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Ward Reports - March 25, 2002

WARD 1

GRAHAM TO DISCLOSE: Councilman Jim Graham says he has decided to disclose contributions to the exploratory committee he formed to help him decide whether to seek re-election this fall. The Ward 1 councilman, serving his first term, had come under fire from potential political challengers and others for his use of a loophole in D.C. campaign finance laws that permits "exploratory" committees to accept donations without disclosing the source of the funds. Grahamís exploratory committee recently boasted it had raised more than $30,000.

Graham said his exploratory committee is in the process of wrapping up its work, and he pledged to make its list of contributors available "to anyone who asks" as soon as its work is completed.

WARD 2

NEW ABC LICENSE: The Alcoholic Beverage Control Board approved a "stipulated" Class CR license March 13 for The Dark Horse restaurant at 2519 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, which allows the establishment to serve alcoholic beverages before completing the licensing process. Advisory Neighborhood Commission 2A requested the special treatment in a Feb. 26 letter, which informed the ABC Board that the four ANC commissioners present at a special Feb. 24 meeting voted unanimously to support the license. The restaurant is owned by Jordan LLC.

WARD 3

AVALON GETS LIFELINE: Residents who have campaigned to get the Avalon Theater at 5612 Connecticut Ave. NW reopened as a movie house may get their wish Ė but the effort will require hard work and fund-raising before a June 21 deadline set by the buildingís owner. Jennifer Kaplan of the Avalon Theater Project said her group has accepted the challenge of owner Douglas Jemal, who she said "has pledged to sign the lease with a lease rate that makes operation of the theater feasible" if her group can present a financially sound business plan for reopening the theater. The potential deal resulted from a March 14 meeting at which Ward 3 Councilwoman Kathleen Patterson brought together Jemal and community representatives.

Kaplanís group has scheduled a meeting for supporters of the theater project for April 3 to explain the details and begin the communityís work. The meeting is set for 7 p.m. at Chevy Chase Community Center, 5601 Connecticut Ave. NW. "The job is large and will need many volunteers," Kaplan wrote in an e-mailed message to the surrounding community.

WARD 4

REVIVING TAKOMA THEATER: Residents of the Districtís Takoma neighborhood are forming a new nonprofit organization with the mission of revitalizing and operating the historic 516-seat Takoma Theatre, located at Fourth and Butternut streets NW, as a community-based cultural arts center. Members of the Takoma Theatre Arts Project plan to gather at 7:30 p.m. April 22 at Takoma Village Cohousing, 6827 Fourth St. NW, to elect the groupís first board of directors. Nominations are being sought through April 12. For information about joining the project, contact Rebecca Smallwood at (202) 723-1999 or becca@inkstain.net.

WARD 5

AVERTING FIRE DEATHS: D.C. firefighters were knocking on doors in Michigan Park on March 19 to offer free smoke alarms and pamphlets about eradicating fire hazards within the home the morning after an electrical overload was blamed for igniting a fire in which neighborhood resident Virginia Edmead perished. Firefighters pulled an unconscious and unresponsive Edmead, 80, from the first floor of her burning duplex at 4212 10th St. NE but were unable to revive her. Officials said she was pronounced dead a short time later at nearby Providence Hospital. Nearly two dozen pieces of firefighting equipment were dispatched at about 8:40 p.m. March 18 to the two-alarm blaze, which officials said was sparked by an apparent short circuit in the basement that ignited stored materials, quickly spreading flames and thick smoke throughout the home. Officials said Edmead was the fourth fire-related fatality in the District since Jan. 1.

WARD 6

RESTAURANT EXPANSION: One of Capitol Hillís longstanding watering holes, Hawk-N-Dove, is expanding its premises to include a new multipurpose room and small bar on its second floor at 329 Pennsylvania Ave. SE. The restaurantís owner, L&L Inc., has asked the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board to expand provisions of its ABC license to allow alcohol to be served on the second floor. In response, the ABC Board determined March 13 that the restaurant must display placards about the proposed ABC license change to allow time for community comment.

WARD 7

KENILWORTH FACELIFT: Mayor Anthony A. Williams is proposing a $5 million renovation of Kenilworth Parkside Recreation Center at 4300 Anacostia Drive NE as part of his administrationís fiscal 2003 budget. The project would include renovation of the stadium and stadium track, construction of a driveway to the stadium area and paved parking, installation of ball field and park lighting, and repair of electrical, heating and air-conditioning systems. Also included in the project is replacement of the recreation centerís roof, doors and floors. Completion of the project, which is currently in the design phase, is scheduled for July 2003.

WARD 8

SEEKING VOLUNTEERS FOR YOUTH: Friends of Peggy Cooper Cafritz are planning to celebrate the school board presidentís 55th birthday and the overnight change to daylight savings time on April 6 by throwing a public party at the Panorama Room. The requested cost of attending, according to Ward 8 Democrats President Phil Pannell, is to donate volunteer hours to the D.C. Public Schools or to nonprofit organizations that serve young people. The bring-your-own-beverage party begins at 9 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Churchís hall at 1600 Morris Road SE. Pannell said the Anacostia Coordinating Council is acting as "fiduciary agent" for donations to the partyís expenses, which will include a buffet, beverage setups and entertainment. For more information, call (202) 562-2726.

Copyright 2002, The Common Denominator