Still Calling While Driving? Think Twice

Do you still use your cell phone while you drive? MD state police has a message for you – be very careful.

Starting tomorrow, you may get a hefty ticket of  $40 – $100 for using your cell while driving without using a hands free device such as a blue-tooth.

The State passed the lawback in April this year. The state joins the District, California, Connecticut, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Washington in requiring that drivers use hands-free devices. It was later signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley.

The law has caused a rise of sales of blue tooth and hands-free devices for many retailers in recent weeks.

There is a caveat to the new law – violating the ban is a secondary offense, meaning a person will only be ticketed if they are pulled over for something else. This has caused some criticism among some attorneys on the effectiveness of the law. However, be advised that “negligent driving” is a primary offense in Maryland and can be used as a precursor to citing violators of the new cell phone law.

You can however place Phone calls to 9-1-1, ambulance, hospital, fire, or law enforcement agencies. The fine for a first offense would be $40 and subsequent offenses would be $100.  Points will not be assessed to the first-time violator’s driving record, except, three points are assessed if the violation contributed to a crash.  One point is assessed for a second or subsequent offense.

Also note that Maryland also bans texting while driving.  This law prohibits an individual from writing or sending a text message while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion or in the travel portion of the highway. If convicted of violating this law a person may be assessed a fine not exceeding $500. This law does not apply to texting 9-1-1 or using a global positioning system.

City Tries To Revive Neighborhood Watch, Again..

While we may or may not agree on the statistical significance of recent crime numbers, one thing that won’t seem to escape from our neighborhood life any time soon is – crime.

While law enforcement / police agencies can certainly make a big contribution in keeping these numbers under control, citizen driven programs like Neighborhood Watch can also make a difference in improving these crime figures.

The City has a Neighborhood Watch program, but unfortunately, the program has been weak and running almost leader – less for some time. Though some of the neighborhoods in the city have active neighborhood watch program, most neighborhoods either don’t have any program at all or even if they have, they’re very much inactive. The programs in north College Park probably falls in the second category.

Back in July this year, the City had another meeting to revive the feeble Neighborhood Watch program. Unfortunately, the meeting did not produce any clear leadership for the program and since then, it remains effectively leader-less.

Tonight, the City will make another attempt to revive the program. One e-mail to a community group implores its resident members with this appeal: 

If you have ever wanted to get involved with Neighborhood Watch, or if you are concerned about crime in our City, please come to this meeting.  Please come whether you’re able to give only a little time to Neighborhood Watch, or whether you want to get more involved and help lead up a revitalized Neighborhood Watch program in our City.  We have roles in the Neighborhood Watch available for everyone, and we need every one’s help to make our City safer.

We will be using this meeting as an opportunity to recruiting new leadership and new volunteers for the Neighborhood Watch program in our City.  This is your chance to get involved!

Tonight’s meeting will be hosted by The City of College Park, together with the Prince George’s County police. The meeting will start at 7:00pm at the City Hall (4500 Knox Road). Parking passes will be available for free parking in the City Hall lot.

Please be there, if you can.

Prisoner Escapes NCP Police Barrack

State Police Barrack in Sunnyside

State Police Barrack in Sunnyside

On Sunday 9/26/10, at 11: 30 pm a prisoner escaped from Maryland State Police’s College Park Barrack.  The prisoner was being processed for an open warrant.  The barrack is located in Sunnyside part of north College Park (please see map below).

The escapee is described as: Terrill Dwight Evans, B/M, DOB 26 years old , 5-10, 185 lbs. Blue shirt, Blue mesh shorts, Goatee  beard, 6 gold teeth in front.

The person is believed to be in route to Atlanta Georgia.

Details on how the prisoner escaped the barrack is still unknown. The State Police is handling the incident and said will be providing more information.

Talks of Proposed Housing Split City Council

[Update 9/30/2010: This post has been updated with comments from District 4 Council woman Denise Mitchell]

The proposal to build a 6-story, 334-unit student housing on the current Book Exchange property may still be in its very primitive stage, yet some City Council members have already started to take sides on this Adevelopment. Interestingly enough, not every resident or City council member is against the proposal, as the recent media reports (such as this and this) may have suggested.

