2023-01 Hyattsville Life & Times

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2022 IN REVIEW: What did the city and its residents do? P. 2


STORY: 'Science of the City' explores the afterlife of car parts. P. 10

Council considers plastic bag ban

At the Dec. 19 Hyattsville City Council meeting, councilmembers Ben Simasek (Ward 3), Danny Schaible (Ward 2) and Edouard Haba (Ward 4) introduced the “Bring Your Own Bag” ordinance.

The legislation encourages customers to use reusable shopping bags and to reduce the harmful impacts of plastic waste by prohibiting retail businesses, including food service businesses, from

New ward map approved

After months of research and discussion by the Hyattsville Redistricting Commission, the city council approved a new boundary map of the city’s five wards, following updated population data from the 2020 census.

The redistricting commission sought input from residents and stakeholders, and presented the city council with two map options, one prioritizing minimal adjustments to the ward boundaries, and one taking anticipated future growth into account to reduce the need for large shifts in ward boundaries in the future.

However, at the Nov. 7, 2022, city council meeting, the council voted against approving either of the two maps. Some of the councilmembers voiced opinions about changes that should be made to the maps.

Moreover, research after the Nov. 7 meeting revealed that past commissions had used a stricter interpretation of the requirement

providing customers with plastic shopping bags. In addition to banning plastic bags, the ordinance would require businesses in the City of Hyattsville to charge customers at least $0.10 for paper or new reusable bags.

Under the draft ordinance, plastic bags could still be provided for certain items, including fresh meat, prepared foods or bakery goods, dry-cleaned clothes, live fish and insects, and bulk items at grocery and hardware stores. If the council

approves the motion, the city attorney will write an updated draft of the ordinance for further council review, feedback and approval.

Several members of the council and public commented that plastic bags are often found littering the community. “For folks who have participated in any cleanups of Driskell Park, for any of the waterways — the Northwest and Northeast Branches that border our city of the Anacostia River — you may be familiar with

the plastic bag problem,” said Simasek.

Schaible stated that the Sierra Club, which previously presented to the Hyattsville Environment Committee, estimated that residents in Hyattsville use approximately 7.5 million plastic shopping bags a year. He noted that that equals roughly 40 tons of plastic waste per year.

During the city council’s discussion of the draft ordinance, several members posed questions and offered suggestions to fur-

Manifest Bread The rise of

Devoted fans of local cottage bakers Rick and Tyes Cook will finally have a physical storefront to visit this month.

As of press time, Manifest Bread was on the verge of holding the grand opening of its new brick-andmortar bakery and café in the historic Riverdale Park Town Center, offering everything from rustic sourdough loaves to sweet pastries, sandwiches and even cocktails.

“You can get a whole bottle of wine; you can get champagne on a Wednesday — whatever you want,” Rick Cook told the Hyattsville Life & Times. He noted that they’re aiming to achieve more of a European café vibe than a party atmosphere. “In Spain and Italy and France, it’s nothing to see an adult at noon having a bitters and soda or having a quick beer, so we wanted to offer that full experience.”

But the main event at Manifest is the bread, of course, and the difference between their bread and the supermarket stuff is, well, just about everything, according to fans.

“It’s just a pleasant way to get bread,” said Manifest customer and Hyattsville resident Andrew Marder, adding that there is definitely a community and connection aspect that makes the experience so compelling.

Issue 418 | JANUARY 2023 THE CITY OF HYATTSVILLE The Hyattsville Reporter NEW CITY WARD MAP EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 7! 2 3 4 5 p C T F H The City of Hyattsville revises its Ward boundaries every ten years following the U.S. Census to ensure equitable representation on Council. At their December 19 regular Council meeting, Hyattsville’s Council adopted Ward boundaries map, which will go into effect on February 7, 2023. Households that are now part of a new Ward can expect to receive a postcard notice by mail this month. A reminder, that Hyattsville’s Ward ONLY representation the City Council, and do affect your school district boundaries or your County, State, or Federal representatives. Hyattsville residents encouraged to get to know their Ward before the May 2023 Citywide general election for Mayor and Council! Candidate registration for May’s election will open February 2023. can review the updated boundaries map and learn more about redistricting at hyattsville.org/redistricting. ¡NUEVO MAPA DE DISTRITOS DE CIUDAD EMPEZANDO 7 DE FEB! La Ciudad Hyattsville revisa los límites de sus Distritos diez años después del censo para asegurar una representación equitativa en el Concejo Municipal. En su reunión regular del Concejo del 19 de diciembre, el Concejo Municipal de Hyattsville adoptó un nuevo mapa de límites del Distrito, tomará efecto el de febrero de 2023. Los hogares que ahora forman parte de un nuevo Distrito pueden esperar recibir un aviso postal por correo este mes. Un recordatorio que los límites del Distrito de Hyattsville afectan SOLAMENTE la representación en el Concejo Municipal no afectan los distrito escolar ni los representantes de su Condado, Estado o Federal. alienta los residentes de Hyattsville saber cual es su Distrito elecciones generales de mayo de 2023 para alcalde concejales! El registro de candidatos para la elección de
AWARD-WINNING COMMUNITY NEWSPAPER VOL. 20 NO. 1 Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781 NONPROFIT ORG U.S. POSTAGE PAID HYATTSVILLE MD PERMIT NO. 1383 CENTER SECTION: Check out the latest issue of The Hyattsville Reporter , in both English and Español!
Manifest Bread plans to mill more than half of its flour in-house, a labor-intensive process that adds an extra component of freshness to the flavor of the bread. COURTESY OF RICK COOK

2022: Crises in trust, yet thanksgiving’s a must

As our nation endures a collapse in societal trust — in its institutions, its elected leaders, its purveyors of news — many of us still place our trust in members of local governments, our news sources, our community resources. After all, we’re more likely to be connected to these organizations; they may be staffed by our friends and neighbors, people we run into at nearby parks and grocery stores, churches and farmers markets. These connections build community and foster trust.


My reflections on 2022, however, start with some local upheavals in matters of trust.

Our coverage of Mayor Kevin Ward’s Feb. 4 funeral, following his suicide, highlighted Ward’s compassion and empathy, his awareness and acceptance of those who felt excluded, and his professional work using technology to help kids. But in August, a federal civil lawsuit was filed, alleging that he stole over $2 million from the network of public charter schools in the District, KIPP DC, where he served as senior director of

A conversation with Mayor Kevin Ward


In March, some residents questioned the editorial independence of the Hyattsville Life & Times when a board member of Streetcar Suburbs Publishing, our publisher, posted on a private listserv that he had persuaded editors not to run a story about the school where he works. Although the board decided that his appeal didn’t influence the editorial staff’s de-

Managing Editor for the Hyattsville Life and Times Sought

Streetcar Suburbs Publishing is seeking a managing editor for this newspaper, the Hyattsville Life and Times.

The managing editor is responsible for connecting story ideas with writers and photographers, editing copy as it comes in, monitoring beats, and attending city events as needed.

The editor must be able to contribute editorial content, recruit and manage volunteer staffing, and ensure that content conforms to house style and standards.

This part-time contract position is home-office based with flexible hours, but requires some weekend and evening availability.

To receive a full position description, email joemurchison2@gmail.com.

Cover letters and resumes should be sent to joemurchison2@gmail.com, stullich@earthlink. net and bdicker@american.edu.

cision about the story, the board member resigned. Following his departure, Streetcar’s board decided to revisit its policies, including those dealing with conflicts of interest. (Disclosure: My children attend St. Jerome Academy, the school in question.) A contingent of Hyattsville residents, however, remains skeptical of the paper.

We ran stories this year on the county schools’ teacher and bus driver shortages — ongoing issues that have been made worse by the pandemic and that compromise students’ education. Families of Hyattsville Middle School students have undergone particular stress, as these students were assigned to three different locations (including as far away as Bowie) during construction of the new middle school.



We do have reasons to celebrate 2022, though — with gratitude and hope.

Hyattsville’s special mayoral election, held in June to fill Ward’s seat, was free and fair, peaceful and positive. Councilmember Danny Schaible (Ward 2) graciously conceded to Robert Croslin, who had been serving as interim mayor following Ward’s death. (Mayor Croslin’s current term will end with the next mayoral election in May 2023.) Among their many undertakings, the mayor and city council continue their efforts to increase street safety and affordable housing, support local businesses, promote sustainable growth, reduce carbon

emissions, and allocate and disburse Hyattsville’s $17.9 million in federal COVID-19 relief money.

Even as newspaper publishers across the country have been going out of business, Streetcar Suburbs chose to grow, launching The Laurel Independent, which put out its first issue in July. Streetcar’s board members now represent College Park, Hyattsville and Laurel — three very different municipalities and constituencies.

