We Choose Cheverly: Meet Our Leaders: Dave and Casey Kneipp

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Dave and Casey

From our “We Choose Cheverly” writer Chase O’Brien: As a mother of three small boys, there are many things that I appreciate about living in Cheverly. Something that ranks very high on my list is Halloween. October is the only time of the year when my boys WANT to walk to school EVERY single day. Why? Because there is a house on the corner of 63rd and Inwood that has a digital clock displaying the # of days until Halloween. Even though they can count backwards or just ask me, “How many more days until Halloween?” there is something very special about seeing a number flashing in red lights on this clock. Perhaps part of the reason is that they know the front yard of this house will be transformed into the “Cheverly Graveyard” on Halloween night. My boys and their buddies love to predict what will be in this particular graveyard since it changes every Halloween. For those of you who don’t know what I am talking about, you MUST check it out this year. But be prepared, hoards of people congregate at this incredible display. You will not be disappointed!

Why am I writing about Halloween in a “Meet Your Neighbor” post? Because I want you to meet your neighbors who make Cheverly the place we choose to live, not just on Halloween, but every day: Dave and Casey Kneipp.

Dave grew up in College park but wasn’t familiar with Cheverly. After getting married, while renting a home in Hyattsville, he and Casey began looking for a place to call home. Thanks to his realtor friend, they found Cheverly almost 30 years ago.

While sitting in my living room, I asked Dave and Casey how Cheverly has changed since they’ve been here. Dave mentioned the composition, and Casey, laughing, said, “We were the young couple on our street and now we are the old ones.” I have been here only 10 years, yet I know that both Dave and Casey are extremely involved citizens who dedicate a lot of time and energy to making Cheverly a place that people want to live. If I listed all of the examples, this blog entry would never end. So let me just talk about a subject that is near and dear to my heart: Cheverly United Methodist Church. Casey and Dave are not even members of they church yet they do so much to support it. Read here to find out about all that Casey does for the church’s annual fundraiser. Next time you drive down Forest, check out the raised garden by the church. Guess who built that? Yes, you got it! Ann Caldwell, co-founder of Cheverly’s STEM program, approached Dave and Casey (both are Master Gardeners) to help them with a garden for their program. And of course Dave and Casey came through.   And next time you hear the beautiful chimes from the church, you can thank Dave! Seriously! Back in 2006, Dave noticed that the chimes were getting sloppy. So rather than making the observation and just moving on like many of us would do, he took action. With the help of Bud Gardenhour and Oliver Smith, they converted the old analog chimes into a digital chimes program. Since December 25, 2006 the chimes run every day of the week from 10 AM – 7 PM.  In December, from the 1st Sunday in Advent through Christmas Day, pay close attention! You will hear the chimes play the carols ‘Joy to the World’, ‘Hark the Herald Angel Sing’, and ‘Silent Night, Holy Night’ which run at 10 AM, 2 PM, and 6 PM.

Without further adieu: meet your neighbors: Dave and Casey Kneipp

How long have you lived in Cheverly? We moved into our home in 1987. We purchased our home from the original owner’s son, who raised his family in the house he grew up in.

Why do you “choose” Cheverly? It is difficult to imagine living anywhere else.

Tell us about the Cheverly Garden Club. We are both very active members of the Garden Club. The Cheverly Garden Club was established in 1954 and the club is affiliated with National Capital Area Garden Clubs, Inc. We consider ourselves down-to-earth, dirt under the nails group. We tour gardens in Cheverly and around the region for enjoyment, education, and inspiration. We share plants and information.  (Note: Dave is currently the Vice- President of the Cheverly Garden Club)

Why are you so committed to the Garden Club and how does this organization impact our community?  When the club was formed over 60 years ago its original Mission statement was “The purpose of this club shall be to encourage and advance the fine art of gardening and landscaping; the study of horticulture and conservation; and the beatification of our environs.” That is still an accurate description of what we aim to accomplish today. The garden club is part of a larger coalition of town organizations called the Cheverly Conservation Alliance, including: Cheverly Green Infrastructure Committee, Progressive Cheverly, and Friends of Lower Beaver Dam Creek. We are always looking for ways to enhance Cheverly.

