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April 24, 2002

The Application

Dear Applicants:

When you apply for a job with the District of Columbia government, you sign a certification on the employment application form that reads, in part: “I understand that a false statement on any part of my application may be grounds for not hiring me, or for firing me after I begin work (DC Code §1-617.1(d)(1) et seq. (1991 Repl.)). I understand that the making of a false statement on this form or materials submitted with this form is punishable by criminal penalties pursuant to DC Code §22-2514 et seq. (1991 Repl.). I understand that any information I give may be investigated as allowed by law or Mayoral order.”

That sounds serious. Unless, of course, you're Fire Chief Ronnie Few, or Few's three Assistant Chiefs from East Point, Georgia, or Robert Newman, or Kelvin Robinson, or Sam Kaiser. Unless, of course, you lie to the Williams administration, which temporizes and waffles and hunts for excuses not to enforce the law. In response to Fire Chief Few's resume whoppers, Mayor Williams has been a portrait in indecision, trying to convince the public that he really cares about the honesty of his top appointees, without, of course, actually having to do anything to prove that honesty is required. No wonder Chief Few encouraged, or at least allowed, his three cronies from East Point to inflate their resumes when they came to DC. He had done it himself; his “errors” had been exposed two years ago at his confirmation hearing; and he had suffered no consequence. Just as he, and they, are suffering no consequence now.

When I apply for a job in DC government, I'll be sure to mention my Rhodes scholarship, my MacArthur genius award, and the years that I spent as president of IBM before I retired to become a wealthy philanthropist. Can you give me one good reason why I shouldn't?

Gary Imhoff 


Appreciation of the District, and It’s Not Just the Alleys
Joan Eisenstodt, 

First a note about why we love living here. All that Gary said and more. I love the ease of getting around in a smaller city (protests and votes on the Hill the exceptions), Eastern Market (as long as the new developers keep it close to the same) and the ability to walk to so many places. The Smithsonian programs (day and evening) that are reasonably priced and easily accessible allow us to learn more.

That said, I'm with Heather Scott (whose alley is not cleaned) when it comes to DC services. The recent storm where trees fell in many parts of the District made those on our street quite nervous. We have a huge, mostly hollow tree that sheds many limbs w/ each storm. Calls by many of us have given us case numbers and promises of help. Wonder if the recent problems will make the DC govt. more responsible?

Then there are the case numbers on the cross walk that isn't . . . and the cars that go through. Another story for another time.


One Happy Resident in DC
Theresa Nunnally, 

I'm no cynic, I'm a Virginian who crossed the river to buy a home in DC three years ago. I love the Lincoln Park area of Capitol Hill, because diversity and multiculturalism are the fabric that make the District what it is, a celebration of life through food, people, and the arts. People are friendlier — I know my neighbors by name; even strangers say hello when walking by. Public transportation is clean and safe, taxis are plentiful, and much is within walking distance. A prime location — you can get to the ocean, mountains, a sleepy southern town, or NY city in a matter of hours; and three airports are nearby. Sports teams — there is something for everyone (sans baseball), CAPS, Redskins, DC United, Freedom, Wizards, and Mystics. Am I happy, you bet. Now if I could only get my recycling picked up on a regular basis and perhaps some representation in Congress. . . .


What’s Great about DC
Mary Vogel, 

Wanda Bubriski for undertaking the immense job of organizing the first Adams Morgan House Tour in 22 years as a benefit to save the deteriorating Holt House. (I couldn't help but think that maybe if some of the homeowners on the tour sold off a few of their enormous number of possessions and gave to the cause, the Holt House could be saved with far less trouble.) The wildflowers along the banks of the Potomac seen from Carderock area trails and Turkey Run and Scotts Run Park trails are spectacular right now. See them while the Virginia bluebells, trilliums and may apple are still out!

Speaking of trilliums, DC's proximity to the best trillium display in the world at Thompson Wildlife Management Area in Linton, VA, is also a great advantage! Lots of trilliums are out right now, but they may not peak until the first or second weekend in May.


