KabirCares.org

UPDATE – Today’s Snow Storm and Forecast..

I just drove around the neighborhood (in north College Park) and found the streets are very clean. Thanks to our Public Works crews for doing a great job preparing for and executing our snow plan. DPW crews treated City streets on Friday with salt brine and started very early this morning treating and monitoring streets. We will have an overnight crew monitoring for ice and then staff back early tomorrow morning.

Here is the latest forecast. Hope this is helpful:
Tonight
Snow before 9pm, then snow, possibly mixed with freezing rain between 9pm and 11pm, then rain, possibly mixed with freezing rain after 11pm. Low around 32. Northeast wind around 11 mph, with gusts as high as 20 mph. Chance of precipitation is 100%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.
Monday
Rain and freezing rain, possibly mixed with sleet before noon, then rain and snow between noon and 2pm, then snow likely after 2pm. High near 34. North wind 11 to 17 mph, with gusts as high as 26 mph. Chance of precipitation is 80%. New ice accumulation of less than a 0.1 of an inch possible. New snow and sleet accumulation of less than one inch possible.
Monday Night
Snow likely before 8pm, then snow likely, possibly mixed with freezing rain between 8pm and 11pm, then snow likely after 11pm. Cloudy, with a low around 30. North wind 11 to 16 mph, with gusts as high as 23 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no ice accumulation expected. New snow accumulation of around an inch possible.

Tomorrow’s Snow Storm and Help Needed with Snow Shoveling

College Park and the DC metro area is expected to have snow starting around midnight tonight with a potential accumulation of 4 to 8 inches by tomorrow (Sunday) evening. We could be in for a messy Monday as snow may mix or change to freezing rain overnight. More about the storm alert can be found here: https://wtop.com/weather-news/2021/01/snowy-weather-looms-over-dc-area-4-to-8-inches-possible-by-sunday-night
We know many of our neighbors, especially the elderly and those with disabilities, often get stuck in their homes during these snow events and need our help with snow shoveling. If you or anyone you know needing such help, please feel free to give me a call (301-659-6295) or email me at fkabir@collegeparkmd.gov. Also, if you’d like to volunteer in this, please let me know. The experience you’ll get is very rewarding. Thanks to you all who have reached out to me already.
The Department of Public Works (DPW) treated City streets yesterday. DPW will have (2) 12-hour shifts starting Sunday morning and working two shifts through the event until ending. DPW will have 24-hour coverage in our dispatch office starting Sunday. Trash and Recycling pickup will be determined based on the weather forecast Saturday or Sunday Brush pickup may be suspended on Monday. Please check the City’s social media pages for updates as we will post any possible trash and recycling collection changes.
Please stay safe and warm!

City Considering to Form a Commission to Address Harm Caused to Lakeland Community 50 Years Ago

In 1969, an urban renewal project was initiated for the area through a $5.7 million grant from the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Older dilapidated houses on the outskirts of Lakeland were torn down and much of the land was purchased by the city of College Park. Unfortunately, many of Lakeland’s African American community were displaced by this project.

More here on the Washington Post, and here on the Lakeland Community Project’s website.

Last summer, the City passed a resolution to “acknowledge and apologize for our City’s past history of oppression, particularly with regards to the Lakeland community, and actively seek opportunities for accountability and truth-telling about past injustice, and aggressively seek opportunities for restorative justice.”

Last November the Mayor and Council received a presentation from Lakeland residents who called for the start of a restorative justice process. This process could begin with the establishment of a Restorative Justice Commission to recommend a structure and process for restorative justice work regarding systemic racism in the City of College Park.

Like the Council resolution, the Lakeland residents suggested the Commission focus on the harm caused to the historic African American community of Lakeland due to the Urban renewal project. They also offered to help with the process.

Restorative Justice is an approach to justice that focuses on repairing the harm committed against the victim and the community.

At this week’s meeting, the Council will discuss the formation of a Restorative Justice Commission.

City Spent Nearly $2M of COVID Relief Funds

Businesses on Route 1

The City of College Park gave out more than $1.9 million to its residents and businesses affected by the current COVID 19 pandemic.

Under the U.S. CARES Act, Prince George’s County received a direct allocation from the Coronavirus Relief Fund (CRF) to cover necessary expenditures directly related to the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19).

