October 2011 Archives

New Cracks

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When we had the earthquake I looked around saw nothing major and didn't think more about it.

Fast forward to last week, I'm in my bathroom and I happen to take notice of the ceiling and notice this large crack that went halfway across the room. This wasn't the only new crack, but it was the largest and the most concerning. There were cracks in another room, but they were small and I thought they came from the vibations of the HVAC unit on the roof. But then I really started looking around the house and found lots of little new cracks on the 1st and 2nd floors. I'm wondering if they came about because the ground shifted.

I then went over to the neighbors and IT pointed out some small cracks all over. So homeowning folks, if you want something to worry about take a look around your house and look for cracks and look at old cracks to see if they got bigger.

Old City Green events cancelled

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Well I know it's too late. But I was informed yesterday that the events were canceled due to weather. 

Halloween

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Frozen Tropics has an excellent list of Halloween tips. She does cover the disappointing habit of some kids to not wear costumes in points 4 & 5.

She also states that because Halloween falls on a Monday there might be some early trick or treating on the weekend. I'm ignoring those days, and I'll probably keep my normally on for safety porch light, off.

Last year the kids started coming around starting at 6:30pm and I ran out at about 8:30pm. If your block is well lit and there are other houses giving away candy, kids will come. Cute kids in costume will show up first, then as the night drags on, the uncostumed teens come and that's a sign that you should consider closing shop.

This year I'm going to be a chef, again. I have the toque and an apron. Other years I've been a nun, which is just a headdress of some white and black fabric and just dressing plainly. Occupations are the easiest costumes, I think. Get scrubs and you can be anything in the medical profession. I saw lab coats for sale in the UMD-CP book store, so I'll assume other colleges/university bookstores in DC have them, so there is the start for a mad scientist (just mess up your hair). Got glasses, and are your female with long hair? Be an outdated, stereotypical librarian by pushing the glasses to your nose, putting your hair in bun, and shussh people. Extra bonus if you have a sweater covered in cat hair. Got a business suit? Attach a bunch of legal sized paper to it and you're a lawsuit. Get it? Without the paper you can be a lawyer, or lobbyist. Slap a campaign button on your label and you're a politican. Carry around a folder with a bunch of resumes and you're a job seeker. Don't have a suit? Nothing but casual clothing? Get a stick and posterboard and you can be an Occupy DC participant and pick a cause, any cause, maybe demanding jobs and candy would be good one.

But regardless of these ideas, there will still be those kids who won't bother trying. They'll just show up at your door demanding handouts. Thinking that they'll grow up with that same mind set of not making an effort and expecting the same rewards as those who do, is scary.

Old City Green - Octoberything

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It's a cutty pasty day today:

To celebrate three years of business and community outreach, OLD CITY green is hosting our own October-fest.

Games, workshops, music, food, scary movies, and of course a haunted house! All are welcome to the festivities!

Friday (28th)
7:00pm - 8:30pm
Haunted Garden
($5/family suggested donation)
spooks for all ages!!!  snacks included



9:00pm - 11:00pm
Scary Outdoor Movie

the original Night of the Living Dead....seriously scary (13+ please) giant outdoor movie complete with campfire and popcorn



Saturday (29th)
10:00am - 11:00am
Medicinal Herb Workshop by Tricia McCauley
Tricia McCauley is an herbalist and health coach specializing in digestive issues, food sensitivities, and stress management. She works with individual clients at Healing Arts of Capitol Hill, teaches workshops around the DC area, makes lotions and lip balms, and is the resident herbalist at Common Good City Farm. Sign up for her newsletter, read her blog, and find out more at www.nutriciaconsulting.com or www.leafyhead.com.

11:00am - 12:30pm
Apple Bobbing,
Pumpkin Carving
BYOK (Bring your own knife)

12:00pm - 1:30pm
Lunch with TofuDelights

2:00pm - 3:30pm
Community Beautification Discussion
Meet with community leaders from Shaw and the surrounding neighborhoods to discuss how we can beautify and green our public outdoor spaces, and how OLD CITY green can support community activities to promote streetscape beautification.

6:00pm
Vegetarian/Vegan Potluck dinner
with LIVE MUSIC BY Sligo Creek Stompers!!!
www.sligocreekstompers.com
followed by Smores on a campfire.
open mic from 6-7 (let us know if you'd like to participate)
open bar!!

suggested $8 and a dish or pay what you can
**costumes optional**

Throughout the day you will have the opportunity
to guess the girth of our giant hay-bale!
$2 a guess and the winner (announced Sunday)
gets a $50 gift certificate to OCg!


Sunday (30th)
10:00am - 1:00pm
3rd Annual 9th st. Tulip Planting with Shaw Main Streets
((WE NEED VOLUNTEERS!))
breakfast included!


