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What’s happening

in your area of the city? Tell us what you’d like to see in future issues of HL&T. Contact Sarah at 240.354.4832

Striking a match in old and new fashion by Miranda Russell


s the month of February rolls in, the imminent date of Valentine’s Day also appears with its impeding excitement, or doom, as some may view. Finding Mr. (or Mrs.) Right seems daunting to all of those without a Prince (or Princess) Charming on their arm and a shining ring on their finger. Because of these endless journeys and searches for the perfect mate, it was only a matter of time before different matchmaking sites and clubs popped out of the wood work. Nearly 30 years ago came Great Expectations. The company screens all members, meets them face to face and maintains accurate photos of each individual. Stemming from Great Expectations came the Millionaire Club, created in 2000, where wealthy men who seemingly do not have enough

STRIKING A MATCH continued on page 12

Vol. 5 No. 2

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

February 2008

Growing with grace? by Sarah Nemeth


hen developers and officials consider what types of growth is best for a community, many things come into play. The concept of town centers has been around since the building of cities like Jerusalem and Rome, with their gathering spots like Solomon’s Temple and the Forum. The idea stems from the concept of a town square, such as seen in Medieval England, with a central plaza where the community comes together socially to buy and sell goods, for religious and political gatherings and for entertainment. “The current definition, according to industry and zoning experts, would require an integration of uses and services from office, retail, entertainment and residential and a range of services to those either working, living or visiting from convenience retail, to goods and services and then entertainment,” said Catherine Timko, principal of The Riddle Company, a marketing and business development consulting firm which represents University Town Center. “Convenience is a critical component.” What of transportation? University Town Center is not within

walking distance for many folks, largely because it is north of highly trafficked East West Highway. According to Timko, UTC is planned as a destination that can be traversed by pedestrians who live near the area or who park in one of the garages or lots and then walk the hub’s streets. “Many communities encourage town centers as the clustering of uses can help to maximize the use of resources and minimize negative impacts of development,” she said. “Most are automobile-oriented as they are in suburban loca-

GROWING continued on page 13 tions. These tend to be more energy efficient, pedestrian oriented - less CO2 emitted, shared infrastructure, green space. Clustering creates economic synergies. “Hyattsville was not designed as an urban suburban town. Its street pattern and growth pattern do not support what we think of as centric activity. Our predisposition in America to think urban, and grid.”          UTC is intended to somewhat mimic a redeveloped city heart, she said. “University Town Center in its

Cooking outside the box

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

[Residents say home baked goodness is within reach] by Jessica Wilson


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

ooking from scratch—who has the time? Some local residents share their sweet taste of success in the kitchen and the original recipes that keep their families asking for seconds. For some though, cooking from scratch is more than just being the next domestic goddess. Area resident Meredith Massey said she likes to show her kids where food comes from and that not all things come out of a box. Just the other day, she made a soft pretzel recipe, something new to her cooking repertoire thanks to a new mixer. “I accidentally sextupled the recipe,” she said, “I was rolling pretzels all afternoon.” She also makes yogurt a couple of times a month and is interested in making her own sausage. “I tried to make vegetarian sausage one time,” she said. For most, recipes are exchanged between family and friends. Others taste something while dining out—and

COOKING continued on page 10

Lucia Kilday, 12, and Yves Eisenberg, 7, show off the fruits of their labor, a homemade loaf of white bread. A family favorite, Lucia eats her slices with butter.

Task force addresses tax rate, infrastructure by Sarah Nemeth


he City Council recently approved appointments to a task force whose goal is seeking ways of keeping taxes buoyant enough to bring financial relief to residents while meeting the fiscal needs of the Hyattsville. Resident appointments include: Ann Barrett (Ward 1), Gloria Thompson and Chris Holleman (Ward 2), Kelli Williams (Ward 3) and Geraldine Reza (Ward 4). Mayor William Gardiner, City Administrator Elaine Murphy, City Treasurer Robert Oliphant will also serve on the force. Council members Ruth Ann Frazier and Krista Atteberry will represent the council. Gardiner made changes to his appointments to the Real Property Tax Task Force after

TASK FORCE continued on page 13

Included: The February 13, 2008 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter—See Center Section

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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Business boom town

Opinion: Meeting my hero

by Michael Martucci by Sarah Nemeth


fter 14 years, I met my hero. It was a sweaty meeting, his hands sandwiching mine as I spoke to him from the other side of a small table. He misted. I kept on talking. It was anti-climactic and yet more intense than I could ever have imagined. Being star-struck by the same person I idolized as a kid can only be evidence of a deep connection. This is a time for heroes. Our society needs heroes. Last month we celebrated the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. We celebrated past presidents. We “celebrated” the Super Bowl. Heroes give us a sense of being what we aren’t by possessing super-human powers. Think: Clark Kent, Peter Parker, Bruce Wayne, Robert Bruce Banner. They web, they fly, they change forms. From days of old, the world has been in need of heroes. In Ancient Greek lore, heroes had super strength. Achilles was a hero of the Trojan War. Odysseus was the hero of the sea. Atlas, a mythological being, held up the Earth on his shoulders.

Last year, “Spiderman 3” came out on the silver screen. The hero, Peter Parker as Spiderman, takes on several villains including the Sandman, Parker’s friendturned- nemesis Harry Osbourne, and Venom. Most poignant of all, Spiderman attacks himself as dark Spiderman. I’ll let you watch the movie on your own, but I will clue you in on a scene during which you’re not going to want to be in the kitchen. With all his dreams about to converge, Parker, as dark Spiderman, finds himself walking down a dark street on a rainy night. He’s verklempt. When, out of the thinnest night, a church spire blazes (yes, it’s topped with a cross), and Parker hears bells ringing in the nearby tower. Somehow, the bells are the only thing that will shatter a symbiote that has turned Parker into his untamed self. Parker rushes to the bell tower, his sanctuary, and thrashes around while the bells toll. Finally, the black gack is gone. No, I wasn’t thinking about horses or sea monsters or Notre Dame when I met my hero. But I was thinking about the black gack of his humanness. He doesn’t possess super powers. He doesn’t wow the world with wonder. But he opened the door to a sanctuary of reality by facing himself. He is a real hero—gack and all—in a world where hope is often false.

FromTheHills Shift in schools not welcome in University Hills by Tim Hunt


ere we go again,” was the sentiment expressed among neighbors in University Hills as the Prince George’s County Board of Education recently presented proposals that recommend redistricting neighborhood children away from their community schools for the second time in three years. The initiatives presented by the school system would create more pre-K through eighth-grade schools throughout the county and transform other elementary and middle schools to Pre-K through fifth-grade and sixth- through eighth-grade models in three phases, the last of which would affect the Hyattsville area. Nearly all county elementary and middle school boundaries would be affected and there would be substantial costs involved. Students in University Hills would be removed from University Park Elementary School and Hyattsville Middle School and added to Mary Harris “Mother” Jones Elementary School and Buck Lodge Middle School in Adelphi. “You would have a community in University Hills that would be disconnected from the community at large,” said Anthony Patterson, Hyattsville city councilman, Uni-

versity Hills resident and parent of children attending University Park Elementary School. He said the school and the community have a relationship that has developed over decades with parents and children of other neighborhoods that are served by UPES. “Everything is connected through the school,” said Randie Reilly, the school PTA president. The kids do Girl Scouts together and play on the same sports teams. “The school has a very familial feel to it.” University Hills parent Susanna Jech Paul is also concerned about the neighborhood’s schools becoming detached from the community. “The test scores at Mother Jones show an impressive improvement since the school opened in 2003. Clearly the teachers and administration are doing something right there. That said, I still don’t want to disrupt my kids’ school careers by moving them.” Paul also notes that the school board’s own Web site states that studies are “uneven” in terms of the impact of grade level configuration. Some research suggests higher grades and test scores for students educated in kindergarten through eighth grade schools while other studies suggest that these increases dissipate in high school. “The rezoning proposal doesn’t

seem to be in keeping with [Prince George’s County Public Schools’] commitment to not split communities,” Patterson said, adding that University Boulevard has long been considered a dividing line between communities by the school system. Both Mother Jones and Buck Lodge are on the other side of University Boulevard from University Hills. Since the proposals’ introduction to the public, however, they have been put on hold because of other priorities in the county schools budget. “There are no plans to move forward on these proposals,” said Heather Iliff, the school board’s Hyattsville area representative. According to Iliff, the board wanted to err on the side of transparency. “There’s a really fine balance between sharing with the community draft plans versus not sharing them and [being] accused of withholding information.” She added that there would be public hearings in all affected areas before final decisions would be made. Currently, the board is only considering a pilot project that would not be near Hyattsville.

