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The internationally acclaimed Auryn Quartet is based in Germany, but has roots in Hyattsville, too. They perform a benefit concert on April 9 at First Baptist. PAGE 3

Technology and nature don’t have to be mutually exclusive for teens. A new summer program for high-schoolers combines travel and tech in the coal mines of West Virginia. PAGE 5

When Louise Tatspaugh moved to Hyattsville, Franklin D. Roosevelt was just starting his second term. She’s still here, and has some fascinating stories. PAGE 4

Bringing playtime to needy children by Scarlett Salem and Susie Currie

The tragic story of 8-year-old Relisha Rudd has spotlighted the dismal conditions of the Washington, D.C., homeless shelter where the girl spent the last 18 months of her life. Rudd, who at press time had been missing for over a month, is one of hundreds of children who shelter at the former D.C. General Hospital home — at least temporarily. Hyattsville resident Jamila Larson, founder and executive director of the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project (HCPP) works to make things a little brighter for them. Larson began her career focusing on policy at the Children’s Defense Fund, but she often felt removed from the children she wanted to help. In 2003, she offered to spearhead an employee toy drive and deliver the toys herself to a nearby homeless shelter. But when she arrived at the now-closed shelter, she was “appalled” at what she saw. “There were half-dressed children


PLAYTIME continued on page 12

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 11 No. 4

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper


More shops, condos likely for Metro areas by Susie Currie

JIM CRAVER Ferris-wheel riders get a birdʼs-eye view of the annual carnival in Magruder Park, held April 3 to 6 as part of the cityʼs 128th anniversary festivities.

In March, Hyattsville’s two Metro stations moved a little closer to redevelopment. On March 27, Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) directors approved a plan to fast-track proposals to develop its parcels around four Metro stations, including West Hyattsville. The Prince George’s Plaza Metro station area is likely to attract even more transitoriented (read: high-density) development after the District Council voted to expand the Transit District Overlay Zone by nearly 30 percent. The new boundaries extend north to Rosemary Drive and west to Highview, and include 82 acres that had formerly been in five different zoning categories, from R-O-S (“very low density”) to R-18 (“medium density”).

Korean eatery to replace Hank’s by Max James Bennett and Rosanna Landis Weaver

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

April 2014

Hank’s Tavern & Eats, one of the longest term businesses of University Town Center, will close this month after nearly fiveand-a-half years of dishing up traditional American fare at its America Boulevard location. Unlike the other closings in the troubled development, this one seems to have a replacement on deck: South Korean fried-chicken franchise BonChon. Easter Sunday, April 20, will be the last opportunity for diners to enjoy the classic menu at the restaurant that was created for the space. As the Town Center complex was about to open in 2008, World of

Wings — which had been slated for the location — backed out of its planned restaurant, leaving the space next to Regal Cinema empty. Regal Cinema had a deal with the University Town Center Development Group that stipulated it have restaurants on either side. When World of Wings backed out of the contract, developers looked to local restaurateur Geoffrey Tracy, who through Chef Geoff Universal, owns and operates several restaurants in the Washington, D.C. area. Under the management agreement, said Tracy, he was not the owner at Hank’s. “This was the first time I ran a restaurant without having my name on the lease,” he added.

In order to bring the restaurant in at the last minute, says Hyattsville Community Development Corporation Executive Director Stuart Eisenberg, “my understanding was that they had a very advantageous deal.” That deal allowed the restaurant to stay in business longer than many others in the complex that have closed. University Town Center Development lost most of its holdings to bankruptcy; what’s left is, in Eisenberg’s words, is “a very restructured creature.” Geoff Tracy notes that the situation “wasn’t sustainable because we were not a profitable restaurant. But we still provided HANK’S continued on page 8

Included: The April 9, 2014 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section

Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014


Columnists provide a foundation for small-town paper to flourish by Rosanna Landis Weaver

A recent article in the Washington Post described the nowdefunct Manasses News and Messenger as having “survived Reconstruction, multiple recessions and depressions, assorted wars and the dismantling of Jim Crow laws throughout Virginia and the South. But the Internet was another matter.” The Hyattsville Life & Times

A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 hyattsvillelifeandtimes Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation. Editors welcome reader input, tips, articles, letters, opinion pieces and photographs, which may be submitted using the mailing address above or the email addresses below. Executive Editor Susie Currie 301.633.9209 Managing Editor Rosanna Landis Weaver 301.277.5939 Production Ashley Perks Advertising 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Amanda Alley, Katy June-Friesen, Lauren Kelly, Gray O’Dwyer, Molly Parrish, Scarlett Salem, Fred Seitz Board of Directors Joseph Gigliotti - President and General Counsel Chris Currie - Vice President Susie Currie - Secretary Peggy Dee, Karen J. Riley, Valerie Russell, Gretchen Brodtman, Debra Franklin, T. Carter Ross 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.

has a different story. We must be one of only a handful of print papers to begin after the Internet age, and approach our 10th anniversary this year. With the help of amazing, talented volunteers, we expect to unveil a new website shortly, allowing easier online reading and sharing of articles, as well as an archive of past issues. In the meantime, the print issue continues to flourish. On January 1, we put out a request on the local listserv encouraging anyone with a New Year’s Resolution to do more writing to reach out to us. The response was marvelous, and while the consistency of commitments has varied — it always does with such resolutions — it has introduced new writers and columnists to our fold. This the third month we’ve had a “Parenting Perspectives” column, and we hope new writ-

ers will continue to volunteer for this rotating column. (Because we’ve discovered that parents don’t have time to write consistently!) This also marks the second time we’re running the column “Secondhand News,” by Lauren Kelly, a Hyattsville bargain treasure-hunter sharing her secrets. We are fortunate to call architectural historian Gray O’Dwyer a regular contributor. Her column, “Bricks and Mortar,” will continue to explore issues related to architecture, preservation and development in our historic city. This issue also represents the beginning of a new series, a project begun by Katy June-Friesen, who is creating a Hyattsville Voices Oral History Project to illuminate the city’s history and the lives of people who live or work here. She will conduct interviews

with a diverse group of local residents and transcribe them. The point says June-Friesen, is not so much to produce a “comprehensive” record of Hyattsville experience as to find a way to preserve stories. She hopes to create a project website where people can read full transcripts and listen to recordings. While we’re excited about the new additions to our roster, we are also seeing less of some familiar faces. A new policy, adopted in January by our board of directors, dictates that columns must be either local or placed within the context of Hyattsville and its surroundings. As regular fans and readers know, award-winning columnist Hugh Turley’s interests are varied, and often “Hugh’s News” took readers to places far from Hyattsville. We are glad to report that he has agreed to write

when a Hyattsville topic occurs to him. Next month we say goodbye to Molly Parrish, who has written “Auntie Diluviana” since it started in 2012. We are in discussions with a writer who may take up the column, which is the compiled wisdom of Hyattsville Aging in Place members. (The title is a play on “antediluvian,” which translates to “before the Flood” but is used to describe someone or something that is very old or old-fashioned.) We wish our departing writers well! And remember, writers and photographers, it is never too late to make a New Year’s resolution. We would welcome more diversity of perspectives, so please contact us at susie@ or rosanna@

