Beware, Before You Trap Animals

Animal trapping

The other day I was told by a resident that someone from City’s Animal control came over to his house to do a search of animal trapping. The resident said he was surprised by this “uninvited” visit, and said they couldn’t find any thing “illegal” activity in his backyard.

Regardless of the background, this incident should remind us our responsibilities to know the rules surrounding animal trapping in the city.

First, it is illegal to trap wildlife without a permit it is also a fine of $350.00 for the first offense, also it is illegal to shoot squirrels with a BB gun in residential areas and this carries a fine of $125.00.

Trapping most wildlife requires a permit from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (MD DNR). The ACO currently holds a Wildlife Damage Control Operator’s Permit through the MD DNR.  The ACO will trap wildlife at his/her own discretion.  The ACO will not trap wildlife outside unless the animal is posing a direct threat to public safety.

Trapping is often a source of controversy because trapped animals must be either euthanized or relocated.  Moving an animal to a more “wild” area may sound like a good idea, but relocated animals typically have a lower rate of survival due to an inability to find new food sources and den sites.  For more information on trapping read “Think Before You Trap

Many wildlife problems can be dealt with by taking simple measures, usually involving the removal of the wildlife “attractant” such as securing accessible trash cans or doing away with pet food left outside.  Other wildlife problem-solving tactics require trial and error and occasionally must result in the removal of the animal.  The Animal Control Officer can provide you with information and/or literature on how to solve a variety of wildlife problems.

Judge ‘Orders’ Lehman To Face Hearing on Laurel Church, Post Reports

Mary Lehman

A Laurel Church that won a lawsuit against the Prince George’s county earlier, recently filed another lawsuit, after the county council rejected its application to start construction work of the church.

The council’s refusal to build “Reaching Heart” church prompted U.S. District Judge Roger W. Titus to order the council’s attorneys to explain council decision by Aug. 4, and he set a hearing date for Sept. 1.

Judge Titus said that the council’s recent rejection of the church’s request seemed “a case of deja vu all over again.” The council, he said, had again relied on the same ‘alleged ‘environmental’ reasons rejected by the jury and this court.

Back in 2002, as a West Laurel resident Dist. 1 council woman Ms. Lehman (along with previous council member Mr. Dernoga) strongly opposed the construction of the Church in her neighborhood. A Federal Judge later awarded the Church $3.7 million in a lawsuit against the county. In last year’s congressional election, Critics such as State’s attorney candidate Angela Alsobrooks cited this as a religious discrimination case.

According to the Washington Post, with Dernoga’s replacement, council member Mary Lehman (D-Laurel), leading the opposition this year, the council raised concerns about the scope of the project and worried anew that it might pollute the nearby Rocky Gorge Reservoir, a source of drinking water. The council unanimously turned down the church’s request.

Titus ordered federal marshals to immediately serve the council with notice, citing the “gravity of the matter,” and he ordered Lehman to appear at the Sept. 1 hearing.

UMD Helps Prince George’s to Get Quality Hospital

PGHC to be replaced by a new hospital center

When Prince George’s county residents get sick, they often go to out of the county hospitals to get quality health care. For decades, hospitals in the county have been struggling financially.

That will most likely to change, thanks to a partnership deal between the state, county and the University of Maryland Medical System.

The deal would replace the P.G. Hospital center by a network of hospital and a quality teaching hospital supported by the University of Maryland.

The deal is expected to cost $600 million, however it’s unclear how the funding will be provided.

If the plan works out, the project will start in 2014, and is expected to be complete in 2014.

According to some sources, the new hospital is expected to be in the central part of the county, as Prince George’s Hospital Center is. Renovating the hospital center or using some of the adjacent county-owned land in Cheverly to build a new hospital would be among the less expensive options. Alternatively, the county could look to other sites such as the vacant Landover Mall site and New Carrollton, where a new, mixed-use development is planned next to the Metro,

New County Map Shows College Park in a Single District

A new county redistricting map is proposing the entire city of College park part of one single district (Dist 3). Currently, north College Park is part of District 1, where as the rest of the city is part of District 3.

Like the City of College Park, which went through its own redistricting process recently, Prince George’s county is also required to revisit its district map every 10 years following the national census. The Maryland State is also going through its congressional redistricting process.

County’s Redistricting Commission will hold a public hearing today at the Council Hearing Room (Main Floor 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Dr. County Administration Building, Upper Marlboro, Maryland 2077). The commission will also discuss the Preliminary Draft of the Plan & Report at the meeting. The final report will be ready on August 4, 2011.

