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Vol. 4 No. 12

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

Sonny Frazier toy drive party this weekend

A charitable alternative

Locals support needy through gift fair

by Michael Martucci


n Dec.15 joy and comfort will be offered to 200 Hyattsville children. The annual Sonny Frazier Toy Drive culminates with a big party where wrapped presents will be distributed. The private event started out over 25 years ago as a small Christmas party for the late Sonny Frazier’s grandchildren and some friends. It was later opened to children in Frazier’s neighborhood. When Frazier died in November of 2002, Sgt. Suzie Johnson of the Hyattsville Police Department approached Ruth Ann Frazier, widow of Sonny Frazier and councilwoman for Ward 5. Johnson asked if she could continue the tradition and extend it to include underprivileged children all over the city. Each year has found the drive reaching higher and farther than the year before. Last year the event provided toys to 160 children. Distributing gifts to 200 local children is Johnson’s objective this year. The toy drive is still accepting gift and money

TOY DRIVE continued on page 6

December 2007

by Adaora Otiji


Welcome to our world

It’s a small world

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

where it’s not uncommon to run into friends at the grocery store and it's even more normal to meet many people who seem to know your name before you tell them. Travel just outside the boundaries and just see how you feel.The oxygen feels thinner; the sunlight looks dimmer; nature seems not quite as fresh. But come back home to Hyattsville and the cozy charm of a lamppoststudded Baltimore Avenue at night will warm the chill out of your bones. I love to inspect the tiny Christmas village that my father sets up in his home during this season. There are shops, churches with spires, schools and other brick buildings. The tiny evergreens and people ice skating hand-in-hand send waves of warmth through my soul. By far, the best part of this tiny town is the lights! Red, green, blue, golden, white—they express all of Christmas. They are warm, bright and comforting. Sort of like Hyattsville. If I’m not running into someone at the market, I see a friend at a local shop,

coffee house or trekking down my street as I’m drawing the front draperies. I hope we appreciate the Old World townsy area we live in. I, for one, have fallen victim to the beautiful blossoms that line the city streets in spring. I’ve been inspired by the brilliant colors of the leaves in autumn.The sultry summer nights offer hazy moonlit nights. But the Christmas season …Ahhh… is the reason everyone should live in little Hyattsville. It’s a great time to reflect on inspiration and imagination.Winter winds nuzzle the window panes and a dry thirst welcomes egg nog and hot apple cider. I love to drive through the city in admiration of the old homes and gritty gardens. I enjoy stopping into a local café for a warm drink. In my own home, I could spend days curled up in front of my fireplace alternating gazes at a novel and outside my living room window. Welcome to our Hyattsville. Welcome to timelessness and temperance. Welcome to laughter and life. Welcome home.

Executive understanding by Kendall Spera

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

ike many government entities, the Hyattsville City Council operates with committee liaisons and an executive committee. The executive committee— which includes Mayor William Gardiner, Council President Krista Atteberry (Ward 3) and Council Vice President Marc Tartaro—is responsible for setting

the agenda of council meetings. Depending on the matters discussed, City Administrator Elaine Murphy or City Clerk Douglass Barber may attend. “The committee allows for a chain of authority, meaning if the mayor is unable to attend a council meeting, the president takes over,” said Tim Scanlon, president

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE continued on page 18

onating to those in need has become a trend in lives of many Americans looking to combat what has often been heralded as the biggest materialistic holiday of the year. And having the ability to, in turn, give gifts steeped in charity, may sweeten the pot for some Hyattsville residents this Christmas. Hyattsville’s first alternative gift fair took place Dec. 9 at Franklins. The event, which was co-sponsored by the H.O.P.E. listserv and Hyattsville Nurturing Moms,

brought about eight charities and organizations together to introduce shoppers to organizations that they can donate to. J. McCray, co-chair of Alternative Gifts of Greater Washington Inc. and organizer of the Hyattsville gift fair, began as a volunteer for the Takoma Park gift fair eight years ago and wanted to bring the joy of gift giving to his city this year. “During the holidays you make a donation to a charity in lieu of buying a gift for someone on your gift list,” McCray said. “I just really liked the concept.”

GIFT FAIR continued on page 19

Help during the holy daze by Sarah Nemeth


ne essential element of a homey holiday is a hot, home-cooked meal, including all the trimmings and lots of time in the kitchen. These days, one fad in festival feasting is hiring a personal chef to cater a custom menu to feed the family.

And the food lineup can be lavish, said Neil Wilson, a personal chef in Hyattsville. “In my experience there are no common Christmas meals, or, should I say, Christmas season meals,” he said.  “However, the main courses tend to focus on seasonal food. I cook a lot of

HOLY DAZE continued on page 19

Included: The December 12, 2007 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter—See Center Section

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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Opinion: Creepy truth seekers by Sarah Nemeth


ne of my favorite things to do when I visit my father’s snowy Niagara Falls home for Christmas is to stand and stare at the Nativity scene when the lights are low, save for the backlit stable humbly adorned with a declarative angel. It’s an inspiring and wholesome moment there, wondering if the baby was crying and if the animals were as mesmerized by the tiny God in a manger as my yellow Lab is by the blazing Christmas tree lights. I am especially intrigued by the Wise Men…kings from the East. I find them a bit creepy. There’s not much known about these men, except that they saw a brilliant star and followed it until it led them to Bethlehem. They brought some presents to Jesus. They worshipped him. And they probably found him toddling around at age two or so, Dad chasing him around the workshop and both laughing ‘til they landed in a heap on the straw-strewn ground. So the Wise Men brought Jesus gold, frankincense and myrrh. I can see a kid being wowed by a glimmering chunk of gold. But incense? And myrrh—an ointment used in ancient burials? I doubt Jesus even had a clue at that age how to pronounce those two names. (What were the kings trying to say? I mean really, death ointment for a baby?) So I wonder as I wander mentally through the Middle Eastern scene. What did the Wise Men have to say to Mary and

Joseph? Did they sit down for a drink of cool water or offer a critique of Joseph’s carpentry skills? What would one say in that situation? “Hi, we know you’re the King of everything.We’re kings too, so we thought we might have something in common.” The precious boy probably had them chasing him around the homestead in no time flat. But I think what weirds me out the most about the Wise Men isn’t their interaction with the Jesus family so much as why they came to begin with. Talk about a long journey! Almost two years! Something must have really thirsted in them to compel three sovereigns to camel it across the globe. During a recent conversation with a friend, I think I found a glimpse into why they came. No one says it better than Thomas Aquinas, a theologian and scholar who lived in the 1200s: “Among all human pursuits, the pursuit of wisdom is more perfect, more noble, more useful, and more full of joy…It is more noble because through this pursuit man especially approaches to a likeness to God Who ‘made all things in wisdom’ (Ps. 103:24). And since likeness is the cause of love, the pursuit of wisdom especially joins a man to God in friendship. That is why it is said of wisdom that ‘she is an infinite treasure to men! Which they that use become the friends of God…’ ” What’s important to note here is that these men were not Jews, and may have been polytheists. They likely were nowhere near Judaism. But they were “illuminated” by a star that led them to a king. They were truth seekers. And it’s creepy how true their gifts would ring later in Jesus’ life.

News from the ‘Hills’

Neighborly noise by Tim Hunt


n University Hills, not a beat is missed between the busy Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons as the leaves fall, holiday lights go up and the days get shorter. And in the case of our neighborhood, it can also get louder. After the University of Maryland football game against Boston College on Nov. 10, there were many residents who wished their neighborhood was a quieter place. University Hills is unique in that it is a mostly quiet

According to James Greenwell, associate athletic director at the University of Maryland, a lot of things could have contributed to the extraordinary noise. After Maryland defeated Boston College, an upset of a team ranked in the top 10 in the nation, there was a celebration where fans poured onto the field as music played. Crisp autumn weather and the lack of foliage on the trees could have contributed to the sound carrying to University Hills. Also, the post-game celebration delayed the post-game press confer-

ence, Greenwell said. The press conference is routinely played over the stadium public address system as a service to fans in attendance. Combine the late start of the game to accommodate national television, the weather conditions, the post-game celebration and press conference and it was the perfect storm for those attempting to get a good night’s sleep. “We want to make sure our constituents are being taken care of during the game as well as be[ing] good neighbors,” Greenwell said. “I’ve passed the word on to key personnel who will discuss [the noise affecting

from the HL&T Family to Yours


residents] in the off-season.” University officials promise committee reports to the residents by February. “I want to make sure that every complaint that comes in is taken to a resolution,” said Greenwell. The party never stops in University Hills as we look forward to continued dialogue with our very vibrant and very large neighbor, the University of Maryland. In other “Hills” news, on Nov.17, Colleen Aistis with the City of Hyattsville hosted National Family Volunteer Day at the Duck Pond.

Combine the late start of the game to accommodate national television, the weather conditions, the post-game celebration and press conference and it was the perfect storm for those attempting to get a good night’s sleep. neighborhood within a short walk to a major college football stadium. However, residents who have been here for decades were surprised to hear a lot more noise than usual coming from the public-address system of Byrd Stadium well after midnight. “Our house is over 1.5 miles from the stadium, but about midnight I called the university police to complain because the commentary was so loud that we couldn’t sleep,” said Daniel Inouye, a University Hills resident who works at UMD. “There was no excuse for the campus to be disturbing its neighbors so late into the night,” he said.

