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Firefighter remembered at banquet By Dave J. Iannone

On February 26, the officers and members of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department took a brief break from an otherwise very difficult and busy week to recognize the best within the organization at the annual Hyattsville Public Safety Awards banquet at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt. The event is jointly held with the City of Hyattsville Police and FOP Lodge. The evening started with a moment of remembrance for Deputy Chief Jimmy Hook, 44, who died suddenly on February 23. Members of Jimmy’s family, including his future-firefighter son Tommy, 11, attended this year’s event. Jimmy, who was a member of the HVFD for 10 years this month, was posthumously awarded life membership during the ceremony. With the largest contingent of life members present in recent memory, the department gave out several special legacy awards. Jonathan A. Ransom and Carole Moltrup were presented with 30-year service honors and Donald “Doc” Moltrup received a standing ovation while being recognized for topping 50 years of service this year. Doc was presented with a customized helmet to commemorate the milestone. Jonathan, the longest-serving president, and Doc, chief emeri-

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 8 No. 3

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

What’s happening with...? Status updates on some projects and problems in the city

By Paula Minaert and Susie Currie

Former WSSC Building During the night of February 20, vandals struck the building at 4017 Hamilton Street. Two large glass panes next to the Hamilton

Street entry door were shattered, apparently with a fire extinguisher, and inside windows were also broken. The owner, Douglas Development, installed plywood over the large outside windows later the same day. It was only the latest blight to hit

When county contractors set out to replace an ancient, crumbling storm drain that runs underneath Crittenden Street towards the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, neighbors knew to expect detours and limited parking. But the backhoes and bulldozers, on site since mid-December, have unearthed a surprise: hundreds of antique bottles. Going outside one afternoon to inspect the cavernous hole being made in their side yard, siblings Catie, Peter and George Currie were delighted to find the mound of mud next to it studded with bottles, and rounded up a few of their more adventurous friends to join the excavation. (One mother’s response: “You want my kids to come crawl around in mud and broken glass? Um, no thanks.”) After donning boots and kitchen gloves to guard against shards, the team of budding archaeologists went to work. At first they stuck to the perimeter of Mud Mountain, picking the bottles like cherries; soon, they had devised a bridge of shingles to ford what Peter described as “quickmud.” Children a century from now may find a few pairs

the building. Other broken windows remain both on the Hamilton and Gallatin Street sides, as well as boarded-up windows, the result of firefighters combating an electrical fire in December 2009. Six months after the fire, at a June 23 meeting with residents and city officials, Paul Millstein, representing Douglas Development company, agreed to address security concerns by doing three things: reestablish electrical service to install lights around the building; replace all plywood and broken glass with a shatterproof glass alternative by July 9; and clear away shrubbery to improve visibility and reduce hiding places. The landscaping was done after that meeting and some windows were repaired, but not all. Electricity has not been installed; Millstein said recently that all the gear required for electrical service was removed by vandals. “We hired a consultant to help us put in for a new service from Pepco and do site plans, designs, and so on. It’s quite a process.” He did not know the status of the plan to restore electricity. Meanwhile, residents who live nearby continue to be concerned about the state of the property. Flawn Williams said that Douglas Development never made good on the promises it made last summer, and the new events are just compounding the problems. (See sidebar for another reaction.) Chris Giunta, senior inspector in the city’s Code Enforcement Department, said that up until recently, the property owner was responsive to phone calls but over the past few months, the city has issued a number of citations. “If the violations are not corrected, the city will have no alternative but to seek a court date.  We always give property owners a chance to correct any

BOTTLES continued on page 13

HAPPENINGS continued on page 12

Backyard bulldozing turns up treasures for local children By Susie Currie

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

AWARDS continued on page 13

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

March 2011

Bottled Up SUSIE CURRIE Siblings Peter, Catie and George Currie found hundreds of antique bottles when contractors began work on the storm drain underneath Crittenden Street.

Included: The March 8, 2011 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section

Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

FromTheEditor By Paula Minaert

This issue of the HL&T offers something different from the usual fare. Next month, we’ll run profiles of the people running for mayor and the open city council seats, to help you as you prepare to vote in the May 3 city elections. We’ll also be covering the budget process, which begins this month. As with family budgets, city budgets are crucial to functioning effectively. Both these involve assessing where things are now in the city and making decisions about the direction we want to take in the future. So we decided to prime the pump, to help people start thinking about important issues and to spark discussion. We’ve

gathered ideas and insights from a variety of people, on a range of issues. In the following pages, they’ll tell us what they think. They write about schools, how we age, civic responsibility and other things. You may not agree with everything they say, but the point is to start the thinking process. The poet John Donne said no one is an island. We are not self-contained but part of a series of concentric circles of people and groups. What happens in our family affects us — obviously — but what happens in our city does as well. The decisions made about things like traffic, trash, recreation and services touch us all. It’s important to add our voices to the discussion.

Make city elections a priority Thus far, there is a small playing field in the City of Hyattsville May 3 elections. Only four city council candidates and one mayoral candidate have signed up to run for election or re-election. Hopefully, more residents will sign up to run for political office by the deadline of March 25. As a Hyattsville resident for the past 42 years, the voter and political  apathy in the city never cease to amaze me. Overall, less than 20 percent of registered voters show up at the polls for city elections. With a population of over 17,000 residents in our diverse,  vibrant, artistic, proactive and “green” city, it would seem that more people would want to run for political office, sponsor a candidate or at least vote. It’s time for some

MY TWO CENTS By Barbara Runion

new blood on the city council bench. For those who may not be aware, our city council, at 10 members, is one of the biggest in Maryland. As taxpayers, we are bankrolling the mayor, city council members and city government. We want to ensure the best bang for our buck. We cannot further our agenda to make the Hyattsville a more desirable place to live, work and shop, while protecting and preserving our environment, unless more residents become involved in the dayto-day operations of our city government. We cannot do

this with just a few strokes on the computer  keyboard airing our opinions on a community listserv. Here’s hoping that more residents will jump on the bandwagon and add their names to the list of candidates for Hyattsville mayor and city council  for a more competitive and spirited election with a positive outcome. Let’s put Hyattsville  on the  map for our dedication, passion and involvement towards  making  this historic city  the best it can be for us and our children for generations to come. Now is the time — and our chance — to make a difference for the better. Become “actively” involved! Barbara J. Runion has lived in Hyattsville since 1969.

