National Night Out: Next Tuesday August 2nd- Howell Park

Greetings West End Neighbors! 

Next Tuesday, August 2nd is National Night Out.  The West End will be celebrating National Night Out in lieu of our regular WEND meeting on August 2, 2011. The WEND meeting notes for the July 5th meeting are attached to this email.  Our next regular WEND meeting will be September 6th.

The West End’s National Night Out will take place this year at West End’s Howell Park and festivities will begin at 7:00 pm.  Picnic foods will be served and there will be children’s activities.  If you’d like to volunteer for National Night Out, please contact John Pavlin at 404.456.4118.

West End Neighborhood Development, Inc. General Meeting Minutes- July 5, 2011

Copper Theft in the News

Source:  Hans Klein of Historic West End for West End Security Patrol
The AJC has had a series of articles about copper theft.  Here are some pointers:

— Consider marking copper coils with spray paint. Thieves will be less likely to grab copper with an identifying mark.

— Add motion detectors light around air conditioning units. Many units are located behind buildings and homes, dark areas that make it easy for criminals to reach.

— If you have a home alarm system, consider purchasing a pressure gauge for the air conditioning system. These can quickly alert you when a line has been cut.

— Join a neighborhood watch program.

Join the West End Security Patrol.  To join WESP


More info:

— industry increased its reward from $500 to $3,000 for information leading to copper theft conviction

Those in the recycling business have stringent state laws to follow, such as requiring valid photo identification, which is then photocopied, said Rick Golsen, president of Atlanta Metal.

Copper tubing rarely has any type of marking on it, making it nearly impossible to know where it came from.  A can of spray paint is a cheap way to scare would-be copper thieves by simply painting a section of the metal with a bright color, he said.

“They won’t take those. In their minds, it’s marked,” Bulat said. “If we did receive any coils with spray paint, we’re gonna call police.”

South East Metal Task Force

Full Articles

AT&T offering reward to catch copper thieves

By Christopher Seward

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
6:58 p.m. Tuesday, July 26, 2011

AT&T, the target of more than 200 copper thefts since the beginning of the year, is intensifying efforts to catch the thieves responsible.

The telecommunications company said Tuesday it is still offering a reward of up to $3,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of suspects responsible for stealing wiring from its telephone poles.  Thieves, like recyclers, want to cash in on the rising demand for the metal in countries like China.

In the south Fulton city of Fairburn alone there have been 14 incidents of copper thefts from AT&T polls this year — six so far this month, spokeswoman Emily Edmonds said Tuesday.  In nearby Palmetto, copper thieves have struck poles eight times this year.

“These thieves are actually using deer stands or they’re backing up trucks to the poles to climb up to actually cut the copper cable, and it’s all AT&T poles,” said Edmonds, who would not put a dollar figure on the thefts or related damage.

“Our biggest concern is when these copper wires are cut, obviously the phones are down and emergency services can’t be reached,” the spokeswoman said. That means people dialing 911 on land lines won’t be able to get through.

There have been at least 32 incidents of copper thefts targeting AT&T poles in Atlanta so far this year, the majority in Fulton County.

Detective J. Cross of the Fulton County Police Department say thieves take the wires extending from pole to pole, roll it up and burn off the encasement so it can’t be traced. They then may sell it to a middleman at a discount, and the middleman may sell it to a recycler.

But AT&T isn’t the only target. Atlanta police reporting 150 copper theft incidents in June alone. Air conditioner units are a favorite target, especially at vacant and foreclosed homes, churches and businesses, such as shopping centers.

“We’ve arrested some folks in the past, and some of them are still incarcerated and others have gotten out,” Cross said. “It makes it hard to charge them a lot of time because its hard to prove the stuff they are taking in is stolen.”

Last month, another alleged member of a copper-stealing ring was arraigned before a U.S. magistrate judge in Atlanta on federal charges stemming from the theft of nearly a half-million dollars worth of wire from a Carrollton company.

Edmonds said AT&T’s problem is not only in Georgia, but across the country, and the company is offering rewards elsewhere.  Companies and their suppliers are trying to fight back.

Southwire, North America’s largest manufacturer of wire and cable, produces a laser-etched wire with a unique code that allows prosecutors to trace its origin. Other companies use paint.

