Approximately twenty-five neighbors were in attendance at SON’s April 3, 2013, meeting at Faith Lutheran Church. Thank you to Pastor Mitchell for allowing us to use space in the church, and thanks to those neighbors who attended. The meeting was chaired by Lisa Wrasse. Other executive committee members present were Bob Boch, Juan Carrasquel, Ellen Lyon & Brenda Ogborn.
Lisa started the meeting by announcing a vacancy on the SON executive committee, due to Seja Brumley’s upcoming move. Lisa invited neighbors to consider joining the committee or helping SON by volunteering in other ways. Lisa circulated a sign up sheet and jar for dues and other contributions.
Officer Scott Oldham, Bloomington Police Department, gave a thorough overview of Neighborhood Watch (NW) and crime prevention strategies, and entertained a number of questions from those in attendance. Scott indicated that the purpose of NW is to provide neighborhoods a liaison with the police department. With NW, a neighborhood has two designated contact people who funnel crime information or suspicious activity to the police. Scott stressed that for “immediate” matters neighbors should call 911. NW is more for managing ongoing “quality of life” concerns such as suspicious activity & vehicles, speeding, etc . Even seemingly minor things can be significant: Reporting unusual activity can in some cases allow police to “connect the dots” with crimes occurring throughout the city. Concerning the several reports we’ve had about suspicious vehicles cruising in the neighborhood, Scott said these may well be unmarked police cars. He said NW has been successful in about thirty diverse Bloomington neighborhoods. He remarked that there is very little crime in Sherwood Oaks but acknowledged that police make frequent runs to areas not far from us. Scott offered the following tips on crime prevention:
- Don’t open your door to solicitors. Persistent solicitors can be asked to leave by the police because they are on private property.
- The best crime deterrent is a dog.
- Most burglaries occur between 2pm-6pm.
- Installing motion lights can deter night time burglaries.
- Keep your home and car doors locked.
- Be cautious of keeping garage doors open. Open garage doors allow direct access into your home and allow those driving by to see the contents of your garage.
- If you are at home and an intruder enters, get out if you can. Otherwise, call 911. Even if you dial 911 and drop the phone, police will track it and come to the home. This is true for cell phones as well as land lines. Although, some cell phone carriers are better at tracking than others. Scott remarked that AT&T is the best for tracking.
To set up NW we need to have two people in our neighborhood to collect and feed information to Scott. When our neighborhood representatives submit a concern, Scott will get back to them and refer them to the appropriate people as needed. Our reps will then report Scott’s response back to SON.
Following Scott’s talk Lisa asked for those in favor of establishing a SON Neighborhood Watch. Nearly all hands went up so the motion was passed. After the meeting Ceci Schrock and Larry Raper volunteered to serve as the Sherwood Oaks I&II Neighborhood Watch representatives. They will pursue getting this established with Scott.
Lisa gave a very brief presentation about our Neighborhood Improvement Grant application for the Linda's Way/Jackson Creek Trail Connector Path. She submitted the grant application to the city on March 22nd and will present the project to city for consideration on April 16th. If we get the grant we hope to do project in May/June and would appreciate lots of volunteers to spread mulch. Lisa will keep in touch about the grant with SON via e-mail.
Bob Boch, SON treasurer, gave a report on the status of our funds. SON currently has $154 and owes $47 of that to the city as our matching funds for the Small & Simple newsletter grant we received. Bob explained that we used the entire grant on the one newsletter and that any future printed newsletter will have to come out of SON funds. [note: an additional $57 was collected at this meeting.]
Bob also discussed the improvements to the SO sign at the entrance of Winslow Road and Allendale Drive. Several residents spent approximately two hours last fall putting in new plants and mulch around the sign to make the entrance more attractive. We are hoping to plant some flowers soon. Anyone who can help keep this area in good shape, please talk to Bob or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Many thanks to Bob for his leadership and efforts on the newsletter and sign improvements.
There was a brief discussion regarding Brenda Ogborn and Bob Bob, both of whom have met with Crawford Apartments representatives. Both Brenda and Bob indicated that Crawford Apartments personnel were interested in and responsive to their concerns, even though not all questions could be answered at this time. Crawford Apartments are being built in the Restore parking lot, on Henderson. Crawford Apartments has included on its Advisory Committee representatives from surrounding neighborhoods. Bob is the Sherwood Oaks representative on the Crawford Apartments Advisory Committee. The complex will be completed late this summer with the first residents moving in sometime in the fall. Bruce Ervin, a member of the Crawford House Board and a resident of Sherwood Oaks, also spoke. Bruce explained that the complex will have twenty-five units available for one or two people (if married). No sex offenders/violent offenders will be allowed to live there. Crawford residents must have been diagnosed with some type of disability and have had at least three periods of homelessness in the past four years. This is not transitional housing; the residents can live there long term if there are not violations that could lead to eviction. Bruce indicated that there are still many aspects of the process of application and rules for Crawford residents being worked out.
With spring storms on the horizon, Brenda informed the group that she contacted Duke Energy three years ago regarding the numerous power outages, especially in Sherwood Oaks II. Four employees of Duke Energy met with Brenda regarding the problems that led to power outages and they reported that Duke has upgraded their equipment to help reduce power outages. The Duke representatives also encouraged anyone experiencing a power outage to call their toll free outage number (1-800-343-3525) when an outage occurs. The more residents that call, the easier it is for Duke employees to locate exactly where they need to fix the outage.
At the close of the meeting Lisa thanked everyone and again mentioned the need for additional volunteers for the SON executive committee and various projects. A suggestion was made to circulate a list of volunteer roles to be filled, and Lisa agreed to send out a list via e-mail.