The County decided to allocate $15 million of its CRF funding to its 27 municipalities. The funds were allocated to each municipality on a per capita basis. College Park’s share of the funding was $1,965,000.

Municipalities were required to submit, by May 22, 2020, a plan of expenditures for which the municipality would seek reimbursement, up to the maximum allotted. Expenditures eligible for reimbursement had to be directly related to COVID-19; incurred between March 1, 2020, through December 15, 2020; and not previously budgeted.

In total, the City spent and was reimbursed for $1,909,320. This amounts to 97.2% of the total CRF allocation. Highlights of the expenditures, accounting for $1.68 million (88%).

– Small business assistance grants …………$1,156,583
– Financial assistance to families/individuals … 194,437
– Financial assistance for food delivery ………. 174,000
– Personal protective equipment, etc. ……….. 151,638

A significant amount of staff time was involved in processing the business grants and family financial assistance applications. Numerous communications with applicants were required; learning the requirements of this new act, and creating an internal review process took an inordinate amount of time that was not anticipated. Unfortunately, the CRF did not provide reimbursement for this.

At this week’s meeting, the Council introduced an Ordinance 21-O-02, to amend the Fiscal Year 2021 Operating Budget with the above-mentioned expenses. A public hearing on this ordinance will be scheduled for February 9, 2021

[City of College Park]

Maryland Pharmacies will be Giving Vaccinations, as Early as Next Week

Yesterday, Gov. Larry Hogan and County Council member Angela Alsobrooks visited a Giant Pharmacy to promote an expanded coronavirus vaccine network. This clinic is one of more than 50 retail pharmacies that will administer the immunization by next week, Hogan announced Tuesday.

Some Giant, Martin’s and Walmart pharmacies are already distributing the inoculations. Select Rite Aids and Safeways will start next week.

“COVID-19 vaccines are safe and highly effective, and will be our best tool to finally put an end to this deadly pandemic,” Hogan said in a press release.

More here on the College Park Patch

 

 

Winter Farmers Market – Please Pre-Order by Today for This Weekend’s Market

The Hollywood Farmers Market has started a winter market at the Duvall Field parking lot.

Vendors will be taking pre-orders for this Saturday, Jan 30th delivery from 12-1 pm. Waltz Farm and Calvert Farm will be back again on Feb 6th.

You’ll find Pro Fish and can order from their store at https://www.profish.com/home

Also, Janelle’s Crumb Shoppe and Bakery will be there. Please order by 6 pm on Wednesday. You can view many of her baked goods on their FaceBook page.

Thai Amity will also be there and taking orders till 4 pm on Wednesday. Please see their menu below (and in the picture)
1. Khao new mu ping(Grilled pork with sticky rice) 1 order #10
2.Sai Aua.(Thai northern sausage with herb) 1 order$10
3.Tum Ma Muang (Green mango Thai salad with skin pork).1 order$8
4.Kluay Teaw Tom Yum noodle.(mixed pork shrimp and fish tofu.)1 order $13
5.Kang massaman kai. (chicken curry with veggie)with rice 1 order #10
6.Khao sai Naue(Beef curry noodle soup
)1 order $12
7.Bha Mee Mudang(Egg noodle with BBQ pork)1 order$10
And Thai dessert
8.Ka nom Ta ko(Thai pandan pudding )1 order$7
9.Klauy Ping(Grilled Thai banana with Sweet coconut milk+young coconut)1order $7

 

AND, here’s Thai Amity’s regular menu……. Regular menu

1.Chicken Pad Thai, Veggie Pad Thai
(chicken=$8,Veggie=$7)
2.Chicken Fried Rice=$8, Veggie fried rice=$7,
3.Thai basil fried rice chicken =$8 Shrimp=$9
4.Drunken noodle( chicken=$9, shrimp=$10,)Veggie Drunken noodle=$8
4.Veggie Spring rolls=1order$5,Pork spring rolls=1order$6,Chicken Spring rolls=1 order $6.
5.Panang chicken&Veggie with Rice=$10,Panang Veggie with Rice=$9.
6.ChickenCoconut Soup$8 ,Shrimp=$9,Veggie coconut soup=$7
7.Papaya Thai Salad=$6
8.Mango with Sticky Rice.=$7
9. Sticky rice with egg custard=$7
10. Green curry(Chicken=$8 =$9Shrimp),Veggie green curry=$7
11. Thai garden Rolls Chicken or pork or tofu=$7
12.Thai Tea=$4
Thai Tea with Bubble Tea=$5

You can place an order inbox here or text to 301- 5753407
***********************************************************************************************

Hope this reads well. Take care and enjoy the snow if you get any.