NEW JUMP continued on page 11


or the old-timers that have played a part in Hyattsville’s history, the sense may be that the quiet little town they have known and loved is slipping away. The city has been reaching for the stars for several years now, and is actually starting to reach them. The major business centers of Hyattsville are thriving even as the old guard is fading. The slow departure of that old guard is giving way to a new vital competitive city with amenities our fellow metropolitan areas have enjoyed for years. Hyattsville is worthy of being on the map again. The Belcrest Road area, which was decades in coming, even offers something the city hasn’t had in decades—a movie theater. The multi-screen venue that has arrived is state-of-the-art and stands as a marker of Hyattsville’s upwardly mobile status in the region. Much of that credit goes to the enduring vision of some old voices. Coinciding with Metropolitan Shops at a metro stop, the progress on East West Highway reminds one of a mini Silver Spring. It bodes well for the tax base and dollars coming into the community. Multiple sectors are coming together to lift the old reputation in the eyes of the region. With EYA’s housing commitment comes the revitalization of the Route 1 corridor. The former

stretch of car lots and used car salesmen is slowly being transformed into Hyattsville’s newest community of upwardly mobile citizens. Even DeMatha High School is getting into the act as it experiences growing pangs along with its surroundings. For newcomers, the new amenities progress brings are a must. They are essential parts of bringing Hyattsville into the 21st century. This newfangled convenient proximity to businesses and services not only make Hyattsville livable, but desirable. The last time that happened may have been in the 1960s. For the old stalwarts however, the character that brought them to Hyattsville decades ago is being lost forever. The small-town feel -- the very reason that many of them settled here during the baby boomer years is waning. Hyattsville’s sense of itself is being replaced by the new “any town USA” feel. With Circuit City, Five Guys and entertainment venues, this new paradigm is being driven by business rather than homeownership. The question has to be asked:Will it all be worth it? One thing is likely. As the newest generation takes root in Hyattsville, its sense of needs, culture, priorities and character will be different than the one before it Time will tell if Hyattsville’s business boom and the city’s attempts to gain the whole world will come at the cost of its very soul.


A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville

Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation. Interested reporters should send their e-mail addresses to the editor to be reminded of deadlines and receive internal news. Articles and news submitted may be edited. The deadline is the last week of the month for the following month’s issue. Letters to the editor and opinions are encouraged. For all e-mail correspondence with HL&T: news, features, tips, advertising and business write to To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc. , e-mail For inquiries re advertising rates or to submit ad copy please email to Sarah Nemeth, Executive Editor 240.354.4832 or Ashby Henderson, Photographer Publication Production, Electronic Ink Colleen Aistis Ashley Henderson

Writers/Contribtors John Aquilino Keith Blackburn Bert Kapinus Michael Martucci

Steve Clements Hugh Turley

Board of Directors Christopher Currie Matthew McKnight Tim Hunt Bert Kapinus Sarah Nemeth 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 7,500. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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Commentary and opinion on history & politics

Weird Science! Students at Hyattsville Elementary School’s Science Fair with their projects.

CouncilClips Tree removal

Tree removal will be suspended until residents have a chance to understand why certain trees are eliminated, said Public Works Director Lee Henry. The city’s tree canopy must be 14 feet above the street. Streetlights are 12 feet high. Some residents have expressed concern over the tagging of trees, especially on Oglethorpe Street. According to Henry, the city’s arborist tagged 53 trees for removal. Those trees would be replaced in fall. “Once you take them out you’re never going to see those trees again,” Councilman Douglas Dudrow (Ward 1) said. “If these trees go down after this discussion I don’t want to be in [you all’s] shoes.” Trees are also being trimmed in order to continue street rehabilitation, Henry said.

Parking Meters

The City Council approved the appropriation of $30,000 for the installation of parking meters at University Town Center. The meters would service about 50 parking spaces. Most would be single-head meters - which would work for two parking spaces - to help keep the streetscape clear, said City Treasurer Robert Oliphant. UTC’s streets are private streets, but a special taxing district implemented in the area gives the city the right to collect all revenues from the meters and to write citations for meter violations, said Mayor William Gardiner.

Some meters will be taken out of service during parts of the day, Oliphant said. Just because meters are there, does not mean they are always being utilized. As part of a contract with a meter company – which the council would have to vote on in the future – the city will receive meter management software which will allow the tracking of which meters are used, when they are used and how much revenue they bring in, Oliphant said. He expects that the city will recoup the cost of meter installation within two years. However, that estimate does not include revenue from parking meter citations, he said. Police Chief Douglas Holland said it would be prudent to hire an additional parking enforcement office to manage the meters. Last year the city’s parking enforcement officer generated about $70,000, Holland said. Council President Krista Atteberry (Ward 3) said the metered spots will make it easier to utilize the amenities of UTC, including several take-out style restaurants. “I do hear concerns from people … I think some residents are interested in take-out options so they know they could run up there and park because the meters are enforced,” she said. “The current situation just doesn’t allow for that kind of certainty.” UTC has garage parking available at a slight cost to residents. There are also a few short-term parking spaces at the south end of America Boulevard. Compiled by Sarah Nemeth

Hugh’sNews Hidden story by Hugh Turley


n a scarcely known incitement, media both inflated and hid the truth about a piece of black history. On Nov. 10, 1898, the elected government of Wilmington, N.C. was overthrown by a coup d’état as part of a campaign of white supremacy. The Wilmington Race Riot is the only acknowledged armed overthrow of a legitimately elected government in U.S. history. Government at every level failed to reverse the political overthrow. A federal investigator appointed by the U.S. attorney general was forced out the city.The case was closed in 1900 and nothing was done. Not until more than a century had passed was any official interest shown in what actually happened when the North Carolina state government established the Wilmington Riot Commission. The commission released its report on May 31, 2006. The episode demonstrates how effectively our true history can be hidden from the public. American students are taught about Brown versus Board of Education and other events that ended racial segregation, but what some now see as the pivotal event that paved the way for Jim Crow laws is barely known. In the 1890s black workers migrated to Wilmington, a thriving city with many opportunities for black businesses. The black community established institutions to make home ownership available to them. Black schools in Wilmington were well supported by community organizations and African Americans held important positions in the local government. By the late 1890s newspapers in the state began a campaign to create tensions among black and white citizens. Newspapers in the state including The Raleigh News and Observer, Charlotte Observer, Wilmington Messenger, and Wilmington Morning Star, published numerous inflammatory articles and cartoons. The Raleigh News and Observer confessed to its role in 2007 saying, “Newspapers, including the News and Observer, published racist editorials and cartoons, and white businessmen formed a coalition to incite the riot and force black leaders and their white allies to leave town.” A leader of the white supremacists was Alfred Moore Waddell and his speeches were often publicized in the white owned newspapers. A flashpoint of the riot was the burning of the city’s black-owned newspaper, The Daily Record. It was the nation’s leading black newspaper when it was destroyed. A speech by Rebecca L. Felton was published in the Wilmington Messenger fueling acrimony in the Wilmington community. Felton was an outspoken advocate of lynching

