Category Archives: Takoma Park Newsletter

Category for original news items as well as Takoma Park Newsletter articles that are copied into as web content.

Library and Community Center Redevelopment Update


In September 2022, the City began preparing for the renovation of the library and community center. Since then, the library has been temporarily relocated to 7505 New Hampshire Ave., solar panels have been removed from the library roof, the library mosaic has been stored, partitions between the library and community center have been erected, interior demolition has been completed, and utilities have been disconnected.

In the coming weeks, prior to the demolition of the library, you may notice less parking availability at the Community Center as contractors periodically visit the site and materials are stored in preparation for the construction of the new building. The impact on parking during this phase of the project, prior to the building demolition, should have a minimal impact on access to the Community Center.

The demolition of the library is pending several final permits and approvals from local permitting authorities, most notably the County’s Department of Permitting Services. All permits and approvals are currently submitted and under review. While the timing of the release of the permits and approvals is subject to each permit authority’s queue, demolition is expected to begin in late March or early April. As the demolition date becomes more certain, notices will be provided to the community at large. Prior to demolition, a construction fence enclosing the entire construction site will be installed; however, the Community Center will remain open, and most of the existing City services will continue.

As a result of the construction, parking at the Community Center will be severely limited for both staff and residents. The City has prioritized parking at the Community Center for residents. Below is a map identifying patron parking at the Community Center during construction. Parking restrictions are expected to take effect about a week prior to demolition and last until the project is complete in Fall 2024.

City staff will park offsite on various private lots and public streets within walking distance of the Community Center. To limit the number of staff vehicles on any single street, City staff have been assigned specific streets and, in some cases, particular blocks to park. These streets include the 100 and 200 blocks of Grant Ave., the 7500 block of Maple Ave., Lee Ave., Sherman Ave., and Darwin Ave. Staff will be parked on public streets from approximately 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday.

There will also be several changes along Maple Ave. to accommodate parking during construction. Immediately in front of the Community Center, adjacent to the bridge and Maple Ave Community Center entrance, parking will be restricted to 15 minutes from 7 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. On the adjacent southbound portion of Maple Ave., approximately three parking spaces will be reserved for City-owned administrative vehicles for the duration of construction. To stay up to date, visit:


A version of this article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Director’s Column: Pi Day


As we begin another month in much of the world, a date is abbreviated as day/month/year. The units get increasingly
larger – it’s logical! It makes sense. But, like our resistance to the metric system, American date abbreviations are not logical, as we typically invert the first two numbers: month/day/year.

Why am I telling you this? Because Pi Day relies on the weird American system of abbreviating dates. March 14 is Pi Day: 3/14 (or 3.14…). There is no April 31, so the rest of the world has to use our irrational system to celebrate Pi Day with us.

Sidebar: This is not exactly an aberration, as America tends to assert/impose its cultural hegemony all the time anyway, but I digress.

Second sidebar: Pi, or π as it’s written in mathematics, expresses the ratio of the circumference of a circle to its diameter. It is an irrational number, meaning it goes on forever, infinitely.

There are two popular themes for observing Pi Day, and they are Math and Pie, so I am combining them both to give you pie charts. They are not a cohesive series, just a reflection of some of the things I’ve been thinking about.

*note: “Indoctrination of a social agenda,” which, judging by the context, I tend to read as, “What if this book inspires my kid to engage in critical thinking that might upset my worldview?”

In total, all of these books represent a little more than one-third (36%) of children’s books published in the United States that year. I think publishers can (and need to) do better.


And, just for fun, some random pie charts for our Library!

Our young readers really love fiction! I also love to see our new adult books circulating so much.

Our staff’s language abilities include Spanish, French, and Amharic!


Have a lovely Pi Day, everyone! Celebrate with whatever form of Pi/pie you enjoy the most.