Take for example District 1 council member Chris Nagle. She actually supports the idea of the proposed housing. Ms. Nagle says she does not agree with the residents in Old Town who have expressed concerns that the student housing at the current Maryland Book Exchange location will bring additional students into Old Town and create noise and traffic concerns for existing residents.  “The project will not result in an increased enrollment at the University of Maryland. Student housing at the Maryland Book Exchange location will provide students who want to live within walking distance of UMD and downtown College Park with an alternative to living in Old Town.  I thought that was what the residents of Old Town wanted: for students to move out of existing single family and into multi-unit student housing dwellings.  The developer is working with residents and has sought their input into the commercial component of the project.”Ms Nagle said explaining her position.

The other District 1 council member Patrick Wojahn sits completely on the other side of the aisle on this. He is with the city residents – those living in the south and also in the north in his district. “I have a lot of concerns about this proposal. Whether I agree with those residents (in Old Town) or not, I would want other council members to support me if the residents of north College Park were opposed to a project, and I want to do the same for the residents of Old Town.”– says Mr. Wojahn.

Mr. Wojahn is concerned that this new project would over saturate the market and create challenges for the entire student housing along US 1. “the City and the University have worked together to build a lot of new student housing along the US 1 corridor over the past couple of years, and at this point, we do not know whether that will satisfy the demand for student housing..”- said Mr. Wojahn.

The District 3 council woman Stephanie Stullich echoes Mr. Wojahn’s assessments on this oversaturation part.  According to her estimation, new student housing construction from 2000 to 2010 added a total of 7,057 new beds for students, including 2,892 on campus and 4,533 off campus.  Those figures include 1,146 beds in two new buildings that opened this fall (View 2 and Mazza).  In addition, three student housing buildings currently under construction will add 2,263 beds in fall 2011 (Starview, Varsity, and Oakland Hall).

Ms. Stullich wants to see the proposed development to house something different – “a grocery store like Trader Joe’s, a sit-down family restaurant, or housing targeted at University faculty and staff and young professionals could be a good fit for the site” – she commented. “I’d also like to see the old Book Exchange as part of the new development” – she added.

Mr. Wojahn agrees with Ms. Stullich on the diversity part of the development in downtown area to create what he says a true college town atmosphere. “I feel we need a diverse mix of housing opportunities. With the rest of the new M Square project coming online sometime in the next couple of years, I feel there is a need for young professional housing, and I think it would be useful for the developer to consider making all of this new development young professional housing instead of just student housing.  Bringing more young professionals in the area would lead to a better market for higher quality restaurants and more diverse retail downtown.”Added Mr. Wojahn.

Mr. Wojahn also sympathizes with concerns of the Old Town residents. “I understand the concerns of the residents, and I want to support the residents who have concerns about this project coming so close to their neighborhoods. “

Ms. Stullich, who represents the residents living in the area near the proposed development, went further in explaining the concerns of the local residents. “This project would double the number of undergraduate students living in Old Town, which is the neighborhood that already has the highest concentration of undergraduates and struggles the most with tensions between students and older residents.  The noise problem is pretty extreme, not just from the parties but also from hundreds of young people wandering the streets at all hours of the day and night looking for parties.  And then there are the problems with vandalism and public urination – it all seems to go with the wild party atmosphere.  It makes it sometimes a hard place for families to raise their children.  The noise enforcement officers and police have a hard time dealing with this situation as it is – we don’t need to make this problem even harder to handle.”

Ms. Stullich added – “It is not in students’ best interest to make Old Town so difficult for older residents to live in that they all move out.  Older residents help improve the safety of the neighborhood, because of Neighborhood Watch, because they know how to work with the police.  They watch out for the safety of their student neighbors.  Allowing this to become exclusively a student neighborhood would make the student residents vulnerable to even more crime.”