FROM THE MAYOR 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 Production Ashley Perks Advertising 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Victoria Hille Bart Lawrence Valerie Russell Kimberly Schmidt Hugh Turley Board of Directors Julia Duin - President Chris Currie - Vice President Joseph Gigliotti - General Counsel Paula Minaert - Secretary Peggy Dee 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 8,000. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

A look back … and a look ahead MY TWO CENTS By Mayor Bill Gardiner

Mayor Bill Gardiner announced last month that he will not seek a third term. We asked him to share his thoughts about the last eight years — and what the next eight might look like. Over the last eight years, we’ve had many successes: significant (and ongoing) investments in streets, playgrounds, and technology; strategic additions to — and competitive compensation for — staff; partnerships with the federal, state, and local governments on development projects and public safety; annexations that have increased our tax base and population; and private investment along East-West Highway and Baltimore Avenue. These accomplishments required collaboration and support from council, staff, residents, community organizations and other entities, and every future success will require the same. I would like to suggest for your consideration a few opportunities ahead that could create significant community benefits. LET’S RAISE OUR EXPECTATIONS I remember council discussions over whether or not we could “afford” to re-pave streets and install sidewalks, and whether or not

businesses could “afford” to comply with basic code requirements that improve the appearance of the city. We now recognize the domino costs of insufficient investment in streets, but we must also recognize the high costs of low investment in community programs, public spaces and recreation facilities. We should strive for excellence in the quality of our parks, community buildings and playing fields, as well as continue to improve the quality and range of programming for toddlers to seniors. Look at the facilities and programs offered by quality communities in our area, and let’s identify ways we can provide similar services for our residents. By partnering with nonprofits, becoming more efficient in other service delivery, and/or reallocating existing funds, we can stretch tax dollars for new programs that serve youth and seniors from all parts of the city. Expanding opportunities for social interaction and communitybuilding will create more stable, safer and stronger communities. WE NEED STRUCTURAL CHANGES When the city redistricts based on 2010 Census data, it should reduce the number of wards from five to three, and the number of council members from 10 to 6. After Baltimore, Hyattsville has the state’s largest city council — most have five to seven members. Our ward boundaries are confusing, and fewer than 100

residents turn out to vote in a couple of wards. The large number of members makes it difficult for council to reach consensus — or for any member to speak to each member on an issue, and also difficult for staff. A smaller council would be more effective and influential, and less territorial and expensive. The city council and city administrator will likely consider some re-organizing of functions and departments, as was recommended by the management study completed in 2010. They should also consider creating a city manager position to replace

With a mix of vision, creativity, collaboration, hard work and risk-taking, the City of Hyattsville can take advantage of our existing strengths and become the proverbial city on the hill. the city administrator position. The city is approaching a $25 million, 100-employee, 20,000-resident operation. A stronger city manager position would ensure administrative leadership, authority, and accountability, while maintaining the council’s policy direction and oversight, and ul-

timate authority to directly hire and fire key staff. Both changes could be carried out over a multiyear period. WE CAN LEVERAGE OUR ASSETS We are part of a very special community with incredible opportunities. We are a diverse community, but how do we ensure everyone feels welcome? Can we expand Magruder Park to include the WSSC parking lot, as in our parks plan? How do we strengthen our local schools? How can we best utilize the former BB&T building for the benefit of residents? What is the best development for the West Hyattsville metro, and how do we get it? With a mix of vision, creativity, collaboration, hard work and risk-taking, the City of Hyattsville can take advantage of our existing strengths and become the proverbial city on the hill — not because of our wealth or grand buildings, but because we have figured out how to create a sustainable, integrated, multi-ethnic, multiincome, transit-accessible, walkable community with amenities, housing options, and programs that serve a very wide range of residents. The “World Within Walking Distance,” realized. Thank you for the privilege of representing you, and best wishes to council members, staff and residents as we address the opportunities and challenges before us.

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Page 3

Westboro doesn’t speak for all Baptists MY TWO CENTS

As a Baptist minister, I tend to listen to national news with a certain level of apprehension. Every few months, the following Mad Lib-ish scenario invariably plays out as the lead-in to a report. 

By Todd Thomason

Reverend _______ (a man’s name), pastor of _______ (a place name) Baptist church, in _______ (a southern or western U.S. state) has called on his congregation to _______ (something crazy).

COURTESY OF TODD THOMASON Pastor Todd Thomason at the Westboro Baptist Church protest at Northwestern High School on March 1.

Such was the case in February as news began to circulate that the Westboro Baptist Church of Topeka, Kansas — infamous for defaming military funerals and waving their “God hates everyone but us� placards — planned to picket Northwestern High School. Not only do they tell lies about God and malign the gospel of Jesus Christ with their bigoted and generally offensive asserPROTEST continued on page 10

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Budget cuts require increased parental, community investment Over the past weeks, local parents, teachers and residents have demonstrated overwhelming support for our students and schools. While over 200 of us stood up on March 1 at Northwestern High School against the Westboro Church, Hyattsville Elementary School teachers were signing up to march in Annapolis to oppose further reductions in education funding. On February 24, William R. Hite, Prince George’s County Public Schools superintendent, put forth a revised fiscal year 2012 budget to absorb a $150 million deficit in funding for the school system. This deficit is the combined result of a reduction in stimulus funds, a $94 million statewide funding cut to education which translates to $21 million for PGCPS, and an increase in what the superintendent calls “the cost of doing business.� After several rounds of revisions, the PGCPS school board approved a budget of $1.60 bil-

MY TWO CENTS By Candace Hollingsworth

lion — a reduction from the $1.68 billion budget presented in December 2010.  This new version includes staff reductions for JROTC, reading recovery, media specialists and a proposed elimination of special transportation to lottery programs and tested schools.   This budget will be forwarded to the county council and county executive for review and approval. In November, Secretary of Education Arne Duncan set the tone for this upcoming budget cycle saying that “doing more with less� is now the new normal. Parents, teachers, unions, district leaders and lawmakers are now tasked with identifying new and innovative approaches to achieving student success in the absence of ideal — and in

many cases, inadequate — funding. What does the new normal look like for us in Hyattsville? Hyattsville Elementary is a Title I school; over 40 percent of students qualify for free or reduced lunch. Title I funding has allowed the school to maintain its commitment to quality and access to student supports like extended learning opportunities and parent liaison. Last year, Title I stimulus funds accounted for more than $250,000 of the school’s budget; next year, that number will decrease dramatically. We cannot stall in our efforts to push the county council, county executive and governor to prioritize our students. This means fully funding our system, as proposed in the December budget, at $1.68 billion. Hyattsville’s schools educate Hyattsville’s children and we have to ramp up our efforts locally as well. CONSIDER ATTENDANCE AT A PUBLIC SCHOOL The PGCPS student population has declined by approximately 13,000 students over the past 6 years. With a per-pupil funding allocation, PGCPS has lost over $100 million. EDUCATION continued on page 10

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Staying in our homes as we age Recent conversation among older friends and neighbors has taken a new direction, spurred largely by unexpected health issues. As a result, we are talking about creating a network to support seniors and others in their homes â&#x20AC;&#x201D; â&#x20AC;&#x153;aging in place,â&#x20AC;? as it is called. For one couple, it was a bout with cancer, surgery and infection. Unable to eat and too weak to walk, my neighbor and her husband faced problems of finding home health care and quickly changing the dining room into a bedroom. For me, it was caring for an 88-year-old aunt, two hours away and determined to remain in her home. Over time, with help from family, a bathroom was added to the first floor, and family members began helping her with chores, paperwork and weekly shopping. Although my aunt had completed advance directives covering power of attorney and a living will, when she had a heart attack, my cousins and I found little guidance in making immediate decisions about her care. These experiences of neighbors and family, as well as our own birthdays, retirements, signing up for Social Security, and starting Medicare, are reasons we are meeting. How prepared are we â&#x20AC;&#x201C; and should we be â&#x20AC;&#x201C; to enter this new time of transition? How prepared are our neighbors? And how prepared is Hyattsville for an aging population that wants

