 3 2 3 4 3 5 3 3 3
Condo RANDLE HEIGHTS
2472 ALABAMA AVE SE #C-103 1907 GOOD HOPE RD SE #310 u
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 51
KIDS & FAMILY
Kids & Family Notebook by Kathleen Donner
Environmental Film Festival: Children’s Film Series at Anacostia Neighborhood Library
On Wednesday, March 19, at 10:30 a.m., the following films will be screened in the Children’s Room: “Blackout” (USA, 2013, 7 min.). It was a hot summer night in the city when the power went out. Everything changed … but that was not necessarily a bad thing. Not normal can be fun. Narrated by Stanley Tucci with music by David Mansfield. Written and illustrated by John Rocco. Produced by Weston Woods Studios. “Cloudette” (USA, 2013, 12 min.). Sometimes being small has its advantages. When Cloudette wants to do something big she discovers that a little cloud can make a big difference. Narrated by Wendy Carter and others with music by Jack Sundrud and Rusty Young. Written and illustrated by Tom Lichtenheld. Directed by Virginia Wilkos. Produced by Weston Woods Studios. “Bear Has a Story to Tell” (USA, 2013, 9 min.). In this endearing tale of friendship Bear helps animals get ready for winter. But will they be awake long enough for him to tell his story? Narrated by Mike Birbiglia with music by Ernest Troost. Animation by Cha-Pow. Produced by Weston Woods Studios. Anacostia Neighborhood Library, 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-715-7707. dclibrary.org/anacostia This film series repeats on Wednesday, March 26, 10:30 a.m., at Deanwood Neighborhood Library, 1350 49th St. NE. 202698-1175. dclibrary.org/deanwood
DC Sail Kids’ Programs Registration Open
The three kids’ summer programs are Kids Set Sail (ages 7-14), Schooner Camp (ages 12-18), and Spirit of America Boat52 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
he Harlem Globetrotters will be bringing their 2014 “Fans Rule” World Tour to the DC metro area for three games in March. The first game will take place on March 15 at Verizon Center at 1:00 p.m., followed by a second game that evening at 7:30 p.m. at the Patriot Center in Fairfax, Va. A third game will take place on March 16 at the Patriot Center at 2:00 p.m. Photo: Harlem Globetrotters
ing Safety Camp (ages 11-14). The Spirit of America Boating Safety Camp is for two consecutive weeks and is available at no cost to families. Programs typically sell out well in advance of summer. Scholarships with reduced registration fees are available for households with an annual income of less than $50,000. Summer youth sailing programs begin June 23. Register at dcsail.org.
DC Sail mission statement: “Our mission is to promote and sustain affordable educational, recreational and competitive sailing programs for all ages in a fun and safe environment. DC Sail empowers its participants to develop self-respect and sportsmanship, foster teamwork, and cultivate sailing skills and an appreciation for maritime-related activities. In addition, DC Sail enhances the DC community by
using sailing to bolster community spirit and volunteerism.”
Children’s Movie Nights at Francis A. Gregory Library
Join them Monday nights at 6:30 p.m. in the children’s room for weekly movie screenings of new family films and classic favorites. Recommended for families and children ages 4-12. Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-6986373. dclibrary.org/francis
National Cherry Blossom Festival Family Days at National Building Museum
On Saturday, March 22, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., and Sunday, March 23, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., celebrate the opening of Washington’s cherry blossom season at this ninth annual family festival for kids of all ages, featuring hands-on activities, interactive art demonstrations, and performances celebrating Japanese arts and design. This is a free, dropin program for all ages. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448. nbm.org
Community Leaders are Readers at Anacostia Neighborhood Library
This popular, ongoing program invites parents, their children, and the general public to indulge in books and reading appreciation. After a local children’s author reads a book, each child creates an art take-away. It is for ages early childhood to 8 years old with parents. The program is on Saturday, April 5 (repeats on first Saturday through May 3), 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., at the Anacostia Neighborhood Library, 1800 Good Hope Rd. SE. Free. For more information call 202633-4844 or 202-715-7707.
“Chess Challenge in DC” 3rd Annual Citywide Chess Tournament
Chess Challenge in DC an-
nounces its 3rd Annual Citywide Chess Tournament, open to all DC elementary and middle-school students. Tournament takes place on March 15 at Woodrow Wilson High School. There is no registration fee. Tournament is four rounds with a blitz playoff and is unrated. To register go to chesschallengeindc.org.