Hyattsville hosts cross-cultural mentoring The gathering was part of TOMODACHI MetLife Women’s Leadership program, a cooperative program between the U.S. and Japanese governments, created to encourage entrepreneurial skill-building. It focuses particularly on young women working in the region devastated

by Rosanna Landis Weaver

On Sunday, March 23, women business leaders from Hyattsville traded tips with women from the other side of the world, a place where “leaning in” is more likely to mean bowing than seeking promotions.


by the Great East Japan Earthquake of 2011. A total of 25 participants — young women in their early 20s — joined six mentors for the eight-day program in the United States. Hyattsville was the first stop after a short orientation. The gathering was designed to


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help the Japanese participants feel more comfortable in engaging in conversations with Americans. Dan Ewett, vice president of Cultural Vistas, the international exchange organization that facilitated the trip, reports that the travelers received a “gregarious welcome” from the participants the city had invited. “We have a long-standing relationship with the city,” noted Ewett. “They’ve hosted other participants of [our] program [and] others.” Attendees, who answered questions on a range of topics, included ArtWorks’ executive director Barbara Johnson; Pizzeria Paradiso founder Ruth Gresser; Ann Marie Binsner, of Court-Appointed Special Advocates of Prince George’s County, Principal Julia Burton from Hyattsville Elementary School; Wanda Ramos, of the MarylandNational Capital Park & Planning Commission; and Victoria Clark, from the Mall at Prince George’s. Entertainment was provided by Hyattsville resident Cynthia Way on ukelele. Way led the crowd in singing, “This little light of mine, From Hyattsville to Tokyo, I’m gonna let it shine.”

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

Page 3

International string ensemble has Hyattsville connections by Jenna Hecker

The Auryn Quartet, a string ensemble formed in 1981, has played at concert halls and music festivals around the globe, from New York to Edinburgh to Salzburg. Its April 9 performance, “Schubert, Schubert and Beethoven,” was held in a relatively humble setting: First Baptist Church of Hyattsville. The members — cellist Andreas Arndt, violist Stewart Eaton and violinists Jens Oppermann and Matthias Lingenfelder — met as musicians with the European Union Youth Orchestra. More than 30 years later, they are still performing with the group, which they named after a wishgranting talisman in Michael Ende’s novel The courtesy of the auryn quartet Neverending Story. Auryn is one of a few long-standing string ensem- Violinists Matthias Lingenfelder and Jens Oppermann, cellist Andreas Arndt and violist Stewart Eaton have been performing together as the Auryn Quartet since 1981. They lived here while studying at the University of Maryland and returned to town on bles with all the original members. “Sometimes, as in some marriages, it just does April 9 for a benefit concert for the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation not work for a long time,” notes Gloria FelixThompson, who has known the members for decades and arranged the First Baptist concert. “In Auryn’s case, they formed this quartet as young men and literally ‘grew up’ together, as human beings and musicians.” An early part of that bond was formed in Hyattsville, when the fledgling ensemble came to the University of Maryland to study under the Guarneri Quartet for two semesters. During that time, they lived and practiced in Hyattsville, deeply connecting them to the city. The April 9 concert was something of a homecoming for the group, as well as a way of giving back to a community they treasure. Fresh from a twonight engagement in San Jose, California, where tickets ranged from $27 to $42, the four musicians stopped here for a more intimate gathering at $10 a head. Proceeds of the event will go toward the renovation of 4314 Farragut Street, the future home of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation (CDC). Felix-Thompson said that the quartet tries to return to the city at least once a year from its home base of Cologne, Germany. “[Hyattsville] is their home away from home,” said Felix-Thompson. “They travel all over the world, but this is the place for them.”

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014


Louise Tatspaugh, 103 by Katy June-Friesen

The following is an excerpt from a March 17, 2014, interview with Elizabeth Louise DeMarr Tatspaugh, who still lives in the same Hyattsville house she and her husband, Walter Ludlow Tatspaugh, bought in 1937. Both come from longtime Maryland families – Mrs. Tatspaugh grew up in Berwyn Heights and Mount Rainier, and Mr. Tatspaugh grew up in Laurel. They raised five children in their Hamilton Street house. Mr. Tatspaugh worked as an electrician for PEPCO until his death in 1963. Katy June-Friesen

edited the interview text for length and clarity. My husband was out working in the neighborhood [in the late 1930s], he worked for PEPCO. And he saw a sign, “House for Sale,” and he knew the name of the man whose name was on [the sign], so he hunted him up and the fellow brought him around right away and showed him the house and ... just like that, [we] bought a house. It was white like some of the little bungalows up the hill. We have been in this house ever since we came. So I oughta know a lot about Hyattsville.

There was no big [WSSC] building across the street. There were several houses on that side, above where the upper end of the building would be. Across the street was a lovely place for the kids to sleigh ride on the hill when it snowed. There was always a park there. There was a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission building over there, way back on what that lot is now. But it was just a very, very small building. ... Then as the area started developing, we needed more of everything, and [the new building] was something we needed. A lot of people worked there a long time. I worked there for a while too. You’d walk across the street and go over there to work, come home to lunch and go back again. And actually, the town in this direction [toward West Hyattsville] – that was all farmland. It was farmland, or [people] had big gardens. They raised lots of vegetables. Local people did a lot of that then. They didn’t have to go to the store for very much. And if you’d go up here on U.S. 1, I used to walk up to the grocery store, which was up at 42nd. If you bought more than you could get home with you ... you could sit your groceries on the counter, in front of the big glass window. And then daddy who had the car would stop by on the way home and pick up the groceries. There was another nice place, we all called it Pete George’s. The man’s name was Pete George, I think he was from Baltimore. Anyway, he made the best candy.

COURTESY OF THE TATSPAUGH FAMILY Louise Tatspaugh has lived in Hyattsville since 1937.

