Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Bon Appetit and the Post say eat El Chucho's sandwiches, corn

It looks like local restaurants are getting noticed. El Chucho, the tasty new Mexican place at 11th and Lamont, was mentioned in Bon Appetit magazine, the fancy food publication. In an article about food trends for 2013, they mentioned cemitas, a style of Mexican sandwich, and called out El Chucho as one of the best places in the US to get one. So, go have one! Maybe cemitas are the new banh mi.

Not to be outdone, the Post has an article on the 40 best dishes, and El Chucho's elote, or corn covered in mayo, cheese and herbs is on there. It is really fantastic, I get it every time I go. (For good measure, the Post also highlights the Costanza burger made from Angus beef and pastrami at Kangaroo Boxing Club.)

Thanks to Eater DC for pointing out this nugget of good news. 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Photography exhibit at the Mexican Cultural Institute on 16th Street tonight


You may have noticed the Mexican Cultural Institute, the Mexican Embassy's cultural wing, at 2829 16th Street NW (at Harvard) -- they have a really nice white mansion that was built in 1910.

If you've been meaning to pay them a visit, today is a good opportunity: they're hosting an exhibit by early 20th century photographer Hugo Brehme, including a talk by Brehme expert and art scholar Susan Toomey Frost.

Here's more on the exhibit and on the talk. See below for a couple more photos by Brehme, and the book on his works, Timeless Mexico. Looks interesting!
Join us for a lecture by Susan Toomey Frost, distinguished Hugo Brehme scholar and author ofTimeless Mexico: The Photographs of Hugo Brehme as she explores the Mexican Cultural Institute'sVisions of Mexico, an exhibit of Brehme's photography, on display until March 2nd 
An avid collector, Susan Toomey Frost is a leading authority on Mexican and Guatemalan postcards. Her articles have appeared in publications in the United States, Mexico and Germany, as well as online at susanfrost.org
Frost also collects "San José" decorative tiles and pottery from San Antonio and Mexico. The Texas State Historical Association named her tile book -- COLORS ON CLAY: The San José Tile Workshops of San Antonio -- as the best illustrated book on Texas history and culture. The book also won a publication award from the San Antonio Conservation Society. 
Frost has taught English and linguistics at three universities in Texas and Mexico.
It's free, but they recommend you RSVP to rsvp@instituteofmexicodc.org


Monday, January 28, 2013

New MoveDC initiative seeking your ideas for improving public transportation in the District

by the Otis Place correspondent

You may recall that we wrote about MoveDC a couple of weeks ago -- it's DDOT's new initiative to develop a coordinated, multimodal long-range transportation plan for the District.

As someone who uses Capital Bikeshare, rides metro and has a car, I was glad to hear that it has launched.  The entire transportation network, in addition to important regional connections, will be considered during the MoveDC plan. Each mode of transportation will be evaluated and considered as a part of the development of the multimodal transportation plan.

As much as our public transportation has improved in the past few years, particularly in terms of making the city bike-friendly, we have a long way to go. Our subway and bus systems in particular don’t compare well to those of Madrid, Hamburg and other cities that I know well.

The planning process formally kicked off on January 15, 2013, and a draft plan is anticipated by late 2013. As a first step, MoveDC is holding an Idea Exchange on Saturday, February 9, 9:30 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. at the MLK Library at 9th and G.

Let’s make sure Columbia Heights is well represented at the Idea Exchange and beyond. For more information go to the MoveDC website, including a calendar of events and frequently asked questions:
www.wemovedc.org