Edmonds said a task force of representatives from law enforcement agencies, scrap/recycling companies, utility companies and railroads meets once a month to discuss trends and exchange information on thefts.

Georgia law also holds metal thieves accountable for the damage they cause. Sellers of metal must present valid identification, and that record must be kept by recyclers, who now can’t accept cash for certain kinds of copper.

AT&T urges anyone with information about the recent copper thefts to call 1-800-807-4205.

A/C copper thefts a hot crime

http://www.ajc.com/news/a-c-copper-thefts-983615.html
By Alexis Stevens

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
10:07 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2011

As if Georgia summer days weren’t already hot enough, some criminals are doing their part to make things even steamier. They’re breaking into air conditioning units with one goal: stealing the copper inside.

It’s not a new crime. But it’s one that doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon. Vacant houses, churches, schools,  businesses and apartment complexes have been recent targets in metro Atlanta. And only a handful of those responsible have gotten caught.

For about 30 minutes of work, often at night, criminals can pocket about $100 by selling the metal to recyclers, if they get a large enough unit. But once destroyed, that same unit could cost  $3,000 to replace.

“The money item is the copper,” Tom Mutz, service manager for Moncrief Heating and Air conditioning, told the AJC. “They strip it down and take off the outer metal casing and take out the metal coils and any line set they can get.”

Replacing the units can require extensive work inside a home, too, depending on the age of the home and the amount of damage done during the theft, Mutz said. The bigger the air conditioning unit, the more copper inside for thieves, making commercial units popular targets, Mutz said. Vacant properties or foreclosed homes are also popular targets, as well as churches, according to metro Atlanta police.

City of Atlanta police officers have responded to 150 incidents involving copper thefts just in the month of June, according to crime statistics obtained by the AJC. The crimes have prompted the police department to reach out to church leaders to discuss ways of preventing further thefts, Carlos Campos, spokesman for Atlanta police, said.

“Churches, particularly the smaller ones, make for opportunistic targets because they are generally occupied only on Sundays and Wednesday evenings,” Campos said.

The crimes have extended to the suburbs, too. Since May 1, Paulding County deputies have responded to 24 cases of air conditioning units being damaged or having parts stolen, Sgt. Brandon Gurley told the AJC.  Some police agencies have been able to catch the suspected criminals in the act.

Last week, Cobb County police arrested a 26-year-old man accused of stealing the air conditioning unit from a vacant house on his own street, according to the arrest warrant. Bradley Andrew Pearson, of Kennesaw, was charged with theft by taking and criminal damage after he was captured on video surveillance and by a witness pushing the unit to the front of a house with a set of hand trucks, police said.

This week, three people involved with a ring suspected in at least 30 copper crimes were arrested by DeKalb County police, and additional arrests are expected. Dozens of air conditioning units worth $200,000 were stolen in the North Indian Creek Drive area alone, Mekka Parish with DeKalb police said.

And earlier this month, Hall County deputies arrested two people suspected of stealing copper from air conditioning units on top of an elementary school, resulting in $75,000 to $100,000 worth of damage.

But the problem may be too big for law enforcement to handle alone, some recyclers say.

“It takes an effort between the victims, the police, the recyclers and the DA’s office,” said Joe Bulat with Schnitzer Southeast, an Atlanta-based recycling company. “Without one of those four entities, you can’t do anything with this crime.”

Bulat helped create a group several years ago that has grown into the Southeast Metal Task Force. Based in Atlanta, the group’s 1,000 members include police departments and metal companies from around the metro area. The group’s website lists alerts for metal thefts to keep police officers and recyclers on the lookout for criminals.

“I can’t stand these criminals,” Bulat said. “They give us all a bad name.”

Those in the recycling business have stringent state laws to follow, such as requiring valid photo identification, which is then photocopied, said Rick Golsen, president of Atlanta Metal.

“Everybody that we purchase from signs an affidavit,” said Golsen, who said recyclers must pay close attention to what is being brought in. “If it doesn’t look like scrap, it’s not scrap.”

