Page 1

Local author publishes see pg.10

Vol. 5 No. 11

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

November 2008

Snapshot of Hyattsville, Gallatin Street resident shot, killed near home Case remains unsolved days after by Sharmina Manandhar election by Paula Minaert Editors Note: Last names of voters have been omitted to protect their anonymity.


he experience of one Hyattsville business owner mirrored the general reaction of people in this area to the Nov. 4 election of Senator Barack Obama as president. Unofficial tallies show Obama sweeping to victory with 349 electoral votes to John McCain’s 163. People in parts of Washington, DC thronged the streets, shouting with joy. Steve saw it and said he too was ecstatic. “I was stuck in traffic election night at 14th and U (streets) … It was stunning, seeing all the people in the street. I was crying. After all this city and this country have been through, there’s hope.” In a limited survey of people in Hyattsville—residents, business owners and shoppers— taken on Nov. 5, the overwhelming reaction to the election was a sense of hope


he murder of a 20-year-old Hyattsville man, found shot to death last month outside his home near the corner of Gallatin Street and 42nd Avenue, remains unsolved. A Prince George’s County police officer on a routine patrol near the area found Pedro Luis Hernandez lying in the roadway with a gunshot wound. He was pronounced dead on scene, police said. This was the fifth homicide case in Hyattsville this year, Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland said at a public meeting held the week after Hernandez’s death. “This is highly unusual for Hyattsville,” Holland said at a com-

GALLATIN STREET MURDER continued on page 7

A memorial set up at King Memorial Park on Gallatin Street, where 20-year-old Pedro Hernandez was found shot to death last month. Photo: Sharmina Mandahar

Housing in Hyattsville This is the first article in a four-part series about how the national economic crisis is affecting Hyattsville.

by Paula Minaert


ELECTION continued on page 11

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

Lynn Etheridge, a naturalist at Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda, demonstrates the art of cider making. Photo: Stephanie Ostroff

Cider-making program seasonal treat at Locust Grove Nature Center by Stephanie Ostroff

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


umpkin pie, corn mazes, scarecrows and hayrides - autumn is associated with traditions and festivities of all kinds. It’s finally time to put away the sun block and oversized sunglasses in favor of a light jacket and scarf. It is also the best time of year to enjoy

cider made from Maryland’s native apple species, which is just what a group of more than 60 parents and children did last month at Locust Grove Nature Center in Bethesda. This was the third year the Montgomery County nature center hosted its apple cider-making program,

CIDER continued on page 5

he housing market in Hyattsville has been affected by the current financial downturn, according to some local realtors and developers, as well as some residents. Keren Kuo, a realtor who works in Hyattsville, provided figures— which also include Edmonston, Rogers Heights, University Park, College Park Estates and Avondale—that show a slowdown in housing sales in these areas. He said that as of Oct. 15 there were 291 homes for sale and from the beginning of 2008 to Oct. 15, 131 homes sold, with an average price of $320,000. In all of 2007, 272 homes sold with a median price of $351,000, he said. “There is no way for me to know how many active homes were on the market on Dec. 31, 2007, but I know that number was quite a bit less than the current 291,” he said. This year, a house is on the market for an average of 210 days,

which is almost double the figure for 2007, Kuo said, adding that the number of bank-owned homes—foreclosures—has gone up quite a bit from 2007. However, he said that Hyattsville itself is doing better than the southern part of the county. The most recent information available shows that there were 35 houses in Hyattsville in some level of default in the first quarter of 2008, said Mayor William Gardiner. He also said there were five bank foreclosures in the city in the third quarter of the year. EYA, a Bethesda-based development company, is building retail space and housing on U.S. Route One.Aakash Thakkar, vice president for development, said that overall the Hyattsville market is good. “People love Hyattsville,” he said. But while EYA is still selling homes, it is averaging about two to three sales a month, rather than the five to six it would prefer.

HOUSING continued on page 10

Included: The November 12, 2008 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter—See Center Section

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 2

Opinion: Squirrel squatting by Sarah Nemeth


s the chilly weather seeped into my house this season, I could think of only one thing: break out the logs, newspapers and matches.There’s nothing as soothing as the crackling coming from a lit fireplace. But as my roommate, my dog and I sat on our futon watching TV one day last month, the unlit fireplace began making noises on its own. And it wasn’t even Christmas Eve! After a day of hearing “chirps” and “cheeps” we decided to check it out. No, there wasn’t a bird stuck up there (despite the flurry of gray and yellow feathers that billowed out as my roommate tried to assess the situation). It was a baby squirrel. Let me tell you, baby squirrels who are scared out of their minds have really creepy eyes in the dark. Clearly, this little guy wasn’t going

to get out of the shaft on his own. We tried to free him with a broom handle, tried to coax him down with peanut butter on the end of a stick. He just wasn’t coming — he was wedged between the brick chimney side and an inner casement. After being attacked by what looked like a toupee (it was actually a different, dead squirrel that fell on my hand) my roommate, Toby (dog) and I were done. I called animal control. It took them hours to reach us, and by then, the baby squirrel wasn’t groaning, growling, chirping or even moving, the animal control officer told us. It was a sad evening in the household. Even the dog was in mourning. But the kind officer closed the fireplace flue incase the squirrel had buddies up there nesting with him. Our fireplace doesn’t have a covering inside the house. (May I suggest those to you? Especially if you don’t use your fireplace, animals nest inside it and can get caught up in debris


and decay. If you’re not using your fireplace, cap your chimney, or get a cage that prevents animals and even insects from roosting inside it.) Anyhow, the next day two of my roommates were sitting in the living room and the squeaking and squawking began again. They opened the flue and saw the little guy scrambling around in the chimney. Before animal control could be called back, down came the squirrel, into the fireplace and out into the living room. Chased by dog, ogled by cat, guffawed at by two humans, the squirrel finally dove into the recliner, not to be seen by anyone. Finally, my roommates had to carry the recliner out the front door and onto the front lawn until the little guy popped out of the chair and ran up the tree that branches over our chimney. Whatever. At least our chimney is now rid of feathers, one dead squirrel and one live squirrel — and a ton of other unidentifiable debris. Enjoy the adventures of autumn!