Greetings of the Season

With help from volunteers armed with 80 percent post consumer recycled trash bags and Orang-UTongs, the event was a huge success. Multiple bags of trash, half of an automobile alternator, tires, a rusted 55-gallon barrel, the top of a toilet tank and many other items were collected and disposed of properly. The weather was beautiful. Many thanks go to the City for sponsoring the event as well as to Mayor William Gardiner, Councilman Anthony Patterson and the numerous other residents who volunteered their time and energy to make the neighborhood a cleaner place.

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 | December 2007

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Evolution of resolutions by Adaora Otiji


Locals recently gathered at Magruder Park for Hyattsville’s annual Christmas tree lighting. “Banjer Dan” offered holiday cheer with Christmas carols and seasonal songs while Santa Claus brought toys and smiles to the children gathered.

Celebrating denial by Michael Martucci


nce again the seasonal holidays have arrived all too quickly. Many of us groan at the thought. Here we go again! We run to keep up the pace so as not to be swept asunder mankind’s marching advance. Each year we’re a little older, and seemingly less prepared. As a nation, we seem less tolerant and willing to reflect upon what has gotten us here. We recede to our homes and whisper quiet thanks to our families. We no longer shout from the mountain tops about those things that have made us a beacon for the world. The common sense of “community” is slowly being abandoned in favor of the “self.” Profit seems to be the top priority while our very laws are abandoned and perverted. We’ve begun to lose our souls. The truth is that actions speak louder than words. Modern day American history has found us removing the underpinning of the nation’s Christianity. We no longer allow prayer in schools nor humility toward something greater than ourselves. We forget to place our hand on our hearts during the National Anthem and we prefer to use our military protectors as political pawns rather than recognize them as true heroes.We certainly have not accorded veterans the proper status in more than 30 years. One look at any V.A. hospital will tell you all you need to know about our priorities. Rather than protecting the rights of the minority, the hardening hearts in America are dictating law to the majority. Could revolution be far behind? We have lost our way. The very things that allowed this country to be strong for nearly 200 years are under attack, and are systematically being dismantled. The slow water torture, drip..., drip…, drip… we hear is our life blood being drained.

What is worse is that we are inflicting the wounds upon ourselves. Yes, we still celebrate Thanksgiving just like the pilgrims did. We were fairly puritanical and religious in the 1600s. Today the folks who made nice with Native Americans during that first feast would scarcely recognize their own country for its holy abandonment. Christmas is a target. The idea of even calling December holidays “Christmastime” is offensive to some people. An attempt to secularize the nation’s institutions and traditions has been mobilized, but in doing so its supporters weaken the national foundation. We celebrate our holidays merely as time away from toil instead of cherishing those days for what they really mean. We don’t want to be reminded of the true meaning of Thanksgiving or Christmas. That would involve admitting to our own narcissism. Unfortunately, we can’t even identify how offensive we are to our founding constitutional tenets. The constitutional right exists to freely practice religion, not to curtail it. Thus, in rewriting the past, we do a great disservice to those who will follow us. So gluttonous are we that we are about to choke on our own freedom. We fashion idols to the contemptible, and revere the truth less and less. The first step on a road to recovery is to recognize the problem. We are still in denial over these suicidal tendencies. Unless we admit the errors, we are likely to falter and ultimately perish. The ash-heap of history is replete with other empires and paradises that disappeared because mankind wanted the one fruit that would harm it instead of the many which will nurture. It’s time to redeem ourselves. Step out of the denial, and set a course of action to make us a great nation once again.Then we will truly have something to celebrate.

he beginning of every year brings clean slates and a chance for people to start again with New Year’s resolutions. Millions of people decide on resolutions as they ring in the New Year, but most rarely accomplish the task they set out to complete. Some start off strong, but lose the drive, energy and excitement they had at the beginning of the year. According to a 2005 survey by most Americans do not even bother to make New Year’s resolutions anymore. Of 18-to 24-yearolds polled 57 percent said they still make resolutions each year compare to 32 percent of people over age 54. “I don’t really focus on New Year’s resolutions,” said Hyattsville resident Kate Terrell. “I just do the best I can to focus on my health.” Of all the promises people make

every year the most popular is to lose weight or get in shape according to the United States Office of Citizen Services and Communications’ list of popular New Year’s resolutions. The constant nag to meet certain standards of beauty drives resolutionmakers to that goal every year and in turn, makes gyms all over the country richer. With weight loss in mind people set goals at the beginning of the year for three things: class reunions, the beach and spring, said Jay Johnson, operations manager of Flexible Family Fitness in Hyattsville. “Everybody’s motivated at the beginning of the year and then it dies down by mid-year,” Johnson said. “[People] want to see results immediately, but you’re not going to see dramatic results in a month.” Flexible Family Fitness sees a spike in those numbers around the beginning of the year, he said.

“Around January we get an influx of people, around 30 percent in actual memberships,” said Joanna Carter, Director of Family Fitness. “It’s a real bang in January and February.” Religion is also an important resolution topic in the Hyattsville area, where there are more than a thousand places of worship. “I’d like to seek a higher consciousness and higher spirituality, mostly through prayer,” said resident Versie Smith. Many churches in Hyattsville offer an 11 p.m. New Year’s Eve service in place of the normal party for people who want to start their year on a more spiritual note. Smith does not think she will achieve her goal this year, excluding herself from the 8 percent of Americans who say they always achieve their goals, according the survey.

Commentary and opinion on history & politics

Hugh’sNews Handwriting tells dark tale? by Hugh Turley


s Americans are killed and wounded daily in the Middle East, the public might well revisit the May 22, 1949 death of James V. Forrestal, the first Secretary of Defense of the United States. Forrestal cautioned that U.S. oil supplies could be endangered, relations with Middle East nations could be strained, and a possible military entanglement in the region could result from U.S. support for the partitioning of Palestine and sponsorship of Israel in 1948. In the opinion of biographers

Townsend Hoopes and Douglas Brinkley (Driven Patriot, the Life and Times of James Forrestal), Forrestal’s position on the Middle East was motivated by his concern for basic national interests. He thought it was wrong for his Irish immigrant father’s emotional ties to the Old Country to color his politics, and he viewed many Middle East partisans in the United States similarly. Initial news reports on Forrestal’s death said it was a suicide caused by depression. As evidence that he was depressed, they said Forrestal was copying a morbid poem, Chorus from Ajax by Sophocles, just before

he plunged from the 16th-floor window of the Bethesda Naval Hospital.

Historic document available at Princeton Although Forrestal died in 1949, the official report on his death, known as the Willcutts Report after Admiral Morton D. Willcutts, the head of the National Naval Medical Center, which includes the Bethesda Naval Hospital, was not available to the public until 2004. The Hyattsville Life & Times found the handwritten poem in the Willcutts Report at the Seeley G. Mudd

HUGH'S NEWS continued on page 15

Left: Poem said to be James Forrestal's handwriting. Source: Willcutts Review Board Report, Seeley Mudd Library, Princeton University. Right: James Forrestal's handwriting. Source: Truman Presidential Library.

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

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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Prince George’s Plaza: Christmas’ ‘most wanted’ by Priscilla Akuoko





C Penny, Macy’s and Target do not fall behind when it comes to bright Christmas decorations in and around the Mall at Prince George’s. The holiday theme catches the eye and works as a warm invitation to the shoppers. JC Penny Manager Tim DeMutage gave away Christmas Disney Snow Glows and a bonus savings coupon to all customers on Black Friday. Coupon holders received $10 discount on a single purchase of $50 on Nov. 24. “Seasonal merchandise such as sweaters are the most popular among Christmas presents,� DeMutage said. “I guess people like them because they’re functional, and it’s getting cold. Jewelry and fragrances are also very popular.� What happens to the left over Christmas merchandise? “They’re put on clearance,� said Mary Scott, a JC Penny sales associate. “The day after Christmas is a great day to shop. Everything will be 50 percent off.� The new Macy’s catalog is full of Christmas sales from warm woolen coats to boxes of Godiva Chocolates wrapped in holiday gift paper.

Holiday hassle All sorts of questions go through

buyers’ heads before they purchase a gift. Behind anonymous faces most shoppers feel the same stressors: “Will it fit? Is he going to like it? Doesn’t she already have something like this?� Some people just skip these questions and take the easy way out— gift cards. The shoppers at the Mall share their shopping whereabouts: “I got my girl a gorgeous chain from Kay Jewelry and some other special stuff at Victoria’s Secret. I also got my mom her favorite perfume, White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor and other stuff for the rest of my family,� said one shopper. “I buy mostly gift cards. It’s easier. I know where my daughters love to shop, but I don’t always know what they buy exactly,� said a mother while shopping for presents. “The iPod Touch Screen and the new PSP (PlayStation Portable) are the most popular Christmas gifts bought in our store,� said a Circuit City manager. “Customers who purchase those items also get free movies as a special holiday bonus. As far as revenue, Black Friday was a very big advantage to the store and it drew a lot more customers to our location.A lot of people didn’t know about the Circuit City at this location.�

InBrief Baltimore Avenue project wins industry awards A local developer has made headlines for its Hyattsville project. Bethesda-based EYA took several industry awards on Nov. 1 at the 50th Anniversary of the Monument Awards.The competition is sponsored by Northern Virginia Building Industry Association and the Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association. A panel of 33 industry experts examined several different criteria to find a winner of this year’s award. EYA is carried away an armful of awards for Arts District Hyattsville, a residential/retail development on U.S. Route 1 in Hyattsville, including: • Best Site Land Planning • Best Mixed-Use Development • Best Implementation of an Innovative Product Line • Best Attached Housing

MONTHLY In need of a meal? Emmanuel Covenant Church holds a food pantry on from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesdays and Fridays at the church, located at 5340 Baltimore Ave. Call 301.927.5620 to make an appointment.

