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“The Man”, the plan and my cans..

February 8, 2012

So, my last blog was about the promised increase in code enforcement patrols of Charles Village, especially in regards to trash. I was pleasantly surprised by how many students contacted me with questions and concerns about their current trash situations. I was unpleasantly surprised to find out how many of you are having difficulty getting any assistance from your landlords. It says something when I have students that want to do the right thing but are hampered by the very folks who should be helping. I’m working with a couple students and their landlords to rectify some issues, but I want to do more. I also like to spend my boss’s money.

So… how about a little contest? The prize? Three brand spanking new trash cans with tight fitting lids from ACE Hardware. I know, I know…you all are absolutely besides yourselves on this one, right? OMG! The ShushLady is soooo generous! She is sooo smart! She knows exactly what it is we really, really want to win! Clam down, kiddies. It’s really no big deal. I’m here to help!

All joking aside, the contest is for real. To enter, you must be a JHU undergraduate, you must live outside of university housing and you must actually need the trashcans (hint: you don’t need trashcans if you live in an apartment building).

To enter, you must send me an email at liaison@jhu.edu . Include your name, year, address and the best way for me to contact you. Here is the kicker!! You must also include something that describes or explains your current trash situation. This can be a picture, a limerick, a cartoon, a haiku, an essay, a video, whatever! Inspire me, make me laugh, heck make me cry about how awful your current trash situation is. If you can send it as an attachment to your email, we are golden! Whatever you think is the best way to describe why you deserve 3 brand new, keep’em for the rest-o-your-life trashcanswithtightfittinglids from ACE Hardware.

Contest runs from now until 8:59am on 2/22/12. 

YAY!!!!!

Boooooooo!

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2011 in review

January 17, 2012

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2011 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2011. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

Feed the rats, pay “the man”.

January 17, 2012

Photo credit Anthony Delmundo, NY Daily News

I am copying this from an email sent by the Charles Village Civic Association’s president. As you can see, our area will be targeted for special enforcement of the sanitation laws. If you get caught improperly disposing of your household trash, it is going to cost you $$$. Your land lord will get the fine from the city and, by law, he or she has the right to pass the costs on to you. If you need help cleaning up a current sanitation problem or need assistance in purchasing new trash cans and/or tight fitting lids, please call or email me.

WARNING!

City of Baltimore citations will be given to households that put trash out improperly.

Trash and Garbage are Causing an Explosion in the Rat Population!

. . . and . . .Rats are a serious health hazard.  If everyone follows the rules, we will have a cleaner, healthier neighborhood for you and your family.

This is the warning: starting in early February, Baltimore City Targeted Sanitation Enforcement will resume in our neighborhood.  Everyone must follow the City’s Sanitation Laws or risk getting a citation.  The law says:

·        You Must use Durable Trash Cans with Tight Fitting Lids.

·        *Do not store trash in bags, do not put trash out in bags–this feeds rats. *

·        Never pile bags on the corner or the end of the alley.

·        Put out no more than 3 (32 gal) cans per address.

·        Put cans out between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. the night before collection.

·        Do not block alleys and sidewalks with your cans.

·        Keep sidewalks, gutters and alleys at front/back of your house trash free.

·        Violations can cost as much as $500 per citation.

Call 311 for bulk trash pickup and for general information.

**You can drop bulk items, trash and recycling at the Northwest Sanitation Yard, 2840 Sisson Street:  Monday through Saturday, 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM. **

For more info call 410 235-4411 the Charles Village Community Benefits District.

Tell your neighbors and spread the word­­ so nobody gets a citation.

* yes, use trash bags, but put the trash bags IN a trash can with a tight fitting lid. Do not put trash bags outside without putting them in a can. Do not put loose trash in trash cans; you must use a bag.

** I can help you with taking items to the local dump station. 

Please help me spread the word about this. Share this link, retweet it, pass it on to your neighbors. Together, we can lower the rat population in our area AND avoid paying some pretty severe fines.

Happy New Year!!

