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Ethiopian film has Hyattsville premiere by Susie Currie In what organizers hope will spur more independent-movie screenings in Prince George’s County, the film “Teza” made its Maryland debut at Hyattsville’s Regal Royale 14 on Feb. 26. At a pre-screening reception kicking off the limited run, director Haile Gerima, 63, addressed a crowd of about 100 on topics that ranged from his leaving Ethiopia at age 21 to raising six children in America without television to the difficulty of finding a major distributor for his award-winning film. Teza, an Amharic word that means “morning dew,” was part of the 2008 Toronto International Film Festival and has picked up several awards at similar festivals. But without the backing of a distributor, it relies on grassroots efforts to bring the movie to theaters. The local showings were sponsored by the city, the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, and the Anacostia Trails Heritage Area. Gerima, a film professor at Howard University, is best known for “Sankofa,” his 1993 movie in which a New York model travels back in time to experience life as a house slave in Ghana. “Teza” follows

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FILM continued on page 10

HOPPING INTO HYATTSVILLE Meet the new brewmaster at Franklins, as well as his two new brews, and see what else he has on tap. PAGE 5


In the HL&T's newest column, Postcards from Miss Floribunda explains the the Past, Hyattsville's long-time residents hows and the whys of growing share their memories of the city. PAGE 2 plants from seeds. PAGE 4

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Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781



Vol. 7 No. 3

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

March 2010

pottery pals PHOTOS BY VALERIE RUSSELL Four-year-olds Talia Bates, Davon Sampson, and Lilly K Kapler do th the di dishes March workshop d Lill l d h att a M h 6 pottery-painting tt i ti w k h presented t d by b the th city's it ' DepartD t ment of Recreation and Arts. During the afternoon event, families gathered in the municipal building to create one-of-a-kind plates, mugs and bowls with materials and instruction supplied by Color Me Mine, a company with studios in Silver Spring and Washington, D.C.

Major development gets green light by Paula Minaert Recent actions of the Prince George’s County Planning Board allowed two developments – one in Hyattsville, one on land adjoining it – to move forward. One of them, EYA, also announced that Yes! Organic Market has just signed with them, joining Tara Thai and Busboys & Poets. EYA, which has developed the east side of Route 1, had requested some money-saving changes to the design for buildings on the west side. The last issue of the HL&T outlined the discussions between EYA and the city about the changes. What the planning board finally

approved was the result of some give and take on both sides, said Jim Chandler, the city’s community development manager. “The city wanted the east side have the same look as the west side,” he said. “It involved architectural features like archways over windows and additional masonry. The planning board wanted to see the project move forward, didn’t want to put conditions in that would prevent the developer from doing that.” Barring any appeals, Chandler added, EYA is looking to have most of the commercial space built some time in November. The other development is Belcrest Plaza, which is 25 acres

located behind The Mall at Prince Georges and lies just outside the city limits. The planning board approved the design by developer Percontee Inc. for a high-

density mixed-used development to replace the aging garden-style apartments that are there now. EYA continued on page 10

Stags go out with a bang as exalted coach looks on By Chris McManes Longtime basketball fans know that Texas Western College was the first major college basketball team to start five black players in BASKETBALL continued on page 9

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

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2010

FromThePresident Making Hyattsville a destination... by Julia Duin As I am the new president of the board for the Hyattsville Life & Times, I'd like to introduce myself. It's been 18 months since I moved north 21 miles from Falls Church to Hyattsville. I desperately needed a bigger home for a reasonable price (and that's tough to find in Fairfax County) that was close to my work. I found a lovely home not far from Hyattsville Elementary along with a great pre-school, St. Matthew’s, for my little girl. I’ve loved the friendly neighborhood, the super-helpful local listserves (we had nothing

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 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.

like that in Falls Church) and the easy commute. Thanks to Value Village, I have not bought a piece of clothing for retail prices in recent memory. Two metros are within easy access. Ikea and Massage Envy are just up the road and I’ve discovered some gems of local eateries. There were a few downsides. Within a month of my moving here, my neighbor got carjacked and a resident down the street was murdered, but the huge local response to the latter showed me this was a bizarre exception, not the rule. But one thing that has amazed me in switching counties and states is the invisible red line that seems drawn around this area. I came from a place where

there was a Starbucks and a Panera on every other block; Tysons Corner was an easy four miles away and boutique shops, ethnic restaurants and Trader Joe’s abounded. When I moved here, I learned quickly that all the luxe outlets were in Montgomery County. Panera was nowhere to be found and I had to schlep to Silver Spring to find a Whole Foods. Yes, I know about the shining promises of EYA (see cover story): Tara Thai, Busboys & Poets, and now Yes! Organic Market are supposedly waiting for us at the end of all those backhoes on Route 1. And already, there are a few bright spots on the dining front. At University Town Center,

