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Month: May 2016 Page 1 of 4

RESCHEDULED: Community Cleanup – June 11, 2016

Due to rain, we had to reschedule our May Cleanup event in Hollywood on June 11. Please mark your calendar and spread the word. Cleanup 11 June 2016

County Hosts 23rd Annual “Be Kind to Animals” Poster Contest and Awards Ceremony

Prince George’s County’s Department of the Environment (DoE) Animal Management Division (AMD) announced the winning entries of the 23rd annual “Be Kind to Animals” Poster Contest during a special awards ceremony held at the Animal Services Facility in Upper Marlboro.

More than 2,200 entries were submitted into the 2016 contest. Of those, 22 creative posters, designed by student artists in kindergarten through sixth grade, were honored during the ceremony. Through the contest, Prince George’s County recognizes elementary school students for their poster designs supporting responsible pet care and kindness to animals.

“Through this annual contest, the Animal Management Division focuses on educating young students on the best ways to care for pets. The goal is not for contest participants to create a pretty poster, but to demonstrate their knowledge of responsible pet care. And, these winning posters do this exceptionally well,” said AMD Associate Director Rodney Taylor.

Showing their support, principals, teachers and parents of the honorees attended the ceremony, which included welcoming remarks from Mr. Taylor, and DoE Deputy Director Joseph Gill presented a proclamation to the Animal Management Division, which officially declared May 9-13, 2016, “Be Kind to Animals” Week. Mr. Taylor also recognized and thanked Ms. Mary Jacobs, and Mr. Roger & Judy McClain for their generous contribution and ongoing support of the contest and awards ceremony.

Emphasizing the importance of giving pets love, a home, food and water, treats and belly rubs, grand prize poster contest honoree Trinity Williams, a fourth grade student attending St. Mary’s Piscataway Elementary School, received a $100 gift card and a commemorative prize bag. Honors were also presented in first, second and third places, which included $75, $50 and $25 gift cards respectively, and commemorative prize bags.

To view photos from the awards ceremony, click here: .

Winners and their prizes include:

Grand Prize
$100 gift certificate and commemorative gift bag
§ Trinity Williams, 4rd Grade, Ms. Cook, St. Mary’s Piscataway Elementary School

First Place
$75 gift certificate and commemorative gift bag (per winner)
§ Michael Amao, Kindergarten, Mrs. Phelan, Vansville Elementary School
§ Madison Evans, 1st Grade, Mrs. Latorre, Kenilworth Elementary School
§ Janiyah Lee, 2nd Grade, Ms. Miller, Panorama Tulip Grove Elementary School
§ Vishant Bhagat, 3rd Grade, Ms. Chilcote, Whitehall Elementary School
§ Noah Smith, 4th Grade, Ms. Chatman, Excellence Christian School
§ Omorose Emwanta, 5th Grade, Ms. Kogut, Mount Calvary Catholic School
§ Sophia Montgomery, 6th Grade, Ms. Chatman, Excellence Christian School

Second Place
$50 gift certificate and commemorative gift bag (per winner)
§ Ali Majid, Kindergarten, Ms. Saafiyah Abdul Aleem, Al-Huda School
§ Joseph Harrison IV, 1st Grade, Mrs. Cavanaugh, St. Pius X Regional School
§ David Priester, 2nd Grade, Mrs. Tapang, Gladys Noon Spellman Elementary School
§ Carlos Lee, 3rd Grade, Ms. Chatman, Excellence Christian School
§ Gabriela Chicas Romero, 4th Grade, Mrs. Hill, Lewisdale Elementary School
§ Casey McGee, 5th Grade, Ms. Humphreys, St. Pius X Regional School
§ Ryan Samuel, 6th Grade, Ms. Lovette, St. Mary’s of Piscataway School

