Monthly Archives: August 2018

Woman Violently Assaulted Near Capitol Hill Police Station

MPD 1st District Substation at 500 E Street, SE. The assault occurred a half block down 4th Street.

Woman Violently Assaulted Near Capitol Hill Police Station

by Larry Janezich

Last Thursday morning, a woman on her way to a workout class was violently assaulted near the MPD Substation at 500 E Street, SE.  The assault was not reported on the MPD listserv daily crime report, nor does it show up on the MPD crime map, nor was there an alert regarding crime of special interest to the community posted to listservs by police officials.

The woman, Lexi (whose last name is withheld by request) was on her way to her gym last Thursday just before 6:00am.  She was walking on the west side of 4th Street, SE, between D and E Streets, a block from the 1st District Substation.  Lexi said she is a  practiced urban dweller and was not wearing earphones or talking on her cell.

The sun had not risen and the block between D and E Streets was dark.  Mid-block, she stopped and bent over to take something out of her bag.  As she did so, Lexi saw someone coming at her from behind.  She stood up to turn around and felt an arm around her neck in a chokehold.  “I became unconscious fairly quickly, and when I came to, I was aware that he had grabbed my hair and was whacking my head on the bricks.  Then he punched me in the face three times and I started screaming, ‘Help! Help! Help!’  A lot of people came out – a woman said she called the police – I think others called the police.”

MPD came, she said, within minutes – “I would be shocked if it was more than 10.”

An ambulance arrived and took her vitals and administered first aid.  Lexi said, “There was a lot of blood.  They took me to the GW Hospital emergency room (for an eight hour visit).  I remember they said it was 6:40 when I checked in.  They gave me a CT Scan – there was no brain damage but I had a concussion and a broken nose and fractured maxilla.  I had a swollen face.  I still have two black eyes and a broken nose that will require surgery.”

She said the police took her name, social security number and asked what happened.  She couldn’t provide a description because of the way the attack occurred, other than she’s sure it was a man.

Lexi said she didn’t know whether he was waiting in the dark or had followed her; “I walk a lot in the city – I stay aware and am not oblivious to my surroundings.  I heard and saw nothing.”  She said the attack was “stealthy” – and thinks he ran toward the (Marion) park afterward.  Robbery did not appear to be the motive, since nothing was taken.

The police gave her husband a detective’s card with a phone number.  On Monday, she called the detective, who, she said, kept saying “it was a robbery or probably a robbery” and asked her if she was sure it wasn’t a robbery.  She says it wasn’t – that it was “awfully violent,” and that her assailant could have just grabbed her bag (which contained nothing of value except her cell phone).  The detective later reported that the two video cameras on the block showed nothing, and concluded their interaction with, “If you come up with witnesses, let me know.”

Lexi says she is “really concerned that the community has no information about this.”   She says, “This is my community – also my friends’ community.  We think this is a fairly safe place to live.  A lot of people walk around.  I would love it if anyone who saw something came forward.  There’s no info out there – MPD is not asking.  If the guy is still out there, we want to catch him.  I’m very very lucky it wasn’t more serious.”

CHC asked her to describe her state of mind.  She said she has “lots of ups and downs and I’m afraid to leave the house on my own.”  She says,” I have been very very independent and I’m anxious to get back to that.  I hate for this guy to have changed me – to take something important away from me.  I’m working on it.  I’m hoping someone saw something.”

CHC reached out to 1st District Commander Morgan Kane to ask why the assault hadn’t shown up on the MPD listserv daily crime report or the MPD crime map.  Kane says that only crimes that meet the national criteria for the FBI’s Uniform Crime Report Program are posted on these two venues.  Since this assault did not involve a deadly weapon – even though it was a terribly violent one – it did not meet those criteria.  (It’s not clear why these criteria can’t be altered locally for the purposes of informing the community and still maintained for the national reports.)

Kane said what should have happened (but which apparently did not) was a police official’s alert to the community listservs that a crime of significant interest to the community had occurred.  She cited the example of the notice posted by officials to listservs regarding the attempted Vespa scooter-jacking at Potomac and Pennsylvania Avenues last Saturday.  Kane said she would check to see if a police official’s notice on the assault had been posted.  CHC asked her to find out how it had fallen through the cracks if it had not.