There are many benefits of having College Park in a single county district. College Park has its own set of traits (it’s a college town), that other neighboring cities don’t have. Dividing the city into two parts in county’s map  limits these important characteristics into account when it comes to development within the city boundary.

The implementation of the ongoing Route 1 sector plan will also get benefits if the city stays within one single district. For example, Route 1 recently received millions of dollars for its redevelopment, all of which will be spent withing the city boundary.

North College Park has largely been under developed when compared to the south part of the city. One would see a sharp difference in terms of the number of blighted properties along Route 1 on the north and south sides of Rt193.

There may also be some immediate benefits of the proposed map of keeping College Park in District 3 as one councilmanic district. Currently, District 3 is represented by council member Olson, who is also a resident of College Park. Having a city resident as the county council member representing the entire city will only benefit the city, and not the part of the city that council member Olson currently represents.

Armed Robbery at Edgewood Rd. 7-11 Store

7-11 Robbery, 25 July, 2011

The Prince George’s County Police Department’s Robbery Unit is working to identify the suspect who robbed a 7-Eleven convenience store in College Park, Maryland.

On July 25, 2011, at approximately 4:23 a.m., the suspect entered the 7-Eleven located on the 4900 block of Edgewood Road. Once inside, the suspect brandished a handgun and demanded money. The store employee complied with the suspect’s demands and the suspect fled the scene with the store’s money.

The suspect is described as a black male approximately 5′ tall with a medium build. He was last seen wearing a black mask, all dark clothing and armed with a handgun.

Anyone with information that may assist in this investigation is asked to call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or the CID-Robbery Unit at 301-772-4905 as soon as possible. Please refer to case number 11-206-0289. Whenever information is given to the Prince George’s County Crime Solvers Line, you do not have to leave your name. A CASH REWARD OF UP TO $1000.00 is being offered for the tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of the suspects responsible for this robbery.

CBE Eyes Mandatory Recycling in College Park

Mandatory recycling

The Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) of College Park is considering to propose a mandatory recycling program for the city residents.

The committee members discussed the possibility of having the program in its monthly meeting last night.

Currently City’s Public Works picks up of recyclable materials in blue bins every week. City however does not have an enforcement policy on collecting these recyclable items.

Some neighboring cities such as Laurel runs mandatory recyclable program Recently, CBE sent one of its members to the City of Laurel Public Works to learn more about their recyclabale program. The committee members discussed the findings in last night’s meeting.

CBE will study recyclable programs in a few more neighboring cities and will suggest the  Mayor and Council accordingly to institute a mandatory recyclable program for College Park.

After its Defeat, NCP’s Wojahn Wants to See Gay Marriage Bill ‘a Priority’ in 2012

Set to Change.. Definition of traditional marriage in MD

North College Park (District 1) council member Patrick Wojahn wants to see gay marriage bill a priority of Gov. O’Malley administration in 2012.

Council member Wojahn is the Chairman of Equality Maryland, Maryland’s largest LGBT (lesbian, gay bi-sexual and trans gender) community group.

Mr. Wojahn’s comments came a day before last Friday, when Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley says his office will work harder to get a same-sex marriage bill passed.

Earlier this year, the bill passed the Senate before dying in the House, after at least two House Democrats withdrew their support and party leaders appeared unable to gain the 71 votes needed for passage. Leaders estimated at the time they had about 68 firm supporters. Gay Marriage supporters in College Park lobbied heavily to help pass the bill in Senate.

Mr. O’Malley — who before becoming governor said he favored civil unions and believed marriage was intended for a man and woman — said Friday his views have evolved beyond those initially instilled by his Catholic upbringing.

Mary Ellen Russell, executive director of the Maryland Catholic Conference, said her organization greeted the governor’s announcement with “great disappointment” and said the group would lobby against such a bill.

“We continue to urge members of the Maryland General Assembly not to allow this issue to be driven by partisan politics, and to give full and fair consideration to the legitimate reasons why our state should maintain its recognition of marriage as the union of one man and one woman,” she said according to the Washington Times.

A group of 35 Maryland clergy members expressed disappointment with the governor’s decision. They pointed out that Maryland voters would have a chance to petition any bill that passes to referendum in November 2012, as opponents of unrelated legislation to allow in-state tuition for illegal immigrants have done.

“We’re ready for the fight and have no doubt that marriage will remain between one man and one woman,” the group said.

