NCPCA Picnic Rescheduled to Sept 10

It's picnic time

North College Park Civic Association picnic organizer Donna Weene said that Hurricane Irene has forced a delay in the neighborhood picnic planned for August 27th.

She had a plan for rain but not for high wind.  Picnic will be Saturday September 10th now — same time (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and same place (the grounds of Davis Hall, 9217 51st Ave.).

See here to find more about the picnic

Neighborhood Watch Block Captain Meeting Tonight

Neighborhood Watch

College Park Neighborhood Watch (CPNW) will be hosting a training session for the block captains & coordinators tonight at the City Hall. The meeting will start at 7pm and is expected to end at 9pm.

Capt. Marc Alexander, Assistant Commander, PGPD District 1, is expected to make a brief appearance at the meeting. Capt. Alexander has asked a representative from the Public Safety Communication Center to come talk to the attendees about how Emergency (911) & Non-Emergency (301-352-1200) calls are handled by the Center.

CPNW steering committee member Robert Boone will speak about the reasons for having a Neighborhood Watch Program. Another member Aaron Bourne will speak about the College Park Neighborhood Watch Program.

Zari Malsawma & Rex Powell will talk about the roles of block captains, while Zari and Kim Lugo will speak about the coordinator’s role.

Please tray to attend this useful training session if you can.

Thousands Still in Dark

Outage map in north College Park (6:15am 8/29)

Pepco continues damage assessment in the wake of Hurricane Irene. Crews have restored power to 48,000 customers along with two large substations and a water filtration plant.

But still 44067 customers in Prince George’s county is out of power, according to Pepco’s website. This includes many in the city of College Park. Please see the outage map in north College Park, as of early Monday morning.

Pepco is saying a global estimated time of restoration is expected by Monday morning. More than 2,400 people are dedicated to the restoration effort.

Customers are urged to stay clear of down wires and report them to 1-877-737-2662 and follow the prompts

Power Out in Entire City

It’s now early Sunday morning. The entire city is now out of power. Power went out at around 4am. If you want to know the status of outages, please see Pepco’s website or call them, please see my previous post to find their number.

I drove around our area. Fortunately there hasn’t been any structural damages, I did see a number of fallen trees. I took a few pictures which I will submit tomorrow. (I’m making this post from my cell phone)

Btw, all traffic lights are out too, so please drive safe.

[Update: 8/29: Please see the pictures I took yesterday]

Hurricane Irene Preparedness, Survival Tips

Hurricane Irene path

Hurricane Irene is expected to hit Maryland’s coast sometime tomorrow morning. Here are a few preparedness and survival tips:

PREPARE FOR THE STORM: Listen to public media reports regarding the progress of the storm, and Emergency Alert System messages provided through the news media. Emergency preparedness information for hurricanes may be found on the FEMA web page atwww.ready.gov.

Bring indoors or tightly secure any outside objects that could fly away in high winds.

PREPARE TO SHELTER IN PLACE: Have adequate prescription medication, first aid and infant supplies on hand.

Your Emergency Supply Kit should include a battery powered radio or television, flashlight, first-aid kit, and extra batteries and a agm deep cycle battery for larger items that require more energy.

Keep a 3-day supply of non perishable foods and bottled water. Have a manual can opener.

Cordless telephones require electricity to operate, and won’t work if the power is out. Use a “landline” telephone with a cord as a back-up.

Charge your portable electronic devices and conserve the battery power.


Prince George’s County Non-Emergency Public Safety Communications: 301-352-1200

Verizon: 1-800-837-4966

Comcast: 301-731-4260

Washington Gas: 703-750-1400

Maryland Declares Emergency Ahead of Storm

Gov.Martin O’Malley declared a state of emergency yesterday as the storm threatened significant flooding and widespread power outages when it arrives in Maryland sometime tomorrow night.

The Category 3 storm is predicted to produce wind gusts of up to 70 miles per hour and pound the region with up to 8 inches of rain – with conditions expected to be far worse along the coastline.

“This is not a storm to be taken lightly,” O’Malley said. “People who live in coastal areas should take every precaution,” he said. The state of emergency designation activates the state National Guard.

Court Hands Down a Defeat to Foreman (and AAA) on Speed Cameras

Remember Will Foreman? The guy who appeared in the AAA press conference to complain against City’s speed camera program (see the video) saying that the cameras were exploiting drivers?

Well, a Maryland District Court judge upheld the accuracy of speed cameras and handed him a defeat. Understandably, AAA is not happy either, seeing one of their prime “witness” getting a beating.

Read the full story here on the Washington Examiner. Camera operator Optotraffic’s press release is here.

5.8 Earthquake Strikes DC Area

FEMA’s Ready.gov website offers guidance on what to do to stay safe in the event of an earthquake. Click here for more information.

‘My Home, My Community’ Poster Contest

My Home, My Community

College Park, as part of its celebration of the College Park community on the second annual College Park Day, October 22, 2011, is again hosting a poster contest for local schoolchildren.

