Page 1




Postcards from the Past looks at the holidays in Hyattsville from the 1940s, when christmas trees were burnt in bonfires. PAGE 5

Wrestling coach dick messier was presented the Lifetime service to Wrestling award for his stellar record. PAGE 3

mysterious H planters have appeared on Hyattsville elementary grounds, courtesy of a shadowy gang. PAGE 10

Wells Run effort moves forward by Paula Minaert

Hyattsville and two of its neighbors, University Park and Riverdale Park, have agreed to work together to manage stormwater runoff and pollution in Wells Run, a stream that flows through all three cities. All three town councils have passed Memoranda of Understanding establishing the Inter-Municipal Collaborative Committee on Wells Run. All three mayors said it met the need for a joint effort to solve their water problems. The Riverdale Park Town Council was the first to pass the legislation, on August 2. The Hyattsville City Council followed on September 8, and the University Park Town Council voted for it on November 15. Hyattsville Mayor Bill Gardiner said the MOU is “a framework for collaboration that could bring many long-term benefits to all three communities.” University Park Mayor John Tabori called the committee very experimental. “It’s a new model, where we engage developers at an early stage. We try to resolve problems instead of going in and trying to slug it out and cast aspersions.”

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 7 No. 12

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

December 2010

artiStS’ renDering/StreetSenSe

Retail opening set for April by Susie Currie

Only one vacancy is left in The Shops at Arts District Hyattsville, and the first stores should start opening by April — with plenty of free parking, according to the developer. “We’re just finishing the build-

ings now,” said Guy Silverman, chief operating officer of Streetsense, which took over the retail project from EYA at the beginning of this year. “The spaces will be delivered to the tenants by the end of the year. Some already have been delivered.” Of the 13 stores in the two build-

ings at the intersection of Jefferson Street and Route 1, seven have confirmed tenants. Among them are four restaurants — Busboys and Poets, Tara Thai, Elevation Burger and Chipotle — as well as the grocery store YES! Organic Market, the dry cleaner Royal Cleaners, and Essential Day Spa.

Five more businesses are in various stages of negotiation with Streetsense. Silverman said the lineup of potential new neighbors includes a yoga studio, a pet supply store, a frozen-yogurt shop, a sandwich place, and an ATM. REtaIL continued on page 12

Future of bed-andbreakfasts uncertain

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

WELLs RUN continued on page 13

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

by Susie Currie


Catie Currie

A quartet of Christmas carolers added to the city’s tree-lighting festivities on December 3 at Magruder Park. See more pictures of holiday happenings on page 3.

Despite two advisory committees’ unanimous support of bed-andbreakfasts, the city council voted November 29 to table indefinitely a motion to help determine whether they’re allowed in the Gateway Arts District. Both the Planning Committee and the Code Enforcement Advisory Committee have endorsed the motion from councilmember Tim Hunt (Ward 3) to ask the Prince George’s County Council to amend the arts district zoning BED aND BREaKFasts continued on page 9

Included: The December 8, 2010 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section

Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010


Making room at the “inn” by Paula Minaert

We all know there are problems around us, in the world, in our country, in our city. They stare us in the face and are hard to avoid. So it’s hard sometimes to see the good that’s also there, existing side by side with the bad. I had a chance recently to see the good, up close and personal. I spent a few hours one Thursday evening at First Methodist Church on Queens Chapel Road, which had turned a couple of its meeting rooms into a place of refuge for up to 15 homeless men. The men got a hot meal, a warm place to sleep, and a chance to take a shower the next morning. The church does this for a week every year as part of Safe Haven, a program where different Prince George’s County churches take turns serving as homeless shelters during the winter. Jim Langworthy, who facilitates Safe Haven at First Methodist, said the program

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 Executive Editor Paula Minaert 301.335.2519 Managing Editor Susie Currie 301.633.9209 Production Ashley Perks advertising 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Victoria Hille Valerie Russell Kimberly Schmidt Hugh Turley Board of Directors Julia Duin - President Chris Currie - Vice President Joseph Gigliotti - General Counsel Paula Minaert - Secretary Peggy Dee Susie Currie - Ex Officio 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 8,000. HL&t is a member of the National Newspaper association.

paula Minaert Tony Sullivan and Joseph Jackson help set up cots for homeless men at First Methodist Church as part of a week-long shelter.

has been running for about 20 years. “Volunteers from different committees here cook the food and serve it, and other volunteers stay here overnight with the

men,” said Langworthy. “Still others are in charge of washing the bedding, which we put away and use the next year.” I asked the two women who were serving

