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This event is partially funded by a grant from the Office of Commercial Revitalization


NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS 08 ............Go See Do 10 ............East of the River Calendar 18 ............The Bulletin Board 22 ............District Beat • by Martin Austermuhle 26 ............The Numbers • by Ed Lazere 28 ............Big K Liquor Lot Houses Homeless Guy • by John Muller 30 ............Harvard of te Hood • by Candance Y.A. Montague 32 ............FlexCare Pharmacy • by Jeremy Cullimore 33 ............Car Salesman Returns to Anacostia • by John Muller

EAST WASHINGTON LIFE 34 ............Ray’s Raises Dining Scene • by Celeste McCall 36 ............Tailor by Trade • by Tessa Moran 38 ............Art Man Compels You • by Michelle Phipps-Evans 40 ............Islamic Heritage Museum • by Virginia Avniel Spatz

32 38

KIDS & FAMILY 42 ............Kids and Family Notebook • by Kathleen Donner 46 ............On Fatherdood -Conversation w/ Adrianne Todman • by Khadijah Ali-Coleman

48 ............Anne Beers Aims Sky-High • by Alice Ollstein

HOMES & GARDENS 51 ............Changing Hands • compiled by Don Denton 52 ............The Classifieds


54 ............The Nose • by Anonymous

ON THE COVER: The Cultivators, 2000, Samuel L. Dunson, Jr., Oil on canvas

Opening October 15, 2010 at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, “The Kinsey Collection: Shared Treasures of Bernard and Shirley Kinsey – Where Art and History Intersect” chronicles 400 years of the African American experience. Presented by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African American History and Culture.

HILL RAG MID CITY DC EAST OF THE RIVER FAGON COMMUNITY GUIDES THE EDUCATION EDITION Capital Community News, Inc. 224 7th Street, SE, Suite 300, Washington, DC 20003 202.543.8300 • EXECUTIVE EDITOR: Melissa Ashabranner

Coalition for the Homeless 30th Anniversary Fubdraising Gala “Rebuilding Lives – Strengthening Communities” Tuesday, October 18, 2011 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Ronald Reagan Building and International Trade Center Atrium Ballroom The proceeds will fund homelessness prevention activities for families with children. For more details, please visit or website at




Kathleen Donner • Susan Johnson •

SOCIETY & EVENTS Mickey Thompson •


ARTS, DINING & ENTERTAINMENT ART: Jim Magner • DINING: Celeste McCall • HIT THE CITY: Joylyn Hopkins • LITERATURE: Karen Lyon • MOVIES: Mike Canning • MUSIC: Jean-Keith Fagon • RETAIL THERAPY: Scott Fazzini • THEATER: Barbara Wells • TRAVEL: Maggie Hall • THE WINE GUYS: Jon Genderson •


GENERAL ASSIGNMENT Michelle Evans • Celeste McCall • Heather Schoell • Virginia Avniel Spatz • Peter Waldron • Kathleen Donner • Stephanie Deutsch • Melanie Sunukjian • Shannon Holloway • Alice Ollstein • Amanda Abrahams • Lex Kiefhaber • Roberta Weiner • Gwyn Jones • John H. Muller •

Rindy O’Brien - Hill Gardener • Derek Thomas • Judith Capen • HomeStyle: Mark Johnson •


Roberta Weiner • • BARRACKS ROW: H STREET LIFE: Elise Bernard • THE NOSE: LOGAN CIRCLE • SHAW • Ralph Brabham: Ralph • BLOOMINGDALE: Eleanor Gourley • 14TH & U: Catherine Finn • ANC6B: GWYN JONES

PRODUCTION/GRAPHIC DESIGN LEAD DESIGNER / WEB MASTER: Jason Nickens 202.543.8300 X17 • GRAPHIC DESIGNER: Jason Yen 202.543.8300 X21 •

ADVERTISING & SALES SENIOR ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Deborah Bandzerewicz 202.543.8300 X13 • ACCOUNT EXECUTIVE: Kira Means 202.543.8300 X16 • CLASSIFIED ADVERTISING: Maria Carolina Lopez 202.543.8300 X12 • MARKETING ASST.: Giancarlo Fagon




Patricia Cinelli • Ronda Bresnick Hauss, LCSW • Peter Sherer •

ADVERTISING: DISPLAY ADS: 15th of each month CLASSIFIED ADS: 10th of each month EDITORIAL: 15th of each month; BULLETIN BOARD & CALENDAR: 15th of each month;,

We welcome suggestions for stories. Send queries to We are also interested in your views on community issues which are published in the Last Word. Please limit your comments to 250 words. Letters may be edited for space. Please include your name, address and phone number. Send Last Word submissions to For employment opportunities email

PUBLISHER: JEAN-KEITH FAGON • Copyright © 2010 by Capital Community News. All Rights Reserved. 6 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE


The Hawk’n’Dove is Closing! a Capitol Hill landmark since 1967

Partake of This Unique Capitol Hill Tradition One Last Time Come Down for Your Last Hawk Burger. Say Goodbye to Your Favorite Waitstaff! Enjoy a Round at the Hawk’s Famous Bar! Cheese Heads! Watch a Wisconsin Game! Trade Sports & Political Gossip! Listen as Paul Regales The Crowd with Tales of Yesteryear! If You Haven’t Experienced The Hawk, It’s Time!

329 Pennsylvaina Ave., SE 202.543.3300


GO.SEE.DO. Exercise Your Mynd, BK Adams IAMART BK Adams’s IAMART motto and works of art have appeared in public places and in galleries in Washington, DC., and have attracted a broad and devoted following. Using exuberant color, toys, and objects scavenged from everyday life, Adams’s work poses a call to the viewer to get involved with art. This exhibition is his latest effort to share with the viewer the landscape of his imagination. There are some familiar motifs and links from Adams’s life—bicycles, airplanes, and the nuclear family—that steadfastly travel through these imaginary landscapes. On view at the Anacostia Community Museum through November 27, 2011. 1901 Fort Place, SE. 202-633-4820.

Sitting on Knowledge 1,” 2010, Sculpture. Photo: Susana A. Raab

Takoma Park Folk Festival Billed as the DC area’s Woodstock without all the mud, this remarkable annual festival has seven stages of music and dance, a juried craft show and entertainment all day on Sunday, Sept. 11, 10:30 AM.-6:30 PM. Performing are singersongwirters David A. Alberding, David Glaser, Eric Scott, Jean Bayou, Jim Heald, Austin Ellis and Bob Sima along with a dozen rock, jazz, Irish, African, American Indian, acoustic guitar and folk bands. Takoma Park Middle School. 7611 Piney Branch Rd., Takoma Park, MD. (301589-0202. Primitivity, an amplified, hard-rock cello ensemble, will appear at 2:15 p.m. on the Seventh Heaven Stage. Photo: Courtesy of Takoma Park Folk Festival

Inaugural SW ArtsFest “Discover Southwest” This September, DC’s smallest quadrant will hold its first annual SW ArtsFest. SW ArtsFest 2011 will bring together nine different organizations to present a cross-section of Southwest’s cultural community through a three-day festival with the theme “Discover Southwest.” The collaboration will include the (e)merge art fair and the Marcãtus Creative Art Market, performances and children’s activities at Arena Stage at the Mead Center for American Theater, the 10th Annual DC Jazz Preservation Festival, the Amnesty International Human Rights Film Festival, an outdoor art studio for children, and much more. Sept. 23-25 at various venues in Southwest DC. (

Art All Night: Nuit Blanche DC Art All Night, DC’s first-ever overnight contemporary arts festival, will bring Paris’ Nuit Blanche to Washington on Saturday, September 24th. From 7:00 p.m. that night until 3:00 a.m. the following morning, painters, sculptors, dancers, filmmakers, musical artists, DJs and more will fill 20 public and private spaces, indoors and out, from Shaw to Gallery Place, along Seventh and Ninth streets, NW. While most artists will be from the DC metro area, an international contingent will include German, Spanish and French participants. Sponsored by Shaw Main Streets, the event is free. (For more information,

Bay Harvestfest Saturday, Sept. 10, noon-6:00 PM. This is the first annual Bay Harvestfest as the Town of North Beach revamps the ever-popular Bayfest. This year’s event will bring cooler weather, fall decorating along the town’s streets streets, children’s activities, and you can feast on Chesapeake Bay Crabs, Oysters and Shrimp while listening to Sam Grow Band and Anthony Ryan Country playing on the pavilion areas. (301-855-6681.



Parkside-Kenilworth Farmers Market Saturdays, 9:00 AM-1:00 PM. This new market is at the corner of Burnham Pl. and Kenilworth Terr. NE, one block from the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station pedestrian bridge on the Kenilworth Ave. side. 10 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE




Photo: Courtesy of Turkish Festival

Turkish Festival Sunday, Oct. 2 (rain or shine), 11:00AM-7:00 PM. The Turkish Festival offers a full day of activities such as folk dancing, music, arts and crafts for kids, traditional cuisine, fortune reading, and a bustling bazaar. Festival attendees will be able to leave their worries behind and feel as if they have traveled across oceans and through time. Free. On Pennsylvania Avenue, NW between 12th and 14th sts. NW (adjacent to Freedom Plaza). 1-888-282-3236. 9/11, 2001 REMEMBERED “Ten Years After 9/11” Exhibition. Aug. 23Sept. 30. Opening Reception, Sept. 8, 7:00 PM. Exhibition features work by 39 international artists. The Pepco Edison Place Gallery, 702 Eighth St. NW (entrance on Eighth between G and H sts.). 9/11 10th Anniversary: Artists’ Reaction Exhibition. Aug. 31-Sept. 25. Opening reception, Sept. 10, 10:00-4:00 PM. The artists of WPG have diverse backgrounds and practices, but many of them felt, as did artists across the nation and across the world, a need to respond to the tragedy of 9/11 through their


art. WPG member artists will show a selection of prints that were created in response to this world-changing event. Some prints were created shortly after the tragedy, others, after a time of reflection, and others more recently, as we near the 10th Anniversary. Washington Printmakers Gallery, 8230 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring, MD Arlington Police, Fire & Sheriff 9/11 Memorial 5K. Saturday, Sept. 10, 6:00 PM. Field is limited to 5000 runners. $35, race day. DoubleTree Hotel, Crystal City Arlington , VA. Pentagon Memorial 10 Year Commemoration. By invitation. Sept. 11, 9:30 AM. Cer| SEPTEMBER 2011

emony for families of 9/11 victims. The Pentagon Memorial will re-open to the general public following the ceremony. 301-740-3388. Mass at National Shrine. Sept. 11, noon. Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, will celebrate the Basilica’s Mass on the 10th Anniversary of September 11 in the Basilica’s Great Upper Church. It was Cardinal McCarrick who celebrated a special “impromptu” Mass on 9/11/01 at the Basilica in a crowded Great Upper Church. Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, 400 Michigan Ave. NE. 202-5268300.

Tribute to Service: Honoring the Victims, Survivors, & Heroes of 9/11. Sunday, Sept. 11, 1:00-4:00 PM. HandsOn Greater DC Cares and Serve DC will commemorate the 10th anniversary of 9/11 by hosting Tribute to Service: Honoring the Victims, Survivors, and Heroes of 9/11 at Freedom Plaza. The tribute serves as a time for community members to rekindle the spirit of service that emerged following the attacks of 9/11. Attendees will have the opportunity to paint a 9/11 Remembrance Mural, assemble educational kits for students, write honor cards to military families, participate in a volunteer fair featuring 30 nonprofits from DC, Maryland and Virginia, and participate in a tribute program featuring regional and national speakers, local choirs, poetry, and a dance troupe. 1331

Pennsylvania Ave. NW. Choralis Concert at National Presbyterian Church. Sunday, Sept. 11, 4:00 PM. Choralis is offering a special performance to commemorate this milestone anniversary with a program to uplift and inspire. A generous portion of complimentary tickets are available to area organizations and individuals with a personal connection to the 9/11 attacks, including families and survivors from the Pentagon, the organizers of the Pentagon Memorial, first responders from local police and fire departments as well as military veterans and their families. For tickets, please contact Helen Samhan, at 202-494-9141. 4101 Nebraska Ave. NW. 202-537-0800. Interfaith Prayer Vigil: Pentagon Attack, 2001. On Sunday, Sept. 11, 8:30 AM, the tenth anniversary of 9/11 will be commemorated during an interfaith prayer vigil led by Bishop of Washington John Bryson Chane. Brief meditations from interfaith leaders will mark the moments that airplanes struck the North Tower and South Tower of the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and crashed in Pennsylvania. The Cathedral’s Bourdon Bell, at 12 tons the largest bell in the 53bell Kibbey Carillon (150 feet above the ground in the Cathedral’s Gloria in Excelsis central tower), will toll ten times at 8:46 am, 9:03 am, 9:37 am, and 10:03 am in honor of the anniversary. The service will include words, music, and moments of silence. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202537-6200. A Call to Compassion: Critical Issues in the Light of Faith. Sunday, Sept. 11, 10:10 AM. Author Karen Armstrong will lead a forum on compassion, along with Cathedral Dean Sam Lloyd, between the morning vigil and the 11:15 am Holy Eucharist service. Karen Armstrong is a leading voice and thinker on the role of religion in the modern world and is the author of more than 20 books around the ideas of what Islam, Judaism, and Christianity have in common. Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202537-6200. For a Healing World Concert. Sunday, Sept. 11, 8:00 PM. The concert will feature noted narrators, with readings and reflections between pieces of music. Performances will feature popular artists and classical musicians. Music will include Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings, a movement from Leonard Bernstein’s Chichester Psalms, and “There Will Be Peace in the Valley.” Reflections written by the Dalai Lama, poetry by Rumi, and the words of other faith leaders will be included. President Barack Obama will give a major keynote address and his only formal remarks of the day at this event to mark the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.Washington National Cathedral, 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-537-6200. CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 13

CALENDAR September 11: Remembrance and Reflection Exhibit. Open through Sunday, Sept. 11, 3:00 PM. This exhibit will provide visitors with a closeup view of more than 50 objects from the three sites—New York, the Pentagon and Shanksville, Pa.—as well as recent acquisitions related to how American lives have changed since then. To create an intimate experience for visitors, the objects will be shown on tables rather than behind glass cases. Artifacts will include airplane fragments, a door from a crushed FDNY fire truck, a Pentagon map from the building’s second floor and objects recovered from offices. Photographs from the museum’s collection will provide a context for each site. National Museum of American History, 14th St. and Constitution Ave. NW. 202633-1000. The Pentagon Memorial. The Pentagon Memorial is designed so that the nation may remember and reflect on the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Groups and individuals are welcome in the Memorial each day but guided tours are not offered; the Memorial is meant to be experienced on a more personal level. Open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Staff on site 10:00 AM-8:00 PM. The Pentagon Memorial is on the west side of the Pentagon. 301-740-3388. Pentagon Memorial Audio Tour. The Pentagon Memorial Audio Tour was released in Feb. 2011. This 24-minute audio tour provides a sequential narrative of the events of September 11, 2001 at the Pentagon, the history of the Pentagon, and the purpose of the Pentagon Memorial’s design. As a visitor to the Memorial, simply call the number 202-741-1004 at the entrance and the audio will lead you on a tour to various points of interest throughout the park. You may also choose to listen to the audio prior to or following your tour of the Memorial.