Ms. Stullich brushed off criticism against the opposition to the housing as “anti-student”. “I don’t think there’s an anti-student hysteria from me and the residents who oppose the development. We accept that students live in our neighborhoods and always will.  We’re simply trying to seek a balance.”

She said she likes what RTCP is doing in promoting smart growth. “I’m an environmentalist, but that doesn’t mean I’m anti-development.  I have been a strong supporter of all of the other recent student housing projects.  But it is important to have the right mix of development in the right places.” – she said.

Her counterpart in the district 3, council member Mark Cook supports the proposed development. ”  “It’s hard to understand why a council member would support a project that so many of his constituents believe would harm their quality of life.”– Ms. Stullich added with frustration. In an interview with the Diamondback, Mr. Cook said he is excited about the vision for the site, as “it represents a smart growth project that will improve the overall use of the land – much of which is now a sprawling parking lot.”

District 2 Council member Bob Catlin hasn’t seen a proposal for the project and says it’s premature to judge the project. “The only thing we (the City Council) have been asked to do by the developer is to allow the developer to pay a parking fee-in-lieu for about 175 parking spaces prior to the proposal being presented.  Some council members want to decide the fee-in-lieu at a later time.”

When asked about UMd’s letter of support for the project he said “It (the UMd) did send a letter- now I believe the University has (or it soon will) rescind that support.  RTCP knows about the original letter, but perhaps not about a possible reconsideration of that position.” Mr. Catlin added.

District 4 councilman Marcus Afzali also wants to see more before making his mind supporting  the proposed development, but he has sympathies for the residents’ concerns. “Right now community members are meeting with the developer so I don’t want to say too much because I want to give the residents of Old Town a chance to see what they can work out with them.  That being said I think the residents of Old Town have valid concerns that must be addressed before I would be willing to get on board.” – Marcus said to me in an email.

Afzali’s counterpart in District 4, Denise Mitchell opposes the proposed development. “I want to be clear that I was opposed to the concept of the project from the beginning” – Ms. Mitchell told me in her email. “ It is my view that there are many existing projects currently underway for the sole purpose of adding student housing off campus and in close proximity to the university.  Also, I felt as though the residents should have been conferred with before presenting this to Mayor and Council.” – Ms. Mitchell added.

The City Mayor Andrew Fellows also shares the residents’ concerns, but wants to hold off on taking a side. “I have thoughts but probably want to save them for public consumption.  I want to explore the matter in public at City Hall.  I will briefly note, though, that I do share the concerns of the residents.” – Mr. Fellows added.

Despite the divergent views from council members, the ultimate decision about the project will come from the County Council.  County councilman Eric Olson, who represents the area, has indicated that he has concerns about the development. When asked about UMd’s support for the development, Mr. Olson said “My understanding is that there are multiple perspectives on campus, so I do not read their letter as the final University position. And ultimately, the University does not make the decision on the project. “

College Park Day – Getting Closer to the Finish Line!

It’s been a while since we last talked about the event that our city will be witnessing for the first time in its history – the College Park Day (October 9, Saturday). You haven’t probably heard much buzz in the media about the event lately, but volunteers have been working quietly to make the event a grand success. Here are a few updates I thought I should give you to get you excited (if you’re not already yet!!)

