MoM’s to Celebrate 25 Years This Weekend

Mom’s 25 Year Celebration

The organic food store MoM’s at the Hollywood Shopping complex will celebrate its 25 years today and tomorrow.

The events include kid’s activities, free food, demos and live entertainment.

Mom’s will also host a major recycling event of electronic, jeans, shoes & glasses.

Electronics – This is the perfect time to clean out the closet and recycle old and unused computer parts and electronics at MOM’s! All types of electronics will be recycled responsibly by Capitol Asset Recycling of Beltsville, MD.

Jeans – MOM’s is collecting used denim and sending it to Phoenix Denim Recycling Facility in Arizona, where it will be recycled and manufactured into eco-friendly Ultra-Touch Natural Cotton Fiber insulation.

Shoes – Bring unwanted shoes (pairs or solo, new or old) to MOM’s to be recycled through July 31st 2012. Gently worn pairs will be donated to local charities. Seriously tattered treads will get a new lease on life courtesy of Soles-4-Souls.

Eye Glasses – MOM’s is collecting prescription glasses, sunglasses and reading glasses (child and adult sizes), plus plastic and metal frames. The glasses will be sent to the Lions Club in Arlington, VA, where they will be cleaned, categorized by prescription, packaged and shipped abroad to folks in need. You can also visit sites like Eyeglasses.com for more options.

NCP Crime Stats: June 19-25, 2012

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Rent Control Studies

House for rent

When it comes to studying rent control (aka rent stabilization), you can probably find a number of them. Here are a few I cam across. I’ll be adding more as I go through this complex, yet interesting studies
College Park Rent Control Ordinances F.A.Q.
If you’re new to rent control ordinances in College Park, this is a must read.
Economic Study of the Rent Stabilization Ordinance (RSO) and the Los Angeles Housing Market
Underwritten by The City of Los Angeles Housing Department
The report was prepared for LA’s Housing Department to recommend how conditions in the housing market can be improved and how to fairly balance the interests of tenants and landlords under the City’s Rent Stabilization Ordinance. Two-thirds of the rental units in Los Angeles are regulated by the ordinance.
Takoma Park, MD Rent Stabilization Policy Analysis
A study of rent control policies that once governed the rent control ordinances in Takoma Park
How Rent Control Drives Out Affordable Housing
by William Tucker
The author argues that that rent control is policy that never was justified and certainly should be scrapped.

A Dog Park in Hollywood?

College Park Dog Park

Recently, a long time resident has made a suggestion of creating a dog park somewhere in Hollywood.

College Park does have a dog park, which is is located in Acredale Park, near the University of Maryland College Park campus. However there isn’t one in the Hollywood area, despite the fact that many residents do own dogs a park like that will be a welcome addition / amenity to the community.

The most important challenge will be to locate a suitable place for a dog park in Hollywood. Most of the Parks we have here are fairly busy. One suggestion is to find a possible extended area at the Davis Field play ground. I think I like the idea for several reasons.. First, the park is not very busy, compared to other park in the district, such as Duvall field and Birch field. The park is also at an isolated corner of the neighborhood, not at a busy intersection. Also, the park is owned by the City, thus turning into a dog park may be easier than getting this done by the PG Parks.

We should also be sensitive to the ideas of residents who use the park and may or may not be comfortable.  Membership is another factor that may need to be considered in creating a park – the Acredale park turned it into a membership program, where you have to pay and get a key, because there are different liability issues and you don’t want people with aggressive dogs using it or not working well with the other users of the park.

This is just an idea at the moment. Please let me know what you think.

Gateway Park Funding Sources

Site of Proposed Hollywood Gateway Park

Recently, I came across a discussion on the Gateway Park  funding sources.

The Council adopted the agreement with the developer in the regular Council meeting held on March 27, 2012. Please see item #G-12-49 here in the agenda document about the agreement details.

The developer’s contribution was first noted in the City manager’s draft budget, which was released to public back in early April. The budget was adopted as final on May 22 following community input and public hearing. Please see at page# 360 of the draft budget here about the details of the project’s funding:

The City applied for the MHAA grant last year to support the development, but it appears that it has not received the grant (I’ll double check with City staff). The current FY13 funding for the project will come from Program Open Space (POS) fund and the Greenbelt South Core developer’s contribution.

The City is receiving bids for the contract which it will start looking into early next month.

Community Library Collection Grows to 4500

College Park Community Library

The College Park Community Library has been open for just over 3 months.  They currently have about 4,500 books and new books arrive each week.  You can check  out their new web site for the hours we are open.

Volunteers are always welcome and if anyone knows of a student who is looking for community service hours . The library would be more than happy to have them join their volunteer staff.

The CPCL now has a new web address: www.cpcommunitylibrary.com

Please spread the word about the library.

Note: www.ncpinformant.com is still active, so if people go there, they will be directed to the site.

Tips to Prevent Car Thefts

Vehicle theft

With the rise in recent car theft in the area, I thought I should share these important tips on how to prevent them.

