Safe Shopping Tips

This year’s holiday season has just started, and now is the time to be extra vigilant while we do shopping. Here are a few tips..

1. Shopping Bags. Never let anyone else “watch” your bags while you are shopping – always keep your bags in eyesight (this goes for spouses or family members who you might be shopping with, no one appreciates your purchases
more than you do!).
2. Gift Card Safety Tips. Shoppers should only buy gift cards from reputable retailers (not online auction sites). Gift cards on online auction sites are more likely to be counterfeit or obtained through fraudulent means.
3. Receipts. Consumers should keep their original receipt with the value of the card that they purchased in case there are any problems with the card when it is redeemed.
4. Educate Your Kids. Teach kids what to do if you get separated. (The best option is to instruct your child to look for a security guard, police officer, or go to the customer service desk where people are trained to help.)
5. Communicate. Tell someone where you are going and how long you will be gone. Let them know if you change your schedule.
6. Stay Alert. Even though you are rushed and thinking about a thousand things, pay attention to your surroundings.
7. Lock the Car. Keep doors locked and windows closed when leaving your vehicle. Remember to turn off your lights and take your keys.
8. Use Credit Cards Safely. Beware of identity theft and keep receipts safe. Write down credit card and PIN numbers and leave a copy of it at home.
9. Hide Packages. Store packages in the trunk of the car. Never leave them visible inside the car. That’s an invitation for someone to break your windows and steal.
10. Be Vigilant. If you see something suspicious, report it to store personnel, mall security or your local police department.

District 1 Crime Reports, November ’09

Slots Stalled 1 Year After Vote

After the MD residents voted to have gamblings as ways to save our local economy, the inductry is having some dificult time in getting started.

The rsidents suspect slots owner are against their interest.

Anne Arundel resident Rob Annicelli, who is leading local opposition to put slots at the huge Arundel Mills mall just south of Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, said political leaders let themselves be dazzled by rapacious gambling interests.

“To think that the big, friendly gaming industry is coming in to care about you as a resident? No way,” he said.

The proponents blame this on the opposition.

Miller blamed the state’s gambling problems on its opponents, who he said put “crippling amendments” into the legislation — giving placement authority to local zoning officials, forbidding casino interests to offer “entertainment,” requiring union contracts and living wages for casino employees, and giving the state nearly two-thirds of slot revenues — that “sabotaged” the effort.

More here..

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/Md__s-gambling-problem_-Slots-stalled-1-year-after-vote-8562370-71899752.html

PG Kids Affected By Recession

The number of children losing the foster-care services have nearly been doubled over the past year due to recession.

The need for social services in Prince George’s County has increased in the past few years as families have been hit hard by the recession, and major budget cuts mean there is less to go around. The impact on the county’s most vulnerable population is one example: the number of children in out-of-home placement increased in 2008 while foster care and adoption programs were cut.

In 2008, the peak of the recession, both the state and Prince George’s County experienced an increase in the number of children entering some form of out-of-home care, according to the Governor’s Office for Children. A report from March 2009 states that the total number of children entering out-of-home care in Prince George’s County rose between 2007 and 2008 from 1,119 to 2,065, which includes foster care, treatment facilities, detention facilities and placement with other relatives.

More: http://www.thesentinel.com/pgs/foster-care

 

Will Going Green Cost Taxpayers?

Driven by the UMD’s go-green group ‘UMD for Clean Energy’, some on our city council are mulling to give tax break for ‘green’ businesses in the city, according to this Washington Post report. This has however raised concerns from some, including the outgoing mayor Brayman, who think giving such breaks may cause the city residents pay extra tax dollars. It will remain to be seen if the residents will brace for such tax increase, especially during such difficult economic times. I wonder if the City will ask the residents to take part of a survey to such decision, similar to the one that the city did for a proposal on having city’s own police a few year’s ago.

Irrespective of the ‘green’ business issues, the city can and should continue pursuing other initiatives on making our city a greener place to live. That includes giving financial assistance to residents for making their houses more energy efficients. Most importantly, the city and the neighborhood associations can launch ‘green awareness’ campaigns among the city residents to encouraging them to adopt greener friendly approaches towards their city and its environment.

Giving Thanks At Difficult Times

Today, on the thanks giving day, while many of us will be enjoying times with families, neighbors and friends, many others will be struggling to bring foods on the dinner tables. I personally know quite a few families who have been directly affected by the current hard economic situation. It’s good that many of the big national charities are using today to collect food from the fortunate ones and feed the ones who go hungry around the area, however, I wonder how sustainable such efforts are throughout the year.

Charity starts at home. Thus instead of thinking big at the national level, we can make a lot of difference if we take care of our local communities ourselves, first. In our district, their are institutions and charities who we can work with to alleviate the hardships that many of our neighbors go through on a daily basis. The two charities in our neighborhood I know of are: Compassion Center on the Erie St. and the Pregnancy Center on the Greenbelt Rd. There are other local faith based institutions, such as Churches, Synoagouges and Mosques who also do quite a few charitable work for the local needy families.