  • First, we have a new flyer (please see at the left), replacing the old ‘Save the Date’ flyer. Please feel free to download the new  flyer, make a thousand copies and share those with your friends and neighbors. Here is the link to download the hi-res PDF version: cpday2010
  • Led by our publicity Chair, Joe Smith, the crew of volunteers have been busy in distributing the event posters at major businesses in the City. The group has covered quite a few businesses in north College Park yesterday and will do the same throughout the city in the next few days.
  • We’ve quite a few sponsors who came forward supporting the event. They are many – you can see the complete list here on our event’s website. This is not to ignore the generous contribution of $5000 that our City has made for this event. Quite a few volunteers have been working hard to get more sponsors and funds. Our former Mayor Steve Braymen has been actively leading that effort. 
  • The list of participants is also growing everyday – err – should I say on a hourly basis. So far we have some 38 groups signed up expressing interest to be part of the event. We’re hoping to see that number to grow up to 50 by the event day. See the complete list here.
  • Our students in the City schools have been busy in doing their “This is My Culture” posters. I’m excited to see what our young citizens have to say about the diversity of the town in these posters. The school principals and the staff have also been quite busy in getting the words out about the contests among their students. If you haven’t heard of the contest, please take a look at the contest’s page on our website: http://www.collegeparkday.org/contests
  • Led by UMd SGA Liaison Becca Lurie, another group of volunteers has been busy to entertain you and your entire families at the event. The group and the M-NCPPC will also be arranging kids’ activities, such as moon-bounces etc. Our former Mayor Joe Page is expected to be there to read stories to our younger ones.
  • The preparation for the history exhibits and slide shows is also going in full swing. City council woman Stephanie Stullich has been helping us a lot in providing City’s history related materials to make these exhibits a reality. In case you didn’t know, Stephanie co-authored a book on the City history a few years ago. You can get the book online here.
  • Finally and not least to mention, Morgan Gale has been busy with his own crew of volunteers to entertain you with varieties of scrumptious food / delicacies. Most importantly- food you’ll get at the event will be absolutely FREE!! We hope that should entice you to be at the event on the 9th.
  • All in all, we’re doing all we can to make the event a success. All we want from you is this – please save the date (Oct 9, 1-5pm) for now. More on the event is on our website http://www.collegeparkday.org/

    Congratulations Ron! You’re Our Hero

    Ron Hillyer (Washington Post)
    Ron Hillyer (Washington Post)

    Chances are that you may have seen him driving or walking on your neighborhood streets. You may also have spotted him in the isles of our neighborhood stores.  

    Even more likely, you may have known him as the typical guy on the block. But only a few of us have probably known him as our neighborhood hero – until the Washington Post broke this news a few days ago.
     
    Meet Ron Hillyer – your neighbor living at 51st Avenue in north College Park. Ron is getting a hallway named after him in Janney Elementary school in D.C..  He is a former D.C. school custodian, a man whose job involved scrubbing human waste off a playground at one school and discarding the burnt bottle caps of drug users at another.
     
    The Post has described his nodest house on the 51st Avenue like this:
    To grasp what Hillyer brought to each D.C. school he worked at, one has only to step into his “chill room,” the den in his modest College Park house. 

    One wall is covered with photos of great entertainers: Ella Fitzgerald, Duke Ellington, the Beatles, Martin Lawrence. Most are pictures that his grandfather collected when the stars passed through the Crystal Caverns (now Bohemian Caverns), the famed U Street nightclub that he owned.

    Across from that wall are framed mementos, glimpses of highs from a life that many would see as otherwise ordinary. A Western Union telegram from the White House, dated June 2, 1967, informs the janitor, “Mrs. Johnson invites you to a ceremony and reception.” Hillyer was chosen to attend the event, held on the lawn of the executive mansion, on behalf of his Boy Scout troop.

    According to the Post, Hillyer didn’t grow up in Northeast Washington thinking he’d be a custodian. His mother was a corrections officer and his father, a cabdriver. He wanted to be “so many things, like so many little kids,” but mostly his dreams centered on becoming an actor or radio personality. After graduating in 1973, he attended Prince George’s Community College for a semester before dropping out because of financial strains. The next year, Hillyer took a janitorial job with the Prince George’s school system and a few years later moved to the District schools, where he became a supervisor.

    Let’s congratulate Ron next time we meet him around. Ron – you’re our Neighborhood hero.

    City Seeks to Expand NCP School

    For some time, the students and teachers at the district’s only elementary public school are going through some growing pain. The Holloywood Elementary School on 49th Avenue has outgrown 133% and is projected to grow 161% by the year 2015, according to the county statistics.  Hollywood is currently one of the top five most overcrowded schools in Prince George’s County.

    Theer have been several attempts to fix this overcrowding problem – one option is to reboundary the school district, a move very unpopular to post of the parents living in our part of the neighborhood. Back in last January, that plan was put on hold.