Third Place
$25 gift certificate and commemorative gift bag (per winner)
§ Ariela Okonta, Kindergarten, Mrs. Walter, Vansville Elementary School
§ Erin Thweatt, 1st Grade, Ms. Jiggetts, New Chapel Christian Academy
§ Stephanie Garcia, 2nd Grade, Mrs. Wilson, Tulip Grove Elementary School
§ King Lockley, 3rd Grade, Ms. Prelovsky, John Bayne Elementary School
§ Gabriella Patrick, 4th Grade, Ms. Heilman, Vansville Elementary School
§ Myris C. Rochez, 5th Grade, Mrs. Losey, Brandywine Elementary School
§ Madelyn Cipolla, 6th Grade, Mrs. Baden, St. Pius X Regional School

For more information about the “Be Kind to Animals” Poster Contest and Awards Ceremony contact County Click 3-1-1.

[Source: Dept. of Environment, Prince George’s County]

Trash Pickup, Office Closure This Week

All City Offices will be closed tomorrow, Monday, May 30, 2016 for the Memorial Day holiday. The City will be holding our annual Memorial Day Ceremony to honor our fallen service men and women, and we encourage all to attend. For details, please see below.

Due to the holiday, the refuse and recycling schedule will be as follows for next week:
Monday collections will occur on Tuesday, May 31
Tuesday collections will occur on Wednesday, June 1
Wednesday collections will occur on Thursday, June 2

Special collections for bulky items, brush, electronics and hardware will only be scheduled for Friday, June 3, 2016. You must schedule a pickup before setting your items on the curb.

To request a special pickup, please do one of the following:
Call Public Works at (240) 487 – 3590
Click here to make a request through College Park Central

College Park’s Memorial Day 2016

This Monday, (5/30/2016), the City of College Park will be observing this year’s Memorial Day event at the College Park Veterans Memorial at the intersection of Route 1 and Greenbelt Road. The event will start at 11:00 AM and will continue until 12:30pm. Here is the video of last year’s event.

College Park’s Veterans Day Observance: 2015 from Seth G on Vimeo.

[Credits: College Park resident Seth Gomoljak]

College Park Announces a New Communication Coordinator

The City has announced the appointment of a new Communication Coordinator. Please see a press release the City has made today:

COLLEGE PARK, MD, May 27, 2016 – City Manager Scott Somers and all City staff welcomed Ryna Quinones as the new Communications Coordinator for the City of College Park. The Communications Coordinator position is a new position for the City, as communication functions were previously dispersed to various City departments. The new Communications Coordinator role will not only disseminate all news and information for the City, but will also help promote the City to residents, businesses and the community at large.

As per One Second, in regards to the new hire, Somers said “This is an important function for the City, and we are thrilled to have Ryna join us. She brings great skills and experiences that will benefit all aspects of our communications.” With a strong background in marketing and communications, Quinones is looking forward to her new role and working with staff to implement a City communications plan, which will include new social media channels, new website improvements and a greater media presence. “I am very excited to be a part of City of College Park and to help direct the new narrative for all the exciting changes in the City” said Quinones.

Prior to her position with the City, Quinones was the Marketing Manager for BookHolders for over six years, handling all of their marketing and communications plans and outreach. She was also the President of the Downtown College Park Management Authority, the representing body for merchants in the Downtown College Park area, where she worked with numerous entities including the University of Maryland and the College Park City University Partnership. Originally from New York, Quinones has lived near the College Park area for over twenty years, and is a graduate of the University of Maryland College Park.

News and media outlets are encouraged to contact Ryna Quinones regarding any inquiries or stories about the City of College Park. For all media inquiries, please contact her via email at or by phone at (240)487-3508.

UMD to Investigate Racial Bias in Police Incident

The University of Maryland President Dr. Loh has released a statement today saying that he has asked the University Police to investigate any possible racial bias in last weekend’s incident, where a number of black students attended and police used pepper spray there. Here is the full statement.

May 26, 2016

Dear University of Maryland community,

As you may know, last Saturday at 1:46 AM the University of Maryland Police Department (UMPD) received a 911 call about a loud party and a possible fight in progress inside an apartment at The Courtyards complex.