But copper tubing rarely has any type of marking on it, making it nearly impossible to know where it came from, Bulat said. A can of spray paint is a cheap way to scare would-be copper thieves by simply painting a section of the metal with a bright color, he said.

“They won’t take those. In their minds, it’s marked,” Bulat said. “If we did receive any coils with spray paint, we’re gonna call police.”

Other solutions include adding motion lights around an air conditioning unit or a pressure switch, which can alert a home alarm system when a line is cut. Being aware of vacant homes in your neighborhood is also a good idea, experts said.

While copper theft crimes don’t show any signs of slowing down, many are hopeful that spreading the word will help fight the expensive — and hot — problem.

“If you want to go pick up cans, pick up cans,” Golsen said. “But don’t pick up someone else’s cans.”

How to avoid being a victim of copper theft

http://www.ajc.com/news/how-to-avoid-being-984263.html
By Alexis Stevens

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
9:57 a.m. Wednesday, June 22, 2011

The copper inside air conditioning units has become a hot target for thieves wanting to make a quick buck. Recycling the metal can yield between $50 to $100 for a criminal, but replacing the A/C unit can cost property owners thousands of dollars.

Here are some tips to avoid being a victim of copper theft:

— Add motion detectors light around air conditioning units. Many units are located behind buildings and homes, dark areas that make it easy for criminals to reach.

— Consider marking copper coils with spray paint. Thieves will be less likely to grab copper with an identifying mark, such as a phone number or street address.

— Padlocks and small fences can deter criminals, but store the keys or combination in a secure place that you’ll remember.

— If you have a home alarm system, consider purchasing a pressure gauge for the air conditioning system. These can quickly alert you when a line has been cut.

— Join a neighborhood watch program, or start one to educate others in the community. Take notice of vacant properties in your area.

Sources: Joe Bulat with the Southeast Metal Task Force, Tom Mutz with Moncrief Heating and Air Conditioning, and local law enforcement agencies

Companies strike at copper thieves

Origin of stolen metals difficult to determine

http://www.ajc.com/news/companies-strike-at-copper-997215.html
By Jeffry Scott and Ty Tagami

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
5:00 a.m. Wednesday, July 6, 2011

As copper thieves have grown bolder ­ with Atlanta police reporting 150 incidents in June alone ­ so have efforts to thwart the crime wave that has soared along with the price of the metal.

It’s difficult for investigators to pin down where stolen metal originated, so the cases are hard to prosecute. One filched air conditioning coil or spool of copper wire looks like any other.

Without positive identification by the victim, prosecutors can’t win. “They won’t even take it to court,” said Joe Bulat, co-chairman of the Southeast Metal Task Force, a clearinghouse for information on metal thefts.

A Carrollton-based company is using new technology to fight back. Southwire, North America’s largest manufacturer of wire and cable, has given prosecutors evidence they’ve used successfully in court: etching copper wire with a unique code, which for prosecutors is the equivalent of fingerprints on a crime weapon.Other companies are identifying their copper wiring through the use of paint, though that can be removed by solvent.

Since 2003, the price of copper has gone from around 70 cents to about $4 per pound. Theft of the metal has become a nuisance across metro Atlanta, especially as the recession has left a growing number of big buildings empty.

“It’s a pretty big problem,” said Patrick Laughlin, an Atlanta commercial real estate agent. He routinely sees buildings stripped of copper from conduits or air conditioning units.

A building Laughlin sold in November had suffered $125,000 in wiring theft before the sale, he said. Then, after the sale, the building was hit again. He said the loss the second time was $200,000.

In Lithonia, Laughlin said, someone swiped the copper wiring from a transformer and wrote on it: “Thanks for the copper.” The message was signed: “The A Team.”

When a Georgia Power technician came to fix the transformer, Laughlin asked him about copper theft. The technician responded with a laugh. “He said, ‘This is Tuesday and this is my sixth call this week.’”

Nationwide, utilities have been hardest hit by metal theft, losing about $1 billion a year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Last year, Georgia Power lost about $500,000 to wire theft, spokeswoman Carol Boatright said, and the number of thefts this year ­ about 70 ­ is on pace with last year.

Utilities are fighting back. In January, the industry increased its reward from $500 to $3,000 for information leading to copper theft conviction and pressed prosecutors to charge thieves with more serious crimes.

