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ADULT DANCING IN HYATTSVILLE? County definitions may mislead; hearing to be held on dance hall license. PAGE 3

Two more city directors to leave posts by Susie Currie

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Even as councilmembers inch closer to hiring a new city administrator, two more department heads are leaving – including the one in charge of finding new hires. Chris Vermillion, the city’s first human resources director, is leaving his post after a year. Vermillion, who retired from the U.S. Army in 1990, had been tasked with finding a city administrator, city clerk and director of public works. His retirement from the city is effective on March 1. Acting Public Works Director Julia McTague’s last day will be two weeks earlier, on February 15. She’ll be taking a job in the University of Maryland bursar’s office. McTague joined the city staff in 2005, as an administrative assistant in the Department of Public Works. She also worked as an assistant to then-City Clerk Doug Barber before being named to her current post last March. At press time, McTague’s replacement had not been named. The next likely high-level hire will be city administrator, a post without a full-time permanent director since Gregory Rose departed in October 2011. City Treasurer Elaine Stookey is the acting city administrator.

PROCLAMATION INVITATION

INAUGURAL PARADE

Local Freemasons give, receive city proclamations marking Black History Month. PAGE 13

Four-legged Hyattsville resident joins the celebration. PAGE 7

The Hyattsville location became the second to officially launch a bookstore. PAGE 4

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 10 No. 2

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

February 2013

More than half of council seats to be on May ballot Mofor’s departure leaves both seats on Ward 5 open by Susie Currie

KEN CARTER Students from the award-winning choir at Northwestern at an after-school practice.

PITCH PERFECT

Northwestern choir only U.S. high school chosen for South Africa festival; fundraising challenges remain by Rosanna Landis Weaver

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

BUSBOYS, POETS, AND PROSE

If all goes according to plan, on Sunday, July 14, students from the Northwestern High School Chorus will perform “Lift Every Voice and Sing” at a Soweto site that still bears bullet marks from its role in the struggle against apartheid. The Ihlombe South African Choral Festival will open at historic Regina Mundi, the largest Catholic church in South Africa, once an antiapartheid gathering place. It later held hearings

of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee, presided over by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. Northwestern’s chorus, the only U.S high school chosen to participate, is working on a rendition of the 1900 song that will combine it with the African anthem. Yet before “the harmonies of liberty” described in James Weldon Johnson’s famous hymn can be achieved, there is a great deal of fundraising to accomplish. Although students and parents have been raising

The resignation of a mid-term city councilmember means that both Ward 5 seats will be open in the city’s May election, a rarity that brings the total seats in play to six. Nicole Hinds Mofor, first elected to represent Ward 5 in 2005, resigned abruptly at the end of January. Mayor Marc Tartaro announced her resignation at the February 4 city council meeting, reading a proclamation in her honor but giving no reason for the departure. Each of Hyattsville’s five wards is represented by two councilmembers, who, like the mayor, are elected to four-year terms. The elections are staggered every two years, so that half of the council is up for re-election each time (and the mayor, every other time). They are held on the second Tuesday in May, which this year is May 7. Ruth Ann Frazier, the senior Ward 5 representative, and Carlos Lizanne (Ward 4) had already said that they would be retiring. Council President Matthew McKnight (Ward 3), too, has said that this will be his last term. Frazier, McKnight and Lizanne would have been up for re-election this spring – along with Eric Wingard (Ward 1) and David

CHORUS continued on page 12 ELECTION continued on page 13

Included: The February 12, 2013 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section


Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

FromTheEditor

Now you see them, now you don’t by Susie Currie

On May 7, the face of Hyattsville city government will change. Four faces, in fact. Perhaps as many as six. For the next council to be more effective, though, they’ll have to bring more to the table than new nameplates. Every two years, five of the city’s 10 councilmembers are up for re-election. Usually, incumbents run. But this year, for the first time in recent memory, there are more open seats than incumbents, including two in the same ward – another first, apparently. The seats currently held by Eric Wingard (Ward 1), David Hiles

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 hyattsvillelifeandtimes@gmail. com. To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc., e-mail susie@hyattsvillelife.com. Executive Editor Susie Currie susie@hyattsvillelife.com 301.633.9209 Managing Editor Rosanna Landis Weaver rosanna@hyattsvillelife.com 301.277.5939 Editorial Intern Scarlett Salem Production Ashley Perks Advertising advertising@hyattsvillelife.com 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Victoria Hille, Bill Jenne, Valerie Russell, Kimberly Schmidt, Fred Seitz, Hugh Turley Board of Directors Joseph Gigliotti - President and General Counsel Chris Currie - Vice President Susie Currie - Secretary Peggy Dee, Bart Lawrence, Karen J. Riley, Valerie Russell Rosanna Landis Weaver - 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 9,300. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

(Ward 2), Matthew McKnight (Ward 3), Carlos Lizanne (Ward 4) and Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5) are the ones on the ballot. Of those, only Wingard and Hiles have not announced their retirement from city politics. (Yet.) Add to that the seat that was abruptly vacated at the end of January by Nicole Hinds-Mofor, Ward 5’s junior representative, and you have four spots wide open and six that are in play. Since registration runs from February 25 to March 29, it’s anyone’s guess at this point how many names will be on the ballot. The duties of an elected city councilmember are detailed in the lengthy candidates’ packet, so we don’t need to list them here. But perhaps the most basic one bears repeating: Show up. Meetings are held most Monday nights, so civic-minded citizens who have or can foresee having a regular schedule conflict might want to consider serving the city in some other way. The city’s charter sets the bar for attendance pretty low: The mayor and councilmembers must attend

more meetings than they miss. The Hyattsville Patch reported that of the 42 council meetings in 2012, HindsMofor missed 21 Frazier and Lizanne, 22. Both had serious health problems. Other members, too, were absent often enough to raise eyebrows. It’s been a sore spot Hinds-Mofor for months now with both constituents and colleagues. “The level of absences has been excessive and unacceptable,” said Ward 2 representative Shani Warner during one of many less-thanfull meetings during last year’s budget discussions. “Collective absences make our job harder.” Sometimes, it makes the job impossible. One memorable meeting in August 2011, just months after the last city election, failed to muster a quorum of six. The

handful who did show up suddenly had a free Monday evening – including councilmember-elect Eric Wingard, Lizanne who had been expecting to be sworn in at the beginning of the meeting. (Ironically, Wingard’s own attendance record has been far from perfect McKnight since then.) When the members are there, disagreements regularly erupt over council policies and procedures. Hyattsville is 125 years old; surely some long-ago legislator addressed such questions as how committees are formed, who gets the floor when, what the executive committee does, and when closed sessions are necessary (not just desirable). Could we just have a training session for mayor and council alike on Robert’s Rules of Order,

or whatever version of it is supposed to guide Hyattsville City Council meetings? This seems like basic, essential knowledge for all elected officials to have. Unless everyone agrees on the ground rules, it’s pretty hard to play the game. Instead, there we were again on February 4, watching what could have been a routine, five-minute approval of planning committee members turn into a drawn-out discussion of the nominating process. It included conflicting memories of longtime councilmembers, dramatic readings from the city charter, and even contemplation of the committee’s philosophical underpinnings: “Does [the planning committee] exist in a Platonic sense?” asked City Attorney Richard Colaresi at one point. “Yes, even without members, because it was created.” Needless to say, the discussion ended in a stalemate. Again. Maybe it’s no surprise that there are so many open seats this time around. The question is: How will things be different when they are filled?