SPECIAL EVENTS HCCA’s Fundraising Wine Tasting & Art Auction. The Hillcrest Community Civic Association invites the public to a fun-filled evening of wine tasting, and an art auction on Friday, Sept. 30, at 6 p.m. at St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 3601 Alabama Ave., SE. The art auction will be presented by Marlin Ross Auctions. Pieces will be presented, explained and auctioned in a professional manner appreciated by both gallery collectors and art novices. The preview and wine tasting starts 6 p.m. Auction is from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Purchase tickets from any board member, or on or visit Cost is $15 per single; $25 per couple. Questions, call Earl Williams at (202) 584-2703. When you purchase your tickets, indicate the type of art you are most interested in. Auction will include custom framed and matter works of art--original oils, watercolors, lithographs, etchings and serigraphs. Black Family Reunion Celebration. Saturday, Sept. 10. Festival, 11:00 AM-5:30 PM. Dorothy I. Height Tribute Concert 5:30-8:30 PM. This fun-filled day celebrates the enduring strengths and traditional values of the African American family and features educational pavilions, live music, ethnic foods and an international arts and crafts marketplace. Free. National Mall between Seventh and 14th sts.


NW. 202-383-9130. Citywide Booksale. Sept. 10, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM. MLK Library, 901 G St. NE. 202-727-6834 HillFest 2011. Sept. 10-24. Help celebrate Capitol Hill from H Street, NE to the Riverfront. Designed to introduce residents to all corners of this diverse community, Hillfest is a two-week series of events sponsored by the Hill Rag and produced in partnership with CHAMPS--Capitol Hill’s Chamber of Commerce. Hillfest starts with the inaugural H Street Chalk Walk on Sept. 10, moves on to the H Street Festival on Sept. 17 and ends with the Fall Festival on Barracks Row on Sept. 24. Hillfest offers opportunities to dine inexpensively, participate in selecting the Hill’s best baristas and bartenders and discover unique items carried by the neighborhood boutique retailers. Arts on Foot 2011. Sept. 10-11, 11:00 AM7:00 PM on Saturday and 11:00 AM-6:00 PM on Sunday. Seventh and F sts. NW. Incorporating visual art, music, theatre, dance, film, and creative cuisine, it’s an interactive celebration the whole family will enjoy. With a lively outdoor street festival as its centerpiece, Arts on Foot also invites you to explore the neighborhood’s museums, theaters, galleries, cultural organizations, and shops. Adams Morgan Day. Sunday, Sept. 11, noon7:00 PM. Four outdoor stages, art fair, live music, dance plaza, kid’s fair and food. 18th St. NW (from Florida Ave. to Columbia Rd.). 202-232-1960. Anacostia Community Museum 44th Anniversary Luncheon. Thursday, Sept. 15, noon2:00 PM, National Press Club, 529 14th St. NW. The theme of this year’s anniversary luncheon, “Community and Creativity,” is based on our upcoming exhibition series, Call and Response: Community and Creativity. David C. Driskell, artist and scholar, is this year’s recipient of the John R. Kinard Leadership in Community Service Award. The event will feature live entertainment and a silent auction. $125. For more information, call 202-633-4875 or email Kalorama House and Embassy Tour. Sunday, Sept. 18, noon-4:00 PM. The Woodrow Wilson House in the heart of Embassy Row will open doors to several Washington Embassies and outstanding private residences for the 27th Anniversary Kalorama House and Embassy Tour. $40. Fiesta Musical at the National Zoo. Sept. 18, 11:00 AM-5:00 PM. FONZ celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month with an annual fiesta at the National Zoo. With animal demonstrations, Hispanic and Latino music, costumed dancers, traditional crafts, and Latin American foods. The event offers something for everyone. Free. National Zoo, 3001 Connecticut Ave. NW. 202673-4717. National Book Festival. Sept. 24-25 (rain or shine), 10:00 AM-5:00 PM. Two full days of fun will feature award winning and nationally known authors, illustrators, poets and storytellers to delight you with their readings and performances. Free. National Mall (between Seventh and 14th sts.). 888-714-4696. 17th Street Festival. Sept. 24, 2:00-6:00 | SEPTEMBER 2011

PM. This is a free community event that celebrates the 17th Street Corridor from Riggs Pl. to P St. NW. This event hopes to bring broader exposure to their overall community including businesses, independent entrepreneurs, artists and musicians, their local public school, the police department and local protective agencies. This event will target the diverse groups in our area through a variety of parades, activities and opportunities to get involved with local organizations. 619-9726444. DC Jazz Preservation Festival. Saturday, Sept. 24 (rain or shine), noon-8:00 PM. “Preserving and celebrating the legacy of DC jazz...different great sets each hour.” Food and art/crafts sales. Towne Center Park, Fourth and I sts. SW (adjacent to Westminster Church). 202-4847700. Christ Lutheran Church Annual Yard Sale. Sept. 24, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM; Sept. 25, noon4:00 PM. Christ Lutheran Church, 5101 16th St. NW (at Gallatin). 202-829-6727

AROUND THE NEIGHBORHOOD Tile Painting Workshop. Saturday, Sept. 10, 10:30 AM-2:30 PM. Paint your own decorative tile for the home or office. Plan and paint a special tile with a design—abstract, animal, person, object—that captures your special interest. For reservations, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. Been There, Done That. Saturday, Sept. 10, 6:00 PM. Sowing Seeds Drama Ministry presents “Been There, Done That,” an original play written and directed by Geneva Carney which portrays the power of prayer. Sheila Wilson is the rock of her family, who is always been able to fix everything. Until now - The sudden death of her sister, taking in her grieving nephew, her husband’s depression and her daughter’s unexpected announcement leaves her weary and worn-out. Oh, yes! She knows the Lord but Sheila quickly does as she would always do - She takes the situation into her own hands. $22. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. Mr. Dial Has Something to Say (video). Sunday, Sept. 11, 3:00 PM. This feature documentary explores the visual arts and focuses on the life of Thornton Dial. His improvisational style of painting mimics the spontaneity of jazz and reflects a tradition of creativity that dates from Africa through the period of slavery and continues to the present day. The terms “outsider,” “visionary,” “primitive,” “folk,” and “naïve” have all been applied to his style of painting. Other related subjects include blues and gospel and a broader discussion about self-taught artists. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. Images--Secrets from Within: Benefit Gala for THE Wanda Alston House. Sunday, Sept. 11, 6:30 PM. The OASIS Dance Company premieres, “Images…Secrets from Within,” a dance and fashion extravaganza showcasing six new dances alongside fashion designers from MD, DC, LA, and NY. The evening is a benefit show to raise much needed funds for the Transgender Health Empowerment’s Wanda

Alston House. In addition, the night will recognize community leaders for their distinguished service to LGBTQ youth in the DC Metropolitan area. $25. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. (Un)Lock It: the Percussive People in the Go-Go Pocket by Thomas Sayers Ellis. Through Oct. 7. The photographs are a documentation of the recent history of Go-Go, its vanishing folk culture, the onstage and off struggles to prevent itself from being evicted from the city in which it was born more than 30 years ago, the effects of gentrification on the community, and its contribution toward Home Rule.. Taken at band practices, band reunions, small local venues, block parties, private parties, weddings, funerals, political rallies and on the streets of D.C., these photographs (while celebrating Go-Go) also ask, Can Go-Go and Statehood for D.C. coexist? The Gallery at Vivid Solutions, 2208 MLK Ave. SE. 202-365-8392. Common Legal Issues for Emerging & Existing Creative Businesses. Tuesday, Sept. 13, 7:00 PM. This valuable panel discussion with Q&A session includes a brief presentation on common issues and pitfalls attorneys regularly see with their creative business clients. Targeting both emerging and existing entrepreneurs, this event can help you protect your creative endeavor and watch it grow. Bring your pads, pens, and plenty of questions for our legal experts. Co-Sponsored by the Washington Area Lawyers for the Arts (WALA). Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. SOS: Steps of Success to Wellness. Sept. 15, Oct. 20, Nov. 17, and Dec, 15, 5:00-7:00 PM. The SOS: Steps of Success to Wellness is a free six session training series, taught by exceptional and experienced medical practitioners including several pediatricians and a dentist. Participants who attend all six sessions receive a $100 gift card. Those who attend 5 sessions receive a $50 gift card, and $25 if you attend 4. Participants must be at least 18 to be eligible for the gift card. All attendees also receive a certificate. For more information or to register, contact Ellen Wiggins at 202-436-3076. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. Exhibition Tour with BK. Saturday, Sept. 17, 10:30 AM. Join artist BK Adams as he talks about his artistic passion and motivation. You will be guided on a journey of discovery and delight of more than 70 painted constructions, on view. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. Origami Workshop. Sunday, Sept. 18, 1:003:00 PM. Enjoy a fun time that introduces the beginner to the skills and techniques of paper folding. Create a candy dish, puppet, cup, and other interesting objects. This is a family-friendly activity for ages 8 and older. For reservations, call 202-633-4844. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202633-4820. What’s Blooming in September at the Arboretum? Firethorn in fruit, hibiscus, viburnums in fruit, autumn crocuses, boxwood, crapemyrtles, herbs, annuals, holly osmanthus, pepper collection, hostas. Free. There are two entrances: one at 3501 New York Ave. NE, and 24th and R sts. NE, off of Bladensburg Rd. 202-245-4521. Researching Community History. Thursday, Sept. 22, 7:00 PM. Join them as historian Matthew Gilmore provides a workshop on the use of public records, maps, and deeds located in local archival resources in the District of Columbia to discover the history of your home and neighborhood. Gilmore specializes in the history of the District of Columbia and adjacent areas, city/urban planning, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), cartography, HCI/UI, information systems, publishing, and photography. Gilmore is the founding editor of H-DC, the Washington, DC, history discussion list. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. Public Lands Day at Kenilworth Park. Saturday, Sept. 24, 8:30 AM2:00 PM. Join other volunteers in improving Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens. Gather with others for public lands cleaning to get the grounds ready for fall. Trash removal, dead plant removal and cutting vines from trees are all possibilities. Meet at the maintenance yard. Ward 7 Artists’ Studio Tour. Saturday, Sept. 24, 9:30 AM-12:30 PM. Join them on the first ever tour of artists’ studios in Ward 7, where you will be introduced to the working spaces of painter Rik Freeman, ceramicist Mark Brown, and ceramicist and mixed-media artist Deidra Bell. This three-hour art experience will provide you with an in-depth look at how these artists plan and create their work. This program is a collaboration between the Ward 7 Arts Collaborative and the Anacostia Community Museum. Artists, art followers, students, and collectors are welcome. All participants must travel on the museum’s shuttle bus, which leaves the museum at 9:30 AM. For reservations, call 202-6334868 by September 21. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. Kindred Spirits: Contemporary African American Artists (video). Sunday, Sept. 25, 2:00 PM. Poet and professor Maya Angelou appears as a special guest on this video about the work of contemporary African American artists including John Biggers, Bessie Harvey, Lois Mailou Jones, Jean Lacy, Renee Stout, and others who offer their insights into their work and the unbreakable spiritual bond that stretches back through time to their African ancestors. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-6334820. Can You Turn Your Back On God’s Glory? Sunday, Sept. 25, 3:00 PM and 7:00 PM. “Can You Turn Your Back on God’s Glory” is the story of a young man who overcomes many

obstacles in his life. His devotion and love for Christ guides him on the right path for several years, but as life would have it, a chain of peculiar events from his past begin to make him question his trust and loyalty to the One who has brought him thus far. $25. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901.

SPORTS, DANCE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS Washington Nationals Baseball Home Games. Sept. 10, 11, 16, 17, 18, 23, 24 and 25. $5, up. South Capitol and N sts. SE. washington. The Nation’s Triathlon. Sunday, Sept. 11, 6:00 AM. This event features a course that winds through Washington, DC’s monument corridor in the shadow of the nation’s best known memorials and national treasures. triathlon, sanctioned by the USAT, includes a 1.5k swim, 40K bike and 10k Run. 202-629-0200. CitySolve Urban Race (5K). Saturday, Sept. 17, noon. CitySolve is a unique city-wide adventure that takes a lot of brain, a bit of brawn, and a ton of fun! More than a scavenger hunt, not quite a road race, this unique hybrid combines trivia, from pop culture to world history, with a team-oriented adventure. It’s the race for runners who like to think, thinkers who like to compete, and everyone who likes to play. Throw in a few checkpoint challenges, (think Double Dare, without the slime,) and you’ve got CitySolve Urban Race. 510-3714386. Four Seasons Sprint for the Cure 5K. Saturday, Sept. 17, 8:00 AM. Four Seasons Hotel, 2800 Pennsylvania Ave. NW. 202-944-2074. Run! Geek! Run! 8K. Saturday, Sept. 17, 8:00 AM. West Potomac Park, 1100 Ohio Dr. Race will benefit the Equal Footing Foundation, a Virginia based 501(C)(3) nonprofit focused on youth development and education and is the charitable arm of the Northern Virginia Technology Council (NVTC). 703-218-3555. The Dash 5K. Sunday, Sept. 18, 8:00 AM. Rock Creek Park. Capital Sprints continues The Dash series with a third event. Racers will take on the challenging, timed 5K. The Dash 5K benefits Children’s National Medical Center. 202-2711633. Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K. Sept. 24, 8:00 AM. This event is pet friendly and there will be food,

entertainment, activities for the kids and prizes awarded to the top individual and team fundraisers by the 5K Grand Marshal, Good Morning America’s Weather Anchor Sam Champion. $25. West Potomac Park. DC United Soccer Home Matches. Sept. 21 and 24, 7:30 PM. On Sept. 24, $15 college night tickets available. $23-$52. RFK Stadium. 202587-5000. Washington Nationals Pups in the Park. Saturday, Sept. 24, 1:05 PM. Nat’s vs. Braves. Bring your wellbehaved dog (on a leash) to the ball park. Tickets for you and your dog are $25 which includes a $5 donation to Humane Society. Prevent Cancer Foundation 5K. Sept. 24, 8:00 AM. This event is pet friendly and there will be food, entertainment, activities for the kids and prizes awarded to the top individual and team fundraisers by the 5K Grand Marshal, Good Morning America’s Weather Anchor Sam Champion. $25. West Potomac Park. Washington Capitals Convention & Fan Fest. Saturday, Sept. 24, Walter E Washington Convention Center. Ticket prices are $45 for adult autograph tickets, $30 for non-autograph tickets, $25 for youths 14 and under (children two and under do not need a ticket) and there is a very limited number of Golden Tickets (that will guarantee you an autograph from every Caps player in attendance) available. Rock Creek Park Trail Rides. On Saturdays and Sundays through Oct. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays through Aug., take a one-hour guided horseback ride through Rock Creek Park. Weekend rides are at 9:30 AM, 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM on Saturdays and 11:00 AM and 12:30 PM on Sundays. Weekday rides are at 6:00 PM. No prior experience is necessary but riders must be under 200 lbs. except for one horse that can carry up to 225 lbs. Reserve you ride well in advance at or call 202-362-0117. $40. Rock Creek Horse Center, 5100 Glover Road, 1/2 block south of Military Road, NW. Watch for signs.

Animal Clinic of Anacostia Candace A. Ashley, DVM 20 years of serving Capitol Hill (minutes from Capitol Hill & Southwest via 11th Street Bridge)

2210 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave, SE

202.889.8900 American Express, MasterCard, Visa & Discover accepted

US National Arboretum Full Moon Hikes. Registration open for hikes in September, October, and November. They always fill up so register early. 202-245-4521. Kung Fu and Tai Chi at the Historical Society of Washington, DC. Every Saturday (rain or shine). Kung Fu, noon; Tai Chi, 1:00 PM. Suitable for all ages. Kung Fu is a CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 15

broad term that is used to describe all martial arts of Chinese origin. The ancient art of Tai Chi is a style of Kung Fu that emphasizes internal energy. Free. No RSVP required. Historical Society of Washington, DC, 801 K St. NW (Mount Vernon Square). 202-383-1850. historydc. org Pick-up Field Hockey on the Mall. Every Monday at 6:00 PM. Meets at the fields in front of the Smithsonian Metro stop for males and females who have a passion for field hockey. No experience necessary. Bring water, shinguards, mouthguard, cleats, a field hockey stick, and either a reversible jersey or a light and dark shirt - no grays please. Free. Fort Dupont Ice Arena. Public skating in Sept. Fridays, noon-1:50 PM and Saturdays 11:15-12:15 PM. 3779 Ely Place, SE. 202-584-5007.