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the food what led them to help out there. Janet Burrowes said, “It’s part of who I am. It’s giving back. I can’t just read the Bible; I have to do what it says: ‘Feed my flock.’” “There was a need and I volunteered,” said Lynette Alexander, who had cooked the meal. “I like cooking.” When I asked Langworthy the same question, he said only that he’s been involved in social justice work since 1971. One of the men who was staying the night there had his own answer. “Jimmy’s a lifesaver,” said Tony Sullivan. “He makes sure people have what they need. He doesn’t deny anybody. He came to me a few years ago, when it got cold, and asked me if I needed a place to stay. And told me to come to Safe Haven.” Sullivan was happy to talk to me while he ate dinner, but first he prayed. “Lord, thank you for waking me up this morning, for the breath of life. Thank you for waking me up tomorrow, and giving me a second chance.” He told me he’d lost everything, though he does have a job at a restaurant now, and that a lot of people who were there at the shelter were also going through hard times. “We aren’t bad people,” he said. “We slipped up. Big deal. Now we got a chance to do something about it.” Another man walked up to the food table and called out loudly, “Anyone want seconds? Before I have thirds?” Someone answered him, “Go ahead. I already had fourths.” Everyone laughed. Someone else walked by, complaining that there was no bread. A man who had come to sit with us, Tony Watson, commented, “You take what you get. Some people are outside freezing.” Watson he told me that he played the guitar, even though he’d nearly lost one arm in an accident. “I’d play for you now if I had one.” A third man joined us, Joseph Jackson. He and Watson talked about corruption in the government, then moved on to Iraq and the economy. A line of children walked through the room, carrying musical instruments and a great many steel drums. The men told me they were in a band and sometimes played outdoor concerts in the summer. It was another outreach of the church. “They’re good,” said Jackson. “And it keeps them off the streets,” said Watson. As Sullivan got up to help the children put the instruments away, Jackson told me that he’s a roofer but lost his job and he has a son in the Navy. Watson asked if there was any way he could get a copy of the picture I’d taken of him. “That’s a good picture,” he said. The room with the cots was dark now because some people had already gone to bed. I got up to leave, and Watson and Sullivan started setting up some cots in the room where dinner had been served, because there was no more space in the sleeping room. As I left, I saw that the sign on the door to that room read, “Transfiguration Room.”

Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

Page 3

DeMatha coach honored SEASONAL SPIRITS for service to wrestling by Susie Currie

Mention DeMatha Catholic High School to most people outside the city limits, and the first word likely to come to mind is “basketball.” On December 1, this year’s team became the first to kick off its season in the brand-new 1,200-seat Morgan & Kathy Wootten Gym, which was dedicated that night. But over the last 32 years, another sports powerhouse has quietly emerged at the school: wrestling. Under the guidance of Coach Dick Messier, DeMatha wrestlers have won 24 of the last 25 Washington Catholic Athletic Conference championships. Messier’s coaching record is 448 wins, 99 losses and 7 ties. On November 14, the Maryland Chapter of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame presented the coach with a Lifetime Service to Wrestling award. The crowd of about 50 at the Loews Annapolis Hotel included his family as well as DeMatha faculty members, staff, alumni, and former and current wrestlers. In his acceptance speech, Messier recalled the team’s humble beginnings in 1979, when he moved his family here from Rhode Island to start the program. “I think we had a total of four wins the first two years,” he said. It would be five years before the team got its own practice mats — and decades before it had space to call its own. A dedicated training room opened last March as part of the new Convocation Center; before that, the team practiced in 23 locations over the years, including classrooms, the cafeteria and the locker room. Receiving the award “was a bit of a shock,” admitted Messier later in an interview. “Usually people are chosen when they’re ready to retire or … sometimes, after they’ve passed away.” He says he’s not going anywhere; there are more goals he wants to meet. One is to see his winning record exceed 500. And he’d like to see one of his students go on to become NCAA champion. Many have wrestled at the collegiate level, including Todd Beckerman, a 1996 graduate who went on to become two-time All-American at the University of Nebraska. Now the head assistant wrestling coach at Univer-

DeMatha Catholic High School Coach Dick Messier started the award-winning DeMatha Catholic High School wrestling team in 1979.

sity of Maryland, Beckerman said the recent award is “definitely well-deserved.” “Coach always looked out for his wrestlers,” he said. “He went out of his way to get us to the best tournaments,” often traveling out of state. While on the road, the coach makes sure his athletes don’t lose sight of what’s important. “He’s a man of faith, and he makes sure faith is a part of the team,” said Kurt Tamai, a team member from 1982 to 1986 who returned after college for a six-year stint as assistant coach. “He sees to it that everyone gets to Mass at weekend tournaments.” Messier has coached over a thousand wrestlers in his career, and modestly says that the key to his success is “the kids. They want to do well, they want to excel.” Former athletes say that’s not the whole picture. “Coach has a lot of talents,” said Tamai. “He has the ability to take non-wrestling athletes and turn them into wrestlers. He would pick guys out of the hall who never wrestled before. Some [students] do come in with experience, but it’s not the norm. We don’t have a feeder program like some other schools do.” Listen to his athletes, and you’ll hear a litany of qualities essential for any good coach. “He has a passion for the sport, and for helping the kids reach their highest potential,” said Tamai. “He knows how to get the best out of each and every wrestler. He’s an incredible motivator.”

photos by catie currie Amanda Gilbert reveals her Christmas wishes at the City of Hyattsville’s Breakfast with Santa on December 4th (top), while St. Jerome Classical School first-grader Liliana McGee shops at the St. Jerome Christmas Bazaar with the assistance of her teacher, Mary Pat Pollock.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda,

been chosen for “watering” by some of the dogs being walked in the alLast summer I planted a privacy ley or perhaps a feral cat or two, screen of holly bushes on each side but I read that a good way to keep of my back driveway, which feeds such animals away is to spread into an alley.  Three of the bushes holly leaves around shrubs.  Then I died while the rest thrived. That wondered if the tar from the blackpretty much eliminates disease, so topped driveway or the alley had something must have contaminated had a bad effect. But the holly bush the soil nearest to the dead bushes.  on the east side of the driveway did I thought maybe these bushes had fine; the one on the west side of it

died. The other bush that died was near a telephone pole.