Kane did not respond by press time, but CHC noted that shortly after its initial query to Commander Kane and Captain Knutson of the 1st District, and before Kane reached out to CHC, MPD posted the following message to the MPD listserv followers – a week after the crime:

“The First District is investigating an assault that took place in PSA 107 on August 23rd in the 400 block of 4th Street SE at approximately 5:50 – 6:00 AM.

Any persons that may have witnessed the assault or possess video footage of the offense are asked to contact the First District Detective’s Office on (202) 299-2025, or our Command Information Center at (202) 727-9099.

This case continues to be investigated by the First District Detectives Office.”

Councilmember Charles Allen said he was reaching out to the victim directly and that he had heard concerns regarding MPD and some other issues regarding this attack.

It is worth noting that crime alerts not only solicit information that can prove vital in solving a crime, they also let members of the community know of encounters that may influence residents’ decisions of where to travel, when, and how to do it.  Many people would probably be surprised to learn that such a violent assault that took place so close to the police station.


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Here’s the Capitol Hill Non-Profit That’s Addressing Homelessness in Our Community

Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s Engagement Coordinator Abby Sypek (left) and Director of Strategic Initiatives Kate Akalonu.

Here’s the Capitol Hill Non-Profit That’s Addressing Homelessness in Our Community

by Larry Janezich

For most people, the practical efforts to help the homeless exist below the radar.  It’s no different in our community, where many residents are unaware of the work of the Capitol Hill Group Ministry (CHGM), a non-profit dedicated to addressing homelessness in Ward Six and other parts of the city.

CHGM’s name derives from the coalition of different congregations who came together 50 years ago to respond to community social concerns.  Today the group’s mission is to support the holistic needs of individuals and families at risk of, or experiencing, homelessness. They are the advocates for the homeless and provide the interface between them and city agencies providing housing and other social services.

According to DC Department of Human Services, DC’s homeless population on January 24, 2018 stood at 6,904: 3,770 singles – up 5.2% from January 2017, and 924 families, down 20.8% from 2017.

There are generally two categories of homeless – families in shelter or staying with relatives and without permanent residences, and the much more visible homeless people, typically single men and women, who many of us encounter or engage on a regular basis.  It’s likely that the latter group come from the 15-20% of the total number of homeless categorized as “chronically homeless,” and often suffering from mental illness and/or substance use disorder.

CHGM gets most of its funding* from the DC government; its budget is supplemented by donations, support from foundations and corporations, special events, and congregations.

The major portion of government funding goes to contracts to administer two city wide programs:  the Family Homelessness Prevention Program and the Rapid Rehousing Program.  Generally speaking, the city programs administered by CHGM benefit families.  (For more on these programs, see the end of this story.)

Two other programs, specific to CHGM are aimed at the unsheltered homeless individuals in Ward 6:  Shirley’s Place Day Hospitality Center and the CHGM Street Outreach Program.  These programs are supported by a mix of public and private funds.

Shirley’s Place Day Hospitality Center, located at 1338 G Street, SE, is named after Shirley Anderson, a longtime Capitol Hill Group Ministry supporter.  Shirley’s Place offers laundry, showers, light meals and connection to resources.  CHGM Street Ourtreach staff and volunteers walk the community on a regular basis to engage the homeless one on one, providing medical attention, food, drinks, blankets, transport to homeless shelters and a way to connect to community resources and services (healthcare, welfare, food stamps, etc.).

CHC sat down with CHGM Engagement Coordinator Abby Sypek and CHGM Director of Strategic Initiatives Kate Akalonu to talk about CHGM and the members of the community who are homeless and in need of assistance.

Sypek says “Ending homelessness is possible – it’s the exception not the rule that homeless people don’t want their own home.  Most want housing and a safe place to stay and it is rare to find those who don’t – even those, we work with in hopes that they get there.”  She cites Utah’s success with its “Housing First” programs as a model approach which involves providing housing first and then addressing the problems which brought about homelessness, rather that making eligibility contingent on solving those problems first. Sypek added, “I love working in DC with a lot of smart people looking at innovative ways to end homelessness.  It’s not enough.  We need way more homeless intervention.”

Akalonu said one of her concerns was the relationship between the public and the homeless, asking, “How do we shift public perception about finding a place in the community for those living in poverty?  It’s hard to pinpoint reason for homelessness – there are a lot of factors at play. Some have a deeper safety net – we provide another layer of safety.”

