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Replace Graffiti with Murals DC!

MuralsDC is seeking sites for consideration for the 2012 summer program. MuralsDC is a partnership between DPW and the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities. It was created to replace illegal graffiti with artistic works; to revitalize sites within the community and to engage young people in a legal activity that promotes respect for public and private property. A portfolio of past projects can be found at

Your input is requested!

Where should the 2012 MuralsDC program consider putting this years murals? Do you know any artistic youth that could use something to do this summer? The program supplies all tools, supplies and materials. Submit your recommendation for a site today! Sites will be selected and owners notified by May 15, 2012.  Want more information? Reach out directly to MuralsDC at Nancee.Lyons@DC.Gov.


Community Caroling today 4:00pm!

Come out and bring the family! at 4:oopm today, Sunday December 4, 2011, meet at IHOP on Alabama Ave. and come with warm vocal chords. Caroling will take place up Alabama Ave. to the Henson Ridge playground on Tobias & Fredrick Douglas Pl. Hot drinks and cookies will be served.

Come and participate in the holiday spirit!


#HensonRidge Community Meeting De-breief


A huge thank you to those who came out to voice your opinions at the Henson Ridge community meeting with Council Member Barry on Monday night at the Parklands Turner Library. An equal sized thank you to Reggie McComb for requesting the meeting from the council members office and seeing it through. There was a healthy dialogue about the concerns and issues residents (homeowners and renters alike) are facing. We left with a measurable action item list to hold the council member, and ourselves, accountable to.

Resident action items include:

  1. Developing committees for the following:
  • Communication – focused on doing more to keep residents informed.
  • Property Management – to interact with the current property manager and attempt to become more of an influencer in property management decisions.
  • Crime – to address issues we all share related to security of our neighborhood.
  • External community issues – to address things that affect the larger community but are not directly related to Henson Ridge.
  • Planning and logistics – to more effectively plan and implement community conversations and events.

The Council Members action items include:

  1. Follow up with the builder and the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) to find out if there are grounds for repercussions due to sub-standard construction. During the meeting Council Member Barry said that DCRA was outsourcing inspections to third party contractors and if we (Henson Ridge residents) have similar issues with our homes, there may be some form of government assistance we can get due to items not being identified in inspections that otherwise would have been discovered. In the interim, the residents will do a survey and collect a list of the property problems we’re aware of.
  2. Get to the bottom of where we are in terms of percentage sold. This is important because once we reach a certain threshold, the home owners association must be turned over to the community and cease to be run by the developer. I dusted off my bylaws after the meeting and a few things related to this action item stood out to me:
  • Every owner of a lot is a member of the association (pg. 15). Meaning the developer will still have a vote on the board of directors because they own the elderly public housing, family public housing and family rental units.
  • The “Development Period” is defined on page 8 and is described as “the period commencing as of the date of this Declaration [October 24, 2002] and ending on the latter of: (i) substantial completion of the Development; or (ii) the earlier of (a) December 31, 2007, or (b) the date on which eighty-five percent (85%) of the Homeownership Townhouses are owned by Homeowners.” In the meeting the information we were given was: There are 600 total units built, 285 units sold, 280 rented units, with 35 units left to sell. By my calculation that would make us 89% sold.
  • The composition of the board is defined on page 17 and after the development period the board shall consist of 11 directors. Three (3) directors to represent the home owners, five (5) directors to represent the Rental I Declarant and the Rental II Declarant combined, one (1) director for Phase I renters, one (1) director for Phase II renters and one (1) director appointed by the Authority (meaning the DC Housing Authority). Each director shall serve a period of one year with unlimited right to be re-elected (pg. 18).

Residents also raised concerns related to the lack of communication coming from the property management office and the fact that there are no bike racks in the Giant shopping center. As I was live tweeting from the meeting, I connected with several Ward 7 residents that have successfully had bike racks installed (win for social media). More to follow on this but I believe we will be able to get bike racks installed in the near future. This one you can add to my accountability list.

Why We Kill? Pannel seeks to understand the psychology of murder.

Join the joint venture community meeting hosted by ANC’s 8A, 8C, 8D and 8E. The meeting will be:

Monday, November 21, 2011 from
Community of Hope Church, 905 Alabama Ave. SE 20032

Attendees will hear from members of the DC Department of Mental Health, Metropolitan Police, National Park Police, DC Housing Police and the Metro Transit Police department. Contact Commissioner Sandra “S.S.” Seegars at 202-561-6616 or for more information.

Councilman Barry to address Henson Ridge residents – Mon. 11/21 @6:30pm

Councilman Marion Barry will be holding a Henson Ridge Community meeting at Parklands Turner Library at 1548 Alabama Ave. SE at 6:30pm Monday, November 21, 2011.

He’s seeking a dialogue on community concerns and other issues related to Henson Ridge. If you are a resident of Henson Ridge, please plan to come to the meeting and express your concerns, or give positive feedback to the councilman directly. If you are a community member that signed the petition to have zone signs installed in the 1500 block of Tubman, please be sure to join and express your desires in person. The original denial letter and subsequent denials from Mr. Damon Harvey and Mr. James Cheeks are available for background in advance of the meeting (click the links to read the correspondence.) The signed petition is here for review as well.

See you there!

How to improve Congress Heights – Forum 11/14/11 with Mayor Gray

In light of the recent conversation on “Is Congress Heights a Ghetto” The Congress Heights Community Associatoin is holding a meeting at Ballou High School at 7:00pm on Monday November 14, 2011 to discuss how we improve our neighborhood. Mayor Gray will be hosting the discussion. Here’s the link for the flyer:CHCA_CH_ImprovementFlyer

I missed the meeting that started this conversation early last month but I read the tweets, blog posts and unfortunate news about the shooting next door as the meeting ended (see the Washington Post Mike DeBonis article and the Congress Heights on the Rise posts for background). The ghetto is not a new term, and it makes me wonder what exactly is the definition of “ghetto.”

Wikipedia describes a ghetto as “a section of a city predominantly occupied by a group that live there, especially because of social, economic or legal issues.”

Several popular songs seem to have a common theme of ghetto:

Elvis’ “In the Ghetto” describes hunger, theft fighting, and death as attributes of the ghetto.

Alicia Keys and Baby Cham also refer to hunger, fighting and death as attributes of the ghetto.

And the list goes on. I think these conversations are the right place to begin the discussions, and it’s admirable that The Congress Heights Community Association is addressing the issue head on. I’m interested in your thoughts. What is a ghetto and how do you change it?