Page 1

from the ground up

St. Mark's to merge

keeping kermit alive

Advice on how to start your first garden, and where to get heirloom seeds that work best in the Hyattsville climate. Page 4

The St. Mark's lion mascot is just one legacy that will live on when the school merges in June. Page 9

Northwestern High School pays tribute to Muppet creator Jim Henson with Henson Night. Page 3

DeMatha set to open new Convocation Center, fields by Daniel Hart The brand-new, 77,000 square-foot, three-story Convocation Center at DeMatha Catholic High School will serve many functions when it opens next month, housing among other things a 1,200-seat gym, high-tech classrooms, and a batting cage. But what Athletic Director Ed King is really looking forward to is the new wrestling room. “Right now, [the wrestling team] is in the cafeteria,” he says. “We need to get them out of the cafeteria. As soon as we get occupancy, they’re the first group that’s in there.” Still, at least the wrestlers get to stay on campus; athletes who play lacrosse, soccer, and football have to travel to practice fields from Riverdale Park to Bowie. But by the end of the year, their commute will get a lot shorter: to West Hyattsville's Heurich Park, at the corner of Ager Road and Nicholson Street. Plans call for three fields – two grass, one synthetic turf – that will be used for football practice, soccer games, and both lacrosse practice and games. The turf field will be lighted, fences built, and parking expanded. Later phases will add a scoreboard, bleachers, restrooms, and a concession stand. The project will be jointly funded by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission and

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 7 No. 2

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

February 2010

Police dept. accused of discrimination by Paula Minaert

SUPER SNOW Residents share pics of the Blizzard of 2010


We gave you one day, you gave us great pictures of this record-setting snowfall. On 42nd Avenue, Cynthia Mitchel captured top prize in our first-ever 24-hour contest with this shot of two deck chairs given cushions and headrests by the blizzard. For more winning shots, see page11.

Six members of the Hyattsville police force have alleged discrimination against black officers within the Hyattsville Police Department. The Prince George's and Montgomery county chapters of the NAACP have requested that the Department of Justice investigate the charges. According to published sources, the president of the Prince George's chapter, June White Dillard, reported that “black officers have been subjected to sexual harassment, wrongful terminations and a hostile work environment.” “We take these allegations very seriously,” said Mayor William Gardiner. “If the Department of Justice feels the need to investigate, I’m confident the department and the city will be found to have acted appropriately and without discrimination.”

PRSRT STD U.S. POSTAGE PAID Permit # 43 Easton, MD 21601

dematha continued on page 5

Pet tracker helps lost What’s happening animals find their home where in Hyattsville

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

by Hannah Bruchman

Walking the streets of Hyattsville, Berdina, a white-and-gray pit bull mix, is all alone. Surviving on scraps of garbage, the dog has been wandering the streets since mid-April, desperately trying to find her foster guardian after jumping the fence at his home near Fort Totten. At least that's the scenario laid out by Sam Connelly, the owner of Pure Gold Pet Trackers, who along with a team of volunteers has been meticulously trailing the young dog. “Berdina wandered. She wandered a really far distance, and got really lost in D.C.,” concludes Connelly,

by Paula Minaert

the washington animal rescue league Berdina, a gray-and-white pit bull mix, has been missing since April. who opened her business in 2004. Before that, she worked for six years pets continued on page 11

Bulldozers and backhoes, dirt piles and shiny new buildings: We’re seeing a lot of construction in the city. Two projects are completed: the Post Properties on East-West Highway and Mosaic at Metro on Belcrest Road. Other projects have changed or been shelved. Here’s a rundown on commercial development in Hyattsville. EYA is moving forward with work on the east side of Route 1 after a long period with no activity. However, Mayor William Gardiner said that the timeline always

was for EYA to deliver the retail space by the end of 2010 and it is on schedule. But the developer is asking for changes. At a city council meeting Jan. 19, EYA presented the changes it will request at a county planning board meeting later this month. The proposed changes would mean substituting less expensive materials on the building facades, as well as eliminating 12 row homes and adding a 198-unit multifamily building. EYA attorney Larry Taub said, eya continued on page 10

Included: The February 10, 2010 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section

Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010


Trash or treasure? W

hen a neighbor of mine moved away a few years ago, he put a lot of items out for the trash. He tried to give things away, too. He gave us a sofa. But every trash day, he’d put out stuff: framed pictures, chairs, a rowing machine, curtains, a Nintendo console. I have a love-hate relationship with stuff. On the one hand, I hate clutter. I like space around me, because I get distracted and fragmented if there’s too much stuff. So I go on regular