Design Process Begins at Duvall Field Park

The City has begun the design process for the next phase of improvements at Duvall Field Park.

The City is working with KCI Technologies, Inc. on the project and will have survey crews on site starting the week of January 25.

This will be a two to three week effort.

Please contact Terry Schum in the Planning Department at tschum@collegeparkmd.gov should you have any questions.

Hollywood Streetscape Project May Get Help for Construction Phase Services

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will consider approving a contract, in the amount of $86,155, to Wallace Montgomery for bidding and construction phase services for the Hollywood Commercial District Streetscape Project.

The Hollywood Streetscape Project has been advertised for bids and thus, these services are necessary. The current construction estimate is $2,500,000 and the timetable is as follows:

(a) Bid submissions due: February 12, 2021
(b) Contract award: March 9, 2021
(c) Construction March 15, 2021 – December 31, 2021

Wallace Montgomery has submitted a proposal to provide bidding and construction phase services in the amount of $86,155. These services include responding to bidder questions, analysis of bids received, permit approval coordination, preparing for, attending, and documenting construction administration meetings with staff and the contractor, reviewing and approving construction material submittals and shop drawings, responding to contractor requests for information, project inspections, and the preparation of as-built plans.

You can read more about the streetscape project here on my blog

Lakeland – History , Community & Restorative Justice

When: Tomorrow, Mon, January 25, @7:00 p.m

What: College Park RACE & RESTORATIVE JUSTICE. City of College Park
CONTINUING THE CONVERSATION:
LAKELAND – HISTORY, COMMUNITY & RESTORATIVE JUSTICE

Join us on Monday, January 25 at 7:00 p.m. for another Town Hall on community and race relations in College Park. This forum will focus on the community of Lakeland, its history, and an overview of restorative justice philosophies and practices.

For more information, please visit the City’s website at https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/blacklivesmatter. Use the link to participate online: https://zoom.us/j/99141911702 or dial in at 301-715-8592.

Moderator:
Councilmember Monroe Dennis

Panelists:
Dr. Willow Lung Amam: Associate Professor of Urban Studies and Planning and Director of Community Development at the National Center for Smart Growth at University of Maryland, College Park; her research focuses on issues of urban and suburban inequality, particularly redevelopment, gentrification, racial segregation, immigration, and neighborhood opportunity. She is the author of Trespassers? Asian American and the Battle for Suburbia, and a forthcoming book on redevelopment politics and equitable development organizing in the Washington, DC suburbs.

Dr. Curt Rhodes: Founder/International Director of Questscope; a non-profit, non-governmental organization established in 1988 for youth mentorship, alternative education, juvenile justice, community-based health, and humanitarian aid programs that foster social development among disadvantaged youth and women, particularly in the Middle East and North Africa region (MENA). Curt holds an MPH degree (the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) and MS and Ph.D. degrees (University of Wisconsin, Madison).

Dr. Johonna Turner: Assistant Professor of Restorative Justice and Peacebuilding at the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at Eastern Mennonite University; for over 15 years, she has worked as part of arts collectives, community organizing coalitions, and other social movement organizations to develop youth leadership, empower disenfranchised people, and cultivate transformational approaches to safety and justice. A thoroughly interdisciplinary scholar, Dr. Turner received post-graduate training in U.S. cultural studies, women’s studies, and biblical theology/urban ministry. Her areas of scholarship, practice and teaching include restorative and transformative justice, trauma healing, faith-rooted peacebuilding, and critical race feminism.

Maxine Gross: fifth generation Lakelander and founding member of the Lakeland Community Heritage Project. Her history of community service includes time as Lakeland Civic Association president and as a City Councilmember. Ms. Gross is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and holds a Master of Arts degree from Bowie State University.

