Ward 5 Heartbeat is published quarterly by Brookland Heartbeat, Inc. 1335 Lawrence Street NE, Washington DC 20017 ©2012 All rights reserved
vol. IX, no. 1
Ward 5 Heartbeat
Dedicated to providing local news and information to the residents and businesses of Ward 5
Proposal to Build New Middle School on Grounds of Turkey Thicket Causes Outcry
A proposal by the District to build a 90,000 square foot middle school on the grounds of Turkey Thicket recreation center sent shock waves through the community when it was announced at a community meeting on February 26. The proposal is a joint effort of the Department of General Services, D.C. Public Schools and the Department of Parks and Recreation. The prospect of major changes to Turkey Thicket, a popular recreation facility built in 2005 after years of community effort, has many residents concerned. “We fought hard for it ten years ago,” said John Hogan, who lives across the street from the recreation center. At-Large Councilmember and Ward 5 resident Vincent Orange recalled the role he
At the eleventh hour, the District acknowledges that the site it chose for a new middle school is too small played bringing the much-needed recreation facility to the area. “We fought for Turkey Thicket because Turkey Thicket was for the community,” he said. One year ago, DCPS announced plans to build a new middle school in Ward 5. The plan called for the school to be built on the site of the old Brookland Elementary School, which has been closed for several years. The old school is located at 1150 Michigan Avenue NE adjacent to Turkey Thicket. Under the February 26 proposal – called “co-location” by District officials – the 540-student middle school would be built instead on 10th Street NE as a 90,000 sq ft addition to Turkey Thicket recreation center. The old school would be torn down and replaced with tennis courts in order to replace those lost to school construction. Under the co-location proposal, it is not clear how much of Turkey Thicket would become exclusive school property. DGS and DCPS did not respond to questions from the Heartbeat asking how much of Turkey Thicket would remain continued on page 29
Amy Mishra makes a move at the first ever Union Market Chess Challenge. Article p.5.
The Brookland Farmers Market is celebrating its 12th year this season. Article p.10.
McDuffie Takes Wait-and-See Approach to 2014 Budget
Eckington Dog Park Proposal May Have More Bark than Bite
The District’s 2014 budget, to be finalized in June, is Ward 5 Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie’s first opportunity to secure funding for Ward 5 projects and programs since he took office last year. The budget is currently being hashed out by District officials and will decide the city’s spending plan for the fiscal year starting October 1st.
BY DALE SPRUSANSKY
The Eckington Dog Park Association, a group of local residents, is starting the application process for a dog park at Harry Thomas Sr. recreation center, located at 1743 Lincoln Road NE. On February 28, a joint meeting was held by Advisory Neighborhood Commissions 5E03 and 5E04 to gauge community interest in the project. According to Eckington Dog Park Association The best time to submit 2014 member Nathaniel Tipton, there is currently no budget requests to the Mayor? money in the District budget for dog parks. “There “Two months ago.” is no city money for a dog park, so there will not be one going in anytime soon,” he said. Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) In an interview with the Heartbeat in early March, Mr. McDuffie described his wait-and-see representative Brent Sisco said that dog parks approach to the budget. He said it was too early cost a minimum of $150,000 to install. Mr. Tipton said the Eckington Dog Park for him to formulate specific funding requests continued on page 23 continued on page 31
2 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Ward 5 Heartbeat Moves to Online-Only Format Ward 5 Heartbeat is adopting an online-only format. The Spring 2013 issue of the newspaper is the last printed issue. News, daily updates, and a calendar of Ward 5 meetings and events will continue to be available at www.ward5heartbeat. org. Ward 5 Heartbeat editor Abigail Padou said that the change was in keeping with the trend toward online-only formats in the newspaper industry. Ms. Padou said in a statement: “The Heartbeat has grown tremendously since it was launched in 2005. The newspaper is currently at its peak circulation of 21,234. Now is a good time to move online.” •••
Ward 5 Heartbeat Ward 5 Heartbeat is now daily. Go to www.ward5heartbeat.org to get daily updates on news of interest to Ward 5:
Local Public Schools Found to Have Non-D.C. Residents Enrolled
news CLIPPINGS Ward 5 event calendar local building permits ABC BOARD MEETING AGENDAS & DECISIONS D.C. COUNCIL LEGISLATIVE CALENDAR ZONING COMMISSION CASES AND MORE
In February, officials from the D.C. Public Schools and the D.C. Public Charter School Board testified before the D.C. Council on the number of residency fraud investigations undertaken in the 2012-2013 school year so far. As of February 20, DCPS had launched 59 residency fraud investigations at D.C. public schools. 30 of the investigations were concluded at the time of the report. 22 students were found to be non-D.C. residents and 8 were found to be D.C. residents. The report can be found online at www.ward5heartbeat.org. continued on page 21
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 3
BZA Approves Israel Baptist Church Addition D.C. Offers $5,000 Grants District says concerns about traffic, parking unfounded
BY DALE SPRUSANSKY
On February 12, the Board of Zoning Adjustment (BZA) voted to grant Israel Baptist Church/Israel Manor Inc. two exemptions to the District’s parking regulations. The exemptions clear the way for Israel Baptist Church to proceed with its plans to build a 42,000 square foot addition to its building at 1251 Saratoga Avenue NE. The addition will house what the church is calling a “Life Learning Center,” which will include a health clinic and social Dale Sprusansky and recreation space. Israel Baptist Church in the Brentwood neighborhood As a result of the exemptions granted Neighborhood Commission 5C, ANC by the BZA, the church is required to provide a Commissioner Regina James, who represents total of only 82 parking spaces instead of the 136 Brentwood, said her constituents strongly parking spaces required by D.C. regulations. The opposed the church’s plans. “The community church currently has 35 parking spaces. which I represent is totally opposed to this,” she The BZA also granted the church’s request said. “This is critical to my community.” to build the additional 47 parking spaces on the In a letter to the BZA, Brentwood resident closed portion of Bryant Street NE on the west side James Haskins, who owns a home on 12th Street of the church near the Brentwood roundabout. NE facing the church, expressed concerns about At a January 16 meeting of Advisory continued on page 31
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After 18 months of delay, a project to build a pedestrian bridge across the CSX tracks near Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station appears to be moving forward. On March 1, the District Department of continued on page 24
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The District Department of Small and Local Business Development is launching a grant program to help businesses on 12th Street NE in Brookland pay for storefront improvements. According to DSLBD program manager Camille Nixon, the District will contribute $5,000 in matching funds to improvements such as awnings, signs, entrance doors, windows, exterior painting, exterior lighting and security grates. The program, called the 12th Street Storefront Improvement Program (SIP) is funded by a $25,000 contribution from Abdo Development. The developer paid the amount to the District as part of the community amenities package associated with the CUA South Campus Development, now known as Monroe Street Market. Ms. Nixon said interested business owners must register online to access the grant application, which is due May 15 at 5 p.m. To register, go to http://dcbiz.ecenterdirect.com, then click “Sign up to be a SBRC Client” and enter “12th Street SIP” in the notes field of the registration form. For more information, contact Camille Nixon at 202-741-0821 or email@example.com. •••
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4 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
The Red Hen Lands in Bloomingdale
OSSE Parking Lot Lease in Ivy City To Be Renewed Cost of Lease Has Doubled in Ten Years The District plans to renew its lease for a sprawling, 4-acre school bus parking lot located in the Ward 5 neighborhood of Ivy City. The parking lot, which the District leases from Greyhound, is located on New York Avenue on either side of Kendall Street NE. The District’s lease for the property, known as the New York Avenue Bus Terminal, is up for renewal in June. The District Department of General Services (DGS) and Greyhound are “actively negotiating the terms right now,” said DGS spokesman Darrell Pressley about the new lease. In 2002, the District Active duty and broken-down buses are parked in Ivy City started leasing the property for $403,000 per year. Since then, the cost of the lease has almost doubled, the State Superintendent of Education. OSSE to $780,000 for the year ending June 30, 2013. spokesperson Athena Hernandez said the buses Greyhound spokesperson Maureen Richmond were used to transport students to schools in the said the increase was due to rising property District and Maryland. values. Renewal of the lease means that Ivy City will Mr. Pressley said DGS is negotiating the continue to be used by the District for heavy vehicle terms of the new lease based on factors such as parking despite community opposition. Recently, the location of the property and “market factors.” Ivy City residents have had some success stalling DGS is not evaluating whether it would be more District efforts to increase the amount of heavy cost effective to locate the buses elsewhere. vehicle parking in their neighborhood. Approximately 270 school buses use the On December 10, D.C. Superior Court Judge parking lot, which is operated by the Office of continued on page 22
Local owner has restaurant industry pedigree Ward 5 residents who bemoan the lack of local fine dining options have cause to celebrate: The Red Hen is expected to open in mid-April. The restaurant is located at 1822 1st Street NW in Bloomingdale. According to owner and Bloomingdale resident Sebastian Zutant, The Red Hen will offer “Italian-influenced” cuisine that has no relation to the food served at ordinary Italian restaurants. “We’re not doing pizza or spaghetti & meatballs,” he said. He described the restaurant’s philosophy as combining high quality ingredients from the mid-Atlantic region with authentic Italian influences and “putting a twist on it.” Mr. Zutant said the menu will be relatively small and will frequently change. Entrées will cost $23 “tops” and pastas will cost $14-$16. Appetizers will cost $8-$10. An extensive wine list will emphasize bottles in the $50 range. “We are extremely familiar with downtown prices and want to get away from that,” said Mr. Zutant. The Red Hen is owned by several business partners: Mr. Zutant, Mike Friedman, and Mike O’Malley. Each has an impressive background in the restaurant industry. Mr. Zutant has cut a swath through the Washington, D.C. restaurant scene, opening well-regarded restaurants Komi, Rasika, Proof and Estadio. He will be the sommelier at The Red Hen – as he was at Proof. “I’m a wine person,” said Mr. Zutant. Mike Friedman, The Red Hen’s chef, has continued on page 19
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 5
Students Think Ahead at Local Chess Tournament
Harvey’s Market Offers Variety to Suit Every Taste BY MIKE OVERTURF
Ward 5 is fortunate to be home to Harvey’s Market, a Washington-based butcher since 1931. Harvey’s Market is well known to regular shoppers at the D.C. Farmers Market, an indoor market across from Gallaudet University which was recently renovated and reopened as Union Market. George Lesznar, who has been operating Harvey’s Market since before 2000, recalls with great fondness meeting regular customers like former Ward 5 Councilmember Harry Thomas Sr. – who loved bologna slices – and many of those who would shop for their family table in bulk. Marty Kaufman, former proprietor of Murray’s Market, joined forces with George as co-owner of Harvey’s Market. Marty is equally committed to customers both old and new. “We love our regular customers,” he said. Harvey’s Market still carries the meat seasonings, pigs’ feet, and spare ribs that have been longtime favorites. However, the changing times have also brought changes to Harvey’s Market. Customers increasingly want organic meat, meat without growth hormones, and the knowledge that their meat came from a local farm. Harvey’s Market has responded to these desires. Marty said: “We just today returned from a farm on the eastern shore where we met with the farmers to buy hogs and chickens, and we can see first-hand how these animals are raised. On occasion, we’ll buy from local processors, like in Pennsylvania, where the processors themselves are a cooperative of local farmers.” George added: “In the end, these family-
Pizza Breakfast Chicken
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owned processors specialize in organic, quality meats and they certify this to us, so we have every assurance of origination. We insist on buying pastured livestock: the whole pig, lamb, or turkey.”
