2021-11 Hyattsville Life & Times

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INSIDE HYATTSKIDS guide us to their favorite gift ideas from local stores, P. 4 AT HOME IN HYATTSVILLE: A local veteran welcomes others home, P. 7

VOL. 18 NO. 11



Fall leaves blow as city debates leaf blower ban By Winter Hawk At their Oct. 18 meeting, some city councilmembers were hesitant to phase in a ban on gaspowered leaf blowers. The ban’s sponsor, Danny Schaible (Ward 2), hopes to permanently stop the use of these blowers by July 2023, aiming to reduce noise and gas pollution in the city. During the meeting, many conversations centered around the city’s efforts to preserve the local environment. More specifically, the council passed motions SEE LEAFBLOWER ON 13 

Why Prince George’s County is the future of firefighting By Paul Ruffins Can you name a matter of life and death in which Prince George’s County has become the most influential jurisdiction in the U.S.? The answer is firefighting. People might guess New York, the biggest department, or Philadelphia, where Benjamin Franklin organized one of the first, but they’d be wrong. SEE FIREFIGHTING ON 8 

Approximately 25,000 to 31,000 motor vehicles drive through Hyattsville on Route 1 each day.


Route 1 to improve for bicycles, pedestrians By Dan Behrend Three developments slated for the Route 1 Corridor in Hyattsville will change how people experience and move through the city. Planned construction will improve sidewalks and create pedestrian plazas. An extension of the Rhode Island Avenue Trolley Trail will connect travel routes for pedestrians and bicyclists. Stretching from the Canadian border in Maine to Key West, U.S. Route 1 goes by many names. Where Route 1 intersects with Farragut Street in Hyattsville, it becomes Baltimore Avenue, heading north to Laurel, and Rhode Island Avenue, heading south to the District.

Tens of thousands of people drive through Hyattsville on Route 1 daily. According to state data for 2011 through 2020, a daily average of about 25,000 to 31,000 motor vehicles drive the stretch from East-West Highway to the intersection with the U.S. Route 1 Alternate overpass, just north of Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store. Over the same period, a daily average of 16,000 to 24,000 vehicles traveled Rhode Island Avenue towards D.C. For perspective, the recent 2020 Census estimated the population of the City of Hyattsville to be 21,187. Route 1 is also a neighborhood street where

people live, work, socialize and exercise. With construction bringing more housing and retail space to the city, residents may choose to leave their cars at home, especially if they’re making short trips in the city. New initiatives will likely make those trips safer and more comfortable.

RHODE ISLAND AVENUE TROLLEY TRAIL EXTENSION Plans to extend the trolley trail from Farragut Street to Charles Armentrout Drive moved forward in late September, when the Maryland Department of Transportation asked for bids on a SEE ROUTE 1 ON 13 

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Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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Of mulberries (and money) By Kit Slack


ulberry trees are weeds in Hyattsville. Seedlings poke out of cracks in the concrete. They branch out, turning chain link fences into hedges, or rising, unbidden, to eye level in a year or two. In June, the mulberry fruit, like smaller, softer blackberries, spatters down onto asphalt and concrete, making small dark circles of pulp and juice. My children and their friends have settled in early summer each year around one particular tree, a weed tree grown massive and gnarled on a fence line between the Driskell Park playground and the former Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission parking lot. There, a half-naked baby would paint her face, hands and diapered bottom deep purple on the ground. I’d pull down branches for short-limbed children so they could stand and eat. More berries would plop down on us, knocked loose by the movement of older children perched in the huge spreading branches above. That tree, and others along

the fence and near the storm drain outflow and Driskell Park stream head, came down suddenly in May this year. The berries in the topmost branches were already ripe. Silt fencing and a wide rectangular pond have since replaced those trees. I’ve seen flocks of geese arrive. What will come next to this spot? A road to allow for redevelopment of the park to prepare for heavier use by a growing population? A recreation area for the 72 households coming to Suffrage Point, the Werrlein development? Or, as some still hope, greenspace on the grounds of a new elementary school, where many more children might play? Here at the Hyattsville Life & Times, we work to let you know how Hyattsville is changing, who is changing it, and why — and how you can be involved. Keeping you informed isn’t easy in this era of five-hour-long virtual hearings. Key speakers have poor audio connections, 500-page reports are filled with obscure marketing and planning-speak, and public officials make deals in private. Keeping you informed isn’t

easy with a staff of volunteer writers and a small crew of part-time editors who work for tiny stipends. Keeping you informed isn’t easy as printing and postage costs increase, while the small businesses who advertise with us feel the pandemic pinch. To continue to deliver — to every address in Hyattsville — news that makes it possible for residents to understand, and if they choose, to influence the change happening around them, we need your support. When I look back through our 18 years of archives, the generosity of our many volunteer writers astounds me — vigorous and fruitful, like our mulberry trees. As our city urbanizes, it is time to cultivate what we value, watch it flourish and share its fruit. Will you join us in our commitment to providing a reliable news source to all residents? We have an opportunity to make your donation go further this year through NewsMatch, an industry-wide movement to sustain journalism through matching gifts on the local and national level. Since 2016,


OMELLA.COM/ STREETCARSUBURBS NewsMatch has raised over $150 million to keep nonprofit journalism like ours going strong. Here’s how it works. Starting now — through Dec. 31 — NewsMatch will match your new monthly donation 12

times or double your one-time gift, all up to $1,000. Your support will help us continue to produce the kind of public-service journalism you won’t find anywhere else. If you value your community newspaper, give now.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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Clockwise from the upper left: A wind blows through a graveyard in front of a bungalow near the demolished Hyattsville Middle School; A spooky pumpkin patch; Dead stormtrooper shares candy with small monster; Wonderful Shih Tzu demands treats. KYLE HEFLINGER


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Hyatts KIDS

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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Created by contributors in grades K-8, the HyattsKIDS Life & Times features local news, columns, and comics from our city’s youngest journalists. Our editors are Evan LeFevre and Claudia Romero Garvey. To participate, contact adult adviser Mary Frances Jiménez: mf_jimenez@yahoo.com.


By Mavis Keshen, age 6, and Arlo Kramer, age 4 (as told to M.F. Jiménez) We visited The Shops at SoHy to see what gifts kids who are in preschool or elementary school might like. Even though it looks like a store for grownups, if you are careful not to run or break things, small kids can find really pretty and fun gifts there, too. We talked to Holli Mintzer, who runs the vintage clothing section of the store, called Suffragette City. She has been selling vintage clothes for ten years, since she started shopping in thrift stores as a college student. She told us she would find clothes she loved but that didn’t fit her, and she would buy them anyway. Once she had a big collection, she started to sell them. They have vintage clothes for children as well as adults, and kids who like to play dress up might love to have a vintage hat or gloves to add to their collection. They also have handmade hair bows and bowties. Mintzer makes many of these items herself. Some pieces of jewelry were even made from old buttons — one ring looked like a big ruby! And lavender sachets made from old linen towels can make your clothes smell good. A baby might like to have some of the silky scarves to play peek-a-boo. Kids could buy sparkly vintage purses to hold their pretty stuff, like jewelry and special rocks, inside. The shop has a whole rack of vintage silk Japanese kimonos and obis. Some parents who are working from home might like to wear these to feel fancy, instead of wearing their pajamas. In the kids’ book section, run by My Dead Aunt’s Books, we saw a set of Star Wars phonics cards and many picture books we would like to read with our parents. Vintage dishes, from Cheeky’s Vintage, could be a good gift for parents and grandparents who like to cook and drink coffee. Besides the vintage gifts, the store carries Pride and Pronoun pins, special occasion cards, candles, and handmade soaps with words from books


on them. If you go to the store, you can smell them, and we really liked doing that! Mintzer says business has been picking up as the holidays get closer. “I’m hoping a lot of people will come to us for gift shopping, especially since buying things online and having them shipped may be tricky this year” because of supply problems caused by the pandemic.

GAMES SCHOOL-AGE KIDS WILL LOVE By Talika Gorski, age 9 My little brother, Theo, is 7. He’s in second grade and, like many kids, enjoys Minecraft and wants a Nintendo Switch for Christmas. But he also loves non-screen games, especially strategy and card games. I asked him some questions about games other kids might like. If you are looking for these games, as well as many other games, puzzles and toys kids 7-8 will love, be sure to start at Franklin’s General Store here in Hyattsville. My brother’s favorite at the moment is chess, which he says he likes “because I can beat Dad and because you can play it anywhere.” Another two-player strategy game he recommends is Mancala, a game where you move stones

around a dimpled wood board. The rules are simple, yet challenging, and my brother beats us nearly every time. Besides those traditional games, my brother recommends Machi Koro, Dixit, and Tenzie. Though Machi Koro is recommended for ages 10+, my brother really loves it, especially taking coins from other players. Dixit, a guessing game with pictures, and Tenzie, a dice game, can be played as fun family night games or with your friends. And Theo has the Exploding Kittens card game on his list (even though his biggest wish is still a Switch!).