We hold an annual plant sale at the Cheverly Town Park pavilion on the Saturday before Mother’s Day. The plant sale has become a Cheverly event unto itself. In addition to getting a great deal on plants; you can get a pastry, a cup of coffee, or a mimosa! Neighbors come and learn about what plants grow best in Cheverly. This year we offered tool sharpening for the first time and that was a big hit. Most of the plants come from the gardens of club members; we offer plants that grow well in the clay soil and shady gardens of this area.

The club participates in service projects throughout the year such as creating floral arrangements for homebound Cheverly residents, maintaining the memorial garden at the CUMC, as well as funding beautification projects in town. With funds raised from the plant sale the club makes donations to local organizations, this last year the club funded plants for the Cheverly Day yarn bombing project and flower arrangement prizes for the CHV Prom. The club offers grants to town residents and employees of up to $500 for lifelong learners interested in attending a credit or non-credit course related to gardening, landscape design, environmental issues, floral design, or horticulture.

In 2007 the Garden Club installed the first Blue Star Memorial in Prince Georges County, Maryland right here in Cheverly in the green space at Cheverly Ave and Columbia Park Rd.

We have met great people through the Garden Club. Cheverly has so many organizations that enable folks to gather with neighbors and spend quality time learning from each other, helping each other and in the end making Cheverly a wonderful neighborhood.

If someone wants to join and or support the Garden Club, what does he/she need to do?  We welcome new members. The club meets on the third Monday of the month from September through May at the Cheverly United Methodist Church at 7:00 PM. Meetings are held in the 4th floor Parlor Room and guest speakers talk about garden related topics. Dues are $15 per year. For more information, e-mail the club at cheverlygardenclub@verizon.net.

What other Cheverly groups are you part of?  In the near 30 years we have lived here we have been members of many Cheverly organizations:

Cheverly Green Infrastructure Committee

Cheverly Tree Commission

Cheverly Conservation Alliance

Cheverly Garden Club

Cheverly Community Vegetable Gardens

Cheverly Day Committee

Boy Scout Troop 716

Magruder Spring Restoration Committee

Progressive Cheverly

Election Judges

Cheverly Hosts Informal Pot Luck Suppers (CHIPS)

Friends of Lower Beaver Dam Creek

St Ambrose Catholic Church Men’s Club

Cheverly CERT (Community Emergency Response Team)

Board of Trustees for the Cheverly United Methodist Church

Cheverly United Methodist Church Auction Committee

Cheverly United Methodist Church Men’s Club

Cheverly American Legion Auxiliary Unit 108

Sons of American Legion Cheverly Squadron 108

Cheverly Pool and Racquet Club

The Cheverly Environmental Committee

Sea Explorer (Scout) Ship 716

Cheverly History Club

There are so many great organizations in Cheverly, something for everyone.

How long have you all been doing the “Cheverly Graveyard?” How do you pick the theme each year?  Casey is the driving force behind Halloween. Dave is technical advisor and labor. Casey started doing it in college. As a typical college student, she could not afford to buy candy so she would send her housemates out to trick or treat and then hand that candy out to kids. Originally all the decorations were DIY and homemade. Now there are whole stores and websites dedicated to Halloween! We try to change up the theme so we are doing something a little different every year. We take inspiration from popular movies or TV shows. We invite older kids and adults to help “haunt” the graveyard. We have so much fun doing it and it is such a blast to see how excited the kids get. A few years ago we had our first of many second-generation trick or treaters. Parents who bring their kids tell us with great glee “I used to come here when I was a kid!” The hardest part of it all is putting it away in an organized fashion, so we can find what we want to use next year. We have the creepiest closets in Cheverly.

Halloween

Best,

Chase O’Brien

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Chase O’Brien along with her husband, Ian, moved to Cheverly in 2004. At that time, they had no idea that they had found a hidden gem.  They now have three boys; Findley 7, Walker 5, and Grayson 2. Chase and Ian are members at Cheverly United Methodist Church where they serve in various roles, members at the Cheverly Pool, coaches with the Girls and Boy Club and Chase is the PTA President at Spellman Elementary.

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