The Life & Times won several national awards in 2022, including first place for best local news coverage in the National Newspaper Association’s Better Newspaper Contest. And I’m hoping to see two of my favorite 2022 articles — former Life & Times columnist Lauren Flynn Kelly’s February article, “Secondhand News: Confessions of a self-proclaimed decluttering expert,” and Paul Ruffins’ September article comparing and contrasting Mount Rainier's and Hyattsville’s experiments with different public restroom models, the Throne and the Portland Loo, respectively — win awards in the future.

The county school system had numerous successes this year. They received a national award for their language immersion programs, in February, and scored with the passage of a groundbreaking and comprehensive climate change action plan, in April. And in September, the school board voted to support another round of school rebuilds, including Hyattsville Elementary School, using a public-private partnership. (Parents, however,

are already understandably wary of the swing space that will be used during HES construction.)

Many residents were exceedingly grateful for the long-awaited March opening of the Hyattsville library — complete with ample windows, two fireplaces, 3D printing services, a children’s area with a castle and drawbridge, and an outdoor reading garden with the relocated flying saucer.

And much rejoicing accompanied the October opening of the first Trader Joe’s in the county, right up Route 1 in College Park.

There’s so much more, but I’m running out of space — I didn’t even touch on the increase of cultural, celebratory and school events that took place in 2022, thanks to decreased pandemic restrictions.


Finally — and vitally — we would like to thank you, our readers, for making our second annual NewsMatch fundraiser a success. Streetcar Suburbs exceeded our goal of $10,000 in donations, all of which will be matched — for a total of more than $20,000. Your generous support means that our growing legacy of community journalism along the Route 1 Corridor will continue into 2023 and beyond. We are, indeed, humbled and hopeful. Thank you!

Page 2 Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023
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Mayor Kevin Ward

It has been an honor and privilege to serve the City of Hyattsville as your chief of police over the past 14 months. As we enter a new year, I am thankful to our community for your continued partnership. Together we are working to ensure Hyattsville is a safe place to work, visit and call home.

Much of my early tenure with Hyattsville has been focused on recruitment and the retention of our high-quality officers, improving organizational efficiency, and ensuring our policies are aligned with the core values of community policing. These are the building blocks for a world-class police department, which would not be possible without support from the mayor, city council and our city administrator, Tracey Douglas. Throughout it all, I remain most excited about our incredible team of sworn and civilian public servants and the positive contributions to building community they make every day while serving with honor and integrity.

A main focus for the last year has been to ensure that the Hyattsville Police Department (HPD) is appropriately staffed with officers who reflect our community’s diversity and values. Police departments across the country are struggling

with staffing shortages, and we are no different. Thanks to city leadership, we have improved recruitment through pay incentives and increased benefits for our officers and dispatchers. In 2022, we pledged to the 30×30 Initiative, which ensures inclusive policies and that at least 30% of our officers will be women by 2030.

The HPD’s commitment to our community includes prioritizing our police officers’ health, wellness and training. In the last year, we added several new positions, including a training coordinator and a compliance manager. These positions allow us to continue implementing and reinforcing training programs on de-escalation tactics, drug overdose responses, active shooter events, and responses to other types of emergencies. Additionally, the HPD engages in implicit bias training and works to put equity and inclusion at the forefront of our public safety efforts.

In 2022, we successfully launched our grant-funded Mental Wellness Check-In (MWCI) program, one that we believe is the first of its kind in the country. The MWCI program requires all sworn and department civilian employees to meet regularly with a licensed therapist. The program is designed to ensure that those who serve are prepared to serve and have

access to support when they need it. The growth of our city and our agency has also meant that we have outgrown our current facility. The city broke ground for the new police and public safety headquarters building in September 2022, with the opening scheduled in 2024. The building, centrally located at 3505 Hamilton Street, will include a large community room and a space dedicated to expanding our mental health programs. The new facility will have a computer lab for training, as well as space for our working dogs, and it has been designed to ensure the separation, security and privacy of victims and witnesses. The new public safety facility and our new positions are key to meeting our community’s expectations and providing the services we all deserve.

We believe in the importance of building relationships with our residents. Whether it’s partnering with Hyattsville Community Services to deliver holiday meals, sponsoring National Night Out and Trunk or Treat, or our favorite, Shop with a Cop, we love engaging with the Hyattsville community. Part of building that relationship is keeping the community informed to improve their safety.

The HPD is working to add tools to our website and design outreach materials to improve transparency and provide

access to relevant and timely crime statistics. We will continue to share emergency community alerts through Nixle, provide community information on our website, and to increase our social media outreach. We encourage all residents to sign up for Nixle alerts by texting your zip code 888-777 and follow us on social media to receive critical information and good news stories.

I cannot promise that the HPD will be perfect in everything we do. I do promise we will be a department that places people first and is committed to serving all people equally and respectfully.

I wish safety, health and happiness to you and your loved ones in 2023. Together, we will keep Hyattsville a safe place to raise our families and continue to enjoy everything our great city has to offer. My door is always open. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if I or anyone within our agency can be of assistance. The Hyattsville Police Department is here for you.

Jarod J. Towers is the Hyattsville Police Department chief.

The views expressed in this column belong to its author. The Hyattsville Life & Times reserves the right to edit “From Where I Stand” submissions for brevity and clarity.

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update from HPD Chief Towers

Th e not-so-solid ground beneath our feet NATURE NEARBY

As I take my usual neighborhood walks, I’ve been slipping and sliding on our muddy soil. While the gravel scattered on some pathways provides some traction and a seeming sense of solidity, we cannot forget that our homes are on the western portion of the Atlantic Coastal Plain — an area that was under the drowned valleys of the Susquehanna River about 35 million years ago.

Today, we refer to a remnant of that river valley as the Chesapeake Bay. Our neighbor here in Hyattsville, the Anacostia River, is the largest tributary to the Potomac River; the Potomac, in turn, feeds into the Bay.

Water. Soil. Gravel. The ingredients in the slippery ground under our feet may seem mundane, but they tell ancient and far-ranging stories.

The geologic history of our coastal plain involves ice ages, ocean processes, millennia’s worth of deposits from river

runoff — and even the heavens.

Let’s start with the heavens. About 35 million years ago, an asteroid or comet of an astounding size (larger than a mile in diameter!), traveling at about 144,000 mph, crashed near what is now Cape Charles, Va. The impact resulted in a 12-mile wide crater. (The Chesapeake Bay Crater is the largest such formation in the U.S. but was only discovered in 1990 because it’s beneath the floor of the bay, under some 1,000 feet of rock.)

Millions of years later, the

river that we now know as the Susquehanna carved a canyon as it flowed from the Appalachian Mountains to the Atlantic Ocean. And about 10,000-20,000 years ago, the end of the most recent ice age triggered rising sea levels, which flooded the Susquehanna River valley. Over millennia, runoff from mountains and hills has filled that channel with sentiment and has transformed the broad mouth of the river into the large, shallow region that we now know as the Chesapeake Bay.

The current ground beneath my slipping feet is mostly clay, which is a very fine-grained and dense material.

While clay has been used by humans for thousands of years to make pottery, its structure was not well understood until the 1930s, following the development of X-ray diffraction techniques and improvements in microscopic and thermal analyses. While clay usually contains some combination of silica, aluminum, magnesium and iron, this mix of minerals only becomes true clay with the addition of water.

In drier times, the clay in my yard has hardened, making digging and planting extremely challenging. Despite the frustration that results, I remind myself that this propensity to harden is why we use clay for ceramics.

Over the last few months, however, we’ve often had plenty of water to keep the clay underfoot soft — and sometimes even treacherous. On occasion, extremely saturated clay has par-

tially given way under me and darn near swallowed my foot.

Humans have added pebbles and gravel to clay in an attempt to provide more traction and stability to our local trails. We likely have harvested these pebbles from a variety of waterways, and they are the result of the consolidation of sand, local soils and other materials with subsequent polishing by rivers and streams.

So, the shifting ground beneath my feet has an impressive and complex geologic history and structure. It has been formed over millions of years by cosmic forces, shifting oceans and rivers, glacial melts, sedimentation — and, of course, terraforming by humans. It’s only fair if our world-shaping efforts sometimes strike back and remind me of my place (or lack thereof).

Page 4 Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023
Humans have added pebbles and gravel to our clay soil in an attempt to provide more traction and stability to our local trails. COURTESY OF PEXELS

that the wards be “substantially equal,” and allowed only a 10% difference in size between the largest and smallest ward (rather than allowing each ward to deviate 10% from the average ward size). The minimal adjustments map did not comply with that stricter standard.

Thus, when the city council convened on Dec. 19, 2022, the redistricting commission presented a slightly modified “growth conscious” map, as well as two options that addressed some of the council’s requests.

In a memo to the city, the commission noted that they did not formally recommend either of the “council requests” maps, as the short timeline meant the public had not had an opportunity to give input on them before they were presented to the council.

Despite the commission’s concerns, the council voted 10-1 to approve the second of the council requests maps.

The updated map will go into effect on Feb. 6, before the 2023 municipal elections on May 9.


On Jan. 5, Dr. Monica Goldson, the CEO of the county school system, announced she will retire at the end of this school year.

