Neighborhood Watch: Recent reports of crimes nearby that we should be aware of

It may be a fluke, but there have been more serious police reports than usual in neighborhoods in our part of Greensboro recently. As followers of know, College Hill has had a few crimes reported this summer — including four reports of items being stolen from front porches — and it’s also worth being aware of what’s going on around us.

man in t-shirt and shorts outside house

Photo taken from surveillance video in the Brice Street neighborhood, from a posting today

Most of the following appeared on Nextdoor, going back to the beginning of July. That does skew things a bit. Some neighborhoods — Brice Street, College Hill and Fisher Park in particular — are more active than others (Glenwood and Westerwood, for example) in using the site to report public-safety issues.

  • Brice Street neighborhood (2100 block of Spring Garden), August 20: “This man [the post included the photo at right taken from a surveillance video camera] walked down my sidewalk on spring garden and turned to come to my house I was at my desk and saw him coming and where I keep a .45 and he turned to my house and then stopped when he noticed the camera. I am positive he is holding a gun in his hand under his shirt/shorts. I am positive this man was intent on harm and it was clear I was home as lights were in tv playing and car in driveway. I took video to police and wanted to share.”
  • Fisher Park, August 19: “Heads up to everyone. Discovered early this morning all of my tires had been slashed. Never had any problems in the 6 or so years I have lived here. Car was parked on street as always. Just wanted all to be aware.”
  • Fisher Park, August 10: “The Fisher Park Community has a thread on Facebook where residents are sharing surveillance video and pictures of the man trespassing on their property. … The Fisher Park community is on alert after seeing the man pictured above wandering around the area, demanding money, falling asleep on porches, and even gaining access into apartment buildings.” (via WFMY-TV)
  • College Hill, August 8: “Unfortunately it looks like 12 chairs and two tables that belonged to Amy Solo were stolen from my front porch mid-afternoon today. According to James a white van pulled up in front of my house facing the wrong way (south), loaded up the items and drove off.  … Very distressing – first time in 40 years I’ve had anything removed from my front porch – and in the middle of the day??”
  • Fisher Park, July 19: “I want everyone in Fisher Park to know that I discovered early in the morning of July 19th that someone had picked up a block of cement and smashed the windshield of my car, then ripped up flowers in my wife’s garden. … I have lived in Fisher Park for 12 years with my car parked on the street in front of my house without incident prior to this vicious occurrence.”
  • Fisher Park, July 13: “Home Break-In during day — Friday morning 7/13 between 11am – 12noon the back door of my neighbor’s house on Magnolia Street was kicked in. Gold jewelry was taken and the bedroom ransacked. The police were called and said this has been a pattern.”
  • Brice Street, July 12: “FYI tonight just minutes ago a gang of young people were caught trying to break into my son’s vehicle on Milton St. My son chased them and the police used dogs and trapped them in a fenced area.”
  • College Hill, July 1: “Three robberies occurred within 10 minutes the evening of Sunday July 1. Greensboro Police report that three suspects have been arrested and charged with the crimes. The robberies were the first reported in College Hill since March.”
Posted in Neighborhood Watch, Public Safety | 1 Comment

New on Tate Street: Taste of Tate, Thursdays 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., with food deals and special offers every week

Flyer for Taste of Tate

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Reminder: Credit union membership open to all in College Hill

screenshot of credit union websiteAll College Hill residents are eligible for membership in the Greensboro Municipal Federal Credit Union. This eligibility is extended to members of all neighborhood associations that belong to the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress. All College Hill residents (home owners and renters) and property owners are members of the College Hill Neighborhood Association.

The credit union has offices at 217 North Greene Street, 2200 Soabar Street in south Greensboro and 2511 Phillips Avenue in east Greensboro. It has ATMs at the Depot on East Washington Street and the Soabar Street office. Members also can use surcharge-free CashPoints ATMs throughout North Carolina. There are more than 40 CashPoints locations in Greensboro, including the State Employees Credit Union office at Tate and Market streets.