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Free public tennis courts in Wards 7 and 8. Fort Davis Community Center, 1400 41st St. SE; Hillcrest Recreation Center, 3100 Denver St. SE; Kenilworth-Parkside Recreation Center, 4300 Anacostia Ave. NE; Randle Highlands Tennis Courts, 31st St. and Pennsylvania Ave. SE; Anacostia Park, 1900 Anacostia Dr. SE; Bald Eagle Recreation Center, Martin Luther King, Jr Ave. and Joliet St. SW; Congress Heights Recreation Center, Alabama Ave. and Randle Pl.SE; Fort Stanton Community Center, 1812 Erie St. SE. All courts are open daily, dawn to dusk. Some are lighted for extended evening play. Courts are available on a first-come, first-served basis for one-hour intervals; extended use of tennis courts requires a permit. Proper shoes and attire is required. 202-671-0314. Deanwood (indoor) Pool. Mon-Fri 6:30 AM-8:00 PM; Sat-Sun, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. Free for DC residents. 1350 49th St. NE. 202-671-3078. Ferebee Hope (indoor) Pool. Open weekdays, 10:00-6:00 PM. Closed weekends. Free for DC residents. 3999 Eighth St. SE. 202-645-3916. East Potomac Driving Range. Open daily except Christmas, 5:30 AM to 9:30 PM. Tuesdays open 10:00 AM to 9:30 PM. The East Potomac Driving Range features 50 covered and 50 uncovered stalls for year-round golf practice. $6 for 51 balls. East Potomac Golf Course, 972 Ohio Dr. SW. 202-554-7660. Langston Driving Range. Open every day except Christmas, sun-up to sun-down. In addition to the driving range, Langston has an 18 hole course, snack bar, pro shop and offers golf lessons. 45 balls, $4.75. 180 balls, $14.25. $2, golf club rental. 26th and Benning Rd. NE.

202-397-8638. African Dance Class. Every Monday, 7:15-8:30 PM. For adults. No prior experience necessary. Walk-ins welcome. THEARC. $10. 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901. Yoga Class. Every Saturday, 10:0011:15 AM. For adults. No prior experience necessary. Walk-ins welcome. THEARC. $10. 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901.

MARKETS Aya Community Market. Sept. 17, (third Saturday of every month through Nov.), 11:00 AM-5:00 PM, Pennsylvania Avenue Baptist Church, 3000 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The market will provide resources for healthy and sustainable communities through farm fresh produce; educational health speakers and live musical performances; locally produced handmade crafts and baked goods; art, youth activities and more. They are interested in recruiting qualified local farmers and other vendors. Contact Tarik Lott to become a vendor at ayamarkets@ or 202-7145568. Ward 8 Farmer’s Market. Saturdays, 9:00 AM-2:00 PM. Farmers and vendors will be selling their fresh produce in THEARC’s parking lot every Saturday. There will also be free food samples and expert advice from a UDC Nutritionist. WIC Coupons, Senior Coupons, and Food Stamps accepted. 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE.

CIVIC LIFE Big Chair Breakfast Bunch. Saturday, Sept. 10, 10:00 AM-noon. Big Chair Coffee n’ Grill (upstairs). All are welcome to attend and discuss what’s happening East of the River. 2122 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE. 202-525-4287. Tenant Summit. Sept. 17, 8:30 AM-5:00 PM. Free. Gallaudet University, Kellogg Conference Center, 800 Florida Ave. NE. 202-719-6560. DC Taxicab Commission Public Meeting. Wednesday, Sept. 21, 9:30 AM. The agenda will include time for comments from the Commissioners and staff reports as well as communications and presentations from the Mayor, the DC Council and District, regional and federal agencies. The meeting will also include a segment allowing public comment from individuals who register in advance to speak. Commission votes on subjects for which

public comments have previously been received. One Judiciary Square Building (first floor), 441 Fourth St. NW. 202-645-6018. Congresswoman Norton’s NW District Office. Open weekdays, 9:00 AM-6:00 PM. 529 14th St. NW. 202783-5065. Councilmember Alexander’s Constituent Services Office. Open weekdays, 10:00 AM-6:00 PM. 2524 Penn. Ave. SE. 202-581-1560. Councilmember Barry’s Constituent Services Office. Open weekdays, 9:00 AM-5:00 PM. 2100 MLK Ave, SE, #307. 202-698-2185. Ward 7 Democrats Monthly Meeting. Fourth Saturday, noon-2:00 PM. Ward Memorial AME Church, 241 42nd St. NE. 202-584-8477 or info@ward7democrats. 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 Monthly Meeting. Third Monday, 6:30 PM. Hughes Memorial United Methodist, 25 53rd St. NE. Historical Anacostia Block Association. Second Thursday, 7:009:00 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. Deanwood Citizens Association General Body Meeting. Fourth Monday, except Aug. and Dec., 6:30 PM. First Baptist Church of Deanwood, 1008 45th St. NE Eastland Gardens Civic Association Meeting. Third Tuesday. 6:308:30 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. 6th District Citizens Advisory Council. Second Monday, except July and Aug. 7:00 PM. 6th District HQ, 100 42nd St. NE. ANC Meeting for 7-A. Third Tuesday, 7:30 PM. Benning-Stoddard Rec. Center, 100 Stoddard Pl. SE. 202-727-1000.

ANC Meeting for 7-B. Third Thursday, 7:00 PM. Ryland Epworth United Methodist Church, 3200 S St. SE (Branch Ave and S St. SE). 202-584-3400. anc7b@ ANC Meeting for 7-C. Second Thursday, 7:00 PM. Sargent Memorial Presbyterian Church, 5109 Nannie Helen Burroughs Ave. NE. 202-398-5100. ANC Meeting for 7-D. Second Tuesday, 6:30 PM. Sixth District Police Station, 100 42nd St. NE. 202-398-5258. ANC Meeting for 7-E. Second Tuesday, 7:00-8:30 PM. Jones Memorial Church, 4625 G St. SE. 202-582-6360. ANC Meeting for 8-A. First Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Anacostia UPO Service Center, 1649 Good Hope Rd. SE. 202-8896600. ANC Meeting for 8-B. Third Tuesday, 7:00 PM. Seventh District Police Station Community Center, Alabama and McGee Sts. SE. 202-610-1818. ANC Meeting for 8-C. First Wednesday (June meeting is on the nineth because of the holiday), 6:30 PM. 2907 MLK Jr Ave. SE. 202-388-2244. ANC Meeting for 8-D. Fourth Thursday, 7:00 PM. Specialty Hospital of Washington, 4601 MLK Jr. Ave. SW. 202 561-0774 ANC Meeting for 8-E. Third Tuesday, 7:00 PM. SE Tennis and Learning Center, 701 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-5616616.

OUT OF TOWN Rosslyn Jazz Fest. Saturday, Sept. 10, 1:00-7:00 PM. The “all-headliner” lineup for 2011 includes Dee Dee Bridgewater; Tony Awardee and Grammy-winning vocalist, Henry Butler; New Orleans pianist/vocalist, Grace Kelly; saxophonist and Al Williams Quartet featuring vocalist Juanita Williams. The Rosslyn Jazz Festival is broadcast live by jazz station WPFW 89.3 FM. Gateway Park, an urban park across the Key Bridge from DC. 703-522-6628. Haymarket Day. Sept. 17 (rain date, 9/18), 9:00 AM-4:00 PM. This is the Hollywood-perfect small town celebration--Shriners in funny hats driving mineature cars, high school bands, greasy hamburgers grilled by volunteer firefighters and electioneering local politicians. While you’re there, take a few minutes to visit the Haymarket Museum. It chronicles the story of this small, 19th century town and its surrounding agricultural community. Haymarket is only an hour from DC. The parade starts at 10:00 AM. 703-7532600. ● CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 17


Rev. Williams and collie and Jason Summers. Photo: Courtesy of St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church

St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church to Celebrate 67th Annual Homecoming St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church will celebrate 67 years of Christian service on October 1 and 2. Guided by the theme, “A Joint Venture: One Body, Many Parts” (1 Corinthians, 12:20), the homecoming will focus on unity in diversity. Renowned for its social activism, community outreach and civic involvement, St. Timothy’s has sparked long-term and significant changes in the daily lives of people nearby and around the world. Its ministries feed and clothe families here and in Haiti, provide affordable early education and child care services, and support the ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Washington such as the Bishop John Walker School or Boys. The church also serves as a community voting precinct host site for residents of the Hillcrest community. The homecoming events will include The Blessing of Animals, a Festival Eucharist and sermon, and a gala reception. The Rev. Dionne B. Moore of Fort Foote Baptist Church in Fort Washington, Maryland, will be the guest preacher. The Blessing of Animals (Pet owners may bring their pets to receive a blessing.) is on Saturday, Oct 1, 11:00-noon on the front lawn. Festival Eucharist and Sermon, followed by a Gala Reception is on Sunday, Oct 2, 9:00 AM. St. Timothy’s Episcopal Church, 3601 Alabama Ave. SE

Rake in the Water Savings and Help Clean-up the Anacostia You already know that rain is a free and natural water source for watering your lawn and garden. Saving rainwater saves you money and energy. A rain barrel can save most homeowners as much as 1,300 gallons of water during the peak summer months. You can cut your water bill by installing a rain barrel in your yard since water for lawns and gardens can make up nearly 40% of total household water use during the summer. Rain barrels can be purchased at your local hardware or garden supply store. Many local government programs offer them at reduced prices. For more information visit 18 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE

Skating at Anacostia Park Family Day Bring the family and join Aban at Anacostia Park Roller Skating Pavilion on Saturday, Sept. 10, 1:00-5:00 p.m. Roller skate for free (National Park Service loans skates) and receive health and wellness information and resources. There will also be a school supply giveaway. Contact Nura Green, 202-439-6343 or email

New Ward 7 Farmers Market Opens The Parkside-Kenilworth Farmers Market will launch in the Parkside neighborhood on Saturday, Sept. 3, 9:00 a.m.-1:00 p.m., and will run every Saturday until Thanksgiving. The new market is at the corner of | SEPTEMBER 2011

Burnham Pl. and Kenilworth Terr. NE, one block from the Minnesota Avenue Metro Station pedestrian bridge on the Kenilworth Ave. side.

St. Elizabeth’s East Campus Development Advisory Council Leader’s Named Mayor Gray has announced the formation and leadership of an advisory board to help guide the development of the St. Elizabeths East Campus area. “The goal of the St. Elizabeths East Campus redevelopment mirrors my overall agenda for the city,” said Mayor Gray. “The prospect of bringing the federal government, the District

government, the best and the brightest of the business community, our residents and our educators together to work toward the mutual goal of creating jobs for residents in Wards 7 and 8 as well as increasing the overall prosperity and economic diversity of our city is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Mayor Gray named George Vradenburg, Herb Miller and Telaekah Brooks to lead the board, with each chairing a committee. George Vradenburg is a former AOL/Time Warner Executive Vice President and co-founder of the Chesapeake Crescent Initiative. He will chair the board’s Innovation Committee. Mr. Vradenburg is a graduate of Oberlin College and Harvard Law School and a former Vice President and General Counsel for CBS, Inc. and Fox, Inc. He lives in Ward 3. Herb Miller, Founder and Chairman of the Board of the Western Development Corporation, is a Washington native and a graduate of George Washington University with a degree in urban and regional development. Mr. Miller has developed over 20 million square feet of projects, including the landmark District projects of Georgetown Park, Washington Harbour, Market Square and Gallery Place. He will chair the board’s Real Estate Committee, and resides in Ward 2. Telaekah Brooks, Dean of the School of Professional Studies at Trinity Washington University and a small business advocate, will chair the Education Committee. She received a B.A. in sociology from the University of Michigan and a J.D. from Howard University Law School. She lives in Ward 5. The remaining Advisory Board members will be announced in September.

Mayor Gray on Petroleum-based Material in Anacostia In response to the petroleum-based material discovered on the Anacostia River on Monday, Aug. 15, Mayor Vincent C. Gray issued the following statement: “I am very concerned about this petroleum-based substance that has been identified on the Anacostia River. Anything that poses a threat to the overall health and welfare of our citizens and our wildlife is of great con-

cern to me and deserves immediate attention. I’ve been informed that once the inspectors from the District Department of the Environment identified the petroleum-based substance in the Anacostia River yesterday, units from the DC Fire and Emergency Medical Services were immediately dispatched to the location. They found an oil-type substance in the area of Kingman Lake, located on the Anacostia River near Benning Rd. and a preliminary test of the water came back positive for a petroleum product. “FEMS immediately surrounded the spill with boom to contain and dissolve it. The Naval District Washington hazmat unit supplied and placed additional boom until all on-scene resources were exhausted. The Metropolitan Police Department’s Harbor Patrol checked all barges on the river and other possible sources up to the Sousa Bridge to determine the source of the spill, but was not able to identify the source. The US Coast Guard arrived shortly after to assess the spill and to take command of the situation. The Coast Guard reported that their initial search and assessment has not revealed that any of the petroleum-based product remains in the river. However, they continue to assess this situation.”

Anacostia River Business Summit 2011 Sept. 20, 8:00 a.m.-12:30 p.m., 100 M St. SE. Meeting to discuss river clean-up, its destination qualities and its impact on economic development initiatives in the city. Sponsors and exhibitors are being sought. Contact or 202-465-7093 for more information. The Anacostia Watershed Society will give two 45 minute boat tours after the summit, so be sure to sign up at their expo table when you get to the event because space is limited.


NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS Volunteer at the Anacostia Community Museum Dedicated volunteers are needed to assist the museum in a variety of research, educational, and collections activities. Interested persons are urged to contact Shelia Parker at 202-633-4823. Anacostia Community Museum, 1901 Fort Pl. SE. 202-633-4820. anacostia.

Ward 8 Democrats Biennial Convention On Sept. 17, noon-4:00 p.m., Savoy Elementary School, 2400 Shannon Pl. SE, the Ward 8 Democrats will hold their biennial convention, at which the organization adopts its bylaws, its platform and elects its leadership to two-year terms. The following residents, from all walks of life, all parts of the ward and of very diverse occupations and interests have formed the Ward 8 Action Democrats, a slate which will work collectively to be elected to the organization’s leadership positions: Presidentm, Pastor Joyce Scott; 1st Vice President, Markus Batchelor; 2nd Vice President, Sandy Allen; Recording Secretary, Pat Smith; Corresponding Secretary, Leona Martin; Treasurer, Darryl Ross. Voting is from noon-2:00 p.m.

AfterDark@THEARC Annual Gala On Saturday, Sept. 17, 6:30 p.m. you are invited to join THEARC suppporters for AfterDark@THEARC, their annual gala to support THEARC (Town Hall Education Arts Recreation Campus) and its partners: Building Bridges Across The River; Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Washington; Children’s National Medical Center: Children’s Health Project of DC; Corcoran Gallery of Art: Corcoran ArtReach; Covenant House Washington; Levine School of Music; LIFT-DC; Parklands Community Center; Trinity Washington University; The Washington Ballet; Washington Middle School for Girls. Individual tickets are $250. THEARC, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-889-5901.

