December 8, 2021

Coronavirus Update:

Dear Neighbors,

Yesterday, the Council voted in support of a measure to require all eligible students be vaccinated against COVID-19. The legislation, of which I co-introduced, would add the coronavirus vaccine to the existing list of 11 other mandatory vaccinations for school attendance. Importantly, the bill requires that students be vaccinated once the FDA has fully approved the vaccine for their age group. Once passed, the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) would enforce the new requirement in the fall of 2022. After working on this measure for some time now, I'm very pleased to see it passed with a super-majority of Council support. As we're also in the middle of two major holidays, I would like to share other important vaccination updates and local resources:

Expanded In-Home Vaccination - At-home vaccinations are now open to all residents, regardless of age or mobility challenges this includes the pediatric Pfizer vaccine for children aged 5-11. Call 1-855-363-0333 to schedule an at-home vaccination for your whole family.

Get Vaccinated with Your Child - Pediatric vaccines will now be available at all library and pop-up vaccination sites. Adults accompanying their child can also access a COVID-19 vaccine (including boosters). Upcoming Ward 3 pediatric vaccination clinics:

  • December 10th, 3:30-7:30 pm - Janney Elementary (4130 Albemarle St NW)
  • December 14th, 3:30-7:30 pm - Janney Elementary (4130 Albemarle St NW)
  • December 23rd, 3:30-7:30 pm - Palisades Recreation Center (5200 Sherier Pl NW)

Paid Leave for Vaccination - Workers in the District are now guaranteed up to 2 hours of paid leave to get vaccinated and up to 8 hours of paid leave for recovery. For more information, please see: Paid Leave Vaccination Expansion.

Testing - DC Health is working to bring rapid COVID-19 testing to the District and has recently placed an order for 51,000 rapid testing kits. Emergency legislation is forthcoming to help with the agency's procurement challenges that are impeding their ability to access a higher quantity of testing supplies.

In the meantime, there are four sites in Ward 3 where residents can access free at-home testing kits (a great resource to use before and after holiday gatherings):

  • Kits are available for pick-up at the Chevy Chase Library, Cleveland Park Library, and Tenley-Friendship Library from 10 am to 6 pm Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday; 10 am to 8 pm on Wednesday; and 12 pm to 8 pm on Thursday.
  • Kits are available for pick-up at the Palisades Recreation Center from 8 am to 6 pm Monday through Friday and 9 am to 5 pm on Saturday (closed on Sunday).
  • For more information, please see: Test Yourself.




In Pursuit of Meaningful Road Safety & Traffic Enforcement

Accountability & Road Safety - On Monday, December 6, Councilmember Cheh called the Deputy Mayor for Operations and Infrastructure and the Department of Public Works (DPW) before the Committee on Transportation & the Environment for a public roundtable on the District's insufficient ticket enforcement program.

The are almost 550,000 DC, Virginia, and Maryland vehicles that are currently boot-eligible, and a number of these tickets are for dangerous driver behaviors:

  • 5,000 vehicles have tickets for going 21+ over the speed limit
  • 50,000 vehicles have tickets for running a red light
  • One Virginia driver identified by the Committee has amassed over 200 tickets, including 180 moving violations

At the current daily rate of booting and towing, it would take DPW over 25 years to respond to the number of vehicles that are currently eligible to be booted and towed. The result is that the region's most dangerous drivers are not held accountable for unsafe driving on District roads. Moving forward, DPW will seek partnerships with private booting companies to address the current backlog and a task force has been formed with the Metropolitan Police Department to address the proliferation of fake temporary tags. The Committee will also be looking to enhance agency enforcement resources in the upcoming budget.

To watch the discussion, please click here or on the video above. To read more, please see The Washington City Paper and Fox 5.