Before the start of the Union Market Chess Challenge on February 2, Brookland resident Quentin Gilliam, 12, and Damarquis Jones, 10, played a practice match. The two Calvary Christian Academy students were among 60 children, from pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade, competing in the first-ever chess tournament held at the market. “Game over. I win,” Quentin said, pointing out the inevitable. “No, it’s not,” Damarquis replied as he dodged the attack with his few remaining pieces. Vaughn Bennett, a local chess instructor and Brookland resident, organized the event, one of numerous youth chess tournaments he holds throughout the year. At the Union Market Chess Challenge, students faced off in five games against their peers for the chance to win trophies and gift cards. Unlike a typical sporting event, parents stood quietly at the edge of the playing area while their children competed. “Chess is quiet. There’s not a lot of talking,” said Cathy Clements, Damarquis’ mother. She recalled a previous tournament when she cheered out loud for her son. “I learned that the hard way,” she laughed. Mr. Bennett, 47, moved to D.C. in 1985 and has been teaching chess to people of all ages at
continued on page 30
continued on page 26
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SPRING HOUSING MARKET UPDATE - APRIL 2013: In case you’ve wondered, now is an EXCELLENT time to sell a home in the Brookland and Woodridge area. The charts we’ve selected for this issue display the relationship between the shortage of homes for sale and the price appreciation that we’re seeing in the neighborhood. Active inventory is at a two-year low, and the months of housing supply available is also near its two-year low. That means that there aren’t enough houses available for potential neighborhood buyers. The result is that the time it takes us to sell each house continues to go down, and prices are continuing to go up. Of note is that the median price of a home in the area has gone up 37 percent from January 2012 to January 2013. For a copy of our full report for the Brookland/Woodridge neighborhood – or to talk about selling your property – please call our office any time.
Active Inventory: Brookland and Woodridge
Months of Supply: Brookland and Woodridge
Days on Market: Brookland and Woodridge
Median Sale Price: Brookland and Woodridge
Long and Foster Brookland Office 3527 12th Street NE, Washington DC Phone: (202) 526-7141 Fax: (202) 526-9290 Serving Ward 5 and Greater Metropolitan DC
Congratulations to Long and Foster Brookland’s 2013 Top Producers! Top Producer in Sales Volume and in Units Sold
Top Producer in Units Sold
I began my real estate career in 2004. I work with firsttime home buyers, investors, empty nesters, and generally anyone who wants to invest in real estate. My goal is to make your home buying experience as effortless as possible. Whether this is your first home or your fifth, I can help you achieve your goals.
Angela Jones (202) 494-6797 firstname.lastname@example.org
I began my real estate career in 2000 before it became fashionable to be a Realtor. I pride myself in working with first-time homebuyers and investors, I am known to have a sweet spot for estate sale representatives as well. I am honored whenever I have the opportunity to be of service to my clients. Consider me an extension of your team, taking the FRENZY out of Real Estate.
Michele has lived in Brookland for over a decade and has been selling real estate for more than 17 years. I take great pride in my marketing skills to help Brookland, Michigan Park and Woodridge sellers achieve their goals of selling for the highest price. Michele Collison (202) 669-4306 email@example.com
Monique Owens (301) 489-6456 firstname.lastname@example.org
A native Washingtonian, Phyllis is passionate about helping buyers and sellers make the right move in a complex marketplace. She handles all types of listings and purchases including short sales, foreclosures and land and prides herself on knowing all parts of the city.
Phyllis Cureton (301) 437-2898 email@example.com
David has assisted an buyers and sellers in DC since 1995. The Trinidad community is one of David’s special target areas. He finds his professional training as a licensed clinical social worker to be extremely helpful in achieving the goals and objectives of his clients.
David Hooper (202) 276-5180 firstname.lastname@example.org
Loretta Best is a native Washingtonian with experience in residential, commercial, and investment property transactions. Loretta comes from a family of Brokers and Realtors and has spent most of her life involved with clients that have bought and sold in the Washington Metro area since 1960. Loretta Best (202) 744-4420 email@example.com
Lovie Davis is a dynamic Realtor who is driven by results. As a Washingtonian, Lovie is knowledgeable of the local DC and Maryland housing markets. If you are looking to buy or sale a home she can help you exceed your real estate needs.
Lovie Davis (202) 491-9265 firstname.lastname@example.org
La-Toya prides herself on her integrity, her tenacity, and her ability to succeed under pressure. She is committed to taking the time to understand her clients’ needs, work in their best interests, and help them to achieve their goals.
La-Toya Jones (202) 294-4936 email@example.com
As a native Washingtonian and lifelong resident of Ward 5, my love for this city runs deep. I consider it a privilege to provide real estate services to the residents of our city and to those who want to make DC their new home. Wendy Gadson (202) 445-0226 firstname.lastname@example.org
Audrey has been a Realtor working exclusively in the District of Columbia for over 30 years. It has always been an important part of my professional practice to work hard for my clients and represent their interests in the best and most honest way I know how. I have worked through the most difficult Audrey Hendricks periods of the real estate (202) 486-9831 market with success.
Randall is a Ward 5 resident and is active in the Eckington Civic Association. A former teacher and social worker, he brings attention to detail and a clientcentered approach to his work. Randall Nolan (202) 841-6200 email@example.com
Tanya is a long-time resident of Riggs Park and is active in the community and the civic association there. She specializes is selling homes in the northeast neighborhoods of Brookland, Riggs Park, Michigan Park, Chillum, Woodridge and Brentwood.
Tanya Slade (571) 235-7191 firstname.lastname@example.org
Long and Foster: The Real Realtors of Brookland In the heart of Brookland since 2002
feature your home in the
Ward 5 Heartbeat,
Foster’s Brookland Office
at the phone number at the top of the page.
Long and Foster Real Estate does not have editorial control over the content of Ward 5 Heartbeat. Opinions expressed in this newspaper are those of Ward 5 Heartbeat and not of Long and Foster Real Estate.
