Wednesday, September 22, 2010

NFI Brews Up Fundraising Success for Ft. Totten Community Garden

  The Neighborhood Farm Initiative's "Home Brew Harvest Festival" held last weekend at the La Casa Community Center (in the Mt. Pleasant neighborhood of DC) was an overwhelming success.  The event hosted by NFI (with support from DC Brau and Bread and Brew) could only be described as part seminar part Oktoberfest! Not only were five very tasty home brews featured, but a great spread of locally sourced fresh food -courtesy of the Petworth Community Market, Mount Pleasant Farmer's Market and the Bloomingdale Farmer's Market- and a beginners lecture on home brewing from Aaron Lavallee and Morgan Pinnellmade truly made it a Festival!  With the small La Casa Community Center filled to the brim with eager supporters, brewers and staff, the festival gave some much needed exposure and monetary support to NFI's efforts across our fair City.  The time and care each backyard brewer spent to craft their specialty brews was evident with each sip; and the featured home brewed adult beverages were a great compliment to the cornucopia of pesto, salsas, raw veggies, dips and spreads prepared from local ingredients of the highest quality.
  While this fundraiser was a casual event, it was also a contest.  So as is the case with many things, there can be only one...or uhhh three winners.  After the polls closed and all the ballots were accounted for, the grand champions were crowned.  Terry Chang took home the prize for best overall brew, with second place going to the Cutting Edge Brew Team - Bea Trickett, Dave Cahill and Jaime Garay- and third place went to the first name only brew team of Aaron and Morgan.  Perhaps the best outcome of this event was NFI raising $830 to put them well on their way towards installing a deer fence around the Mamie D. Lee garden at the Ft. Totten Metro.  A big shout out goes to Bread and Brew and DC Brau for their support in making this event happen.  Hopefully we will see this event become a yearly tradition, celebrating a wonderful harvest and some great local home brews!

For more information on the Neighborhood Farm Initiative please check out their website or their BLOG for up to date info about events and harvests! 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Another accident on South Dakota Ave. NE Near Ft. Totten Metro

As the rain trickles down, yet another accident has taken place on South Dakota Ave NE near the intersection of Galloway St. NE.  This new crash is less than 100' from where a devastating accident occurred less than 2 months ago.  This newest fender bender took place between a commercial gardening truck and a compact pick-up, and appears to be far less severe than the July 22nd accident.
  Yet another shining example of why there needs to be stricter traffic enforcement or new traffic control measures put in place on the main thoroughfare.  South Dakota Avenue is currently closed at the Ft. Totten Metro, right next to the new CCDC Backus Campus.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Clear Those Election Blues With A Home Brew Fest Benefiting The Ft. Totten Community Garden

  As the District sits back and holds their collective breath as the the Poll results are calculated, we have a wonderful event to take your mind off of the potential change in leadership of our fair District...a home brewed beer fest!!!  To make it even sweeter, or maltier perhaps, the particular Home Brew Fest is being held as a fund raiser for the Mamie D. Lee Community Garden at the Ft. Totten Metro.  So break out your carbouys, fermentation locks and hydrometers and show the local green thumbs what you can do!
  This wonderful home honed fermented potables (that fancy speak for home brewed beer) contest will be held this Saturday Sept. 18 at the La Casa Community Center in Mt. Pleasant (3166 Mt. Pleasant Street NW).  The Home Brew Harvest Fest will run from 7-10 PM and cost $10 per person to enter.  The contest is open to all levels, beginner through expert, and will be judged by the paying attendees.  All entries will be judged on overall popularity, and brewers are encouraged to enter as many subcategories as they would like to(with prizes to be awarded in all categories).  There will also be a home brew workshop from 7-8 PM, explaining the process of home brewing to all those interested!   If you would like to enter your home brewed concoction, details can be found here.  All proceeds will go towards installing a fence around the 68 plot community garden located at the Ft.Totten Metro Station, to fend off those pesky deer from eating the gardeners hard work.  

Thanks to reader Jessica Lombardo for the heads-up on this looks to be a really great time!

Friday, September 10, 2010

CCDC Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

  With the daily construction going late into the night (and sometimes through the morning), CCDC's Backus Campus looks ready to open it's doors in time for scheduled classes to start on Sept 13th.  Tomorrow in particular is a very important milestone for the new campus, as Ward 5 Councilman Harry Thomas, DC City Council Chair Vince Gray and other CCDC and UDC representatives host the ribbon cutting ceremony.  The event is scheduled to take place tomorrow Sept 11th at 9 AM at 5171 South Dakota Avenue, NE.  The ceremony will also serve to commemorate Bertie Backus student Asia Cottom and teacher Sara Clark who were victims of the September 11th terrorist atacks.

For information regarding layout and history of the project check here.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

New North Michigan Park Neighborhood Signs

Proposed Sign Design
  The Friends of North Michigan Park Civic Association is making a push for community beautification and  identity retention.  With the projected increase in both pedestrian and vehicular traffic to the growing area, the FNMPCA want to make sure the neighborhood of North Michigan Park is well defined, and not just lumped in as part of the Ft. Totten Area t.  How do they plan on accomplishing this, well  through the installation of 30 metal banner signs similar to those found in Dupont Circle and Capital Hill. 
   Currently the FNMPCA has submitted plans for approval by the neighborhood ANC's, which need to sign off on the project, in order to get a DDOT permit to install the signs.  The current plans has the 30 signs lining the major thoroughfares of the neighborhood, including South Dakota Ave, Gallatain and 8 St along with others.  Pending ANC approval, which the plan already seems to have, the signs will be fabricated by Gelberg Signs on Washington, DC and delivered for installation.  Not set time line appears to be in place, but it is assumed that once DDOT approve the installation permit the signs should be up in no time.