All kinds of candy. And around holiday times like Christmas and Easter, he even made some of them in pretty shapes. And once when my husband was up there some years later and this man asked him if he would fix suchand-such a thing, he said, “How much do I owe you?” and [my husband] says, “Well, you don’t owe me anything. But if you ever decide to get rid of that copper kettle” – that’s what he made his chocolate in – “I’d like to have it.” The copper kettle’s over there in front of [my] fireplace ... You couldn’t buy any liquor any place in Hyattsville. It was set up as a dry town. But you could get Coca-Colas, and you could go in [to Pete George’s, officially called Hyattsville Candy Kitchen] and sit down and drink a Coca-Cola. This was Owens Avenue. In [Washington], the streets are all more or less alphabetical. Out here, somebody in park and planning [changed them], and now this is Hamilton, and we have

Jefferson, Madison and so on. Copied from the original way the [Washington] city streets were done. Suppose somebody gave you an address on Owens Avenue while on Rittenhouse Street. This way, with them alphabetical, you can find your way around town. I like [this house] very much. Even though I’m here by myself a great deal of the time. It’s home. I don’t want to live anyplace else. I enjoy traveling and coming back, but this is home. The house, and the neighborhood. If I had to get up and go someplace right now, I wouldn’t know which way to turn. So I’ll stay right here. You’ll have to carry me out. The Hyattsville Voices Oral History Project was recently started by resident Katy June-Friesen to collect stories about our city’s history and the lives of people who live and work here. HL&T will feature edited excerpts of these interviews. You can contact Katy to suggest an interview at

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courtesy of peter sabath Alvaro Pedraza takes photos on his iPad at the Antietam Battlefield in Sharpsburg, Md.

Intelligence in Motion: Hyattsville teacher founds camp by Phillip Suitts

After teaching in West Africa and Eastern Europe, Hyattsville resident Peter Sabath wanted to keep traveling. So when he returned to the U.S., he flirted with the idea of riding around the country on a retrofitted school bus, homeschooling his two kids. That plan never materialized for Sabath, who teaches at Northwestern, but the idea of combining travel and education was planted. In graduate school at the University of Maryland, when a final project for an Instructional Technology class required a business plan, Sabath revived the idea of a traveling school. In July, Sabath and his friend Chris Gardy, program coordinator for Northwestern’s Evening High School, will lead the pilot trip for Intelligence in Motion, a two-week program for highschool kids that fuses nature, technology and education. The trip’s focus: the environmental impact of coal mining in West Virginia. “The whole idea behind Intelligence in Motion is to break down barriers and work with public, private and homeschool groups to create cutting-edge field trips.” says Sabath, who has been frustrated by the general decrease in public-school field trips. “It’s harder and harder to get out the front door of a school because of all the ligation and legal issues.” This summer, the trip starts with guest speakers from Charleston, West Virginia, who now live in Hyattsville, where the teenagers

will get an overview of coal mining in West Virginia. Sabath and Gardy will then drive the teenagers and two to three teaching interns down to West Virginia in minivans. The experiential learning program will include camping and discussions on coal mining with locals, rather than learning through lectures and textbooks. Intelligence in Motion markets itself as “one-of-a-kind” college prep program that offers belowmarket prices: $700 to $950 per week, including all meals and accommodations. Sabath and Gardy have launched an Indiegogo site that includes a detailed project budget, in the hopes of raising funds that will allow them to offer some scholarships. “I would love to say, ‘Hey, this is all strictly not-for-profit,’ but the reality is [that] I need to pay my bills.” In 2013, Sabath conducted a “concept trip” with local middleschool students, including his children and their friends. Gardy said that trip allowed them to find out the costs similar trips would incur. “I wasn’t sure exactly how much food they’re going to eat, the kind of equipment we’re going to need,” Gardy said. “The experiences of doing a test run helped to get the basics of the logistics.” Gardy, who comes from a family of small-business owners, created the business model, a hybrid LLC. camp continued on page 13

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MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, This past winter has been quite destructive to my garden. I am appalled by broken branches, lumpy lawn, daphnes that ought to have flowered by now but don't even have leaves, frozen buds on my azaleas and rhododendrons, brown grass and nandina at curbside, and really dead-looking gardenias and rose bushes. Is there anything I can do? Devastated on Decatur Street Dear Devastated, I do sympathize, but also advise patience. Wait until green growth comes, then prune off all that is broken and brown. The forsythia that ought to have bloomed in late February has finally flowered, so it is high time to prune your roses. You will find out whether the rose is really dead or not by whether or not you find green wood when you cut. They probably just had enough sense to stay dormant. Alas, your daphne, azaleas and

rhododendrons won't bloom this year if they budded prematurely. But a little scraping will almost certainly reveal green wood, and we can hope that next year they will bloom again. Of course, drastic temperature change has made your lawn lumpy, but just think of it as nature's aeration technique. (You might also add humus, as it is clay that tends to heave most.) Camellias, however, are not at all tolerant of the alternate freezing and thawing that causes heaving. Those on the north side of my house survived because the soil temperature remained fairly constant but those on the southern warmer side did not. I am not optimistic about your gardenias unless you have one of the hardy varieties, such as Frost Proof, Chuck Hayes or Kleim's Hardy. I am even less optimistic about your brown grass

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and nandina at curbside. The salt that is used to melt snow in the streets has probably seriously harmed or killed it. It may take a long time for the salt to leach out enough to let anything grow. If you do need to replace any of your perennials, then mark your calendar for Saturday, May 10, when the Hyattsville Elementary School PTA holds its 5th Annual Native Plant Sale. The address is 5311 43rd Avenue and the hours are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. — or sooner if plants run out. (This has happened before, so come as early as possible). New introductions this year are persimmons, wrinkle-leafed quince, blackhaw viburnum and additional varieties of milkweed to attract butterflies. To learn more about the beautiful and indestructible native plants being offered visit There, you can find updated information on the sale and find a link for more detailed information on the plants. In addition, you might also want to look in on the Hyattsville Horticultural Society plant exchange Saturday, April 19, from 10 a.m. to noon. It will follow a brief meeting at the home of Joe Buriel and Dave Roeder, 3909 Longfellow Street.

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

Page 7


April 10

Parenting is full of challenges, and tonight’s community meeting addresses a specific one. Join School Board Member Amber Waller and Prince George’s County Public School officials for Special Education: Transitioning From Middle to High School and Beyond. Free. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. Hyattsville Middle School, 6001 42nd Avenue. There will be Spanish interpreters and limited child care; RSVP at 301.431.5675 or

April 11

With Easter just around the corner, St. Jerome Academy and the Knights of Columbus host a Friday Night Fish Fry from 5 to 7 p.m. Full dinners (eat in or carry out) complete with sides and dessert are available for $8 ($6 seniors and children). In the school dining hall, 5207 42nd Place. 301.927.6684.

April 12

Get those baskets ready. The Great Magruder Park Egg Hunt starts at 11:30 a.m., with hunts in three age categories. Free; reservations requested. An on-site breakfast, featuring a special long-eared guest, runs from 9 to 11 a.m. and costs $5 per person (free for kids under 2). 40th Avenue and Hamilton Street. 301.985.5000 or Brentwood Arts Exchange gets a jump on Easter with an afternoon of Egg Decorat-

ing, complete with glitter. Admission and the first two eggs are free; more eggs can be had for 50 cents each. 1 to 4 p.m. Brentwood Arts Exchange, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood. 301.277.2863.

