Postal Trouble – Do You Have One?

Postal trouble - do you have one?

It looks like that some neighbors have started to experience irregularities in mail deliveries from our local Post Office (again!).

The issue was previously discussed in the Council but not much change has happened from the sides of post office.

Council member Wojahn and I are planning to escalate this issue to higher offices.

A few days ago, I asked residents to send us their experiences with our local post office recently. So far we have both received dozens of complaints – which include:

  • Misdelivery of mail:
  • Lost mail
  • Poor service at post office itself
  • Not picking mail up
  • Not delivering or delay in delivering mail :
  • Miscellaneous

If you have experienced or know of someone who has experienced any such irregularities, please let us know. We’ll add those to our list.

Pepco’s Tree Work – Excessive, Causing Power Failure?

Butchered? - Cut trees lying in north College Park

Allegations are swirling among residents in north College Park that Pepco’s recent tree work has probably caused the recent triple power failure and was way too excessive.

First, there have been a number of concerns about the excessive nature of these tree works. Many of the trees were completely removed, instead of pruned in order to clear the power lines. It appears that the Pepco contractors from Asplundth were not also sensitive to the fact that completely removing some of these trees negatively impact the neighborhoods and hence the residents.

I know a few months ago, when Pepco planned to prune / remove trees on Rhode Island Avenue, they marked those trees before they started these work.I’m not sure why this wasn’t done in these recent massive tree works. Visiting the neighborhood, I see their work has been way too excessive and unnecessary. Marking the trees and warning the residents would have probably prevented these unnecessary work.

I’ll also check if the City if it has an MOU with Pepco on these tree works. If not I’ll see if we should start working on it.

Further to these excessive tree works, many find them related to three recent power failures in our neighborhoods. All these outages happened on the same day the replacement work was going on. The weather was calm and there was no storm on that day. It is hard to believe three consecutive power failures occurred just by accidents.

While we’re still looking at these issues, in the mean time, if you’re interested in replacing any of these trees, please let me know. I will forward these locations to the City. The City recently requested vouchers from PEPCO for tree replacements,and its request was approved.

[UPDATE] I spoke with Brenda of Public works to find more about Pepco / Asplundth’s recent tree works. According to her, Pepco provided a plan to the City’s Public Works on the streets / areas they were planning to cover. Brenda / Public Works reviewed the plan and asked Pepco to make a number of adjustments in the plan, as she saw some of the work was too excessive and accordingly suggested pruning instead of cutting altogether. At the end, the removal / pruning work was based on (1) the kind of trees, (2) whether they were less desirable to have and have them replaced by a better one (3) health of the tree (dead or close to dying), among many other things.

According to Brenda, Pepco / Asplundth marked the tress before they touched as a way of giving warning to everyone living nearby. She was supposed to be warned before the actual work began, unfortunately that did not happen. I requested her to let me know before such a major tree work happen in future, so that we can share those plans with the nearby residents. She said she will. She was going to let us know in this case also, however obviously Pepco Asplundth did not keep their promise on providing prior warning. This is an issue we’ll definitely raise to Pepco in addition to other concerns we have, such as on power outages.

Hope this clarifies the issues a bit. In the mean time, Brenda said she has received approval of a substantial amount of vouchers on tree replacements. So let’s take advantage of that and let me know which trees you want to be replaced. Once they have the list ready, replacement planting will start from fall this year.

NCP Crime Stats: July 24 – 27, 2012

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
07/24/2012 525 ASSAULT 4921 EDGEWOOD RD
07/24/2012 733 THEFT FROM AUTO 9530 BALTIMORE AVE
07/24/2012 742 THEFT FROM AUTO 9530 BALTIMORE AVE
07/24/2012 816 THEFT FROM AUTO 9530 BALTIMORE AVE
07/24/2012 920 THEFT FROM AUTO 9530 BALTIMORE AVE
07/24/2012 1722 THEFT 9503 48TH AVE
07/27/2012 224 THEFT 9113 BALTIMORE AVE

Group Holds First Meeting to Market College Park

college park sign

This morning I attended an event at the City Hall with a number of community members, business leaders, Mayor and a number of City Council members. The theme of the how to market or promote the City to folks and businesses and attract them to move to the city.