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Weatherspoon offers free tours and treats on three Thursdays, featuring animals, nanoscience and the UNCG Icicle Tricycle

poster for summertime tours and treats

Click the poster for more information

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No, that wasn’t a ‘baby copperhead’ in your yard

Adult snake with nine baby snakes

An actual copperhead with its young. You’re not going to find these in your backyard.

By IAN McDOWELL, South Mendenhall Street

Newborn copperheads are 8-10 inches long and look much like mature copperheads except for their greenish or yellow tails, which they may use to attract lizards, and which lose that coloration after the first year. Other than that tail, their coloration is more grayish than that of their tan or coppery parents. Even at birth (females don’t lay eggs), juveniles have thicker bodies, larger heads and thinner necks than any other local snake that size. Their heads generally have the same distinctive triangular “adder” shape as adults.

A snake less than 8 inches long is almost certainly not a copperhead. Any snake less than 11 inches long without a greenish or yellow tip on its tail is unlikely to be a copperhead (copperheads lose that tail coloration after the first year).

little snake in someone's hands

Google is wrong: This isn’t a baby copperhead.

I have examined over 30 alleged “baby copperheads” in College Hill since 1990. All were common brown snakes, worm snakes or ringneck snakes. It’s very difficult for any snake that must grow to be over 12 inches long before it can mate to survive in this or any suburban neighborhood. The idea of two sexually mature copperheads surviving long enough to find each other and have babies anywhere near downtown Greensboro is, although not inconceivable, highly improbable. There’s a reason you typically have to go out to the country to find kingsnakes, cornsnakes and ratsnakes these days, although those species were common in Fayetteville and Greensboro suburbs when I was a kid. (My late great-uncle, Olan Barnes, used to swear he’d blast rock salt into any “dang carpetbagger city folks” dumb enough to kill a black snake anywhere near his property, but that was when his old house at the corner of Friendly and Holden was still a chicken farm, and he had the country wisdom he’d acquired before the suburbs engulfed him).

a harmless little snake

The common, harmless worm snake, from

Every time that one of my neighbors has killed a “baby copperhead” and I was able to examine the corpse, cutting open its head and examining its mouth structure with a high-powered magnifying glass revealed no trace of poison glands or fangs.

When Googling what juvenile copperheads look like, be sure you’re clicking on an image from a nature organization. Pinterest, Deviant Art, and Instagram are full of “baby copperheads” that aren’t. Most of the images pulled up in a Google image search on “baby copperhead” are adult worm snakes and brown snakes.

Only the photo of a mother with her young (above, at top) depicts baby copperheads. Agkistrodon contortrix, like most vipers, is an ovoviviparous species, meaning the eggs are hatched inside the mother’s body (a few species of snakes, such as boa constrictors and green anacondas, are viviparous and have placentas).

The second photo was the first hit produced by a Google image search on “baby copperhead,” but it’s a common brown snake (and too small to be a newborn copperhead).

The third photo is a worm snake, the most common snake in this area, and about as harmless as any animal can be. Leave it alone to eat slugs in your garden. It can’t hurt you, your kids or your pets (brown snakes can’t, either — unless you live in Australia, where “brown snake” denotes a different and larger species that is, of course, deadly, because Australia).

This post originally appeared on and is published with the permission of the author.

Posted in Animals | Tagged , | 1 Comment

A big tree on Rankin Place gets a big send-off

Massive tree trunk on its side

Hand-lettered sign: Big Tree ParkingThere was a gigantic red oak tree that towered over Paul and Barbara Phillips’ house at 805 Rankin Place. The house was built in 1910, and the tree probably was there then. By last fall, it was clear that the tree’s health was failing, and it had to come down.

After weeks of work, it had been taken down this week, and the branches had been cleared away. Sam Bridges of Bridges Tree Service invited some folks over Friday to say goodbye.

Chainsaw artist Ericksen Krietemeyer carved a bear into one end of the trunk. Master furniture craftsman Joe Schoolcraft came over from Sunset Hills to saw through a seven-foot length of trunk for wood to turn into tables. A preschool class of five-year-olds from First Baptist Church arrived to see something big happening. Some their parents came, too, and neighbors from Rankin and Mendenhall and Carr, a videographer from Fox8 News and two officials from the city’s Historic Preservation staff.

