COPS Basic Observation Skills Class

[Courtesy of P/O Sean Lewis #3239]


NCPCA February Meeting Rescheduled

Due to inclement weather, the NCPCA’s February meeting has been rescheduled to Feb 25, Thursday. More on http://myncpca.org .

See you all on the 25th.

Shovel – or Get Fined, Sued

This Winter Alert message came from the City’s public works this morning. [via NCP listserve]

Property owners, occupants and merchants are reminded of the City requirement to remove accumulated snow and ice from all walkways, driveways, parking lots and other areas used by pedestrians or automobiles. The owner or occupant of any property that abuts the sidewalk must clean public sidewalks of ice, sleet and snow for their full width.  It is required that snow and ice be removed within the first eight (8) hours of daylight after snowfall stops. These requirements are listed under City Code Sections 157-6(B)(10) and 141-5(A).

Though City code enforcement officers may not cite all such violations immediately after a storm, failure to comply with this regulation in a timely manner could be used as evidence by anyone injured in a fall on or adjacent to your property if you are sued for such injuries.

Be prepared! Keep snow shovels and salt ready for the next storm, and plan to have help available if necessary to make your walkway safe as soon as the snow stops falling.

Though most of our residents know these rules, I wonder how many of them, especially the elderly ones,  will be able to follow them when we are currently having epic proportion of snowfall in the region. Two days ago, a few of us went into the neighborhood, helping out the neighbors in clearing out the sidewalks. Unfortunately we could help only a few of them – digging through a knee-deep amount of snow took us a lot of time.

Noenetheless, if you *absolutely* need help in clearing out the sidewalks, please feel free to let me know – I’ll try my best to get volunteers to help out.

Local Streets Still Hazardous to Drive

Snow on Edgewood Rd.

We’re into the third day since the big snow storm hit our area, yet the city streets are still hazardous to drive. Most of our streets are still full of snow.  There have been several incidents of car being stuck in the middle of the streets.

The City has been trying to make all the city streets at least “passable”. Yesterday I saw one plow truck cleaning the Niagara Rd. However major streets such as Edgewood Rd. still need plowing.

The same applies to the streets owned by the county, Rhode Island Ave. for example.

I checked with the Public Works yesterday and was assured that cleaning our streets is on the top priority list. They also ask residents in “moving abandoned cars from the streets which prevents the plows to get through”.

NCPCA Meeting Postponed

Due to the current inclement weather, the Feb 11 meeting of the North College Park Citizens Association has been canceled. The meeting will be rescheduled to either Feb 18 or Feb 25; both are Thursdays.

We’ll announce th new date once we have a confirmation on the availability of Davis Hall. Please stay tuned.

Delay in Trash Pickup

The following is a message from the City Manager Joe Nagro [via NCPCA listserve]

Hello All:

All equipment continues to clear City streets in preparation for salting to begin. Trucks should begin salting around 4:00 this afternoon and continue into the night.
On another note, we have made the decision to not pick up trash until Tuesday. This means everyone’s trash day will move back one day as if Monday is a holiday. The decision was made for two reasons. The first being that the landfill will not be open on Monday and second this will give residents a better opportunity to clear paths for trash and recycling containers. I would appreciate it if Councilmembers would use their email lists to civic associations and residents to get the word out. Any questions let me know.

Thanks Joe
Joseph Nagro
City Manager

Snow Clean-up – This Afternoon

You’ve already seen this. Our streets are buried under knee-deep snows. Many of our neighbors, especially the elderly ones are stuck in their homes and need our serious help.  

We hope to have another cleanup event (3rd in this winter season) in the east Hollywood area. We are planning to gather at 2pm at the east end of the Edgewood Rd and start cleaning from there. Juice and hot drinks will be served.

If you live close to the East Hollywood and is interested to participate, please give me a call (301 – 659 – 6295).  Even if you think you cannot, I’d request you to help out the neighbors in your area – you already know who might need your help.

Buried Under..

It’s been called ‘Epic’, ‘Monsterous’ and ‘Historic’.

The most important thing for us to remember – Let’s stay safe.

The county has declared snow emergency. More here..


So unless it’s an absolute emergency, please stay inside.

Here are the emergency numbers you may want to keep handy..
Pepco: Outages, 1-877-737-2662; Downed lines, 202-872-3432
Downed limbs and trees: Prince George’s: 301-499-8600
PG Police non-emergency number: 301-333-4000

Also, when you shovel snow, please keep these tips in mind:

    * If you are inactive and have a history of heart trouble, talk to
your doctor before you take on the task of shoveling snow.
    * Avoid caffeine or nicotine before beginning. These are
stimulants, which may increase your heart rate and cause your blood
vessels to constrict. This places extra stress on the heart.
    * Drink plenty of water. Dehydration is just as big an issue in
cold winter months as it is in the summer.
    * Dress in several layers so you can remove a layer as needed.
    * Warm up your muscles before shoveling, by walking for a few
minutes or marching in place. Stretch the muscles in your arms and
legs, because warm muscles will work more efficiently and be less
likely to be injured.
    * Pick the right shovel for you. A smaller blade will require you
to lift less snow, putting less strain on your body.
    * Begin shoveling slowly to avoid placing a sudden demand on your
heart. Pace yourself and take breaks as needed.
    * Protect your back from injury by lifting correctly.
    * Stand with your feet about hip width for balance and keep the
shovel close to your body. Bend from the knees (not the back) and
tighten your stomach muscles as you lift the snow. Avoid twisting
movements. If you need to move the snow to one side reposition your
feet to face the direction the snow will be going.
    * Most importantly – listen to your body. Stop if you feel pain!

