Lisa Patterson-Troike, President of the Darnestown Civic Association, sat down with Patch Monday, Nov. 7 for an introductory meeting and to discuss what's going on in Darnestown:
Patch: When did your involvement begin with the Darnestown Civic Association (DCA) and what was the process like going from a new person in the organization to making your way up the ladder to become President?
Lisa Patterson-Troike: I moved to Darnestown in 1998 and began volunteering in 2000. The process was easy! The DCA needed a Recording Secretary and I volunteered. Then, the DCA needed a Social Committee Chairman and I was asked to volunteer. After a few more years, the DCA needed a Vice President and I was asked to take the position. Then, after two years, I was asked if I would be President! I think I was chosen each time because the board was impressed that I was dependable, would actually do things, suggest good ideas, be open to new ideas and my love and energy for Darnestown and its residents was clear. I've been President for the past 6 years!
Patch: Pepco always seems to be at the top of everyone's list of big issues for this area. How has the service been for you in Darnestown and what is your reaction to Pepco cutting down so many trees in the area? Do you think there is an alternative to cutting down so many trees?
Lisa: Electric service has slowly gotten better every year since Art Slesinger joined our team and became the Utility Chairman. With Darnestown having the worst "feeders" in all of Pepco's system and Art on the job, Pepco knew thay had to make things better. Personally, I am upset about the tree devastation. 200-year-old healthy trees were taken and can never be replaced. Will the tree removal help our reliability, yes. Do I think it was worth it, no. I would like to see more money on infrastructure. Our electrical service lines are literally "tapped out."
Patch: We're currently in the midst of deer hunting season. What makes this time so attractive for members of the Darnestown community and what affect does it have on the deer population?
Lisa: Darnestown is very divided on this issue. For many, including myself, this is an unattractive time. Even though I know deer carry lyme infected ticks, cause horrible car accidents, destroy expensive landscaping, litter our yards with excrement, I still get a thrill when I see a deer in our yard. Are there too many deer in Darnestown? Yes. Should they be managed? Yes. Does the hunting help with overpopulation? Yes, but only where the hunting is allowed. There are many areas that hunters can not or are not allowed to access and the deer are thriving.
Patch: If there is one particular issue for Darnetown that you're concerned about and paying attention to? What is it and why?
Lisa: A new highway and bridge to Virginia. This is what got me involved with the DCA in the first place. Several proposed routes from the past and present cut right through our community, taking homes, schools, churches and parkland with it. This would ruin Darnestown, or any other community for that matter. We don't want another highway and bridge to Virginia, period. We did so much research during the last battle that we realized the heavy pushing was from trucking companies and Virginia's Chamber of Commerce. They want a better route to get cargo and produce out of Dulles airport and on to their destinations. That's right. It will not help the ordinary citizen with their commute to work. It's for the trucks. That's why we call it the "truckway."
Patch: What makes the DCA so important to you and why should members of the Darnestown community get involved?
Lisa: The DCA is so important to me because it proves that one voice can make a difference. I am honored to have helped with so many projects over the past 11 years and see the positive results it has produced. The wonderful people of Darnestown keep telling me I'm doing a good job and that keeps me going!