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Hello, Neighbors.

I hope this message finds you well as we head into the fall and continue to address the challenges associated with the COVID-19 public health emergency. I've been experiencing a lot of stress and anxiety managing distance learning for my kids and coping with the continued isolation and other effects of the public health emergency. Things have been tough, and I hope others who are struggling know they are not alone and are able to find support and strength where they can. If helpful, you can find a list of resources to help with stress and anxiety
here.

This month's Takoma Neighborhood News hopefully provides some helpful information about what's happening in the neighborhood and ways to support our local community. Read below for details regarding Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B's October 26th meeting; guidance on how to safely and securely cast your vote in the General Election; updates regarding the District's phased re-opening and government services to assist with the ongoing effects of the public health emergency; and more. I've also included information on how to support our neighbors and local businesses.

Be well, and reach out any time.


Erin


Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B Virtual Meeting
Monday, October 26th, 7:00 p.m. via Zoom

Join Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B for our October Public Meeting on Monday, October 26th at 7:00 p.m. To participate in the virtual meeting, please use the following information:
  • For video participation via Zoom on a computer or mobile device, click here. Meeting ID: 842-1424-9196. Password: 964318.
  • For voice-only participation on a telephone, dial (301) 715-8592. Meeting ID: 842-1424-9196. Password: 964318.
  • To watch (but not participate) via YouTube, click here.
The draft agenda is included below and available on our Commission website. Materials (including draft Resolutions) for our September virtual meeting are also available on our Commission website

The Commission will be voting on several Resolutions related to traffic calming throughout the neighborhood, including two Resolutions I have proposed related to traffic calming along Butternut Street, NW and improvements to the District Department of Transportation's traffic safety assessment process (whereby the Department assesses traffic safety issues and can propose and implement solutions). These Resolutions are the result of continued communications with dozens of neighbors and the Department of Transportation regarding process improvements to ensure transparency and accountability. I regularly help neighbors with traffic calming requests; if you are interested in pursuing traffic calming on your street, you can read more about the process here and contact me any time. 


I have also proposed a Resolution encouraging the DC Council and government agencies to adopt best practices to assure broad inclusivity and robust participation in DC government hearings. This Resolution reflects the challenges Commissioners and residents have faced in making their voices heard. In addition, I have proposed a Resolution encouraging passage of and improvements to proposed legislation prohibiting discrimination against individuals experiencing homelessness.  

This month's agenda also includes a presentation from Petra Development regarding its plans for an affordable housing development at 6928 Maple Street, NW. All of the proposed 68 units would be deeply affordable housing. The project is within the Takoma Historic District and is subject to review by the Historic Preservation Review Board. While we are early in the process of reviewing and providing feedback on the project, I am excited that this project includes 100% deeply affordable housing. More here.

If you have questions about the agenda, please do not hesitate to contact me via email at 4B02@anc.dc.gov. The Commission will next meet on Monday, November 23rd at 7:00 p.m.


Plan Your Vote for the November 3rd Election!

The DC Board of Elections has advised that residents who have not yet received their mail-in ballot be prepared to vote in person. Early voting runs from Tuesday, October 27 - Monday, November 2nd; and Election Day is November 3rd. The Board has encouraged individuals who vote in person to make a plan to vote and to vote early to avoid lines. Don't forget your mask!

A list of all of the early voting vote centers (open October 27th - November 2nd, 8:30 am - 7:00 pm, as well as on November 3rd, 7:00 am - 8:00 pm) can be found
here. A list of all of the Election Day vote centers (open November 3rd from 7:00 am - 8:00 pm) can be found here. These lists will include approximate wait times once vote centers are open. Your regular polling place may not be a vote center for this election, but you are able to vote at any vote center. You can search the vote center locations for one that is most convenient to you here.

If you are not registered to vote, you can same-day register and vote at a vote center during the days and hours noted above. If you are registering to vote in the District of Columbia for the first time, you will need proof of residency, like a government issued ID or a utility bill. More
here.

If you voted via mail-in ballot and have not yet returned your ballot via the US Postal Service or a secure drop box (locations
here), you can return your mail-in ballot at an open vote center. The drop boxes inside vote centers are different than the secure drop boxes placed outside. They are smaller and silver. If you need assistance, an election worker can help direct you. You can track your mail-in ballot (on its way to you and on its way back to the Board via whatever method you use to drop your ballot) here.

If you have questions or need assistance you can call the Board of Elections at their main line (202) 727-2525 or at their call center (202) 741-5283. I've also had good response times raising questions to the Board via
Twitter. I am best reached by email
at 4B02@anc.dc.gov.

To learn more about candidates, check out the Office of Campaign Finance's
2020 DC Debates for DC Council, At-Large and DC State Board of Education, At-Large; the League of Women Voters of the District of Columbia's Voter Guide; the Washington Post's write-up on the DC Council, At-Large race; the Washington City Paper's Voter GuideDCist's Voter Guide; and DC Geekery (for information on campaign contributions).


COVID-19 Information & Resources

*DC Public Schools Announces Intent to Re-Open Some Elementary Schools on November 9th. DC Public Schools has announced they will provide in-person learning options for students in preschool through fifth grade starting November 9th. The Washington Teachers' Union and others have raised concerns, including disruption in teacher continuity and staffing concerns, lack of testing protocols, insufficient details regarding how schools will address possible outbreaks, and the need for assurances regarding building safety and necessary supplies. (You can view questions raised by Advisory Neighborhood Commission 4B during our September meeting here.) A panel that mediates labor disputes in the District found this week that DC Public Schools violated city law by failing to collectively bargain with the Washington Teachers’ Union over plans for re-opening schools. More here and here.