COVID-19 Vaccine Update

Thanks to County Councilman Tom Dernoga for sharing the latest situation about vaccine distribution. I hope you’ll find this information helpful!


Friends,

We are all frustrated about confusing information surrounding the COVID-19 vaccine distribution. Constituents keep trying to get accurate information, and my staff and I have been constantly scrambling to get answers and to disseminate accurate information.

The root cause of the problem is the lack of adequate vaccine doses. In addition, the rollout is through multiple entities that do not have integrated programs. Changes and enhancements are being made daily as vaccine supply and locations evolve.

In Maryland, the starting point for distribution is with the State, and Prince George’s County has limited influence on the process. The State is providing for vaccine distribution through (1) hospitals and health care providers, (2) retail pharmacies; and (3) County Health Departments. See below for links. Prince George’s County only has control over vaccine distribution through the County Health Department, although the County is trying to create partnerships with the other distribution entities.

The latest County information will be found here. The latest Statewide information will be found here (including additional vaccine partners servicing our community, such as hospitals and retail sites).

As I stated above, the demand for doses is far greater than the number of vaccines Maryland is receiving from the Federal Government. And, Governor Hogan has expanded the pool of eligible recipients to a far greater number than there will be vaccine doses for a while. We are currently in Phase 1B and Governor Hogan has asked us to move to Phase 1C on Monday. The list of phases is here.

County Executive Alsobrooks held a press conference Tuesday to provide an update on the vaccine distribution and issued a press release summarizing the latest information. You can watch the press conference here.

Residents must now fill out a pre-registration form. To make sure that Prince Georgians who are most vulnerable have access to appointments, the County is resetting all appointments currently scheduled after February 9 at the Sports & Learning Complex. The Health Department will send out notices to those individuals and they will be required to fill out the pre-registration form online to be able to reschedule their appointments. Individuals who have an appointment on February 9 or before should keep their scheduled appointment, and they will not need to fill out the pre-registration form. Anyone who has an appointment for a second dose of the vaccine after February 9 will not have their appointment changed.

When the County has more vaccines available and/or moves to future phases of vaccine distribution, individuals who have pre-registered will be notified when they are eligible, and the Health Department will follow up with links to schedule appointments as they become available, based on vaccine supply. The County is administering approx. 1,000 vaccines per day Monday-Friday at the Sports & Learning Complex. Additional sites are expected to open over the next several weeks, including one in College Park and one in Laurel.

Individual health systems such as Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center and University of Maryland Capital Region Health/UMMS also have vaccines to distribute and have separate scheduling links. Luminis Health began distribution for phases 1A and 1B on Tuesday. Each hospital system has its own interest form, as noted.

As of last week, Prince George’s County had distributed 82% of all the vaccines received from the State. The Health Department received a new batch and is working to distribute these vaccine doses. Visit the Vaccine Dashboard for detailed information about vaccine distribution in the County.

My staff and I will continue to update you as we receive additional information.

Please try to be patient and please stay well.

Thomas E. Dernoga

Council to Adopt new 2021-2025 Strategic Plan

At last week’s Council meeting, the City Council discussed the final draft of the 2021 – 2025 Strategic Plan and the path forward as we transition to execution.

The plan was developed using inputs from community and stakeholder focus groups, as well as community and staff surveys to identify the wants and needs expressed. The Mission and Vision in the new plan have been revised to reflect City’s aspiration and set a clear inspirational direction for the City and to guide the major objectives the City wants to attain.

A strategic planning method has been utilized to set clear, inspirational 5-Year objectives that have measurable, aspirational key results to align with success.

A Strategic Management process will be implemented allowing us to be more agile, transparent, and focused on achieving our 5-Year plan. This will include creating aligned 1-Year and Quarterly Department objectives and key results each year to achieve our plan.

Tracking progress on objectives and key results provides more transparency on where we are and where we need to go.

Council Plans not to Change Property Tax Rate in FY 2022

At last week’s meeting, the Council got a preview of the FY2022 budget cycle and a review of the Homestead Tax Credit. The staff has also released the draft FY 2022 budget calendar.

