December 16, 2020

Committees supported, fuel station opposed at December meeting

 The Woodland Heights Organization had a full agenda for its regular December membership meeting 12/15/2020.  The featured guest was the city’s Neighborhood Services Department Director, Chris Johansen.  

City of Des Moines Neighborhood Services Dept.
Director, Chris Johansen speaks to the WHO 12/15/20

Dir. Johansen shared the new org chart for the Neighborhood Services Dept., how it has been working in the pandemic, and what new hires and plans are in the works for the future.  (https://www.dsm.city/departments/neighborhood_services/index.php) Several notable items shared by Dir. Johansen include a toolkit being developed for neighborhood associations and neighborhood leaders and interested residents, a citizens academy that would be an opportunity to learn more about how the city functions, and upcoming Jan. 2021 public meetings on how the city can work with homeowners to maintain and make improvements to private property.  

Officer Scott Baker of the DMPD shared the NBSD report and encouraged WHO members to keep sending concerns to Sgt. Scarlett who can forward those messages on as appropriate while Sgt. Scarlett is at the training academy.  

Officer Baker noted plenty of concerns about illegally parked cars in the neighborhood, and a troubling increase in thefts (like purse snatching) at Smokey Row.  Keep aware of your surroundings and be vigilant with your personal property.  

The WHO membership voted overwhelmingly at its December meeting to empower the WHO VP to coordinate an assessment and reorganization of the WHO Committees to carry out their desired goals more effectively and efficiently.

The big agenda item that drew much interest and perhaps increased meeting attendance was a vote by the WHO to express either support for or opposition against “Expansion of the existing fuel station use (at 2701 Ingersoll Ave (Star)) to increase the building from 1,020 square feet to approximately 2,300 square feet… Conditional Use Approval (per City Code Section 134-6.4) for a “Fuel Station Use” use in an “MX2” District.”  The proposal was on the Dec. 16 ZBOA agenda.

After discussion, the vote of the neighborhood was to oppose the conditional use as proposed.  




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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

November 19, 2020

Busy November Meeting, Next Meeting is December 15

The Woodland Heights Organization met virtually over Zoom for its regular, monthly November meeting on 11/17.  Several guests updated neighbors in attendance on what they are working on and several items of business were voted on.  

InvestDSM Exec. Dir. Amber Lynch speaks
with the WHO on Tue. Nov. 17, 2020

Amber Lynch, the Executive Director of the relatively new nonprofit organization InvestDSM, shared what progress her group has made during the pandemic (estimated $1.1 million in investment).  Funded jointly by the city of Des Moines and Polk County, InvestDSM has been working exclusively with the 4 pilot project areas in the city where 240 projects have been funded so far (their goal was to complete 50 this year).  Through matching funds and other grants, the group helps overcome financial gaps in projects creating benefits to the neighborhoods by boosting curb appeal and more.  Lynch said it is her hope to later expand the reach of InvestDSM to other neighborhoods of the city where it could make the most difference (including places like Woodland Heights) but did not have an estimated timeline of when expansion might occur.  

DMPD’s Scott Baker filled in for Sgt. Scarlett (currently receiving training in command school).  Baker encouraged neighbors to continue to share issues with Sgt. Scarlett by email and she can forward those issues on to the appropriate officer on duty.  

Ward 3 City Council Member Josh Mandelbaum
updates neighbors Nov. 17, 2020

DM City Council Member, Josh Mandelbaum attended the meeting and took time out to share several updates of what the council is working on and hear feedback from neighbors in attendance.  Primarily Mandelbaum commented on the work of the Marijuana Task Force and their recommendations, and a proposal for 100% clean energy resolution (https://councildocs.dsm.city/Resolutions/20201019/45.pdf) (https://iaenvironment.salsalabs.org/dsm100/index.html).  Most importantly however, Mandelbaum stressed the need for vigilantly following public health measure best practices.  This includes avoiding large in-person gatherings for the upcoming holiday, wearing a mask, maintaining physical distance, hand washing, and the like.  Mandelbaum’s own family plans a Zoom Thanksgiving gathering with extended family to better ensure everyone’s health and safety.  

For items of new business, first the membership voted to hold a regular, December monthly membership meeting on the regular date and time: Tue. Dec. 15.  The meeting will be virtual and held over Zoom.  

Next the membership voted overwhelmingly to support development of new infill housing at 2513 Woodland Ave.  While concerns were raised about the small size of the lot and issues related to parking, members agreed that just about anything would be better than what’s currently there, and appropriate infill housing would be good.  

A motion about the WHO’s committees was tabled.  Announcements included the upcoming Welcome Wagon meeting December 5, a proposal from MyPropertyID, and the upcoming Wreaths Across America event.  






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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

October 22, 2020

New Officers & Board Elected at Virtual Ann. Meeting

The many-months-postponed Annual Meeting and elections of the Woodland Heights Org. occurred Tues. Oct. 20, 2020.  The meeting was held virtually over Zoom due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.  

WHO neighbors attend the annual meeting on
Zoom Tues. Oct. 20, 2020 for elections and more

After the regular NBSD report (where Sgt. Scarlett informed neighbors of the class she is enrolled in at the Iowa Law Enforcement Academy, applauded the neighborhood on its virtual meeting attendance, and updated neighbors on her efforts researching High Street solutions), the officers and current Board members shared reports for the year.

New Business included the elections.  Phil and Jeanne remain on as President and Secretary respectively.  Catherine was elected VP.  Brigham and Cameron were elected as Co-Treasurers.  Elected to At-Large seats on the Board were Lyla and relatively new neighbor, Jeremiah.  

