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Winter Weather: Damage to Your Home or Car? PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Tuesday, 09 February 2010

The city just sent out the following message regarding property damage during the storm.

WINTER WEATHER: What to Do If Your Home or Car Is Damaged in a Winter Storm

After a bruising winter storm left more than two feet of snow in certain parts of the Washington, D.C. area, the region braces for yet another winter storm that promises to dump at least 10 more inches of snow in the next few days. In some areas of the city, the storm has already left a path of damage with fallen trees, and power outages across the region. As most people have realized, snow and ice can prove dangerous, and can cause severe damage to properties and vehicles.

When a storm strikes, it is important to know what to do if your home is damaged or if you are involved in an automobile accident. Following are some guidelines from the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), of which the D.C. Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking (DISB) is a member, to help you deal with a property damage claim or automobile accident. 

“We understand that residents may be frustrated by these winter storms,” said DISB Commissioner Gennet Purcell, “but we want to ensure that their frustration does not cloud their judgment when it comes to their home and auto insurance claims. By following these steps, they may be able to make certain that any additional damage may be minimized.”

What to Do if Damage Occurs to Your Home

·    Call your insurance company or agent with your policy number and other relevant information as soon as possible. Cooperate fully with the insurance company, and ask what documents, forms and data you need.

·    Take photographs or video of the damage.

·    Make the repairs necessary to prevent further damage to your property (i.e., cover broken windows, leaking roofs and damaged walls). Do not have permanent repairs made until your insurance company has inspected the property and you have reached an agreement on the cost of repairs.

·    Save all receipts, including those from the temporary repairs covered by your insurance policy.

·    If your home is damaged to the extent that you cannot live there, ask your insurance company if you have coverage for additional living expenses incurred while repairs are being made. Save all receipts to document these costs.

What Damage to Your Home is Covered?

Damage caused by wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, and the collapse of a structure due to the weight of ice or snow are all covered under most standard homeowners policies. Frozen pipes as the result of extreme cold might not be covered if the damage is due to negligence, such as failing to maintain an adequate temperature in the house when the ability to do so is there. Check your policy and call your insurance agent or company if you need clarification or have specific questions.

What Damage to Your Home is Not Covered?

The following events are typically not covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy: interior water damage from a storm, when there is no damage to the roof or walls of your home; damage as the result of a flood; removal of fallen trees (if the trees do not land on and damage your home); food spoilage due to a power outage; and water damage from backed-up drains or sewers. Some insurers offer endorsements (i.e., additional protection that may be purchased) for certain coverage not covered under the standard homeowner policy. Check with your agent or company to determine your needs.

What to Do if You Are in An Automobile Accident

- Call the police.
- Obtain the following information: the names, addresses, telephone numbers and driver’s license numbers of all persons involved in the accident and any witnesses.
- Record the time, date, location, road conditions, make and year of vehicles involved, apparent damages and injuries, and your version of what happened.
- Call your insurance agent or company to report the incident as soon as possible. Ask your agent what documents, forms and data you will need.
- Take notes each time you talk with your insurance company, agent, lawyers, police or others involved in the situation. Write down the dates, times, names and subjects you talked about, as well as any decisions or promises made.
- Ask your insurance company if you have coverage for a rental vehicle if your car is not drivable. Save all receipts and bills, including those from renting a car or having your car towed or stowed.  

Contact DISB at (202) 727-8000 or www.disb.dc.gov if you have a dispute with your insurer about the amount or terms of the claim settlement, or if you need further information. 

This information was made possible by the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. For more consumer information visit InsureUonline.org.


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Highlights for City Services During Snow Storm PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Friday, 05 February 2010

Remember to bundle up out there!

Here are few reminders:

● Public streets needing clearing

To report public streets that need snow and ice clearing, and removal, call 311. The Citywide Call Center operates 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

● Emergency Snow Route Information

Check to make sure that you are not parked on a snow emergency route. A snow emergency has been declared beginning at 9:30 am on Friday, February 5th. For a map, click here: http://bit.ly/aPAgwQ. For a list of streets included, click here: http://bit.ly/bXNlpD.

DPW reports that their towing policy is as follows: if your vehicle is not moved off the snow emergency route, DPW will tow the vehicle to a pre-determined lot. DPW will no longer relocate the vehicle in the local neighborhood. Resident face a $250 fine for parking on a snow emergency route during a declared snow emergency, a $100 towing fee and a $25 impound fee.