Two years ago utilities got the Georgia General Assembly to pass a law that holds metal thieves accountable for the damage they cause, meaning they may have stolen $100 worth of copper wire, but the cost to reinstall it could be in the tens of thousands. That makes for stiffer penalties.

Sellers of metal must present valid identification, and that record must be kept by recyclers. Yet tracking down copper thieves is still a challenge, said Tom Gillis, an investigator with the Avondale Estates Police Department.

In June someone cut piping from five air conditioning units at a Head Start school in Avondale Estates, disabling the units and spewing refrigerant into the air. “The kids were in there, and when they turned the units on that stuff started coming out,” Gillis said.

He said the school likely would have to replace the air conditioners, which were worth far more than the piping.
He added that it would take a lot of investigative work to catch the thieves.

“The problem is, the metals that they’re taking don’t have serial numbers and they’re not stamped with company names,” Gillis said, “so they’re easily fenceable.”

That’s where identifiable wire like Southwire’s new etched Proof Positive Copper comes in. Southwire stores purchase records for each foot sold and makes the information available online.  Southwire said its laser-etched wire costs more than regular wire but wouldn’t say how much more.
Georgia Power has tried Proof Positive, and Boatright said it’s assisted in some of the 25 theft cases this year that led to arrests.

It’s a sign of the times that the first time Georgia Power installed it at a substation, it was stolen within two weeks. But the wire was identified when the thief showed up at a local metal recycler. He was arrested two weeks later, then prosecuted and convicted.

Join the West End Security Patrol. To join WESP

 

Small Cool…

I think my house is too big.
I know I could never imagine thinking this, when I was in my smaller ranch home but, while sweeping the upstairs hall and discovering dust balls in places I haven’t been in weeks, I felt drained.
Not drained from the amount of work I had to do to keep the house in order, but drained in the creativity department.  Is there such a thing as having too much space for “stuff” that it actually stifles our creativity?
I don’t know, but I’m feeling it.  When I was in the ranch home, I remember being bold and daring.  I painted the dining room a deep chocolate-brown, I used baskets for storage and seats.  I recreated shelves and turned nooks into libraries.  In the living room, I painted one wall aqua  and on the other  white with a huge freehand aqua flower.
I hung curtains all over and weekly rearranged furniture to give each room new life.  The bold YELLOW kitchen always felt spicy and my red bathroom fun. I miss the ME, in that home.
Now with a little over 3,000 sq. ft, I feel…afraid!
I’m afraid to make any paint decisions that may stand out and not flow with the “theme” of the home…?? What theme? I still have yet to define my “theme” but don’t’ want to make any moves out of fear of potentially messing whatever it WILL BE, up.  Insanity!
I know and always tell clients, “Painting is the easiest, most affordable way to make a change. If you don’t like it- paint it AGAIN!”
So why am I not following my advice?
Today, I had to revisit a few good websites and books that always inspire and motivate me.  (http://www.apartmenttherapy.com) Apartment Therapy’s “Small Cool” book top’s the list.
I really miss my small cool home viewing this site http://www.apartmenttherapy.com/big-book/ ..now, how to take these ideas and be brave enough to incorporate them on a larger scale?

Want to Live Near the Atlanta BeltLine? Need Downpayment Assistance? Visit Homes.BeltLine.org!

July 21, 2011
Atlanta BeltLine, Inc. is introducing a new website to help homebuyers buy homes near the Atlanta BeltLine and receive up to $50,000 in downpayment assistance in three simple steps. 

Homes.BeltLine.org shows eligible property listings, approved lenders, and explains how the downpayment assistance program works.

Who qualifies?
Household income must not exceed $68,300 for households of 1-2 people, and $78,545 for households of 3 or more.
Where can I buy a home?
Anywhere in the Atlanta BeltLine Tax Allocation District. Program participants may receive up to 20% of the sales price for homes up to $252,890.
Visit Homes.BeltLine.org today!
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Local Farmers on TV

Please check out the latest segment of “Living Smarter with Councilmember Aaron Watson” that features our local farmers markets.
http://www.vimeo.com/26270966. It is currently airing throughout the day on ATL26, the city’s government access station through the end of July.