DECEMBER Tambourine talk For all debaters and anyone willing to learn and share opinions, Beth Torah Congregation, 6700 Adelphi Road, will host a free presentation called “Jewish Influences on American Popular Song.� The presentation will given by Steve Kramer following services at 8 p.m. on Dec. 14. Call 301.927.5525 or e-mail

Jewish celebration at Beth Torah Beth Torah Congregation will be holding a Shabbat dinner catered by Town and Country Caterers at 6:30 p.m. on Dec. 14. The cost is $18 for adults and $9 for any child accompanied by an adult. For further details, call 301.927.5525 or e-mail

JANUARY A showcase of Hyattsville's gorgeous autumn leaves bringing sprigs of gold, brown, red and yellow to the city this year . Once the color display is over, a Hyattsville youth tackles the leaf blowing job.

Movie night at Adelphi Road church Start the year on a positive note and plan to see “Pursuit of Happyness� on Jan. 8, at University Christian Church, 6800 Adelphi Road. Call 301.864.1520. The event is free and refreshments will be served.

Have a unique talent? If you are talented in the areas of SAT prep, cheerleading, martial arts, sewing, aerobics or tutoring, instructors are needed at Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center at 6120 Sargent Road, Chillum. Call 301.853.2006.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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Diversity, development: Will commercial boom canonize Hyattsville demographic? by Kendall Spera


aven Adams knows that any hope she has of moving into a more permanent home in Hyattsville will not happen for a while, at least while the cost of housing is up. “I was looking at those new condominiums and I know I won’t be able to afford them for a long time,” she said of EYA’s new condominiums along U.S. Route 1 in Hyattsville. The revitalization of various areas in Hyattsville is changing characteristics of the region and in doing so, is raising questions about the effects of the development on the socioeconomic makeup of the city. “Lots of new stores will bring community revenue,” she said while waiting for a bus at the mall. Washington resident Arelle Anderson frequents Hyattsville to take advantage of the retail opportunities. “I think it’s a positive thing,” she said, of the revitalization in the area. According to Anderson, the budding retail is not only likely increasing the property value in the area, but it is also providing an alternative to the District. “We don’t have places like this in D.C.,” she said. Stores like Target at the Mall at Prince Georges keep Anderson coming back to the area. She said that it is creating revenue for Hyattsville and right now, it is positive for all socioeconomic classes, including minorities. But will an explosion of commercial and retail development chart a new path for Hyattsville’s diverse resident demographic?

Building, building… Next to the Mall is University Town Center—which has plans for 12 new restaurants and already has a movie theater—a part of revitalization efforts. A large part of the work being done in the city falls under the

Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Gateway Arts District Sector Plan, which was set in motion early in 2000. The construction of Renaissance

“The condos and row homes are more affordable than something in D.C. or Northern Virginia,” he said. “We have a plethora of single-family housing.”

when property value is increasing, a fundamental problem that results is displacement. It becomes difficult for people of low or moderate income to pay for

The revitalization of various areas in Hyattsville is changing characteristics of the region and in doing so, is raising questions about the effects of THE development on the socio-economic makeup of the city. Square by the Housing Initiative Partnership will allow artists to get new and affordable subsidized housing, according to Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation. EYA, a development company based in Bethesda, is undertaking the task of building row homes ranging from $400,000 to $585,000 and lofts from $220,000 to $370,000. Anderson’s fear though is that as the area develops, gentrification will likely affect some residents who are in a low income bracket. Hyattsville City Council President Krista Atteberry (Ward 3) said affordable housing can still be had in the city. There is a very strong affordable housing stock for purchase and rent that continues to be offered, she said. In her early 20s, Atteberry moved to Hyattsville with her husband. She said it was affordable and provided a relatively short commute to Capitol Hill for both of them. She and her husband have lived in the city now for over a decade. “I still think that we [Hyattsville] offer those opportunities to young couples and families and a variety of individuals,” Atteberry said. Eisenberg said that one of the revitalization strategies has been to create more ownership opportunities for market rate housing.

Welcome home Alex Chen, associate professor for Urban Studies and Planning at the University of Maryland said that

housing because the property tax gets passed to them in some form. Landlords can pass tax hikes on to renters through rent increases or

by under-maintaining the building, Chen said. “It doesn’t pay to be poor,” Chen said. Still, other newly revitalized areas have not seen minorities shut out. In Silver Spring, for instance, adding several national chains, business headquarters, and restaurants has “brought the area to life, made it safer,” according to Jane Redicker, president of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce. In spite of this development, the poor in Silver Spring have not been displaced. “Right in the middle of our central business district we feed the homeless at night,” Redicker said.

Hyattsville man gunned down near home by Nicole D’Agostino


30-year-old man died from injuries sustained from a gunshot wound at the AT&T store on Baltimore Avenue, police said. The victim, Khalefa Ayodele Olaleye, was an AT&T employee and lived above the store, said Cpl. Arvel Lewis, media representative for the Prince George’s County Police Department. Hyattsville City police officers received a dispatch call at around noon on Nov. 15, concerning an unconscious man who was not breathing. When they arrived, officers discovered that Olaleye had been shot. Olaleye was immediately transported to a nearby hospital, where he died a short time later. “At this point of the investigation, we are not sure if this was a robbery, a random shooting or what the motive of this crime

was,” Lewis said. The investigation is ongoing. Olaleye’s murder was the second homicide in 2007. The first homicide occurred back in May, when a man was found at the top of the Alt. U.S. Route 1 near Hamilton Street with a gunshot wound to the head. This murder occurred at the 4800 block of Baltimore Avenue, only a little more than half a mile away from where Olayele’s was killed. Hyattsville residents are concerned about the increase of crimes in certain areas of the city. “I appreciate all that the city does for us and I’m pulling for the police who I’m sure are working hard at a terribly difficult job,” said Bart Lawrence. “However, I obviously hate the idea that bullets are flying a mere six blocks from the yard my children play in,” Lawrence said. From 2002 to 2004, the Hyattsville Police Department reported

two homicides each year. In 2005, the number of homicides increased to three but declined in 2006 to one. Though Olaleye’s murder occurred close to the holiday season, police say that violent crimes do not increase over the holidays. “Though there is not an increase in violent crimes, there is usually a slight increase in property crime,” said Officer Henry Tippett, of the Prince George’s County Police Department. “During the holidays, criminals have more opportunities to break into cars and homes, so we are residents to be extra cautious.” Police have no suspects at this time in Olayele’s murder and are asking anyone with information to contact Prince George’s County Police Department’s Homicide Unit at 301.772.4925. Callers wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers at 1.866.411.TIPS.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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What locals do on New Year’s by Nicole D’Agostino


n just under a month, it will be the time to once again ring in the New Year in Hyattsville but from the looks of it, many residents do not plan on celebrating here at home. Franklins’, on Baltimore Avenue, who only had approximately 40 people show up for New Year’s Eve last year, is planning on promoting dinner and drink specials for Dec. 31. “This year, we are also going to have a balloon drop and a champagne toast at midnight,” said Dawhe Kubrom, a manager at Franklin’s. With only one major bar planning on doing something special on New Year’s Eve, most residents are either staying at home or traveling to Washington, D.C. and Baltimore to celebrate. Baltimore has many options for friends and families to celebrate the New Year. Some residents plan on watching the fireworks over the Inner Harbor while others plan on dancing until dawn. One of the biggest parties in Baltimore is the New Year’s Eve Spectacular Fireworks event at the Inner Harbor Amphitheater that starts at 9 p.m. Noche Latina, and Tony Berry & New Money will perform throughout the night and

will conclude with the big Zambelli Fireworks show over the harbor at midnight. For families interested in traveling to Baltimore on New Year’s Eve, the Maryland Science Center will have open exhibits and IMAX shows running throughout the night.They will also have face painting and balloon art for kids and an area exclusively roped off for a dance party for teens between the ages of 13 and 17. “This year, my boyfriend and some of our friends decided to go all out and we got tickets to the Harbor Cruises New Year’s Eve Party,” resident Molly Clever said. The Harbor Cruises New Year’s Eve Party is a cruise around the Inner Harbor, which includes a lavish buffet and dancing under the stars. It also includes a great view of the fireworks display in the harbor. “Last year, I went to Big Night Baltimore, which was a blast, but it was mostly a young crowd,” said resident Victor Martinez, 26. If you want to spend the night dancing the night away, Big Night Baltimore is back again this year. The event will once again be at the Sheraton Baltimore City Center and includes an open bar, appetizer buffet, multiple party rooms and a champagne toast at midnight.