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Dear Berry Baffled, Actually, the “watering” you refer to would probably not harm holly, which likes acidity in the soil and tolerates salt so well it is of-

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ten planted near seacoasts. But you are right in supposing that the problem lies in the soil itself. Unfortunately, you do not say what kind of holly you planted. Grover Arboretum, my tree and shrub resource, asked me what variety of holly or hollies you planted. Japanese holly, for example, is extremely susceptible to a soil fungus called thielaviopsis basicola, commonly called “black root rot.” English holly is much more resistant to this, and American holly is moderately resistant. In addition, Grover told me that this fungus develops in cool, damp weather and wondered in what month you noticed your shrubs dying. If your holly died in summer heat and is English or American, he identified the probable culprit as a fungus called phytophthora cinnamomi. Along with phytophthora cactorum, which has been killing rhododendrons in our region, this fungal disease may attack only a few plants in susceptible areas — wherever there is warm water runoff from roofs and pavements.  If your black-topped driveway slopes towards the west side this would

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explain why the holly there was afflicted and not the one on the other side. Creosote or tar from the telephone pole might indeed have leached into the soil around the third holly and predisposed it toward disease — particularly if drainage was not good. There isn’t any way to save a shrub once the fungus has taken hold, so the only thing to do is dig it up and replace it, along with the soil in which it was planted. Research shows that our red clay is, of all soils, the most liable to harbor fungi.  I hope you have already replaced it with good friable loam.  Finally, Grover tells me that the holly most resistant to problems of any kind is the Chinese. If you are among those already decorating a Christmas tree with Santas, angels, stars and snowflakes made in China, then you might as well deck your halls with Chinese holly.

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Page 5

Postcards from the Past

of you! thinking g g well! re doin re doin hope you' of hope you' of you! ! thinking of you! thinking thinking doing well hope you're g well! you're re doin ! hope you' you! hope thinking of you! g well king of ! re doin well! thin doing well hope you' king of you! you're you! hope thin of ! g you! re doin thinking doing well well! you're hope you' ng doing doi you! hope thinking of you! of 're you thinking g well! ! hope hope you're re doin hope you' king of you ! you ! hope ! of well! thin king of you

g of you thin well! well! thinkin thinking xxxxxxx doing doing well! xxxxxxxxx you're 'rexxxxxxx hope you

Bonfire of the Christmas trees by Peggy Dee

As the first decade of 2000 comes to a close, we reflect on what Hyattsville was like 60 years ago, at the end of the 1940s. The City of Hyattsville held its annual Christmas program, which was co-sponsored by several civic groups. A Nativity scene was placed on the lawn of the Armory, now Crossover Church. Colored lights were strung from telephone pole to telephone pole and Christmas music was piped out by Hanley Jewelers, located in the 5100 block of Baltimore Avenue.  The end of that decade also saw the closing of Dr. Dudrow’s drug store, where many memorable stories had been passed along over the years. His grandson, Douglas Dudrow, is our current councilman for Ward 1 and remembers many of these stories. He has spent his entire life here in Hyattsville and has been a member of the city council for over 30 years. While Doug can tell you about the many changes he has seen over the years, his favorite topic is Christmas and how it was celebrated a generation ago.   Unlike today, where shoppers rush to the malls in hopes of finding parking spaces and stand in long lines at cash registers, Hyattsville residents in those days would leisurely walk down to Route 1, also known as Baltimore Avenue, to shop.  Stores there benefited from being on the main road between Washington and Baltimore.  There was parking along Route 1 itself and also on the side streets. Stores such as the Woolworth Five-and-Dime and Deitz Department Store were great favorites. Neighbors would meet each other while shopping and made

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doug dudrow A Hyattsville Christmas gathering in the early 1950s. Santa is Gilbert Dudrow and he is holding Doug Dudrow, our current Ward One council member.

time to stop and chat. The soda fountain at the Peoples Drug Store was another meeting place for friends. Doug, as a young teenager, worked behind the fountain. Families would retreat to the old Hot Shoppes Restaurant for lunch or dinner before walking home.  Most local churches had Christmas Eve services, from which the residents walked home. Groups of carolers strolled through the neighborhoods, to everyone’s delight.    Doug has fond memories of the ice cream creations at the popular Tony George’s Restaurant, in the 5200 block of Baltimore Avenue.  Doug’s mother worked for an answering service located over Tony George’s and the owner would call Doug each year to come down and decorate.  There was also a wooden house on the Avenue where city police distributed toys to underprivileged children. Gilbert Dudrow, Doug’s father, would dress up as Santa for the occasion.  The city raised the money for the toys by having an annual dance at the at DeMatha Catholic High School’s Antler Room.  Today, the city collects Christmas trees as yard waste. But back then, to officially end the Christmas season,


the citizens of Hyattsville would take their trees to Magruder Park, where a large bonfire would be set. After the fire was out, the residents walked home, knowing that the holiday season was over for another year.  It was time to settle down to a long, cold Hyattsville winter.          

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Page 7


Through January 2

The 24th Annual Winter Festival of Lights, the popular holiday display featuring over a million twinkling lights. Please bring a canned good to donate. Admission per car or van is $5 for a single visit or $10 for a multivisit pass. 5 to 9:30 p.m. daily until January 2. Watkins Regional Park. 301 Watkins Park Drive, Upper Marlboro. 301.699.2456.