Why DC Is a Great Place to Live
Rene Wallis, 

Just yesterday, I flew in from Las Vegas, and I was glad to get home. DC has problems, lots of problems, that is true, and my little neighborhood of Bloomingdale/LeDroit Park has our share: 1) Kelly Miller public housing that looks like the housing project DC forgot; 2) Gage Public school — open classrooms in a public school that serves 95% kids who qualify for free school lunches with the WORST test scores in the city; Kelly Miller School, the nicer of the two public schools, is now a “swing school” serving (first) the Oyster kids, and now Cleveland Park kids, as our local kids languish at Gage; 3) the Old Gage School — caught for years in the DHCD tolerance of the People's Involvement Corporation non-improvement of this beautiful and decaying building; 4) burglary and drug sales being the only type of employment opportunity in the neighborhood for youth; 5) a large DPW property that lacks basic maintenance so weeds and trash contribute the general chaotic environment; 6) a building that serves as the Mayor's parking lot that looks like something from a Steven King movie; 7) the Water Authority building, a beautiful building, fenced in with hideous chain link; 8) the McMillen Sand Filtration site, a lovely site also fenced in with chain link, sitting and waiting for the Office of Planning to figure out how to do something with this potentially beautiful parkland.

We are more motivated to complain, I think, than to speak out on what we like. I will take am minute to talk about what I love in DC. Property values are skyrocketing because, in spite of our civic ills, this is a good place to live. My neighbors are friendly, with most of the neighborhood still first generation DC homeowners and/or their descendants. When I realize that until the mid-60's, DC was segregated by Jim Crow, I am amazed at what has been accomplished so quickly by African-Americans who were shut out for so long. On my street, we know each other and greet each other with a cheerful good morning. People collect contributions when someone dies, and Mrs. Shields has everyone's keys, just in case they get locked out. I have lived on my street for nine years, and our lives are intertwined. Living in a row house means getting to know your neighbors. None of that suburban distance when I can see into my neighbors dining room when I water the plants on my back porch. It's good morning and good afternoon, and how are y'all doin.

The neighbor kids spend the night frequently on Saturday's at my house, and the parents drop by to chat. I don't have kids, so it is a pleasure to me that folks trust me with their kids. And that I can help out — one neighbor is raising her 4th grandkid, and another neighbor has six: two of hers, two of his, and two they had together. Another neighbor watches her grandkids while her daughter works. It is a good thing to be a part of the lives of these folks I respect so much. We loan each other milk, eggs, and yard tools. We wish each other well. We cry when someone in our family dies, and celebrate when someone graduates from high school. We come from different ethnic backgrounds, and have different educational and economic stories. But it is people that make up a community, and the folks on my block are some fine folks. 

We have a great pool for summertime swimming — Banneker on Georgia Avenue. Granted, it needs some maintenance, but it is free, it is big, and it is open in the hot summer. The adult section of the pool rarely has many adults, so for me it is like a private pool. And when the Georgia Avenue festival or the Caribbean festival goes along down Georgia Avenue, I can swim and listen to music, and just enjoy the urban-ness of my life. The G2 bus whisks us to Dupont Circle or Georgetown, the 80 down to Union Station, and the 70 South to the American Art Gallery, the Building museum or North to Silver Spring mall. I don't have to own a car, saving thousands of dollars. Two Metros are within a twenty-minute walk or a five-minute bike ride. I can walk to work or take the bus, and now it is simple to take the bike on Metro.

It is a neighborhood in transition, which means that though my house needs painting, I don't feel pressed to keep up with the neighbors. This is slowly changing, but for now I am going to stay relaxed. Since I have lived there, my house has gone up $100,000 in value. That is a startling and amazing thing to experience. The houses around mine are slowly being fixed up, one at a time. It is a pleasure to watch beat up back yards turned into attractive spaces. My own garden receives hours and hours of my time, and it rewards me (and my neighbors) with a steady stream of blooms every day. There are at least six of us in the neighborhood that I know of that have adopted a street or two for trash pickup. Is it sad that DC folks eat so much junk food and drink so many beers, and leave them discarded on public streets? Yes. Is it rewarding that so many folks take responsibility for their community? Yes.