For some residents, traveling to D.C. seems to be a better option. “It’s a lot easier to get into D.C. using public transportation than worrying about getting back from Baltimore,” resident Byron Jones, 31, said. In D.C. most bars and clubs are having special events but many require tickets that are going fast. “My friends and I were planning on going into D.C., but most of the parties we wanted to get tickets to were already sold out,” said resident Girash Latireana, 34. If you are not interested in buying tickets and traveling anywhere on New Year’s Eve, you are not alone. “The thought of having to travel on New Year’s Eve is horrifying to me, so my husband and I are going to just stay in,” said resident Kristin Hartnett. For some, staying in with family and friends seems to be what New Year’s Eve is all about. “I plan on having my immediate family and my close friends at my house this year,” said Riverdale resident Eleanor Ricchiutti. “Where you are is not as important as who you are with, especially when you are about to begin a new year of your life.”

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yattsville will be the first of three areas in Prince George’s County to receive Toters for a newly renovated single-stream recycling facility. The 65-gallon wheeled Toters will make recycling collection more efficient allowing residents to recycle a wider range of materials in one container. “I think we’ll see a cleaner community and an increase in recycling,” said Mayor William Gardiner. “Right now we are not recycling nearly as much as we should be.” Christopher Currie, a former Ward 1 City Councilman, first proposed transitioning to mobile carts for both solid waste and recyclables in Nov. 2003. “The new carts will reduce litter in our neighborhoods as well as pollution entering our waterways, since the covers and larger size prevent material from spilling or being blown out of the containers,” he said. The City has recently implemented Toter collection of solid waste. The Toters are just one step in the


Continued from page 1 donations until Dec. 14. The children’s party and the drive bearing Frazier’s name has wide

county’s plan for recycling efficiency. The County Department of Environmental Resources re-opened the Materials Recycling Facility in Capitol Heights on Oct. 15 as a single-stream recycling facility. The single-stream process allows all recyclable materials to be sorted at the recycling center rather than in collection trucks. “The benefits of single-stream recycling are pretty outstanding,” said Dennis Bigley, DER Deputy Director. “The cost of collection goes down, but because of all the energy savings and increased efficiencies all of the material recycled goes up, by we expect 25 to 50 percent.” The renovation of the recycling facility came at no expense to the county and was paid for by Waste Management Inc., because of a long-term contract the county has with the company. All equipment in the facility was replaced to create the only single-stream recycling facility in Maryland. The MRF can process up to 25 tons of recyclables per hour and will process about 11,000 tons of recyclables each month, according to a DER press release.

Sing l e stream recycling will allow Hyattsville residents to recycle materials that were not previously collected by Waste Management. Those items include cardboard, pie tins, junk mail, soft and hard bound books and wrapping paper. Areas in the southern and central part of the county will also be receiving the Toters in the first phase of distribution this year. “[The Toters] will be delivered sometime this fiscal year, which will be during the next six months,” Bigley said. “We have about 40,000 that we will distribute.” Hyattsville residents received 96gallon solid waste Toters, which can hold up to 300 pounds of waste, from the city last year. The solid waste Toters came with tight lids to prevent trash on streets and to deter animals from getting into garbage.

support from the business community, too. Johnson suggests that given the large number of donors, it is heartwarming to know that Hyattsville takes care of their own during the holidays.

Outback Steakhouse will supply the partiers with food this weekend. For more information contact Johnson via the HPD at 301.985.5060.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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Eclectic expressions by Laurie White


hotographer and custom woodworker Ashby Henderson of Hyattsville says she’s always been “a crafty sort.” Henderson, her husband Sean and “even little Seamus,” their son, have been producing meticulously painted woodcarvings, primarily signs and detailed home installations, for about a year now. Both Henderson and her husband, a home remodeler, are very hands-on in restoration, she said, and all of their work is custom-made. She consults with clients to create designs, often working from photographs. “I import the design into my computer, I transmit it to a computer-controlled carving machine, then everything is hand-detailed and painted,” she said. The painting is the most timeconsuming part of the work, as much of her work uses traditional

methods, Henderson said. “We try to use milk paint which would have been used 70 years ago,” she said. This type of medium is a powder form paint that must be carefully hand-mixed. It is then slowly applied, at various levels of depth, to suit the piece. A current project Henderson is working on is decorative terrapins for a local resident’s porch, based on the famed University of Maryland mascot. She is also currently designing a holiday-themed snap-in grate for front windows that can be changed according to the holiday and lit from behind. “Our work is versatile enough to handle seasons or any custom designs,” she says. “When you need something to fill a niche, a lot of times you have to make it yourself. If a customer says, ‘I want these special panels,’ we can’t buy them at Home Depot, but we can make them.”

Drawing from innovative ‘Wells’ by Ben Meyerson


he recent downturn of the housing market has many construction workers and contractors panicked and running for cover. But not Barry Wells. Wells Woodworking, his Hyattsville-based company, has steadily increased business every year since it has opened and shows no signs of slowing down, he said. In fact, sales have increased 15 percent in the last year. The key has been offering environmentally friendly products. Wells specializes in custom-built

ent color and pattern, and every handle opens a door differently. But while the room is filled with eye candy, it is not where the magic happens. About a mile down the road is the woodworking shop where the custom pieces that Wells builds his reputation on are made. And while Wells does specialize in kitchen cabinets, he also creates other furnishings for the room, from kitchen tables and chairs to countertops. He said kitchens are the hot items, but he also makes products for offices and bathrooms. He offers reproductions of items

“Because we’re in the high end, price is usually less of an issue than the design features and the overall quality,” he said. Ben Van Dusen, principle of Van Dusen Architects in Washington, D.C., has been working with Wells for almost 20 years. “Clients are more and more demanding [green products],” Van Dusen said. “I think that people can easily rationalize spending a little extra.” Wells credits his business’s continued growth to that initiative. Though the Kitchen Cabinet Manufacturer’s Association said

“When I started researching green cabinetry the choices were limited. there was very little—practically nothing—in terms of custom or manufactured cabinets. I saw tremendous potential for growth by getting in and doing this well, doing it thoroughly.” –Barry Wells

More Information To commission a design, contact Ashby Henderson. email: phone: 301-779-8110 web:

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

cabinets, and in the past year, he has made a push to use more “green” products in his work—from certified hardwood to products of managed, renewable forests to a pseudo-wood created by compressing discarded sunflower husks. “In terms of what’s in development, probably about 25 percent of our products are ‘green,’ and that’s growing quickly,” Wells said. “Our business has stayed pretty steady, mainly because we’ve been adding displays and a real focus on ‘green’ cabinetry.” The Wells Woodworking storefront on Baltimore Avenue is a small space crammed to the brim with cabinets. Every cabinet face has a differ-

from the Smithsonian, said Liz St. Rain, Wells’ kitchen designer. In all these areas people have begun looking for environmentally friendly designs as they build,Wells said. Aside from using more sustainable woods, Wells has been shying away from using products treated with formaldehyde—a chemical widely used in wood treatment that has been shown to cause cancer in animals. Instead, he is shifting towards using an organic polyurethane treatment. These products translate to a higher price for the consumer— anywhere from 5 to 25 percent, by Wells’ estimate—but most people he has spoken to have embraced the idea, he said.

overall cabinet sales fell 13 percent in the first half of 2007 compared to the same time period in 2006, Wells’ business grew. “When I started researching green cabinetry…the choices were very limited, and there was very little—practically nothing— in terms of custom or manufactured cabinets,” Wells said. “I saw a tremendous potential for growth by getting in and doing this well, doing it thoroughly and offering a lot of new products to people.” And that pride is appreciated by more than just the cabinetmaker. “He takes great pride in his work, and it’s really manifest in his product,” said Robert Cole, principle of ColePrevost Architects in Washington.

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School has reading ‘in the bag’ Concordia Lutheran embraces ROAR program

by Nicole D’Agostino


hrough the national reading initiative Reach Out and Read (R.O.A.R.) and a “book buddy” system developed by local second-grade teacher, Margie Falkner, a group of pupils at Concordia Lutheran School have read over 2,000 books over the past few years. This year, only months into the school year, they have already read over 400. R.O.A.R is a reading incentive program that encourages students to read alone and to their parents, and rewards students for their accomplishments. It builds on the relationships that children have with books by having them read a certain number of books each quarter.The goal is to promote language and literacy development. “Here at Concordia, I have 15 students in my second-grade class, and each one of them is involved in my reading incentive program, which is optional,” Falkner said. She also has started her own reading initiative, known as the “book buddy” system. In her classroom she has over 100 “book buddy” bags. “Each bag contains a book and a ‘buddy’ to accompany the book, that students may take home to read,” Falkner said. Students enter the “R.O.A.R.asis” to choose their stuffed animal book buddy.

“The R.O.A.R.asis is our reading center, and it’s a place that students can come to get refreshed by reading,” she said. The “R.O.A.R.asis” is a classroom library with hundreds of books and book buddies and many stuffed animal lions. “I love the R.O.A.R.asis because of all the lions, and the books here are really cool,” said Sydelle Davis, 7. The books come from Falkner’s own stash. “My husband was in the Air Force, so I have accumulated all of these books and lions over time,” she said. When students read enough books they receive a “R.O.A.R. Buck” that they can exchange at the R.O.A.R. store for prizes. “Students love getting ‘bucks’ because they love most of the books they read, and then they get a prize just for reading it,” Falkner said. Second-graders peruse the R.O.A.R.asis looking for just the right book. “I like to choose books that are about the magic tree house,” said Grace Reavis, 7, who has read almost 100 books by herself. Falkner encourages her students to get their parents involved with reading as well. “Sometimes my mom makes me read aloud, because she doesn’t believe I am reading to myself,” said Selena Niles, 7. “But I am.”