April 14 and 21

The flyer advertising the Hyattsville branch library’s Math Games borrows heavily from the latest Hunger Games movie; presumably, this contest for grades 3 to 5 will involve fewer weapons. Free. Sign up at the Children’s Desk. 6 to 7 p.m. Hyattsville Branch Library, 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.

April 21

This month’s installment of the Hyattsville Branch Library’s independent film series features Chico and Rita, an animated movie about two musicians and their travels around the world. Afterwards, local filmmaker Mimi Machado-Jones will facilitate a brief discussion on the film. Free. 6:45 p.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.

April 26

With 450 events to choose from, the tough part will be narrowing down what to do at Maryland Day, the University of Maryland’s annual open house featuring performances, concerts, demonstrations, sports and more. Free. 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Throughout the campus in College Park. For schedule and details, visit, where you

can download a program or request a printed one.

April 27

The Riversdale Chamber Music Society hosts University of Maryland professor and clarinetist Robert DiLutis and the U.S. Army String Quartet for a performance of Mozart’s Clarinet Quintet. Free. 2:30 p.m. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.

May 3

The 13th Annual University Park Azalea Classic includes three races: the 1-Mile Challenge Run (8:30 a.m.); the 1K Val Creighton Memorial Family Fun Run (8:45 a.m.) and the 5K Run/Walk (9:05 a.m.). The race finishes up with a DJ, raffle and prizes to top finishers at the post-race party. The entrance fee is $25 for the 5K and $15 for the other two races, with proceeds benefiting University Park Elementary School. Register at Generations of local children have attended St. Matthew’s Parish Day School since it opened in 1955. Today, it opens to the public for a Silent Auction and Carnival, a familyfriendly fundraiser to upgrade the playground and classrooms. Free admission; fees for some games and activities. 4:30 to 7:30 p.m. 5901 36th Avenue.

May 4

The annual Bostwick Heritage Festival, held on the grounds of one of the last area preRevolutionary War buildings, features period crafts, demonstrations, games and activities. Free. 1 to 4 p.m. Bostwick House, 3901 48th Street, Bladensburg. 301.887.0777 or www.

May 10

To make your yard more attractive to butterflies, bees and the like, be sure to stop by the Hyattsville Elementary PTA’s Fifth Annual Native Plant Sale, where you can browse more than 50 varieties. Free admission, $3 to $12 per plant. Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hyattsville Elementary School, 5311 43rd Avenue. 301.312.9170. For pictures and information on available plants, visit Former St. Jerome pastor Msgr. Joseph Ranieri returns for a liturgy of celebration marking the 100th Anniversary of the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur Mission at St. Jerome Parish Community. 11 a.m. St. Jerome Church, 5205 43rd Avenue. Contact for more information. Has it really been a decade? Billing itself as “the D.C. region’s largest one-day calendar continued on page 8



Jam 2014

The second Friday of every month, May through September, 6:30 to 8:30 PM City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street Rain or Shine!

Admission is free; delicious food for sale

May 9 - Uncle Jack Band June 13 - The Crawdaddies July 11 - The Roustabouts August 8 - N2N September 12 - Just Us

Hyattsville Reporter Page HR1

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014


No. 284 • April 9, 2014 • 301-985-5000

Public Works kicks off spring cleaning

Two special events this Spring will help residents clean up, clear out, and go green! Households served by the Department of Public Works’ solid waste division will receive a special Saturday pick-up on Saturday, April 12 for Mary Prangley Clean-up Day. The City will make one sweep of all households beginning at 9 AM. Bulky trash, as well as regular household refuse, will be accepted. Please have all items to the curb no later than 9 AM. Electronics Recycling Day will take place on Saturday, April 26 from 9 AM to 12 PM. This event is available to all City residents at the Department of Public Works Operations Center located at 4633 Arundel Place. Residents may bring up to eight items, including televisions, computers, VCRs/DVD players, and cell phones. There is no charge for the service, but proof of residency may be required. Questions about either program? Please call the Department of Public Works at 301/985-5032.

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

Register now for May 2-4 yard sale weekend

Calling all bargain hunters! Our annual, City-wide Yard Sale is now an entire weekend. The 3-day event begins on Friday, May 2 and continuing on Saturday, May 3 and concluding on Sunday, May 4. Sellers can participate for as much time as they like - one day, two days, or all three! Operate your sale during any day-

light hours. Peak traffic is usually Saturday morning between 9 AM and noon. There is no charge to participate. Registration is voluntary. Residents who do register will have their addresses listed, which will be published to the City’s website and listed on craigslist under their Yard Sale section. Registration opened on Monday, March

The Outback Steakhouse Summer Jam Series has become a traditional Friday night event throughout the summer months. Held from 6:30 to 8:30 PM on the second Friday of the month May through September, this event includes delicious food (burgers, chicken and hot dogs) provided and prepared by Outback Steakhouse of Hyattsville, a beer and wine garden, musical entertainment, the ever popular moon bounce and Mandy the Clown and her very talented face painters. The series is held at the Municipal Building at 4310 Gallatin Street. This is a rain or shine event! In the event of inclement weather, the Jam moves into the multi-purpose room. Attendance is free and open to everyone. There is a charge for food and beverages. 2014 Outback Steakhouse Summer Jam Schedule: Friday, May 9 - Uncle Jack Band Friday, June 13 - The Crawdaddies Friday, July 11 - The Roustabouts Friday, August 8 - N2N Friday, September 12 - Just Us For more information on the Outback Steakhouse Summer Jam Series, please contact the Department of Community Services by phone at 301-985-5021 or by email to If you’d like to volunteer at a Jam or for any other City event, please contact Colleen Aistis by phone at 301-985-5057 or by email to


The Great Magruder Park Egg Hunt takes place at Magruder Park on Saturday, April 12. The morning offers three events in one: From 9 to 11 AM, join us for a pancake breakfast, including a visit by a V.I.B. – Very Important Bunny. Cost is $5 per diner. Kids 2 & under eat free! Work off your breakfast with a Special Musical Performance by Uncle Pete. 10:30 AM in the garden circle, free and open to all. Then join us for the Egg Hunt at 11:30 AM sharp! Three egg hunts will take place, divided by age group. Bring your own basket. Uncle Pete’s performance and the Egg Hunt are free and open to the public, but please RSVP so that we can tell the bunny how many eggs to hide. Call 301/985-5021 for reservations or sign up online at egghunt.


