Residents in Shaw Fight for Their Street

Cars Damaged in ‘Retaliation’ Attacks

By Petula Dvorak

Washington Post Staff Writer

Thursday, August 21, 2003; Page DZ03

The first attack came before midnight, and it was loud. A brick shattered the driver’s and passenger-side windows in a blue convertible and thunked off the side of the green car parked in the next space.

Then another brick cracked the windshield of a white car. More bricks and some rocks began hitting the house, thudding against the wall, clanging on the burglar bars.

“It was so clearly an act of retaliation, it was beyond vandalism or destruction of property,” said resident Brian Gehman as he stood in the glow of a street lamp at midnight last week, waiting for police to arrive.

Gehman and his neighbors have been at war this summer with drug dealers, prostitutes and shady customers who do business on the short street they’re trying to call home. On many of the mornings after they’ve summoned police, residents have awakened to scratched vehicles and shattered windows, gunfire and, once, to find that the foam in a car’s headrest had been ripped apart by a bullet.

“This summer is the worst I’ve ever seen it,” said Jim Norris, who recently repaired several thousand dollars of damage done to his car by bricks and bullets. Norris has lived on the 400 block of Richardson Place NW for two years.

Richardson Place is south of the intersection of Florida, New Jersey and Rhode Island avenues. Twenty steps north of the small street are gas stations and liquor stores where prostitutes stand in the fluorescent glow, waving down customers.

Many nights, Gehman and his neighbors hear arguments and the screech of vehicles in their cobblestone alley. Stolen and abandoned vehicles are dumped there and left for months and, in one case, two years, residents said.

The neighbors record statistics on all vehicles left there and report them to the Department of Public Works for towing.

Late last Monday night, Gehman and Stephen Szibler, who has lived on Richardson Place for three years, circled a car with expired plates that showed up outside their homes.

Two people rounded the corner and told them to stop meddling. The residents went inside to avoid further confrontation and about 30 minutes later, the hail of bricks and rocks began.

Police arrived several hours later. No police were assigned to the local Patrol Service Area (PSA) that night, so officers assigned to other parts of the Third District left their posts to respond.

“We have no consistent policing here,” Szibler said. “We meet a sergeant, he’s around for six months, then he’s gone, and we have to start all over again. Nobody has been able to do anything about the problems on this corner.”

Convinced that the abandoned cars are the magnet for most of the crime there, he wrote a letter this summer to Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) explaining the situation:

“I do not choose to live in a junk car lot. I recently paid $150 to have my old car properly registered and the license updated, not to mention registration fees and repairs, and initial licensing and tax fees. Why can’t the police do their job and ticket and/or have these cars towed? Why can’t they do it on a regular basis? Why do they have to be begged and pleaded with to do their job?”

Lt. Alveta Dennis, the officer in charge of the local PSA, said abandoned cars are not the only magnets for crime in the area. A school playground near Richardson Place remains unlocked all night, despite police efforts to lock it down, she said. The schoolyard is a hangout for drug users and other troublemakers, she said, acknowledging the difficulty she has had with staff turnover in the area. “It’s difficult to keep anyone in place for a while.”

Of the block, Dennis said, “They have problems there. They are not outrageous problems, but they are unacceptable.”


Dear Friends and Community Residents –

The time to designate recipients of the National Capital Area Combined Federal Campaign is fast approaching! I wanted to let you know about the Shaw EcoVillage Project, a 501 © 3 non-profit organization based in the Shaw neighborhood of Washington, DC (CFC #7606).

The mission of the Shaw EcoVillage Project (SEV) is to train at-risk youth to be catalysts for sustainable change in Washington, D.C. neighborhoods. SEV operates of two programs to accomplish this, the EcoDesign Corps and Chain Reaction.