Ward 3 Community Corner

Ward 3 Legislative Brief:

  • Redistricting - The Council voted 11-1 in support of the Special Subcommittee on Redistricting's proposed Ward boundaries. As Ward 3 fell within the acceptable population range, the proposal made no changes to the Ward 3 boundaries and primarily focused on adjusting the boundaries of Wards 6, 7, and 8. To read more, please see The Washington Post.
  • Renaming Wilson High School - The Council voted to change the name of Woodrow Wilson High School, the only high school located in Ward 3 and the largest in the District, to Jackson-Reed High School. As noted in previous newsletters, the new name honors the contributions and work of Edna Jackson and Vincent Reed, the schools' first African American teacher and principal, respectively. For more on the renaming effort, please see DCist.
  • Upcoming Climate Resilience Hearing - Next Friday, December 16th at 9:00 am, Councilmember Cheh will be holding a joint Public Hearing on Climate Resilience Planning in the District. At the hearing, climate experts and agency planners will discuss the efforts underway to prepare the District for, and to mitigate wherever possible, the effects of climate change. To offer testimony or to watch the hearing live, please click: here.

Upcoming Community Events:

Palisades Cookie Exchange - Join the Palisades Community Association for its annual Holiday Breakfast and Cookie Exchange! Take a picture with Santa, enjoy coffee, hot chocolate, and pastries with your neighbors and participate in the cookie exchange. December 11th at The Hub (5200 Cathedral Ave) from 9:30 to 11:30 am. Event details: here.

Cleveland Park Winter Market - December 11th from 1:30 to 5:30 pm, the Cleveland Park Main Street is hosting a Winter Market in front of the Uptown Theater with pet treats, coffee, artisans, food, home goods & decor, and so much more!

Van Ness Main Street Holiday Pop-Up - December 12th from 11 am to 5 pm, the Van Ness Main Street will be hosting a holiday pop-up event with artisans, a book sale, and caroling along Connecticut Ave!

Oyster-Adams Tree Sale - Holiday trees, wreaths, and greenery will be sold this weekend, December 11th and 12th, from 10 am to 5 pm at the school's Oyster campus in Woodley Park.

Chevy Chase Community Walk - Join the Office of Planning for the final community walk along the Chevy Chase commercial corridor as part of the Chevy Chase Small Area Plan. Sign up here for the upcoming walk on December 11th (11 am to 12:30 pm).

COVID-19 Vaccination Virtual Town Hall - Parents and community members are invited to attend a virtual town hall to ask the DC Hospital Association's panel of local experts questions about the COVID-19 vaccine for children. December 13th at 7:30 pm. Register: Here.

Van Ness/Forest Hills Public Safety Meeting - On December 16th at 6:30 pm, Councilmember Cheh is hosting a virtual public safety meeting to discuss the recent uptick in crime along the Connecticut Ave NW corridor in Van Ness/Forest Hills.

  • To join this meeting by Zoom, please click here: Van Ness/Forest Hills Public Safety.
  • To call in to the meeting, please dial 888 475 4499 or 877 853 5257, Meeting ID: 999 6572 9813, Passcode: 053874.

An Update on Leaf Collection in Ward 3

Councilmember Cheh has pressed the Department of Public Works (DPW) for answers as to why many parts of Ward 3 have not yet received leaf collection services. Here are the insights and solutions as shared by DPW's Interim Director:

"As of Tuesday, December 8th, 66% of Ward 3's first pass leaf collection has been completed. This is the overview of Ward 3's section collection status: 

  • Section A is 99% complete
  • Section B is 90% complete 
  • Section C is 87% complete
  • Section D is 22% complete
  • Section E is 0% complete 

The DPW team is deployed in Ward 3 and their goal is to complete the first pass of leaf collections for all sections by December 19th.

The leaf collection schedule is often disrupted by weather events, personnel changes, or other unforeseen circumstances. Because of these factors, DPW has allocated additional personnel resources and extended tours of duty in an effort to service residents as expeditiously as possible."


Celebrating the Success of Solar for All

Solar for All Means All - Above, Councilmember Cheh joins the Fairfax Village community in Ward 7 for the ribbon cutting of a new community solar panel installation that will cut electricity bills in half for over 230 income-qualifying residents. The project was possible due to a partnership between the DC Green Bank, Flywheel Development, and the District's Solar for All program.

