Photo by PoPville flickr user  p a b l o r a w p h o t o . c o m

“Dear PoPville,

Recently moved to Petworth from downtown and we love it here. Question to you is about raccoons in the neighborhood. We have had two instances where they have torn apart our trash, and now are tearing apart the insulation under our neighbors deck. Is this a common issue in this area? Do you know if the city will trap and relocate/release them to a park or another less urban space?”

pain sculpture

“Dear PoPville,

I ordered a new iphone from Verizon, but the FedEx driver claims that he accidentally delivered it to We R Wireless, a store in Adams Morgan that sells Verizon products (but is not owned by Verizon). When the FedEx driver went to the store to try and retrieve the package, he was told that any phones received had already been taken out of the boxes and added to the inventory. However, the people I have spoke with at We R Wireless now insist that they have checked their inventory for the phone and that no phone with that device number was ever at the store. The way I see it, either the driver is lying about having delivered it to the store in the first place, or the store is lying about not having the phone. When I tracked the package online, it says that the phone was signed for by C. Colbert, which is the name of the Assistant Manager of We R Wireless, so I am guessing that it is the store who is lying, and not the driver.

I called We R Wireless to see if they found the phone based on the device number. The person I spoke with claims that they did inventory and the phone was not there, and that he does not believe they ever had it. I told him how is that possible, since C. Colbert, who it turns out is an Assistant Manager at We R Wireless, signed for the package. He responded that FedEx doesn’t actually get their signatures, they just put the name of the Assistant Manager. So, in sum, We R Wireless claims they never had the phone.

Would love to get some thoughts on any recourse I might have!”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Dave Kleinschmidt

“Dear PoPville,

I’m dealing with some landlord issues and thought this could be a good crowdsourcing question:

In general, how much do DC renters/readers think that features add a premium to rental. In other words, two apartments being otherwise equal, what would be the rental difference between the two if one of the units had the following features:

Central air and heat (as opposed to window units and radiators)
Ceiling Fans (as opposed to exposed-bulb fixtures)
Garbage disposal
updated bathroom with vanity (as opposed to old bathroom with no vanity, just sink hanging on the wall)
security system”

First note
1st note received

Ed. Note: I’m sure Anita means well but I’ve never heard of anything like this before. Though, when I first moved to Petworth I was occasionally asked (in person) to join in some Church services (I’m Jewish) so I politely declined and I don’t feel like anyone was offended. It actually felt quite neighborly and not aggressive at all and when I declined my wishes were respected. But this is a whole different level.

“Dear PoPville,

I have been getting these funny (at first) but now creepy notes from an evangelical.

Our house seems to be the only one getting targeted since neighbors haven’t seen anything like this. Are other people in Petworth are being targeted?

At the very least, the three notes are pretty entertaining to read but they’re starting to freak out my wife. Especially since she’s addressing us by name and we’ve never met.

We are not Buddhists and i’m not sure where she got that idea. My wife and I, however, are from India hence ‘boota’ and the Cosby reference to ‘minorateas'”

Second note
2nd note received

Third note
3rd note received

Photo by PoPville flickr user Kevin Wolf

“Dear PoPville,

A couple of nights ago I was at the pharmacy in my neighborhood buying milk because of the snowcalypse that was coming :). Grabbed the milk and noticed 2 young men in the aisle, One of them put a couple of bottles in his overall, I thought he wanted to have his hands free to carry more stuff to the counter. I went around the aisle and when I was on the other side I saw the guy with the bottles leaving the store, no alarm sound or anything. The store guard usually stands between the milk/juice aisle and the entrance but he/she wasn’t there, and then I saw the guard walking and talking to the other young man in the back of the store as if they were looking for something. I assume, this guy was distracting the guard while the other one was leaving.

Due to some life experiences, I didn’t mention this to anybody. I don’t know the guys, but there’s no reason for me to put my life in potential risk just to save the cost of a couple of bottles to a pharmacy chain. I wonder what PoPville thinks about it?”


“Dear PoPville,

With freezing temps nightly, the many homeless on our DC streets need our help. Mayor Browser speaks of addressing this growing issue as one of immense importance. And yet, in the shadow of the Watergate bldgs there are growing encampments under and around the Whiteshurst freeway.

Yes, these burgeoning camps are an unwelcome blight for all entering DC from Va on the Roosevelt bridge. But, more importantly they showcase how some in our prosperous, growing city are now stuck in an economic downward spiral.

As I was photographing one encampment I was able to talk to a father and his female companion along with his grown son and a female friend. I told them I’d send these photographs to ms. Bowser to alert her to their situation.

I’m hopeful we can help some of those on the streets of DC these cold winter nights as more of us send our concerns to the mayor’s office.

Paul Di Vito”

Ed. Note: From Department of Human Services:

“The District of Columbia is committed to protecting the homeless from extreme weather injury by meeting the demand for shelter during hypothermia (not enough heat) and hyperthermia (too much heat) seasons.

The District’s Winter Plan for homeless services went into effect on November 1. When the temperature falls below 32° Fahrenheit between November 1 and March 31, all people who are homeless must be housed.

You can help. Call the Shelter Hotline when you see a person who is homeless who may be impacted by extreme temperatures.