This is the first of several focus group members that the City and a contracting firm, called IDFive planned to organize. The Mayor an Council recently awarded IDFive this marketing contract.

The IDFive is working with the City to collect these information from community members and ultimately use these feedback to come up with an effective market plan. Thus, unfortunately, I won’t publish the details of these findings. However, if you have idea on any of the following lines, please let me know. I will forward those to IDFive team.

  • What are the main strengths of College Park. What are the negative perceptions that outsiders have. How about things that almost every has.
  • Who will be the target audience of this marketing strategies? Who should the City target to live, work and visit College Park?
  • What are the amenities that are missing in College Park?

Please let me know if you have other ideas.

Greenbelt Sector Plan Released

Greenbelt Sector Plan Map

The Prince George’s County Planning Board has made available for review and comment the Preliminary Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan and Proposed Sectional Map Amendment.

This community-based plan and sectional map amendment (SMA) provide “a clear vision” for the future of the Greenbelt Metro Station Metropolitan Center and the portion of the University Boulevard (MD 193) Corridor that passes through the City of Greenbelt and Town of Berwyn Heights between the Metro Green Line and Hanover Parkway. The proposed sector plan builds on the rich and innovative planning history of Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights, and neighboring College Park, and it should be noted that the City of Greenbelt celebrates its 75th anniversary this year.

Community participation and input began in late 2010, culminating in a series of intensive community workshops in the fall of 2011 and spring of 2012. Additional community input was solicited through a series of civic association and small stakeholder group meetings, worksessions with City of Greenbelt planning staff, briefings of the Greenbelt Advisory Planning Board, municipal briefings, and information gathering sessions.

The 420 plus pages plan can be downloaded from M-NCPPC’s website here.

Vote For the Best Route 1 Ride Bus Wrap Design

Route 1 bus designs

Voting is now open for the Route 1 Ride bus wrap competition. The three finalists were selected by a jury of County, University, and municipal representatives from more than 38 designs by 27 artists.

The Route 1 Ride Collaborative, in an effort to make a bold statement about the Route 1 corridor, solicited artistic designs which would be used to wrap the buses that are used on the corridor.  There were over 38 submissions (from 27 artists) and a jury of 14 reviewed and ranked the amazing array of artistic statements.  Now its your turn!

They need your vote to choose the winner of our three finalists. Voting closes Sunday, September 9th, 2012. You can vote now or read more about the artists and their work.

The winning design will be featured on 3 buses traversing the corridor from Mt. Rainier to the Ikea shopping center later this year.

To vote, follow this link: http://www.route1ride.org/bus-wrap-competition/

NCP Crime Stats: July 14 – 23, 2012

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
07/17/2012 301 THEFT FROM AUTO 9500 Blk 50TH PL
07/17/2012 621 THEFT 8900 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/17/2012 1217 THEFT 5000 Blk NIAGARA RD
07/18/2012 1003 THEFT FROM AUTO 4800 Blk HOLLYWOOD RD
07/18/2012 1906 THEFT FROM AUTO 9000 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/18/2012 1946 THEFT FROM AUTO 9034 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/20/2012 1546 AUTO, RECOVERED 9400 Blk LIMESTONE PL
07/21/2012 1444 THEFT 9600 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
07/22/2012 1121 ROBBERY, OTHER EDGEWOOD RD & NARRAGANSETT PKWY
07/23/2012 135 AUTO, IMPOUND 4700 BLK CHEROKEE ST
07/23/2012 636 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/23/2012 644 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/23/2012 730 THEFT FROM AUTO 9300 BLkRHODE ISLAND AVE

Double Blackouts Hit North College Park

Pepco crews at Hollywood shopping complex

Yesterday afternoon, the vast majority of north College Park neighborhoods went through two power outages within 4 hours period.