8 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Thai Food on First: Aroi Thai Offers Fine Thai and Japanese Cuisine in Bloomingdale
Little Ricky’s Brings Cuban Food, Culture to Brookland
BY LINDSEY SUZANNE SMITH
BY DALE SPRUSANSKY
A new restaurant, Aroi Thai, has proudly joined the ranks of eateries springing up on 1st Street NW in Bloomingdale. According to local resident Niya Watkins, Aroi Thai is just what the neighborhood needs: “Pad Thai, curry, and California Rolls within walking distance? You can’t beat that,” she said. Located at 1832 1st Street NW, Aroi Thai serves traditional Thai dishes and Japanese sushi. Entrées Lindsey Suzanne Smith average $12, making the casual restaurant Somjet Promphasit at Aroi Thai a good option for neighborhood residents and families looking for a our food—it’s unique. “ filling meal without breaking the bank. Among traditional Thai dishes such as the Aroi Thai also features a $7.50 lunch special Green Curry, Spicy Eggplant, and Pineapple on weekdays, making it a mid-day favorite for both Fried Rice, the menu includes chef-recommended Bloomingdale dwellers and chowhounds from specialties like the spicy, hot and sour Tom Yum nearby neighborhoods. The sit-down restaurant Goong soup, the Kapow Crispy Duck, and the offers take-out and delivery. Papaya Salad. “Aroi” is Thai for “delicious.” According Vegetarian friendly, the “Healthy Choices” to restaurant co-owner and general manager portion of the menu includes Three Mushroom Somjet Promphasit, the food at Aroi Thai is just Soup, Vegetable Spring Rolls and Panang Curry that: “We make fresh food every day. I think that Tofu in coconut milk. Those with a taste for makes us special. People come for the taste of continued on page 25
Lola Pol knows what it’s like to be different. As a child growing up in Kansas City, Missouri, she came across very few Cuban-Americans outside of her own family. That’s why she had so much affection for the most famous Cuban-Americans of the era: I Love Lucy character Ricky Ricardo and his son “Little Ricky.” In her 11th year as a Brookland resident, Ms. Pol is once again standing out in her community. The difference is that now she is in the business of being unique: Ms. Pol is the owner of Little Ricky’s, a newly opened Cuban restaurant and bar located in the heart of Brookland at 3522 12th Street NE. Little Ricky’s aims to bring authentic Cuban cuisine and culture to an area largely unfamiliar with the island nation. The restaurant is open Thursday through Sunday. The fact that there is no Cuban food in the Brookland area is viewed by Ms. Pol as an exciting opportunity. “I love it because right here [in Brookland] the restaurant is so special,” she said. What sets Little Ricky’s apart from the typical Cuban restaurant is the fact that it recreates the atmosphere of a paladar. In Cuba, a paladar is a restaurant that families open in their home to make much needed money. Throughout all aspects of the dining experience, Little Ricky’s— which calls itself “An American Paladar”—aims to bring the paladar experience to life. “We wanted to make it like Grandma’s house,” Ms. Pol said of her vision. Upon walking into the restaurant, patrons continued on page 27
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10 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Kindcare Animal Hospital Makes Way for Brookland Animal Care Center New Vet, New Services in Established Location
Brookland Farmers Market: 12 Years of Good Food at Good Prices
BY HOLLEY COIL
BY DALE SPRUSANSKY
After nearly 30 years, there is a changing of the guard in Brookland. Neighborhood veterinarian Dr. Ericson Isles has retired and Dr. Shearon Smith is being welcomed as his replacement. Dr. Smith has renamed the veterinary office at 3622 12th Street NE the “Brookland Animal Care Center” and has renovated the premises and expanded the services offered. Dr. Smith said she practices general veterinary medicine, surgery, dentistry and grooming. A digital X-ray machine allows images to be sent to doctors at Tuskegee University for consultation. Animal boarding is also offered. Dr. Isles opened the practice, Dale Sprusansky then called Kindcare Animal Dr. Shearon Smith and Zynga, a Pembroke Welsh Corgi Hospital, in 1986. He said he bought the facility at auction the Caribbean. As a teenager, Dr. Isles went after the previous owner got in trouble with the to boarding school in nearby Trinidad. He humane society and the building was taken over eventually went to Howard University to get his by authorities. Masters Degree in microbiology. There, he met As a result, “it was very profitable for me,” said his future wife, Eleanor. They later married and Dr. Isles. “I didn’t have to buy a lot of equipment.” had two children: Adrian, who works for Google Dr. Isles said he rebuilt the practice by calling the in California, and Erica, who is a doctor in old clientele, informing them about the change— Baltimore. and they came back. In 2006, Dr. Isles’ wife suffered a debilitating Dr. Isles grew up on Curaçao, an island in continued on page 22
The Brookland Farmers Market is preparing to open for its twelfth year in the first week of June. The market offers low-cost organic produce and baked goods. Located steps away from Brookland/ CUA Metro station, the market is a relatively undiscovered gem. “There are tons of people in Brookland that do not know about this market,” said Michael Tabor, the market organizer and largest vendor. “The prices are better here,” said Suzanne Armstrong, a regular of the Takoma Park farmers market who recently discovered the Brookland farmers market. Among the prices customers can expect to pay for seasonal organic produce: $1.49 per pound for zucchini, $1.29 per pound for McIntosh apples and $2.25 for a cantaloupe. The market operates every Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. – 7 p.m. from the first week in June until the last week in October. The market is located under the Michigan Avenue Bridge, accessible from Brookland/CUA Metro station or from 10th and Otis Street NE. Mr. Tabor operates his produce stand alongside a handful of other vendors who offer a variety of fresh or seasonal items such as breads, baked goods, coffee, fresh mushrooms or home-made granola. For those who have discovered the market, it is clear what attracts them: quality and value.
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12 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Ambassador Maman Sidikou Leads Mali Forum at Ward 5 High School BY LINDSEY SUZANNE SMITH
On January 25, Ambassador going on is not just an ethnic issue Maman Sidikou of Niger led a forum or internal war: it’s a war that came on the crisis in Mali at Archbishop from outside to occupy Mali.” Carroll High School in Ward 5. The Mr. Sidikou was clear that he forum was sponsored by Carroll’s supported France’s intervention in student International Club. Mali in January. He said that without Ambassador Sidikou, who has the support and involvement of served as Niger’s Ambassador to the U.S., France, and the United the United States since January Nations, there could be a domino 2012, has a personal connection to effect of western African nations the high school: his daughter is a falling under the control of terror senior there. regimes. “If Mali goes down, not only Free and open to the public, the will Mali go down, New Guinea will event was held in response to recent go down, south Nigeria will go down, unrest in the West African nation Niger will go down, Burkina Faso will and was attended by approximately go down,” he warned. 50 Carroll students. Patrick Scallen, The Ambassador believes it is World History teacher and mediator not only the security of these West of the International Club, organized African nations that is at stake: he the forum. “The forum was good said Islamic extremism poses a because normally my students threat to the United States as well. wouldn’t be exposed to this type of “The threat may not seem immediate Photo by Michael Hoyt, courtesy of the Catholic Standard to the U.S.A. but, ultimately, the U.S. material, in terms of international geopolitics,” he said. is a target, as declared, over and Ambassador Maman Sidikou of Niger speaks with Carroll students Mary Blaufuss, principal of over, by the terrorists” he said. (from left to right) Sarah Munoz, Fanta Kabia and Tsion Abera. Archbishop Carroll High School, was Ultimately, however, sentiments. “I have a background in education, I pleased with student turnout for the Ambassador Sidikou believes that distinguished visitor. “We expected there to be know the importance of having children participate Africans must be the masters of their own fates. about 20 or 30 of our students who were interested in everything we do,” he said. He said he hopes that French forces will “very According to Ambassador Sidikou, internal rapidly be replaced by African forces.” Mr. Sidikou in it, and the event exceeded our expectations. We even had some alumni present,” she said. “I turmoil and power struggles are not new to West explained: “If you don’t find a way to have Africans think when you’re a teenager, having experiences Africa. In his view, what was new about the recent in charge of the continent, we’re in trouble.” that make the rest of the world—which may seem uprising in Mali was the involvement of outside “This is our world,” he said catching his far away—seem as close as the man across the forces. “Al Qaeda got in the middle of all of this…. breath. “I’m really quite passionate about this They came down from Algeria, they found people topic.” room can be really transformative.” Ambassador Sidikou echoed these who were ready to rebel” said Mr. Sidikou. “What’s •••
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14 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
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There isn’t much you won’t find in the cramped confines of Scrap DC, located at 52 O Street NW in the Bates/Hanover neighborhood of Ward 5. The inventory ranges from googly eyes to plastic bread ties, yarn, feathers, gift wrap, computer guts and egg cartons. If ever there was a brick and mortar store proving that one person’s trash is another person’s treasure, this is it. For customers, Scrap DC offers dual benefits: inexpensive materials and the reuse of items that might otherwise go to landfills. “You never really know who is going to be interested in what—it is a guessing game that way,” explained Karen Klein, co-director of Scrap DC along with Heather Bouley. They accept all sorts of donations, mostly of items people no longer want or have use for, and sell them to artists and crafters. It is “creative reuse” as DC Scrap likes to call it. In one instance, bicycle tires were sold to someone planning to make a chandelier. And the price is right: a scoop of random buttons goes for $.50. An unopened package of six craft paintbrushes costs less than $3. “The weirdness is more often in what the person looks to do with the thing,” than in the item itself, said Ms. Klein, glancing around at her varied inventory. Scrap DC was a mobile-only service for its first year until last fall, when the non-profit opened at continued on page 24
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16 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Euro Motors Service Center: Auto Repair with a European Accent BY ELTON HAYES
the lack of repair shops in Ward 5 that cater to The two-story, 7,500 square foot facility has a European automobiles. well-organized 3,000 square foot service bay that Euro Motors Service Center sits neatly “I knew the need because everybody features three auto lifts and a diagnostic center, tucked between two businesses on Rhode Island complained,” recalled Mr. Kristos. “The one of the shop’s main selling points. Avenue. And if you are not on the lookout, it neighborhood changed and I started seeing more According to Mr. Kristos and Big Kountry, can easily be missed. But if you are one of the BMWs and Mercedes and figured if someone despite being just two years old, Euro Motors automobile owners who trusts your vehicle to the opens up [a shop] that something good could Service Center has quickly built a solid reputation. happen.” They count a U.S. Senator and the owner of a Mr. Kristos’ love affair with cars began 35 continued on page 25 years ago in his native Ethiopia. He fled the African country in 1981 after political upheaval and settled in Washington, D.C. Euro Motors Service Center is a family business. Mr. Kristos and his nephew, known as Big Kountry, work in tandem. The two GWHCCF iscomplement working in the each other: Big District of Columbia to improve Kountry is jovial and charismatic, the economic strength of its Elton Hayes Yoga, Zumba, and Barre classes for as little as $12 while Mr. Kristos is neighborhoods through its more reserved and Car repair at Euro Motors Service Center Pilates Mat classes for as little as $15 seems comfortable small businesses. To this end, it operating behind the shop’s mechanics, you know just where to find it. developed scenes. its Small Business Euro Motors Service Center, located at 606 Try it free: mat class 4/8/13 and 4/15/13 at 6:15 PM, call to reserve, The easily Assistance Program to serve all Rhode Island Avenue NE, opened in July 2011. first-timers only please! overlooked entrance The shop services foreign cars such as BMWs, www.excelpilates.com existing enterprises and aspiring to the auto shop Mercedes Benz and Mini Coopers. Addis Kristos, 3407 8th St NE, WDC 20017 - 202.269.3020 does not do justice one of the shop’s owners, said he decided entrepreneurs to with a special focus firstname.lastname@example.org to what lies within. open the shop after hearing constant gripes about