    Rather than continuing to redo boundaries, College Park officials have advocated that an addition be built onto Hollywood. However, county officials have said budget woes would make such a project unlikely in the next few years. No cost estimate has been provided for the expansion.

    “Although the schools don’t have a lot of money right now, the Board of Education members representing our area have suggested that we begin now advocating for an expansion at Hollywood, so that when PGCPS has more money, it will be at the top of their agenda.”- said councilman Patrick Wojahn.

    In addition to sending a letter in support of an expansion of Hollywood, the City also voted encouraging theschool board to look into the possibility of making it a K-8 school.

    In last Tuesday’s special council session, the City approved a motion to consider a letter the PG school board in support of that expansion. The Board is currently  considering its capital budget for the next year. The council vote was unanimous.

    Violent Crimes, Robberies, Assaults Rise in College Park

    Though overall crime figures have gone down over the past few months, violent crimes, robberies and assaults have gone up during the same period.

    That is the part of the satistics the law enforcement authorities in College Park gave in last Tuesday night’s council session. The statistics was later sent by Council member Stephanie Stullich in an email to community groups and Neighborood Watch block captains.

    Violent crimes showed a 10% increase for the period Jan-Aug 2010 compared with Jan-Aug 2009, including a 29% increase in citizen robberies and a 24% increase in assaults.. The good news is that total reported crimes were 16% lower in 2009 than in 2008 (981 vs. 1,163) and also showed a 15% decline for the period Jan-Aug 2010 compared with the same period in 2009 (548 vs. 647). 

    Although violent crimes often get the most attention, and rightfully so, it is important to note that the vast majority of crimes in College Park are property crimes (89% in the most recent period).  Police noted that over half of all crimes in College Park are thefts, and these are predominantly thefts from auto – mostly GPS and laptops.   Police pleaded for citizens to take sensible precautions to prevent being victimized by theft. 

    “Please do not leave valuables in your car.  It is not safe to hide purses or other valuables under the seat – that is the first place criminals look.  It is not safe to hide valuables by putting a jacket or other items on top – thieves know this often means valuables are there for the taking.  In addition, GPS power cords that are visible, and GPS suction cup marks on windows, are clues for thieves that a GPS device may be hidden in the glove compartment.” -noted council member Stullich.

    Police also need citizens to do our part in helping them to solve these crimes by recording the serial numbers of laptops, GPS units, and other electronic items so that we can give them to police in the event of a theft.  Oftentimes thieves are able to pawn these items with impunity because citizens are not able to provide the police with serial numbers.  Police particularly recommended that we write down serial numbers for items we carry in our cars and keep those numbers in our wallets. 

    “In the event of a theft, it is important to be able to give the serial numbers to police asap so they can be put on the list before the thief attempts to pawn your property.  Providing the police with serial numbers of stolen property not only greatly increases your chances of getting your property back, it also helps the police make arrests, because pawn shops are required to check such items against a list of serial numbers of stolen property.” - added Stullich.

     

    NCP’s ‘Failing Intersection’ to Get Traffic Signals Next Year

    Residents of north College Park have long been complaining about the vehicle and pedestrian safety at the intersection of Edgewood and Rhode Island Avenue. In addition to the safety concerns, the intersection poses a traffic nightmare for the motorists – it takes sometime 10 to 15 minutes to cross that intersection during the rush hours.

    The County’s Public Works have been working to improve the intersection for several years.  On November 19, 2007, they arranged a public hearing at the Beltsville Agricultural Center to seek public inputs. They have also received many feedback from the local residents through their website here.

    Comments from the residents were wide ranging. The include: (1) Install a traffic signal at the intersection, providing a three‐lane approach from each direction comprised of one through lane, one right turn lane and one left turn lane. (2) Continue the bike lane, which currently ends at Paducah Road, northbound towards U.S. Route 1 (3) Enhance safety at Sunnyside and Rhode Island avenues via geometric improvements to the intersection and the installation of a traffic signal (4) Introduce roundabouts with sidewalks and crosswalks to enhance safety and reduce cut‐through traffic

    In reviewing the comments received, the Public works decided that there was an overall acceptance of the planned traffic signal at the intersection. Based on this, the county will proceed with the proposed Phase One improvement. This will include geometric improvements and the installation of a traffic signal at the Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road Intersection.