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 Production: Electronic Ink Writers & Contribtors: Colleen Aistis John Aquilino Keith Blackburn Steve Clements Michael Martucci 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.

by Tim Hunt


niversity Hills residents celebrated the retirement of their mailman in a ceremony during the University Hills Area Civic Association meeting held at St. Mark’s Church on Oct. 22. Bob Kraft retired after 35 years working with the post office, 12 of which were as the mail carrier for University Hills. Kraft walked the entire neighborhood in all kinds of weather each day at work and provided residents with a level of service that will be difficult to replicate. In appreciation, the civic association gave him a plaque and a gift certificate from REI. UHACA Secretary Tom Eichman presented the gift to Kraft in a brown paper bag to symbolize Kraft’s routine of having his lunch at the Duck Pond each day. In a letter printed in the October UHACA newsletter, Kraft thanked residents for their kindness and friendships over the years. “You all should be proud of your neighborhood and its welcoming feel, speaking as someone who’s delivered mail in almost every zip code from Landover to old Hyattsville and everywhere in between,” Kraft stated. Kraft also wrote the officers of the civic association a letter of thanks. “It was great to see everyone again last night, it reminded me that I missed the neighborhood but not the job,” he wrote. “I was also again reminded of and humbled by the generosity of the people who are University Hills. My plaque holds more sentiment than any award that the post office could ever give and

the ‘brown bag’ really hit the mark, too. “Over the years, I had several opportunities to bid on other routes but it usually came back to the same question: Would I rather eat lunch watching the seasons change in the park or watch the traffic lights change on U.S. [Route] 1 or Kenilworth Avenue? I think that I made the right move.” University Hills residents will miss the dedication and service provided to them over the last 12 years and wish Bob well in retirement. In other neighborhood news, Lee Henry, Hyattsville’s director of public works, was at the Oct. 22 meeting to answer questions from residents and to discuss plans for neighborhood street improvements and repaving. A construction plan will be developed by the DPW for work to begin in 2010. Until then, measures will be taken to maintain the roadways as needed. Perhaps the most pressing issue is the poor condition of Wells Parkway, one of the main arteries of the neighborhood. “This is not a pothole problem,” Henry said. “This is the alligator effect of water deteriorating Wells Parkway.” Alligator cracking is caused by the degradation of the road’s subbase. Until that issue can be properly addressed during construction year 2010, the DPW will resurface Wells Parkway in order to hold the road together. Any improvements will be greatly anticipated and appreciated by University Hills residents.


he Hyattsville Life & Times honors one of its two founders and former publisher. Steve Clements and his wife Marlise, are saying so long to Hyattsville and moving into a home in Reisterstown, just northwest of Baltimore. The Clements’s, who lived in Hyattsville for 47 years, will now live next door to their daughter and her family.

Commentary and opinion on history & politics

Hugh’sNews Disappearing children


n Alfred Hitchcock’s 1954 suspense thriller, “The Man Who Knew Too Much,” assassins kidnapped Jimmy Stewart’s son to pressure Stewart not to talk to the authorities. Imagine something more heinous, like government authorities kidnapping children in order to pressure their father to confess to crimes. On March 9, 2003, a story in the respected London Sunday Telegraph was titled, “CIA holds young sons of captured al-Qa’eda chief.” The story by Olga Craig said, “Two young sons of Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the suspected mastermind of the September 11 attacks, are being held by the CIA to force their father to talk. Yousef al-Khalid, nine, and his brother Abed al-Khalid, seven, were taken into custody in Pakistan … but this weekend they were flown to America where they will be questioned about their father. CIA interrogators confirmed … that the boys were being encouraged to talk about their father’s activities. The story said their father, Mohammed, 37, was being held at the Bagram military base in Afghanistan where he had been told his sons were being held, to encourage him to divulge future attacks and the whereabouts of Osama bin Laden. In the years since the children were kidnapped, little more has been revealed. Only some retrospective information about them appeared when the Center for Constitutional Rights published an affidavit of Ali Khan. Khan quoted his son, saying, "The Pakistani guards told my son

that the boys were kept in a separate area upstairs, and were denied food and water by other guards. They were also mentally tortured by having ants or other creatures put on their legs to scare them and get them to say where their father was hiding." In summer The New York Times said Mohammed had been taken to a CIA black site in Poland where, “various harsh techniques, including waterboarding, used about 100 times over a period of two weeks — prompted worries that officers might have crossed the boundary into illegal torture.” “Let’s just say we are not averse to a little smacky face,” an informed CIA official told the Telegraph. “After all, if you don’t violate a prisoner’s human rights some of the time then you aren’t doing your job.” Not surprisingly, Mohammed confessed to nearly every terrorist plot during the past 15 years. Mohammed is currently at Guantanamo awaiting a military tribunal. The U.S. media have not publicized the fate of the children. We know that a state-controlled press would likely conceal such things, but does our own press meet that description? The methods used to convict Mohammed go against every standard of human decency. Are there any limits to what we will do in this the war against an abstract noun, the so-called “War on Terror?” Might we even justify, say, gouging out the eyes of a suspected terrorist’s child to “forestall an imminent threat?”

CORRECTION An article in the October issue of the Hyattsville Life & Times incorrectly represented the opinion of a resident regarding the city’s code. Herb Hille supported the final version of the code on grass/weed height. An article in the October issue incorrectly stated that mobile vending trucks located on Ager Road received city permits in the past. The City of Hyattsville has not extended permits to these vendors. Instead, in the past, they have been required to receive permits from Prince George’s County.

|THE PUBLICATION DEADLINE for articles and letters in the December issue is Friday, November 28th. |

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 3


Hyattsville resident Nikki Thompson adjusts the top of one of the bee hives in her 42nd Avenue yard. Photo: Bobby McMahon

Keeping up with the buzz Resident knows her own beeswax by Bobby McMahon


n the center of Nikki Thompson's garden, two blue and white wooden boxes provide homes for unlikely tenants—honey bees. Thompson said that the bees are crucial to the vitality of her garden, and she is just one of several Hyattsville residents who are creating wildlife habitats, choosing native plants and generally turning their gardens into eco-friendly swaths. Bees have long been of interest to Thompson, who has been living and gardening in the same Hyattsville home for almost 30 years. A few years ago, she saw a posting about a bee-keeping course and started taking classes. She built her first hive, followed soon by another, and now has hundreds of bees pollinating her garden. The benefits of bees and other pollinators like butterflies, beetles and even bats are numerous, said Esther Mitchell, Master Gardener Coordinator at the Prince George’s County Extension, part of the university’s College of Agricultural and Natural Resources. About one-third of human food crops need pollinators, and by limiting the use of pesticides, gardeners can avoid accidently ridding their yard of these and other good bugs that improve yard health, she said.