The first blackout happened around lunch time which lasted about an hour. The second one was a bit more serious. It lasted for several hours for some residents.

These kind of incidents are quite unusual because it appears that they are not caused by natural disaster such as a strong storm like the one the region experienced two weeks ago. More than 1500 households including the entire Hollywood shopping complex were without power for up to 6 hours.

At this time, we do not know the exact reasons for both power outages. We only know that the second outage was caused by a fallen tree, but we do not know what caused the tree to fall in the first place.

There are still a few unanswered questions. Did the tree fall naturally or was the fall caused by Pepco’s tree trimming / removal works that a number of residents reported today? We hope to find those answers soon.

Four Cities to Discuss Pepco, Sector Plan, Health Clinic and UM-Shuttle

College Park: Greenbelt, Berwyn Heighs, New Carrollton

College Park City Council is in brief summer recess, and so it will not be having its regular meeting or work session tomorrow night , instead it will host a four cities meeting at the Berwyn Heights Town Center on Wednesday night (at 7:30pm).

The Mayors and Council members of College Park and three other neighboring cities Berwyn Heights, Greenbelt and New Carrollton have been have been this kind of meetings for the past several years.

The last four cities’ meeting was held at the College Park City Council chamber on January 31.

The meeting will start with a presentation by Metro representative on Metro Station Security, Maintenance, Parking and Test Track

Then the host Town of Berwyn Heights will discuss Public Works Mutual Aid Agreement between four cities

The City of College Park will lead teh discussion on Green Line Problems due to Heat and Power Outages. It will also discuss the Communication issues with PEPCO following the Storm Response

City of Greenbelt will then lead discussion on a host of issues. They include: Report on Possible Health Clinic in Franklin Park, a memo on scheduling of Four Cities street sweeper, a possible MOU between Greenbelt and UMD for resident use of UMD shuttle, an update on Greenbelt middle School walking path (between Berwyn Heights) and off course on the Greenbelt Sector Plan.

Finally the City of New Carrollton will lead the discussion about how to go about moving forward losing a City Administrator suddenly. It will also talk about the compensation benefits for employees over 65 – specifically how do cities handle group life insurance for employees over 65.

If you want us to discuss any thing else, please let me know.

Majority of Pepco Rate Increase Request Denied

The Maryland Public Service Commission rejected most of Pepco’s rate increase request at Friday’s deadline.

Pepco requested a $68 million hike. The PSC rejected $50 million of that. The approved portion of the request amounts to a 1.69 percent increase for customers — or $2.02 more per typical residential monthly bill. That increase meets requirements set by law to deliver safe and reliable service.

The PSC found that Pepco failed to justify an inreased return to shareholders, reducing the return from 9.83 percent to 9.31 percent. Pepco had requested an increased return of 10.75 percent.

The PSC cited Pepco’s history of substandard performance, calling it backwards to increase return to its shareholders before improving its performance.

Baker to Join August Experience and Enjoy College Park

Asian Fusion at Clarion Inn

The next Enjoy and Explore College Park event will be on Monday, August 13, at 7:00 pm, at Asian Fusion.

Asian Fusion is located at at 8601 Baltimore Ave. (inside the Clarion Inn).

The guest speaker will be County Executive Rushern Baker.

The purpose of the “College Park Tour” is to provide an opportunity for College Park residents to meet other residents, talk about local issues, and support our local restaurants.

Please spread the word.

The Little Pond Near Davis Field

Pond near Davis Field

I was at the Davis Field Park the other day. There is a little nice pond north of the park. Unfortunately, it appeared to me that the water of the pond has gotten dirty and has become a major source of mosquito infestation. This is posing a health risk to the nearby neighbors and the kids / families who frequest to the park.

I was also told by a nearby resident that the pond has become a dumping ground of bulk trashes, such as bikes etc.

Later I was found that this pond is a Water Quality Pond installed by Prince George’s County years ago as part of the storm water management program in the city. It is owned and maintained by the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works, not the City. This pond is identified as Indian Creek #12.