Most Theft from Autos usually has one thing in common: there’s something left in the car worth stealing. Most theft from auto is “crimes of opportunity” that could be prevented by taking some preventative steps.

1. Don’t leave valuables in your vehicle: You’d be surprised how often this happens, but individuals leave valuable items in plain sight all the time. If you leave items in your vehicle and they’re visible, the chances your vehicle will get broken into increase greatly.

2. Place items out of sight BEFORE reaching your destination: Someone may be watching when you put your valuables under a seat or in the trunk and the moment you’re gone, a thief could break into your car. So place those items in a safe place before you get to the park, beach, baseball game, etc. Valuable items that thieves target are GPS units, MP3 players, credit cards, money, packages and so forth. If you can’t take the items with you, secure them in a safe place in your vehicle, like a locked glove compartment or your trunk.

3. Avoid leaving packages or shopping bags out in the open: Lock them into your trunk, if you have to leave the vehicle unattended.

4. Lock ALL of your vehicle’s doors: This is true even if you plan on only being gone for “just a second”. Remember, it only takes seconds to steal items from your car. It’s not uncommon, for thieves to walk down a row of parked vehicles, looking for unlocked doors. Also, make sure car windows aren’t left open. If you accidentally locked your keys inside your vehicle, immediately contact a car locksmith or a commercial locksmith who can offer professional car lockout service.

5. Park in busy, well lit areas: Pick a parking spot where there is a lot of activity. Auto thieves prefer breaking into cars in isolated areas.

6. Don’t leave a trace: Don’t leave any sign that there might be valuables “out of sight” in your vehicle. For example: the suction cup on your dashboard, might tell thieves, that you have a GPS system in your vehicle. Leave nothing in plain view. Very few auto break-ins are “random”. The thieves usually see something out in the open or hints of possible hidden valuables.

7. Alarms or anti-theft devices work: Thieves are usually looking for the “easiest” target. If your car has an alarm, it could act as a deterrent. But don’t make this common mistake: Just because you have an alarm, doesn’t mean thieves won’t break-in, IF you leave valuable items in plain sight.

8. Don’t leave spare keys in your vehicle: An experienced thief knows all the hiding places. Store spare keys elsewhere, possibly your wallet or purse.

9. Always report suspicious activity. Non Emergency (301)352-1200 , Emergency 911. In some cases, if you think you’re trying to buy a stolen, you can read this VIN Mentor article first so you won’t be swindled.

10. Keep your COPS officer updated on concerns or issues you may have.

Suspect Wanted in Assault Case

Knox Road Assault Suspect

The District I Investigative Section is investigating a first degree assault (cutting) that occurred on 06/20/2012 at 2:00am in front of 4509 Knox Rd. College park MD.

Anyone with information that may assist in this investigation is asked to contact Detective J.A. Rodriguez #2792, District I/Investigative Section, on (301) 699-2601.

Please refer to case number 12-172-0247 Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call CRIME SOLVERS at 1-866-TIPS (8477) or text “PGPD plus your message” to CRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go to http://www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/police/ and submit a tip online.  

A CASH REWARD OF UP TO $1000.00 is being offered for the tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of this suspect.

Council Member Charged with Reckless Driving

A judge found Prince George’s County Council member Karen Toles guilty of reckless driving Wednesday afternoon.

She was caught driving more than 100 mph on the Beltway.

She was fined $402 and must pay $33 in court fees. She was also given probation. If she goes a year without another traffic offense, this infraction will be wiped from her record.

More here on NBC Washington

College Park to Host Public Hearing on Pepco’s Rate Hike Today


Today at 7pm, at the City Hall there will be a public hearing on Pepco’s proposed tax hike.

Early this month, protesters rallied against the Pepco rate hikes in DC.

Pepco argues it needs the money to upgrade its electricity delivery infrastructure, but those who oppose point out that the utility company has earned enough in profits and enjoyed millions in tax breaks since 2008. The company should use that money for needed upgrades.

In addition to today’s haring, Pepco will also hold another hearing on Monday, June 25, 2012, at 7:00 p.m. at the Executive Office Cafeteria of the Montgomery County Office Building (101 Monroe Street, Rockville, Maryland 20850).

You can find more information about these two public hearing here on Pepco’s website.

Rent Control Town Hall Meeting, July 2

House for rent

Council member Wojahn and I are organizing a town hall meeting in north College Park on the City’s rent control laws. It will be held at Davis Hall (9217 51st Avenue) at 7pm.

Unless renewed, City’s rent stabilization ordinariness will expire on September 1st. The City Council will vote on a set of proposed ordinances at its July 10 regular meeting. The proposed ordinances are similar to the existing ones except a few minor changes.

Please see this post to know more about the proposed changes. Please see here to know the basic facts about the existing  laws.

On July 9, there will be an exclusive public hearing on the ordinances at the City Hall at 7pm. Please try to attend.