Ageless Grace is a low impact exercise program for mind and body and consists

CALENDAR APRIL / MAY 2014 Wednesday, April 9

Environmental Committee Meeting, 7 - 9 PM

Saturday, April 12

The Great Magruder Egg Hunt, see details above

Tuesday, April 15

Planning Committee Meeting , 7:30 – 8:30 PM

Wednesday, April 16

Code Compliance Advisory Committee Meeting, 7 PM Public Hearing, 7 PM Budget Work Session, 8 – 10 PM

Saturday, April 19

10th at 9 AM and continues through Monday, April 28th at 5 PM. To register call 301/985-5000, or fill out the form online at Our Fall 2014 Yard Sale weekend will take place October 3, 4, and 5, 2014. Registration will open on the Tuesday after Labor Day, September 2nd.

Volunteer Opportunity: Magruder Woods non-native invasive removal, 9 AM - 1 PM, Magruder Park

Monday, April 21 Council Meeting, 8 PM

Wednesday, April 30

Public Hearing: Tax Rate, 7 PM


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Budget Work Session, 8 - 10 PM of 21 simple exercises designed to improve healthy longevity. The exercises are designed to be performed in a chair and almost anyone can benefit from them, regardless of most physical conditions. And did we mention? It’s also great fun! Classes meet on Fridays at the Magruder Park Recreation Center, 3911 Hamilton Street and cost just $2 per class. The new semester has just started! For more information or to register, please call 301/985-5058 or email Emily Stowers at

Tidal Basin/Memorial area in Washington DC on Saturday, April 26. Meet at Crossover Church Parking Lot, 5340 Baltimore Avenue (at the intersection with Jefferson Street). Transportation is provided. This tour will take you around the Tidal Basin in the cool shade of the city’s legendary cherry trees and through some of DC’s most beautiful, majestic and picturesque memorials. See the Martin Luther King Jr., Franklin D. Roosevelt Memorial and more! Questions? Contact Kim Carter at



The next meeting of the City’s Book Club will be on Thursday, April 10. We meet from 7:30 to 9 PM in the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. The Book Club was founded to build community by exploring cultural differences through literature and open conversation. We also see the occasional film. The Club has just wrapped up its discussion of Andrea Stuart’s Sugar in the Blood. On April 10, we will screen the movie Claudine, starring Diahann Carroll and James Earl Jones. The All are welcome, regardless of literacy level, educational attainment, or any other characteristic. The event is free and open to the public. Questions? Please call Council Member Robert Croslin at 240/460-1827.


On the morning of Friday May 16, Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association invite you to join over 10,000 area commuters for a celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun, and healthy way to get to work. Magruder Park will be one of 79 pit stops throughout DC, Maryland, and Virginia offering refreshments. Free t-shirts available at pit stops to the first 14,000 who register and attend. Learn more at


On Sunday May 18, from 1-5 PM, the Hyattsville Preservation Association will present the 35th Annual Historic Hyattsville House Tour. Begin your tour by picking up a map at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. Advance tickets are $10 per person, on sale starting in April at Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery & General Store, 5121 Baltimore Avenue, Monday through Sunday, 11 AM to 9 PM, or the City of Hyattsville, City Municipal Building, Third Floor, 4310 Gallatin Street, Monday through Friday, 9 AM to 4 PM. Day of Tour tickets are $12 per person, at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. Ticket sales open at 12:30 PM and close at 4 PM. Check or cash only, please. For information, call 301-699-5440, email, or visit


Crossover Church invites the community to join them for a walking tour of the

Joe’s Movement Emporium and Art Lives Here will team up for a community oriented, arts-centered evening at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and 34th Street. On April 25 from 6 to 10 PM, the Mount Rainier Circle will come alive for one evening of music, workshops, parade, performances, open studios, arts activities, and more! Featuring Lesole’s Dance Project, Urban Eats, Adinkra Cultural Arts Studio, Beloved Community Mosaics, artist Kenny George and Patrick McDonough’s Chard/Hops spot, a Hoop Jam by Noelle Powers to the body rollin’ tunes of BOOMscat and family friendly arts activities by local organizations. For additional information, contact Neena Narayanan, Art Lives Here Coordinator, at Joe’s Movement Emporium, at or 301-699-1819.


Are you on Facebook? You can now keep up with City events and happenings at 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. The City is also on Instagram at and on Twitter as @4310Gallatin.


The community is always welcome to attend City Council meetings in person, at 4310 Gallatin Street. City residents can also watch the meetings from home on Comcast (Channel 71) or Verizon (Channel 12), either live or on rebroadcast. The rebroadcast schedule is as follows: 7 AM, 1 PM, and 8 PM seven days a week, including weekends and holidays. We typically rebroadcast the most recent Council Meeting. Meetings can also be streamed live at Questions? Comments? Please talk to Jonathan Alexander, the City’s cable coordinator, at or 301/985-5028.


Join us for non-native invasive removals in Magruder Woods on the third Saturday of every month, year-round, from 9 AM to 1 PM. Work is led by Dr. Marc Imlay, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning. Upcoming dates include Saturday, March 15 and April 19. Please dress for the elements – long-sleeves,

Monday, May 5

Council Meeting, 8 PM Unless otherwise noted, all events take place at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. long pants and sturdy boots or shoes. Questions? Contact Colleen Aistis, or 301/985-5057. Participation helps to satisfy State of Maryland Student Service Learning requirements.


Looking for updates on WSSC projects in your neighborhood? Use their maps to see the status of current projects. Maps can be accessed on WSSC’s website:


Got kids? Then you’ve got car seats! Maryland law requires all children under the age of eight to ride in an appropriate safety seat. But the seat alone is not enough - proper installation is the key to keeping our littlest passengers safe. Despite our best efforts, estimates suggest that as many as seven out of ten kids are not buckled in properly. The City of Hyattsville’s Police Department can help. To schedule a safety seat check, please contact Sergeant Christine Fekete at 301/9855060 or via email to She’ll be happy to help parents install a new seat or improve the fit of your current equipment. Car Seat Safety Checks aren’t just for new parents, either. Consider calling when your child transitions from an infant to a toddler seat, or when you buy a new vehicle and transfer your seats from your old car. Checks are free of charge for any City of Hyattsville resident.


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 at 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 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 or enroll using the widget online at

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014


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visual arts festival,” the Gateway Community Development Corporation’s 10th Annual Gateway Open Studio Tour is your ticket inside the creative space of more than 100 artists in Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville. Throughout the Gateway Arts District from noon to 5 p.m. 240.515.5622 or for more information.

