04/04/14 2:15pm

curb_garden

Grassy area between sidewalk and street:

“What am I allowed to plant, or not plant, in the grassy area in front of my house between the sidewalk and street. In the summer it is more like a weed-filled-crab grassy area. I would like remove the grass and plant anything that is low maintenance.”

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04/03/14 2:15pm

university_classes_dc
Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Taking university classes?

“I’m interested in taking a class at one of the local universities, just for fun. No degree or job training or any other purpose. I used to live in Los Angeles and UCLA had this great program called UCLA Extension. Classes were in the $200-$300 range. I was looking at the “non-degree” offerings from GW and Georgetown, and they appear to charge the same as they do full-time enrolled students, which is around $1100 per credit. I’m a GW alumna, but that didn’t seem to make a difference. Does anyone know of any similar programs at any of the DC universities? UCLA Extension is a completely different business with a completely different website than UCLA, so it may (hopefully) be that I’m just looking in the wrong place.”

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04/02/14 2:15pm

DSC_0024
Photo by PoPville flickr user kc.corcoran

Volunteers needed for Columbia Heights Community Marketplace- starting April 12!

“Calling All Prospective Volunteers!

Want to meet new friends and help make healthy food available to everyone in the Columbia Heights community? Then come join us as a volunteer for the 2014 Columbia Heights Community Marketplace season!

As we gear up for the opening of market season, we are looking for new volunteers to help us run the farmers market each Saturday. Market volunteers spend the majority of their time helping to administer our matching dollars program for recipients of SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), WIC, and other federal nutrition programs. The program allows us to match spending of federal nutrition programs up to $10, so that when a person spends $10 of their benefit, they receive an additional $10 to spend. This is beneficial both for the customer and for the vendors at the market. Additional volunteer responsibilities include set up and tear down, conducting customer surveys, helping vendors staff stalls, conducting community outreach, and other miscellaneous tasks. Volunteers are asked to commit to 1 or more 3 hour shifts, either 8 am-11 am or 11 am- 2 pm, per month. We are especially in need of *fluent* Spanish speaking volunteers.

If you have an additional specialized skill to offer that doesn’t fit in the above, such as fundraising or marketing, also let us know; there are many other ways to get involved.

Interested volunteers are invited to our pre-season training session on Sunday, April 6 at 5 pm at the Park Triangle Apartments Community Room (2nd Floor), 1375 Kenyon St NW.

This will include a general information session about the market as well as a brief orientation about volunteer duties, and will last around an hour. Snacks and drinks will be provided. If you are interested in attending, please send your RSVP to volunteers@chfestivus.org.”

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04/01/14 2:15pm

4606794008_03543ede2c_z
Photo by PoPville flickr user ivan | sciupac

Mint’s “Family” Policy:

“What’s up with Mint Gym’s new “family” policy that only allows married couples to qualify (see: http://www.mintdc.com/home/programs/family-memberships/)? Here’s the explanation given on the website:”MINT is welcoming of all varieties of families and loving relationships and does not wish to define the term ‘family’…However, the process of applying for the discounted ‘family’ membership requires that the process be fair and definitive, free of subjective judgement. The requirement of a ‘marriage license’ provides one single, factual, legal and consistent method for verifying discount eligibility.”
Huh? Is it 2014? Are we still living in DC? There’s no other way to document one’s “family” than a marriage license?? Neighbors, stand up for ALL families and encourage Mint to change their policy: https://www.formstack.com/forms/?1655979-7qXIruWkvL”

A reader responds:

“Unless you are expecting Mint to allow discounts for children, then I’m not sure I see the problem. The business should be able to provide some qualification as people will take advantage of the discount by declaring themselves and friends and acquaintances as ‘family’. Now that gay families have the ability to obtain legal status, this policy doesn’t seem to be a problem to me, personally. As part of a gay couple, I take a tax hit for being legally married and get other legal perks and benefits- discounted auto insurance being one and apparently discounted gym memberships now too. What would you like them to accept as proof of marriage or domestic partnership in addition? Did you ask them to accept a different form of documentation (mortgage in both names or such) and they say no?”

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03/31/14 2:15pm

best_maid_dc
Photo by PoPville flickr user ep_jhu

Best Maid service in DC:

“Currently looking for a maid service to come once or twice a month. Anybody have any recommendations for the best bang for the buck?”

Excise Tax + Out of state car purchase?

“I saw the topic here (http://www.popville.com/forums/topic/buying-a-car/) about buying a car out of state but I still have some concerns about the out of state excise tax (http://dmv.dc.gov/page/online-excise-tax-calculation).

Does anyone have any experience with buying a car out of state and can they explain how the excise tax works? From what I understand, even if I buy a car in MD or VA, I will be paying only DC taxes. Do I also pay the excise tax? Does this happen even with cars in the district? Halp!”