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 17
Providence Opticians: Local Business Unites Family, Eyeglasses and Art BY ERICA SANCHEZ-VAZQUEZ
have to be impeccable. People know that they Sadly, the siblings saw their father pass away The Winslow siblings have been working won’t get what they get here at big chain stores,” in November of last year. The loss of Edward with their hands for decades. Kyle Winslow he stated. He also discusses how his commitment Winslow and the departure of three employees started fixing eyeglass frames as a teenager to the family business has provided stability to his have been a strain. For Ms. Winslow, however, when his father introduced him to the craft. Kyle’s life, while many of his friends struggle with the these hard times might mean “a breakthrough is around the corner.” sister, Tuesday Winslow, is both an executive at current job market. T he Winslows’ grandmother and uncle all Three new experienced employees were Providence Opticians and an artist recently hired and the business who creates colorful frames in continues to draw customers papier-mâché. generation after generation, Both siblings manage including those who remember the Providence Opticians, a family family patriarch fondly. business that opened in 1979. “I see some of the people Founded by their father, Edward that my father used to work for, Winslow, the full-service and now they come in with their optician has gone through some kids and their grandkids and talk to difficulties and changes, but me about him,” said Mr. Winslow. today it is thriving thanks to the family’s efforts. INNER VISION Providence Opticians has In addition to being an two D.C. locations, in Shaw/ executive at Providence Opticians, Logan Circle and Brookland. Ms. Winslow pursues an artistic According to Kyle Winslow, path. In fact, the stores are ever since his father started the decorated with many of the mirrors business, which was originally and frames that she creates. located at Providence Hospital, Last year, Ms. Winslow it has had a strong family organized an exhibit at the component. “When I was young, Brookland store of artwork it was just a job. But I always Erica Sanchez-Vazquez produced by intellectually disabled felt a place of solace in fixing artists. She worked with Art Tuesday Winslow makes colorful papier-mâché frames by hand frames,” said Mr. Winslow. Options, a program that promotes Mr. Winslow credited his father and a former helped manage Providence Opticians’ affairs the development of artistic and life management employee named Joe Diller with teaching him over the years. Tuesday Winslow said her uncle, skills among the disabled. Arthur Kelton, was instrumental in organizing everything they knew. Marvin Brown, an Art Options program Mr. Winslow said that after a while, he the business’ finances. “He put us on a strong instructor, explained that one of the most important developed his own style, and he speaks of his financial path. He taught us how to run our aspects of Art Options is that participants are able work with great pride and dedication. “Being a business, use the resources efficiently,” explained to get outside the studio and learn practical skills small business, we can’t afford mistakes. We Ms. Winslow. continued on page 28
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New Restaurant Will Bring Spain to Bloomingdale
Costa Brava to feature tapas, Mediterranean food and champagne cocktails BY ERICA SANCHEZ-VAZQUEZ
own vibe. The first floor will be more After a trip to the northeastern “homey,” while the second floor will coast of Spain, Larry Holden found have stonework and lights that give the inspiration for his first business it an “edge.” There will also be space venture. Funky, inviting and fun is for a DJ on the second floor. how he described the atmosphere of Holden’s business partner is his soon-to-open restaurant, Costa John Bowen, a DJ who owns producBrava. tion company Video Killers. Bowen Just like the region it takes its is designing graphics for the restauname from, Costa Brava “is gonna rant’s website, as well as possibly have a bit of an edge to it,” Holden st creating videos to match the music said. Located at 1837 1 Street NW in Bloomingdale, the restaurant will that plays in the restaurant. serve Spanish tapas and traditional Holden said he wanted Costa food with a Mediterranean twist— Brava to be a socially responsialong with colorful champagne ble business that worked with the cocktails. community. He said the restaurant will “It’s the kind of place where take measures to avoid loud music, I hope people will want to sit with such as having no bass speakers. Holden said he also aims to their friends for two hours, chat and catch up, like they do in Spain,” said be environmentally friendly by, for Holden. example, using wood from a 200-year Erica Sanchez-Vazquez Opening a restaurant has been old barn in Southern Maryland in the a longtime dream of Holden’s. After restaurant’s interior. Additionally, he Larry Holden inside the future Costa Brava with his restaurant plans 13 years working as a congressaid the restaurant’s produce and sional chief of staff, the Colorado meats would be sourced locally. native decided it was time for a change. Holden ingdale as “one of the hottest, fastest growing “I’m a business man and I want to make has worked in managerial positions at Chi-Cha neighborhoods.” money, but this is my baby and this is a dream Lounge, Front Page and James Hoban, among Holden said he had hoped to open the I’ve had for a long time. I really want to have a other establishments. After so much experience, restaurant in December of last year, but obtaining place that we’re proud of for the neighborhood,” Holden decided he could realize the dream of a building permit took longer than anticipated. he said. opening his own place. Once he obtains the permit, however, he said he ••• “I knew I wanted to open this restaurant. I expects the place to be ready in about a month. Costa Brava knew I had an idea and some financial backing. I 1837 1st Street NW Holden said Costa Brava would operate over was looking for a spot, and a friend recommended two floors, with 74 seats, including an outdoor Opening date to be determined Bloomingdale,” he said. Holden described Bloom- summer garden. He said each floor would have its
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The Red Hen Lands in Bloomingdale worked in Philadelphia, New York and California. His Washington, D.C.-based experience includes award-winning restaurants Proof, Jaleo and Zaytinya. Mr. Friedman described a few of the dishes he has in mind for The Red Hen’s menu: Clams casino with Andouille sausage and spring onion; Gnocchi á la Romana with hazelnut pesto; and grilled young chicken cacciatore style with roasted potatoes. It will be “food you actually find in Italy,” explained Mr. Zutant. Mr. Friedman emphasized the restaurant’s commitment to local, seasonal food. “We’re really trying to keep things as delicious as possible and as local as possible,” he said. In keeping with the restaurant’s informal attitude, Mr. Friedman said diners are welcome to chat with him as he cooks in the open kitchen, which will feature a wood-burning grill as its centerpiece. Mike O’Malley, from Chicago, is a longtime friend of Mr. Friedman. Mr. O’Malley is coming to The Red Hen via Las Vegas and will be the restaurant’s general manager. Once The Red Hen opens, Mr. Zutant will be in the enviable position of walking to work: he lives with his wife and son just four doors down. “We plan to be here a very long time and raise our son here,” said Mr. Zutant’s wife, Lauren Winter, about the Bloomingdale neighborhood. Ms. Winter is an experienced restaurant architect who designed local establishments Boundary Stone and Grassroots Gourmet. Mr. Zutant described the ambience of The Red Hen as light, airy, homey and welcoming. “We really want to showcase the windows and the space itself,” he said, referring to the restaurant’s
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from page 4
The site of The Red Hen in Bloomingdale. The restaurant is expected to open in mid-April. light-filled corner location. Mr. Zutant said the name “The Red Hen” was chosen to convey a homey and comfortable feeling. Customers should expect no loud music, no juke boxes and no TVs. For residents who live on or near 1st Street NW, parking is a major concern—something The Red Hen owners say they understand, being local residents themselves. “I am well aware of the parking situation,” said Mr. Zutant. Valet parking will be available on weekends.
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20 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Kennedy Care Offers Personalized Home Care to Local Residents Companionship, housekeeping, transit and other services provided
BY DALE SPRUSANSKY
to stay positive when interacting Pledging to offer compaswith dementia patients. sionate, personalized and Ms. Miller was proud to point dependable home care services, out that all Kennedy Care caregivKennedy Care opened its first ers are company employees. D.C. office in January 2012 in She said this was not standard Ward 5. practice in the industry, where According to executive caregivers typically come from director and Brookland resident outside agencies. Ms. Miller said Sevan Topjian, Kennedy that hiring caregivers as full-time Care provides “non-medicine employees ensures that they services” such as companionare better trained and qualified. ship and home management “We’re leading the industry in services to its clients, who are this region to do that,” she said. primarily senior citizens and the Kennedy Care was estabelderly. lished in Michigan in 2003 by Services include assisting Mr. Topjian’s longtime friend with laundry and light houseDave Kennedy. “We always had keeping, providing transpora plan to get into this business tation to and from medical [in the D.C. Metropolitan area] appointments, and assisting when the opportunity arose,” Mr. with personal care needs such Kennedy Care executive director Sevan Topjian (center) with employees Topjian said. In 2009, Mr. Topjian as eating and getting dressed. Jennifer Miller (left) and Jen Karapetyan (right) opened the company’s first D.C. “Our goal is to allow folks to age Metro location in Takoma Park, gracefully in their homes,” Mr. Topjian said. each client so the business can meet their specific Maryland. Mr. Topjian said Kennedy Care currently Mr. Topjian said he chose to open a location needs. This process includes matching patients in Ward 5 because of the large population of to a qualified caregiver they get along with. “We has approximately 30 local clients. He said the residents who need assisted living. “There is such try to find the best people for each client,” she company’s relationship with clients typically begins with a phone call from a care provider or a a high amount of need in this area,” he said. said. Mr. Topjian and three other full-time Mr. Topjian estimated that 80 percent of family member. Kennedy Care’s services cost between employees work out of the company’s Brookland Kennedy Care’s clients suffer from a form of office located at 3814 12th Street NE. dementia, although some remain undiagnosed. $17-25 an hour. Most clients pay through General manager Jennifer Miller said that “Every day is like groundhog’s day for them,” long-term insurance or privately. Ms. Miller said cu Where Kennedy Care learns as much as possible about Ms. Miller said. She stressed that it is important Pr continued on page 25 Dr. Aisha L. Lord, MSPT, DPT Physical Therapist
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from page 2
DCPS did not provide information about the number of fraud cases per school. As of February 25, PCSB had launched 48 residency fraud investigations at D.C. public charter schools. 16 of the investigations were concluded at the time of the report. 12 students were found to be non-D.C. residents and 4 were found to be D.C. residents. The report can be found online at www. ward5heartbeat.org. Three charter schools stood out as having significantly more 20122013 residency fraud cases than others. Mary McLeod Bethune Day Academy public charter school in Brookland had 18 cases; Two Rivers public charter school in Ward 6 had 9 cases; and Elsie Whitlow Stokes public charter school in Brookland had 5 cases. The remaining 16 cases were divided almost equally among 13 other public charter schools. Of the 18 residency fraud investigations at Mary McLeod Bethune, 6 students were found to be non-D.C. residents and 3 students were found to be D.C. residents. Nine investigations are still ongoing. Asked to comment on the large number of cases at her school, principal Dr. Linda McKay told the Heartbeat that she was not aware of a problem. “It seems that you have