Ideally, if it is doing its job properly, it should not be clean. This pond and area is also on the master list maintained and checked routinely by the State of Maryland’s Department of Agriculture’s Mosquito Control staff.

The Prince George’s County DPW&T later told us that they have it scheduled for work this season, probably starting in September. The contractor will drain the pond, completely clean it, remove the old bikes and other debris, plant new grass etc., and re-fill it. They will notify teh City about a week before the project is to begin.

Thanks to City’s Public Works and DPW&T for coordinating this much needed cleanup. Please let me know if you need more information.

Senior Services in College Park

A gathering of College Park senior citizens

Recently I came across the wide variety of services offered for seniors in Prince George’s County and particularly by the City of College Park.

1.) Seniors (60+) Ride Prince George’s County Buses FREE
Seniors (60+) and disabled customers can now ride TheBus FREE-of-charge during normal operational hours from 6 AM – 7 PM, Monday – Friday. To take advantage of this new program, riders just have to present one form of proper identification – driver’s license, Metro Senior/Metro Disabled/MetroAccess card, or similar ID – to the bus driver. In addition, disabled customers with a MetroAccess ID may bring one personal companion with them on board TheBus at no charge

For more information about our local Route 1 Ride bus in College Park, click here.

2) Free Gym Membership at the College Park Community Center (60 & better)
Did you know seniors ages 60 & better who are residents of Prince George’s or Montgomery Counties can work out at any M-NCPPC community center fitness room for FREE with an M-NCPPC Community Center/Fitness ID Card? Just bring verification of residency and age to the center to obtain your FREE senior membership card. Once you obtain your membership card you can work out at ANY community center, not just the one in College Park. Since the College Park Community Center is the closest, here is some information on it:

Read more »

NCP Crime Stats: July 5 – 16, 2012

Date of
Incident
Time of
Incident
Incident
Type

Location
07/05/2012 1232 THEFT 9200 Blk 51ST AVE
07/05/2012 1446 THEFT 4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
07/05/2012 1742 THEFT 9100 Blk 48TH PL
07/05/2012 2014 B & E, RESIDENTIAL 9500 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
07/06/2012 37 THEFT 4900 Blk EDGEWOOD RD
07/06/2012 1617 THEFT 5100 Blk LACKAWANNA ST
07/07/2012 1200 THEFT FROM AUTO 4700 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
07/09/2012 1801 AUTO, IMPOUND WB UNIVERSITY BLVD/NB BALTIMORE AVE
07/10/2012 937 THEFT FROM AUTO 5100 Blk IROQUOIS ST
07/10/2012 1016 THEFT FROM AUTO 9400 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
07/11/2012 1942 ROBBERY, OTHER 9100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE
07/11/2012 2125 B & E, RESIDENTIAL 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
07/13/2012 1701 THEFT 4900 Blk DELAWARE ST
07/14/2012 926 THEFT FROM AUTO 9500 Blk 49TH AVE
07/14/2012 1143 THEFT FROM AUTO 9000 Blk 49TH PL
07/14/2012 2037 THEFT FROM AUTO 9500 Blk 49TH PL
07/15/2012 2035 B & E, RESIDENTIAL 9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD
07/16/2012 301 ASSAULT, WEAPON 8900 Blk RHODE ISLAND AVE
07/16/2012 1707 THEFT FROM AUTO 9500 Blk 49TH PL

Greenbelt Sector Plan to be Released, Soon

Greenbelt North Core

Greenbelt North Core

After months of community discussion and planning, the Maryland Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is set to release the draft Greenbelt sector plan document soon.

The exact date has not been set yet, however, however a late July time frame is expected.

An electronic copy of the plan will be posted on the project web site. Hard copies will also be available free of charge at the Planning Information Services counter in the County Administration Building at 14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, Upper Marlboro, Maryland. A limited number of hard copies will also be distributed at College Park’s Public Works Office/Davis Hall, 9217 51st Avenue.

The joint public hearing will be conducted in the council hearing chambers at the County Administration Building on October 2, 2012.

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