FOR KIDS 9-12, HYATTSVILLE’S ART SCENE OFFERS CREATIVE FUN By Evan Muynila, age 9, and Genevieve Poynton, age 12 Now that summer’s over and it’s getting closer to December, people are thinking about their holiday plans, and that includes gift-giving and receiving! Here are some awesome gift ideas that can be purchased locally at some of Hyattsville’s many art stores. The gift section at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center is small and many gifts are for adults. But Pyramid’s ArtFoamies will appeal to kids around our ages.

ArtFoamies are reusable foam stamps. The designs are all made by different artists, and you can put them on paper goods, t-shirts, and bags. Some favorite designs include a snail, raindrops, and sushi stamp. Green Owl Works also focuses on gifts for adults, but kids might like their jewelry or stationery, or they could visit the store to shop for their parents. While everyone loves Artist & Craftsman Supply for their large stock of art materials, the store also has a whole section for gifts and do-it-yourself projects kids our ages would like. Here are some of our gift picks: Plus-Plus is a “STEM construction toy.” They are building blocks that look like two plus signs stuck together in different ways. The tubes are filled with these blocks and do not come with instructions, so you can build anything you want with it. Djeco art projects include things like origami paper, scratch boards, paint cards, stickers, temporary tattoos, foam mosaics, and masks. You can give away the finished projects as gifts. The Djeco scratch boards are an awesome craft with an included tool to scratch off a coating to reveal a guided artwork, such as a full moon or sea life; these would also be good gifts for kids ages 7-9.

Copernicus Toys lab kits let you run awesome experiments with only the things inside the small boxes. Kids around 9 years old will like the experiment for making slime and bouncy balls and the kit with an experiment for bioluminescence. These kinds of gifts are educational, and afterward you can play with what you’ve made. Safari Minis are cute little rubber animals that are great for pretend play or collecting. Both older and younger kids enjoy them. Gems, minerals, fossils, crystals are also fun to collect. The Classic Wood Schylling bow and arrow set seems very well made and would be great for kids ages 10-12. Artist & Craftsman also sells some board games, including Ticket to Ride. And next month, HyattsKIDS will share DIY ideas using supplies from the materials side of the store!

HYATTSKIDS SEEKS ART SUBMISSIONS Are you a kid artist who’d like to see your artwork published in the Hyattsville Life & Times? HyattsKIDS seeks original artwork to feature in an upcoming issue. Submit photos of your work, along with your name, age, address and the name of your school to mf_jimenez@ yahoo.com.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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New Hyattsville police chief Towers resolves to ‘co-produce public safety’ By Heather Wright After serving his last day as Cheverly’s police chief, on Oct. 2, Col. Jarod J. Towers started his position as Hyattsville’s ninth permanent chief of police on Oct. 3. We had a masks-on chat in his office, accompanied by Media Relations/ Mental Health Programs Manager Adrienne Augustus, with whom Towers seemed to have an easy and complimentary rapport. During our 30-minute conversation in late October, Towers talked about his military service, his time with the Cheverly Police Department and his vision for Hyattsville’s police department. Towers said that, as a child, he had a family friend who started as a dispatcher for a South Jersey park police department and eventually became its chief. “I kind of had those childlike googly eyes for police cars and the uniform,” he added. The awestruck eyes of a child became the opened eyes of a committed adult, as Towers started his military service in 2002 and eventually served in the Iraq War as a U.S. Marine. His military experiences led him into police service and shaped his ideas of what police officers should be. “Those who have been warriors and have defended this country through service, especially combat service, know what a warrior is,” noted Towers. He emphasized that police officers should instead consider themselves guardians: “We are not warriors. We are servants, and we are guardians, and we’re supposed to protect people and protect their rights.” His time in Iraq also led him into deeper relationships with people of various races and backgrounds. In particular, he bonded with a fellow soldier, Fernando, who was from Mexico. Although most of the platoon largely chose to socialize with their racial and ethnic groups, Towers, who is white, said those in the Latino group invited him to play soccer with them every day. “They ended up calling me El Adoptado, which means ‘the adopted one,’” he noted with a smile. Towers talked about using his abilities to build relationships and understand different perspectives to improve the culture of the Cheverly Police Department. Before becoming chief, he noticed that the department was often on the defensive with the community, seeing many residents as resentful towards police. As chief, Towers worked to change this perception by pointing out how the commu-

Col. Jarod J. Towers became Hyattsville’s ninth permanent police chief in October. KYLE HEFLINGER

nity was invested in the department and urging department members to consider residents’ perspectives. With this cultural shift, the department began to work more collaboratively with the Cheverly community. In mid-April 2021, Towers posted a message to a group planning to hold a prayer vigil in support of the Cheverly police as the verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin approached. He thanked the participants and asked them to also pray for the “families and communities across the county that have been directly impacted by the broken trust that police have caused.”

During our conversation, Towers explained, “I felt as though the community needed support more than the police department did.” When the subject of the interview turned to his new department, Towers indicated that his long-term priorities include enhancing officer and community mental health, increasing department efficiency, targeting the root causes of crime, and developing an inclusive department that closely represents the community. In a post-interview email, Towers noted, “I am focused on launching a new recruitment campaign, focused on targeting more minority, female

and local recruits.” As an immediate goal, Towers is concentrating on building relationships both inside and outside the department, becoming familiar with city operations, and understanding what matters to the community. Reflecting this goal, our 12:15 p.m. interview was sandwiched in between two meetings, one of which went overtime — Augustus noted that Towers would have seven short minutes for lunch. Towers expressed a commitment to departmental transparency. “I think that anything that directly impacts this community, we should be 100% transparent as long as it doesn’t impact an investigation.” And he underscored that the department also had to consider privacy, especially for victims. “For example, if you’re a victim of sexual assault, there’s a way we can be transparent without putting your personal infor-

mation out there,” he noted. “We are the community’s police department, … so the community needs to know what’s going on.” Towers ended the interview by discussing the importance of collaborating with community members and city staff to identify and address the root causes of crime in the city. He used carjacking as an example: If Hyattsville has zero carjackings this month and then three next month, the conversation becomes “we have a carjacking issue,” he said. He noted, however, that the real issue could be that “our youth need direction and need our attention and need things to do.” “We have to work together, and we have to have people willing to come sit at the table to help us address those issues, because law enforcement can’t do it on their own,” he implored. “In the 21st century, we have to co-produce public safety.”

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Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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A local option to kickstart your landfill-free living By Juliette Fradin


id you know you had a fun and engaging place to learn about eco-friendly living close by? Let me introduce you to Fullfillery, a brick-and-mortar and online zero-waste shop located in the heart of Takoma Park. It was the very first zero-waste shop to open in the DMV area, in 2019. Rini Saha, Emoke Gaidosh and Susan Cho, Fullfillery’s founders, describe themselves on their website as “a small team focused on helping neighborhood folks approach zero-waste living. Our values include ditching plastic, ensuring ethical sourcing, promoting local goods, and using non-toxic ingredients.” I talked with Saha, who became a climate activist after realizing recycling was not working the way she thought it should and that people, including her, were not doing enough to reduce their plastic consumption. She’s also the founder of GreenThinker DC, a nonprofit dedicated to helping the D.C. area reduce its waste and carbon footprint. Fullfillery helps you find easy alternatives for plastics. They sell household goods like wooden brushes and loofah sponges; personal care products like bamboo

What matters is doing what you can in the zero-waste movement, whether that’s saying “no, thank you” to a plastic bag or switching to wooden brushes instead of plastic sponges. JULIETTE FRADIN PHOTOGRAPHY

toothbrushes, toothpaste tabs and natural deodorant; and bulk products like cleaning supplies. Everything is in reusable or compostable packaging — or has no packaging at all! One of Saha’s favorite products is the all-purpose cleaning tablet that you drop into a spray bottle filled with water. “It’s a great cleaner that cleans wood and granite,” she said. The body care products (like shampoo and conditioner bars), kitchen cleaners (Castile soap and dish soap), and laundry products are proudly made within 5 miles of their store. Many of their suppliers are right in the Maryland/D.C. area. “I am willing to pay slightly

more to get a plastic-free alternative, because I understand my kids will live on this planet longer than I will. For the love of our children, I hope people will not hesitate to embrace this lifestyle,” said Saha. Fullfillery will take back used containers from their store, and many products come in glass bottles with a refundable deposit. They want to “shift our culture from a throw-away society to one where nothing is wasted and everything gets reused or transformed,” according to their fundraising website. “Every week, we get more and more customers and interest. We are pleased with the community,”

said Saha. “People who are attracted to this [zero-waste] movement are frequently creative, compassionate and ethically sound. It’s a great movement to identify the best humans.” Saha noted, “Zero-waste is not a term that people should take literally. It is too hard in the modern world to be 100% zerowaste, and it is more of an attitude.” She is confident that the zero-waste movement will become mainstream: “I think parts of it have already. It is popular to use reusable straws now, for instance. We still use disposable plastic in everything, but slowly, one by one, people are finding replacements.” And the Fullfillery team has bigger plans: They just launched a fundraising campaign with Indiegogo to establish a refill station. The shop already buys its inventory with minimal packaging, but they would like to help everyone do the same. Customers will be able to come to the shop with their own clean containers to fill, and will pay only for the actual weight of the products they purchase. If you don’t bring your own, you’ll pay a deposit and use the containers Fullfillery provides or use paper packaging when appropriate.