I hear Hank’s Tavern & Eats has a devoted following, and Five Guys offers a no-brainer alternative to the Golden Arches. At Franklins, as you can also read about in this issue, a new brewmaster is raising the bar on beers. Also, it seems that some restaurant chains – the Olive Garden, Outback Steakhouse, the locally grown Carolina Kitchen – are at last getting the message that we in PG County occasionally enjoy eating in places that don’t feature a drive-through window. But where are the others? This weird retail flight totally mystifies me. One excuse given is that Route 1 doesn’t have enough traffic for substantial retail. Really? Whoever says this has not tried


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to negotiate the ultra-busy street during rush hour. Also, aren't 30,000+ University of Maryland students less than two miles away a huge buying force? Yet, I find College Park to be pretty sparse in variety of stores considering how many buying units reside there. Comparable colleges, like the University of Washington, have blocks and blocks containing every store imaginable in that section of Seattle. Is the real reason behind it all a racism that has cut this section of PG County off from what the rest of metropolitan Washington enjoys? Is our mix of rich and poor, whites, blacks and Hispanics not quite the market that retailers want? I’m not the first person to raise these questions, and hats off to EYA for hearing them. Let’s hope that others are listening.

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...the way it was once upon a time By Paula Minaert Peggy Dee says that although she was born and raised in D.C., she’s lived more years in Hyattsville. And she was coming out to Hyattsville for a long time before she actually moved here. She remembers when our city used to be an attraction for some Washingtonians, rather than the other way around. “Hyattsville was a destination. We used to come out on Saturdays to do our shopping. We’d go to the Queenstown Center, to the A&P, where Shoppers [Food Warehouse] is now. We liked that old A&P. “Prince George’s Plaza was an outdoor mall then. They hadn’t started enclosing them yet. In the 1950s, I’d come out here with my girlfriends from D.C. and we’d have to wear our coats in the winter. It was a big trip. Then we moved here and I could walk to the Plaza.” She moved to the city in 1968 with her parents and commuted to her job as a legal assistant at the U.S. Department of Justice. “That was before Metro was built. We lived between Queens Chapel Road and Route 1. They had Greyhound then, and I loved that. I’d pick up the Greyhound bus on Route 1 and Queensbury

PHOTO FROM THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS A parking lot view of the original mall's Main Entrance. This was flanked by several flag poles... creating a "Flag Court," of sorts. and take it to work downtown. It was the same people every day and we all knew each other. There was a White Tower at that corner, where Rite Aid is now. I’d go in to White Tower in the morning to get my coffee and I could look out and see if Greyhound was coming and run out and get it.” Another thing that brought Dee to Hyattsville before she moved here was the movie theater, which was located where the car wash is now on Route 1. “From our house in D.C., we’d take the streetcar, which ran on

electric tracks. Our streetcar was called the Branchville line and it took maybe 20 minutes. When it got to the right of way, near the Flatiron Building, [at the intersection of Farragut Street and Baltimore Avenue] it veered to the right and we’d have to get off and walk up the hill.” Peggy remembers seeing Abbott and Costello movies, Westerns, and horror movies at the 1,000seat theater. Two other places drew her in those early years: the Hot Shoppes sit-down restaurant on Route 1 across from the old armory and an eatery called Mighty Moe’s, on Queens Chapel Road. “Mighty Moe’s was a drive-in restaurant,” Peggy says. “This was before fast food. You never had to get out of your car. You gave your order at a little stand and they’d bring the food out to you. That was really popular.” Something Peggy remembers about her early years in the city is that her street had lots of families with children. “Back then, people knew each other. The kids all played together, and the families spent time together. They would visit each other on Christmas morning and have barbecues in the summer. A lot of kids’ activities

“Hyattsville was a destination. We used to come out on Saturdays to do our shopping. ” — Peggy Dee Hyattsville resident

were centered in Magruder Park: an egg roll on Easter Monday and fireworks on [July] Fourth. They had sack races then, too – it was a big day. “Halloween was very different then – a lot more kids came out. You can’t believe the number of kids we used to get. Then it fell off, I guess because they all grew up. I really miss them. When I moved here, St. Jerome’s School had 60 kids in each class and a waiting list.” Peggy’s final comment about the city? “I love Hyattsville.” And to think it started even before she moved here. Paula Minaert is the executive editor of the Hyattsville Life & Times. “Postcards from the Past” is a new bimonthly column that will give readers a look into Hyattsville’s past through the eyes of those who have been here the longest.