MY TWO CENTS By Lisa Walker

to continue being active and contributing members of the community? What changes should we consider to make our homes and apartments safer and more accessible? Who can advise us on ramps and bathrooms, storage and downsizing, as we age? What are our options for home health care? For meals and cleaning? For snow removal and lawn care? For getting around when we donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to drive, or cannot (or should not)? These are some of the questions the group is asking. The answers we find will tell us whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s available and whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s missing. These questions about aging are being raised across the country. Not satisfied with what they see as the options for housing, health care or civic activity, older adults are forming networks to inform and support â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and advocate for â&#x20AC;&#x201D; their neighbors, young and old. In the Washington area alone, there are at least 20 groups setting up what are called â&#x20AC;&#x153;villagesâ&#x20AC;? or â&#x20AC;&#x153;neighbors helping neighbors,â&#x20AC;? as detailed in recent articles in USA Today (Feb. 22, 2011) and the Washington Post (Feb. 9, 2010). Some of these are set up entirely as volunteer networks (as in Montgomery

Countyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Bannockburn). Others have paid staff and run as a cooperative (as in Palisades, in Washington, D.C., and Mount Vernon, in Alexandria, Va.) These groups provide many services: help in hooking up TVs or computers or assistance with a particular program, a friendly visit or phone chat, locating a plumber or painter, trips to museums and parks. Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve started this piece from the perspective of someone recently retired and starting Medicare, two mileposts in becoming a â&#x20AC;&#x153;senior.â&#x20AC;? Yet the issues I am talking about are those each of us faces at some time. After all, anyone can get sick and need home health care or assistance in feeding the family and pets following an operation. Anyone may need a ride to the doctor if they

Page 5

These questions about aging are being raised across the country. Not satisfied with what they see as the options for housing, health care or civic activity, older adults are forming networks to inform and support â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and advocate for â&#x20AC;&#x201D; their neighbors, young and old.

most of us! So as this group continues talking and listening, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll remember that what we learn will likely benefit not only the aging population of Hyattsville but families with children and singles, especially if they are living away from siblings and other relatives. Since January, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve been meeting monthly at the homes of members, who include Sally Middlebrooks, Pat Yinkey, Mary Stevenson, Robert Croslin, Carol Papagiannis, Marialis Zmuda and Nina Faye. Want to get involved? Weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d love your input on what is needed and your energy in planning. Join us for our next meeting, at 7 p.m. on April 6, or online at

are undergoing anesthesia and canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t drive themselves home. And even a bathroom on the first floor would be welcomed by

Lisa Walker has lived in Hyattsville since 1990. For meeting details or other information about the group, please contact her at lwalker510@ or 301.779.7944.



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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, Word of mouth has it that the community garden project has been approved and you can sign up for plots already. I say â&#x20AC;&#x153;word of mouthâ&#x20AC;? because I tried to send a message to the e-mail address you gave in January, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not a good address. So please confirm (or deny) and answer a few questions. Where is it going to be? I heard that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to be where the old Jack and Jill  daycare center was, on Hamilton Street across from Safeway. But others say itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Hyatt Park, wherever that is. What PAULA MINAERT are the requirements for getting a Mary and Emma Thomason look over the offerings at FebruaryĘźs seed sale, sponsored by the Hyattsville Hor- plot? How many are available?  Is it for apartment-dwellers only? Or, ticultural Society. maybe homeowners only? What about people who donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t speak much English: Will anyone help them apply? Where do I apply? Who do I contact?  When can I start digging? Please, no more mistakes!

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Demanding Data on Decatur Street Dear Demanding, First, let me hasten to humbly apologize for the erroneous email address. The correct address is Next let me assure you that the garden has been approved by the Hyattsville City Council, the soil tested and found safe,  and water is being restored to the site. It was cut off when the Jack and Jill center you allude to was torn down. The park where the daycare center used to exist is called Hyatt Park

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The community garden will be started in the northwest quadrant of Hyatt Park, located across from Safeway on Hamilton Street. There will be 40 15-by-15 foot plots, half reserved for detached single-family homes and half for apartments, condos and townhouses. and is indeed across from Safeway on Hamilton Street. The garden will be started in the northwest quadrant of the park, with 40 15-by-15 foot plots. Half will be allotted for people who live in detached singlefamily houses or duplexes, and half for people who live in apartments, condos or townhouses. Because of expected demand, there will be a lottery among applicants and the drawing will be March 12 at 11 a.m. in the multipurpose room at the Municipal Center â&#x20AC;&#x201D; so itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s important to submit applications by that date.   As a mild defense, permit me to point out that if you had attended the Hyattsville Horticultural Society Seed, Book and Bake Sale on February 12 you could have picked up community garden information and application forms there â&#x20AC;&#x201D; as promised in the Miss Floribunda columns for January and February.  However, you can still get an application form e-mailed to you by or you can pick one up at the Municipal Building on 4310 Gallatin Street in the administrative offices on the third floor.  Spanish-speakers needing help filling it out can contact Victoria Boucher at 301.277.7129.  For up-to-the minute information, you can join the Hyattsville Community Garden yahoo group: http:// Participants must be residents of the city and at least one household member must be 18 years or older. In addition, there is an annual fee of $30 and everyone is expected to share in the ongoing tasks of the group. For more information and to meet other gardeners, please come to the next meeting of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society at the Municipal Center on March 19 at 10 a.m. Please send questions to

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Page 7

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Through April 9 Resonant Forms brings together the work of artists Martha Jackson-Jarvis, Alonzo Davis and Frank Smith in a show of sculpture, paintings and other media. It’s on display at both the Brentwood Arts Exchange and the Prince George’s African American Museum and Cultural Center, which share space at the Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood. Free. Hours vary; call 301.277.2863 or 301.209.0592 for schedule information.

March 10 to 20 Commissioned by the Kennedy Center, Dance Box Theater’s “Affectations” is an evening-length multimedia performance that explores the human body as a metaphor for cultural systems. $15. Thursday to Saturday, 8 p.m. and Sunday 7 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier. 301.699.1819.

March 12 Children ages 5 and up can Be a Woodturner’s Apprentice, sanding and polishing legs and spindles and weaving the seats of chairs. $5; reservations recom-

mended. 1 to 4 p.m. Or you can see demonstrations by members of Chesapeake Woodturners during the same hours on weekends through March 31. Montpelier Mansion, 9650 Muirkirk Road, Laurel. 301.377.7817. Marking the bicentennial of St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, the Prince George’s Choral Society joins the church choir for a performance of Mozart’s choral masterwork, “Great Mass in C Minor.” $10. 5901 36th Avenue. 301.559.8686.

March 19 Area Master Gardeners present Starting a Vegetable Garden, a workshop on growing vegetables in small spaces. They invite you to bring samples of your plants and have them evaluated. Free. 1 p.m. Hyattsville Library, 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.  

