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July 11, 1996

Donna’s Hair

Dear Neighbors:

We've found an issue that concerns use all--the fate of Donna Ancypa's ( hair. As Donna explains:

"I feel as though I've opened the floodgates - people are much more passionate about their hair and their hairdressers than I thought. About 20 people have responded (I feel so popular), and most of them seem to have written love letters about the people who cut their hair. One woman from Vermont(!) who used to live in D.C. even gave me the name of her hairdresser and told me to say "hi" - she misses her. I feel like I now have a lifetime supply of references - all I need is more hair."

Perhaps one day I'll start a list called only when we also post photographs of the hairstylists' do(s).


Hot off the wire: Ward Three Councilmember Kathy Patterson wrote Anthony Williams, DC CFO who just kicked butt by firing the folks (ir)responsible for assessing and collecting property taxes, requesting that he "immediately assume operational control of the budget and finances of the D,C. Public Schools."

The public school system is $10 million over budget for fy 1996. Williams requested in a 11 June memo that Superintendent Franklin Smith present a plan for closing the gap by June 14 without furloughing teachers or postponing the start of the school year. So far, Smith has done nothing but talk about furloughing teachers and postponing school--perhaps until the start of the new fiscal year on 1 October. This is your classic "failure to communicate."

Patterson believes the savings can come from central administration via rolling furlough days, but as summer progresses, it gets harder to get at that money. That's why she demands Wiliams take immediate action.


Attention Net Heads: "A new subscription service from Cybermedia automatically checks the Web sites of all the software manufacturers represented on your hard drive to see if there are any upgrades available, and then can automatically install whatever's available. Oil Change dials into Cybermedia's Web server and compares the list of updates with what's on the customer's machine. It displays the list of those not yet installed on the client's PC and the client can then choose whether or not to accept the upgrade. A beta version is available at < >. (Information Week 24 Jun 96 p114)"

I'm downloaded it, exploded it, installed it, used it, and recommend it.


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Jeffrey Itell


Facts is Facts

Ahem. According to the World Almanac, the highest elevation in the District of Columbia is "Tenleytown," at 410 feet. Those who offer differing information may wish to state their sources.

Stephanie "Facts is Facts" Faul



Recently, while relaxing one cool evening on a porch with friends in the 17th Street DuPont area, I witnessed two DC motorcycle cops dutifully ticketing a line of illegally parked cars, almost all with Virginia plates. One well-dressed middle-aged man (after nervously darting out from a nearby gay hangout) saw that his car was ticketed and immediately went into a predictable surbanite diatribe, lacing his rants with expletives aimed at the cops. ("This city is f----d!" he repeated several times, amusing those of us on the nearby porch).

The cops remained calm, showed the man the No Parking sign and politely urged him to be on his way. The man wouldn't give up though, protesting that the sign was hidden behind a tree. The cops explained to the man that he could challenge the ticket and again, urged him to just leave. I mentally played out a reverse scene-- say, inner city kid, Virgnia state trooper. That kid, no doubt, would be in handcuffs soon after the second f----d. Perhaps it was just for the benefit of those of us on the porch, but some credit must go to the DC cops who handled the situation smoothly and professionally. One cop was apologetic even, telling the guy, "Hey, I'm just doing my job here."

R. Williams


Re: dealing with unwarranted parking tickets: Use the mail appeal procedure (address should be on the ticket). Check "Not guilty" and explain the situtation; cc your councilperson. This procedure works; I've used it more than once.

Cynthia Harrison


Re Ralph Blessing's inquiry in the July 9 dc.story: While researching this topic for inclusion in the latest edition of Mastering DC, I learned that reciprocity stickers are available to full-time students, temporary residents (those living in the District fewer than 180 days), congressional staff and military personnel. Proof of DC residence is required, and students must show proof of full-time status (at least nine credit hours). If you live on a street that has residential parking, you must still pay the $10 parking permit fee.

Kay Killingstad


Re: reciprocity on residential parking, a few years ago I attempted to get such a thing for my DC-resident housekeeper. No dice, first because officialdom considered this a commercial transaction (they told me the law exists to prevent people who work in the neighborhood from crowding out residents) and also because the person in question already had a permit in another ward. So I could attempt to get a temporary permit on a semi-regular basis--which doesn't always work because you aren't supposed to get them continually--or find a nearby "unposted" block for her to park.

I guess I feel that household employees should be exempted (how many can there be?) but I think this very proposal was already defeated in the Council somewhere around 1984. I do understand, though, that if reciprocal agreements were made--say with businesses--what would be the point of having it at all? (And maybe that is a question some of your readers are asking.)

Barbara Bovbjerg



Amen to pot holes serving as speed control devices. Perhaps the city should ask the neighbors before fixing a pot hole on side streets.

There was one on 5th Street, where I live and where traffic sometimes travels at 40 mph or more between stop lights (this on a one way, neighborhood street).

Unfortunately, that most efficient city operation came and cut out my pot hole, filling it with fresh asphalt. Oh do I miss it now, for that pot hole was often my only revenge against the jerks that roar down my street, particularly late at night.

Randy Wells



I heard a rumor that Metro has started running non-rush hour trains every 15min instead of 10min. Does anyone know if this is true, and if anyone else has a problem with only 4 trains every hour.