Frederick Douglass’ Library Frederick Douglass’ library is a special place. Lit by its three large windows, books on almost every imaginable subjects fill the many bookcases. Off to 20 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE

the side, a black iron stove promises cozy warmth on cold days. In the center of the room, a heavy wooden desk sits awaiting the author’s next great sentence. Douglass was a true man of letters, and standing in his library his ideas seem to fill the room. It is a room where if you close your eyes and reach out your hands it seems almost possible to touch the mind of Frederick Douglass. A visit to Cedar Hill is a wonderful way to experience Douglass’ ideas. However, a tour of the house doesn’t allow for a close inspection of the titles in the library’s book cases. Fortunately, There is now a searchable list of all the books in the Park Service’s collection. It may not be a complete list of all the books Douglass owned, but they believe that it covers that vast majority. They hope to eventually also post lists of his pamphlets and music.

East of the River Clergy, Police, Community Partnership Since its genesis in August 1999, the East of the River Clergy, Police, Community Partnership (ERCPCP) has made dramatic strides in reducing violent crime among youths in the Southeast DC. The Southeast section has the city’s highest rates of homicide, highest rates of teen pregnancy, and lowest rates of educational achievement. The collaboration among churches, law enforcement, social service agencies and area residents holds considerable promise to begin renewal and rebirth in neighborhoods east of the Anacostia River. ERCPCP’s mission is to reverse the incidence of violent crimes, reduce the rate of recidivism, and foster educational achievement. It works with youth already in the criminal justice system or at greatest risk of dropping out of school. An intervention based model, ERCPCP seeks to change the direction of youth who perpetrate violent crimes and serve as new recruits for violence and failure because of educational dysfunction and disinterest. The office is located at 4105 First St. SE. 202-373-5767.

Washington Highlands Library Construction Update Construction of the new Washington-Highlands Neighborhood Library has begun. The new building will open | SEPTEMBER 2011

in late fall 2011. The 22,000 square foot library will feature: welcoming spaces with comfortable seating; more than 40,000 books, DVDs and other library materials with a capacity to hold up to 80,000; children’s story room for storytelling and other children’s activities; dedicated areas for adults, children and teens; 40 computers with free Wi-Fi Internet access; laptops for personal use or computer training classes; 100person community room adjacent to a new outdoor patio; two 12-person conference rooms; four quiet study rooms; environmentally-friendly design. An interim location is open at 4037 South Capitol St. SW. during construction and offers many books, CDs, DVDs and other library materials, 20 public computers with free Wi-Fi Internet access and has programs and events for children, teens and adults. As part of the construction project, the Library partnered with the Department of Local Small Business Development to launch a new Mentor-Protege program. The program identifies small certified local businesses to be mentored by larger businesses with the goal of creating more opportunities for small firms to work on government contracts. Coakley Williams, Inc. is serving as the mentor to Blue Skye Development Company, LLC to build the new Washington Highlands Library. 202-243-1184.

New Boxing Annex at Bald Eagle Recreation Center The DC Department of Parks and Recreation is expanding and modernizing the Bald Eagle Recreation Center with three project components: modernization, boxing annex expansion, and outdoor improvements. A new 6,600 square-foot addition will house Bald Eagle’s boxing program. The new building will include a boxing gym, a fitness area, locker rooms, shadow boxing area, a trophy case, pantry and storage and office area. Work is ongoing. Bald Eagle Recreation Center, 100 Joliet St. SW.

Third Annual DPR Doggie Day Swim The DC Department of Parks and Recreation will partner with the Department of Health to host their 3rd Annual DPR Doggie Day Swim on Saturday, Sept. 10, noon-4:00 p.m. at the Upshur Pool, 4300 Arkansas Ave.

NW and Banneker Pool, 2500 Georgia Ave. NW. With the end of the outdoor swimming season, this annual event provides dogs with a one day opportunity to enjoy a swim and play games. DOH will be on location to monitor the health and safety of the pets and their owners. They will also provide outreach and education regarding pet vaccinations, dog licenses and dog park licenses. Admission is free to DC residents and their dogs. Attendance the day of the event will be based on capacity at the time of arrival. During the Doggie Day Swim, there will be limits to the number of dogs in the pool area at one time; 75 dogs at Upshur Pool, and 150 dogs at Banneker Pool. 202-671-1289.

Library of Congress and Smithsonian Launch Civil Rights History Project Website The American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American History and Culture have launched The Civil Rights History Project at folklife/civilrights. The portal presents the results of a nationwide inventory of oral-history interviews with participants in the civil rights movement. The research, which was initiated and completed in 2010, identified several hundred collections held in libraries, museums, archives, universities, historical societies, and other institutions across the nation. The database and search tool, developed by Library of Congress catalogers and web designers, will enable researchers to efficiently query the survey results and locate collections in repositories around the country.

DC Walk for the Animals The Washington Humane Society will host its annual DC Walk for the Animals on Saturday, Oct. 1, 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., at the Marie Reed Learning Center in Adams Morgan. Every dollar raised supports the programs and services of the Washington Humane Society. ●

REQUEST FOR PROPOSALS for Low Income Housing Tax Credit Syndication for Highland Dwellings District of Columbia Housing Authority

Solicitation No: 0266-2011 THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA HOUSING AUTHORITY (DCHA) is seeking with this solicitation a qualified responded to become the Investor Limited Partner in a District of Columbia limited partnership with a wholly owned for-profit affiliate of the DCHA which will own and operate Highland Dwellings, a 208 rental unit low income housing development. Highland Dwellings is multi-phased substantial rehabilitation of the current conventional public housing property situated on 12 acres in Southeast Washington, DC. SOLICITATION DOCUMENTS will be available at District of Columbia Housing Authority, 1133 North Capitol Street, NE, Suite 300, Administrative Services/Contract, Washington, D.C. 20002-7599 (Issuing Office); between the hours of 9:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday through Friday, beginning Tuesday, September 6, 2011. QUESTIONS regarding this solicitation will be accepted from Tuesday, September 6th through Tuesday, September 13th until 3:00pm. PROPOSAL DOCUMENTS are due to the Issuing Office by 12:00 Noon on Friday, September 23, 2011. Contact the Issuing Office on (202) 535-1212 for additional information or via email at



Closure in the Sulaimon Scandal by Martin Austermuhle


ver since the start of Mayor Vincent Gray’s term, the city has been roiled by allegations of improper hiring practices, excessive executive salaries and covert payments from one campaign to another during the heated 2010 mayoral contest. The controversies not only cast a pall upon Gray’s honeymoon in office, but also threatened his capacity to govern and emboldened opponents to threaten him with a recall come 2012. In late August, a D.C. Council committee charged with investigating the multiple allegations against the Gray administration issued its official report on the matter, 47 pages detailing the findings from thousands of internal administration emails and testimony from 19 witnesses over the course of 25 hours of public hearings. The committee, which was led by Councilmember Mary Cheh (DWard 3), found that senior Gray aides had engaged in nepotism and cronyism, had approved salaries above and beyond legal caps for a large number of mayoral appointees and had paid failed mayoral candidate Sulaimon Brown over $1,100 during the 2010 race, money he claimed was used as payment for his vitriolic attacks on incumbent Mayor Adrian Fenty. Moreover, the report concluded that Brown was not qualified for a $110,000-a-year job in the government that he eventually received, indicating that Gray campaign and transition chairwoman Lorraine Green and former Chief of Staff Gerri Mason Hall had gone to bat for him despite his inflated resume. But despite the damning conclusions and a remaining possibility of charges being filed by the U.S. attorney, the harshest crime alleged is perjury. While Green and Hall are repeatedly dinged for showing bad judgment, interim D.C. Director of Human Resources Judy Banks is directly accused of lying to the committee during her testimony. Moreover, Banks,


Candidates Vincent C. Gray and Sulaimon Brown during the 2010 Mayor Election. Photo: Andrew Lightman

who is the director of personnel at the Washington Convention and Sports Authority, is painted as a central figure in allowing senior Gray aides to maneuver their children into city jobs and in permitting 14 mayoral appointees from getting salaries beyond what is legally allowed. Even Brown, who was responsible for setting the investigation in motion, is accused of making false statements to the committee and embellishing his testimony to the point that many of his claims became unbelievable. Whether by design or by chance, Gray largely escaped fault for what happened. “Although Mayor Gray was aware that salaries that exceeded the statutory salary cap were being paid, there is little evidence in the record to suggest that he was aware of nepotism and cronyism, or that standard personnel practices were being violated. There is also scant evidence, other than Mr. Brown’s | SEPTEMBER 2011

own uncorroborated testimony, to suggest that Mayor Gray knew that senior members of his campaign gave money to Mr. Brown. Mayor Gray acknowledged that during the campaign he made a promise of an interview for a position in his administration to Mr. Brown, but there is insufficient evidence to conclude that Mayor Gray actually promised Mr. Brown a job,” the report concludes. Regardless, the committee report does make one point painfully clear – whether or not Gray was responsible or knew what was happening, the entire episode was hurtful not only to his administration, but to the broader trust that District residents should have in their government. “But the timing of what occurred here was especially unfortunate because it sapped the spirit of the people of the District, who were already divided after a contentious election, and hindered the government itself

at the very beginning of a new administration. It dampened the robust goodwill that ordinarily accompanies a new Executive’s first months in office – goodwill that allows a new administration to craft and implement its vision for improving the District. It distracted the government, the media, and the public, deflecting them from focusing on the policy and programmatic changes that would be made by a new administration. And, finally, pursuing these allegations diverted substantial government resources. The damage created by these errors is not irreparable, but it will take time for the District to heal from them,” the report wisely concludes. Gray himself seems to have recognized the damage the incidents have done. In a statement released the day the report was approved by the committee, he said, “I remain committed to leading an administration with integrity, transparency and openness, and in coming weeks will announce a series of further measures to help repair and restore the public trust in our government.” During a brief session on August 23, the committee endorsed the report on a 3-0 vote and essentially closed the book on what became known as the Sulaimon affair. Well, kind of. Cheh announced that since Brown had refused to comply with the committee’s last subpoena for documents, the report couldn’t yet be considering final.

Hard Job, High Pay? One interesting outtake from the report was that not only did a number of mayoral appointees take home excessive salaries, but that the granting of high salaries to specific officials has spanned two mayoral administrations. According to the report, D.C. Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson Police Chief Cathy Lanier, whose salaries were set by the Fenty administration, remained amongst the city’s senior officials taking home the largest salaries – salaries that also showed the largest excesses relative to legal limits. Henderson, like Michelle Rhee before her, takes home $275,000 a year – almost $96,000 above what the salary


cap for that position is. Lanier makes $230,000, some $50,000 over her salary cap. Additionally, Chief Librarian Ginnie Cooper took home $185,000, $6,000 more than permitted, while D.C. Chief Medical Examiner Marie PierreLouis, whose base salary was the same as Cooper’s, took in an additional $5,900. Finally, City Administrator Allen Lew not only earned $275,000 for his job as schools modernization czar under Fenty, but was also granted a $68,750 bonus by Fenty (that was paid by Gray) that the committee deemed was inappropriately granted and excessive. That Henderson, Lanier and Lew make more than the mayor himself (and more than most cabinet secretaries to President Obama) is certainly a matter of debate. Needless to say, the city is paying them to take jobs that involve tirelesseffort and are somewhat thankless – by way of comparison, U.S. diplomats serving abroad get paid more if they serve in a particularly undesirable or dangerous location. But is it fair that, as budgets gets slashed and mid- and entry-level bureaucrats get canned, the top brass get paid more and more? Maybe, maybe not – but it’s certainly not a popular idea. The committee noted that in January 2011 the D.C. Department of Human Resources drafted legislation that would have set the top salary for agency directors at $279,000. That could eventually have to go before the council, where legislators and residents would invariably ask, “How much do we have to pay people to do jobs that they should see as a challenge, if not a civic obligation?” Of course, the council might want to avoid this debate for its own reasons – councilmembers take in the second-highest salaries in the country for their positions.


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Martin Austermuhle is a Senior Editor at and a freelance writer in Washington, D.C. He lives in Mt. Pleasant. ●

Don’t Become a Victim of Fraud!! REPORT QUESTIONABLE MEDICARE AND MEDICAID CHARGES AND PRACTICES Has this happened to you or someone you know? • • •

• •

Billed for products or services not received? Double billed for services or products received? Offered free services, equipment, or supplies in exchange for your Medicare or Medicaid number? Offered money in exchange for your Medicare or Medicaid number? Used your personal information – Identity Theft?

Report fraud, waste, and abuse Call the Senior Medicare Patrol District of Columbia Hotline 202-434-2099 (Se Habla Español)

Asbury United Methodist Church Washington, D.C. 20001 Rev. Dr. Louis Shockley, Senior Pastor 175th Church Anniversary Celebration October 12th - 16th, 2011 The historical ASBURY UNITED METHODIST CHURCH, at the corner of Eleventh and K Sts, N.W, Washington, DC, will be celebrating its 175th Anniversary from Oct 12 th-16th. The theme: “Respecting the Past, Moving into the Future” provides the back drop for a week-long celebration, as the church invites persons of all ages to participate in prayer, revival, fellowship, Sunday Worship in song, “Joyful Sounds” and witness a dramatic presentation entitled “Washington’s Greatest Slave Escape: In the Spirit of the Pearl”, a true story about the courageous Edmondson family and about 70 other enslaved people residing in our nation’s capital and when in 1848 several of their children headed for freedom on the schooner, “The Pearl”, were captured, and thrown back into slavery, they fought to raise money to free them with the help of Asbury Church, Frederick Douglas, Harriet Beacher Stowe, and government officials.

For information regarding times and dates of each event, please contact: Legal Counsel for the Elderly

Asbury United Methodist Church or CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 25


Tune-Up Time for DC’s Taxes Key Things for the District’s New Tax Revision Commission to Consider by Ed Lazere


oon, 11 people will gather in Washington to embark on an ambitious effort to review the tax code and come up with bold recommendations. No, it’s not the congressional “super committee.” (That’s 12 people.) It’s DC’s new Tax Revision Commission, which will be formed this fall and then spend nine months studying the city’s tax system. The stakes aren’t quite as high, perhaps, but DC’s commission actually could be more productive, given Congress’s recent hyper-partisan gridlock. And it could make a big difference to you. “Tax policy” may not be on any list of conversation starters at a party or bar, for good reason. Yet all of us have a stake in how the tax system is structured to raise revenues and pay for things like police, trash pickup, and schools, and all tax systems need a tune up from time to time. The economy is constantly changing, and tax policy needs to keep up. The tax system changes constantly, too, especially as interest groups — many of them very powerful — seek special tax treatment. That can lead to a tax system with more loopholes than anyone is happy with and some pretty shocking results. Consider the fact that, nationally, people like Warren Buffet pay a lower tax rate on stock


market gains than middle-class Americans pay on their paycheck. We may not have Warren Buffet to shine a spotlight on shortfalls in the District’s tax code, but the commission will have 11 civic-minded residents and $800,000 million to get real answers to thorny questions about how to make DC’s tax system better. You’re pretty excited about DC’s tax commission now, aren’t you? Here are some things the Tax Revision Commission could focus on.