DC is all Democrat, which is perhaps something I love the very best of all. In Las Vegas, they have a sizable population that doesn't argue about the quality of government services to the poor, they argue the government shouldn't be doing it. They don't have easy-to-use public transportation. Taxis charge $26 an hour to wait in traffic, and the Mayor recently said they should just ship the homeless out of town! They don't have messed up city services because they simply don't offer them: no problem of what to do about the uninsured — do nothing. No problem about closing a public hospital: don't open one. In Los Angelos, (I read the LA paper while I was there too) the police chief is considering suing the city and there is a group of folks that want to break off from Los Angelos because city government is so bad in LA. Sound like DC? Yup.

While DC has a long way to go, my fellow citizens warm my heart. We may not do a good job with city services, but most of us agree that we should offer them, and we want to do better. And we are mad that they aren't better. And we write about it, complain about it, go to meetings about it, and, as frustrating as it is, keep working on it in spite of the lack of progress. Your average DC citizen, Jack Evans notwithstanding, is not beating down the door for a tax reduction — I don't mind paying taxes. I'm a Democrat! I went to public schools. I got reduced lunch. My mom graduated with a federal Pell grant. My dad collects Social Security and relies on Medicare. Because of the generosity of my fellow Americans, I have had a good life. I want to share the wealth with those whose lives do not have the economic advantages of mine.

So I pay my taxes, I go to community meetings, and I work to make things better in between swimming and biking and doing all the fun DC things I like to do. It is a wonderful thing to live in a place where I can go do free stuff to my heart's content. It cost $15 to get into an art exhibit in Las Vegas. They make their money off “gaming” — so many folks working in casinos, breathing in all that smoke filled air. It was fun to visit, but for someone concerned about community health, a sad thing to see. And DC is ethnically mixed. My family all lives in Portland, Oregon, which has a government to dream of — they are very responsive and offer high quality services. But 85 percent of the population is white. Where are the immigrants? The African Americans? The Latinos? It is strange to visit — the whole city look like upper NW DC!

The weather here too is great. While it is hot in the summer, we get a lot of sunshine, not too much snow, and that keeps me in a good mood. If we can get the DC government to improve its performance, and if we DC citizens can learn to hold ourselves accountable and do a better job, we would really scare people with what a great place this is. I want this Democratic city to prove the rest of the country that Democratic ideals can make life better, and that social programs can work.

So, we aren't cynical in DC. Democracy is a system made up of people, imperfect people. And we humans have a long and sad history of not taking care of one another, of setting standards low, of brutality and warfare and abuse and evil. DC is working to transcend that history, but it is imperfect people that must lead and do, and that makes it difficult work.


Cardinal Flight
Paul Williams, 

Did anyone else catch the fact that a DC Police Officer escorted Washington's Cardinal to National Airport, and all the way to the gate? I caught one there during the television coverage. Did I pay for a tiny fraction of this as a DC resident? Do all myriad church leaders across the city get this benefit? Is there really separation of church and state?


Dumbo and Dumber
Kenneth Katz, 

I am saddened by my undoubtedly cynical expectation that few-to-none of the artists who decorated the donkeys and elephants adorning our city took advantage of the opportunity to proclaim both parties deafening silence to the continuing lack of democracy in this selfsame city. In response, I have been cherishing the notion that random acts of civil disobedience will emerge whereby all such beasts will mysteriously don a DC vote bumper sticker, or perhaps an artistic graffito to make clear to all that the parties being celebrated are no more than the mere asses and lumbering forgetful beasts as they appear.

By the way, I bear an even greater drop of respect for all the city officials who gladly accepted these tokens to simultaneously celebrate their taskmasters while showing that they are a happy colonial people, with no need to get sassy.


Ordway Street, NW
Sam Carabetta, 

Dear Councilmember Patterson: The following is an E-mail that I sent to you and the Mayor on October 9, 2000. It is truly unbelievable to me that this road has still not been repaired. It continues to be a hazard and a very dangerous stretch especially for the children who utilize Ordway Street as a drop off for the National Child Research Center. We have met with John Flemming who assured us that we were at the “top of the list.” I certainly would like to know what happens to those who are at the bottom? What do we need to do? I look forward to hearing from you.