In a letter sent to the Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) community, Goldson said her focus has always been on what is best for the county’s students. She also mentioned conflicts on the school board in her letter. “The current acrimony is not about one Board Chair. It is another example of the Board’s inability to work together in the best interest of our students,” she wrote.

Goldson, who has worked for PGCPS since 1991 and is herself a graduate of a county high school, wrote that she is proud of how the school system has weathered the pandemic. She also noted other accomplishments like the PGCPS Climate Change Action Plan, the transition to full-day pre-K, and pay increases for educators.

“The children of this community are among the brightest and most innovative in the country,” Goldson wrote. “It has been an absolute honor to lead over 131,000 students in the place I call home.”

Goldson is in the final year of her four-year contract. Unless the upcoming state legislative session changes the process, Goldson’s successor will be selected by County Executive Angela Alsobrooks and then the county school board will negotiate a contract.


On Jan. 4, at about 6 p.m., Hyattsville police responded to a call reporting a man in the parking lot of an apartment complex in the 2600 block of Kirkwood Place.

The man, who has been identified as 39-year-old Melvin Mayorga Hernandez of Hyattsville, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police say Hernandez was shot.

The Prince George’s County Police Department, which investigates all homicides in the City of Hyattsville, is offering a reward of up to $25,000 for information. County detectives were working to identify a motive and suspect or suspects, as of press time. According to a GoFundMe page set up

by his cousin, Hernandez is survived by his wife and three children.

Anyone with information relevant to this investigation can call detectives at 301.516.2512, or report anonymously via Crime Solvers at 1.866.411.TIPS (8477), pgcrimesolvers.com, or using the P3 Tips mobile app. Please refer to case number 230000862.


A string of armed carjackings has Hyatttsville residents worried. During December 2022, the Hyattsville police made social media posts about four different armed carjackings.

All four carjackings took place on or to the west of Queens Chapel Road, with one occurring in Ward 2, one in Ward 4, and two in Ward 5. Three of the four carjackings took place during the day or evening; the fourth took place at 2 a.m.

Two 17-year-old suspects have been arrested for the first carjacking, which took place in the afternoon of Dec. 9, 2022, at the Mall at Prince George’s. As of press time, no arrests have been announced in the other three cases, although one of the vehicles was found abandoned in the District on the same day it was stolen.

At the Jan. 3 city council meeting, Hyattsville Police Chief Jarod Towers had some advice — and encouragement — for residents. “We believe that we have leads,” he said. “We have some undercover officers that are working in the city that have a good idea of what’s going on, and we think we’re pretty close to making an arrest.”

In the meantime, Towers says, residents should stay alert, keep their keys in their hands when approaching their cars, and be sure to keep car doors locked and windows up while they are inside. “Make sure that when you’re walking to your car in the dark that your phones are down and eyes are up,” he advised, adding that residents should contact the police if they see anything suspicious.


At their Jan. 3 meeting, the Hyattsville City Council authorized some updates to the allocation of pandemic emergency relief funds which the City of Hyattsville received from the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 (ARPA).

The first change was to reallocate $500,000 from the nonprofit emergency relief program to the household emergency relief program, bringing the total allocation for that program to $1.7 million: $1.5 million for awards and $200,000 for administration. The second was to reallocate $100,000 from the permit-expediting program to the small business emergency relief program.

The council also established March 31 as an end date for both the nonprofit and small business emergency relief programs. All applications must be submitted by that deadline to be eligible for funding. ARPA plan manager Patrick Paschall explained the goal to have a spending plan for all ARPA money by June. He noted that having an end date for some programs helps to plan how to spend the remaining funds.

For information on the city’s ARPA programs, visit hyattsville.org/991/Rescue-Plan.

Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023 Page 5 CHANGE A LIFE, CHANGE THE WORLD. YOU CAN BE A FOSTER PARENT. Foster parents aren’t replacements — they’re extra support for children and their families in need. The Prince George’s County Department of Social Services is looking for someone like you to help change a child’s life. 301-909-2300 or 301-909-2347. If you live in Prince George’s County and want more information on becoming a foster parent, call: CAMBIA UNA VIDA, CAMBIA EL MUNDO. PUEDES SER UN PADRE DE CRIANZA O ACOGIDA TEMPORAL. Los padres de crianza o acogida temporal no son reemplazos. Representan una ayuda adicional para niños y familias que lo necesitan.
Servicios Sociales del Condado
Prince George está esperando por alguien como usted para ayudar a cambiarle la vida a un niño.
usted vive en el Condado de Prince George y desea más informacion sobre como ser un padre de crianza o acogida temporal, llame

For this veteran, running his printing shop is therapy

On a Friday morning in late November, a customer walks into the PostNet shop at 5557 Baltimore Avenue, in Hyattsville. She needs to express some documents, but says she can’t pay right now. Oluwafemi “Femi” Ijiti tells her, “I got you, I got you.”

“You’re going to send it out? It’s very important,” she says.

“I got you,” Ijiti repeats, with a chuckle. His voice is hoarse from Thanksgiving celebrations with his family the night before.

Ijiti, 44, is wearing sneakers, a black dress shirt and an easy smile that morning. His wife, Nana Ijiti, describes him as a people person who can walk into any place and start a conversation. Ijiti and his family opened the franchise branch in 2014, offering services like printing and shipping.

In January 2022, Ijiti's PostNet branch received the FSC First’s Veteran Business of the Year award. FSC First facilitates loans to small and minority businesses in Maryland, with a focus on Prince George’s County. Ijiti received a loan through FSC First in 2014, as he was developing his business.

“We wanted to give this award to a veteran that we feel has really been able to triumph with their business,” Roger Reynolds, marketing and outreach coor-

dinator at FSC First, said during a phone interview with the Hyattsville Life & Times (HL&T).

Ijiti experienced hardships starting up the franchise, according to Reynolds, but he managed to pay back the loan early. Over the pandemic, the business started to turn a prof-

it. “We felt that was great,” said Reynolds. “[Ijiti] being able to see profit and remain optimistic through the hardships.”

Nana Ijiti described how they were able to persevere during the challenging first years of their small family business.

“Femi, being who he is, knew

what he wanted to do and was focused on the goal,” she said. Nana Ijiti described her husband as a determined person who takes risks, a hard worker who is incredibly disciplined: “Femi will work on holidays. He goes to the gym, opens up PostNet and stays late.”

The award from FSC First validated their efforts and tenacity. Nana Ijiti said, “Getting that award really lets you know we are on the right path.” Femi Ijiti agreed: “It was wonderful; it felt good to be recognized.”

For Ijiti and some Hyattsville residents, the store is much more than a business; it is a place where they can find community.

“We get customers [who] come in here to just talk to me or some of the guys that work here. Pick up a tape, buy tape and leave it here, just to support,” said Ijiti, who lives in Bowie with Nana and their three school-aged kids.

This sense of community means a lot to him. “It’s therapeutic for me,” Ijitii said of running the business.

Ijiti was born in Lagos, Nigeria. When he was 13, his family moved to Bloomfield, N.J. Shortly before his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the military with “naïve” expectations. “I think I watched a lot of ‘Rambo’ movies,” he said, laughing. As a teenager, he aspired to learn everything he could in the Army

and then run for president in Nigeria.

In 2008, Ijiti came back from Iraq after three years of deployment. “I was hurt,” he said. It took him some time to realize that he had returned from combat traumatized and needed psychological help.

Ijiti is one of many veterans who live with post-traumatic stress disorder, a mental health condition that's triggered by traumatic events. Studies have shown that between 4 and 17% of U.S. Iraq War veterans struggle with the disorder.

PTSD symptoms can include nightmares and flashbacks, along with feelings of isolation and aggression. According to several studies, U.S. veterans diagnosed with PTSD are especially susceptible to sleep disorders, substance use and feelings of isolation.

“You come back to society, and society expects you to just get back to reality, and life is good. No,” said Ijiti. Instead, he said he was an empty shell when he returned. Ijiti experienced civilian life as if he were still in combat — seeing danger everywhere.

“I wasn’t myself,” he recalled, “and I was in denial.”

Just three years ago, Ijiti retired from the military after 24 years in service. He put up his certificate of retirement on his shop wall, close to the peer rec-

AdirondAck Tree experTs Recipient of Checkbook Magazine’s “Check of Quality” Proudly serving the Citizens of Hyattsville since 1996 REMOVAL • PRUNING TRIMMING Free Estimates! 301-595-2827 On-Line Coupons www.adirondacktreeexperts.com Senior Citizen Discounts • Visa and Mastercard Accepted FULLY LICENSED AND INSURED Page 6 Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023
Femi Ijiti at the PostNet shop he opened in 2014. COURTESY OF MATHEW SCHUMER

between Jan. 14 and Feb. 14; all information is current as of Jan. 5. 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 Feb. 14 and March 11 to managingeditor@hyattsvillelife. com by Feb 3.


