Pepco Watching Potential Snow Storm Today

Pepco, in a press release, stated that they are continuing to closely monitor a weather forecast that calls for a combination of rain, snow, ice, and gusty winds that are expected to impact the company’s service area today and Thursday of this week.

The combination of heavy wet snow, ice, and windy conditions can down trees and tree limbs that can damage the local energy grid and result in power outages for customers. These conditions also increase the potential for vehicles to contact local utility poles and other equipment, resulting in power outages for customers.

Pepco said they are prepared for this event and have enhanced the staffing plans to ensure necessary resources are available to respond for Pepco customers. In addition to internal line mechanics and other field workers, Pepco has local overhead line contractors and tree-trimming personnel available to assist in any restoration effort. The company also will have additional customer care representatives available to handle customer emergency and outage calls. Should Pepco need extra assistance, the company can call on shared resources from other nearby companies in the Exelon family.

Just like we prepare for potential damage that may occur, it’s always a good idea for customers to prepare in advance for any forecasted severe weather as follows:

  • Customers who need power for critical medical equipment should be prepared to relocate to a facility with electricity in case there is a power outage.
  • Have a supply of bottled water and easy-to-prepare, non-perishable foods available.
  • Charge cell phones and other mobile devices. Consider backup chargers.
  • Have a flashlight with fresh batteries on each floor of your home.
  • More tips available at pepco.com/storm.

Also, if storm damage does occur:

  • Always stay away from any storm-damaged electrical equipment, especially downed power lines and tree limbs that may come into contact with power lines.
  • Check on elderly neighbors and relatives.
  • Don’t connect your generator directly to your home’s wiring. Never use a generator indoors or in an attached garage. Read and adhere to the manufacturer’s instructions for safe operation.
  • Turn on the water to a trickle to help prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Tune in to local radio stations for safety and status reports.

Lastly, Pepco encourages you to remind your residents to report outages and downed wires.

  • Pepco is urging customers to stay away from downed wires and assume any downed wire is energized.
  • To report an outage or downed wire, call 1-877-PEPCO-62 (1-877-737-2662) or report and track through Pepco’s mobile app or Pepco website at pepco.com/storm.
  • Customers also can text “Out” to 48710 to report their outage.
  • Customers must first text “ADD OUTAGE” to 48710 to sign up for this service.
  • Customers also are encouraged to follow us on Facebook at facebook.com/pepco and on Twitter at twitter.com/pepco to get the latest information from the company.

To report any outages or downed wires and to request callbacks, please adhere to the following:

Customers’ reports are vital to Pepco’s restoration efforts. Pepco also recommends that, when reporting an outage, customers request an automated call when their power is restored.

Callbacks allow Pepco to notify customers when work in their area is completed and they also help Pepco locate outages that may be specific to customers’ homes.

As always, we are working to continue to provide you with safe and reliable service and ask that everyone work to maintain their safety during this COVID-19 pandemic experience.

If you have any additional questions, pls. reach out to me via email or cell phone (202) 360-7407.

Need Snow Shoveling Help? Let Us Know

Snow shoveling brigade

Snow shoveling brigade (2010)

It’s that time of the year again.  The weather forecast is saying we’ll be getting up to 7 inches of snow in the area tomorrow. This will likely be the most significant in two years.

Like the past years, we’re offering free snow shoveling help for the folks who need them. We know many of our neighbors, especially the elderly and disabled ones, often get stuck in their homes during this season and need our serious help.

If you or anyone you know who may need such help, please feel free to give me a call (301-659-6295) or email me at fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov. We hope to get some volunteers throughout the snow season to help out the needy folks.

Also, if you’d like to volunteer in this, please let us know. The experience you’ll get is very rewarding.

New Safety Cameras are Coming along Trolley Trail / Rhode Island Avenue

The City is planning to add 10 new safety cameras along the trolley trail in Berwyn and North College Park.