Over the course of an hour and a half or so, some 30 people paid their respects to one of College Hill’s grandest trees. It was a more fitting end that most trees get, even great ones like this. Our neighborhood’s tree canopy is one of our great assets, one that requires care, respect and awareness to maintain. Events like Friday’s should become a tradition, one that will help keep us from taking our trees for granted.

kids looking into a big hole in the tree

Everyone wanted to see inside …

kids inside the tree trunk

… and get inside.

guy with a chainsaw at work

Chainsaw artist Ericksen Krietemeyer carves a bear into one end of the giant tree trunk.

man leaning into a chainsaw rig

Joe Schoolcraft begins sawing through a seven-foot section of the tree.

close-up of an elaborate chainsaw

Joe’s chainsaw rig after he started to cut through the trunk

little boy looking into a hole in the tree

Everyone got to see where the bees had been and the honey they left behind …

children getting little spoonfuls of honey

… and then get a taste of pure honey straight from the tree.


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UNCG to stage major-emergency drill Thursday February 1; exercise will include simulated gunfire, several street closings

logo: UNCG Active Emergency DrillDon’t be alarmed if you see a lot of police and ambulances on campus on Thursday February 1. The university says it will be conducting one of the largest emergency exercises ever in the UNC system. The drill will focus on the McIver Building, located just off Spring
Garden Street on Administration Drive between the Foust Building and the back of the UNCG Auditorium (formerly Aycock).

Simulated gunfire may be heard between 9 a.m. and 11 a.m.

From UNCG:

“On February 1, 2018, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro will be conducting a law enforcement oriented, mass casualty full-scale emergency exercise. The purpose of this exercise is to test the university and community’s emergency response and recovery plans and capabilities. The exercise will take place in and around the UNCG McIver Building, located at 1008 Administration Drive.

“The exercise is expected to begin around 9 AM and last until mid-afternoon. There will be a large police and emergency services presence on campus that day dedicated to the exercise, but an appropriate number of public safety officials will remain available to respond to real emergency calls during that time.”

Agencies taking part in the drill include UNCG police and various campus offices, the Greensboro police and fire departments, Guilford County EMS and sheriff’s department, N.C. A&T State University police, SBI, FBI and the American Red Cross.

Street closings

Several streets are scheduled to be closed from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.:

  • Spring Garden Street in both directions from Tate Street to Forest Street
  • Highland Avenue from Spring Garden Street to Oakland Avenue
  • Walker Avenue from the parking lot behind the McIver Building to Tate Street
  • College Avenue from the Faculty Center to Spring Garden Street
  • Administration Drive from Spring Garden Street to College Avenue

Also, Spring Garden Street’s sidewalk will be closed from Forest Street to Tate Street on the side by Foust Park.

More information: UNCG Campus Weekly, UNCG Police

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Garbage/recycling collection delayed until Monday, probably

The city has announced that Friday’s collection of garbage and recycling will be postponed until Monday because of the snow. No collections were made Wednesday, and none will be made today (Thursday).

City crews plan to work Friday and Saturday to start catching up, but if the roads are still impassable for garbage trucks tomorrow (Friday), they’ll have to delay our collection further. The city is posting updates on Nextdoor.

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Condolences to our neighbor Janet Frommann

The College Hill Neighborhood Association extends its condolences to our neighbor Janet Frommann of McGee Street on the death of her daughter, Kirsten Poag. Kirsten, 27,  died Sunday. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m., Saturday, December 2, at Presbyterian Church of the Covenant, 501 S. Mendenhall Street.

Posted in Condolences, McGee Street, Neighbors | Leave a comment

Thursday Nov. 30: Don’t miss your last opportunity to comment on the College Hill segment of the Downtown Greenway

Downtown Greenway Phase Four design meeting, Nov. 30 2017Map showing Phase 4 of the Downtown Greenway

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