Busboys and Poets hosts an open mic for poets every Thursday. $5. 8 to 10 p.m. 5331 Baltimore Ave. 301.779.2787. Busboysandpoets.com

Weekly acoustic blues jams, in the Piedmont blues tradition. Proof of vaccination required; masks, too, unless singing or playing a harmonica or horn. Free. Saturdays 1 to 5 p.m. Archie Edwards Blues Foundation, 4502 Hamilton St. acousticblues.com

Sharpen your drawing skills in a relaxed, informal setting at Hyattsville figure drawing group's drop-in drawing sessions at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. Sessions consist of several short warm-up poses and a single sustained pose for the duration of the session. Bring your own art supplies; drawing boards and chairs provided. $20/session or $75/5-session punch card or $15/session for Pyramid Atlantic members. Tuesdays, 6 to 9 p.m. 4218 Gallatin St. hyattsvillefiguredrawing@ gmail.com


Two art exhibitions at Brentwood Arts Exchange: “Here Not Here,” an exhibition which seeks to envision the enduring imprint of the past and the present, floating between the ethereal and the familiar, creating an immersive experience. “Live.Life.Alive” features nine artists whose work examines the impact of gun violence in the U.S. and invites its visitors to reflect on the present moment in history, and to act on ending gun violence. Dec. 5, 2022, to Jan. 21, 2023. 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, 301.277.2863

“Pastports,” featuring works by Rosa Leff, at Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center. In her meticulously hand-cut streetscapes, this art exhibition

explores changing cities and the concept of time. Leff will exhibit work she made prepandemic based on images from her travels across the globe alongside new work based on the same photos. Free. Dec. 17, 2022, to Jan. 29, 2023. 4218 Gallatin St. 301.608.9101

“ADRIFT: A Medieval Wayward Folly,” presented by Happenstance Theater. This work, inspired by medieval imagery and archetypes collected from the works of Hieronymus Bosch, Pieter Bruegel, the Tarot and reinterpretations of religious and alchemical art, draws parallels between our current moment and the Dark Ages. $25 general admission/$15 seniors and children. Jan. 26, 27, 28, 30 and Feb. 3 and 4 at 7:30 p.m., and Jan. 28 and 29 and Feb. 4 and 5 at 3 p.m. 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt. Rainier. Joesmovement.org


Miambo No. 5 launch party at Maryland Meadworks. Learn about the newest mead, meet the brewers, toast the New Year and dance to some awesome live music! Free. 7 to 10 p.m. 4700 Rhode Island Ave., Suite Bee. 201.955.9644

Celebrate the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. by

participating in an interactive discussion with Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando, author of "My Seven Black Fathers." Also, participate in designing buttons for a service project and watching videos about King’s contributions to the civil rights movement. Seating is limited so registration is recommended at pgcmls.info. 2 to 4 p.m. Hyattsville Public Library, 6530 Adelphi Rd. 240.455.5451


Early Rizers Workshop with Lauren DeVera and Shannon Ashlia is a guided movement meditation that evolves into a free, improvisational movement party to start your mornings with purpose! Ages 18+. $15. 8 to 9:30 a.m. 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt. Rainier. Joesmovement.org


What was your neighborhood like when your home was built? What were the original features of your home? How has your house changed over time? Hyattsville resident Rayya Newman — wife and mother, vlogger, architect and teacher — will share three ways to uncover your house’s history Masks encouraged. Free. 7 p.m. Wills Decorating, 5122 Baltimore Ave. 301.699.0440


Join Rosa Leff, the artist behind “Pastports” (see previous entry) for a virtual artist talk as she discusses the process for creating her work and then revisiting her own pieces a few years later with a post-lockdown eye. Register at pyramidatlanticartcenter. org. Free. 6 to 7 p.m. Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, 4218 Gallatin St. 301.608.9101


Sacred Circle Dance, taught by Lisa Bardack, is a circle dance experience that draws from ancient and traditional folk dances, many from Eastern Europe and the Balkans. The dances taught are relatively simple and the dance sequences repetitive, so we can experience what the dance has to offer. No dance experience is necessary. Masks and proof of vaccination or negative COVID-19 test required. $25. 2 to 3:30 p.m. 3309 Bunker Hill Rd., Mt. Rainier. Joesmovement.org


Grab your dancing shoes and join us for an evening of line dancing and soulful music at the Publick Playhouse. Enjoy a fun social gathering while getting a bit of exercise. Space is limited; advance registration recommended through pgparksdirect.com. Free. 6 p.m. 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. 301.277.1710


Community Justice: Writing and Organizing for the Public at the Hyattsville Public Library. Become a community advocate! You will learn the histories of different advocates and social movements. Identify issues in your community and develop strategies to build a coalition. Develop your advocate/organizer identity and collaborate with other community members to create community-engaged writing projects. Ages 16-23. Limited spaces; register at pgcmls.info. 4:30 p.m. 6530 Adelphi Rd. 240.455.5451


Platinum movie series: “Harriet” tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and her transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history. Ages 60 and better. Purchase tickets through pgparksdirect. com. $3. 11 a.m. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Rd., Cheverly. 301.277.1710

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ur list of events sponsored by local nonprofits, arts organizations and performance venues, occurring
Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023 Page 7

Dear Miss Floribunda,

I am puzzled that “Nostalgic on Nicholson Street” wrote to you last month about having routinely planted live Christmas trees outside during Pennsylvania winters. I considered the possibility that you made up the letter, but am pretty sure that you’d know enough to have chosen a warmer location than Pittsburgh! The other possibility is that there is some secret to planting a live Christmas tree outside in winter.

In short, did you slip up, or is there important planting information you can share?

Incredulous on Crittenden Street

Dear Incredulous,

I shared your opinion with “Nostalgic” — a real person, who really does live on Nicholson Street and who did grow up in Pennsylvania. He responded, “We used a pickax, as well as shovel and spade. It could freeze hard

in Pittsburgh in those years, but there were always warming spells during the winter season (and snow insulates the ground). I can remember winters when the water ran down the road, under the blackened ice.”

In addition, I notice in his original letter that the live pine trees he described had “burlapwrapped roots.” That suggests to me that the trees were field grown, rather than grown in a pot in a greenhouse. Such a tree would already be accustomed to the outdoors and probably

more likely to survive when replanted outside later.

Then I got back in touch with “Christmas In July,” who a few years ago asked how to have flowers in a backyard shaded by the live Christmas trees she’d planted over many years. She obviously was an expert at tree planting, so I asked for her advice. Her secret? She dug a good hole for her tree before Christmas and before the ground had frozen. She packed the hole with plastic bags of leaves to insulate it and keep it from freezing. She saved the soil she’d dug out and kept it in buckets in her garage.

She emphasized that the tree was never kept indoors for more than two weeks. Otherwise, it might be deceived by the warm environment and decide that spring had come. Also of utmost importance was to place the tree in a container into which water could be added. Not only did the tree need to be kept from drying out, it had to be placed in as cool a location as possible — away from heating vents. After the new year came, the tree was moved to her garage for a couple of days to help it adjust to cooler temperatures.

When the tree was eventually planted in the prepared hole, the soil saved in the garage replaced the bags of leaves. This soil was tamped down well to eliminate pockets of air that could freeze-dry the tree roots. Watering and more tamping followed; the leaves from the plastic bags were added as mulch and then covered with a heavier bark mulch. This thorough mulching prevented heaving during soil temperature fluctuations and kept the soil from drying out.

I’d like to add that bulbs that you haven’t gotten into the ground before the ground has frozen can be planted during

a thaw. I learned this firsthand many years ago when I volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House in D.C. A gift of thousands of spring bulbs from a local nursery was delivered there on the last day of the year. The embassy that had ordered the bulbs had closed because of a coup d’état in the home country. Unable to exact payment, the nursery decided to donate the bulbs to a charity for a tax break. Other volunteers and I packed the bulbs in peat moss, placed them in a root cellar, and, at the first good thaw, managed to plant them all in two days. You can plant bulbs as late as mid-February successfully, if they have been stored well.

Of course, not only can you continue planting shrubs and bulbs in winter, you can start planting seeds indoors to get a head start on your spring and summer garden. You can start right away by ordering quality Chas. C. Hart and Southern Exposure seeds from the Hyattsville Horticultural Society (HHS) at competitive prices.

In the past, HHS has sold these at an annual sale open to the public, but it is not yet clear if such a gathering will be possible. If it is possible, the sale will take place on Feb. 11 at the Hyattsville Municipal Building, 4301 Gallatin Street. Please check the HHS website (hyattsvillehorticulture.org) for updated information. If no public sale is possible, you will be able to browse the seed selection, see photos and read growing information, make purchases and arrange for pickup in Hyattsville from the HHS online sale site. If you need assistance, please email the HHS vice president, Julie Wolf, at wolfj1000@ gmail.com.