Through January 9

Part of Gaylord National Resort’s “Christmas on the Potomac” program, ICE! will feature 10 colorful scenes from the Dr. Seuss classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas! Created with over 2 million pounds of ice, sculp-

tures include the Grinch’s frozen mountaintop lair, 20-foot-tall ice slides, the village of Who-ville, Max the dog, Cindy Lou Who, and, of course, the green one himself. Tickets start at $24; discounts for children and seniors. Free for ages 3 and under. National Harbor, 201 Waterfront Street, National Harbor. Hours vary; for more information, call 301.965.4000 or visit www.

Through February 25

On loan from the National Air and Space Museum, Fly Now! is an exhibit of 40 international aviation posters from 1860 to the present. Free with museum admission of $4 for adults and $2 for ages 18 and under. Noon to 4 p.m. College Park Aviation Museum. 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

from computer-generated to relief printing. Free. Weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Gateway Arts Center, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood. 301.277.2863.

December 15

If your house is all decked out for the holidays, be sure to turn on your Christmas lights (and, to help judges, your porch light) for Light Up the Sky. Judges will be viewing homes throughout the city from 7 to 9 p.m. and choosing three winners from each of Hyattsville’s five wards. Winners will be announced next month at a city council meeting.

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The National Capital Trackers return for the seventh annual Holiday Trains and Planes show, a display of miniature villages, trains and tunnels. Free with museum admission: $4 adults, $3 seniors, $2 ages 18 and under. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; closed Dec. 25. College Park Aviation Museum, \


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This may be the first time the words “karaoke” and “food drive” have appeared in the same calendar listing. During Jam the Zam & Karaoke Night, staff at the Herbert Wells Ice Rink hope to fill the Zamboni with donations for area food banks. Drop off the requested amount any time

December 18 to 24

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to receive a coupon for one free admission to tonight’s event, which features — yes — karaoke from 8 to 10 p.m. Adults, 5 cans; children, 4 cans; college students, 3 cans. (If you wait until the day of, the price goes up by one can.) Herbert Wells Ice Rink, 5211 Paint Branch Parkway, College Park. 301.277.3717.

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The College Park Arts Exchange hosts a book discussion of The Language of Baklava, by Diana Abu-Jaber, who evokes her Jordanian-American childhood in this story that’s part cookbook, part memoir. Free. 7:30 to 9 p.m. Old Parish House, 4711 Knox Road, College Park. 301.927.3013.

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Hyattsville HyattsvilleLife Life&&Times Times| | December 2010

the • 301-985-5000

No. 206 • Decemb

PUBLIC MEETINGS SCHEDULED FOR CONCLUSION OF TRASH PILOT On January 1, 2010, the City switched to once-a-week collection of household solid waste for all of the approximately 3,400 households served by the Department of Public Work’s Solid Waste Division. The program was designed as a one-year pilot. Evaluation of the pilot program is now underway, and a series of three public meetings will be held in January 2011 to discuss findings and recommendations. Please join us! The dates and locations are as follows:

MONDAY, JANUARY 24, 2011 AT 7:00 PM Council Chambers, City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street

TUESDAY, JANUARY 25, 2011 AT 7:00 PM

Former BB&T Building, 3505 Hamilton Street


Prince George’s Plaza Community Center 6600 Adelphi Road For more information, route maps, or background materials, visit Remember, December includes two holiday weeks. The City is closed on Friday, December 24, 2010, and Friday, December 31, 2010. All City residents will have their trash picked up ONE DAY EARLY during these two weeks. Find more information at or call 301/985-5032 with questions.

Two Ways to Give Back this December Each December, two projects in the City help make the holidays brighter for those in need. The Annual Sonny Frazier Toy Drive is a chance to help provide a happy holiday for a local child. Donate a new, unwrapped toy for children ages 2 through 12 before Tuesday, December 12 at the following locations:

• Safeway, 3511 Hamilton Street • Hyattsville Elementary School, 5311 43rd Avenue • City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street (Box is in lobby; accessible 24 hours/day) • Magruder Park (Mon thru Thurs, 8 AM until 1 PM only. Please knock at side door.) Children benefited by the Sonny Frazier Toy Drive also take part in a special lunch with Santa. For more information, to volunteer, or to make a cash donation, please contact Council Member Ruth Ann Frazier at 301-779-5428. Shop With a Cop is a special project organized by the Police Department. Local police officers take area children on a $100 holiday shopping trip to The Mall at Prince George’s Plaza. They help the kids choose gifts for their loved ones. Kids have bought everything from toys for their younger siblings to a winter coat for mom. The kids also get a ride in a police cruiser, and cops and kids cap off their day with a special lunch at the Outback Steakhouse on East-West Highway. You can sponsor a child by sending a check payable to the Maryland Association of School Resource Officers to 4310 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville MD 20781.

Reporter Hyattsville Hyattsville Life Life &&Times Times || December December 2010 2010

ber 8, 2010

IN OTHER NEWS... ANNOUNCING ART CLASSES FOR SENIORS Beginning in January 2011, the Department of Recreation and the Arts will offer a series of four-week workshops on topics like knitting, scrapbooking, and beading. Participation is open to City seniors ages 55 and over. Look for details in the next edition of the Hyattsville Reporter.

COMMUNITY MEETING: ARCADE IMPROVEMENTS Join us to discuss the future use of the Arcade Building at 4318 Gallatin Street. The discussion will include a brief summary of the work completed to date, a review of the programming plan and proposed additional uses. This programming exercise is necessary before the project team proceeds with final design and submission for permit review. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, December 8th at 7:30 p.m. at the City Municipal Building, 4310 Gallatin Street.