The Trolley Trail in College Park runs along Rhode Island Avenue

Last week, the City Council approved an amendment to the contract with Hitachi, authorizing the purchase and installation of 10 security cameras on the Trolley Trail for $132,615.40.

$79,569.24 of the total amount will be reimbursed by a State bond obtained by CPCUP, and to include the cameras in the City’s maintenance contract with Hitachi.

These cameras will be accessed over cellular connectivity, provided by the city, and record at the edge via included onboard computing.

In phase 2, 4 cameras will be installed at the following locations

  • Rhode Island Ave & Seminole St
  • Rhode Island Ave & Greenbelt Rd
  • Rhode Island Ave & Delaware Pl and
  • Paint Branch Trail by the pedestrian bridge.

In phase 3, 6 more cameras will be installed at the following locations:

  • Rhode Island and Harvard
  • Rhode Island and Albion (by Metro Station (WMATA)
  • Rhode Island and Amherst
  • Rhode Island and Drexel
  • Albion and Baltimore ave and
  • Rhode Island and Paint Branch Pkwy(Campus Dr).

As part of Camera Project 9, two of three cameras have been installed in north College Park. According to staff, they are located in the Duvall parking lot near Trolley Trai & Intersection of Edgewood and Rhode Island. The third camera and installation have been paid for, the camera is in City possession, and we are waiting for PEPCO approval of installation at Lackawanna and 53rd avenue.

Deck the City Holiday Contest

The City’s Deck the City Holiday Decorating Contest started on December 5 and runs through December 20, 2020.

Due to the pandemic, this year’s contest looks a bit different. To ensure safe physical distancing, all entries must have photos of the decorations in order to be entered.

Nominated homes will be posted on the City’s Facebook page. The photo with the most likes will be the online digital winner! More prizes and winners will be announced, including Mayor’s Choice.

Click here to enter the contest. You can find previous winners and contest rules at www.collegeparkmd.gov/deckthecity.

[City of College Park]

Hollywood PTA and NCPCA Food Drive for the College Park Food Bank

The Hollywood Elementary School PTA (Parents Teachers Association) and the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA) are currently hosting a Food Drive for the College Park Food Bank.

You can drop off non-perishable food items at one of the following locations :

  • 9730 51st Ave.
  • 9817 53rd Ave.
  • 5015 Lackawanna St.
  • Arelis Beauty Service [9001 Locust Spring Rd].
  • Posh Cycling and Fitness [9925 Rhode Island Ave.]
  • Proteus Bicycles [9827 Rhode Island Ave. (Hollywood Shopping Center)]

When you shop, consider purchasing one of the following items which are especially needed:

  • Beans Soup
  • Tuna
  • Canned Fruit
  • Macaroni & Cheese
  • Peanut Butter
  • Pasta
  • Pasta Sauce
  • Canned Vegetables Rice

The drive will continue until December 23.

You can also make a financial donation by visiting the College Park Community Food Bank’s website.

Please see below for details.


Community Police Meeting – Next Monday, December 14, 2020

Next Monday, 7:30 pm: December Community Police Meeting

At a time when police-community relation is on everyone’s mind, it’s important that we bring our residents and police officers on a forum and have a dialogue on what both groups want to see – keeping our neighborhood a safe place to live for everyone. Our Community Police meetings are regularly attended by the police officers who actually patrol our streets and officials who run City’s police programs.

Please bring any public safety and crime – related issues that you or your neighbor may have experienced. The officers and officials will be at the meeting to listen and address your questions/concerns and give practical advice on making your neighborhood safer.

I hope to see many of you at this month’s meeting!

Join by Zoom: http://b.link/CPCommunityPolice
Join by phone: (301) 715 – 8592, Meeting ID: 863 9609 7322, Password: 464259

Tonight’s NCPCA Meeting – Hollywood PTA Food Drive, Holiday Party, and More..

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month, and hence the day when north College Park Community Association (NCPCA) will have their December monthly meeting.