black males accused of raping white women and her speeches reflected her racist and stereotypical attitudes. In August of 1898,The Daily Record published a spirited response to Felton’s speech and disputed white claims about interracial sexual relationships. The article became a rallying point for white supremacists like Waddell. The violence began on the morning of Nov. 10, with the burning of The Daily Record by a mob estimated to be as many as 2,000 whites. Armed gangs roamed the streets shooting black men. At the request of the governor the Kinston Naval Reserves and Wilmington Light Infantry sought to reestablish peace but they were ineffective. The exact number of deaths remains unknown but it was estimated as many as 60 citizens were killed. There were no white fatalities. By the end of the day political goals were achieved through violence and intimidation. Targeted political opponents were banished from the city by the conspirators. Waddell became the new mayor. All black municipal employees were fired. An estimated 2,100 residents fled from the town. Similar violence later occurred in Rosewood, Fl., Tulsa, Ok. and[Susie, can you please check on the AP style for Oklahoma and Florida? Not sure if Tulsa is large enough to not need a state with it. Thanks] Atlanta. The power of the press to incite the riot was also evident in the stories told after the event. The narrative developed by the participants, witnesses and winners like Waddell was that the revolution was necessary to rid the community of a corrupt government. James Sprunt, a wealthy Wilmington businessman at the time of the riot, wrote about the revolution in his Chronicles of the Cape Fear River. The whites were aroused to action Sprunt said, “to rid the city of the pests that had been a menace to its peace and an incubus on its prosperity.” Since the Wilmington massacre is almost never mentioned, it is as if it did not happen. One reason why it has been essentially blacked out from our history might be that it reflects so badly upon the newspaper establishment. As Abraham Lincoln trenchantly observed, “In this and like communities, public sentiment is everything. With public sentiment, nothing can fail; without it, nothing can succeed. Consequently, he who moulds public sentiment goes deeper than he who enacts statutes or pronounces decisions.” Newspapers can be a force for good, but as events in North Carolina in 1898 show, they can also be a force for evil.

|THE PUBLICATION DEADLINE for articles and letters in the March issue is Friday, February 29th. |

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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CommunityAnnouncements 2008 Black History Month performances

This month, the Publick Playhouse for the Performing Arts, 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly, will present four companies who bring hourlong productions geared to school groups and adults seeking lunchtime entertainment, plus a weekend dance concert with liturgical dance companies from area churches. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1:10:15 a.m. and noon; The North Carolina Touring Ensemble will perform “The Life and Times of Fannie Lou Hamer.” The play depicts the true story of a sharecropper who achieved notoriety by fighting for the right to vote. Gospel music and protest songs of the time mix with the life story of an ordinary woman with exceptional courage and determination. Tickets: $6 per person; $5 per person for groups of 15 or more. Feb. 5: 10:15 a.m. and noon, “Journey into Africa” will be performed by the Okra Dance Company with Encore Performing Arts of Melville, N.Y. The performance is a mix of music from Senegal to Soweto, using traditional rhythms, instruments and dances. Tickets: $6 per person; $5 per person for groups of 15 or more. Feb. 13: 10:15 a.m. and noon, Sankofa Dance Theater of Baltimore will present a cultural program of West African heritage.The company follows the African village philosophy that every adult is a guardian of every young person in a community.Through dancing, they describe stories of African life to the traditional fast-paced beat of the Djemba drum.Tickets: $5. Feb. 21 and 22: 10:15 a.m. and noon, “Freedom Bound” will be presented by Mad River Theatre Works of West Liberty, Ohio. The musical depicts the true story of the Underground Railroad and a man who was rescued by an entire town when Federal Marshals tried to return him to slavery. Tickets: $6 per person; $5 per person for groups of 15 or more Feb. 24: 3 p.m.,“PRAISE III,” a showcase of church troupes from the Metro

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area performs liturgical dance works ranging from gospel to hip-hop. Tickets: $12; $10/seniors, students and groups of 15 or more. For information call 301.277.1710 or visit artsfac/publick.html.

Free genealogy seminar

The Prince George’s County Genealogical Society invites you to a free seminar Introduction to Genealogy Learn the basics to start researching your family history from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 8 at the Belair Mansion 12207 Tulip Grove Drive, Bowie. The program is free and open to the public. Advanced Registration is required. To register, or for additional information, please call 301.262.2063 or by March 1.

Tumble into gymnastics workshops

Children can run, jump, roll and tumble at gymnastics workshops at the Prince George’s Sports & Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover. The workshops are offered to children of walking age through 14 years at a cost of $6 per child. Workshops are held on the following days: n Feb. 5, 12, 19 and 26, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. n Feb. 6, 13, 20 and 27, 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. n Feb. 1 & 15, 4:30-5:30 p.m. n Feb. 16, 1:30-2:30 p.m. All children must be accompanied by an adult and a maximum of three children are admitted with each adult. Registration begins one-half hour prior to workshop start time and is on a first-come, first-serve basis. For information call 301.583.2400 or visit

2008 adult spring slow pitch softball registration open

Team registrations are now being accepted for men’s, women’s and coed leagues that will begin to play the week of March 31 at Watkins Regional Park in Upper Marlboro and at Fairland Regional Park in Laurel.

Fees are $180 for bi-county teams and $215 for non bi-county teams. For more information call the Sports Office at 301.918.8100 or visit and click on sports programs.

Bowie spring 5K race and two-mile walk held in March

Run, jog or walk at the 27th Annual Bowie Spring 5K Race & 2 Mile Walk on March 29. The event will begin at 8 a.m. at Bowie Town Center, at Route 197 and Northview Drive. Fees are: Before March 18 - students $10/ resident and $12/non-resident; adults $15/resident, and $18/nonresident; After March 18 $20/resident, and $24/non-resident. Registration is also available the day of the race beginning at 7 a.m. Awards will be given to male and female winners and door prizes will be awarded. All proceeds will benefit the Bowie Food Pantry. For information call 301.464.1737.

Café Groove celebrates ONE

The Café Groove coffeehouse for teens celebrated its first anniversary on Feb. at the Newton White Mansion, 2708 Enterprise Road, Mitchellville, where the program was inaugurated in 2007. Keeping with Café Groove tradition, an open mic and visual arts contest with cash prizes were held as part of the evening activities Celebrating the first year anniversary, Lyrikal Storm, the Parkdale High School poetry group that opened the program last year, opened the celebration. Lyrikal Storm is the largest youth poetry group in the Metro region. This group focuses on public speaking, performance poetry, creative writing, self-empowerment and community and global issues.   To list an item in the Hyattsville Life & Times, please send an e-mail to or send to P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, Md. 20781.

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Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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All smiles

[DeMatha teens volunteer at local senior home] by Sarah Nemeth





f all the world is a stage, two seniors from DeMatha are getting a crash course in theatrics as they inject a plot into what would otherwise be drab days for some residents of Friendship Arms Apartments. Santino Rosanova, 17, began his work with Hyattsville’s senior population about a month ago and he now visits the residents at Friendship Arms on Tuesdays and Thursdays for a couple hours. They meet in a garden room and play cards, dominoes, checkers and other board games. One of the greatest achievements of Rosanova’s work has been getting male residents to join in group activities. “Some of them needed to be more active,� he said. “It’s good to know I did something with someone who maybe wouldn’t otherwise have come out of their room.� Rosanova and friend Brendan Lozupone, 17, have been working with the residents in order to meet their school community service requirements. They were matched with the Friendship Arms group through Colleen Aistis, Hyattsville’s Volunteer Services Coordinator. Rosanova sent a proposal to his school and after it was approved, began his work by sending out a survey to see what residents would enjoy doing. He began by reorganizing the building’s weight room, which was largely unused because the arrangement of exercise equipment was not conducive to workouts. “You don’t have to be in here in digging a ditch to help out,� Aistis said of Rosanova’s work. “Now [his work is] more of a social aspect.� After the cleanup—which included lining up the treadmills and cross-

Santino Rosanova and Brendan Lozupone at the fitness room at Friendship Arms Apartments. Rosanova reformatted the room so residents would be better able to utilize it for workouts.

trainers against a wall of windows to provide a view for exercisers—the room was also safer for residents. “They weren’t stepping over weights or tripping over weights because that was a problem,� Rosanova said. And from the sounds of things, the residents are appreciative of the students’ work. “It’s a lot of hootin’ and hollerin’, especially for a lot of the older residents,� Rosanova said. Lozupone agreed. “They’re just having a whole lot of fun, they’re smiling all the time,� he said. “They seem to really like getting out of their rooms.� The guys say they are learning a lot from the senior residents as well. “It makes me feel better about myself and all,� Luzopone said.