The EcoDesign Corps is a paid internship for high-school students that teaches basic concepts of sustainable community development. Interns work in teams with neighborhood partner organizations to address a particular problem affecting the Shaw neighborhood. The program’s specific content areas are public art; the design disciplines, including design thinking and technical skills associated with presentation; local and neighborhood history; and research, writing and public speaking skills needed to assemble and present the projects. Participants concentrate on six issues including: Clean Air, Land and Water, Community Pride & Identity, Equitable Development, Health and Wellness, Public Space, and Transportation.

Recent summer projects included a community garden grown to benefit low-income clients of Emmaus Services for the Aging and Bread for the City; a bicycle tour of Shaw’s significant historic sites; an advocacy plan for the restoring the historic Howard Theater; a survey of local youth to establish what sort of neighborhood they would like Shaw to be and how young people can directly participate in that process; and designing a rain garden and constructing a shed with a green roof.

Through programs at the Youth Bike Shop, Chain Reaction specifically advocates for sustainable transportation in the Shaw community. The shop trains participants to work as youth mechanics and sales people in the shop, and provides local residents with inexpensive transportation by repairing bikes and selling accessories. Chain Reaction also functions as a recycle-a-bicycle program; all of the bikes we sell are second hand, and we are the only bike shop serving the Shaw community. Students in the programs learn safe riding skills as well as problem-solving, mechanical skills and entrepreneurial skills. Younger students can earn a bicycle for full participation in training programs.

The staff and volunteers of the Shaw EcoVillage Project rely on the support of people like you to continue serving young people and the Shaw community. We have set a goal of welcoming 100 new supporters to our family during this year’s Combined Federal Campaign, but we can only reach this goal with your help.

Please help us continue our important work by designating Shaw EcoVillage, CFC #7606, as your CFC recipient. If you or your associates would like to learn more about Shaw EcoVillage, please contact the CFC Campaign Representative in your office and ask them to request a presentation, or contact us directly at:

Shaw EcoVillage Project

CFC #7606

1701 6th St., NW

Washington, DC 20001

Phone: 202.265.2019

Fax: 202.265.2842


Noel F. Petrie

Outreach and Development Coordinator

Volunteers Needed!

Attention Tutors and Friends: We are using the following email as a

method of recruiting tutors for our programs. This letter is just a

way of spreading the word about the need for wonderful volunteers

like you. We would appreciate it if you could forward this letter to

friends and co-workers, and that they do the same. We understand

that some of you may not have the time to volunteer, but help us

spread the word so that someone who might not know about our program

can find out more. Thanks in advance for your cooperation:

For Love of Children (FLOC) is a non-profit organization committed to

helping families, and specifically children in the community. As a

part of FLOC’s overall mission, the Neighborhood Tutoring Program

(NTP) serves over 500 students in the Shaw community through one-on-

one tutoring in a highly structured and successful reading and math

tutoring program.

We’re looking for volunteers to tutor children and adolescents in the

Shaw neighborhood once or twice a week. The following program times

are available:

Saturday 10am-12pm (elementary age children)

Tuesday 6:00-8:00pm (teen-agers)

Tuesday / Thursday 9-11am (1st – 4th Grade)

Tuesday / Thursday 12:30-2:30 (8/9th grade)

Tuesday / Thursday 3:00- 5:00pm (1st – 6th grade)

Monday / Wednesday 3:00- 5:00pm (3rd – 6th grade)

If you’re interested in tutoring please contact us at 202-349-3509 or

Why we need your help!

A student at FLOC’s alternative high school recently took her SAT.

Her score was a 530-combined. This score put her in the 70th

percentile of students in D.C. This means that 70% of students in

D.C. score below 530 on the SAT. And these are the higher achieving

students who take the SAT. Students in low-income areas of D.C.

suffer the consequences of problems with public schools, and the

difficulties of growing up in an environment that does not

necessarily value education as a top priority. I’m writing to see if

anyone is interested in volunteering to tutor some of these students.