LEAF COLLECTION Leaf collection resumed November 1, 2010 and is scheduled to continue through Friday, December 17. An announcement will be made on Monday, December 6, regarding whether we will continue collection into January 2011. (Most years the service is extended due to high leaf volumes.) Remember, we will not vacuum the weeks of December 20 and December 27, due to the Christmas and New Year holidays. Route information, helpful tips, and more can be found at leaves.


Page Page HR2 HR2


Community Meeting: Arcade Improvements, City Municipal Building, 7:30 PM


Capital Area Food Bank Stuff-a-Truck event, Giant, 3521 East-West Highway, 6:00 AM to 11:00 PM


City Council Work Session, City Municipal Building, 8:00 PM


Hyattsville Environmental Committee meeting, City Municipal Building, 7:30 PM


Judging for Light Up the Sky annual holiday decorating contest, City-wide, 7:00 to 9:00 PM

20 -23 24 27 -30

Changes to trash collection schedule, City-wide. All residents will place their trash out for collection one day EARLY. Christmas Holiday. City Administrative Offices closed; no trash collection. Changes to trash collection schedule, City-wide. All residents will place their trash out for collection one day EARLY.

City of Hyattsville police are taking part in a regional effort to stop impaired drivers. Beginning in early December, we will be taking part in an intensive law enforcement mobilization to get impaired drivers off our roads. You can help by reporting suspected drunk drivers to the police by calling 911 throughout our area. Visit to learn more.

STUFF-A-TRUCK RETURNS The Office of Volunteer Services helps arrange volunteers for the Capital Area Food Bank’s annual Stuff-a-Truck at the Giant on East-West Highway. The event begins at 6:30 AM and lasts until 11:30 PM. Stuff-a-Truck is a one-day food drive that takes place throughout the Greater Washington DC area. Call 301/985-5057 for volunteer information, or visit for information on their programs and services.

LIGHT UP THE SKY CONTEST Deck the halls, Hyattsville! Judging will take place for the annual Light Up the Sky holiday decorating contest on Wednesday, December 15, from 7:00 to 9:00 PM, City-wide. Judges travel the City t o choose the most festive homes for special recognition. Size up the competition by viewing last years’ winners at www., or visit our website the week of December 20 to see this year’s winners.


New Year Holiday. City Administrative Offices closed; no trash collection.

RECREATION NEWS IN YOUR INBOX The City’s Department of Recreation and the Arts offers a yearlong calendar of programs for the whole family. To stay up-to-date, residents can now subscribe to the Department’s monthly eNews. Packed with details on upcoming events, it is a must-read if you’re looking for affordable family fun in Hyattsville. Visit http://www. to subscribe.



Remember that after the holidays, the City will accept Christmas trees as part of our Monday Yard Waste collection. There’s no need to bag the tree – simply remove the lights and ornaments and place curbside for collection. Yard Waste collection dates for January 2011 are as follows: Monday, January 3; Monday, January 10; Monday, January 24; and Monday, January 31. There is no Yard Waste collection the week of Monday, January 17 due to the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday.

Are you on Facebook? You can now keep up with City events and happenings at When you see Vainglorious, the silver metal bird sculpture at Centennial Park, you’ll know you’re in the right place. He is kind enough to serve as the City’s wall photo.

Page 8

Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

COMMUNITY CALENDAR 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

December 19

If you’re looking for unique gift ideas, why not take a glass ornaments class? Learn how to blow colored glass ornaments in this workshop, part of DC Glassworks “Introduction to Glass” series. 1 to 5 p.m. $165. DC Glassworks, 5366 46th Avenue, Edmonston. 301.927.8271.

December 30

This evening’s Kwanzaa celebration will feature drummers, dancers, a storyteller and refreshments. 7 to 10 p.m. Free. Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center, 6120 Sargent Road, Chil-

lum. 301.283.2005.

Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.

January 8


Mad Science presents an interactive science show for children. Showtimes are 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. $5 per person includes admission to the museum. College Park Aviation Museum, 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029.

January 15

Dress up in your black-tie best for the Twelfth Night Ball. Celebrate the end of the holiday season at this regency-style ball, complete with dance lessons and live period music. $32; register by January 7. 7:30 to 10 p.m. Riversdale House Museum. 4811 Riverdale Road,

St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church is calling for singers to join in its performance of Mozart’s “Great Mass in C Minor,” to be  held in March with the Prince George’s Choral Society as part of a series of events celebrating the  parish’s 200th anniversary. To learn more, come to a rehearsal (Thursdays at 7:30 p.m.) at the church, 5901 36th Avenue, or contact Joyce Rose at 301.328.0256. Hyattsville Elementary School is gearing up for its first book sale, and invites you to donate books, DVDs and CDs for the spring event. Drop books off at the school’s main of-

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fice, 5311 43rd Avenue, or schedule a donation with PTA president Bart Lawrence (bartkathleen@ or 301.312.9129). Area couple Milton and Linda McGehee, who were profiled in our pages recently, are still collecting new items for wounded soldiers, including disposable cameras, toiletries, puzzle books, playing cards, DVDs, and, especially, new towels and washcloths. Call 301.559.0864 to donate or volunteer. Through March, naturalists will lead a guided hike around Lake Artemesia and the Luther Goldman Birding Trail on the first and third Thursdays of the month. Lake Artemesia, 8200 55th Avenue, Berwyn Heights. Free. 3 to 4:30 p.m. 301.627.7755. This isn’t your toddler’s Sit & Spin. At A Tangled Skein yarn shop, the name refers to fourth-Friday gatherings where drop-spindle and spinning-wheel users can work on individual projects, guided by spinning expert Anne O’Connor. Free. 7 to 9 p.m. And if you need more chances