Entitled “My Home, My Community,” the contest asks College Park’s children to use pencil, crayon, and paint or pictures to show how they see their home and the community they live in. The child’s poster should demonstrate what they value about the City of College Park and the area around it.

Thinking about “My Home, My Community” can emphasize different things to different people. The seal of the City of College Park reflects the values of education and the presence of the University of Maryland, freedom of religion, the City’s former presence of WW II industry and the presence of the world’s oldest airport. What does it mean to you?

Prizes will be awarded in two classifications, grades 1 – 3 and grades 4 – 6, one for each school.

The deadline for submission is October 15, 2011.

Winning artists will be selected by the school where the entries are submitted. Winning artists will receive prizes such as certificates/trophies from the City of College Park, free administration to the College Park Aviation Museum, College Park Day souvenirs, books and more.

For more information, please contact contest organizing committee at cpdayevents@gmail.com

Can a New School Make College Park a Real College Town?

University of Maryland

University of Maryland president Dr. Loh’s recent effort to create a new quality middle / high school in College Park is certainly a praiseworthy initiative. But the question remains to many – how much influence this proposed school will have in transforming College Park to a real college town.

According to the preliminary plan, the new school which is named as “the College Park Academy”, would be a partnership between the university, the city of College Park and Prince George’s County Public Schools. Students would take core classes taught by county school system teachers as well as general education classes taught by university professors to qualify for college credit.

As a side effect, the plan aims to attract many UMD staff closer the university. Currently most, if not all, of the UMD staff live outside of the city boundary.

It will remain to see how a charter school in Prince George’s will fair when it opens its door. The county has six charter schools, all having mixed results.

But more importantly, the lack of quality school education is only a small piece of puzzle why many don’t want to move to College Park. The other top complaints people have about College Park are crime, poor transportation and quality of housing.

It’s great to see Loh is eyeing to improve College Park’s image along those areas too. He has recently formed a number of task forces to study those areas. A number of local and state officials are part of those task forces.

The bottom line? Unless the city gets an overhaul along those important areas, situation will remain the same. College Park can truly become a college town, only when UMd’s students and staff live inside the city boundary and become true residents of a quality college town.

UMD Police in ‘Cops on Tops’ to Benefit Special MD Olympics

COPS on Rooftops

Police Officers from the University of Maryland Department of Public Safety are collecting donations for Special Olympics Maryland on the Rooftop of the north College Park Dunkin’ Donuts this weekend.

Anyone who ever thought nothing good could come from cops sitting around (or in this case ON) a donut shop should reconsider that notion.

As part of a national fundraising effort for Special Olympics Maryland, three good-natured officers from the University of Maryland Police Department – Officers Balagtas, Brown and Galster have volunteered to spend the day on the roof of Dunkin’ Donuts restaurant at 9701 Baltimore Avenue, College Park, MD.

Their collective fundraising goal is $5,000.00.

In 2009, the first year a Maryland location participated in the promotion, the Laurel Dunkin’ Donuts and Laurel Police Department raised more than $7,000. Last year, with five Dunkin Donut locations partnering with law enforcement, $30,000 was raised for Special Olympics Maryland. This year eight Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the state will take part in the program: Laurel, College Park, Westminster, Towson, Reisterstown, Havre de Grace, Mount Rainier and California.

Dunkin’ Donuts customers and the general public alike are encouraged to stop by and support the officers in their efforts to raise both funds and awareness for the Law Enforcement Torch Run® for Special Olympics Maryland. Along with law enforcement volunteers who will be on the rooftop, other officers will greet customers inside and outside of the store, passing around donation jars and rallying support for the cause. A merchandise table will also be set up, with Torch Run t-shirts for sale as well as raffle tickets for a 2011 Harley-Davidson FLXH Street Glide donated by Harley Davidson of Annapolis and custom painted by renowned airbrush artist Mickey Harris.

“Cops and donuts have a long, humorous history together, so it was only fitting that we team up with the great folks at Dunkin’ Donuts for this light-hearted event,” said David B. Mitchell, Chief of Police of the University of Maryland Police Department. “This event allows us to do something great for an incredible organization and poke a little fun at ourselves at the same time. What could be better than that?”

The event was founded on the idea by the law enforcement officers of Illinois, who in 2009, took to the rooftops of 94 Dunkin’ Donuts locations across the state and raised more than $182,000.

SOMD is a year-round sports organization dedicated to providing quality sports training and competition opportunities to Maryland’s children and adults with intellectual disabilities and/or closely related development disabilities. SOMD currently serves 10,000 athletes statewide, and offers 28 sports, all at no cost to the athletes or their families. For more information about SOMD visit www.somd.org or call 410-789-6677.

MoM’s to Celebrate Renovation This Weekend

MoM's Organic Market

Come on down to MOM’s of north College Park this weekend and help them celebrate the renovation!