Ongoing The Prince George’s County Audubon society and the Patuxent Bird Club team up to host an early-evening guided bird walk along the Luther Goldman Birding Trail at Lake Artemesia. Walks are held every first and third Thursday at 6 p.m. and start at the lake parking lot at Berwyn Road and Ballew Avenue. Free. 301.459.3375 or The free Anacostia River Boat Tours begin this month and will be held throughout the summer Tuesdays through Fridays at noon and weekends at 5 p.m. Led by a park naturalist, riders on the pontoon boat can search for birds and other

wildlife. Free; registration required for groups of 12 or more. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg. 301.779.0371. On Fridays, 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. 10 to 11 a.m. Magruder Park Recreation Building, 3911 Hamilton Street. 301.985.5058. The Hyattsville library offers a variety of storytimes. Space is limited; free tickets available at the children’s desk. Ages 9-23 months: Mondays, 10:15 a.m. Ages 2-3: Mondays, 11 a.m. Ages 3-5: Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. Ages 3-6: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. English-Spanish Storytime for ages 3-6: Saturdays, 11 a.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690. Community Calendar is a select listing of events happening in and around Hyattsville. To submit an item for consideration, please email or mail to Community Calendar, P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for May submissions is April 28.


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value for the landlords” by allowing them to keep the terms of the Regal Cinema deal. Executives with FoulgerPratt, the management company for current owner Wells Fargo, did not return several calls for comment. When HL&T spoke to him, Hank’s manager Steve Greehan said he did not know what the plans were for the location. “We don’t know if they’re gutting the place and going to be closed for six months or whether they are going to walk in the next day and try to go from there.” He had heard a rumor, since proved true, that a Korean restaurant would take its place. An application has been filed with the Prince George’s County Board of License Commissioners to transfer Hank’s liquor license to BonChon at the May 27 hearing of the commission. The first BonChon opened in South Korea in 2002, using a traditional method of doublefrying chicken that renders out the fat, making it less greasy, and serving it with spicy dipping sauces. Today, according to the website, there are 70 restaurants overseas and 30 in the

United States, including wellreviewed franchises in Rockville and Arlington. Little information beyond what is on the application is available regarding the owners, a group called Affluent MD, Inc, other than the names of its principals: Jing Sheg Huang, Mark Wang, and Xuan Huang-Fu.

“[BonChon] will be a plus for Hyattsville. But I wish they could both exist.” — Sol Kwon Hyattsville resident Greehan reports that when they close the restaurant they’ve been instructed to leave behind any unopened foodstuffs. “It’s very unusual that we’re going to leave behind stuff,” he said. “Bottles of ketchup, sugar packets, it’s all owned by the Town Center and they have people coming in.” For Greehan, and the six staff members who have been at the restaurant since it opened, the closing will also mean leaving behind great memories and hopes for the future. Greehan

notes that some employees moved up from busboys to bartenders. "That's what you hope for. A lot of times you have to leave to achieve that." Bartender Starr Jefferson describes Hank’s as a “great little spot for American food.” Jefferson, who has two other jobs, is hoping to find another location to bartend. “It’s really about finding the right place where you can be happy.” For her, and many of the customers, Hank’s was that place. Hyattsville resident Sol Kwon was a big fan of Hank’s and sorry to hear it was closing, but was delighted to hear the BonChon was coming. She is a fan of that restaurant too, and has driven to to Annandale for the fried chicken. “That will be a plus for Hyattsville,” she says, “But I wish they could both exist.” While Tracy, who ran the restaurant with his brother Chris Tracy, is sad to see Hank’s leave, he adds, “I’m happy there’s a new tenant. It’s a great community and a great neighborhood.” He hopes that with the planned expansion of the property (Safeway and Petco are coming in) the center can achieve the vibrancy needed to sustain a restaurant at that location.


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                                                                                        

                                                                                                                         

        

Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

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LAUREN FLYNN KELLY In the market for an antique cast-iron tub? Take your pick at Vintage House Parts & Radiators, just outside Hyattsville In North Brentwood.

Radiating an eclectic charm Vintage House Parts & Radiators has everything — including the kitchen sink by Lauren Flynn Kelly

While driving from Hyattsville to Washington, D.C. on Rhode Island Avenue, you may have passed a building on your right surrounded by concrete planters, rusty gates and radiators. You might have been curious about this place, perhaps while shopping at one of the used furniture warehouses across the street. But since you don’t have or need radiators in your house, you thought there was no point in stopping, right? Think again. Vintage House Parts & Radiators, located at 4550 Rhode Island Avenue in North Brentwood, is a wonderland of old, hard-to-find, beautiful pieces salvaged from homes in the D.C. area. I visited the store on one of those relentlessly cold late-winter days in March, and took a tour with employee Andrew Gordon, who is a walking encyclopedia of historic home salvage. Owner Saul Navidad opened the North Brentwood business in 2012, after working for many years with antiques purveyor Ron Allan, who established the Adams Morgan institution The Brass Knob Architectural Antiques in 1981. Allan retired and closed the salvaged house parts warehouse in 2011, though the antiques store remains. “Ron knew every contractor in the D.C.-Maryland area,” said Gordon. “Sometimes he’d bid on sites that were being torn down or renovated, or people would call him and say, ‘Please come get it.’ No one wants to pick up a porcelain sink and take it somewhere or throw it in the trash.” Now they call Saul. Speaking of sinks, I counted at least two cast-iron farmhouse sinks and a handful of porcelain pedestal sinks for between $300 and $400 that would look perfect in a classic black-and-white tiled bathroom. Outside the front door, a faded sign just barely reads The Brass Knob and rests against one of the many planters that are used for the seasonal garden center next door. There’s also a massive gate out front that was rescued from the Spanish embassy, a row of refinished claw foot tubs (including a rare “elephant foot” tub that is priced at $1,600), marble and oak mantelpieces, interior and exterior doors in all shapes and sizes, crystal chandeliers and other light fixtures, vintage doorknobs

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that have been polished to look brand new, pressed-tin ceiling tile, house columns, and the list goes on. There are even two cats who will show you around. But the store’s true specialty is radiators. “Saul’s original idea was to focus on cast iron radiators, but that morphed into doors, bathtubs, etc. because that’s what clients had,” explained Gordon. Unlike nonprofit Community Forklift — which I expect to write about in the future — Vintage House Parts only has the space to stock a limited selection of household items, so while you might find one giant spider chandelier, you won't find a dozen kitchen cabinets or stacks of flooring materials The entire outdoor lot next to the store is filled with radiators, which can be cut and reconnected to fit clients’ homes. The Rococo, Gordon told me, is the most sought-after style. One client in Belgium orders a shipping container full of them every year. We stopped to look at a set of unusual steam radiators with a geometric pattern on top that looked more like art than a heating instrument. “That’s the beauty of a lot of this stuff,” he marveled. “It is art. You can’t buy this stuff now.” After our chilly walk around the perimeter, I could no longer feel my hands. I asked Gordon, “How do you stay warm in here? Do you have a space heater by the desk?” He answered, “No, I’ll just throw some more wood in the stove.” Now that’s old school. Lauren Flynn Kelly (@just2ndhandnews) lives in Hyattsville with her husband and two little girls. Secondhand News is her love letter to thrifting, repurposing and the thrill of finding hidden treasures in and around Hyattsville.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

