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Feeling the Quake’s Jolt…

My day usually starts very early – I typically wake up early morning before the dawn. So like many, I too felt the 3.6 magnitude earthquake that rattled the area yesterday early morning (around 5:05am) . My first thought was that it was a strong storm shaking the building. So I went to the windows, looked outside, but strangely enough, everything looked calm and quiet. I then thought there could be an attempted break-in (we just had one in the day before in the neighborhood) – so I went downstairs, checked all the doors. And again to my surprise, there was no sign of attempted break-ins.

Later, a number of neighbors who were also up early in the morning shared similar experiences with me. One neighbor told me that they thought the shake was probably caused by a train running on the nearby track (we live close to Greenbelt station).

Candidate Forum A Success

Last night, the NCPCA hosted county-wide open candidate forum. Some 100+ folks attended the forum. Most candidates running for county executive, sheriff and State’s attorney spoke at the forum. More on NCPCA website.

County Wide Candidate Forum Tonight

Just to remind you all that the NCPCA will be hosting County wide Candidate Forum tonight at Davis Hall.

The meeting will start at 7:30pm.

Almost all of the candidates running for County Executive, County’s State Attorney and Sheriff have confirmed to speak. They include:

County Executive

  • Rushern Baker 
  • Samuel Dean
  • Michael A. Jackson 
  • Gerron S. Levi
  • Henry Turner, Jr.

State’s Attorney 

  • Angela Alsobrooks
  • Thomas E. Dernoga
  • Peggy Magee
  • Mark Spencer
  • Joseph Wright

To know more about the candidates, please visit this PG-Politics’ candidate profile link:

http://pg-politics.blogspot.com/p/candidate-profiles.html

See you all tonight.

WSSC Smoke Testing, Strating This Thursday

WSSC is conducting a comprehensive sanitary sewer evaluation study and work will take place in certain areas of College Park from July 15th through September 30th.  Please review the attached flyer for additional information and share this information with your neighbors. 

If you have any questions, please call the telephone number on the flyer or Alexis Revis Yeoman at (301) 918-8418 x 102. WSSC Smoke_Testing_Flyer

City Action Plan Public Hearing Tonight

Late last month the City published the draft strategic plan for the year 2010-2015. The City had a public hearing on the strategic plan back in early March, this year.

Based on the strategic plan, the City came up with a draft implementation action plan, which you can view here on City’s website.  The strategic plan includes five broad goals:

  • Consistent high-quality and cost-effective public services that contribute to a safe, welcoming community for all.
  • Convenient transportation options that improve local travel and reduce traffic congestion.
  • Lead the community in environmental conservation, protection, restoration, and energy efficiency.
  • Neighborhoods that are safe, peaceful, attractive and retain their community character.
  • Expand the local economy and tax base through socially responsible development.

There will be a public hearing on this on July 13, 2010, at 7 pm at City Hall.

Council Candidates Talk at NCP Forum

From Left: Valerie Cunningham, Sam Epps, Fred Smalls, Mary Lehman and Crystal Thomson

Some 10-12 north College Park residents gathered at Davis Hall yesterday to listen what 5 Dist. 1 County Council hopefuls to offer to make their neighborhood a better place to live. The rest of the attendees included the organizers of the event and a number of campaign workers.

Mayor Andy Fellows conducted the forum.

The candidates answered 8 questions – 2 of them were given to them before the meeting started.

Q1. Would you actively support a Community Center in Hollywood Commercial district?
Q2. What will you do to improve congestion on Rt 1 and transportation in the area?
Q3. What you’ll be doing to improve the image of the county police?
Q4. How can you enhance the economy of College Park without adding additional density?
Q5. Do you think school funding is too much, or too little . What would you do to get more funding?
Q6. What will you do to protect environment and preserve / develop green spaces?
Q7  What will be your priority of remedying the increased crime in North College Park?
Q8. What will you do to alleviate the foreclosure problem in North College Park?

Valerie  Cunningham: She will not pursue a community center at the Hollywood district – will rather pursue mixed use development like in Roslyn or Pentagon City. She would create a transportation czar who would report to the county council. Will advocate trolley system which she thinks will be less expensive. She thinks there got to be partnerships between citizens and the police. Will also work to make the police work in a safer environment.  She advocates mentoring children more at home to take load from the schools’ classrooms. Will seek more volunteers. Will work for coalition building in preserving green space. On crime, she would first look into root causes of these crimes such as gang activity etc. Will enhance the neighborhood watch programs and seek more police visibilities. She would like to coordinate various  programs in different local and Federal governments.