1:30pm
Raffle Winner Announced

I was asked to take a look at the American Observer's article touching on gentrification "Rising Values for D.C. housing, but who can afford it?" It doesn't do the usual race baiting, and sticks to numbers, but it does talk about racial differences. Yet reading it, it seems to not address (for me at least) the damned if it does, damned if it doesn't situation. It being, development, growth, and a rise in property values.

The article covers the usual ground of NW DC is experiencing this growth and investment and in PG County, also known as Ward 9, there is the highest foreclosure rate in the area. So shortcut, white areas are getting the investment, black areas the disinvestment and failed investments. But when investment comes to areas that need it, it apparently is a horrible thing because that pushes out poor people, which means poor black people and some Latinos. If investment stays away, that means poorer areas don't get the benefit, but if it comes in, it means displacement. Damned, no matter what happens.

Solutions presented in the story are something called value capture, which I think means setting aside units and extra taxes or fees, and helping tenants buy their apartment buildings. Several developments do already have set asides, or at least start out talking about having a few units for low income households. The tax/fee thing, I don't like. This is DC, that money will find its way to a Lincoln Navigator or buying fur coats for family members or to crappy non-profits no one has ever heard of that don't do anything. The apartment building buyout works more when you've got a building over 2 stories with more than a handful of units. In Shaw, single townhomes outnumber the apartment buildings. So for every Immaculate Conception/1330 you have a hundred small time landlords with a house here or a house there.

There is also a interview of Derek Hyra included. It will be interesting to read his book when it comes out as it is about Shaw and urban renewal. In the interview (Youtube) at the 3:30 mark, I have to disagree with him about the influence of the Reeves Center. The Reeves Center was at best a neutral factor. Seriously, when was the last time you headed inside there for anything? Outside, for the farmer's market, yes. Inside? Maybe once. The finished metro, which I've been in the U St Station a million times, and the various eateries and bars should get more credit.

Oh, Renew Shaw has a post stating there has been a buyer for the Kelsey Gardens (was to be Addision Square). Yes, low income people used to live in Kelsey Gardens. But the church that owned it wanted it developed, and they emptied the buildings and then, nothing. And more nothing. And now a little something, but until I see my favorite sight of guys in hard hats doing stuff, it ain't nothing.

Tuesday Miscellany- History and the O St Market

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First history. apparently you'll have to register to attend the DC Historical Studies Conference, and do it by the 28th of this month. See info here you can also email dchistoricalstudies at gmail com. Cost is $20. Now why would you want to attend? Well I'll be talking about that darned Census project I've been working on for like ever. After the conference I'll probably take a break from it, then wait for the big reveal with the 1940 census that is supposed to come out in 2012.

O St Market. Stuff is happening. Stuff had been slowly happening even before it got on the White House list of fast tracked items. Slowly. For the past few weeks I've noticed the glass being removed. Today, I saw the sign that tells me things are really moving and action is replacing talk, lotta guys in hard hats doin' stuff. Guys digging, guys standing around pointing, guys putting out orange cones. It's a beautiful thing.

Fire in the TC at 44 N St NW

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According to DC Fire EMS revamped and decently updated twitter feed, there is a fire on the roof of 44 N St NW.

Thanks DC Fire Fighters Association for stepping up where our city government has fallen down and thanks for continuing to serve the people of Washington DC.

I'm laid up in bed  with a medical issue, so as you've noticed, not much blogging lately. But I'm pasting and cutting this bit of PR out of Congressperson's Norton's office just in case you want to ask about the little pocket parks throughout the city and the Carter G. Woodson shell on 9th. My guess is the answer might be the same old same old. Anyway pasty cutty:

Norton Hosts the First-Ever D.C. Town Hall Meeting with NPS Officials, Saturday

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WASHINGTON, DC -  Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) will host the first-ever D.C. town hall meeting with the National Park Service (NPS), which owns and operates almost all D.C. parks, this Saturday, October 22, from 1:30 p.m. - 3:00 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW.  Norton, who receives many questions about our NPS neighborhood parks and the National Mall, wants to give D.C. residents the opportunity to speak directly with NPS officials, who will also give brief presentations.  The town hall meeting will be devoted to promoting a discussion on how our parks can better serve D.C. residents. 

 

"I make visits to our NPS neighborhood parks and to the Mall periodically, and am often asked questions that are best answered by NPS officials," said Norton.  "We appreciate our many NPS parks here, and we expect a discussion that will benefit residents and NPS officials alike."

