MINUTES OF THE PAC2 MEETING
EDISON JOHNSON RECREATION CENTER
October 10, 2011
Facilitator: Cheryl Shiflett – firstname.lastname@example.org
Nancy Kneepkens – nKneep@earthlink.net
The meeting began at 6:00 p.m. with “Meet and Greet” and was called to order at 6:18 p.m. Self-introductions followed.
Nancy said that Honor had gotten an email from someone who knew the lady killed at IHOP, and wanted us to bring it up since it happened in our district. She asked Captain Sykes for an update, and he said investigators were working the case and had a couple of suspects’ names but he couldn’t really say anything else.
Another resident noted that there was a problem at Farthing and St. Paul (101 St. Paul) with a multitude of people living there. A month ago there was a raid by the SET team involving someone who had been involved with a burglary. There are kids living in house, and the man (Bobby Newman) was arrested and placed under $300,000 bond. He had previously been arrested for breaking and entering, and was back out and in the house again. Residents were selling drugs out of the house, stolen goods were entering the house, and people in the neighborhood were afraid someone, especially the kids, would get hurt. This is a section 8 house, and they had tried contacting the landlord but with no effect. They wanted to know what the neighborhood could do to get these people out of this house. Karen Swope said that other than a zoning violation there was not anything they could do. If there were more than 3 unrelated people living in the house they could do something, but if the people were related they couldn’t do anything. The abandoned vehicles had already been called about, and a suggestion was made to call social services about the children. They could check on section 8 standards and see if there was a violation due to the person being arrested, in which case they could contact the Durham Housing Authority and file a complaint with them, since they are responsible for making sure the occupants blend in with the community. Cheryl suggested that they get the record for the number of calls for service at the house and pursue the problem under nuisance abatement; if there were too many violations, they might be able to use that rule. Captain Sykes said that so far there was only suspicious activity at the house, and they had not been caught with anything illegal yet. Councilman Mike Woodard said to email him and he would also try to see if there was anything happening, and could think of 4 or 5 different groups to consult.
Peter Katz thanked everyone at the Durham Police Department because Old North Durham has asked a lot recently and they have been very responsive.
Honor Gifford mentioned the Citizens Appreciate Police Fund, noting that donation checks can be made out to “CAP Fund”.
Captain Sykes said residents could call the station if something of concern comes up and not have to wait for a PAC meeting to address problems.
Durham Parks and Recreation: Audrey Gill welcomed everyone to Edison Johnson. She announced that the last third Friday concert would be held October 21st. There would also be a Fall Festival October 22nd at W.D. Hill Recreation Center, and Hallow-Eno at West Point on the Eno on October 31st. Holiday cookie classes were scheduled for November 15th and December 13th at Walltown Park Recreation Center, and the Southern Supreme Fruitcake Factory tour was planned for November 17th for mature adults. Catherine Williams had been appointed as the new supervisor at Edison Johnson. In aquatics, the pool at Edison Johnson would be down October 17th-25th for maintenance, and water exercise classes would move to the pool at Campus Hills. Cory Robertson, recreation specialist at Edison Johnson, announced that they were having bingo on Tuesdays, bridge on Thursdays (both for mature adults), adult aerobics on Wednesdays, Zumba on Tuesdays and Saturdays, and an open forum for questions and comments on October 25th at 6 p.m., during which there would be free childcare. There would also be teen nights on select Fridays.
Vivian Bridges, the executive director of North Carolina Operation Life Saver and current president of the Highway Safety Administration of North Carolina spoke about railroad crossing safety. She began by saying that in 1970 her family was watching Lawrence Welk when her dad got a phone call saying that her uncle was dead. He had lain down in front of an Amtrak train. Later, she was taking a psychology course on how a person’s job affects their life, and a man came to speak to the class. He was only 53 years old but retired for medical reasons. He had been an Amtrak engineer, but couldn’t forget one man that he had run over (it had been the 5th one). He still dreamed about it, and from the details he told she knew that it had been her family member.