Sam Epps: Sam will pursue community center which he thinks will serve the seniors and children and revitalize the community development. However he would seek citizens’ input in this. On Rt. 1 development, he wants to bring businesses back so that residents can enjoy these facilities close to their homes. He would work with the state’s elected officials to get the fair share of the transportation dollars. He will also work towards more efficient WMATA and UMD for better transportation. He said the county has close to 1600 sworn police officers, but would seek more. He would seek to increase the number of classes in police academy and thus will improve the quality of fresh cadets. He would invest in training the police officers and invest in Neighborhood Watch program. On transportation, he thinks zoning is the key – will advocate mixed use zoning. He would remove duplication of services in the education services and will get fare share from the State’s budget. He will look into development that prioritizes green spaces. He will work to educate public on crimes and will engage with the Fed to educate the citizens who to call when they are in trouble with foreclosure issues.

Fred Smalls: Fred would support  a community center at Hollywood. However he wants to revitalize the commercial district. and both sides of Rhode Island Avenue. He advocates mixed use zoning in the area. He wants a transit oriented development. and will work with the SHA on the Rt 1 development. He will work with the police chief to raise the bar of Police quality. He doesn’t think additional density is not necessarily a bad thing. He however advocates smart growth in the area. On environment, he wants to see pocket parks and will buy properties to use them as green spaces. On crime, he would collaborate between different police departments in the area and will seek community involvement. He would seek to strengthen Neighborhood Watch program. He will work to offer residents education and support on foreclosure issues.

Mary  Lehman: Mary would support a mixed use facility at the Hollywood Commercial district. She wants to have a satellite type city facilities in the district and also would like to see revitalization with businesses such as a commercial bank. She like to have a nice entryway to the neighborhood on both ends of Rhode Island Avenue. She will work with Police Sheriff to improve the image of the County’s Police force. She would also work with the state rep on Rt.1 transportation.  She would expand shuttle services similar to what UMd currently has. She would also advocate bike sharing program, satellite Parking. She said she is strong proponent of mixed use and transit oriented development. She would revitalize local Metro stations to create more jobs. On education, she mentioned she is the only candidate with children going to the county schools. She said she worked with the current Co. Council candidate Tom Dernoga for 4 years on local school systems. She said PG currently spends the lowest dollars on in-class instructional programs. 60% of its expenses are spent out side of the class room. She said she would oppose land in-fill developments with negative impact on the community – such as developments with no side walks etc. On crime, she said the County currently has only 1450 uniformed polices; she would seek that number to go up to 1800. She would also work to reduce dependencies on contract police which currently supplement the county police. She would work to have Nixle service sending crime alerts on local crimes. She said sites like the crimereports.com will be listing local crimes from next month. She will seek direct intervention from the banks in support of residents struggling with foreclosure problem.

Crystal Thompson: Ms. Thompson advocates a separate budget from that of PG MNCPPC budget on local development. She advocates better public transportation from Laurel to Metro to alleviate clogging on Route 1. She would also seek shopping areas along Rt.1 so that residents don’t have to drive a long distance. She wants school buses to run along route 1 during lunch hour to alleviate the traffic. On crime, she wants more education related classes for children and residents. She would stop furlough of police departments. On local economy, she will advocate remote working, so that no more additional density is added to the community. On education, she would seek a complete audit on the expenses in county schools. She’d ask for more funding for school programs including lunches etc. On environment, she wants smart development – she commented that  the county has a lot of lease space , but that needs to be used wisely. On crime, she will find more money to pay additional police officers. She advocates having bicycle cops in the neighborhoods. On foreclosure, she said she actually recently went through the issue herself. She will seek a czar serving a single point of contacts and will help introduce a free number for the residents seeking help. Finally, Ms. Thompson wants to build the local economy through building Eco-manufacturing, a community Healthcare campus, eTextbooks, etc. versus more shopping except to fix laurel mall and main street.