CHGM is having a Fund Raiser on September 8, in the North Hall of Eastern Market.  “Sip and Savor is a celebration of local food, craft beer, wine, cider, spirits and music in support of the homeless.”  Unlimited food samples and beverage tastings. Tickets are $70 until September 6, $80 at the door (if available).

Additional information regarding CHGM and DC Homelessness:

Housing the homeless we most frequently encounter is often the most difficult.  Other agencies across city administer permanent and rapid rehousing housing programs for unsheltered homeless individuals through contracts with the city government.  Some of these include Miriam’s Kitchen, Friendship Place, Pathways to Housing, and Community Connections.

To determine eligibility for housing the city uses a widely recognized national process referred to as “coordinated entry.”  The goal of the process is to make sure people who need housing most get it.  The non-profit agencies such as those listed above as well as CHGM perform a voluntary “triage,” asking a series of questions of those in need of housing assistance to determine their level of need.  From the information gathered, a data base is created to prioritize those whose need is greatest.  Once a month, some 30 representatives of government agencies and non-profits interfacing with the homeless hold a “coordinated entry meeting.”  If the city has 30 housing units available that month, the participants go down the list and match those in need with the facilities available.

While others focus on housing unsheltered individuals, CHGM administers two city-funded programs aimed at housing families through government contracts.

The Family Homelessness Prevention Program helps stabilize families at risk of homelessness through mediation, flexible financial assistance and connecting them to supportive resources.  CHGM works with families to create both short and long term housing plans so that they can avoid homelessness and having to enter the shelter system.

The Family Housing Program has two components, Rapid Rehousing – a one year plus program to support families transitioning out of homelessness or – and Shelter Plus Care to provides permanent supportive housing for families in need of long term support.  In the latter case, support could be 100% subsidized housing for those with no income, or 30% subsidized housing for those with some income, such as SSI, SSEI, or earned income.  CHGM currently has 30 families in the supportive family program and points to a 20% decline in the number of homeless families over 2017 to demonstrate the its success.  (Studies by Federal and State agencies show subsidizing housing for the homeless costs about one-third of the $30,000 – $50,000 it costs taxpayers per person per year for homeless living on the street.)

For more information or to find how you can contribute or volunteer, see here:

*Capitol Hill Group Ministry’s Budget for 2017:

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The Week Ahead….and New Paint on The Fridge

The Fridge has a new public face.  “NSF” is the tag* of the NSF crew – a team of graffiti artists that Fridge proprietor Alex Goldstein (pictured) credits with tagging 1 million walls and 100,000 illegal graffiti.  NSF?  – various meaning have been ascribed, i.e., “Not Strictly Freights” and “Never Show Faces.”  Goldstein’s translation:  “Non Stop Fun.” (click to enlarge)
*”Tag; a personal signature, usually vandalism with spray-paint, but can be any graffitti.  Tag’s can take seconds, or can use multiple colors. Two color tags are usually throw ups, may consist of block or bubble lettering.  “Bombs” are usually tri color while pieces are always of the up most complexity – very large, good use of colors, where they will seem to blend together, or bleed, and burn.”  Urban Dictionary.

The Week Ahead….and New Paint on The Fridge

by Larry Janezich

Monday, August 27

RFK Stadium Community Meeting – EventsDC is hosting a quarterly meeting with RFK Stadium stakeholders on August 27th. The meeting will be at 7pm, at RFK, in the Media room on the 4th floor. The entrance is via Lot 5, Gate A.

Tuesday, August 28

ANC6B’s Executive Committee will meet at 7:00pm in Hill Center to set the agenda for the full ANC6B meeting on September 11.

Thursday, August 30

ANC6B’s Hilleast Taskforce meets at 7:00pm at St. Coletta, 1900 Independence Avenue, SE, to discuss Reservation 13.  DDOT, DGS, DMPED, and DOEE have been invited to participate.

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Hine Project News – 250 Samsung Employees Coming This Fall

Eastern Market Main Street Chair Manuel Cortes and Johnetta Jordan, Director of Resident Services for the Residences at Eastern Market, at Wednesday night’s open house for Eastern Market Main Street.

Madeleine Odendahl, Executive Director, Eastern Market Main Street

Hine Project News – 250 Samsung Employees Coming This Fall

By Larry Janezich

Eastern Market Main Street’s (EMMS) Board of Directors hosted an open house Wednesday night at Joselito Casa de Comidas – the traditional Spanish restaurant at 660 Pennsylvania Avenue.  Chair Manuel Cortes said that the board had opted for a happy hour instead of a board meeting to allow organization members to interact with directors and each other.