DPR Summer Camps Registration Open
The DC Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) announces the 2014 Summer Camps season as they prepare for another great summer of swimming, field trips, creative activities, and new experiences. The 2014 Summer Camps season will offer four sessions from June 23 through August. Most camps operate Monday through Friday, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. DPR also offers a Before and After Care package for an additional flat rate. Before Care is offered from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m. and After Care is offered from 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Visit dpr. dc.gov/book/2014-summer-camplistings for camp listings and more information.
Imagination Stage “Inside Out” at the Atlas
From April 9 through 14 things can get a little crazy when kids start to turn things inside out. Two characters’ imaginations go wild in a game of dress-up. Scarves become birds. T-shirts become monsters. A sock dance rocks the closet! Designed especially for the youngest theater-goers and presented by Imagination Stage in collaboration with England’s award-winning Tell Tale Hearts Theatre Company. $8. The Atlas, 1333 H St. NE. 202399-7993. atlasarts.org
Mother to Daughter Financial Summit
On March 29, 9:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m., at the Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 8th St. NW, the Fi-
The First Hebrew Language Immersion Public Charter School in DC
Accepting Applications for SY14-15 Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, Grade 1, and Grade 2
ay every Tuesd from ld e h s e s u Open Ho Thursday afternoon d morning an ecember-March D To apply visit: myschooldc.org
*With the new common application, families must rank order their school choices. Each child will only receive one offer of admission in the lottery. If Sela PCS is your family’s first choice, you should rank order Sela PCS FIRST. Application Deadline: March 3, 2014
FREE Before and After School Program Small Class Sizes with 2 teachers in each classroom Student Shuttle available with stops at: Eastern Market, 16th and Q, Ft. Totten Metro
Learn more: SelaPCS.org 6015-17 Chillum Place, NE Washington, DC 20011 202-670-SELA (7352) Follow us: @SelaPCS
Like us: SelaPCS
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 53
KIDS & FAMILY My School’s Closing … I heard the most terrible news and it’s left me so confused! My school may be closing and I am in shock! I would do anything to turn back the hands on the clock! ATA is the best school for me and the only one I’d choose, but if you close our doors we’d lose … our home away from home on 5300 Blaine this would be such a shame! I love showing my Jaguar PRIDE and wearing my burgundy and tan, so to save my school is the plan! It’s not fair to close our school and force us to go I need the arts and technology to help me grow!
54 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
DC Tobacco-Free Families
DC Tobacco-Free Families (DCTFF) is a coalition of DC faithand community-based organizations and individual partners working together to educate the community about the effects and the harm of Moms, Dads, and community leaders…we tobacco and secondhand smoke. The need your help to save our school! coalition’s mission is to improve the Please let the Public Charter School Board health of the residents by decreasing know that closing ATA would not be cool! the morbidity and mortality associated with tobacco use and exposure. If we are the future, then put our needs first! It does this through education, pubXavier Crowell, 5th grade, Arts and Technology Academy lic policy, and advocacy using culPublic Charter School, Poetry Slam Individual Poem. Fall turally and linguistically competent 2013. Photo: DC SCORES approaches. DCTFF assists partners in planning, coordinating, designing, and executing programs, projects, and Run, Walk, or Join the Stroller interventions that eliminate exBrigade at the Bright Beginnings 5K posure to environmental tobacco Put your feet in motion on Sun- smoke, prevent youth initiation, proday, March 23, 8:00 p.m., at West mote smoking cessation, and idenPotomac Park at Hains Point for tify and eliminate disparities among the 2014 Bright Beginnings 5K for specific populations. They work homeless children and families in to build partnerships representing DC. Packet pick-up starts at 7:00 the diverse populations residing in a.m. Bright Beginnings Inc. is a the District of Columbia and to 501(c)3 organization that provides heighten awareness of the dangers free educational, therapeutic, health, of tobacco use through education. and family services to homeless in- Collectively and collaboratively they fants, toddlers, and preschoolers and advocate for Tobacco Settlement less mother and daughter quality their families. All proceeds from the funds to be used for funding tobacco time. $15. To attend, register at sit- 5K support programming that pre- control in the District. Visit dctff. pares young children for kindergar- org for more information. ting-pretty.org. FLOW is a 501(c)(3) charitable ten and helps their families get back organization committed to empow- on their feet. Register at brightbe- Pop-Up Story Time & Crafts at ering women and girls with the ginningsinc.org/5k. Francis A. Gregory Library knowledge and skills necessary to Come into the library on Thursmake sound and responsible deci- Kites of Asia Family Day day evenings at 6:00 p.m. for stories, sions about spending, saving, borsongs, crafts, and fun for the whole at Air and Space Museum rowing, and investing for a future family. They will be using some of Th rill to the beauty and artof sound economic well-being. istry of kites on display and in the their special collection of pop-up We know our math and reading scores may not be the best, But we have potential because our worth is more than just data and tests!