Change can be hard, but usually always worth it.  Studies show that a healthier life means a  longer life.  I’m pretty sure we can all agree, we’d enjoy that.  Of course there’s a catch.  One can’t just snap his fingers and be healthy.  Like everything, it takes hard work and time.

The first step is changing one’s diet.  Now this doesn’t mean nibble on lettuce day and night, but to make decisions that will benefit your body.  Vegetable and fruit are amazing natural sources of the vitamins we need to survive.  You don’t have to limit yourself to them, though.  Just make sure your intake of them is sufficient.  The protein found in meat is still needed, and eating it on a smaller scale is good for you.  But if you are a vegetarian, beans and fish also provide the protein needed.  Healthy foods have been added to the menu, but now it’s time to subtract the junk.  A snack or dessert is okay occasionally, but when eaten excessively, you are only causing damage.  Limit and control yourself.

 

When your body has enough nutrients and sugars to operate, the leftovers are stored away in pockets of fat.  The more that’s added, the larger they become.  This is why eating habits aren’t the only areas in your life needing change.  That’s right, movement is essential.  In other words GET UP! It’s easy to forget to exercise from being tired from work, watching your favorite program all day (while snacking of course!), or just being too tired and going straight to sleep.  People need at least half an hour of physical challenge per day.  This is bound to keep your body in shape.

 

These minor changes have major results, and are the stepping stones to a healthier lifestyle.  For more information visit http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/HealthyLivingIndex/HealthyLivingIndex.

 

 

By Cassia Preston

Buyer Beware

Think you’re immune to online schemes?  Don’t answer too quickly.  You could find that more than once you’d been so close to being the next online-scandal victim.  When it comes to purchasing a house based on an advertisement from the not-always-so-honest web, it’s imperative that you check things out.
1.  Try trusting your instincts
If something sounds off, it probably is!  You might  have a feeling that a situation is just not measuring correctly.  Don’t just assume that it’s fake, though, or even vice versa.  Find factual reasoning behind that feeling, and then take action accordingly.
2. Be sure to check the advertiser’s sources
Numbers or any other contact information listed should be available to you.  No contact information?  That could be hint.  When you do come in contact with the owner, ask detailed questions and expect to get answers.  Also, when you go to view a home, it’s usually important to eventually see the inside.  If that’s not allowed, it could be a red flag.
3.  Make sure it all adds up
Found a home that’s perfect you AND has the perfect price?  Feeling it’s too good to be true? Well, possibly.  Check the worth of neighboring homes to find if your jewel is being under-priced.  This could easily be a sign of false play.
Getting scammed isn’t hard, but neither is trying to avoid it.  It’s the little things that  are often forgotten (checking numbers, verifying stories)  that could make or break your online-buying experience.  Validate the information you’ve got, and you’ve just avoided being someone else’s free paycheck.
For more information, please view this Consumer Alert issued in 2009. Online Rental Ads Could Be Phony
Cassia Preston

**West End/Ashview Heights Saturday July 9th Home tour**

Good day Community-Neighbors and Realtor Friends:

Please help us continue to revitalize one of NPU-T’s great communities. Ashview Heights Community Association has had a series of  “Committed to Community” weekends which have included neighborhood clean-ups, boarding vacant houses, mowing vacant lots, and working with the youths of MA Jones to paint street “greeting” signs throughout the neighborhood.

It is a great desire for me to have all neighborhoods with NPU-T thriving, safe and known for their unique character. We need your help to make this a success! Please donate any time you have and take an hour this weekend to walk through the neighborhood and see the difference.

In an effort to attract more visitors, this weekend, Ashview Heights is having an “Open House” tour Saturday 1-4PM. This event will feature both homes for sale and currently occupied by the many new residents committed to this process. The tour guides are Ashview Heights residents and Shaylah Hamilton of Keller Williams. This is a FREE event!

Have a snack, talk with the association president and learn more about the neighborhood/association plans.

Please see the attached flyer and spread the word.  Ashview Heights Open House Tour

This is a great opportunity for agents to explore another hidden gem in Atlanta –homes as low as $25K for your buyers!