Shooting at Greenbelt Metro: Suspect still at Large

According to Metro Police, a shooting happened at Greenbelt Metro station around 5 pm.

Shooting not believed to be random, per detectives.

The shooting suspect is still at large.

Suspect description: B/M, late teens/early 20s, dark-color jeans, sweatshirt with gray hood/sleeves and dark chest/back. Ran north toward Beltway.

Please Text MyMTPD (696873) or call 202-962-2121 if you have any information.

College Park 5K Run – Register Today!

(Announcement from the College Park Community Foundation)

The weather is finally warming up and Spring has finally arrived! To celebrate, receive $5 off each registration for the College Park 5k today only, using the discount code SPRING18.

Don’t miss this flat, fast, and fun race, traversing through the beautiful Old Town and Calvert Hills neighborhoods, Frat Row, and Baltimore Avenue. Runners and walkers of all ages and abilities are encouraged to participate and all proceeds benefit CPCF’s grant-making programs.

In addition to prizes for the top three overall male, female, and stroller racers, we’ve added two special prize categories for 2018: Most Unique Outfit and Most Maryland Spirit Outfit! We can’t wait to see your creativity! 

Registration is $25 for a single registration or $65 for a family of three. Children under 8 are welcome to race for free with a parent or guardian. Register today by midnight and receive $5 off each registration, using the promotion code SPRING18 at check-out!

See you on May 5th!

Register here!

Hollywood Streetscape and Duvall Field Projects Get State Fundings

The City has recently received good news about two projects in north College Park. They are – the Hollywood Streetscape Project and the Duvall Field renovation project. The City applied for the grant applications to the Maryland Board of Public Works Capital Project grant applications for these two projects.

The Hollywood Steetscape project funds streetscape improvements in the Hollywood Commercial District, located at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue. The project proposes to repurpose segments of the service roads as parklets and to provide pedestrian, bicycle and bus stop enhancements as well as landscaping and pedestrian lighting. The proposed wellness trail along Narragansett Run and Muskogee Street will be postponed until a study to assess the feasibility of daylighting the Narragansett Run is completed. 30% design was completed in FY18 and a $150,000 State bond bill received for further design and construction. The next step is to complete design and construction drawings and go out for construction bids for the first phase of the project north of Rhode Island Avenue.

The first phase the Duvall Field reconstruction project, now completed, involved replacement of the concession and restroom building and construction of a new recreation plaza. The next step will be preparation of a conceptual plan with community input to determine the other types of facilities and work needed. This will be followed by 100% design plans and construction. Funding is provided from a variety of sources including Program Open Space, Community Parks and Playgrounds, State bonds and developer contributions.

Tomorrow’s NCPCA Meeting: Clarice Smith Arts Center,

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Tomorrow is the second Thursday of the month and hence the day of the April monthly meeting of the North College Park Community Association. The meeting will take place, as usual, at Davis Hall, at 7:30 pm. Please see below the full agenda:

The meeting will start will a presentation from Mr. Bobby Archer about the highlights of this year’s performance schedule at the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center.

Mr. Julian Lopez, who currently running for P.G. County Council at Large, is expected to address to NCPCA.

A proposed City Charter change 18-CR-02 is scheduled for introduction by the City Council on April 10. NCPCA approved a letter regarding future charter amendments on March 8, 2018. An update of the proposed amendment and possible NCPCA resolution will be presented. To see details go here. Possible resolution and/or letter in New Business.

The members will then hear about an update about the recent concerns about fire and emergency staffing. There could be possible resolution and/or letter in New Business.

The NCPCA sub-committee will present a report regarding planning for a new Community Center in North College Park.

Members will then hear a summary of the latest construction activities to enhance recreational uses in the park will be summarized.

Finally, members will then discuss the Rhode Island Avenue Traffic, Travel Lanes & Bike Lanes. They discussed traffic and bike lane planning at recent meetings.

Fire Destroys North College Park Home, Displaces Family of Four

A family of four is displaced by a house fire yesterday morning in north College Park. The fire started at a home in the 5000 block of Muskogee Street.

Fortunately, none of the occupants (including their pet dog) were injured. City staff has contacted the family to check their wellbeings. County Emergency Management is arranging temporary housing through Red Cross. House has been secured and boarded up by insurance contractor.