Council weighs tax hike by Andrew Marder

At its April 7 meeting, the Hyattsville City Council was expected to schedule a public hearing on the city’s property tax rate and to vote on a proposal by Mayor Marc Tartaro to lock in the same rate for the ninth year in a row. But some councilmembers are questioning the wisdom of keeping the property tax at $0.63 after Treasurer Ron Brooks predicted a $639,000 shortfall for fiscal year 2015, which begins on July 1. His preliminary estimates put expenses at $23.2 million while revenue is forecast at $22.6 million. A series of City Council meetings and work sessions over the last month have addressed this budget gap. At issue is whether to cover it with funds that Hyattsville already has in the bank or with funds from increased property taxes. On the revenue side of the equation, the shortfall is due largely to a reduction in Hyattsville’s total assessed property value. Once every three years, property values are reassessed and tax bills are adjusted accordingly.

In 2013, a decline in many residential values meant less revenue for the city. Last year, the city’s expenses surpassed its income, forcing the city to dip into its reserves to cover the shortfall. Patrick Paschall (Ward 3) and Shani Warner (Ward 2) have voiced concern that services for residents would have to be cut or the city would eventually run out of buffer room in its accounts. They contend that an increase of two or three cents in the tax rate would make up the difference and preserve the fund balance. As an example of the cuts the city has already put in place, Warner pointed to hiring freezes for the police department’s Community Action Team. A handful of residents opposed changing the tax rate during the public-comment portion that opens each council meeting. Some, such as Scott Wilson and Stuart Eisenberg, are former councilmembers. Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, argued that the tax rate should be tied strictly to services provided, not past revenue

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rate until the City’s reserve fund was substantially lower than the $6.4 million budget documents show it to be currently. Williams argued that the fund was there to get the City through tight times and that once property values were reassessed, revenue would increase. And if that happens, would the property tax rate be adjusted in the other direction? Longtime resident and council observer David Marshall seemed skeptical. “The tax rate only goes north, it never goes south,” Marshall told the council before a recent budget meeting. The reserve fund, he added, was acting as it should by providing the required buffer. Brooks pointed out that many lenders look favorably on a large excess balance in the City’s accounts when considering whether to lend to Hyattsville. With the City behind on its annual audits, the excess cash gives lenders some peace of mind and a drastically reduced balance might not reflect as well on the City’s financial stability. The discussion will continue through April, as the state deadline for submitting municipal tax rates isn’t until early June. Any increase rate would require a public hearing first, and one is expected to be scheduled for April 30.

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levels. He also worried that any increase could impact home values at a time when many residents are still underwater on their mortgages. Wilson argued that the point of the reserve fund was to get through shortfalls and that a “couple of years of hardship won’t be a lot” if, as expected, residential property values rise in the next assessment. Homeowners throughout Maryland saw property values drop in the triennial cycle that started with fiscal year 2010. But the most recent assessments show some improvement, with increases at both the county and, for the first time in five years, the state level. Hyattsville’s next assessment is in 2016, which leaves two more budget cycles before the city could see any potential increases in revenue from assessed value. For those in favor of raising the tax rate, that may be too long, resulting in too much damage being done to the City’s reserves along the way. For those opposed to the increase, two years seems like a reasonable time for the excess funds to see the City through. Councilmembers Paula Perry (Ward 4) and Clay Williams (Ward 5) also spoke against the increase. Perry, the council’s vice president, said that in her 15 years of service it had always been “[too] easy to spend it when it’s there.” She recommended not changing the

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

Page 11

ParentingPerspectives Hyattsville’s family friendly environment by Julia Gaspar-Bates

When my husband and I moved to Hyattsville nearly nine years ago from Boston, we were planning to stay in the D.C. area for only a few years before returning to New England. Not intimately familiar with the D.C. suburbs, I was initially wary of Hyattsville after a friend said it was a dangerous area. We knew we wanted a strong community and preferred old homes so it was a fluke that we found our house on Craigslist the night before our return to Boston following our house-hunting trip. When we entered the house for the first time, I knew this was the right choice and the right neighborhood. The previous owners had just purchased a Victorian in the neighborhood and touted the city’s benefits. We were sold and made an offer, had the inspection and made a down payment the next day before we left town. Little did I know just how seren-

dipitous our impulsive purchase would be. When we moved in, I was five months pregnant. Soon after our arrival, my next door neighbor invited me to a gathering of new moms at another neighbor’s house. There were six moms present with their newborns swapping stories about nursing, sleep woes, etc. This small group continued to meet regularly to share best practices and console each other during those first anxious months as we transitioned into motherhood. When my daughter, Talia, was born a few months later, I was incredibly grateful when several of them brought us meals. Over the next few months, we got together for mom and baby “playdates,” took walks, provided support, brought meals, babysat each other’s kids and drank wine together. We soon formed a listserv and a name — Hyattsville Nurturing Moms. As word spread and more people started to join, we decided to form subgroups based on our children’s ages. Our

first subgroup, “Wild Moms,” was inspired by the book “Where the Wild Things Are.” It’s been nearly a decade since this group formed and I believe it is one of the reasons so many young families are now moving to Hyattsville. What started as a small group has morphed into an organized group of more than 300 families who have relied on the same support I found when I first arrived. My husband and I have developed much of our social network through this community. Our daughter, who is an only child, has strong sibling-like relationships with people she has known her entire life. Hearing stories about how great Hyattsville is, my sister and college friend both relocated to the community from California in recent years. I know that others have convinced family and friends to move here, thereby reinforcing the strong sense of family. Prior to moving to Hyattsville, I lived in several cities, both in the

U.S. and abroad. As an urbanite at heart, I always wanted a smalltown environment that provides the benefits of the cultural events a big city offers. Hyattsville has been that and much more. I love sitting on my front porch chatting with neighbors as they pass by. I love the vine crawls and hop hops, which are now an institution. I love how the community pulls together to help neighbors during difficult times. I love the many community events organized by the city, such as the Summer Jams. I love the civic duty many members of the community display, such as volunteering for local events and committees. As someone who travels frequently for work, I love that I have a network of trusted people to take care of my daughter after school or for the occasional overnight if my husband and I are both out of town. And I love that I can turn on to our tree-lined streets after battling Beltway traffic and be transported to a bygone era where

neighbors know and support each other. When my husband and I have researched other communities to potentially move to, we’ve both agreed that it would be hard to replicate all that Hyattsville offers. In this transient region, it is refreshing to find a place where people want to establish roots and commit their time and energy to improving local infrastructures and creating a safe environment in which to raise their families. Groups such as Hyattsville Nurturing Moms and their committed members have contributed to what makes the city such a great place to live. Hyattsville truly lives up to its name of “a world within walking distance” and I for one am grateful to call it home. For information on joining Hyattsville Nurturing Moms, search “Yahoo HNMoms” from any web browser. Julia Gaspar-Bates is an intercultural trainer, yoga teacher, mom and Hyattsvillian.