 

Norton said that NPS showed openness to the views and needs of D.C. residents when it committed to considering the placement of the Capital Bikeshare program on or near the National Mall.  Last year, Norton wrote NPS urging them to allow Bikeshare on or near the Mall, but it was after residents spoke up that NPS announced a review of its initial decision of disallowing Bikeshare on NPS property.  NPS has already agreed to Norton's recommendation to allow more music and cultural activities during lunchtime on the Mall, as required by a provision in a pending Norton bill. 

 

WHO: The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton, NPS National Capital Region Director Steve Whitesell, NPS National Capital Region Associate Regional Director Peter May, NPS Superintendent of National Mall and Memorial Parks Bob Vogel, NPS Superintendent of National Capital Parks-East Alex Romero, NPS Superintendent of Rock Creek Park Tara Morrison, and D.C. residents

 

WHAT: Town Hall Meeting with NPS Officials

 

WHERE: One Judiciary Square, 441 4th Street NW

 

WHEN: Saturday, October 22, from to 1:30 - 3:00 p.m.


Also because of being laid up, I can't approve comments in a timely manner.

History and a walk

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First let me get this thing out of the way:

Cultural Tourism is launching a new Heritage Trail called "Lift Every Voice: Georgia Ave/Pleasant Plains Heritage Trail". The 'lift every voice' part refers to the Negro National Anthem. Anyway there will be a launching this Saturday (10/15/11) at 11AM at 2041 Georgia Avenue NW in front of Howard University. You can see more information here. Yet the reason why I'm mentioning it is the first marker is down in Shaw, at 7th and T, near the Wells Fargo (formerly Wachovia) bank. So if you want to take a walk, you can start at the bank.

Now for some more history, well the project. Data clean up is a pain in the butt and I'm not going to have it cleaned up nice enough in time for the Historical Studies Conference being held at the MLK library. But I will have the mapped out data, which I gave a sneak peak of last month. I'm presenting November 5th at 1:30pm, where it's seems I'm stuck with my preliminary title "A Demographic Neighborhood: 1880-1930" and not the one that has emerged "Patterns of Segregation in Truxton Circle 1880-1930: Using census and map data to discover the character of a neighborhood." Maybe the new title was too long. I dunno. All I know I will be showing off my maps and talkin' bout the hood for 20 minutes.

I have enough data to map out where people lived. The other things, the data isn't complete and there are addresses I have to eliminate from the database because they are on the wrong side of NJ or NY Avenues. Also the data starts to present more questions than I can really answer. Like a simple one like, if people of different races are living next door to each other with no distinct pattern of this is the white block and this is the black block, is it segregated or intergrated? But more common the question I have is where the heck is this alley?

I'll do more to clean up the data so when the 1940 census comes out, I'll be ready and have something to present next year.

Yo bike gonna get stolen

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Bikes at shaw

See that bike on the far right? The blue one? Yeah, parts of that have been disappearing for months. The bikes on the left, they are new to the fence and I don't think that's a good place to secure your bike. The library across the street may be a better bet.

A general rule with bikes, they are going to get stolen. Either in full or in parts. The District Curmudgeon caught a pint sized theif walking off with a wheel. I've seen boys, also pint sized, rolling around on seatless bikes (they sit on the rear wheel bike rack). And we've heard of bikes being stolen off front porches, back porches, back yards even while locked.

I've been lucky so far, I've had 3.5 bike stealing attempts made on my bikes in the DC area. 1st in Hyattsville from the back yard where someone picked away the covering of my U-lock. 2nd in College Park where I caught 2 guys with bolt cutters trying to take my bike from just outside my bedroom window. And 3rd time at the Mt. Vernon Square metro where the rear wheel of my 3 speed was bent almost in half. The ".5" was my roommate's bike. He left his 1 speed heavy rusty bike in the front yard, unlocked. I was in the living room watching TV when I noticed this guy lifting the bike over the fence. I yelled, ran out of the house and chased him. The bike was such a POS that the guy only got a few yards down the block before he ditched it and ran away from the crazy black lady.

Air & Space not a financial institution

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A large group of protesters somewhat possibly related to the Occupy DC group tried to storm the Air & Space museum. I'm all for freedom of expression and speech, as long as it in no way can harm our nation's cultural heritage.
According the the Washington Post article the connection with those people who wanted to bring in banners and sticks (to hold up signs) to Occupy DC is shaky, considering how the Occupy protests are loosely organized. Regardless, if something inside one of our many cultural institutions upsets or angers you, protest outside! Working and studying (I did take a museum class or two) in the various museums in the DC metro area, I can easily see how something on display can be damaged beyond repair by a large group of people with prohibited items who don't intend to destroy anything.
Even the regular crowds, slowly damage things by shedding hair and skin, and raising the humidity levels of exhibit spaces. There is no need to accelerate damage by knocking into something, accidentally having a sign catch on something, or getting a mass of people press pass ropes or over barriers.

