Update April 1, 9:35 PM: See important update at end of this article.

Residents of Virginia-Highland fed up over feces left behind

Residents of Virginia-Highland fed up with owners not cleaning up after their pets are using a high-tech way to catch the culprits, taking DNA from the dogs.

The Virginia-Highland Neighborhood Association (VHNA) has received numerous complaints about residents leaving their dog’s droppings on and near sidewalks.

VHConnect.org has learned that the association’s board voted this week to hire a company called PoopPrints to collect DNA samples from all dogs in the neighborhood. Technicians will swab the dogs’ mouths and then match that DNA to feces that were not properly disposed of.

All residents will be required to register their dogs. It will cost pet owners about $50 per dog to register them with PoopPrints, and 50% of the cost will be matched by VHNA.

If a resident is caught not picking up after their dog they could be penalized by City of Atlanta with a fine up to $1,000, a jail term up to 1 year, community service up to six months, or a combination of the above, according to ordinance Sec. 18-9 “Removal of canine fecal matter”.

A spokesperson for VHNA did not immediately respond to request for comment for this story.

DEVELOPING…

Update 1 (April 1, 2014, 8:20 AM): Bob S on Nextdoor Virginia-Highland reports that Morningside has been doing this for the past two years.

Update 2: (April 1, 2014, 9:35 PM): April Fools!

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food-truck-wedsAccording to the event organizer’s Facebook page, Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesdays will be returning for another season in 2013.

For tomorrow, Wednesday June 19: “A few trucks will be out and the Braves B.A.T. [the official mobile fan experience for the Atlanta Braves] will be there as well!”

In the parking lot at 841 N. Highland Ave, Atlanta, Georgia 30306 (approx across the street from Intown Ace Hardware)

More info:

Virginia Highland Food Truck Wednesdays Facebook page

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angolan witch spider Update 4/1/2013 11:59 PM: See important update at end of this article. We received a report of an Angolan Witch spider in Virginia-Highland. This photo was taken by a resident on Rosedale Drive on Sunday. Be on the look out. If you see this spider, do not approach it. Do not try to capture it yourself. These are very fast arachnids, capable of inflicting severe bites or even killing a person with its venom. According to Will Powell of Zoo Atlanta, the Angolan Witch spider migrated from South America. They primarily eat squirrels and birds but have been known to eat dogs, cats and coyotes. A Virginia-Highland Civic Association representative, speaking on the condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to the media, tells VHConnect.org that the association is looking at various options. “This is very concerning,” the association representative said. “An Angolan Witch spider was seen on a house on Greenwood and it took several gunshots to kill it. We’re discussing the feasibility of having an exterminator patrol the neighborhood.” You are urged to immediately report sightings of the spider. We’ll update this story as we know more. Follow @VAHIupdates on Twitter for real-time updates. ## Update (4/1/2013, 11:59 PM): April Fools!

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Results of User Survey About Urgent Alerts

by David on September 24, 2012

We recently conducted a user survey about Urgent Alerts sent to the community via text message. There were 50 responses in total. Here are the complete results, including all user comments.

Please post discussion related to this in the community forum on Nextdoor Virginia-Highland, a closed social network for Virginia-Highland residents, that also includes the Urgent Alerts system. If you’re a resident and not already a member, please join.

Read More…

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On Thursday Sept 13, 2012, at the Annual General Meeting of our neighborhood association, the outgoing board will propose an amendment to the bylaws of the association that would restrict members’ access to information of our association.

Thankfully, the board cannot pass this amendment on its own. Membership must vote for it in order for it to pass.

ACTION:

1. I urge you to vote NO on this proposed amendment.

2. Please help spread the word about this issue before the meeting on Thursday.

The annual meeting is this Thursday, September 13 from 6:30 – 9:00PM. At the Inman Middle School Cafeteria.

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Details, if you like details:

In this 3-point summary, I’ll explain the issue as I see it; why I think this proposal bad for us as members; and why I urge you to NOT vote for this proposal – vote it down.

1. WHAT ARE THE CURRENT BYLAWS AND WHAT ARE THE PROPOSED BYLAWS OF CONCERN?

All residents of Virginia-Highland over 18 years of age are members of the neighborhood association.

Under the current bylaws, any member can inspect all books and records of the association at any reasonable time.

But there is now a board-initiated proposal to change those bylaws that would restrict member access to the association’s books and records.

Under the proposal, members would no longer have access to some of the books and records of our association. Namely, information that the board considers “Proprietary information”.

The key here is what is the definition of the term “Proprietary information”?