Rob Meisnere



Has D.C. government been late in refunding your income tax refunds for this year? I filed prior to April 15, but still have not received my refund. Of course, when I call the phone number listed to get information on refunds, it is always busy. What I'd like to know is (1) is this something that is affecting only me (or a few people) or (2) a widespread problem that suggests that the D.C. treasurer is holding on to our money longer. Any ideas on what to do about it?

Bob Doherty


If anyone knows how to dispute a Tax Assessment and could e-mail me I would appreciate it. My house is very similar to the one across the street but is assessed at 30% more than that one sold for last fall.

Horace Howells


Home Rule

Fact checkers aside, Julius Hobson, Sr., had a good take on Home Rule: he called it "Fool's Rule", because it gave DC the facade of locally elected politicians without true self-government. What else would you call a system of government where not a dime of even local revenues can be spent without an act of Congress and signature of the President? Or where no local ordinance can pass without Federal "Big Daddy" permission?

Seems to me that Home Rule has given us the worst of both worlds: an entrenched, non-resposive political elite, and a compliant, complacent populous. Without Home Rule, District citizens may not have put up with this colonial rule--a Congress in which we have no vote, representing every American citizen except us, imposing taxation without representation, and exercising ultimate authority over all local laws. King George could have done no better.

Randy Wells


District CableVision

My wife, upset that DC cable is not getting E! or Comedy Central but instead some talk channel, called DC CableVision. After about an hour and being disconnected three times she finally got a manager who told her that BET Jazz and SCI-FI were the most requested channels and that the talk channel was required by the FCC. Additionally, he said that the number of channels was limited by the FCC and with the addition of one meant the deletion of another. When asked why a couple of shopping channels could not be cut he replied that they too were mandated by the FCC. I don't know if anyone knows anything about this but it seems a bit ridiculous. The man who my wife eventually got through to was Duane Curtis, a customer service representative. His number is 635-5544. I am sure he would love to hear from all concerned customers.

Horace Howells


Ma Bell

Stephanie Faul wrote about how worthwhile Caller ID is, and "how much the incidence of phone harassment complaints had fallen since the introduction of the service, which is of course probably the single biggest benefit Caller ID has provided."

Do you know that there is a code you can dial in, before placing a call, that defeats Caller ID? It's similar to the *70 you can dial to disable your call waiting. The code is available on the internet, and in various publications, so I would be willing to bet that the people who really don't want you to know who they are when they call "know the code" too. I believe it displays a string of zeros, instead of the number, or name of the caller. The call can still be traced, the old fashioned way, it just takes longer!

Sheila Coyle


Can anyone stomach another Bell Atlantic tale?

I recently had 4 business lines and 2 home lines installed by Bell Atlantic within two weeks of each other and, like seemingly everyone else, had terrible experiences. They showed up late, lied about being "on the way there," lied about already being on-site (even though I was there and they weren't) and then had double booked my order so two different trucks showed up to do one job (both over an hour after they told me they'd be there). Throughout both ordeals, the customer service people remained friendly and sympathetic even as their dispatch center was feeding them bunk. After complaining, I got free installation and wiring on both orders and three free months of service worth a total of about $350. I guess not a bad deal overall for me for a couple of heartaches, but certainly no way to run a business -- unless you're a monopoly.

Now don't get me started on District Cablevision...

J. Marks



Grill Fish is a new restaurant coming to New Hampshire and M. The license says they have other locations in Miami Beach, elsewhere. Is anyone familiar with them?

Dianne Rhodes


Query: Can anyone recommend a brick layer for a brick patio that needs redoing who's good and not too expensive?

Cynthia Harrison


Looking for a Prof. 25-35, non-smoker to share spacious semi-furn. 2 bedroom apartment in N. Arlington, large bedroom, private bath, 1mi. from metro (Ballston) near biketrail, must like pets. $475, (703) 533-3718.

Robert Meisnere


Home PC Computer Assistance. I'll help you chose and buy the best model for the lowest price, get your computer up and running, teach you the ins and outs of Windows 95 and applications, show you how to maintain your system, build special applications for you, and get you up and running on the internet. $60/hour. 202.244.4163.

Jeffrey Itell


The Kennedy Playground renovation project

On July 26th, Ruppert Landscaping, together with other private busiensses, nearby community groups, and the District govt., is completing the installation of an entirely new, regulation little league field at the playground. Additional sponsors are needed, for support, materials, or funds. This will be a high-profile event, with media coverage across the metro area.

Kennedy Playground in located between P and O Streets, and between 7th and 6th Streets, N.W. It was opened in June 1964 and dedicated to the memory of John F. Kennedy. The playground was built with the support and assistance of the Kennedy family, most particularly then-Attorney General Robert Kennedy.

In recent years, however, the playground had degenerated and become the site of drug dealing--a hazard to children rather than a safe haven. With such a high density of children in the surrounding area, and no other substantial recreational facilities nearby, a rejuvenated Kennedy Playground is essential.

Approximately $150,000 worth of materials and labor have been committed so far. Additional needs are fencing materials, dugout benches and bleachers, team uniforms, athletic equipment, and paint.

Won't you join us? For additional information, call the Kennedy Playground hotline at 986-5314. If you have a lead on a possible sponsor, please call Randy Wells, Secretary of Friends of Kennedy Playground, at (202) 483-3373.

Randy Wells

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