A version of this article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

A new face in the Recreation Department: Introducing Chris Parker


We are pleased to announce Chris Parker, who joined the Recreation Department in mid-January as the Recreation Manager. He will oversee classes, facilities, special events, and our Community Center front-desk staff. Take a moment to get to know him!

Tell us a little about yourself, your background, and your hobbies.
I was born in Philadelphia, raised on the Eastern Shore, and lived in Baltimore for the past 14 years. My hobbies are traveling and sports. Some of my favorite places to travel to are the Virgin Islands and Canada. My favorite sports are basketball, football, and baseball. I ran track in college. I have a daughter who just turned 4.

What recreation programs were you involved in growing up, and how did they shape who you are now?
I was involved in youth sports, and my coaches taught me about sportsmanship and teamwork. These programs helped me learn how to work with different people and adapt to changing situations.

What are you most excited about regarding your new position?
I am excited to learn about all the classes offered by the Department already, but I am particularly happy to be working with the recreation team and meeting new people around Takoma Park.

What have you enjoyed so far about the City of Takoma Park?
The diversity within the community has been refreshing. Coming from my previous position in Loudoun County, VA, it has been nice to see all the different people that live in Takoma Park and interact with them.

What kind of programs and classes would you like to bring to Takoma Park?
I would eventually like to bring a Track and Field program to Takoma Park.


This article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Circle Woods Restoration Project Coming


Takoma Park is excited to have been the recipient of a grant from PEPCO to perform environmental improvements on the Circle Woods property.

Circle Woods is located in Ward 2 with pedestrian entrances in the 6600 block of Cockerille Avenue and 6700 Poplar Avenue. The property was acquired by the city in 1995 with the goal of preserving the floodplain from development.

Over the years, various stages of work have been done to improve the site, including stabilizing the streambanks and improving stormwater management. This site is noted as a significant resource to our residents and environment as a naturalized floodplain forest and short grass prairie.

Unfortunately, there are a number of non-native invasive weed species present on the site that pose a threat to this natural resource. As stewards of this property, the city intends to remove invasive species, followed by replanting with locally native plants. The ultimate goal is to increase the diversity and abundance of native plants and improve the aesthetic, recreation, and ecosystem value of the site.

The grant funds will be used to facilitate the removal of non-native invasive species, revegetation with locally native herbaceous and woody plants, and add informational signage about the environmental value of the site.

Opportunities for the community to be involved this spring will include site inventory and weed pull. If you are interested in being involved, email  Anna Mische John.


This article was featured in the March 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Director’s Column: Preserving Memories


As we begin another month of meteorological winter, those with aversions to cold (or those who are just “over it” by the time February rolls around) may be searching for indoor entertainment. I like to think that libraries and librarians excel at this. If you want a break from your television, or the judgment of your TBR pile (TBR = “To Be Read,” since acquiring books and actually reading them are sometimes very different hobbies), this may be a good time to think about how you are preserving memories of your family, your cultures and afiliations, or even just your personal narrative.

Inventory: The first step is taking stock.
What media carries your memories? Are the images, text, sound, and film “born digital” (originally created digitally), or are they analog? What sorts of materials are you working with? Some materials you might encounter are: loose paper, film reels and negatives, photographs, scrapbooks, diaries or other bound volumes, leather, fabric, metal (including staples and paperclips), and adhesives (tape, glue, etc.).

Before you take the time to do a lot of research, here are some red flags to look out for that can help you prioritize your memory project.

  • Paper: Paper with signs of mold or mildew should be stored away from your other cherished documents so that it doesn’t spread to unaffected paper while you decide what to do.
  • Film: Does your film smell like vinegar? This can indicate that the acetate carrier is breaking down, and it’s time to figure out the best way to migrate to a digital format. Sidenote: Hopefully no one reading this has any silver nitrate film at home. If your film was recorded after 1950, it’s almost certainly not silver nitrate, but if you have any doubts, it belongs in the freezer until you can consult with a professional. Silver nitrate film can combust and should be kept very cold.
  • Leather: If you are working with a leather-bound volume, check to see if the leather is deteriorating. Rust-colored dust can indicate that the volume has red rot, and it will need care to avoid further damage.
  • External hard drives: If you have been backing up images and data on external drives, check the integrity of the drive occasionally. External hard drives, especially older ones that are not solid-state drives (SSDs) and have moving parts, can break down after a few years. If your drive is acting finicky, it’s time to move it up your project queue, so you don’t lose anything.