more information than I do regarding MM Bethune’s residency fraud investigation. We have not received information from PCSB regarding any students.” Dr. McKay added, “I can assure you that there are many schools, and schools in Ward 5, who have a number that far exceeds the six, the eight, or the eighteen that you say exists at MM Bethune.” Dr. McKay did not provide details about the schools she was referring to. Starting this year, PCSB is responsible for investigating suspected residency fraud at public charter schools. Previously, public charter schools were responsible for policing themselves. Theola Labbé-DeBose, Director of Communications for PCSB, said this year’s residency fraud process is not over yet, even if an investigation has determined that a student is a non-resident. “[N]ow that the investigator has made a conclusion, PCSB will meet with the parent to allow the parent to appeal the finding, if the parent so chooses,” she said. Ms. Labbé-DeBose said instances of suspected residency fraud come to the attention of PCSB from the fraud hotline (202-7277224) and from parents, citizens, and the schools themselves. •••
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22 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Bus Parking Lot
from page 4
Judith Macaluso granted a preliminary injunction requested by two Ivy City residents and a local Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner. The three plaintiffs sued the District of Columbia and Union Station Redevelopment Corporation (USRC) to halt plans to operate a parking lot for up to 65 chartered tour buses on the grounds of Alexander Crummell School at 1900 Gallaudet Street NE. The plaintiffs cited inadequate ANC notification and the damaging effects of increased air pollution in their lawsuit. At a court hearing on November 29th, a scientific expert from Howard University testified that air pollution measurements taken in Ivy City showed “high number densities of fine particulate,” which he said warranted concern and further study. Judge Macaluso wrote in her December th 10 order granting the preliminary injunction that the District “deliberately disregarded statutory notification responsibilities with respect to the affected ANC” and that USRC “evaded environmental screening” by filling out required environmental forms falsely. Judge Macaluso ordered the District to comply with ANC notification requirements and environmental impact procedures before proceeding with its plans for the parking lot. The District appealed Judge Macaluso’s decision to the D.C. Court of Appeals, where the matter is waiting to be heard and decided. There is no schedule for the Court of Appeals to make its decision: the Court could rule this summer or later. •••
Brookland Animal Care Center
from page 10
stroke. She passed away in 2008. All the while, said she worked at the D.C. Health Department Dr. Isles kept up his clinic and helped care for his as the Veterinary Medical Officer and chaired wife. But after she died, his outlook changed. “To the D.C. Board of Veterinary Medical Examiners. what end do I do this?” Dr. Isles asked himself. However, her passion to work with animals drove “So from there on, there was a declining interest. her to open her own veterinary clinic. “I have to It was time to get out,” he said. touch and feel these animals,” she said. Enter Dr. Shearon Smith, whose passion Dr. Smith is committed to her animal patients. for animal care has existed as long as she can “Once they know I am a member of the pack, remember. When Dr. Smith was 4 years old, she they accept me,” she said. Last Christmas, she said she found a litter of puppies so young their said one of her canine patients went into labor eyes weren’t open yet. Not knowing what to do, and delivered 8 puppies three days later. During she enlisted the help of her mother, a nurse. Her that time, she said she was on call around the mother fed them and helped them get stronger. clock, giving the clients her cell phone number That’s when she told her mother she wanted to and making house calls. be a “nurse for dogs.” “To work with animals is a special type of As an undergraduate at Howard University, task,” said Dr. Smith, sitting in her newly renovated Dr. Smith said she worked part-time washing dogs veterinary office. “And I look for people that speak and learning the art of grooming. “They not only the language.” taught me bathing, but grooming,” she recalls. ••• At the time, Dr. Smith said she heard about Brookland Animal Care Center an African-American veterinarian practicing in 3622 12th Street NE, (202) 635-3622 Maryland, so she wrote to him. That man, Dr. By appointment only Barr, eventually paved the way for her transfer to Tuskegee University, where she met Dr. Isles. This was a time when the field of veterinary medicine Get Fit with Deloris Aldridge didn’t include many women, let alone black Ward 5’s Personal Trainer women. “I would walk (202) 529-6867 into a meeting, and nothing would look like Private one-on-one sessions me,” Dr. Smith said, Personalized program adding, “and that is still the same today.” Cardio and Resistance training with weights Before striking out Local facility with equipment provided on her own, Dr. Smith
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Eckington Dog Park
from front page
Association was putting the matter before the community in the hope that funds would become available in the future. “Down the road when the money is available, who knows what will happen,” he said. More than 75 people attended the meeting, many of whom expressed opposition to the proposal. Several residents voiced safety concerns. Connie Martin said she feared that unsupervised dogs would attack humans or other dogs. “People socialize among themselves and don’t watch after their dog,” she said. Fred Allen shared a similar concern. “I certainly would not want my grandchildren to come here and get bit,” he said. Opponents also questioned the need for a dog park, pointing out that LeDroit Park dog park is less than a mile away. “If people have gone so long without a dog park in this community, what’s the rush to have one now?” Sam Mosley asked. Others expressed fears that the dog park would take land away from children who use the recreation center. “That space may seem small, but it’s big to us,” said Andrea Petty, who said she regularly volunteered at the center. After the meeting, ANC 5E04 Commissioner Sylvia Pinkney noted that many of Eckington’s longtime residents were firmly opposed to the idea of a dog park. “From what I’m hearing, the longtime residents don’t want it anywhere,” she said. Responding to critics, Mr. Tipton asked the community to allow the application to proceed. “The process is there to mitigate these concerns,” he said. ANC 5E03 Commissioner Tim Clark also asked the fired-up crowd to let the Eckington Dog Park Association continue the exploratory
process. “I think we’re getting a little ahead of ourselves,” he said. “We need to let [the process] play out and then make a determination.” Mr. Tipton said the Association was willing to stop pursuing a dog park if the application process showed the park to be unfeasible or widely unpopular. “I just want to get to the point where that can be determined,” he said. According to Brooke Edgecombe, a founding member of the Eckington Dog Park Association, dog parks have benefits for both dogs and the community. She said dog park supporters “want a dog park, not only because it gives dogs the chance to play freely in a safe enclosed area, but almost as importantly, because it’s an opportunity to meet and socialize with neighbors. Dog parks encourage a sense of community.” The Dog Park Association said it would go before local community groups to share its plans. “In the coming weeks and months, the EDPA will ask to be on the agenda of community groups to ask for their support to move the process along,” the Association announced on March 1. Groups wanting a dog park must go through an application process administered by DPR. The first step is to get at least 50 community members to sign a petition of support. “We have at least a couple hundred people who have signed our petition,” said Ms. Edgecombe. Signatures in hand, the Association must then gain the official support of the local Advisory Neighborhood Commission, which is ANC 5E. If ANC 5E votes to approve the dog park, public notice for the project will be placed in the D.C. Register for 30 days. During this period, members of the public can submit comments. DPR Chief of Staff John Stokes said that public
comments are taken seriously. “Nothing is done without the community’s input,” he said. After the 30-day comment period, DPR’s Dog Park Application Review Committee makes a formal recommendation to the director of DPR. The review committee includes a representative from the Department of the Environment, the Department of Health, an expert in canine behavior and four community members. The DPR director then makes a final decision. The Eckington Dog Park Association is proposing one of two 5,000 square foot areas for the dog park: the northeast or northwest corner of the grounds of Harry Thomas Sr. recreation center. Neither of the proposed areas is part of the playground renovation project currently underway. Mr. Tipton said the effort to bring a dog park to Eckington began in 2011 when the Dog Park Association asked DPR for a list of possible locations. According to District regulations, DPR is required to inform groups of land that could be used for a dog park. Regulations state that dog parks can only be built on DPR property. DPR determined that Harry Thomas Sr. recreation center was the only possible location in Eckington. Mr. Sisco said that all dog parks must have 5-foot tall chain link fences and be double-gated for safety. He said “decomposed granite” is the preferred surface for dog parks and that parks must be at least 50 feet from surface waters. “We try to make things as safe and environmentally conscious as possible,” said Mr. Sisco. •••
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24 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Scrap DC Sells Used Materials
RI Ave Bridge
from page 14
its current location. Scrap DC is sponsored by Scrap Creative Reuse Center in Portland, Oregon. Ms. Klein said once the fledgling operation becomes profitable, it will owe a fee to the Scrap Creative Reuse Center. “I like the fact that, for the most part, 99 percent of the stuff there are things that would have gone into the trash,” said customer Sarah Baker. Ms. Baker works at Family Place DC, a non-profit community center that serves Latino women and Holley Coil their children. Treasures to be found at Scrap DC include “googly eyes” Ms. Baker said one component of her work is toy making, so she Scrap DC has a small gift shop, dubbed seeks out many of her materials at Scrap DC. the Re: Boutique, that features the work of local She described making dolls out of socks, making artists who use Scrap DC inventory. Offerings rattles for babies, and several other projects. “We include brooches made from puzzle pieces and made pillows with a happy face on one side, and drinking glasses made from used wine bottles. a sad face on the other, and that was a big hit,” Right now, Scrap DC has limited opening Ms. Baker said. “I got all the fabric from Scrap, hours, but as it continues to grow, hours are along with the polyester stuffing.” expected to expand. Scrap DC even hosts She said nearly every time she goes to birthday parties, where “knowledgeable and artsy Scrap DC to buy materials for her class, she also volunteers” lead children in art projects. tends to get a few items for herself. “I am the type ••• of person, if I see something that is interesting, Scrap DC, www.scrapdc.org I will get it, even if I don’t know what I will use it 52 O Street #L2, Thursdays noon-8pm for down the road.” One project Ms. Baker has First Fridays of the month 6pm - 9pm in mind is turning old computer components into Third Saturdays of the month 10am - 1pm earrings.
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from page 3
Transportation issued a request for bids to build the bridge. Bids are due on March 29. The pedestrian and bicycle bridge is expected to make it easier and safer to cross the CSX tracks near the Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station. According to bid documents, the bridge will link to the Metropolitan Branch Trail. DDOT initially issued a request for bids in November 2011 with the expectation that the bridge would be built in 2012. However, the process was terminated when DDOT discovered what it believed to be improprieties.