nancial Literacy Organization for Women and Girls (FLOW ) presents a Mother to Daughter Financial Summit. FLOW is dedicated to empowering young women and girls to become financially independent in a global economy filled with complexity. Mothers and daughters (teens and tweens) will learn and understand the true language of money from financial and moneysavvy experts while enjoying price-
air. Visit their display of kites and discover the diversity of kites from across Asia. Find out more about how kites are made in one of their hands-on stations. Learn how kites helped the Wright brothers develop the first airplane. Marvel at the grace of kites being flown indoors. Saturday, March 22, 10:00 a.m.-3:00 p.m. National Air and Space Museum, Independence Ave. at 6th St. SW. airandspace.si.edu
APPLICATIONS BEING ACCEPTED FOR THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL YEAR Pre-K 3, Pre-K 4, Kindergarten, 1st and 2nd grade
Building on our strong foundation as an early childhood program
Information / Open House Sessions on the Following Thursdays, 9:30 am-10:30 am*:
March 20 & 27 April 24 May 1 *You must register to attend, limit of 20 people per session. Call (202) 545-0515 to register.
Apply for admissions at: www.myschooldc.org 1st round application deadline March 3rd. 2nd round applications accepted March 4–May 15.
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www.bridgespcs.org 1250 Taylor Street, NW, Washington, DC 20011 p: 202.545.0515 e: firstname.lastname@example.org
Free and open to all DC residents. Tuition paid by non-residents.
www.bridgespcs.org EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 55
KIDS & FAMILY books. At story time the librarians will give a short presentation on their collection of pop-up books, some of which are very delicate and not available for check out, but you will be able to read them and handle them in the library! Please note that young children must handle pop-up books with a parent. They will also offer a craft that will help you get started on making your own pop-up cards and other craft creations. Recommended for ages 4-12. Francis A. Gregory Neighborhood Library, 3660 Alabama Ave. SE. 202-6986373. dclibrary.org/francis
March Movies for Kids at the National Gallery of Art
The Secret of Kells (ages 7, up) is shown on Saturday, March 15, at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday, March 16, at 11:30 a.m., in the East Building Concourse Auditorium. Join them for this exquisitely animated story about the famed Book of Kells. The setting is Ireland in the 9th century, where the old Kells Abbey in a remote woodland area is home to 12-year-old Brendan. He and the monks have been instructed by Brendan’s authoritarian uncle to strengthen the fortifications in order to protect the abbey from a Viking invasion. (Tomm Moore and Nora Twomey, France/Belgium/Ireland, 2009, 75 minutes) The Rooster Trademark Paper (ages 9, up) is shown on Saturday, March 22, at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday, March 23, at 11:30 a.m., in the East Building Concourse Auditorium. When Amir, a young boy who dreams of becoming an artist, sees an advertisement for a visual arts competition, he is inspired to enter. Although he works hard selling newspapers and making deliveries for a local store, he struggles to purchase the costly Rooster Trademark paper that all entrants must use to qualify for the contest. (Maryam Milani, Iran, 2012, 93 minutes) Nature Unfolds (ages 4, up) is shown on Saturday, March 29, at 10:30 a.m., and Sunday, March 30, 56 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
at 11:30 a.m., in the East Building Concourse Auditorium. As the seasons change, Earth’s canvas is adorned with new colors and textures. Join them for a series of animated shorts celebrating nature’s unfolding beauty. Approximately 60 minutes. Shown in collaboration with the Environmental Film Festival in the Nation’s Capital. nga.gov
Smithsonian Discovery Theater’s March Productions
“Amelia and Her Big Red Plane” with Dinorock Productions is on March 13-14, at 10:15 a.m., 11:15 a.m., and 12:15 p.m., at the Air and Space Museum. Amelia Earhart was an adventurer, and this interactive puppet show puts adventurous kids right beside her as little Amelia builds her own rollercoaster in the backyard, takes off in her first plane (right over their heads), and flies across the Atlantic. The show has airplanes that soar and puppets that sing as it brings daring Amelia vibrantly to life. “Live! Amazing Animals of the Rainforest” is on March 2021, at 10:15 a.m. and 11:30 a.m., at the Ripley Center, Smithsonian. Meet Dexter the lemur – who loves hanging upside-down, eating blackberries and helping spread the word about his native habitat – when Leesburg Animal Park brings the rainforest to Discovery Theater. You’ll also meet other amazing critters who live there. It could be Slinky, a seven-foot-long Colombian redtailed boa, Charlie the iguana, or hissing cockroaches that can scare off predators with a sound as loud as a lawn mower. You’ll learn why this South American ecosystem is so important to our planet’s health, and how we can all help preserve it. Both productions are for ages 5-10. $3-$8. For tickets and information call 202-633-8700 or visit discoverytheater.org. u
