I recently purchased a condo near Brookland. I’ve lived there for just about a month and this past weekend the new owners below me moved in. Great for them! However, they are both chain smokers. I live with my 9 year old and long-time partner who is asthmatic. The smell of cigarettes has taken over my home. We cannot eat at the dining table, we can’t turn on the heat because it makes the smell stronger, we wash up in the kitchen because we can taste it in the bathroom. My family is miserable.
My partner spoke with the lady in the unit who thinks that scented air-filters are a reasonable solution. She obviously is unaware of how pungent cigarettes are. I realize it is her property and she is free to do as she pleases but her actions are directly affecting my home; It’s an absolute nuisance. What can I do to make my condo board take action? Do I have any rights?
Please note that I have a HEPA filter and UV air purifier in addition to indivual filters on ALL of my vents. Also, air freshners on vents and in rooms. I’m not only concerned about the smell but my daughter’s health. She’s having trouble breathing and getting warm at night since we cannot use heater. They’re habit is costing me more than just money.”
Just wanted to drop a note to let you know about a couple of random acts of kindness we witnessed today during our drive to work. My husband and I were making our way up Irving St, NW towards Mt Pleasant St when a car in front of us got stuck on ice and couldn’t get enough traction to make it up the hill. Two people walking by saw what happened so they got behind the car and pushed it out. They were all smiles.
Just after they were done, ANOTHER car had the same problem and the people came right back to push that car as well. Plus, a third person came over to help.
“There is currently an effort underway to darken or to remove some of the street lamps around the newly completed Harvard Triangle construction project. This includes Adams Mill Road and portions of Kenyon, Irving, and Harvard Streets (see attached photos).
Shields have already been installed around eight of the lamps in this area so that light does not shine directly into any one’s home. Residents living across from the bus stop have said that this has been effective and light is no longer shining into their windows.
Some residents feel, however, that the area should still be darker in general. And other residents – particularly those living in Harvard Towers – have serious concerns about this proposal. Many are some of our most vulnerable residents. They are seniors or live with disabilities. They are grateful for the new lighting and they have asked for our support in maintaining it.
The seniors and persons living with disabilities in Harvard Towers take the bus to get to or return home from work. They have said that the better lighting helps them navigate the steep slope to Harvard Towers and allows them to better see what is around them. In addition, they have a greater sense of security knowing that if someone approaches them with criminal intent, someone else will be better able to see it.
Opportunity for support
As a Mount Pleasant resident, I am most proud of the strength we display in coming together to support our neighbors. Those in Harvard Towers are supportive of the lighting shields that have been installed on the street lamps across from and adjacent to neighbors’ homes. They empathize with the annoyance of dealing with a bright street lamp. In return, I believe that we can and should offer the same empathy for those who wait at the bus stop alone or return home from the bus stop at night. Because better lighting matters to them – our most vulnerable — it also matters to us. (more…)
A particularly rough one all around from the Columbia Heights list serve:
“I live in a apartment complex with a foyer entrance. We have had a homeless lady sleeping in our entrance and when she is able to, she sleeps in the actual building. This has been going on for several years and it is a huge problem, she also urinates in our hallways and has threatened people in the past. In the past myself and other tenants have contacted MPD and homeless shelters about this. The homeless people just came and brought her an extra blanket, not the solution we were looking for. MPD said that she needs to be served with a Notice of Barring which I and another tenant served her with (she refused the document) but it’s still effective.
So fast forward to today, she’s again sleeping in foyer and I call 911, and 2 police officers show up and I explain the situation to them, I then get told that the document is not effective because another officer’s name was on it he could not do anything.
So is the document that I tried to serve her with useless? I and other tenants are at our wits end with dealing with this problem. Has anyone encountered something like this before? How did you deal with it?”
On the Columbia Heights Listserve a resident wrote:
We have a recurring problem in our alleyway behind the 3500 block of 11th Street.
As has been discussed here in the past, there is a woman who comes around to put down food for stray cats. She places it under the cars parked in driveways. On several occasions, this has attracted rats that have nested in our cars, chewed through wires, and caused damage that in one case cost more than $1,500 to repair.
We asked her repeatedly to stop, and a couple of years ago, she finally did. Now, she is doing it again. Is there anything we can do to stop this behavior, which is technically taking place on our own private property?
I have also heard reports of this behavior happening in parts of Petworth and Park View too. The debate got a bit political on the CH listserve – but I’m wondering if anyone can address the legality? Is it legal to place this food under cars in alley parking spots and/or driveways?
When newspapers call me for an interview they always ask me if I see older residents moving out due to gentrification. I always say, ‘I guess it could be happening in some neighborhoods but I’m not seeing that on my block, in my neighborhood.’ I’m glad to see there are new studies coming out investigating this – here’s an interesting report from NPR:
“But a series of new studies are now showing that gentrifying neighborhoods may be a boon to longtime residents as well — and that those residents may not be moving out after all.
Freeman’s work found that low-income residents were no more likely to move out of their homes when a neighborhood gentrifies than when it doesn’t.”
It’s worth reading the whole article here focusing on H Street, NE.
A woman came walking down our street, got naked and exposed herself to a neighbor a few doors up from us, and then walked up to our door unaware to us and shoved a wad of burning tissue paper through our mail slot, kicked our door and left. Some of the paper stuck in the mail slot, while another burning chunk fell to the floor.
We quickly grabbed the burning paper and threw it outside and then watched the woman continue down the street knocking over trash cans and just acting, well, crazy.
We called the police and they actually drove up and talked to her and then let her go. When they got up to us a few blocks further up the street, we told the police that — in addition to the indecent exposure they had been alerted to — she also shoved burning paper through our door. The police car turned around and went back to find her. We’re not sure what happened next.