January 4, 2012

Happy New Year everyone!!! I hope this post finds you in good health and good spirits. Personally, the end of 2011 was filled with friends and family and could not have been better. I am really looking forward to 2012….bring it on, baby!

So, what did you do over break? Slept? Hung out? Ate mom’s cooking? Skiing? Surfing? World travelling? I want to see what you did! Send me some pictures of what you have been up to since finals. Keep them classy, please. Include your full name and a brief description (where you are, what you are doing in the picture, etc).  Email the pictures to me and I’ll post them right here, next week. Send them to liaison@jhu.edu

Enjoy your break!

December 14, 2011

Many of you have finished up your exams and are heading out for break. For those of you still putting your nose to the grindstone, hang in there, it is almost over. I’m excited for break, too. It is not that I need a break from you all…noooo. What I look forward to is having weekends off. Sweet, normal, hang out with my friends, have a beer or two myself, weekends off. Oh, and a normal Monday through Friday, 9am-5pm work week. Awww yeah! OK, truthfully? I am NOT an office person and after the first week I am looking for ANYTHING to get me out of my office, but for now it still sounds good.

So, enjoy your break. You earned it. Get some rest and some home cooked meals. Hang out with your friends. Do something fun and/or relaxing. Be careful. Come back in one piece and I’ll see you all in 2012!

p.s. – broken record, blah blah blah but LOCK your doors and windows before you leave, and turn a couple lights on, ok? Cool.

p.p.s. Happy Holidays to all those who celebrate something during winter break!

Canned SPAM, missing milk and PIKE

December 13, 2011

So back in September, I received an email from a community member and his wife asking about getting students involved with a couple of projects. We met at their beautiful house for lunch and they told me about a couple of volunteer projects that they were involved in, in our community.

One of these projects involves the homeless population of students at Margaret Brent Elementary school. Apparently, 10% of the students at Margaret Brent don’t go “home” after school. They go to a relative’s house, they go to a car, they go to a shelter, etc, but they don’t have a home to go to. This couple, along with the “Peace with Justice” group at St. John’s United Methodist Church have been providing weekend backpacks filled with enough nutritionally balanced food to feed three people for two days. Since there is no assurance that these students would have access to electricity or refrigeration, the food also had to be shelf stable and pretty much non perishable. After lunch, I was asked if I knew any student groups that might be interested in helping to make some of these bags. I put out a plea on this blog and within an hour, I heard from the president of Pi Kappa Alpha (PIKE).

After a meeting with PKA and members of the “Peace with Justice” group to get a feel for what was involved, we put together a budget. $500 from the philanthropy budget of PKA, $250 from the brothers of Alpha Delta Phi (PIKE and WaWa doing something together???) and another $250 from Rob Turning’s budget was enough to make a fair amount of bags. I dragged a couple of the PKA boys shopping with me and at first, everything went great. In fact, we got the majority of the items required for each bag on the first day of shopping. The only thing holding us back was the shelf stable milk. A LOT of shelf stable milk. I put in an order for 216 individual cartons of this milk at the Arbutus Walmart two weeks before Thanksgiving. It arrived two days later… never to be seen again. It is there, somewhere, in the warehouse. Three different managers have gone back there looking for it. Behind schedule, I eventually purchased as much milk as I could from 5 different stores and placed an order with Fresh and Green for the remaining batch. In the course of two days, various brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha gathered in the conference room at the Dean of Students office and assembled the bags.

Day one

Day two

 

On Friday, December 9th, we had the pleasure of delivering 36 brand new bags to our neighbor’s house. The guys were invited in to this warmly decorated rowhome and we took the opportunity to pose in front of the Christmas tree. Sadly, my iPhone didn’t handle the lighting situation too well, but you get the picture.

Dropping off the completed bags.

So, a big thank you to the brothers of Pi Kappa Alpha for their participation in this project. We’ll be checking our budget and looking to see how many more bags we can put together with the money we have left over. This time, I know exactly where to get the milk from.

There are MANY more homeless students than there are currently enough bags for. If you are interested in making more bags, please contact me and I’ll help you with the project. Don’t want to make food bags? Our neighbors are also looking for a student group interested in holding a coat drive. Again, contact me if you are interested.