UMPD dispatched two officers. At the parking lot, some individuals flagged the arriving officers of a fight in the apartment. The person who opened the door denied there was any fight. The officers asked the large crowd in the apartment to end the party and leave. Eventually, more officers arrived. The police used pepper spray twice, in an outdoor corridor and in the parking lot. Two individuals (one a UMD student) were arrested for disorderly conduct. Subsequently, both were released on their own recognizance.

The party attendees were primarily African-American students. This incident has sparked an outcry, with claims of bias by the responding officers.

UMPD policy requires an administrative review after any use of force. I have asked UMPD Chief David Mitchell for an investigation that is as comprehensive, transparent, and expedited as possible. This review is already underway. Investigators are examining more than five hours of video from the body cameras worn by all the officers at the scene. They are interviewing all the officers involved. Detectives are reviewing the initial complaints and interviewing witnesses.

The investigation focuses on whether the actions of the officers, including the use of pepper spray, was appropriate in this situation. There is no further investigation by UMPD of any UMD student who attended the party. The entire investigation may take a few weeks to complete. When completed, the findings and the video and audio evidence will be made public.

This incident compels us to confront the reality that African-Americans, and other persons of color, experience bias and unequal treatment in everyday life. Members of my staff have met with some of the students who were at the party. These students shared their anguish, anger, fear, and trauma. Many others reached out to me on social media. To all affected by this incident, I hear you. I may not be able to respond to each of you individually, but please continue to share with me your thoughts and concerns.

Diversity is essential to the mission of our University. It is a matter of enormous pride for me. However, when some members of our community are hurting and feeling vulnerable, the entire University community suffers.

We must ask difficult questions of ourselves as our nation continues its journey to form a more just and inclusive union. This past semester, the University held nearly 100 Maryland Dialogues events to confront issues of race and racism. I am pleased that campus leaders, including Chief Mitchell, are engaged in conversations with students affected by this incident.

I ask that we all continue working together to create a campus culture of inclusive excellence, where everyone feels a sense of belonging and security, and is valued, trusted, and respected.


Wallace D. Loh

WSSC to Paint Thousands of Fire Hydrants

fire-hydrants WSSC is in the process of painting approximately 10,000 fire hydrants in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties. The hydrants will remain in service during this time.

WSSC fire hydrants have a grey body with a green top. During the painting process, hydrants will receive a coat of primer, leaving the entire hydrant light grey in color until crews return to paint the body of all hydrants grey and the tops green. All of the primed hydrants will be painted the regular colors by May 2017.

WSSC has more than 42,000 fire hydrants, 99.99 percent of which are in service on an average day. In addition to painting, WSSC maintains a rigid inspection program that includes inspection and maintenance of each hydrant in a three-year period. If and when a WSSC hydrant is taken out of service, WSSC immediately contacts the affected fire department. That hydrant is also marked as out of service.

For more information about WSSC’s fire hydrants, please visit our website at

City Mulls Server Virtualization and Cloud Solutions to Cut IT Cost

The City is considering the approval the purchase contract of hardware (servers) and software to replace and upgrade existing systems at a cost of $77,560.90. The City currently uses separate, dedicated servers for various IT functions, such as hosting the website with the help of, managing email, and printers, storing files, etc. Some of the servers are more than five years old. “Server Virtualization” is a more efficient use of server resources. Software is used to divide one server into multiple “virtual” servers.

Staff is recommending that vendor will install and implement the equipment ($5,600). Three years of product support for VMware is $2,946. The City received three quotes for purchasing the new virtual servers, and the lowest and recommended quote is $77,560.90 (the other bids were $78,429 and $91,338). The vendor’s price is based on a “pre-negotiated technology contract” that includes discounts for hardware, software, and maintenance.

Having said that, a lot of companies, including many federal government agencies are moving towards cloud based solution. Most leading cloud providers, such as Amazon AWS, meilleur stockage cloud and Microsoft Azure, allow the purchase of cloud servers and install custom software there. In the end, companies save thousands of dollars on hardware, software, and maintenance.

Also, Federal government has been encouraging agencies to move to the cloud.

