February 2024 Newsletter

Happy February Oakenshawe Neighbors,

This month’s Oakenshawe Improvement Association (OIA) Newsletter includes:

  • OIA January Meeting Minutes
  • 2023 Crime Report
  • Volunteer Appreciation – Parking Permit Pickup
  • Progressive Dinner – Saturday, March 2nd
  • Oakenshawe Meal Exchange
  • Save the Dates and more!

OIA January Meeting Recap: Meeting Minutes

On Saturday, January 27 at 4pm, OIA held its first quarterly meeting of 2024. The minutes recapping the meeting are below:

January 2024 OIA Agenda & Meeting Minutes

  1. Welcome
  2. Odette Update: The Councilmember was unable to attend. However, Zach provided brief updates from Odette. The Councilmember has been working with the East University Parkway Taskforce on speed cameras for EUP. While the cameras could not be located on the 200 or 300 blocks because of parking and tree obstructions, the temporary cameras on the 100 block captured 287 violations and even documented someone going 96 miles per hour! DOT is continuing to study the speeding issue and exploring options as permanent speed cameras are supposed to be installed within ¼ mile of a school. In other news, the Councilmember is also working with the Thai Restaurant to find a new location in the neighborhood after their landlord priced them out of their historic location.
  3. Officer & Committee Reports
    1. Treasurer Report: OIA has collected $3,056 in dues and donations since the beginning of the year ($752 at the Parking Permit pickup and $2,304 at the Homewood Terrace block party) and spent $2,017 ($1,867 for the block party after all expenses were accounted for and $150 for miscellaneous expense). OIA’s account balance is $3,519. Last but not least, we are looking for a new treasurer. Thank you to Kenneth for your two years of service. If you are interested in serving as treasurer, please reach out to zachgieske@gmail.com.
    2. Membership & Communications Report: We are looking for anyone interested in joining the committee to brainstorm how to make OIA communications and membership more valuable for neighbors. Reach out to johnhillegass@gmail.com if interested.
    3. Events Report: Karen, the committee chair, is organizing a Progressive Dinner (more info below) on March 2. She is looking for two more dinner hosts.
    4. University Outreach and Safety Report: There have been few recent complaints about students since our last meeting. In fact, one of the Hopkins women’s lacrosse players shoveled a neighbor’s sidewalks during the recent storm. The committee is planning another walkabout in August to welcome new students. Check out the 2023 crime report below.
    5. Green Space & Trees Report: We appreciated the volunteer lumberjack tree management of Michael Carver, Zach Gieske, and Robin Prescott who saved us money! All the mowers in 2023 as mentioned in the last newsletter. And Davon Pulliam and Zach Gieske for picking up the decaying fruit dropped from trees. In early March, Baltimore Green Space is coming to help teach the committee how to manage the planted buckwheat in the pollinator garden. The committee is exploring options to replace the chairs that have disappeared and is looking for a wheelbarrow. If anyone has one to donate, please reach out to louisa.creamer@gmail.com. Finally, the battery and charger for the lawn mower was stolen. Replacing it will cost about $800. We still need to figure out how to lock the charger and the lawn mower. That expense will bring us down to just over $2000 in the Green Space bank account. The date of 2024 mower training will be March 12 at 5:30 on the Green Space.
  1. New Business:  Attendees discussed the need to (re) set up a snowblower action plan to be able to respond to winter storms. Michael Carver was mentioned as a potential lead. Kevin & Barbara host the snowblowers in their garage. Neighbors were also interested in continuing to explore whether we can replace/upgrade the street lamps around the neighborhood and partnering with the East University Parkway Taskforce for Earth Day / the Mayor’s Spring Cleanup, typically scheduled for April.
  2. Board & Officers: OIA voted to reinstate existing board members and officers, with an acknowledgement that we are looking for a new treasurer to take over from Kenneth McFadden.
  3. Closing

Oakenshawe Crime Review – 2023

Thank you to neighbor Kevin Cleary for writing the update below.

Crime for Oakenshawe can be found on the Open Data link of the city’s website

(https://data.baltimorecity.gov/). Part 1 crimes are the more serious ones that involve violence, threat of violence, theft (larceny), and arson.

For our neighborhood in 2023, the good news is that there were no reported homicides,

forcible rapes, or cases of arson. There were two aggravated assaults – one was a shooting early one morning in November near Union Memorial and the other was a knifing, also early in the morning, in April on Venable Avenue. Five robberies were reported, all involving a gun. Three were listed as occurring “inside” and two were listed as commercial robberies. Although there were six burglaries listed, there were only three burglary incidents. Two occurred at the same location at the same time with two victims, and three were at another location with three victims. The reporting system counts each victim as a separate crime.

There were 12 stolen autos*, five reports of larceny from auto, and four stolen bicycles. Two shoplifting incidents were reported, with eight other larcenies (thefts) reported.

Not all crimes listed the gender of the victim, but for those listed, 21 were women and 22 were men. No victims were under the age of 20, and the oldest victims were 72 years old. 2 p.m. to 2 a.m. were the busiest times for a crime. Wednesdays and Thursdays had the fewest crimes. Mid-July to October 1st, and November through December, were the months with the most criminal activity. February had one crime reported. None were reported in the month of October.

*If you own a Hyundai or Kia, Northern District is giving away, while supplies last, steering wheel locks. Call the station at (410) 396-2455 to learn more.

Volunteer Appreciation: Parking Permit Volunteers

OIA, and all of the neighborhood activities, runs on volunteers. The Board wants to take a brief moment each month to celebrate our neighbors who dedicate time to the neighborhood.

