Monthly Archives: August 2021

The Week Ahead…and some Photos from the Past Week

The series of murals promoting DC Statehood near the corner of 8th Street and Virginia Avenue, SE, having reached the end of their year-long run, are being replaced.  MuralsDC – the DC Department of Public Works Graffiti Prevention Initiative – has commissioned a series of new murals for the site which will reflect the themes of unity and community featuring local references – landscape features and architecture.

Capitol Hill Corner is documenting the creation of the three murals.  The first one completed is Hannah Atallah’s “Rootedness and Displacement’, based on a photo by Conrado Muluc.  See here:

The Week Ahead…and some Photos from the Past Week

By Larry Janezich

Posted, August 29, 2021

The Week Ahead…

Monday, August 30

ANC6C Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:

Draft agenda:

  • citizenM,1222 1st Street NE, application for a new retailer’s class C hotel liquor license.
  • citizenM, 1222 1st Street NE, application for a new retailer’s Class B liquor license.

Tuesday, August 31

ANC6B Executive Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:


  • To set the agenda for the upcoming meeting of the full ANC on September 14.

Wednesday, September 1

ANC6C Planning, Zoning, and Economic Development Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 6:30pm. 

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Reminder of non-standard date for this month’s full ANC meeting: Thursday, September 9
  • 617 A Street, NE – Zoning Adjustment Application to construct an accessory garage with roof deck for an existing, attached two-story principal dwelling unit.
  • 200 K Street, NE – Zoning Application of Toll DC II LP, for a modification of significance to a previously approved PUD to allow for use of approximately 6,950 square feet (of the 13,801 square feet of gross floor area devoted to retail uses) for animal sales, care, and boarding use in Phase II – i.e., the Union Place Apartments.
  • 111 Massachusetts Avenue, NW – Zoning Application of Georgetown University for a PUD modification of consequence and a waiver, to allow the application to be processed as a modification of consequence (and thus without the need for a hearing) rather than as a modification of significance, for an existing building (authorized under the prior PUD orders for commercial, residential, and retail use).
  • 227, 233-235, 237-239 Massachusetts Ave. NE – Historic Preservation application of Hillsdale College for concept approval for new penthouses and reconfiguration of plazas.
  • 300 New Jersey Ave. NW & 51 Louisiana Avenue, NW – Zoning Adjustment Application for special exception relief, allow the construction of a penthouse addition that will serve an existing rooftop deck on the existing, detached commercial building.

Thursday, September 2

ANC6C Transportation and Public Space Committee holds a virtual meeting at 7:00pm.

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:

Among items on the draft agenda:

  • Public Space Application at 1133 North Capitol Street, NE.
  • Swampoodle II at 3rd and L Street NE. NoMa Parks Foundation is planning for Swampoodle II at the northwest corner of 3rd and L Streets NE. The Committee will hear updates from the NoMa Parks Foundation, including proposed traffic calming measures and crossing design.
  • Recommended Circulator Route from Union Station-Deanwood. DDOT’s Transit Development Plan 2020 update recommends a new Circulator route from Union Station to Deanwood;  The Committee will consider making a recommendation for the ANC to submit to DDOT.
  • Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV Draft EIS. ANC6C submitted comments last May to the Federal Railroad Administration on the Baltimore-Washington SCMAGLEV Project draft environmental impact statement (DEIS). Since then, additional comments have been noted on the DEIS, including comments from the DC Office of Planning and the District Department of Transportation. The Committee will consider making a recommendation for the ANC to request Mayor Bowser and Chairman Mendelson to submit additional comments on the project.
  • 6th Street NE between K Street NE and Florida Ave NE was reconfigured as a part of Florida Ave Project’s interim safety improvements, which included shifting 6th St NE to oneway northbound and including protected bike lanes on both sides of the streets. The Committee will consider making recommendations to the full ANC to request funding to complete 6th St NE improvements on the same timeline as the rest of the Florida Ave Project.

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Building Community through Guerrilla Gardening

Building Community through Guerrilla Gardening

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 27, 2021

Guerrilla Gardening is a form of urban activism where individuals take responsibility for improving unused and neglected public spaces and build community in the process.  As practiced by Capitol Hill based Guerrilla Gardeners of DC, it is more than organizing people to beautify the street and engaging community partners to provide the resources. 

The Guerrilla Gardeners of DC is a non-profit with a three member board and a core group of about a dozen volunteers that recruits ad hoc volunteers on projects as needed. 