Friendship Collegiate Senior Overcomes Obstacles, Wins Posse Scholarship
Brandon Iracks-Edelin, a senior at Friendship Collegiate Academy, will attend Sewanee University on a Posse Scholarship in the fall.
by John Muller
very academic year hundreds upon hundreds of high school students throughout the city stop attending class. The lure of street life claims many. Homelessness accounts for its fair share, while family instability and dissolution, such as the death of a parent or guardian, is yet another reason some young men and women fade away, closing the high school chapter of their lives before graduating. Senior Brandon Iracks-Edelin has confronted these challenges over his four years at Friendship Collegiate Academy but has not taken the easy way out. Instead he has persevered despite the unexpected passing of his mother and the convalescence of his father. Iracks-Edelin floated from couch to couch with friends and extended relatives, dodging the omnipresent peer pressure of abandoning school to run the corners of East Washington. This fall he will attend Sewanee University in the hills of Tennessee on a Posse Scholarship, which bundles local students together in order to ease their transition to college life. When asked what kept him motivated, Iracks-Edelin, who lives with his older brother on Benning Road NE by the Shrimp Boat, said, “The counseling team and my AP [Advanced Placement] teachers wouldn’t let me fall back. If you miss any AP classes you’re missing important content and I wanted to earn my credits.” Outside of school, he said, a cousin
gave him select words of wisdom that have become his mantra. “He told me that although my mom died that doesn’t mean she is gone. To keep her spirit alive I have to embody her best characteristics and that means dedicating myself to education and selfimprovement.” As Friendship’s only recipient of a Posse Scholarship this academic year, Iracks-Edelin had to distinguish himself among students from throughout the metropolitan area, which considering the challenges he has already faced in his young life is a testament to his determination. “The application process was a four-month period where you do a series of interviews and you have to show that you can demonstrate leadership skills, you are able to work in a team and adapt to different situations,” he said. “I was fortunate enough to get the scholarship, which allows me to walk across the stage, and know where I am going to college. It’s the best feeling.” Iracks-Edelin’s decision to attend Sewanee was influenced by two of Friendship’s Posse recipients last year, Philip Pride and Kirk Murphy, who are now in the middle of their second semesters at the university. During alumni day this past December they encouraged Iracks-Edelin to consider the school. After learning of his scholarship award this past December, IracksEdelin was introduced to nine other Posse awardees from the region who will be attending Sewanee, including
Jonathan Brown, a senior at Springbrook High School in Silver Spring, Md., who plans to major in history. “From talking to and interacting with Brandon over the past couple of weeks, I can tell he is very centered and motivated,” said Brown. For Arsallah Shairzay, an administrator at Friendship for over 10 years who has assisted students in earning millions of dollars in scholarships and grants to college, Iracks-Edelin’s success is a source of continued pride for the school. “Brandon’s situation is not an iso-
lated case as the school is committed to its mission of creating opportunity and social mobility for all its students. At times Brandon has shared with me that he can’t imagine what his life would have been like if it were not for the support of caring people at Friendship Collegiate Academy.” At Sewanee Iracks-Edelin will pursue a major in psychology, building upon coursework he completed at the University of the District of Columbia, and will minor in information technology. u
EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE | MARCH 2014 H 57
KIDS & FAMILY
DCPS Teacher of the Year Is First Lady’s Guest at State of the Union
t was funny; I didn’t get to work until 12:00,” said Kathy Hollowell-Makle, a kindergarten teacher at Simon Elementary School. On Jan. 24 she spent the morning at her children’s school, Oyster Adams Bilingual, when she got the call from Dr. Biden’s oﬃce. Hollowell-Makle thought that “Dr. Biden” was a medical doctor, not Dr. Jill Biden, wife of the Vice President. The last time she met Dr. Biden it was to receive the 2013 DC Public School (DCPS) Teacher of the Year award. However, Hollowell-Makle learned that she had received another honor: sitting with First Lady Michelle Obama during the Jan. 28 State of the Union address.
