Thursday, November 5, 2009

Palmer Residents to put Porch Furniture Lockdown

Kelly Brennan

From Halloween to spring fests, Ohio University has had its fair share of off-campus visitors over the years. The events often referred to by locals as “block parties,” come with costs, and we’re not just talking costs for city clean up.

Residents on Palmer Street witnessed another couch fire on the sidewalk last weekend. Andrea Otto, Ohio University junior, says “it doesn’t make [me] feel unsafe, it’s just that people are stupid.”

Dan Kollecker also lives on Palmer and saw at least one arrest. He says someone jumped over a porch and was tackled by police officers, but this person did not start the fire.

Dan Kollecker witnessed one man get arrested on Palmer Street.

Speculations about the Cause
Police haven't arrested anyone for starting the fire, but Palmer residents like Andrea and Dan are not afraid to speculate.

Andrea Otto, OU junior, says the fire was probably started by an OU student.

While Andrea and her housemates believe an OU student started the fire simply because students have more access to porch furniture, Dan says it was probably a visitor to campus because they’re “just here for a good time and here to party.”

Palmer Street resident Dan Kollecker believes the couch fire was started by a visitor to Athens.

Helpful Residents
Although arrests were down only two from last year’s fifty-three, Mayor Paul Wiehl says Halloween was fairly calm. Students on Palmer Street cleaned up remains from the couch fire and Wiehl praises them for their actions, “Kudos to the anonymous students that cleaned up Palmer Street on Sunday. There were various city employees very impressed with the results.”

Mayor Paul Wiehl appreciates the efforts by OU students who cleaned up Palmer Street.

Precautions for Palmer Street

Spring quarter means more block parties for Athens, and students on Palmer Ave. are apprehensive about Palmerfest. Andrea knows her house will "be on lockdown" for the fest because she witnessed first hand how events can get out of control.

While Andrea takes precautions for her house, Dan is worried about his porch furniture. His housemates have an emotional bond with a bench from a minivan that serves as a couch on their front porch. "We might have to put that in the basement for Palmerfest," Dan says. "I'm not letting my carseat get burned up."

Palmer residents will take precautions for the next block party on their street.

Andrea and Dan both agree that the possible costs of broken furniture won't keep them from enjoying the block party, but they are worried about people coming onto their porches and stealing stuff. Still, Dan is philosophical about it, noting that if someone's going to set something on fire, he'd rather they steal the item off his porch first, "It would be a bigger problem if a fire or something happened directly in front of my house," says Dan. For now though, these students are hoping to enjoy fire-free block parties in the future.

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