● Homeless Emergency Shelter

The Homeless Services Hotline -- (202) 399-7093 or (800) 535-7252 -- offers assistance to persons in need of overnight shelter and support for those living in the streets. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

● Heat not working properly

If the heat system is not working in your rental apartment building, notify the property
management.  If you do not receive a response, you can call the Housing Inspections Office (202) 442-9557, for assistance during business hours. Call the Office of Emergency Management at (202)
727-6161 after hours and weekends.

● Info on shelters and other assistance after hours

The Office of Emergency Management (202) 727-6161 can give you information about shelters, where to get blankets, heaters, and oil and who to contact for other assistance.  For non medical emergency assistance and service information after hours, holidays and weekends. Open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

● Energy Assistance and other Utility Info

The Energy Assistance Hotline, (202) 673-6750, is available Monday through Friday 8:15 a.m. to 4:45 p.m. and offers information and financial assistance with utilities.


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Summary: February Car-Jacking Meeting PDF Print E-mail
Written by Charles Allen   
Friday, 05 February 2010

Neighbors at Follow-Up MeetingLast night, about 80 neighbors attended the follow-up meeting on the Capitol Hill car-jackings sponsored by Councilmember Tommy Wells and ANC 6A Commissioner Mary Beatty.

As at the December meeting, MPD Chief Lanier brought her team and this time, had much better news to report. After the spike of car-jackings and the meeting in December, Chief Lanier committed more resources, more officers and more attention to the problem. Last night, she shared details with neighbors of the multiple levels of added enforcement – one of which earned the moniker “Ring of Steel” – as well as coordination put in place between police districts. MPD studied the crimes and very quickly established specific “escape routes.” They adjusted based on the data, and in some cases, had officers ready and waiting as the criminals tried to escape the neighborhood.

Chief Lanier and Tommy Wells Address NeighborsThe good news… MPD has closed several of the car-jacking cases and arrested over a dozen individuals in these crimes. Since the added focus, car-jackings have decreased significantly, with the last one occurring in early January. MPD acknowledged quickly though, that doesn’t mean their work is done and they will maintain this heightened level for the near future.

In addition, MPD has a high level of confidence of where many of the offenders live, noting that half of all the cars recovered were found within a block of each other. They are targeting resources to the neighborhood – which MPD did not disclose, but is not located in Ward 6.

In the arrests noted above, all but one were juveniles. That turned the conversation to the US Attorneys Office and how the juveniles were prosecuted.

Last year, the Council passed an omnibus crime bill that among other things, gave prosecutors more ammunition to pursue stiffer penalties and sentences for crimes of violence. Under DC Code, a car-jacking, whether committed with a gun or not, is considered a crime of violence.

The Council also has put in place “three strikes” legislation for violent crimes. The law passed by the Council last year changed the three strikes law for violent offenses from a permissive “may” to a mandatory “shall” minimum 15 year sentence.

The US Attorneys Office discussed their work and desires to prosecute violent offenses to their fullest. They noted that the legal changes by Council gave them greater ability in the courtroom, but noted a significant struggle as it relates to car-jackings.

An individual can only be charged with a car-jacking if they are caught in the act. If police make the arrest an hour later, even though an individual is in a stolen vehicle, the arresting charge is often Unauthorized Use of a Vehicle (UUV). A UUV will be prosecuted, but it is not considered a violent crime. Unless MPD and the US Attorneys Office can make a clear link between the driver of the vehicle at the time of arrest, and the crime of the car-jacking itself, they cannot make a car-jacking charge. It's very difficult to make this link because the criminals are often wearing masks or victims are traumatized such that they can't identify their attacker with 100% confidence.

Tommy also talked about two additional legislative initiatives he’s been trying to move at Council.

The first is to cut in half the number of unexcused absences allowed for a child before social services are involved. Skipping school is often the first red flag that a youth is at-risk or headed in the wrong direction. The law would reverse a recent DC Office of the State Superintendent for Education (OSSE) change to the District’s truancy regulations related to educational neglect; which now allows children between the ages of 5 and 13 to accrue 10 consecutive days, or 20 total days (one full month of school days), of unexcused absences within a school year before a referral is made to the Child and Family Services Administration (CFSA). Tommy’s bill would require authorities begin looking into the child and family who has more than 10 unexcused absences within a school year.

You can read more about the “Safe Children and Safe Neighborhoods Educational Neglect Mandatory Reporting Amendment Act of 2009” by clicking here.