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2010

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PHOTOS BY KATHY FOXHALL Hyattsville artist Clarke Bedford with some of his work. Below, one of his "art cars."

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by Kathy Foxhall Decades of a family’s history were in boxes on the curbside, waiting for trash haulers that were due shortly: something like 300 photos, ranging from pictures of formal-looking people in the 1910s through snapshots in the 1970s. There they were, an ordinary family and everyone’s family: photos of houses, pets, men in World War II uniforms, kids with band instruments, and a cross-country trip in the 1930s. The sight of them caught Hyattsville artist Clarke Bedford up short. Though he’s probably best known in the neighborhood for the five “art cars� – clunkers dressed up with a cacophony of wheels, railings, awnings, incongruous auto fins, and other things not found in a dealer showroom – outside his Nicholson Street home, he has done a number of collections that meld fantasy with reality. On that curbside, three or four years ago, began an adventure in creating a whole collection of artworks to highlight, frame, and feature those discarded family moments. It will be exhibited next month at Hillyer Art Space, a gallery near Dupont Circle. He started by questioning the woman who was carrying the boxes out. She said she was moving and needed to get rid of them. But she didn’t seem to know much about them, he says. They did not seem to be pictures of her family, although she said she would be keeping some of the “better� ones. And, yes, he could have those on the curb. So he took them home and found that on some of them, someone had recorded who, what, or where they were. With that, a few documents scattered among the photos, and an Internet search, he

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FULL SERVICE JEWELER identified the family whose generations and lives he had spread before him. The family, he believes, is “extinct�; a sister from the baby boom generation has died, a brother seems untraceable, and they seem to have had no children. Bedford, a lifelong artist who has called Hyattsville home for 10 years, has worked for 30 years conserving paintings and mixedmedia objects at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington, D.C. He says the family in the photos is like some of the art pieces he tries to preserve at the Hirshhorn: “It’s gone. And you can say it should not be gone, but it is.� The trashing of decades of family memorabilia must happen a lot, Bedford believes. He points out, for instance, that you can find old family albums, lovingly made, for sale in antique stores. The albums and other collections are left somewhere with someone, then time moves on, and then no one knows who these people are. Then: “One day, it just isn’t.� But what if you held up this ordinary family in a kind of memorial garden, displaying all these moments destined to disappear? Thus was born Bedford’s collection and his exhibit, “Wundergartin: Salvaging the Family Archive.�

It’s a grouping of columns, frames, dolls, sculptures, a gas mask, and more: objects everyday and objects unusual. And running through it all are the photos of this family that almost went out with the trash. “Wundergartin: Salvaging the Family Archive� runs from April 2 to 29 at Hillyer Art Space, 9 Hillyer Court, Washington, D.C. 202.338.0680.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2010

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MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda: First let me say I came to the Hyattsville Horticultural Society Seed Sale on Feb. 20, and very much enjoyed the conviviality. I did buy a few packages of the Hart heirloom seeds because I was curious about novelties like love-lies-bleeding, Granny's night cap, and outhouse hollyhocks. Up to now, I have gotten flats of plants, both annuals and vegetables, from grocery stores and nurseries each year. Can you tell me the reasons why people do plant seeds rather than just setting out young plants? Wondering on Webster Street

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Dear Wondering, You already hit on one of the main reasons: Seeds offer much greater variety than what you’ll find in flats from grocery stores or even nurseries. It’s intriguing to see old-fashioned varieties termed novelties. Another reason is the sense of wonder you will experience when you plant those seeds in the dark earth and less than two weeks later you see the first little cotyledons sprout up, those seed casings they came out of perched jauntily on brave new leaves. I never fail to be amazed, as if I’d seen a magician pull a rabbit out of a hat. Also, you can get a jump on the season by starting the seeds indoors, always being careful to use containers washed in a bleach solution and a sterile, lightweight potting mix to prevent damping off. This is an excellent way to start tomatoes and peppers, but will not work with long-rooted vegetables and herbs. Cool-weather vegetables like peas, spinach, and lettuce can be planted directly outdoors as soon as the soil can be worked, which will be when you’re reading this (mid-March). If you have a fairly large garden, it is cost-effective to sow seeds. My neighbor Patapanelope’s sister Parsimony points out that not only does a package of seed cost less than a flat of seedlings but you can get many more plants even if only half the packet germinates. In addition, many annual flowers, including love-liesbleeding and outhouse hollyhocks, self-seed. Most native plants self-seed freely, as do such herbs as dill, parsley, and thyme. This means you won’t have to buy seeds or plants again for these, and can even harvest seed to