Research and Strategize
Devise a plan that is realistic for your time, space, and budget. Now that you know what you are working with and have taken measures to stop any further degradation of your materials, it’s time to do some research on the best way to proceed. Consider how much time you have to work on this, where you can sort through materials and how much space they will take up to organize, and if/what kind of equipment you want to invest in. Digitization, for instance, can be as expensive as rigging a DSLR image capture contraption, or it can be free if you use a PDF capture app with your phone’s camera. Rather than recommending books here, I’m going to suggest some online resources to consult, because there is a ton of great information out there online that’s more navigable than flipping through a large text:

Implement and Maintain
Preserve/migrate and decide on a maintenance schedule. Preservation is not a one-and-done, unfortunately. Once you have carried out your strategy and stabilized or migrated your materials, you’ll want to check in on them periodically – remember the janky external hard drives? Equipment failures and data degradation can happen without at least some minimal supervision. Set reminders in your paper or online calendars to check in on your memories at least once a year.

Oh, and please don’t store the memories you love in basements, garages, attics, or even on floors. I have seen sad things happen to amazing materials because a temporary floor location flooded, or an animal got to it more easily.

I’ll also take a moment here to promote Historic Takoma, Inc. as a wonderful resource for local history. If you have questions about Takoma Park’s historical record – maps, lore, genealogy, etc. – they are fantastic, and their reading room has open hours in a beautiful historic building on Carroll Avenue. For more information about their schedule and how to contact them, their website is here:


This article was featured in the February 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Let’s Get Creative with Takoma Park Recreation: Arts, Crafts, and More!


Winter 2023 is full of opportunities for residents of all ages to get creative. Classes and workshops may take place daytime and evening on different days of the week and some on weekends, so you can choose the activity that’s the best fit for you and your family. Tots ages 3-5 can enjoy the ABCs of Art on Saturday afternoons. Youth ages 5-12 have a variety of ceramics classes: Clay for Kids, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Friday afternoons with artist/instructor Caroline Mackinnon. Teens ages 13-17 will have fun learning to draw using various media on Tuesday afternoons with artist/instructor Katie Del Kaufman. Adults ages 16+ can select from three ceramics offerings: Clay in the Studio on Wednesday afternoons, Hand Building & Sculpture on Monday mornings, and wheel Throwing on Tuesday evenings. Try your hand at collage on Tuesday mornings; participate in a Saturday afternoon Crafting Polymer Jewelry workshop; enjoy the Drawing class session on Thursday evenings; join the popular 2-day (Saturday & Sunday) Encaustic Collage and Printmaking workshop; and finally engage in Painting Exploration, a six-week session on Fridays mornings. Last but not least, adults ages 55+ can enjoy a fabulous Arts & Crafts series of Monday morning workshops, each class will be a different art or craft, but February 13th will be a Valentine’s special craft. These workshops are taught by artist/instructor Alice Sims who has been teaching a variety of painting, ceramics, and crafts classes for all ages for the Recreation Department for 20 years!

For class descriptions, dates, times, and cost for any of these and other activities, go to the Takoma Park Recreation microsite. To register for classes, click on ActiveNet. Don’t forget about our Scholarship program providing city residents who qualify an opportunity to apply for a lesser fee than the published amounts. For more information and to apply, click on “Recreation Scholarships”.

As always, you are welcome to contact the Recreation Department at 301-891-7290 for information.