A SUPER SUPER BOWL

This was the first football season in many years where two teams in the Hyattsville-cheering area made it to the playoffs, so it was no surprise to see a few Redskins jerseys at local Super Bowl parties. Purple was prevalent, though, as Lucas Pierce and Suerken Carter Matsuyama demonstrate (left). The Ravens, of course, went all the way, winning their second Super Bowl title on February 3. Some fans are already predicting that the 2014 game could be a Battle of the Beltways, the first Super Bowl ever where the Redskins play the Ravens. The Redskins won their first NFC east title since 1999, but lost in the playoffs to the Seattle Seahawks. However, with two strong rookies (including Robert Griffin, III who was the offensive player rookie of the year), next year could be better. PHOTO BY ROSANNA LANDIS WEAVER


Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Page 3

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AdirondAck Tree experTs susie currie Owners of Acapulco Spirit, a restaurant in Queens Chapel Town Center, say they want a dance hall permit so their weekend karaoke customers can dance.

Public hearing scheduled for restaurant dancing by Susie Currie

A West Hyattsville restaurant wants to add dancing to the menu, but city officials oppose the change. The city council is expected to vote on whether to oppose the request at its meeting on February 19, just after a 7 p.m. public meeting on the subject. Acapulco Spirit, a Salvadoran and Tex-Mex restaurant at 3100 Hamilton Street, applied for an Adult Dance Hall License on December 26. (No, not that kind of “adult dance.” See below.) The Prince George’s County agency that issues the licenses does so only if the municipality registers no objections. The City of Hyattsville has until March 1 to formally oppose the license or it will be granted. Edgar and Maria Santizo opened the Queens Chapel Town Center eatery in 1996. At the time, they were raising their three children in a house “about a block away,” says son David, 27. Now he and his younger sister, Elena, help manage the business. Over the years, it has expanded in both size and offerings; after taking over the adjoining space from Kingston Carry Out, the owners installed a bar serving beer and wine. Liquor was added about four years ago, followed by weekend karaoke in 2010. And that, says David, is why they now want to get an Adult Dance Hall License. “We have customers who come here just for the karaoke” – mostly, he says, rancheras romanticas, traditional Mexican ballads – “and they are asking to dance to

it. I have to tell them they’re not allowed to.” Prince George’s County regulations regarding establishments that allow dancing tightened in July 2011, when the county council unanimously passed an emergency bill aimed at curbing violent crime. Since 2005, there had been 61 homicides at or linked to dance halls in the county, according to County Executive Rushern Baker’s office. The bill required a license for

“We have customers who come here just for the karaoke and they are asking to dance to it. I have to tell them they’re not allowed to.” —David Santizo Manager, Acapulco Spirit any business that allows its patrons to dance. Adult dance halls, for ages 21 and up, can serve alcohol (with an additional license); teen dance halls, for ages 18 to 21, cannot. Both come with an annual fee of $1,000. The bill also forbids dancing during certain hours; sets a noise threshold; and requires a “security plan” for spaces that have an occupancy limit above 250. The plan must then be approved by three county departments: Environmental Resources, Police, and Fire/EMS. Those agencies are also given authority to shut down non-

compliant businesses, including those that “permit any disorderly conduct or allow a public nuisance ... [or] an activity that poses a threat to the health, safety and welfare of the public.” Those are among the reasons city staff want the council to deny Acapulco Spirit the license. According to a January 31 memo from Jim Chandler, the city’s director of community and economic development, Hyattsville police have been called there nine times since last February for incidents ranging from theft to fights. “I’m really against this turning into a nightclub,” said Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 4), whose district includes a residential neighborhood bordering the shopping center parking lot. Nearby businesses Mi Patio and Sahara Oasis, she said, have already generated after-hours noise complaints. The staff memo mentioned that incident reports from those businesses had also been reviewed, adding that “there were a significantly higher number of police incident reports for businesses which have been known to, and been cited for, uses that are not permitted by the existing use and occupancy permit.” Councilmember Shani Warner praised the restaurant. But she said she hopes that residents on both sides of the issue – especially those in the affected neighborhood – will come before the council during the public meeting on February 19. “We shouldn’t make the decision in a vacuum,” she said.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Busboys bookstore opens on namesake’s birthday

Josh Logue Though there have books available for sale for some weeks, February 1 marked the official opening of Busboys and Poets bookstore.

A significant chunk of shelf space is devoted to nonfiction, and many of the authors featured there – Ralph Nader, Howard Zinn, Michelle Alexander – have visited at least one Busboys for readings, book signings or talks. Those events, as well as an open mic night every Thursday, have long been part of the Hyattsville spot’s regular calendar. “It’s a big part of our brand,” Pinnock said. by Josh Logue The store has 3,250 books Many Busboys and Poets patrons in stock, with an emphasis on know that the restaurant’s name local authors, children’s literacomes from events in the life of ture and subjects that Pinnock Langston Hughes. Hughes was describes as “casualties of losworking as a busboy in Washing- ing independent bookstores,” ton, D.C.’s Wardman Park Hotel primarily global, political and when he met Vachel Lindsay, who social activism. happened to be dining there. He Two local authors, both of whose slipped one of his own poems, books were prominently dis“The Weary Blues,” next to Lind- played in the bookstore, stopped say’s plate. And the rest, as they say, by at lunch for a bite to eat on the day of the grand opening. This kind of browsing is Richard Morris, who lives in Ward 4 and has two novels “an experience you just don’t get on the Internet.” to his credit, said he is happy to have a community book— Richard Morris, local author store. This kind of browsing, he says, is “an experience you just don’t get on the Internet.” is history. “I’m really pleased my books are So it seems fitting that the Hy- in the store,” said 30-year Hyattsattsville branch chose Hughes’ ville resident David L. Levy, whose birthday, February 1, for the novel Revolt of the Animals was grand opening of its in-house published in 2010. He added that independent bookstore, the sec- he appreciates the friendliness of ond in the Busboys chain. the staff and all the other bounties “It’s our celebratory day,” says Pa- of an independent bookstore. mela Pinnock, Busboys’ commu- “You get to see people, and you get nications and marketing director. to mingle with authors,” said Levy. The branch, at 5331 Baltimore Kathryn Robinson, who lives in Avenue, became the fourth and the area and stopped in to browse most recent Busboys location in the books, said she’s really happy July 2011. Customers have been to have a bookstore in the comable to purchase and order books munity. If she wants a book, she since the store’s “soft launch” in said, “I’ll definitely come here November. first to see if they have it.”