Many bridges to build Aistis has been looking to link people in the community since May 2005. “This place offers a centralized location,� she said of Friendship Arms. “Ideally this could grow from here connecting this population with folks like themselves.� Her volunteers have been making headway at the building with quarterly luncheons and other events like a Valentine’s Day dance and speaking engagements with area professionals

like Renee Catacalos from Edible Chesapeake magazine. Having Catacalos come out and residents respond with their desire to eat fresh, local food, Aistis can advocate for food vouchers through local farmers’ markets. Aistis, who served for a year with the AmeriCorps, has culled crews of volunteers to remove invasive, nonnative plants from Magruder Park. She has an ongoing project with eighth-graders at Concordia Lutheran School to remove invasive and plant native vegetation at the park. This year, incoming eighth-graders, who study local ecology beginning in fourth-grade, will be tasked with locating native plants that were installed by previous eighth-graders. The pupils will report back on how the new plants are doing. Last year, the National Wildlife Federation selected Hyattsville out of Washington, D.C. area locations, to remove non-native, invasive plants. For that project, 85 adults from around the country pitched in. During the summer, volunteers for a church group set up and help during the city’s Summer Jams, put on by Hyattsville’s Department of Recreation and the Arts. For more information, contact Aistis at

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Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

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Meeting Munich [HL&T writer weighs in from Germany]

by Melanie Lidman


itte, eine brezel.” “One pretzel, please.” It’s the first German phrase I learned, and possibly the most important.  Biting into the giant pretzels in Munich is a slice of heaven: crispy salty goodness on the outside, and a perfectly soft chewy inside. And if you’re lucky, they’re still warm when you buy them. I went to Germany on a journalism assignment and was prepared to view the country with a detached professionalism.  I wasn’t counting on the fact that I might actually love the country.  From the boisterous beer halls to the wide open Englischer Garten (“English Garden”), the incredibly punctual train system to the spotless city streets, there are some quirks and personalities to Munich that you can’t find anywhere else. I chose to go to Munich to write about the re-emerging Jewish community. The city is proud to have a square in the heart of the city where a new synagogue, new community center and new Jewish museum have recently opened.  It was fascinating to learn about this aspect

What do you think?

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of Munich: a community utterly destroyed by the Holocaust, but determined to rebuild and thrive once again. The Jewish community provided an interesting context in which to see Munich, a city continually struggling with its identity and its terrible history. Munich’s beer halls were where Hitler first preached his message of hatred, and the city was known as the “Head of the Movement” for the National Socialists.  The concentration camp Dachau, located a mere 20 minutes away from the city, was the Nazi’s first concentration camp and provided a model for all others. Though totally destroyed by Allied bombing at the end of World War II, today the city has rebuilt into a booming metropolis. And the city is struggling with the question of how to honor the memories of those who were killed while not dwelling too much on the past. Part of this struggle is represented in its support for the construction of the new buildings for the Jewish community. The city of Munich is beautiful —green parks, ornate churches, intricately decorated building facades, quaint cobblestone streets filled with fashionably dressed pedestri-

ans. The city is obsessed with cleanliness and saving energy (something about which Americans could learn a thing or two).  My favorite example:  the escalators are motionactivated to go in both directions, meaning you only need one escalator instead of two.They also shut off when nobody is using them. Here are a few of my favorite things about the city:

Viktualiamarkt Like a high-end farmer’s market, the colorful Viktualiamarkt boasts rows and rows of stalls full of bright vegetables and crispy bread. Wander in and out of the bustling tents and you’ll find a fair amount of free samples of dips and crackers–any budget traveler’s delight. If you’re feeling especially Bavarian, hustle over to one of the authentic food booths and grab yourself a fairly inexpensive plate of bratwurst. Don’t forget the sweet mustard!

U-Bahn System I came to the DC area originally because of my love for the Metro system, with its giant arching wafflemaker ceilings and the longest es-

GERMANY continued on page 15

Clockwise from left: A medieval bridge at Regensburg outside of Munich; HL&T writer Melanie Lidman and host Rose Golder-Novick with a giant pretzel; A surfer at Englischer Garten; City Hall with famous glockenspiel.

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 8

Connector comes clean by Sarah Nemeth


he pedestrian bridge linking the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station to the parking lot of the Mall at Prince George’s was recently cleaned, making the passage a bit more walker-friendly. “It was a very unpleasant situation,” said Hyattsville City Administrator Elaine Murphy. Mall maintenance workers steamcleaned the area over three days. According to Murphy, the Washing-

ton Metropolitan Area Transit Authority maintenance is tasked with taking care of the bridge. “You could actually shovel dirt off the ground,” Murphy said of the condition of the bridge pre-cleaning. “WMATA said they are cleaning [the bridge] weekly, but I have a hard time believing that.” The cleaning was done after 11 p.m. so pedestrians would not be hindered by the work. WMATA will continue to clean their side of

the bridge and the Mall will clean theirs, Murphy said. “The Hyattsville City Police Department agreed to provide an officer and vehicle to provide vehicle and pedestrian safety during the cleaning,” said Police Chief Douglas Holland, adding that there are plans to do the cleaning on a regular basis. “[It is] a wonderful example of interagency, public/private partnerships,” Holland said.

Horticulture society: spring in its step by Miss Floribunda


iss Floribunda” has been engaged to keep the Hyattsville community up-to-date on all the programs, activities, sales and concerns of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society. She is passionately dedicated to community beautification and plans to help HHS organize a field trip to the Philadelphia Garden Club on March 5, a mulch sale at Community Forklift  this spring,  and a plant, seed and a gardening book exchange this summer at Magruder Park.  She hopes to encourage more gardeners in the area to join the HHS, which meets the third Saturday of each month at 10 a.m. at the Hyattsville Municipal Center.  Beginners are very welcome. The next meeting will take place Feb. 16, and will feature a special guest, Master Gardener Elizabeth Aranza, who will give a workshop on growing plants from seed. Whether or not you find time to become a member of HHS, Miss Floribunda is available to answer

your gardening questions. Would you like to know how early you can set out your vegetable plants? Do you long to find out why

some particular house plant is not thriving? Did you have specific problems in your garden last summer that you would like to understand and avoid in the coming growing season? Would you like

recommendations on what to grow in certain problem areas of your property?   Miss Floribunda and her expert consultants will find out for you.  Her friend, Mr. Meriwether, (though he will not presume to “bring you the weather” because he knows that is in no one’s power), will be glad to advise you on how to help your garden cope with the weather you have. Her Uncle Howabunga and her Aunt Sioux will tell you which native plants thrive in our area. Even her Cousin Moribunda, who invariably kills her plants, provides Miss Floribunda with a wealth of knowledge about what not to do and helps her guess what mistakes you may have made.    We look forward to your questions, which can be sent to Miss Floribunda c/o The Hyattsville Life &Times, P.O Box 132, Hyattsville, Md. 20781 or e-mailed to her at: “Miss Floribunda” is the collected wisdom of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society, which was compiled and edited into this column by Victoria Hille.