share with friends. Other seeds, such as Granny’s night cap and other columbines, require a little more effort. You will need to place your packet of Granny’s night cap in the refrigerator for six weeks before planting, a procedure called “stratification” that mimics the winter conditions some seeds need for germination. Most larger seeds benefit from being soaked overnight (but no longer) before planting, and if started indoors like to be placed either on a warming pad or near a source of heat, with a glass or plastic cover to maintain even moisture. If you don’t have grow lights, place them in a window sill after they sprout Seeds with hard coats, like the moonflower, will germinate faster if you nick them with a knife, a process called “scarification.” Planting from seed does require a little knowledge, but usually the backs of the seed packets tell you a lot of what you need to know. What you may wish to consider is time versus money. If you have the time, it is certainly worth the money to learn about seeds and to plant them. Parsimony, for example, delights in thinking up new ways to make gardening with seeds even less expensive. She makes her own potting soil from used coffee grounds, shredded paper, and compost sterilized in her oven. She puts it in the jumbo egg shells she has not thrown away after breakfast, and calls them her peat pots. After planting, she lays the shells in lidded plastic produce or baked goods containers till the seeds sprout. When it’s warm enough outside, she buries the seedlings still in the egg shells that decompose and add calcium to the soil. She always harvests seed heads and exchanges seeds with other gardeners. She also saves the seeds from fruits and vegetables she buys at farmer’s markets and plants them, with varying success. She admits that the plants sold in nurseries have the best success rate, but I suspect she enjoys her experimentations. This brings us back to enjoyment and wonder. Gardening from seed gives an unparalleled sense of accomplishment. Miss Floribunda is the collected wisdom of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society, compiled and edited by Victoria Hille. The group will meet on Saturday, March 20, at 10 a.m. in the home of Shani Alexander, 3915 Madison St.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2010

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New brewmaster hops to it at Franklins pub by David J. Nolan “Neither rain nor snow will keep us from new brews,” a fellow beer lover grimly muttered as we trod our way warily across the Franklins car park on the evening Snowpocalypse II hit Hyattsville. Hadn’t we heard the forecasts? Didn’t we believe them? Were we mad? Well, at least we weren’t alone. There was a good crowd of about 50 upstairs to greet the first offerings of Franklins’ new brewer, Mike Roy. Roy has an impressive provenance, with more than 10 years spent brewing at IncrediBREW and Milly’s Tavern, both in New Hampshire, and the Beer Works chain in Massachusetts. His time at Milly’s saw the bar pick up several awards, including best brew pub in New Hampshire three years running. With that under his belt,

his arrival at Franklins in January was eagerly awaited, and his first two brews don’t disappoint. Hop Zen steers a perfect line between a run-of-the-mill pale ale and the almost-unpalatable-inyour-face hoppiness that some brewers prefer. Touches of malt and caramel round out a very satisfying American ale. For those in the market for this taste, it packs a welcome and satisfying punch at seven percent alcohol. Porteroy, the other new offering, is – unsurprisingly – a porter. I must admit that most porters and stouts pale in comparison to my favorite brew, a pint of plain served in a straight glass in a Dublin pub, preferably around lunchtime. But for those who like a sniff of chocolate with their beer, this one certainly goes down well and is much in demand on the several (yikes!) occasions I have been there since it came on tap.

Brewer Mike, who lives here in Hyattsville, is a real treasure. The 32-year-old certainly knows his beer and, on the night of the meetand-greet, even had a glassful in a sling around his neck – just to ensure that every pint was perfect, of course. He’s gregarious and informative, so if you get a chance to chat, take it and be prepared to listen and learn a lot. The aim is to have up to 10 beers available for tapping at any given time, with a healthy turnover allowing for seasonal brews and Roy’s new creations as they come ready. A lightish Belgian-style beer, Golden Opportunity, has just come on line. Other Belgian styles in the works include a Dubbel, a medium-strength dark beer, and a Tripel, a pale ale that usually masks a surprisingly hefty alcohol content that can creep up on you quickly. (Don’t tell owner Mike Franklin, but some specialty glassware might also be en route to 5121 Baltimore Avenue.) As a new outlet of the chain

PHOTO C0URTESY OF MIKE ROY Mike Roy, who took over the vats at Franklins in January, puts a little of himself in each new brew. Busboys & Poets is likely to open up the road from Franklins later this year, Roy may soon have some competition. Early impressions suggest that he is up to the challenge.