Keeping Up with DC’s Changing Economy and Population The last time the District had a tax commission, in the late 1990s, “internet commerce” was a fairly new buzz phrase, the cupcake craze had not arrived, few of us had cell phones, and the city’s population was still falling. Tax systems need to change with the times or they won’t be able to keep generating revenues needed for schools, libraries and other public services. As people buy more of their stuff online, for example, a sales tax tied to purchases at traditional stores will become increasingly irrelevant. That is why many states are exploring how to apply the sales tax to purchases made on sites like Amazon, and DC should,


too. DC’s tax code also should respond to the city’s population changes, fueled largely by an influx of younger middle-income residents to places like Columbia Heights. This is likely to contribute to growth in things like health club memberships, which like many other services are not covered by DC’s sales tax. The tax commission would serve the city well by recommending ways to expand the sales tax so that it covers what is actually being bought in the city, by residents, commuters, and tourists. It’s also time to review DC’s income tax, where the top rate kicks in at just $40,000. With an increase in middle- and upper-income residents, the commission should explore a new income tax rate structure with rates for highincome residents, possibly paired with reduced income tax rates for middle and low-income residents. A poll commissioned this spring by the DC Fiscal Policy Institute found that DC residents are ready for this kind of change, even those who would be directly affected.

Broaden the Base and Review Special Tax Breaks There is rare consensus among liberals, conservatives, and tax professionals that taxes work best when

the base is as broad as possible, with limited exemptions or deductions. This helps to ensure fairness – that everyone pays – and to keep tax rates as low as possible. Broadening the sales tax to cover more services, for example, could possibly allow the sales tax rate to be reduced. The tax commission specifically is charged with looking at “tax expenditures,” tax breaks intended to reward or incentivize certain activities. Tax incentives often are adopted with high hopes, but then are rarely reviewed to see if they actually accomplish what was intended. DC offers tax breaks for new grocery stores in targeted neighborhoods areas and for new “high tech” businesses, for example, and the city loses a lot of revenue from these. But it’s not clear if that actually translates into real benefits. The commission should examine the effectiveness of DC’s tax expenditure programs.

Tax Fairness The belief that some people or businesses get away without paying their fair share of taxes is a big source of public frustration with taxes. DC’s tax commission could look into a few key things along these lines. • Why do more than half of DC businesses pay just the mini-

mum corporate tax? (There may be good reasons, or not.) As a result of a 10% cap on annual residential property tax increases, some homeowners pay tax on as little as 40% of their homes value – treating a $750,000 home as if it were worth $300,000 for example — while other pay a lot more. DC has a progressive income tax, but when all taxes are considered, moderate-income families spend more than 10% income on DC taxes while higher income people pay about 8%. What changes can be made to target tax reductions on those paying the most?

Does DC Need to Focus on Tax Competitiveness? On almost any policy issue, DC policymakers want to know what Maryland and Virginia do. While that is good to know, it shouldn’t necessarily dictate what the District chooses to do to its tax systems. Research is pretty very clear that by and large people don’t decide where to live — and businesses don’t decide where to locate — based on taxes. As the tax commission takes up issue of tax competition, it should go beyond a simple comparison of tax rates to assess whether any difference in rates actually matters. That said, research shows that the income and property taxes paid by most DC residents are lower

than in Maryland and even than in suburban Virginia, driven by DC’s very low property taxes. On the business side, property taxes are higher than in the suburbs, yet commercial vacancy rates are lowest in DC. DC’s corporate income tax rate also is higher, but as noted most businesses use deductions and other means to reduce their liability to the minimum – currently $100 year. Don’t expect the tax code to do too much: The commission is supposed to look at using the tax code to “encourage business growth and job creation.” Those are important goals, but not for the tax system. Issues like the regulatory environment, access to skilled labor, proximity to markets are far more important than tax policy. If tax cuts are aimed at business growth end up limiting the ability to invest in workforce development or business regulation efficiency, they could be counterproductive Improvements to DC’s tax system can create a solid foundation for the revenues needed to serve a growing and diverse population, while also creating more clarity, fairness and efficiency. The Tax Commission has its work cut out for it. Lazere is the executive director of the DC Fiscal Policy Institute (www., which conducts research on tax and budget issues that affect low- and moderate-income DC residents. ●



NEIGHBORHOOD NEWS nearly every room. As if invoking a Southside séance, someone had arranged them all this way. The low value of cast iron, worth six cents a pound to ‘the metal man,’ seems to have hindered their departure. In the back of the front foyer a refrigerator lies on its side. The blind on the right bay window is half drawn. In the hallway, the second floor banister is covered with bird excrement. The majority of the balusters lie broken. The sun blazes down through holes in the roof and the attic floor. Newspaper accounts and city records indicate that 2228 MLK has been vacant since the late 1970s. Besieged by the elements, this historic home is slowly decomposing.

Meet Mr. Bill

Bill peers out at the street below.

In 2010, DHCD Purchased The ‘Big K’ Lot For Nearly $1 Million Today it is Home to Mr. Bill, a homeless man article | photos by John Muller


n a summer weekend, Bill Jackson, Jr., sits crosslegged on a white bed sheet laid out on the floor of a second story bedroom. For the moment, Bill has the entire house at 2228 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE (2228 MLK) all to his lonesome. Behind him, a boarded up window is covered with a ragged white door. Outside a Metro bus eases on its brakes, screeching to a stop. Then, it gently roars back to life

lumbering down the street. The mechanized sound reverberates inside the old house, piercing its stillness.



A House Abandoned Across the hall from Bill, a tilted fiberglass bathtub follows the angle of the floor sinking incrementally closer to the ground. Dangling above is a classic 1950s bathroom mirror. When blessed with a summer shower, Bill

washes here in the rain shaving with the aid of the mirror. “AFRICAN! MONEY MANNY” is loudly scrawled across the blue downstairs rear wall. Above graffiti lie exposed floorboards. The ceiling is slowly rotting, crumbling to the floor in slabs. These fragments lean against a gray hearth topped by a red chimney of considerably older brick from the 1880s. A radiator lies in the center of

Upstairs, Bill gathers himself and his thoughts. Resting here since the morning, he now rises slowly. He grabs his sheet, shaking it out, folding it carefully and placing it for safekeeping in the left corner of the bedroom closet. He has a couple hours before he has to be at “801,” the 350-bed shelter up the hill at Saint Elizabeth’s. Bill grabs his cane, eases to the window edge to peer through a crack down on the street below. The perimeter secure, he creeps downstairs. When Bill first discovered 2228 MLK the side screen door swung open sans mesh. Using found nails and a soup can, he hammered the frame of the door to the door frame. Now, entering the house requires a deliberate step over the fourteen inch base of the door and the ducking of one’s head. It is harder to do in the dark. Bill, an “O3-11 Grunt” and former US Marine Corps rifleman, did not choose 2228 MLK on a lark. He spent much of the past two decades scouting apartment basements, vacant buildings and even dump trucks for sleeping spots. In Bill’s opinion, this was “definitely a good spot, one of the better ones.” During Bill’s time at the house, it has been occasionally frequented by other homeless men. At night, people would get high downstairs. Bill can occasionally even hear “tricks doing their thing.” “I be settin’ lil’ booby traps sometime. I’ll break up some glass bottles and get some Plaster Paris and put it at the top of the steps. If I hear a crunchin’

From the window the lost souls of Old Anacostia gaze down on a timeworn street.

noise I know someone’s outside on the landing,” Bill says.

2228 MLK. Nor has the agency sealed or secured its purchase effectively leaving Bill in continued residence.

The City Buys Bill a House

Bill has lived intermittently on the streets for the past twenty years.

2228 MLK had been vacant for the past three decades until Bill made it his home.

On July 23, 2010, the DC Department of Community and Housing Development (DHCD) purchased the ‘Big K’ Lot from the Kushner family, its longtime owners, for slightly less than $1 million. The parcel included three country homes (2228, 2234 and 2238 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave. SE) and the liquor store at number 2252. Although the city purchased the old country homes to arrest their further deterioration, DHCD has yet to structurally stabilize the properties. Mother Nature continues to have her way with

Blowing the Whistle After surviving a tedious evening on the potential development of the “Big K” properties, I decided it was time to notify the new owners of 2228 MLK of its dangerous state. Aside from being an eyesore, the house is a health hazard and a danger both to any who might take advantage of its unsecured shelter. How would I live with myself if my silence resulted in the house collapsing on Bill? I asked Bill if revealing his use of the vacant home would jeopardize him. He was unperturbed insisting that I share his experience in order to educate others on the lives of the homeless. So, I spoke with DHCD officials including the agency’s director, John Hall. I sent emails to other city officials and the local Advisory Neighborhood Council (ANC). “After being alerted that there is a squatter on the property, the maintenance crew inspected the property on Thursday, August 4. At this time, they cut back more brush, re-boarded 2228 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue SE (although the front door was securely boarded), and examined the fence for holes,” wrote Najuma Thorpe, DHCD Special Affairs Specialist, in a followup email. Walking past the home the following day I noticed that the side door, Bill’s favorite point of entry, had been securely boarded up. A week or so later, however, I received a call from Bill. There were still other ways to get in the 2228 MLK; and he had used one of them, “It’s still Bill’s house,” he said. ● CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 29


Raymond Bell explains the challenges and rewards of the HOPE Project at an information session.

Ronald Martin is ready to apply for HOPE Project and start anew.

Harvard of the Hood Bringing promise to a new generation of job seekers article | photos by Candace Y.A. Montague

“I want to put an end to young adult violence, and I

feel the best way to do it is with meaningful employment. I became frustrated with the lack of quality career training programs available to young adults. The bar is very low for quality training. I’m talking career schools like TESST and EVEREST...




lfreda Lucas is at the seventh district police station on Alabama Avenue in Southeast on a humid Wednesday night in August waiting for her 19-year-old daughter, Arianna, to come out of a meeting. Arianna is unemployed. She graduated from high school in June 2010 and promptly went to Seattle for college. When things didn’t pan out, she returned to DC. Arianna told her mother prior to her arrival “I promise to get a job when I get there.” Eleven months later, she is still unemployed. Alfreda said Arianna lacks initiative and doesn’t follow through with turning in applications. “She’ll fill out an application, but she won’t submit it. I tell her, ‘You’re never going to get anything in life if you don’t follow through with something.’ And sitting on my couch, talking on the cell phone, and eating my food isn’t going to work.” After hearing about a new IT training program in Southeast from a friend, Alfreda decided to “force” her daughter to attend the information session. “This is a nine-month program and this is along the lines of what I know she would be good at.” So while Alfreda sits among a few

other anxious yet slightly jaded parents in the foyer, her daughter, Arianna, is in the community room fully engaged in the presentation. Arianna is hoping for a fresh start. Raymond Bell founded The HOPE (Helping Other People Excel) Project in 2010 with a simple mission: to launch careers for young people and get them out of the hourly wage rut that leads to nowhere. Bell, a training manager at a public affairs firm in DC, set out to start an IT training program that would certify his students to become help desk technicians. In his opinion, gainful employment is one of the ways to end the violence in Southeast. “I want to put an end to young adult violence, and I feel the best way to do it is with meaningful employment. I became frustrated with the lack of quality career training programs available to young adults. The bar is very low for quality training. I’m talking career schools like TESST and EVEREST. Very few, if any, young adults from Southeast leave their schools prepared to compete with today’s highly educated and skilled workforce. So I challenged myself to do something about it.” Many employment counseling programs never actually help attendees find a job. They can also be very expensive ($15,000 or more a year) and are poorly reviewed by alumni. The HOPE Project provides the same training as those programs (Microsoft applications, SharePoint) for free and assists students in obtaining Comp-

LaDaun White is optimistic about her future with the HOPE Project after listeningto a presentation.

TIA’s A+ Certification. The program is entirely staffed by volunteers. On the night of the information session, LaDaun White patiently sat in the back row of the audience. She said she hopes to become a writer someday ,but she needs help now with her finances. LaDaun already completed a program at a local, undisclosed computer school in November but has had trouble getting a job since graduation. “The jobs that are out there right now aren’t paying enough money. So I have to go back to school.” She said she wants a job that will help her live a comfortable lifestyle. “I need something substantial so I can live my life the way I want to. I want to be able to write books, stage plays. But I need a job that can support my dreams.” Ronald Martin, a 26-year-old Southeast resident, said it’s tough trying to find work in today’s market and that his experience in IT and in customer service has not been enough to obtain a job. He came to the session expecting to learn new ways to make himself more marketable. “I was referred to this program by my aunt last year but I had some issues going on so I couldn’t catch it. I’ve never heard of a program like this. The success stories sound good. I think I can expand my horizons so I’m going to go for it.”

store in Virginia when he heard about the HOPE Project on a local NPR radio station. He tracked down the program and attended the information session. He was discouraged by the admission essay requirement, but after comparing the cost of other IT training programs, Brandon figured it he would give it a try. “If there is one thing I don’t like it’s writing an essay or writing in general. But I started to surf the net and looked at getting A+ certified. Discovering the prices of other programs motivated me to at least try to get into this one,” Brandon recalls. After training with HOPE for just a few short months, Brandon posted his resume on various websites. Job offers came quickly. A few weeks later, he landed his first job at Hewlett Packard. “After joining the program, any time I posted my resume I received at least 25 calls and/or emails from recruiters asking me to consider an offer they had, whereas before I might get one or two. Getting multiple job offers is directly related to being in the HOPE Project.” Brandon now works for the Webster Data Communications. For more information about the HOPE Project, visit the website at

A Success Story

Candace Y.A. Montague is a freelance writer who covers stories in Washington, DC. ●

Brandon Davis, a 33-year-old resident of Congress Heights, was working as a clerk at an ABC

HEALTHY FOOD, HEALTHY COMMUNITY Fresh produce from local farmers, plants, art, food-preparation workshops, children activities, nutrition, give-always, music and more...

Saturdays: 9:00 am to 2:00 pm At THEARC!! 1901 Mississippi Ave., SE - Front parking lot • CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★



Abimbola Taylor, a laboratory technician, stands to the left of Vivian Ayuk, pharmacist and owner of FlexCare Pharmacy. Photo: Jeremy Cullimore

FlexCare Pharmacy: Vivian N. Ayuk by Jeremy Cullimore


alking into FlexCare Pharmacy one is greeted by meticulously stocked, well-ordered shelves; and a smile from the woman behind the counter. One can’t help but note that this store is far cleaner and friendlier than the typical CVS or Walgreens. As one quickly discovers – that is the point. The face that welcomes visitors is that of owner, founder and pharmacist, Vivian Ayuk. Along with her husband Felix, the couple



opened FlexCare Pharmacy in early August after more than a year of planning. From the look of things, they planned well; freshly minted façade and a professional yet welcoming atmosphere. Why did the Ayuks decide to open their own business? “I wanted to take the focus away from the number of prescriptions and back to the people,” Vivian says. She continues, “In retail they had lost the fact that behind these scripts were real people. That and my husband didn’t want to hear

me complain about it anymore!” she finishes with a laugh. Neither Vivian nor Felix has a business background. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a degree in Computer Science. She is a pharmacist with six years of experience and a degree from the University of Minnesota. That’s not to say anyone can make a business work. “It’s more challenging than expected! So many things, so many decisions.” Vivian says. They took a class with the Small Business Administration to help them write a business plan. Family and friends stepped in to lend a hand as well. Laughing as she describes her experience, “we had to learn fast. Some days I would say ‘What am I thinking?! I have a good job!’” In keeping with their mission to ‘bring the focus back to the people,’ Vivian and Felix reached out to the community prior to opening. They attended community meetings to let folks know their plans and gage customer interests. “We already have regulars, take suggestions for products. They feel like they’re invested and because of that want to see it succeed,” Vivian says. What extra services do they offer you may ask? For starters: there are diabetes self-management classes each month. The pharmacy offers free delivery throughout the DC. They even take part in the “Take Back” program administered by the Federal Drug Administration that allows patients to drop off their unused prescription drugs to keep them off the streets. To accompany their mission of focusing on the people the entrepreneurial couple has set their sights on respectable goals. “10 years out…we would still be here, to see a decrease in the diabetes rate, an increase in life expectancy and for it to be a healthier community,” Vivian says. Welcome to the neighborhood. FlexCare Pharmacy is located at 3861 Alabama Ave. SE. Visit them on the web at Jeremy Cullimore is Project Manager for WACIF. Visit for more information. ●

come see me,” Richard says. To Speed and others, Richardson is affectionately called “Bubba” in a tribute to his country roots. Over their years of friendship, Cynthia Speed, who knew Richardson’s late brother, says she’s bought no less than five cars from him. “They were good cars. They ran just fine till I dogged ‘em out,” Speed says. “He’s a born negotiator,” divulges Speed. “Some people have that skill to sell, Bubba’s got that.”