The budget worksession is scheduled for Saturday, March 27th. All departments will be scheduled for review. An additional budget worksession may be scheduled on Tuesday, March 30 if necessary. According to Staff, a preliminary review of major revenue sources year-to-date actuals appears in line with the revised (amended) budgets.

It appears that the FY2021 budget, as amended in September 2020 for additional COVID-related revenue reductions is still sustainable and expenditures are as expected.

Based on the preliminary estimates from the County show some increase in the assessed value in FY2022 but it’s a little early now to know a more specific impact on the budget. The goal at this point is to maintain the current property tax rate.

Staff is recommending a 2.0% cost of living adjustment, as negotiated with the union, plus estimates for merit increases where applicable.

Staff also recommends continuing with the 0% cap on the Homestead Tax Credit.

Another School Facilities Surcharge Waiver Request – This Time from the Hub Student Housing

The proposed student housing project “The Hub” at 4210-4220 Knox Road has requested the City to make a recommendation to the Prince George’s County Council that The Hub student housing project be exempted from the imposition of the school facilities surcharge.

The County imposes a school facilities surcharge on new residential development. Housing for the elderly and undergraduate housing in certain locations are exempt. The surcharge is intended to cover anticipated increases in public education services to accommodate the residents of new development.

The surcharge for a project inside the Capital Beltway is $9,770 per unit.

At tonight’s meeting, the Council will discuss The Hub’s request about the school facilities surcharge exemption.

Today is Dr. Martin Luther King Day – Let’s Stand Together..

Today, the nation celebrates Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and his social and spiritual accomplishments for civil rights in the United States.

Due to the pandemic, the City’s Annual Tribute to Dr. King will not be held in-person this year, however, the City commemorates Dr. King’s legacy with this year’s theme, “Standing Together” – standing together in the fight for social justice and standing together although we are physically apart due to the pandemic.

Signs have been placed throughout the City at City parks and other locations as well as a banner displayed at Duvall Field to commemorate his legacy. Signs can also be seen on the City’s social media.

Please join the City in recognizing the social and spiritual accomplishments of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with our 30th Annual College Park Tribute that will carry forward the spirit and feeling of hopefulness and strengthen the promise of new beginnings.

For more information, visit the City’s website at https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/mlktribute .

[City of College Park]

GAO Concludes Helicopter Noise Study

Recently, the GAO (The Government’s Accountability Office) has concluded the study about the helicopter noise in the Washington D.C. Metro area.

According to the report, the GAO recommends that the Administrator of the FAA should direct the Office of Environment and Energy to develop a mechanism to exchange helicopter noise information with operators in the D.C. area.

Many of our College Park residents, especially from north College Park, live with the impacts of regular helicopter noise that interrupts sleep patterns, causes their homes to shake, and negatively impacts their quality of life. Disturbances from helicopter noise have been a longstanding problem and many have noted recent increases in the frequency and severity of helicopter noise in their neighborhoods.

Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-MD), Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC), and Representatives Gerry Connolly (D-VA), Don Beyer (D-VA), Anthony Brown (D-MD), and David Trone (D-MD) requested the study in January, 2019.

In July 2017, I requested that a letter be sent to the Government Accountability Office (GAO) requesting that College Park be included in the GAO study of the effect of helicopter noise in the Washington Metropolitan region.

The report recognizes that helicopter noise can potentially expose members of the public to a variety of negative effects, ranging from annoyance to more serious medical issues. FAA is responsible for managing navigable U.S. airspace and regulating noise from civil helicopter operations. Residents of the D.C. area have raised concerns about the number of helicopter flights and the resulting noise.

GAO was asked to review issues related to helicopter flights and noise within the D.C. area. Among its objectives, this report examines: (1) what is known about helicopter flights and noise from flights in the D.C. area, and (2) the extent to which FAA and helicopter operators have taken action to address helicopter noise in the D.C. area. GAO reviewed statutes, regulations, policies, and documents on helicopter noise. GAO analyzed (1) available data on helicopter operations and noise in the D.C. area for 2017 through 2019, and (2) FAA’s approach to responding to helicopter complaints. GAO also interviewed FAA officials; representatives from 18 D.C. area helicopter operators, selected based on operator type and the number of flights; and 10 local communities, selected based on factors including geography and stakeholder recommendations.

You can find the complete report here. Also, more here on the Washington Post.