Changes in Recycling Policy

[The following was sent by Stacey King, City’s Admin. Assist./Recycling Coordinator]

This City of College Park has had some recent changes to our recycling program, which affects all of us in City buildings as well. I am sure everyone LOVES to recycle correctly, so here is a synopsis of the changes:
 
New additions to the program:
1.       Metal items
a.       Aluminum foil and aluminum cooking/baking trays – please make sure they are clean. If these items are really contaminated with food, please wash them off first, or throw them away.
2.       Paper items
a.       Aseptic packaging (soy milk and juice boxes)
b.      Moisture resistant boxes (frozen food and soda boxes)
c.       Shredded paper (must be contained in a plastic bag – no loose shredded paper, please!)
3.       Plastic items
a.       Cling wrap and plastic bags – everything must be contained securely in one plastic bag, no loose pieces or loose bags.
 
Some things don’t belong in the blue cart, including:
1.       Any items with heavy food, grease, or other contamination. Please give your containers a quick rinse before recycling them, or throw them away.
2.       “Clamshell” or hinged food containers – including plastic salad bar containers (this is a new change!).
3.       Foam – in any shape or form –takeout containers, cups, plates, or packaging material. There are ways to recycled foam peanuts and expanded foam packaging, please let me know if you need to find a place to recycle these items.
4.       Food and most food wrap like waxed paper (think sandwich/sub wrap), chip bags, candy bar wrappers, etc.
5.       Laminated paper, thermal fax paper, and carbon paper.
6.       Loose plastic bags and cling wrap – these must be contained in one single bag otherwise they cause equipment jams at the sorting facility.
7.       Loose shredded paper – creates potential for litter and introduces dust in the air at the sorting facility. Please contain it in a tied bag!
8.       Paper clips – these can really cause problems at the recycling facility (stapled paper is ok).
9.       Paper plates, paper towels, napkins, and tissues.
10.   Utensils – plastic or metal. Reuse them or throw them away.

Family Fun Day, Today

The City of College Park, The Boys and Girls Club of College Park, and the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission are sponsoring a Family Fun Day at Duvall Field on Saturday, July 10, 2010.
 
There will be carnival amusements from 12 to 4 and concession stands will be open for purchase of food and drink. The Prince George’s County Police Jazz Band will perform a free concert at 7 p.m. Following the concert, the Maryland National Park and Planning Commission will be providing a free outdoor showing of the movie “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.” The movie will start at dark.
 
This event is weather permitting. Concessions will close between 4 and 7 p.m. but will reopen for the concert and movie showing. The event is held on Duvall Field, located on the 9200 block of Rhode Island Ave., north of 193, between Blackfoot and Delaware. For more information please contact 240-487-3570.

Assaults, Burglaries Rise in College Park

The Gazette is reporting that the city has seen increases in assaults and burglaries this year, but decreases in stolen vehicles and total thefts, according to Prince George’s County Police data released at Tuesday night’s City Council work session.

While assaults in the city also rose from 25 to 35, Liberati said the increase could simply be due to a few extra fistfights at downtown bars. Citizen robberies remained relatively constant — 14 last year, 16 this year — while vehicle thefts decreased from 46 to 34 and total thefts were lowered from 292 to 242.

Here is the statistics summary for the period of June 2009 to June 2010:

Homicides – DOWN from 1 to 0
Assaults – UP from 25 to 35
Commercial robberies – DOWN from 10 to 5
Citizen robberies – UP from 14 to 16
Stolen vehicles – DOWN from 46 to 34
Burglaries – UP from 75 to 87
Total thefts – DOWN from 292 to 242

Please see the complete statistics here: 2009-2010_Jan-June_crime_stats

[Source: The Gazette, NCP list serve]

Free Self Defense Seminar

Following the recent sexual assault incident at the Metro entrance, Aqabah Karate, a local Martial Art group is offering a free self-defense course at Davis Hall.

The course is called RAD – Rape Against Defense – an internationally recognized self defense course.

The registration is completely free, however prior registration is encouraged.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

2:00pm – 3:30pm

Davis Hall, 9217 – 51st Avenue

Update [July 9, 2010]: The venue has been changed to The Clarion Inn, located at 8601 Baltimore Avenue College Park, MD 20740.

Water Restrictions Lifted

According to WSSC website, General Manager Jerry N. Johnson has announced the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is lifting the Mandatory Water Use Restrictions, effective immediately.  WSSC serves customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

“Our pipe is back in service.  I want to thank our customers who were unavoidably inconvenienced by these water restrictions,” said Johnson. “We made the right decision and took the proper precautions when we decided to immediately repair the pipe. The restrictions were unfortunate, but necessary.  We needed to be proactive to prevent what could have been a very serious situation.”

Customers were directed to cut their water use by 30 percent Thursday when a corroded 96-inch water main in Potomac was shut off. The restrictions were expected to be lifted Monday, but they were extended after bacteria were detected in water samples.