The funds will go towards purchasing bulk stock and refill-station equipment (including heavyduty scales, scoops and funnels), hiring a part-time employee to help customers in the store, and offering workshops and events about zero-waste living. You can shop directly at their Takoma Park location (7006 Carroll Avenue, Suite 204 — above Mark’s Kitchen), Wednesdays through Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. If you prefer to shop online (fullfillery.com), you can place your order and pick it up at the store or at a lockbox in Takoma Park. The lockbox is accessible 24/7 and works on an honor system; goods should be picked up within a few days. Fullfillery would like to offer an expanded delivery service and is also actively looking for a lockbox location in Hyattsville. Contact them if your business has a space (indoor or outdoor) or if you think of a friendly, accessible spot in our lovely city. Juliette Fradin writes bimonthly about zerowaste and slow living.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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Lionel Harrell: A veteran in service to other veterans By Reva G. Harris


ionel Harrell, a reserved, respectable, family-oriented man and a longtime resident of Hyattsville, pursued a military- and veteran-focused career that spanned 43 years. He opened up to talk to me about life in Hyattsville, what it’s like to be a veteran of the Vietnam War, and working at Arlington National Cemetery, where he served veterans and their families during their bereavement. Lionel started off our conversation discussing the war in Vietnam. “I was the only son in my family,” he shared. “Yet, I was drafted for combat duty.” He continued, “Like most Vietnam veterans, I do not like to talk about the war. It was a very unpopular war that divided the country. We were sent to a foreign country to help make life better for the people in Vietnam, but that did not happen. We were in the jungle losing lives. The politicians did not know what to do with us.” Lionel explained, “The Vietnam War affected our physical and mental health. The war is still in my head today, and it will never go away.” While in Vietnam, Lionel served as a combat soldier. After receiving an honorable discharge from the U.S. Army in 1971, he began a career at Arlington National Cemetery. In 1976, Lionel and his wife were newlyweds looking to buy

Lionel Harrell with the flag, once flown over the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, the Department of the Army presented to him prior to his 2013 retirement. COURTESY OF GEORGIANNA HARRELL

a home. Their real estate agent showed them a starter home in Hyattsville. Lionel refers to his home, fondly, as “the little house on the hill.” “It’s a nice brick home that was built in 1953. My wife and I agreed to live in the house for only five years to start a family. The owner of the house was anxious to sell, but his wife did not want to sell,” Lionel noted. “There was tension during the settlement; but we finalized the contract.” Once the Harrells moved to their new home, they received a warm welcome from a family who lived a few blocks away. “The Haileys were the first family to welcome us to the community,” said Lionel. “The father, Mr. Hailey, was a

veteran.” (Fittingly, when he died many years later, Lionel arranged his military burial service.) “With time, my wife and I formed a special relationship with our next-door neighbors. The Ashbys were the best neighbors we ever had,” he exclaimed. “I love Hyattsville,” Lionel said. “This community has always been quiet and somewhat hospitable.” “My wife and I worked a lot, but after we had children, they formed friendships with other children and families in the neighborhood,” noted Lionel. “Staying in Hyattsville afforded us the opportunity to send our kids to college.” Lionel reflected on the many changes he has seen in Hyattsville. “The main changes are in the Baltimore Avenue business corridor,” he recalled. “In the ‘70s, the only places to eat were the 7-11, a doughnut shop and the old McDonald’s, which was on the site where the Latino restaurant [Pupuseria El Comalito] is now located.” Lionel described his work at Arlington National Cemetery. “I worked for more than 30 years coordinating and arranging military funerals,” he said. “I worked with all branches of the military. I felt a connection with the families, and I had compassion for them.” He continued, “In my position, I could not make mistakes. I represented the superintendent of Arlington National Cemetery, and I had to deal with all types of

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Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021


Hyattsville Reporter No. 404 • November 9, 2021

www.hyattsville.org • 301-985-5000

Notices & Updates

COVID-19 Vaccine & Special Clinics: The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have approved a COVID-19 vaccine for children ages 5-11. Find sites offering free vaccines for children in this age group at mypgc.us/ covidvaccine. The City’s vaccine site at the First United Methodist Church on Belcrest Road, in sponsorship with State Delegate Wanika Fisher and Luminis Health will offer special clinic hours for children ages 5 to 11 on Saturday, November 13, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and a clinic for all ages on Sunday, November 14, noon - 4 p.m. No appointment is necessary. An adult guardian must accompany children under age 18. Please note that the City’s clinic will not offer vaccines for children ages 5 – 11 during their weekly 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Tuesday clinics at this time. Vaccines and booster doses for eligible individuals remain available for ages 12+ at those clinics. Visit hyattsville.org/covidvaccine to learn of changes and additional special clinic hours as they are confirmed. The County Health Department will also be offering vaccine clinics for children ages 5-11 at several public schools. Northwestern High School will have vaccine walk-ups and appointments available on Wednesdays from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. starting Wednesday, November 10. Repair Closures: The 4000 block of Gallatin Street is temporarily closed for replacement of a WSSC water main. Work is expected to be completed by the end of November. A map with detour routes is available at hyattsville.org/ streets. The bridge at the Northwest Branch trailhead starting in Driskell Park is closed for repairs by the County Department of Parks and Recreation. The bridge is expected to be closed through the end of the year. Trail access is still available from Melrose Park and 38th Avenue Park during the closure. We’re Hiring: Work for a City and community you love! The City currently has several open positions for administration, community development, public works, and the police department. To view job descriptions and to apply, visit hyattsville.org/jobs. Upgraded Hyattsville Website!: The City’s website www.hyattsville.org is receiving a refreshed web and mobile design in early December! User access should not be affected during the transition. If you encounter issues or see errors, please reach out to the City’s Communications staff at pio@hyattsville.org.

Ward Happenings

Ward 3 Check-In & Clean-Up: Join Hyattsville Councilmembers Jimmy McClellan and Ben Simasek for a Ward 3 Check-In and Clean-up on Saturday, November 13 at 11 a.m., at the courtyard of the University Town Center (UTC), 6515 Belcrest Road. Hear about upcoming developments and provide feedback, all while giving back to your community! Gloves and trash bags will be provided for the clean-up, and food will be provided for all! For more information, email ward3@hyattsville.org.

November 29. Leaf Collection Services: Weekly leaf collection for residential streets within the City of Hyattsville has begun and will continue through mid-January. Commercial and multi-family properties are not included. Collection is weather dependent as heavy, wet leaves harm the machinery. To learn more and find out which day leaf collection is scheduled for your home, visit hyattsville.org/ leaves or call (301) 985-5032. If raking leaves to the curb is not your idea of fun, try mowing them into your lawn for a natural mulch instead! Leaves can also be left curbside in yard waste bags for Monday yard waste pick-ups. Holiday Tree Lighting: Bring the family to Driskell Park on Friday, December 3 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. to help us light up the City’s holiday tree! Hot chocolate and a visit from Santa will be included! Face coverings and warm clothing are encouraged.

Youth Services Hyattsville Communications Coordinator/Hot Cheetos Bag Brayan met Chester Cheetah and his family at the City’s Treat-O-Rama event in Driskell Park last month! ¡El Coordinador de Comunicaciones y Bolsa de Hot Cheetos de Hyattsville Brayan conoció a Chester Cheetah y su familia en el evento de Halloween de la Ciudad en Driskell Park el mes pasado!

Ward 5 Harvest Festival: City Councilmembers Rommel Sandino and Joseph Solomon invite all Hyattsville community members to the Ward 5 Harvest Festival on Saturday, November 13, 1 – 4 p.m., at Hyatt Park. Activities include a chat with the Councilmembers, food and games, raffle prizes and a cleanup of the Park and surrounding area. Email ward5@hyattsville.org for more information. University Hills Community Meeting: Residents are invited to a virtual meeting on Wednesday, November 17, at 7 p.m., to receive the latest updates and provide feedback on the University Hills West Boulevard/Parkway construction project. Register at hyattsville. org/calendar.