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Page 9

[Taking a-‘park’ the possibilities]

Magruder Park, Hamilton Street plans include Artway by Sarah Nemeth


aking improvements to Magruder Park includes more than just the 32-acre recreation area itself, but also the entrance and streets in front of the park along Hamilton Street. Of particular concern to residents who spend time at the park is the “octopus” intersection of 40th, Hamilton and Gallatin streets where four stop signs are now posted. Hamilton Street is often used for police traffic and the intersection also has two stops for public transportation. “Waiting [for bus #86] there is taking your life in your hands,” said Maureen Foster, co-chair of the Hyattsville Planning Committee, at a forum to hash out improvements to the park. The community event, with guests from the Neighborhood Design Center, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Anacostia Watershed Society and other planning parties, offered residents the chance to discuss solutions to park problems and to offer thoughts on the Hamilton Street Improvement Plan.

Ideas of octagonal proportions

One suggestion made by Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s community development manager, is to create a traffic circle at the intersection in front of the park’s Hamilton Street entryway. “If it was my list, I’d be crossing that one out,” said landscape archi-

tect Sandy Clinton. “Now, there are stop signs. A circle would have none. It’s something that would need unbelievable thought.” A roundabout could, however, fit in nicely with Hyattsville’s scheme of being a more environmentally friendly city, said resident David Hiles. “They allow cars to go through without a stop,” he said, likening vehicular traffic on a circle to that of bicycle traffic in a similar situation. “That creates tremendous energy.” To mitigate problems at “the octopus,” M-NCPPC planner Karen Buxbaum previously suggested mid-block crosswalks, semi-speed bumps and median strips as ways to curb traffic problems. And the road issues do not end there. Currently, on the north side of Hamilton Street, there are several parking spaces perpendicular to the road. The slots are property of the Prince George’s Apartments and tenants often park there, said resident Flawn Williams. Surveying shows that on this portion of Hamilton Street there is room for two 12-foot travel lanes, two 4-foot bike paths and two 4-foot sidewalks, said Lee Henry, the city’s public works director. There is also enough space for a back-out divider to prevent drivers from backing out onto Hamilton Street, he said.

Creating an art park

The area from the intersection

down Hamilton to West Hyattsville is part of a city project called Artway North. The revitalization effort is intended to bring a slice of Hyattsville life to the run-down venue. In July 2006, the City Council voted that the project run from Route 1 down Jefferson Street to 40th Avenue and then west down Hamilton. The decision allowed Buxbaum to set the process in motion while issues like traffic patterns and safety were left to be addressed. The entire route, part of the emerging Gateway Arts District, will eventually be a place for Hyattsville to showcase its creativity by blending nature and art, Community Development Manager Amy Neugebauer said when the council decision was made. Things like updated crosswalks, lighting and art highlight the list of amenities for the project. As far as the artistic portion goes, it will include things that can be built into the natural environment. Although negotiating the “octopus” and Hamilton Street—which does not have fluid sidewalks— could put a damper on the project, the decision to route the Artway down Jefferson to Hamilton was the choice most residents were comfortable with, former councilman Christopher Currie said then. Other options had the Artway routed from Route 1 down Gallatin Street or Hamilton Street. The larger house setbacks, wider sidewalks and multi-modal trans-

The intersection of 40th Avenue with Gallatin and Hamilton streets makes getting into Magruder Park unsafe, some residents say. The busy hub sees through traffic, Metro buses and police cruisers daily.

portation made Jefferson Street the best alternative. ‘‘A two-way artway is very much to our advantage,” Currie said then, adding that a separate proposed walking tour is likely for Gallatin Street so that venue may be addressed in the future. Currie also said having buses along the route would work toward the advantage of those who use public transportation. But the disjointed path is not optimal to crux of the project, said resident Jim Craver at last month’s forum. “It doesn’t seem very intuitive,” he said of the jog from Jefferson, down 40th and onto Hamilton. “In the future I suggest that we not weave things together but knit them together so we can be a bit more cohesive.” The project is being funded through grants, including a $160,000 community legacy grant that the city has already received.

Inside Magruder

Proposed landscaping along the route, which will run from the West Hyattsville Metro station to Jefferson Street, includes mostly landscaping with crescent cuts set in


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along Magruder Park for benches and public resting areas. Other suggestions for amenities to the park area include a bike lane, on-street parking, median and an emergency call box, Chandler said. Others are unimpressed by the recreation building located just inside the park’s entrance. “The bathrooms are nasty and are often locked,” said resident Geraldine Hall, adding that she has also seen questionable behavior in the bathrooms “What if something goes wrong? You have your cell phone but what if there’s [an emergency] and the cops are [in another area] and you have to call them because someone’s doing something nasty in the bathroom at Magruder Park,” asked resident Julia McTague. She suggested having someone there to monitor the goings on. More attention should be paid to keeping the park clean, Hall said. “We have to pick up the trash more often.We also need more trash receptacles,” she said. Others suggested that more attention be paid to drainage on the often watery ground and to options for playground layout and materials.

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 10







HealthCorner Bleaching teaching by Ronald Grossman, DDS


leaching is tough on stains, but gentle on your teeth. It can remove many stains that are in the outer layers of the tooth. If your teeth have yellowed with age or are stained from tobacco, tea, coffee or food, bleaching may restore their natural whiteness. Antibiotic stains and discoloration caused by an injury may take longer to bleach and not respond as well. Bleaching will not change the color of fillings and crowns, and it is not advised if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Before beginning at-home bleaching the teeth must be clean. Any gum problems need to be treated and cavities must be filled. Molds of the teeth are made to make custom-fitting, flexible vinyl trays that hold the bleaching gel against the teeth. How many weeks you will need to use the bleaching gel depends on how badly discolored the teeth are.

For best results

putting in the bleaching trays. n Spit out any excess saliva. If swallowed, the bleach can irritate your throat. n Do not eat or drink while the trays are in your mouth. n Rinse your mouth out well after bleaching. n Avoid citrus fruits and other acidic foods that may cause sensitivity. Once your teeth are whiter, you can help keep them that way by following these suggestions: n Do not smoke. Smoking stains the outer layers of your teeth. n Avoid food and liquids that stain. Red wine, tea, coffee and berries can stain your teeth. n Brush and floss daily to remove plaque. Plaque turns to tartar which can discolor your teeth. See your dentist for regular check-ups and cleaning. Whitening your teeth can put a brighter smile in your life and give your self confidence a boost.

n Brush and floss your teeth before


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head to the Internet to find a way to create it in their own home. After sampling some of Washington, D.C.’s various Ethiopian restaurants, resident John Vosmek III has tried his hand at making Injera, the spongy, sour flat bread used to scoop up meat and vegetables in Ethiopian dishes. “I’m still looking for a good recipe,� he said, “I tried to replicate it and failed miserably.� Though he’s still trying to master that dish,Vosmek has a diverse portfolio when it comes to his cooking. He stuffs his own ravioli, sausage and has even tried to make his own pastrami­—which can take up to three weeks! But the other night, he was trying his hand at something else. “Tonight I’m making a loaf of bread,� he said. The recipe? Something called No-Knead Bread, published in The New York Times in 2006 by Mark Bittman. Hyattsville resident Kathy Kilday is also a fan. “It’s the best homemade bread I ever tasted. It’s like life changing bread,� she said, “Perfect for lazy people.� The bread is so popular in her house, 12-year-old daughter Lucia said her mom doesn’t make it enough. Kilday said one loaf of bread usually lasts the family a day. “I’ve never seen how long it goes without getting stale because we eat it so fast,� she said. According to the recipe, it takes about one and a half hours to make, plus 14 to 20 hours rising time. “This is pretty much idiot proof.