The meeting will start with a discussion on the proposal by Hollywood School PTA for a joint food drive.

Shaymar Higgins, Founder of THE SPACE, Free Art for All, a 501(c) 3 in Greenbelt will make a presentation about their organization. The Free Art for All started as a 3-week pop-up space for creating art. It has been in its current location for 2 years. More here on their website.

Recently elected District 2 Councilmember Llatetra Estes will then introduce herself to the members and take questions.

The program will end with Holiday Festivities including College Park trivia. Members are asked t share their Holiday spirit by displaying Holiday decorations or wearing Holiday-inspired clothing.

The meeting will start at 7:30 pm. Here is the link to join the Zoom session. One tap mobile +13017158592,,84989275244

College Park May Get Small Cell 5G Wireless in 2021

At last night’s meeting, the Council discussed and approved an amendment to the license agreement for the installation of small wireless facilities and the application process.

City staff has been contacted by Verizon, which has been developing plans for placement of small wireless facilities in City rights-of-way and wish to have discussions about how to move forward.

The City is the first municipality in Prince George’s County to be contacted by Verizon with the intent to move forward in the immediate future.

There are approximately 38 proposed installations in the City, to be phased in overtime. The majority of these will be in residential areas. 21 cells will be installed on the existing Pepco poles, 1 on the City-owned structure, and the remaining will be installed on Verizon poles.

The polygon map from Verizon shows the areas in which they are proposing to install small wireless facilities. This shows the architecture of the full system. Not all of the facilities will be applied for and installed at one time.

During the Q+A period, Verizon representatives told us the installation could be completed by next year.

In considering Verizon’s proposals, the Staff looked to other jurisdictions for operational and process guidance and is recommending a few recommendations.

The amended license agreement will include a termination for convenience clause, which is included in most City agreements. This provision is objected to by Verizon on the basis of the amount of time it will require to recoup its investment.

To the extent not in conflict with the City’s Code, the License Agreement also incorporates the County’s, Design Manual.

At last night’s meeting, the Council approved the amendment of the License Agreement for deployment and installation of small wireless facilities and support structures.

[City of College Park]

City to Send Comments on BARC Development

BEP Building in Washington D.C.

At tonight’s Council meeting, we plan to add an item to the agenda about sending a letter with City’s comments on the proposed development at the Beltsville BARC facility. Please see the draft comments below. You may also send your own comments about the project’s Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) here on the project’s website. The deadline to send written comments is December 21st.

The City of College Park is located southwest of the proposed project but outside of the study area for the DEIS. The College Park City Council is concerned that our community will experience impacts from the project that have not been studied or addressed. Our concerns are described below.

Traffic and Transportation 
The impact of additional traffic on already heavily congested local roads is a major concern. The DEIS studies 15 intersections identified in the local region of influence (ROI) and finds that several of them will have failing levels of service (LOS). Other intersections in the study area will have failing and increased queue lengths. It neglects, however, to consider the likely impacts on other nearby roadways. Arterials such as MD 193, US Route 1, and Kenilworth Avenue have not been adequately studied. These roads are already highly congested and will be used by employees living in nearby neighborhoods to reach the project site. The local ROI should be extended west to US Route 1 and south to MD 193 to capture the signalized intersections along these routes for analysis. The most recent traffic data from the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG) should be utilized.

The traffic problem will be further exacerbated if the FBI Headquarters moves to Greenbelt, which is a possibility that could be revived with the new administration.

Additionally, the proposed site is not directly accessible by public transportation. It is encouraging that the DEIS recommends exploring Metrobus routes to serve the Project Site. Additionally, dedicated shuttles from the Greenbelt Metro should be evaluated. The extension of the Green Line to the Muirkirk MARC station or even further north could significantly mitigate the proposed increase in traffic congestion.

