All posts by Joe Garza

Outdoor Yard Management for Summer Time

It’s that time of year. Many neighbors spend more time outdoors in their yards, and walking along our streets. Rains are rare to sporadic so the gardens we covet need an eyeful watch and some TLC while the ivy and weeds seem to have a life of their own.

How can we do to make our neighborhood the safest and best areas in South Durham?

Neighbors have recently provided some suggestions on outdoor maintenance for thought:

  • Control and/or remove invasive plants, particularly English ivy, Virginia creeper and Wisteria. These vines can be controlled but many are rampant and grow uncontrollably along the ground and up trees, eventually smothering them. Ivy in particular smothers native ground covers. Managing ivy will keep it confined and prevent it from growing up tree trunks or utility poles and further into your property or a neighbor’s yard. One means of ridding this ivy is to lay down and securing a black tarp to heat up and smother the ivy. It takes a season or two but works great without the need to pull out the vines or spray herbicides which can cause other environmental damage.
  • Remove poison ivy to the greatest extent possible. Also a vine, poison ivy can be cut back and controlled by a careful herbicide brush application. Limit herbicide sprays whenever possible. It grows particularly lush along some roadsides and yards. As most of our streets are without curbs, dogs, children and unsuspecting adults may come into contact. Dogs especially are vulnerable to contact and then their owners by petting the dog then have the well-known skin reaction from a transfer of the potent oil the plant leaves produce. This vine will also grow easily up into trees. If you are working with this vine it is critical to be fully gloved and clothed and when done to shower with warm soapy water as soon as possible after removing the vine. Never burn poison ivy as the oil can become an aromatic that can possibly affect those that come in contact with the smoke.
    Not sure you are looking at poison ivy? Some examples can be seen at http://www.carolinanature.com/trees/tora.html
  • Non-native Wisteria is a vine that produces attractive purple flowers in the spring however the aggressive vine will cling on to any bush or tree branch as it tries to reach for more sunlight. The end result is that it will smother the host bush or tree. You can see an example of how aggressive the vine can be along the fence line in the Epworth church parking lot. To control sever the vine and apply a brush herbicide for vine control. It may take several seasons to control depending on the vine population. Dead vines would need to be removed from branches.
  • Tall grass, weeds, accumulated leaf litter, brush piles and over grown bushes can not only be unsightly but can also provide chiggers (a.k.a. mites) with a breeding ground which love our humid weather this time of year. Chiggers are microscopic so they are not easily seen but their bites are recognizable. The immature chigger will look for a meal of skin by attaching to humans or animals by direct contact or transfer. Chigger bites will itch like crazy because of the saliva they deposit on the skin. Keeping up with yard maintenance especially in shaded areas will help to reduce populations.

If you have other helpful suggestions for outdoor yard management feel free to post in the comments section.

Loose German Shepherd at Yorkdale and Oxford

There is a loose German Shepherd running around at the corner of Yorkdale and Oxford that tried to attack me and my dog as we were walking on Oxford. We were half a block away from the dog when I noticed the dog and we froze not recognizing the dog and not seeing any owner with the dog. The German Shepherd spotted us and came charging after us. I picked up my dog and started yelling at the dog to scare him off. Fortunately neighbors came out and the dog ran back to where he came from.

If someone owns this dog is please collect and secure the dog. Animal control will be called if the dog continues to stay loose.

UED Watch Advisory: Suspicious Man on Oxford

Correction: Street was Oxford not Cornwallis.

It was reported by a neighbor that a suspicious man today lightly knocked at their residence on Oxford but on the side door and stood there for quite some time assumingly to see if anyone was home.

One of the residents was present and stood still while the person stood at the side door. They didn’t get a great look at the person but thought it was an older white male.

It was not anyone the residents knew or was familiar with.

A report via the non-emergency phone number was made to the police. If someone matching this description and activity is observed please report to 911.

Thank you.

In Search of Owner of Wandering Cats on 3200 Block of Oxford

A neighbor in the 3200 block of Oxford is in need to contact the owner of two cats that keep wandering on to their property.  One cat gives the appearance of being all black and the other is grey.  They look relatively healthy so they seem to be cared for cats.   If you have any information on who may own these cats please reach out to the neighborhood coordinator at joegz9101@gmail.com

University Estates Awarded 2017 NNO Winner

Honored to announce that University Estates Durham has been awarded as a  National Night Out award Neighborhood/Community winner for 2017.

This is our 7th successive award recognition which goes to show that we have one of the best communities because we have the best involved neighbors that want a safe and friendly place to call home.  A round of applause to all our participants, contributors and attendees as your involvement is what makes this honor possible.  Thank you!

Fox Sighting on Yorkdale

A neighbor on Yorkdale reports of sighting a fox on Yorkdale at 3 PM on Weds.  Animal Control was contacted and stated that it would be normal activity unless the fox was acting drowsy.

There is awareness of a fox or small coyote in the area that will more normally comes out at night as it has been spotted several times.  It will more typically run away when it sees you. A reminder to secure pets at night as a fox will be out looking for an easy meal and it will not discriminate between domestic and wild animals.  At times a fox has preyed on chickens that were being raised by neighbors.

If walking your dog at night always carry a light to make yourself more visible.

Durham County Animal Control Services responds to calls from 8-10 M-F and can be contacted at 919-560-0630.  Outside of those hours Durham County Sheriff should be contacted for emergency services (i.e. animal is threatening) at 919-560-0900.

Campaign Signs to Scrap Exchange

The Scrap Exchange has obtained permission for citizens of Durham to remove the campaign signs from the roads.

Bring used signs to the donation door of The Scrap Exchange at 2050 Chapel Hill Road.

Everyone is welcome to remove signs from the following campaigns:

Ali, Alston, Barnes, Cole McFadden, Freelon, Freeman, Huggins, Kovalick, Middelton, Moffitt, Schewel, Rooks

Thank you for helping keep Durham clean and keeping waste out of the landfill!

Suspicious Person in Stanford Driveway

On Monday morning, 10/09, at around 9 a.m., a neighbor in the 3000 block of Stanford reports that she exited her home through the front door to find an unfamiliar African-American  young man (late teens or early 20s) with a skateboard standing on her driveway not far from her car. They did not exchange words, but she says that the young man nodded to her and took off on his skateboard up the driveway and into the street. The neighbor believes this individual did not enter her driveway via the street, because where she was sitting inside she had a clear view of the street, and she did not notice him until she exited the house.

The neighbor reports that, although she called the police later in the day, they would not take a report because she didn’t call right when it happened.

Keep your eyes open, and if you see anything suspicious, please do not hesitate to call 911.

NNO 2017 Round-Up Video

If you missed our NNO Round-Up or just wanted to relive the event then this video is just for you.  We see many smiling faces on our little cowgirls and cowboys which thrills the heart to see having a good time.  To all our neighbors, the band wanted to let you know that you all can really cook up some great food.

A huge (and well overdue) thank you to all the volunteers that helped with the NNO event setup, greeting table, food table setup and clean up.  This is a community event so one person alone does not make this a success without our volunteers input and hard work.  A special recognition to all the financial donors for their generosity and support to the annual event.

This is part of our submission to the National Association of Town Watch.  We hope you enjoy.