A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation. Interested reporters should send their e-mail addresses to the editor to be reminded of deadlines and receive internal news. Articles and news submitted may be edited. The deadline is the last week of the month for the following month’s issue. Letters to the editor and opinions are encouraged. For all e-mail correspondence with HL&T: news, features, tips, advertising and business write to To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc. , e-mail Executive Editor Paula Minaert 301-335-2519 Managing Editor Susie Currie 301-633-9209 Editorial Intern Hannah Bruchman Production Ashley Perks Advertising Director Felix Speight 202-341-5670 Writers & Contributors Daniel Hart Victoria Hille Tim Hunt Kimberly Schmidt Hugh Turley Board of Directors Julia Duin - President Chris Currie - Vice President Jamie Aycock - General Counsel Paula Minaert - Secretary Susie Currie - Ex Officio Circulation: Copies are distributed monthly by U.S. Mail to every address in Hyattsville. Additional copies are distributed to libraries, selected businesses, community centers and churches in the city. Total circulation is 7,500. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

rampages to get rid of things. Instructions for a grill we don’t have anymore? Recycling. An expired container of lotion? Trash. Clothes, books, and knickknacks I don’t want? Old curtains? Thrift store. My husband, a thrifty New Englander, then quotes the old adage to me: “Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” We tend to balance each other out, eventually. On the other hand, I’m uneasily aware that we Americans produce an enormous amount of stuff. We use it, clean it, organize it, store it, and eventually throw it away.

I forget how many square miles of land we fill with rubbish every year, but it’s a lot. It’s a cliché that ours is a throwaway society, but true. It’s often cheaper to buy new than repair the old. When I walk around Hyattsville on trash day I see overflowing Toters – and this was even before we moved to once a week pickup. (I don’t exclude myself from amassing and tossing stuff. For one thing, I scrapbook and no other hobby requires as many supplies.) Yet another thought to consider: all the world’s great religions speak of the fleeting nature of



From Yellowstone to Hyattsville: The Story of Truman Everts by Kimberly Schmidt As many old-timers in Hyattsville can attest, colorful and determined characters in our town are nothing new. Consider the story of Truman C. Everts, a man who called Hyattsville home for 20 years and whose October 1870 rescue in the Yellowstone wilderness created a national sensation. Everts was part of a wilderness surveillance party, sent by private funders to explore a mystical landscape that would become Yellowstone National Park. The group of 30 men was led by Gen. Henry D. Washburn, surveyor general of the Montana Territory. Not long into the expedition, Everts became separated from his party as they moved through a dense pine forest. At first, he believed he would be reunited with the group in time for breakfast. “As separations like this had frequently occurred,” he wrote later, “it gave me no alarm.” That first night he confidently made camp, built a fire and settled in. But Everts’ luck soon ran out. On the second day his horse ran away, taking off with matches, guns, blankets, and fishing tackle. Everts was left with nothing but the clothes on his back, a small opera glass, and two knives, which the extremely nearsighted Everts soon lost in the underbrush.

My mother just gave me a small cloth bag covered with lace, with the name “Paula” worked into the lace. My grandmother made it, stitch by stitch, for her sister, also named Paula. The bag is a glimpse into a different world, a world where women did things like needlework, and a glimpse into a particular relationship. I’ll keep that, too. Our relationship with most objects has changed. They don’t tell stories; they play strictly utilitarian roles in our lives. I once saw an exhibit at the First Baptist Church that displayed everyday things recovered from old houses in Hyattsville. I wonder sometimes if, a hundred years from now, enough objects will exist from our time to form such an exhibit.


by Paula Minaert

material things, and how unimportant they are in the light of eternity. But on the other hand, I love old things. I have an old meat grinder that used to be my mother’s, which I may never use. We needed it the time my mother, my sister, and I spent a day making hundreds of frikadeller (Danish meatballs) for my parents’ 60th wedding anniversary party. That object has a memory attached to it and I’ll keep it. Something I’ll never use is the fancy buttonhook lacer that came from my grandmother, who presumably used it every day to lace up her high-button shoes. But I’ll keep it anyway. It’s a concrete reminder of how people lived not that long ago. Old things have stories to tell.

It took him a week to figure out that he could build a fire with his opera glass and a little while longer to realize that since it wasn’t always sunny, he needed to keep the fire going. Friends posted a $600 reward, but after 12 days the search parties were called off. Everts rode out a blizzard by staying close to the now-famous thermal features of the area. Maybe too close, in fact: He wrote of being “enveloped in a perpetual steam bath,” which left him “thoroughly parboiled.” By the time he was found – purely by accident – after 37 days, things had grown steadily worse for the hapless explorer. At one point he spent the night treed by a mountain lion. His nearsightedness cost him again and again. He stumbled into his campfire one night, severely burning his hands. He fell through a thin encrusted layer of earth into a thermal pool and scalded his thigh. He survived by eating thistle roots. “This was not John Muir in ecstasy becoming one with nature,” one historian said in Ken Burns' recent National Parks documentary. “This was a horrific ordeal for a poor guy who just got lost at the wrong time.” When two mountain men stumbled across him, Everts was barely alive, frostbitten, weighing only 50 pounds, and hallucinating

In 1870, Truman C. Everts spent 37 days lost in what is now Yellowstone National Park. about New York City restaurants. His hands were the shape of bird’s claws, the skin on his thigh black. One of his rescuers stayed with him, feeding him bear oil while the other hiked to the nearest house, 75 miles away. Evidently, Everts was not a gracious man. Instead of praising his rescuers and offering them the reward money posted by his friends, he barely acknowledged the men and refused to pay the reward, claiming that he could have walked out on his own. Soon after his rescue, Gen.