During the mix and mingle, EMMS Executive Director Madeleine Odendahl told Capitol Hill Corner that up to 250 Samsung employees could be working out of the Hine project by Thanksgiving.  She expects local restaurants will see a boost in lunch sales from the increase foot traffic.  Samsung announced in July they would relocate their public affairs office and demonstration center to the 700 Pennsylvania Avenue location by late 2018.  The demonstration center is where Samsung will show off their latest technology to potential government customers.  Samsung will occupy 28,000 plus square feet – an entire floor of the office building.  The move does not anticipate a retail outlet.

In other news about the Hine project, Johnetta Jordan, Director of Resident Services for the Hine project, says that 60% of the 128 residential units are occupied.

Eastern Market Main Street is a micro-chamber of commerce for the commercial corridors around Eastern Market.  Its goal is to promote, retain, and attract diverse, small businesses.  The officers of the Board of Directors include: Manuel Cortes, Chair; Mary Quillian Helms, Vice Chair; Terry McDonald, Treasurer; and Lona Valmoro, Secretary.

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Here’s an Early Look at How Capitol Hill ANC Races Are Shaping Up

Ward 6 ANC and Single Member District Boundaries (click to enlarge)

Here’s an Early Look at How Capitol Hill ANC Races Are Shaping Up

By Larry Janezich

An ANC is a non-partisan, neighborhood body made up of locally elected representatives called Advisory Neighborhood Commissioners who serve two-year terms without pay.  Commissioners are elected from Single Member Districts of about 2,000 people.  Ward Six has 5 ANCs with different numbers of Single Member Districts.

The ANCs’ main job is to be their neighborhood’s official voice in advising the District government (and Federal agencies) on things that affect their neighborhoods.   Although they are not required to follow the ANCs’ advice, District agencies are required to give the ANCs’ recommendations “great weight.”

District law says that agencies cannot take any action that will significantly affect a neighborhood unless they give the affected ANCs 30 days advance notice.  This includes zoning, streets, recreation, education, social services, sanitation, planning, safety, budget, and health services.

Candidates for ANC Commissioner have until 5:00pm on Wednesday, August 8, to file a petition of 25 signatures with the DC Board of Elections in order to get on the ballot for the November 6 General Election.

Here’s a look one week out at which incumbents in the four Capitol Hill ANCs are not seeking re-election, and which incumbents who are running have attracted potential challengers.


ANC6A (click to enlarge)


6A03:  Incumbent Mike Soderman is being challenged by Raman Taheri.

6A05:  Incumbent Patrick Malone has not picked up a petition and does not appear to be seeking re-election.  Two candidates for the seat have taken out petitions – Alan Chargin and Ruth Ann Hudson.

6A08:  Incumbent Calvin Ward is not seeking re-election.  Brian Alcorn has taken out a petition.




6B03:   Incumbent James Loots is not seeking re-election.  Brian Ready has filed a petition with the Elections Board.

6B05:  Incumbent Steve Hagedorn has not picked up a petition and does not appear to be seeking re-election.  Taylor Kuether has taken out a petition.

6B06:  Incumbent Nick Burger is not seeking re-election.  Cory Holman has taken out a petition.

6B09:  Update:  Incumbent Dan Ridge has not picked up a petition and does not appear to be seeking re-election.  Dan Ridge has taken out a petition.  No one else has taken out a petition.  Kasie Clark has taken out a petition.




6C03:  Incumbent Scott Price is not seeking re-election.  Jay Adelstein has filed a petition with the Elections Board.

6CC05:  Incumbent Chris Miller has resigned and is relocating.  Chad Ernst has taken out a petition.

6C06:  Incumbent Heather Edelman has attracted two challengers – Robb Dooling and Jason Starr.




6D01:  Incumbent Gail Fast is being challenged by Clayton Rosenberg.

6D02:   Incumbent Cara Shockley is being challenged by Sutton Roach.

6D04:  Incumbent Andy Litsky is being challenged by Haley Ashcom.

6D05:  Incumbent Roger Moffatt is being challenged by Anthony Dale.

6D07:  Incumbent Meredith Fascett is not seeking re-election.  Four candidates have taken out petitions – Edward Daniels, Dr. Letty Maxwell, Sean Murphy, Brant Miller




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