Becoming a Teacher
While she is happy with her chosen profession, Hollowell-Makle initially majored in African-American studies as a college student. However, volunteering at an afterschool program in Baltimore gave her a different perspective. “I was just struck by the needs of the students,” she said. “I really think I was naïve that I didn’t know about poverty and I didn’t know about how children were really struggling with reading.” Hollowell-Makle felt compelled to give back and joined Teach for America in 1998. “My intention was to teach two years in Baltimore and to go on, maybe to law school or some other avenue of work,” she explained. “I didn’t anticipate having a career in teaching.” When Teach for America placed her in Washington, DC, what began 58 H EASTOFTHERIVERDCNEWS.COM
by Charnice A. Milton
as a two-year assignment became a 16-year career. She is currently in her fourth year at Simon, after spending 10 years at Green Elementary and two at Stanton. While HollowellMakle has experience teaching from preschool to first grade, she spent the majority of her career teaching kindergarten. “That’s really their first exposure to writing,” she said. “They’re writing something to communicate their thoughts, opinions, to give some information about a particular topic. It really is the beginning of them understanding how reading and writing is a very powerful form of communication. It gives them a voice.”
Philosophy of Education
“I think my philosophy of education is really twofold,” Hollowell-Makle explained. “The first thing is I think that all children can and will learn.” She embraces this part of her philosophy not only as a teacher, but also as a national education advocate. According to her DCPS bio she con-
tributed to a finance project panel discussion on public school funding and participated in a roundtable discussion on early-childhood education with US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan. “The second thing is I think that all learning should be experiential. It has to evoke an experience.” For example, her class recently read a story about mangoes. “I just didn’t want mango to be a word in a book, because it’s a fruit the children aren’t familiar with,” Hollowell-Makle explained. So her class tasted mangoes and discussed their expectations, experiences, and opinions. “I don’t want us to just read about it on a
page,” she said. “I want us to experience it and employ all our senses.” Adelaide Flamer, Simon’s principal, approves Hollowell-Makle’s approach to teaching. “She’s very strong in terms of making readalongs interactive,” Flamer explained. “She always asks question like ‘Why?’ and “How do you know?’ while the children use evidence to back up their answers.” HollowellMakle’s teaching approach seems to be working. According to the DCPS website, more than 90 percent of her students had consistently demonstrated “early literacy at proficient or advanced levels” by the end of the 2012-13 school year.
