May
29
2015

This Weekend at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market

Vol. 1 Issue 6
Expect another great day at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market! Temperatures expected to reach 90 degrees so remember to stay cool, and come get some fresh lemonade from El Taco Loco!

This week’s vendors include:
Pleitez Produce: Vegetables
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Groff Content Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses
Roy and RT’s Garden and Kitchen: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
El Taco Loco: Prepared Mexican dishes
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Jesyka Padilla: Hand-crafted jewelry
Crest Hill Bakery: Bread and desserts
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Tiffany’s Oven: Vegan baked goods
Inge’s Crochet Selections: Crochet made items
Kettle Korn Popcorn: Delicious Popcorn
Morning Glory Farm:

Market Updates:
- Morning Glory Farms will be joining us this weekend at the market, with a fresh bounty of spring produce!
- Many people have been asking about Phil’s Dills. Do not fret! They will return in the next few weeks after they complete their transition to a new facility. We are just as anxious for their delicious pickles!
- Heavenly Created Desserts will not be joining us this weekend at the market.
- Green Ice Snowballs will return to the market on June 13th! Make sure to come by to beat the summer heat!

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Copyright © 2015 *Hollywood Farmers Market, All rights reserved.Our mailing address is:
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May
28
2015

15% Property Tax Hike Scaled Back

Is this a coincidence? At last night’s City Council meeting, we decided to send a letter asking our County Council members to vote against Mr. Baker’s proposed 15.6% property tax hike.

Mr. Baker is still asking about half of what he was asking in the beginning.

May
27
2015

A Tribute to Hollywood Elementary Principal Barbara Caskey

Banner remembering Barbara Caskey at the City Hall Entrance

Banner remembering Barbara Caskey at the City Hall Entrance

Hollywood Elementary School principal came to City Council meeting last night to attend her retirement reception.

It was quite an important night for all of us, especially for residents living in District 1 where the school is located.

I first met Barbara several years ago even before I got to City council. I had the opportunity to work with her at the first College Park Day event, where we decided to do a poster competition. Because of her personal effort, we had quite a good participation from her school students.

After that, I had opportunities to interact with her on a number of occasions, such as the annual career day, or at various meetings to address traffic situations in the surrounding neighborhood.

I found Ms. Caskey more than a teacher . She was a community leader, always smiling and was like a family member making sure every student finds the school like a home.

Hollywood Elementary’s slogan is “Where every student is a star”. Someone told last night that some stars shine more than others. and Ms. Caskey was like a shining star. It will be difficult to find someone like Ms. Caskey after she leaves.

I wish her all the best and want to thank her for her awesome 22 years of service to our community

May
26
2015

Sunnyside Community Cleanup, June 6

This summer, we plan to do hold a series of cleanup events in north College Park. Our first event will take place in the Sunnyside neighborhood on June 6, Saturday. We’ll meet at the Sunnyside Skate Park at 8.30 am. Free breakfast and coffee will be served. Please bring your families and friends and spread the word. Thank you!

June_06_2015-_Cleanup

May
25
2015

Northern College Park Crime Map – May 17-23, 2015

Please see below last week’s crime map. The B&E on Lackawanna was to a residents home. The suspect kicked in the back door and stole electronics. And the other on Cherry Hill was to a vacant apartment. Please let me know if you have any questions.


Breaking and Entering

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[5/19/15] BREAK 12:00 14:44 4800 Blk LACKAWANNA ST,
[5/22/15] BREAK 14:00 14:37 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD

 

Theft from Auto

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[5/23/15] THEFT1 10:40 11:36 10200 Blk BALTIMORE AVE,

 

Robbery Commercial

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[5/18/15] ROBT/A 11:17 15:23 9900 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE,
May
24
2015

Council Set to Oppose County’s Proposed 15% Property Tax Hike

At next Tuesday’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider taking a position opposing 15% property tax increase in the proposed FY16 County budget. The City Council will send a letter to the Councty Council on this position. The letter will support County’s current initiative in improving our struggling school systems, but will express concerns about the 15% tax hike, which will affect many College Park residents and will work against inviting new residents to the City and the County. Here is the draft.
————————————-
Dear Chair Franklin:

The City of College Park supports the efforts by the County Executive and CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools to set forth a long-term plan to move the Prince George’s County Public School system from its current rank near the bottom of Maryland schools to the top ten. However, we are concerned that the County Executive’s current proposal to increase taxes by fifteen cents will further erode residents’ trust in our school system and have unintended negative impacts on homeownership and economic development in the County.