State Sen. Nancy Jacobs, the Senate minority leader, said she believes the majority of state residents oppose same-sex marriage.
“I oppose legalizing gay marriage in Maryland and will fight vehemently against Governor O’Malley’s initiative to pass this legislation,” Jacobs, R-Harford, said in a statement.

Tips to Stay Cool and Hydrated

Heat wave

In light of the burning, terrible heat of summer 2011, I thought these tips to keep us cool and hydrated would be useful.

Stay Cool
Keep your body temperature cool to avoid heat-related illness.

  • Stay in air-conditioned buildings as much as possible.
  • Find an air-conditioned shelter.
  • Do not rely on a fan as your primary cooling device.
  • Avoid direct sunlight.
  • Wear lightweight, light-colored clothing.
  • Take cool showers or baths.
  • Check on those most at-risk twice a day.

Stay Hydrated
Because your body loses fluids through sweat, you can become dehydrated during times of extreme heat.

  • Drink more water than usual.
  • Don’t wait until you’re thirsty to drink more fluids.
  • Drink from two to four cups of water every hour while working or exercising outside.
  • Avoid liquids containing high amounts of sugar.
  • Remind others to drink enough water.

Btw, Metro has allowed its riders to carry and drink water in its stations and trains. Here is Metro’s press release.

Obama Talks About Tough Choices at UMd Town Hall Meeting

Spend a Night Against Crime at National Night Out

National Night Out 2010

Like last year, City’s Neighborhood Watch groups will mark August 2nd at various the annual National Night Out (NNO) event.

NNO is a community-police partnership that provides a unique opportunity for residents to increase awareness about crime prevention and safety, get to know their neighbors, and meet local law enforcement and other public safety officers with the goal of preventing crime and drug activities in their neighborhoods.

The main city-wide NNO event will happen at the College Park Aviation Museum from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Corporal Frank Scott Drive, College Park, MD. The event will feature FREE light refreshments, self-guided tours of the museum, visits by police from local agencies, a Police helicopter and fire department equipment. Don’t miss this opportunity to meet City of College Park elected officials, residents, and community leaders. Several neighborhoods will also have NNO observances that same evening.

Here is a list of events by various neighborhood groups:
Berwyn: 7:00 p.m. – Meet in the Park Pavilion for a Neighborhood Walk followed by an Ice cream social.
Cherry Hill: 7:00-8:30 p.m. – Meet & Greet in the Cherry Hill Neighborhood Park on Kiernan Road. Desserts & beverages will be served.
College Park Woods: 6:00-8:00 p.m. – Meet & Greet in the CPW Neighborhood Park for community members, law enforcement officers and elected officials. Desserts & beverages will be served.
Lakeland: Meet at the Lakeland Community Park at 6:00 p.m. for food and fellowship then join the citywide event at 7:15 p.m. At about 8:45 p.m. walk the Lakeland Community with flashlights to Adams Park for a community gathering followed by swimming. In addition to learning about crime prevention and public safety in College Park, and meeting your neighbors, community leaders, and law enforcement officers, all residents are asked to turn on their porch or lamp-post lights from dusk to midnight on August 2,

Excessive Heat Warning: Stay Cool!

The National Weather Service has forecasted extreme heat for Maryland jurisdictions in the Capital, Central, Southern and Eastern Regions of Maryland. This heat advisory is in effect from today until Saturday, July 23rd.  Heat Index values are expected to meet or exceed 105 degrees on all three days, with tomorrow’s heat index possibly spiking to 110 degrees.

Maryland Emergency Management Agency has issued the following warnings:

An Extreme Heat Event is a weather condition with excessive heat and/or humidity that has the potential to cause heat-related illnesses. An Extreme Heat Event is defined as a day or series of days when the Heat Index reaches 105 degrees Fahrenheit.  We consider activating our plan any time the forecast shows a high chance of reaching our trigger point of 105 degrees.  Additional information, including the State Heat Plan, Heat Reports, FAQs, and updated contact information is posted on the DHMH site.  We hope you find the materials helpful.   CDC also provides and extreme heat media toolkit for your use: .

Suggested actions include
- Review planned activities and assess the risk associated with continuing those activities
- If exterior activities are to continue, advise participants to maintain hydration and protect themselves from the extreme heat
- Provide cooling measures for exterior activities such as misting areas and additional shading
- Review Emergency Operations Plans and ensure all agencies and responders are aware of their roles and responsibilities in the event of an emergency
- Where possible, check the status of vulnerable populations and ensure their cooling systems are operational
- Maintain a high level of awareness and react promptly to populations and mass gatherings that begin to suffer minor reactions to the heat to prevent more participants from being affected.