Kathy Hollowell-Makle, named DCPS Teacher of the Year in 2013, hugs her students. Hollowell-Makle sat with First Lady Michelle Obama during the State of the Union address. Photo: DCPS
Teacher of the Year
Since 2009 DCPS staff, teachers, students, and community members have nominated teachers as “highly effective educators.” At least 20 are interviewed by DCPS and DC Public Education Fund staff at the beginning of the school year. By October a selection committee announces the Excellence in Teaching Award winners. In November the winners are rewarded during Standing Ovation for DC Teachers, an annual event held at the Kennedy Center. “I wasn’t surprised when I got the call,” Flamer said of her decision to nominate Hollowell-Makle. Hollowell-Makle’s teaching philosophy and track record made her an excellent candidate. “I knew her capabilities and I wanted others to know as well,” she said. “One day in October, I’m standing in the classroom,” HollowellMakle recalled. “Here comes the chancellor and my principal and some other administrative staff in the school and they told me that I won teacher of the year. I was totally shocked and surprised, but it was a nice surprise.” For her, winning the award is a testament not only to her own work, but also the collaborative efforts of Simon’s teachers and staff. Flamer agreed, saying “We have a highly effective group of educators here. Now I know others will see what I see.” Since Hollowell-Makle became Teacher of the Year, more teachers have requested to shadow her and her instructional aides in the classroom. “I’m always amazed that they think it’s impressive, because it’s what we do,” she said. “They want to know how do I get children to write, read, and think critically. Sometimes, it’s hard to articulate how it’s done; I just have to do it.” She also noted that while her class loved the attention, they were proud of their teacher. “I think they tell me that they’re proud of me because the parents have been overwhelmingly supportive,” she said. “Also, it gives the parents a greater sense of me, knowing what I’m doing,” she added with a laugh.
State of the Union
Upon her arrival at the White House, Hollowell-Makle attended a reception where she met her fellow guests and the First Lady. “She was very warm, very friendly, very engaging,” Hollowell-Makle said of the meeting. “She told us how proud that she and the President were of the work I was doing and she was thrilled that I was able to attend ... I just thought it was kind of ironic. You’re excited to be there. This isn’t something afforded to many people, and they kept stressing how excited they were for me to be there!” Hollowell-Makle described the atmosphere as warm, friendly, with “no pretentiousness at all.” The First Lady’s guests often represent topics the President plans to address. Hollowell-Makle’s presence indicated a focus on early-childhood education. “He’s pushing universal pre-K, which DC has,” she explained. While she believes that universal preschool helped better prepare most of her students, HollowellMakle hopes that expanding it countrywide will have a bigger impact.“There’s a lot of flux between communities in DC and Maryland,” she observed. “Universal pre-K would really help provide the same kind of success for all students regardless of whether they live in DC, Maryland, or Virginia.” “The other thing he talked about, graduation rates are on the rise, and I did my part to contribute to those graduation rates,” she continued. While Hollowell-Makle considered it a stretch, considering what can happen between kindergarten and twelfth grade, she hoped that she was chosen for her dedication to teaching. “It’s not that I think that I’m necessarily the best, but I do try awfully hard and I have very high expectations for my students and their parents,” she said. “With some effort and some expectations, children can achieve and feel good about their achievements, because I feel good about their achievements.” u
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Crossword Author: Myles Mellor • www.themecrosswords.com • www.mylesmellorconcepts.com
by Myles Mellor and Sally York Across:
1. Delivery person? 4. One may sit for a master 9. Disabled 13. Shrek, for one 17. “Wheel of Fortune” request 18. Dawn goddess 19. Elite military unit 21. Cambodian currency 22. Report on the Kettles’ choice of entree 26. Having two contrasting forms 27. Civil War side 28. Blight 29. Come up 30. Mar, in a way 31. Debatable 32. Swelling 35. Floors 37. Clothing 41. Fa follower 44. Japanese taste type 46. Fancy marbles 47. Gibberish 48. Bonus furlough for exemplary soldiers? 53. Kind of column 54. Egg on 55. Having the most thorns 56. Japanese-American 58. “For ___ a jolly ...” 59. Dine at home 60. Coast Guard rank: Abbr. 61. Saint Sebastian, e.g. 65. Breakfast choice 67. 1967 Monkees song 70. ___-ski 71. Second-largest city in Papua New Guinea 72. Part of “the works” 74. Italian bread 77. Area for lease in some large shopping centers 80. Football’s Armstrong 81. Bad behavior in a bar parking lot? 85. Affirm 86. Bermuda, e.g. 87. Alchemical solvent 88. Blue hue 89. Breaks down, in a way 90. Analyze 92. Additional 94. Dart 95. Book before Romans 98. Corrodes 102. Circle
106. Aqua ___ 108. Home remedy 110. Commercial dog-raiser’s motto? 113. Hires competition 114. All worked up 115. Spanish grocery 116. 1/100 of an afghani 117. “Anything ___?” 118. Hadron’s place 119. Dorm annoyance 120. 007, for one
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Board of Directors of the Greater Washington Urban League And The Annual Gala Committee Cordially invite you to the
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