You can also follow them on Twitter: https://twitter.com/wemovedc

And Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/WeMoveDC

Friday, January 25, 2013

Banneker Little League baseball and softball now open for registration

If you have kids, take a look. Sounds like fun for both boys and girls.
Banneker City is the local Little League Baseball & Softball program in our community, and would like your help in spreading the word about our exciting program amongst our youth. I know it is cold outside, but Spring is just around the corner and our Little League Baseball/Softball registration is now open (http://www.sportssignup.com/Banneker-City-Baseball-Online-Registration.start). 
You can visit our website as well for more information (http://www.BannekerCityLL.org). Here's to a successful season! Thank you for your continued support.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Get involved: North Columbia Heights Civic Association calling on new and returning members


by the Otis Place Correspondent

After the recent loss of their former president to the Virginia suburbs, the North Columbia Heights Civic Association (NCHCA) is regrouping under the able leadership of its new co-presidents, Brittany and Colleen. You may know the group from it many past activities, including neighborhood cleanups, a volunteer fair, and the annual 11th Street Halloween parade. NCHCA was also instrumental in establishing Friends of the Trolley Park (at 11th and Monroe) and implementing the new parking restrictions to ensure adequate parking spaces for local residents.

At their first meeting of the year, the group committed to continuing its existing activities and possibly starting some new ones. (Think candidate forums or a food festival on 14th Street, for example. The food festival especially sounds like an awesome idea.) But first they’re recruiting new and returning members to help lead committees, maintain their website and in general get stuff done.

You can connect with them on their listserv: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/NCHCA/

On the Web: http://www.northcolumbiaheights.org/

On Twitter: https://twitter.com/NCHCA

On Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/northcolumbiaheights?ref=ts&fref=ts

Friday, January 18, 2013

When plans called for the Metro to go from Adams Morgan to Columbia Heights

This came out a few months ago, but it's pretty darn interesting. The City Paper reports on an early plan for the Metro system (around 1965) when there were plans for a Columbia Heights Metro spur rather than the current alignment. That spur would run from Dupont Circle to four different stations: Columbia Rd. and Belmont, Columbia Rd. and 16th, Park Rd. and 14th, and Georgia Ave. and New Hampshire Ave. (Click the map at right for a bigger version.)

Kind of a fun thing to think about. For one, Metro would actually serve Adams Morgan (multiple times) rather than Woodley Park and a long walk. But of course the plan also doesn't include the Green line up to Takoma. And it's a little strange that two stations are basically 3 blocks apart, from Columbia and 16th to Park and 14th.

Interestingly, though, the plans seemed to come out before the 1968 riots which decimated the area. I wonder if that's part of the reason why that portion wasn't built (and indeed, why the Green line was the last part in the District to be finished?) After all, the Columbia Heights and Georgia Ave-Petworth Metros only opened in 1999, finally filling in the gap in the Green line until that point. Trains stopped at U Street and turned around, and at Takoma to and from Greenbelt.

The other interesting part about the piece is that the writer wants to bring the spur back. His idea is to build a link between Columbia Heights to a new station at 18th and Columbia and then to Dupont. It's not a bad idea, but then again those routes are pretty well served by the regular Metrobus and Circulator now. To me, it's tougher to get across town, towards Foggy Bottom and Georgetown, or over to Tenleytown.

Of course, most of these ideas are not likely to happen with so much focus going on the expansion to Dulles Airport. Fun to think about, in any case. What do you think about this spur idea?

UPDATE: Kent at the Park View DC blog has a very thorough history of the Georgia Ave-Petworth Metro, including the original plan for a separate Petworth station farther to the northeast. That was done away with to make it financially possible to build the Green line under 14th Street. There's a lot more good stuff in there.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Deal for NCH readers: save 20% at the Art of Shaving

It's not every day there are deals for readers of this blog, but this is a pretty neat one. The Art of Shaving, the men's shaving and skin care company, has a special deal for readers: if you sign up to join the "Brotherhood of Shaving," which is free, you can save 20% off any purchase in their stores or online. 

They have two stores in DC, in Union Station and at Connecticut and L.

The company describes themselves thusly: "The Art of Shaving helps men transform their daily and often dreaded task of shaving from a chore into a luxurious ritual."

Sounds like a good option for folks looking for something other than the usual stuff from Target and CVS, or a good spot for gifts. Hope you enjoy it.

Treehouse spotted at 14th 13th and Quincy -- awesome!