Streams and Waterways  
The College Park area has three streams that will be impacted by the project: Indian Creek, Little Paint Branch and Paint Branch. As many neighborhoods in the City lie within the 100-year floodplain, the increases in impervious surface from the project and changes to groundwater and hydrology, elevate the risk for increased flooding. The BARC is home to several watersheds including the Indian Creek and Upper Beaverdam Creek. The DEIS states that there will be permanent fill of 0.94 acres of wetlands and 0.65 acres of wetland buffer, as well as the potential for increased stormwater volume and runoff, sedimentation, and soil contamination. The potential impacts to these watersheds need to be considered in detail to show the impacts on local streams. Additional floodplain modeling for this watershed must be done at this time to understand the full impacts and offer mitigation strategies. It cannot wait until later in the design phase. We are also concerned that local water quality will be degraded and endanger aquatic biota in the streams that cannot tolerate warmwater conditions.

Miscellaneous Environmental 
The area around the proposed site is a prime nesting spot for certain bird species, and BARC has been studying some of these for many decades. The loss of undeveloped land with the construction of one million square feet of new development will have a negative impact on these bird species. Further study is needed to evaluate these impacts and to recommend minimization practices that can be implemented.

The DEIS is not clear about the energy sources to be used in the facility. The use of solar and geothermal should be prioritized. The DEIS should also include information on waste produced and how this waste will be managed at the facility. It should describe options for recycling, and specific processes to ensure that hazardous waste is kept separate from normal waste with appropriate safeguards in place for disposal, monitoring and tracking.

Also, the DEIS needs to include the water and sewer requirements for the facility and the impact on the existing system. It should include information on any special systems required to handle the by-products of the printing and engraving process to ensure that chemicals or other toxic by-products are not entering the sewer system.

In general, more information is needed on the overall environmental impact of the 24-hour operation of the proposed facility, especially regarding lighting and heavy truck requirements. A minimum of LEED Silver certification of the facility is imperative.

Impact on BARC 
We are concerned about the potential negative impact on BARC as an institution given its stature as a premier agricultural research facility with paramount importance to our country and farm economy.  The research done at BARC has been, and is why, the United States is a leader in food production and agricultural innovations.

Please take the City of College Park’s expressed concerns into consideration as the agency moves forward with the Final DEIS. Thank you for your consideration.

City to Join AARP Livable Communities Network

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider approving a letter of commitment to AARP in support of the City’s membership application in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. The City of College Park Seniors Committee is making this application, on behalf of the City, for membership in the AARP Network of Age-Friendly States and Communities. A letter of commitment from the City Council is required to accompany the application.
The letter addresses the intent of the City to engage in a collaborative process, particularly involving older persons, to develop an age-friendly action plan to make the City a more livable community. This effort was previously supported by the City Council.
Additionally, the Council will consider supporting of an application to the Planning Assistance to Municipalities and Communities Program (PAMC) for preparation of an Age-Friendly Action Plan under the American Association of Retired People (AARP) Livable Communities Program. This effort has the support of the City Council. A requirement of membership is the preparation of an age-friendly action plan. The Committee has chosen to focus on housing, transportation, social participation, health services and community support, and communication and information. The PAMC is a program offered by the M-NCPPC that offers staff and/or consultant assistance in support of local projects that meet the goals and policies of approved plans.
This request is for consultant services to work with the Seniors Committee on a planning process that includes community engagement, a livability assessment and three-year action plan. The value of consultant services is up to $50,000. M-NCPPC will manage the consultant contract and City staff will provide support services.

Goodbye Councilmember Brennan, Welcome Councilmember Esters

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, Councilmember Llatetra Brown Esters will swear-in as the new District 2 Councilmember. For the past two years, Ms. Esters has represented District 2 on the College Park Advisory Planning Commission (APC). She has also served as an Election Judge in Precinct 21001 at Paint Branch Elementary School. Over the last six years, she and her husband have lived in the Oak Springs neighborhood. She is a higher education administrator who has worked in the field for over 25 years.

I look forward to working with Councilmember Esters in the future.