March 20 David Levy will host a booksigning of his recent novel, “Revolt of the Animals,” at the home of Laurie Ekstrand and Bill Eckert. Fellow Hyattsville author Julia Duin will be there, too, with some of her own books; she also will give a harp

demonstration for all ages. 2 to 5 p.m. 4203 Jefferson Street. 301.927.1897 or 301.927.0377.

April 2 Want to get the inside track on what’s happening at the library? Join the Friends of the Hyattsville Branch of the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System for a meeting this morning at 9 a.m. in the library’s special programs room. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.   Billing themselves “the World’s Oldest Fraternity,” Freemasons count Ben Franklin among past members. Find out more at the local chapter’s open house. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Mount Hermon Lodge #179, 43rd Avenue and Gallatin Street. 301.927.1790.

April 5 The Hyattsville Civic Association is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all Hyattsville residents. HCA provides a public forum for residents to discuss their visions for the city and an organizational structure to help make those visions a reality. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. 301.572.0259.

April 8 Documentarist Jeff Krulik presents a 25th anniversary showing of Heavy Metal Parking Lot, billed as “a piece of Prince George’s County history that’s become a cult classic and spawned a whole genre of documentary.” Free; parental discretion advised. Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road, College Park. 7:30 p.m. 301.927.3013.

April 9 The Hyattsville Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association is holding its First Annual Used Book Sale from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the school. Browse thousands of books, DVDs and CDs on sale. No dealers, please. 5311 43rd Avenue. For more information, e-mail bartkathleen@ or call 301.312.9170. Gretchen Schermerhorn of Pyramid Atlantic Art Center leads a workshop on Handmade Paper and Masks. Experience the magic of pulp, and fashion rustic masks entirely made of paper. $10. 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road, College Park. 301.927.3013. CALENDAR continued on page 8



beginning June 20 The City’s Summer Camp programs are a great way for kids ages 3 to 13 to enjoy their vacation! Camps Tiny Tots, Jamboree, and DiscovCamp Tiny Tots meets at the ery each offer age-appropriate traditional City Municipal Building,4310 Gallatin Street camp activities like arts & crafts, and sports. Camp Jamboree meets at Camps Jamboree and Discovery take field Magruder Park, 3911 Hamilton St. trips and visit the Hamilton Park Splash Pool Camp Discovery meets at weekly. Each two-week session has a theme, Hyattsville Elementary School, 5311 43rd Avenue and concludes with a special celebration.

For hours, fees, and registration information, please call 301-985-5020 or visit

Spring Break Camp Escape Registration open, too!

Hyattsville R Page HR1

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011


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CALENDAR MARCH 2011 14 14 14 5 16 21 5

Special Evening Candidate Registration Prior to the Special City Council, 5:00 PM - 6:30 PM Public Hearing: Real Property Tax Rate, 7:30 PM - 8:00 PM City Council Work Session, 8:00 PM - 10:00 PM Planning Committee Meeting, 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM Hyattsville Environmental Committee Meeting, 7:30 PM - 9:30 PM Gallatin City Council Meeting, 8:00 PM Deadline for Filing for Candidacy for May 3 Election, 5:00 PM * Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street.


I love a parade! The Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s 125th Anniversary Parade will take place on Saturday, April 16, 2011. The parade steps off from Hyattsville Middle School at 11:00 AM and travels through the City to Magruder Park. At the conclusion of the parade, the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Anniversary Festival takes place inside the park. The Festival includes presentation of awards to parade participants, as well as live music and family fun. Community groups set up information booths on a wide range of subjects. In addition, a new tradition started in 2010: the threeday Anniversary Carnival. Beginning Friday evening, Magruder Park is home to rides, games, and all of your favorite carnival fare. Carnival hours are as follows: Friday, April 15 from 5:00 to 10:00 PM Saturday, April 16 from 12:00 noon to 10:00 PM Sunday, April 17 from 12:00 noon to 5:00 PM If your group is interested in marching in the parade, please contact Cheri Everhart at 301/985-5020 or download the forms here: http://www.hyattsville. org/parade. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;d like to reserve space for a Community Information Booth on April 16, please contact the Department of Recreation and the Arts at 301/985-5020.

Reporter Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011


IN OTHER NEWS... SPECIAL EVENING CANDIDATE REGISTRATION Candidate registration for the May 3, 2011 Citywide Election is open now. A special evening candidate registration session will take place on Monday, March 14 between the hours of 5:00 and 6:30 PM. Candidates may also register on any business day between the hours of 8:30 AM and 5:00 PM. All registrations take place at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street, Third Floor. Questions? Contact Doug Barber, City Clerk, at 301/985-5009 or visit

89;98<=>?@"8F+$ CITY-WIDE ELECTION As of press time, the following candidates had registered for the May 3, 2011 Citywide Election. Mayor: Marc Tartaro; Ward 1: Candace B. Hollingsworth; Ward 1: Scott Martine; Ward 2: Shani Warner; Ward 3: Timothy P. Hunt. Please check http://www. for updates.

VOTER REGISTRATION ELIGIBILITY Please note that, effective July 1, 2007, Maryland residents may have their voting rights restored if they have previously been convicted of a felony if they have completed serving a court-ordered sentence of imprisonment, including any term of parole or probation for the conviction, you are eligible to register to vote. You do not qualify to register to vote if you have been convicted of buying or selling votes. Learn more at



The Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Spring Community-wide Yard Sale Day is Saturday, April 9, from 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM. Call 301/9855000 to register, or complete the form at yardsale.

SPRING BREAK CAMP ESCAPE SPOTS REMAIN A few spaces remain for Spring Break Camp Escape, which takes place during Prince Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s County Public Schools Spring Break week, Monday, April 18 through Friday, April 22. Camp is designed for kids ages 5 through 13, and meets at Magruder Park. Call 301/985-5020 or visit http:// w w for details on fees, times, and registration.

GREAT MAGRUDER PARK EGG HUNT RETURNS Mark your calendar! The Great Magruder Park Egg Hunt will take place on Saturday, April 23. Reservations for the pancake breakfast prior to the egg hunt will open later this month.



Are you on Facebook? You can now keep up with City events and happenings at cityofhyattsville. When you see Vainglorious, the silver metal bird sculpture at Centennial Park, youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll know youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re in the right place. He is kind enough to serve as the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s wall photo.

The City met our goal for the February 24 Blood Drive. The next drive will take place on Thursday, May 12. Watch for details next month!


BUDGET PLANNING UNDERWAY Looking for information on the City budget? On Monday, March 14, City Council will hold a Public Hearing to set the Real Property Tax Rate at 7:30 PM. During the Council Meeting, an overview of the draft FY12 Budget will be presented.

The Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Department of Recreation and the Arts offers a year-long calendar of programs for the whole family. To stay up-to-date, residents can now subscribe to the Departmentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s monthly eNews. Packed with details on upcoming events, it is a must-read if youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re looking for affordable family fun in Hyattsville. Visit http:// to subscribe.