The October 9, 2000, E-mail: “I live in Cleveland Park on Ordway Street. The road bed on Ordway, east of 34th Street, is collapsing. There is a large hole in front of 3314 Ordway where the road is now starting to separate. The road bed, which is sinking in the center, continues from 3314 down to the bottom of the hill. I have called and E-mailed to all the appropriate offices and to a Mr. Rice with no response. This has now become a very dangerous stretch on Ordway. As our Ward 3 Councilmember I hope you will do something about this, since I am not getting a response as a DC taxpayer. Thank you for your attention to this matter. I look forward to hearing from you.”

The reply from Councilmember Patterson on October 10, 2000: “We'll contact DPW and urge them to make this a priority on safety grounds. Thanks for letting me know.” The reply from Mayor Williams on October 10, 2000: “Dear Councilmember Patterson, Hi. Since I have to do this anyway — on a referral from Councilman Patterson I thought I would just address it immediately. I have asked the transportation director to talk to you and identify what the need is and put in place a program to fix it. I would be interested to know, who have you contacted, in addition to Bill Rice, about this. Thanks. Mayor”


Public Space and ABC Abuses on Two Blocks of 17th NW
Phil Carney, 

A-frame advertising in public space: 1513 17th, advertisement for a business at 1742 Church NW; 1519 17th; 1605 17th, ABC license renewal pending; 1615 17th; 1617 17th, ABC license renewal pending; 1636 17th, ABC license renewal pending. Advertising signs in public space: 1507 17th upstairs, ABC license renewal pending; 1507 17th basement; 1515 17th; 1523 17th; 1623 Q (patio on 17th), ABC license renewal pending; 1633 17th, ABC license renewal pending; 1601 17th basement. Banner advertising in public space: 1513 17th; 1527 17th, 2 signs, ABC license renewal and illegal ABC expansion pending; 1601 17th, 3 signs; 1635 17th; 1638 17th, advertising for 1704 R. Permanent structures in public space: 1609 17th, ABC license renewal pending; 1633 17th, ABC license renewal pending (this is especially egregious because the structure is a wood plant deck and the spacing between planks allows food to drop underneath the deck and feed rats. This is a public health and public space issue.) Heaters in public space: 1531 17th, ABC license pending; 1637 17th, ABC license pending.

I apologize for any errors, but think this gives you an idea of the extent of the problem. We seem to have a serious lack of competent delivery of city services by Public Space, ABC, and DPW Enforcement. Tony Williams was elected to competently deliver these services. After three long frustrating years, to now start making improvements so Tony can get reelected is an insult. City services should not be delivered once every four years for the sole purpose of politicians getting reelected. It's no wonder DC residents are burned out, disgusted, and cynical. DPW Inspectors haven't responded to me for years and, given their disrespect to me, I've written them off as hopeless.


Patricia Chittams, 

Here is another installment in “Living in Washington, DC, How Sweet It Is.” How wonderful it is to reside in the District of Columbia when you can ignore complaints for months and then berate the consumer who initiated the complaint. In January 2002, I contacted the Mayor's Call Center regarding the trash which had accumulated on my neighbor's porch. Initially, it wasn't a major amount of trash, but with the supercan, recycling bin, and loose papers, it not only started to look bad, but smell bad too. It took three tries to get to the right department (consumer and regulatory affairs). Follow up calls got nowhere. We were now in March. I was finally able to speak with an Inspector who proceeded to berate me for questioning her and expecting her to know her job. Who the heck am I but a taxpayer? Calling her supervisor did nothing, calling her supervisor's supervisor did nothing. In fact the message on their machines said that they would contact me back in 48 hours. Yeah, right, guess my phone must have been off the hook.

Giving up, I attempted to receive an explanation from my former council member Sharon Ambrose's office. Almost on the ball, they took my complaint. It only took three calls here before Skip Coburn addressed it to the proper office. The response: there is no law restrict homeowners from having trash cans on the front of their property. I guess there is no law which prevents homeowners from having open containers of oil and gas cans on their property. I guess I shouldn't care if I have to pass the neighborhood raccoon as he opens the trash can nightly looking for his dinner. Nor should I care when I drive up and see the possum on the trash can fighting with the possum, either. If the City had responded when I requested, they would have seen this and the body parts of birds. If they had responded when I requested, I wouldn't have had to kick those body parts back onto his porch from when the wind blew them. If the District had responded when I requested, they would have seen what I had to put up with for four months.