Washburn named a peak in the region after Everts, who went on to publish a 17-page story about his ordeal in Scribner’s Monthly in 1871. The article, titled “ThirtySeven Days of Peril,” raised awareness about the landscape and surely contributed to Yellowstone becoming America's first National Park the following year. In 1880 or 1881, according to park records, Everts came to Hyattsville with his new wife, said to have been 14 at the time of their marriage. They settled on a small farm here, and Everts worked in the post office until his death in 1901. Their only child, Truman C. Everts, Jr., was born in 1891, when Everts was 75. There’s no indication that Everts himself ever returned to Yellowstone after moving to Hyattsville, but interest in his exploits remained high. A book about his adventures was published posthumously in 1923. It's still available today, but if you want the short version of the tale, see http:// Kimberly Schmidt is the president of the Hyattsville Preservation Association. Her column appears bimonthly.

CORRECTION It seems that rumors of Jeremiah Harrington's death have been greatly exaggerated. Although we referred to the former mayor and city council member as deceased in a photo caption last month, Harrington in fact lives in a nursing home in Adelphi. HL&T regrets the error.

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

Page 3

Muppet creator's legacy lives on at Northwestern by Christine Cestello Hinojosa Few people know that Kermit the Frog's birthplace is on Adelphi Road. Northwestern High School, to be exact. But every year, students in the Jim Henson School of Arts, Media, and Communications pay tribute to Northwestern's most famous graduate with Henson Night. It's both a showcase for teen talent and a gift of gratitude to the master puppeteer's family, some of whom attend annually. This year's program, on Jan. 20, included works by the jazz band, choir, original choreographed dance pieces, a piano solo, a dramatic presentation, films, and an art exhibit in the school's gallery. But Henson Night is only one opportunity the students get to shine. Earlier this month, as part of the Washington Architectural Foundation's "Architecture in the Schools" program, University of Maryland undergraduate and graduate architecture students began an 8-week program with several art and engineering students from Northwestern. Their joint projects will be displayed on the university campus this spring. In April, the school will send singers to a competition at Disney World. Advanced visual arts students have studied printmaking with the university's David Driskell Center, and printmaking will be added to the high school's offerings next year. Another planned collaboration between the university and the high school involves a documentary on alum John Fahey, an acclaimed acoustic guitarist who died in 2001. Plans are underway to screen it at both campuses, and organizers hope to develop a highschool curriculum that would bring in local professional musicians and scholars. One of Northwestern’s five specialized academy programs, the Jim Henson School of Arts, Media, and Communications was dedicated in 2002 and remains the only school the family has allowed to use the name. According to the brochure, it is “an art-themed school that aims to nurture artistic development while encouraging rigor and relevance in all subjects.” Programs and courses are offered in the visual arts, including drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, and computer graphics. Students in the instrumental and vocal music programs can choose from nearly 20 musical groups such as chorus, several bands and choirs, and an orchestra. There are also courses in TV production,

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photo by Christine Cestello Hinojosa Anthony Townes, band director at Northwestern High School, leads the Jazz Band performance for Henson Night. drama, and dance. None of this would be possible without The Henson Legacy, which over the past six years has given the school over $100,000. Founded in 1993, three years after Henson died unexpectedly at age 53 after a brief illness, the company was established to conserve and preserve the artistic contributions of the master puppeteer, best known as the creator of the Muppets and one of the forces behind Sesame Street. Henson spent his high school years at Northwestern, where he created the prototype of his most famous character, Kermit the Frog. After graduation in 1954, he headed off to the University of Maryland at College Park, where he met his future wife, Jane Nebel, now the head of The Henson Legacy. They married in 1959 and eventually moved to New York, where they raised five children and several Muppets. Recently, there have been new discussions about expanding the arts programming offered at The Jim Henson School. For years, through the tenures of at least three county school superintendents, there have been promises to designate it as the northern area arts visual and performing arts program. Now, Superintendent William Hite has proposed just such a school, board of education member Amber Waller told Northwestern’s January PTSA meeting. Both she and Principal Jerome Thomas said that expanding the programs in the Henson school is both a logical and a natural fit for Northwestern, which is the desig-

nated high school for the students in the Gateway Arts District. The school board is currently considering changes to school boundaries and programs – including Hyattsville Middle School's Creative and Performing Arts Program – and Waller encouraged people to attend upcoming meetings. A schedule can be found at http://www1.pgcps. org/phase3/, along with a survey asking what residents would like to see in neighborhood high schools. Christine Cestello Hinojosa has lived in Hyattsville with her family for 22 years. Her son graduated from the Henson Program and a daughter is currently enrolled in Northwestern's International Studies Program.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