Tree house

The other day I was roaming around near Annie's Ace Hardware on Upshur and ran into this treehouse at 14th 13th and Quincy -- pretty cool. I haven't seen a treehouse in I don't know how long, and definitely didn't expect to see one near our area. Lucky kids! Those things were always awesome. I kind of wish I had a tree fort in my backyard now.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Interesting concept: the Columbia Heights "Dishcrawl" or food tour

You've heard of bar crawls, where you go from bar to bar and have a drink or two in each spot -- and our neighborhood is well positioned for them, with so many places in close proximity. However, I recently heard about a "dishcrawl," or more properly the Columbia Heights Food Tour, where you visit four different eateries in the neighborhood. A fun idea. Some friends recently did a similar pizza tour, going from Moroni Bros. to Red Rocks to Pete's Apizza, but that was just an informal thing.

The Dishcrawl has 4 tickets left at $45 each, and they don't say the restaurants ahead of time, so it's a surprise. They're supposedly giving hints on their Twitter account, @DishcrawlDC but I have yet to see any.

In any case, here's a bit more on the concept from their website (where you can also get the tickets.)
A culinary destination for in-the-know foodies, Columbia Heights offers the perfect ingredient for a flavorful and sensory experience. On Wednesday, January 23, join us as we tour four Columbia Heights eateries where you'll taste specialties from local favorites and up-and-coming hotspots. Don’t wait, get your ticket now!
...
About Dishcrawl : Food, Fun, and Exploration! We here at Dishcrawl aim to provide you with a premier culinary social experience by bringing together neighborhood restaurants, local chefs, regional food producers and fellow food enthusiasts. Join us if you'd like to embark on a one-of-a-kind gastronomic adventure!
Any guesses as to where they might go? Room 11, Chez Billy, and Meridian Pint come to mind. Maybe Maple or El Chucho. 

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Petco coming to DCUSA in the old Ellwood Thompson's space

It looks like something is finally going to fill the huge empty space in DCUSA on Irving Street, the big first floor space that was supposed to be for Ellwood Thompson's (aka the Grocery Store That Shall Not Be Named.)

If you recall, ET's, a Richmond-based organic supermarket, waffled for literally years about coming, always saying they were almost there, but then in January 2011 suddenly decided not to open and moved to Rockville. Here's the whole sad, annoying saga. The space has sat vacant since then.

But not anymore! Readers report seeing permits and other signs posted in the window for Petco, the big pet retailer. Should be helpful for those folks in the area with animals, though I hope it doesn't affect Mr. Larry's Pet Supply Store (aka Claws and Paws) at 11th and Lamont. Even if you go to Petco, check out Mr. Larry's too, he seems like a nice man.

By my calculation, this means that DCUSA is almost completely full.  Petco is going into spot 125 and/or 125. (Note: these floor plans are out of date, so some places listed may have been replaced by other stuff.)

Street Booze: Natural Ice on Spring Road

Street booze on Spring

Time for the latest in Street Booze, the occasional series on booze bottles I spot tossed around the neighborhood. This time around it's a can of Natural Ice at 13th and Spring (under what looks like a yucca plant.)

Natty Ice, as its sort of lovingly known, is one of the cheapest beers out there with a lot of alcohol. An ice beer basically means they freeze the beer and take the ice crystals out, making it a higher alcohol beer. It's made by Budweiser, which says "Natural Ice is characterized by its robust body, delicate sweetness and smooth, rich taste." It would be pretty funny to be the guy who had to write that completely ridiculous description.

Curious about more Street Booze? Check out the archive.
 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Black Lion Market on 14th: little grocery store with Ethiopian food

Black Lion
The other day I decided to check out the Black Lion Market at 14th and Otis, and it's pretty cool. More of a small grocery store rather than a corner store, the front of the store has all kinds of basic groceries and is a lot nicer than most corner stores.

However, the back is where it gets interesting -- it's an Ethiopian grocery. You can buy all kinds of dry grains, lentils, peas, spices and so on, plus there are stacks and stacks of different kinds of injera, the spongy Ethiopian bread. They also have a butcher shop in case you want to get some meat (they have lamb!) plus coffee, tea and other staples.

