Saturday, February 28, 2009

Yet Another Shooting - 1300 Columbia Block

Yet another shooting occurred on the 1300 block of Columbia on Friday night. I was reading through my Columbia Heights listserv - various people emailed in accounts of the incident. One in particular stood out to me because the person seemed wholly perplexed and angered by the lack of police presence and unlit street. Then I realized that email came from Councilmember Jim Graham. Lets hope this anger inspires some action. Maybe... different action? Since current actions don't seem to have had any impact whatsoever...

The email from Councilmember Graham:

For the second night in a row--this time at just before 7:30 PM--shots rang out on the 1300 block of Columbia. Reportedly, a 51 year old man was shot in the wrist, hand and thigh. He was ultimately taken to Medstar. It is believed that he will be alright. His relationship to all of this is unclear at this point.

And there are other questions as yet unanswered.

Where was the Light Tower, which had been there and operative for weeks since the Paul Jones was murdered in January. And, if there was no light tower, why was it taken away? Who is responsible here? How many police were on the block?

The Light Tower was off last night. Shots were fired. It was not there earlier tonight. Shots were fired.

One would think, after last night's violence, that all measures would be taken on what is now a block riddled with gang warfare.

I will let you know more as it becomes available.

Sincerely, Councilmember Jim Graham

Just A Little More Salad Bar...

If you read this blog regularly - you get it. We like that salad bar over at Ruby Tuesday.

But in case you want to try it out without actually having to try it out - we made you a little taste of the salad bar.

Bloom Bars Blooming on Sunday

BloomBars will be hosting one of their very well-received events on Sunday. For more information you can visit them online, or head over to 11th just north of Kenyon between 7:30 and 9:30PM.


Continuing in the BloomBars’ tradition to nurture the growth of artists who use their gift to inspire service, build community, and establish meaningful human connections, Seed the Sound Sundays with Sitali will showcase musicians from a diversity of genres. Our featured cause for the evening: KUSH (visit their website Also, we’re proud to announce that National Sound has come on board as a sponsor! Watch out, we might soon be one of the best acoustic venues in town.

Seed the Sound Sundays is the first project for Artist-In-Bloom resident Sitali Siyolwe. The singer, songwriter, and guitarist spent his childhood crisscrossing the globe with stops in Egypt, Russia, and England. At the age of 13, Sitali had his first recording session with veteran producer Glynn Johns (of Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones fame). After stints in New York and Seattle, Sitali settled in Washington DC, where he formed the band christened with his name in 2005. Their forthcoming release “Aluta Continua” will arrive in Spring 2009.

Friday, February 27, 2009

My ongoing disappointment with Washington Sports Club

A few months ago, I changed my gym membership to the Washington Sports Club at DC USA. I liked my old gym a lot but having one just a few minutes from home worked much better for my schedule. My expectations were low due to WSC's reputation, but I am having a hard time finding anything good about it at all.
  • There is still no cardio machine sign-up board and waiting in line for a treadmill or Precor is common on each visit for me. Have you ever been to the gym when it wasn't crowded?
  • The quality of the group classes fail on each try for me. With the exception of the lunchtime yoga class on Mondays, but I can only take that on work holidays.
  • The free weight area is a free-for-all; I often end up standing and using the window as my mirror.
  • Very rarely do I see someone wipe down an exercise mat, on the main floor or in class. Eww.
How is your local gym experience?

Councilmember Graham on 1300 Block of Columbia Shooting

From Councilmember Jim Graham:

Dear Friends, I have just returned from 14th and Columbia, where a short time ago shots were fired on the 1300 block of Columbia. An innocent bystander was sitting in her car, which was about to be parked, when a bullet penetrated the chassis and struck her in the leg.

The 1300 block of Columbia has been heavily patrolled with a squad car and a light tower present since Paul Jones was shot in January. (His alleged, barely 18 year old murderer was with this and another murder and is now in jail.)

Indeed, just last night, I attended a community meeting with MPD on the violence at 1300 block of Columbia.

However, another tragedy tonight--a fatal stabbing at Gresham and Georgia--led to the officer on the 1300 block being pulled to the location of that homicide. (There are very good leads, I am told in thta case.)

In the brief time thta followed--when the police were not there, and the light tower was still dark--shots were fired and the person was wounded.

This has all the earmarks of more gang violence.

More information will be revealed as it becomes available.

Sincerely, Councilmember Jim Graham

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Breaking News: 14th Street Shutdown

14th Street is shut down at Irving Street, heading south. Traffic is being directed down Irving Street.

Not sure what's going on just yet - but there were at least two cop cars and a fire truck at work. We would have run down 14th to scope it out - but it's COLD out there tonight. Anyone have an update?

UPDATE: Commenters point out there was a shooting on the 1300 block of Columbia Road. A woman was shot in the leg while parking her car. Prince of Petworth and The Washington Post have more details.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Nevin Kelly Gallery - Arting up the Heights

Back in January the Nevin Kelly Art Gallery moved from U Street to Columbia Heights. It now resides in 1400 Irving Street - the Highland Park building.

Between this gallery and BloomBars, Columbia Heights has seen a recent influx of art - both organic and more traditional.

Check out Nevin Kelly's blog here. And their website here.

We've written about BloomBars previously, and you can find them online here.

DC Voting Rights Throughout History

The authors of this blog are registered DC votes. As such, we'd like our votes to count.

Here is a nice history of DC voting rights compiled by the AP, going all the way up to today when the Senate moved toward restoring DC's House vote.