I snapped a photo of one of the pieces of the burnt paper in a “re-creation” of where we first found the burning paper.
That was nuts – and it makes us feel a little vulnerable that anyone with a mental illness can walk up and throw burning paper into our mail slot. I know that our house was a random target and this might never happen again, but we’re now thinking of sealing our mail slot shut and putting a mail box outside.
Our fear is – what if we weren’t home and the dogs were here and the house caught on fire? What if it was the middle of the night and we were sleeping?
We were also less than impressed with the actions of the police. They seemed to kind of not care too much. I fear they will just let this woman go and she could do this again – with far worse consequences.
Our living room still smells like burnt paper as we sit here a little stunned.
Update: So, we never had a police officer come back to our place to tell us anything – Did they catch the woman? Was she on drugs? Is she a sort of known mentally ill person that they have a history with? How random was this attack?
We called our local station and they could not tell us either and said we’d have to call a 911 dispatcher. We kind of didn’t want to tie up any more 911 lines with this issue, so we dropped it. Overall we were very unimpressed with the police response to a situation which – had this woman been more competent in attempted arson – could have been much worse.”
Dept. of Mental Health’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program operates 3 mental health programs:
Psychiatric Emergency Services (PES): 202-673-9319 (24hrs, 7 days per week)
Mobile Crisis Services (MCS): 202-673-9300 (9am -1am, 7 days per week)
Homeless Outreach Program (HOP): 202-673-9124 (9am -8pm , M-F)”
“I introduced the Rat Prevention Control Act of 2014 and a super majority of my colleagues—nine plus myself–joined as co-sponsors of the legislation.
This bill results from what I heard from residents and business owners at the Ward 1 Rat Summit on November 9, 2013, an event I co-hosted with the Department of Health. Renowned experts in this field were present and provided information.
The bill requires new food establishments to submit a detailed rat prevention plan with their business license application. This plan will include details on how the business will handle food storage and debris removal.
Rat populations thrive on discarded food. We can set traps and take all manner of steps to kill rats. But the experts agree that, most important, we must reduce the food supply.
While many businesses in our neighborhoods have made a responsible effort to reduce this food supply for rats, some businesses have been irresponsible in their lack of efforts to remove debris and dispose of trash properly. The Department of Health’s Rodent and Vector Control is to be commended for its excellent work, but it is time to establish a greater degree of cooperation and collaboration between business owners and District agencies.
What I have proposed today is a solid step in attacking this public nuisance.”
From Ward 1 Council candidate Brianne Nadeau:
“After leading a community initiative on sustainability for the past several years, Ward 1 Council candidate Brianne Nadeau has called into question both the timing and effectiveness of legislation introduced today by Councilmember Jim Graham intended to address the rat problem in the ward.
“I’ve been working with both residents and business owners since my time on the ANC and now as the founder of Sustainable U to identify collaborative ways of addressing the rat problem facing the ward,” said Nadeau. “If after 15 years, Graham is finally going to step up to address this problem, we’d like him to join in the community effort and support business leaders who are looking for resources that help create long-term solutions such as overall waste reduction and compacting. And we must also be offering solutions for residential waste.”
Business leaders are concerned that Graham’s legislation adds a burden, without addressing the issue.
“This legislation adds an extra burden to the process of opening a new business that is largely unnecessary, because it duplicates processes already in place through the Department of Health to address rats,” said Sheldon Scott, manager of ESL Management group, which operates Marvin, the Brixton, et al. “This bill does nothing to support cooperative efforts on behalf of public and private entities to effectively address these issues.”
We were woken at 4:30 this morning by knocking at our front door. A passerby noticed water spraying from below our porch and wanted to make sure we were aware of it. I ran down stairs and sure enough our basement was flooding.
In all the commotion we didn’t properly thank the fellow or get his name. I don’t know how long he was knocking, but it was several minutes at least in the freezing weather. I can’t even imagine the damage we would be dealing with if he hadn’t alerted us, but it would be substantial to say the least.
We would very much like to find our good samaritan to thank him and give him a gift card to Domku or DC Reynolds or something like that. He was walking on 7th between Upshur and Taylor around 4:30am. And he’s clearly a good egg. But that’s all we know, can you help us?”
I was riding the metro on my way to get my kid from school. After a long day of work I was tired and kind of falling asleep when the train arrived to a station and I heard someone banging on the window near where I was sitting. A group of loud teenagers got on the metro playing and cursing really bad. Oh well. One of them sat next to me, I was trying to not pay attention to what they were doing or saying, but then I started to realize that they were talking about me, “…because if you…(I didn’t understand what he was saying), I’m going to whoop your ass!” They repeated this several times.
I decided to not confront them, but at the same time I decided to not go away. I was the grown up there, and I was not going to be bullied in that way, and apparently they didn’t like it. At some point two of them stood up and pretend to be fighting in front of me. I knew what was coming, so I got prepared. One of them started pushing the other one to make him fall on top of me; all I did was to wait for him with my elbow out (I’m thin man so my elbow is kind of sharp), so every time the other one pushed him, he found my elbow in his back, it happened 4 or 5 times. The one that was pushing the other then had the audacity to ask if he could use my phone. I said “sure!” in a very sarcastic way. “I’ll let you dial the number” he said, and I replied “yeah, right”. After that, the same two started fighting until one of them got the cell phone of the other one. They kept being loud, and they finally got off the train at the U Street Station.
I feel sad for them, and hope someday they realize how wrong it is what they are doing. I had no time to file a report since my kid was waiting for me, and honestly, they are teens so nothing was really going to happen to them. I think I did the best I could given the circumstances, and just wanted to share this experience with fellow PoPville folks.”