“If our world was without pollinators, we would not have apples, peaches, and pears,� Mitchell said. “They are why we have food and beautiful flowers.� While beneficial to plants, Thompson admits that bees can sometimes startle the neighbors. Sitting on her back porch one weekend morning, she saw her bees swarm around her backyard. While this may cause some people to be alarmed, Thompson knew that the bees were simply looking for a new home. “There’s a lot of notions about bees—people don’t understand them,� Thompson said. While her yard boasts no bee hives, resident M.A. Sheehan has taken a more laissez-faire approach to natural gardening. A few years ago, she decided to stop trying to grow grass in her woody backyard, and in time began to see many of the same plants she would see while hiking. As it turns out, many of these were native plants. After the native plants came the insects, followed by the animals that eat them, and now Sheehan’s yard is teeming with life. The National Wildlife Federation has certified her yard as a Backyard Wildlife Habitat, and she has counted more than 60 different species of birds, including the warbler, which Sheehan enjoys

watching from her trusty lawn chair in the summertime. “It’s so much easier than having a lawn,� Sheehan said. She allows a variety of ground cover plants to spread through her backyard, including the partridgeberry with its delicate white flowers. She said that native ground cover is cheaper, easier and more environmentally friendly than growing grass. “There are so many other options that I wish people were aware of,� Sheehan said. “You don’t see the same diversity in lawns.� With more residents becoming aware of native plants, Mitchell said that many have begun to plant natives like the purple cone flower more frequently. Often, when invasive, non-native plants enter an area, insects may not feed on those plants, and damage to the food cycle begins, she said. “Once the native plants go, the animals have to go elsewhere for good,� Mitchell said. For those interested in building a “green� yard, both Thompson and Sheehan recommended starting small, being patient, and learning as much as you can in the process. “If you just let it go, it’s so much fun to watch what comes,� Sheehan said. She’s thinking of putting up bat boxes next.

Knitting Weather Is Here! Hours: Tuesday–Friday 11–7, Saturday 11–6, Sunday 1–5 Closed on Monday

301-779-3399 5200 Baltimore Ave. (Rte. 1), Hyattsville, MD 20781 Across from Franklin’s, entrance on Gallatin Street

Page 4

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 5

Scare tactics by Bobby McMahon


lood-spattered walls, maggot-covered body parts and a gang of flesh-hungry zombies are all part of the fun at Goatman Hollow haunted house in Riverdale. But for the volunteers who work and act in this elaborate Halloween attraction, the legend of the Goatman means much more. Not just a “jump-out-at-you� type of haunt, Goatman Hollow is billed as a “haunted theatrical experience� with good reason. The 200 to 300 guests per night spend 45 minutes inside the converted John C. Dorsey building as the often unwilling actors in a moving play. Rather than just screaming—although they do plenty of that—guests are required to interact and improvise with the twisted characters inside. “We wanted to do something that we would want to see,� said Jenny Wright, one of the founders of Goatman Hollow, who started the haunt in 2002 with her husband and two neighbors.They decided to base their haunt around the local urban legend of the “Goatman,� a half-man, halfgoat believed to live in the woods of Prince George’s County and feast on unsuspecting teenagers. “We wanted to do something that no one else was


continued from page 1 which is geared toward youth ages three to 12. The program ran twice in October and on Nov. 7. “Some of the other local nature centers have been conducting this program longer than Locust Grove has and it is a very popular program,� said Lynn Etheridge, a naturalist at Locust Grove who led the demonstration. “We decided to buy a cider press and provide our patrons with the same opportunity.� Before participants could try their hand at the cider press, Etheridge taught them about various types of apples and how they are grown. Maryland’s claim to fame is its very own apple species — the Spencerville Red — named after the town in Maryland in which they were first grown. These firm, tart apples came about serendipitously and are a cousin of the Jonathon variety, Etheridge said. She brought the Spencerville Red apples to the nature center from Heyser Orchards in nearby Colesville. “Out of the 7,500 species grown in the world, we have our own apple,� Etheridge told the group of chattering kids and parents huddled around her in the nature center. “And we’re very proud of it.� Participants were also given the chance to taste four different mystery apple species before voting on their favorite kind. The sweetest variety, called the Nittany — a cross between Golden Delicious and York apples — was the most popular by a long shot. The runner-up was the Golden Delicious. In a tie for third and fourth place were the two snappiest flavors — Spencerville Red and Jonathan. Etheridge explained that at least

doing,� she said. After entering the attraction, groups are told that they are doctors who are looking for the Goatman. As they move from room to room, they encounter deranged physicians, evil clowns and gallons of blood, which seems to cover every inch of every room inside. It’s spattered on the walls, dripping from an armless body, and causing your shoes stick to the floor in some rooms. “You can’t have a haunt without blood,� said Bill Livingston, another founder, who sat backstage and organized volunteers as they arrived. Goatman Hollow is an all-volunteer effort, and this dedicated group - planning starts in the Spring - puts on the entire production, from acting in the haunt, to building sets, to using makeup, to turning joyful adolescents into frightening zombies. “The bulk of our volunteers were once customers,� Wright said, adding that a vast majority of them come from the surrounding neighborhoods. “They love it and they want to come back.� Many volunteers see it as an opportunity to spend time with their families, including Tracy Day, a Beltsville resident who helped with the event. She said that many kids get in-

three kinds of apples must be used to make cider — one tart, one slightly bitter and one sweet. In this case, the participants added all four varieties to their very own batch of apple cider. Outdoors, children and parents gathered around a cider press to partake in the cider-making process. The children loaded apples into the hopper — a crate attached to the top of the press in which the apples are crushed. They took turns twisting the handle, allowing juice to seep from the apples and straining out pomace — the residual seeds, stems and pulp. Nathan Zimmerberg, 10, said his favorite part of the program was “crunching the apples� in the press. Katherine Morrison brought her three-year old son Joshua to the demonstration and said he particularly enjoyed learning how the cider was made. “He likes anything mechanical,� she said. “The fact that they showed the press and how it worked was very exciting.� Once the kids finished churning the press, the cider was ready to enjoy. Youngsters and adults sipped their concoction and quickly requested more. The nature center also provided apple juice and pre-packaged cider from Heyser Orchards. Back indoors, the participants finished off their afternoon with a sampling of apple butter. “It’s very seasonal and fun,� said Lily Dwyer, who brought along her five-year old daughter Katheryne and three-year old daughter Caroline. “It’s one of those simple entertainments that are great for kids.� Locust Grove Nature Center, 7777 Democracy Blvd., is a short drive down the Beltway from Hyattsville. For more information, call 301.299.1990.