Following the swearing-In of Council member Esters, we’ll also host a recognition ceremony of former District 2 Councilmember P. J. Brennan. Mr. Brennan announced his resignation from the College Park City Council back in July and has served on the Council since 2014.

December 2020 Leaf Collection Calendar

City’s COVID Small Business Assisstance Program to End Dec 10

As the state is in its third phase of recovery, the COVID-19 pandemic has and continues to affect our lives in numerous ways. From working and schooling at home, to ordering groceries online or only ordering takeout, College Park residents have had to adjust their whole way of life. Unfortunately, for some, this crisis meant losing their jobs or livelihoods because of business closures or service disruptions. Many restaurants and businesses had to lay off their workers and/or close their doors leaving their futures uncertain.

In response to the crisis, the City has created programs to address resident, business, and non-profit organization needs. The Council and staff have developed a plan with more than $1,500,000 in COVID-19 assistance to help those experiencing financial hardship during this difficult time. The goal of these programs and initiatives is to help our residents and businesses get back on their feet as the recovery process begins.

Currently, there are two programs that eligible College Park businesses can apply for: the Small Business Assistance Grants Program and the Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement Program.

The purpose of the City’s Small Business Assistance Grants Program is to assist small businesses (and non-profits if allowed by CARES Act funding requirements) with 25 or fewer full-time equivalents (FTEs), with direct economic support for costs of business interruption caused by: required closures, voluntary closures to promote social distancing, or decreased customer demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each business/owner can receive up to a maximum grant of $15,000 from this program.

The Modified Business Assistance & Façade Improvement program is similar to the existing program except that it does not require matching funds. For more information about these programs or to apply, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#businesses.

To further help our business community, the City authorized the following: waived non-residential business license fees until the end of FY2021 for retail and hotel/motel establishments; and suspended sign or banner permits and regulations to help businesses advertise.

For a list of College Park businesses currently open, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19#openbusinesses.

The City has also created a program to provide financial aid for residents in need. The purpose of the City’s Emergency Financial Aid to Residents Program is to provide financial assistance to families, senior citizens and other individuals who have been directly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Financial assistance may be provided for eligible expenses such as rent/mortgage payments to avoid eviction or foreclosure, unforeseen funeral costs, utility payments, and other emergency needs as deemed necessary. Each eligible family/person can get up to a maximum of $5,000 per household for indirect payments to applicable payee (landlord, lender, Utility Company) and/or gift cards for eligible expenses from this program. For more information about this program or to apply, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19assistance#residents.

To support our non-profit organizations that provide food to our residents, the City has given $64,000 in grants to the College Park Meals on Wheels and the College Park Food Bank. Both organizations directly help our residents who are food insecure or unable to procure food during this time. Their daily and weekly meal deliveries or food pantries have helped hundreds in our community who have needed it most.

The City has been working very hard to provide as much support as possible to our residents and business community. However, these are not the only resources for our residents and businesses. For a non-comprehensive list of federal, state, and county resources, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19. Further resources can be found on their websites.

Together we will get through this difficult time. For more information about the City’s actions during the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19.

[City of College Park]

ROCC Holiday Works-On-Paper Art Sale

The Route One Communities Care (ROCC) Holiday Works-on-Paper Art Sale starts tomorrow, December 3 until December 20. 13 local artists donating more than 40 works to support families in need and neighboring restaurants! Be sure to check it out first thing https://go.dojiggy.io/grcrocc.

If you don’t want to view the art (big mistake!) and wish to donate directly or want more information about the great things GRC+ROCC is doing, you can go to feedrouteone.org or https://www.gofundme.com/f/gofundmecomgreater-riverdale-cares/donate.

Found Dogs – Please Help Find the Owners

Male (black) and female(brown) German shepherd types found at large on Train Tracks in college park. Currently at Prince George’s county shelter. Female didn’t have a microchip. Not sure about male.

The shepherds were chased from the old Town area and picked up in Berwyn. They don’t have collars, no tags.