Surviving the Fenty Crackdown For years, Astro Motors operated on Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE. Then, the Fenty administration cracked down on used car lots. Richardson acknowledges that the crackdown largely targeted the unscrupulous. “But in the process they made it so you can only have 4 cars in the front of your lot,” Richardson complains. “They said the dealers were eyesores,” he says. DC Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) strictly enforces the four-car rule. It also substantially raised the bond requirements for dealers. The crackdown eviscerated an industry with long historical roots.

A Prime, Old Time Spot

Dale Richardson poses in front of Astro Motors. Photo: John Muller

Long-time Car Salesman Returns to Anacostia by John Muller


’m not a Ford man, but I’ll sure sell ‘em,” said Dale Richardson, owner of the recently re-opened Astro Motors located at 2226 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE. Standing outside his small hut of an office, he attracts waves from passing motorists. Any speculation on the death of Astro Motors has been greatly exaggerated. Richardson is back in Historic Anacostia.

Up From the Country A native of Smithfield, North Carolina, Richardson came to Anacostia when he was 21. He was an apprentice to his older brother, Gerald, who died from an unfortunate auto accident in 1988. “He was right out of the country and made it up here,” remembers Richardson. “Everything I learned in the business I learned from him.” With cars selling from $500 to

$5000, Richardson requires a down payment of half the amount and then finances the remainder in-house. Avoiding auctions or personal sales, Richardson’s acquisitions are primarily from trade-ins at regionally known dealerships such as Rosenthal Chevrolet or Koons Fords. He estimates he sells about 300 cars a year. “When a person can’t afford to go through a new dealer, because their credit is as bad as all-out doors, they

According to conversations on the street and old city directories, the lot at 2226 Martin Luther King, Jr. Ave. SE has long hosted car dealerships. Classified sections from mid-1950’s newspapers advertise Studebakers, Pontiacs and even a Chieftain DeLuxe for sale at Colonial Oldsmobile Company. Business was so good that Colonial stayed open until 9 p.m. This occurred in an era in which Anacostia was majority white. The association of the 2226 address with car dealerships continued as the racial makeup of the neighborhood shifted. Alco Auto Sales (early 1970s) was followed by Columbia Motor Sales (late 1970s early 1990s) which made way for B&L Auto Sales (late 1990s). Heirs to this long tradition, Richardson and Astro Motors will no doubt continue to serve the Anacostia community. ● CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 33


A juicy T-Bone steak. Photo: Andrew Lightman

Ray’s Raises Anacostia Dining Scene article by Celeste McCall | photos by Andrew Lightman


anna enjoy a juicy, well-marbled steak with all the trimmings, a yummy dessert and a nice bottle of wine, without taking out a second mortgage? We highly recommend Ray’s the Steaks at 34 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE

East River, located across the Anacostia River. Ray’s is the first DC spinoff of Michael Landrum’s popular restaurant group. Landrum operates several eateries scattered around the suburbs, including Ray’s Hell Burgers in Arlington, where President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden chowed down on burgers and fries back in May 2009. A year later, the Prez returned with Russian president Dmitry Medvedev. | SEPTEMBER 2011

Seating 66 patrons, Ray’s the Steaks at East River’s interior is rather plain but spacious and comfortable. Walls are plastered with photos of entertainers like Stevie Wonder and Bob Marley. Wall sconces are art deco-style. Tables are blond wooden butcher block. For a recent dinner, we brought along our good friends and excellent dining companions, computer guru Patrick and his graphic design partner, Anne. Comfortably seated in the halffilled dining room (it got busier later),

we encountered simple, honest food prepared beautifully. That is what we really like about this place: It’s a totally unpretentious restaurant with moderate–even budget–prices. Moreover, instead of an executive chef or chef de cuisine, Ray’s employs a kitchen full of hardworking cooks--including Christopher Smith-who prepared some dynamite fried chicken. I used to think my grandmother’s fried chicken was the best I’ve ever tasted, but Grandma did not have

TOP to BOTTOM 1. From Left to Right: Kenya Hill, Chef Christopher Smith, Reginald Johnson, Roy Kargbo, William Gray, Lucias Glaeser, Chef Carlos Arias. 2. Organic Chicken, free-range, hickory smoked and then skillet fried. 3. Grilled shrimp with festive onions.

access to a smoker back in the ‘50s. At Ray’s, organic birds are first smoked and then lightly battered before being skillet-fried to perfection. Diners have a choice between breast, wing and drumstick, or two drumsticks and a thigh. Peter chose the former, and guess who consumed the drumstick? I passed on the hefty T-bone and Kansas City strip, and went for the smallest steak on the menu, a filet mignon, expertly cooked (medium rare) and escorted by a generous portion of

steamed broccoli and baked potato. For an extra dollar I could have ordered the spud “loaded,” but decided not to gild the lily–er–potato. Crab royale–actually a plump crab cake–was practically filler free, moist and succulent and loaded with lump crab. Baltimore and the Eastern Shore eateries had better watch out. Patrick’s applewood smoked baby back ribs practically fell off the bones, nicely complemented with tangy coleslaw and crunchy sweet potato fries. This is coming from someone who normally eschews fries and sweet potatoes in general. These beauties changed my mind. Among other sides are collard greens stewed with morsels of smoked turkey neck, providing rich flavor minus the fat associated with the traditional ham hocks. Mac-andcheese is delightfully decadent. More decadence: Complimentary melt-in-your-mouth jalepeno cornbread did not really need the accompanying butter. Speaking of butter, we began our repast with a cup of the best crab soup we’ve encountered recently. The rich potage smacked of butter, cream and lots of crab. We would have ordered a bowl, but wanted to save room for other victuals to come. The soup was billed as “bisque” which is generally smooth, but this soup was full of chunks of crabmeat. Patrick ordered an appetizer of fried shrimp, nice and puffy, almost like tempura, which arrived with a duo of cocktail and tartar sauces. Would you believe, we found room for dessert--tart Key lime pie, with a toothsome graham cracker crust. Spoons flew as the four of us dug into the pie, even though it could have done without the whipped cream and maraschino cherry. Ray’s’ wine list is brief, but comprehensive and amazingly inexpensive, especially when compared with fancy listings around town. A glass of better-than-decent wine is $4 to $6, while bottles stay in the mid-teens to low $20s. Yes, Ray’s serves beer; selections include Red Stripe, Blue Moon, Guinness and Yuengling. The alcohol license does not extend to liquor.

We were intrigued by the South African “Sweet Shiraz,” but our waiter explained that Sweet Shiraz means exactly what the label states–“sweet”-which we did not think would go well with our entrees. So we switched our wine order to a bottle of Auka, a Malbec from Argentina’s Mendoza region. The selection was a steal for $23. Dinner for four came to $167, before tax and tip. Shortly after Ray’s arrived last spring, we checked out lunch, and we were not disappointed. Our initial mid-day repast produced congenial, helpful service (as usual) and a “presidential” burger, nicely seasoned with cracked peppercorns and roasted garlic and slathered with melted white cheddar and sauteed mushrooms, all stacked atop a grilled bun. Not exactly diet fare, but worth the calories. Peter, not surprisingly, went for the Carolina-style pulled pork sandwich, anointed with “sweet sauce,” a tangy, vinegar-based concoction. Peter, the BBQ expert, declared Ray’s version “the best I’ve had in this area.” Other mid-day options include other types of burgers (including turkey), with various toppings, a vegetarian offering of grilled portobello mushroom, eggplant and smoked mozzarella and tomato, and an “angry-bird” chicken sandwich jazzed up with pepper jack cheese, jalapenos and “piranha sauce.” Gotta try that one sometime. Ray’s has a small parking lot next to the building, with additional spaces in the well-lit shopping center across the street. The Minnesota Avenue Metro (Orange Line), and the Benning Road Metro (Blue), are nearby.

Ray’s the Steaks at East River 3905 Dix St. NE (Anacostia), near Minnesota Avenue 202-396-7297 Ray’s the Steaks at East River is open Monday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m to 9:30 p.m.; Friday 11:30 a.m to 10 p.m.; Saturday 3 to 10 p.m.; closed Sunday. Major credit cards are accepted. ●



Tailor by Trade article by Tessa Moran | photos by Ben Crosbie

Cheryl measures Tony Rogers for his white prom tux.


teenage girl peers into the shop. A trio of mannequins stands tall behind the window, one fitted in a bright pink cocktail dress, the other two in tuxedos with pink bow ties. It’s a few minutes before she steps in, pausing at the door: “Do you have work clothes?” “No we don’t,” the woman at the counter responds, smirking as her eyes follow the girl out the door. “You remember her right?” she turns to her co-worker, a petite woman whose arms are brimming with clothing. “She don’t think we remember all that prom drama she put us through last year, does she?” The two shake their heads in chorus. Cheryl Lofton remembers all her customers, even the difficult ones. Most she cherishes. “My grandfather was good like that too. He knew all of his customers by name.” They’d bring him lunch while he was fixing their clothes, and chit chat. “Mostly

Tony Rogers decides on a tux for his prom.



politics and women, of course.” J.C. Lofton was the first black tailor in Washington, DC, a title Cheryl is deeply proud of. His picture hangs above the doorway between where customers are fitted and their clothes are sewn, a family business still thriving 72 years after it was started. Selftaught, J.C. Lofton opened his first store in 1939 at 1513 H Street NW, followed in 1945 by a school of tailoring. The school catered to blacks leaving the military who couldn’t get into white trade schools, and in the process of learning how to sew, they learned how to make caps, helping Lofton fulfill a contract he had with the military. In the picture above the door Lofton is wearing his prom suit, which he made himself; cut down from a suit six sizes too large. “That’s how he discovered he was going to be a tailor,” Cheryl says looking up at the picture. She’s a statuesque African American woman with short buzzed hair, dressed in neatly tailored slacks and a tucked pressed buttondown set-off with feminine kitten heels. Tailoring didn’t find her the same way it did her grandfather. “My grandfather used to come home with strings coming off of him, and his shirt would be out. He started in the morning looking perfectly pristine and he’d come home with a needle behind his ear or something. And I said no, I don’t want to do that.” Instead, she wanted to do what no-one in her family had done before: go to college, where she would study communications and marketing. Cheryl adjusts the straps of a flowered floor-length gown. “Are you sure that doesn’t make the waist too high”, the young woman asks, cocking her head as she looks at herself in the mirror. “It looks gorgeous. This is the way it’s supposed to be,” Cheryl reassures over her shoulder, speaking to their collective reflection. She turns to the crowd of customers now gathering at the door. “She used to wear her pants low too. We just had

Pain & Rehab Center to break her out of it.” The group laughs. It’s a mix of young and old, wealthy and not, black and white, all looking on as one is fitted after another. The same mix of patrons lined her grandfather’s shop. “He had just as many white clients as he did black. Everybody was family with my grandfather,” Cheryl remembers. A photo of Cheryl’s grandfather J.C. Lofton hangs in the fitting room. She spent a lot of time at the shop as gree and nobody could expect me to come a young girl, watching her grandfather cut back to the family business but as it turns and trim the cloth of influential Washing- out, how I made my money in college was tonians: Spiro Agnew, Washington Post what?” she laughs. On Friday nights, she’d reporter William Raspberry, Jessie Jackson, hem pants and press shirts for students on and entertainers like Chubby Checker and their way out to party. Soon, she was fielding Fats Domino, a reflection of Washington, requests for custom clothing. As graduation DC’s vibrant political, cultural and musical neared, J.C. Lofton fell ill with Alzheimer’s history. disease and the family began to question the The shop itself provided a tour of DC’s future of Lofton Custom Tailoring. Cheryl’s northwest, moving throughout the years father was already heavily involved with his from 15th & H to the old Quaker State successful upholstery business, so he couldn’t Building at 609 F Street then 15th and P take it over. That’s when Cheryl ultimately Street, “which at the time was nowhere near stepped in. The day she opened up a new what it is now,” Cheryl remarks. “My grand- shop on 17th & Corcoran, J.C. Lofton father was open on 15th Street at the time passed away. “It was probably the saddest when the riots took place” but because it was day of my life because I really wanted him one of the few commercial establishments to see it.” on the street, it was spared the looting and “I look like an eggplant,” Jane Milosch burning that occurred up and down 14th. says looking at herself in the mirror as she Two teenage boys are in the shop with begrudgingly tries on her bridesmaid’s dress, their mothers, both ordering custom-made a shiny purple taffeta cocktail dress. She tuxedos for upcoming proms. Tony Rogers, smoothes out the puff of the dress at the a senior at Hyde Leadership Public Charter, bottom, asking if she can make it A-line. is looking for a white tux and shoes, which “Why couldn’t I do that? What would haphe plans to pair with a bright pink tie and pen?” she stammers. “You might get beat up,” pocket square, a color scheme chosen by his Cheryl says as if it’s a matter of fact. She’s date. “Stand with your legs together for me,” used to playing mediator between bride and Cheryl asks as she measures his slim waist. bridesmaid, prom goers and their mothers. Next she wraps the tape measure around his The presence of women is probably the bigneck. “I’m going to go with something be- gest difference between her shop and her tween 15.5’ and 16’ so that it’s not too tight,” grandfather’s. Back then, only men and their she tells Roger’s mother who is beaming at sons went to the tailor while girls would typher son, a Rugby star who has plans to play ically have their clothes sewn by their mothat Michigan State next year. “They just beat ers at home. Now Cheryl tailors both men’s Gonzaga,” Cheryl boasts as she writes down and women’s clothes, shunning the labels of the measurements. seamstress or tailor. “I’m a tailoress. I can do She has two boys of her own, pictured on everything a man can do to tailor a suit, only her computer in perfectly tailored suits. Her I’m a girl.” oldest, 26, plans to take over the business if his mom ever decides to retire, a thought far Cheryl A. Lofton & Associates is located 721 T from Cheryl’s mind. “I figured I’d have a de- Street NW. ●

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The Art Man Compels You to Exercise Your Mynd article and photos by Michelle Phipps-Evans

Inset 1. “I AM ART” BK Adams poses in front one of his paintings at the exhibit, “Exercise Your Mynd.” CLOCKWISE 2. “Blue Horse,” 2009. Made of foil, acrylic paint and fiberglass 3. “Family Reunion” 4. “The Saint” 5. Little Ward 7 girl takes in Adams’ piece, “Throwing Biscuits.”




he takeaway from the exhibit, “Exercise Your Mynd By BK Adams I Am Art,” is art can exist within any possible space. Everything in life is art. And art has soul. This is what Maryland resident Mary Ann White discovered as she visited the exhibit at the Smithsonian Anacostia Community Museum with her daughter one Sunday after church. “I think his art is interesting, and it reminds me it was from inward,” said White. “He lets his art spill into the world. He’s blessed with thinking he can do it. All of us have art in us but we’re inhibited. It doesn’t bother him on what we think of it.”