Miss Floribunda writes about gardening for the Hyattsville Life & Times. You may email her at missfloribundav@gmail.com.
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H a p p e n s t a n c e Th e a t h e r Pe r f o r m i n g a t J o e s J a n u a r y 2 6 - 3 0 & Fe b r u a r y 3 - 5 Page 8 Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023


N o r t h w e s e r n E v e n i n g H g h S c h o o l N o r t h w e s e r n H i g h S c h o o R

G r e e n w o o d S c h o o

P r n c e G e o r g e s C o m m u n t y C o e g e a t U n i v e r s y To w n C e n e r

C h e s e a S c h o o

E d w a r d M F e e g y E l e m e n a r y S c h o o N i c h o l a s O r e m M d d e S c h o o

S M a t t h e w s P a r i s h D a y S c h o o l

B e t h e H e a l t h c a r e n s t i t u e

The City of Hyattsville revises its Ward boundaries every ten years following the U.S. Census to ensure equitable representation on City Council. At their December 19 regular Council meeting, Hyattsville’s Council adopted a new Ward boundaries map, which will go into effect on February 7, 2023. Households that are now part of a new Ward can expect to receive a postcard notice by mail this month. A reminder, that Hyattsville’s Ward boundaries affect ONLY representation on the City Council, and do not affect your school district boundaries or your County, State, or Federal representatives.

Hyattsville residents are encouraged to get to know their Ward before the May 2023 Citywide general election for Mayor and Council! Candidate registration for May’s election will open on February 7, 2023. You can review the updated City boundaries map and learn more about redistricting at hyattsville.org/redistricting.


H y a t t s v l l e M d d l e S c h o o l

a t s v e H i s C h d a n d F a m l y C e n t e r

D e M a t h a C a t h o l c H i g h S c h o o

La Ciudad de Hyattsville revisa los límites de sus Distritos cada diez años después del censo para asegurar una representación equitativa en el Concejo Municipal. En su reunión regular del Concejo del 19 de diciembre, el Concejo Municipal de Hyattsville adoptó un nuevo mapa de límites del Distrito, lo cual tomará efecto el 7 de febrero de 2023. Los hogares que ahora forman parte de un nuevo Distrito pueden esperar recibir un aviso postal por correo este mes. Un recordatorio que los límites del Distrito de Hyattsville afectan SOLAMENTE la representación en el Concejo Municipal y no afectan los límites de su distrito escolar ni a los representantes de su Condado, Estado o Federal.

¡Se alienta a los residentes de Hyattsville a saber cual es su Distrito antes de las elecciones generales de mayo de 2023 para alcalde y concejales! El registro de candidatos para la elección de mayo se abrirá el 7 de febrero de 2023. Puede revisar el mapa de límites de la Ciudad actualizado y obtener más información sobre la redistribución de distritos en hyattsville.org/redistricting.

The Hyattsville Reporter | January 2023 | Page 1 Issue 418 | JANUARY 2023 THE CITY OF HYATTSVILLE The Hyattsville Reporter NEW CITY WARD MAP EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 7! P r i n c e G e o r g e s P a z a M e r o W e s t H y a t s v e M e t o Driskell Pa rk Heur ich Pa rk University Hills Duck Pond N c h s Pa D P k y & C y G d B Me s e Pa C Pa P T ANACOSTIA RIVER TRA L NORTHWESTBRANCH TRAIL NorthwestBranchAnacostia River Mosaic a Metro Post Park Pa e te Apar ments Home Depo The Mal a Pr nce Georges Queens Chapel Town Cen er Pr nce Georges D str c Court Rega C nemas Hya tsvi e Me o Shops Arts Distr ct Hya tsvi e Universi y Town Cen er Recreat on Center City Building DPW Operations Yard 3505 Ham lton St 1 2 3 4 5 B a l e t Ta p a n d a l t h a t J a z z S t J e r o m e S c h o o l S t J e r o m e C h i d C e n t e r H y a t t s v i l l e E l e m e n t a r y S c h o o H y
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Hyattsville residents can still apply for COVID-19 relief funding of up to $5,000 per household! Hyattsville businesses, non-profits, and childcare providers may also be eligible for up to $25,000 in relief funding. You can learn more about the resident and business relief programs and check your eligibility at hyattsville.org/rescueplan.


The Hyattsville Compensation Committee and Health, Wellness, and Advisory Committees are looking for your input in short online surveys. Please take a few moments to complete the surveys at hellohyattsville.com before the end of January.


The federal government is again offering all U.S. households the opportunity to request four free COVID-19 rapid tests. Fill out the form at covid.gov/tests or call 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-7207489) to request your COVID-19 rapid tests.

The best way to protect yourself and your family from COVID-19 and the flu is to get vaccinated! The City offers the COVID-19 bivalent booster, as well as regular COVID-19 and flu vaccines every Tuesday from 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church. hyattsville.org/covidvaccine.


City Council and staff are beginning to prepare the City’s budget for the 2024 Fiscal Year, which begins on July 1, 2023. This is a great time to connect with your Councilmembers and share your thoughts on budget priorities for the next fiscal year! You can learn more and give ideas online at hellohyattsville.com.


Start your new year wellness goals off right! The City of Hyattsville and University of Maryland are seeking Hyattsville City residents to be part of a paid study to understand the benefits of nutrition programs. Participants must be between ages 18 – 50 and will be required to attend a series of nutritional education lessons and health screening checkins starting on January 30. Visit hyattsville.org/wellness or call (301) 985-5000 to learn more and sign up.


City of Hyattsville high school seniors and former graduates interested in taking steps towards higher learning are encouraged to apply for the Hyattsville Educational Path Scholarship! Students who have been accepted to or are currently enrolled in college, university, or trade schools can apply for funding to support the cost of tuition, books, and other school materials. Applications will be accepted between January 23 and March 24, 2023. To learn more and apply, visit hyattsville.org/education.


The City of Hyattsville Police Department uses Nixle to send emergency email and text alerts to residents about public safety issues. Visit hyattsville.org/communications or text your zip code to 888-777 to sign up for alerts.


Los residentes de Hyattsville afectados por el COVID-19 aún pueden solicitar fondos de ayuda de hasta $5,000 por hogar. Los negocios, organizaciones sin fines de lucro y guarderías de Hyattsville también pueden optar por ayuda de hasta 25,000$. Puede obtener más info sobre los programas verificar su elegbilidad en hyattsville.org/rescueplan.


El Comité de Compensación de Hyattsville y Comités de Salud y Bienestar están buscando su opinión en breves encuestas en línea. Dedique unos minutos a completar las encuestas en hellohyattsville.com antes de finales de enero.


El gobierno federal esta volviendo a ofrecer a todos los hogares la oportunidad de solicitar cuatro pruebas rápidas de COVID-19 gratuitas. Complete el formulario en covid.gov/ tests o llame al 1-800-232-0233 (TTY 1-888-7207489) para solicitar tus pruebas rápidas de COVID-19.

¡La mejor manera de protegerse y proteger a su familia contra el COVID-19 y la gripe es vacunarse! La Ciudad ofrece el refuerzo bivalente de COVID-19, así como las vacunas regulares de COVID-19 y contra la gripe todos los martes de 11 a.m. a 7 p.m. y los sábados de 9 a.m. a 1 p.m. en la Primera Iglesia Metodista Unida. hyattsville.org/covidvaccine.


El Concejo Municipal y el personal de la ciudad están comenzando a preparar el presupuesto de la Ciudad para el Año Fiscal 2024, que comienza el 1 de julio de 2023. Este es un buen momento para conectarse con sus concejales y compartir sus ideas sobre las prioridades presupuestarias para el próximo año fiscal. Usted puede aprender más y dar ideas en línea en hellohyattsville.com.


¡Comience bien sus objetivos de bienestar y salud para el nuevo año! La ciudad de Hyattsville y la Universidad de Maryland están buscando residentes de la ciudad para formar parte de un estudio pagado para comprender los beneficios de los programas de nutrición. Los participantes deben tener entre 18 y 50 años y deberán asistir a una serie de clases de educación nutricional y controles de salud a partir del 30 de enero. Visite hyattsville.org/wellness o llame al (301) 985-5000 para obtener más información e inscribirse.


¡Los estudiantes del último año de la escuela secundaria y gradudados de la Ciudad de Hyattsville que están interesados en dar pasos hacia el aprendizaje superior son alentados a solicitar la Beca Educacional de Hyattsville! Los estudiantes que hayan sido aceptados o estén actualmente matriculados en un colegio, universidad o escuela de oficios pueden solicitar financiación para cubrir los gastos de matrícula, libros y otros materiales escolares. Las solicitudes se aceptarán entre el 23 de enero y el 24 de marzo de 2023. Para más info y solicitar, visite hyattsville.org/education.


El Departamento de Policía de la ciudad de Hyattsville utiliza Nixle para enviar alertas de emergencia por email y SMS a residentes sobre cuestiones de seguridad pública. Visite hyattsville.org/communications o envía un texto con su código postal al 888-777 para suscribirte a las alertas.