    “..the Edgewood Road Intersection was prioritized as a recommendation for Phase One of this project due to a traffic analysis performed by DPW&T, .. this as a failing intersection.”- commented Maureen Wilson, the project manager of the intersection improvement project.

    According to the proposed design, there will be a three‐lane approach from each direction comprised of one through lane, one right turn lane and one left turn lane. There will also be modified access to the southbound Rhode Island Avenue Access Road at the Edgewood Road Intersection to allow for right turns out and improved bus turning movements. Future (additional) safety improvements include the installation of roundabouts at Indian Lane and Hollywood Road, and resurfacing and repaving of the entire roadway, as well as restoring existing crosswalks.

    Ms. Wilson and Arman Abrahamian of DPW&T  were present at this month’s NCPCA meeting to discuss the intersection improvements. According to Ms. Wilson, work is slated to begin in the spring of 2011, extend through the summer, and into the fall. Signalization was slated to occur at the end of 2011. She however said she did not know when the City approved cameras would be installed at the intersection.

    You can get more about the intersection improvement project here.

    DC Shares Bikes With Arlington, How About College Park?

    D.C. commuters have been sharing bikes in their streets for some time, but starting yesterday that program is expanding to include Arlington.

    Funded by the U.S. DOT (Department of Transportation) the program, called Capital Bikeshare , is the largest such program in the country.

    According to officials, 49 stations are operational and about five are being activated each day, allowing users to pick up a bike in one location and return it at any station. The system will feature about 1,100 bicycles at 114 stations in the District and Arlington. Out of that,  there are 100 stations in D.C. and 14 in Arlington, where riders can pick up and leave bicycles. 

    The program is currently offering a $25 discount off the $75 annual membership fee. Monthly memberships are available for $25, and daily memberships will be available at the bike stations for $5.

    Though Arlington gets connected with this bike share program today, it looks like other neighboring cities like College Park will have to wait a long time to ride on this network. Earlier this year, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments(MWCOG) failed to win a $10 million for bikeshare expansion that it had applied through a federal stimulus program called TIGER. The City of College Park and UMd jointly applied for that grant application. The original TIGER application asked for 2,250 bikes at 225 stations in DC, Arlington, Alexandria, Fairfax City, Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Hyattsville, and National Harbor, in addition to the 1,000 the District is already funding.

    [Sourec: The Wahington Post, FoxDC, RTCP, GGW]

    Celebration Puts Emphasis on Lakeland’s Heritage

    College Park’s African American community in Lakeland is unique in terms of its rich history and heritage. For 120 years, this community has survived the legacies of racism and discrimination to play a vital role in the evolution of College Park. The history of College Park cannot be completed without mentioning the rich history of Lakeland community.

    This weekend, the Lakeland community celebrated the 120 year anniversary of that rich heritage. The event started at noon with a parade where more than 100 city residents took part. One of the community ‘s star, WWII veteran Leonard Smith served a the Parade’s Field Marshal. The parade traveled through the community’s neighborhood streets.

    The community members then gathered in the parking lot of the College Park Community Center next to the Paint Branch School. They enjoyed free food, ice creams (courtesy of Rita) and light entertainment. There were also booths featuring jewelries sales, children games and face paintings.

    Diane Weems Ligon arranged a booth showcasing a book on Lakeland’s history and selling Lakeland Heritage Day tee-shirts. Diane is a fourth generation Lakeland community member and has helped author the book herself.

    Inside the community center, visitors watched a movie featuring Lakeland’s heritage. A number of history related posters were also on display. The celebration continued on Sunday with a prayer service at the local Baptist Church. 