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Film series features local immigrant stories by Rosanna Landis Weaver

The same week that President Obama reminded a Nevada crowd that “we define ourselves as a nation of immigrants,” the Hyattsville branch library hosted the first of a 2013 winter film series with a similar theme: “Travel Tales: Stories of Migration.” This season is part of an independent film series, which began in January 2012, and is sponsored by the library and the Creative Edge Studio Collaborative, a local film and digital media advocacy organization. The University of Maryland also collaborated on the January 28 event. The presentation, which drew a record crowd of nearly 80 people, featured work from the Immigrant Life Project. Three short films and a multi-media presentation created by University of Maryland anthropology professor Judith Freidenberg and her students focused primarily on the stories of local immigrants. Local filmmaker Andrew Millington introduced the evenings films as “a more intimate portrayal of people caught up in the experience, not on the national landscape but here in Prince George’s County.” The films tracked the anthropology work Freidenberg has done, including a short film on “Growing Old in El Barrio” and works done with her students. Freidenberg, who herself emigrated from Argentina in 1970, has long had interest

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in not simply producing text but providing scholarship in a “format where it is more accessible and easier to digest.” The films included “Immigrant Voices 2008,” and last year’s “Life History of Foreign Born Residents of Prince George’s County.” One such resident is Evangelina, a native of the Philippines who arrived in the United States in 1986. In the film she showed a series of tests from a math class at Prince George’s County Community College. As her story unfolded, she displayed the first test with a D, talking about her commitment to stay in the class despite her professor’s discouragement. She beamed as she showed the final test in which she had gotten an A. Evangelina is now pursuing her nursing degree. Following the films, a panel discussion allowed the audi-

ence members “to ask questions relevant to their lives,” as Creative Edge Executive Director Pierre Walcott puts it. Panel member Faith Ruffins, a curator at the National Museum of American History, pointed out the “very important historical linkage” between the work of the Civil Rights movement and immigration history. She cited the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1965 (Hart Celler Act), which abolished the national origins quota system that had been in place since 1924. Immigration law at that time included a preference for western Europeans, and essentially excluded Asians and Africans. For more information on the Immigrant Life Project, see www.anthropolog yoftheimmigrantlifecourse.org. To be considered for an interview, contact jfreiden@umd.edu.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

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A small but hardy group of Hyattsville residents gathered in the snow on Super Bowl Sunday in neighbor Joe Ludes’ yard to lay the plans for a new garden group focused on growing food instead of flowers. Ludes, who has lived in Hyattsville for a little over two years, has taken the Prince George’s County Master Gardener class and wanted to share what he had learned from both the class and personal experience tilling his double-lot garden full of greens, peppers, herbs and berries, among other things. “Gardening is usually a solitary activity,” says Ludes, who teaches in the D.C. public schools during the week. “I wanted to have a group where people could share ideas, as well as resources and possibly labor. I want to encourage more people to grow their own food.” Members introduced themselves and said why they were interested in the group. Julie Wolf, a soil scientist by trade, had several reasons. “I came because my husband isn’t into gardening, and I eventually want to do some things that will need the help or input of like-minded people,” said Wolf. “And because I have lots of seeds to share. And because I have spent about 15 to 20 years of

gardening with lots of successes and lots of failures, and it’s nice to crow about one’s successes to people who are interested and get advice about the failures from people who might have encountered and surmounted similar problems.” Ludes explained briefly about crop rotation, pointing out the various areas of his garden. Then the members of group each shared about their garden experience so far and what they hoped to learn about and attempt to grow in the future. None of the attendees have plots in the Hyattsville Community Garden on Hamilton Street. Laura Reams, who manages the membership list, says that all the plots there are spoken for. But she expects to be able to move some people off the wait list at the end of February, when the membership fee is due. There is potential for overlap between the two groups, and at least one current communitygarden member expressed interest in the food-growing group. After the meeting, Ludes set up a Facebook page with the name Hyattsville Urban Growers (HUG) for Growers to share pictures and ideas. The group is open to all local residents interested in growing food. Contact ludesbear@gmail.com or visit the Facebook page for more information.


Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Page 7

Local four-legged resident marches in the presidential inaugural parade by Rosanna Landis Weaver

Wearing a bright-yellow vest, Bernard joined his fellow pups from Canine Companions for Independence (CCI) in the 57th Presidential Inaugural Parade on January 21. Marching with the Hyattsville labrador retriever was his “volunteer puppy raiser,” Maria Boroja, and her husband Joe Skorupa, city residents since 2004. Canine Companions for Independence (CCI), which trains and provides service dogs, was one of 60 organizations chosen to march from a pool of 2,800 applicants. When CCI received approval, they invited all puppy raisers and graduates in the Washington, D.C., area before extending the invitation to members throughout the country. In the end, 136 marchers and 56 dogs from 13 states joined the event. Since the puppies are being raised to be service dogs, the puppy raisers’ job is to ensure “a happy healthy attitude and a good work

ethic,” as well as a laser-like focus, says Boroja. Bernie’s training came in handy during the parade: He was able to concentrate even as he walked by hundreds of people calling, “Here doggy, doggy.” “It was a really good practice for the dogs to be in that kind of cacaphonous environment, and to be around all those sounds and smells,” notes Boroja. “While they are with me, their job is to learn to focus.” Ultimately, when they go to a client, the dog’s appropriate response could save a life. Just because the dogs kept their eyes on the trainers doesn’t mean they were unaware of their surroundings. Boroja reports that the dogs were very intrigued by elaborate feathered costumes of Wind River, the Native American dance troupe that walked in front of them. Some of the pups in particular were bothered by the piccolos played by the Navajo Nation Band that walked behind them. Still, the dogs marched in formation. As for Bernie, she says, “He

Jeanine Konopelski Bernard, a Hyattsville black labrador, waits with fellow Canine Companions for Independence to march in last month’s inaugural parade.

definitely knew it was something special. From the moment we all got on the bus [at the Pentagon, where the group went through security clearance], the dogs knew something was up.” The marching was a small part of the day, with many hours of wait-

ing, but dog and trainer didn’t mind. “There was a lot of time for Bernard to hang out with his fellow pups in training, and it was a beautiful day on the Mall.” CCI focuses on dogs who work with disabilities other than blindness. If Bernie goes to someone whose hearing is impaired, he’ll be taught to get their attention when someone says their name, or any other sound of importance, even the jingle of accidentally dropped keys. Or he might work in a rehab hospital, assisting therapists in their work with those who have suffered traumatic brain injury. He might be a skilled companion for an autistic child, or work with a wheelchair-bound person who has cerebral palsy or multiple sclerosis. According to Boroja, some dogs can even complete such complex tasks as putting a credit card on a counter. “It’s just amazing what these guys can do,” says Boroja, “My job with the dogs is to teach