Page 2 | January 2023 | The Hyattsville Reporter



Join your Councilmembers for the remaining Ward Check-Ins to discuss budget priorities, redistricting, and other updates! Visit hyattsville.org/calendar for up-todate info and to register for virtual check-ins.

Ward 2: Jan 11, 7 PM, virtual Ward 3: Jan 19, 7 PM, virtual Ward 1: Jan 30, 5:30 PM, City Building First Floor Ward 5: Feb 11, 10 AM, virtual


Check out our upcoming Senior on the Go trips! Call (301) 985-5000 by 2 PM the day before the scheduled trip to reserve a seat!

Jan 12, 9 AM - 3 PM: Miller Farms & lunch at Charles Town Center, Clinton, MD Jan 19, 11 AM - 5 PM: Bingo at Laurel, MD

Jan 26, 9 AM - 3 PM: Amish market in Annapolis, MD


Hyattsville offices & the COVID-19 test site at First United Methodist will be closed on Jan 16 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. There will be no Monday yard waste or compost pick-up for the week. Trash & County recycling routes will remain the same


The City’s next fresh produce distribution is on Jan 17, at noon, at the First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Road. Produce is available first come, first serve.


The Gateway District’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT)kicks off their training on Jan 17, 6:30 - 8:30 p.m., at the City Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. Learn more & register at hyattsville.org/cert.


Be ready for spring by attending our virtual Audubon Wildlife Habitat Info Session on Jan 18 from 78 p.m.! Learn about available resources and support from the County’s Audubon Society to transform your yard into a sustainable ecosystem that’s a safe home for native plants, insects, and birds. hyattsville.org/ enviro-education.


The City’s parent-toddler program begins its winter session on Jan 24! Programming will take place on Tuesdays from 10 - 11:30 a.m., at the Driskell Park Rec Center through March 14. Register at hyattsville.org/ creativeminds.


The City of Hyattsville is offering two community Narcan trainings for residents on Jan 26 at 10 a.m. and 6 p.m., at the City Building, 4310 Gallatin St. Space is limited and registration is required. Learn more & register at hyattsville.org/ calendar.


Enjoy an evening off from the kids (grades K – 6) on Jan 27, from 6 – 9 p.m., by dropping them off at Driskell Park for our Night Owls series! Learn more and sign up at hyattsville.org/ nightowls.



Join Casey Trees and the City of Hyattsville on Jan 30, 7 – 8:30 p.m., for a virtual discussion on the importance and care of trees in urban spaces. Learn how arborists choose the “right tree, for the right place,” and how you can help your trees thrive! Register at hyattsville.org/enviro-education.


Learn more about the role of Mayor & Councilmember and what it takes to run for office before the 2023 City Elections at a virtual candidate info session on Feb 1 ,at 6 p.m. Details at hyattsville.org/candidate.


¡Únase a sus Concejales para las restantes reuniones de Distritos para discutir prioridades presupuestarias, la redistribución de Distritos y más! Visite hyattsville.org/ calendar para info actualizada y para registrarse para las reuniones virtuales.

Distrito 2: 11 de enero, 7 PM, virtualmente Distrito 3: 19 de enero, 7 PM, virtualmente Distrito 1: 30 de enero, 5:30 PM, Edificio Municipal Distrito 5: 11 de feb, 10 AM, virtualmente


¡Echa un vistazo a nuestros próximos viajes! ¡Llame al (301) 985-5000 antes de las 2 PM el día antes del viaje programado para reservar un asiento!

12 de enero, 9 AM - 3 PM: Granja Miller & Almuerzo en Charles Town Center 19 de enero, 11 AM - 5 PM: Bingo en Laurel Jan 26, 9 AM - 3 PM: Mercado amish en Annapolis

Join Hyattsville City Staff and partners for a day of service to celebrate and honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!

On Mon, Jan 16, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., community members are invited to a day filled with guest speakers, multicultural performances, and interactive community service workshops at the Latin American Youth Center at 2611 Buck Lodge Road, Adelphi MD. Registration is required and can be completed at hyattsville.org/MLK.

Seniors are invited to create original art pieces that reflect unjust policies on the national level on Mon, Jan 16, from 11 a.m. – 2 p.m., at the City Building, 4310 Gallatin St. Registration is required and can be completed by contacting community@hyattsville.org or calling (301) 985-5000.


Las oficinas y el sitio de pruebas COVID-19 de Hyattsville estarán cerradas el 16 de enero para el Día Martin Luther King Jr. No habrá recolección de residuos de yarda o compostaje el lunes. Las rutas de basura y reciclaje del Condado no cambiarán para la semana


La próxima distribución de productos agrícolas de la Ciudad es el 17 de enero, a mediodía, en la Iglesia First United Methodist Church, 6201 Belcrest Road. Los productos están disponibles por orden de llegada.


El Equipo de Respuesta a Emergencias Comunitarias (CERT) inicia su serie de entrenamientos el 17 de enero, de 6:30 p.m. a 8:30 p.m., en el Edificio Municipal, 4310 Gallatin St. Inscríbase en hyattsville.org/cert o llamando al (301) 985-5000.

¡PLANTE NATIVO! ¡Prepárese para la primavera asistiendo a nuestra sesión virtual de info sobre el hábitat de vida silvestre el 18 de enero de 7 p.m. a 8 p. m.! Aprenda sobre recursos disponibles y el apoyo de la Sociedad Audubon del Condado para hacer su jardín más amigable. hyattsville.org/ enviro-education.


¡El programa de padres y niños pequeños de la Ciudad comienza su sesión de invierno el 24 de enero! La programación se llevará a cabo los martes de 10 a 11:30 a.m., en Driskell Park hasta el 14 de marzo. Regístrese en hyattsville.org/creativeminds.


La Ciudad de Hyattsville está ofreciendo dos entrenamientos de Narcan para residentes el 26 de enero a las 10 a.m. y 6 p.m., en el Edificio Municipal, 4310 Gallatin St. El espacio es limitado y se requiere registro. Obtenga más información e inscríbase en hyattsville.org/calendar.


¡Disfrute de una noche libre de los niños (grados K - 6) el 27 de enero, de 6 a 9 p.m., dejándolos en Driskell Park para nuestra serie Night Owls! Obtenga más información y regístrese en hyattsville.org/nightowls.


Únase a Casey Trees y a la Ciudad de Hyattsville el 30 de enero de 7 a 8:30 p.m., para una discusión virtual sobre la importancia y el cuidado de los árboles en los espacios urbanos. ¡Aprenda cómo los arborístas eligen el “árbol correcto, para el lugar correcto”, y cómo puedes ayudar a que sus árboles prosperen! Más en hyattsville. org/enviro-education.


Obtenga más información sobre el papel del alcalde y concejal y lo que se necesita para postularse para el cargo antes de las elecciones municipales de 2023 en una sesión virtual de información sobre candidatos el 1 de febrero a las 6 p.m. Detalles en hyattsville.org/candidate.


¡Únase a nuestro personal y socios para un día de servicio para celebrar y honrar al Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.!

El lunes 16 de enero, de 11 a.m. a 2:30 p.m., los miembros de la comunidad están invitados a un día lleno de oradores invitados, actuaciones multiculturales y talleres interactivos de servicio comunitario en el Centro Juvenil Latinoamericano en 2611 Buck Lodge Road, Adelphi, MD. Para inscribirse, visite Hyattsville.org/MLK.

Se invita a las personas mayores de Hyattsville a crear obras de arte originales que reflejen las políticas injustas a nivel nacional el lunes 16 de enero, de 11 a.m. a 2 p.m., en el City Building, 4310 Gallatin Street. El espacio es limitado y es necesario inscribirse; para ello, póngase en contacto con community@hyattsville.org o llame al (301) 985-5000.

The Hyattsville Reporter | January 2023 | Page 3

Sesión de Priorización del Plan de

La ciudad de Hyattsville está

su Plan de Sustentabilidad y necesita su aporte. Comparta sus opiniónes sobre la mejora y el mantenimiento de el transporte, la vivienda, los espacios públicos y más.

Page 4 | January 2023 | The Hyattsville Reporter HIGHLIGHTS | LO DESTACADO HELLO HYATTSVILLE! 2023 Sustainability Plan
Session The City of Hyattsville is updating its Sustainability Plan and needs your input. Share your
on transportation, housing, public spaces, and more: IN-PERSON / EN PERSONA: 01 / 24/ 2023 - 6:00 P.M. 6530 Adelphi Rd, Hyattsville, MD 20782 ONLINE / EN LÍNEA: 01 / 25 / 2023 - 6:00 P.M. www.hellohyattsville.com Your input will help shape the City of Hyattsville’s 2023 Sustainability Plan Update. TO REGISTER / INSCRÍBASE:: https://HVLPS2.eventbrite.com https://HVLPS1.eventbrite.com
Su opinión ayudará a dar forma a la actualización del Plan de Sustentabilidad 2023 de la Ciudad de Hyattsville.