You don’t have to heat the water, you just put in cold water, a lot of salt, some flower, a little bit of yeast,� she said, “Then it makes this sticky kind of dough.Then you just ignore it for a little while.� Ignore it for at least 12 hours, in a bowl covered with plastic wrap at about 70 degrees. Baking bread isn’t the only way Kilday kills time in the kitchen. She also makes her own yogurt. “I like it because you can control the amount of sugar,� she said. The trick to the yogurt is the heating process. Pour a quart of milk into a covered dish, heat it up to 180 degrees and then stir it until it gets to exactly 120 degrees. The stirring helps prevent a film from forming on the liquid. While you are stirring the milk, get your starter yogurt out, either store bought or from a previous batch, so that it warms to room temperature. Once the milk reaches 120 degrees, add one tablespoons of yogurt. “If you put the yogurt in before it reaches 120 degrees, it will kill the yogurt,� Kilday said. She makes it before she goes to bed, so it’s ready for the kid’s after school snack the next day.They then add their own sugar and flavoring when it’s served. Yves,7, likes maple syrup and vanilla while Lucia prefers apple and cinnamon. Kilday said making the yogurt at home is also economical. But for some recipes, ingredients aren’t always readily available. For some of the more exotic things that Vosmek likes to make, he sometimes goes to special markets and said he is still looking for a good butcher.

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 11

Ramblings &Musings by Bert Kapinus

How much is a billion dollars?


ecently, the public has been barraged with numbers dealing with everything from the cost of carrying on the war in Iraq to daily losses in the stock market and even the amount of our national debt. I don’t know about you, but in the colloquialism of the day, I have trouble getting my mind around the concept of even a relatively small amount like a million dollars, let alone the billions and trillions that are presented by the media. This may come as a shock to my sons, but my inability to grasp large numbers suggests that I do not have a million dollars in the bank. I can certainly fantasize about what I could do with a million dollars. And I can even fantasize what I could do if I hit the lottery for two hundred million dollars. But imagining what I could buy with those monies doesn’t really give me a real understanding of the magnitude of a billion or trillion dollars. It’s like trying to grasp how many angels can dance on the head of a pin. By the way, did you know that the height of a stack of 1,000,000 onedollar bills measures 4,300 inches or 358 feet, about the height of 30- to 35-story building? The tax stimulus package Congress and the President are proposing is in the amount of one hundred fifty billion dollars. When you consider that along with the 367 billions of dollars that we are spending for national defense this year and the outstanding national debt in the amount of 4 trillion dollars, my wife with all her credit card debts begins to look like a piker. Another problem I have is understanding where all of the money that we are spending is coming from. I would like to think that we just print more money, but I don’t think it’s that easy. It could be that the government has a really good

credit card that it’s using, but nobody has mentioned who the credit card company is. One would think that if it were Visa or MasterCard, they would have advertised the fact that they are supporting our government. I also would like to know to whom we owe the four trillion dollars in national debt. It would seem that somebody would want to be paid at least a minimum monthly payment, like a credit card company requires. I understand there were or are savings bonds that are “loans” to the government, but it’s hard to believe that there are that many savings bonds out there to cover this debt. Be honest. All of you who have bought a $25 savings bond in the last 20 years, raise your hands. It’s been said that unless we reduce our debt, we will be transferring the burden of the debt to our children. Will a trillion dollars, more or less, really become an issue? Frankly, I have not heard that there was a debt limit like my wife’s credit cards. I figure as long as she makes the minimum payment, she won’t have a problem because she’ll be about 120 years old before it’s paid. I wonder if the person who determines the national debt is excessive will have been able to get his mind around that amount any better than the rest of us. What will happen then? Do our children and grandchildren go into bankruptcy? The only way to really understand how much a billion or trillion dollars is by having a frame of reference. My frame of reference is what that amount of money will buy. I figure our national debt of 4 trillion dollars can buy Liechtenstein, New Zealand and Ukraine. How’s that for getting your mind around a number?


The school board would be missing the point if it did not consider how well a school can work with community involvement. The departure of University Hills children from University Park Elementary of would be “more than just the loss of some kids at school,” said Reilly. “The University Hills parents are very active,” she said. “Our school is kind of a model for what a neighborhood school can be.”

continued from page 2 “As a parent of children who would have been reassigned to a pre-K through [fifth-grade] school further from us than their current school and then a very, very far away [sixth- through eighth-grade] school, I am relieved that this plan has been put on hold,” Paul said, expressing sentiments that reverberate throughout the neighborhood.

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AroundTown Getting snippy by Sarah Nemeth


ow many times have you had a haircut experience? No, no, I’m not talking about the times when Fantastic Sam’s butchered your ’do, or Mom put the popcorn bowl on your head and snipped. I mean a serious, positive experience. I wasn’t sure about Floyd’s 99 Barbershop when I walked into the location on Route 1 and Knox Road in College Park. But I desperately needed a haircut, so I gave the host my name and waited. (Yeah, I said host, not receptionist). He directed me to a couple Internet stations just on the other side of the pool table. Track lighting made the place look like a rock ‘n’ roll stage. Or maybe it was the poster-plastered walls and stickers all over the place. Either way, I began to “experience� even before my stylist, Marta, seated me. As usual, I didn’t know what I wanted. Something had to change. Bangs were askew, layers were grown out and split ends aplenty made my naturally curly hair a frizz ball. And I’m so indecisive. Marta interviewed me, asking questions specific to my personal taste. “Something needs to be done with these bangs,� I said, while tousling the strands on my forehead. “And all this curly hair -- I look like a kid.� Marta had just the solution, and it began with a shampoo scrub/massage under warm water. She prattled on about what makes a good haircut and how she began her career as a paralegal before going to beauty school. My scalp was like butter in her hands and my whole body felt like it was being rebuilt as she washed and followed with a conditioning massage. My temples were gooing. Once I sat up, Marta began snipping away per our

STRIKING A MATCH continued from page 1



time on their hands to get out and meet women sign up and the work is done for them. Women join online, submit a profile and as many professional headshots as they want.The company then calls them back for an interview. Pattie Stanger, creator of the Millionaire Club, personally matches each pair and follows up on the pair regularly. While this site does in fact seem to be the ideal place for so called “gold digging� women to achieve their goals, the company insists otherwise, stating that the female members seek a traditional housewife living, where the husband leaves for work and the wife stays home to cook and clean. The most commonly known sites, such as eHarmony and, are typically first to pop into mind on a search for love. eHarmony prides itself on being marriage orientated and finds matches for each individual through answers to a personality questionnaire. While eHarmony states to be the best paid Internet matchmaking service, there are five major factors which disqualifies an individual from being a member. They include: n Being married; n Searching for a same sex partner; n Having several failed marriages in the past; n Being afflicted with severe depression; and n Being under the age of 21. As for those who are still married and having problems, eHarmony publicized a new marriage program directed at helping couples have a healthier relationship or to rescue a seemingly doomed one. All in all, any individual who passes the qualifying factors and has the time to fill out the 258-question personality questionnaire seems a worthy contender for eHarmony’s fight against divorce rates and conflicted marriages., which has recently been publically endorsed by TV’s Dr. Phil McGraw, was recorded by Guinness World Records as the largest Internet dating site – in the world. Since it was created approximately 13 years ago, has been through several ties with