Page HR2

GOING GREEN IN 2011: COMPOSTING This is the second in a series of stories about how City residents can make small changes to have a positive impact on our environment. Learn more at http://www. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, yard trimmings and food residuals together constitute approximately one-quarter of all municipal solid waste. If youâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re a homeowner in the City of Hyattsville, the easiest thing you can do to reduce the amount of or       

    your Yard Waste for collection on Mondays. But there are more ways to reduce the amount of waste your household generates. Scraps from fruits and vegetables can be composted. So can lots of other materials, including: * Cardboard rolls * Clean paper and Shredded newspaper  

   * Cotton rags and wool rags * Dryer and vacuum cleaner lint * Eggshells, Nut shells * Houseplants A quick web search will turn up plenty of advice on striking a good balance between different types of materials. The basic principle is to combine wet or green materials (fruit and vegetable scraps, tea bags and coffee grinds) with dry or brown materials (shredded newspaper, nut shells). Certain items are not compostable, like dairy products      City Code permits composting, provided residents use an enclosed container. An ordinary plastic garbage can or storage box can be turned into a compost bin. Composters are also available for purchase at lawn and garden stores. An enclosed container will prevent rodents and other pests from feasting on your compost. It should also prevent any smells from bothering your neighbors. Learn more at

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011


continued from page 7

Ongoing Browse clothing, housewares and more at St. Andrewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Episcopal Church Thrift Shop, Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 4512 College Avenue, College Park. 301.864.8880. Knowing your way around a toolbox helps during Christmas in April, but itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not necessary. Organizers are seeking volunteers both skilled (especially an architect, a plumber and an electrician) and unskilled help transform

the neighborhood home of a senior citizen and her daughter, a recent amputee. Build day is April 30. Contact the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC) to get involved: 301.779.1426 or eisenberg@ This isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t your toddlerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Sit & Spin. At A Tangled Skein yarn shop, the name refers to fourth-Friday gatherings where drop-spindle and spinning-wheel users can work on individual projects, guided by spinning expert Anne Oâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;Connor. Free. 7 to 9 p.m. And if you need more chances to unwind, come to the twice-weekly Sit & Stitch sessions:

Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursdays, 1 to 3 p.m. Theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re open to knitters and crocheters of any experience level. Free. 5200 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 101. 301.779.3399. Through March, naturalists will lead a guided hike around Lake Artemesia and the Luther Goldman Birding Trail on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Lake Artemesia, 8200 55th Avenue, Berwyn Heights. Free. 3 to 4:30 p.m. 301.627.7755. The Hyattsville library offers a variety of storytimes. Space is limited; free tickets available at the Childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Desk. Ages 9-23

months with caregiver: Mondays, 10:15 a.m. Ages 2-3: Mondays, 11 a.m. and Tuesdays, 10:15 a.m. Ages 3-5: Tuesdays, 11 a.m. Ages 3-6: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. English-Spanish Storytime for ages 3-6: Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.   Community Calendar is compiled by Susie Currie. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;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  or mail to  P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for April submissions is March 23.

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Page 9


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St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Church enters its third century in 1844 by one at the corner of Edmondston and Annapolis St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Episcopal Church roads. marks its 200th anniversary this Money was being raised for year with a full calendar of events. a new church in Hyattsville Currently situated on the highest around 1887. On May 20, 1888, hill in Hyattsville â&#x20AC;&#x201C; on 36th Ave- Rev. Theodore Reed reported nue west of Queens Chapel Road that services were held in an unâ&#x20AC;&#x201C; the congregation has had many specified hall in Hyattsville. In September 1889, the vestry was homes over the centuries. The parish began in 1811 as authorized to sign for a loan to a mission of St. Johnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in Fort erect the new church, which was Washington, which was one of to be called Pinkney Memorial the first Episcopal churches es- Church, in memory of Rev. Wiltablished in the state of Mary- liam Pinkney, the seventh rector land. St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s later moved of the parish.  to Bladensburg, where sometime The first service in the new between 1829 and 1836 a small Pinkney Memorial Church, lochurch was built near the Peace cated at the corner of Baltimore Cross. This church was replaced Avenue and Spencer Street (now By Peggy Dee

â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘ â&#x20AC;˘

Gallatin), was held on March 2, 1890. In the spring of 1896, the rectory in Bladensburg was sold and a new rectory was built near the church.  By 1908, the growth of Hyattsville and the concomitant growth of Pinkney Memorial Church made it clear that the church needed more space. On September 12, 1915, ground was broken at a new site, at the corner of Gallatin Street and 42nd Avenue. The cornerstone was laid on November 21 of that year. With the churchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s final move, to West Hyattsville, came the name change to St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. In late 1951, the rectory (at 5910 37th Avenue) was completed.  The


PAULA MINAERT This detail of one of LeCompteĘźs stained-glass windows depicts St. Matthew.

cornerstone for the parish hall, the first building at the 36th Avenue location, was laid on July 12, 1953. A preschool for ages 4, 5 and 6 opened in September 1955; St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Episcopal Day School continues today, with classes for ages 2 through kindergarten. But a part of the old building went to the new one. In the 1980s, decades after the congregation had moved to its current location, a parishioner retrieved its 1915 cornerstone after happening to drive by the ruins of the building, which had burned to the ground. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s now on display in St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s lobby, 5901 36th Avenue.

Other notable features of the current building, completed in 1962, are three stained-glass windows designed by Roland and Irene LeCompte. Roland LeCompte is a renowned stained-glass artisan who created some of the windows in the Washington National Cathedral. Visitors will have a chance to see them this month during one of the bicentennialâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s larger events: a concert of Mozartâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;Great Mass in C Minorâ&#x20AC;? on March 12 at 7 p.m. St. Matthewâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s is presenting the concert jointly with the Prince Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Choral Society, which is celebrating a milestone of its own as it turns 50.











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Page 10

Parent-Teacher Associations are the front line of defense for par-

Candace Hollingsworth is vice president of the HES-PTA and has a son in kindergarten at HES.

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OR TREASURE? get their heirlooms Local residents version evaluated at Hyattsville’s Roadshow. of the Antiques


the days the Past talks about were Postcards from movies and restaurants when drive-in PAGE 5 popular in Hyattsville.




in Edmonston Decatur Street the East Coast, and on greenest street U.S. PAGE 3 maybe even the

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All work and all play

Atteberry by Krista the job, one week on With less than the city’s new RecSteve Yeskulsky, Arts Director, hit the reation and helping out running by Fire 7 the ground sville VolunteerOcto- Vol. on at the Hyatt 5-mile run Department’s impressed with the was and the ber 23. He 60 volunteers annual more than first spirit at the runners community dozens of event, in which competed. ages 10 to 75 to Hyattsville, Before coming as a program coYeskulsky servedyears with Florida’s six Parks ordinator for Government Sarasota CountyDepartment, where and Recreation things . . . includhe “did a thousand larger special overseeing ing mostly events.” Diego, he from San Originally Diego State from San graduated Bachelor of with two and culUniversity in art history time Arts degrees During his in tural anthropology. he was instrumental “Salon in San Diego, an art exhibition, funds organizing to help raise also de San Diego,” charity. Yeskulsky for an AIDS for the Parks & Rec ed enjoys writing and is a certifi Business magazine Professional Recreation Park and Inspector. ing accliand Playground agenda is gett more First on his area and meeting once mated to the Also, community. city’s folks in the approves the the city council which is expectPlan, Parks Master DIRECTOR continued