Courtesy of DDOT
A rendering of the pedestrian bridge At a community meeting on May 18, 2012, DDOT Associate Director Sam Zimbabwe told attendees, “There were real problems when we went out the first time to bid so we have to sort of start the procurement process again....There were some challenges. And so we had to sort of throw everybody out and start over.” Privately, Mr. Zimbabwe told the Heartbeat that a conflict of interest associated with a bidder caused DDOT to terminate the process. The Heartbeat submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to DDOT to obtain documents associated with the tainted bidding process. DDOT denied the request. The Heartbeat appealed the matter to D.C. Superior Court where it is waiting to be decided. •••
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 25
from page 8
Japanese cuisine can enjoy selections from the sushi menu such as salmon-based Scandinavian rolls, McLobster rolls, and the inventive Dragon Series—a set of 4 different eel-based Makizushi rolls. Somjet was hard-pressed to identify his favorite dish. “I love our Pad Thai,” he said, “but our Green Curry Panang is really popular.” Somjet’s culinary career stems from a love of cooking, which dates to his upbringing in Thailand. “My mom and me liked to cook a lot—even simple dishes for the family…especially curry,” he said. For Somjet and his mother, fresh food was imperative to the creation of a delicious dish. At Aroi Thai, the standard is no different. “I believe in my chef. If anything is not fresh, if everything isn’t perfect, she won’t let it go out of the kitchen. We, my staff, we have to take care of everything—all of the details.” “We,” is a word that Somjet repeated over and over—it was a rare occasion that he used the word “I.” Somjet emphasized that it was only through teamwork that he and his partners were able to make the restaurant a reality. The grand opening was November 6, 2012. Somjet met business partners Harutai Kamnodsri, Vorajit Vechasart, Chat Kladkemthong and Anthonios Munaba more than a decade ago after moving to the United States. Beginning as a dishwasher, Somjet climbed the ranks of the Metro D.C. restaurant scene, and began drafting business plans for Aroi Thai as early as 2008. According to Somjet’s partner Harutai, they could not have picked a better location. “We love the neighborhood,” the pair said in unison. “People were very excited: ‘When are you going to open!’ they asked.” While Somjet is happy finally to be a small
business owner in a field he feels passionate about, he acknowledges something sweet and sour about the title “owner.” “So many owners only think about business,” he said. “They think: today, how can I make money? What can I do to make more money? They don’t think: today, how can I make people like my food, how can I make people happy?” ••• Aroi Thai, 1832 1st Street NW (202) 652-0642 Open 7 days a week for lunch and dinner
from page 20
the company works with clients for any period of time—from a few hours to full time. Mr. Topjian’s team believes Kennedy Care’s entrance into the local community has gone well. “The word is spreading about the things we do differently and do well,” Mr. Topjian said. Despite Kennedy Care’s success, he said the business would stay small and focus on local clientele. “We have no desire to become the biggest home care company,” he said. ••• Kennedy Care 3814 12th Street NE, (202) 526-3560 www.kennedycare.com
from page 16
Bentley among their customers. On any given day, Big Kountry will likely be the first person to greet you as you enter the shop’s maintenance bay. Thanks to his affable personality, it is an experience you are not likely to forget. Although he has lived in the District for years, the six-foot-three Floridian still possesses southern warmth and hospitality that he wears like a badge of honor. Big Kountry prides himself on offering the best service to his customers. “D.C. is a word of mouth town,” he said. “If you do good work, [customers] are going to tell people, and that’s what we aim for.” Mr. Kristos said the shop’s appointment calendar is booked two weeks in advance. While many customers are residents of Ward 5, he said his technicians have serviced automobiles from California, Georgia and New York. Maintenance services cost approximately $100 per hour, but the shop offers diagnostic testing for just $47.50, which Big Kountry says is significantly lower than other auto shops. Other services offered include transportation to and from Rhode Island Avenue Metro Station and anywhere within a three mile radius. Above all, Euro Motors Service Center’s first priority, according to Big Kountry, is the satisfaction of its customers. “We offer quality products and service and we stand behind it,” said Big Kountry. “We work for the customer—they’re our boss. Without them, there is no ‘us.’” ••• Euro Motors Service Center, 606 RI Ave NE (202) 526-3800, euromotorsdc.com
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26 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Students Think Ahead at Local Chess Tournament schools, libraries and community centers for 15 years. “It’s been very fulfilling. This is as important to me as running into a burning building and pulling someone out,” said Mr. Bennett, a former firefighter. He now teaches 200 kids every week, with about 14 students per class. Parents of the tournament players said they encouraged their children to play chess because the game enhances learning and development. “Some of it is just purely nostalgic because my dad taught my brothers to play,” said Elizabeth Tsehai, a Cleveland Park resident. But, she added, “It just breeds good habits.” Ms. Tsehai’s son Gabriel, 7, attends first grade at the Washington International School and was playing in his third tournament. “It takes a lot of deep thought,” Gabriel said of chess. “It’s my sport, and it’s fun going to these tournaments,” he said. Mr. Bennett’s hope is that regular tournaments can make chess accessible to area students and expose families to the game’s academic potential. During matches, Mr. Bennett insists that his students write down and analyze
from page 5
Mr. Bennett said the national rankings students receive as a result of tournament play can qualify them for scholarships to the University of Maryland Baltimore County, among other colleges. “The emphasis to me should be on moving our children towards winning these scholarships,” he said. Clockwise from upper left: Officials at Union Market (1) Brookland resident Quentin Gilliam said hosting events like the Chess (left), 12, and Damarquis Jones, 10, Challenge served the interests of play a practice game, (2) Dimi-Uan both the market and the surroundJackson (right), 12, takes his turn ing neighborhood. “Union Market against Markell Williams, 14, as is really becoming the community Jack Nugent (center), 14, and Bay gathering place,” said Ryan Baffel, 12, look on, (3) Amy Mishra,11, Panitz, Union Market’s communiplays David Balakirsky, 8. cations director. “We want people Photos by Christian Kloc to come and enjoy the market.” As Mr. Bennett educates the next generation of chess players their every move. “When you get into that, your in the region, he encourages his students to contemplate the future—their “next move” both test-taking skills go through the roof,” he said. Mr. Bennett is a big believer in the power of in chess and in life. “We have to be conscious tournaments to accelerate learning. He credits the of the moves that we make and look at the best abundance of free competitions in New York with opportunities. That’s what, to me, chess is about,” that area’s ability to produce three 12-year-old he said. ••• African-American chess masters in 2011. “They For information about chess classes got to play every single weekend since they were and upcoming tournaments, five or six years old,” he said. contact Vaughn Bennett: All it takes to participate in Mr. Bennett’s free firstname.lastname@example.org tournaments is membership in the U.S. Chess 202-557-9516. Federation, which costs students less than $20.
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 27
from page 8
encounter the sights and sounds of Cuba. Colorful Cuban artwork adorns the walls and lively Cuban music plays in the background. The paintings on the walls have become so popular that some customers insist on leaving the restaurant with them. “People are buying them off the walls,” Ms. Pol said. The presence of the artwork is a concerted effort by Ms. Pol to introduce patrons to Cuban culture. “We want people to learn something about Cuba,” she said. Ms. Pol said the restaurant plans to change the artwork every three to six months to raise awareness about the diversity of the Cuban art scene. Once seated, customers are presented with a menu largely the work of Ms. Pol’s mother. “All of the food is my mom’s recipe,” said Ms. Pol. “It’s really grandma’s Cuban cooking.” Because the restaurant only serves authentic Cuban food, Ms. Pol said the menu is dependent on the local availability of ingredients. “The menu is limited to the things I know we can make correctly,” she explained. Menu prices range from $8.75 to $17.95. Chorizo (pork sausage), Cuban fried chicken, grilled blackened Kingfish and boliche (round steak stuffed with chorizo) are among the menu options. In Ms. Pol’s opinion, customers should try the pork. “Cubans generally love pork. We eat pork all the time,” she explained. She also recommended the Yuca (a root vegetable), which
was happy to have a new and distinguished dining destination in the neighborhood. “I’m very ecstatic it’s here,” he said. “I think it lifts the whole neighborhood up.” Little Ricky’s is Ms. Pol’s first venture into the restaurant business. Her previous work experience includes owning a wholesale bakery in San Francisco and directing the operations of an ecological tourism cruise ship. Ms. Pol said that Brookland is the only location she ever considered for her restaurant. “I thought we just needed a little Cuban culture in D.C.,” she said. •���• Little Ricky’s, 3522 12th Street NE www.littlerickysdc.com, (202) 525-2120 Open Thurs - Sat for lunch & dinner Open Sunday 10am - 5pm for brunch Dale Sprusansky