The Art Man The one-man show on view until Nov. 27 at the Anacostia Museum is the largest compilation of BK Adams’ work to date. It features more than 50 pieces, including towering sculptures, large-scale paintings, photographs and video incorporating materials such as found objects, acrylic paint, toys, furniture, bits of metal, aluminum foil, wood and visuals in a mix of color and form. Most were created in his former studio in historic Anacostia in Ward 8. The native Washingtonian who lives east of the river is known as the “Art Man,” and has quite a following built from his practice of pop-up public art where he places sculpture in unexpected places around the city. Residents are surprised with his sculptures or paintings in public spaces—such as abandoned fields, vacant lots on busy city streets, rooftops and corners—that seem unsuitable for the compilation of art. His mantra “100% mynd use” captures his philosophy on art and life as he compels both himself and everyone else to think and be creative. “He’s not telling you what to see, only to exercise your mind to see it,” said the museum’s director Camille Giraud Akeju at a reception on Aug. 21 to open the exhibit. In fact, at the entrance to the exhibit in the main hall, an inscription from Adams captures the visuals and the motifs throughout—familiar links from his life—bicycles, airplanes and the nuclear family that steadfastly travels throughout these imaginary landscapes. “100% mind use is my mission

statement and I am dedicated to it,” Adams wrote. “At the age of 8, i broke thru all fears on my bike sky first transformation.” According to the Anacostia Community Museum, between 17 and 19, he was behind a blueprint courier service and the Soap & Water Inc. janitorial company. Later in life, he was the proprietor of The Eye Opener Coffee Shop and Working Man Truckin’ movers. And as a young man, he traveled to California and Central America. At the reception, Donna Adams, BK’s wife of nine years, said her husband sees in ordinary items what other people do not see, or look at. “It’s what made me fall in love with him,” she said, adding they met at church 11 years ago. Their romance was mystical and mysterious, she admits. When he first asked her out, he asked her to bake a cake. “I was surprised, but I was like, ‘ok,’” she said, adding he may have wanted to see her reaction more than to get an actual cake. “My husband is a gentle soul with a very big personality, imagination and vision,” added Adams, also a native Washingtonian.

Call & Response Curated by Portia James, “Exercise Your Mynd—BK Adams I Am Art” is the first of three multipart installations comprising the museum’s “Call & Response: Community and Creative Initiative” exhibition series focusing on traditional and non-tradi-

6. Donna Adams has been married to BK Adams for nine years. 7. Little girls listen to lady as she describes “The Dreamer” and “A World of Fun.” 8. “Thinker,” installation of cups.

tional expressions of creativity found in everyday communities, according to the museum’s website. The initiative explores themes of imagination, identity and community. It highlights the give-and-take of artistic endeavor and the connections between community members as expressed through arts and creativity. This first in the three-part series spotlights the creative forces of Washington, DC, locals living in wards 7 and 8, home of the museum. ”When we first found out about his work we were just completely blown away,” said James in a published interview. “Once we found out we had a person doing this kind of work living right in the community, we knew that we had to try to present his work to the public.” After this exhibit ends Nov. 27, the second on identity will present installations by Steve Cummings and members of Creative Junk Food from Dec. 12 to March 18. The final installation on community will present community-focused arts and performance. Artists include Melvin Deal, Pastor Dr. C. Matthew Hudson of Matthews Memorial Church, H.D. Woodson H.S. Marching Band, and Nu Flava Tattoo parlor among others. It runs April 2, 2012 to Aug. 5, 2012. Call and Response is a long-term curatorial initiative exploring arts and

creativity through arts exhibitions and installations, museum collections, and community-focused programs. It is designed to develop an overall community-focused approach to art and creativity, and facilitate museumcommunity engagement through exhibitions, research programs and collections development. Other components of the community installation include video interviews, short film clips, other video projects and digital stories. A web-based exhibition will be launched and will include the works of Ward 7 and 8 creators. The Anacostia Community Museum pursues a mission centered upon contemporary urban communities and employs a community-focused approach to research, documentation and educational and cultural programming. At the core of the museum’s work is the belief that active citizen participation—in the recovery and preservation of community historical assets, in cultural and arts activities, and in community advocacy—is an important and powerful instrument in creating and maintaining a sense of community and civic ownership. For more information, visit the museum’s website at http://anacostia. The museum is at 1901 Fort Place SE. ● CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★ 39


America’s Islamic Heritage Museum Illustrating and Making History in Anacostia by Virginia Avniel Spatz

Old school lockers are incorporated into a museum display on education in the Nation of Islam.


C’s newest museum, a few blocks from the Anacostia Metro station, illustrates a little known history while creating some of its own. “This is a story we don’t know yet,” says D. Paul Monteiro, religious liaison for the White House. “African American Muslims were part of this country’s story before there was a country....and this story needs to be told.” America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center fills in pieces of U.S. history missing from most people’s view. On exhibit, for example, is a copy of the 1733 portrait of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo (aka Job ben Solomon), a West African Muslim enslaved for a time in Maryland. The story of Diallo (“d’jallo”) was published in England in 1734, and his portrait was painted by William Hoare of Bath. Nearby is an Arabic booklet dated 1829. The short review of Muslim jurisprudence was written out by Bilali (Ben Ali) Muhammad, enslaved on Sapelo Island, Georgia. For more than 15 years, museum co-founder Amir N. Muhammad has been tracing such points of intersection between Muslim culture, African American heritage and U.S. history. In

April 2011, the fruits of that labor were installed at 2315 Martin Luther King, Jr. Avenue, SE. The location, the former Clara Muhammad School, is itself a window into DC’s Muslim history. And the museum, now drawing worldwide attention, is bringing a new era of history to this corner of the city. The new facility is “a cultural gem for the neighborhood,” declares Patsy Fletcher, of the DC Historic Preservation Office. “People are coming to the ‘hood’ for this,” Muhammad smiles. Iran’s PressTV, in addition to local media, covered the museum’s opening. The Embassy of Qatar recently sponsored an event which brought visitors from around the world to the museum. In turn, the State Department’s special representative to the Muslim community, Farah Pandith, says she’ll be carrying the museum’s message in her work. “I’m going to be using [museum data] all over the world,” says Pandith. “Thank you for exposing me to new history, for peaking my interest and bringing this forward.”



“The Full Story” Beginning in 1996, Muhammad,

with his wife Habeebah, crafted traveling exhibits for display at mosques, churches, universities and libraries. In cooperation with the State Department, exhibits were shared with foreign visitors and traveled to Nigeria and Qatar. The collection has reached some 60,000 people. Displays trace a history that extends from pre-Columbian Muslim explorers to contemporary Muslims praying at the White House. An 1853 translation of the Qur’an saved from a Civil War fire is presented in one room. Another offers vinyl recordings of Elijah Muhammad and other items from the Nation of Islam. Throughout are census records, photos of mosques built over the decades and artifacts from centuries of Muslim history in the U.S. and African American culture. Incorporating “the Nation’s” story, including the conversion of many members to Sunni Islam, serves at least two important functions: It helps tell the story of Masjid Mohammed, DC’s 50-year-old predominantly African American mosque. It also places the Nation within the larger Muslim narrative. “The immigrant Muslim community didn’t want to own our story,” Muhammad explains. “Some academics view the Nation as aberrant,” Dr. Aminah McCloud, director of Islamic World Studies at DePaul University in Chicago, adds. “But the history of Islam in America is long....On the other side of it, if people see African American Islam only as emerging from the Nation, that is a distortion also.” More Generally, Muhammad Says, The Museum Allows People Of All Backgrounds, Muslim And Non-muslim, To Explore “How Muslims Have Been Part Of American Life.” “The Founding Fathers’ interaction with Muslims is extensive,” for example, says McCloud. As an advisor to the museum, she advocates for wider views of Muslim and African American history. “People should visit this museum. They should hear the full history....before the majority community erases it.”

Conflict and Opportunity “Too many people have been learning about Islam from disturbed sources,” Talib Shareef, Masjid Mohammed’s resident imam, told a museum gathering last month. The period around the tenth anniversary of September 11, in particular, has brought a lot of misunderstanding, misinformation_ and attempts to smear the Muslim community,_ Monteiro said at the August 16 iftar, a break-the-fast celebration held at sundown during Ramadan. But controversy is also an opportunity to teach, to clarify what is and isn’t Islam,_ suggests Saudia Jenkins, a masjid member and former Clara Muhammad student. The long overdue_ museum supports this endeavor. It’s a great start, and I hope it expands. Long-time masjid member Wali Shabazz has already watched the project grow from just a few tables_ into today’s facility, a source of pride... enlightening the community._ The Muhammads, he adds, have done a remarkable job._ “Their efforts are extraordinary,” McCloud agrees. “And they didn’t have access to grants and fellowships.” Instead, they’ve relied on their own resources, along with volunteer expertise and contributions from the community. Sameeh Ali, visiting from New Jersey, is joining the contributors. As National Commander in Chief of the Muslim American Veterans Association, he will be gathering materials to expand the collection. “If the President could just make a speech to change the misperceptions, he would,” Monteiro concludes. “But there is no substitute for the long, slow work of education.” America’s Islamic Heritage Museum and Cultural Center, 2315 Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue, SE. (Green Line: Anacostia). 202-678-6906. Tues-Sat, 10-5 and Sun 11-5. Admission: $7 (students/seniors: $5; children: $3; group rates). www. ●



Camp participants with counselors outside the Southeast White House. Photo: Courtesy of River East Emerging Leaders (r.e.e.l.)

If You Build It, They Will Come… Empowering youth to enter professional careers, leadership and service was the focus of the first-ever Career Exposure Camp that brought fifteen young people from Wards 7 and 8 together last month for the three-day project focusing on architecture and design. Sponsored by River East Emerging Leaders (r.e.e.l.); Washington, D.C. chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architects; and the Southeast White House, campers created group projects, presentations and visited the National Building Museum and the Howard University School of Architecture and Design. In addition to focusing on the importance of math, science, reading, and critical thinking skills, the program, along with its counselors, encouraged the young participants to pursue and graduate from college. More information on the program can be found at

Notebook by Kathleen Donner

Child Car Seat Inspection Did you know motor vehicle crashes are the leading killer of children ages 14 and under? Four out of five car seats are not used correctly. Join Safe Kids DC and Children’s Health Project of DC to ensure your child’s car seat is not one of them. There will be ‘Free’ booster seat give-a-ways while supplies last. Child must be present to receive a seat. Only DC residents are eligible. ID will be checked. Thursday, Sept. 22, 10:00 AM-4:00 PM, 42 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE

THEARC Parking Lot, 1901 Mississippi Ave. SE. 202-441-8801.

New HD Woodson Senior High School Campus Complete On Aug. 17, Mayor Gray celebrated the completion of the brand-new Howard Dilworth Woodson Senior High School along with students and staff from the historic school, and representatives from


the Office of the City Administrator and the Office of Public Education Facilities Modernization. “The ribbon-cutting ceremony for H.D. Woodson is the beginning of a new day for this community--one filled with history, hope and honor as we celebrate the old and welcome in the new H.D. Woodson,” Mayor Gray said. “The new Woodson weaves the historic ‘Tower of Power’ with a new breathtaking, contemporary-looking, state-of-the-art facility that can serve as a national model for public school mod-


KIDS & FAMILY ernization.” The original HD Woodson was opened in 1973. The old building, razed in 2008-2009, consisted of an eight-story concrete tower (nicknamed the “Tower of Power”) built on a raised outdoor plaza above a windowless lower level. Construction of the completely new, fully modernized school began in 2009. The new HD Woodson includes a main academic building, gymnasium, auditorium, pool, and athletic field areas. The design comprises three sections of one-and two-story buildings. Interior features include a main entry, media center, health center, offices, and cafeteria that are steel-framed with glass wall construction. The building features a vegetative roof.

Interfaith Youth Dialogue and Concert for Compassion On Saturday, Sept. 10, the Washington National Cathedral will host an event focused on interfaith dialogue among high school and university students of diverse faiths and backgrounds. Guest artists and youth advocacy leaders are being invited to take part in the program. This event is part of the Cathedral’s “A Call to Compassion” weekend commemorating the 10th Anniversary of 9/11. 3101 Wisconsin Ave. NW. 202-5376200.

Children’s and Teens Auditions for 2011 Christmas Revels Auditions held Sept. 9-11, for the 2011 Christmas Revels, “Andalusian Treasures.” Get details at 301-5873835 or

well as to the child within all of us. NASA found the perfect partner in education in 2007 when the robot WALL-E, the title character in a computer-animated film from Pixar Studios, became a part of the space agency’s family. WALL-E helps students across the country learn how scientists and engineers work together to accomplish robotic missions. The lecture is free and open to the public; no tickets are needed.

Adams Morgan Day Kids’ Fair Adams Morgan Day is Sunday, Sept. 11, noon-7:00 PM. It features four outdoor stages, art fair, live music, dance plaza, kid’s fair and food. The Kids Fair is held at the Marie Reed Field. Families are invited to take part in free rides, activities and multicultural family performances for all ages. During the Kids’ Fair there will be a backpack and school supplies drive. All donated backpacks will be provided to children that are middle school aged or younger. Please try to select a backpack size that would best suit their smaller (but growing!) frames. Please consider a donation. 18th St. NW (from Florida Ave. to Columbia Rd.). 202-232-1960.

10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001 Resources for Schools and Families

On Wednesday, Sept. 14, 11:30 AM, Marcianna Delaney, a NASA educator, will discuss “Mapping the Moon with WALL-E and Children” in the Mary Pickford Theater on the third floor of the James Madison Building, 101 Independence Ave. SE. NASA robots are exploring space as proxies for people. They gather information and perform tasks in places too distant or dangerous for us to visit. Some robots look more human than others, and these appeal greatly to children—as

The National Association of School Psychologists (NASP) has developed resources to support parents, educators, and other caregivers helping children understand the many facets of the 10th anniversary of September 11, 2001. Resources are available in English, Spanish, and Arabic. Americans will be remembering those who died, honoring those who keep the country safe, and reflecting on the country’s resilience. Some children and adolescents may experience or reexperience strong feelings related to the attacks because of their personal circumstances. This is known as an “anniversary effect.” Adults can help children process their thoughts and reactions in a healthy way. This is also an opportunity to foster children’s resilience and coping skills, and to help



Mapping the Moon with WALL-E and Children

from awe-inspiring structures, visitors are encouraged to create buildings to include in a LEGO® community. Based on the principles of good urban design, participants will be invited to create a building from one of the four categories—residential, commercial, institutional, and industrial—and then place the LEGO® models on a large-scale map of a city. As the day goes on and the Museum welcomes more visitors, the LEGO® city will grow and grow. $5. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448. A festival attendee learns how to lay brick at the Big Build. Photo: National Building Museum staff

The Big Build A Hands-on Family Festival of Tools, Trucks, and Building Arts Saturday, Sept. 17, 10:00 AM-4:30 PM, amateur builders, young and old alike, hone their skills as they work side-by-side with architects, designers, builders, artisans, and trades people. Free. $5 donation suggested. Most appropriate for ages 4–12. Drop-In. Individual registration is not required. Formerly called the Festival of the Building Arts. National Building Museum, 401 F St. NW. 202-272-2448.

them see themselves as a positive force in their world, despite adversity. Resources can be found online at

LEGO® Architecture: Towering Ambition Extended Through Sept. 3, 2012 This exhibit features large-scale artistic models of some of the world’s most famous structures including the Empire State Building, St. Louis’ Gateway Arch, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece Fallingwater. The simplicity and nostalgic quality of LEGO® affords viewers a new, detailed look at familiar buildings. Visitors can lean in close to see the complexity of a building’s intricate design and engineering or take a step back to appreciate its stunning sculptural form in full. After drawing inspiration

A Century of Women in Aerospace Family Day For over 100 years, women have contributed to technological advances in aviation and space. Meet women who are today’s role models and hear about the historical women who have inspired them. Saturday, Sept. 17, 10:00 AM-3:00 PM. Free. Throughout the National Mall building.