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


tions, they draw misguided associations between their particular church and Baptist churches in general. I am proud to be Baptist because I believe in the principles upon which the Baptist denomination was originally founded some four centuries ago: the freedom of religion (for all people), the freedom of every believer to interpret Scripture for themselves under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, the freedom of every local church to discern its own Godgiven mission and order its own affairs, and the freedom of each and every person to follow their conscience in matters of faith. I’m also proud to be the pastor of a church like First Baptist, which has embraced these Baptist prin-

ciples over the course of its 113-year history in Hyattsville and still strives to live them today. Between 11 am and noon on Sundays (still the most segregated hour in America, as Martin Luther King, Jr. said), I get to look out from the pulpit and see quite a diverse group of people: black and white, young and old, rich and poor. Our congregation has not always looked this way, and our behavior certainly does not always look Christ-like. But this gathering of people is the result of our historic Baptist commitment to allow everyone to be themselves before God and PAULA MINAERT to become their best One of many signs carried by about 200 counselves in Christ. What- terprotesters who gathered to show support for ever our faults and fail- Northwestern High School. ings may be, I think we’ve gotten that bit right. I joined the March 1 counter pro“... My reading of test against Westboro in part because Scripture shows I wanted to do my part to show the Hyattsville community that not all me that God is love; Baptists are Westboro Baptists. But I that God’s love did it mainly because my conscience extends to all told me it was the right thing to do, and I would not be much of a Baptist people; and that if I did not heed my conscience. And Christ calls us to my conscience told me it was the love our neighbors right thing to do because my readas ourselves and to ing of Scripture shows me that God is love; that God’s love extends to all do unto others as people; and that Christ calls us to we would have love our neighbors as ourselves and done unto us.” to do unto others as we would have done unto us. — Todd Thomason Todd Thomason is the pastor of pastor of First Baptist Church First Baptist Church in Hyattsville.

on page 12


No. 11




Minaert by Paula

future, the In the not-too-distant at Prince the Mall area around Northwestern High Georges and look very different, School could major development because some the works there. in projects are projects are within Some of these and some fall just the city’s bordershave an impact on will outside. All sville. life in Hyatt

Property 1. The Landyby Marvin Blum-

SPOOKYST party annual Halloween ages. The cityʼs 200 people of all drew about ON PAGE 10 MORE PHOTOS


things Where the wild an arts community, identified as lives both is frequently of wildlife that actively Hyattsville have also a community Some residents but there is and backyards. participating in the National in our parks this by Habitat program. worked to encourage Certified Wildlife and help wildlife Wildlife Federation’sprogram in 1973 to world,” acthe with the natural NWF started a way to connect a NWF wildlife biologist. “give people have been David Mizejewski, across the country cording to 135,000 homes Hyattsville has 23 of them. Since then, wildlife habitats. page 12 certified as continued on

The November

10, 2010

Issue of


Magruder Park is undergoing complete playground a nearly renovation, four new play with structures. PAGE 3

small pond

is part of a

The Hyattsville

By Lara Beaven

certified habitat.



1 Legend and Lore asks: Why surrounding all the romance the Route 1 is almost famed Route 66 when its cousin as long and just as storied? PAGE

Police collect unwanted medica tions

Landy is owned the Washdeveloper in berg, a major He owns a 33.94ington region. land located south of and acre parcel High School of Northwestern Most of this land mall. north of the lies outside the city and is wooded portion at for a small limits, except corner. the northeast Council – which in The District for development is the arbiter County − recently Prince George’s proposal for a Landy approved on part of construction residential building of apartment that land: an that would be on the about 400 units Belcrest Road. the street line of would include The building that is within the land on portion of led to discussion city. This has of the city annexthe city council portion so be ing the unincorporated building would member that the entire said council in Hyattsville, ward bor(Ward 3). His develTim Hunt of the proposed portion ders the area includes the opment and and within the city. One of the project This is Phase



Nicola Hainʼs




Mall at Prince Georges area planning for new, major development

by Fred Seitz

Life & Times Hyattsville PO Box 132 MD 20781 Hyattsville,

None of PGCPS’ 200 schools have two or more formal business and community partnerships. These partnerships can allow schools to incorporate value-added programming and initiatives that help buffer the local impact of some system-wide deficits. Hite’s goal is to have 100 percent of schools with these partnerships by fiscal year 2017. Let’s make this a reality, at least in Hyattsville.


continued from page 3


— See Center

continued on

page 13




DC GlassWorks glassblowing is a public-access strong sense studio that fosters a of community. PAGE 4


Hyattsville of unused police collected dozens medications dents Sept. from resitime national25 as part of a firstprescription initiative to prevent drugs into the from wrong hands or falling Vol. the water 7 No. 10 entering supply. “I thought no one Hyattsvil to go out would of their want le’s Communit drugs,” way to said return Hyattsville Sgt. Chris Purvis, y Newspape police offi the lied the cer who donations. r talhe said, But by the end, October residents — anonymously had deposited By 2010 Paula Minaert – a total pounds (approximately of 8.8 tainers At a September ing and 60 conand a more than city council ing, several Hyattsville few bags of pills). ternoon 4,500 new peak-hour meetHyattsville af- recommendation Communications Manager held up based on vehicle residents yellow Abby Sandel current trips, signs that city is more traffi jected development. traffic and to lift that current said the open to read “No traffic restriction c” road’s proholding event in thoroughfare,”and “No commuter bound Nina Faye, during a similar the future traffi on westpeak hours, who lives hoping munity tention if there bury 43 rd Avenue c between Route continues if traffi to draw on Queensinterest. is comto what c there 1 and at- tionedRoad, said that to they call long-standing Spearheaded traffic hours. during peak provements increase and she questhe numbers serious morning if imto state Enforcement by the federal their streets. traffic problems presented layed. Cheri Fulton Sabra, roads are Drug Wang to on dehas lived by a number Agency and They bury since “One day the council in “Why July. facilitate I was [at 1987 and on Queensof national backed cent were worried forcement and 41 st in the effort community traffic about a was involved Queensbury traffic study law ] for six into my re- in from a ganizations,and public health en- tants done by Enter sign that led to the asked resident the afternoon. minutes at state Sabra, consul3:30 or- estimating being posted. Do Not Wang Day aimed National Take Margaret road?” And I traffic than that traffi the Sept. & Associates She said Hayes Back c on the 13 city they claimed saw more prescription to reduce the have more that city streets hour. now but street is Hugh Turley, council in a halfrisk of is than 3,500 better will how If I can’t trust drugs sumed routinely still bad – and Life & Times a columnist being this number, new morncan I trust inappropriately. drivers conignore for the any tion drug the sign. Other bury, said, who lives on Another Prescripresidents of them?” abuse, Queenspoint of “One-way lem nationally, a growing questioned the recommendation contention even shouldn’t the Queensbury was goal a last resort.” be is a major probfor the DEA. for QueensburyHe believes to make focus one-way the An additional should westbound be to benefit take-back of the effort was TRAFFIC unused continued prescription preventing on page 12 being drugs flushed from down the toilet,


