Photo by PoPville flickr user Victoria Pickering

“Dear PoPville:

Saturday evening just before dark, something scared the bejeesus out of my cat, and he came barreling in from the walled garden behind our townhouse. I looked out and noticed two 20-something men looking down from the roof of my neighbor’s house. One of them spotted me and motioned for for me to be quiet. Hinkey.

I dialed my neighbor first (no answer) and then called 911 while my partner went to check out the situation. He saw a couple guys who looked similar to the ones on the roof (buzz cuts, really dirty hands) and followed them as they circled the block and then went down the alley that runs behind our houses. When he confronted them (brave) and asked what they were doing, they replied that they were “freerunning” which I later learned was a form of Parkour. Apparently, they play a game of hide-and-seek on rooftops and in alleys.

Such a bad idea. I live just a few houses from Homeland Secretary Jeh Johnson, who has a 24-hour security detail. Of course, there are dozens of agents on similar details all around the neighborhood. In this case, the group got a minor lecture from a 50-something couple, but I shudder to think what the outcome would have been had they decided to climb up onto the secretary’s roof. My hunch is that an arrest or beat-down by the agents would have been the best possible outcome.

The police who responded (after the kids had bolted) said that freerunning is a thing. If you know someone who is taking part, they would be well advised to keep it at street level and off of private property.”


“Dear PoPville,

I’m hoping my fellow readers could weigh in on something I’m curious about. I walk past a house on 10th St. NW between M and N almost every day while walking my dog. I’ve watched this total gut rehab since just after it started. I know you’ve covered this house on the site previously, but I’d like to go into further detail about why they’re building it the way they are. When they first started work the entire structure was knocked down except the facade. There was little-to-no historic value and certainly no aesthetic value in the facade, so I’m wondering if they just kept it because they were required to by historic district rules (if there are any) or because they got tax breaks for doing so. If the builder is getting tax breaks for keeping it I have a serious issue with that. As you can see from my photos below, they completely removed a series of layers and are now putting up brand new siding. Coupled with the new windows there is literally not one single remaining item from the original facade except the shape of it. Obviously all this worked needed to be done, and I’m 100% in favor of new developments, I’m just wondering why anyone would do this. Would love some input, and also curious if there’s a way to find out what tax breaks the developer is getting, if anything, out of this deal. Thanks!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

The owners of the house next door do not maintain it at all. In particular, when there are heavy rain, they let their basement get flooded and do not do anything about it. The sitting water is leaking into our house. We have cleaned their drain for them, talked to them, but it serves no purpose. We now have mold in our house.

Does anyone know how to handle this? Do we file a complaint? With whom? Do we talk to a lawyer? Specific recommendations welcome! We moved out of the country three days ago and dialogue, which has never worked, is not really an option any more!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jennifer

“Dear PoPville,

I live in Columbia Heights and I’m dealing with a rodent problem in the alley behind my house. I even saw one enter my car’s engine which could mean they are nesting in there and that could cause not only damage to my car, but affect my health.

My upstairs neighbors have reported it to 311 and the rat abatement guy came out however he said they can’t get rid of the nests that are on private property without the owner’s permission and our neighbors are denying them entry.

What can I do?? Help!!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Julian Ortiz

“Dear PoPville,

I have had a mild street harasser (typical cat caller… But he’s now started to follow me home.). I have filed a police report but now I’m freaked out he knows where I live. I have an alarm system but I’m hoping for a recommendation for good quality video camera to ensure he’s not coming around my home. Would the readers be able to recommend a camera/system that would give high quality imaging? Trying to not over react but I’m home alone with my 4 year old a lot while my husband travels and I’m pretty nervous now.”


“Dear PoPville,

This morning my girlfriend was driving to work and a cab (Cab #J722) stopped short in front of her to drop his passengers off. I think it was a ABC cab but it could have been Luxury also, I noticed they both use the same red with grey siding coloration. [Ed. Note: Red and Grey is a city wide designation for all companies.] His brake lights were out and she almost rear ended him. When she pulled around him she very calmly and politely informed him that his break lights were out he responded very aggressively with “leave me the f*ck alone you stupid bitch.” The driver was an older overweight african american man with gray hair. She was left very upset and shaken from the experience. Like I said I am not sure about the company but I am sure about the cab #. When I called the companies to file a complaint, neither were interested in hearing anything I had to say so I thought my best course of action was turning to the PoPville community to at the very least inform them about this cab driver and to be weary of him. Hopefully the company takes note of the post and if they don’t reprimand the driver, at the very least they could make him fix his brake lights.”

Ed. Note: You can also file a complaint with the DC Taxi Commission.

Photo by PoPville flickr user Clif Burns

“Dear PoPville,

I would like to do some canning this weekend and am wondering if readers have any advice for me on which farms might offer deals on veggies and fruit? In the past, I’ve been able to buy a flat of peaches or a box of tomatoes that are slightly bruised/overripe/etc for much much cheaper than at the farmers market, but my go to source moved away. Any suggestions?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Erin

“Dear PoPville,

My boyfriend and I recently received notice from our landlord that our large, lovely patio, the sole reason we decided to rent the unit, will be undergoing 18+ weeks of construction to repair brick damage from the DC earthquake a few years back. We can’t go out on the patio for the entire 18 weeks, and will need to leave our blinds closed due to dust and falling brick risk. We recently moved into the building, so are very frustrated none of this was shared with us prior to moving in: we wouldn’t have signed a lease if we knew we’d be living in a construction zone for 4-5 months so soon after moving.

We think we are entitled to a rent reduction to make up for the patio loss, noise, and dust we’ll be experiencing – we determined the price per square foot we pay for the patio, and want it removed from our rent. Do we have any legal rights to ask for this financial concession? We’ve emailed the DC Office of Tenant Advocacy but have yet to hear back. Has anyone else out there had a similar experience? Thank you for any advice!”