Shaw is a low-income area in NW where 51% of the households are

headed by single females, and 36% of children live in poverty. In

Shaw 40% of high school students drop out of school, and 41% of the

residents have less than a ninth grade education. Almost all of our

students test way below grade level, and many simply can’t read. As

you know, it’s hard to get a good job when you can’t read. And it’s

even harder to move out of poverty if you can’t find a job.

Our Program Works!

Our program started in 1995 with 6 students. Over the years, our

students have flourished. Thanks to the hard work of everyone

involved, students in the program increase their math and reading

levels on average by 1 year and 3 months for every 22 hours of

tutoring. Think about that, come one evening a week, meet for an two

hours, and one lucky child has the opportunity to improve their

reading and math skills a full grade level and more in only six

months. It also helps that these are just such great kids.

Several students give back to the program in many ways. One special

student began with us as one of the original six students. She

graduated from high school in 2002 and is scheduled to begin her

sophomore year at Marymount University in the fall. She has been

giving back to the program as a tutor to an adorable student in our

Saturday morning program for the past two years.

We’re now looking at reaching out to students across the city. But

in order to do this, we need more tutors. With your help, our

organization seeks to provide the children in our program with the

tools and motivation necessary to escape the cycle of drug abuse,

crime, unemployment, and poverty that has afflicted so many in their

parents’ generation. The ability to read well, to excel in school,

and the desire to learn are prerequisites to breaking this cycle. We

need volunteers to join us in this effort!

Farmers Market Open at 14th and U!

The Farmers Market has officially opened for business on U Street. Come visit local farmers market located on the Reeves Center premises at 14th and U (2000 14th Street) every Wednesday from 4-7 pm.

The 14th & U Main Street Initiative is sponsoring the market in partnership with Community Harvest. We hope that this will become the permanent home for the market which originated last year through Manna CDC’s efforts at Temperance Row and then moved to the 13th & U Metro last year. Three local farmers will be there offering fresh produce, cheese and yogurts. This farmer’s market will be here every Wednesday from 4-7 through the end of October. See you there!

Community Harvest, a local non-profit with a mission to create a locally rooted, sustainable food system that meets the needs of both

underserved communities and small farmers in the DC region, has established a series of farmers markets through out the area through the Local Food Alliance Project.

Volunteers are needed to help us support and run the market, from helping to coordinate set-up and take down, running an information table, and passing out flyers and leaflets to raise awareness. If you are available please come by on Wednesday and sign up to participate.

Check out Community Harvest’s website:

If you have questions regarding this farmer’s market contact:

Rebecca Bond

Program Director

Local Food Alliance Project of Community Harvest

Scott Pomeroy

Executive Director

14th & U Main Street Initiative

View Stolen Property

The public is advised the Metropolitan Police Department’s Third District will hold a viewing of recovered stolen property on Saturday, August 16, 2003, from 9 am to 5 pm. The viewing will be held in the 3D Community Room, located at 1624 V Street, NW.

On July 10, 2003, Third District investigators arrested a suspect in connection with several burglaries committed in the city. As a result of the arrest, more than 200 items were recovered, including televisions, jewelry, wristwatches, musical instruments, electronic equipment, cameras, etc. These items will be put on view for the victims of burglaries or home thefts that occurred before July 10, 2003.

Those wishing to attend the viewing must have a copy of the police report or report numbers. Additionally, they must have an itemized list of the property they reported stolen before they will be allowed to enter the viewing. The list should contain serial or model numbers (if available) and a thorough description the stolen item(s). It is requested that attendees have a photograph, drawing or detailed description of any jewelry items.

For more information, contact Detective David Swinson at (202)673-6914 or via email at

Shaw EcoVillage Students Teach Local Officials, Community Members and other


Local Organizations’ EcoDesign Corps Final Presentation will focus

sustainability in the Shaw Community

What: EcoDesign Corps Internship, Final Presentation

When: Wednesday, August 13, 2003, 6pm to 7:30pm. This event will be

followed by a reception.