[them to obey] about 20 basic commands and to socialize them and expose them to activities” that they could encounter on the job, she says. Training the pups is a 24/7 commitment: From the moment they are potty-trained (at about 8 weeks), they go everywhere with their trainers. Bernie, the fifth puppy Boroja has trained, has lived with the couple since last February. He will be leaving in August for additional training and evaluation at CCI’s headquarters in Medford, New York. She knows from experience that saying goodbye will be painful. “Handing over that leash initially really does tear my heart out,” she says, “but handing that leash over to someone who needs that dog more than I do is the greatest gift I could ever give.” To learn more about Canine Companions for Independence, the puppy-raising program, or to apply for an assistance dog, visit www.cci.org or the local chapter’s page, www.capitalcci.org.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

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www.hyattsville.org • 301-985-5000

ANNOUNCEMENTS

Call for judges for May 2013 election Apply now to serve as an Election Judge! Six Fast Facts about Serving as a Judge: • The next City-wide Election is Tuesday, May 7, 2013. • Judges must be present from early in the morning to after the polls close and votes are tabulated on Election Day. • Judges should be over 18, organized, confident, and friendly. • A training session will take place approximately two weeks prior to the Election. • Judges receive $150 for their service. • Judges also receive our sincere thanks and appreciation for being part of the electoral process.   For more information, please call Laura Reams, City Clerk at 301/985-5009.

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

No. 258 • February 12, 2013

The City of Hyattsville and the Small Town Energy Program (STEP) will host a Community Energy Fair on Wednesday, February 27th from 7 to 9 PM in the City Municipal Building, First Floor Multi-purpose Room, 4310 Gallatin Street. The Energy Fair provides Hyattsville residents, and those from the other participating STEP communities of College Heights Estates, Riverdale Park and University Park, with an opportunity to learn more about STEP. STEP helps residents lower their utility bills and make their homes more comfortable through energy efficiency. STEP has been running in Hyattsville and the other communities since July, 2012. Since then, almost 400 homes have signed up to participate in the program, nearly 100 of them from Hyattsville. STEP concludes in July of this year. At the Fair, you can speak with neighbors who are currently STEP participants, talk to expert home efficiency contractors, and meet the STEP team. You will also learn how STEP can help you access thousands of dollars in rebates to make your home more efficient. Those attending the event from one of the participating STEP communities can also enter a drawing for a chance to win $500 in energy efficiency improvements to their home (some conditions apply)! Funded by the US Department of Energy, the goal of STEP is to make it easy and affordable for residents in Hyattsville and the other participating communities, to lower their energy bills through home energy efficiency improvements. STEP helps residents to access rebates ranging from $400 $4,650 to help homeowners get the work done. One of the most innovative benefits of STEP is free support from Energy Coach Suzanne Parmet. Suzanne makes the energy evaluation and improvement process easy, working with homeowners to answer questions, guide them through every step of the program, and ensure that they receive every financial incentive. More information is available at www.smalltownenergy.org, or to contact STEP Energy Coach Suzanne Parmet at 240/695-3991 or energycoach@smalltownenergy.org.

FIRST UNITED METHODIST HOSTS MINI HEALTH CLINIC ON 2/16

The First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville, located at 6201 Belcrest Road, will host a Free Mini Health Clinic on Saturday, February 16 from 11 AM to 3 PM. Flu shots, diabetes and HIV/AIDS screening,

FEBRUARY/MARCH 2013 Monday, February 11

General Registration opens: Camp Magruder 2013

Friday, February 15

Monday, February 18

Presidents’ Day Holiday City administrative offices closed; No Yard Waste collection, City-wide

Tuesday, February 19

Public Hearing: Acapulco Spirit Restaurant - Adult Dance Hall License Application

42nd Avenue) and follow 42nd Avenue south to Jefferson Street. The parade turns right on Jefferson and follows Jefferson to Hamilton Street, where it will turn left. The parade then continues to the reviewing stage at Magruder Park (3911 Hamilton Street). More of a spectator? Residents can watch anywhere along the Parade route. You may want to join us at Magruder Park for two reasons: first, the groups all stop to perform for our judges. But secondly, just as the parade ends, the City’s Carnival begins! A full event schedule will be out in early March, but the day always includes family-friendly fun for all ages.

Tuesday, February 19 Council Meeting, 8 PM

Wednesday, February 20

Hyattsville Environmental Committee Meeting, 7:30 PM

Friday, February 21

Senior Fitness Friday: Ageless Grace Exercise Class, 1 to 2 PM Magruder Park Recreation Center

Saturday, February 23

Surf ’s Up! Parent + Child Dance Party, 5 - 7 PM

Wednesday, February 27

A.G.E.S. Workshop: American Heart Month, 10 AM

IN OTHER NEWS... COMMUNITY ENERGY FAIR SCHEDULED FOR WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 27

CALENDAR

Senior Fitness Friday: Ageless Grace Exercise Class, 1 to 2 PM Magruder Park Recreation Center

Come March in the Anniversary Parade! D o you love a parade? Hyattsville’s 127th Anniversary Parade takes place on Saturday, April 13. Please consider marching this year. No group is too small to march! Neighborhood watches, school organizations and clubs, scout troops and youth groups, police and fire, community and civic groups, and more are all welcome. Have a dance troupe, an arts group, a classic car? You are more than welcome to participate. Find out more at www.hyattsville.org/parade or call Cheri Everhart, the City’s recreation events coordinator, at 301/985-5021. The Parade will step off at 11:00 AM from Hyattsville Middle School (6001

Page HR2

Monday, March 4 Council Meeting, 8 PM dental screening and education, a breast cancer workshop, and a prostate cancer workshop are all included. Pre-register by calling 301/9276133. www.fumchy.org

PUBLIC HEARING FOR ACAPULCO SPIRIT RESTAURANT ADULT DANCE HALL APPLICATION

There will be a Public Hearing on Tuesday, February 19, 2013 at 7 PM for residents to comment on an application from Acapulco Spirit Restaurant for an Adult Dance Hall license. Acapulco Spirit is located at 3100 Hamilton Street. The hearing will take place at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street, Third Floor Council Chambers, immediately prior to the City Council Meeting of Tuesday, February 19. If you are not able to attend the hearing, comments may be directed to ASRreview@hyattsville.org.

YARD SALE WEEKENDS FOR 2013

Each year, the City designates two weekends as a Yard Sale weekend in the City. Our permit requirements for Yard Sales are waived, and the City promotes the sale. Residents do not need to register to take part, but if you would like to be included on the map the City produces, please register! Registration opens March 4th for Spring Yard Sale weekend: Friday, April 5 through Sunday, April 7. Call 301/985-5000 or visit www.hyattsville.org/yardsale to register. The Fall Yard Sale weekend will take place Friday, October 4 through Sunday, October 6, with registration opening on Tuesday, September 3. Participate one day, two days, or all three! Partner with your neighbors, or set up your own sale. It’s a thrifty, green, fun day for the City – whether you’re a seller or a shopper.