Unfortunately, for the city, or perhaps fortunately for me, they haven't heard of the term “quiet enjoyment.” I could not enjoy my front porch or open my front door to catch a breeze during these past heat filled days for the odor. But why should that matter? I should be grateful for the “right to live in the best city of the world.” But no one ever addressed why it took four months to respond to a complaint. No one looked into why those responsible for supervising investigators didn't do their jobs. No one looked into why rude behavior is acceptable. It seems that they spend so much time keeping their jobs that they forget to do their jobs. They are there because of the taxpayers, not in spite of us. But what do I expect (this from a government who allows a liar to keep his job — read Few), where's the integrity? Oh that I were Queen for a Day, I would make everyone in DC Government reapply for their jobs — from the Mayor down (perhaps recommend him for a position with Arthur Anderson).


Power in DC and Voting Rights
David Pansegrouw, 

Wow! Michael Binder in his posting to the April 21 issue of themail raises issues that I have long wondered about but have never seen addressed in all the debates about voting rights, statehood, and retrocession. Power -- not the people's power but politicians' power. I have long wondered why retrocession or some form of congressional voting rights through Maryland is totally dismissed by DC politicians. Mr. Binder seems to say that, for example, Eleanor Holmes Norton sees it as threat to her power! Now we are getting somewhere! Same goes for DC council and the mayor. If DC were part of Maryland, DC politicians would be able to run for Maryland offices. Thus, there perhaps would be more competition in DC politics, as politicians could see DC offices as a stepping stone to other, higher, offices. Just possibly, no more mayors-for-life and council members for eternity!

By Mr. Binder's scenario, DC could end up with not one rep in the House but three! Maybe I am naive, but I'd like to think that citizens of this city, even if divided by congressional districts, would have more in common, and in interests, with fellow city citizens than citizens of the suburbs. Thus, there could be direct, meaningful pressure on three representatives concerning matters relating to DC. Three reps who have votes that count seems to me to be a better deal than one whose vote doesn't count.


Learning to Love the DMV: Patience Required
Sid Booth, 

Perhaps life under our DC government is getting better, but why do I often feel as if I'm trying to swim upstream? Last week I realized that my auto tags would expire on April 23 and that I hadn't received the official notification form. The DMV website said that I could perform the renewal at its offices at C Street, NW, Georgetown Park, or at a First Union Bank branch. The bank was closer, but a wary telephone call there advised that I needed to bring the renewal form and that the bank would merely mail in my check; arrival of new stickers would depend on 1) efficient turnaround at the DMV and 2) efficient delivery of the mail by the U.S. Postal Service.

Forewarned, I headed to Georgetown Park carrying evidence of current auto insurance, the original, soon-to-expire registration card, and a photo ID. I was in and out of the branch DMV office in less than fifteen minutes, new stickers in hand. A pleasant had clerk assured me that the renewal forms are mailed ninety days in advance of expiration. Ironic postscripts: 1) registration renewal is slated to be available at DMV's web site, effective April 30, and 2) I found in my mail box on my return from Georgetown Park, you guessed it, an enveloped containing the errant DMV tag renewal notice and application!


Sue Bell, 

This time when I went to renew my driver's license I expected things to be better at the DMV. But that was not the case. The good news is that I received a reminder postcard. The bad news is that the postcard is confusing and the information is inaccurate. First, here are the opening two sentences: “Our records indicate that your DC Driver's License expires within sixty (60) days. You may renew the license up to sixty (60) days before the expiration date.” Does anyone see a contradiction here? Second, it only mentions two places — 301 C street and 616 H street. Monday I took the day off work and hurried to C street only to find it closed “due to protesters.” The nice policewoman directed me to Georgetown — an option closer to where I live that wasn't even on the reminder postcard.