Most parents fully support the R.O.A.R. initiative, Falkner said. “It’s a great way for parents to have time to read or listen to their kids read, even if it’s in the car, on the way to school,” she said.

Falkner pushes her students to go above and beyond their own expectations. “Nothing is more rewarding than watching their faces light up when they realize that they have read over 100 books,” she said.

As students continue to reach new levels of reading success, Falkner will continue to encourage students and parents that reading together can truly have an impact on their futures.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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HealthCorner Bracing for good health by Ronald Grossman, DDS


here are many reasons why a dentist may recommend orthodontic treatment. It is used to correct a malocclusion, a condition caused by crowded, crooked or protruding teeth; teeth that are out of alignment; or jaws that do not meet properly. Malocclusion may be inherited, or it may be the result of thumb sucking, the premature loss of teeth or an accident. Correcting the problem can result in better oral health because crooked and crowded teeth can make daily oral hygiene difficult. Over time, this may lead to tooth decay, gum disease and tooth loss. An improper bite can interfere with chewing and speaking, can cause abnormal wear to tooth enamel and lead to problems with jaws.

Today’s braces Orthodontic treatment often is more comfortable and takes less time than it did years ago. Braces



can be as inconspicuous as the patient desires. Brackets are smaller. Some brackets are attached to the back of the teeth, making them less noticeable. Brackets are made of metal, ceramic, plastic or a combination of these materials. Some brackets are clear or tooth-colored. For those who want to show off their braces, there are brackets shaped like hearts and footballs, and elastics are available in school colors and holiday hues such as red and green. There are gold-plated braces and glow-in-the-dark retainers. Two types of braces are available: fixed, which are worn all the time and can be removed only by the dentist, and removable, which the patient can take out. The dentist selects the type based on the patient’s treatment needs and how well she will follow instructions regarding care.

What to expect, what to avoid Although treatment plans are

customized for each patient, most people wear their braces for one to three years depending on the conditions that need correcting. This is followed by a period of wearing a retainer that holds the teeth in their new positions. Although a little discomfort is expected during treatment, today’s braces are more comfortable than ever before. Newer materials apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments. Good oral hygiene is especially important for people wearing braces. Brushing as directed by the dentist, flossing daily and scheduling dental visits can help keep teeth healthy. Patients with braces should maintain a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. They may also need to avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires, such as nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice, and sticky foods like chewing gum, caramel or other chewy candy.






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Free to fiddle once more by Kate Russell


wo things have happened in the last two years to contribute to the transformation of violin teacher Liberty Rucker’s studio. She had a flood and had a baby. In July 2006 storm water, increased by a microburst, overwhelmed a drain and filled the studio, located in the basement of Rucker’s Hyattsville house. The water soaked the carpet, discolored the trim and ruined furniture. Luckily, she said, no instruments were destroyed. Since then, Rucker has taught lessons in her living room. Now the renovated studio is almost complete, “step by step a little more than a year later,� she said. Rather than simply replace the blue carpet and repaint the white walls, Rucker went in a different direction with her space. She minimized furniture, painted the walls lilac, chose a purple carpet and added a massage chair. “I’m trying my best to create a sort of spa feel,� she said. “I wanted to make it comfortable to teach in, but really comfortable for parents,� Rucker said. She

remembers parents who would use their child’s 30-minute or hourlong session to nap or read or work on a project. “Now that I’m a mom I understand how hard it is to be a parent—tired all the time,� she said, “This might be their only time to themselves all day long.� Her customized studio illustrates what Rucker said makes her a different kind of music teacher. Focusing on students’ individual goals and needs, “I don’t make them fit a set regimen,� she said, “I tailor an approach to fit them.� Rucker is also flexible in the type of music she can play and teach, from classical violin to many different styles of fiddle. She even played for a friend’s hip-hop recording. The violin and fiddle are physically the same instrument, Rucker said, adding that a funny way to distinguish them is that you put strings on a violin and “strangs� on a fiddle. “Technique may or may not be different,� she said, “Some people assume fiddle players are inferior. You can’t assume that anymore.�

Public safety bill voted down by Sarah Nemeth


espite some contention over the need for more police officers on Hyattsville’s force, a bill that would add eight more to the ranks by mid-2009 was defeated in the City Council by a vote of 7 to 3. The motion, originally posed by Councilman Mark Matulef (Ward 2), was geared toward keeping the amount of officers in line with the boomtown growth Hyattsville has seen through development and annexation. Matulef and councilwomen Paula Perry (Ward 4) and Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5) voted in favor of the motion, which would also have directed city staff to estimate the need for more officers in the case of proposed annexation or development with 25-plus residential units or 10,000-plus square feet of recreational, office, commercial, retail and/or industrial use space. One of the reasons the motion was downed is how the city would fund additional police officers. According to City Treasurer Robert Oliphant, signing on eight additional officers would initially cost about $900,000. The city projects to spend about $2 million on the police department in the coming two years, said Council Vice President Marc Tartaro (Ward 1) at a Nov. 12 council meeting. That money does not include funding for new squad cars or police officers, he said. “How many people sitting here at this table want to pay more in taxes?� he asked at the meeting. One major development is the

area around the Mall at Prince George’s and University Town Center, with its student housing towers. Response from the Mall about the city’s police protection has been positive, said Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland. However, the police department expends a lot of resources in that vicinity, he said. “There needs to be a reality check here,â€? Tartaro said. “If we want to increase the number of police officers we’re probably going to have to raise taxes.â€? Part of this funding could come from additional revenue received through taxes from University Hills, which was annexed last year, and through commercial tax revenue, Frazier said. But funding is not the only concern. Other dissenters said that this bill —with a designated amount of officers to be added in the first wave —would lock the city into an arena it may not be capable of competing in. “I’m not against more police officers, I’m just concerned about putting earmarks in future budgets,â€? said Councilman William Tierney (Ward 2). “Hiring personnel is not like buying a piece of furniture. It’s not a one-time event.â€? Tierney said additional police officers would force the city into a long-term commitment for however long the new officers work in Hyattsville. “What if ‌we have a 25 percent reduction in crime?â€? he said, adding that such an occurrence could lead to employee attrition.

Get in touch

So, when students want to learn the Redskins’ fight song or the music from Harry Potter or how to play the fiddle along with their favorite rock band, it’s okay with Rucker. “I’m so fascinated with by the different ways the instrument is used,� she said. Rucker encourages her students to share their music. “You take all these lessons,� she said, “Hopefully not so you can play alone in your room.� She plans to take her students to play at an assisted-living center, and thinks that maybe one day they could march in a Hyattsville parade.

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“You don’t see many violinists in parades,� she said. Freeda Isaac has been playing the violin for almost 34 years and has been a fiddle student of Rucker’s for a year. Transitioning from classical violin, Isaac said she likes the personalization Rucker offers students. “She’s got so much experience and talent and flexibility that she can teach people with different levels of expertise,� Isaac said. “She completely understands what some of my challenges are—the mental gymnastics that I have to do.� Rucker encourages her students

with Liberty Rucker at 301-277-3889 or at to share their music. “You take all these lessons,� she said, “Hopefully not so you can play alone in your room.� Isaac plays at her church, weddings and at open instrument nights in the area. “I love to play with other people in a group setting-one amazing song that comes out of everyone playing together,� she said.

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GreenCorner Study shows trees should be replaced by Kate Russell


recent report shows Hyattsville is losing about $10 for each of its 2,900 street trees. According to the report, conducted by the Forest Service of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, the fiscal benefit to the city is just over $280,000 while the cost of maintaining these trees is $311,000 for a loss of $29,611 annually. The report, prepared by Michael F. Galvin, a supervisor of urban and community forestry, Hyattsville has about 2,900 street trees and 4,800 open planting sites. The negative outcome in Hyattsville is unique among cities where the Forest Service is aware of the date, Galvin said. This phenomenon is likely due to the high level of maintenance Hyattsville offers its trees and to the species of trees that are planted, Galvin said. One of those species is Bradford Pear. The tree’s “lollipop” shape is caused because almost all of the

branches come from one point on the trunk. This causes a lot of pressure and, “at a certain point in their life, they just break up,” Galvin said. The report recommends the city phase out such problematic species. Galvin said the cost/benefit could improve if the city filled the available planting sites.The young trees would have low maintenance costs but would immediately begin to accrue benefits. Civic activist and former Hyattsville councilman Christopher Currie has long been interested in the city’s environmental development. “Now [we] need to take the next step which is to identify ways to get the trees planted,” he said. Currie said one way to increase the number of street trees is to change Prince George’s County’s woodland conservation laws. Any tree canopy lost due to development must be replaced, he said. According to state law the canopy can be replaced with street trees, but the county is more re-

strictive so replacement trees are being planted in rural areas. Legislation is supposed to be introduced in the next several months that would change that law, Currie said. “I’m optimistic, he said, “It’s a sensible change.” James Chandler, Hyattsville’s Community Development Manager said the city is “somewhere on top of the heap” when it comes to urban canopy and street trees. The Hyattsville Department of Public Works is aware of the problematic trees mentioned in the report and they are being phased out and replaced, he said. The city is now waiting on the results of an Urban Tree Canopy study being done by the U.S. Department of Natural Resources which is expected to be completed by mid-January. Chandler said the study will highlight focus areas and will be used in conjunction with the Forest Service’s report to create a tree management plan.