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MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, I moved from Los Angeles to the Washington, D.C. area last year, and chose a home in Hyattsville because I fell in love with its old-fashioned houses and gardens. Now in dreary January, as I look through seed catalogs and websites, I find that I really don't know what to choose to make my first garden in this climate. What flowers and vegetables do best in an area straddling north and south? Also, I'd like to grow flowers in keeping with Hyattsville's rather romantic ethos. I'd appreciate some guidance through serious information overload. Overloaded on Longfellow Street Dear Overloaded, As far back as the mid-19th century, the poet Longfellow (for whom I assume your street was named) opined that he thought that the greatest temptation since the big one in the Garden of Eden was the January seed catalog. We have more choices now than he ever did, what with page after page of colorful photographs in the catalogs and on websites. However, the choices offered in the past were often more delicious, more charming and, as a consequence, even more tempting. Your solution may be to forgo ordering from afar, with its bother and mailing costs, and come instead to the Hyattsville Horticultural Society's First Annual Heirloom Seed Sale on Saturday, Feb. 20, at the Municipal Center. The sale begins at 10 a.m. and ends at 4 p.m. We have arranged with the prestigious Hart Seed

Company to sell varieties of seeds no longer available to the average home gardener. The Hart Company is a family enterprise going back to 1892, and is still run by the great-grandson and namesake of Charles Hart, its founder. HHS has selected from Hart's Heritage Collection only those varieties that do well in our climate. This means that although we won't offer such sentimental favorites as sweet peas, which shrivel up just as soon as our brief spring turns to hot summer, we will offer such charmers as Granny's nightcap, love-lies-bleeding, and outhouse hollyhocks. Those last — tall and colorful beauties — were used both to camouflage and identify sanitation facilities that in the past had to go outside in the garden. Space here is limited but I must mention the old velvet queen sunflowers, marvel of Peru four o'clocks, and imperial larkspur — all of which thrive in our hot humid summers. In addition to the flower seeds in charming packets, you will find heirloom vegetable seeds for such old favorites as the merveille des quatre saisons lettuce, Brandywine pink tomatoes, and the Danvers half-long carrot — which isn't long enough to get twisted by the hard clay lurking beneath your topsoil. We will also offer seeds for some of the newer vegetable varieties so that along with the more flavorful old varieties you can extend your growing season with some earlier developing hybrids. For those who miss the day of sale, you can contact for a private showing of leftover seed packages.

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continued from page 1 DeMatha, which has already contributed a $500,000 anonymous donation made specifically for fields. M-NCPPC officials have said that while DeMatha will have scheduling priority for the three fields, other groups who want to use them can apply for permits. For now, though, all eyes are on the

Page 5 Convocation Center. School officials expect to begin using it the week of Feb. 22, and a dedication ceremony is planned for March 5, followed by an open house the next day from 2 to 5 p.m. The center will serve primarily as the school gym, and it will be large enough for school Masses, assemblies, and science fairs. Encircling the gym floor are three stories of high-tech classrooms and athletic


photo by paula minaert Pastor Rudolf Kampia greets well-wishers after a service to celebrate his retirement from Redeemer Lutheran Church in Hyattsville after 14 years. His family and members of his former parish in Pennsylvania attended. The service was followed by a luncheon.

facilities — including, yes, a wrestling room. It's the crown jewel of a $23 million plan that began with acquiring property adjacent to the school’s main campus in 2001. Center construction began in 2008, as renovations were already underway to the administration building and the Brendan McCarthy Center. Used primarily for the school's award-winning music program, the building accommodates five concert bands, three choruses, two string orchestras, a pep band, a gospel choir, six levels of music theory, and several ensembles. King, who also serves as the school's facilities manager, cited the needs of a growing student body as the primary reason for the school’s expansion project. “We’re going to cap off at about 1,000 [students],” he says. “We’re not going to ever go beyond that, and I can never see us going co-ed. But we got to the point where the original gym, which maybe seats 650 people, was just not adequate.” The acclaimed basketball team routinely draws hundreds of fans for home games, and the final game in the Wootten Gym – on Feb. 22 at 7 p.m., against Gonzaga – is already sold out. But the school has reserved 100 tickets that it will sell for $200 each as a fundraiser for the Convocation Center. The price includes a pre-game reception.

photos courtesy of dematha high school Workers at DeMatha Catholic High School put the finishing touches on the Convocation Center, with an open house planned for the public on March 6. The new school gym will host the Stags' home basketball games beginning next season. By the end of the year, several outdoor teams will have new playing and practice fields in West Hyattsville.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010


followed by tours of the building. 9 to 11 a.m. 5207 42nd Place. 301.277.4568. www.