DRUGS continued

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


ents and supporters to have a voice for education. The PTA can help create a pool of advocates, volunteers and others to serve as a resource to students in the school and on the Hill. I applaud our local school leaders and teachers in their efforts thus far and am proud that my son is in this learning community. However, in Prince George’s county as a whole, we are not charged with doing more with less; we have to do even more with even less. Our students deserve better and it is time for us to help lead the way beyond sending a letter to elected officials. We must be present to grow, serve and lead the way for our schools.

on page


s complai

n about


Local knitter their pieces s and croche ters donate to Smiths onian exhibit

by Kara Rose Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781


continued from page 4

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Beginning displayed Oct. 16, an unusual in the reef will Ocean Hall of be the National Museum of Natural tory. Various Hisknitters and crocheters,

including more than Tangled Skein, used 100 from Hyattsville’s to make yarn and A the reef. fibers of The Hyperbolic all sorts Crochet runs through Coral Reef exhibit April 24, Margaret 2011. and Christine Curators Wertheim, YARN continued

Included : The October

6, 2010


of The

on page


Some of the pieces PHOTO BY residents CHRIS CURRIE handmade for the by Hyattsville Hyperbolic Reef,

an exhibit Crochet opening Hyattsvi later this Coral at the Smithsonian month. lle Reporte r — See Center Section

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Page 11


PICK-UP & DELIVERY OF PRESCRIPTIONS Ostomy Supplies, Sr. Citizenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Discounts


Suppressing free speech By Hugh Turley

On February 16, 2011, Ray McGovern, a 71-year-old retired CIA analyst who once provided daily briefings to presidents at the White House, was brutally arrested at George Washington University. McGovernâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s offense? He staged a nonviolent silent protest by wearing a Veterans For Peace T-shirt with his back toward Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as she spoke at a campus event about freedom. As Secretary Clinton condemned governments that arrest peaceful protesters, she ignored the uniformed George Washington University security guard and another in plain clothes ejecting McGovern. Accusing Egypt and Iran of â&#x20AC;&#x153;using violence against protesters seeking basic freedoms,â&#x20AC;? Clinton described the freedom-seekers this way: â&#x20AC;&#x153;They stood and marched and chanted and the authorities tracked and blocked and arrested them.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x153;After they dragged me out and closed the door where no one could see, they roughed me up,â&#x20AC;? McGovern said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I still have the bloodstained pants I was wearing.â&#x20AC;? He was taken to the 2nd District police station, where he was charged with â&#x20AC;&#x153;disorderly conduct,â&#x20AC;? photographed, fingerprinted and put in jail. He

remained there for several hours. Nine days after his arrest, large bruises were still visible on his arms and legs. The news of this ironic arrest has not been widely reported. In 1997, I had a similar experience at George Washington University. I was attending a public event advertised in the paper where media experts dis-

â&#x20AC;&#x153;After they dragged me out and closed the door where no one could see, they roughed me up. I still have the bloodstained pants I was wearing.â&#x20AC;? â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Ray McGovern cussed â&#x20AC;&#x153;The 24-hour News Cycle: Governing in the Information Age.â&#x20AC;? The panel included GW professor Carl Stern, White House Press Secretary Michael McCurry, former White House press Secretary Marlin Fitzwater, and CNN correspondent Charles Bierbauer. After they discussed how quickly news is reported 24 hours a day, Stern invited questions from the audience. He called on me first. I asked about news suppression and specifically the unreported news that a grand jury witness

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suffered intimidation by FBI agents assigned to Independent Counsel Kenneth Starr. Stern cut me off, saying, â&#x20AC;&#x153;We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know anything about it.â&#x20AC;? When I said that that was my point, a man behind me said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t ask a question â&#x20AC;&#x201D; this event is for students.â&#x20AC;? Stern called on someone else and I sat down. I later learned the man behind me was a journalism professor, Steven Livingston. He left the room and soon reappeared in the doorway with a police sergeant, and Livingston was pointing at me. More policemen arrived and I was pointed out to them. The police took up positions at all the exits to the room. I began to think I might get arrested. I asked people near me if I could get their names as witnesses that I had done nothing wrong. People were too afraid to get involved. As the event ended, people started leaving the room, but the police remained at the exits staring at me. I was feeling sick. Luckily, a friend who had been in the back of the room joined me and we walked out together. The police surrounded us as we walked down the hall to the elevator. Michael McCurry was on the elevator. He stared at me with what I took to be a smirk. The police walked with us until we crossed the street and left the campus.



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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011


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problems first, but we do need to ensure the health and safety of the community.â&#x20AC;? Hamilton Street Safeway This store has been generating complaints from Hyattsville residents for some time about the quality of its food (expired products) and the maintenance of its equipment, particularly the freezers.

Safeway representatives listened to residentsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; concerns at a meeting August 16, 2010, and agreed to address them. Director of Public Affairs Greg TenEyck said at that time he would recommend that the Hyattsville store be made a lifestyle Safeway, with various improvements in flooring, lighting and service. TenEyck said recently that a number of upgrades and cosmetic changes were made in the store last fall, though not a complete renovation. He listed, among

other things, painting, a new bakery table and replacing some ceiling tiles. He also listed painting and repairing all frozen food cases â&#x20AC;&#x201D; but a visit to the store in early March revealed a broken freezer. Resident Gloria Felix-Thompson said, â&#x20AC;&#x153;Safeway is right back to where it was, filthy and lots of items not in stock, the freezers still do not work. â&#x20AC;Ś The staff is nice as always and the very nice gentleman grocery clerk has returned. Other than that, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s like the meeting never happened.â&#x20AC;? Asked about making it a lifestyle store, TenEyck said he didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know the plans for it, and also didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have an update on plans to move the store to University Town Center, although they still hope to do that.