Programs, Services, and Events

Native American Heritage Month: The City of Hyattsville is proud to celebrate November as Native American Heritage Month, celebrating the rich and diverse cultures, traditions, histories of Native Americans and acknowledging their sacrifices and contributions across the nation. Find local Native American Heritage Month virtual and in-person events by visiting hyattsville. org/nahm. Invasive Removals: Invasive plant removals are returning to Hyattsville’s parks this fall! Join us November 20, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., to remove nonnative, invasive plants and spruce up trees at 38th Avenue Park (4919 38th Avenue). COVID-19 safety guidelines will be enforced. The City provides cotton work gloves, but volunteers should dress appropriately. Student service-learning hours are also available! Contact Dawn Taft at (301) 852-8790 or at dtaft@hy-

attsville.org for more information. Community Turkey Drive: Hyattsville City staff will be collecting donations of turkeys and canned goods to support community members in need. If you’re interested in donating please contact caistis@hyattsville.org by November 21. All donations must be dropped off on November 23 at Driskell Park between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Week Services Update: Hyattsville administrative offices will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Friday, November 26 for Thanksgiving. The City’s COVID-19 testing site will be closed on Thursday, November 25 and Saturday, November 27. There will be no yard waste, compost, and leaf collecting the week of November 22 – 27. Trash routes for Thanksgiving week will be picked up one day early, except for Friday’s, which will be collected on Wednesday. County recycling routes for Thursday and Friday are shifting to the following day. Other recycling routes that week remain the same. Free Parking: The City of Hyattsville is offering free parking in City lots from November 25 to January 2! You can find a map of the City’s lots at hyattsville. org/parking. Park for free and shop locally this holiday season! Kick-off a City Council Meeting!: We’re looking for fresh faces to introduce Hyattsville’s City Council meetings! Individuals or groups are invited to be filmed in a brief segment that will air at the start of an upcoming meeting. We’re interested in highlighting the diverse groups and people that make our community so special! If you’d like to join us, please fill out the interest form at hyattsville.org/surveys by Monday,

Winter Camp: Registration for the City’s Driskell Park Winter Camp Session opens on Wednesday, November 17, at 10 a.m.! Parents of students in grades K – 5 can enroll their child for camp from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. on December 27 – 30. Students can be enrolled for individual days or the entire week. Visit hyattsville. org/youthprograms to learn more. Teen Center: Hyattsville’s Teen Center, serving students in grades 6 – 12, is open Mondays through Thursdays, from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m., at the Driskell Park Recreation Center, 3911 Hamilton Street. Visit hyattsville.org/teen-center to learn about their special events and sign up for a free membership. Free Tutoring: Is your student struggling with homework or a tough subject? Register them for the City’s free tutoring program! Thanks to a partnership with Northstar Tutoring, free in-person and online tutoring services are available for students in grades 4 – 12 who live or attend a school in Hyattsville. Tutoring takes place Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays from 6:30 p.m. to 8 p.m. To register your student, visit hyattsville.recdesk.com.

Age-Friendly Services

Veteran & Caregiver Resources: The City of Hyattsville is grateful to all the veterans, active duty service members, and their loved ones for their selfless service to this country. Veterans and their families are eligible for many state and federal resources; Call 2-1-1 to contact a county information specialist or call 1 (800) 446-4926 to contact the Maryland Department of Veteran Affairs. The Department of Veteran affairs also offers a hotline support program that recommends services and resources for caregivers of veterans. Call 1 (855) 260-3274 for live support. Call-A-Bus: The City’s Call-A-Bus to help seniors and persons with a disability get to appointments and grocery stores is now operating every weekday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Residents who wish to use the free curbside service must make a reservation by calling (301) 9855000 before 2 p.m. at least one business day in advance.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021


Reportero de


No. 404 • 9 de Noviembre, 2021

www.hyattsville.org • 301-985-5000

Avisos y Noticias

Vacuna y Clínicas Especiales COVID-19: El Centro para el Control y la Prevención de Enfermedades de los Estados Unidos ha aprobado una vacuna COVID-19 para niños de 5 a 11 años. Encuentre sitios que ofrecen vacunas gratuitas para niños de este grupo de edad en mypgc.us/covidvaccine. El sitio de vacunas de la Ciudad en la Iglesia First United Methodist en Belcrest Road, en patrocinio con la Delegada del Estado Wanika Fisher y Luminis Health, ofrecerá una clínica especial para niños de 5 a 11 años el sábado, 13 de noviembre 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. y una clínica para personas de todas edades el domingo, 14 de noviembre, mediodía – 4 p.m.No se requiere cita. Menores de 18 deben ser acompañados por un guardián adulto. La clínica de la Ciudad no ofrecerá vacunas para niños de 5 a 11 años durante sus clínicas semanales los martes de 9 a.m. a 5 p.m. en este momento. Vacunas para individuales elegibles están para personas de 12+ están disponibles en esas clínicas. Visite hyattsville.org/covidvaccine para estar actualizado sobre cambios y nuevas fechas de clínicas especiales cuando sean confirmadas. El Departamento de Salud del Condado también ofrecerá clínicas de vacunas para niños de 5 a 11 años en varias escuelas públicas. Northwestern High School tendrá citas y visitas sin cita para las vacunas disponibles los miércoles a partir de las 4 p.m. - 8 p.m. a partir del miércoles 10 de noviembre. Cierres de Reparación: El bloque 4000 de Gallatin Street está temporalmente cerrado para el reemplazo de una tubería principal de agua WSSC. Se espera que el trabajo esté terminado a fines de noviembre. Un mapa con rutas de desvío está disponible en hyattsville.org/streets. El puente de Northwest Branch Trail que comienza en Driskell Park esta cerrado para reparaciones por el Departamento de Parques y Recreación del Condado. Se espera que el puente esté cerrado hasta finales de año. El acceso al sendero sigue estando disponible desde Melrose Park y 38th Avenue Park durante el cierre. Estamos Contratando: ¡Trabaja por una Ciudad y comunidad que ama! La Ciudad actualmente tiene varios puestos abiertos para administración, desarrollo comunitario, obras públicas y el departamento de policía. Para ver las descripciones de los trabajos y para aplicar, visite hyattsville.org/jobs. ¡Sitio Web Actualizado de Hyattsville!: ¡El sitio Web de la Ciudad www. hyattsville.org está recibiendo un diseño web y móvil renovado a principios de diciembre! El acceso no debe ser afectado durante la transición. Si encuentra problemas o ve errores, por favor comuníquese con el personal de la Ciudad al pio@hyattsville.org.

Ocurrencias de Distritos

Reunión y Limpieza del Distrito 3: Acompañe a los Concejales de Hyattsville Jimmy McClellan y Ben Simasek para una reunión y limpieza del Distrito 3 el sábado, 13 de noviembre, a las 11 a.m., en el patio de University Town Center, 6515 Belcrest Road. Escuche sobre los próximos desarrollos y provee sus opiniones, ¡todo mientras da de regreso a su comunidad! Guantes y bolsas de basura

día está programado la recolección de hojas en su hogar, visite hyattsville.org/ leaves o llame al (301) 985-5032. Si juntar las hojas hasta la acera no es su idea de diversión, ¡intente cortarlas en su césped para obtener mulch natural! Las hojas también se pueden dejar al lado de la acera en reciclables para la recolección de residuos de yarda los lunes.

Deputy Community Services Director Cheri Everhart was recognized by Mayor Kevin Ward on behalf of Council and City Administrator Tracey Douglas for her exceptional leadership while filling the role of Community Services Director in 2020! ¡La Directora Adjunta de Servicios Comunitarios Cheri Everhart fue reconocida por el Alcalde Kevin Ward por parte del Concejo y la Administradora de la Ciudad Tracey Douglas por su excepcional liderazgo mientras llenaba el papel de Directora de Servicios Comunitarios en 2020! serán proporcionadas para la limpieza, ¡y habrá comida para todos! Envíe email a ward3@hyattsville.org para más información. Festival de la Cosecha del Distrito 5: Los Concejales de la Ciudad Rommel Sandino y Joseph Solomon invitan a todos los miembros de la comunidad de Hyattsville al Festival de la Cosecha del Distrito 5 el sábado, 13 de noviembre, 1 – 4 p.m., en Hyatt Park. Las actividades incluyen una charla con los Concejales, comida y juegos, premios de rifa y una limpieza del Parque y sus alrededores. Envíe un email a ward5@hyattsville.org para obtener más información. Reunión Comunitaria de University Hills: Los residentes son invitados a una reunión virtual miércoles, 17 de noviembre, a las 7 p.m. para recibir las últimas actualizaciones y proporcionar comentarios sobre el Proyecto de construcción de University Hills West Boulevard/Parkway. Puede registrarse en hyattsville. org/calendar.

Programas, Servicios y Eventos

Mes de la Herencia de los Nativos Americanos: La Ciudad de Hyattsville se enorgullece de celebrar noviembre como Mes de la Herencia de los Nativos Americanos, celebrando las ricas y diversas culturas, tradiciones, historias de los Nativos Americanos y reconociendo sus sacrificios y contribuciones a través de la nación. Visite hyattsville.org/nahm para encontrar eventos virtuales y locales celebrando el Mes. Removimiento de Plantas Invasores: ¡Los eventos voluntarios de remover plantas invasoras regresan a los parques de Hyattsville este otoño! Acompáñenos el 20 de noviembre, de 10 a.m. a 2 p.m., para ayudar a remover plantas invasoras y limpiar los arboles en el parque de 38th Avenue (4919 38th Avenue). Se harán cumplir las pautas de seguridad de COVID-19. La Ciudad proporciona guantes de trabajo de algodón, pero los voluntarios deben vestirse apropiadamente. ¡Horas de aprendizaje en servicio para los estudiantes están disponibles! Comuníquese con Dawn Taft al (301) 8528790 o al dtaft@hyattsville.org para más información.