View NMP Banner Pole Locations in a larger map

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

On Pancakes, Politics and Progress

  Last Friday, DC Council Member Harry "Tommy" Thomas Jr. invited Ward 5 bloggers to "break bread" (well more like giant pancakes) with him at the Cap City Diner for his Blogger Breakfast.  The Council Member's goal was to share his vision and plans for Ward 5, and allow the community bloggers a chance to get answers on specific questions regarding their individual neighborhood.  The informal event was a unique opportunity for local bloggers representing Brookland Avenue, In BloomRhode Island AVE NE Insider, Frozen Tropics and of course us from The Totten Life to get some answers for our readers. 
  For many of those in attendance, the increase in violence by youth (and in particular around and near metro stations) was a major concern, one shared by Councilman Thomas.  He identified the need to engage the various police department jurisdictions that oversee the metro stations and surrounding areas, and create better communication as well as better cooperation.  He also stated that he will working with the City Council to create a better metro by drafting a Public Safety Amendment which not only addresses crime at metro stations, but doubles penalties and fines for crimes perpetrated around metro stations.  The goal is to create a form of strategic deterrent for criminals targeting commuters by having a better organized law enforcement effort and heavier fines.  In order to address youth crime, Councilman Thomas believes that prevention and engagement of youth in other activities is the best way to stop the problem before it happens.  In a city where youth programs have been slashed, children must be engaged and given options for activities that nurture them both physically and mentally.  He also identified the fact that he was (and still is), in support of the youth summer jobs program, that were recently severely paired down, being extended (a program Mayor Fenty also supported the extension of) to all summer long.  The Councilman felt the way to reduce youth crime is not to throw them in youth correctional facilities, but to try and prevent them from getting to that point in the first place.
  The Councilman then addressed Ward 5 economic concerns, most notably the increase and need of business in Ward 5.  Mr.Thomas identified the fact Big Box stores (like Target, Costco, Best Buy etc) are looking to open their doors in Ward 5, however he does not believe this should be the sole focus of economic development in the neighborhoods.  While the increase of jobs in our ward created by these major retailers (Mr. Thomas indicated that there are set asides for ward 5 jobs with these companies) is an excellent perk, the focus should be on opening community based enterprises that are there to serve the neighborhood.  The Big Box retailers should be viewed as the hub of the retail center's and used as a means to attract "white table cloth restaurants" and businesses owned and operated by community members.  There is also a need to incentivize small business growth in the district in the form of tax breaks and zoning changes that will make it easier for the average person to open a business. 
  Outside of business growth around the major box retailers, Councilman Thomas shifted focus on the neighborhood business corridors.  Focusing particularly on H St, 12th St, and Rhode Island Avenue, the Councilman stated that "Our goal is not to make the neighborhoods new economic areas, but rather to return them to what they used to be.  Many of the long term residents once enjoyed and want to see the same amenities that newer residents want." He also supports an increase in smaller Community Grocers and Farmers Markets as a means to to get fresher and healthier choices into the city.  Through the use of  incentives (like tax cuts), the Councilman would seek to ensure the right businesses for the community are brought in.  However, the need for educating and training workers goes hand-in-hand with any long term business development.  Mr. Thomas explained how the new CCDC campus near Ft. Totten is an essential piece of this puzzle, one that will "provide workforce development in the community, as well as lifelong community development programs."
  Councilman Thomas also identified the need to have effective communication between the different ANC's, Civic Associations, MPD and himself.  The Councilman stated the importance of community input on any issue effecting its residents.  The ANC, MPD and SMD meetings are one part of this process, and he frequently attends the various meetings held by these organizations.  Councilman Thomas, however, singled out the importance of Civic Associations in gaining community support and input.  The end goal Councilman Thomas would like to see is joint communication and cooperation between the various organizations in order to get the most information out to the residents of Ward 5.
  We would like to take a moment to thank Councilman Thomas in identifying the value Neighborhood Blogs add to the dissemination of information in a quick and hyper-local manner.  The Councilman was very attentive to all of the questions thrown at him, as well as confident in his platform and his vision for making Ward 5 a better place to live and do business.  Thank you Councilman Thomas for taking time out of your schedule to answer the questions of a few concerned citizens, a shout out to our fellow Ward 5 Bloggers (if you haven't been to their sites, check them out Brookland Avenue, In BloomRhode Island AVE NE Insider, Frozen Tropics) for participating and making this event meaningful and a special thanks to CapCity Diner for hosting and providing a delicious start to our mornings.  If you haven't been to the Diner over in Trinidad, it is a must go.  When you do stop by, maybe take a page out of Councilman Thomas' playbook and dive into the Super Fat Boy Breakfast which looked killer!!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Dog Found...Help us out!

Once we woke up this AM, we let our dogs out to pee before their walk as usual  and saw a little white dog scurry up the street. Then around 11 while out walking the two of them, we were approached by the same little white fella (looks to be a Bichon Mix) and were followed for about five blocks up 8th to Buchanan. We then spent the next 2 hours scouring the neighborhood all the way up to Providence to see if anyone knew him.  Alas, we had no luck,  If you know this dog or he looks vaguely familiar, PLEASE send us a message.  We already have two large dogs and can't handle a third.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Breakfast with a side of Politics...

 The Totten Life has been invited to attend Ward 5 Council Member Harry Thomas' blogger breakfast tomorrow morning at the Cap City Diner.  A few other Ward 5 bloggers will be attending as well, as Harry shares his vision and plan on how to make the city better.  Any questions issues you would like raised regarding Ward 5, here is your chance to try and get them answered.  We will do our best to get answers for all legitimate questions answered as well as sharing Mr. Thomas' vision for creating a better DC!