Come and see the In Plane View exhibit at the College Park Aviation Museum. The exhibit features large photographs taken by Carolyn Russo of some of the most iconic aircraft from the National Air and Space Museum. Free with museum admission of $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, and $2 for ages 18 and under. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

February 20

Come see the famous Spencer “Spinny” Johnson, former Harlem Globetrotter, show off his basketball skills at A Basketball Legend. He’ll show off some of his moves while talking about performing as an African-American athlete. Free. 2 to 3 p.m. Prince George’s Plaza Community Center, 6600 Adelphi Road. 301.864.1611.

February 14

Share the love with your sweetie as well as those in need at Have a Heart for Haiti: World Dance Benefit Concert. The evening includes a dessert bar and a menu of dances from Egypt, Tahiti, Afghanistan, India, and other countries. All proceeds will go to the emergency relief fund of Doctors Without Borders, a humanitarian organization providing medical aid in Haiti. $25 ($20 in advance). 7 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier. 301.699.1819. Blue Sky Puppet Theatre will perform Rufus, a children’s play about a dog who looks different but learns, along with those around him, that differences make us unique. The show is for ages 3 and up, and children must be accompanied by an adult. Free. 3 p.m. Old Parish House, 4711 Knox

February 20 and 21

The Taratibu Youth Association presents Young Revolutionaries, African-American stories of history, culture, and spirituality told through song and dance. 7 p.m. on Feb. 20, 3 p.m. on Feb. 21. $20; $15 for ages 12 and under. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier. 301.699.1819. photo courtesy of blue sky puppet theatre These puppets would love to spend Valentine's Day with you. Road, College Park. 301.927.3013. info@

February 18 and 25

St. Jerome’s School open house will begin with a presentation by the principal,

February 21

Celebrate African-American heritage at The Ties that Bind: Tying the Past to the Future, where participants can make a memory book, take part in a historical picture walk, and learn about African dance. $5. 2 to 4 p.m. Prince George’s Ballroom, 2411 Pinebrook Ave., Landover. 301.341.7439.

photo courtesy of the taratibu youth assoc. Drumming is only part of the show "Young Revolutionaries" brings to Joe's Movement Emporium.

February 24

Ever heard of the Anansegromma of Ghana? This performance group of “royal elders” will lead West African calland-response songs and games. Free. 4 to 5 p.m. College Park Community Center, 5051 Pierce Avenue, College Park. 301.441.2647. calendar continued on page 7

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February 25

Test your trivia knowledge with an all-ages game of Black History Jeopardy. Reserve your spot by Feb. 19. Free. 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Prince George’s Plaza Community Center, 6600 Adelphi Rd., 301.864.1611.

February 26

See what University Church Nursery School has to offer your 2-to-4-year-old during open houses scheduled for today and March 11. Children are welcome. 10 a.m. to noon. University United Methodist Church, 3621 Campus Drive, College Park. 301.422.1404 or

February 28

Poor Bram Stoker. First, the Twilight series gave the lie to all that business about garlic and stakes, and now along comes Dracula is Dead, a book by Sheilah Kast and former U.S. Ambassador to Romania Jim Rosapepe. The husband and wife team will read from and sign copies of the book, which

describes the transformation of Romania from oppressive Communist regime to what the subtitle calls “the new Italy.” Free. 2 p.m. Hyattsville Library, 6530 Adelphi Rd. 301.985-4690.

March 6

No need to run for cover at this battle scene. The 7th Maryland Company: A U.S. Drill Day is a re-enactment of Civil War military drills and techniques. Free with museum admission of $3 for adults, $2 for seniors and groups, $1 for ages 5 to 18, and free for ages 4 and under. Noon to 4 p.m. Marietta House Museum, 5626 Bell Station Road, Glenn Dale. 301.464.5291.

March 13

Go back in time with a Federal Crafts Workshop, where you can learn the basics of confectionery (creating sweets to eat) or millinery (making fashionable accessories). The price of $38 includes lunch and all materials. Advance payment required by March 5. Starts at 10 a.m. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.


Every Wednesday evening in February, the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex will host Throwback Theater, showing movies starring African-American actors and actresses. The lineup includes Uptown Saturday Night, a 1974 comedy starring Sidney Poitier and Bill Cosby, on Feb. 17, and The Five Heartbeats, a 1991 movie chronicling an African-American singing group of the same name, on Feb. 24. Free admission, with optional concession fees. Ages 13 and up. 6 to 9 p.m. 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover. 301.583.2582. At the 2010 Xtreme Teens Rising Stars Vocal Showcase, set for May 15 at the University of Maryland, singers will compete for cash prizes ranging from $250 to $1,000. Auditions, open to county residents ages 10 to 17, will be held throughout the county starting on Feb. 19 from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly. Find out where and when the rest are by clicking the Upcoming Events tab at http:// Singers must register in advance by calling 301.864.1611, and they should bring

photo courtesy of the 7th maryland company No, it's not your grandfather's army picture. Members of the 7th Maryland Company will re-enact drills on March 6. music for two songs (one slow, one fast) to the audition. Need a chance to unwind? A Tangled Skein yarn shop will be offering twice weekly Sit & Stitch sessions to knitters and crocheters of any experience level. Open to ages 14 and up. Free. Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursdays 1 to 3 p.m. 5200 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 101. 301.779.3399.