Tracy Day (L) applies makeup to the face of Goatman Hollow actress Sarah Dice at the Haunted House in Riverdale Park last month. Photo: Bobby McMahon

volved through their parents and vice versa, and friendships are formed in the hours that go into production. “A lot of these kids grew up with the haunt,� Day said. Goatman Hollow also gives a chance for volunteers to give back to the community. Livingston said that the money raised through admissions and concessions is divided

between covering expenses and improvements for next year—this year featured a bigger, scarier, professionally made Goatman suit—and donations to the Riverdale Fire Department. Last year they were able to raise $6,000, and they’re hoping for more by the end of this run. For 12-year-old Jasper Rain, though, the appeal of working at

Goatman Hollow is simple: scaring the pants off people. Jasper performed as a zombie one night, and enjoyed frightening one group in particular. “I like seeing the big college frat guys get scared and hide behind their girlfriends. Then they come out and say they weren’t scared,� Rain said.

Under the Coconut Tree Experience the Caribbean‌ rCurrant Roll rCassava Pone rButter Bread rOn-Premises Baking r Scrumptious Roti filled with Curried Meat and Potato rWorld Famous Bake ‘n Shark r Many More Mouthwatering Dishes!


Helping Sell Hyattsville and Our Neighboring Community Hyattsville $349,000 4 BR, 2 Full Baths Riverdale Park


UNDER CONTRACT! Hyattsville Hills $424,900 4+ BR, 3 Full Baths

Hyattsville with Pool $485,000

Ann Barrett, RealtorÂŽ Salesperson Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. 9094 Baltimore Avenue College Park, MD 20740

cell: 240-938-6060

SOLD! Stone Colonial RP $500,000

office: 301-441-9511 ext. 261 web: ANNBARRETT.LNFRE.COM email: ANNBARRETT@LONGANDFOSTER.COM

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 6


HLT editor attends free FEMA disaster preparedness course by Sarah Nemeth


showed up an hour early, which was probably indicative of my uber-preparedness, or maybe just a good sign that I was in the right place at training for Hyattsville’s Community Emergency Response Team. About 47 people showed up to the Hyattsville Municipal Building Oct. 11-12 for the free course, offered through Prince George’s County’s Office of Homeland Security. They came from all over the county, including the cities of Bowie, Hyattsville and Laurel, from Lanham, Fort Washington and Lewisdale. Our trainers, Michael Hansen, Matt Dipietro and Miranda Raggio, from Delmarva Search and Rescue, doled out training manuals and set us up with backpacks full of emergency equipment (including what looks like the Swiss army’s version of a hatchet). I learned way more in two days than I learned in an entire semester of college math theory. We began with disasters – natural, technological and manmade. We learned fire safety (including handson training with fire extinguishers and “cribbing,” a means of leveraging heavy items), disaster medical training, light search and rescue operations, disaster psychology, how CERT works after an event of terrorism and how the organization mobilizes. The Hyattsville CERT team has already been put into action. “We have been mobilized to help direct traffic around down trees and wires,” said Bill Auchter, leader of Hyattsville’s CERT team. “We have assisted in traffic control for the Hyattsville Parade, assisted the police on Halloween night by walking assigned neighborhoods, been part of the National Night Out program for the last four years, and provided information to citizens at

the last Summer Jam of the summer … as part of the National Preparedness Program.” Auchter got involved after hearing about the program from locals and from Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland, who is supportive of the program. Right now there are four officers and one dispatcher from the HPD who have attended CERT training and two of them are active members of the group, Auchter said. The CERT concept was developed by the Los Angeles City Fire Department in 1985. The Whittier Narrows earthquake in 1987 highlighted the concern of an area-wide threat of a major disaster in California. It also confirmed the need for training civilians to meet immediate needs. The CERT program is administered by FEMA's Community Preparedness Division. It prepares people to help themselves, their families and others in the event of a disaster in

For more information E-mail Calvin Hawkins, of the Prince George’s County Office of Homeland Security, at: their community. With this training, volunteers can provide immediate assistance to victims before emergency first responders arrive on scene. CERT volunteers also participate in community preparedness activities. Prince George’s County funds its CERT training programs through grant money from the Citizens Corp program of the Department of Homeland Security. Auchter said the Hyattsville team has budgeted money for its program through the city’s police department. These funds are used to purchase additional tools that might be needed in an emergency.

City continues contract with NZI by Karen Anderson


n a unanimous voice vote on Oct. 20, the Hyattsville City Council agreed to direct the city administrator to enter into a contract with NZI Construction, Inc. of Beltsville, to complete the city’s street infrastructure rehabilitation plan, which is currently in its fourth of five years. Hyattsville Mayor William Gardiner said of the $11.8 million in the City’s Operating Budget, Hyattsville has spent about $2.1 million on the project this year and $7.9 million so far in its 4 years for what he described as “long over-due” repairs.

The five-year plan seeks to rehabilitate all streets, sidewalks, curbs and gutters through construction, street milling—a process that prepares a road for paving—and paving, according to Gardiner and council documents. “It’s essential to maintaining quality neighborhoods, essential to ensuring that we don’t add to our costs by neglecting an ongoing investment,” he said. More specifically, Gardiner said the project will focus on repaving roads as necessary and reinstalling traffic calming devices to meet the city’s current standards. This

NZI continued on page 9

Hyattsville may get skate park by Anke Bettina Irgang


What’s happening in your neck of the woods? Tell us what you’d like to see in future issues of HL&T. Contact Sarah at 240.354.4832.

he City of Hyattsville is has approved a proposal for enhanced sports facilities at Melrose Park, situated at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and 41st Place. The proposal includes the construction of a small skate park. Its features have yet to be determined, but will be based on input by local skaters. The proposed skate park would cater to skaters from beginner to advanced level, and would comprise an area of about 4,700 square feet. “We will talk to kids in the community and get their input on what has worked and what hasn’t worked in other skate parks in the area,” said Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s community development manager. “Based on that, we’ll decide what features will be included in ours.” One skater, Julian Blein Villacres, thinks the park should not include a half basketball court, which is suggested in the proposal. “There are lots of other basketball

courts in the area,” the Riverdale Park resident told the City Council at a Nov. 3 meeting. In addition to creating areas designated for skating, the city plans to build a new half-size basketball court, as well as create an expanded parking lot and a pedestrian walkway connecting the park’s existing soccer field with the skate park.The city does not anticipate a rise in criminal incidents or fights after the construction of the skating area. According to Chandler, the city will, however, require users of the park to sign a waiver for insurance purposes. The proposal was put on hold for some years following its initial introduction. Work on the project resumed when the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which is responsible for developing and operating public parks in the county, approved a budget of $275,000 in fiscal years 2004 and 2005, according to Eileen Nivera, planner-coordinator for

the commission’s Prince George’s County division. Nivera introduced the plan to Hyattsville residents at a public meeting on Oct. 23. “We wanted to give people who are currently using the park and its basketball court a chance to give some input,” she said. “All participants seemed very welcoming towards our proposal.” Chandler added that 25 to 30 residents, officials and city staff attended the meeting. “We sort of walked everyone through the plan and got a very favorable response from the community,” he said. The City Council will forward its recommendations, and those of the residents who commented on the park, to M-NCPPC. The commission will then decide whether the project can move forward. If the review process is completed according to plan, construction is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2010.