Recolección Comunitaria de Pavos: El personal de la Ciudad de Hyattsville estará recolectando donaciones de pavos y productos enlatados para apoyar a los miembros de la comunidad necesitados. Si usted está interesado en donar por favor contacte a caistis@hyattsville.org antes del 21 de noviembre. Todas las donaciones deben ser entregadas el 23 de noviembre en el Driskell Park entre las 8:30 a.m. y las 2 p.m. Servicios para la Semana de Acción de Gracias: Las oficinas de la Ciudad estarán cerradas el jueves, 25 de noviembre y el viernes, 26 de noviembre para el Día de Acción de Gracias. El sitio de pruebas COVID-19 estará cerrado el jueves, 25 de noviembre y el sábado, 27 de noviembre. No habrá recolección de residuos de yarda, compostaje o hojas la semana del 22 al 27 de noviembre. Las rutas de recolección de basura para la semana del 22 de noviembre se recogerán un día antes, excepto los viernes, que se recogerán el miércoles en vez. Las rutas de reciclaje del Condado para el jueves y viernes se cambiarán al día siguiente. Las otras rutas de reciclaje esa semana siguen siendo las mismas. Parqueo Gratuito: ¡La Ciudad de Hyattsville esta ofreciendo parqueo gratuito en los lotes de la Ciudad desde el 25 de noviembre hasta el 2 de enero! Puede encontrar un mapa de los lotes de la Ciudad en hyattsville.org/parking. ¡Estaciónese sin cargo y compre localmente para las fiestas!

Iluminación de Árbol Navideño: ¡Traiga a la familia a Driskell Park el viernes 3 de diciembre de 6 p.m. a 8 p.m. para ayudarnos a iluminar el árbol de navideño de la Ciudad! ¡El chocolate caliente y una visita de Santa están incluidos! Se recomienda usar cobre bocas y vestirse con abrigo.

Servicios de Menores

Campamento de Invierno: ¡La inscripción para la sesión del campamento de invierno de Driskell Park de la Ciudad comienza el miércoles, 17 de noviembre a las 10 a.m.! Los padres de estudiantes en los grados K - 5 pueden inscribir a su menor en el campamento de 8 a.m. a 3 p.m. del 27 al 30 de diciembre. Los estudiantes pueden ser registrados por días individuales o por toda la semana. Visite hyattsville.org/ youthprograms para más información. Centro de Jóvenes: El Centro de Jóvenes de Hyattsville, que sirve a estudiantes de grados 6 – 12, esta abierto de lunes a jueves, de 3:30 p.m. a 8 p.m., en el Centro de Recreación de Driskell Park, 3911 Hamilton Street. Visite hyattsville. org/teen-center para aprender más sobre los eventos especiales y para inscribirse para una membresía gratuita. Tutoría Gratuita: ¿Su estudiante necesita ayuda con un tema difícil? ¡Registre a su menor para el programa de tutoría de la Ciudad! Gracias a una asociación con Northstar Tutoring, se ofrecen servicios gratuitos de tutoría en persona y en línea para los estudiantes en los grados 4 al 12 que viven o asisten a una escuela en Hyattsville. La tutoría se lleva a cabo los martes, miércoles y jueves a partir de las 6:30 p.m. a las 8 p.m. Para registrar a su estudiante, visite hyattsville.recdesk.com.

Servicios para la Tercera Edad

¡Empiece una Reunión del Concejo!: ¡Estamos buscando personas para presentar las reuniones del Concejo de Hyattsville! Se invita a individuos o grupos a ser grabados en un breve segmento que se presentará al comienzo de una reunión futura. ¡Estamos interesados en destacar los diversos grupos y personas que hacen que nuestra comunidad tan especial! Si desea unirse a nosotros, complete el formulario en hyattsville.org/surveys antes del lunes 29 de noviembre.

Recursos para Veteranos y Cuidadores: La Ciudad de Hyattsville está agradecida a todos los veteranos, miembros del servicio activo y sus seres queridos por su servicio a este país. Los veteranos y sus familias son elegibles para muchos recursos estatales y federales; llame al 2-1-1 para comunicarse con un especialista en información del condado o llame al 1 (800) 4464926 para comunicarse con el Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos de Maryland. El Departamento de Asuntos de Veteranos también ofrece un programa de apoyo de línea directa que recomienda servicios y recursos para los cuidadores de veteranos. Llame al 1 (855) 260-3274 para obtener soporte en vivo.

Servicios de Recolección de Hojas: La recolección semanal de hojas de arboles para calles residenciales dentro de la Ciudad de Hyattsville ha comenzado y continuará hasta mediados de enero. Las propiedades comerciales y multifamiliares no están incluidas. La recolección depende del clima, ya que las hojas pesadas y húmedas dañan la maquinaria. Para obtener más información y averiguar qué

Servicio de Transportación: El servicio Llame-Al-Bus de la Ciudad para ayudar a las personas de la tercera y personas con discapacidad a llegar a citas y tiendas ahora está funcionando todos los días de la semana de 9 a.m. a 2 p.m. Los residentes que deseen usar el servicio gratuito deben hacer una reserva llamando al (301) 9855000 antes de las 2 p.m. por lo menos un día hábil de antelación.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

Page 8


To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Prince George’s County Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS) Department, “The Science of the City” column is launching a series of articles to explore how Prince George’s County became a national pioneer in modern firefighting education, technology and personnel management. The series will also examine how the county is addressing the biggest challenges facing America’s fire and EMS services. Consider Firehouse #1, the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD) at 6200 Belcrest Road. Firefighting has traditionally been considered a job for local blue-collar men. So how do HVFD’s alumni include a former fire chief of Atlanta, Ga., Norfolk, Va., and the District; various doctoral recipients; and the current minority leader of the New Jersey State Senate? The answer requires understanding a bit of history. Big cities, like Boston and New York, began organizing bucket brigades before the Revolutionary War. And in more agricul-

tural areas, back then, all most people could do, in the face of a fire, was pull out as many belongings as possible and then watch the building burn. Over time, businesses and the wealthy turned to fire insurance to protect them from devastating losses. But the general public remained vulnerable. Chicago’s great fire of 1870, along with innovations like electricity and high-rise buildings, understandably elevated the public’s fears. The push for safety regulations began in the late 1800s. Underwriters Laboratories was founded in 1894 to study electrical fire risks for insurers, and the National Fire Protection Association, which evaluates local fire departments to set insurance costs, followed in 1896. According to Fire Call: A History of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, by F. X. Geary, Hyattsville started organizing the HVFD in 1886 — the same year the city incorporated. The town had three devastating fires by the middle of March, and raised $27 to buy a fire engine, which consisted of a cart with a water barrel mounted on top, a hand pump and a hose. It was chartered in 1888, and by 1904, Hyattsville’s fire depart-

A live-in member of the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department whose T-shirt says it all

ment had assumed its current structure as an independent nonprofit corporation that selected its own fire officers and board of directors. By World War II, virtually every small town in Maryland had a fire department organized the same way.

WHO’S IN CHARGE HERE? From the very beginning of these departments, Hyattsville and other towns experienced serious conflicts over funding and supervising this absolutely critical public service, run by volunteers who didn’t answer to a mayor or city council. Hyattsville filed a lawsuit in 1911, seeking to replace all the department’s officers. But HVFD faced a bigger problem that still persists in the estimated 23,000 U.S. volunteer fire companies, companies that protect more than 100 million, or approximately 33% of the country’s population: These de-

partments are pressed to retain enough capable volunteers. In 1930, the city hired its first paid firefighter. Over the following decades, the number of city-paid personnel increased, bringing disputes with volunteers and clashes with taxpayers over costs. By the mid 1960s, the fast-developing county was also paying firefighters to supplement volunteer companies. Labor relations within HVFD became so bad that when Prince George’s County sought to coordinate fire protection under the new county charter in 1970, Hyattsville welcomed the move. By 1971, the city’s paid firefighters were employees of the new Prince George’s Fire Department (PGFD). The volunteer corporation that previously oversaw the firehouse was granted all the equipment and real estate. Though the City of Hyattsville is out of the firefighting business, the


HVFD is still on the job. Today, the PGFD is America’s most active department in which civilians can still participate. According to the 2019 Firehouse National Run Survey, the PGFD was the 12th busiest in the country, answering a total of 152,586 fire and EMS calls that year. The department’s 30,413 fire calls were eighth highest in the country. The department has somewhere between 2,000 and 2,200 members. About half are volunteers, but volunteers own or control 37 of the county’s 42 fire, ambulance or rescue companies. Most of those companies are struggling to recruit and retain new members, but they still have an important advantage over the rest of the nation.

THE UNIVERSITY TO THE RESCUE The University of Maryland (UMD) has been a major player in local fire protection since Dr.