To find out when new beers are available, check www. franklinsbrewery.blogspot. com or franklinsbrewery.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2010

COMMUNITY CALENDAR tion of Women’s History Month. The tea will be served at the Marietta House Museum. Reservations and advanced payment required. $22 per person. 1 p.m. 5626 Bell Station Road, Glenn Dale. 301.464.5291.

Historical Preservation Association for a program on the 19th-century gardens of Rosalie Stier Calvert, also known as “Mistress of Riversdale.” Free. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Custis Hall, Riverdale Presbyterian Church, 6513 Queens Chapel Road. 301.927.0477.

Hunt for Easter eggs, eat pancakes, and create arts and crafts with the Easter bunny at The Great Magruder Park Egg Hunt & Pancake Breakfast. 9 a.m. to noon. $4 for a pancake breakfast, $1 per egg hunter. Parents may accompany children under 4 for free. Magruder Park, 40th Avenue and Hamilton Street. 301.985.5020.

March 19

PHOTO COURTESY CAROLYN RUSSO See aircraft in a new way at "In Plane View," an exhibit at the College Park Aviation Museum.

Through June 11

You’ll look at airplanes in a new way after seeing the In Plane View exhibit, oversized photographs of some of the National Air and Space Museum’s most iconic aircraft. 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. College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

March 16

The Hyattsville Preservation Association teams up with the University Park

Another stepping stone in the Arts District falls into place today with the dedication and grand opening of the Gateway Arts Center at Brentwood. Housing 13 artists’ studios, the center will also accommodate the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s visual arts programs and, temporarily, the new Prince George’s County African American Museum and Cultural Center at North Brentwood. Dedication at 3 p.m., followed by an open house. Free. 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood. 301.864.3860.

March 20

Mount Rainier Puppet Theater presents “A Fox’s Tail,” a nature show for the whole family. Free; registrations suggested. 11 a.m. Mount Rainier Nature Center, 4701 31st Place, Mount Rainier. 301.927.2163.

March 30 Publick Playhouse will be hosting its 8th Annual World Dance Showcase, a lineup of dance styles from all parts of the globe. $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and students. 7:30 p.m. 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly. 301.277.1710.

Join the book-club discussion of James Baldwin’s 1953 novel “Go Tell It On the Mountain,” based on the author’s experiences as a teenaged preacher in a small revivalist church. Free. 3 p.m. Hyattsville library, 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.

March 27

Come join Martha Washington and Dolley Madison for First Ladies Tea in celebra-

April 2

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derby? The College Park Aviation Museum is hosting Paper Airplane Day, where you can build your own aircraft and race it in the museum’s annual derby. Prizes will be awarded. Free with museum admission of $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and $2 for ages 18 and under. 3 p.m. 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

April 3

Tiaras are optional at the Hyattsville library’s Princess Tea Party, for ages 3 to 10. While sipping tea and listening to princess stories, little ladies will also have a chance to meet this year’s Ms. Maryland Globe, Tiffany Parker. Free. 1 p.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.

April 9 During Journey to the Stars:

Moundbuilders, you can join a team of “explorers” at the Howard B. Owens Science Center looking for a missing archaeologist, using clues both in and outside the planetarium. $4 for adults, $2 for students and seniors, free for children ages 3 and under. 7 p.m. 9601 Greenbelt Road, Lanham. 301.918.8750.

April 10

Twice a year, city officials waive the yard-sale permit requirement for Community Yard Sale Day. If you want to cash in on all your spring cleaning, let the city know by noon on April 7, and your address will be listed on a map for bargain hunters, available on the Hyattsville website and at the municipal building. Best of all, a charity will pick up leftovers afterward. 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 301.985.5000.

ground-floor servant’s quarters at Riversdale House Museum become a 19th-century candle-lit tavern, complete with pub-style fare and entertainment by the Ship’s Company Chanteymen. $20; reserve your spot by April 2. 8 p.m. 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park.