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page HR1

Page HR2

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page HR3

Page HR4

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 7

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, I understand that the new city ordinance on grass and weeds permits alternative gardens now, and sanctions use of native plants and tall grasses. Ecologically I admit that this sounds very good, but I have esthetic reservations. It seems to me there's no way such a garden can look anything but messy and unkempt. Please weigh in on this. Mostly Mowed on Madison Street   Dear Mostly Mowed, You may be as surprised as I was to find out that the mostly mowed look is no longer the mode in France, that most horticulturally elegant Eden. Our very own native plants, including tall grasses, are everywhere. Just last month, while visiting my sister Polyantha and her husband, Bonhomme Boutonniere, in Picardy, I noticed tall grasses such as miscanthus even in window boxes. Then Polyantha and I went to Normandy to visit her daughter Noisette, who took us to the celebrated Jardin Botanique d'Evreux, where I was astonished to see our own native plants and grasses featured prominently. In the photograph I took you may recognize Mexican firecrackers, dahlias,  miscanthus, black-eyed Susans, marsh


continued from page 1

munity meeting held the week after the murder. “Last year, we had one. Before this, in the last 10 years, the most we had in a year were three.” Hernandez was the only child of Pedro and Josepha Hernandez, of the 5200 block of 42nd Avenue.The family moved to Hyattsville four years ago after living in Washington, D.C. for 28 years. At the meeting, Hernandez said that he had spoken to his son at around 10 p.m. on Tuesday before Pedro Hernandez went to his friend’s house to do some paperwork. Hernandez also said that his son had told him that he would be home soon. “He was a sweet boy,” Hernandez said. “He didn’t have any problem with anyone.” A memorial of flowers, teddy bears, and other mementos were placed at the spot at King Memorial Park where he was found at 12:33 that Wednesday morning. The Prince George’s County Police Homicide Unit, which investigates all homicides in Hyattsville, is investigating the murder. A white Dodge Magnum was seen leaving the scene as the police officer pulled up to the scene, according to an e-mail sent at 6:06 a.m. the same day by the Hyattsville Police Department to the members

marigolds and pampas grass. Then in Paris's Luxembourg Gardens I saw how our native grasses charmingly fluff up the almost uncomfortably formal look of the traditional beds.  But even before now, gazons japonais (Japanese lawns) full of Old World wildflowers were seen in France. Most visitors to the British Isles find their exuberant cottage gardens enchanting rather than "messy and unkempt." And even if you  prefer the broad expanses of clipped grass that originated in England, the grass is that incomparable emerald green because the British climate permits it. Gardeners over there do not contend with our brutal summer sun, long dry periods and sudden extremes of temperature.We do well to design our gardens using the plants that can withstand our own climate and still look fresh and perky. Going to another extreme both geographically and conceptually, the Japanese work wonders without any grass at all — they create  beautiful gardens with just sand and stones and a few accent plants. If you've ever seen Joe Fox-Glover's garden you will realize that even in deep shade where grass will not grow, a judicious selection of shade-loving plants and an impeccable sense of composition will result in a harmo-

of the Hyattsville Safe City Alert System listserv. Holland said it appears that this year’s murder cases are not related and that there is no pattern to them. The first case was drug related, the second and third cases took place during a robbery while the fourth happened as a result of a dispute between two roommates.The first and fourth cases have been closed while the other two remain open, Holland said. Det. Sgt. Chris Purvis of the Hyattsville Police Department, working closely with the county police department’s homicide unit in the investigation, said at the meeting that no new information on the investigation was available at the time. “We are at the embryonic stage of the investigation,” Purvis said. “Right now we are trying to reach out to the community to help us. If you know anything, let us know.” A cash reward up to $25,000 is being offered to anyone with a tip that leads to the arrest and indictment of those responsible for Hernandez’s death. The total number of crimes dropped by 0.62 percent over the last three quarters of 2008 compared to 2007, Holland said. A total of 1,448 crimes have been reported from January to September this year, of which 1 percent were crimes against persons while 87 percent were crimes against property. Holland also said that the city is seeing an increase in crime by groups of teens.

Gardin Botanique d'Evreux. Photo: Miss Floribunda

nious alternative garden. The Minnowhavens's water garden provides another example of imaginative use of native ornamental grasses and aquatic plants. My conclusion is that any gardener with common sense about plant choice, a good eye for color and texture and a flair for landscape design can make any style of garden visually inviting.  If you would like to continue this discussion please come to the next meeting of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society at 10 a.m. on Nov. 15 at City Hall, 4310 Gallatin St. All visitors are free to take leftovers from last month's plant exchange. Questions may be sent to floribundav@ Miss Floribunda is the collected wisdom of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society compiled and edited by Victoria Hille.

In August, a number of stores at the Mall at Prince George’s were broken into in on the same night, which accounted for unusually high numbers of commercial burglaries that month, Holland said. “The folks involved in the Prince George’s Mall burglary were 13 and 14-year-olds,” he said. According to Holland, his department has implemented new programs to reduce the number of crimes in the city. “One such program is ‘Community Action Team’ which is tasked with identifying and addressing community issues before they become a problem,” Holland said The police department has also instituted a crime reduction model called Statistical Management, Analysis, & Response Tactics Holland said. It focuses on crime through weekly crime analysis reports. The patrol officers develop crime-fighting strategies in response to the weekly crime analysis reports. As a result, officers are more focused and deployment is based on the findings rather than random patrols. Holland encouraged residents to sign up for the Safe City Alert listserv, join Neighborhood Watch, and to visit the city Web sites to find out more on safety and crime in the city and be alert. “Be a nosy neighbor,” Holland said. “Call us anytime you see anything suspicious.”

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 8

Walking with purpose by Allie Benjamin







ast year 269 students from St. Mark the Evangelist Catholic School raised over $2,000 for the homeless and this bequest enabled Mary House to provide instant shelter for four new families. On Nov. 7 the children walked again. Mary House, a volunteer organization, works to help provide shelter for the homeless, immigrants, refugee families and pregnant mothers, and for the past seven years pupils at St. Mark’s have been walking through University Park to help raise money. “Students will attend morning mass and then spend about an hour participating in the walk,� said Principal Charles Russell. This year Mary House has a goal of reaching $250,000. More than 10 years ago Mary House reached out to St. Mark’s, as well as other schools in the area, and formed a relationship that was mutually beneficial. “Separate from helping the whole cause, the children start to learn a positive attitude about contributing to society in general and more specifically the poor in their area,� said

Recreation department overhaul in sight by Lauren Cohen


What do you think? We want to hear from you!

