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Paint it BLUE & The Gazette Musicians and more descend on PGCC this Saturday. B-1 SERVING NORTHERN AND CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY COMMUNITIES DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Thursday, September 19, 2013 25 cents Shootings put focus on training Officials stress importance of security preparations in wake of Navy Yard tragedy n BY JAMIE ANFENSON-COMEAU AND CHASE COOK STAFF WRITERS In the wake of a mass shooting Monday that resulted in the deaths of 12 people at Washington Navy Yard and the shooter, Prince George’s County and municipal officials are assuring residents that schools and government buildings are prepared to handle such emergencies. “It was sort of theoretical before, but now it really brings it home to everyone the importance of the training,” Bowie spokeswoman Una Cooper said. The county and several municipalities, including Bowie, hold training where people are taught how to respond in the event of an active shooter threat. On Monday morning, the GREG DOHLER/THE GAZETTE Volunteers Rachel Hall (left) of New Carrollton and Marlene Young of College Park sort through donations at the Lutheran Mission Society’s Compassion Center in Hyattsville. Hyattsville school converted into community services center BY Officials say Landover Mall has retail future, but residents express doubt n County public school students and 75 percent of students in Hyattsville’s public schools qualify for free or reduced-cost meals. “It’s going to fill gaps for families in crisis,” Sandel said. The center has been running since Aug. 29 and had its grand opening Sept. 14. Through volunteers and donations, it will offer goods at reduced rates and free spiritual counseling three days per week, Thursdays through Saturdays. “Working as a team with a church, it’s good for both of us,” said David Maack, the society’s executive director. “People know about us. They come to us from far distances because they know we will help them.” n ERIC GOLDWEIN STAFF WRITER families in crisis. “The concept is that, you cannot allow people to go hungry,” Linthicum said. Abby Sandel, Hyattsville’s community services director, said there is a tremendous need for food assistance programs in the city. According to data from the Maryland State Department of Education, about 60 percent of Prince George’s See SHOOTING, Page A-7 ‘We need something here that’s good for us’ From learning to giving I nside Redeemer Lutheran Church, classrooms formerly filled with second-grade students are being stocked with canned goods, clothing racks and an assortment of household items, such as rubber duckies and microwaves. Once Concordia Lutheran School closed in June 2012 due to low enrollment, officials at the Hyattsville church considered how best to use the space. They opened a Lutheran Mission Society Compassion Center — part thrift shop and part ministry. There are seven other similar centers in Maryland; this is the first in Prince George’s County. Eric Linthicum, pastor at Redeemer, said the center will provide free bags of food and other goods to suspected gunman, Aaron Alexis, 34, of Texas, opened fire in the Washington Navy Yard, killing 12, including Sylvia Frasier, 53, who lived in Prince George’s County with her family before moving to Charles County, according to the FBI and Metropolitan Police Department. “She was a real jewel,” said Frasier’s sister, Lindlee Frasier. “It was unbelievable she died the way she did. It was unfathomable.” Alexis was killed by police, according to MPD. A motive is still being determined. Laurel Police Chief Richard McLaughlin took an opportunity during a Monday meeting with Laurel school principals to remind them of the county’s active shooter training. McLaughlin said the police department will schedule the training with any business or entity that requests it. Any location can have an active shooter, he said. BY SOPHIE PETIT STAFF WRITER If Shegitu Wolde can’t find what she needs at Sears, the lone store remaining at the former Landover Mall site, the Cheverly resident said she’s in for at least a 20-minute drive to shop at bigbox department stores like Target in Lanham or Bowie. “We need more stores. Anything. We need something here that’s good for us,” Wolde, 49, said as she stood outside of Sears amidst the sprawling property that’s been empty and deteriorat- See GIVING, Page A-7 ing for more than a decade. Community members said they were hopeful the 110-acre site would be reinvigorated as Landover Mall was one of two finalists for the site of the new Prince George’s regional hospital. As county officials and developers selected the Largo Town Center site on Aug. 22, Landover residents said they are back to wondering when the site will be redeveloped. “It sits by major traffic arteries and it should be given maximum attention,” said Kettering resident Arthur Turner, president of the Coalition of Central Prince George’s County Community Organizations based in Capitol Heights. County officials said the prop- See MALL, Page A-8 Police overhaul sparks mayor’s resignation n Brentwood department bought weapons without council’s approval, officials say BY ERIC GOLDWEIN STAFF WRITER Brentwood Mayor Bettyjean BaileySchmiedigen resigned from office, again, leaving a new council to sort out a dispute over which direction to take the town’s police department. Bailey-Schmiedigen — who was elected May 7 on a slate with the current council members, ousting the town’s former leaders — resigned Sept. 11. NEWS PASSION FOR PARKS Hyattsville students use computers to get in touch with nature. A-4 Bailey-Schmiedigen was also mayor from 1997 until January 1999, when she resigned from the post and moved to Florida. She returned in 2000 after the death of her husband, and served as mayor from 2007 to 2009. Since the May election, however, a rift developed regarding the police department. Bailey-Schmiedigen said she wanted newly hired police department officials to be aggressive regarding rebuilding the force, but council members expressed concern that the department was acting without their approval. “It’s obvious that we are not on the same page regarding [the] police [department]. I am more aggressive,” Bai- ley-Schmiedigen said in a text message to The Gazette. “... I can only hope they take the town down a positive avenue. The town deserves to move forward, not backwards.” Councilman E. James Cooksey was appointed to the mayor’s seat at Tuesday’s council meeting and will serve the remainder of the two-year term. Cooksey, with the council’s approval, will appoint a town resident to fill the vacant council seat within 30 days following the occurrence of the vacancy, according to the town charter. The resignation comes as Brentwood’s SPORTS GOING FOR IT High Point boys’ soccer keeps pursuing an elusive state championship. A-10 BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE See BRENTWOOD, Page A-8 Landover Mall, shown here Sept. 5, has been empty for years, except for Sears. Automotive B-11 Calendar A-2 Classified B-10 Community News A-4 Entertainment B-1 Opinion A-9 Sports A10 Please RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906625

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