Monday, July 30, 2012

Summer Olympics in Ward 8

ART of WAR Concept: A skilled commander seeks victory from the situation and does not demand it of his subordinates.

I have written several articles about the importance of training the next generation of leaders in Ward 8. With all the economic development changes coming to our community, it is more important than ever that we do this. As the Olympics approaches, one sport in particular reminds of what it takes to mentor our young leaders – the 4x100 relay race.

In the relay race, each country takes its four fastest runners and places them in quarter distances around the track. When the gun sounds to begin the race, the first runner needs to run as fast as he or she can to the next runner and pass a cylinder tube called a baton. Once the baton is passed, the next runner can then proceed to the third runner and perform the same task of passing the baton. Then finally, the last runner is responsible for crossing the finish line.

Even though each country picks its four fasters runners, speed is not the most important factor in winning the race. Winning the race really depends on how effectively each runner can pass the baton off to the next runner. Each runner only has a split second to make this exchange. Missing the exchange or dropping the baton automatically disqualifies the team.

Ironically, even though the U.S. is known for having the fastest runners each Olympics, we have not always won the race. In fact, the last two Olympic games the U.S team has been disqualified by dropping the baton. Why is that? Some analysts have explained it in that athletes seldom dedicate the needed training as a team to practice for the event. Track athletes are trained to race against and beat each other for the four years in between each Olympics. The idea of working together to win a race really does not occur until after their individual race competitions are complete.

I look at each Ward in the District as its own relay team. How well have we done as a relay team? Not well in my estimation.

Often times I hear complaints in Ward 8 that our seniors are not willing to pass the baton when it comes to providing leadership positions for our young adults. In some cases this is true. Some of these long time leaders should ask themselves, “If I as a leader of an organization were to wake up one day and decide I no longer want to plan meetings, lead protest, etc, is there someone out there under the age of 40 who is ready, willing and able to step in my place. If not, you are not passing the baton.

And then to our Ward 8 young adults. Are you taking an active role in the development of your community? Or are you just waking up in the morning, going to work, coming home and closing the door till the next morning. Are you being a part of the process or are you just complaining about others are doing. If this is you, you are not reaching forward to receive the baton of leadership.

What I have learned over the years is that I alone can only do so much to improve the quality of life in my community. I can burn myself out quick. But with a team of people we can accomplish so much more.

What I love most about the 4x100 relay races is that if your team comes in first, second or third place, each runner on the team will get the same quality medal of gold, silver or bronze. Additionally, each team member will be able to stand upon the podium together to receive their medal. However, it is only the gold medal winning team that will be able to stand upon the podium together to listen to their national anthem.

So which team will Ward 8 become – much of it is dependent upon how willing we are to mentor the next generation to step into leadership position. Are you prepared to pass the baton or are you trying to keep running into you are out of breath while the other teams pass you to the finish line?

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Anacostia HONEY!

ART of WAR Concept:  Make forays in fertile country in order to supply your army with food.

It is funny what you can learn by being a part of a community listserv. Early last year, a neighbor sent out a notice on the Historic Anacostia Listserv about an upcoming beekeeping course in Maryland called BUMBA (Bowie-Upper Marlboro Beekeepers Association).

Being a huge fan of the Animal Planet and Discovery Channel, I thought I would go and check it out. Needless to say, after the course, I was hooked. I said to myself I got to try this out. I was amazed by how much honey bees affect our everyday life.

Did you know that bees are the only insect that produces food eaten by humans and are responsible for 1/3 of the food we eat. Without bees we probably would not be able to enjoy such foods as almonds, strawberries, blueberries, tomatoes, etc.

Being the kid that always took the easy way out for the school science fairs by doing a volcano demonstration every year, I figured this would be a great way to redeem myself by having my very own science experiment in my backyard. So Spring 2011, I bought equipment for two beehives and a couple weeks later I went to go pick up my two bee packages (approx. 10,000 bees per pkg).

As a backyard beekeeper, I have learned a lot about bees. But of course, like any person interested in this hobby, my ultimate goal was to see if I could get some honey out of this investment.

All spring and summer of 2011 I took care my new insect friends in hopes of being able to produce honey in 2012. After almost giving up, I was excited to find out a couple of weeks ago that one hive actually produced several pounds of real honey! I wanted to share some of the pics below….Enjoy!

This is by far the coolest thing I have ever done! Bees are amazing! One day I may write an article on what we can learn from bees in improving the quality of life in our Ward 8 Community.

So I start out by placing 10 of these plastic frames in a hive box.

The bees will then make honey comb and fill each comb with honey. They
will then cap off each comb to store the honey for the winter.

Each frame can weigh up to 5 pounds -- filled with honey 

 I then have to remove the caps with a hot knife

 Once you remove the caps you can see the stored honey.

Almost there...

Now I have to do the same to the other side...Cool huh?

I then have to put each frame into this honey extractor machine
to spin out the honey from each honey comb.

Taking a peak inside to make sure I am
doing this right.

Charlie Wilson's Honey!
This year I was able to get about 16 lbs of honey = 26 bottles.
Hopefully next year I will be able to get more.
Who wants some?

 Remember Local Honey is superior to the stuff you buy in the
grocery store. The stuff in the store has likely been heated and
processed so it looks shelf ready. Local Honey = honey harvested 30 miles
from your house is the one that has the greatest health benefits and can also help with allergies.

Special thanks to Toni Burnham and Jeff Miller from D.C. Honeybees Inc. 
for being great mentors. To learn more about beekeeping check out the blog
D.C. Honeybees. You never know, there may be an East of the River/Ward 8 Beekeeper
Association one day...