A.G.E.S. AMERICAN HEART MONTH ON FEBRUARY 27

The Office of Senior Services will host a forum on cardiovascular health in honor of American Heart Month on Wednesday, February 27 at 10 AM. An ambassador from the American Heart Association will be on hand to present. The program is free and open to the public. We meet at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street, in the First Floor Multi-Purpose Room. Refreshments are provided. For information on this program, or any other Senior Services ques-

tions, please contact Emily Stowers, Senior Services Coordinator, at 301/985-5058 or estowers@hyattsville.org.

SURF’S UP! PARENT + CHILD DANCE on FEBRUARY 23

The annual Parent & Child Dance party is scheduled for Saturday, February 23 from 5 to 7 PM at the City Municipal Building. This year’s theme is Surf ’s Up! Hula skirts and Hawaiian shirts encouraged. Princess dresses are always appropriate attire! The event includes kid-friendly music and refreshments, plus a photo booth to snap a picture of you and your little one. Tickets are $5 each. Reserve your tickets by calling 301/985-5021 or visiting www.hyattsville.org/surfsup.

Snow Ordinance

City Council recently made changes to the City’s snow shoveling ordinance. Property owners are required to clear the sidewalks within 24 hours following the end of snowfall. However, a recent City ordinance change allows the City to extend the window to 48 or 72 hours, depending on how much snow has fallen and general weather conditions. In the event of a storm, please visit www.hyattsville.org, the City’s Facebook page, or Hyattville’s cable station (Comcast 71, Verizon 12). You may also call 301/985-5000 during business hours. (The City’s phone line is staffed from 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM on weekdays, even during weather events.)

TRASH SCHEDULE CHANGES – WINTER 2013

No Yard Waste will be collected on Monday, February 18. The City is closed in observance of Presidents Day. Please note that leaf vacuuming has concluded for the 2012-2013 season. Residents may still bag their leaves and place them curbside for collection during any regular Yard Waste pick-up Monday. Upcoming Yard Waste dates are 2/25, 3/4, 3/11, 3/18, and 3/25. Questions? Please call 301/985-5032.

AGELESS GRACE EXERCISE PROGRAM COMES TO MAGRUDER PARK

Announcing Senior Fitness Fridays! Ageless Grace is a fitness and wellness program that consists of 21 simple exercises designed to im-

prove healthy longevity. The exercises are designed to be performed in a seated chair and almost anyone can do them, regardless of most physical conditions. Class meets Fridays, January 11 through March 22 at the Magruder Park Recreation Building, 3911 Hamilton Street. The cost is only $2.00 per session! Emily Stowers, Senior Services Coordinator at 301/985-5058 or estowers@hyattsville.org

MISSED MONDAY’S MEETING? CATCH THE REBROADCAST

The City’s cable station is now rebroadcasting City Council Meetings at a variety of times. Tune in on Monday at 10 AM; Tuesdays and Thursdays at 6 AM, 3 PM, and 10 PM; Wednesdays and Fridays at 7 AM and 9 PM; or Saturdays and Sundays at 12 NOON. We will broadcast the most recent Council Meeting. The City’s channel is 71 on Comcast and 12 on Verizon. Questions? Comments? Please talk to Jonathan Alexander, the City’s cable coordinator, at jalexander@hyattsville.org or 301/985-5028.

PARENT & CHILD PROGRAM

Parent & Child Program Winter Semester is underway. The City’s best playdate is in session from Tuesday, January 7, 2013 through Thursday, May 23. The program meets Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays, from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM. Pay on a drop-in basis, just $3/session, or $75 a semester. Payment may be made by cash, money order, or check made payable to City of Hyattsville. Learn more at www.hyattsville. org/pcprogram.

GENERAL REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR SPRING & SUMMER CAMP PROGRAMS

Camp Magruder is a great way for kids ages 5 to 10 to spend their Spring and Summer vacations! Spring Break Camp meets April 1 through April 5. Activities include games, crafts, plenty of time outdoors, sports, and reading time. The fee is $125/Camper for the week. The fee includes all activities and supplies, plus an afternoon snack. Five sessions of Camp Magruder meet over nine weeks beginning Monday, June 17. Summer Camp activities include weekly swimming outings to Hamilton Park Splash Pool, plus a field trip every session. Activities include games, crafts, plenty of time outdoors, sports, and

Tuesday, March 5

Board of Election Meetings, 4 PM Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. reading time. For more information on tuition or to register online, visit www. hyattsville.org/camps. Please note that both programs typically reach capacity quickly, and spaces are limited.

SAVE THE DATE FOR THE GREAT MAGRUDER EGG HUNT ON MARCH 23

The Great Magruder Egg Hunt and Pancake Breakfast returns on Saturday, March 23. Uncle Pete will be back to entertain the crowds, and the high school art programs at Northwestern and DeMatha are already working on the 2013 souvenir eggs.

NIXLE

The City is now using Nixle to send public safety alerts and information via both email and text message. This system replaces the SafeCity website previously in use. Many of our neighboring jurisdictions also use Nixle to send out information. Please note that Nixle won’t report on every incident – typically alerts are sent when the HCPD needs to alert the public to a potentially dangerous situation, or when we are asking for your help solving a crime. In other cases, Nixle messages relate to road closures, power outages, etc. If you have a nixle.com account, there is no need to create a new one. Simply log in and add the City of Hyattsville to your wire. New to Nixle? Register at www.nixle.com or enroll using the widget online at http://www.hyattsville.org/stayinformed.

FIND US ON FACEBOOK

Are you on Facebook? You can now keep up with City events and happenings at www.facebook.com/cityofhyattsville. When you see Vainglorious, the silver metal bird sculpture at Centennial Park, you’ll know you’re in the right place. He is kind enough to serve as the City’s wall photo.


Page 8

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, I attended the Hyattsville Horticultural Society seed sale February 9 and got quite a few packets of things I’d like to start as soon as possible. But I’ve tried to start plants indoors before without much success. As often as not, I don’t get them “dampened off ” very well. The stems get black and the seedlings flop over, quite dead. Of those that do survive till I can get them planted outside, few seem to survive for long. I’m wondering if I might do better keeping the new plants in

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a cool greenhouse, but even small structures are expensive. From time to time you mention a cousin named Parsimony (is that her real name?) who knows how to find low-cost ways of doing things. For instance, she saves money on peat pots by starting seeds in eggshells that go directly into the soil. Could she or anyone else you know tell me how to put up an uncomplicated greenhouse that wouldn’t cost a lot? Frugal on Farragut Street Dear Frugal, First of all, Parsimony is indeed my dear cousin’s name, every bit as much as mine is Floribunda. Next, it sounds as if you’re using the term “dampening off ” to mean “preparing plants started indoors to move outdoors,” which folks in some parts of the country call “hardening off.” More on that later. “Damping off,” though, is a disease, not a process. It’s caused by any of a variety of fungi in the soil. If you are not going to the expense of buying a sterilized medium such as vermiculite you would do well to microwave your soil before planting seeds in it. Otherwise, it doesn’t matter where you start your seeds: the sprouts won’t live long. And don’t re-use potting soil, even if you sterilize it, as salts from the fertilization of other plants can prove deadly to new