I’ve asked staff to look into cloud solution a little bit more and compare the cost with the virtualization option. By doing this, we can find the best cloud solution that boasts in capacity, efficiency, security and affordability. Hope we can instantly find one so we can implement one for our own systems.

Council to Weigh In Many Budget Changes – Including Lowering Property Tax Rate

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider a number of amendments to the proposed budget changes, including a proposal to lower the real property tax rate.

There are 7 proposed amendments to the budget that will be discussed by Council:
1) Reduce the real property tax from 0.335 to 0.325 per $100 of assessed value and reduce the personal property tax from 0.838 to 0.812 per $100 of assessed value. This amendment would reduce the amount of revenue to the City by $260,000 ($213,291 in property taxes and $29, 475 in personal property taxes).
2) Provide a one-time grant of $50,000 to the City-University Partnership for their homeownership grant program.
3) Eliminate funding for a proposed increase of .5 FTE (20 hours a week) for a Seniors Caseworker. Elimination of this position would result in a reduction of expenditures of $44,598.
4) Eliminate the employee engagement survey. This amendment would reduce expenditures by $20,000.
5) Eliminate the statistically significant community survey. This amendment would reduce expenditures by $30,000.
6) Eliminate the contribution to the City-University Partnership. This amendment would reduce expenditures by $125,000.
7) Eliminate the contribution to the University of Maryland for the Interfraternity Council tailgates. This amendment would reduce expenditures by $7,000.

As proposed any money the Council decides not to expend would be transferred into the City Hall Capital Improvement project fund and any additional expenditure or the reduction in the constant yield tax rate would be taken from the City Hall Capital Improvement project fund.

Please let me know if you would like additional information on any of the proposed amendments or anything in the budget.

Residents will be given an opportunity to speak at the meeting on the proposed amendments. You can also send your comments to the Mayor and Council by writing an email to

Council Mulls Making Parking at Downtown Garage Free During Summer

At this Tuesday’s Council meeting, the City Council will consider allowing free parking on summer weeknights after 5:00 p.m. in the City Hall lot and the downtown parking garage from May 28 to August 14, 2016. If such a garage needs some repairs, one can instantly visit sites such as

The parking has been traditionally free all day Saturday, originally authorized only for the downtown parking garage to include the City Hall lot.

Staff has prepared the estimated revenue loss for both the Municipal Garage and the City Hall Lot, both individually and combined, as well as the combined revenue loss that would be incurred from violators during the same period. These estimates are based upon the time period of 5:00 p.m.-10:00 p.m. Free parking in other downtown lots (e.g. shopping center, Lehigh Road lot, and Applebee’s lot) would require permission of the property owners.

The estimated parking meter revenue loss, based on 2015 history, if free parking was allowed downtown in the City Garage and on the City Hall Lot during weekday evenings between 5- 10 p.m. in the summer, would be as follows:

  • Municipal Garage (approximately 288 spaces): $9,135.10 ÷ 12 weeks = $761.26 per week average revenue loss. During summer evening hours, the garage is probably 75% vacant.
  • City Hall Lot (approximately 38 spaces): $3,150.20 ÷ 12 weeks = $262.52 per week average revenue loss. During summer evening hours, the City Hall is probably 40% vacant.
  • Combined Total: $12,285.30 ÷ 12 weeks = $1,023.78 per week average revenue loss.

Parking citations issued for ‘Overtime Parking’ violations for both the Municipal Garage and the City Hall Lot during weekdays after 5 p.m. last summer totaled 322 violations, which equaled $6,440.00.

These estimated revenue losses do not include revenue losses already expected from free summer Saturday parking in the Municipal Garage, estimated to be $7,000

The Council previously approved free all day Saturday parking in the garage; and, approved free Saturday parking at City Hall and free weeknight parking in both the garage and City Hall lots after 5 p.m. to go to this consent agenda.

Staff estimates that the total revenue loss for free summer garage and municipal lot weekend and weekday parking after 5 p.m. is estimated to be $26,000.

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