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Henry McDonnell, chair of its chemistry department, helped start the College Park Volunteer Fire Department, in 1925. In 1930, the university, in partnership with the Maryland State Firemen’s Association, established what is now known as the Maryland Fire Rescue Institute to train firefighters from all over the state. Trainees encounter real fires in a smokestreaked burn building on Campus Drive in College Park, just east of Route 1. Two more innovations elevated the PGFD to a national mecca for fire education. In the 1950s, UMD created the nation’s leading undergraduate and graduate program in fire protection engineering (FPE). There are still just two others: the University of Worcester in Massachusetts, and Cal Poly in San Luis Obispo, Ca. However, only UMD can offer its students extensive firefighting experience because the Worcester and San Luis Obispo fire departments don’t take volunteers. Under longtime FPE department chairman Dr. John L. Bryan, the program pioneered the concept of the sackroom (or bunkroom) in which student volunteers live at local firehouses full time in return for free training, room and board. Livein students from out of state qualify for in-state tuition. The idea caught on and spread to many local firehouses, bringing the county a continuous flow of some of the nation’s best-educated volunteers. They, in turn, carry their training into other departments, industries and careers. Jeremy Jordan, who is the current president of the Branchville Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD), joined the BVFD while


Page 9

he was at UMD, majoring in criminal justice. He is impressed by the caliber of volunteers at his firehouse: “Several Branchville volunteers have gone on to become doctors. We’ve been particularly successful in recruiting women pre-meds and public health majors,” he noted. “They feel that having real world experience as an EMT gives them an advantage in getting into graduate school.” Kevin King, HVFD president, said student volunteers “tend to be smart, fit and enjoy living in a group.” Hyattsville Fire Chief Ryan Pidgeon pointed to drawbacks, though: “The downside is that they take about a year to get fully trained and graduate a few years later,” he said. “However, we’ve learned to plan, train and recruit around that four-year cycle.” But just because someone has graduated doesn’t mean they’ve left the firehouse family or the profession. Jessica Doermann earned a master’s in FPE from UMD in 2019 and currently works for a large engineering firm in New York City. “When I was 21, during my first ride-along with Hyattsville, we went to an active fire in Brentwood,” she said. “Honestly, it was the most exciting thing I’d ever done in my life, and I got trained as a volunteer as soon as I could. When I come home to visit my parents, I ride with HVFD

as often as I can. Back in New York, I feel it gives me a real career advantage. Every single construction project involves some level of fire engineering. Most engineers have never personally experienced how fire moves through a building, but I’ve smelled the smoke and felt the heat.” Don’t miss part 2 in this series, which will explore the complexity of managing Prince George’s County Fire Department’s career and volunteer members.

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Beware of berry-bearing bushes Dear Miss Floribunda, My neighbor’s toddler recently was nabbed by his older brothers picking red berries from a volunteer bush in their yard. The berries were confiscated, and it seems maybe only one berry was actually eaten, because the baby didn’t get sick. I sent you a picture of a branch with berries, which you identified as bush honeysuckle. You said it was “mildly poisonous.” It seems we are at a time of year when there are a lot of berries on bushes. Although birds seem to eat them

and thrive, I worry about little children who might be attracted to them. What should parents look out for? Afraid, Berry Afraid on Farragut Street Dear Afraid, Berry Afraid, Fortunately, the bush honeysuckle berries don’t taste as good as they look, and a child with a normal sense of taste is unlikely to eat enough to get sick. If a child eats a quantity of berries, vomiting and other

evacuation would likely cleanse the system. However, I think the parents should dig up and discard the bush for another reason. Bush honeysuckle harbors deer ticks, and these can transmit Lyme disease, which is extremely serious. Parents who have bush honeysuckle in their yards should check their children at bath time for small black spots — especially around the midriff, arms and scalp — and if a tick is found it should be carefully removed with tweezers. If in a few days a red ring develops around the spot where the tick was attached, the child should be taken to the doctor for testing as soon as possible. Other plants have berries that are more poisonous, but few are as alluring as the bush honeysuckle. The berries on holly and pyracantha are almost as pretty, but, fortunately, spiky leaves or thorns will repel little fingers. If you grow lilies of the valley, you ought to remove their very poisonous red berries if your children are too young to warn. American bittersweet and cotoneaster, which produce flame-colored berries in fall, also should be kept clipped until children reach the age of reason. Poison ivy forms berries about this time of year, but they are a dull, unappetizing grayish

Bush honeysuckle berries don’t taste as good as they look, and a child with a normal sense of taste is unlikely to eat enough to get sick. COURTESY OF THE MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF CONSERVATION

white, and children tend to be attracted to the color red. Fortunately, most poisonous berries are not red. However, pokeweed berries could be of concern, because although the berries are black, they are born on bright pink stems, and like the honeysuckle berries, they are shiny and plump. They are considerably more poisonous than the honeysuckle berries, but one berry sampled wouldn’t do more than cause a stomachache. Again, most poisonous berries taste bad. The exception is deadly nightshade, which fortunately I haven’t seen in our area. Still other berries that are pretty but nontoxic are the porcelain berries that have proliferated in our area, thanks to the seed-spreading of birds. Pink, blue and mauve, these berries look like candy, but their taste

and texture are actually unpleasant to humans. Why would poisonous berries not taste good? They don’t taste good for the same reason they are poisonous. The idea is to repel animals and protect the plant. Why are birds seemingly immune to these poisons? Without getting into the complex subject of physiology, let’s just say that Mother Nature wants to encourage birds to eat the fruit and spread the seeds. Of course, I consulted my cousin Moribunda. She pointed out that adults are also at risk. For example, the poisonous berries of Virginia creeper resemble those of wild grapes. While some people can’t go near Virginia creeper without getting a rash, others might pick the berries with impunity and then make the mistake of tasting them. Additionally, elderberries are not safe to eat unless cooked. Because they make excellent jam as well as a syrup to treat colds, many people may assume they can eat them raw. That would be a painful mistake. Moribunda insisted that I include the following link to help identify poisonous plants in our area: extension.umd.edu/sites/ default/files/2021-03/EB314_ PoisonousPlantsMD.pdf. Please come to the Hyattsville Horticultural Society’s holiday wreath-making workshop on Nov. 17 at the home of Mary Jane Stevens and Robert Meyer (3925 Nicholson Street). Following the brief 10 a.m. meeting, accomplished wreath makers will show you how to embellish your doors and tabletops for Thanksgiving and Christmas. Please bring plant cuttings and other decorative materials to incorporate into your wreath. Miss Floribunda writes about gardens. Email questions to floribundav@ gmail.com.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

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COMMUNITY CALENDAR Send your event information for the calendar to Kit Slack at kit@hyattsvillelife.com.


ind below events sponsored by local nonprofits, arts organizations, and performance venues, occurring between Nov. 11 and Dec. 15. For events and meetings organized by the City of Hyattsville, see the Hyattsville Reporter in the newspaper’s centerfold. Please send notices of events that will take place between Dec. 16 and Jan. 12 to kit@ hyattsvillelife.com by Dec. 9. All events are current as of Nov. 5.

RECURRING The Archie Edwards Blues Heritage Foundation presents an acoustic blues jam every Saturday from 1 to 5 p.m. The jam is open to those who bring proof of vaccination and is held outdoors in the parking lot at 4502 Hamilton St. Check facebook.com/ groups/aebhf for weather cancellations. Classical figure drawing sessions with a live model, beginning with short action poses and ending with one long pose. Nine-participant limit; first come, first seated. Masks required. Legal guardian consent for those under 18. $20. Wednesdays, 6 to 9 p.m. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4218 Gallatin St. meetup.com/Hyattsville-FigureDrawing-Group-Meetup” Poetry open mic every Thursday at Busboys and Poets. $5. 8 p.m. 5331 Baltimore Ave. 301.779.2787. busboysandpoets.com Riverdale Park Farmers Market is open every Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. in the parking lot near the Riverdale MARC Station, 4650 Queensbury Rd., with live music each week. For more information, contact Jim Coleman at rpkfarmmkt@gmail .com. facebook.com/RPFMarket

ONGOING Brentwood Arts Exchange will

have two art exhibits on display through Dec. 25: “Do Not Forget Us,” an exhibit concerning the displacement of people during the war in Syria, by Helen Zughaib, and “Layers: Cause and Effect,” a group show. Free. Monday through Friday: 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood.

NOVEMBER 12, 13 AND 14 Gridlock presents “Veritas,” a multimedia dance performance about how truth can be silenced, distorted or erased entirely by American mass media. Featuring original music and projections. Nov. 12: 8 to 9:30 p.m. Nov. 13: 4 to 5:30 p.m. Nov. 14: 2 to 3:30 p.m. Masks and proof of vaccination or of testing within 72 hours required. $20 general admission; $10 seniors, veterans and children. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt Rainier. joesmovement.org

NOVEMBER 13 The local Irish duo O’McPub Band will play Maryland Meadworks. Free. 7 p.m. Limited seating. Proof of vaccination required to sit indoors. 4700 Rhode Island Ave., Suite Bee. 201.955.9644 The Hyattsville Mennonite Church will host a tent sale, selling homemade baked goods as well as fair trade gifts from the Ten Thousand Villages store in Alexandria, including food, accessories, ornaments and children’s books. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 4217 East-West Hwy.

