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BEFORE THE TOUR & Gazette-Star Bowie State University and Adventure Theatre MTC ready ‘Five Little Monkeys,’ ‘Three Little Birds’ B-1 SERVING PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COMMUNITIES DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Thursday, January 9, 2013 25 cents Speed cameras may get new rules Students face the frost Delegate proposes extending hours of operation in school zones n BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER One Prince George’s legislator’s attempt to extend the operation of county speed cameras to nights and weekends is drawing criticism from opponents who say the cameras are intended to aid school safety, not generate revenue after school hours. Currently, state law limits speed camera operations to 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday in school zones. Prince George’s Bill 302-14, currently up for consideration by the Prince George’s County House Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, would allow for extension of operation hours only in Prince George’s County. The legislation would affect speed cameras operated by the county as well as municipalities within Prince George’s. The bill would also allow Prince George’s and its municipalities to charge late fees for fines not paid by the citation deadline. The Maryland Annotated Code, as currently written, contains no provision for charging late fees for speed camera violations. Del. Dereck E. Davis (D-Dist. 25) of Mitchellville, the bill’s sponsor, did not return multiple phone and email requests for comment See CAMERAS, Page A-7 BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Students bundle up against the cold weather on the way to their buses after school Tuesday at the Thomas Pullen K-8 Arts Focus School in Landover. Prince George’s County public schools opened with a two-hour delay Tuesday due to temperatures that dropped to the single digits. County sees another record crime drop in 2013 Overall criminal activity down 12 percent compared to 2012, officials say n BY CHASE COOK STAFF WRITER Crime is down again in Prince George’s County, with overall crime decreasing about 12 percent compared to 2012 and homicides dipping to their lowest numbers since the mid 1980s. “Even adults need a timeout,” said community advocate Belinda Queen-Howard of Capitol Hills. “In Prince George’s County we don’t have a problem incarcerating someone for their timeout.” Queen-Howard spoke at a press conference held today by county officials, where they announced violent crimes were down about 14 percent and property crime was down about 12 percent. Homicides were down about 12 percent, the lowest they have been since 1986, according to police data. Conference speakers, which included Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III (D) and Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), said partnerships between the community, county and state departments were key in continuing the county’s decrease in crime, which has been trending downward since 2010. “We are moving Prince George’s County forward,” Baker said. “This is a great day, but we will not rest.” One of the partnerships Baker emphasized was the county’s Transforming Neighborhood Initiatives program, See CRIME, Page A-8 COUNTY CRIME FROM 2012 TO 2013 Prince George’s County police reported drops in most categories in 2013 compared to 2012 statistics. 2013 2012 Homicide Forcible rape Robbery Carjacking Assaults 56 115 1,330 87 2,206 64 82 1,625 142 2,511 TOTAL 3,794 4,424 Burglary Larceny/theft Stolen vehicles 4,147 14,867 3,814 4,707 16,672 4,456 TOTAL PROPERTY 22,828 25,835 TOTAL CRIME 26,622 30,259 January to December VIOLENT CRIME PROPERTY CRIME SOURCE: PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY POLICE DEPARTMENT New standards used in prioritizing school buildings n Method takes into account utilization, security and other factors BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU STAFF WRITER Prince George’s County school officials are taking a new approach to evaluating the system’s aging school inventory, an effort that includes broader information to determine which facili- NEWS UPPER CRUST ties are most in need of help. “We’re in the process of developing the new criteria right now, based on what we’re seeing being used in neighboring jurisdictions,” Sarah Woodhead, director of capital programs, said at a Community Engagement Master Plan meeting Tuesday night that focused on the northern part of the county. The school system has been using the Facilities Condition Assessment, which was last updated in 2012, to rank schools in need of replacement or major SPORTS RACE TO THE TOP An area couple founded Pizza Addicts Anonymous, a group that has expanded to around 150 members. Laurel teen finishes 11th of 16 competitors at U.S. Olympic Short Track Speedskating Trials. A-3 A-10 renovation based on the age of the facility and its components, said Deanna Newman, a consultant with Minneapolis-based Public Pathways, which is working with the school system. The assessment ranking has been used to determine the priority in which schools receive state and county funding for renovations. “Maybe the Facility Condition Assessment isn’t the only way we should See PRIORITIES, Page A-8 Automotive B-9 Calendar A-2 Classified B-7 Community News A-4 Entertainment B-1 Opinion A-9 Sports A-10 Please RECYCLE MUNICIPAL SCENE Advertising Supplement JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU/THE GAZETTE A speed camera monitors drivers’ speeds on Contee Road in Laurel. A proposed bill would allow the cameras to remain in operation in school zones at all times. Landover Sears announces it will close doors in March Stalwart business remained open more than a decade after mall’s closing n BY EMILIE EASTMAN STAFF WRITER The Sears department store in Landover, the lone remnant of the Landover mall that shuttered more than a decade ago, is finally closing its doors — and the property owners hope the site will be used for a major project, such as the new FBI headquarters. The 110-acre lot is owned by Lerner Enterprises, a development group that hopes to offer the property as a potential site for an FBI headquarters, according to media reports. Lerner was not immediately available for comment by press time. Sears will begin a liquidation sale Jan. 10 and plans to close the store by the end of March, a company spokesman said. Uses for the Landover Mall site have been debated since its closing in 2002. Many residents pushed for a planned $645 million regional hospital to be built on the property, but a site near the Largo Town Center was selected in August. The U.S. General Services Administration has been considering proposals from developers in Maryland, Virginia and the District for the construction of a replacement for the FBI’s current headquarters. Prince George’s County officials have backed a location near the Greenbelt Metro Station for the headquarters and developers of the $2 billion Westphalia Town Center in Upper Marlboro are also vying to be selected. Despite the rest of the mall’s closure, the Sears building remained popular with a small, faithful group of local shoppers, said Linzy Barnes, 26, of Lanham, who said she has been shopping at the Landover location for as long as she can remember. “Nobody really comes to this one because, you know, nothing really is around here anymore,” See SEARS, Page A-7 Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906225


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