$1 Kids Days at National’s Park Purchase up to 4 tickets for children ages 3-12 for $1 each, with the purchase of one fullpriced adult ticket on Sept. 4 vs. Mets, Sept. 8 vs. Dodgers or Sept. 11 vs. Astros. Select seating areas and subject to availability.

Ford Theatre’s “A Christmas Carol” Children’s Auditions The Ford’s Theatre Society announced that auditions for children’s roles in the company’s production of “A Christmas Carol” will be held Sept. 10, from 9:00 AM-12:30 PM at the Ford’s Theatre administrative offices, 514 Tenth St. NW, 5th floor). Families may sign up for an audition timeslot on site beginning at 8:30 AM. Children between 5-13 who are interested in auditioning should prepare a Christmas song and a short poem to recite and bring with them a photo and résumé. Families are encouraged to visit the Ford’s Theatre website for full information about what they will need for the audition. Those with

questions should email auditions@ No phone calls.

Ride Simulators at the American History Museum Take an exciting virtual trip on board one of four simulators. Experience the thrill of careening through an action-packed rollercoaster course or racing in futuristic high-speed hovercars. Choose your adventure: Cosmic Race, Bermuda Triangle, Solar Coaster, Grand Prix Raceway, Astro Canyon, or Glacier Run. $7. Tickets always available for purchase at the entrance to the simulator gallery and may also be available at either Welcome desk. Simulator accommodates up to 8 people per ride. Children must be 42 inches tall unless riding with an adult. Rides are located at the Lower Level, across from the Stars and Stripes Cafe.

Amelia and Her Big Red Plane at Discovery Theater Amelia Earhart was an adventurer—and adventurous kids will get the chance to watch when little Amelia builds her own roller coaster in the backyard, takes off in her first plane (right over your head), and flies across the Atlantic. This interactive puppet show has planes that fly and puppets that sing, and it will bring Amelia Earhart vibrantly to life. Ages, 2-6. Thursday and Friday, Sept. 29-30, 10:15 AM, 11:15 AM, and 12:15 PM. $6-$8. National Air and Space Museum. Meet at the information desk. 202-633-8700.

Support the DC Youth Orchestra through eScript Support DCYOP Using Your Safeway Club Card (and other cards, grocery cards, and credit or debit cards), through the eScrip program. EScrip is a free way to raise funds for DCYOP. Here’s how it works. Make purchases at participating eScrip merchants, such as Safeway, and a percentage of the proceeds from your purchase is donated to DCYOP. All you need to do is register your Safeway Club Card. Then, each time you shop at Safeway and swipe your Safeway Club Card,

three percent of your purchases will automatically be given to them. This will also work with other merchants and with your debit or credit cards. Go to and click on “Members/Supporters”. When prompted to search for your group, type “DC Youth Orchestra Program”. Fill out the short online form (you’ll need your Safeway Club Card number which is on the front of your card). 202-698-0123.

Boo at the Zoo Tickets on Sale Now Boo at the Zoo is the wildest trick-or-treat in town! Princesses, superheroes, kid-wizards, and other costumed guests are invited to the 13th annual Boo at the Zoo. There’s no safer or more exciting way for families with children ages two-12 to enjoy Halloween. Get ready for tasty candy, delicious snack foods, and other special treats from more than 40 treat stations. Plus, animal encounters, keeper talks, and festive decorations are yours to enjoy. $30. Boo at the Zoo is Oct. 21-23, 5:30-8:30 PM. 202397-7328.

Boys & Girls Club Capital Community Family Festival On Sept. 17, the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington will hold its Capital Community Family Festival at the Yards Park. The Family Festival is part of the celebration of 125 years of service for the Boys & Girls Clubs and the National Day for Kids. The Festival includes live performances by the Black Byrds, AfroBop, Marcus Johnson, Issa, Chelsey Green and Theater Arts Performers. The day also includes games, fun activities, food, vendors, and celebrity guests. 202-540-2350.

School Field Trips to President Lincoln’s Cottage President Lincoln’s Cottage welcomed 3,500 students during the last school year. They hope to see even more in the 2011-2012 academic year. To schedule your class’ field trip to the Cottage or to request a 2011-2012 School Programs Brochure, email lincoln_ed@ President Lincoln’s Cottage, Upshur St. at Rock Creek Church Rd. NW ● CAPITALCOMMUNITYNEWS.COM ★


KIDS & FAMILY On Fatherhood:

A Conversation with DC Housing Authority Director Adrianne Todman by Khadijah Ali-Coleman

This year, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is making a special effort to welcome fathers to public housing. This year, HUD hosted fairs and events at 200 public-housing authorities across the country to celebrate fatherhood. Locally, the effort is being led by DC Housing Authority (DCHA) Director Adrianne Todman. East of the River recently spoke with Todman about this initiative.

DC Housing Authority Director Adrianna Todman. Photo: DCHA.

East of the River: The Father’s Day event the DCHA presented in June was the first of its kind. What is the DCHA’s statement on supporting fathers who live with their families in public housing? Todman: Actually, DCHA kicked off our Fatherhood Initiative in May in connection with Mother’s Day. We had several sessions 46 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE


with moms that some of our service providers identified to start the discussion about reengagement for fathers. We knew that if the mother is not inspired to nurture the relationship between the father and child, it won’t be very beneficial. To understand the purpose of the Fatherhood Initiative, you need to know that more

than ninety percent of the families in the District’s public housing households have a female, single head of household. Thus, that is an extremely disproportionate number of our children who are without a father in the home. On the other hand, we celebrate the…one hundred fathers living in DC public housing communities who are the custodial guardians of their children. We want men to be involved in their children’s lives in any constructive, helpful way they can. We don’t want them to flee because they fear that their presence will result in reduced resources for their children. We want to let them know that we are here to encourage their reunion and to help them develop healthy relationships with their children. To us, this isn’t one day initiative – it’s a movement. Therefore, the goal of the DCHA’s Fatherhood Initiative is to connect Dads with opportunities for relevant and reliable resources, programs and services to overcome obstacles that prevent fathers from engaging actively in their children’s lives. That can mean providing job training and access to jobs, or linking the father with the local courts to overcome legal issues. It can include parent training workshops or mental health counseling. It’s an effort to group services to meet fathers’ needs.

East of the River: What are upcoming events, programs or initiatives the DCHA has planned to support fathers staying in the home and supporting their families? Todman: This is an issue that we know will galvanize services groups and District agencies to collaborate with us, and to sustain this momentum through the year, because it’s about the kids. Our goal is to assist non-custodial fathers by creating this intensive model of tightly linked support services through social workers, service coordinators, counselors, career and employment development specialist, mental health counselors, parenting specialists that the fathers can access in the ways that the Housing Authority can support. June 18 was only the beginning. East of the River: What is the relationship the DC Housing Authority has with community partners who work with working with fathers of at-risk families? Todman: We have three sectors that I think you are referring to as “community-partners”. The first is “local agencies”. The second sector includes our local community-based organizations and the third sector includes DCHA onsite community services providers. We had an incredible response from DC community-based organizations to help us with June event including the Alliance of Concerned Men; Keep It Real, Where Real Is Due; Daddy’s Corners; 100 Fathers; Family Matters; Amali Lives; and the Streetwize Foundation to name a few . Right now, these groups are continuing to contact and recruit non-custodial fathers and connect them with our social service partners. We are also working with both community-based organizations and DC government agencies in finding and applying for grants to enhance and extend existing programs. We provide space within our communities for eligible service providers. East of the River: In closing, who inspired this Fatherhood Initiative that finally acknowledges publicly the housing authority’s position on fathers in the home? We commend Shaun Donovan, Secretary of HUD for his leadership on this issue; and for encouraging housing authorities across the country to take on this issue. To learn more about the DC Housing Authority’s Fatherhood Initiative, contact (202) 535-1000 or visit ●

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Anne Beers Aims Sky-High article | photos by Alice Ollstein


esha Moody Pratt has seen three of her children graduate from Anne Beers Elementary School. Her youngest daughter will enter third grade this fall. An active PTA leader for nearly 17 years, she says that despite “ups and downs” over the years—budget cuts, a string of interim principals—she has been happy to stick with Anne Beers. “All parents want a school that is safe, clean, and friendly,” she said. “I wanted to feel that my children were safe inside and outside the school, in addition to them getting the best education.” With a growing student body and several successful new programs, Anne Beers hopes to continue to improve in several key areas: parent involvement, student behavior and academics.

I Want to Be at Beers Unlike many DC public schools, where quick turnover is the new normal, Anne Beers has enjoyed a relatively stable staff in recent years. This is especially important to Principal Gwendolyn Payton, who joined the school in 2006. “The revolving door is not a pleasant thing,” she said. “When I was teaching, I experienced it. I had five principals in four years. A stable staff breeds trust, cooperation, and collaboration. My staff knows what I expect. I get a lot of support from them, and I cherish that. You can’t operate a school without a supportive staff.” Katherine Chesterson, a special education support teacher, agrees. “When you have people who work for each other and invest in each other, and you have that reciprocal relationship. Everybody improves and everything works. People like it here. So, they work to stay here,” said Chesterson, who has been at the school for three years. Many teachers and staff members show their dedication in another way—by sending their own children to Anne Beers. 48 ★ EAST OF THE RIVER MAGAZINE

Education Secretary Arne Duncan observes a lesson at Anne Beers. Photo: US Dept. of Education.

Principal Gwendolyn Payton chats with Education Secretary Arne Duncan during his visit to the school in March. Photo: US Dept. of Education.

For Chesterson, the stability is an essential component of a good school. “It’s wonderful when you can actually see those things through,” she said. “You can build upon your successes each year, and not be starting from | SEPTEMBER 2011

scratch every August.” Payton’s longevity has been the key. “Before Ms. Payton we went through quite a few principals,” she said. “We went almost 4 years without a stable principal. Quite a few

teachers retired, and parents took their kids out. A school is like just like a household—you need stability. You need to know that mom or dad will be there every day and you need to know the rules will stay the same,” said Chesterson. When Payton started at Anne Beers in 2006, there were 318 students enrolled. When school ended in 2010, there were 412—close to the building capacity of 438. Under a per-pupil funding system, a fully-enrolled school can afford to offer more programs and amenities. Chesterson sees that middle class parents are starting to come back to Anne Beers, but says the process will be a long and slow one. “It took middle class families many years to leave for the suburbs and private schools, and it will take many years to bring them back.” “I’ve heard about the middle school parents coming back to the DC public schools, but I haven’t seen a lot of it,” said Pratt. “I know just

Students get to fly missions on this shuttle simulator--part of the NASA Explorer School program.

one woman who brought her two children back to Anne Beers from a charter school. But I think more parents are taking the school as a serious option.”

Mommy, I Want to Be an Engineer Parents and staff say Anne Beers’ greatest assets are its science programs. When Anne Beers was accepted as an International Baccalaureate Primary Years school, it also became a STEM Catalyst School—specializing in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. It was a natural fit, since the school has been DC’s only NASA Explorer School for over 10 years. “There’s so much anecdotal evidence that STEM is working, particularly with our fifth graders,” said Chesterson. “When you ask them what they want to be when they grow up, every other one says, ‘An engineer.’ I didn’t understand what an engineer was when I was in fifth grade, let alone think that I wanted to be one. STEM broadens their horizons in such a profound way, and makes them think differently not just about the world, but about their own lives.” Some highlights from the past few years include talks by NASA astronauts and airplane pilots, a special helicopter landing in the school’s yard, and a visit from Education Secretary Arne Dun-

can. “We’re trying to expose them to many different careers,” Payton explained. “Our challenge is to incorporate STEM into everything— even reading, art and physical education.” Anne Beers achieves this in part by incorporating technology into the classroom—such as interactive boards and new Mac computers. The school has also upgraded its NASA cockpit simulator—a hightech replica of a space shuttle that students can train to use. “If you go in there and you’re running a mission, and you have to problem-solve with a team to get out of space, you’re gonna make it work,” said Payton. “The more we get them to think critically and work together, the more successful they’ll be as adults.” The Buck Stops with Students Another program developed over the past few years is Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) which shifts the discipline focus from punishing bad behavior to rewarding good behavior. The PBIS initiative started nearly four years ago, but has taken until now to become a fully-implemented and effective strategy. “These things take time,” said Chesterson, the school-wide coordinator for the PBIS program. “Now we have a lot of opportunities for kids to be recognized for their positive behavior, and then to see the benefits of their positive behavior.”

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This past year, Anne Beers created the system of “Cheetah Bucks”—special money students can earn by demonstrating positive behaviors and spend at the school store or on admission to events. “Our students are concrete, so the Cheetah Bucks work for them,” explained Payton. “And they sure value those Cheetah Bucks! Their parents count them. They save them in banks.” At the end of the school year, Anne Beers offered a bicycle for 500 Cheetah Bucks. To everyone’s surprise, a young girl Trinity, who had a history of behavioral issues, was the winner. Her proud mother came to school with a camera to document her daughter receiving her prize. “I would never have thought it in September, because she started off as a terror,” said Payton. “But she changed, because she was working toward something tangible.” “Trinity’s behavior and academics improved dramatically throughout the year,” added Chesterson. “As her behavior improved, she became more attentive in class.” This, Payton says, is the main goal of the program: “We want to improve behavior in order to support academics. It might just be one or two students in a classroom, but inappropriate school behavior is disruptive, and all the students suffer academically. We have improved greatly already, but we’re not yet where we want it to be. We still have a ways to go.” On the 2010 DC CAS exam, only 44 percent of Anne Beers students were proficient in math, and just 46 percent were proficient in reading.

It Takes a Village Though Pratt is optimistic that new parents are “stepping up” to fill leadership roles, she hopes the future brings more interest from parents in working with the school. “As the years progressed, we didn’t have as much parent involvement as we used to and would like to,” she said. “We have to put more pressure on parents to be responsible for their children, and not treat school like babysitting service. When kids see that their parents are involved, they’ll do a whole lot better.” Payton also sees improvement on this front. “I’ve seen a lot of parents donating things, coming and volunteering, and attending events,” she said. “They turned out in phenomenal numbers for things like STEM night. Parents were spilling out into the hallway!” Sheila Milbourne has been involved with Anne Beers for nearly 40 years, as a parent, an employee and a volunteer. She is excited about the school new initiatives, but stressed that the tight-knit community has always been strong. “There is so much support, from the community first and the parents second,” she said. “This community is very concerned about its school and involved with it. If you say to people in this community that we don’t have something, then somehow or other somebody is going to get it for you. And the neighborhood will look out for the children. It’s been that way all along.” For information about Anne Beers Elementary School visit ●

HOMES & GARDENS 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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August: A Real Snooze by Anonymous


ugust offers many of the rare, carefree moments in a scribbler’s life. It is a period of slow news cycles and physically, as opposed to mentally, absent politicians. Reports of mayoral hiring incompetence receive short shrift. The Mayor for Life’s traffic escapades creep into metro section leads. Here is The Nose’s paean to this seasonal snooze: Summertime, And the Council is in recess. News is scarce And the scandals are nigh Your column’s light And your Blackberry is quiescent So, drink up fellow scribblers Don’t you cry. One of these mornings A source will whisper to you Then you’ll write your article And blow the politicians up high But until that morning There’s nothing to trouble you With those nitpicking editors standing by. Summertime, And the Council’s in recess. News is scarce And the scandals are nigh The Nose looks forward to a lively fall, chock full of Machiavellian intrigue and juicy scandal. Have a pithy comment for The Nose? Email ★

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East of the River Magazine - September 2011  


East of the River Magazine - September 2011