“interview� and told me about her recent trip to Miami for New Year’s Eve. As she told tales, a dapper barber seated next to Marta’s station awaited his next neck shave. Employees shot pool. Marta sliced, textured, layered and combed until my ’fro began to take a more demure shape. Next, my bangs were sheared into a length befitting my facial features. I never worried for a moment about my cut, but maybe that was partially due to the modern music pulsating into the “stage.� Anyhow, the cut, normally $15, was on-the-house with a coupon I’d received in the mail, so I opted for a $10 hair straightening. As soon as my locks were falling in parallel lines, Marta showed me the final product— I was shocked! My hair was so sleek and silky. My bangs were groomed. My layers were noticeable! So happy was I that I didn’t even realize I’d been in Floyd’s for over an hour. I began to pop up from my comfy chair, when Marta surprised me yet again with a neck massage—again, courtesy of Floyd’s. I cashed out and looked around before leaving. On the way, I noticed the grooming options—available online at As I stepped onto Baltimore Avenue, I felt like it was Fifth Avenue, and my hair confidence beamed through my wide smile. I had just gotten a haircut, but I was empowered, relaxed and energized. Best fare I ever plunked into a parking meter. different online companies as well as attempts at holding speed dating during social events set up by the company. While is not as strict as eHarmony when it comes to who can and cannot qualify for a match, there have been complaints about the company’s censorship of photos and content written by its individuals without notice. Profiles must be accepted by the company before they are posted which is where much of the content and photo censoring occurs. has also been accused by previous members of using “bait,� where individuals are sent pictures from very attractive and interested fake matches. One immensely dissatisfied member brought a lawsuit against on the grounds of these allegations in Los Angeles, 2005. Matthew Evans brought the case to the federal court and upheld that used attractive people as bait, sending them on as many dates as possible a month in order to keep the member numbers up. The case was dismissed by InterActiveCorp, under which operates, as being baseless. DC area dating services include Heart to Heart Introductions and It’s Just Lunch (Dating for Busy Professionals). Heart to Heart Introductions sets up their members with counselors who conduct personal interviews, take photos of the members and set up the pairs. After the first date, the members are asked to contact Heart to Heart Introductions, as to make the program even better for future members. Heart to Heart Introductions can be contacted in Tysons,Va. at 703.506.2111, Alexandria, Va. at 703.519.6757 and Rockville at 301.762.5339. Their Web site is It’s Just Lunch (Dating for Busy Professionals) is a dating service directed at the busy bees of the nation’s capital. Using their members’ busy schedules, they set up breakfasts, lunches or dinners for their pairs to meet, and they will even make the reservations! All that is needed to join is a quick click to their Web site www. and a phone call to set up an interview to let the company get a better feel for best matches. It’s Just Lunch has locations in Baltimore (410.659.6699), Alexandria (703.836.6699) and Washington, DC (202.466.6699).

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 13


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Close quarters on Belcrest Road near the coming Mosaic at Metro apartments testify to growing pains as the City of Hyattsville matures.


continued from page 1 continuous construction schedule is very authentic—not unlike an emerging downtown.” That emergence includes a fluid unveiling of many components. “During the next 90 days Wild Onion, Gifford’s and the Soup Man restaurants are scheduled to open. “Then comes WOW Wingery, California Kitchen, and Old Dominion Brewery,” Timko said. “You will see the Safeway starting … construction this year.” The residential component is ongoing with residents moving in weekly. The Plaza Lofts 22 will be completed by March. Office activity is moving forward. A nearly 60,000-square-foot space above the Royale 14 Theater will be occupied in March by an unannounced major tenant. Space is being renovated in the first three office buildings for new tenants. Entertainment on the plaza will start again in spring, Timko said.

The other side On Ager Road, another center is planned for the area around the West Hyattsville Metro station.
West Hyattsville Commons has been on the drawing board for over a year.


continued from page 1 an initial motion—which included merging the Public Infrastructure Capital Improvement Program Tax Task Force, which was established in mid-2006, and the Real Property Tax Rate Task Force, which was established in mid-2007—was tabled last month. Appointments that were made then did not set well with some members of the council. While the task force is intended to provide analysis and suggestions to the mayor and council, some thought it did not offer representation adequate to the city’s talent and ability. “I’m disappointed that neither of the residents that were recommended by Ward 2 council members was selected,” said Councilman William Tierney (Ward 2) at a late January meeting. “I have a concern that persons without a background – like a CFO, CPA - are not deemed useful to this [project]. I would’ve liked to

Plans for the development—on the northwest portion of the intersection of Ager Road and Hamilton Street—call for: n 130 - 225 townhouses; n 1,000 – 1,270 multi-family units; n 200,000 – 220,000 square- feet of office space; n 60,000 – 85,000 square-feet of retail space; and n a 23,000 square-foot community center. Progress for the project—in the early planning stages—stalled with the October 2006 unanimous Hyattsville City Council pitch to appeal Maryland-National Capitol Park and Planning Commission’s conditional approval. The Prince George’s County Council, acting as the District Council, in late January 2007 remanded plans for West Hyattsville Commons back to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, citing, among other items, a lack of a pedestrian-friendly environment. Some of those issues, including traffic flow around the Metro station, have been addressed by developers Gunston Hall and Centex Homes. A hub, which will be called Hamilton Square, will be the centerpiece of the community, said Stephen Gang, a designer with the Lessard Group, who is working with the developers.

“It has now become more of a town square,” he said, adding that the original plan had the square as more of a transportation center. “It needed to be a lot more pedestrian friendly,” Gang said. Buses will now be on the outside of Hamilton Square. “One of the major criteria in redesigning this plan was how we were going to handle WMATA’s daily needs.That is of utmost importance.” Another concern of the District Council was the use of retail in the plan. “All along Hamilton Square from Ager Road coming down, all major tenants and all the area of Hamilton where people are walking will be filled with retail,” he said, adding that there will be opportunities for larger stores in the area as well. According to staff reports, Virginia-based Centex Homes has proposed to build the project in ‘‘blocks,” or phases that did not include a sufficient amount of retail space. The new plans call for phase one of the project to include retail and office space as well as multifamily housing and parking. Developers have a 10-year timeline for construction, should their plans be approved, said Shawn Weingast, vice-president of Gunston Hall. As of press time, developers were expected to address the Hyattsville City Council at a Jan. 11 meeting.

see some newer faces, [and greater diversity] on the committee.” Resident Ben Lipovsky requested to be on the task force, but was turned down. “I was very disappointed but not surprised,” he told the council. “This council…really isn’t open to conflicting viewpoints.” Resident Nina Faye was also concerned with the makeup of the force. “We all feel taxes are a very important, very vital matter,” she said, encouraging the panel to enlarge the force. “Ward 3 appeared to have only one person.” Gardiner, who made the appointments, said: “Sometimes people express interest in being appointed to a committee, some council members refer names to me, and for various reasons, I don’t think it’s in the committee’s or the city’s interest for the person to be appointed. “I try to appoint people who have an interest and background in the committee’s task, will represent

the concerns / perspective of the residents, a ward or a group of residents while keeping the city’s overall interests paramount, will be able to commit to the committee’s work, and will be able to work with the other members and staff in a productive manner.” The mission of the force is: To examine projected revenues and expenditures for the coming five years to determine if the city’s tax rates could be reduced; and To focus on potential tax relief for residents, especially those with fixed or limited incomes. For now, the task forces will remain separate, largely because the work of the groups will take different amounts of time, Gardiner said. He said the tax rate component of the task force’s mission can be accomplished in the next three-tofive months. The more complicated infrastructure work will likely take longer, he said. The council authorized the task force during the last budget process.