Aside from food, they have Ethiopian kitchen gear, coffee pots, what looked like handmade wicker plates and traditional hats.

Their sign also says "deli," but I didn't see a menu or any prepared food, and unfortunately the guy in the back didn't speak English very well so I couldn't ask him many questions. Yelpers say the staff is friendly and helpful though, so maybe I was just unlucky. I bet if they do sell prepared food it's pretty tasty.

I plan to look up some simple Ethiopian recipes (like these) and go there and get the ingredients. It also seems like it would be a good spot for vegetarians given the variety of carbs and spices they have.

It's definitely a hidden gem -- I'd walked by many times before and never checked it out. Worth a visit! See below for more photos.


IMG_0589Black Lion Market

Where can you drop off unwanted clothes?

This weekend I went through my clothes and took out all the stuff that didn't fit or I didn't want or need anymore, and decided to give them away. I asked folks on Twitter and got a couple suggestions for places to try, and I thought of a few too. Here are my ideas, feel free to leave yours in the comments.

For one, there's a Planet Aid donation box on 18th Street in Adams Morgan between Florida and California, although some have questioned how legitimate Planet Aid is. You can also donate clothes (and other stuff) at the Georgia Avenue Thrift Store at 6101 Georgia Ave NW, and they give you a form for the tax deduction (the money they make goes to a charity, but I forget which one.) The Clear Space DC blog also suggested Martha's Outfitters, a community thrift store that also gives away clothes to needy families. They're in the neighborhood at 2114 14th Street NW and do take clothes, but you have to fold them and put them in boxes or sturdy shopping bags. You can see more about them here.

There also used to be a donation bin at 13th and Otis next to the 13th Street Market, but the nice lady who works there said they never picked up the box so it was always overflowing and a mess.

Anybody know any other good options?

UPDATE: Commenters noted that there are Planet Aid boxes on Kansas avenue near the Yes! Market in Petworth (in the auto mechanic parking lot,) and in the parking garage of 1400 Irving, but they'll let anybody use it. There's also a green drop box next to the Park Market at 13th and Park. Keep them coming! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Grab your partner, dosido. Square dance this Saturday

If you're looking for something different to do this weekend, check out the DC Square Dance Collective, who are having a square dance on Saturday at St. Stephens Church. Check out the details below, and check out the video -- it looks pretty fun.
Come welcome 2013 in the new, old-fashioned way! Yes, friends, it's the first square dance of the new year. This month is the north-meets-south edition, with Vermonter Jennifer Steckler calling the dances whilst western Massachusetts boys the New Apocalypsonians play traditional southern old-time tunes. (That's Zac Johnson on fiddle, Eddie Nix on guitar, and Cory Mathews on banjo). Meet us right here in the middle and bring some maple-pecan pie.
No experience, partner, or costume needed. Just bring $5 to help us pay the band and the hall. And if you're able, a water bottle and a drink or snack to share, potluck style! 
Date: Saturday, January 12 
Time: 8:30 to 11:30 pm
Place: St. Stephens Church, 1525 Newton St. NW Washington DC
Admission: $5
RSVP: on Facebook
Awesome time-lapse videoright here 
Folks from outside the neighborhood, we recommend taking the metro! St. Stephens is a short walk from the Columbia Heights station on the green/yellow line. 
We're a part(y) of the Folklore Society of Greater Washington, a great group supporting traditional music and dance in the DC area. Check 'em out!  
Happy new year! 
~the DC Square Dance Collective
PS. Save the date for our next dance: March 2!
Dance Poster
PPS. wanna learn how to flatfoot? you're in luck!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Help Rock Creek's trees on Friday!