April 11

A glass harmonica is just one of the music-makers you can try at the Musical Instrument Petting Zoo, where University of Maryland students give children and adults alike the chance to play (on) a variety of instruments. Free. 3 p.m. Old Parish House. 4711 Knox Road, College Park. 301.927.3013. RSVP to

Raise a glass at Tavern Night, an adultsonly event in which the

April 17 and 18

Come take a trip through military history at Marching Through Time, a day of battle re-enactments ranging from the Bronze Age Celts to the Gulf War on the grounds of the Marietta House Museum. Shuttle service available, departing from the Glenn

Dale Community Center. $5, free for ages 4 and under. 5626 Bell Station Road, Glenn Dale. 301.464.5291.

Ongoing 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. Bring your kids to the Hyattsville library every Wednesday for Evening Storytime for children ages 3 to 6. Limit 25. Free; pick up a ticket at the Children’s Desk. 7 p.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690. Preschoolers are welcome every Tuesday and Thursday at Magruder Park’s Parent &

Child Program, with crafts, games, and indoor free play. Children must be accompanied by an adult. Drop-in fee, $2 per session; for the semester, it costs $50 for one child, $75 for two children, or $100 for three or more children. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Magruder P a r k building, 40th Avenue and Hamilton Street. 301.985.5027. 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, please e-mail susie@ or mail to P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for April submissions is Mar. 23.

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Hugh’sNews The best defense: a good offense? by Hugh Turley On January 22, the Shukan Asahi, a popular weekly magazine in Japan, reported on the activities of an organization called Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth. San Francisco Bay area architect Richard Gage, president of the 1,000-member group, is spreading the message worldwide that “9/11 did not happen the way we have been told that it happened.” The Shukan Asahi is no easily dismissed tabloid. It is owned by Asahi Shinbum, Japan’s second largest newspaper. It is similar to our Washington Post-owned Newsweek. The widely-respected Japanese media parent is also a publishing ally of the International Herald Tribune, which is owned by the New York Times. The American architects and engineers group maintains that the twin towers and another building, known as Building 7, were brought down by controlled demolition. They say that it is impossible for the airplane crashes and subsequent fires to have caused the buildings to collapse. Gage, who has addressed groups in Australia, New Zealand and Japan, says that he has had more success with foreign journalists. There is “a lot of reluctance from the American press,” he said. Japanese readers of the Shukan Asahi must be puzzled that

the American media have ignored the group’s petition to Congress for a new investigation. Short biographies of all the degreed and licensed professionals challenging the official explanation of why and how the buildings collapsed are on the website. That so many prominent men and women would put their professional reputations on the line in this way would seem to be more than newsworthy. Certainly Japanese lawmaker Yukihisa Fujita thinks so. He invited Gage to meet eight of his colleagues, trying, Gage told the HL&T, “to get the Japanese Prime Minister and legislature to re-examine the official 9/11 story.” But why is Japan interested now, nearly nine years after the fact? According to Fujita, it’s because 24 Japanese citizens died in the destruction in New York on Sept. 11, 2001, and, he says, “the official story is not convincing.” Japanese citizens have also died in Iraq as a result of the subsequent war on terror. Very public concerns in Japan about the official 9/11 story may worsen already tense relations between the two countries. In Sep-

tember 2009, the pro-American Liberal Democratic Party that has ruled almost without interruption since 1955 was voted out of power. More recently, of course, the American press seems to have gone into overdrive publicizing defects in the products of the Japanese company that recently supplanted General Motors as the world’s largest automobile manufacturer, Toyota Motor Corporation. While the dissident architects and engineers are ignored (as are U.S. makers of possibly faulty parts for Toyota), Toyota executives are called on the carpet by the U.S. Congress. Might there be something more nefarious afoot in Japan than simply an interest in truth and justice? Increasingly suspicious of the motives of a U.S. government that is now a principal owner of a rival auto manufacturing company, Japan’s newfound interest in 9/11 might be its way of hitting back.