Attorneys Release Fact sheet about Charter Amendment

The Council will consider introducing the Charter amendment 18-CR-02 at tomorrow’s meeting. This amendment is intended to address some issues surrounding the term “legislative body” and Mayor’s role in the body. In the meantime, City’s attorney Suellen Ferguson and outside attorney Victoria Shearer released the following fact sheet


The City is a municipal corporation chartered by the State. A Charter provides the structure of a municipal government. With a few exceptions, the State allows a municipality to decide how it will govern itself and how it will adopt its laws. The City of College Park’s Charter provides that the government of the City is vested in
the Mayor and Council. The Mayor and Council are also called the “elected officials”. The Charter has for many years been read to specifically allow the Mayor to vote on some matters, such as on the appointment or removal of the City Manager and on filling vacancies in office, regardless of whether there is a tie, and on General Motions, Resolutions, Ordinances, and Charter Amendments, if there is a tie (§§C6-1 and C6-2). A voting chart is shown below to illustrate the voting requirements.

In two cases that are covered in the Charter, the State does place restrictions on how a municipality can take action. These are:
1. Charter Amendments must be adopted by a majority of all the individuals elected to the legislative body. In the City, this means 5 votes.
2. Spending money for a purpose different from the purpose for which the money was appropriated, or spending money not appropriated at the time of the annual levy, must be approved by a two-thirds vote of all the individuals elected to the legislative body. In the City, this means 6 votes. The Mayor does not vote to break a tie in this case.
The term “legislative body” is not defined for municipalities in the State code.

The State leaves the definition of legislative body up to the City.

In 2017, the Charter was reviewed by Victoria Shearer as outside counsel. It was agreed that the super majority vote requirement for charter amendments that was adopted in the 2017 amendment should be removed from the Charter, because it conflicted with State law requiring a majority of all the individuals elected to the legislative body to adopt a Charter amendment. The issue that the words “legislative body” did not appear and was not defined in the Charter was also raised. There was also nothing in the Charter specifically stating that the Mayor was a member of the “legislative body.” As a result, the Mayor’s ability to break a tie when voting on a Charter amendment was not specifically provided for in the Charter. To remedy this, an amendment to the Charter was recommended.
The amendment was drafted to clarify the voting provisions and state which elected officials are part of the legislative body. The amendment does not expand the Mayor’s powers to vote. This Charter amendment, 18-CR-02, is designed to make the voting provisions clear and to maintain the past practice of allowing the Mayor to vote to break a tie for Charter amendments and other actions. For all other voting that is not State mandated, it is up to the City to decide who can vote by whatever words it chooses, and, again, no substantive changes deviating from past practices are proposed.

Specific Questions:
Is there a conflict between State law and the proposed Charter amendment in 18- CR-02?

No. The State law says:
The legislative body of a municipality may initiate a proposed amendment to the municipal charter by a resolution that, except as otherwise provided in this subtitle, is adopted in the same manner as other resolutions in the municipality by a majority of all the individuals elected to the legislative body.

State law allows the City to determine who is in the legislative body. The issue to be remedied by the Charter amendment is not whether the Mayor can be part of the legislative body with limited voting rights. He can. The issue has been whether this was clearly stated in the Charter, since the words legislative body did not appear in
the Charter but do appear in State law. Charter amendment 18-CR-02 specifically includes the definition of legislative body as the Mayor and Council and thus allows the Mayor to vote on a Charter amendment, but only in the case of a tie. This amendment does not conflict with State law.

There have already been some changes to the Charter in the last year, what are they?

In the spring of 2017, some changes were made to the Charter. Most of the changes were just a recodification of the existing Charter. A recodification does not allow any substantive changes to be made without being identified. At that time, there was a substantive change made to require a super majority vote to amend the charter.

Over the months that followed, we learned this was not in compliance with State law. After review of the Charter by outside counsel, a Charter amendment was adopted in 2018 (18-CR-01), removing this provision.

There have been some proposals to alter the mayor’s voting power. Is that part of this 18-CR-02?
No. This amendment is intended only to retain the status quo by defining legislative body. It does not increase or decrease the Mayor’s voting power or change prior practice.

Is the Mayor and Council statement from October 18, 2017 in conflict with your answers?
No. The statement was intended to notify the public that requiring a super majority to amend the Charter was invalid under State law and that a legal review by outside counsel was ongoing. By law, adoption of a Charter amendment required a majority of five, not a supermajority of six, votes of the legislative body of the City. The legal
issue was not whether the Mayor can be part of the legislative body and authorized to vote, because, clearly, he can. Rather, the issue under review was whether the Mayor had been clearly made a part of the legislative body in the City’s Charter for purposes of the State law requirement for Charter amendments. Also, the statement was not a legal document and did not go into the specifics, as it was used only to notify the public about the super majority issue and that legal review of the Charter was ongoing. To read this any other way is to take the statement out of its context.

Is there a required separation of powers for City government?
No. There is no such requirement in the State of Maryland Constitution or laws that apply to municipal government. Some municipalities have a Mayor, some do not. In some municipalities the Mayor votes, or votes only to break a tie, and in some the Mayor does not vote. Some municipalities have managers, some do not. There are no municipal courts. The City has the power to adopt the form of government that best meets its needs.

