All posts by Shani

Upon moving to Brookland about 8 years ago, Shani jumped into civic life, having been treasurer for the Brookland Neighborhood Civic Association and lending her web development skills to the Greater Brookland Garden Club. Shani was also the unofficial coordinator of Brookland’s LGBT monthly activities for 6 years. You can often find Shani and her wife Astrid watering the trees on 12th St. NE and walking their dog Frida around the neighborhood. Shani is an artist, owner of SCH Fine Arts, and an IT professional.

Ward 5 Happy Hour – Bringing Neighbors Together, Supporting Local Businesses

On the first Thursday of every month neighbors across Ward 5 come together under the motto of “Meet Your Neighbors – Support Local – Share a Few Laughs – Why Not?” We caught up with Jennifer Parker, the organizer of the Ward 5 Happy Hour to get the scoop on the event’s origins and happenings. It all started when Jennifer, a Brookland resident, began to miss the neighborhood camaraderie of her hometown, Austin, TX. She thought, “if I feel this way, other’s might too. So, I decided to start the happy hour as a way to bring the neighbors together.” The first event drew 22 people and was held at San Antonio’s. Now, at least 35-40 regularly turn out and she  has expanded beyond Brookland to support as many Ward 5 venues as possible.

Like many of us, Jennifer’s favorite thing about Brookland and the extended community is the people. She pointed out proudly that the happy hour has attracted “young Catholic University students, new neighbors just moving in, young families, established neighbors who have been here for generations and went to the movies when Brookland CVS was a theater and everyone in between.” Politicians like CM Kenyan McDuffie and ANC members show up periodically as well. She adds that the most rewarding part has been meeting “so many amazing people, from all walks of life, who we established very tight friendships with”.

For the September happy hour Jennifer is teaming up with the Menkiti Group and Art Enables for an evening of art and mingling for a great cause.  Art Enables is an entrepreneurial art studio for self-taught artists with developmental disabilities. The Menkiti Group is graciously providing wine and light refreshments. The event will be at their offices; 2600 12th Street NE on September 6, 2012, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

An exciting side effect of these gatherings is the networks it has created between neighbors that expand beyond the monthly gatherings. Neighbors that previously didn’t know one another are forming smaller groups that socialize independently and are creating an even greater sense of community for themselves. Several neighbors that considered leaving the area have actually stayed because of the friendships they were able to finally establish via the happy hour. It’s no wonder then, that the community has also given back to Jennifer, surprising her in June with a birthday party and the “Social Butterfly of Ward 5” award. She says “it was very touching…(the award) is displayed on my fireplace mantel today.” Great job building bridges Jennifer!

If you would like to keep up with the happy hour, check out the Ward 5 Community Happy Hour Face Book page, look for posts on all of the Ward 5 listservs or get on the email list by emailing Jennifer at .

Shooting On 1000 Block Of Rhode Island Avenue NE, 22 Year Old Killed

MPD is investigating a fatal shooting which occurred last night on the 1000 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE. Around 10:15 pm units from the Fifth District responded to the 1000 block of Rhode Island Avenue, NE because of reports of a shooting.  Upon arrival, they found 22 year-old Bidley Warren of Northeast unconscious, unresponsive and suffering from an apparent gunshot wound.  He was transported to a local hospital where he succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced dead. MPD currently offers up to $25,000 as a reward for information which leads to arrest and conviction in homicide cases. If you have information, call police at 202-727-9099 or text 50411.

So young, so sad.

Brookland’s List – A Great Idea Idea Goes Underutilized

If you read the Brookland listserv with any regularity, you notice that like clockwork there are repetitive posts requesting recommendations for roofers, plumbers, veterinarians, etc. One industrious reader decided to solve the need for this type information by creating “Brookland’s List“. It is a spreadsheet on Google docs where Brooklanders can add reviews of local services such as handyman, electricians and the like. Given that there are thousands of people living in the area, and most of us living in older homes, one would think this idea should have taken off like wildfire. In any case, just though we would pass along if you hadn’t heard about it yet.

Brookland’s Own Chocolate City Beer Interviewed On CNN

You may have heard that the White House has been brewing beer, causing a stir from home brewers and micro-brew lovers who are clamoring for the recipe.  Today the story hit home as CNN visited the good guys over at Chocolate City Beer and asked them to weigh in on the issue. Check out the video here. Way to go CCB!