Key dates in push for DC voting rights

WASHINGTON (AP) — Key dates in the District of Columbia voting rights movement:

1790: The site for the new U.S. capital is selected. Residents continue to vote and run for Congress from their former states.

1801: Congress passes the Organic Act of 1801, which takes away voting rights from those living in the District of Columbia.

1961: The 23rd Amendment to the Constitution is ratified, giving D.C. residents the right to vote in presidential elections.

1970: D.C. residents are given the right to elect a nonvoting delegate to represent them in the House.

1973: The Home Rule Act allows for the direct election of the mayor and other city officials. Congress retains the right to review and overturn all D.C. laws.

1978: Congress passes a constitutional amendment that would give D.C. residents full voting representation in the House and Senate.

1985: The amendment fails to be ratified by the necessary three-fourths of state legislatures.

1993: D.C.'s congressional delegate is allowed to vote in the full House, except on final passage of legislation. The delegate also is prevented from casting any deciding votes. Previously, the delegate was allowed to vote only in House committees.

1995: Full House voting privileges for D.C.'s delegate are ended on the first day of the new session of Congress.

2000: The city adopts a new license plate motto: "Taxation Without Representation."

2007: The House passes a bill that would expand the 435-member House by two seats, giving one to historically Democratic D.C. and another to the traditionally Republican state of Utah, which is next in line to get an extra seat based on the 2000 census. The bill dies in the Senate.

2009: Similar legislation wins enough votes in the Senate to survive a filibuster, setting up a final vote that requires only a simple majority for passage. Senate approval would send the bill to the House, which could take it up in early March.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Food stuff: what's new, what's no more

The Prince of Petworth has a good post today on the status of new eateries in Columbia Heights. Thanks, PoP!

Highland Park
  • In the empty spot next to Five Guys will be "a very comfortable coffee house with the motif featuring Columbia Heights history. The goal is to open up in May."
  • Saki Club is still in play, but no opening date set.
  • The Caribbean restaurant, Zinnia, is dead.

Kenyon Square
  • So long, Royal Blue sign and butcher paper windows (2007-2009).

  • Desi's (Peruvian chicken and steak) looks to open in the spring.

Also coming soon, Room 11, a wine and pastry bar full of likely deliciousness at 11th and Lamont.

Friday, February 20, 2009

We Love Ruby Tuesdays

The Heights Life spent a while in this neighborhood before ever walking through the front door... but over the last few weeks, we've come to LOVE Ruby Tuesdays.

Take Wednesday night. THL had a hankering for a drink. A cold one. We attempted to snag two seats at The Heights bar, a favorite of ours, but it was full and it's not the type of place you can loiter chairless. I waited a few minutes, nobody was moving, but the hankering remained.

Alas! To Ruby Tuesdays, where the seats swivel, the drinks are cheap and the salad bar is AHSUM. Seriously, $3 drafts, $5 margs, and if it's not on the menu - they will make it for you anyway. I got a lemon drop. It had a sugared rim and I was happy. And the bartender, she was super attentive and friendly, as is everyone at Rubys.

If The Heights Life wore a hat, we'd totally take it off to Ruby Tuesdays. TRY IT! They aren't even paying us to say this, in fact - we pay them like $7 for the salad bar at least once a week.


It's not exactly neighborhood related, but I've personally come to LOVE Top Chef's Carla - and she is one of US! A DC dweller who is known to teach cooking classes in the Logan area. GO CARLA!

Is DC Breaking? Pipes, Trains and Power!

Problems problems problems!

What's with DC over the last few days. It's like the whole place is breaking, and in Columbia Heights, we've had our fair share of failures!

Tuesday night, there was a major pipe problem. Part of Irving Street right before you hit 14th was ripped open to repair the link, making the intersection into a river, briefly. The result was a few waterless hours for parts of the neighborhood.

Then, earlier today a swath of DC endured a power outage. I was at work, but it's my understanding that Columbia Heights felt the impact.

And now - the Green/Yellow line is totally busted. Not to mention Orange/Blue in total disrepair all day. Trains coming up here are sharing a track from Mt. Vernon Square to... maybe U Street? The damage was between Mt. Vernon and Shaw/Howard.

Alas - I'd like to go back to my original theory and say the Inauguration did it. It took a few weeks until we saw the full impact, but really - all those people broke our stuff!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Circulator Bus on its way to Columbia Heights

Councilman Jim Graham has issued a news release touting his recent transportation accomplishments. Among them, that a DC Circulator bus route is indeed coming to Columbia Heights: "Beginning March 29, a new DC Circulator route will be added to serve Ward One/Ward Two neighborhoods.  This express bus will run from Woodley Park Metro station to McPherson Square Metro station stopping in Adams Morgan, Mount Pleasant, Columbia Heights, U Street, and Logan Circle."

While route details have not been announced yet, check out The Heights Life's suggestions from November. 

Valentine's Day - Height Style?

Sorry - we suck at posting. I blame it on the distraction that is Thumb Cat:

Anyhow, we just want to ask this - Valentine's day, WTF? Since when did this holiday become an institution, Christmas style. Sure - it's always been obnoxious. But does the Heights, of all places, need a special menu for two? And seriously, at 11:20PM on Friday the 13th when having my tipsy ass dumped by a tax on 14th and Irving, the last thing I would expect to see is this:

But there it was - in all it's tacky Valentine's Day glory. What is this world coming to? And even if this world is coming to that - does Columbia Heights really need to participate? Can't we leave this hearts and candy shit to NoVa?