News Briefs 7/31/13

Police seek robbery suspects

Police are looking for the public’s assistance in identifying suspects in an unarmed robbery that occurred on Friday, July 5, approximately 6:30 p.m., in the 6000 block of Eastern Ave.

The photos were taken with store surveillance equipment. Police say that the suspects used stolen credit cards in several locations.

Anyone with information on the identities of the two males and female pictured may call the police at 410-396-2422.


Rec and Parks to pilot repair request app

Getting something fixed in Patterson Park might soon be easier—for the park staff at least.

The city is piloting a new cell phone app for park managers to improve the efficiency of creating repair requests.

Handteq, one of the city’s Hack the Parks contest winners, will allow park managers to create and manage park repair requests more effectively.

According to Aaron A. Altscher, Handteq’s creator, the app is internal, for park staff only, and is suitable for Android and iPhones.

Park managers, who don’t necessarily travel through the parks with laptops, will be able to create repair tickets on site with their phones when they come upon something in the parks that needs to be fixed.

“With Handteq, they can write up the repair, get its GPS coordinates, take a picture, include the tools needed to fix the item, and indicate when they submitted it,” says Altscher.

“My understanding is that repair requests from the public [via 311] are not always detailed enough in explaining locations. If someone says the picnic table is broken, they don’t always say where, exactly, the picnic table is. Sometimes that can lead to slower repair times,” he says.

How will Handteq benefit park workers who actually do the repairs?

The data from Handteq will be hosted in a Cloud for the city to use, says Altscher.

“Workers can simply print a pdf with a photo, GPS coordinates, tools, and ticket time—all the data we collect on the app–and take it with them in hard copy form,” he says.

Handteq is in the process of being implemented now, and, according to Altscher, will be in use in Patterson Park and four other city parks by the end of the summer.

Altscher says Handteq is based on a similar app he invented, which is used by apartment dwellers to communicate their repair requests to apartment management.


Friends of Patterson Park name new director

Jennifer Arndt Robinson is the new executive director of the Friends of Patterson Park.

She replaces Kathy Harget, who is now focusing on a nonprofit freelance career, according to a release from the Friends.

Arndt Robinson served as a member of the Friends executive board for six years before stepping down to represent the Friends in the Patterson Park Working Group.

The Working Group was formed after a city plan to add 90-plus parking spaces to the park sparked outrage in the surrounding neighborhoods. The Working Group recently arrived at a compromise, agreeing upon 13 parking spaces at the Virginia Baker Recreation Center and six spaces at the Casino building to accommodate the relocation of the John Booth Senior Center.

Arndt Robinson has lived in Baltimore since 1998, and the Patterson Park neighborhood since 2001. She told the Guide in a previous interview that the park was the reason that she and her husband stayed in the city.

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