[Source: WSSC, Washington Post]

CBE Workshop This Saturday

This Saturday – July 10 – the CP Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) is hosting an interesting—and FREE–workshop about edible wild plants (yes, including dandelion leaves in your yard!). The flyer attached explains more about the workshop and the speaker, Linna Ferguson, who is really quite informative and entertaining; she did the CBE workshop on vegetable gardening in the spring, and everyone had high praises for her.

When: 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. Saturday, July 10
Where: 4711 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740, Old Parish House

To register, email CPCBEworkshop@gmail.com or call Janis Oppelt at 301-474-5358. You also may just show up without registering but they would rather prefer you to let them know so that they can buy enough refreshments and free plants.

Please see the attached flyer:  edible_plants_workshop_flyer

Ehrlich Leads O’Malley in Gubernatorial Poll

The Washington Times is reporting that former MD Governor and Republican candidate Ehrlich is leading the current Governor and Democratic candidate O’Malley in a poll on Gubernatorial election in Novembor this year.

According to the Magellan poll, Mr. Ehrlich was preferred by 46 percent of state voters to 43 percent for Mr. O’Malley, a close political ally of President Obama. About 4 percent of those polled preferred another candidate and 7 percent were undecided.

Mr. Ehrlich this week tapped former Maryland Secretary of State Mary D. Kane as his running mate in November.

Water Restrictions Continue

The water restrictions that was imposed last week by WSSC still continues. There has been some progress made by the WSSC crews however they are saying it will take at least two more days to fix the problem. In the mean time, WSSC has sent 138 warnings to residents for violating the restrictions. The residents may face up to $500 for such violations.

ABC News has also found a Montgomery County school violating the restriction order.

According to WSSC website, its goal is a one-third reduction in overall water use.  As od 5:00pm yesterday, customers have cut back by only about 8.5 percent. You may want to read the following FAQs about the water restrictions:

http://www.wsscwater.com/home/jsp/content/mand-water-restriction.faces

http://www.wsscwater.com/home/jsp/content/conserv-tips.faces

PGFD Introduces Fireworks Amnesty Program

With 4th of July approaching, the Prince George’s Fire Department (PGFD) is reminding its citizens that ALL consumer fireworks from the smallest to the largest are illegal. It is illegal for any person to manufacture, possess, store, offer for sale, sell, discharge, use, burn, or explode any fireworks in Prince George’s County, Maryland, except that an authorized display may be conducted by a licensed pyrotechnic professional. Penalties for violations of the law include a fine of up to $1,000 and/or six months in jail.

Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department responds to several calls for injuries related to fireworks each year. The Fire/EMS Department is concerned about the potential for injury and property damage from fireworks. Every year, near the Fourth of July we  see and hear of thousands of people injured and sometimes killed due to accidents involving fireworks in the United States.  Sadly, many of these injuries and deaths involve children. Brain Injuries can be catastrophic, affecting the victim on physical, psychological, and social levels. It could take months or even years to recover and medical expenses can become debilitating, negatively impacting the victim’s quality of life. If you need a brain injury lawyer they are here to help you with a free consultation!

Each year, thousands of people are injured and some killed in accidents involving the use of fireworks. These primarily involve those fireworks classified as 1.4g explosives by the U.S. Department of Transportation, commonly referred to as “consumer fireworks.” Prince George’s County has banned the sale, use and possession of these fireworks based on the danger to our citizens caused by the misuse of these products.

In Prince George’s County, citizens may turn in fireworks without fear of being arrested or fined. Those desiring to take advantage of this amnesty may contact the County’s Fire/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department Operations Center at 301-583-2200. A member of the Fire/EMS Department will come to your home or business and remove your fireworks, without you risking arrest and/or fine.

The amnesty will remain in effect until July 14, 2010. Citizens may also call the same number to report illegal use of fireworks in Prince George’s County.

This is the eighth year that the Fire/EMS Department has offered an Amnesty Program. Thousands of pieces of dangerous fireworks have been turned over to authorities during this period. Fire Chief Eugene A. Jones stated, “I encourage everyone to take advantage of the numerous public fireworks displays offered throughout the County on this festive and patriotic day.  Celebrate safely and within the law.”

For  ore information, please contact: Mark E. Brady, Chief Spokesperson, 240-508-7930  www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/FireEMS/ (Homepage) www.pgfireems.com (Newsroom)