All posts by Joe Garza

Male Ringing Doorbell at Midnight

Greetings neighbors.  We have had a report for the area of Oxford and Princeton that at midnight on the morning of September 21 an African American male rang a neighbors doorbell and was asking for money.  The male is described as young (possible 20s) and was wearing a white t-shirt and blue jeans.

The homeowner called 911 to report the incident and learned from the police that it was the second reported incident for the same male description.  Police did not find the person when the neighborhood was patrolled.

Please be aware of the incident and continue to call 911 if you or your home are also approached.

Curbside Collection Delayed by One Day Due to Hurricane

The City of Durham Solid Waste Management Department suspended all curbside collection services on Thursday, September 13 and Friday, September 14 due to Hurricane Florence. Curbside collections are still planned to resume on Monday, September 17, at which time garbage and recycling customers not collected on September 13 as well as yard waste and bulky services customers not collected on September 13 and 14, will be serviced.

This schedule shift next week means that collection for all curbside services, including solid waste, recycling, yard waste and bulky services, will also be delayed by one business day for the entire week as follows:

· Monday customers – Tuesday, September 18 collection
· Tuesday customers – Wednesday, September 19 collection
· Wednesday customers – Thursday, September 20 collection
· Thursday customers – Friday, September 21 collection

Additionally, the City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center (Transfer Station), located 2115 E. Club Boulevard, closed at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, September 12. The City’s Waste Disposal and Recycling Center will re-open under normal operating hours on Monday, September 17.

Neighbor Help – Hurricane Florence

Greetings Neighbors.  I hope everyone has done their due diligence for weathering the approaching storm.  Although it appears that Durham will be outside of the worst of the storm let us not drop our guard as there could still be possible reprecussions to manage during and after the storm.  With this in mind I believe it is important for neighbors to help neighbors should some “non-critical” assistance be needed once the storm has passed.

Any neighbor who may need a helping hand to help clear some debris that may be blocking your home entry or something similar can reach out by posting comments here or in the event of a power outage tie a rag to their mailbox post. After the storm has passed we will try to make a few rounds in the neighborhood to see what can be done to assist a neighbor until professional services can be arranged by the homeowner.

Neighbors are not likely professionals so anything to large to manage will need to be addressed by a professional.  Any critical emergencies should be address by calling 911.

Electrical outages can be reported to Duke Energy 1-800-769-3766.

Blocked roads can be reported to Durham One Call 919-560-1200

Water treatment plants are 24/7/365 with backup power so as long as water flows from your taps it is safe to drink.

More information available at

Best of luck to everyone.

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
  • 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

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!