The County school system continues to struggle with providing high quality education, due to a myriad of reasons including antiquated buildings, uncompetitive salaries for staff and faculty, too few teachers in the classroom, and children who do not receive adequate nutrition at home. Our residents want the school system to improve. The city of College Park has invested more than $150,000 annually to support our school system. Many families with young children have left College Park and Prince George’s County because they want to provide a higher quality of education for their children without paying to send them to private school. The quality of schools is an important factor when prospective new residents are deciding where to live.

On the other hand, high tax rates also have a negative impact on our community. Many residents, even those with an income high enough to be ineligible for the low-income homeowner’s property tax credit, are still struggling from the aftermath of the recession and unable to pay the additional burden. If Prince George’s County increases its tax rate to $1.11 per $100 of assessed value, Prince George’s County will have a higher property tax than neighboring counties. This puts Prince George’s County at a competitive disadvantage with prospective homeowners seeking lower property taxes. We have heard from residents who have said they cannot afford to live in the city any more if this property tax increase passes. We also know of small business owners working in our city who have struggled to stay open in recent years, and this additional burden will make it more difficult for them to survive.

We encourage the County Council to work with the County Executive, the CEO of the Prince George’s County Public Schools, and the Board of Education to find a more appropriate balance between the need to improve the quality of our schools and the need to minimize the burden to Prince George’s County taxpayers. While we agree that our schools need to be adequately funded to be in a position to succeed, there are other steps that can be taken to make our schools function more effectively and efficiently – steps such as carrying out the recommendations of the financial management practices audit conducted by the Department of Legislative Services in 2014, conducting a performance audit to identify other potential cost-saving measures, and pursuing innovative means to improve our education system at a lower cost.

We acknowledge the difficult decision that you have before you in balancing these competing interests. Prince George’s County has the opportunity to be a leader in highly effective, low-cost education reform, and we are ready and willing to work with you to achieve that goal.

Sincerely,
Andrew Fellows, Mayor, City of College Park

May
23
2015

Council to Ask Metro’s Help on Noise Barrier and Test Track

At next week’s meeting, the city Council will be sending a letter to WMATA, about the noise barrier and test track in north College Park. Please see the draft letter below.
——————————————————-

May 26, 2015

Jack Requa
Interim General Manager and Chief Executive Officer
Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority

Dear Mr. Requa:

On Thursday, May 14, representatives of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) attended a meeting of the North College Park Citizens Association (NCPCA) to discuss the construction of the test track between College Park and Greenbelt Metro stations. We appreciate the opportunity that WMATA provided to discuss ongoing resident concerns regarding construction and planned operation of the test track.  There are a few concerns, however, that NCPCA residents raised, and we would like to ask that you look into them further.

First, residents ask that WMATA reconsider the location of the noise barrier currently being reconstructed, between Greenbelt Metro station and MD-193. We understand from the discussion on May 14 that the original barrier was constructed to mitigate the negative environmental consequences (i.e. noise pollution) upon construction of the Green Line in the 1990’s. The CSX tracks have a similar impact on our neighborhood; however, these tracks were built decades before the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) was in place and, therefore, were not subject to the same requirements.  While we understand that the federal government directed WMATA to build the wall in its current location, we believe the neighborhood would be better served if a noise barrier were to be built between the CSX tracks and the neighborhood.  We ask that you work with CSX in whatever way possible to provide for construction of an adequate sound barrier that will protect the neighborhood from noise emanating from CSX and MARC trains as well as Metro trains.

Second, we respectfully request that WMATA refrain from utilizing the test track during hours when Metro is not in operation.  During the May 14 meeting, WMATA representatives informed the community that WMATA may be utilizing the track off-hours, which will allow the noise that our residents experience when Metro is operating to continue into the nighttime. We understand that one main purpose of the test track was to allow WMATA to test trains during operating hours, and we would hope that off-hour train testing would occur in areas underground, where residential neighborhoods are not impacted.

Thank you for your consideration of these requests. We look forward to continuing our work with you to enhance the benefit that WMATA provides to the College Park community.

Sincerely,
Andrew Fellows
Mayor
City of College Park

May
22
2015

Join teh Market at this Memorial Day Weekend!