Accessible Taxicabs Come to County’s Disabled Residents

Prince George's Accessible Taxicabs

Accessible Taxi, a private company based in Capitol Heights, has a fleet of 15 cabs made possible with a $339,000 grant that founder David Mohebbi applied for through the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments last year and received in June 2011, the Gazette reports.

The new service for disabled residents adds to the MetroAccess, a door-to-door fleet service for disabled residents. That service is provided by WMATA. About 97,000 county residents use MetroAccess, which requires setting up pickups 24 hours in advance, according to data from WMATA.

Prince George’s elderly and disabled residents who use taxicab vouchers for discounted rides through the county’s Department of Public Works and Transportation will be able to use those vouchers at Accessible Taxi.

Residents, County Officials Discuss Rhode Island Ave Pedestrian Safety

Rhode Island Avenue pedestrian safety meeting at June 2012 meeting

Rhode Island Avenue pedestrian safety meeting at June 2012 meeting

County’s DPW&T (Department of Public Works and Transportation) staff were at hand on last Thursday’s NCPCA meeting at Davis Hall to discuss the pedestrian safety issues at various crosswalks on Rhode Island Avenue between Edgewood Road and Route 193.

Staff started the meeting by presenting a concept design that they prepared some 5 years ago. According to the design, staff proposed to build two roundabouts at the intersection of Hollywood Rd and Indian Lane. The staff argued that the roundabouts will act as the most effective measure to enhance pedestrian, bicycle, vehicle safety and reduce cut through traffic . The project also aims to provide environmental enhancements in the form of storm water management treatments, enhance bus stop locations and shelters. Additionally, the project would upgrade signage, street lighting and pavement markings.

The project is divided in two phases. Phase 2 includes the improvements from Muskogee Street to Geronimo Street including roundabout at Hollywood Rd.). Phase 3 includes improvements from Geronimo Street to MD 193 including roundabout at Indian Lane to Fox Street. The two phases are part of 4 part broader improvement plan that DPW&T planned several years ago. The phase 1 of the plan includes the traffic light installation at the intersection of Edgewood and Rhode Island Avenue, which is now complete.

The total cost of the project has been estimated $5.9 million, which includes design, construction, administration and contingency. The project is expected to be completed in nearly 2 years, which includes design, right-of-way acquisition, community involvement, utility revocations and contract bidding and award.

No funding is now available to complete any of these two phases in the County’s FY2013 CIP budget, that has been approved recently. There is also is no word if there will be any funding will be available ti the upcoming years. Staff said the DPW&t’s budget has been slashed more than 50% over the past year – from $45 million to $20 million. During the question and answer session, it was however noted that there may be a possibility to spend some money on the design of this project. The County allocation $5.5 million alone to improve pedestrian safety on County roads.

The relatively large cost of the project and the latest DPW&T’s fiscal situation led some residents ask if the project will ever see the light of the day. some suggested to try alternates and relatively inexpensive ways for pedestrian safety, such as placing reflective yellow bollards. The NCPCA itself wrote earlier with its own proposal that includes implementing a “Choker” by redesigning the road at the crosswalk are. The City engineer also spent sometime in doing research on flashing beacon lights. The DPW&T staff said hey would consider these designs, despite the fact that they have concerns about some of these alternative designs.

Student Assaulted During Burglary

The Prince George’s County Police Department’s District I Investigative Section is investigating a residential robbery that occurred in the Berwyn neighborhood within the City of College Park.

The incident happened on 6/15/2012; approx. 12:00pm at  8400 Block 48th Ave, close to the UMD campus.

The Prince George’s County Police took a report this afternoon for a burglary that had occurred off campus at approximately 12:00 p.m. on the day of incident.  The male student victim reported that he was asleep upstairs in his residence when three males entered the residence and assaulted him.  The victim was later treated for his injuries at an area hospital.  It is unknown if any property was taken during the incident.

Individuals with any information regarding this incident or the possible identity of suspects are encouraged to contact police (911 or  301-772-4908 ). Callers wishing to remain anonymous may callCrime Solvers at  1-866-411 TIPS      (8477) or text “PGPD plus your message” toCRIMES (274637) on your cell phone or go towww.pgpolice.org and submit a tip online.  Email address is: pgcrimesolvers@co.pg.md.us.

NCP Crime Stats – June 3-14, 2012

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Date of
Time of

06/05/2012947AUTO, STOLEN9300  CHERRY HILL RD
06/06/20121250THEFT9800  RHODE ISLAND AVE
06/06/20122013AUTO, STOLEN9900  RHODE ISLAND AVE
06/08/2012727THEFT9600  BALTIMORE AVE
06/09/20121652THEFT10000 BALTIMORE AVE
06/10/20121331THEFT9000 BALTIMORE AVE
06/12/20121242THEFT9100 51ST PL
06/12/20121429B & E, RESIDENTIAL9600 52ND AVE
06/13/20122309AUTO, STOLEN9100 51ST PL
06/14/20121554THEFT8400 BALTIMORE AVE