to unwind, come to the twice weekly Sit & Stitch sessions: Wednesdays, 7 to 9 p.m., and Thursdays, 1 to 3 p.m. They’re open to knitters and crocheters of any experience level. Free. 5200 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 101. 301.779.3399. The Hyattsville library offers a variety of storytimes. Space is limited; free tickets available at the Children’s Desk. Ages 9-23 months with caregiver: Mondays, 10:15 a.m.  Ages 2-3:  Mondays, 11 a.m. and Tuesdays, 10:15 a.m.  Ages 3-5:  Tuesdays, 11 a.m. Ages 3-6: Wednesdays, 7 p.m. English-Spanish Storytime for ages 3-6:  Saturdays, 10:30 a.m. 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.   Community Calendar is compiled by Susie Currie. It’s a select listing of events happening in and around Hyattsville from the 15th of the issue month to the 15th of the following month. To submit an item for consideration, please e-mail  susie  or mail to  P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for January submissions is December 23.

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Page 9

bed and breakfasts

continued from page 1

to include B&Bs. A travel website that lets homeowners rent guest rooms counts a handful of area residents among its thousands of members around the world. Council President Marc Tartaro (Ward 1) was concerned that unlicensed rooms were already being rented. “You have people engaging in business and … flying underneath the radar,” said Tartaro. “I don’t believe that ignorance [of the regulations] is really an excuse.” Council Vice President Bill Tierney (Ward 2) said he grew up “next to a rooming house that was not beneficial to the neighborhood,” and that some of his constituents with small children had expressed concern about the “transient nature” of bed-and-breakfasts. “Having high turnover of people within a residential neighborhood is not necessarily a good thing,” said Tierney. His motion to table the discussion passed 6-3. When the arts district was zoned in 2004, bed-and-breakfasts were not on the list of acceptable uses — or even defined by the county. In 2009, District Council member Tom Dernoga (District 1) sponsored a zoning amendment that defined several types of temporary dwellings, including B&Bs. They

“Having B&Bs is not a threat to a neighborhood’s stability. Boardinghouses, maybe, but not B&Bs.” — Stuart Eisenberg executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation are “any owner-occupied, one-family detached residential dwelling in which rooms are rented to paying guests on an overnight basis or not longer than two weeks in any one visit.” It also restricts parking, number of guest rooms and appearance. The accompanying table of uses lists which zones allow or prohibit B&Bs. But overlay zones — such as the one for the Gateway Arts District — are not on the list. Dernoga said he was trying to promote agritourism for the rural areas, “[but] if we had considered [the overlay zone], most members would have said, ‘Oh yeah, that’s a great idea for the arts district.’ ”

chris currie Donna Reynolds’ home is the sixth-highest recommended out of several hundred Washington-area listings on

john snogren Aaron Dorfman in the backyard of his Hyattsville Hills home.

At-large Planning Committee member Stuart Eisenberg, executive director of the Hyattsville Community Development Corporation, said that the county regulations allayed the committee’s concerns that the B&Bs be owner-occupied. (At least one advertised accommodation is not.) “Having B&Bs is not a threat to neighborhood’s stability,” he said. “Boardinghouses, maybe, but not B&Bs.” Nina Faye, chair of the Code Enforcement Advisory Committee, agreed. “We have a district with historic houses, restaurants, shops — it’s a perfect fit for bed-and-breakfasts.” Senior Code Inspector Chris Giunta said his office has received one complaint, about guest parking at a Hyattsville Hills home. Geneen Massey and her husband, Aaron Dorfman, had two rooms listed on airbnb. com. (They’ve since closed the listing.) The driveway fits two cars; when there are guests, she said, the couple parks on the street. “But it’s rare for any of our guests to have cars,” she said. “They’re here to see D.C.; they don’t want to have to deal with cars.” Guests of another local hostess don’t need a car, because she drives them to and from the airport and Metro stations. When Donna Reynolds read an article about, she had just retired and had some extra space in the house she’s owned for 24 years. “I thought it would be interesting to meet people from all over the world,” she said. “And it has been! Sometimes I’m up until 1 a.m. listening to stories from people from Germany, South Africa, China or New Zealand.” She and Massey both argue that they are helping the city by sending their guests to local restaurants, shops, and sometimes even realtors. Massey hosted a couple who was house-hunting here, and Reynolds said one of her guests was so impressed with the neighborhood that she convinced her brother, newly hired at the White House, to look for a home here. Reynolds said she understands why people unfamiliar with the concept might “have visions of rooming houses. But I hope they talk to people who actually run them. These are not boardinghouses, or anything vaguely resembling them.” Brooke Myers, a stay-at-home mother with three small children, lives across the street from a homeowner who lists one guest room on and sometimes gives a key or directions to the mostly international visitors.

“I use it as a learning experience,” she says. “If the person is from Germany, we go inside to find it on the map. I’ve had absolutely no problems with any of the guests — they’ve all been completely delightful.” Still, said Giunta, “right now, they’re not allowed under county regulations.” Without an amendment to the zoning regulations or other guidance from the county, he said, the city may have to take action. To operate as a business, they would need a county certificate of use and occupancy and a city of Hyattsville business license. But under the current regulations, said Giunta, they wouldn’t be able to get them. Operating a business without a license in the city may

result in fines of up to $250 a day. So the status of local bed-and-breakfasts remains in limbo, with no decision date in sight. “I find it offensive that every time code enforcement or one of the other [advisory] groups brings something up, it’s ‘not important for us to discuss,’ ” said Nicole Hinds Mofor (Ward 5) at the council meeting. Dorfman went to the meeting and said he was “surprised” by the decision to table the motion indefinitely. “If the members of both advisory committees did their due diligence and city staff is in favor [of the motion], I don’t understand the reluctance to move forward.”