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DEIDRE MCQUADE Heirloom seeds were among the wares at the February 9 sale, sponsored by the Hyattsville Horticultural Society.

sprouts. When you plant the young plants outside, continue to watch over them. Keep them watered, protect them them during cold snaps, and forgo fertilization till they are quite sturdy. To address your question about putting up a low-cost greenhouse, Parsimony boasts that her son Handy constructs very nice temporary ones for her using 3/4 inch PVC flexible plastic pipe bent over rebar bases, and covered with plastic sheeting. He chooses an even number of rebars two feet long, and hammers them into the ground, leaving six inches above the soil line. He makes a row of them two to three feet apart in one direction, and a second parallel row about six feet from these. He will usually use five on each side. Then he cuts the flexible pipe into uniform strips, the length of which depends on how high he wants his structure, and makes hoops of them by slipping them over the rebars. He cuts another pipe slightly longer than the length of the structure and attaches it to the top as a stabilizing bar.

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DEIDRE MCQUADE Hyattsville gardener Geraldine Hall and daughter Caelan Rice (9) get a close-up look at antique tools at the HHSʼs Fourth Annual Hart Seed Sale.

He drills holes into the hoops on which that bar rests, one on each side of it, and secures the bar with zip ties pulled through the holes. (Parsimony saves the ties from grocery purchases.) He then drapes the plastic wrap – about 6 mm. thick and at least 10 feet wide – over the top of his structure and suggests you use duct tape to adhere it to weights at the bottom. Cinder blocks, large stones, bricks or old boards make very effective weights. If even this seems too difficult and you don’t know anyone willing to do it for you, you might try improvising some cold frames from old windows obtained inexpensively at Community Forklift in nearby Edmonston. You can use the wall of your house, garage, fence or other structure to prop the window against. Be sure the drainage is good in that spot and that there is enough sun. Cinder blocks are good to anchor the window and it isn’t difficult to attach the sash to the structure with hinges. If the weather suddenly gets too warm, the hinges permit you to open the window before the seedlings fry. If the temperature plummets

you can cover the window with a blanket overnight. Handy also advises using windows with sliding screens, if you can find used ones cheaply. On warm days you slide the glass back, and expose the screen portion. This also lets air in. If you can find a good supply, the plastic jugs from office water coolers make wonderful little cloches, or personalized greenhouses for individual plants. Croquet wickets lined up and covered with plastic wrap provide protection for new seedlings. Just keep the ends of the tunnel open so air can get in. Not having a strapping boy to make greenhouses for me, these are the primitive but effective ways I give seedlings a head start outdoors. I’ve even rooted roses from cuttings using outsized large mason jars I got from a school cafeteria. Good luck, whatever you decide. If you’d like to meet gardeners who can give you good ideas on how to start your spring garden, please come to the next meeting of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society at 10 a.m. on Saturday, March 16. It will take place at the home of Heather Olsen, 4915 42nd Avenue.


Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Page 9

COMMUNITY CALENDAR February 16

Did you resolve to stay healthy in 2013? Today’s Mini Health Clinic has you covered with free flu shots, diabetes testing, dental screenings, HIV testing, and workshops on both breast and prostate cancer. Free. 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Road. www.fumchy.org. 301.927.6133.

February 20

Oral historian Vince Leggett performs African American Heroes of the War of 1812: A Living History Portrayal of Charles Ball. Ball, a former slave, fought with the United States against Britain in the War of 1812. He was part of Commodore Joshua Barney’s Chesapeake Flotilla, one of the few combat units to stand against the enemy at the Battle of Bladensburg. Free. 1 to 2:30 p.m. Ulrich Recital Hall, Tawes Fine Arts Building, University of Maryland, College Park. Contact www.marylandmilestones.org or atheritagearea@gmail.com.

February 23 and 24

Soul in Motion Players mark their 29th anniversary with Suites: A Taste of Diversity, a showcase of African drumming and dance. Saturday at 8 p.m., Sunday at 4 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt. Rainier. For ticket information, contact 301.699.1819.

February 24

Seasonal Selections: The Plummers’ Kitchen will demonstrate cooking of recipes that would have been typical for 19th-century African Americans. $3; discounts for children and seniors. Noon to 3:30 p.m. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420. Irish eyes will be smiling at St. Jerome’s Fourth Annual Irish

Night Celebration. The evening will include live music by Crossing Celtic and Brendan Pelan; performances by the Culkin School of Traditional Irish Dance and Catholic University’s Irish dance team; and plenty of food and fun. Donations accepted at the door to benefit St. Jerome Academy. 2 to 6 p.m. in the parish Gold Room, 5205 43rd Avenue. 301.927.6684.

February 25

The second screening of the Hyattsville library’s Winter Independent Film Series will feature Bernardo Bertolucci’s 1998 film Besieged, a movie about an African woman exiled in Italy. Afterwards, local filmmaker Andrew MiIlington will lead a discussion on the movie. Refreshments provided. Free. 6:45 p.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.

February 28

Now that you have lovingly restored that 1930s bungalow, make sure it’s protected. The Hyattsville Preservation Association hosts Brian Pheobus, vice president of the National Trust Insurance Services, for a discussion on Insuring an Older or Historic Home. Free. 7:30 p.m. Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. hpahyattsville@hotmail.com. 301.699.5440.

March 2

Teacher and actor Daisy Nelson Century will portray Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to earn a pilot’s license in the United States, in a livinghistory performance. All ages welcome. 2 p.m. Free with regular museum admission of $4 (discounts for children and seniors). College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

others to advocate for them, since they can’t do it for themselves. If you are over 21 and can spare about 12 hours a month, consider attending a volunteer information session on becoming a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for abused or abandoned children in your community. Free. 6 to 7:30 p.m. Local 400 Union Hall, 4301 Garden City Drive, Landover. www.pgcasa.org. 301.209.0491.

March 9

To mark the 200th anniversary of Pride and Prejudice, Riversdale House Museum will host a Jane Austen Cafe. Fans are invited to come discuss “all things Pride and Prejudice” — including, we have to assume, Colin Firth’s lake scene — and enjoy light refreshments. $25. Capacity is limited; register by March 1. 2 p.m. 4811 River-

dale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.

Ongoing

The Tangled Skein’s wall-towall liquidation continues, this month with discounts on yarn, needles, patterns, books, furniture, store fixtures and more. All sales are final. Open Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, 11 a.m to 7 p.m.; Wednesday, 11 a.m to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m to 6 p.m.; and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sunday. 5200 Baltimore Avenue. 301.779.3399. On Fridays through March 22, seniors can participate in Ageless Grace, a fitness and wellness program designed to improve healthy longevity. Almost anyone can do these 21 simple exercises, which can be performed while sitting. $2 per session. 1 to 2 p.m. Magruder Park Recre-

ation Building, 3911 Hamilton Street. 301.985.5058 or estowers@hyattsville.org. A group bike ride starts every Sunday at 9 a.m. at Arrow Bicycles, 5108 Baltimore Avenue. This is a 32-mile, moderately paced ride that emphasizes group riding techniques. New group riders welcome. The route can be found by searching mapmyride.com. 301.531.9250. Community Calendar is compiled by Susie Currie and Scarlett Salem. 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 email susie@hyattsvillelife.com or mail to P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for March submissions is February 27.