Bill Murphy, co-founder of Mary House. “Especially with the Catholic schools, students are given the opportunity to practically apply their faith to raise money and show good support,� he said. Seven schools in the area are independently participating in “miniwalks� to raise money for the homeless. This year Mary House is really depending on the help of the children to raise money to support more people. “We received $65,000 last year from Fannie Mae, but this year donations are down [because of the sluggish national economy] so the only contribution we will receive from them will be if they show up at the actual walk,� said Murphy, who estimates receiving only $5,000 this year from the recently beleaguered government-sponsored initiative. “This year really will be more about survival rather than growth,� Murphy said. The pupils helping Mary House receive price matches for how much they walk as well as other donations from the community.

yattsville residents could see improvements in park maintenance, city partnerships, playgrounds and programming after changes are made to the Hyattsville Department of Recreation and the Arts. Mayor William Gardiner said he hopes these improvements will happen once those changes, including the hiring of a new director, take effect. Due to budget constraints, the department has not always received the most money, with funds going to other areas such as roads and the police department, Gardiner said. However, in the last budget there was a proposal to provide more funding for the department. Finding a new director for the program is one of the biggest changes being made to the department. After a new director is chosen, Gardiner said other staffing positions will soon follow. “Once we hire a new director, we will have that director come back to the city with the recommendation regarding the requested staff positions and position descriptions,� he said. Gardiner declined to comment on the record as to why acting director Joanne Mood’s contract was not renewed. She has been given the opportunity to continue to work with the department in some facet, he said. Gardiner stressed how important it is for Hyattsville to offer “high-quality parks and high-quality programs.� He would like to see employees looking after the parks, making sure playgrounds are safe and that users are following park rules.

City Council President William Tierney said the council would like to see such things as specialty programs for three- to six-year-olds, senior programs focused on wellness and education, arts and enrichment programming for teens, and creation of an adult recreation program. “It’s really time for us to be more creative,� he said. Tierney also said that some of the recreation and arts programs do not see much activity from residents while others have so much interest that they need someone with more experience to take over. Hank Irving, Greenbelt’s director of recreation and a member of the committee to select the new Hyattsville director, had suggestions for how the department can make improvements. Irving, who Gardiner said was chosen as a member of the committee because of his knowledge of recreation, said it’s a good idea to make citizens from different areas of the city part of a parks and recreation advisory board. He also mentioned the importance of “getting people actively involved, and [of] help[ing] promote the programs they put on.� Working with the mayor and City Council to make the changes they want, making sure to “off-set taxpayers costs,� and joining the Maryland Recreation and Parks Association are a few of Irving’s other suggestions. The committee to select a new director is currently in the search process, said Vincent Jones, Hyattsville’s assistant city administrator. “I think it would be great if we would have somebody on board by early next year,� Gardiner said.

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

by Allie Benjamin


hile the infamous “Soup Nazi� repeatedly denied soup to disobliging customers on the Seinfeld TV series, members of the Hyattsville community will be able to enjoy the soups of Al Yeganeg—who inspired the ‘Soup Episode’—at the latest Original SoupMan restaurant. The chain’s new location, at University Town Center, will provide the same soup that was so popular in the TV episode, with owners who are a little more generous to provide victuals to hungry customers. Athena Ware Hernandez and her father James Ware tasted Yeganeg’s soup at a franchise convention and after taking a trip to New York to try the soup again, they knew they had found the perfect venture. “We chose this type of restaurant because of the ingredients used,� Ware said. “It’s nice to have a place that offers healthy alternatives instead of only fried food.� The restaurant serves eight to 10 varieties of soup each day, and rotates among all of Yeganeg’s 50 recipes. Every day at least one soup is offered from each of the following categories: meat and poultry soups, vegetarian soups, seafood soups and specialty soups. The most popular soup is the lobster bisque, which is offered ev-

Page 9

Soup for you!

Homo Habilis Construction LLC* Remodeling

Two million years of experience wrapped up in one small company! s+ITCHENS s"ATHS s"ASEMENTS s!DDITIONS s(ANDYMAN s2EPAIRS

Peter J. O’Day


An employee at the Soup Man restaurant at University Town Center scoops hot soup for patrons. Photo: Allie Benjamin

ery other day and is alternated with crab bisque, Ware said. When the store opened on Oct. 7, business started with a big boom, and now things are starting to even out, Ware said. “Even in the midst of economic distress, Hernandez still sees the value in opening an Original SoupMan in Hyattsville, stating that the product fills a void in the area’s food offerings,� said Damiano DeMonte, account executive for Bullseye Public Relations, who is representing the company. Everything is not only healthy, but made fresh daily. “When help is not needed in the front—mostly during the lunch-time

rush—people are in the back chopping up ingredients for the salad, or slicing meat for sandwiches,�Ware said. In addition to the soups offered, customers receive a piece of bread, their choice of fruit and a piece of chocolate with their meal. Combos are also offered, which include either half of a sandwich or a small salad. Since the location is close to the University of Maryland campus, the owners hope to soon set up a deal with a student meal card company. “Our biggest customers are the local government workers, but we really would like to get more students to come out as well,� Ware said.

Feasibility of YMCA uncertain by Maria Zilberman


he YMCA of Metropolitan Washington and the City of Hyattsville are discussing the possibility of bringing a YMCA facility to Hyattsville, but the cost of the facility and a struggle to arrange adequate parking are delaying the project, authorities said. “We’re not in the stage of contracts yet, said YMCA spokeswoman Carol Gregory.“Where we are right now is we’re really evaluating the programs we want to offer and we’re looking into financing options.� The proposed facility would be located at 4307 Jefferson St., adjacent to Renaissance Square Apartments. Parking options discussed for the potential facility include existing parking or building a parking garage. However, building a garage could be costly, said Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s Community Development Manager. Each individual space could cost from $500 to $1,000 to build, he said. “If they can’t get beyond the


continued from page 6

means replacing existing “speed bumps,� which require drivers to slow to 5 or 10 mph, with “speed humps,� which cars can drive over at about 25 mph “so drivers can maintain a fairly consistent speed that is still below the speed limit,� Gardiner said. Also, the project calls for the installation of pedestrian safety measures, including additional sidewalks along Crittenden Street and 40th Avenue. Gardiner said the city will likely

parking issue, there’s no sense talking about [what programs the facility will offer],� Chandler said. Current economic instability has made it even more necessary that the YMCA thoroughly researches the financial sustainability of programs they bring to Hyattsville, Gregory said. “We want to make sure we’re not duplicating services in the area, but serving needs not readily available.� She said. “When we go into a community, we’re looking for a long term investment in the community.� The Hyattsville YMCA would offer multi-use arts spaces to enhance the needs of Hyattsville’s arts district, Gregory said. “The multi-use space would be rooms for artists to both create and display their works,� Gregory said. Examples include spaces for art, photography and dance studios and practice spaces for musicians. The YMCA also hopes to offer local artists opportunities to teach classes to YMCA members and area residents, Gregory said.