Here’s what the bylaws say about that definition, buried further in the bylaws, AND THIS IS KEY:

“Proprietary Information” means all trade secrets, know-how, proprietary business methods, confidential information, and shall include, without limitation, agreements and databases developed by any Director or member of the Fundraising Committee in connection with the operation and management of Virginia Highland Summerfest, Tour of Homes, and other events of a similar nature.”

2. WHY I THINK THIS IS BAD FOR US AS MEMBERS

The problem with this is the potential for abuse. Pretty much *anything* the board doesn’t want members to know, can be considered “confidential”, at the board’s discretion, therefore making it “Proprietary information”.

The result: *any* information the board doesn’t want members to have access to, the board would have the power to ensure that members will not have access to it.

With no checks and balances.

If the board wants to say that some information, any information, is confidential, then it will be considered confidential. Doesn’t matter what it is. Maybe it’s something members should know about. But members will not have access to that information.

Our association has a budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars. I would not want to see any possibility that important information about our association being restricted. There is too much potential for abuse.

There is a reason why governments in the U.S., including all governments in Georgia at state and local level, have open records laws: *as a check and balance on potential abuse by those who are elected to serve*.

Open records sunshine laws exist, because elected officials being able to operate at their own discretion in the shadows, rarely proves to be a good thing.

While the civic association is not a government entity, it most certainly serves in a quasi-governmental role: with officials elected by the neighborhood; who among other things, vote on variance requests, and make recommendations to city and county government about variance requests.

Here’s what I say: we as members ARE the association. This is an association of us.

If we as members want to know about the activities of our association, we should not be prevented from knowing about them.

With the possible exceptions of: discussions related to legal issues between the association and its counsel; and personell matters, which are often reasonably carved out. But that have some very narrow definitions.

With the lack of transparency we’ve seen from the board at various times over the past several years, this is going in the wrong direction, and very troubling indeed.

3. WHAT YOU CAN DO TO STOP THIS ABUSE:

We as members will decide if this proposal is passed or not passed.

If you agree with me that this proposed amendment is bad for us as members and shouldn’t pass, I urge you to attend the annual meeting this Thursday evening at the Inman Middle School Cafeteria and when this proposal comes up do the following:

* If there is discussion allowed from the floor, please vocally state your concerns and urge people to *not* vote for the proposed amendment.

* When it comes time to vote, I urge you to *not* vote for this proposal. Vote it down by attending and not voting for it.

So few people typically turn out for these elections, I worry that this proposed amendment will pass simply because of low turnout. Every vote matters.

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An Open Letter to Jack White, President Virginia-Highland Civic Association

September 13, 2012

This was sent by email to Jack White, on Wednesday evening. ## Date: Wed, Sep 12, 2012 at 7:34 PM Subject: Time sensitive question about absentee ballot for annual meeting Jack, I am writing to you in your role as President of the Virginia-Highland Civic Association board, with a question I have as a Member […]

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How to get up to $10 worth of food (free) at tonight’s Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesday

July 25, 2012

If you’re planning on attending tonight’s Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesday (July 25, 2012), the event’s participating food trucks will be offering event attendees $5 worth of food or beverages to anyone who pays with their mobile phone using “LevelUp”, the free app that lets you pay with your smartphone around Atlanta. Bonus: I’ll show you […]

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Video: Virginia-Highland Summerfest Parade 2012

June 1, 2012

Theme for the neighborhood parade this year was safari! I was honored to help judge the costumes in the parade tonight. Fantastic job by all participants! Thank you to all volunteers who helped with the parade and the community dinner and movie. Here’s video that I filmed as the parade got started at ACE Hardware: […]

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Updated: New Music Lineup for Virginia-Highland Summerfest 2012

May 10, 2012

We’ve learned today that there’s a new band in the music lineup for Virginia-Highland Summerfest 2012. New to the Summerfest 2012 schedule, The Fixx will headline on Sunday night. The iconic English new wave rock band is best known for their early 80′s hits including “One Thing Leads to Another,” “Red Skies,” “Stand or Fall,” and “Saved by Zero”. […]

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Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesdays: Back ON and Returning for 2012

May 9, 2012

Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesdays is returning for 2012, with a new organizer and rebranded as “Bettie’s Virginia-Highland Food Truck Wednesdays“. The event resumes tonight, Wednesday, May 9. From 6:00 PM to 9:00 PM, at the same location, the parking lot at 841 N. Highland Ave (across the street from Osteria 832 and Dark Horse Tavern). […]

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