The Shelter Hotline is operated by the United Planning Organization (UPO). You can reach the hotline in four ways:

(202) 399-7093
1 (800) 535-7252 (for toll-free calls from a pay phone)


Families seeking emergency shelter should go to the Virginia Williams Family Resource Center at 920 Rhode Island Avenue, NE. The shelter operates between the hours of 8 am and 3:30 pm, Monday through Friday (except for holidays and days on which the District government is closed). After 3:30 pm and on weekends, during extrene temperature alerts, families should call the Shelter Hotline for transportation to the DC General family shelter or other available family shelter.

Some of the severe weather shelters operate from 7 pm to 7 am during extreme temperature alerts only.

Seasonal Shelters

Other single adult hypothermia and hyperthermia beds will also be available 7 pm to 7 am. These shelters open at the time of the first alert of the season and remain open every day of the extreme temperature season. These are seasonal shelters.

Overflow single adult shelters operate only when all other shelters are near capacity.”

UPDATE from the Mayor’s Office:

“Mayor Muriel Bowser is activating the city’s Cold Emergency Plan, to take effect this evening and through the early morning hours of Friday, January 9, in anticipation of frigid weather over the coming days. Officials at the District’s Homeland Security and Emergency Management Agency (HSEMA) have informed the Mayor that conditions exist that require the plan to be activated at 9:00 pm this evening. A Cold Emergency Alert is issued whenever the actual or forecasted temperature, including the wind chill factor, falls to 15˚F or to 20˚F with precipitation.

HSEMA, the Department of Human Services (DHS) and other city agencies have determined that the weather as forecast presents a danger to people out in the cold. By activating the Cold Emergency Plan, Mayor Bowser authorizes the District to implement additional measures beyond traditional sheltering, such as warming sites, to keep residents who are homeless warm and safe.

“Tonight and tomorrow we are expecting temperatures to drop to as low as the mid-teens. Temperatures that cold can be dangerous for many of our friends and neighbors, including seniors, the homeless and less fortunate residents who may lack adequate heating or clothing. The District has the resources to keep our residents safe and secure. Activating our Cold Emergency Plan allows the city government to deliver vital services to residents when and where they need it most,” said Mayor Bowser.

Individuals who are homeless should request transportation to a shelter or warming site by calling the Shelter Hotline at 202-399-7093, 211 or 311, or toll free from a payphone at 1-800-535-7252.

The general public may request assistance for individuals who are homeless by contacting the Shelter Hotline or emailing uposh@upo.org. An emailed report should include the time when the person was seen, their specific location, and a description of the person’s appearance.”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Jim Havard

“Dear PoPville,

My apartment building was affected by the power outage this morning. First time I’ve lost power in 10 years! I was shocked to find that there was no emergency lighting of any sort in the building – no lighted exit signs, absolutely pitch dark in the stairwells, fire alarm lights looked dead, etc. Basically, if you did not have a flash light (or a phone with a flash light), you could not possibly have exited the building. Did some searching online, and couldn’t find anything that would require emergency exit lighting for a large residential building in DC. How can that be?! Am I missing something?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user StreetsofWashington

“Dear PoPville,

I’ve got early dinner plans (snagged Rose’s reservations!), which leave time for dancing and revelry afterwards. I’ve also got a 20 month old son at home, a pregnant wife, and no appetite for insanity (e.g. I don’t stay out ’till 4 anymore). Is it foolish to think we could find ourselves out dancing without total mayhem, $80 covers, etc?”

Photo by PoPville flickr user Eric P.

“Dear PoPville,

Apparently, some creep has been filming women on the Metro and posting the videos on a porn site. This seems like the sort of thing that people in the PoPville community (and, the larger DC community) probably ought to know about; but, I don’t have any information (or any way to get information) about the person doing it. I know there have been previous posts in the forums (under Public Safety) about creeps photographic women in the Metro system.

The link is to the profile page of the guy (at least, I assume it’s a guy since the profile claims it is) who posted the videos. XHamster, in case you haven’t heard of it, is basically a YouTube clone for porn. So, the content on the site is posted by users. I ran across one of these videos when it popped up in a totally unrelated search; and, I probably wouldn’t have even noticed it were it not for the distinctive colors of Metro seats. I watched enough to confirm that it definitely was Metro, not some other similar appearing system – the map is a dead giveaway; and, it showed the Silver Line, meaning that the video is recent – and clicked through to the user who posted it. I figured either it was posted by the person who took the video or someone who found it elsewhere online. If the latter, there’s not so much that could be done; but, as it turns out, this person has like a dozen videos that are easily identifiable as filmed on Metro trains and, I think, none from anywhere else. So, this guy is probably the person who filmed them.

Anyway, they appear to be smartphone videos of young women – usually wearing shorts or skirts – who are unaware that they are being filmed, often taken from low angle. Not technically explicit – and, due to the obnoxious rulings earlier this fall in Texas and DC, almost certainly not illegal, unfortunately – but, certainly creepy. To be clear, I have no fundamental issue with pornography (obviously); but, that’s premised on the consent of anyone being filmed, which clearly seems to be lacking here.”


“Dear PoPville,

Approximately a week ago Verizon installed this FIOS related travesty in an alley in Bloomingdale. The bundle of wires is sitting on the ground and the wires are zip tied to a neighbor’s fence. Note that the wires don’t even travel down the pole; rather they hang straight down from the cross wires and attach to a fence. Has anyone else seen anything like this I’m hoping it is temporary and they will come back to clean up as it is sloppy and also could be easily vandalized / damaged.”