complete renovations in University Hills during an additional sixth year of the project, which he estimates will cost “probably another $1 to $2 [million].� NZI has been the bidder for a number of Prince George’s County contracts and the city has renewed a piggyback on the low county bids so that NZI will repair Hyattsville’s streets at the same prices that they provided to the county, Gardiner said. “The prices [the city of Hyattsville] got were far higher than the prices the county got,� he said.

The proposed facility would also include a family swimming pool with water slides and a youth wellness program, she said. The YMCA’s youth wellness program, “Physical, Healthy and Driven,� includes health and fitness assessments, family nutrition education and playground style physical activity. “PHD has been at the forefront of addressing one of the region's fastest growing health crises, childhood obesity,� Gregory said. Additionally, the YMCA hopes to strengthen the community bonds in Hyattsville. “The part that we want to get right in Hyattsville is making sure we address the culture of the area, like connecting artists with each other,� she said.“TheYMCA is all about making connections in the community.� Gregory said the YMCA will likely meet with Hyattsville Mayor William Gardiner this month to discuss the future of the project. Gardiner did not return calls seeking comment on this matter.

Some in the community expressed doubts about the fairness of the bidding process for the project. Hyattsville resident David Marshall said the city “didn’t give anyone else a chance to contract� because of a lack of advertising. “Even if it’s not actually favoritism ... it starts to look that way when one firm is given this much work without any competition,� Marshall said. However, Gardiner said the city issued a separate request for propos-

NZI continued on page 10


Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 10

Hyattsville resident publishes visual history What do you think?

We want to hear from you! To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc., e-mail


See me today and get the discounts and service you deserve.

Mark W McGibbon, Agent, CLU ChFC 6309 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 304 Riverdale, MD 20737-1059 Bus: 301-927-5030


*Actual average annual savings were $339.14 per household. This amount is based on a January, 2006, survey of new policyholders who reported savings through State Farm as compared to previous carriers’ rates. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company, State Farm Indemnity Company – Bloomington, IL

by Karen Anderson


his fall, Hyattsville Preservation Association historian and 10 year city resident, Andra Damron, presents a visual history of Hyattsville in her book, Hyattsville, part of the Images of America series by Arcadia Publishing. The book chronicles the city’s beginnings before its official incorporation in 1886 and continues through the 1990s. “I think that everyone in Hyattsville has an interesting story and because of that everyone plays a part in our history,” Damron said. She went on to describe this book as a celebration of the community, an understanding she reflected in her organization of Hyattsville. Although descriptive captions and a comprehensive introduction provide some verbal navigation, the structure of Damron’s book largely allows for the story to be told by about 200 community pictures, each of which depict everyday life in its various stages throughout Hyattsville’s history. The fundamental research for the book included gathering relevant pictures and learning the stories behind them, a detailed process that included sifting through census information, archived newspapers and resources at the Prince George’s County Historical Society and the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. Altogether, Damron said she considered about 1,000 photographs and drew from personal histories recounted from past and present community members. Damron spent 11 months completing the book with the help of HPA members, like Miriam Howe, and other community members who were willing to share their family history. “My name is on the cover, but it’s certainly not a singular effort ...,” Damron said. “To me that’s what makes Hyattsville so great — its community spirit.”


continued from page 1 Prices are also 10-15 percent less than projected, Thakkar said. Ann Barrett, a Hyattsville resident and a realtor with Long & Foster, said, “We have a bigger supply of houses on the market than we’d like, and it makes sales harder. But the city of Hyattsville is pretty solid. We have great growth coming.” Steve Clements, a long-time Hyattsville resident, recently sold his house on Kennedy Street during what he calls a “worrisome” national financial climate. “I had two contracts on the house. That sounds good—but I still haven’t sold it, because of financing


continued from page 9

als, and got a number of responses that weren’t competitive. Others in the community, such as Hyattsville resident and former city councilman Scott Wilson, do not feel that the benefit of the project

Hyattsville—then. A photo from Andra Damron's new book about the city. Photo: submitted photo

Although other books have been written about Hyattsville’s history, HPA president Thomas Behrens described this one as “a little bit broader in scope,” going on to characterize it as one that “builds on” what has been done before. “I think this is the first time we’ve really taken a comprehensive look at Hyattsville history from its founding to current situations,” Behrens said. The book is divided into four sections that distinguish time based on the developments in transportation. It highlights the eras of the railroad, street cars, U.S. Route 1 and modern development. “This community ... has always been about transportation and its proximity to downtown,” said Behrens, who recognized “an integral story” between changes in the transportation system and changes in the town. “As the transportation grew so did the community. ”There really is a correlation there,” he said. The book spreads its focus from the mid to late 1800s until the early 1960s, but its coverage trails off as it approach-

es Hyattsville’s most recent history. “This is meant to be a starting point for Hyattsville history collection rather than a final one,” Damron wrote in the acknowledgements. HPA, a 26-year-old a non-profit volunteer organization that Behrens said dedicates itself to the architectural history of Hyattsville, encourages continuing such a history collection, although Behrens said a Hyattsville museum may be “a little bit farther down the road.” Arcadia Publishing, who approached the city about the project, describes itself as “the leading local history publisher in the United States” and has published more than 5,000 titles, including many in Maryland, according to their company Web site. “This is a community effort and I hope that people will see it as that way,” Damron said. To promote the book, Damron and HPA are hosting a book launch today at 7:30 p.m. at City Hall, 4310 Gallatin St., followed by a book signing at the Book Nook at 1:30 p.m. on Nov. 15.

problems,” he said. “The house sold under a government program to help first-time buyers. But Oct.1, all similar government programs except this one were frozen, and so people are turning to it, and it’s swamped with paperwork.” Jesse Jennell, a spokesperson for Mosaic at Metro, which has rental units near the Prince George’s Plaza Metro station, has a different perspective. “Our units are still selling,” he said. “With the housing crisis and the credit crunch, people sometimes can’t get into a house right now, and leasing is one of the best options around.” Mosaic’s first units—two buildings—will open in November and the rest, including amenities like a pool and a media room, in January.

