Skip back to end of the school year 2002. What happened to the Woodlin Wizards weather vane on the cupola atop our elementary school? It seems to have vanished! Bummer, “the pump don’t work cuz the vandals took the handle.”
My and my wife Patricia’s son Tony was finishing his last year there, and our two daughters attended there as well. So I got the notion to try to do something as a tribute for the school and the wonderful principal, Emily Kesser, like making a new weather vane to replace the one taken by the vandals. Having been around the block a few times in my youth, I had an idea. Signs went up around the area offering a no-questions-asked $100 cash reward for the weather vane’s return or its simply being put in our yard. Wishful thinking. No takers. These kids today don’t need any money. Too affluent a neighborhood, I suppose.
I learned that the Woodlin PTA was instrumental in getting the first Wizard weather vane made by a local metal artist, David Hubbard. I visited David and lo and behold, he still had the original full-size drawing of our Wizard. Piece of cake!! I got ahold of some stainless steel sheet metal and started cutting and welding. Metalwork is one of my hobbies—go-carts and minibikes and such. When I installed this new Wizard on top of the school—completely ignoring what the school maintenance staff said to me about going up on the roof (it’s my nature)—where it now lives, I got advice from metalworkers on how to install it in such a way as to make it just about impossible to steal again. One-way screws and a detent in the shaft did the security trick. I may have to go back up there to remove it for the rebuild if the contractors and construction personnel can’t handle it. What a fine old Wizard we have. I hope the new school has a spot planned for it.
Beacon Editor’s note: Woodlin Elementary School’s PTA President reports that the school’s cupola (including the weather vane) is to be incorporated into a “learning lawn” that will face Luzerne Ave.
An Interview with Anthony St. Hill, USPS Postal Carrier by Anna White
If you live in the neighborhood, particularly on Glen Ross Rd. or south, there’s a good chance you’ve crossed paths with Anthony St. Hill, a USPS postal carrier who has delivered mail to the neighborhood for almost 15 years—as a one-day-a-week replacement carrier for over six years and then full-time for the past eight. He is one of two postal carriers who serve North Woodside full-time; the other is Marqueze Bradley, who has delivered in the northern section of North Woodside for three years. Known for his conscientious service, Anthony knows by heart the names and addresses of all the neighbors—human and canine—along his route. In January, he graciously agreed to a phone interview on his one day off.
What is a typical workday and workweek for you?
On a regular day, we deliver packages and mail simultaneously. Only during Christmas season do we deliver earlier. Then we come in at 5:00 am and deliver packages until 8:00 am. My normal route starts at 7:45 am and goes to 4:25 pm—that’s my regular eight-hour day—but every day we have an additional two to three hours. I work six days a week. For regular carriers, the only day off is Sunday.
Do you get overtime pay?
Yes, we do get overtime because we are unionized. We get overtime after eight hours and then after 10 hours, we go into penalty time, which is double. We work anywhere from 10 to 12 hours on a daily basis. And with this COVID and stuff it’s even worse. Sometimes we have 10 to 12 carriers out sick, and then we have to cover those routes because the mail and the packages have to go there every day.
COVID has impacted your work?
At my station now we have about 10 carriers out. [Last year] it was the same way, and I was out. At the beginning I thought it was pneumonia, but when I got tested I was positive. Some of the people who worked next to me tested positive and management never told me, so then I was out almost the entire month of January 2021. With COVID it makes [the job] more strenuous, working longer hours on a daily basis, due to packages increasing with everyone ordering online and covering coworkers who are out sick.
What do you like about working in the neighborhood?
I love working in the neighborhood. For me, it’s like a family environment because I know each and every tenant on my route and they know me. I start at 2nd Ave. where the nursing home is and cover 2nd Ave., Hanover, Glen Ross, Lanier, Grace Church, Elkhart, 16th, the townhouses on Lyttonsville, the high-rises—all that is my environment. The families know me, the kids they know me, even the pets know me. I love my route because I love my tenants. They look out for me, and I look out for them. Most of my customers have access to my phone number. When they don’t see me for two or three days they call me to make sure I’m okay, on vacation. Is there any way neighbors could make doing your job easier? If you have a dog [that stays outside] put your mailbox at the curb to avoid any dog biting, because dogs are by nature territorial. That’s the only thing I would say. If the dog is inside, no problem. Most biting happens during summertime and other times when children are on break; children like to run outside to play and [forget] to close the storm door. If you are expecting mail, make sure your dog is inside.
Any interesting stories related to delivering mail in the neighborhood?
There are dogs I have to say hi to. When the owners are walking them and they pick up my scent I have to say hello to them or just pet them or they will not continue. And those are big dogs—Chula, she’s a pit bull. She lives in the high-rise. Anytime the owner walks her, she says, “Chula becomes a puppy when she sees you!” I have to pet her or she will not let the owner carry her anywhere else. Then I have Luna, on Lanier. She’s a husky with blue eyes. Same way. I have to say hi to her or she will not move. And I have Charlie. I have to say hello to him every time [or he] will keep barking and barking. People ask me, “You not afraid of dogs?” No, I grew up knowing dogs. I know about dogs. [The dogs on my route] are like extended family. Have to say hi to them or they will not continue their walk.
Is there anything about yourself you’d like to share with neighbors?
I was born in Panama, and I dance my national music. That is what exposed me to the world. My first travel outside of my country was [through dancing]. I used to perform on a ship in the Panama Canal from 1984 all the way to 1999, when I came to the United States. And I still perform my national music. I was one of the top dancers when I used to perform in my country. And I still perform here. I like it. I love it. I retired from dancing for six to seven years, but I started dancing again.
Like you to know I’m married, I have five kids, four grandbabies. That’s basically it. I’m a very religious person. I’m a faith Christian. God is the center my life. I’m Episcopalian. I usually go to church every Sunday. Only Sunday don’t go to church when I have to work. Other than that in church every Sunday. And that’s it. That’s who I am.
UPDATE: September 9, 2022 is Anthony’s final day delivering mail in the neighborhood. If you would like to express your appreciation to Anthony for his many years of excellent service, contact the NWCA Communications Coordinator for more information.
Have you ever wondered “so what, exactly, is a ‘zoning text amendment’ and how might it affect me?” Or maybe you saw some posts on the neighborhood listserv about Thrive Montgomery 2050 and would like a better understanding of what it means for our community. These and other questions will be answered at a Zoom forum on February 6at 7 pm. The NWCA Board invites all neighbors to join us for this informative 90-minute virtual neighborhood meeting.
The meeting will start with a brief, factual presentation on current county housing issues and initiatives, tailored to address specific questions submitted by you and your neighbors,* by Montgomery County Planning Board Project Manager Khalid Afzal. Then the meeting will move on to a balanced panel discussion featuring knowledgeable local folks with different perspective on the issue who will answer more neighborhood questions. Scheduled to participate are local real estate expert Liz Brent, founder of Go Brent Realty; President of the Montgomery County Civic Federation Alan Bowser; the Maryland Advocacy Manager for the Coalition for Smarter Growth Jane Lyons; and longtime North Woodside resident Gus Bauman.
The link to the meeting will be posted on the listserv. Any neighborhood residents who wish to attend but don’t have access to the listserv, please contact the board’s President or Programs Coordinator.