Community Calendar is compiled by Hannah Bruchman and Susie Currie. It’s a select listing of events happening in and around Hyattsville from the 15th of the issue month to the 15th of the following month. To submit an item for consideration, email or mail to P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for March submissions is Feb. 23.

Free electronics recycling Program Saturday, March 13, 2010, 9:00 a.M. - 12:00 noon • Saturday, June 5, 2010, 9:00 a.M. – 12:00 noon city oF Hyattsville DPW yarD, 4633 arunDel Place, Hyattsville

tHe city oF Hyattsville Will ProviDe resiDents tHe oPPortunity to DisPose oF tHe FolloWing unWanteD or unusable equiPment: • coMputer MonitorS • central proceSSing unitS • printerS • coMputer KeyboardS, mouse & Wire

• VcrS • radioS • copierS • teleViSionS • cell phoneS

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tHis Program is oPen to city oF Hyattsville resiDents only. inDiviDuals ParticiPating in tHis Program Will be requireD to sHoW ProoF oF iDentiFication incluDe a Driver’s license, military iDentiFication, a tax, Water or cable bill.

Page 8

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

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Hugh’sNews Let's go back to the moon by Hugh Turley President Obama’s 2011 budget cancelled the NASA program Constellation, which would have returned men to the moon by 2020. Let's hope Congress disagrees. The Apollo program was a tremendous success, with 24 astronauts traveling to the moon. Half of them descended to walk on the surface and drive a lunar vehicle. It was reported that the program, which ran from 1961 to 1975, employed 400,000 people directly and 1.6 million indirectly. The new budget kills development of the Ares rocket, which was to have been the successor to the space shuttle for manned flight. NASA has already spent billions developing the rocket. The first launch of the Ares had been scheduled for 2015. Some argue it would be easier to fake a moon trip and just have Steven Spielberg produce a video. After all, the sort of skeptics who claim that the earlier landings were Stanley Kubrick productions will never believe it if we ever go again. (Yes, there are those who don't believe man has walked on the moon, including a quarter of the British public surveyed last year – the 40th anniversary of the first lunar landing.) As we reinvent the wheel, we should not forget the technology that got us to the moon 40 years

ago. The astronauts who first traveled there —and many of the engineers behind them—are now in their 80s and should be valuable resources on how it is done. Does anyone still remember how to use a slide rule? If someone would like to own a piece of history, I found the same model used on Apollo XI, signed by Buzz Aldrin, available online for $550. In 1968 Frank Borman, Jim Lovell, and Bill Anders were the first men to fly around the moon and see the first earthrise. That year, Lyndon Johnson was still president, the Green Bay Packers won the second Super Bowl, and the Beatles created Apple Records. The following year Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin landed on

the surface of the moon. There were a total of six manned missions that landed on the moon! The final landing was in 1972. The Russians, with all their success, never achieved even a circumlunar manned flight. Landing men on the moon and returning them safely to earth is even more remarkable, considering the limited technology available during the 1960s. Most Americans watched the first moon landing on black-and-white television sets with vacuum tubes and called each other using rotary dial telephones. Today, stereo hi-fidelity record collections and motion pictures are contained in a palm-of-yourhand iPod. Digital cameras, laptop computers, and wireless phones are as common as the transistor radio was back then. Some 20thcentury technologies have disappeared altogether, such as phonographs, tape players, typewriters, and adding machines. Still, while some things change, other things remain the same. Haircuts are a good example. Barbers still cut hair the same way they did 50 years ago. Styles may have changed, but the tools of the trade haven't. Moon travel, like barbering, apparently hasn’t changed very much, either. The Apollo program has never been improved upon. It has stood the test of time and remains the best and only way to travel to the moon and back. In the 21st century we may wonder: Why are we unable to do what our grandparents did in the 20th century?