One of those projects came together last year, when then-ANC6A Commissioner Kelly Waud and Naomi Mitchell (a neighbor who works in CM Charles Allen’s office) reached out to Jim Guckert of Guerrilla Gardeners for assistance with the two triangle parks on Potomac Avenue, SE, between 12th and 13th Streets.  The parks had recently been renovated with fitness equipment and a splash pad at the cost of some half a million dollars, but upon completion were left with no plan or money for maintenance.  Nature had taken over.  Guerrilla Gardeners couldn’t wait to jump in. Waud co-chaired the restoration project with Guckert, raised money and recruited volunteers.  Waud offered to match some donations from her own pocket which in the end, ran to several thousand dollars. The project kicked off last fall and community volunteers turned out in force to restore and plant. (see CHC post here:

The Rumphius Foundation funded three summer internships for Potomac Gardens and Hopkins Apartments residents to assist in maintaining and enhancement of the parks.  Guerrilla Gardener’s plan for future maintenance involves founding a Friends of the Park group to take over maintenance with help from Guerilla Gardeners.  Guckert and Waud are also taking steps to activate the park.  They reached out to Aquarius Van-Ghasri – long time DCHA Commissioner and President of the Potomac Gardens Resident’s Council.  The three collaborate to implement programming for the parks.  Some of these upcoming events* include a “Children’s Book Reading” featuring local authors of three children’s books (Saturday, August 27),  “Unplugged in the Park” featuring the rhythm and blues band “Shug and Velvet Cover” along with DJ TKO and the poetry of Geraldine Jackson (Saturday, September 4).  Later in September, a Capitol Hill Sport & Health fitness instructor will her services for a “Just Dance” fitness class in the park for anyone who wants to attend. 

Guckert says the events are all undertaken with the “goal of connecting people with resources of community as much as possible – and if we are the catalyst, so much the better”.  He hopes to use the Potomac Parks template in other parts of city especially in underserved neighborhoods, i.e., establish affiliate groups then transition to a Friends of the Park to take over and manage their own maintenance and programming.

Guerrilla Gardeners will launch another major project this fall – “One Beautiful Mile” – which will tie a series of their projects together, starting at Potomac Avenue Circle and extending to Garfield Park. Those existing projects include the two Potomac Avenue Triangle Parks, the planting of the Marine Barracks corner at 9th and I, Winston Park at 8th and I, and the landscaped knoll on the north side of the freeway between 6th and 7th Streets.  The goal is to beautify the stretch and encourage the intervening homeowners and businesses to take responsibility for the public spaces and tree boxes in front of (or behind) their properties. 

Guerrilla Gardeners has expanded its reach to support non-gardening ways to build community.  Guckert is building a team of volunteers and neighbors to participate in Congressional Cemetery’s annual fundraiser, the 5K Deadman’s Run on October 29.  Those who join the team and register for the race will get a free Guerrilla Gardener’s tee shirt– the only way to get one without volunteering and getting your hands dirty.  Other examples include Guerrilla Gardeners’ support for the 6th Street mural restoration project headed up by ANC Commissioner Brian Ready and a project led by neighbor and former HPRB member Nancy Metzger to restore fire call boxes.   

Guckert says, “What Guerrilla Gardeners does is a good thing to do.  If you see something that somebody should be taking care of, maybe that should be you.  That’s the spirit I try to infuse in others.”

Guerrilla Gardener’s Board is comprised of Jim Guckert, Karl Kindel, and Pat Startt.  Guerrilla Gardener’s funding comes from donations and a grant from the Capitol Hill Foundation.  The group was formally organized as a non-profit 501C3 in September of 2019.  Donations are tax deductible. 

*To learn more, check the upcoming events, donate, suggest a project, or volunteer, go here:

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The Week Ahead…Cannabis Festival at RFK…and Some Photos from the Past Week

The Week Ahead…Cannabis Festival at RFK…and Some Photos from the Past Week

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 22, 2021

Tuesday, August 24

ANC6A Alcoholic Beverage Licensing Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm. 

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:

Among items on the draft agenda: 

  • Discussion of application by H Street Spirits at 1368 H Street, NE, for a Class A Retail License.
  • Discussion of application by Z Korner Store at 234 15th Street, NE, for a Class B Retail License.
  • Discussion of application by Daru at 1451 Maryland Avenue, NE, for renewal of its Class C Tavern License.