NOVEMBER 14 UpSpring Studio presents “In the Witch’s Woods,” a pandemic production featuring new work on fabrics, sling and trapeze. A lonely witch casts a spell to bring complete strangers to her woods to entertain her. Will they stay? Masks and proof of vaccination or of testing within 72 hours re-

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quired. $20 general admission; $10 seniors, veterans and children. 7 to 8:30 p.m. Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt Rainier. joesmovement.org

NOVEMBER 16 After screening a documentary on school policing’s effects on our children entitled “Homeroom,” Joe’s Movement Emporium will host a community discussion with students, parents and advocates. Masks and proof of vaccination or of testing within 72 hours required. Free. 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt Rainier. joesmovement.org

NOVEMBER 19 Jazz Night: Maryland Meadworks. Free. 7 p.m. Limited seating. Proof of vaccination required to sit indoors. 4700 Rhode Island Ave., Suite Bee. 201.955.9644

NOVEMBER 20 Swing 5, a gypsy swing band in the style of Django Reinhardt will perform. A simultaneous PupTreat Pop-Up is planned. Free. 7 p.m. Limited seating. Proof of vaccination required to sit indoors. Maryland Meadworks, 4700 Rhode Island Ave., Suite Bee. 201.955.9644

STARTING DECEMBER 3 Pyramid Atlantic’s annual 10x10 Invitational art exhibition will feature small pieces by many artists. Members’ preview: Dec. 3; Opening weekend: Dec. 4-5. Through Jan. 2, 2022. Wednesdays and Thursdays: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., Fridays and Saturdays: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sundays: noon to 5 p.m. 4318 Gallatin St. 301.608.9101. Pyramidatlanticartcenter.org

Come celebrate at an outdoor holiday party at Archie’s Barbershop. Enjoy food and beverages, acoustic music, and heaters and a fire pit for warmth. Participants are encouraged to bring side dishes or desserts to share. Proof of vaccination required. Free. 1 to 5 p.m. Rain date: Dec. 11. Parking lot at 4502 Hamilton St. Check facebook.com/groups/aebhf for weather cancellations.



An annual tradition at the Riversdale House Museum, A Visit With Good Niklaas allows kids to learn Belgian customs, do a craft, and have a chat and photo with Good Niklaas. Capacity limited. No more than two adults per child. Ages 3 to 10. Residents: $5 children, $3 adults. Nonresidents: $7 children, $4 adults. Two sessions: 10 to 11 a.m. and noon to 1 p.m. Advance registration required by Nov. 30 at tinyurl.com/VisitNiklaas. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Rd., Riverdale Park

A holiday singalong of songs of the season, from gospel to Motown. Live band! For ages 60 and better. $10. 11 a.m. to noon. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. To purchase tickets, call 301.277.1710, or purchase online through Parks Direct.

St. Jerome Academy’s Christmas Market, Carpe Noctem, returns in 2021 as Carpe Lucem. That means this year, it’s during the day. Vendors, food, raffles, crafts and baked goods. Mostly outdoors. Noon to 4 p.m. 5207 42nd Pl.

DECEMBER 11 Vibraphonist Warren Wolf plays live, showcasing the styles of vibraphonists including Roy Ayers, Bobby Hutcherson, Lionel Hampton, Milt Jackson and Cal Tjader. All ages. $25 adults; $20 seniors, students and children. 8 to 9:15 p.m. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. To purchase tickets, call 301.277.1710, or purchase online through Parks Direct.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

Page 12



Halloween ‘horrors’ still spookin’ Hyattsville By Fred Seitz


lthough we’ve entered into November, some of Halloween’s more familiar horrors continue to haunt our community. The bat, which is the only mammal that flies, is one of the most stereotyped Halloween villains. Bats appear in many spooky movies because of their association with vampires and conjurers. None of our local bats are of the vampire variety, though, and no vampire bat is actually dangerous to humans. The three species of vampire bats — the common (Desmodus rotundus), the white-winged (Diaemus youngi) and hairylegged (Diphylla ecaudata) — live in Central and South America and, while they are the only mammals who feed exclusively on blood, they feast largely on sleeping cows and horses — only rarely on humans. Additionally, many of our local bats are (like humans) migrating south to warmer climates for the coming winter. Those

who stay in the neighborhood tend only to emerge on exceptionally warm nights. (Blame their absence on the decline of insects to munch on in cooler weather.) So much for one classic scary villain. The owl, another local spooky resident, can sound quite haunting and spine-tingling when it hoots. Our local barred owl (Strix varia), with its whocooks-for-you call, is still hanging around to awaken us with its familiar chants. While owls have often been associated with wisdom and counsel to humans, their loud and sudden calls on dark nights may prompt many humans to a sudden stir or scare. I have heard tales of owls approaching people sleeping outside, but I mostly associate them with their beneficial habits: They prey on mice, rats and other small pests who are far more annoying and destructive. We frequently associate cats, and especially black cats, with Halloween, too. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a classic witch-related movie that didn’t include a cat.

Our domestic cats aren’t native to the area, but are instead descendants of the North African/Southwest Asian wildcat, Felis silvestris lybica. Many scientists think that these furry quadrupeds spread throughout the world because they were purposely brought along on ships, where they were used to control rodents and help protect food supplies. Domestic cats are one of the most common predators in this country, hunting birds, mice and rats, and even snakes. However, their free-roaming makes them good candidates for animal encounters that could result in their contracting rabies or other diseases. One of our roaming neighborhood cats is impressively large — its nickname is Godzilla — and it’s not the least bit frightened of my pseudo-fierce puppy when he’s trying to tap into his wolf roots. I don’t think my pup would fare too well in an actual encounter with that feline. Hardly terrifying but surprisingly seasonal, the groundhog is a cutie that I’ve seen sev-

eral times in the past couple weeks. We usually associate this critter with February and its eponymous holiday. And although I was first startled to see the little devils so near to Halloween, I shouldn’t have been. Groundhogs apparently love to eat pumpkins, and so we’re actually inviting them into our midst with our fall decorating and pumpkin carving. Who can blame them for munching on such a large and tasty snack? Even though many of us don’t usually associate groundhogs with Halloween, maybe we’ll start to, given their penchant for pumpkin consumption. While Halloween is gone till next fall, some of its consorts will be on the prowl for many more months, continuing to provide us with more frights and delights. Fred Seitz is the nature columnist for the Hyattsville Life & Times.


people. My experience in combat helped me ... remain calm.” Lionel gave an example: “On Sept. 11, 2001, at 9:30 a.m., I was at the administrative building preparing for the 10 a.m. service for the wife of a retired Air Force colonel. While I was talking to the colonel, we heard a loud explosion. Over the boundary walls, I saw the wreckage [from where the Pentagon was hit]. I asked the colonel, ‘Do you want to reschedule the service or do you want to continue?’ He responded, ‘I would like to continue.’ We lined up the funeral procession and drove to the gravesite to hold a Catholic committal service. It was a brief, but dignified service,” concluded Lionel. At the close of our conversation, Lionel turned his focus back to the veterans of the Vietnam War. “In Vietnam, we were all brothers in the field of combat,” he asserted. “I have appreciation for all veterans; however, the veterans who served in the Vietnam War were never officially welcomed home.” Lionel concluded, “So, this Veterans Day, in honor of all the men and women who served in Vietnam, I would like to take this time to say, ‘Welcome home.’”

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

Page 13





contract to build the extension. In another step forward for the project, CSX, the rail company which owns the right of way by the train tracks where the trail would run, agreed to shift that right of way to the Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission, according to an Oct. 25 update from State Sen. Paul Pinsky (DPrince George’s). Completion of the trail depended on CSX transferring this right of way. The trolley trail extension will fill a gap in the area’s trail network. It will connect the trolley trail with the Anacostia Tributary Trail System by adding a 10-foot-wide pedestrian and bike path to Rhode Island Avenue, buffered by grass on each side. The extension will provide people with a beginner-friendly trail along Rhode Island Avenue in Hyattsville, separated from car traffic. The plan will narrow northbound Rhode Island Avenue to one lane in many places, which may help calm vehicle traffic heading into Hyattsville. The trolley trail extension will pass across the street from the Hyattsville Justice Center, which the county is marketing as suitable for mixed-use development.

FEDERALIST PIG The Route 1 Corridor will also likely see improvements to the sidewalks in front of Federalist Pig, at 5504 Baltimore Avenue. On July 29, the Prince George’s County Planning Board approved, with conditions, a detailed site plan submitted for the restaurant company. The plan for the 13-foot-wide sidewalk includes a 5-foot sidewalk, a 5-foot landscape strip, and a 3-foot strip with brick pavers. A similar configuration can be seen directly across the street at the Shoppes at Arts District.

A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 http://facebook.com/ HyattsvilleLife http://twitter.com/HvilleTimes Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Streetcar Suburbs Publishing Inc., a 501(c)(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 provided.


to plant trees, improve water quality and reduce stormwater runoff. However, some councilmembers raised concerns around the proposed city-wide ban on gas leaf blowers.


The plan for the 13-foot-wide sidewalk in front of Federalist Pig includes a 5-foot sidewalk, a 5-foot landscape strip and a 3-foot strip with brick pavers. KYLE HEFLINGER

According to the National Association of City Transportation Officials, using a buffer to separate the sidewalk from vehicle traffic (in this case the landscape strip and strip of brick pavers) can provide pedestrians with a greater sense of safety. Federalist Pig will also install bicycle racks. The county-approved plan shows a marked 6-foot-wide crosswalk across the parking lot entrance, along with the closing off a driveway entrance from 44th Avenue. The county’s planning staff found that these aspects of the proposal align with the sector plan goals of defining the streetscape as an inviting public space, enhancing crosswalks and sidewalks so that the area is recognized as pedestrian-friendly, and identifying safe and practical measures to accommodate bicyclists.