A few weeks ago I posted about the Rock Creek Conservancy holding an event to help trees in Rock Creek Park -- the trees are getting strangled by non-native English ivy, and they need your help to get rid of those invasive British jerks! Here's more:
Join Rock Creek Conservancy and the National Park Service to save trees from the chokehold of English ivy. This invasive vine grows up the trunks of trees into the canopy, weakening and eventually killing park trees. Volunteers will cut ivy from tree trunks using hand tools. Training on how to identify and cut English ivy will be provided. Bring your friends and family or just come out yourself!

Volunteers must be 16 and up to use tools. Younger volunteers can pick up trash and pull vines by hand. Students can earn SSL hours.
Date: Friday, January 11, 1:00 to 3:00 
Location: We will be working in the beautiful Normanstone section of Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC. The Normanstone event volunteers will meet at the intersection of Massachusetts and Observatory Circle, in front of the British Embassy.
 What to Wear: Please dress for the weather by wearing long pants and a long sleeve shirt. Dressing in layers is the best option. Wear sturdy boots or sneakers, no sandals.
 What to Bring: Bring water. Tools and gloves will be provided. Feel to bring your own hand clippers and loppers.

This event is part of a Rock Creek Conservancy initiative to protect Rock Creek's tree canopy from invasive English ivy. Learn more. We're working with the National Park Service and the DC Cooperative Weed Management Area.
To Register Click Here!


New Capital Bikeshare stations planned in the neighborhood; do you have feedback?

The folks behind Capital Bikeshare, the fantastic local bike sharing service, are planning to expand some more and our area will receive a few of the stations.

They also published a map (below) with existing stations in red, green are proposed locations for the first wave ("tier") of new stations, and yellow are the second tier of proposed stations.

In our area, they've proposed a station on Hiatt Place right behind DCUSA, which is a great idea, and also 14th and Clifton, 14th and Euclid and 11th and Florida in the first tier. There's also proposed stations at 14th and Upshur and 13th and U in the first tier and a 14th and Fairmont station in the second tier.

Those all seem like good locations to me, especially the DCUSA station. The others fill in some gaps in the system, though I wish they had one on Sherman or 11th around Girard, as they seems to be an area without many stations. In addition, Park View is virtually empty, a spot on Georgia or Warder would be nice.

The new stations will start going in this month and should be done by March. If you'd like to comment on the list, email ddot.bikeshare@dc.gov.


View Capital Bikeshare Expansion locations in a larger map

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Have photos of people traveling in DC? Want to help DDOT?

DDOT, the city's department of transportation, is starting a new effort called moveDC, and they'd like your help -- they're looking for photos of people traveling in DC, either by foot, bike, car, public transit or anything else (Segway? Hovercraft?) Help them out! Here's more.
On January 15th, 2013 the District Department of Transportation (DDOT) is launching a collaborative effort to develop a bold new vision for our transportation futuremoveDC. Over the next year, DDOT will work with residents, workers, and visitors; public agencies and institutions; advocacy groups; and leaders throughout the region to develop the District’s multimodal long range transportation plan. moveDC will guide strategic investments—for bicycles, pedestrians, vehicles, bus, and rail— in the District’s transportation system for the next 25 years and beyond. moveDC will be strategic, sensitive to the our diverse communities, and focused on creating productive outcomes for mobility in the District.  
We are putting the final touches on the full website. We are looking for photos of people moving by foot, bike, wheelchair, car, bus, taxi, rail, scooter, motorcycle in DC neighborhoods.    
Photos can be uploaded to http://www.flickr.com/groups/wemovedc/.
I'm looking forward to seeing what comes of the moveDC initiative, especially since traffic has gotten pretty bad in the mornings on 14th Street and Columbia Heights is a hotspot for bike accidents

Checking out Pollomio at 14th and Spring: a million things on the menu

Lately I've been trying to check out more of the restaurants I haven't been to, like Susana's Pupuseria across from the Red Derby. The other day on another Red Derby visit I decided to check out Pollomio at 3703 14th Street NW, at Spring.

At first I expected another Peruvian chicken place, but it's actually a kind of quirky spot with a lot of different kinds of food. The first thing I noticed was the plethora of neon signs outside: they have a least four, which is kind of funny. Inside there's a big bakery case, a large menu with all kinds Latin American food and also some kind of big frozen drink machine (see the signs below.)