Fundraiser for City’s Animal Welfare Committee

On Monday, April 9 the City’s Animal Welfare Committee is holding a fundraiser at Krazi Kebob (4427 Lehigh Road) from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m. 20% of proceeds will be donated to the Animal Welfare Committee to aid in the care of animals within the City’s Animal Control adoption program. Please see the flyer below for more details.

Elaine Stillwell of College Park Community Library Passes

The co-director of College Park Community Library, Elaine Stillwell passed away on March 31, 2018.

She was 68.

Elaine joined the library in February 2012 when the library opened. She was a driving force in helping set up programs for children, which included Wednesday morning Story Time and our Food for Health programs. Elaine was instrumental in setting up an ESL program on Wednesday mornings and helped organized the many Book Festivals held each Spring.

Elaine will be missed but her many acts of kindness and her love for the library will not be forgotten.

Emaine was the beloved wife of Alan Stillwell; daughter of Irene Sztyndor and the late Martin Sztyndor; mother of Michael (Kerri), Sean (Joan) Clancy, Laura (Jarrett) Santos and Jeffrey Stillwell. Grandmother of Thomas, Garrett and Liam Stillwell, Carlin and Caitlin Santos. Sister of Ronald (Nancy) Sztyndor and Richard (Carol) Sztyndor. A brother, Stephen Sztyndor, predeceased her.

A Funeral Mass will be held at Holy Redeemer Catholic Church today, March 6 at 10 a.m. Interment private.

Memorial contributions may be made in her name to the College Park Community Library, 9704 Rhode Island Avenue, College Park, MD 20740.

Good Neighbor Day – CANCELLED

Unfortunately, due to the inclement weather forecast, Good Neighbor Day (which was scheduled for tomorrow) has been canceled.

Event’s partners and planning committee made a collective decision to cancel the large-scale service event because of challenges the weather would create for the majority of projects.

Donations will be received by the UMD Campus Pantry and College Park Community Food Bank as planned. The safety of volunteers and everyone involved takes precedence, according to the organizers.

The event organizers appreciate the support that has surrounded this event. We anticipated over 800 volunteers to participate in Good Neighbor Day this year for 20 service projects, said in a statement.

UMD’s Office of Community Engagement will be following up to provide further details on other ways to stay connected in the community and potential opportunities for Good Neighbor Day projects to take place at a later date.

Today: Wireless Emergency Alerts System (WEA) Test

TodayApril 5 between 10:00 a.m. and 11:00 a.m., Prince George’s County along with 20 jurisdictions (including the City of College Park) within the National Capital Region will test the Wireless Emergency Alerts System (WEA). Your phone will buzz (loudly) and a test text message will appear. It is only a test, no cause for alarm.
Prince George’s County residents and visitors will receive the following message: “A test of the Prince George’s County Emergency Alert System. No action required.” The alert triggers a loud noise while displaying the text message on cell phones and mobile devices. You may receive more than one WEA message.
For more information, please click here.

Community Day at Branchville Fire Department

District 1 March 2018 Crime Map

Please see below crime incidents happened between March 4 – April 1, 2018

9600 Blk Milestone Way, MD 20740Theft from auto.
9900 Blk 47TH PL, MD 20740Theft from auto
9900 Blk 47TH PL, MD 20740Theft from auto
4900 Blk Indian Ln, MD 20740Stolen Vehicle
9300 Blk Baltimore Ave, MD 20740Theft from auto.
9900 Blk Rhode Island Ave, MD 20740Theft
9100 Blk Baltimore Ave, MD 20740Stolen Vehicle
9600 Blk Baltimore Ave, MD 20740Stolen Vehicle
4800 Blk Delaware ST, MD 20740Stolen Vehicle
5100 Blk Hollywood  RD, MD 20740Theft
4900 Blk Edgewood RD, MD 20740Theft

Council to Discuss Increasing Cost of Bulk Trash Collection

The City has noticed that requests for bulk trash and special item collections in College Park have been increasing. For example, from 2014 to 2017, the bulk trash tonnage has increased by 147%, electronics by 249% and white appliances by 249%.

Currently, the Public Works (DPW) received 6,951 work order requests in FY17 of which 3,813 were for bulk trash collections, 852 were for electronics, 582 were for white goods/appliances.

Staff researched bulk collection practices in other Maryland municipalities. Most communities will collect bulky items by appointment; and many charge a fee for this service. Many jurisdictions limit the number of bulk or special items collected per year or have either established a flat fee or a unitized fee schedule for special collections. In addition, many communities have limited the amount of bulk trash collected by establishing a reasonable size (in cubic yards), or limit the number of items that can be set out for a collection.

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will discuss how best to address continued increases in volume and costs associated with bulk trash and special item collections.