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Page 9

St. Mark School to merge with St. Camillus by Susie Currie Two local Catholic schools are merging to become St. Francis International School, officials said in a series of meetings last month with parents, students and staff. The principals at St. Mark the Evangelist School, on Adelphi Road, and St. Camillus School, in Silver Spring, unveiled a plan for consolidation that will use both campuses. Beginning in June, St. Mark's facilities will be used for summer camps and programs, as well as CYO sports practice and games. During the upcoming academic year, all classes, from preschool through 8th grade, will be three miles away at the St. Camillus location. The move comes as Catholic schools across the country, faced with declining enrollment and revenues, have had to take a hard look at their futures. In buildings that can hold up to 600 students – and accommodated hundreds more during peak enrollment – St. Camillus currently has 257 and St. Mark's, 267. St. Camillus principal Tobias Harkleroad said he expects enrollment the first year to be between 450 and 530. If numbers climb in subsequent years, the St. Mark's property will become a middle school, for grades 5 to 8, while the St. Camillus school will serve ages 2 through 4th grade. Harkleroad and St. Mark's principal Charles M. Russell will share leadership of St. Francis, and the transition is already well underway. Banners at each school bear the new name, as does an extensive website. The new logo combines St. Mark's lion and the Greek tau – picture

photo by susie currie A banner at St. Mark the Evangelist School announces the new name. a red capital T — that was the St. Camillus school symbol. At press time, the school was preparing for its fourth open house, and several major gatherings have brought the two populations together. Combined field trips are in the works. "The goal is that before the end of the school year, every class will do something together either socially or academically," said Harkleroad. On a recent snow day, Harkleroad had stopped by the school with cans of paint. "We want it to feel like a new school," he said.

To that end, parish volunteers are replacing hall carpets with tile and painting hallways and classrooms. To make what he calls a "21st-century school instead of a 1950s school," much of St. Mark's equipment, from the 13,000-volume library to new computers, will find a home at St. Francis. "We can do much more together than separately," says Russell, pointing to the fact that every middle-school classroom at St. Francis will have an interactive whiteboard, something that the schools would have taken years

to accomplish on their own. Both men say they expect most of their current students will enroll at St. Francis. Although some parents have been making the rounds of other area open houses, many seem enthusiastic about the new venture. For Elizabeth Gordon-McNeil, a St. Camillus school board member, the biggest regret is that none of her children will attend the school, as her last will graduate from St. Camillus this year. "Most parents I know are ecstatically happy with the decision," she says.

Susana Limon's two sons attend St. Mark's, and she plans to enroll them at St. Francis. "We're very excited about the curriculum," said Limon, whose husband, Raymond, directs the CYO sports program at St. Mark's. "Our kids are most interested in their teachers and their friends, and they'll have those at St. Francis." All employees at both schools must apply for positions at the new school, and staffing needs will depend on enrollment. Harkleroad says that the new curriculum will stress interdisciplinary learning, and extensive teacher training is scheduled for summer. "We've used the term boot camp," he said. Part of the new mission is building on the strengths of a student body from dozens of countries. There will be a greater emphasis on languages, and by middle school, students can choose whether to specialize in French or Spanish. Harkleroad says the school will explore the International Baccalaureate model, but the certification process takes five or six years. The leadership model will be changing, too. Instead of being run by the pastor advised by a school board, as most Catholic elementary schools are, St. Francis will be run more like a parish high school, with authority belonging to a board of directors. Some decisions, though, will rest with parents. The principals have tasked them with, among other things, coming up with the new uniform, and will continue to seek their input in other areas. "We're building something new together," said Harkleroad, "not taking something off the shelf and selling it."

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

continued from page 1 “We are in the midst of the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. And we are moving forward on the east side – it’s a great victory. Our commercial tenants, Busboys and Poets and Tara Thai, are hanging in there.” The city council, at its Feb. 1 meeting, moved to send a letter to the county planning board about EYA’s proposals. The board typically seriously considers the city’s position in such instances. According to Councilmember Tim Hunt (Ward 3), the letter says the city supports the change in the unit mix and the deletion of the single-family homes, but does not support the suggested design changes in the facade. Aakash Thakkar, EYA’s vice president for development, said, “Our moving forward on the east side is contingent on being able

to get approval for these changes from the county. Of course, we’ll work with the county and the city to the extent we can about any concerns they may have.” Safeway and UTC. The Hamilton Street Safeway will not move to University Town Center, according to Safeway spokesman Greg Ten Eyck, because the space was not available from UTC. Mayor Gardiner said that the recession has hit retail and office development like UTC especially hard. Safeway would have had the ground level of the building and condominiums would have had the upper levels. “Once the condo market went south, UTC couldn’t get financing for that project,” Gardiner said. The city’s director of community development, Jim Chandler, pointed out that even though a few businesses at UTC have closed, others are doing well. UTC did not return calls request-

ing information. YMCA and the BB&T Building. Because of the economic recession, the YMCA is not moving forward with its plan to come to

The city has agreed to buy the BB&T building, with the understanding that it would be rented to nonprofit groups and also used as a community space. Hyattsville, according to the mayor. He said the YMCA is now supporting the city’s request for the state to reallocate the $300,000 in funds originally earmarked for