Second, the postcard says “IF YOU HAVE ANY PHYSICAL OR MENTAL DISORDER, YOU MUST APPEAR IN PERSON AT THE MUNICIPAL CENTER [C Street].” “If your vision is corrected by glasses or contact lens, you may need them at the time of renewal.” I head off to Georgetown, worried that my physical defect (glasses) and the fact that my license expires in two weeks may invalidate my chance of renewal. The line to get the applications moves quickly at Georgetown until we are assigned numbers. The new PA system is so hard to understand that after sitting there for an hour, I missed my number. (And I have excellent hearing -- what about those with hearing disabilities?) The PA system is loud, but with all the people in the room “B” sounds like “D” and “C” sounds like “G.” There is lots of confusion in the room. I then have to get a new number and this time I go stand in the front, crowding the hallway where electronic signs with the numbers are visible and I can hear the announcements. (From the designated chairs you can't see the reader boards). After 1 hour and 45 minutes I walk away with my prize — frustrated again. Aside from fixing the wording on the postcard about the 60-day rule, making the PA system audible (why not use the military version “Charlie 002” instead of the easily confused “C”), making the signs visible from the designated waiting area, including all three office addresses, they should also make it clear you need to bring proof of residency. Lucky for me I had a voter registration card.

And when I called the customer service number on the card to get an E-mail address, I followed the prompts. When I pushed “1” for “renewing a driver's license,” the happy voice told me “that option is not valid.”


Expensive Cab Ride
Ted Gest, 

Irina Livezeanu's taxi ride was so expensive because she crossed 22nd Street, NW, which is the zone dividing line. One could spend $6.90 by riding a cab from a doctor's office at 21st and K to George Washington Hospital, which essentially is across the traffic circle. That's one of the arbitrary aspects of a zone system.


Taxi Fares
Sara Cormeny, 

Yes, it is very possible for this to happen. Foggy Bottom pretty much straddles the boundary between zones 1 and 2, so there you are. Also, DC has recently raised fares, to compensate for rising gas prices, and rush hour only adds more to that. So $6.90 is a very normal 2-zone fare; I think not even rush-hour based. Remember, a zone is geographically-based, not distance-based; I live only five blocks from central Adams Morgan, but because I'm one block south of Florida Avenue, a ride into Adams Morgan would cost me $6.90. The compensation is that I live within the coveted and ridiculously large zone 1, and therefore rides as far as Capitol Hill are usually only $5.00. You can't beat that with a stick, so as a matter of self interest I'm pro-zones.

I also think that the cab commission has done a fairly admirable job of providing clear information about fares and zone boundaries that are posted in all cabs; the one thing they still need to improve is orienting that stupid zone map on a north-south axis. Alas their own Web site,,  has absolutely no information that is useful to consumers. It's hard to write about cabs, in my opinion, without lamenting the fact that as a white woman I never have a problem hailing a cab, but black men are worse than invisible to cabbies much of the time. One article that might be helpful to you:

Now, somebody needs to put that zone map up online in a fashion that actually lets people read it without tilting their head and risking getting impaled on a staple! Gary noted a while back that the Post ran a much clearer zone map in the District Extra section on Thursday, January 31, 2002, but it still has not been posted at their Web site, as near as I can tell.



Quaker Book and Craft Sale
Tim Cline, 

Quakers have a well deserved reputation for being both thoughtful and eclectic. That reputation will be in abundant evidence at the Quakers book fair and craft sale, Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the Friends Meeting of Washington ( ) historic Meeting House in Dupont Circle (2111 Florida Avenue, NW). More than 10,000 fine and collectable books, carefully read books, novels, reference works, fiction, nonfiction and everything in between. CDs, videos, arts and handcrafts, coins, stamps and plants will also be available. You can have morning coffee or tea and some fresh baked pastries, browse through the books and merchandise and even stay for homemade lunch. The Meeting House is at 2111 Florida Avenue, NW just off Connecticut Avenue two blocks from the Dupont Circle Metro station. If you have never been to the 1930s building, that alone is worth the trip. The proceeds of this annual event will benefit the School for Friends, the AIDS Coffee house, the Kutzner Navajo Project and the American Friends Service Committee.