This article was featured in the February 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

New Window Regulations Now in Effect


Last month, new regulations were enacted that allows tenants to request window guards be installed in their apartment at no cost. A tenant can request a window guard for any window if it meets the following criteria:

  • It is not a ground  floor or basement window
  • The window does not contain an air conditioning unit that is bolted to the window with gaps of less than 4 inches
  • The window can be opened greater than 4 inches
  • The window is not a means of escape in the case of fire or another emergency

When you request a window guard, the landlord has 14 days to install the guard. A guard can be any combination of bars or window stoppers as long as it can securely ensure that an opening of greater than 4 inches is not possible. You can find out more by going online to the Window Guard Regulation webpage. The Housing Division is also available to answer any questions or assist. You can reach the Division through phone by calling 301-891-7222 or by emailing the Housing Division.


This article was featured in the February 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Body Positivity and Acceptance in the Face of January


It’s that time of year when you turn on a TV, radio, or streaming service to hear someone try to sell you a gym membership,
diet plan, or supplement. January is a vulnerable month. We get a “reset,” but what can we reasonably expect to change? And why do we so often expect it to be our bodies?

I know that a single article cannot overpower the pervasive messaging of diet culture, but let this be one place where someone
says that you don’t have to change your body or aspire to change it because it belongs to you, and you are enough.

The late, great Carrie Fisher once said, “My body is my brain bag, it hauls me around to those places & in front of faces where there’s something to say or see.”** Allow me to invite you to haul your brain bag to the Library in 2023 to check out some materials that eschew diet culture, have positive messaging, and generally resist exploiting our insecurities.


Reconciling with corporeality:
I saw a tweet the other day where someone said, “How do I teach my body that my fight or flight response is supposed to be for life or death situations, not answering an email,” and it hit home. These books may help find ways to be more comfortable in your body and navigate the world from within it.

  • Your Body Is Not an Apology, by Sonya Renee Taylor is a book about accepting our physical selves as a way to address social inequality.
  • The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma, by Bessel van der Kolk, MD reminds the reader that trauma is not what happens to you; it’s how your body reacts to it.
  • Reclaiming Body Trust: A Path to Healing & Liberation, by Hilary Kinavey, teaches us why and how to develop trust in our bodies, despite the messaging we receive from the outside world.
  • The Myth of Normal: Trauma, Illness, & Healing in a Toxic Culture, by Gabor Maté, MD – Dr. Maté is not without his critics or controversy, but the way he connects how the body feels with our emotional state is compelling.

Self-care in a world that has endless demands of you:

  • Rest Is Resistance: A Manifesto, by Tricia Hersey – this book is from the Nap Bishop herself. It’s also worth following the Nap Ministry on social media if you benefit from regular reminders to take a break. **raises hand**
  • Notes on a Nervous Planet, by Matt Haig is a collection of thoughts about modern life by someone who has publicly struggled with mental illness and has found resourceful ways to cope.

If you have a complicated relationship with the concept of “resilience:”

  • Burnout: The Secret to Unlocking the Stress Cycle, by Emily and Amelia Nagoski, because it’s easier to prevent burnout than recover from it.
  • You Are Your Best Thing: Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience, by Tarana Burke and Brené Brown teams up two leaders in critical thinking about how we move through the world.

Fiction that will hopefully leave you feeling better than when you started it:

  • Sourdough, by Robin Sloan, is such a weird and wonderful book. I still haven’t decided if it’s magical realism or fantasy.
  • The Martian, by Andy Weir, defies sci-fi stereotypes by ending on a high note. If you haven’t read this modern classic already, now is the perfect time.
  • A Princess in Theory, by Alyssa Cole, has everything I want in a romance novel: healthy skepticism, healthy boundaries, escapism, and more books in the series.