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Page 10

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

AuntieDiluviana Aging in Place program launches I received many queries recently along the lines of: “We’ve heard so much lately about Hyattsville Aging in Place. Has it started operations? How does it work?” Well, Auntie can now announce that the volunteer program launched on February 6. As many of you already know, Hyattsville Aging in Place (HAP) is an all-volunteer, nonprofit organization formed to help older residents of Hyattsville live safely and comfortably. As those of us older than 60 know, it gets more and more difficult to do some of the activities we took for granted when we were younger. Believing that the community as a whole benefits when older residents are able to continue living in their own homes, HAP has developed a network of volunteers to help them with such tasks as running errands and minor household chores. The group recently completed training of its first volunteers who also had to pass a background check.

So how does it work? City residents who are either over age 60 or disabled should request a membership application by calling HAP at 301.887.3101. A volunteer can arrange a visit and help with the application process if needed.

The group has developed a network of volunteers to help seniors with errands and minor household chores.

Once a resident becomes a member, he or she needs only to call the same number for ser-

vices. If the member needs help changing some light bulbs or getting a ride to a doctor’s office, HAP will send out one of the more than 30 volunteers to provide assistance. The launching of the volunteer program is the culmination of more than a year of work by a group of local residents. It is part of the “village” movement – a growing effort in the D.C. area and around the country – in which neighbors come together to run errands, provide transportation for seniors and make sure that their older neighbors are not isolated. Hyattsville Aging in Place also sponsors a series of informational programs and social events throughout the year. The programs are open to the public, so look out for those in the HL&T community calendar or at the HAP website, www. HyattsvilleAginginPlace.org.

City of Hyattsville 2013 Election Calendar Monday, February 25

Friday, April 26

• Applications for Absentee Ballots available, 8:30 a.m. Applications available in the office of the City Clerk or online at www.hyattsville.org/election

Saturday, May 4

• Campaign signs may be erected

Monday, May 6

• Candidates may begin registering at 8:30 a.m.

• Deadline for candidates to file Initial Campaign Finance Report, 5:00 p.m.

• Official Absentee Ballot Drop-Off at City Municipal Building, 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

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

• Deadline for filing Absentee Ballot Applications, 10:00 a.m. Applications must be received by the City by this date and time

Friday, March 29

Tuesday, May 7

Monday, March 11

• Deadline for candidates to file, 5:00 p.m.

Friday, April 5

• Deadline for residents to register or report address changes to the Maryland Board of Elections to vote in City Election, 5:00 p.m. • Voter applications must be submitted to the Board of Elections of Prince George’s County, 16201 Trade Zone Avenue, Upper Marlboro, MD 20774

Tuesday, April 9

• Begin processing Absentee Ballot Applications, 8:30 a.m.

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

Tuesday, May 14

• Deadline for candidates to file Final Campaign Finance Report - 5:00 p.m.

Friday, May 17

• Deadline for removal of campaign signs

Monday, May 20

• City Council Meeting - 8:00 p.m. • Certified Election results are accepted by the Council and the newly elected officials are issued the oath of office.

Questions? Contact Laura Reams at 301-985-5009 or lreams@hyattsville.org.

— Molly Parrish

LET’S GET PHYSICAL

ROSANNA LANDIS WEAVER Fitness Friday instructor Amy Liss instructs Hyattsville senior citizens at Ageless Grace Exercise class.

M A CAGRU P M

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Registration opens for Spring & Summer Camps on Tuesday, January 22 for City residents General registration begins February 11 SPRING BREAK CAMP: April 1 - 5, $125/week Camp hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Before & After Care available SUMMER CAMP Session I: June 17 through June 28 Session II: July 1 through July 12 Session III: July 15 through July 26 Session IV: July 29 through Aug 8 Session V: Aug 12 through Aug 16* $210/Sessions I through IV $105/Session V Camp hours are 9 AM to 5 PM Before & After Care available

ONLINE REGISTRATION AVAILABLE THIS YEAR!

For more information or to register, please visit www.hyattsville.org/camps


Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Page 11

Hugh’sNews

What you should be told about Hepatitis C by Hugh Turley

Journalists sometimes fail to tell the whole truth. It happened again on January 14, during National Public Radio correspondent Richard Knox’s report on the Hepatitis C virus (HCV), a leading cause of both liver failure and liver cancer. The virus, discovered in 1989, is the most common bloodborne pathogen in the U.S. and infects almost 4 million Americans – many of whom, reported Knox, are unaware that they have it. A 2006 survey by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health estimated that in Maryland alone, nearly two-thirds of the 100,000 infected residents do not know they are sick. According to Knox’s report, many baby boomers were exposed to the virus through experimenting with injecting or snorting drugs. The virus may have been transmitted by blood transfusions before 1992, when donated blood was not screened for HCV. (Today, some people learn of their illness when they try to donate blood). New therapies offer new

hope: Now, about 80 percent of HCV cases can be cured, albeit after repeated treatment and with significant side effects. That’s why, Knox said, “the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is urging everybody born between 1945 and 1965 to get tested.” So does that mean that those born after 1965 are out of the woods? Not exactly. His report accurately explained that the only way the virus can be transmitted is by getting it directly into the bloodstream: “You can’t catch it by coughing, kissing or sharing a cup of coffee.” But what he failed to mention is that just as some fashionable behavior in the 1960s had hidden risks, so does some of today’s. For example, two days before Knox’s report aired, a study published in the Journal of Hepatology found that persons infected with HCV are four times more likely to have a tattoo than the general population. When choosing body-art practitioners, people should be aware of the risk and choose those who they can be sure use safe hygienic methods. According to the CDC,

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Page 12

Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

chorus

continued from page 1

money for over 16 months – with bake sales, fruit sales, and other hard work – community fundraising is behind schedule, fewer participants than expected signed up, and costs are higher than was anticipated. Despite these challenges the chorus is determined to attend the festival.