The redesigned store will uphold MOM’s mission to protect and restore the environment with LED track lighting, skylights, low VOC paint, energy efficient fridges and freezers, and electric car charging stations.

The new layout will also add 40% more shelf space, wider aisles, and a greater selection of natural and organic products.

They will also have face painting and games for the kids, plus local vendors, SolarCity and electric car charging demonstrations, as well as goody bags, raffle prizes and free samples!

MOM’s College Park is also hosting a free E-Waste Recycling Drive sponsored by Capitol Asset. Bring your unwanted electronics to College Park this weekend, and rest easy knowing they will be recycled responsibly… And don’t forget to visit Mighty Healthy Pet for pet treats all weekend, and a special Ice Cream Social for dogs Sunday afternoon.

Crime Rises in North College Park

Suspect in IKEA apartment robbery

A recent spate of robberies have hit north College Park in the past few days. About a dozen crime incidents have occurred in various parts of north College Park in the past 2 -3 days.

They include robberies, theft, breaking and entering, thefts from vehicles etc.

Last week, the PG county police reported a robbery in the apartment complex located next to IKEA.

PGPD says it is working to identify the suspects shown in the surveillance photographs. On August 13th, 2011, at approximately 2313 hours, the suspects committed a residential armed robbery in the 9600 blk of Milestone Way, College Park, Maryland.

Anyone with information that may assist in this investigation is asked to call CRIMESOLVERS at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477) or the CID-Robbery Unit at 301-772-4905 as soon as possible.

Please refer to case number 11-225-3032. 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.

AAA Slams College Park Speed Cameras

AAA Mid-Atlantic is saying the speed cameras in College Park aren’t accurate and are placed to trap drivers. See more here on the WTOP and the Washington Post.

The City was quick to counter AAA’s accusations. See both versions below.

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AAA Mid-Atlantic News Conference

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College Park Press Release Speed Enforcment Program

College Park Day Gets an Event Planner

Denise Seifried (in the middle)

As the preparation for the second annual College Park Day gets underway, the event organizers and volunteers were presented with its first “official” event planner.

I use the word “official”, because so far, the event has been run purely by volunteers. That is going to change with the introduction of Denise C. Seifried, our new event planner.

The City budget has allocated $10,000 to hire an event planner in its FY2012 budget. This extra money helped us to hire Denise to organize our 2011 event (hint: we still have some cash left, shh!).

Denise is no stranger to College Park. She is currently employed at the University of Maryland, College Park, in the Conference & Visitor Services Department as a Program Manager tasked to manage a portfolio of 38 concurrent summer programs that brings in over $12M in annual funding to the university.

Her professional experience encompasses over 16 years working for top ranked universities on both coasts, as well as work with nonprofit organizations, entertainment companies, and city/county entities specializing in direction of major special events, including development, athletic, entertainment, and community projects. Her work over the years has involved extensive interaction and/or presentations with major corporations, donors and administrators, national and international government officials, celebrities, students, vendors, and the general public.

Denise is not an usual run of the mill event planner – with a degree in Landscape Architecture, and an eye for design she has been able to use both the left and right sides of my brain to not only handle the logistics and planning aspects of an event – but she has also been the designer of printed materials, posters and websites, as well as designing décor and the flow of an event from the guests perspective to create a balanced and enjoyable experience for them.

Her event career began as the logistics director for a bicycle ride that encompassed 2,500 cyclists, 500+ volunteers, and 50 staff that went from San Francisco to Los Angeles over a 7 day period and covered some 535 miles; travelled through countless city and county entities that required street, and highway permitting; involved an armada of vehicles (24’ trucks, 15’ box trucks, busses, cargo vans, passenger vans), enlisted the help of a team of Doctors, Nurses, chiropractic treatment, Massage Therapists, Acupuncturists to help the injured, tired, and sore cyclists; included working tirelessly with the California Highway Patrol to keep the riders safe; managing media requests to city, state, and national media outlets; not to mention coordinating six large parks needed to house a small city over 3,000 people in tents each night along with shower trucks, porta johns, and a crew to feed the hungry riders as she moved 60 – 90 miles each day down the winding roads of California.

After the ride, she began working with local community organizations on their fundraising events, as well as volunteering my time to be on committees for the City of West Hollywood’s Halloween Carnival and Parade, and the City of Santa Monica Women’s Baseball Association.

Prior to her families move across the country to Maryland in 2008, she was the senior staff member responsible for administration and management of daily academic and event facility scheduling for the UCLA Anderson School of Management. Denise oversaw 249,000 sq. ft of interior and 30,000 sq. ft. of exterior multi use spaces that played host to more than 800 annual events and conferences. She was also the director in charge of all of the schools signature events including commencement, fundraising dinners, and distinguished speakers programs.

Denise was present at last night’s College Park Day planning committee meeting at the City Hall, and was introduced to the event’s volunteers.

Welcome aboard to College Park Day, Denise!