Little Ricky’s she said is another popular food in Cuba. For those desiring an adult beverage, Little Ricky’s features a full bar where traditional Cuban drinks are the specialty. “Most of them are variations of rum drinks,” Ms. Pol said. Since opening in November, the restaurant has been well received by the community. “Friday and Saturday nights every table is full, the bar is full—it’s great,” said Ms. Pol. Customers interviewed on a recent evening shared Ms. Pol’s enthusiasm. Theresa Jenkins, a frequent patron, said she enjoys all aspects of the Little Ricky’s experience. “It has a positive, upbeat atmosphere with good homemade food and a great bar selection,” she said. Chris Fleming
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from page 17
that will help them live independently. “They sell their work, they make money. This is also an entrepreneurial initiative,” said Mr. Brown. Ms. Winslow and Mr. Brown both called the exhibit a success. “The weather was perfect. Family came, department heads came, and community members came. We had food, we had music, and the students sold their work,” said Ms. Winslow. The Winslows will continue supporting the arts. Ms. Winslow’s next project is to promote an “art-hop” with local artists. Her plan is to foster art appreciation among local residents by encouraging every business on 12th Street NE in Brookland to exhibit pieces of art and host artist talks. ••• Providence Opticians NE location: 3510 12th St NE, (202) 526-0300 NW location: 1802 11th St NW, (202) 462-0055 www.providenceopticians.net
from page 10
“I know that [Mr. Tabor] is going to have a lot of good stuff and the best prices,” said Lisa Runge, a local resident who has shopped at the market for seven years. “The quality of the veggies is just incredible….I’ve become addicted,” said Jason Bulluck, a six-year devotee of the market. Mr. Tabor said the Brookland Farmers Market was special because, unlike most other farmers markets, he does not charge vendors a fee to participate. Mr. Tabor said he pays the fee for the market himself and then invites other Dale Sprusansky vendors to sell their wares at Michael Tabor, at left, offering free samples at the Brookland no cost. “As long as they’re not Farmers Market last year in competition with each other, ANNUAL SPRING BAZAAR they’re welcome to sell here,” he said. being served. Dedicated to his profession and GUILDFIELD BAPTIST CHURCH Mr. Tabor said his approach allowed the his principles, Mr. Tabor makes a two-hour drive PARKING LOT Brookland Farmers Market to offer better prices from his Needmore, Pennsylvania farm to bring 1023 Otis Street NE than other markets. Referring to tomatoes he fresh produce to Brookland every week during Saturday April 6, 8 a.m. until... priced at $1.79 per pound, Mr. Tabor said, “If we the market season. were at Columbia Heights, we could not sell them Mr. Tabor said everyone is invited to Licking Come celebrate Spring at our annual Spring Bazaar, at that price.” Creek Bend’s annual Farm Day on May 19. From featuring: home-cooked fish, chicken, side dishes, This low-cost approach fits with Mr. Tabor’s 11 a.m. – 4 p.m. visitors can participate in a veggie freshly baked cakes, Avon products, indoor & outdoor personal mission to get more Americans to pot luck, swim in the creek, take a tour of the farm plants, vinyl records and many yard sale items. Tables consume healthy, organic food. “People don’t and meet Mr. Tabor and his staff. are available for you to display and sell your items. have contact with fresh healthy food,” he said. At ••• For more information call his produce stand, Mr. Tabor can be seen trying More information about Licking Creek Bend’s Brother Charles at (202) 635-0317 to convert customers to a healthier way of life, Farm Day and the Brookland Farmers Market or email BroCharlesOtis@gmail.com engaging them in conversation and offering free can be found at: samples. www.lickingcreekbendfarm.com. “The whole market…it’s really ST refreshing,” commented Other Ward 5 Farmers Markets: customer Peter Gribbin. He added that he Bloomingdale Farmers Market appreciates the extent a local producer-only farmers market to which the vendors Sundays 9 a.m. - 1 p.m., May 12 - Nov. 17 at the market take their Market offerings include: craft seriously. breads, baked goods, produce & berries, Mr. Tabor has been greens & herbs, eggs, pastured meats, farming for 40 years sausages & bacon, cheese & yogurt, but does not consider pickles, salsas & sauces, jams. himself a conventional For more information: farmer. “I’m a social email firstname.lastname@example.org or anthropologist. I don’t call (202) 536-5571. think I was meant to be a farmer, but it just PCDC Edgewood Farmers Market evolved,” he said. Located at the Shopping Center at 4th Street & An activist for Rhode Island Avenue NE much of his life, Mr. (to the right of the former CVS Pharmacy) Tabor started Licking PCDC did not respond to requests for Creek Bend Farm in information about plans for this year’s farmers 1972 after he visited market. For more information: a school cafeteria and email email@example.com. was appalled at the Hagans Cultural Center – 3100 Fort Lincoln Drive, N.E. poor quality of food
1 ANNUAL FORT LINCOLN HOME TOUR Saturday, May 11, 2013 1 pm-4 pm (Tour) 4 pm-6 pm (Reception)
A Rare Look at Beautiful Homes in D.C.’s Only Planned Community TICKETS: $20 in Advance ∙ $25 Tour Day Advance ticket sales & tour information at: www.ftlincoln.org, (202) 832-2980 Tour day tickets available at: A FORT LINCOLN CIVIC ASSOCIATION EVENT
Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 29
Proposal for New Middle School Causes Outcry
“The residents are crystal clear that they don’t want to have this co-location shoved down their throats”— Councilmember Kenyan McDuffie Ms. Burney said DCPS had also considered Hamilton School near Gallaudet University and Bertie Backus School on South Dakota Avenue as possible locations for the new school. Those who oppose co-location have focused on both schools as better, larger alternatives to Turkey Thicket. Bertie Backus, which is currently used by the Community College of the District of Columbia, has a large campus well-served by public transit. Allen Sessoms, then-president of UDC, announced last year his desire to pull out of the campus at Bertie Backus as a cost-saving measure. Hamilton School, available starting this year, sits on a large property halfway between NomaGallaudet and Rhode Island Ave Metro Stations. The District has expressed unwillingness to reopen the site selection process because it is eager to meet a self-imposed construction deadline of 2014 for the new school. DCPS spokeswoman Melissa Salmanowitz said, “What’s important here is that Brookland was the community’s choice….and we’re committed to this site.” District officials have been moving quickly since February 26, holding a series of community meetings about their proposal. However, some residents fear they—and their concerns about traffic, parking and loss of community recreation space—are being left behind. As of mid-March, neighbors of Turkey Thicket said they had not received any flyers or robocalls
School Parking Park
community space after the school was built. The construction timeline announced by DCPS last year called for the design of the new school to be finished by spring 2013 so it could open in time for the 2014 school year. Now, when design of the new building is supposed to be complete, planners are publicly acknowledging for the first time that the site of the old Brookland Elementary school is too small and awkwardly shaped to build a modern middle school. “We were running into problems with the square footage of the site,” said Gail Douglass of Hartman-Cox Architects, the firm hired by the District to design the new school. These problems led District planners to propose building the new school next door at Turkey Thicket instead. District officials blame the community for having selected the site of the old Brookland Elementary School in the first place. “When we initially polled the community, Brookland was the overwhelming site,” said Shanita Burney, Director of Family and Community Engagement at DCPS. “As a matter of fact, Brookland was not DCPS’ primary site or favorite site because of the size,” she added.
from front page
Te Co nnis urt s
[Site of old Brookland Elementary School]
Space shared by school and recreation center
Hartman-Cox Architects with labels added
The “co-location” proposal presented by District officials on March 14 (above) calls for a 540-student middle school to be built on 10th Street NE as a 90,000 square foot addition to Turkey Thicket Recreation Center. Another option discussed by District officials is to build the new school on the site of the old Brookland Elementary School at 1150 Michigan Avenue NE. In both cases, the old Brookland Elementary School building would be torn down. from the District informing them about upcoming meetings or plans for the new middle school. “Nothing, nothing, nothing whatsoever,” said Mr. Hogan about the District’s outreach efforts. It has been left to concerned citizens and community groups to spread information about planning meetings by word of mouth and electronic listservs. “If you are not on the Brookland listserve, which many of the residents are not, you would know nothing about it,” said Ralph Bucksell, a neighbor of Turkey Thicket. According to Ms. Salmanowitz, DGS is responsible for providing meeting notice. For other, smaller projects, DGS has taken steps to inform the community about planning meetings. According to former Advisory Neighborhood Commissioner Vaughn Bennett, DGS employees twice distributed flyers door-to-door to residents surrounding Noyes Park to inform them about design and planning meetings regarding park renovations. DGS Project Manager Michael Quadrino said the final design for the new middle school will be selected in mid to late April. At a community meeting on March 14, DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson announced that if the community and the District did not reach “consensus” by then, she would make the final decision herself. “If we can’t [get to consensus], I’ll take responsibility and make the call,” she said. Some residents questioned the District’s timeline. “All of a sudden we have to make a decision in four weeks? That’s absurd,” said Mr. Hogan. Mr. Bucksell was equally skeptical. “We don’t have to accept their timeline. You do not spring on a community a plan and pretend that there are no other options,” he said.