Saturday, August 28

Saturday, August 28

National Cannabis Festival, 11:00am – 8:00pm, Festival Grounds, at Lot 6/7 at RFK Stadium, 2400 East Capitol St NE, Washington, D.C

  • Proof of full vaccination is required – masks will be encouraged.
  • More than 20,000 attendees expected.
  • “National Cannabis Festival is a yearly, one-day event held at the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium festival grounds with a focus on the music, advocacy, education, and activism related to Cannabis in Washington, D.C.” Wiki.
  • More here:

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Building Community Through Gardening – More on Capitol Hill’s Community Gardens

Building Community Through Gardening – More on Capitol Hill’s Community Gardens

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 21, 2021

Community gardening is a global phenomenon and like its cousin, guerrilla gardening, it sprang from a grass roots movement.  Both provide an additional dimension to the social fabric of the community and act as largely unacknowledged agents of community development, building community through legally sharing – or appropriating – common ground in a way that sustains the environment and improves neighborhoods.  Capitol Hill community gardens tend to focus on food production.  Guerrilla gardens focus on the ornamental.  Both provide ways to make a meaningful contribution to the community.  During the pandemic, many Capitol Hill gardeners found relief from social isolation in the community gardens.  Some of the gardens have to be sought out – like Pomegranate Alley Community Garden; some are hidden in plain sight like the 13th Street Community Park and Garden and 1200 Potomac Avenue Community Garden.

Last week, CHC posted photos of four of Capitol Hill’s eleven Community Gardens – Hilton, King’s Court, Pomegranate Alley, and Virginia Avenue.  Here are photos of the remaining seven.  There are waiting lists for most garden plots; below, find contact information for all eleven. 

Previously featured on CHC:

Hilton Community Garden. 6th Street between Constitution and C Streets, NE. 35 plots.    

King’s Court Community Garden  34 plots.  In center of block bounded by 14th and 15th Streets and C Street and South Carolina Avenue, SE.

Pomegranate Alley Community Garden  20 plots  911 11th Street, behind Ginko Gardens.

Virginia Avenue Community Garden.  80 plots.  In Virginia Avenue Park, 9th andVirginia Avenue, SE.  This garden is part of the DPR Community Gardens program and maintained in part by DPR.  See here for more information.  – contact

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Capitol Hill Village:  One of the Hill’s Most Powerful Community Organizations

This is the Little Lending Library in front of CHV HQ and community hub, depicted as a double miniture of the building.

Capitol Hill Village:  One of the Hill’s Most Powerful Community Organizations

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 16, 2021

Capitol Hill Village (CHV) was started in 2007 to provide services that enable seniors to age in place – rides to the doctor, cleaning a garage, IT and computer help, and running errands (see link below).  It is now one of the most – if not the most – powerful community organizations on Capitol Hill.  Specifically, the group excels at negotiating community benefits from developers looking for local approval for their projects.  For example, in recent years CHV won a $225,000 startup fund for an Adult Care Center from Felice Development and ownership of an E Street townhouse for CHV headquarters and community hub from Insight Development.  In addition, CHV successfully pushed for affordable housing for seniors in the redevelopment of the Hill East Boys and Girls Club.  (Here’s a link to CHV care services in addition to services of volunteers:  ) 

The organization has 375 members and 312 volunteers (one third of whom are non-members).  Volunteers provide a variety of care services such as those mentioned above for members who need assistance.  Not all members of CHV are seniors but Executive Director Judy Berman says 95% are over 60.  There are two categories of membership:  social, which permits access to all programs (many already open to all – see link below) and regular, which also permits access to volunteer assistance and other care services.  Berman says all ages are welcome and that younger people who join tend to do so as social members or volunteers.  CHV is truly a Capitol Hill village, with boundaries – though, according to Berman, these boundaries are not rigid.  She points to members who live north of H Street, NE.  (Here’s a link to programs available to both members and nonmembers on the events calendar: )

Membership costs range from $12 a month to $80 a month.  Berman says CHV has a deep commitment to serve lower income residents and to that end, membership for those individuals is discounted.  About 10% of the members are lower income, and CHV holds an annual fundraiser for things they can’t afford, including medical services.  Revenue from memberships makes up 25% of what is reported to be an annual $1.1 million budget, with the balance coming from grants, fundraising events, and government funding (federal dollars come from DDOT and city funding comes from the DC Department of Aging and Community Living).

The Board of CHV is currently comprised of 15 members, limited to two-three year terms.  There is no upper limit on the number of Board members, and CVH is open to suggestions for new board members.  The Board’s Governance Committee interviews candidates and makes formal nominations to the full board.