Chocolate City Beer Obama Story
Gratuitous photo of President Obama sipping beer

Brookland In Photos: The Sheds Of Brookland, Part 3

This installment of our ongoing photo series of Brookland sheds should be Shed #4 Washington DCcalled the “mystery edition”.  I saw this group of “sheds” while I was walking down the alley next to Yes! Organics. I was so intrigued! I can’t tell if they are actually sheds, obviously they are very old. I wish I knew what their function was/is. They are too narrow to be garages, besides the doors are not garage doors. They seem to be associated with one (vacant) lot – so why not one big shed instead of 6 distinct “sheds”? 3 of them are still numbered – so perhaps they were assigned to a person – or my guess – they were horse stables? I don’t know a lot about stables, so I could be way off with that guess. Anyone out there know anything about them, or have a better guess?

Garden Photography – Contest And Tips

One of my favorite things to do this time of year is photograph my garden so that I can do ‘before and after’ comparisons with how things looked in the spring. It gives me a great sense of accomplishment. But, I’ll be the first person admit that I don’t have very good photography skills. Mostly I just click away with my iPhone and hope for the best.

I came across this article on the Behnke Blog, full of tips for photographing gardens, and I thought I would pass it along. If you don’t feel like reading the whole thing, here is a summary of their tips:

  • Play with blocking out overly bright sun with an umbrella or a thin plastic cutting board.
  • For shooting close-ups, try use a tripod and/or a wide-legged stance instead of the zoom feature. 
  • To highlight a subject in the foreground it’s helpful to throw the background out of focus. Do this while taking the photo by using a wide aperture, or later by using software such as in Photoshop. Or, just place the subject at a greater distance from the objects in the background. (Assuming it is potted plant or something moveable.)
  • Sometimes having a blurred object in the extreme foreground, like a few leaves, brings more attention to the subject.
  • Try putting a tissue or a piece of plastic over the flash to soften its effect. A piece of colored paper could also be used – in a color like orange that would warm up the photo if that’s the effect you’re looking for.
  • Try experimenting with backlighting.

Now that you are equipped with all these great tips, you may consider entering the International Garden Photographer of the Year contest. Even if you don’t sign up, the stunning photographs from previous winners are worth a look. Here are some low-tech photographs from my personal garden.

Brookland In Photos – Tuesday’s Farmers Market

Here are some photos from Brookland’s Farmers Market yesterday. The produce is supplied by Licking Creek Bend Farm, a sustainable farm located in Pennsylvania. What a selection! In addition to the amazing produce, there were others vendors selling breads, home-made granola, pastries and more. I encourage Brooklanders to come out and support our farmers market! The market sets up every Tuesday from 4:00m – 7:00pm under the Michigan St. Bridge north of the Brookland Metro.


Real Estate Watch – Brookland Home (3 Bed, 3 Bath) Sold For $500,000

This Brookland home sold yesterday for $500,000. But what is the real story here? On June 26th it was listed for $600,000, but clearly the market wasn’t ready for that, and it sat. On July 23rd the prBrookland Housing Market Heating Upice dropped to $525,000 and two days later it was under contract. Yesterday it finally came across as sold at $500,000.  After looking through the photos of the home, it confirmed what I have been thinking for the past few months; the Brookland market is hot, but still, homes in the $600,000 – $700,000 range better be spectacular. Don’t get me wrong – this is a great house. It has obviously been well cared for, has really nice outdoor spaces, and a garage!  The problem is that it was built in 1980 and it looks like it hasn’t been updated since. With so much “home flipping” and new developments popping up, it would be hard to compete with brand new fixtures, and sparkling granite countertops.

Love Trees? Learn How Advocate For Them In A Free Casey Trees Class

Free Class At Casey Trees In Brookland
We planted this lovely Yellow Wood tree with the help of Casey Trees. We just love it!

For me, one of the biggest joys of living in Brookland is admiring the gorgeous mature trees throughout the neighborhood. We are also fortunate to have Casey Trees headquartered right here in Brookland. If you are interested in learning ways to protect our existing trees and advocate for better care and planning for newly planted trees, check out this free course offered by Casey Trees. Here is the description:

“Take action and advocate for trees in your community. You will learn what tools are available through the District’s municipal services, then hear success stories and receive advice from community members who have on the ground experience in effectively increasing tree canopy in their neighborhoods. Participants will learn about issues related to urban trees including power line conflicts and the Urban Forestry Administration Reorganization Act.

The course is offered this Saturday, August 25, 2012 from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Casey Trees Headquarters, 3030 12th St NE , Washington, DC 20017. Attendees will be provided breakfast and lunch to boot! Sign up here.