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Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 14

[Local club take a ‘paws’]

Hyattsville Lions in search of new members by Sarah Nemeth


yattsville may be a city known for its chorus of canines, but it has the heart of a Lion. For 70 years, the Hyattsville Lions Club has served the area by offering free eye examinations and eye glasses to people who could not afford them on their own. Their “Eye-Mobile” has offered eye tests to many as it rolled up to events and opened its doors. Known for its large-scale annual orange sales, the Hyattsville group made sure every penny went to help someone in need, said Ted Ladd, district governor of Lions clubs. But the group – which now consists of 12 men in their eighties, none of whom live in Hyattsville – is no longer active due to the age and travel requirements of its membership. There were 88 members in 1975; 65 in 1985. “It was considered one of the strongest clubs in the greater Washington area in terms of their size and good works,” Ladd said. The Hyattsville group is part of Lions Clubs International District 22-C, which includes 56

clubs in the District of Columbia and Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince George’s and St. Mary’s counties. The total membership of these clubs is about 1,800. In 2001 the club had 41 members, and by 2005 membership dropped to 20. Since then, additional members either died or moved, so that by 2008 the membership dwindled to 12. Each member was over the age of 80, some with physical infirmities. “In November … I accepted the resignations of the remaining 12 members, but received permission from Lions Clubs International to maintain the club with zero membership until I could recruit some new service-minded people,” Ladd said. “In general terms, Lions help people in need. Lions Clubs are groups of community-minded people who improve their communities by helping others. Both men and women may be members. The only requirement from the ByLaws of Lions Clubs International is that the prospective member be at least 18 years of age and of good moral reputation.” Paul Duchene has been the president of the Hyattsville Lions Club

for three years. He is 83 and lives in Edgewater with his son. When he joined the Hyattsville Lions Club, he was a resident of College Park. “It started out we were a rather large club at one time,” he said. “There were a lot of [members] that were residents of Hyattsville. A lot of them moved out of Hyattsville but retained their membership.” The driving time and physical ailments associated with age are preventing the club from being as active as it once was. “We were pretty good at making money,” Duchene said of the active club. “We had an annual orange sale that was probably one of the oldest in the area.” The club was also part of Hyattsville’s annual parades. “We’ve tried to get into the Hyattsville swing of things … but none of us are living out in the area. We don’t know anybody in Hyattsville anymore. The Hyattsville group was involved in building a camp for the visually impaired in southern Maryland. “We would have diabetics come down for a couple weeks,” Duchene said. “We helped build docks and other things there. It was kind



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of like a comrade thing too.” Lions Clubs were originally designed around helping folks with diminished eyesight. Helen Keller, an activist for the blind who was born both deaf and blind, was one of the leaders in the organization. The Hyattsville group sponsored several blind students [to] get through college. It is those types of activities that make it important to maintain the group, Duchene said. “We’d like to see the club charter go on,” he said, adding that requires annual membership dues of $72 per person. “At our age we just can’t handle the oranges anymore and so our income has dropped down.” Since the Hyattsville Lions Club exists in name only, new members would determine when they meet and what kinds of community service projects to undertake. Most clubs meet once or twice a month and also have a separate meeting of the Board of Directors, Ladd said. The regular meetings of the Hyattsville Lions were held at Lambert’s Restaurant in Glenn Dale. “We would talk about our problems but there was nothing we could do about them,” Duchene said. “The original meetings had about

150,200 people and would meet at the old Prince George’s country club. “In the early goings it was mostly businessmen that joined the club and kept it going pretty well.” At the meetings, a speaker generally presents a 20-minute presentation on a subject of general interest. At board meetings, the members determine things like upcoming fundraisers, and address community needs that members bring to their attention. One need not live in Hyattsville to be a member of the Hyattsville Lions Club. Men and women can join a Lions Club. Qualities of a good member include dedication and good communication skills, Duchene said. For more information visit www.

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Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 15


TheBackPage by Giosue’ Santarelli

Brow Beaten


don’t know if it is that men are trained not to notice their looks like women, but there is a disturbing trend among the male population. Many older gentlemen —even some high-profile figures— are growing moustaches above their eyes! What is with the caterpillar eye-cliffs? It seems to me to be a sign of age - not the Age of Aquarius, but the Age of the “Hairy-us.” Donald Trump gets a lot of attention because of the hair on top of his head. That’s a good thing because without the spotlight on his hairpiece people would be commenting about the fuzzy slippers he has above his eyeballs. Andy Rooney has so much hair on his brow that you could hide a group of 1967 summer of love hippies and their VW Microbus in there. Don’t these big TV stars have make-up people? C’mon guys. Be funny, and go eye brow bald. This wouldn’t be such a major issue except when I woke up the other morning I noticed my own

eyebrow hair was sticking out of place. They could have been of a style befitting Phyllis Diller on a bad day, after Raul the hairdresser had gone on strike.What’s next stray ear hair, eh? I never had to worry about things like that. My eyebrows use to take care of themselves. Most of the time I didn’t even notice that I had eyebrows. Perhaps Rooney doesn’t realize that the overgrown weeds above his eyelids are different than they use to be. It’s either that, or he is afraid of mirrors. How can we have such a dual society? Women have to have tight bodies, silky hair and skin as soft as a baby’s butt. Men’s skin on the other hand can look like the surface of the moon under a microscope and still some women find them sexy. So you like a little bit of flab with your men; the better to keep you warm. So you like a bit of grey on your man; the better to find him in the dark of night. Who’s the group without any taste, men or women?

A V O N grooming care for women and men


Maybe as a male I don’t have to look as old as a Shar-Pei puppy even though I have just as many rolls of skin. There are cosmetic “doctor look good” surgeons on every corner that can take care of that as long as my wallet can. Looks aren’t supposed to be everything, but even after a few cocktails on a Friday night who is gonna want to spend time slow dancing with someone that looks like their furry-eyed great great grandfather? As for me I have to seriously consider stretching, tightening and reversing the affects of gravity the old fashioned way—with dumbbells. When it gets really bad then perhaps spending time with Frick and Frack, my local cosmetic surgeons, will be the choice option. In the mean time I am codified through my own action. You might notice a smile on my face. I’m the one without any eyebrows anymore thanks to a steady hand and the Gillette Company. Giosue’ Santarelli is a pseudonym for a former HL&T editor.

Continued from page 7 calators I’d ever seen. But Munich’s U-Bahn system is a dream.The trains are simply spotless, efficient, energy saving ... and the punctuality! Once, when an employee announced over the loudspeaker that a train was three minutes delayed, people threw up their hands and shook their heads like this was the worst thing that could possibly happen.

Dachau Concentration Camp Munich is a wonderful place, but remembering the past and the atrocities that took place here is an important part of understanding the city. Some of the camp’s buildings have been left intact, as has the vast, empty space where prisoners lined up for roll call every day. Surveying the bleak buildings, it’s impossible to comprehend the terror and tragedy that took place here, even as the guide recites figures and statistics, explaining the logistics of a camp that held more than 200,000 prisoners over the course of the war. The crematoriums have not been touched, and you can still see the ovens and the waiting rooms and the area for coal. At the entrance to the crematorium area, there is a stone that reads simply in German: “Remember us who died.” Today the memorial site is filled with German schoolchildren. All Bavarian students are required to visit Dachau with their class in seventh or eighth grade.

Hang ten Munich Every city has a secret place where people bring a little bit of wilderness into the heart of downtown. In Munich, it’s an artificial stream in the Englischer Garten, which somehow creates a single perfect wave for surfing in a channel about 15 feet wide. Even in the dead of winter, you can see people in full body wetsuits, surfboards under their arms, walking down the city streets like its nothing out of the ordinary. One at a time, they drop into the canal and go back and forth on this one wave until they lose their balance or go over the crest and are carried downstream. It’s like a little bit of California beach culture in the middle of January in Germany—the last place I expected to find people shredding the gnar.

Bavarian beer Munich’s fame spreads far across the globe thanks to its two-week festival of beer in mid-September, the legendary Oktoberfest. In January preparations were already underway for both next year’s Oktoberfest as well as April’s mini-Oktoberfest, which celebrates the spring beers. In Germany, beer is measured in liters, not milliliters like America. At the touristy bars with oompah bands, waiters illustrate their prowess by carrying 5-, 10-, even 15-liter glasses at once, varying shades of amber glinting in the light. But none of my favorite things compares with the incredible, absolutely amazing, deliciously scrumptious pretzels. Bitte, eine brezel… prost!

Hyattsville Life&Times | February 2008

Page 16

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Hyattsville Life & Times February 2008 Issue  

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