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03/28/14 2:15pm

popville_Forum
Photo by PoPville flickr user Rich Renomeron

Contractor for Gas Line:

“Has anyone had any experience with having a gas line run from the front of their home through a crawl space to the rear of the house for a natural gas grill? If so, do you have a contractor you would recommend and roughly how much did it cost?”

For those who thought it was a NIMBY issue – Group home on Taylor:

“Well guess what…turns out all the neighbors concerns were legit. The group home has been in less than a month and here is what the neighbors have had to endure.

Last night one of the residents had a buddy at the back gate waiting for him and made a run for it out of the facility. As far as we know he is still out there. When an attempt to contact the POC for DYRS was made there was no answer and the voice mail was full so couldn’t even leave a message. Neighbor saw whole thing and called the police but people inside facility had no clue till police showed up. As for his friend waiting for him in the back yard, wonder who he was and what his history is and real great he is making his way onto the block.

Sunday evening 3/23 4 MPD cruisers pulled up and arrested one of the residents. Neighbors were told that it was a curfew violation. Well seeing how we can’t get 4 MPD cruisers to show up for a major drug bust and if your in the facility at the time how is it a curfew violation. DYRS lied about this one.

Residents are suppose to be supervised 24/7 but on Saturday 3/22 a resident was observed leaving the facility with non-staff person. It was obviously one of the residents because his ankle bracelet was visible.

Neighbors have seen the residents using drugs in the backyard.

So they have been there less than a month and this is what is occurring. What is to look forward to in the next 6 months or a year. They need to shut it down now. Life Deeds is just making money (taxpayer money) by warehousing these kids, not supervising them properly and scooping up taxpayer money by charging enormous amounts of money per kid per day with no notion of actually rehabilitating them. Life Deeds is an evil company who does not have the interest of these children as it’s priority. Something has to stop this from continuing. If your asking what CM Bowser is doing….did you hear that? Its called the sound of crickets and her doing nothing. BTW this company also made big contribution to her election fund just before they started accepting residents.”

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03/27/14 2:15pm

popville_neighborhoods
Photo by PoPville flickr user jbouie

Ideas for “best of both worlds” urban/suburban/small-town feeling neighborhoods?

“OK, I’m crowdsourcing this question to get ideas for DC metro-area neighborhoods to explore that offer similar features to a city neighborhood, but maybe with a quieter or more relaxed environment. Reason being, my bf and I have talked about getting a place together (renting) in the near future, and we have pretty different tastes and needs in neighborhood. I’m a fairly die-hard urbanite, currently living right at the borders of Adams Morgan, Columbia Heights, and Mt. Pleasant, and in a perfect world we’d stay right in that neighborhood. (Well, in a truly perfect world, we’d stay in that neighborhood AND it would be more affordable, but…alas.) I love being near Rock Creek Park, the zoo, the green line, a handful of buses that go within a few blocks of my office, a supermarket, restaurants, etc. He, on the other hand, is kind of a suburban boy, or if he really had his druthers, would probably live in the exurbs or the middle of nowhere.

For various reasons that I won’t go into detail about here (other than to say that he has way less attachment to location/neighborhood than I do), he IS willing to compromise substantially on location, and we may yet end up staying in the Mt. Pleasant/Columbia Heights area. However, I would also like to explore alternatives so that I don’t have to ask him to make 100% of the sacrifice while I make 0%. I recognize that this “best of both worlds” neighborhood may not exist and that we can’t both have everything on our wish lists; there will need to be compromises all around.

MY wish list is: 1) Walkable, and accessible to transit (I don’t have a car), either a bus line or Metrorail line into downtown DC/Farragut area. (And by “walkable,” I mean Columbia Heights-level walkable, not that the neighborhood needs to have as much stuff around as CH, but similar proximity to stuff. I feel like walkable has become such a buzzword that real estate listings will call a place “walkable” if the closest thing you can walk to is a strip mall 15 minutes away, with a CVS and a Subway, and that’s pretty much it. I’m exaggerating, but you get what I mean.) 2) Also, no extreme commutes or commutes involving a commuter bus/rail (been there, done that, made me want to crawl into a hole and die. Unfortunately, that rules out Baltimore, at least for the time being until my job situation changes). I’d like to keep the commute under an hour, door-to-door. I don’t mind a “quaint” instead of “edgy urban” neighborhood vibe, but…how do I put this? My other big thing is avoiding a neighborhood that feels…sterile, you might call it? (For example, I’m sure that Crystal City has its merits and there are people for whom that neighborhood meets their needs, and that’s all good. But it’s not for me.)

HIS wish list is parking that’s not a total hassle, and he also likes newer construction and apartment amenities like in-unit washer/dryer, central air (I don’t care about those things, live currently in an old building, and prefer “character”–but again, we’ll need to compromise.) He would also love to NOT feel as though he’s right in the middle of a city. (On that note, to ME, Mt. Pleasant doesn’t feel as though it’s in the middle of a city…but I think he thinks otherwise.)