Please see below tomorrow’s Hollywood Farmers Market newsletter.

Vol. 1 Issue 5
On behalf of the vendors, volunteers, and Board of Directors of the Hollywood Farmer’s Market, we want to thank all who came out and made our Grand Opening such a wonderful success! This Memorial Day weekend, we will have the Veterans of Foreign Wars selling their Buddy Poppies at the market as well as the talented and creative Abigail Tova Cohen, the 14-year-old creator of 9 Bow Boutique. Make sure to stop by her table and take a gander at her beautiful bows! They make a wonderful present for that special someone in your life!

This week’s vendors include:
Pleitez Produce: Vegetables
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Groff Content Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses
Roy and RT’s Garden and Kitchen: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
El Taco Loco: Prepared Mexican dishes
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Jesyka Padilla: Hand-crafted jewelry
Crest Hill Bakery: Bread and desserts
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Tiffany’s Oven: Vegan baked goods
Inge’s Crochet Selections: Crochet made items
Christiane’s Designs: Knits for baby and adults
Kettle Korn Popcorn: Delicious Popcorn

Market Updates:
- Many people have been asking about Phil’s Dills! Do not fret! They will return in the next few weeks after they complete their transition to a new facility. We are just as anxious for their delicious pickles!
- Heavenly Created Desserts will not be joining us this weekend at the market.
- Green Ice Snowballs will return to the market on June 13th! Make sure to come by to beat the summer heat!

Our Special Guest This Week: 9 Bow Boutique

Proprietor of 9 Bow Boutique, Abigail Tova Cohen, is a 14 year old member of the Peabody Children’s Chorus of John’s Hopkins University. 9 Bow Boutique started about a year ago, when Abigail auditioned for Peabody and was invited to join their prestigious group. They offered her the opportunity to perform with them on a tour in Germany and Austria this summer. She was inspired to start 9 Bow Boutique after her parents told her she needed a way to earn money for the trip.  Abigail brainstormed the idea with her parents and the boutique was born. The name came from her lucky number 9. Abigail’s favorite pastimes are singing, dancing and spending time with friends. She will complete the 8th grade at Thomas G. Pullen Creative and Performing Arts Academy next month and enter Duke Ellington School of the Arts as a Vocal Music student in the fall.
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Our mailing address is:
hollywoodmarketcp@gmail.com

May
21
2015

City Seeks Volunteered for Special Olympics Torch Relay

City is looking for volunteers to join in the Special Olympics Torch Relay, as it will pass through College Park on May 26th.

City is sponsoring a segment of the Special Olympics Torch Relay, as it will pass through College Park on May 26th as it heads out to Los Angeles for the world games. As we decided to be a sponsor, the City team will be carrying the torch through a ½-mile segment on Route 1.

So far 3 Council members (including me), and one resident have responded. We’re expecting a few more residents and a few special Olympic athletes in the community or other special needs athletes for the event. We can have up to 15 people, so there’s plenty of room. Here are the details on our segment:

Start Time: 12:57 PM, May 26, Tuesday
Start Location: Baltimore Avenue at Rossborough Lane
Arrival Time: Please arrive at least 20 minutes prior to start time.

Please let me know if you’re interested. Please check here for more information.

May
20
2015

College Park’s Future Developments and Project Revenues

Please see below a list of future developments kin College Park and their projected revenues. (Source: City’s Finance department) Please note that these estimates are very tentative, as some of these projects may stray from their projected timetable or may never be built at all. Revenue Forecast

May
19
2015

Council to Expand Tax Incentive Program to Redevelop College Park’s Motels

At a February worksession, I asked the Council to expand City’s tax incentive programs in order to redevelop College Park’s motels. Many of these motels are in north College Park, where many residents think are sources of problems. Reports of frequent prostitution activities have resulted in a few sting operations by our police. A woman was also killed last year at one of these motels, believed to be another prostitution related incident.

The new addition to City’s incentive program will include a clause of the demolition of a hotel/motel with direct, exterior room access to the eligibility criterion. Another clause will be included not to incentivize these motels for further development.