Chain Reaction Bicycle Rodeo Saturday
Alexander Padro, 

On Saturday, April 27, from 11:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m., Chain Reaction Youth Bike Shop will present its second annual Bicycle Rodeo on the 500 block of R Street, NW, next to the bike shop (1701 6th Street, NW, near the Shaw/Howard University Green Line Metro station). Highlights of this free event, which promotes safe riding, will include an obstacle course, speed races, slowest person race, bicycle registration and repairs, helmet decorating, games, prizes, and food. Youth ages 11-19 can also sign up for this year's Summer Bicycle Mechanics Camp. Registration for the camp is free. The second annual Chain Reaction Bicycle Rodeo is made possible by Fresh Fields/Whole Foods Market.

The Chain Reaction program was started in 2001 by youth from the Shaw EcoVillage Project's EcoDesign Corps. Chain Reaction promotes the use of bicycles as alternatives for safe, affordable and pollution-free transportation through activities such as Earn-A-Bike Courses, where youth ages 11-19 learn the how-to's of bike mechanics, safety and bike transportation, and receive a free bicycle at the completion of the course; Group rides to historic locations and parks; The Urban Racers team, which trains youth to participate in local racing events; and the Youth Bike Shop, where advanced youth mechanics complete bike repairs for customers 18 hours a week. For more information, call Chain Reaction at 265-0179, send E-mail to, or visit the Shaw EcoVillage website,


Caregivers Fair
Darlene Nowlin, 

The DC Office on Aging and its Senior Service Network will hold a Caregivers Fair on Thursday, May 9, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at One Judiciary Square, 441 Fourth Street, NW, Lobby Level. Find out what services are available for District residents sixty years of age and older. Many programs and services are also available for informal caregivers. For more information, call 724-5626.


Emergency Response Certificate Course
Sally MacDonald, 

There will be a two-day seminar, a certificate course, taught by Tom Creamer, one of the best government experts and trainers, on Emergency Response to Chemical and Biological attacks, on May 30/31. Call Karen Clark, 673-2101, ext. 1193. If it is at all possible for you to attend, please make arrangements to do so! He is a most effective and thorough exponent of what is needed, of what equipment should be given to/used by responders, and of what overpriced equipment should not be bought by governments as wastes of money! For that reason city government and Council employees should be there!

When I took the course, there were Police officers (paid to attend); Firefighters (on their own time); security guards (very important, as they may be the very first to have to respond and also later to help the Police/Fire); I was one of three community reps. This is the kind of course that should be mandatory for all first responders! The reactions that are needed are not what you would expect and are not what you have been already trained to do! Good luck — I know you will enjoy it!



Attorney and Investors Needed
Robin Ijames, 

The Wingate Apartments, a 700-unit apartment complex in Congress Heights, DC, is being offered to the tenants association. The group needs a pro bono attorney and venture capital angel investors to help the residents buy this building. Contact Ms. Ijames at 563-6769 or E-mail Ms. Ijames at



Beating the Habit(at)
Sara Cormeny, 

After a recent renovation of my home, I've got enough so-called “shelter magazines” to build a shelter. I've probably got a three-foot stack of copies of Renovation Style, Old House Journal, House Beautiful, etc., that I'd be happy to part with (only, I'm sure, to start collecting all over again). Few are in pristine condition, as I'm apt to cut out articles of interest and tend to carry these in my purse, to the job site, and into the tub. But all are chock-a-block with interior decorating and renovation ideas from the last five years. Available to anybody who is willing to come to my Dupont Circle/Adams Morgan home to pick them up. Will also be happy to try to arrange delivery to a community organization that might want these, if you have one to suggest. Please contact me at to discuss.



Seeking Party Venue
Sarah Eilers, 

I am looking for indoor/outdoor space to host a crawfish boil in May or June. It needs to accommodate about 75 people, have basic kitchen and bathroom facilities, have space to set up tables outside, and permit the serving of alcohol. We're looking to pay under $500 to rent the space for about 7-8 hours on a Saturday or Sunday. Does anybody have recommendations?


S.A. Willet, 

I am looking to have a recliner reupholstered. Does anyone have a recommendation for an upholstery shop in DC? Please E-mail me at


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