Where: National Building Museum, 401 F. St., NW, between 4th and 5th


Cost: This event is free and open to the public; however, seating is

limited so please let us know if you plan to attend.

RSVP 202.265.2019

Details: Students involved in Shaw EcoVillage’s EcoDesign Corps will

present proposals, projects, and designs for sustainable community

improvement. Projects include a bike tour of the Shaw neighborhood, a

community garden to benefit elderly residents of Shaw, an advocacy plan for

a dilapidated building with historical significance, a project to measure

and encourage youth in DC’s participation in decision-making and a rain

garden and shed with a green roof. Youth involved in the EcoDesign Corps,

ages 15-19, develop leadership skills to create innovative solutions to

real-life community issues.


The Shaw EcoVillage Project was founded in 1998 to train youth to be

creative leaders for meaningful and sustainable change in our urban


Shaw EcoVillage

Building youth leaders and sustainable communities.

1701 6th Street, NW * Washington, DC 20001 * 202.265.8899 *

Contributions are accepted and are tax-deductible.

Contribute through the Combined Federal Campaign, Designate #7606

Noel F. Petrie

Outreach and Development Coordinator

Shaw EcoVillage


Apparently Ella’s Cafe located at 1506 North Capitol Street, N.W. is now open. Hours of operation unknown.

Community meetings suck!
Just got out of a baaaad meeting. Heck at lest the ANC 2? meetings in Logan were entertaining with the catty gay men. What made the meeting bad:
1. Snide comments from the peanut gallery
2. A fill in speaker (the one scheduled was on vacation) couldn’t speak on the topic of interest and spent time talking on another topic. Meeting attendees beat the topic speaker couldn’t talk about to death.
3. Peanut gallery did not show up on time missing information that they bitched about later.
4. Every speaker received hostility. Basically making sure that any future returning of said speakers is nil.

Basically tons of negativity.

What is a good meeting.
Well it started as a good meeting.
A speaker, speaking as an individual trying to get tree boxes on Q St from 1st to 3rd St talked about how she was attempting to get grant money from Garden Resources of Washington (GROW). She spoke of iron fencing and pledges she had gotten from neighbors. Then a board member of the Co-Op on Q St said that her group was already in the process for putting iron tree boxes up on her side of Q St.
Good. Informative. Civil.

Then we got on the North Capital Farmers Market (see speaker who didn’t know topic). And downhill we go.

Summary of Bates Area Civic Association Meeting

7PM 8/4/2003

Moderator: Jim Berry

Tree boxes for 100-300 blocks of Q Street. A community citizen is collecting pledges of treasure and talent to get a GROW grant to get treeboxes along Q St. The Co-Op between R & Q Sts will also be improving their tree boxes.

Mr. Berry announced the 5th Annual National Night Out and PSA 312’s involvement. Please see ( ) for more information. There will be a gathering around about the park on Florida and 1st (green space not the concrete park).

Fill in speaker for Mr. Matthew Payne, Coordinator for the North Capitol Neighborhood Farmer’s Market spoke of the other projects his group is working on for the youth of the community. Meeting attendees gave comments about the Farmer’s Market and suggestions to make it better. This continued for a while.

Mr. Todd Douglas, the Ward 5 Neighborhood Services Coordinator, spoke of the several projects and concerns of the community.

Meeting continued after 8:59 PM

Drama Mamma
Drama Mamma and I are sort of back on speaking terms. Whatever.

Apparently she’s doing a last harrah with hanging over at the neighbors before they ship out after selling. At the most 30-60 days and she’ll have no excuse to come down the block. The taxes on the yellow house are too high to make it Section 8 (which is probably why the landlord kicked the renters out), the white guy doesn’t talk to anyone, nor does the guy below him; Sandra doesn’t like that crowd; the Hispanic family they are friendly but I don’t see them hanging with DM; the Howard students are a heavy Jesus-loving crowd and … nah, I don’t see them hanging with her either.