*DC Government Launches DC Covid Alert Notice (DC CAN). The District of Columbia has launched a COVID-19 exposure notification tool, DC CAN. Residents can opt in and be notified if they've come into contact with a positive case. DC CAN uses Bluetooth Low Energy technology to quickly notify users who have likely been exposed so you can reduce the risk of infection for your friends and family and help DC stop the spread. More here and here.
*District Government Continues to Offer Free COVID-19 Testing: DC residents, 3 years of age and older, experiencing any COVID-19 symptom or with known exposure to COVID-19 should get a COVID-19 test. You do not need a doctor's note or an appointment for any of the District’s walk-up testing sites. To save time in line, register in advance and create a profile from your smartphone, tablet, or computer. You can find a searchable map of testing locations here.

*Community-Based Providers Will Take Over Grocery Distribution: Starting Monday, November 2nd, community-based providers will take over all grocery distribution operations. Grocery distribution sites will still be offered across all eight wards, including at Emory Beacon of Light (6100 Georgia Avenue, NW). Check here for more details regarding locations and hours. Youth meal sites will continue operations at all current locations, including Coolidge High School (6315 5th Street, NW).
*Department of Parks & Recreation Offers Programming via Reservation: The District Department of Parks and Recreation is bringing back limited fall offerings, including lap swimming (including via reservation at the Takoma Aquatic Center); fitness centers; and limited in-person, as well as online, programming. Reserve time to swim laps or work out at a fitness center here. And find programming here.
*Department of Public Works Modifies Leaf Collection: In an effort to keep crews and residents safe, the District Department of Public Works' leaf collection program will require residents to bag their leaves, and the Department will provide a limited number of free paper bags to each residence serviced by the Department. You can find the Seasonal Leaf Collection Map here, and FAQs here.


Neighborhood Updates

*Halloween Guidance: DC Health has issued guidance for Halloween and Día de Los Muertos. Traditional door-to-door trick-or-treating is strongly discouraged. Lower risk activities include decorating your house and yard, carving pumpkins, having a candy hunt with your immediate family, and hosting a virtual costume contest. Medium risk activities include grab-and-go treats, outdoor costume parades, visiting pumpkin patches, and hosting an outdoor movie night. You can read more here.
*MoveDC & Ready2Play Feedback: The District Department of Transportation has launched MoveDC 2021, the long-range plan for the District's multimodal transportation system. Residents can participate by taking the online survey; calling the Department at (202) 599-7371 during office hours on Tuesday, October 27th, 7-8 pm, or Wednesday, October 28th, 10-11 am; or visiting the plan website. In addition, the District Department of Parks and Recreation is seeking feedback on the Ready2Play Master Plan, the long-range plan for the District's parks. Residents can participate by taking an online and hard-copy survey (available soon) and vising the plan website.

*Takoma Main Street Update: Our Takoma Main Street is hopping! Donut Run and Lost Sock Roasters are in the final stages of permitting and will be opening soon! You can continue to support our neighborhood local businesses directly or by donating to the Takoma Micro Grant Program here. The grant program has already awarded 39 micro grants, totaling $35,500! Main Street Takoma has worked hard to expand and better use outdoor space, including along 4th Street, NW (with Takoma Station Tavern and Horace and Dickies offering outdoor seating), an amazing Streetery on Laurel Avenue; and new picnic tables by the Takoma Park Gazebo (pictured below and courtesy of amazing local DC artist Trap Bob). Main Street Takoma is working hard to support our local businesses, and I want to again thank Laura Barclay, Executive Director, for her amazing efforts.


Support Our Neighbors!

*Ward 4 Mutual Aid Call for Support: Ward 4 Mutual Aid offers free, customized packages (food, cleaning and hygiene products, diapers, etc.) and distributes clothing and school supplies to individuals in need. The all-volunteer effort in Ward 4 has been a huge success, reaching more than 200 families a week. Ward 4 neighbors can call or text the hotline at (202) 681-3098 to request items. You can sign up to volunteer here, and you can donate hereMore about their efforts and needs here.
 
*Emory Beacon of Light Call for Donations: From now through November 23rd, Emory Beacon of Light is requesting Thanksgiving donations, including food and gift cards from Safeway and Walmart. Items can be dropped at 6100 Georgia Avenue, NW. 
*Neighborhood Clothing Drive: A neighbor has coordinated with Yoga Heights and our local Mutual Aid group to host a kids clothing drive for families affected by COVID-19. Warm clothing, coats, boots, shoes, hats, and gloves are needed in all sizes. Check the flyer below for details to drop off items.


SMD 4B02 Remote Office Hours

Let's chat about the neighborhood by phone, email, or video! During this time, I am canceling my in-person office hours. Please feel free to call me to talk about neighborhood issues during my office hours on the third Thursday of every month from 7:00 - 8:00 p.m. or any other time. I can be reached at at (202) 821-6333 and by email at 4B02@anc.dc.gov.
Phone: (202) 821-6333 | Email: 4B02@anc.dc.gov | Website: erinforanc.com | Social Media: @Erinfor4B02

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