This article was featured in the January 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Class Spotlight: Teen Fitness with Instructor Greg Harris


1. Tell us about your background and how you got into the personal training field.
As someone who has been competing since the age of 6, I have a love for fitness and all things related. While trying to achieve the highest level in which I was capable, I studied and researched many subjects in the fitness field including training, nutrition, and movement mechanics to name a few. As my basketball career was coming to an end, I decided to get into the field of personal training. Personal training is a way to help others reach their fitness, athletic, and wellness goals while keeping myself in shape as well.

2. How many years have you been a personal trainer and what age groups do you work with besides teens?
I have been a licensed personal trainer for 14 years. I work with kids from 6 years old up to Seniors. My oldest client is 86 years old. While I like working with the teens, I love working with the Seniors because I feel they recapture some of the energy and abilities they had in their prime athletic years.

3. Why do you think it is important for teens to be involved with fitness?
I think it is important for teens to be involved in fitness because you can establish a baseline fitness and establish healthy habits that will stay with you for a lifetime. You can learn to manage stress and regulate your emotions with exercise. It is also a great way to engage with others and form healthy relationships.

4. What do you hope your students will take away from participating in your class?
I want my students to learn the proper movement mechanics. If they learn the proper mechanics to some fundamental exercises, they can build their strength fast, efficiently, and safely. Once you know how to do the fundamentals correctly, it’s almost impossible not to be good.

5. What do students need to bring with them when they register for your class?
This is a great class for teens to participate in because there are only a few things a student needs to bring to class. To participate in teen fitness, you should bring a water bottle, a towel, and a good attitude.

6. Can you take us through a Teen Fitness Class?
Our classes start with some light cardio and dynamic movements. A lot of the teens that participate in the class want to play a sport for their school, so I emphasize the importance of a good cardio routine. Then I model the proper form for the intended exercise. We cover exercises that involve the four fundamental movement patterns which are: Push, Pull, Squat and Hinge. Once we assess and work on those movements we transition to introducing exercises to progress their abilities and correct their deficiencies. I try to incorporate drills that the class will enjoy and benefit from after assessing their strengths and areas of growth. I’ve found that enjoyable exercises with upbeat music make sixty minutes seem like ten minutes.



This article was featured in the January 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.

Flu (Influenzas) and COVID Updates

There has been a recent concern for rises in fu and COVID cases across the United States and an increased number of hospitalizations. Flu cases are very high in 45 of the 50 states, but new COVID cases are still considered low in a majority of states based on new cases per 100,000 people. Maryland is considered a very high state along with some of our neighboring states for flu cases, but low for COVID with 91% of the state’s population vaccinated for COVID.

People with the flu and COVID-19 at the same time can have more severe disease than people with either flu or COVID-19 alone. Anyone who feels sick should stay home and get tested. The flu and COVID share many of the same symptoms even though they are two separate contagious respiratory illnesses. Common symptoms

  • Fever or feeling feverish/having chills
  • Cough
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Sore throat
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Muscle pain or body aches
  • Headache
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea (more frequent in children with flu, but can occur at any age with COVID-19)
  • Change in or loss of taste or smell, although this is more frequent with COVID-19.

As of December 7, 2022, the 7-day average of weekly new COVID cases (65,569) increased by 49.6% compared with the previous 7-day average (43,825). The new variants are very contagious compared to the original COVID virus.

Winter weather will keep many of us inside and closer together. Our best defense to prevent serious illness and hospitalization from the flu or COVID is to get vaccinated, and practice good hygiene by washing hands, using sanitizer, and coughing into your sleeve. Talk with your health provider if you have questions and seek immediate medical help if you begin to suffer from severe breathing difficulties.

Montgomery County: County officials recommend precautionary measures such as wearing masks to slow transmission, protect the most vulnerable populations, and keep hospitalizations down as COVID-19 cases rise in the region. County cases have steadily risen, doubling since the recent low on November 28. Free home COVID-19 test kits are now available for every household.


This article was featured in the January 2023 Newsletter. Visit the Takoma Park Newsletter webpage to see the full list of past newsletters.