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altor representing radio station WPFW. He brought up the offer at the Jan. 19 council meeting. “What surprised me was that the city had proposed to send a letter, dated Jan. 6, to WPFW stating we weren’t interested in selling the building. This was without any council discussion.” Gardiner said that the council was told that since the city had not decided to sell the building, the offer wasn’t evaluated. Former WSSC site. Fire struck this building in December, resulting in the boarding up of many of the windows. The mayor met recently with Paul Millstein of Douglas Development, owner of this property. According to the mayor, DD has committed to replacing the wood with glass. He also said DD has no current plans for potential uses or tenants for the property. The Arcade. This building at 4318 Gallatin St., known unofficially as the mustard building, is owned by the city. Community Development Director Chandler said that the city council recently approved a contract with the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation to act as construction manager for the façade. He also said that the building will be used for public meeting space, performing arts space, and as offices for the Anacostia Heritage Trails Area.

the Y project to the city. The city would put these funds toward the purchase and renovation of the former BB&T building, at 3505 Hamilton Street. The city has agreed to buy the building, with the understanding that it would be rented to nonprofit groups and also used as a community space. Councilmember David Hiles (Ward 2) supports the purchase. “I’ve seen some nice buildings in Hyattsville come up for sale, and the city had opportunities to play a role in how they’d be used – like the armory building. And they missed those opportunities. I’m glad the city has taken this one. “It was offered at a very low price for the amount of space and the city is crunched for space now. The police have the same space they did 20 years ago. I’m interested in having some police patrol staff be closer to where most of the police action is.” Some council members did not support the decision to buy the building or to ask for state money for it. Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 4) said, “If we put nonprofits in there, it’s another property taken off the tax rolls. And no one is asking what it will cost to maintain the building.” Councilmember Tim Hunt said that more consideration should have been given to an offer to buy the building that came from a re-

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

Page 11


photo by ann barrett Nancy Barrett in her igloo near Crittenden Street.

photo by catie currie A snowdrop peeks through the snow.

photo by heather woods A Narnia-like lamppost on 41st Place.

photo by robin fernkas Out and about near 42nd and Longfellow, 4-year-old Aidan Ankrah gets a tow from his dad, Rodges Ankrah.


continued from page 1 in human search-and-rescue, using dogs to find people missing after natural disasters or other emergency situations. After being diagnosed with osteoporosis, Connelly switched focus, cross-training her two search dogs, Salsa and Brando, to find pets instead of people. Based in Perry Hall, Md., Connelly helps pet owners from New Hampshire to South Carolina. The first step is to give the tracking dog an item that has the lost pet's scent, like a blanket or toy. The dog is then taken to where the animal was last seen and follows its nose. In Berdina's case, that trail has most recently taken Team Berdina, as the volunteers call themselves, to Heurich Park. They have posted fliers and sent postcards to residents of nearby Kirkwood and Ager Road Station apartments. They've scoured the area and talked to residents, business owners and police, blogging about the search at http:// “It’s a remarkable effort by a small group of people,” said team member Sally Tom, a volunteer at the Washington Area Rescue League, which had been Berdina's home before Fort Totten. The dog was about to be adopted by her foster guardian when she ran away. “She’s a great dog, really friendly and really sweet," says Tom. "She’s a little more skittish now and not so eager to approach people.” The past weeks have been filled with inaccurate sightings and false alarms. But a call on Jan. 16 led to a warehouse behind Kirkwood apartments, where Connelly's dog detected Berdina's scent. Connelly set up a feeding station trap, but so far has caught only feral cats. She says they'll keep going until she's found. Many of her cases end in success. Last year, she says, 87 of 125 pets she tracked were reunited with their owners. One of them, a female Chihuahua and Jack Russell terrier mix named Penelope, was returned to her Hyatts-

ville owners in December. She had just been adopted by Hyattsville residents Karma Foley and Raphi Talisman when she ran away. The owners immediately contacted Homeward Trails Animal Rescue, the shelter through which they had adopted Penelope, and AWOL Dogs, a group that organizes searches for lost dogs. Connelly was brought in on a recommendation from an AWOL volunteer. Using the scent from Penelope’s harness, Connelly and Salsa led a search party through Hyattsville, winding around Belcrest Plaza and Queens Chapel Road. After five days, Penelope was found nearly a mile from her home in a neighbor's backyard. She was reunited with her owners at an animal hospital, hav-

ing sustained an eye injury that is thought to be from being hit by a car. The eye had to be removed, but she recovered nicely and has settled into her new home. "The tracking was part of the full search effort," says Foley. "Although it didn't lead directly to Penelope's recovery, it did let us know that she hadn't traveled very far and was almost certainly still nearby." Many are hoping the same is true for Berdina. A reward of $500 is offered to anyone with a confirmed sighting of the lost dog, and $3,000 goes to anyone who "humanely and safely" captures her. Anyone with more information regarding her whereabouts should contact Connelly at 410.365.7456 or

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2010

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Hyattsville Life & Times February 2010  

Residents' pictures of Super Snow Sunday, plus an update on several development projects and news about Northwestern and DeMatha high school...

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