Upcoming Ward 8 Events/Mee​tings

ART if WAR Concept: Know the enemy, know yourself; your victory will never be endangered. Know the ground, know the weather; your victory will then be total.

Saturday, July 21, 2012 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Skyland Shopping Center Farmers Market
Corner of Naylor Road and Good Hope Road, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20020Featuring Chef Raham “Rock” Harper ~ chef, education, television personality, restauranteur and author.  He was on season 3 of Hell’s Kitchen.

Saturday, July 21, 2012 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm
Restore Shepherd Parkway Clean Up
Malcolm X and 2nd Street, S.E.
(just off 295 & close to Congress Heights Metro)
Washington, D.C. 20032Remember:  Gloves, bags and lunch will be provided.  Wear good shoes and clothes you can get dirty.  Contact: Nathan Harrington ~

Saturday, July 21, 2012 from 2:00 pm – 3:00 pm (NEW)
Frederick Douglass NHS Visitors Center (Frederick Douglass Home)
Anna Murray and Frederick Douglass

1411 W Street, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20020

Monday, July 23, 2012 @ 10:00 am (NEW)
Planning Meeting for Peace Makers Not Peace Breakers Movement Peace Walk
United Black Fund
2500 MLK Jr. Avenue, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20020
(202) 783-9300

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:00 am (NEW)
Planning Meeting for Peace Makers Not Peace Breakers Movement Peace Walk
Far SE Family Strengthening Collaborative
2041 MLK Jr. Avenue, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20020(202) 889-1435

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 10:30 am
Ward 8 Environmental Council
CM Barry’s SE Office
2100 MLK Jr. Avenue, S.E.3rd Floor Conference Room
Washington, D.C. 20020TOPIC:  Mayor’ Gray’s Sustainable DC Initiative

Wednesday, July 25, 2012 @ 6:00 pm (NEW)
DC Public Library Board Meeting
Francis Gregory Neighborhood Library
3660 Alabama Avenue, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20020You must come and see this gorgeous new library!

Thursday, July 26, 2012 @ 9:00 am- 12:00 noon (NEW)
United Medical Center Board Meeting
1310 Southern Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20032

Thursday, July 26, 2012 from 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm (NEW)
Ingredients for Success ~ How to Write a Successful Business Plan
CM Barry’s SE Office
2100 MLK Jr. Avenue, S.E.3rd Floor Conference Room
Washington, D.C. 20020Sponsored by Washington Area Community Investment Fund (WACIF)

Friday, July 27, 2012 from 3:00 pm – 4:30 pm (NEW)
Youth Design Jury for 11th Street Bridge Recreational Potential
The Arc
1901 Mississippi Avenue, S.E.Washington, D.C. 20032

Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Summer Celebration at St. E’s East with Mayor Gray
MLK Jr. Avenue, Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee , S.E.
Washington, D.C.  (inside the gate on the campus)

Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 12 noon to 6:00 pm
2nd Annual Community Day Presented by Chartered Healthplan
United Medical Center
1310 Southern Avenue, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20032Featuring:  Bella Dona, Junkyard Band, Familiar Faces, Y’Anna Crawley

Saturday, July 28, 2012 from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm
Skyland Shopping Center Farmers Market
Corner of Naylor Road and Good Hope Road, S.E.
Washington, D.C. 20020Featuring Live Well DC ! ~ A group of 11 highly motivated DC residents who strive to engage in physical activity, eat healthy and refrain from smoking ~ all while encouraging their fellow community members to do the same.

St. Elizabeth Summer Celebration

Friday, July 6, 2012

Education, Jobs and the need for more Jobs!

ART of WAR Concept:  The skilful employer of men will employ the wise man, the brave man, the covetous man, and the stupid man.

Okay, I think we all know and see the problem. The question is what do we do about it?

Unemployment Rate in Washington’s Ward 8 Is Highest in U.S.

The jobless rate in the poorest part of the District of Columbia is higher than in any U.S. metropolitan area with a labor-force of comparable size, according to figures released by the city government.

Unemployment in the Ward 8 section of the capital climbed to 25.2 percent in January, the latest month of available data, from 23.1 percent in December, figures from the Department of Employment Services show. The next highest rate, as measured by the U.S. Labor Department, was 25.1 percent, in El Centro, California.

Ward 8 is in the southeast section of Washington, about four miles from the White House and home to the Anacostia neighborhood. The poverty rate is 35 percent, compared with 18 percent for the city as a whole, according to the Washington- based Urban Institute, citing U.S. Census Bureau statistics for 2005-2009. Average household income for Ward 8 during the period was $44,076, compared with $115,016 for the District of Columbia, according to the institute.

“People living in this part of the city tend to have lower education attainment,” said Peter Tatian, a senior researcher in the Urban Institute’s Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center and director of NeighborhoodInfo DC. “You also have a lot of people who are returning from incarceration or have other legal problems, and so those folks find themselves at a disadvantage in hiring.”

The Ward 7 section of Washington had the second-highest jobless rate at 17.1 percent, up from 15.6 percent in December. Unemployment was lowest in Ward 3, at 2.7 percent.

“In some neighborhoods, one out of every three adults is unemployed,” Mayor Vincent Gray said this week in his State of the District speech. “The District is home to the haves and the have-nots. Many of the new jobs created over the past decade have required higher education.”

Unemployment in Washington was 9.6 percent in January, when the U.S. unemployment rate was 9 percent. The District of Columbia’s population gained 5 percent, to 601,723, from 2000 to 2010, according to the Census Bureau.