I tried the chicken tacos and rice and beans, and they were inexpensive and decent -- only $5.99 for the tacos. They didn't come with any other sides so I also got rice and beans for about $2. The chicken was pretty good at first, salty and flavorful, but after the first taco and a half I was getting kind of tired of the saltiness. That said, they do have tons of things on the menu: a quarter, half, and whole chicken, various kinds of steak with vegetables, beef and chicken tacos, taquitos, burgers, soup, pupusas, salads, steak and cheese, chicken parmesan, and finally the plato tipico, which is a Honduran and Central American meal with eggs, cheese, beans, plantains and sometimes other stuff. With that much stuff you wonder if it's all decent, but at least there's something for everyone.

And that's not even mentioning the bakery case, which is full of all kinds of things. I wasn't really sure what anything was and there weren't signs, so I picked one that looked like a croissant and asked what it was. After a few different staff folks said they didn't know, I just went ahead and bought it -- turns out it was a croissant. There's also a bunch of frozen coffee drinks and smoothies that seem to be from a machine, but I didn't go for those.

Unfortunately I didn't catch the hours, and their website doesn't work, but it might be worth a stop after a night at the Red Derby (or even Lyman's, the new spot coming from the Raven and St. Ex folks next to the Derby!)

Pollomio drinks

Pollomio tacos

Pollomio baked goods

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Watch out: Columbia Heights is dangerous for cyclists

If you're riding your bike, be careful. That's true anywhere, but especially in our area. DDOT recently released their bike accident data and the Wash Cycle blog posted the top 10 crash-prone intersections for cyclists: 4 of them are in our area with a few others nearby.

I won't post the whole list, which you can see on the link above, but the worst intersection for accidents is the weird intersection at 16th, U and New Hampshire, while 14th & Perry comes in at 3rd place. Tied for 5th is 14th & Euclid and tied for 9th is Georgia Ave & Barry Place. Three other 14th Street intersections make the list, as well as one in Georgetown, one in Tenleytown, and Columbia & Ontario in Adams Morgan. All of them are in NW DC, but maybe that reflects the total number of bike riders in this quadrant of the city. Wash Cycle helpfully put together a map too, see below.

In short, it's pretty scary stuff. What is it that makes 14th Street so dangerous? I was thinking the hill, but 14th and Perry is pretty flat, as is 14th and Euclid. I've noticed before that drivers don't always look when they're turning (I was almost run over twice at 14th and Girard while in the crosswalk) so that may be part of it, but is it something else? Do people not respect the cycle lane? And of course, it's possible cyclists can be blamed for some of these crashes. What do you think?

Be careful out there, everybody. Wear a helmet!


View crashiest intersections - cyclists in a larger map

Monday, January 7, 2013

College football national championship tonight: deals at Lou's City Bar, elsewhere

Tonight the college football season comes to a close, as Alabama faces Notre Dame for the NCAA national title. (Of course, that's the NCAA Bowl Championship Subdivision, which I still prefer to call Division I-A.) Some local spots are having deals, including Lou's City Bar at 14th and Irving.

Lou's is having a party and some deals: their usual $4 happy hour specials from 4-7 5-7pm, plus $13 pitchers of Lou's Irish Red and also a Jameson whiskey party from 8-10pm, with special Jameson deals and freebies.

Blue Banana and DC Reynolds on Georgia Ave. and the Dunes at 14th and Meridian will also be showing the game.

Who are you rooting for?

New Tibet Shop at 3213 Georgia Avenue NW: worth a visit

Tibet Shop

The other day I stopped into Tibet Shop, a new spot at 3213 Georgia Avenue NW. The shop is a branch of the shop of the same name on 18th Street in Adams Morgan and they sell Tibetan, Himalayan and other Far Eastern goods.

I wish I thought about this place before Christmas, as it would have been a great place to get some neat gifts. In any case, it would make a great place for gifts or things for your house.