    To preserve Lakeland’s heritage, Lakeland Community Heritage Project (LCHP) was formed in 2007. For the first time, the LCHP received $16,000 from the county to celebrate this year’s 120 year anniversary. 

    Parents Stage Traffic Awareness Campaign

    Early this week, the parents of the AlHuda school in north College Park staged a traffic awareness campaign on Edgewood Road near the school’s entrance. The parents held colorful posters with messages like “Speed Limit 25″, “Slow Down”, “Drive Safely”, “Be a Good Neighor” reminding their fellow school parents who drive their children to the school. The traffic awareness campaign has become an annual event the local parents organize at the beginning of the school year.

    I took a few pictures of the event. Please enjoy.

    National Drug Take-Back

    On September 25, 2010, Drug Enforcement Authority (DEA) will coordinate a collaborative effort with state and local law enforcement agencies to remove potentially dangerous controlled substances from our nation’s medicine cabinets. Collection activities will take place from 10:00 a.m. through 2:00 p.m. at sites established throughout the country.  The National Take-Back Day provides an opportunity for the public to surrender expired, unwanted, or unused pharmaceutical controlled substances and other medications for destruction.  These drugs are a potential source of supply for illegal use and an unacceptable risk to public health and safety.

    This one-day effort is intended to bring national focus to the issue of increasing pharmaceutical controlled substance abuse. 

    • The program is anonymous. 
    • Prescription and over the counter solid dosage medications, i.e. tablets and capsules accepted.
    • Intra-venous solutions, injectables, and needles will not be accepted.
    • Illicit substances such as marijuana or methamphetamine are not a part of this initiative.  

    There are two locations closest to College Park that are participating in this event on September 25, from 10am – 2pm:

    • University of MD Police Dept. of Public Safety – Police Headquarters Building #003, at the intersection of Route 1 and Rossborough Lane
    • Berwyn Heights Police Department Police Headquarters, 5411 Berwyn Road, Berwyn Heights MD 20740

    Lakeland to Celebrate Its Heritage This Weekend

    The oldest African Amrican community in College Park, Lakeland will be celebrating its 120 years of heritage this weekend.

    The series of events will begin at the College Park Community Center (5051 Pierce Avenue) with a parade through Lakeland at 12:00 PM with a viewing stand at Lakeland Park (contact Pamela Randall Boardley at (301) 474-3855 for more). The parade will then follow picnic at Lakeland Park. Bring your lunch and enjoy the afternoon with entertainment and games for the whole family. Rita’s of College Park will visit with free Italian ices! (contact Jean Gray Matthews at (301) 773-0413 for more). The rest of the day will see a trolley tour at 1:00 PM (by ticket only), a trip to heritage Theater (opens at 1:00 PM), jazz music by the Kash Wright Trio 2:00 PM and a trolley trip to Lake Artemesia 2:00 PM. Tomorrow’s events will end for at 6:00 PM.

    The celebration will continue on Sunday with a worship service beginning at 11:00 AM on the grounds of First Baptist Church of College Park at 5018 Lakeland Road. Light refreshments will be served following the service.

    Maxine Gross (maxine.gross@att.net) is the lead organizer of the lakeland Heritage weekend. She has also been actively helping us in organizing the College Park day on October 9.

    If you’re new to the rich history of Lakeland, I’d strongly encourage you to visit the heritage project’s site at http://lakelandchp.com/. There is also an excellent book on Lakeland’s heritage, called “Lakeland: African Americans in College Park (Images of America)”. I’ve recently bought the book and strongly recommend you to buy it also. You can get the book from amazon.com. Here is the link.

    So, Why Didn’t You Vote?

    The primaries are over, but in the midst of all the festivities that this election generated, the question remains – why the turnout was so low? According to this Gazette article, overall turnout among the county’s 400,577 Democrats, 46,360 Republicans and 51,781 other voters was 19.8 percent, which is the second lowest level since 1992.

    So in case you did not vote in this primaries, our question to you is what stopped you form going to polls? Could it be because you’re an independent registered voter, you’re not registered or any other reason?

    I did not vote, because..

    View Results

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