The second legislative initiative is to help break through the veil of juvenile confidentiality laws. Although intended as a protection for the youth themselves, confidentiality laws just as often prevent the public from being able to hold agencies accountable for providing services to at-risk youth and their family.  They also prevent agencies from recognizing warning signs and intervening before a youth hits the point of no return – ideally, we want to stop a youth from committing a violent act before it ever occurs. For example, under current confidentiality laws, a youth may have skipped school for 5 days, been kicked out of a recreation center for a fight, and been picked up by police for riding in a stolen car. Individually, each incident may register as a concern, but together, they connect the dots that something is dangerously wrong with where a youth is headed and the decisions they are making. Current law prohibits the school, the recreation center and the police to share the information with each, and they miss the red flags going up.

You can read more about the information sharing and confidentiality legislation by clicking here.

Both Tommy and Commissioner Beatty agreed that if needed, another follow-up meeting will be scheduled. But neighbors generally congratulated and thanked Chief Lanier, Commander Kamperin and their officers for their outstanding efforts and added attention to address the car-jackings.


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Last Updated ( Friday, 05 February 2010 )
Rooting DC: Garden in the City PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Conner   
Thursday, 04 February 2010

DC’s Field to Fork Network and America the Beautiful Fund cordially invite you to Rooting DC, a full day, free conference on urban gardening. The conference will take place on February 20th 9:30am – 4:00pm at the Historical Society of Washington (801 K Street, NW); convenient to the Convention Center (green line) and Gallery Place (red line) stops. 

Registration is required! Please call (202) 638-1649 to register for the event.  

Here’s the skinny on Rooting DC:

- In its third year, Rooting DC promotes gardening as a low-cost way to provide food for families, particularly in areas where fresh, affordable food is hard to come by because of a lack of supermarkets. Plus, healthy diets are good for your body and for the planet.

- This year they are focusing on Food Production, Distribution, Preparation and Preservation.  One workshop track will focus on teaching how to teach gardening to kids and will be led by experienced professionals from the Washington Youth Garden and City Blossoms.  There will also be presentations that touch on growing ethnic foods from Africa, Central America and the Caribbean, nutrition, food demos, basic gardening and urban agriculture, and emergency food resources.  Some of the workshops will even be in Spanish.

- The keynote speakers include Joe Nasr (one of the “founding fathers” of urban agriculture) and Robert Egger (DC Central Kitchen). There will also be a presentation from Tony Cohen of the Historic Button Farm at Seneca Creek State Park, Maryland.  This incredibly unique facility has an “Underground Railroad Immersion Experience.”

For more information please visit http://fieldtoforknetwork.org/rootingdc/ 


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Wednesday Ward 6 Blog Roundup PDF Print E-mail
Written by Daniel Conner   
Wednesday, 03 February 2010

What’s below: Planning Begins for Electric Vehicles in DC; Update on Rosedale Community Center & Library Construction; Real Housewives of DC Comes to H Street; Downtown Neighborhood Survey Now Online; Poll: Where did you live prior?; Navy Yard to Expand, Will Need Additional Office Space; Waterfront Metro Entrance Now on West Side; Navy Museum Move to SW Waterfront.
Planning Begins for Electric Vehicles in DC - DDOT recently announced a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas for installing a network of electric vehicle charging stations.  See how you can give input to DDOT on the initiative on the Hill is Home
Update on Rosedale Community Center & Library ConstructionRosedale Citizens Alliance gives highlights from Mayor Fenty and Councilmember Wells Rosedale Community Center update, press announcement last Friday.
Real Housewives of DC Come to H Street? - Apparently, Bravo's reality TV series, Real Housewives of DC made a stop at Sova last Thursday and there is a bit of chatter between several blogs. Check it out here on Frozen Tropics

Downtown Neighborhood Survey Now Online - The third annual Downtown Neighborhood Survey, a data gathering effort sponsored by theDowntown BID, the Downtown Neighborhood Association and the Penn Quarter Neighborhood Association is now up online. Penn Quarter Living points out that you have a chance to win gift certificates to downtown restaurants or a weekend at Hotel Monaco if you fill out the survey. Link to the full survey.

Poll: Where did you live prior?The Triangle lists a survey inspired by the current “Who are the new DC residents” poll on Greater Greater Washington see where new District residents are moving and why they are coming to town. Check both of them out. 

Navy Yard to Expand, Will Need Additional Office SpaceJDLand points out the Navy plans to expand its space in Southeast D.C. by perhaps 700,000 square feet, a move that could dramatically boost office demand and foot traffic in the fledging Capitol Riverfront neighborhood near Nationals Park.

Waterfront Metro Entrance on West SideSWDC blog states that the Waterfront Metro has a new entrance path on the west side of the escalators as of this morning.

Navy Museum Move to SW Waterfront - Southwest… The Little Quadrant that Could, shares information about a possible move of the Navy Museum from the Navy Yard to the Southwest Waterfront.


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