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& ‘DREAM’ TEAM Gazette-Star Area talent brings the Bard’s work to Bowie Playhouse stage. B-1 SERVING SOUTHERN AND CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COMMUNITIES DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Thursday, December 12, 2013 25 cents ‘I’d like to have us get our road back’ Delegates considering bag fee again Bill mirrors 5-cent fee charged in Washington, D.C., Montgomery County n BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER Paper or Plastic? Either way, Prince George’s County shoppers may join their neighbors in Montgomery County and Washington D.C. in paying for their disposable bags if a bill under consideration passes. The bill has failed to pass the past three years in a row, but supporters think the fourth time may be the charm. “We’ve built on support every year,” said County Councilwoman Mary Lehman (Dist. 1) of Laurel, who has been an outspoken supporter of the bill. “There’s an awareness that didn’t exist four or five years ago. So I’m hopeful, and we’re going to keep at it.” The bill, PG402-14, would allow the Prince George’s County Council to impose a fee of up to five cents on retail disposable bags, paper or plastic, as part of retail sales. Similar fees are already in place in Montgomery County and Washington, D.C., which both charge a five cent per bag fee. “When it comes to addressing litter, we’re really being left behind, with Montgomery County and D.C. taking such strong action to clean up their communities,” said Lehman, who testified Monday in support of the bill during a public hearing. “I don’t believe it reflects well on our county.” The bill was one of 32 introduced Monday during a public hearing by the county delegation at the Prince George’s County Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. The bills will be taken up by the General Assembly in its next session, which begins Jan. 8. County residents were invited to give testimony on the bills and the four that spoke on the disposable bag fee bill supported the measure. Martha Ainsworth of Bowie, chairwoman of the Prince George’s County chapter of the Sierra Club, a grassroots environmental group, cited a Prince George’s County Office of Community Relations publication that said the average shopper pays $15 to $37 per year in higher retail costs to cover the business’ bag purchases while the county annually spends approximately $2.5 million on cleaning up plastic bag trash. “Under this bill, disposable bags are paid by the people who choose to use them, not See FEE, Page A-7 Shopping traffic detours spark complaints regarding access to Oxon Hill homes n BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER countries’ stamps and other themes as he fills his albums with distinctive items showcasing historical moments or fancy cars. Ahmed’s collections are stored in large tome-like albums with thick, heavy pages to support the stamps placed inside. Some larger albums could hold hundreds of stamps, depending on their size and shape, which vary from traditional rectangles and square to circles and diamonds. After his father introduced him to stamp collecting while living in India, he would buy stamps from a dealer who peddled his wares daily near Ahmed’s school, he said. From there, he was hooked. Ahmed said he wanted to com- Donna Apperson sat in traffic Nov. 30, about five minutes from her home, when she said she noticed that Oxon Hill Road, the road where her home is located, was blocked by police. The parking lot at the new Tanger Outlets mall in Oxon Hill was full, so traffic on the road leading to the mall — the same road on which Apperson lives — was being redirected to secondary parking. Apperson said she asked an officer to bypass the detour since she was going home, but her request was denied and she was forced to make a u-turn and take a different route, adding about 30 minutes to her trip. “Traffic is a nightmare,” Apperson said. The mall brought in an estimated 30,000 vehicles on its opening day, Nov. 22, and Prince George’s County officials said they should be able to end the detours once the holiday shopping season ends. Police have intermittently closed the block of Oxon Hill Road between National and Harborview avenues when the mall’s parking lot is full, forcing residents living along parts of Oxon Hill Road to travel down down nearby Indian Head Highway or loop through National Harbor, an Oxon Hill development featuring hotels and entertainment venues, to reach a road that connects to their homes. Residents say the alternatives are inconvenient and increase their commute time. Officers are supposed to allow residents through the closed section, said Lt. William Alexander, a county police spokesman. The closings have happened four times for about 15 minutes each since the stores opened, he said. “If residents are trying to get to their homes as this is happening, we ask that they let us know they’re a resident,” Alexander said. “The officers are instructed to accommodate their request and allow them to pass See STAMP, Page A-8 See ROAD, Page A-7 GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Shukoor Ahmed of Bowie poses Dec. 5 with part of his stamp collection, which includes foreign-issued stamps depicting President John F. Kennedy (right). Shukoor began collecting stamps 40 years ago in his native India. STAMPof Through postage, Bowie resident keeps pieces of history n BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER approval Sending letters leads to serious deliberation for Bowie resident Shukoor Ahmed. After all, his stamp selection could mean the difference between someone casually looking at a butterfly nestled on the top right corner of an envelope or being inspired by a Harry Potter adornment to become as fascinated with the hobby as Ahmed. “I hope it creates an interest in stamps,” said Ahmed, 51, a collector for about 40 years. “People don’t receive stamped letters as often anymore.” Ahmed, president and CEO of a software development company, said he selects specific Suitland High’s hopes for perfect season fall short n Uncharacteristic mistakes doom school in 33-16 loss against Northwest BY NICK CAMMAROTA STAFF WRITER At the conclusion of the play that essentially brought Suitland High School’s hopes of an undefeated season to an end, Rams defenders Josh Burke and Brandon Brown stood facing a massive block of empty purple seats in the far end zone at M&T Bank Stadium. There they both stared into the emptiness, arms hooked over a padded banner that said “Ra- vens,” and watched their season wither away, one win shy of a state championship. On the other sideline, Northwest’s players and fans celebrated a shocking 77-yard passing touchdown — the longest play of the game — from Matt Pierce to Matt Watson that put the Jaguars ahead by 10 points with 4 minutes, 27 seconds to play in the fourth quarter. While the blown coverage on that play was costly, it was the accumulation of uncharacteristic mistakes throughout Friday night’s contest that ultimately doomed Suitland. On a rainy, windy and generally unpleasant night in Baltimore, Northwest’s 33-16 victory ended Suitland’s bid for its third state champion- SPORTS ON THE FAST TRACK Wise junior is poised for big indoor track and field season. A-10 Automotive B-12 Calendar A-2 Classified B-10 Community News A-4 Entertainment B-1 Opinion A-9 Sports A-10 Please RECYCLE ship. Instead, Ed Shields’ team settled for being runners up for the third time in school history. “We had some opportunities, but we were not about to take advantage of those opportunities for some reason,” Shields said. “We had some miscues and I thought that maybe we could still get by them. But in a state championship game, you’ve got to catch every ball, you’ve got to throw every ball, you’ve got to make every run and do every coverage. “We messed up in those areas and today was one of the first days all year we weren’t able to See SUITLAND, Page A-8 DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Police on Oxon Hill Road direct traffic to overflow lots outside of the Tanger Outlets on Nov. 29. SPECIAL SECTION MY FAVORITE TEACHER The votes have been counted. Now meet the winners of The Gazette and Gazette-Star’s annual My Favorite Teacher contest today in section B. PROMOTIONAL SUPPLEMENT Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906206

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