After the election, members had the opportunity to share new ideas, thoughts on priorities, and what they'd like to see improved in the neighborhood.  

The next regular, monthly meeting will be in November on Tue. Nov. 17 at 7pm on Zoom.







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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

September 16, 2020

Annual Meeting & Elections coming October 20

At the September WHO monthly meeting, the membership voted to hold the previously-postponed Annual Meeting and Elections of the WHO Board of Directors on ...

Tuesday, October 20, 2020 (3rd Tues. of the month) @ 7pm virtually over Zoom.

The annual meeting (originally scheduled for March 17) was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.  However, realizing the pandemic would continue to affect our lives for many months to come, and with people becoming more acclimated to using technology like virtual meetings as a means of communication, neighbors decided to reinvigorate the group with a changeover of the board.  

Nominations for all Board positions are open now.  Nominations will close immediately before the elections, during the meeting Oct. 20.  Anyone age 18 and older who either lives in the neighborhood, owns property in the neighborhood, or works here can run for any of the 7 Board seats:  President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, and 3 Members-at-Large.

All neighbors are invited to attend the annual meeting to have a vote and say in the future and direction of the neighborhood organization.  

Zoom meeting attendees at the Woodland Heights Org.
Monthly Meeting Tue. Sept. 15, 2020

Besides setting the date for the Annual Meeting & Elections (Oct. 20), WHO meeting attendees heard from Polk County Supervisor, Matt McCoy.  Supervisor McCoy spoke primarily about the county's efforts to assist residents during the public health disaster emergency.  Supervisor McCoy highlighted several resources.

Many resources can be found by calling 211.  Online find (https://www.unitedwaydm.org/211).  

Examples of help includes eviction prevention (DMR news story here), food replacement (if you lost food due to power outage from Aug. 10 derecho storm), and drive-through meals for senior citizens.

Supervisor McCoy concluded with some words of wisdom, encouraging everyone to get a flu shot, and to be looking out for each other, especially those neighbors around us.  

Other meeting highlights included remarks from DMPD's Lt. Larry Davey, NBSD Commander, and voting to send a letter to relevant city staff and leaders regarding continued public safety concerns due to speeding traffic on High Street.  






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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

August 23, 2020

Inspections update at Aug. WHO meeting on Zoom

The August monthly meeting of the Woodland Heights Org. was held over Zoom on 8/18/2020

Neighborhood Inspector, Bob Reynolds; WHO's Phil; and Inspections Supervisor, Chris Heilskov all Zoom into the 8/18/2020 WHO meeting

Meeting attendees heard updates regarding the city's neighborhood inspections from Neighborhood Inspections Supervisor, Chris Heilskov and the inspector for the area of the city that includes Woodland Heights, Bob Reynolds.  

Heilskov and Reynolds talked about procedures being undertaken during the pandemic, and what sort of changes and reorganization the department has undergone.  They also commented on how the recent storm debris has also created a challenges to their normal efforts dealing with junk and debris and junk cars around neighborhoods.  

Other meeting highlights included the Welcome Wagon Committee updating on initiatives and announcing upcoming meetings (virtual on Zoom at 10 AM) on Sat. 9/12 and Sat. 10/3.

Save the date for Tue. Sept. 15.  The September WHO meeting details are TBD with updates coming soon.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.





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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

July 27, 2020

City updates at July WHO meeting over Zoom

The July monthly WHO meeting was held Tue., July 21, 2020 virtually over Zoom.

Virtual WHO meeting July 21, 2020

Much of the meeting was spent hearing updates from and putting questions to Des Moines City Council Member, representing Ward III, Josh Mandelbaum. 

Council Member Mandelbaum spoke on a wide range of topics, many of which can be found in the meeting minutes (bit.ly/whominutes2007).  The minutes also include links to 2 different statements written by Mandelbaum. 

Save the date for Tue. Aug. 18.  The August WHO meeting details are TBD with updates coming soon.  Thank you for your patience and understanding.




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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines

June 25, 2020

July 2020 meeting to Zoom, not outdoors

The Woodland Heights Organization will hold its July 2020 monthly meeting:

EDIT 7/13/2020:  July meeting will be online via Zoom on Tue. 7/21 @ 7pm.  This is a change from the previously announced plans to meet outdoors at Chamberlain Park.  The WHO Board made this decision after factoring increased coronavirus spread and the added necessity of virus mitigation.

Outdoors Tue. July 21 @7pm @ Chamberlain Park.
Inclement weather plan is for a virtual meeting over Zoom.
For the meeting at Chamberlain Park, neighbors will be encouraged to bring their own chair/blanket, keep physically-distant from other attendees (recommended 6 feet), wear a face mask or shield, and to not attend the meeting if they are feeling ill or otherwise quarantined after exposure or travel.
The July meeting will NOT include officer/board elections and the annual meeting/elections continues to be postponed.
More details TBA.

June 2020 Zoom meeting
of the Woodland Heights Org.
The June 2020 Woodland Heights Org. virtual meeting via Zoom was successful, featuring 1 guest, 13-16 neighbors in attendance, and good discussion and updates.








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This post typed by Phil.

The Woodland Heights Organization (WHO) is the neighborhood association recognized by the city of Des Moines representing Woodland Heights. Its purpose is is to stabilize, preserve, and revitalize area homes, enhance the quality of life in the neighborhood, and to promote community within our neighborhood amongst all residents and businesses. WHO is a volunteer organization.

for more information email who50312@gmail.com; view past issues of the email newsletter and subscribe at bit.ly/whoemail; like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/whodesmoines