NCPCA November 2009 Draft Minutes

In case you missed this month’s NCPCA meeting, you can take a look at the draft minutes. Here is the link:

http://myncpca.org/2009/11/25/november2009/

Changes Sought in Popular School Program

If you’re  a parent and have more than one child going into special school programs, you may want to read this.

Currently, if a child is enrolled in a county specialty program— such as French immersion, biotechnology, talented and gifted, visual, creative and performing arts and Montessori and charter schools — their younger siblings are generally allowed to enter the program if space is available, giving them an advantage over others who have to enter a lottery for a limited number of seats in the programs.

That is probably going to change..

“While this is convenience for some families in the current process, it also results in a lack of access for others,” Superintendent William Hite Jr. said at the Nov. 12 school board meeting. Hite has proposed barring preferential treatment “on the basis of gender, race, national identity, family or sibling identity” for students enrolling in specialty programs.

More here..

http://gazette.net/stories/11192009/collnew175351_32537.shtml

PG Co.State Attorney Election

Th Prince George’s Co. State Attorney election is about a year away from now; yet the campaign is getting warmed up. This article tells the three major hopefuls are running fairly close in the election. The current Co. Vice Chair Tom Dernoga and the current police inspector Mark spencer almost running neck-to-neck.

Game changer of the week…Alsobrooks, Dernoga, and Spencer top poll

In our new poll for the race to be the next Prince George’s County State’s Attorney, things appear to be very close. Angela Alsobrooks who directs the county Revenue Authority, along with County Council Vice Chair Tom Dernoga, and Police Inspector General Mark Spencer.

Development vs. Saving the Green Land

A new debate is brewing over the proposed UMD Wooded Hillock development.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/11/14/AR2009111402347.html?hpid=news-col-blog

“..after prolonged but apparently insufficient study, the school wants to bulldoze nine acres of the hillock’s 22 to make room for equipment sheds, a parking lot and other maintenance facilities.”

See also..

http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/wooded-hillock-s-status-uncertain-1.934448

Environmental activists who have been fighting to preserve the Wooded Hillock expressed shock and confusion after East Campus’ primary developer Foulger-Pratt/Argo Investment pulled out of the project late last week, because no one seems to know what impact this turn of events will have on the forest.

More Jobs for College Park

The P.G. county Park and Planning has released a report on its study to create a biotech incubator in the county that may generate nearly 2000 jobs and $4.4 million annual tax revenues.

The study recommends locating the incubator at M-Square in College Park, the upcoming Konterra Business Campus in Laurel or near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro in Hyattsville. Job and revenue numbers depend on the location, with the Plaza Metro site presenting the greatest possible benefits.

http://www.gazette.net/stories/11182009/busiplo130713_32522.shtml

More here..

In a newly issued report, county consultants have ranked publicly owned lots near M Square Research Park as the top recommendation for a biotech center, touting its across-the-street status from a University of Maryland research hot spot and the College Park Metro station.

http://washington.bizjournals.com/washington/stories/2009/11/16/story1.html

NCPCA Membership Form Now Online

If you’re busy and thus couldn’t get a chance to renew your membership, you can now download the NCPCA membership form directly form this link.

After filling out the form, please send the form to the following address:

 

NCPCA

c/o Youth and Family Services

4912 Nantucket Road

College Park, MD 20740

 

Hollywood ES Update

I thought I should give an update on the Hollywood Elementary School. From this article, it wasn’t quite clear if the council proposed for K-8 upgrade for the Hollywood ES, in addition to the PaintBranch. I came to know that the upgrade proposal for the Hollywood ES has been put on hold. The council will revisit the K-8 proposal after the overcrowding issue is adequately addressed.

Council Fight Brings 'Tears'

Kudos to our very own District 3 council member Stephanie Stullich, who broke into tears in last night’s City Council working session while arguing her case for pedestrian safety on a Paint Branch crosswalk. Her frustration is understandable – safety comes first before anything else.

“I just live in fear that tomorrow or next week I’m going to hear about another accident, and this one would be a fatality,” said District 3 Councilwoman Stephanie Stullich, who has led the city’s recent efforts to improve safety at the crosswalk. At one point in the meeting, Stullich broke in to tears while arguing her case.

More here..

http://www.diamondbackonline.com/news/county-city-fight-over-safety-at-crosswalk-1.934598

Envision PG Community Forum, Tonight

Envision Prince George’s Community Forum

Explore what you want your county to be in 20 years.

Free, but registration is required. Register at www.envisionprincegeorges.org .

Place: University of Maryland,

Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center.

Time: Tue, Nov 17, 6:30-9pm

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