In reviewing the biographical notes for Board members, it is striking how many board members also participate in other community organizations. (Here’s a link to the webpage about the board:   It’s not uncommon for community organizations to carry a perception of insularity with them, and Berman says the Board works hard to address that concern.  Berman says she wants “to show that ‘clubby’ is not how we operate”.  She believes that everyone deserves a village; “Some have church or family, but we all need people close by that will take care of us and check in on us”.  What does it mean to be a member of CHV, she asks? “Membership gives you permission to say yes, you can reach out.”

One challenge facing CHV is developing a sustainable funding model.  One way forward, Berman says, is to get CHV’s contribution to wellness and health recognized to justify insurance coverage from private health care, in the same way some insurance companies pay for gym memberships.  Another challenge is maintaining a diverse and active membership and volunteer roster and CVH has outreach designed specifically to do that.

Asked how Covid has affected CHV, Berman said the biggest shift was putting the organization’s programming on-line.  During the pandemic, CHV served as a distributor of accurate information on Covid news and vaccines, and developed a sector phone network to enable members to check in with each other on a regular basis.  In addition, Covid has pushed CHV resources out further; DDOT funding permits CHV to provide Lyft transportation to get vaccine or medical services for anyone in DC, with two days’ notice.

Berman says COVID brought DC’s 15 or so “villages” together, strengthening relationships as they shared funds, programming, and advice.  The national Village to Village Network (VtVN) offers guidance, mentorship, resources and opportunities to collaborate.  VtVN serves as the national advocacy voice for Villages and the Village Movement.  Here’s a link to the Capitol Hill Village website:

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The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Past Week

The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Past Week

By Larry Janezich

Posted August 15, 2021

Monday, August 16

ANC6A Transportation & Public Space Committee will hold a virtual meeting at 7:00pm

For info on how to join the meeting, go here:

Among items on the agenda: 

  • Traffic Safety Assessment for 1600 block of Isherwood Street, NE. DDOT has requested that ANC6A amend its June 10, 202,1 resolution supporting TSA#21- 00168899 (1500 block of Isherwood Street, NE, and adjacent intersections) to clarify that it includes the 1600 block as well. This will allow DDOT to install speed humps on 3 continuous blocks: the 1600 and 1500 blocks of Isherwood Street, NE, and the 1400 block of Duncan Place, NE. The 1400 block of Duncan Place, NE, was covered in the April 8, 2021 ANC6A resolution supporting TSA# 20-00287735.
  • Traffic Safety Assessment(s) for 17th – 19th Street, NE, between D Street, NE, and Rosedale Street, NE.
  • Traffic Safety Assessment for 700 – 1300 blocks of I Street, NE.
  • Traffic Safety Assessment for 1300, 1400 and 1500 blocks of East Capitol Street, NE.
  • Traffic safety assessment for 300 block of 19th Street, NE.
  • Request for raised crosswalks at intersections where DDOT has indicated all-way stops are not warranted, including 14th and A Streets, NE, 15th and A Streets NE, 15th Street and Constitution Avenue, NE and 13th and I Streets, NE.

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Sweet Crimes – a Capitol Hill Gluten Free Bakery Is Opening on Pennsylvania Ave SE

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Bowser Briefing Raises Questions on Number of Delta Variant Breakthrough Infections

Bowser Briefing Raises Questions on Number of Delta Variant Breakthrough Infections

by Larry Janezich

Posted August 10, 2021

Many DC residents are wondering how many people who have been vaccinated are being infected with the Delta Variant – the so-called breakthrough infections.  Anecdotal evidence suggests the number is higher than the less than 1% suggested by the CDC, who admits the likelihood of undercounting.    

At Tuesday’s Situational Briefing where the Mayor announced that all city employees, contractors, interns and grantees must be vaccinated by September 19 (or be tested weekly) DC Health Department Director Dr. LaQuandra Nesbitt gave an update about DC’s experience with the virus.  The briefing raised a number of questions which Nesbitt did not address nor were they raised during the Q&A with the press in attendance. 

(Yesterday, the District’s reported Covid data included 137 new cases – a month ago, the number was 21.) 

