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A JOYFUL Noise & Area choirs gather to spread the word on a region rich in talent. B-1 Gazette-Star SERVING SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COMMUNITIES DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Thursday, February 6, 2014 25 cents Low ridership ends city-funded shuttle Dancing for good health Five months of operation cost about $84,000; officials say expense was worth it n BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER A free shuttle service for business workers has been shut down after ridership was too low to justify Bowie taxpayers spending about $17,000 per month on it. After about five months with an average of about 14 riders per day (with round-trip passengers counted twice), Bowie officials canceled the Bowie Business Shuttle Bus service on Jan. 31. GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Three sites, budget proposed as final plans are considered n BY JAMIE BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER Bowie has weathered a weak economy, kept a balanced budget and avoided raising taxes for four years — and city services are about to get even better, Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson told city residents and business owners Jan. 29. “I divide the world into two groups: the people who live in Bowie and the people who should,” Robinson said. “We are the strongest, the most diverse and most family friendly city.” GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson gives the annual State of the City address Jan. 29 at the Bowie Senior Center. During the annual State of the City speech, Robinson announced a proposal to open a 24-hour call center in Bowie that would handle non- Prince George’s County Public Schools is moving forward with a lottery for Spanish immersion specialty schools, even though the budget and locations are not yet final. “I’m just happy there’s movement in the right direction, rather than no movement at all,” said Gina Bowler of Upper Marlboro, an advocate for Spanish immersion education in Prince George’s County. Parents may apply for the Spanish immersion program, but the school system website says options and locations will be finalized as part of the fiscal year 2015 budget process. The creation of three new Spanish emergency calls, routing them to city officers instead of requiring residents to call Prince George’s County’s nonemergency number. “This [call center] will ... give Bowie folks the advantage of bypassing the county’s busy telephone system in non-emergencies,” Bowie Mayor G. Frederick Robinson said during his speech. The call center would cost about $500,000 per year, Robinson said, and still has to be approved for the city’s fiscal 2015 budget. Emergency calls will still be dialed by 911, which is handled by the county dispatch station, Robinson said. See SPANISH, Page A-8 See MAYOR, Page A-8 Knotts files for office using new rental home address after redistricting confusion BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER Questions have been raised about a former Prince George’s county councilman’s decision to run for state delegate in District 26, where he has rented a home for about two months. Tony Knotts, a Democrat who served on the County Council for District 8 from 2002 to 2010 and announced a run for county executive in 2010 but didn’t file by deadline NEWS AND ... ACTION! Film, TV productions help to bolster the state’s bottom line. A-3 because of lack of voter support, said he attempted to file Nov. 12 to run for state delegate in District 26, where the Temple Hills home he has lived in for about 24 years is located, only to find out redistricting now places that home in District 25. Redistricting was approved in 2012 based on population changes in the 2010 census. Knotts said when he found out his home was in District 25, he opted to use the address of an Oxon Hill home he began renting Dec. 1 and filed for District 26 on Jan. 16. Knotts said he had put his Temple Hills home up for sale in June after purchasing a lot in Fort Washington and had already been looking for a rental property in the area. NEWS CANINES TO THE RESCUE Proposal delays move for a year, reviews boundaries to relieve overcrowding Knotts, 62, said he has lived in District 26 since the 1960s and considers that area his home. Paul Herrnson, University of Connecticut’s executive director of the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research and former professor at University of Maryland, said politicians who jump district lines are viewed as “carpetbaggers” who are looking to run in a district with open seats because they don’t have to compete with the resources of incumbents. But Herrnson doesn’t think Knotts fits into that category. “He has lived there,” Herrnson said. “He knows the people. And it is n BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER Parents of Barack Obama Elementary students spoke out against moving the school’s sixth-graders to nearby middle schools next year — and Prince George’s County school officials listened. A plan to send the sixth-grade class from the Upper Marlboro school to James Madison Middle and Kettering Middle, also Upper Marlboro-based See DISTRICT, Page A-8 SPORTS TOUGH DECISIONS FOR ATHLETES Laurel therapy dogs help community heal in wake of mall shooting. High school athletes who feel pressure to commit to colleges early sometimes change their minds. A-4 A-10 DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Prince George’s County Public Schools CEO Kevin Maxwell visits a Spanish immersion class Jan. 30 at Capitol Heights Elementary School.. Obama ES parents block sixth-grade relocation, for now Ex-councilman criticized for district change n ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER Mayor touts city’s success, call center plans Proposal would create staff to handle nonemergency matters See SHUTTLE, Page A-8 Spanish immersion program lottery opens Arrowhead Elementary School second-grader Kennedy Heard (right), 7, of Upper Marlboro and fellow students participate in Zumba dancing Jan. 31 during a health fair at the school in Upper Marlboro. The event, which also featured health screenings and healthy snacks, was designed to promote exercise and good nutrition. n The shuttle was aimed at employees of Inovalon, a health care technology company. The service had several stops, including Inovalon’s satellite office on Melford Boulevard, Bowie Town Center, the Bowie Park and Ride, and Inovalon’s main office on Collington Road. The city created the shuttle service to help transport employees between the offices as an incentive to keep the company in Bowie and re-sign the lease with Buchanan Partners at Bowie Corporate Center, said John Henry King, Bowie’s economic development director. Automotive B-11 Calendar A-2 Classified B-9 Community News A-4 Entertainment B-1 Opinion A-9 Sports B-1 Please RECYCLE schools next school year to alleviate overcrowding has been scrapped. Instead, the sixth grade will likely move to Madison Middle in Upper Marlboro in the 2015-2016 academic year, county school officials said. Kettering will receive students from Arrowhead Elementary and Patuxent Elementary, both in Upper Marlboro. To further address overcrowding — Obama Elementary has a capacity of 834 students, but has 896 students enrolled — officials will look at the school’s boundaries, potentially sending students to Perrywood Elementary in Upper Marlboro, said Max Pugh, Prince George’s County public school See RELOCATION, Page A-8 Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906240

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