The spot isn't very large, but is packed with items: clothing from t-shirts to scarves and shawls and saris, (though I'm not sure if they call them saris in Tibet,) all kinds of crafts made out of wood, metal, and pottery, posters, incense, fabric art, handbags, jewelry, Tibetan music, carpets, ritual items, masks, and on and on. And since it's the season, they also have knit winter hats with ear flaps and glittens, those fingerless gloves with retractable mittens. Everything was pretty reasonably priced, too.

The guy in the shop was friendly, and I definitely want to go back. I recommend you check it out too!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Check out a video of the live Christmas manger scene on the Civic Plaza

I was out of town and unfortunately missed the Christmas manger scene that was set up on the Columbia Heights Civic Plaza at 14th and Kenyon. Pretty cool (and nice video!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Higher Achievement needs volunteer mentors and aides for middle school students

Higher Achievement, the non-profit that tutors middle school students needs some help -- they're looking for mentors and study hall aides, and they have a volunteer center in Adams Morgan. Take a look, it's a great program!
Close the opportunity gap for middle school students! Be a Mentor! http://www.higherachievement.org/volunteer
We are in need of Mentors and Study Hall Aides at 6 of our Achievement Centers in DC and Alexandria. The commitment is one evening per week, Monday, Tuesday, or Thursday; Study Hall Aides- 3:30-6:15pm, Mentors- 6-8:15pm.

96% of Higher Achievement graduates finish high school, and 76% graduate from college. In a city where 59% finish high school and only 9% get a college degree, these results are astounding – and desperately needed. Higher Achievement is creating lasting change in the lives of youth – and you can be a part of that change in the DC Metro area! 
By leveraging the power of communities, Higher Achievement's proven model provides a rigorous summer and afterschool learning environment, caring role models, and a culture of high expectations, resulting in college-bound scholars with the character, confidence, and skills to succeed. Scholars commit to 4 years of the program, and are committed to their academics. 
For more information or to fill out an application please go to http://www.higherachievement.org/volunteer or contact Laura at lselvey@higherachievement.org or 202-375-7713

Got a business on Georgia Avenue, or want to start one? Want some help from the city?

If you own a business on Georgia Avenue, or plan to start on there, read on. The city has some funding available to help business owners out. Nice to hear about this kind of thing.
Greetings,

Current and prospective business owners on Georgia Avenue have an opportunity to apply for up to $85,000 in funding from the Deputy Mayor's Office of Planning and Economic Development (DMPED) to reimburse you for improving your property or purchasing equipment that will be used onsite. To be eligible you must:

a.. Directly front on Georgia Avenue
b.. NOT be a liquor store, nightclub, bar, bank or hotel
c.. Be a registered business in Good Standing with the city
d.. Have site control - either own your building, have a lease with at least 3 years left or a contract of sale
You can download the full application by going to http://greatstreets.dc.gov/page/great-streets-initiative-grants

-or-

you can obtain a hardcopy at ECAC - 733 Euclid St. NW. Call Sylvia at (202) 462-2285 if you want to pick up a copy

The Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force, the Georgia Avenue Business Alliance and the Development Corporation of Columbia Heights can assist you in preparing an application. Contact Tom Dawes at tdawes@dcch.org or (202) 483-4986 if you would like to discuss your project

Important dates:

Monday January 7th at 6:30pm: Information Session hosted by DMPED at Banneker Rec Center 2500 GA Ave.

Friday February 15th by 4:00: Applications due (online only)

Questions? Contact Sylvia Robinson at (202) 462-2285 or sylvia@ecacollective.org.

Georgia Avenue Community Development Task Force meeting at held every 2nd Monday and 4th Wednesday of the month from 7-9pm.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

NextBus phone app is no more, but their website still works

Not in Service If you're a bus rider with a smartphone like me, you rely on the NextBus app to tell you when the next buses are coming to your stop. The app hadn't been working for awhile, with each stop saying "connection problem," but I figured it was my phone. Turns out the app is no more due to a dispute between the app developer and the company that releases the bus data, neither of which are affiliated with WMATA. The app is no longer available for download.