Safety cameras under discussion by Laurie White


he Hyattsville City Council is considering a proposal from Unisys, a global technology consulting service, to install 50 security cameras throughout the city as part of the Safe Cities initiative begun in August with funding from the Target Corporation’s “Target & Blue” program. At the council’s Nov. 5th meeting Norman Currie, Unisys Program Manager, said his company has sought input from local businesses, including University Town Center, Queen’s Chapel Town Center and EYA. This plan would not proceed without the opportunity for residents to weigh in on the pros and cons, Currie said. “Unisys wanted to support [Hyattsville Police] Chief [Douglas] Holland and the city’s wishes to make sure this is an open and transparent process,” he said. “We want people to speak about what they do and don’t like about it.” Council members are concerned about the location, cost and utility

needs associated with camera installation and function, as well as the human resources needed to monitor them. “We’ll try to do our best to distribute (the Unisys report) to people who haven’t seen it yet,” said Councilman Mark Matulef (Ward 2). The report is also available for reviews on the City of Hyattsville’s Web site. Currie said that local businesses would help pay for camera mounting. Holland said that Hyattsville is generating interest as the first city of its size to have such a program. Previous sites include Cincinnati, Boston and Minneapolis. And residents do have questions. “I think they need to do a lot of research to see if the cameras really do deter crime,” said Hyattsville resident Maureen David. “It seems to me that the criminals as well as the residents will know the whereabouts of the cameras.” Other residents are supportive of the project.

“Anything that helps curtail the growing crime problems in Hyattsville is worth a try,” said resident Peter Knowles. “It doesn’t bother me to have cameras in common areas of the city. I doubt that cameras will be a problem for most residents if the police use them to help catch criminals in the act. Maybe they will prevent some criminals from pursuing crimes in our city. The cost isn’t much and the rewards could be great for our community.” Mike Franklin, owner of Franklin’s Restaurant on Baltimore Avenue said the cameras cannot hurt in efforts to deter crime. “In my mind, the more cameras the better,” he said. “They wanted to use the roof of my building and I said sure.” Mayor William Gardiner thinks the benefits from the system that will outweigh the costs. “I think it’s not going to be free by any means, but I think if we do it well and we will, we’ll see reduction of crime and increase of public safety in these areas,” he said.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

University Hills Pond looking ducky thanks to volunteer efforts

Top to bottom: Barbara Dunn snatches some trash along the University Hills duck pond. Ellen Borkowski and daughter Hope, 1, collect trash near the University Hills duck pond. Faith Borkowski, 3, grabs up an empty can on the sidewalk near the University Hills duck pond.

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Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

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‘Surfing’ the sacred

[Local church builds congregation through innovative Web site] by Nicole D’Agostino


hurches around the country are ramping up their Web sites in order to communicate their message and encourage growth within their congregation. Locally, the Crossover Church, located on Baltimore Avenue, has jumped on board. Crossover Church is one of the many non-denominational churches in the country that crosses cultural, racial and multi-generational barriers in terms of acquiring new members. One tool according to Pastor Ivan McDowell that has helped them overcome these barriers is their interactive Web site.

The Crossover Web site gives church members and visitors the opportunity to watch or listen to sermons they may have missed during the week. Sites like these are becoming more common these days for many churches across the country. According to the latest national survey of U.S. faith communities conducted by Faith Communities Today, an up-to-date Web site is a key factor in why many congregations in America are growing. According to FCT, churches that have started or maintained a Web site in the past year are more likely to grow. The study found that a

church that puts forth the effort to have a Web site indicates that the congregation is outward looking and wiling to change by non-traditional means. “When we were developing our website, our goal was to create a Web site that was informative, interactive and inviting to viewers,” said Lisa Kemp, Director of Television for the church. Kemp said that an interactive Web site also gives members an opportunity to talk to the leaders of their church one on one. The Crossover Web site gives members and visitors an opportunity to communicate directly with


church leaders. “Whether someone wants to make a prayer request or needs counseling concerning a personal issue, they are able to contact and communicate with us through the Web site,” McDowell said. Many residents are excited about watching or listening to a church service through the website and communicating with church leaders online instead of face to face. “With two children under 3 and a 4-month-old, it can be really difficult for us to get everyone ready and make it to church on time,” said resident Sarah Sanchez, 34. Is this woman a church member? “It would be really convenient, if when we were running late, or one of the kids were sick, that we could gather as a family at home and watch the service online, instead of missing it completely,” she said. For members of the community that are ill or bed-ridden, missing a service may no longer be a major concern. Hyattsville resident Mary Wilten,

71, has been sick for the past three years. “This sounds great to me because I don’t have to completely miss a service when I am not feeling well or sometimes my ride does not show up,” she said. Hyattsville resident Michael Messina worries that the upswing of interactive church Web sites could detract parishioners from actually hitting the hallowed halls. “I think a lot of people would use it as an excuse to not actually make it to church so from that perspective, I think that it could be a bad thing,” he said. “Our interactive Web site is not a substitute for making it to church,” Kemp said. “Although in some cases, it is a useful way for us to communicate our message to those in the community that can not make it every week.” For now, most services will be held at a church, but in the future, maybe watching a service from home will no longer be unusual.

Council rejects Edmonston’s annexation proposal by Kate Russell


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ith continuing growth, the term “de-annexation” is not often heard in Hyatts-

ville. But the Town of Edmonston approached Hyattsville with a proposal to annex property at 4601 Decatur Street in order to keep what Edmonston views as part of the entrance to town free of blight. The lot is currently part of Hyattsville, but sticks out into his town, Edmonston Mayor Ortiz said. “It’s the only part of Hyattsville on the other side of the [CSX Railroad] tracks,” he said. Hyattsville is not properly maintaining the area or enforcing code violations, Ortiz said. Violations include dead animals on the street and cars parked illegally, he said. “We end up cleaning up Hyattsville property,” Ortiz said. “Because the boundary is drawn in an awkward fashion, people are getting away with clear violations.” Edmonston wanted to take over the building to do something about what he said has become a sore thumb on one of his town’s main street. At the Hyattsville City Council’s Nov, 12 meeting, the panel rejected a proposal in which Ortiz suggested de-annexation of the property by Hyattsville. His town would then annex the property and pay Hyattsville property taxes for seven years. It was unclear if the process Ortiz suggested was legal because it would temporarily create an enclave —unincorporated Prince George’s

County territory surrounded by municipalities and untouched by county land. “State law says you cannot do this,” said Hyattsville City Administrator Elaine Murphy. “Historically no one has done this before.” The two towns would be changing their boundaries simultaneously and the “de-annexation” would temporarily create an unincorporated area surrounded by areas that are incorporated, Hyattsville Mayor William Gardiner said. “I’m not convinced…,” he said. “It isn’t ultimately worth the work and time. “It very well could require state legislative action—it’s not worth it.” Gardiner said he was unaware of the maintenance issue until Ortiz approached his council. An electric company is now located at the site and the council worried that the city would lose income from taxes that would far surpass Edmonston’s offer. Gardiner said trash and loitering were problematic when the building was vacant. “The new owner has invested a fair amount of money cleaning the property up,” he said, “I don’t expect there to be any ongoing problems.” It was not completely clear to Ortiz why the council rejected the proposal. “I’m going to continue to talk to the Hyattsville mayor and council and see if some resolution can be drawn,” he said. “I look forward to cooperating in the meantime on keeping spaces presentable and as up to code as possible.”