City to Get Compensation for Lost Revenues

When the City has been worried following the news of lost tax revenues due to the UMD’s decision to buy the Washington Post’s old plant, there is a bit of good news – the UMD is considering to pay some compensation to the city.

The UMD, being a state entity, is not obligated to pay the city any property taxes. This means that the city is going to lose hundreds of thousands worth of tax revenues from the old Washington Post. The WashPost used to pay more than a quarter million dollars of taxes to city when it was operational.

The UMD is however saying it will pay around $50,000 / yr to the city to compensate the lost revenues.

Though this compensation is far less than what the city used to get from the Washington Post plant before, some may happy to see the goodwill gesture on part of the UMD. However there is another reason why the UMD is willing to pay this compensation – they need the city’s support in this purchase, a decision the UMD’s Public Works will adopt in its Feb 25 meeting.

An Imminent UMD – City Showdown?

At a time when the city is increasingly concerned over the lost revenues due to reduced residential property taxes, new concerns have emerged on the possibility of another loss of taxes from a familiar source – the University of Maryland. What is more shocking; there have been talks of a possible showdown between our city and the UMD administration over this new loss of tax revenues.

As we discussed earlier in this post, the possible showdown is surrounding the $550,000 Admissions and Amusements (A&A) taxes that the UMD pays to the City towards the athletics game. The UMD is considering not to pay tax after a ruling favored the University of Baltimore’s athletics department over the City of Baltimore.

The City has reasons to be worried. It’s been facing a budget shortfall of $2M due to reduced property tax revenues from the residents. In addition the city is going to lose nearly a quarter million worth of taxes from its old Washington Post plant that the UMD has recently announced to buy. An additional loss of more than half a million will cause serious strain on the services it provides to its residents.

True the relationship between the City and the UM administrations hasn’t been so smooth for a while, however a court battle like this will only aggravate such relationship – it won’t improve any. The UMD administration should also appreciate the fact that the City pays over $800,000 per year for the services it provides to the UMD students – a big chunk of this money goes to cleanup trashes after many sports events that the UMD is considering not to pay A&A taxes on.

UMD can go to the court to settle such differences with the City, if it wants to – however there is a better way to fix such differences – recognize the contributions the city administration has been making and struggling to keep our city a sensible college town.

January 2010 NCPCA Meeting Minutes

In case you missed last month’s regular NCPCA meeting, here is the minutes – please take a look.


This month’s meeting will be on the next Thursday, February 11. Please try to attend. The tentative agenda has been posted on NCPCA’s website http://myncpca.org. It’s on the home page.

Kabir Jr.’s School Supply Drive

My 6th grader son Samir Kabir started a school supply drive back in last September. His idea was simple – collect as much as school supplies from the neighbors and give them away to the needy students of our neighborhood. It’s true that the drive went a bit longer than expected, partly because Samir wanted to collect *more* items, and partly because I did not stress enough to end the drive sooner. Last week, I was successful to convince him bringing his drive to an end. The delay however allowed him to collect a bit more donations from a few more hearty donors. 

Last Thursday, Samir and I went to the two schools in our neighborhood (Hollywood Elementary and AlHuda School, maps below)  to drop off the donated items.

“That sounds wonderful!  Thank you and your son for thinking of Hollywood students.”– said Barbara Caskey, the Hollywood Elementary School Principal.

Samir and I’d like to thank you all for your kind donations – I’m sure the students will appreciate your contributions.


Snow-Plowing ‘Chipmunks’

I love this…

This is the first email I received yesterday morning from one of my neighbors..

I am not sure who did this, but someone (or some group) went out of their way to go around the entire block of Mineola and plow all of the sidewalks and the driveway entrances…along the entire street, both sides. We should find out who these chipmunks are and thank them. [Anonymous neighbor]

Yesterday our neighborhood received another hefty 6 inches of snow. This prompted many of our Blizzard Braves team members going into the streets doing the usual things – shovel snows from the side walks and the driveways. So I called the member to confirm if he was the one who took care of the street mentioned in the email. He was rather embarrassed to say ‘yes’.

There were other members who took care of a good part of the Edgewood Rd., 53rd Ave. and 52nd Pl. Thank you all again for your good hard work.

We need many of them to take care of the entire neighborhood. I know many of our neighbors, especially the elderly ones would appreciate their works – no matter what we call them – Blizzard Braves or Snow-Plowing Chipmunks.