She said that a collision between a person or vehicle and a train represents someone’s bad choice. Railroad engineers started Operation Life Saver in 1972 in Idaho, and it cut the collision rate by 50% in one year. The target audiences are driver education students, law enforcement, school bus drivers, tractor-trailer drivers, fire and rescue, and the general public. They stress the three E’s: education, engineering, and enforcement. Any time is train time, there are no schedules. Trains can only go forward and backward along the tracks; there is no steering mechanism, so trains can’t swerve. The stopping distance is 5,280 feet for a freight train with 100 cars traveling at 55 mph. The weight ratio of a train to a car is 4,000 to 1 (the same as a car to a Coke can). If your car breaks down on the tracks, unlock the car doors and get out and run at a 45 degree angle toward the train, so you won’t be in the path of the debris field when the train hits the car. They now have an emergency notification sign which will be posted at every crossing by 2015, with an emergency number to call with the crossing number (address) on the sign. You should call and tell them what’s wrong, and to report a stalled vehicle on the tracks. Also remember that a train has an overhang of 3 feet or more on each side, so any object within that zone is in hazardous proximity to the tracks. Some towns also have a no train horn rule, so that a train is not allowed to blow its whistle through the town. Generally, this means the town has decided to spend enough on education and preventive measures that it doesn’t need the additional warning; the program is very expensive so not many towns use it. People driving around the crossing gate is another problem. A freight train travels at up to 65 mph, Amtrak at 79. Don’t pass, shift or stop when crossing railroad tracks, and stay back 15 feet or more from the track. Be particularly cautious when there are multiple tracks, because a train can be hidden by other train. You should wait until you can see clearly for 500 feet in each direction. Other hazards include overdriving a car’s headlights and distractions.
Trespassing is the number one problem in North Carolina. There have only been 11 highway collisions so far this year, but there have been 19 fatalities with trespassing. We are number six in the nation in the number of trespass fatalities. Remember that objects put on the track will come back and hurt you. Also, there are two places where trains don’t have to blow their horn – in a tunnel and on a bridge, because people are not supposed to be there. And tagging a train is illegal, since it can cover up hazardous warning signs on the train so the crew and police don’t know what’s inside.
Cheryl announced that the PAC website costs $119.40 for a year, and made a request to use PAC funds to pay for the website for another year. A motion was made and carried.
Cheryl also suggested that we have Safe Skills come in and do an hour class for the group. They teach how to be aware of your surroundings, and simple techniques to use in a dangerous situation. A one-hour class is $275. She wanted to know if we want to apply for grant money for it, since we have $2100 in grant money that we can spend. We don’t currently need PAC brochures, and we only have until April to spend it or lose it. Someone wanted to know what types of things they teach and she gave some examples. A suggestion was made that we table the idea for a month and get more information. Bill Anderson made a motion to go ahead and have them come in, and the motion was seconded. Mike Shiflett suggested that we check with other companies to see if they could also give a quote for the same service. Cheryl said that she didn’t know of any other companies. A vote was held and carried with no opposition but a number of people abstaining. Cheryl said she would contact them and get an outline of the topics to be covered to send out to the neighborhoods.
It was noted that the PAC2 speed trailer no longer works, and the city no longer fixes it. Cheryl knew a person who might be able to fix it, but he wasn’t allowed to touch it to see what the problem was. He did get information and thinks he can fix it for about $500, (a new one costs $10,000). Officer Steve Hall said he would like to speak with the person first and would meet with him and Nancy about it and present a proposal next time.
Nancy gave an update from Wanda Boone of TRY, since she attends their meetings once a month. On September 14th they held a meeting and representatives from the ABC board were in attendance. Statistics show a correlation between the number of convenience stores and crime in a community, so they are trying to let convenience stores in the community know that there are citizens in the community who want them to take certain products off the shelf or put them to the back of the store and make the store more friendly and safe for young people, and ask them to participate. They currently had 15 stores which had signed up.
There are 17,000 retail locations in North Carolina which sell alcohol. Every weekend someone is either shot or stabbed in a club because of alcohol. Forty percent of inmates were under the influence of alcohol when they committed the crime. Fifty percent of domestic violence cases involve alcohol. Over the years there has been a change in the amount of alcohol available, with a can of beer now often being 40 ounces. They are going after soda-type drinks with alcohol in them, since those are attractive to kids. She noted that increased alcohol availability leads to increased alcohol consumption which leads to increased alcohol-related problems. National research shows that drinking too much alcohol is linked to 73% of felonies, 67% of child beatings, 41% of forcible rapes, 80% of wife batterings, 70% of stabbings and 82% of homicides. A recent survey revealed that 43% of alcohol outlets sold to minors. The group is also trying to have malt products put in ABC stores instead of convenience stores. The next meeting was to be October 12th.
Central PAC is addressing truancy, and is meeting at Golden Belt October 18th from 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Peter Katz asked her to send the information to the PAC2 list.
Susanna Dancy works on properties not living up to their potential. She is currently working with Mark Hutchins of Hutchins Auto Supply on West Geer St. Hutchins Properties has applied for a grant for matching funds to renovate the building and convert it into a restaurant. She had come to ask for PAC2’s support. Mike Shiflett thought that Old North Durham should look at it first. The grant was submitted on Friday. Bill Anderson motioned that we vote to support the application, and the motion carried.
Nancy noted that there was ABC information in the newsletter, and that the first 2 names on the list were the people to complain to if you have a problem with a particular location. This gives them information about problems so they can build a file on the location, giving them supporting information for enforcing rules and getting rid of problem places.
The meeting was adjourned at 8:00 p.m.