At the March 14 meeting, Ward 5 Council member Kenyan McDuffie pushed back against District officials’ unwillingness to consider alternatives. “The residents are crystal clear that they don’t want to have this co-location shoved down their throats,” he said. Mr. Hogan said he, like many residents, believes that a new, modern middle school should not have to come at the expense of Turkey Thicket. “We want a school but we want our rec center,” he said. Mary Elizabeth Kenel, who lives near Turkey Thicket, pointed out that major residential developments currently under construction nearby would increase demand for recreation facilities at Turkey Thicket. “The need for adult recreation facilities will be increasing sharply – this is NOT the time to cut back on space and facilities to make way for a middle school in this area,” she wrote in an open letter to the community. Ms. Kenel proposed demolishing the old school and incorporating its land into expanded playing fields for the recreation center. The District’s eleventh-hour proposal to build a middle school at Turkey Thicket also snarls plans for a $1 million playground renovation project that was supposed to begin at Turkey Thicket this spring. Dan Dove of Studio 39, the landscape architecture firm hired to design the playground, said that construction of the playground is on hold until a decision is made on the middle school. “We’re waiting to see what happens,” he said. As of press time, DGS had scheduled a March 23 meeting about the new middle school. — with reporting by Dale Sprusanksy •••
30 • Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org
Local Butcher Is a Cut Above: Harvey’s Market Offers Variety Luckily, D.C. is surrounded by family farms in the Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania countryside that offer an excellent choice of high quality meat. “We never used to go visit the farms,” said George, “we used to just buy boxes of meats.” Another change is the increasing demand for specialty cuts, something that George and Marty are happy to accommodate. George explained that they have the tools “to offer a customer any cut he or she wants. We service. For instance, the other day a customer wanted two lamb chops, so I broke down the whole lamb to get him his two cuts. The customer told me he was not used to getting that kind of service.” Marty said that discovering unusual cuts can be affordable and delicious. “Beef hangar steaks are not something many people are used to,” he said, “but they are less expensive cuts, and the flavor is spectacular.” He added: “We offer as many beef and pork cuts as we can display: rump, pot, skirt, sirloin, and the like.” In addition to pork, chicken, and beef, Harvey’s Market offers a wide variety of other meats, such as rabbit. George recalled: “We used to have rabbits from China, but now we buy fresh rabbit from Pennsylvania. The difference in taste is like night and day. We have customers that now regularly come back just for some of that Pennsylvania rabbit.” Harvey’s Market also offers Bison from a farm north of Baltimore. “We have just fantastic Bison rib-eye cuts, well worth a try,” said Marty. Turkey, duck, fowl for soup, Cornish hens, fresh goat from Virginia, and a variety of lamb cuts round out the selection. George said, “We also offer venison and other wild game. If a customer wants something special like ostrich, we’ll take the order and get it for them if we can.” Harvey’s Market is particularly proud of its hickory-smoked bacon from Tennessee. “It’s not just good, it’s darn good” quipped Marty. “Some say it is literally the best bacon in the world. Tennessee exports it all over the world.” “We carry a large variety of sausages,” added George. “No preservatives, and the finest spice ingredients that are actually hand-selected. Take, for instance, our green Chile chicken sausage: it uses fresh Hatch Green Chiles directly from the Hatch Valley in New Mexico and we had to get a special permit from the government to do so.” Harvey’s Market offers sausages made from pork, lamb, chicken, and turkey that ought to please even the most discerning palate and budget. Marty explained that Harvey’s Market now offers its own manufacture as well: “Master Chef George makes a our Italian sausage. It has a whole bottle of Chianti for every 25 pounds of sausage!” George said: “I studied hundreds of Italian Sausage recipes to find one that really convinced me we ought to offer it. It’s just a well balanced, fantastic Italian Sausage.” Off and on, Harvey’s Market offers samples that are cooked on location. Spares and small cuts
from page 5
In 1931, when Max Chidel opened Harvey’s Market at O Street Market, the butcher shop made its name by offering custom cuts to discerning customers. Harvey Chidel, Max’s son, joined the family business and continued this tradition until 2000, when Harvey’s son-in-law George Lesznar took over. Today, Harvey’s Market continues its District tradition of quality, variety and attention to customer needs. ••• Harvey’s Market Located at Union Market Sky Overturf 1309 5th Street NE Harvey’s Market caters to traditional and contemporary tastes Market hours: Wed-Fri 11am 8pm, Sat-Sun 8am-8pm that are not likely to sell are cooked to perfection www.harveysmarketdc.com in an oven and offered in bite-size pieces to (202) 544-0400 customers. “It’s just important for customers to be personally convinced of the quality of our meats,” said George.
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Ward 5 Heartbeat • Spring 2013 • www.ward5heartbeat.org • 31
McDuffie’s Approach to 2014 Budget because the Mayor had not yet submitted his budget to the D.C. Council. The Mayor is expected to submit his budget at the end of March. Mr. McDuffie said he would formulate specific budget requests for his Ward 5 priorities in April or May. By waiting until then, however, Mr. McDuffie may encounter challenges finding money not already committed to other councilmembers’ projects. For example, Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans said he sits down with the Mayor and the Mayor’s staff in November to make sure they include his priorities in the upcoming year’s budget. “I usually have a list written down of what I want funded,” said Mr. Evans. Often, success with the Mayor’s office is as simple as that. “Sometimes they are accommodating, sometimes they are not,” he said, adding, “More often than not they are.” To find out what it takes to get funding for projects like parks, recreation centers, streetscapes and neighborhood programs, the Heartbeat interviewed Mr. Evans—the District’s longest serving councilmember and chairman of the Council Committee on Finance and Revenue—plus the budget directors for Mayor Vincent Gray and the D.C. Council. “The most important person involved in the budget process is the Mayor,” said Mr. Evans, who explained that the Mayor sends a budget to the D.C. Council every March, and that getting your project included in the Mayor’s budget was the goal. Eric Goulet, the Mayor’s budget director, said the best time to ask the Mayor to add something to the 2014 budget was “two months ago.” “At this point it is too late,” he said. Mr. Goulet said Mayor Gray already met with most of the councilmembers, including Mr. McDuffie, regarding the 2014 budget. Mr. Goulet said some councilmembers, particularly ward councilmembers, give the Mayor a “formal list” of budget requests. Mr. Goulet would not say what the Mayor and Mr. McDuffie discussed in their meeting. Mr. Evans and Jennifer Budoff, the Council Budget Director, agreed that it is more difficult to get projects funded if they aren’t included in the budget the Mayor submits in March. Changes to the budget can still be made between March and June, when the Council passes the final budget— but by then, getting money for Project A usually means taking money away from Project B. Mr. Evans explained the difficulty of this task: “You are stuck taking [money] from somewhere else, but every dollar has a constituency that will scream.” Mr. Evans said that in the run-up to final budget passage in June, his goal was to defend his projects from being de-funded by others. As a councilmember, “your job is to keep [your projects] in the budget so your colleagues don’t steal your money,” he said. Ms. Budoff described the budget process in similarly competitive terms: “It’s a zero sum game
from front page
because we have to have a balanced budget,” she said. Fortunately for Mr. McDuffie and Ward 5, 2014 is a relatively good year for getting projects funded. “We are in a good revenue situation, absolutely,” Ms. Budoff said, but she cautioned that “there are – as in every other year – a lot of competing needs.” Mr. Evans said it was important for council members to keep their list of priorities short. For example, he said the projects he was getting funded in the 2014 budget were: $13 million for Southeast Tennis and Learning Center in Ward 8, $13 million for Fort Dupont Ice Arena in Ward 7, $4 million for the DMV office in Georgetown, $1.6 million for field renovations at Stead Park in Ward 2, and $100,000 for Mitchell Park in Ward 2. Mr. Evans said his priorities included projects in other wards if they benefited the whole city. Mr. McDuffie described his 2014 budget priorities to the Heartbeat as “trying to identify funding for Ward 5 Great Streets” and obtaining “some funding to do some enhancements” on Bladensburg Road, a street he said was blighted and neglected. Great Streets programs are notoriously expensive. The Pennsylvania Avenue Great Streets Program cost $30 million. Improvements to Nannie Helen Burroughs Avenue in Ward 7, a more modest Great Streets program, cost $10 million. The two Great Streets in Ward 5 are Rhode Island Avenue and North Capitol Street. Mr. McDuffie said his other 2014 budget priorities were to fund “clean teams” to pick up litter on commercial corridors and to make sure there was sufficient funding for school modernizations and the Community College of the District of Columbia. Mr. McDuffie did not have any specifics about anticipated funding levels for his priorities in the 2014 budget. Ms. Budoff emphasized the importance of clarity in formulating budget requests. “Be clear with what your intentions are, be realistic, and be persistent,” she said. Asked which councilmember was the most effective at getting his or her projects funded in the budget, Ms. Budoff laughed and dodged the question. •••
Save the Date The Great Brookland Yard Sale Saturday, May 11 Information coming soon at www.brooklandcivic.org organized by the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association www.brooklandcivic.org
from page 3
the impact of the Life Learning Center on parking. “This section of 12th Street is surrounded by three large churches with insufficient parking for their members. Whenever one or all have activities, our little section of 12th Street is overwhelmed with church members parking and travelling through the community,” he wrote. ANC 5C did not take a position for or against the project. When Ms. James asked for a vote at the January 16 meeting, her fellow commissioners said they were not familiar enough with the project due to the recent redistricting of ANC boundaries which shifted Israel Baptist Church from ANC 5B to ANC 5C. The commissioners agreed to hold a special meeting on the matter on January 30. That meeting never took place. At the February 12 hearing, Ms. James asked the members of the BZA to delay their decision by two weeks so the ANC could take a formal vote on the matter, but her request was denied. In voting to approve the project, BZA Chair Lloyd Jordan expressed the view that the Life Learning Center would not adversely affect the community. “There was no supporting evidence to suggest that additional traffic would lead to any congestion,” he said. Mr. Jordan also noted that the church had reached a deal with nearby Home Depot for overflow parking on Sundays. Both the D.C. Department of Transportation and the D.C. Office of Planning determined that the project would not have a negative impact. “OP does not anticipate that granting the requested relief would create undue demand for on-street parking in the neighborhood,” concluded OP in a December 2012 report. DDOT issued a report that cited nearby bus access and the church’s close proximity to Rhode Island Avenue Metro station as factors that would mitigate traffic and parking. “DDOT does not expect that the proposal will adversely impact the surrounding transportation network,” concluded DDOT. According to Rev. Morris L. Shearin of Israel Baptist Church, Unity Health Care will close its Edgewood and Brentwood clinics and consolidate its services at the new Life Learning Center. The health clinic is expected to be open from 8:00 am to 9:00 pm five days a week. Rev. Shearin said the social and recreation space at the new Life Learning Center will be available for school or other community groups to rent. “We can accommodate charter schools or community groups, but they will be assessed a fee,” he said. Rev. Shearin said construction of the Life Learning Center will cost between $16 million and $18 million dollars. He said the cost was partially covered by $700,000 in pre-development funding from the District and a $2.5 million loan from the D.C. Department of Housing and Community Development. Rev. Shearin said construction is expected to start in August. •••
Brookland Heartbeat 1335 Lawrence St NE Washington DC 20017
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vol. IX, no. 1
Ward 5 Heartbeat
Dedicated to providing local news and information to the residents and businesses of Ward 5
In This Issue:
►►Plan to Build Middle School on Grounds of Turkey Thicket Causes Outcry ►►McDuffie Takes Wait-and-See Approach to 2014 Budget ►►Eckington Dog Park Proposal May Have More Bark than Bite ►►Local Public Schools Found to Have Non-D.C. Residents Enrolled ►►Rhode Island Ave Pedestrian Bridge Project Shows Signs of Life ►►New Restaurants: The Red Hen, Aroi Thai and Little Ricky’s ►►Local Butcher Is a Cut Above: Harvey’s Market Caters to All Spring 2013
vol. IX, no. 1
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