Other changes to the incentive program will include:
• Section 175-9- Eligibility Requirements (A)
(a) The proposed change would exclude student housing from the list of eligible improvements in order to further incentivize other development types. There was discussion about allowing student housing if it were affordable and /or for graduate students.
• Section 175-10- Eligibility Criteria (E). The proposed change would require projects to exceed the LEED certification required by Prince George’s County. For example, the US 1 Corridor Sector Plan requires all development within the walkable nodes to obtain a minimum LEED-Silver certification in its appropriate rating system. The change would require the project to obtain LEED-Gold or higher certification in order to meet the criterion.
• Section 175-11 -Credit: amount and term. The proposed change gives the council the flexibility to reduce or eliminate the credit amount and/or duration as well as to alter the sequence of the tax credit based on city budget constraints. o There were no issues raised with this change.
• Section 175-13- Waiver (A(2)): The proposed change would eliminate this waiver provision to make any completed project ineligible for a tax credit. o There were no issues raised with this change

May
18
2015

North College Park Crime Map: May 12-16, 2015


Breaking and Entering Commercial

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[5/14/15]
[5/14/15] BREAK 02:48 04:58 10100 Baltimore Ave

Theft

Event

Type

From

To

Location

[5/12/15] THEFT 16:53 18:03 10100 Baltimore Ave
[5/12/15] THEFT 17:31 18:25 4700 Blk BRANCHVILLE RD

May
17
2015

Council to Discuss City’s Network Software Sysems

At next Tuesday’s worksession, the City Council will review City’s network software systems that is used by the Finance, Human Resources, Public Services and Public Works departments.

Our network software is provided by SunGard Public Sector (formerly known as HTE) and was installed and implemented in early 1999, following a 1998 RFP process. Most applications are being used successfully by the respective departments.

Approximately one year ago, our staff contacted SunGard to respond to multiple requests for simplification of processes originating in Public Services. SunGard staff recommended that a Business Process Review (“BPR”) be performed to improve satisfaction and increase the efficiency of currently-installed SunGard software applications. The BPR was performed in November 2014. A SunGard implementer met with Code Enforcement, Finance and IT staff, reviewed current Code Enforcement (“CE”) processes and work flow, reviewed software setup, and developed recommendations for improvement.

Over the past 17 years since original software implementation, internal programming staff has added additional features, such as laser permit and municipal infraction printing, building permit processing, e-mailing of CE notices to cited related parties, allowing CE notice issuance from tablets in the field, etc. In addition, staff turnover and lack of appropriate training of new staff has created workflow changes in the software that do not meet SunGard’s recommended configuration. The implementer’s recommendations are highly technical in nature, but can be summarized into certain specific areas:

1. Re-implement the CE software setup (as if this was a new installation).

2. Simplify the case-type codes from 1 00+ to 8 primary case types.

3. Follow the SunGard-prescribed order for processing occupancy permits.

4. There are incomplete occupancy permit records for multiple years which have created fragmented data and billing files that need to be resolved. In addition, cleanup of data records is required to eliminate duplicate and blank records in land management. As all modules are interconnected and key off the land record, data errors in one module affect the others.

5. Re-implementation should simplify permit processing by elimination of multiple manual steps currently used to speed up release of permits.

6. Further discussion is needed on whether the SunGard document management system (DMS) is preferable to the City’s use of Word to generate letters and notices. SunGard believes that their DMS improves workflow efficiency.

7. Once re-implementation is complete, significant on-site training of Public Services staff is recommended to ensure proper processing/adherence to changes. 8. Consider migrating from the Select (“green screen”) interface to NaviLine (Windowsbased graphical user interface [GUI]) for ease of viewing data on 1 screen rather than multiple screens. We have requested pricing from SunGard for this option.

It has been estimated that at least 40 -hours would be required for re-implementation and 192 hours for training. These hours do not include what is needed to cleanup data in item #4 above. Based on their quoted hourly rate of $160, we are estimating the total cost of re-implementation and training (not including cleanup) to be a maximum of $40,000. The implementer has scheduled a conference call with the SunGard programmers on May 28 to discuss whether an automated process could be written to move approximately 10,000 pieces of data to their correct location and the estimated cost to do so. SunGard has recommended that this data cleanup be performed prior to re-implementation. If the cleanup is problematic or the cost is prohibitive, we could elect to re-implement going forward and leave the current data as is. However, reimplementation cannot be scheduled until a decision is made concerning the cleanup. Another major factor is the lead time required in SunGard scheduling, the re-implementation and subsequent training could take 6 months to one year to complete.