Former BB&T Building The City Council voted to purchase the building, at 3505 Hamilton Street, in December of 2008 and shortly afterwards the bank moved to its new location on East-West Highway, shuttering the building. The city closed on the sale March 22, 2010, paying $940,000, according to the Maryland State Department of Assessment and Taxation. To pay for the property, the city got a bond through the state for $650,000 and also used $600,000 from the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s general fund. Councilmember Marc Tartaro (Ward 1), at a recent council meeting, gave a report on the building and recommended that the council consider â&#x20AC;&#x153;mothballingâ&#x20AC;?: fixing certain problems and maintaining it as unused until more decisions are made about it. He suggested painting the exterior, fixing the downspouts, doing some grading and putting screens over the drains. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We need to be doing something with it,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The vote PAULA MINAERT to buy the building was 6 to 5, so Effects of vandalism on the former WSSC building from December 2009. divided that there hasnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t been ad-

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equate leadership from the council to direct the staff.â&#x20AC;? Councilmember Tim Hunt (Ward 3) agreed. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s been controversial from the beginning and no agreement has been reached on the future use of the building. But we need to protect our investment.â&#x20AC;? Both said that council should wait to get information from a pending facilities assessment, which is analyzing all five city-owned properties, before making any decisions. That study has delivered some parts of the assessment and the rest is expected soon. Hyattsville Library Residents who come to the library hoping to check out the latest DVD may be in for a shock: the Audio Visual Room is no more. Well, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s still there, but the collection isnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t. Talk of eliminating the department dates back at least two years; the decision was made due to â&#x20AC;&#x153;financial considerations, along with the proliferation of audiovisual materials in other library branches,â&#x20AC;? said Kathleen Teaze, director of the Prince Georgeâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s County Memorial Library System. A visit in early March confirmed that most of the DVDs and CDs have been moved to the former periodicals area just down the hall. â&#x20AC;&#x153;The AV room will be closed temporarily and may be used for other purposes in time,â&#x20AC;? said Teaze. â&#x20AC;&#x153;This will allow us to again staff the circulation desk on that level.â&#x20AC;? Movie enthusiasts can also help themselves by using the recently installed Disc Xpress machines, located next to the staircase on the lower level. â&#x20AC;&#x153;In essence, they work just like the RedBox DVD rental machines in the supermarkets,â&#x20AC;? she said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Except free.â&#x20AC;?

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Hamilton Street resident Rose Byrne on the former WSSC building: Last summer, the residents, city officials and representatives of Douglas Development met to talk about the property. At that meeting, all parties agreed that we needed to think outside the box about realistic solutions to the problem of vandalism, property upkeep and criminal activities on the property.  It was clear when we went inside the  building that people had lived there during the winter.  Douglas Development promised to fix windows, install lighting and possibly motion detectors, and to trim overgrown hedges.  The city offered to help identify plantings that should be preserved.  I  left the meeting feeling like we are good, proactive neighbors.  I felt like all three parties could make a difference and sincerely wanted to. The grounds were cleaned up and windows facing Hamilton Street and 41st Avenue were repaired. The area looked nice for a bit.  However, no lights were installed, no motion detectors, the windows  facing Gallatin Street remain broken and the filth and evidence  of  loitering returned.  New windows are broken.  New boards were installed (not glass). Tree branches from winds  lay where they fell from storms over the  past several months.  If Douglas executives are serious about being a good neighbor, they will do something about the garbage, loitering and groundskeeping.  At the least, they could put a couple of trash cans on the property â&#x20AC;&#x201D; and then monitor and empty them. The city, for their part, surely knows that there are folks loitering along 41st at night. They could send a squad car by and watch for those who litter.  They should fine them as harshly as possible.  Word will get out that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just easier to throw trash in the cans. We are not the first neighborhood to experience this type of situation.  Persistent broken boarded-up  windows beget more  vandalism.  Other areas have found solutions. When I mentioned at last summerâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s meeting the used condoms and garbage along 41st  Avenue, a city official responded that that happens everywhere. I think that pretty much sums up the enthusiasm for  proactive changes.  Another year has passed, another winter with signs of vandalism, another year of disgusting filth around the property. I was naive to believe that all parties wanted change. 

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

Page 13



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tus, were then given the nightâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s highest recognition. Beyond their individual accomplishments over their many years of service, the pair was honored for reviving the department â&#x20AC;&#x201D; once on the brink of collapse â&#x20AC;&#x201D; in the early 1990s. The best of 2010 led off the eveningâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s department awards, honoring members who gave their all and grew within the organization last year: Individual awards, except the Chief â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s and Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Awards, are voted on annually by members. Member of the Year went to Chris Evans for his personal dedication and involvement in many facets of the department. Other winners included Laketa Coates (EMS of the Year), Nik Zupancic (Firefighter of the Year), Lawler Whiteman (Most Improved Member) and Rachel Welter (Rookie of the Year). Mitchell Kannry took the Chief â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Award and Bill Moran won the Presidentâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Award. Immediate Past President Matt Davy was recognized for five years of dedication and service to the department

of shoes that were sacrificed to the cause. The group stopped only after it got too dark to see, proudly hauling box after box of bottles to the porch of their 1905 home. Most turned out to be clear, but there were also several brown, blue and green ones in a variety of distinctive shapes ranging from 2 to 12 inches tall. Many are marked with brands still available today (Heinz, Clorox, Frenchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s, Phillipsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Milk of Magnesia); othersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; contents are all but consigned to the past (Venida Waveset, fountain-pen ink, dairy milk). According to Andra Damronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s book on Hyattsville history, the cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s first garbage trucks arrived in 1953, well after most Hyattsville homes were built. Before that, people buried trash that couldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t be burned, or simply threw it in a designated area outside. Sometimes, said Damron, that was the outhouse. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It was convenient, since the hole was already there,â&#x20AC;? she explained. Catie, 12, said her favorite so far is a tall, square green bottle. Its contents remain a mystery, as its only markings are a pat-

COURTESY OF HVFD The banquet honored former Hyattsville Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy Hook, who suddenly passed away in February.

in the leadership role. During his tenure as president, the department secured over $800,000 in federal grants, replaced the majority of its aging fleet and continued to grow its relationship with the City of Hyattsville. He was twice awarded Member of the Year and was frequently the top non-live-in responder. Matt was presented a proclamation by City of Hyattsville Mayor Bill Gardiner as well as a customized photo Wall Shield from the department.

ent number and a stylized image of what appears to be a giant spider. George, 6, said he liked finding a bottle from Walker Hill Dairy (â&#x20AC;&#x153;The Sunlight Dairyâ&#x20AC;?), one of several milk distributors represented in the trove. In addition to intact bottles, the search yielded several bits of broken china. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I found an awesome piece of china that was pink and green, with a design on it,â&#x20AC;? said Peter, 9. â&#x20AC;&#x153;It

looked like a foot of a cartoonish dinosaur.â&#x20AC;? The children werenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t the only ones to notice these bits of history. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I thought the bottles were from the people who put the first storm drain in,â&#x20AC;? said Darryl McGhee, a construction worker on the site. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Ainâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t nobody that thirsty!â&#x20AC;? said his coworker, Andrew Moss, gazing into the pit, where dozens of pieces of glass reflected the sunlight.


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Monday, March 14

Monday, May 2

Special evening Candidate Registration, 5:00 p.m. until 6:30 p.m.

Deadline for filing Absentee Ballot Applications, 10:00 a.m.

Friday, March 25

Tuesday, May 3

Deadline for filing for candidacy - 5:00 p.m.

Election, 7:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m.

Monday, April 4 Deadline for voters to register to vote in City Election, 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, April 9, 2011 9:00 AM to 2:00 PM Register at or by calling 301/985-5000. Registration is optional, but if you do, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ll list your address on the Cityâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Yard Sale map. Registered participants can also request a pick-up of any leftover items by a charity truck.

Page 14

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2011

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March 2011 Hyattsville Life & Times  

Hyattsville Elementary School, aging in place, Mayor Bill Gardiner, opinion, Jimmy Hooks, antique bottles, WSSC, BB&T, Hyattsville library,...

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