Marder came across the cottage bakers in March 2021 through the OurHyattsville Instagram account and quickly became a loyal patron.

“I had a timer set on Thursday at 10 a.m.,” Marder recalled — the time needed to put in his order before the popular bakes sold out each week. The chocolate babkas were a family favorite, as well as the standard loaves, he said, noting that getting baked goods from a craftsman who’s also a neighbor, rather than from an anonymous corporation, is particularly appealing.

That local, artisanal spirit is infused in the Manifest ethos, right down to the molecular level. To start with, at least 50% of the flour going into Manifest’s products is handmilled in-house from regionally sourced grain.

“I think [the flour] definitely sets us apart,” Cook said. “And that’s a real commitment, because it’s a huge undertaking that isn’t necessary. You do not have to make your own flour to make good bread.” On the other hand, the freshness of the grain oils and nuance of the flavor profiles are undeniably improved, he added.

Even the mill itself was crafted by bakers, for bakers, he said, rather than in a factory.

So why such a huge commitment to handmade, artisanal quality equipment and ingredients?

Cook highlighted the local maker zeitgeist prevalent among many craftspeople in the area — the cups and plates are handcrafted as well, sourced from local potters at Material Things, based in North

Brentwood. But he also touched on being a child of the 1980s, when daily dinners were utilitarian and convenient rather than necessarily delicious — or even good.

“The only time I had bones in a bird was at Thanksgiving,” he said.

A veteran of the D.C. restaurant industry, including the well-known 2 Amys pizzeria, Cook said his interests in baking were initially geared towards a future restaurant he and his wife, Tyes, had long dreamed of opening. The realities of commercial rent in the District made that dream unlikely, he said, and similarly high housing prices drove the couple to purchase a home outside D.C. in nearby Cottage City.

Then COVID-19 hit.

“Everything was closing around us,” said Cook, referring to 2 Amys, “and I ordered a few hundred pounds of grain and flour, and then just went home knowing that we were about to be closed for a little while.”

Like many Americans during the shutdown, Cook and his wife filled their ample time at home with baking bread, but with so much quality product accumulating, they started offering delivery, and demand took off exponentially.

“It doubled over and over, until we were completely out of control — staying up three days straight packing and delivering.” That’s how the couple knew there was perhaps an untapped, sustainable market for their business.

Cook credits his mentor, Peter Pastan of 2 Amys, with generously teaching him the basics of milling flour and how to bake exceptional bread. Cook also said he gleans inspiration from fellow cottage bakers all over the country whom he’s connected with on Instagram, many of whom began as home bakers. But the engine behind the whole operation, Cook said, is Tyes.

“She does everything — and I mean, everything. It’s insane.”

The Riverdale Park bakery, located at 6208 Rhode Island Avenue, will be open six days

a week, Tuesday through Sunday, with a space catering to both adults and families, a demographic the Cooks are very much a part of now as parents of a 3-year-old and a baby.

Ultimately, Cook said, the quality of their baking is perhaps best demonstrated by their plain, standard loaf — just an unpretentious basic country loaf with no seasonings on the outside, no fillers on the inside.

“She’s straightforward,” he explained. “There’s nothing to hide behind. There’s no chocolate. There’s no extra almonds. Just naked bread.”


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Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023 Page 9
Manifest Bread offers fresh-baked bread, sandwiches and pastries, like these jelly rolls. COURTESY OF RICK COOK

The afterlife of auto parts

The evolution of cars and their impact on the environment has been paradoxical. Over the past two decades, engines have become much more efficient. But gas mileage and carbon dioxide emissions have plateaued because U.S. consumers have favored SUVs and pickup trucks, which are larger, heavier and less aerodynamic than sedans.

There’s good news, though: “Automobiles have the highest recycling rate of any consumer product,” noted Greg Condon, president of the Maryland Association of Car and Truck Recyclers. “Approximately 80% of a car is recyclable, and an extremely high percentage of cars are ultimately reused.” Condon is also president of Condon’s Auto Parts in Westminster.

Hyattsville is a prime hub of the automotive afterlife. The city hasn’t had a new car dealership since Lustine Chevrolet, on Baltimore Avenue, closed. However, Route 1 and Kenilworth Avenue are home to dozens of used car lots, garages and body shops.

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce website lists at least six chain auto parts stores nearby, such as AutoZone, NAPA and Advance Auto Parts. Then there’s Beltway Used Auto Parts and Andy’s Auto Parts, in Bladensburg. “The term junkyard is obsolete,” says Beltway’s president, Tim Higgins. “We’ve evolved into a sophisticated recycling industry that follows strict recycling procedures and supplies high-quality green auto parts.”

Why are cars and their parts

constantly being reused and recycled while landfills are filling up with clothing, furniture and appliances, which are cheaper to replace than repair?

The first reason is the basic materials. By weight, cars are about 75% steel, which is actively traded worldwide. According to the Automobile Recycling Association (ARA), making new steel from old steel requires about 75% less energy than refining steel from iron ore. By contrast, shipping, sorting and remelting glass bottles takes more energy than making new ones. And most used plastic is almost worthless unless it’s very carefully sorted.

According to Andy Cohen of Andy’s Auto Parts, good scrap

Associate Editor

Heather Wright heather@hyattsvillelife.com

steel is currently selling for about 11 cents a pound. So, a completely wrecked 1990 Toyota Camry is worth about $210 for its steel alone. But steel is the least valuable metal in a car. There’s also some aluminum, which sells for $1,000 a ton, and about a mile of wire containing about 50 pounds of copper, which can sell for over $6,000 a ton. The catalytic converter alone is worth at least $300 because it contains several grams of platinum ($1,100 an ounce), as well as palladium and rhodium. (However, most scrap yards, including centuryold Joseph Smith & Sons, on Kenilworth Avenue, will only buy wrecks that have been de-

Advertising Sales Manager

Miranda Goodson miranda@hyattsvillelife.com

polluted, which, at minimum, involves removing the battery and tires, and punching a large hole in the gas tank.)

But car parts are worth more than car scraps due to the revolution in automotive quality after super-reliable Japanese imports ended American carmakers’ culture of built-in obsolescence.

In the 1970s and ’80s, American engines and transmissions often became unreliable after 60,000 or 70,000 miles, so used cars and their parts weren’t worth much.

The marketing firm Hedges & Company analyzed data from the U.S. Bureau of Transportation Statistics and concluded that in 1995 (the earliest year this data became available), the average age of a vehicle was 8.4 years.

In 2023, it’s projected to be 12.3. The average person drives about 14,000 miles a year, so 12-yearold family commuter cars with 150,000 miles are pretty common, and 20-year-old Hondas and Toyotas with 200,000+ miles aren’t unusual.

Nevertheless, even the most reliable cars have some parts that wear out before others, creating a huge demand for spare parts to keep them running. Let’s consider a 2012 Sonata that needs a new starter. Your options might hinge on how quickly you need to have your car back on the road and how fat your wallet is. College Park Hyundai has new starters in stock for about $389. Pur-

chase one online from another Hyundai dealer, and it might set you back $266 — but take three days to get to you.

Or you could head to the College Park NAPA Auto Parts store on Berwyn Road and pick up a rebuilt starter for $148.99 plus a $38.50 core charge; bring your old starter back to NAPA for recycling, and they’ll refund the extra charge. The starters (and other parts, like alternators and water pumps) on the shelves at chain stores like NAPA, AutoZone, Pep Boys and NTB are usually remanufactured, which means they have been restored to like-new quality.

Then there’s your local green parts recycler, such as Andy’s Auto Parts, which is an ARA member. Andy just might have the right starter in a wrecked car on his lot, and he might even be able to pull out in an hour. He recently had just the part for that Sonata and would have sold it to me for $50 with a 60-day guarantee.

“Many environmentalists believe that businesses should take back and reuse almost everything they sell,” says Sandy Blalock, ARA’s executive director. “Well, about 25% of the steel in new cars has been recycled, and many of the old starters and alternators that our members can’t use become cores that are re-manufactured for the auto parts chains. We’re leading the world in reducing prices and pollution by reusing and recycling.”

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.

Layout & Design Editors

Ashley Perks, Valerie Morris Streetcar Suburbs Web Editor

Sophie Gorman Oriani sophie@hyattsvillelife.com

Streetcar Suburbs Webmaster

Jessica Burshtynskyy jessica@hyattsvillelife.com

Writers & Contributors

Jessica Arends, Dan Behrend, Victoria Boucher, Paul Ruffins, Fred Seitz, Lisa Wölfl, Heather Marléne Zadig

Advertising advertising@hyattsvillelife.com 301.531.5234

Board of Directors

Joseph Gigliotti — President & General Counsel

Melanie Dzwonchyk — Secretary

Stephanie Stullich — Treasurer

Gretchen Brodtman, Bette Dickerson, Nora Eidelman, Maxine Gross, Joe Murchinson, T. Carter Ross

Katie V. Jones, Mark Goodson — Ex Officios

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 and the Institute for Nonprofit News.