City of Hyattsville FY15 Budget Process The following is the schedule of City Council Meetings and Public Hearings for the development, discussion, and adoption of the FY15 budget. All meetings and work sessions begin at 8 PM unless otherwise noted, and will meet at 4310 Gallatin Street, Third Floor Council Chambers.

APRIL: Wednesday, April 16 Public Hearing on the Proposed Budget/Council Work Session – Budget (Follow Up Items) Wednesday, April 30 Special Council Meeting – Deadline for Council Budget Amendments MAY Wednesday, May 14 Special Council Meeting Budget

Wednesday, May 28 Special Council Meeting – Budget Ordinance Adoption Date The City’s FY15 Budget will take effect on July 1, 2014. FY15 concludes on June 30, 2015.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014


continued from page 1

languishing in the hallways with no toys, and metal beds [to sleep in],â€? she recalled. When she inquired about the fate of donated toys, she was informed that they were locked up because it was “too messyâ€? to have them out. “I thought, ‘We literally need to donate ourselves so they can use the toys,’ â€? said Larson. So she and a few friends convinced the shelter to let them come in periodically and get out the toys and play with the children. And so began the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project. “We certainly never set out to be a nonprofit operation,â€? said Larson. But when the city closed that shelter, the volunteers followed the residents to their new temporary housing, “and we realized that this was the norm, not having child-friendly spaces [in homeless shelters].â€? When HCPP was granted 501(c)3 status in 2005, Larson began working with the organization full-time. It wasn’t long before high-quality shelters that “understood the need for children’s programs but didn’t have the money to do itâ€? began inviting Larson and her group to start similar programs. Now, HCPP has physical space in five shelters in D.C., where they annually serve about 600 children ages 6 months to 18 years. Once staffed entirely by a handful of volunteers, HCPP now has 10 paid positions and has boosted volunteer numbers to 150. The 13 weekly children’s programs are coordinated through a separate administrative office, but they could not happen without volunteers to provide “playful games, chances to learn through art, and movement and imaginative play.â€? “Playtime’s biggest impact is providing a space that allows children facing homelessness to just be a kid and have a safe, reliable place to play and grow,â€? said Hyattsville resident Genevieve Fugere, a volunteer since 2011. “I have watched children who have faced traumatic experiences really blossom and shine throughout their time at the Playtime Project.â€? For children in shelters who may suffer from emotional, behavioral and learning problems, this play provides a crucial developmental opportunity. “We started very organically to meet a very immediate need,â€? said Larson. “Yes, these families need housing, they need so much ‌ . But the most immediate need [for the children] is access to play.â€? Volunteers make sure there is plenty of open-ended play “be-

skyler badenoch Jamila Larson (at left, with 2-year-old son Oliver in their Hyattsville home) started the Homeless Children’s Playtime Project in 2003. Volunteers run 13 programs a week for children of all ages at five shelters in Washington, D.C.

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cause the children don’t have the ability to make other choices in their lives.� said Larson. There are also structured activities, such as field trips, and special visitors ranging from a pet-therapy dog to a NASA astronaut. Programs for teens and pre-teens include yoga, tutoring, games, art and more. In addition, the Playtime Project offers developmental assessments for children and referrals for healthcare and jobs for parents. Most of its $500,000 annual budget comes from private foundation grants and individuals; HCPP receives no government funds. “We like it that way,� said Larson, whose work landed her a spot on Washingtonian magazine’s 2012 Washingtonians of the Year. “We want to keep the autonomy. We want to be able to advocate and like not having our hands tied.� While monetary donations are always welcome, HCPP also has a wish list of specific items

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both on its website ( and on Amazon (from the main page, click the Wish List tab on the far right, and search for HCPP). “Sometimes, they are seasonal,

like spring break or school supplies or holiday presents,� explained Larson. “But we also have ongoing drives for activities that kids can do or [for items such as] diapers.� And for immediate needs like strollers or baby clothes, Larson turns to the community she and her husband moved to about two years ago, around the time their

son, Oliver, was born. She posts specific requests to local listservs HNMoms (see story, p. 11) and H.O.P.E., inviting dropoffs on her Gallatin Street porch. “I’m so impressed with the neighbors,� said Larson. “Sometimes I hear back within minutes about the gift. [By] the next day, I have things ready to take to the shelters.�

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continued from page 5

courtesy of peter sabath During the 2013 trip, Levente Toszegi-Sabath poses in the Irish Brigade Memorial Tower on the Antietam Battlefield, overlooking Bloody Lane and Sunken Road.

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“I’m kind of the visionary and he’s the nuts-and-bolts,” Sabath said. “So we complement each other pretty well.” Maby Palmisano, who chaperoned last summer’s trip, believes experiential learning is more effective than traditional methods and describes it as “a fun way to learn.” She said her son and others on the trip to the West Virginia portion of the Appalachian Trail retained more material because of the firsthand experience of the program. While the teaching methods are unusual, the core educational goals are not. Intelligence in Motion requires students to write — this summer, students will pair up to write a 20-30 page research paper — while also focusing on improving technology skills. “Literally half of my students struggle to send an e-mail attachment, but they’re immersed in technology,” said Sabath, who believes that both technology literacy and technology utilization are necessary skills. To help fix teenagers’ technology gaps, Intelligence in Motion provides cutting-edge technol-

ogy, like iPads and Macs that students use to shoot and cut video, creating multimedia presentations and videographics to showcase what they learn. Last summer, the middle schoolers made YouTube videos on specific Civil War battle sites, like Antietam and Harper’s Ferry, alternating between filming and narrating. Without TV or video games, teenagers interact more and develop deeper friendships, Palmisano said. And, Gardy adds, it exposes teenagers to new experiences and new parts of the country. While there will be no school bus this summer, Sabath said plans are ongoing to retrofit a school bus and turn it into a digital classroom that suits the onthe-road learning environment. “I think what we’re doing is the future,” Gardy said. “I think eventually every student is going to take that classroom with them anywhere they go. I think what we are creating is a good model: Taking what we know from traditional education and combining what we know with educational technology.” To learn more about the trip or register on-line, visit www.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | April 2014

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April 2014 Hyattsville Life & Times  
April 2014 Hyattsville Life & Times  

Korean eatery to replace Hank's Tavern; WMATA fast-tracks Metro site developments; City Council weighs tax hike; Homeless Children's Playtim...