Dude, where’s my car?!?!?

December 7, 2011

So, my day started with a text from a student that went something like this… “Carrie, I’m pretty positive my car got towed yesterday after I left it on 33rd St…”.

Oh, that is a terrible feeling; one the ShushLady AND the ShushMobile know all too well. One summer, I parked the ShushMobile on N. Charles St while I ran into Kinkos/FedEx to pick up a poster. As I walked out, I noticed the ShushMobile wasn’t parked out front. Had I forgotten where I parked it? Did it get stolen? I turned my head to the right just in time to see the ShushMobile on the back of a flatbed tow truck heading north on Charles St. Let me tell you, that was a fun phone call to my boss. Me: “Ahhhh, Dean Boswell? Ummm, I think the city just towed the patrol car. Yeah, I parked it in the rush hour zone.” When Susan was done laughing at me (I do have an awesome boss who found this funny instead of getting mad at me!), she sent a co-worker over to drive me down to the impound lot and nearly $300 later, the ShushMobile was back in my possession.

If the ShushMobile had been towed by this truck, I would have felt better. Photo credit Kinneytowing.com

So, why am I blogging about this? Because, sadly, if you have a car here and you don’t have a designated spot for it, the odds of you accumulating parking tickets and eventually being towed are pretty high. If you find yourself in this situation, here is what you should do.

Prevention!

Start by not getting those tickets. Many students who live in the area qualify for a Residential Parking Permit. Is it a “hassle-free” solution? Nope. Can it save you a lot of money and hassle in the future? Definitely. For more information on obtaining a RRP, check out my other website. If you don’t qualify for an RPP, you really need to pay attention to the street signs. Many area streets have parking restrictions during either morning or evening rush hour, street cleaning days, snow emergency routes, etc. My personal suggestion? Leave the car back home. There are plenty of free and low cost transportation options around here and ZipCar is here for those days you need wheels.

Tickets 😦

Already have a ticket or two? Pay them. Now. Seriously, it only takes three outstanding tickets before the city can legally boot or tow your car. You can pay on line. Print out a receipt and hold on to it. Do not use this on line service if your vehicle has been booted already.

Too late, its gone!

The first place to call is the Fallsway Tow yard 410-396-4613. Many people call the police first when they can’t find their car, and this is ok. However, sometimes the police don’t have the most up to date information on what cars have been towed. They may tell you there is no record of it being towed, but that might not be the case. You will want to call Fallsway next. Located under the Jones Falls Expressway at 410 Fallsway, this impound lot is usually the first stop for vehicles that have been towed. Here is the key to making this as hassle free as possible. Be prepared when you call. Know your make, model, tag number and mention what state the tags are from. Treat whomever answers that phone like royalty. If you treat them kindly, they will help you; if you act like all of this is their fault, you will have trouble finding your car. Find out exactly how much it will cost to get the car released. Bring cash or credit/debit cards, no checks. You will need your driver’s license and need to know where the registration is to the vehicle.

If it is not at Fallsway, it has most likely been moved to 6700 Pulaski Highway 410-396-9958. This is the last stop for a towed vehicle. Any vehicle that has not been claimed from the Fallsway Lot after 48 hours or by Friday, gets moved to Pulaski. All the above rules apply here, too.

The last two times I have taken a student to a tow yard have gone completely differently. The last trip out to Pulaski, the tow yard would not release the vehicle to the student without a notarized letter from the owner of the vehicle (his father) giving him permission to pick up the car. Fortunately, they accepted a faxed copy of this letter. This is in the rules for picking up a car. This morning’s trip to Fallsway did not require a notarized letter, even though the vehicle was in the student’s mother’s name. It depends on who is working that day. Ask before you go to either yard.

A vehicle is considered “abandoned” in Baltimore city if it has been parked in the same spot for more the 2-3 days. If you are heading home for the holidays but not taking your car, you need to find some off street parking (e.g. a parking garage, campus parking lot, etc.). If you leave it on the street too long, it might not be there when you get back. Don’t worry, you can text me to tell me about it 😉

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