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continued from page 1

Morgan Wootten Gymnasium, which opened in 1950, was as difficult a place to play for opponents as any basketball facility in the country. Between 1961 and 1976, the Stags won 120 straight in Hyattsville. School research puts their home record at 712-71 (.909). That level of success was 180 degrees from what Wootten found when he arrived in 1956. The Stags were so bad – in every sport – that DeMatha had dropped out of the Catholic League the year before. The all-boys school just off Route 1 had an enrollment of fewer than 200, and zero in the way of athletic heritage. That was about to change. Wootten, hired to be athletic director, head football and basketball coach and assistant baseball coach, also had to teach five periods of world history. His salary was $3,200 a year. In the 1979 book he wrote with Bill Gilbert, From Orphans to Champions, Wootten recalled what he said at his first meeting with his new athletes: “I know how bad DeMatha’s teams have been during these last few years, but that’s over with. We’re going to win at DeMatha and we’re going to build a tradition of winning. Starting right now. If you want to climb aboard this bandwagon, we’d love to have you, and I can tell you right now you’re going to have a lot of fun and win a lot of games.” Boy, did they – and not only in basketball. Wootten coached the Stags football team for 13 years and posted a 79-40-2 record. His basketball program brought national prominence to the school and became its principal public-relations vehicle. Today, DeMatha has 960 students and is known throughout the country for its academic excellence, outstanding music program and athletic prowess. Sports Illustrated has twice in the past five years ranked the Stags athletic program No. 2 in the nation. That’s pretty high praise considering there are more than 35,000 U.S. high schools. Wootten always stressed to his players that their priorities should be God, family, school and athletics – in that order. “I remember Coach Wootten teaching us how to be a better person and how to be a

the national championship game. Played on March 19, 1966 at Cole Field House in College Park, the Miners defeated the University of Kentucky. What’s little known is that before that landmark victory, Don Haskins, coach of what is now the University of Texas at El Paso, brought his history-making squad to DeMatha Catholic High School to watch the Stags scrimmage the D.C. All-Stars. Morgan Wootten, who coached DeMatha’s renowned basketball team for 46 years (1956-2002), shared that insight with fans attending the final regular-season game at the Hyattsville gym bearing his name on Feb. 25. It was one of many fond memories he described before the Stags’ 79-65 victory over Good Counsel High School. “It was a very special night and a great way to close things out,” said Wootten, who came to the game with his wife, Kathy, after a dinner and reception at the school. “I was fortunate to teach and coach some of the greatest young men who ever came down the road.” DeMatha will begin playing in a state-ofthe-art facility on Madison Street in December. The centerpiece of the $10 million DeMatha Convocation Center – part of a $23 million project – will be the 1,200-seat arena. Fittingly, it will be named the Morgan and Kathy Wootten Gymnasium. Morgan Wootten, 78, held the more than 600 fans in rapt attention when he spoke of the many great athletes who played or practiced on the hallowed hardwood. They include, among others, Magic Johnson, Dave Bing, Jack George, Moses Malone and Lenny Bias, as well as former Stags Danny Ferry, Sidney Lowe, Joe Forte, Brian Westbrook, Keith Bogans and Adrian Dantley. Wootten compiled a record of 1,274-192 (.869), won 33 conferences championships, 16 City Title games and five national crowns. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2000. Many of his former players and team captains attended the final contest and were recognized at halftime. Students greeted Wootten with chants of “We love Morgan … we love Morgan.”

PHOTO COURTESY OF DEMATHA HIGH SCHOOL Cover: Morgan Wootten, who retired in 2002, returned to the DeMatha gym where he coached for 46 years for the final home game there, in which Mikael Hopkins (above), helped the Stags to a 79-65 win over Good Counsel High School. better student,” former DeMatha All-American Dereck Whittenburg told the crowd. “He taught us to be champions on and off the court.”

WOOTTEN’S SUCCESSOR CONTINUES THE LEGACY DeMatha alumnus Mike Jones, who succeeded Wootten as head coach in 2002, has won more than 200 games, including four Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC) championships through last season. Junior point guard and St. Jerome’s graduate Quinn Cook is being courted by schools like six-time national champion North Carolina. The final game – Senior Night – wasn’t just about past glory. The 2009-10 Stags

entered the semifinals of the WCAC Tournament 27-3 and ranked No. 1 in the Washington area. The evening concluded with a ceremonial slam dunk by Indiana University-bound senior Victor Oladipo. The ball was then passed to waiting Stags underclassmen, who took it across the street to the Convocation Center. The DeMatha basketball tradition will follow. Hyattsville resident Chris McManes attended and worked at Morgan Wootten and Joe Gallagher’s Metropolitan Area Basketball School in 1977 and later participated in coaching clinics run by the two legendary coaches. For a longer version of this story, go to

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EYA continued from page 1 Chandler said that this project is at a different stage than EYA, in part because the design includes a 30-story building. This exceeds the height limit for the zoning in that area, so the developer is requesting a rezoning – and this requires a review by the county District Council. As the HL&T reported in October, a building that high would be the tallest in the metropolitan area. “That is the really high-density portion of the project,” Chandler said. “I’d be surprised if that was built any earlier than 12 years out. Overall, you’re probably looking at a total build out of 15 years. And they’ll probably ask for revisions at the planning board. This is one of the largest redevelopment projects we’ve seen.” Some residents of the University Hills area of Hyattsville, which abuts the proposed development, have concerns about it. Tim Scanlon, president of the University Hills Area Civic Association, said that many people there have been amazed at how smoothly the approval process has gone for this project, given its magnitude.