This month, we give a special thanks to all of the volunteers that made the parking permit pickup process a breeze. Special thanks to Alice Lin (who couldn’t join) but did most of the organizing and actually picked up the permits from downtown. And thanks to Barbara, Christine, Elizabeth, Mary, Shannon, Jonathan, Bonny, John, and Zach for helping to greet neighbors and pass out permits. Not to mention the delicious cookies from Shannon and Miye and pizza from Zach. Thank you!

PROGRESSIVE DINNER 2024: March 2nd, 6pm

OIA is hosting a Progressive Dinner on Saturday, March 2nd for Oakenshawe neighbors. Please let Karen know if you are interested and can participate on March 2.

What is a Progressive Dinner? A Progressive Dinner is a relaxed and easy way to get to know your neighbors. One house hosts everyone for appetizers. Then all participants receive instructions to walk to an assigned dinner house (participants are split into smaller groups mixed up purposely so people dine with new neighbors) for entrees and a salad. Then participants go to a third house for dessert. Participants bring wine, beer, or a non-alcoholic beverage to their dinner host’s house.

Please email Karen Stokes at karen.stokes2@gmail.com and let her know if you are:

  1. Interested in joining and can participate on March 2
  2. Willing to host as a:
    1. appetizer house (host a large group (20-30  for appetizers); and/or
    2. dinner house (host 6-8 people for an entree); and/or
    3. dessert house (host a large group for dessert); or
    4. Coming as a guest

*If we have too many interested parties and not enough hosts, those who offer to host will be prioritized.

Save the Dates

Below are some important dates that you should add to your calendar. 

  • Sunday, February 24: East University Parkway Task Force Community Cleanup
  • Saturday, March 2: OIA’s Progressive Dinner
  • Monday, April 22 at 6:30pm: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Monday, July 15 at 6:30pm: OIA Quarterly Meeting
  • Saturday, September 7: Annual Oakenshawe Block Party 
  • Monday, October 21 at 6:30pm: OIA Quarterly Meeting

Community Updates

Fundraiser for “Our House” Saturday, February 24
Our House Baltimore is an intimate sliding scale play space and cafe with culturally affirming programming and open play for children 1-5 years old and their caregivers. Our House will center arts and play based programming led by facilitators and educators of color at a sliding scale for families and children. Join for an elegant evening dedicated to creating a space for joyous play and community at ‘A Toast to Our House’ fundraising event. This night promises to be a celebration of dreams as we embark on a journey to establish Our House, a nurturing haven for children and families in Baltimore. The evening will feature a silent auction, delicious bites, and generous pours. This event is a key step in raising initial capital and laying the foundation for Our House as we move towards our opening day. Buy tickets here.

Oakenshawe Meal Exchange

Interested in joining a neighborhood meal exchange for adventurous planners. The idea is to stimulate community, while reducing the overall amount of thought process behind meal planning at home. Meeting and exchange location will mainly occur at the Oakenshawe green space unless otherwise communicated. If interested in learning more, reach out to Davon Pulliam at geraldrinkcidre@gmail.com.

Councilmember Ramos Weekly Newsletter

Councilmember Ramos sends out a weekly District 14 newsletter (Oakenshawe falls within Council District 14) that includes updates on legislation in City Council, events, and more. This is a good resource to stay up to date on local news. Sign up for the Councilmember’s weekly newsletter on her website.

Oakenshawe Opines

If you have a local business review, poem, or story for the next newsletter you would like to see featured, submissions can be sent to John Hillegass at johnhillegass@gmail.com. Publication and editing decisions are at the discretion of the OIA Board.

Contractor Recommendations

Have you had a good experience with a contractor, handyman, landscaper or house cleaner?  Are you willing to share with your neighbors? The Oakenshawe Improvement Association often gets emails from members asking for suggestions for repairs, home improvements or just help with the yard.

We have created this google doc for folks to add names and contact info for the ones you have liked and recommend.  Help your neighbors and help a contractor with new business.Be sure to include your name and contact info! 


OIA Block Captains

OIA’s Block Captains help communicate with neighbors, especially those who may not be on this newsletter. Thank you to the amazing volunteers listed below. Hopefully, most of you have already met your Block Captain. 

BarclayVanessa ProtoSouthway 200-300sJessica Kohnen
BirkwoodRachael EdginSouthway 400sShannon Frede
CalvertLaura UrbanEUP 200sEd & Karen Stokes*
CalvinDavon PulliamEUP Guilford HallNeed Volunteer
The CarrolltonKevin ClearyEUP 301-320Need Volunteer
Guilford Terrace (Even side)Ben WrightEUP 321+Bethan McGarry
Guilford Terrace (Odd side)Co-Captains: Marcy Feeney & Anne KernUniversity Place (Odds)Robin  Prescott
Homewood TerraceLeah GlasheenUniversity Place (Evens)Amelia Jamison
Oakenshawe PlaceJenny SorelVenableDavon Pulliam**

*Ed and Karen Stokes have agreed to help temporarily on the 200 block of EUP until we can find a permanent block captain.

**Davon Pulliam has agreed to help temporarily on Venable until we can find a permanent block captain.

If you know anyone who lives on a block without a captain, ask them if they are interested in volunteering or can think of a friendly neighbor who might be interested. Block Captains greet & welcome new neighbors, drop off flyers ahead of quarterly OIA meetings, seek volunteers for events, and gather contact information to keep OIA’s neighbor database up-to-date. If you are interested, please reach out to John at johnhillegass@gmail.com

On behalf of the OIA Board, we hope you have a wonderful February and we look forward to seeing you around the neighborhood.

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