Staff discussed with the implementer the request to consolidate all billing (occupancy permit, refuse fee, etc.) for a single property into one invoice. We have been advised that it can be accomplished if we change the billing cycle for refuse to coordinate with the respective occupancy permit renewal. During the first year, refuse fees would be prorated by month. This consolidated billing cannot occur until the re-implementation is completed and all applications are working properly.

Staff recommends the following:
1. Once SunGard provides a cost estimate for the data cleanup, the City will evaluate the cost effectiveness of their quote.
2. We have requested pricing for conversion to the Naviline GUI product. It is possible that conversion to Naviline would include re-implementation and training. Contracting for reimplementation and training on the existing “green screen” product should be postponed until firm figures for such a conversion, including training, are provided.
3. Evaluate pricing and timetable for items # 1 and 2 to determine whether we should invest an undetermined amount in the BPR recommendations, or explore other options.

May
16
2015

Council to Support UMD’s RISE Zone Application

At next week’s Council worksession, the City Council will discuss drafting a letter in support of the University of Maryland’s application to be a Qualified Institution for purposes of the Maryland Regional Institution Strategic Enterprise (RISE) Zone program.

The RISE Zone program was created in 2014 to maximize institutional assets and encourage investment and job creation near universities and other institutions that have a strong history and commitment to economic development and revitalization in their communities.

Qualified Institutions and local governments develop a strategy to use the institutional assets and financial incentives to attract businesses and create jobs within the zone.

The designation of a RISE Zone first requires that an institution submit an application to become a Qualified Institution. The application should show the institution’s intent to make significant financial investments and use its resources and expertise to spur economic development and community revitalization. Once an institution is designated a Qualified Institution, it may submit an application with the local governments to have a RISE Zone designated.

The City expects the University to submit its application to become a Qualified Institution very soon, and expect the State will designate it a Qualified Institution. Staff are working with the
University, the County, and the College Park City-University Partnership on a draft application for a RISE Zone. The application will come to the City Council for discussion and approval.

May
15
2015

Join Us At the Hollywood Farmer’s Market Grand Opening, Tomorrow!

Please see below this week’s Hollywood Farmer’s Market newsletter. See you all tomorrow.

Join us this Saturday, May 16th, for the Hollywood Farmer’s Market Grand Opening! We will have a number of guests including State Senator Jim Rosappe, College Park Mayor Andy Fellows and other local city and county officials joining us for our ribbon cutting ceremony as well as a musical performance by local funk rock band Dandy! Grand Opening festivities will take place at 10:00 AM.Also joining us, will be local police officers with children’s ID check kits and the Branchville Fire Department!We’ll also have $2.00 coupons available at our Info Table that can be redeemed at any vendor of your choice! And make sure you bring the kids by our MOM’s Organic Market sponsored Kid’s Table for seed planting, face painting and temporary tattoos!

This week’s vendors include:
Pleitez Produce: Vegetables
Calvert Farm: Produce and fruits
Celestial Sweets: Cookies, tarts, fruit pies and sweet breads
Groff Content Farm: Meat, eggs and cheeses
Roy and RT’s Garden and Kitchen: Prepared Indonesian cuisine and vegetables
El Toro Loco: Prepared Mexican dishes
Alcoba Coffee: Guatemalan coffee by the pound and by the cup
Jeyska Padilla: Hand-crafted jewelry
Crest Hill Bakery: Bread and desserts
Designed Naturally: Natural bead jewelry
Tiffany’s Oven: Vegan baked goods
Heavenly Created Desserts: Divinely Decadent Desserts
Great Shoal Winery: Maryland wines
The Wood Doctor: Wood restoration and wood designed products
49th Ave. Furniture: Outdoor Furniture
Inge’s Crochet Selections: Crochet made items
Christiane’s Designs: Knits for baby and adults
Kettle Korn Popcorn: Delicious Popcorn
Plus Henna Tattoos!

Phil’s Dills will return to the market in the next few weeks as they transition into a new facility.

Meet the Vendors: Calvert Farms

Calvert Farms has been a main stay at the Hollywood Farmer’s Market and we couldn’t be happier! With Peg Stegall Roberts at the helm, Calvert Farms brings us a variety of fruits, vegetables, and other delicious products from their small family farm. Working with other farmers, Peg and her staff ensure a wonderful variety of produce is available at the market, all grown using natural and sustainable methods!Click here to learn more about Calvert Farm!
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