HYATTSVILLE CANVAS APARTMENTS The Canvas Apartments (previously Armory Apartments) are planned for south of Jefferson Street, across the street from Yes! Organic Market (5331 Baltimore Avenue). The development will include 284 apartments and 32,000 square feet of retail space.

As required by the sector plan, it will include a sidewalk at least 12 feet wide along Baltimore Avenue. Similar to other recent developments, plans the developer shared with the city call for a landscaped strip with trees creating a buffer between the sidewalk and traffic lanes. Additionally, two public plazas will be built along Baltimore Avenue. One will be south of Crossover Church, which is in the historic Hyattsville Armory Building at the corner of Jefferson Street and Baltimore Avenue. The second plaza will be in front of retail space near the Canvas Apartments entrance, north of Hamilton Street. The developer, Urban Investment Partners, received permits to begin demolition. While continuing to work through “challenges along the way to entitle, permit, and finance” during the pandemic, the developer anticipates starting demolition in December, completing construction in two years, and finishing the project in spring 2024. Residents should expect sidewalk closures during some phases of construction. If completed as planned, however, these projects could increase the safety and comfort of car-free travelers in the city along Route 1.

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Councilmembers agreed with the ban in principle, supporting Schaible’s intent to reduce noise and chemical pollution, preserve wildlife and minimize health risks. Because most gas-powered leaf blowers lack independent lubrication systems, fuel has to be mixed with oil, according to Washington University in St. Louis. Burning this mixture releases toxic pollutants that contribute to smog. During the meeting, Schaible said that using a gas-powered blower for an hour was the equivalent of driving a Ford F-150 for 3,000 miles. Schaible likely drew his comparison from a leaf blower emissions study from 2011, which found that using a leaf blower for a half-hour created about the same amount of pollution as driving a 2011 Ford F-150 SVT Raptor from Texas to Alaska. He later added, “[A gas-powered leaf blower] can be as loud as 110 decibels, 115 decibels in the ear of an operator.” Schaible said he has received several complaints about the noise from residents. He would like to see the city match the efforts of surrounding jurisdictions that have implemented similar bans.

NEARBY AND NATIONAL BANS Washington, D.C., has a leafblower ban that goes into effect in 2022. Officials in Montgomery County also plan to propose a countywide ban on gas leaf blowers, according to Bethesda Magazine. At least two municipalities in Montgomery County, Chevy Chase Village and the Town of Chevy Chase, have already voted for similar bans that will go into effect starting Jan. 1, 2022. However, the Town of Chevy Chase will only ban leaf blowers during a certain portion of the year. In Los Angeles, Ca., gas-powered leaf blowers were banned back in 1998. While Los Angeles County has had trouble enforcing the ban, Schaible does not see that being an issue in Hyattsville. “[Los Angeles is] banning everything: They’re banning gaspowered mowers, gas-powered chainsaws, string trimmers,” Schaible said during the meeting. “I think, proportionally,

we’re funding this much better with our 20,000 residents. [It’s] one piece of equipment as opposed to the whole thing.”

WEIGHING THE PROS AND CONS Schaible has collaborated with the city’s environmental committee to bring the ban before the council for the first time, he said. The environmental committee has already recommended the council pass the motion. But some councilmembers are concerned about the cost of electric-powered yard equipment. Rommel Sandino (Ward 5) and Joanne Waszczak (Ward 1) worry the ban will disproportionately affect lower-income residents and business owners of color. “Approximately 40% of Hyattsville households make less than $49,000 a year,” Sandino said during the council meeting. “A lot of these businesses [in the city] are owned by people of color.” To offset financial losses for residents and local businesses, the proposal includes a cityrun rebate program. Residents could trade in one gas-powered leaf blower for up to two-thirds of its cost. Contractors could trade in up to three blowers, and the city will rebate half of the equipment’s cost up to $900. Councilmember Joseph Soloman (Ward 5) and Council President Robert Croslin (Ward 2) suggested giving residents more time to transition to electric leaf blowers. Both councilmembers advocated for educating residents and business owners about the ban and the proposed rebate program. Once the ban is enacted, the city would issue citations to those still using gas-powered leaf blowers, according to Schaible. Councilmember Sam Denes (Ward 1), an underwater acoustician with professional expertise in noise pollution, suggested the city should educate everyone who uses gaspowered leaf blowers, regardless of whether the ban goes into effect. “Noise-induced hearing loss, pollution, stress are also borne disproportionately by those who are using these pieces of equipment,” Denes said. “To my mind, [these issues] have far greater costs than the actual pieces of equipment.” Councilmembers will continue to hash out the specifics of the ban before bringing an updated proposal back to the council. Schaible was unsure of exactly when the proposal will be reintroduced, but he plans to work with other councilmembers to address their concerns. Winter Hawk is an intern with the Hyattsville Life & Times.

Hyattsville Life & Times | November 2021

Page 14

NEWS BRIEFS VISIT STREETCARSUBURBS.NEWS FOR MORE HYATTSVILLE PREPARES TO MANDATE VACCINES FOR CITY STAFF At the Nov. 1 Hyattsville city council meeting, councilmembers discussed a proposed coronavirus vaccine mandate for city employees and contractors. According to City Administrator Tracey Douglas, the police department and the department of public works have the only unvaccinated employees, with about 14 of them between the two departments. Douglas said she is talking one-on-one with staff members who are not vaccinated. She has also connected them with a doctor who can answer questions privately. While the city council seemed generally supportive of a vaccine mandate, councilmembers asked what would happen if employees refuse to get vaccinated and how that would affect the city’s functioning. Douglas said any mandate would likely require unvaccinated employees to undergo regular testing. According to Douglas, OSHA requirements would make the city pay for these tests, as well as for the time the employees would spend getting tested. Some city councilmembers, including Ben Simasek (Ward 3) and Joseph Solomon (Ward 5), had concerns about the practicality of testing. According to Douglas, deciding whether to mandate vaccinations is a balanc-

ing act between public health and public safety. There is a possibility some staff members would resign if faced with a mandate. Police Chief Jarod Towers said that the police department is already operating with minimum staffing. He added that losing even one officer would lead to a significant deficit. Moreover, bringing a new officer onboard is expensive — Towers estimated a cost of between $50,000 and $70,000 per officer. According to Douglas, the city would provide medical and religious vaccine exemptions where applicable. Vivian Snellman, the director of human resources, said the city does not currently require other vaccines, such as the flu vaccine, or testing, as for tuberculosis.

TUSSLE OVER TOWNHOUSES PLANNED NEAR UNIVERSITY HILLS On a Hyattsville email group with nearly 1,700 members (HOPE@groups.io), city residents recently challenged the Prince George’s County Council’s Oct. 25 approval of a plan to develop 137 townhouses on 12 acres of wooded land north of the Mall at Prince George’s and west of the University Hills neighborhood. County councilmembers unanimously approved changing the zoning to permit construction of townhouses rather than the single-family homes that the

original zoning allowed. The council also approved a conceptual site plan for the property, known as the Clay Property, that a developer submitted to the county planning board in April 2021. In doing so, the county council followed the recommendation of County Councilmember Deni Taveras (District 2), whose district includes Hyattsville. The county council decision stands in opposition to the June 7 recommendation of the City of Hyattsville and a July recommendation by county planning staff. The county council also overrode the county planning board’s July disapproval of the rezoning and the conceptual site plan, a disapproval supported by the University Hills Area Civic Association. Taveras defended her vote and the decision of the county council on the HOPE email group and in a phone interview with the Hyattsville Life & Times. She said higher density development would support the commercial center near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro stop. According to Taveras, city councilmembers failed to negotiate with the developer, on behalf of their constituents, two years ago. Taveras explained that she lets developers know whether she supports a plan before they submit conceptual site plans to the planning board, because of the high cost of preparing a plan. Hyattsville City Councilmember Ben Si-

masek (Ward 3), who joined the council in spring 2019, vigorously opposed the Clay Property conceptual site plan in June 2021, when the city council voted not to support it. On the HOPE email group on Nov. 2, Simasek circulated an alternative vision for the development which involved the preservation of large trees and parkland, a vision he said was based on recommendations made by the city council. He also emphasized the need for developments to support overarching plans collaboratively formulated by residents, expert consultants and elected officials. Simasek cited the 2016 Transit District Development Plan for the Prince George’s Plaza Metro area, which maintained single-family zoning where the Clay Property is located. He also pointed to city priorities and plans concerning affordable housing and environmental protection. Simasek noted that Prince George’s County is unusual in that elected county councilmembers can override decisions of the county planning board, which is charged with applying existing zoning and planning rules. “I have concerns about the integrity of the process,” he said. Taveras also said she supported the goals of Simasek’s proposal, and believes there is room for compromise, noting in particular active negotiations taking place concerning parkland.

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