Longtime PHCA Secretary and social event coordinator Gwynn Roberson was elected PHCA President at the fall membership meeting Sept. 20. She succeeds John Schnizlein, who stepped down after two years of service.
Elected to succeed Roberson as Secretary was Board Member Debbie Kutzleb, and elected to take Kutzleb’s spot on the board was Troy Lee. All other officers and board members whose terms were expiring were re- elected without opposition.
PHCA members at the meeting also approved the budget for fiscal year 2012, which began Sept. 1. Total spending under the budget is $2,802, which includes $600 for the lawn tractor for mowing Lot 39 Waterfront Park, $600 for Oktoberfest and the summer picnic, $500 for community landscaping improvements, and $500 for welcome baskets for new neighbors.
Lot 39 Waterfront Park was transformed into a little bit of Germany on October 15 as Piscataway Hills residents celebrated Oktoberfest with bratwurst, potato pancakes, German beer, and lots and lots of desserts.
Newly inaugurated Piscataway Hills President Gwynn Roberson continued her previous role as head chef of the annual event, for which the dozens of attendees throughout the afternoon were extremely grateful. In addition to the traditional bratwursts from Baltimore, this year’s fare included homemade red applesauce, soft pretzels, German potato salad, pulled pork and red cabbage, and chicken and sauerkraut. Bierocks made with ground turkey were served for the non-pork and healthier eaters.
Although the weather was warm and sunny, any chill would have been warded off by a blazing bonfire kindled by PHCA Board Member Neil Ayers. Piscataway Creek also sparkled in the bright fall sunlight, inviting picnickers to stroll along the water and enjoy the views and the abundant wildlife.
Other activities included volleyball, badminton, horseshoes, tetherball, and all the other games and balls from Treasurer Don Benedict’s garage. One activity fromprevious years that fell victim to technology was the Redskins game on TV, as it was considered doubtful that a digital broadcast could be picked up reliably. So the PHCA Board voted to celebrate Oktoberfest on a Saturday and allow people to watch the Redskins lose on Sunday in the comfort of their own homes.
As always, the success of this event was due to the many neighborhood volunteers who helped set up, serve the food, clean up, and purchase supplies. And, of course, to everyone who brought desserts and other food to share. To which everyone can say,“Eins, zwei, gesoffen!” (One, two, drink!)
In response to concerns that non-emergency police calls were not being answered , a top county official told PHCA members that improvementswere in the works.
Charlynn Flaherty, Associate Director for Public Safety Communications, the featured speaker at the PHCA fall quarterly meeting on Sept. 20, explained that the county emergency call center handles all 911 calls, including police, medical, and fire emergencies. The office also handles burglar alarm calls. An average of 13 people on duty at all times handle a total of 1.6 million calls per year, she said.
Non-emergency callers should use 301-352-1200 or call Police District IV directly at 301-749-4901, Flaherty said. Outgoing PHCA President John Schnizlein said he had called the police non-emergency number to report an illegal trash dumper on Piscataway Drive but got no response. Flaherty replied that the average wait for a non-emergency call is 7-10 minutes, but that improvements were being planned by a new Public Safety Technology Working Group. Ideas under discussion include the use of social media, public safety databases, and a 311 public service line.