Obama to Speak at UMd Town Hall Meeting on Friday

President Obama

As President Obama will visit University of Maryland on Friday in a town hall meeting, the UMd will make a limited number of tickets available to general public, said the UMd president Dr. Wallace Loh, in a statement.

No details were immediately made available about the topic of the event.

This will be Obama’s fourth time speaking on the campus. He last spoke in Comcast Center in September 2009 on healthcare reform.

Here is Dr,. Loh’ s statement.

President Barack Obama will host a Town Hall at Ritchie Coliseum on our campus this Friday, July 22, 2011. Details about the event will be released soon and my office will share those with our community as soon as they become available.

This visit will understandably necessitate adjustments to our normal campus routine. We can expect a large crowd on Friday, change in traffic patterns, and parking. Classes and other events will continue following normal university practices and administrative duties will continue without interruption.

This is a ticketed event, meaning that everyone attending must have a ticket. A limited number of tickets will be available to the general public. These will be distributed on Thursday, July 21, 2011, starting at 9:00 a.m., at the ticket office outside the Hoff Theater in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union. Tickets will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis until they are gone.

Thank you in advance for your understanding and patience during the next several days as the campus prepares to welcome the President of the United States.

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President

Whole Food Coming South of College Park


The first Whole Food organic market in Prince George’s county is coming just south of College Park, in Riverdale Park.

The site is located on Baltimore Avenue (Route 1) between East-West Highway and Albion Road in Riverdale Park, Maryland. Bounded on the west by Baltimore Avenue, Route 1 is the site’s primary street frontage and a major north-south thoroughfare in Prince George’s County. The site is bounded on the north by Albion Street, on the south by a U.S. Postal Service facility and on the east by CSX railroad tracks.

The store will be built on the Cafritz Property (see the map).

Cafritz Wholefood Map

There have been some concerns for the increase of traffic on already congested Route 1 due to the development.

Residents and elected officials alike will got a chance to learn more about the development proposed for the Cafritz Property off Baltimore Avenue in Riverdale Park last night. Representatives of the property and developers presented their ideas to University Park’s council.

The store could be open as early as fall 2014.

City Eyes to Charge Fees for Pet Adoption

Adopt a pet

Adopt a pet

The City currently arranges for adoption of cats and dogs that are abandoned or foundrunning loose, if they are suitable for this purpose.

The City currently recommends certain amounts for adoption fees, but these fees are optional – this would make them official.

In order to ensure that an animal issuitable for adoption, certain veterinary services are needed for vaccines, spay and neuter,etc.

These are expenses that the City incurs. The institution of an adoption fee willpartially reimburse the City for these and other adoption expenses. In addition, theAnimal Control Officer is trained to insert microchips in animals to enable location ofanimals when they are at large. This process also involves a cost, which should bereimbursed to the City.

Here is the list of fees the City proposes.

ADOPTION FEE, CAT, ADULT, SINGLE $75.00
ADOPTION FEE, CAT, ADULT, BONDED PAIR $120.00
ADOPTION FEE, CAT, KITTEN, SINGLE $100.00
ADOPTION FEE, CAT, KITTEN, BONDED PAIR $150.00
ADOPTION FEE, DOG, ADULT $120.00
ADOPTION FEE, OTHER SPECIES $75.00
MICROCHIP PLACEMENT $30.00

Fees will still be waived for elderly people and people with disabilities.

In the last council meeting, a ordinance was introduced to make the proposed changes, a public hearing will be held in the next couple of months.

City’s Website Gets a New Look

College Park New Website

In case you haven’t had a chance to visit City’s website recently, it has gone through some minor changes.

Most of the changes are about the home page and the navigation panels on the left and on the top.

The home page has new banner, which could have been a bit more professional. Funny thing is if you try to access the home page through http://collegeParkMd.gov you will see a different home page than if you access through http://collegeParkMd.gov/index.htm. The latter one will show the a blank panel in the top middle portion of the page, that you won’t see if you access through the first link.

The navigation panel on the left is much smaller in terms of links it has. Some of the links, such as “Departments”, will expand when you click on them. I think this is a good change in terms getting rid of some clutter.

City said earlier that it will be spending $15,000 to on a contracting company to do the overhaul. It will spend additional dollars to upgrade and maintain the site time to time in future. It’s not clear the recent changes are part of those planned overhauls.

In case you miss the old site, here is a picture I grabbed a few months ago.

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