Nesbitt made the following points:

  • There has been an increase in DC in the number of cases of Covid 19 in the 5 – 14 age population compared to last year, which now account for one out of every 10 new cases.
  • In the 12-13-14 age group who have the ability to be vaccinated, the vaccination rate of Black students is much lower that the vaccination rate for the White/Latino/Hispanic population.
  • The 25 – 34 year old age group is driving the number of cases, with no race meaningful racial disparity between the number of Blacks and Whites. (But…)
  • There is a “huge gap” in vaccine coverage for that age group with the rate of vaccination coverage for Blacks at one-half the rate of coverage of their White counterparts. (No explanation was given of why there should be this disparity.)
  • Latinos have great vaccination coverage compared with Black and White residents.
  • A majority of cases since the vaccine has been available is occurring in unvaccinated people. As in some other jurisdictions, there has been an increase in breakthrough cases over the past month.
  • Since the vaccine has been available, out of all of the hospitalized DC residents 1% – 2% of hospitalizations have been among those who are fully vaccinated – we have seen a “little bit of an uptick there”.
  • 90% of the people in hospitals are not vaccinated.  (No explanation given on the apparent uptick from 1-2% percent of vaccinated Covid patients to 10%.)
  • “The vaccine is absolutely worth it. We will all be better off.  The vaccine will prevent more viruses from taking over our community.” 

Bowser reiterated that free Covid testing is available at fire houses, recreation centers and other sites.  In addition, free test kits are available at 16 public libraries.  For more information, see here:

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The Week Ahead…and Some Photos from the Past Week

And Saturday morning, over on 6th Street, SE, Brian Ready and a single volunteer continued the restoration of the 6th Street murals on walls of the 295 Underpass.  Ready says the project is on track for completion by the end of August.  He could use some additional volunteers.  Those interested in participating in the project can email Ready at

 The Week Ahead…

August begins its second week, and community organizations’ business has been suspended.  It’s probably just as well.  Here’s a thought from Al Aronowitz: 

“August is the month when wars start. It’s when the water dries up and the spirit begins to wither. Insomniacs pull down their shades and lock themselves in their rooms in August. Lifelong friends have fist fights. People feel like they’re going to burst. Sometimes they do.”

Al Aronowitz was a journalist of the Beat Generation who wrote for the New York Post in the 1950s.  He introduced Bob Dylan to the Beatles in a New York City hotel room on August 28, 1964. (Wiki)


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Capitol Hill BID Pushes Back on Metro Plaza Maintenance – Says They Can’t Do It

Capitol Hill BID Pushes Back on Metro Plaza Maintenance – Says They Can’t Do It

By Larry Janezich

The unresolved question of who is going to maintain Eastern Market Metro Plaza/Park tables, chairs, public space furniture and other tasks moved to the front burner Wednesday afternoon, when Patty Brosmer, President of the Capitol Hill BID, said they can’t do it.

At a Department of General Services virtual briefing of the Eastern Market Metro Park Advisory Team yesterday, Brosmer said that maintenance of the plaza/park was totally separate from the Capitol Hill BID operation.  She said the additional work would “require resources we don’t have”, and that the BID has been using Covid Payroll Protection Program funds to maintain the spaces around the Metro entrance but they can’t do it forever. 

“The city came in and built this and left it up to us to maintain,” she added, “but it’s a big deal to wipe down furniture a few times a day”.  She said this is a problem common to all eleven of the city’s BIDs and by no means do they accept the additional tasks – “all of them are up in arms about it”.  The  BIDs – Business Improvement Districts – are private public partnerships funded by property owners that provide enhanced services in commercial and mixed use neighborhoods.

The issue of who would take care of the plaza/park has come up from time to time, and there was once talk of reaching a contractual agreement with the BID.  It appears that this was never formalized and the BID’s responsibility was taken for granted by the DGS contractor and others.  ANC6B02 Commissioner Jerry Sroufe – whose single member district includes the Plaza – commented that his recollection was that the BID was to maintain it and if not, we need another answer. 

Managing public space furniture is more problematic than it sounds, as users move the tables and chairs to seek shade or suit their convenience.  Just returning the furniture to the hard surfaces where they are intended to be rather than on the grass requires considerable time and attention.  Sometimes, plaza furniture has been found far afield.  

Nichole Opkins, representing  CM Charles Allen’s office expressed surprise that the BID had brought this up so late in the game. 

Brosmer said she had had a conversation with the city two years ago and were fine with emptying the trash, but weeding and furniture care involves a lot extra and “we can’t do it”.  She offered to provide documentation of what the city told her they would take care of. 

Opkins said she would continue discussions with Brosmer and bring the Department of General Services and the Department of Parks and Recreation into the loop as well.

The Metro Plaza renovation is nearing completion, and the children’s playground on parcel one between 8th and 9th Street, has proven to be extremely popular and successful with the playground and splash pad often attracting more than 100 people to the destination and a gathering place.  CM Charles Allen got the $15 million in budget authority for the project.

Patty Brosmer has been the President of the Capitol Hill Business Improvement District (BID) since its inception in early 2003. Prior to that, she was a consultant to the interim board during the 3-year formation phase of the BID.


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