However, DCist reports that the NextBus website, www.nextbus.com, works just as well. At least on my iPhone, when I go there it automatically loads the stops nearest to my location, which is actually faster than the app was. If you want to track a few common stops, like maybe your home and work, you'll have to bookmark those places separately, but still, it does work well. The NextBus data isn't always perfect, but it's pretty good and certainly a big help when you're deciding when to go outside and brave the cold or deciding if another mode of transportation would be better.

Metro also uses the NextBus system on their own site based on the bus stop ID number (each stop has its own number), but NextBus's mobile site seems to be faster and easier.

Hope this helps fellow bus commuters.

Michael Poe missing from Adams Morgan on NYE, have you seen him?

UPDATE: Authorities found Poe's body and are working to determine the cause. Very sad, and I feel for his friends and family.

Just got an email from a friend of Michael Steven Poe, a 23-year old who went missing from Adams Morgan early on the morning of January 1st. He was with friends at Shenanigan's Irish Pub in the neighborhood. He split up from his friends at about 12:30 am and didn't return home to Montgomery County.

If you think you've seen him, please call Montgomery County Police at 301.279.8000. He's about 5'11' and 175 pounds with red hair and hazel eyes.

Here's a bit more. I hope everything works out for the best.


Wednesday, January 2, 2013

National Symphony Orchestra coming back to the neighborhood starting next week

The National Symphony Orchestra is coming back to our area! 

You may remember last year's NSO in Your Neighborhood series, where they played shows and had events in all kinds of local venues -- the Columbia Heights Education Campus, BloomBars, even Wonderland! It was a really neat series and a great way to expose more people to classical music from a top-notch orchestra.

They're doing this year's series in the Shaw-U Street-Logan-Howard U area, with a few shows at Howard University. See below for some of the main shows, and click this link for all the performances, events and classes, many of which are around U Street. Here's the website for the series too.

It's definitely worth checking out. The events run from January 8 to 14 and I believe they are all free.
Please help spread the word about the National Symphony Orchestra’s week of over 30 free events throughout the U St. Corridor/Howard University/Shaw/Logan Circle, January 8-14, 2014! 
* Tue, Jan 8, 7:30pm ~ Opening Event at the Howard Theatre
* Sat, Jan 12, 3pm ~ Family Concert at the Lincoln Theatre with Kojo Nnamdi
* Mon, Jan 14, 7pm ~ Full NSO performance at Howard University’s Cramton Auditorium

First look at Kokeb Ethiopian Restaurant on Georgia

The other day I stopped by Kokeb Ethiopian Restaurant at 3013 Georgia Ave NW with some friends. The small spot just south of Irving opened about 6 months ago and I had been meaning to try it, especially since Tegeste on 14th closed -- and I'm glad I did.

It's a restaurant but also serves as a coffee shop on the weekends with Ethiopian coffee. Inside, decor is fairly spartan -- including a tourist poster for the Rift Valley featuring a topless woman, which was kind of funny to see. There's only a few tables, and when we went in, some incense was burning on one of the tables. The staff was friendly as well -- they actually knew my buddy by name as he goes in a lot.

We were with a vegetarian so we didn't try a lot, but got two vegetarian platters for $9.95 each. It was plenty of food for 4 of us, and tasty; the lentils were spicy and all the ingredients were fresh. One of our party, who has had a lot of Ethiopian food, said it tasted less Americanized than some of the places in town. We also ordered some honey wine (tej) as they were out of Ethiopian beer, and it was clearly homemade stuff. It smelled a little funky but tasted good, though it was a lot of wine (and $30 for the bottle, but considering the amount was worth it, all of us had multiple glasses.) Prices for everything were quite reasonable too, the most expensive thing on the menu is $10.95. Here's the full menu.

In all, I would definitely go back. Other folks seemed to enjoy it too, it currently has 4.5 stars on Yelp.