“It’s going to happen,� says senior Joshua Conner, who has taken a job at McDonald’s to help earn his portion of the trip. “We’re going to make it happen.� Conner works 30 hours a week, in addition to going to school full time and keeping up with the busy choir rehearsal schedule. “I haven’t missed a rehearsal yet,� he notes. For Conner, who like most of the students has never traveled out of the country,

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this represents a once in a lifetime opportunity. In 2010, when choir director Leona Lowery first heard of the program, she asked herself, “Can we dream a big dream?� In her 15 years at Northwestern, Lowery has taken the choir throughout the United States and to Canada, but never overseas. “The more I looked at [the Ihlombe Festival] the more fabulous it seemed.� So, working with parents and students who were forming a nonprofit Friends of Northwestern Choir group, she put together an application package with a CD, video, photos and reviews. A few months later, she recalls, “I picked up the phone and heard a voice with a wonderful accent say, ‘Congratulations.’ � That voice belonged to South African Johan van Zyl of Classical Movements, a concert touring company that operates four international music festivals including Ihlombe. The festival performs in five cities, including Johannesburg, Pretoria and Cape Town, and includes opportunities to sing with traditional Cape Malay, Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans and English choirs. “Ihlombe� is a South African term that means “the ecstasy that comes from singing and dancing together.� The festival, now in its fourth year, aims to mingle cultures as well as voices. “The joy of choral singing,� says Neeta Helms, president of Classical Movements, “is that when you bring people together from all around the world they make beautiful music.� While Northwestern’s choir is the only high school choir that has been accepted to participate in the program from the United States, other adult choirs will be attending from both the United States and Australia. In addition, the Toronto Children’s choir will be coming from Canada, and the

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rosanna landis weaver Chorus members discuss fundraising ideas at a meeting at Northwestern High School.

Bishop Anstey High School Choir from Trinidad Tobago. There will also be both children and adult choirs from South Africa. The students feel honored to participate, and excited to represent their home. “PG County is not really recognized for a great many things, or a great many good things,� says Senior Victoria Okafer, who has performed with the Washington National Opera, “and this is something we can flaunt proudly.� For the 15 years she has directed choir at Northwestern Lowery has strived to show her students the opportunities that can await them. “The world is bigger than PG County,� says Lowery. “These kids have got to see beyond their limits.� In addition, the eye-opening look at South Africa’s history will grant perspective beyond the typical adolescent conversations about “tennis shoes, cell phones, Qdoba and the Mall at Prince Georges.� Lowery chokes up when she remembers an experience from some years back when a student who’d hardly ever been outside Hyattsville stared at Niagara Falls, tears running down his face, and told her. “Thank you, Ms. Lowery. That’s the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.�

Fundraising Challenges So far, 38 singers and seven adults have committed to the trip. The group has paid a deposit of $30,000, with nearly two-thirds of that coming from outside sources

such as the Jim Henson Legacy. But more than $100,000 remains in the outstanding balance. Initially, it was hoped that more students and alumni would participate. The cost per family has risen, since the original estimate was based on 70 travelers. Other costs, too, seem to be increasing: Just last month, the group learned that additional airline taxes and fuel surcharges amounted to an additional $540 each. “Travel is one of the most enriching of all educational experiences,� notes Helms, “But it is expensive.� One reason Lowery opted to apply for a program three years away was so that there would be a longer window for fundraising. The downside of that has been that it has been difficult for teenagers to focus on something so far away. Parent Joscelyn McFarlane, with two children who hope to attend the festival, senior Renaye and sophomore Jason, acknowledges that the amount to be raised is intimidating. “The more the community can support the venture, the better the chance of their going,� he notes, adding that his congregation, Metropolitan Seventh Day Adventist Church at Riggs Road, has supported the family’s fundraising efforts. “We just definitely need everyone to do their part.� Lowery is committed to making it happen. “There’s nothing sadder than seeing a child without a vision,� she notes. “These students are just constantly let down, [hearing] ‘You can’t do this.’ ‘We don’t have enough to do that.’� The public is encouraged to attend two upcoming fundraising concerts: Soul Cafe, the annual Black History Month celebration, will be held at the school on February 20, at 7 p.m. On February 24 at 7 p.m. there will be a fundraising concert at Hyattsville Mennonite Church (4217 East West Highway) to be followed by a bake sale and a small silent auction. To learn more about the chorus or contribute online, go to www. friendsofnhschoirs.org. Rosanna Landis Weaver’s daughter belongs to the Northwestern High School Chorus.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

Page 13

Proclamation in Recognition of Black History Month

election

continued from page 1

Hiles (Ward 2), who have indicated that they plan to run. But Mofor was re-elected in 2011 to a four-year term. Because she resigned within the time allotted by law, voters will choose her successor in the regular city election instead of a special one. Candidate registration runs from February 25 to March 29. The already thick Candidate Packet, given to all prospective councilmembers, has a new section this year: a 17-page financial disclosure statement drafted by City Attorney Richard Colaresi. Colaresi said the form is similar to the one that has been used in state elections for years. Recently, he said, the state expanded that application requirement to include candidates in county and municipal elections. Current councilmembers, too, must file a financial disclosure statement. The packet includes additional application material, as well as a range of information relating to the election and the job itself. Beginning in May, councilmembers’ salaries will be $5,000 a year, with the mayor earning $7,600. Next May, both amounts will increase by $200. Voters must register by April 5 to participate in the city election. City Clerk Laura Reams said that postcards will go out to the 1,644 city residents whose wards changed in last year’s redistricting, letting them know their new polling places. For more information, see this issue’s Hyattsville Reporter on pages HR 1 and 2. Or visit the city website’s election page at www. hyattsville.org/election. Election judges earn $150 for their day of service. To apply, contact Reams at 301.985.5009 or lreams@hyattsville.org.

Rosanna Landis Weaver Lodge President Kevin Stephen, flanked by fellow members of the Shelton D. Redden Lodge #139, Chad Malone, Jonathan Gentry, Willard Beach, Gilbert Davidson and Anthony Arroyo, reads the city’s proclamation in honor of Black History Month.

At the February 4 city council meeting, Hyattsville’s official proclamation in honor of Black History Month was read by Kevin Stephen of the Shelton D. Redden Lodge #139 Most Worshipful Prince Hall Grand Lodge of Maryland, Free and Accepted Masons. In October, the city adopted a calendar that noted special months. Similar proclamations have been read into the record by individual council members, but this was the first formal city proclamation that Community Services Director Abby Sandel can recall. The city brainstormed how to make the proclamations more meaningful, and, “came up with the idea of inviting the Shelton D. Redden Lodge,” says Sandel. “They’ve been such incredible

partners to the City that it only made sense to recognize them at the same time.” Since many in Hyattsville could not be in attendance, the HL&T has reprinted the full text of the black history month proclamation here: Whereas, February marks the birthdays of both Frederick Douglass and Abraham Lincoln, and so has been designated the time for national commemoration of the struggle for civil rights and a more perfect union; Whereas, Black History Month has been celebrated since 1926, serving to educate all Americans

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Following the presentation, Mayor Marc Tartaro read another proclamation honoring the specific work of lodge members, including “making thousands of golden, fluffy pancakes in perfect stacks at the Great Magruder Egg Hunt and Pancake breakfast each spring.” The proclamation presented to the lodge notes that the partnership between the lodge and the city “demonstrates the highest ideals of civic engagement – service, community pride, and determination to foster positive change and goodwill in Hyattsville.”

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Hyattsville Life & Times | February 2013

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February 2013 Hyattsville Life & Times