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

Page 15

‘Bytes’ of Hyattsville culture available at networking site by Laurie White

Visit the Hyattsville wiki at

ooking for “Hyattsville Vegetarians Unite” or “Hyattsville Ultimate Frisbee?” You will not find these groups in the yellow pages, but you will find them at My Hyattsville Community Wiki, a Web site geared toward providing de-

posts, edit other users’ posts, upload images and videos, manage calendars and create links to outside resources. The wiki grew out of the Hyattsville Organization for a Positive Environment (HOPE) listserv that Groves also moderates. In spite of having 392 members, the listserv is “not a good repository of infor-

to the wiki,” Groves said. Dwight Holmes, a former Hyattsville resident, is Riverdale Park’s wiki moderator. He considers the sites a source of “institutional memory.” “There’s so much good information there that I think is good to keep in a place where you can always look it up as a reference,” he said.

people in their committee’s work brought them to the wiki, which they use along with in-person meetings and a listserv. “It [is] a phenomenal tool for us to use as a committee,” he said. “It sped the process along because we don’t have to wait until the next meeting or send it all to one person to upload.

has been removed from the site for censorship reasons. And the site is just getting started. “The wiki is still in infancy and as more and more information goes on there, and people become more tech savvy, it’ll grow,” he said. The area business community could use the site more for publicity,

tailed information about local restaurants, shopping and city affairs. The site was founded in January and is maintained by two Hyattsville residents. Chris Condayan created the online lobby, which is moderated by Jim Groves. A wiki is a Web site that any registered user can contribute to or edit. They became popular with sites like Hyattsville’s wiki now has 170 registered users, Groves said. At My Hyattsville, users can add pages, write and comment on forum

mation,” Groves said. But the wiki functions as an atrium of answers to common questions and a collaborative way to meet Hyattsville. While not affiliated with Hyattsville city government, My Hyattsville also includes municipal information and a section specifically for new Hyattsville residents. “We’re trying to make it so when you have a question about something in the city, you don’t know how it works, or want to know what’s going on, you’ll know to go

Groves and Holmes said a plan is in the works to merge the Riverdale Park and Hyattsville sites because the areas share many common resources. “Why not have one place where everyone from this area can join in to talk about events that affect us all?” Groves said. “From there you can break off into individual town information and there will also be shared pages.” J. McCray, a member of Hyattsville’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Committee, said a desire to engage

It’s just a very democratic process.” McCray also works with Alternative Gifts of Greater Washington, and said that the wiki has been a useful place to advertise the group’s upcoming alternative gift fair. Groves said that he counts on the My Hyattsville community to monitor itself for the most part. “The idea with the wiki is it’s self-censoring,” he said, adding that if necessary he or Condayan would step in. So far intervention has not been needed and no information

he added. “There has to be somebody at the business who is tech savvy enough to put something on the calendar,” he said. “I can offer my assistance to anybody who needs a page set up.” Groves and Condayan can be contacted through the site. “We’re community activists,” Groves said. “What we do is only to make the city that we live in better and however that can be done we’re going to do it. It pays off for us all in the long run.”


article in the Sunday Style Section on May 23, 1999, featured photos of the Naval Hospital, the 16th floor window, and a book open to the poem. The article began by describing how Forrestal’s hand moved across the paper copying Greek poetry from a thick anthology. The Willcutts Report concluded: “… The late JamesV. Forrestal died about 1:50 a.m. on Sunday, May 22, 1949, at the National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, Maryland, as a result of injuries, multiple extreme, received incident to a fall from a high point in the tower, Building 1.” It did not say what caused the fall and it did not call the death a suicide. John Spalding of Littlestown, Pa., 87, was a Navy enlisted man and Forrestal’s personal driver.When Forrestal died, Spalding was called down to Admiral Monroe Kelly’s office. “He had a big map and he said where do you want to go for duty… You are going to leave tonight,” Spalding told the Hyattsville Life &Times. Spalding decided to go to Guantanamo, Cuba, but before he left, Kelly and his aide Lt. Hooper made him sign a paper saying that he would never talk about anything regarding Forrestal. Spalding said that, in his presence, Forrestal never appeared depressed, paranoid or in any way abnormal. If a Vietnam-style memorial is ever erected to commemorate Americans dying in the Middle East, the name of the man who warned our current military entanglement might well be listed as the first casualty.


continued from page 3

Manuscript Library of Princeton University. In the testimony, the poem is mentioned only once: “Is that the [poem] he copied? It looks like [Forrestal’s] handwriting,” Captain George N. Raines said. For comparison, the Hyattsville Life & Times obtained samples of James V. Forrestal’s handwriting from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library. Noting the obvious differences in the writing style, the documents were forwarded to Professor Karen Miller Russell from the University of Georgia College of Journalism. Russell has researched and written about the media and Forrestal. “Allow readers to determine the truth for themselves,” Professor Russell said. The origin of the story that Forrestal copied the poem is remarkable because there were contradictory accounts in the Washington Post on May 23, 1949. One story reported the poem was in his handwriting and stopped in the middle of the word “nightingale,” in the second stanza. Another story, in the same edition, reported he wrote in a firm and legible handwriting lines that did not come until much later, near the end of the poem. The official copy of the poem from the Princeton Library ends 11 lines before the “nightingale” line so initial newspaper accounts appear to be false. Fifty years later, the Washington Post was still publicizing the poem as indicative of Forrestal’s suicidal emotional condition. A front-page

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Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

Page 16

[Staying warm]

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utdoor exercise does not have to disappear when the temperatures plummet and icicles form on your eyelashes. The most important thing to remember when dressing for a wintertime workout is layers. “Because your body temperature rises as you move, you want to be able to take some things off if you get too warm,� said Brenda Butler, an aerobics instructor in Hyattsville at the Oasis Senior Center. “Make sure you are not overdressed, but not underdressed,� she said. It is important to strike a balance with your layers, wearing enough to keep you warm while allowing your body to sweat and breathe. Here are some tips on what to wear as you take on the great outdoors this winter:

The sky is falling—cover your head In cold weather, 30 to 40 percent of the body’s heat is lost through the head, according to Todd Miller, assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science at George Washington University. A hat that covers the ears will go miles toward keeping the body warm. Ear warmers and ear muffs do not retain body heat. The hat should fit close to the head, and be made of wool or other synthetic material. “Not cotton, because cotton holds water and conducts heat away really fast,� Miller said. “It would make your head freezing cold.�

The first layer The first layer on the torso must be some kind of synthetic moisture-wicking material that fits snug to the body. This type of first layer is essential “because when you exercise, you sweat, and with the moisture off your body, your t-shirt won’t get ten times as heavy,� said Joy Butler (no relation to Brenda Butler), a representative from Under Armour. Under Armour, a Baltimore-based sports apparel manufacturer, has a line of sportswear featuring their trademark moisture-wicking fabric, a “hydro filling� fabric that works with a pull-push mechanism to keep you dry and warm. “The fabric against your skin will pull any moisture away from your body, while the fabric on the outside of the garment pushes it away from your body,� she explained.

The middle layer Opt for layers made of fleece, mesh or other synthetic materials such as polypropylene or polyester. Cotton gets wet and stays wet in cold weather. The middle layer is where you concentrate on keeping the core, or torso, of the body warm.Vests are a perfect addition to the winter exercise wardrobe because they keep the torso warm while allowing for the arms to move freely. Avoid thick goose-down vests which inhibit movement and will most likely become too warm as you continue exercising. Fleece vests are ideal because they are tight but breathable.

The outer layer The outer layer should consist of a lightweight windand water-resistant jacket Windbreakers are ideal because they allow plenty of room for movement while protecting from the elements. Shorter days in the winter mean you may find yourself exercising outside at dusk or dawn.

The rest Don’t forget the fingers and toes! Be aware of frostbite and be able to recognize the signs. Athletes who feel numbness or tingling in their extremities, especially their fingers, toes or ears should stop and warm up inside, Miller said. “It has to be really bad for you to see [frostbite],� he said. “Your skin gets grey and you’d be an idiot to keep going.� For fingers: Choose mittens over gloves, as mittens will keep the hands warmer. For toes: “If you’re going to be wearing shoes and socks all day, change your socks a few times,� said Butler. “You sweat, and sweat can build fungus.� Also, if exercising in the snow, make sure your shoes are waterproof. Wet, cold toes are a recipe for frostbite.

Some last words before you head out the door‌ n Drink water n Dehydration in the winter does not come from sweating, Miller said. n Your throat gets dry because the air sucks moisture out of the bronchial passages,� he said. n Reach for your toes, but not too soon. It’s best to stretch after about 10 to 15 minutes of physical activity.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

Page 17

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have received hundreds of letters and e-mails asking me about my dog from hell which I have written about in the past. Rather than addressing each of your inquiries individually, reluctantly, I’ll update my relationship with the dog (Jazzy) in this column. As you probably recall, (this is hyperbole, because I’ve come to realize that readers, including myself, don’t recall the subject of an article or

whadda ya gonna do about it?” I have to admit that I contribute to her delinquency. I eat a lot of snacks while watching television. She’ll come and sit in front of me and give me “the look.” I’ll share whatever I’m eating with her. She’ll eat it and continue giving me “the look.” This continues until we’ve eaten everything that I was going to eat. The problem is that she has a hard time distinguishing between what

she got past my wife and ran up the street. Of course, she seems to escape when we’re going to work and don’t have time to chase a dog around the neighborhood. Jazzy has only one “trick”: She’ll sit on command. She won’t heel, lay down, stay or obey any command other than “sit.” My wife saw her up the street and started calling to her. The dog came running down the street clearly intending to run past my wife and go down to the

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Jazzy’s one redeeming quality is that she’s cute. She’s a boxer with one tooth that sticks out when her mouth is closed. Regardless of what havoc she has just caused, she’ll look up at me with that tooth sticking out of her mouth and seem to say, “Hey, big boy, whadda ya gonna do about it?”

