TREE LIGHTING see pg. 3
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
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
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 email@example.com. To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc. , e-mail Hyattsvillelifeandtimes@gmail.com. For inquiries re advertising rates or to submit ad copy please email to Hyattsvillelife@Yahoo.com. Sarah Nemeth, Executive Editor 240.354.4832 or firstname.lastname@example.org 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
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 Goalfree.com 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 Goalfree.com 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
Prince Georgeâ€™s Plaza: Christmasâ€™ â€˜most wantedâ€™ by Priscilla Akuoko
&AMILY $AY #ARE ,ICENSED
3AVITRI (OLLY 0ROVIDER
TH !VENUE s (YATTSVILLE -$ s SHOLLY ATTNET (OME s (OME s #ELL
C Penny, Macyâ€™s and Target do not fall behind when it comes to bright Christmas decorations in and around the Mall at Prince Georgeâ€™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. â€œSeasonal merchandise such as sweaters are the most popular among Christmas presents,â€? DeMutage said. â€œI guess people like them because theyâ€™re functional, and itâ€™s getting cold. Jewelry and fragrances are also very popular.â€? What happens to the left over Christmas merchandise? â€œTheyâ€™re put on clearance,â€? said Mary Scott, a JC Penny sales associate. â€œThe day after Christmas is a great day to shop. Everything will be 50 percent off.â€? The new Macyâ€™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
buyersâ€™ heads before they purchase a gift. Behind anonymous faces most shoppers feel the same stressors: â€œWill it fit? Is he going to like it? Doesnâ€™t she already have something like this?â€? Some people just skip these questions and take the easy way outâ€” gift cards. The shoppers at the Mall share their shopping whereabouts: â€œI got my girl a gorgeous chain from Kay Jewelry and some other special stuff at Victoriaâ€™s Secret. I also got my mom her favorite perfume, White Diamonds by Elizabeth Taylor and other stuff for the rest of my family,â€? said one shopper. â€œI buy mostly gift cards. Itâ€™s easier. I know where my daughters love to shop, but I donâ€™t always know what they buy exactly,â€? said a mother while shopping for presents. â€œThe iPod Touch Screen and the new PSP (PlayStation Portable) are the most popular Christmas gifts bought in our store,â€? said a Circuit City manager. â€œCustomers 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 didnâ€™t know about the Circuit City at this location.â€?
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 yearâ€™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: â€˘ Best Site Land Planning â€˘ Best Mixed-Use Development â€˘ Best Implementation of an Innovative Product Line â€˘ 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 â€œJewish Influences on American Popular Song.â€? The presentation will given by Steve Kramer following services at 8 p.m. on Dec. 14. Call 301.927.5525 or e-mail email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 â€œPursuit of Happynessâ€? 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
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
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.”
Hyattsville first to get wheeled recycle bins by Adaora Otiji
3* 2ESTAURANT Daily Lunch and Dinner Specials Eat In/Carry Out • Free Wi-Fi
Breakfast Special 7 Days a Week $3.95 Tacos Mondays $1 each All You Can Eat Shrimp Saturdays 4-8 pm $15.95 Steamed Shrimp Every Day Sandwich/Sub of the Month $3.95 Karaoke Tuesday and Saturday Nights #ORNER OF 1UEENSBURY 2HODE )SLAND !VE 2IVERDALE 0ARK -$
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
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: email@example.com phone: 301-779-8110 web: www.rheadaryll.com
What do you think? We want to hear from you! To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc., e-mail Hyattsvillelifeandtimes@gmail.com.
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.
Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007
Hyattsville Life&Times | December 2007
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
Homo Habilis Construction LLC* Remodeling