PHOTO BY VALERIE RUSSELL Award-winning director Haile Gerima speaks at a reception before a screening of his film "Teza," which had a limited run at the Hyattsville Regal Royale 14 earlier this month.


"Based on the feedback and questions, [Gerima] was very impressed with [local students'] intuitiveness about the film."

continued from page 1

Rendering of Belcrest Plaza courtesy of Percontee. “It’s a huge development: one 30-story building and four 16story buildings. This will lead to issues with congestion and traffic. It will lead to the storm drains being saturated. We’re talking mega-congestion.” Brad Frome, legislative aide to County Council Member Will Campos (District 2), spoke in general about transit-oriented development. Campos serves on the District Council.

“The DC region will experience a lot of economic growth and with that will come a need for additional housing. In theory, we’d rather see this housing built in the vicinity of mass transit stations as opposed to suburban sprawl,” said Frome. “And with regard to the Belcrest project, we’re not going to approve something that’s not an improvement to the storm-water management system.”



a young Ethopian man, Anberber, through the fall of that country’s longtime ruler, Emperor Haile Selassie, at the hands of a brutal Communist junta. When Anberber returns from medical school in Germany, missing a leg and much of his memory, he finds that educated men are among the many targets of the factions fighting to control his homeland. It’s filmed partly in Amharic and German, with English subtitles. On Feb. 27, the Prince George’s Arts Council offered local film students the chance to see the movie and have lunch with the director. Over sandwiches at the Wild Onion, about 15 high school and community college students talked with Gerima about the movie and his art.

— Lionell Thomas PGAC Executive Director

“Based on the feedback and questions, he was very impressed with their intuitiveness about the film,” said PGAC Executive Director Lionell Thomas, who said Gerima stressed the importance of “trusting your inner voice” and finding talented collaborators. The movie opens in New York on April 2.

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‘Stories’ help build school community by Bart Lawrence Their morning began by sharing stories. Some knew each other well, some just in passing, others were strangers. Some spoke no English, some no Spanish. One mother related her desire to honor her father; another her family, a continent away; still another, her child. Though their stories were different, they gathered in the cafeteria of Hyattsville Elementary School for the same reason. For seven weeks, this is how Tuesday

mornings started for a group of mothers, fathers, grandmothers, teachers, and school administrators who took part in Tellin’ Stories, a program that aims to improve adult involvement in neighborhood schools by fostering relationships. Over breakfast, the group discussed ways to improve their children’s academic achievement as well as other issues of importance to the school community. Cecilia Penate, the school’s parent liaison, led the group. “I’m delighted to have been able to bring the pro-

gram to Hyattsville Elementary School,� said Penate, who attended leadership training for the program. “This is our first time, but I hope not the last, to host such a wonderful program, which brings school, parents, and the community together.� The idea, supported by a large body of research, is that parental investment leads to academic achievement for all students. But there’s another payoff, too: parents who otherwise might never have met find themselves discussing family issues

and educational approaches from a range of perspectives. “The diversity of the group is amazing,â€? said Kathleen Geldard, “and the program helps you understand the unique challenges many parents face in supporting their children’s education.â€? Vanessa Breece said she looked forward to the weekly gatherings “because I [knew] something special [was] going to happen. ‌ I feel so close to the other parents.â€? To build relationships, the program used story quilting, among other

tools. Participants shared stories of their history and culture on felt squares that they decorated, which were then sewn together, symbolizing the connections made during the program. At the school’s winter concert in December, the completed quilt was dedicated to the school community before an audience of more than 200. Now, the quilt hangs in the hallway across from the school office, a visible reminder that there are, thanks to Tellin’ Stories, fewer strangers in the community.



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Hyattsville Life & Times March 2010  

Brewmaster, EYA, Teza, pottery pix, DeMatha's last game in Wootten Gym, Clarke Bedford (aka Art Car Guy), and more