column the day after they read it.) the dog showed up in the Kapinus yard one day two years ago and she’s been with us ever since. I previously described the destruction that she wreaked on our house. At times, I wonder whether she is a clever terrorist tool intended to bring down the Kapinus household. She did everything from pulling down all the hanging plants in the living room to tearing up every box of cereal, rice, macaroni and any other box of anything that could be spread over the length and breadth of the living room. Thank God she doesn’t know how to use the electric can opener because I’d hate to think what the floors would look like with Chef Boyardee spaghetti all over them. Her one redeeming quality is that she’s cute. She’s a boxer with one tooth that sticks out when her mouth is closed. Regardless of what havoc she has just caused, she’ll look up at me with that tooth sticking out of her mouth and seem to say, “Hey, big boy,

she can have when I give it to her and the food on the table and kitchen counter that doesn’t have her name on it. One day, I left a box of oatmeal raisin cookies on the kitchen table.When I came home, the empty box was on the floor. I confronted her with the empty box and started shouting at her “What did you do?” I expected to get some sign of remorse or guilt from her, but she just sat there and gave me “the look.” I hate when she does that. So now we no longer leave food on the table or counter where she can get it. We now stack it over the stove, on top of the coffee maker, any place that is at least six feet off the floor. It’s gotten so that when she’s in the kitchen by herself and it’s quiet, I automatically assume that someone left some food out and she’s attending to it. I hate when she does that. It’s funny that she doesn’t like to go out in the backyard that’s fenced in, but at the slightest opportunity, she’ll bolt out the front door.The other day

other end of the block. As the dog ran by her, she yelled “Sit.” and the dog came to a screeching stop and sat. She was able to get the dog in the house. We have a habit of giving Jazzy a dog treat when she comes in from the back yard. When I let her out and she doesn’t want to go out, she’ll go out the door, do a pirouette on the porch and immediately come in through the door and sit and wait for her treat. I hate when she does that. When I let her in from outside, I sometimes forget to put the baby gate up around the kitchen garbage container. When that happens, she knocks over the container when we’re not around and spreads the contents over the kitchen and dining room floors looking for goodies. I hope none of you have ever seen what two or three days of coffee grounds looks like on your floor. God, I love this dog.

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.

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

Page 18

EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE Continued from page 1 of the University Hills Residents Association. “It [the executive committee] seems to be something of an order taking process,” he said. Despite the agenda-setting function of the committee, Scanlon said he does not know whether it is an efficient mechanism within the council. What it does afford is a more streamlined process to multi-layered tasks, Gardiner said.

council, Murphy said. “They are meeting regularly and routinely…They’re doing what an executive committee does,” she said. “Depending on how active [council members are] changes the complexity and demands of the Executive Committee.” They also help make decisions concerning applicants for city jobs. The executive committee, along with other residents and council members, just interviewed an appli-

“The committee allows for a chain of authority, meaning if the mayor is unable to attend a council meeting, the president takes over.” –Tim Scanlon, president University Hills Residents Association “The term and function of an executive committee is pretty common for organizations with boards of directors or elected councils,” he said. “We are a fairly large council —actually the largest city council in the State of Maryland. It is helpful to have a sub-set of the council meet with the city administrator to help organize the council’s work, primarily by drafting the agendas for the council meetings.” The committee was created by council policy, he said. The executive committee may also investigate or research as directed by the city

cant for the position of assistant city administrator, said Councilwoman Paula Perry (Ward 4), a former member of the committee. Members of the committee also decide when a motion will appear on a council agenda, she said. “I think if you have the right people in there, it can help things run and keeps the rest of the council on target, keeps [the council] moving, keeps them in a positive direction…,” she said. “They can [help things run efficiently] depending if they have the right people up there.”



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Continued from page 1 venison, turkey, beef burgundy, duck —particularly duck breasts—winter root vegetables, winter squash type soups, salads with beets and winter radishes and lots of chocolate type desserts.” This year, the traditional is making a comeback. “There are definitely food fads but like most fads they come and hopefully go quickly,” Wilson said.  “I think what is new in the Christmas food fashion is actually old.  People are starting to prepare seasonal foods…” Wilson charges just over $400— plus the cost of food—to prepare a Christmas meal for a family of four. Included in his menu is: a soup or salad; a meat; a vegetable; a starch; and a dessert. Having a personal chef prepare victuals is common to all kinds of families, said Monica Thompson, a personal chef from Hyattsville. A rushed lifestyle plus little time equals a need for someone to prepare meals for families, she said. “These days the common denominator is busyness,” she said. Some hire a personal chef to pre-


Continued from page 1 AGGW, Inc. sponsors eight annual alternative gift fairs in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia to promote holiday giving instead of getting.The gift fairs were held in all of those areas this year during Alternative Gifts Week from Dec.1-9. Previous gift fair shoppers in the region love the concept and see donations as the gift that literally keeps on giving. “It’s a nice way to give a gift to people who are in need,” said Amy Schwenkmeyer, a five-year veteran of the Takoma Park gift fair. “Sometimes people are touched, sometimes they don’t understand what it is, and sometimes people think it’s really cool.”

Page 19 pare one major meal—like meals for Thanksgiving or Christmas—while others have all of their regular meals prepared professionally. In multimeal situations, she will prepare meals for families two weeks in advance,Thompson, a former St. Louis chef, said. Wilson offers a questionnaire to clients before he prepares their food. He has to be aware of food preferences, allergies and any special diets or health conditions that play into what someone can eat. Tailoring meals specific to each client is an important part of preparing personal cuisine, but can also be tricky, Thompson said. Three months into a job, she had a client who had severe food allergies, and was a vegetarian who did not much like vegetables.

Flying solo While hiring a personal chef is common in contemporary society, many families prefer the traditional practice of preparing their own holiday meals, especially desserts. Ann Amernick, a nationally renowned pastry chef and co-owner of Palena, a Cleveland Park restaurant, last month traded techniques with the Chesapeake Chefs and Capital Chefs groups.

The main purpose of gift fairs are to educate people about alternative gift giving,” said Duffin, who also organizes the Takoma Park fair. “Does your dad really need another tie? Do you really need another fruitcake?” Some of the organizations present at alternative gift fairs are organizations about environmental issues, homelessness, medical issues and children’s issues.The organizations are not just for local area charities either. “We try to get groups that support people locally, nationally and internationally,” Duffin said of the Takoma gift fair. “Things that are pretty current tend to be pretty popular with people.” Some of the organizations present at the Hyattsville gift fair were

“The main purpose of gift fairs are to educate people about alternative gift giving. Does your dad really need another tie? Do you really need another fruitcake?” –GINA DUFFIN, CO-CHAIr AAGW INC. Gina Duffin, a co-chair of AAGW Inc. since the organization became a nonprofit in 2004, buys the gifts for her whole family and every year they’re a hit. “Every year when my mom receives this gift, she always reads it out loud and she always cries,” Duffin said. “It’s such a unique, meaningful gift.” For new Hyattsville shoppers the gift fair can be overwhelming. Betsy Rosso, a Takoma Park shopper since the fairs began, has one main tip of advice. “I make a list of all of my relatives and think about what they would like before I go, because it’s kind of hard to think of things on the spot,” she said. Alternative gifts do not have to be donations, they can be gifts of time or handmade gifts, Rosso said.

local organizations like So Others Might Eat and the Literacy Council of Prince George’s County. International humanitarian organizations like Ananda Marga Universal Relief Team, EcoVentures International and Make Piece were also present. Julia Gaspar of Hyattsville Nurturing Moms says the group was particularly fond of organizations that are family oriented. “Given the demographics in Hyattsville it’s an area where there is certainly a concern to support the local community,” she said. “[Nurturing Moms] is specifically sponsoring organizations that support women and children. When new gift fairs start up, the first year tends to be the slowest, but Takoma Park has managed to constantly build the number of shoppers

In the comfort of Wilson’s cozy Ward 2 home, the cooks sipped wine as Amernick fed them with lessons learned throughout her 33-year career, which includes stints at the White House as an assistant pastry chef for the Carter and Reagan families. For one of Christmas’s traditional treats—cookies—Amernick said the gooey goodies can be just as delicious when you eat them as they are when they first come out of the oven. She suggests wrapping cookies in as many as five layers of plastic wrap before freezing them. Even better, stow them in a plastic box and then wrap them, she said. “Bake them a day earlier—just under-bake them,” she said, suggesting that they be warmed up in a microwave for five seconds before eating. When baking with puff pastry, Amernick suggests using a deli slicer to shave the dough. Although most homes do not have access to a deli slicer, there are other tricks to make working with dough easier. “The trick is, in the cold weather, don’t even put dough in the fridge,” she said, adding that it is also best to freeze dough after it is baked. “Otherwise you won’t get as high a rise,” she said. Amernick suggests using cake yeast whenever baking anything. each year with incentives, Duffin said. Activities like free massages, live music and a kid’s hour have make the Takoma Park gift fair a huge success, raising more than $20,000 last year. “We try to make it family friendly, so people feel that they can bring

Keeping it simple Here’s what Chef Neil Wilson suggests for making holiday food prep merrier: n Hire a personal chef. n If you do it yourself consider seasonal food. Try to support local farmers. You will be surprised how much better the food is...and your guests will give you all of the credit. n Share the work load. Divvy up the holiday cooking tasks. If you are throwing an elaborate dinner party, have a couple of your guests that like to cook help prepare one or two of the courses.   n Type up menus for each place setting and include the guest’s name with the food he/she prepared.

their kids out and the setting is appropriate,” Rosso said. Hyattsville also provided activities for children this year, but will wait on major incentives and activities until next year’s gift fair. “Franklin’s feels like a gathering

place for the community and certainly having the Nurturing Moms as co-sponsors, we definitely want it to be family oriented,” McCray said. “Kids will have their own list of gifts in the $2 to $10 range so that they can shop for gifts as well.”

Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007

Page 20

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