Most of DC is affordable

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Well according to the Washington Post's graphic "What you need to earn to buy now". Most of DC being NE, SE, and SW. I'm staring at this map and apparently to buy west of 16th St NW, you need to have a household income of $120,000 to $200,000. That would be at minimum some GS-11 DINKs making $62K each, to two GS-13 step 5s or a family with a super lawyer/ plastic surgeon/ salesperson/ national news broadcaster as the main breadwinner. Good news, east of the park the map is a lovely affordable blue, except for that one square hidden under the number 1. I Can't tell where that is, could be Penn Qtr, Gallery Place and the Mt. Vernon Shapes.
Today was such a lovely day we drove through the dark purple of completely unaffordable on our way to a pick your own farm in MD. That would be Cleveland and Woodley Parks in DC and McLean Potomac in Maryland. McLean Potomac is unaffordable because the houses are as big as churches or office buildings and the lawns are the size of soccer fields.
Tomorrow we'll drive through affordable DC and maybe by Brentwood, MD in PG County. According to the map, DC zip code 20019, along Benning Rd, NE you'd need an income of $31,056 to afford a house around there. In Brentwood, MD, you'd only need $20,736 and you get representation in Congress thrown in for free. And most of Wards 7 &8, plus Ward 9 being PG County hugging the DC borders require $40K max.
So most of DC is affordable, just not the cool parts with trendy restaurants and bars, lots of designer clothes shopping, and gourmet cupcake shops. Housing you can afford, amenities? Amenities are going to cost you. You're just gonna have to be like me, wait around for 10 years and hope they show up.

According to WMATA:

Green and Yellow Lines - 10 p.m. Friday through closing on Monday (Columbus Day)

    • From 10 p.m., Friday, October 7, through closing on Monday, October 10, the Shaw, U Street and Columbia Heights stations will be closed as Metro installs new track switches outside U Street station, which is part of a National Transportation Safety Board recommendation.
    • Green Line trains will operate in two sections, between Greenbelt and Georgia Avenue and between Branch Avenue and Mt. Vernon Square.
    • Free shuttle buses will operate between Mt. Vernon Square and Georgia Avenue.

So that means walking to Mt. Vernon Square, 'cause you know that might be faster. If you're going out to party adn normally take the metro home, cab it part way back. I like to pick up cabs around Gallery Place or Woodley or Dupont.

HT: Shaw Listerv "Stay spicy"

Well, that was interesting- police chase

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Yesterday I witnessed a police chase that made its way into my alley.

I was broadcasting seeds in the front and rear yards, and planting them in some of the pots. While in the front, watering and broadcasting I observed about 3 or 4 marked police vehiles and one unmarked vehicle race up and down my street. Speed humps and one way streets be damned, they were circling around going through alleys, turning around stopping.

That went on for a while.

Then I ventured to the backyard with a bunch of seeds I needed to get rid of and there were cops on foot down one end of the alley. Then I noticed an unfamiliar top of the head in one yard (we have high fences). It could have been a policeman, could have been a renter, could have been one of the guys the police were looking for, dunno. In no time they were a little closer and on the deck of someone's house. I called the owner of the house, and left a message that there were a dozen cops in her rear yard. Reality about 4 or 6. Next to the house with the deck there were people working on their deck/shed/on going backyard project talking to the police. And then the helicopter shows up circling the block.

In the end the police captured two guys. For what? I have no clue. 

There were several unsecured backyards that they could have hidden in as well as a secure but neighboring an unsecure yard, yard. Not everyone on the block has seen fit to keep their backyards locked or even properly latched.

UPDATE:

There is one arrest that fits the time period and area, but only one guy:

ARREST# : 031142491
DT-TM: 05-OCT-11 - 1825
LOCATION: REAR OF 1610 4TH ST NW - PSA: 501
OFFENDER: WILLIAMS, D
SEX: M
OFFENSE: UCSA PWID COCAINE (CRACK)
TYPE: UNDETERMINED
OFFICER: HALL

Nothing stating where the other guy was caught, as I thought there were two guys and it seems they ditched their car over by 4th and Florida.

Mosque- Please turn down the volume

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Just saying.

Yes, not that bad considering it was 6AM and my alarm was going to go off anyways but once again the volume on your loud speakers was up high, again. And the caller was a little long. Just when I thought he was done, he threw on some more.

Will I bother contacting anyone about the 4th Street Mosque being loud? Nope. Just going to try to record when they are annoying loud in the morning.

No BACA meeting today

No BACA meeting due to the Ward 5 redistricting special meeting.

That is all.