LIGHT UP THE SKY The City’s annual Light Up the Sky judging takes place Wednesday, December 15 starting at 7:00 PM Turn on your lights by 7:00 p.m. on Wednesday, December 15 and keep them on until 9:00 p.m. Judges will consider every decorated property. lightup

Page 10

Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

Mystery gang drops Hs on school grounds by Bart Lawrence

Early one October morning, a dusty and dented pickup truck rolled down the streets of Hyattsville under the cover of darkness, stopping twice to pick up passengers before speeding off toward the District line. Within a few hours, four H-shaped planters had appeared on the grounds of Hyattsville Elementary School. The story of the Hs and its connection with a shadowy Gang of Three would have remained a mystery had the perpetrators not agreed to be interviewed on the condition of anonymity. The story began on October 16, when Hyattsville Elemen-

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tary School PTA volunteers were pulling weeds, trimming trees, and picking up trash around the school for the second Saturday in a row. Wiping the sweat from her brow, one volunteer noted that the school could use a few planters to dress up the rear of the school. “We immediately thought of the Hs, which, of course, we learned about in the September issue of the Hyattsville Life & Times,” said Lefty, the gang leader, referring to the cover story on the first sightings of a dozen wooden planters around town. “They fit with the name of the school, they’re fun, and they’re free.” A member of the PTA (who might also be writing this story) contacted DC Greenworks, the nonprofit group that developed the Hs as a temporary art installation for Washington, D.C.’s H Street. “They [confirmed that] the Hs were free for the taking,” recounted Lefty, “so that next Sunday, we took ‘em.” The trio of volunteers reached H Street NE in their borrowed pickup around 6:15 a.m. At that hour, they were able to pull right up to the Hs on the sidewalk and roll them into the truck bed. “Even after removing the dirt and stone,” noted Frenchie, the driver, “the damn things weigh a ton.” By 9 a.m., the four consonants were standing sentinel around the school, and later that afternoon the gang filled them with fresh dirt. Unlike the dozen planters that went before them, which we hear

“They fit with the name of the school, they’re fun, and they’re free.” — Lefty Gang of Three leader

had repercussions at the highest levels of city government, these have been generally well received. The effort had the support of principal Jeanne Washburn, and one first grader said simply: “They’re nice. They look pretty.” School parent Christine Williams elaborated. “I like that the children have access to art in their space. The Hs are appealing because they can be changed easily and reflect an endless amount of ideas,” she said. “The potential to involve groups of students, parents or staff to think creatively and collaborate to express a vision unique to HES is sure to have a very positive effect for us as a school community.” The PTA plans to hold a design contest for the Hs. Each classroom will be invited to submit up to two design concepts for the planters. In February, PTA members will vote to choose the four winning designs and work with staff and students to transform the Hs. Before ending the interview, Lefty hinted that somewhere in the city there might be a fifth new H, but he added, sounding like Edward G. Robinson, “you might need to drain a duck pond to find it, see.”

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Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

Page 11

HYATTSVILLE VACUUM CLEANER SERVICE Public Service Announcement Sponsored by the Hyattsville Life & Times

Hyattsville Community Foundation P.O. Box 152 Hyattsville, MD 20781 Dear Hyattsville Friends and Neighbors:

In 2006, the Hyattsville Life and Times initially funded the Hyattsville Community Foundation, under the auspices of the Prince Georges County Foundation, itself an affiliate of the Capital Foundation of the National Capital Region.

The original and continuing purpose of the Foundation is to distribute grants to the various non profit organizations serving Hyattsville. Past recipients of grant funding from the Foundation have been the Sonny Frazier Toy Drive, the local Meals on Wheels program and the Catholic Sportsmens Organization. Other well deserving non profit organizations are in dire need of funding and I am writing to let you know that our Foundation allows you to become a donor to our community at any financial level comfortable to you, which in turn, allows the Foundation to make grants to those organization in need.

Would you please take this moment to contribute to this Hyattsville specific philanthropic endeavor by making a gift of $15, $25, $100, $500- or more? I assure you, your gift will be put to work, today, tomorrow and forever. My board of advisors and I carefully evaluate and determine what projects will be funded and we are anxiously waiting to disburse grants to other well deserving organizations in need. This letter serves as our sole appeal for the year. I am a donor myself and I close by asking that you join me today to help make Hyattsville an even better place to live. If you would like to make a year ending tax deductible contribution, you can mail it to the Hyattsville Community Foundation, P.O. Box 152, Hyattsville, Maryland 20781.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

streetsense A look at the floor plan of the new Shops at Arts District Hyattsville, opening this spring. Potential tenants have expressed interest in two of the three available spaces.