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Paul Ruffins is a citizen scientist and professor of curiosity.

ther refine the proposal. Councilmember Emily Strab (Ward 2) suggested that the council consider whether the ordinance should include an exception for small businesses in regard to collecting the $0.10 bag fee. Councilmember Haba suggested that the city consider distributing reusable bags to residents during the transition to the new requirements.

Councilmember Joanne Waszczak (Ward 1) noted that the county council passed an ordinance in October that requires food service businesses to provide utensils, condiment packages, napkins, straws and other single-use food service ware only upon customer request.

Waszczak recommended coordinating the implementation of the Hyattsville bag ordinance with the county legislation, which goes into effect June 2023.

During public comment, one resident spoke in favor of the ordinance, while a second expressed concerns that the ordinance would overregulate businesses and increase costs for consumers.

While some retail stores accept plastic bags for recycling, a recent report estimated that only 2% of plastic shopping bags are actually recycled into new products.

The county has not accepted plastic bags as part of its curbside single-stream recycling program since July 2015. Despite this, residents still put plastic bags in their recycling bins, which end up clogging the machinery at the county’s recycling facilities. The county spends nearly $125,000 each year disposing of these bags, the salaries of three employees who each spend 40 hours a week removing the plastic film that clogs the sorting equipment.

Local evidence supports the assertion that a fee for singleuse bags affects consumer choices.

Simasek shared data that the Sierra Club collected through a 2019

survey of grocery stores in Prince George’s County. At grocery stores that offered bags to customers at no additional cost (e.g., Giant, Safeway) in Prince George’s County, 88.2% of customers used disposable bags, 99.4% of which were plastic, while only 5.9% of customers used reusable bags. At stores that charged for carryout bags (i.e., Aldi and Lidl), the ratio flipped — only 5.9% of customers used disposable bags. The remaining customers used reusable bags, or no bags at all.

The $0.10 minimum fee for paper or other reusable bags under the ordinance would not be a tax or generate revenue for the City of Hyattsville; according to Simasek, the city currently lacks the legal authority to levy a tax on bags. Instead, businesses would keep the proceeds to help offset the higher cost of paper bags.

If it adopts the legislation, Hyattsville would join several Maryland municipalities that regulate plastic shopping bags through bans or fees, including Baltimore, Chestertown, Easton, Laurel, Salisbury, Takoma Park, Westminster, Howard County and Montgomery County. Hyattsville also would join roughly 127 countries, 10 states and hundreds of cities around the world that regulate the use of single-use plastic shopping bags.

Hyattsville’s ordinance could

ognition award he received in 2004 while at NASA, where he worked in procurement.

Ijiti remembers his first time at therapy, in 2009. He said he found sitting in a room with veterans, of different ranks, who were struggling with the same problems, weird. It was as if, before he even spoke, someone had told them exactly what was going on inside his head.

Since that experience, Ijiti has made it a point to recom-

mend therapy to other veterans and active members of the military who are experiencing mental health problems — especially those with PTSD. He’s kept in contact with some of the men with whom he served in Iraq, including John Dethdy. Ijiti and Dethdy met while deployed in Iraq and have remained close friends since, supporting each other through hard times. “He’s an amazing soldier and brother,” Dethdy told the HL&T “With my PTSD, I had to create a whole buffer zone not to

trigger certain things,” said Ijiti. He appreciates the predictability of a routine: getting up at 4:30 a.m., going to the gym by 5:30 a.m., leaving for work at PostNet and then spending time with his family after work. Working in the “diverse melting pot” of Hyattsville has been a blessing to him.

“I could’ve been that guy on the street begging for a dollar,” said Ijiti. Instead, he is a business owner and an involved father and husband. His message to other struggling veterans: “There’s hope.”

contribute to a larger, statewide effort, according to a city memo that accompanied the draft legislation. The memo points out that other states enacted legislation only after numerous local jurisdictions took action first.

Legislators have unsuccessfully sought to regulate the use of single-use shopping bags at the county and state levels in recent years.

The Maryland General Assembly considered, but failed to pass, a statewide ban on stores providing customers with plastic carryout bags during both the 2020 and 2021 legislative sessions.

In 2012, the Prince George County’s delegation to the General Assembly tried unsuccessfully to gain authority from the state to impose a plastic bag fee at the county level. A similar bill failed in 2019. The Prince George's House Delegation reported unfavorably on a similar bill in 2020, effectively killing that year’s bill. Prince George’s is the only jurisdiction inside the Beltway that does not currently charge a plastic bag fee. Residents interested in the proposed ordinance should contact their councilmembers and publicly comment at a future city council meeting.

Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023 Page 11 BAGS FROM PAGE 1 A-1 YARD SERVICES Complete Lawn and Property Maintenance LAWN & YARD SERVICES • LEAF REMOVAL • GUTTER CLEANING • WEEDING, MOWING & MULCHING • TREE & BUSH REMOVAL, TRIMMING HAULING SERVICES • APPLIANCE, FURNITURE & DEBRIS REMOVAL • ATTIC, GARAGE & BASEMENT CLEANING • YARD CLEANING YOU CALL, WE HAUL? CALL RON AT 202-431-1236 CALL FOR A FREE ESTIMATE! Plastic bags and other trash line the Northeast Branch of the Anacostia River, near East-West Highway along the city's border. DAN BEHREND
While some retail stores accept plastic bags for recycling, a recent report estimated that only 2% of plastic shopping bags are actually recycled into new products.
Oluwafemi “Femi” Ijiti says working in Hyattsville
been a blessing to him. COURTESY OF MATHEW SCHUMER

Local volunteers work to build Martin Luther King’s ‘beloved community’

“We are caught in an inescapable network of mutuality, tied in a single garment of destiny,” wrote Martin Luther King Jr. in his “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” on April 16, 1963. “Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly," Every third Monday in January, we celebrate MLK Day — the only federal holiday designated as a National Day of Service — with a focus on improving our communities and remembering King’s emphases on values of justice, compassion and nonviolence.

On this day and throughout the year, Hyattsville families, students and residents here in Hyattsville volunteer by distributing food, tutoring students and visiting or doing chores with those who need assistance. I spent some time with a few local volunteers to ask about their service

experiences and how it feels, as King would say, to build the beloved community.

“I’ve been living in Hyattsville for over 30 years. I never saw the need until I saw the need — and it was profound,” said Cheri Everhart, the City of Hyattsville’s deputy director of community services. Everhart and about 25 volunteers gather every third Tuesday to bag fresh produce for the emergency food distribution at the First United Methodist Church of Hyattsville. About 300 households, or around 900 people, receive fresh produce each month from the distribution, according to Colleen Aistis, the city’s community services manager.

The City of Hyattsville reported $140,339,136 of food distributed, at a variety of sites, between March 2020 and June 2022.

During that same time period, Hyattsville volunteers contributed about 261,184 total hours of service, which translates to

an estimated dollar value of $8,586,245.

Malik Drummon, a senior at DeMatha Catholic High School, helped bag a tower of onions and hand out produce at the distribution, which occurred during his winter break. Al-

though he completed his required service hours for school last year, Drummon continues to volunteer. “It’s a heart-warming feeling to give back,” he said. Indeed, volunteering is literally good for our hearts. Serving others reduces stress and releases dopamine in the brain, which produces positive, relaxed feelings; lower stress levels, in turn, can decrease the risk of illnesses such as heart disease and strokes, along with the risk of depression and anxiety, according to a recent Mayo Clinic article. The interactions inherent in many forms of volunteering can also rebuild social skills and break down those layers of pandemic loneliness we may still be trying to shed.

Andrew Sayer is one of about 70 tutors who serve as volunteers at the Hyattsville Teen Center, located at 3911 Hamilton Street in Driskell Park. Sayer said volunteering helped him connect to the community when he moved

to Hyattsville from the United Kingdom. “I feel we are helping through the [tutoring] program, and it gives me a sense of place and a sense of belonging.”

As a scientist, Sayer enjoys helping students connect STEM topics with everyday life and supporting learners who may need guidance with homework. “By volunteering, I am giving these opportunities to kids whose families can’t afford private tutoring,” Sayer said, adding that it could make education more equitable.

In addition to tutoring and distributing food, Hyattsville volunteers are needed to assist with invasive plant removal and to help residents with yardwork, transportation, chores or snow shoveling. To support these and other efforts, the city connects volunteers with civic groups in the community, such as Hyattsville Aging in Place and Meals on Wheels. More information about volunteer opportunities can be found by visiting the City of Hyattsville volunteer-focused website, hyattsville. galaxydigital.com.

Jessica Arends is the arts, culture and lifestyle columnist for the Hyattsville Life & Times

Page 12 Hyattsville Life & Times | January 2023
Johnathan Mack (in Santa hat) and fellow students from DeMatha Catholic High School sort and package produce for the Dec. 20, 2022, food distribution. COURTESY OF THE CITY OF HYATTSVILLE