And our biggest shared wish-list item is probably a pet-friendly place–or at least, pet-tolerant. (In other words, I don’t need a building to fawn over pets, just allow them, as we would like to get a small/medium dog, 25lbs or so, at some point soon. And a place, anyplace, to take the dog out to poo would be great…and rest assured I am scrupulous about cleaning up after dogs!!) Family/kid-friendly? Hm. We might want kids at some point (after the dog), and I certainly don’t mind a family-oriented neighborhood (we are mid/late-30s, and never been hugely into the party/nightlife scene), but since I’m just looking to rent, I’d say school-quality and kid-friendliness aren’t must-haves for right now.

Any thoughts?”

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03/26/14 2:15pm

drug_dealers_dc
Photo by PoPville flickr user philliefan99

Getting rid of drug dealers (Hill East/Atlas/Rosedale):

“I’ve lived just south of Benning Rd in Northeast for almost a year now. I love my neighborhood and my neighbors, with the exception of one building on the street.

My street is made up of 4-unit apartment buildings in the standard 2×2 format with a staircase in the middle. One building seems to exist solely for the distribution of drugs. All hours of the day and night there are drug dealers hanging around this building, very obviously dealing drugs. This brings in many unsavory characters into the neighborhood who are loud, litter, loiter, and often fight with each other.

I’ve talked with my neighbors who hate the presence of the dealers and have described the building as a trap house yet they are unwilling to do anything about it because they don’t know how or think that no one cares about the neighborhood.

Based on the police response I’ve gotten, my neighbors seem to be right. I’ve called in to the police multiple times to complain about the neighbors dealing drugs and being extremely loud (on one occasion, they blasted bass from their car at a level that made my apartment shake). Each time the police just do a slow roll by, never getting out of their cars.

Honestly I wouldn’t have a problem with this situation except it now seems to be getting worse and worse. When I moved in across the street there were only a few guys hanging around at a time, now on any given night there are maybe 20 dudes hanging around this house. They often spread across the street, dealing in front of different buildings (including my own). I’d really like to not have to walk through a drug deal when I get home from work.

I’m wondering if any one has had any experience with this kind of problem and could give me any advice about what to do. My local ANC only referred me to the police, who I mentioned before have given weak/ineffective responses.”

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03/25/14 2:15pm

13330374683_79caf0a872_z
Photo by PoPville flickr user Ranpuba

Central Air Conditioning Installation:

“Does anyone know what cost estimates would be to install central a/c in a 1200 sq ft row home? Obviously prices will vary depending on layout, duct work, etc., but I am trying to get potential ranges of cost, even if the range is huge.”

Creative Rehearsal Space in Petworth?

“I have a small theater company that is producing a play this summer in a Petworth bar. We would love to keep the rehearsals in Petworth as well so the cast and crew will learn the neighborhood and frequent the bars. I’m looking for creative suggestions for free or reasonably priced rent-able spaces (unfortunately, my house is not quite big enough). Anyone have any ideas?”

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03/24/14 2:15pm

dc_parking_ticket_appeal
Photo by PoPville flickr user JoshBassett|PHOTOGRAPHY

Taking a Ticket Beyond Appeal:

“So about 6-12 months ago (I forget how long it’s been now) I received a parking ticket in the mail. The kicker is I don’t own a car and haven’t since December 2011. I called 311 to speak to someone about it and she pulled up the ticket online which clearly showed the officer had written the wrong license plate number on the ticket versus what was shown in the photo of the car. I guess that incorrect plate # linked to me somehow? Not really sure, but somehow it found its way to my address. She said there’s no way I should be responsible because of the obvious photographic error, and transferred me over to someone in charge of ticketing (DPW maybe?), but I just got the voicemail of that woman, and naturally she never returned my message.

So I mailed in my appeal stating my pretty simple to resolve case, and a few months later received a notice that my appeal was rejected due to a “preponderance of evidence against me”. Ummm, OK, if anything there’s a “preponderance” the other way, so I sent in my second appeal to “The Board” along with a check which is required to further appeal any ticket, just in case they still disagree with you. At this point I was considering just saying F-this and have them come after me if they really care to, but I wanted to fight this one just on principle alone. Well I noticed today they actually cashed the check a while back and never even sent a followup letter explaining why, after reviewing 2 obvious pieces of information 1) I don’t own a car and 2) wrong license plate number.

So, my question is, does anyone know who to take this to further? It’s only $30, an insignificant amount, but the fact that 1) an officer got it wrong, 2) the person who reviewed my appeal ignored obvious facts, and 3) the entire appeals board ignored obvious facts, really has me quite pissed off. I know if it’s happening to me it’s happening to others too, on much higher ticket fines. This kind of blatant disregard for the citizenry who pays their salaries shouldn’t be tolerated.”

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