Resident Chris Currie calls himself an “expert amateur” because he’s spent several years helping people move to Hyattsville. “More people I know want to move here than ever, because of the new development and improved infrastructure,” he said. “But it’s harder for them to actually buy, due to tighter financing, concerns about further market depreciation, and difficulties selling their current homes. It seems there are more people interested in living here but fewer people are closing on houses.” He also said there were five bank foreclosures in the city in the third quarter of the year, based on information provided by the county.

justifies its costs. “The amount of money they throw away on this stuff is really quite large,” Wilson said of the City Council’s plans for street infrastructure rehabilitation. “It’s important to do it, but it’s important to do it economically. They need to repair only those parts that need repairing.

It makes no sense to take out the good stuff and replace it.” Gardiner expressed confidence in the city’s spending on the project, saying the city is undertaking both a “major initiative” and a “major investment ... which [it] had not undertaken for 30 years.”

Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 11

DeMatha construction changes streetscape by Maria Zilberman


nce complete, construction on DeMatha Catholic High School’s new convocation center could bring a boom to Hyattsville’s developing restaurant district. Dematha’s new convocation center will feature a gymnasium with seating for 1,181 people that will host eight to 10 basketball games per year, five classrooms, athletic locker rooms, athletic offices for coaches, a weight room and a batting cage.The current gymnasium holds 700. “We like that people will be coming to the community. We hope that as we develop our restaurant district, people at the ball games will come and enjoy the restaurants,� said Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation. Digging for the convocation center will begin on Nov.15 and construction will take until June 2010 to complete, said the DeMatha Principal, Daniel McMahon. “We hope to have facilities that are more worthy of our people and our programs,� McMahon said. “We have had wrestling practice taking place in classrooms and award- winning music programs taking place in trailers.� The convocation center is only one part of the construction project. Other aspects include removing utility poles and moving all utilities underground, converting the McCarthy Activities Center to an exclusive music center, adding parking, widening Madison Street and building a street wall 18 1/2 feet high along U.S. Route 1. Because development standards for the Prince George’s County Gateway Arts District, which Hyattsville is part of, prohibit parking lots in front of buildings, Eisenberg said he and the CDC recommended a permeable street wall be put in place along Route 1 to make the parking in front of the school less noticeable to those passing by the area.


continued from page 1

similar to Steve’s. The speakers were men and women, black and white, young and not so young. “I’m ecstatic,� said Donna, headed into A Tangled Skein yarn shop on Route 1. “I’m so happy that hope has been given a chance.� Gordon was sitting in Under the Cocoanut Tree restaurant. “I’m pleased,� he said. “I can’t continue in this war mentality. The war’s bankrupting the U.S. What have we got out of it? A lot of dead people, higher food and fuel prices, and now lots of unemployment.� A lifelong Hyattsville resident named James stopped to say, “It was great. I liked what [Obama] said in his acceptance speech.� Antoine is a business owner in Hyattsville. “I’m overjoyed,� he said. “I’m proud to be an American and I’m glad I’m black. It was very brave of white Americans to vote for Obama.�

“You can see the parking, but it’s really mediated so that if you’re walking on Route 1 there is a street presence and a human scale rather than [an] emptiness and a void,� he said. The school is also working to have fewer students driving through city neighborhoods by creating faculty only parking behind the school and continuing to offer students parking in areas that are easily accessible by Route 1, McMahon said. Madison and 44th streets will offer new drop off zones for cars and buses, both of which are accessible by Route 1, he said. The school also plans to widen Madison Street by one lane with the creation of a second exit lane to Route 1 and installation of a right turn arrow at the intersection. The county gave two hundred feet of Madison Street roadway, from the circle in front of the school forward, over to the school, said Jim Chandler, Hyattsville’s Community Development Manager. “When you realize the property given up on Madison Street, the only people that would use that are people going to DeMatha or people living in the EYA development on the west side of Route 1,� Chandler said. Even though the school has acquired this part of the roadway, which sits between the school’s property, the road will continue to be a non-gated open street, McMahon said. However, it will now be the responsibility of the school to maintain the area. Renovations planned for converting the McCarthy Activities Center to a music only facility will be primarily internal and are expected to be complete by the fall of 2009, McMahon said. “In some way, this is an attempt to create an orchestra in the future,� McMahon said. The McCarthy Activities Center’s three classrooms and open space used for study hall, science expos and wrestling practice will need new homes once the renovations are complete, he said. His two friends with him agreed. David, a Hyattsville resident getting lunch at the A&W restaurant on Hamilton Street, said,“It’s a joyful day—and there are great days to come.� Judith is a Hyattsville resident who was on her way into the Hamilton Street Safeway. “I’m thrilled,� she said. “I didn’t realize how relieved I was until today. Obama wasn’t shot and the election wasn’t stolen. He’s going to make a great president.� Not everyone agreed, though. Another Safeway shopper, who declined to give her name, said, “I work in D.C. “I’ve seen everything. And as far as I’m concerned, it is what it is. I just hope it’s better than what we’ve had. Obama’s inexperience worries me.� Finally, Ann—yet another lifelong city resident—said, “I think it’s wonderful. With his message of change, Obama reminds me of John Kennedy. I just hope he isn’t shot. I also hope he pulls out of Iraq.�












Hyattsville Life&Times | November 2008

Page 12

Thank You, Clients, One & All

Happy Thanksgiving! Currently Listed with Larry 2423 Griffen Street $399,000 4305 29th Street $349,000 2214 Banning Place $379,500 3506 Emperor Court $319,000 8117 Hammond Avenue $389,000 4005 Lawrence Street $299,000 4725 Naples Avenue $375,000 4213 Newton Street $239,995

3910 Nicholson Street $299,000 4306 Oglethorpe Street $350,000 4724 Quimby Avenue $369,995 4102 Shepherd Street, $345,000 8906 Trapper Lane $399,995 6620 22nd Place $399,995 4002 31st Street $369,995 4411 39th Street $299,995

If your home is currently listed by another Realtor®, please disregard this offer. It is not my intention to solicit the offerings of other brokers.


LARRY PERRIN, Realtor ® LARRY PERRIN PROPERTIES “THE” Hyattsville Realtor® since 1977


4924 40th Place $385,000 9000 50th Place $269,000 Cherry Glen Condo $179,995 Md Farms Condo from $169,000 Montpelier Condo from $149,900 Greenbriar Condo from $199,995 Hunting Ridge Condo from $225,000

Hyattsville Life & Times November 2008 Issue  
Hyattsville Life & Times November 2008 Issue  

Lead story: Murder on Gallatin St.