Councilmember Cheh created Solar for All through 2016 legislation with the aim to expand the District's solar energy portfolio while also providing access to solar-generated energy (and the many economic and environmental benefits it provides) to low-income residents. Not only has this program proven to be a local job creator, it removes the up front cost barriers to solar energy, thereby ensuring equitable access to solar energy for all District residents.


Spread Joy through the Friendship Place Holiday Gift Drive

A December to Remember - Friendship Place's annual holiday gift donation drive is here!

There are over 400 children of all ages involved in Friendship Place programming, and they could use our help in making this a special holiday season.

From now through December 17th, residents are invited to get a special gift from a child's wish list.

Click on the link below for sign up and drop off details:

Friendship Place's December to Remember


Hypothermia Resources to Keep on Hand

Add These Hotline Numbers To Your Phone - The District’s Hypothermia Alert has already been activated this month and will likely be activated at numerous times throughout the winter season. Hypothermia Alerts are activated when the temperature forecast is 32°F (or below) or when the forecast is 40°F (or below) and the chance of precipitation is 50% or greater.

  • If you see someone experiencing homelessness in need of transportation to an emergency shelter or a safety/wellness check, please call the District's 24-Hour Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093
  • If you see an animal in need or a pet left outside during extreme weather, please call the Humane Rescue Alliance's s Emergency Hotline at 202-723-5730

Residents may sign up to receive direct weather and/or emergency alerts (by email or text) with Alert DC online or by texting "DC" to 411911.


Spotlight on the DC Food Project

An Incredible Ward 3 Non-Profit - In 2018, the DC Food Project was launched by a group of Ward 3 parents with the goal of helping school children and their families access additional food during the school day and over the weekends when school meals are not available to them. This work began as an in-school share table and has since grown into a thriving pantry/food access program serving families across the District. Pictured center is Councilmember Cheh celebrating the DC Food Project's growth with the organization's Ward 3 founders.

To learn more about this wonderful program and to support their efforts to combat hunger, please click here:

The DC Food Project


Reminder - Collect Your Electric Leafblower Rebate

Electrify this Winter - In 2018, the Council passed Councilmember Cheh's "Leaf Blower Regulation Amendment Act" to phase-out the use and sale of gas-powered leaf blowers by January 2022. Not only are gas-powered leaf blowers noisy and disruptive, but they are also exceptionally polluting and harmful to the environment, public health, and local wildlife.

In anticipation of the upcoming deadline, the DC Sustainable Energy Utility has launched a rebate program to replace commercial and residential gas-powered leaf blowers with electric or battery-powered alternatives:

  • $50 rebate for residential equipment
  • $75 rebate for commercial equipment

Rebates will be available through December 31st, 2021.


The Launch of Myrna on Main Street!

Shop Small & Local - The Tenleytown Main Street has launched "Myrna on Main Street" a new video series featuring veteran small business owner Myrna Sislen as she visits the many cornerstone businesses of the Tenleytown neighborhood. This is a wonderful way to celebrate Ward 3's small business community. Click on the video above to watch the premier episode!

Follow the Tenleytown Main Street for more Myrna moments:

  • Instagram: @tenleytownms
  • Twitter: @TenleytownMS
  • Facebook: @TenleytownMainStreet

Ending this Update on a Happy Note:

Fire & Emergency Services' First Ever Gelt Drop

Hanukkah with FEMS - On the last night of Hanukkah, the District's firefighters from Tower 3 hosted its first ever Gelt Drop! Families enjoyed music, latkes, and a Menorah lighting while DC's Bravest dropped chocolate coins from the department's tower ladder.

To all those who celebrated, we hope you enjoyed a joyful, warm, and very happy Hanukkah!


Our Office is Open!

Connect with our staff - While Councilmember Cheh's physical office is closed during the public health emergency, she and her staff are teleworking and will remain accessible for residents.

You may continue to reach us via email or phone through our main line at (202) 724-8062 with legislative ideas, budget requests, and constituent services requests.