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“There hasn’t been this amount of new construction along the Route 1 corridor in Hyattsville since the 1950s,” said Mayor Bill Gardiner. “In fact, it’s probably the largest project from the District line to College Park.” It may also have “the largest green roof in the county,” said Silverman. Half of it, about 10,000 square feet, is covered with topsoil and plantings to help curb energy use and stormwater runoff. Envisioned as part of the “world within walking distance” of the city motto, the shops will have pedestrian-friendly sidewalks — 20 feet wide, in some places —

“This will re-establish a and lots of outdoor seating. “This will re-establish a walk- walkable downtown able downtown neighborhood neighborhood center.” center,” said Gardiner. “It creates — Mayor Bill Gardiner a great destination for Hyattsville residents and others in the area [with a] super mix of tenants.” To accommodate drivers, Now, just north of the retail Streetsense extended Jefferson center, phase one of the East VilStreet “about 300 feet” east of lage has begun. Two more sets of Route 1 and will offer “plenty of townhouses are under construcfree parking” in three adjacent tion; 11 have been pre-sold. Fulots, said Silverman. ture construction plans include a Also in the works: hundreds four-story, 200-unit multi-family more dwelling places. EYA has dwelling behind the shops. gotten approval to build a total of EYA’s Arts District Hyattsville, 600 units as part of Arts District which has won 15 design awards, Hyattsville. The existing 120 town- features new townhomes with roofhomes making up the West Village, top terraces, fitness center, art galleron the west side of Route 1, are all ies, shops, and a clubhouse fashioned sold — including the models. from the old Lustine showroom.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

Page 13

wells run

continued from page 1

The mayor of Riverdale Park, Vernon Archer, said that in his city, Wells Run flows through an old and decaying concrete channel. “It’s falling apart and something has to be done. We want it to be a comprehensive, watershed approach.” The effort began, according to Archer, with him and Tabori discussing stream issues and then deciding to formalize the process to share information and assistance. Tabori said their concern was sparked by the long-term effects of development in the region. “When development first began, there were no water regulations worth the name. Other than piping, there was no thought about retention,” he said. “So you get impervious surfaces, which you see at UTC or the Blumberg property. It doesn’t absorb water, so water goes right into Wells Run,” a tributary of the Anacostia River. Tabori contends that because of the land grading around the Mall at Prince Georges, all the water from that area’s new development flows toward University Park. UP Council member Mickey Lucas (Ward 2), added that the water brings with it large amounts of trash.

catie currie Wells Run starts in Hyattsville (left) and ends in Riverdale Park (right).

“The problem is generated in Hyattsville,” said Lucas. “We’re doing everything we possibly can.” University Park and Riverdale Park passed the MOU unanimously, but in Hyattsville, three votes against it came from Council President Marc Tartaro (Ward 1) and Ward 2 council members Bill Tierney and David Hiles. “I don’t think the MOU as constructed is helpful to Hyattsville,” said Tierney, vice president of the council. “It may imply that the city has some liability.” Tartaro said that the Wells Run issue is worthy of consideration but has not been defined as a

council priority and shouldn’t get in front of pressing issues like evaluating Hyattsville’s oncea-week trash program or traffic problems. “And our whole issue of Queens-

bury Road traffic is because our good neighbors in UP closed Queens Chapel Road. When we talk about how we interact with our neighbors, I have to view it in the context of that lens.” He also disagrees that the blame for pollution should be laid at Hyattsville’s door. “I don’t know how much Hyattsville is part of the problem,” said Tartaro. “We need to do a comprehensive plan to manage our water but so do UP and RP. We all need to sit down together and say, your contribution to the watershed is this, and ours is this, and then come up with strategies and an implementation plan. My guess is it’ll cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, if not more. Each community needs to decide about allocating resources for design and implementation. None of this was talked about.”

Archer said he’s optimistic that a solution that’s in the interest of developers in Hyattsville will also work well for Riverdale Park. “I feel both UP and Hyattsville are good neighbors to us. We have a common interest in putting good storm water policies and water quality practices in place.” Tabori commented that both University Park and Riverdale Park passed the MOU with unanimous votes and that only three individuals of all three cities’ councils dissented from moving forward. “I’m more inclined to move on.” Hyattsville council member Tim Hunt (Ward 3) said that the point of working together is to look at what kind of development is good for the whole area. “We all live in same fishbowl and need to find a way to address issues that affect all of us.”

Holiday Changes to City Trash Collection Christmas Day Observed: Friday, December 24

New Year’s Day Observed: Friday, December 31

No Yard Waste Pick-Up, City-wide and changes to Household Solid Waste schedule:

No Yard Waste Pick-Up, City-wide and changes to Household Solid Waste schedule:

Tuesday pick-up on Monday, 12/20 Wednesday pick-up on Tuesday, 12/21 Thursday pick-up on Wednesday, 12/22 Friday pick-up on Thursday, 12/23

Tuesday pick-up on Monday, 12/27 Wednesday pick-up on Tuesday, 12/28 Thursday pick-up on Wednesday, 12/29 Friday pick-up on Thursday, 12/30

Wishing you a happy holiday! City of Hyattsville, Department of Public Works 301/985-5000

Page 14

Hyattsville Life & Times | December 2010

Happy Holidays and a

Happy, Healthy 2011! CURRENTLY LISTED: 4004 30th St. $149,995 4306 29th St. $199,000 7214 16th Ave. $329,995 2408 Sheridan St. $154,900 2208 Woodberry St. $220,000 3105 Webster St. $299,000 3817 Newark Rd $180,000


CONDOMINIUMS: Greenbriar Condominium  $125,995 - $169,995 Hunting Ridge  Condominium  $129,995 - $149,900 Maryland Farms  Condominium  $144,000 - $155,900 Montpelier Village  Condominum  $109,995 - $155,900



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December 2010 Hyattsville Life & Times  

December 2010 edition of monthly community newspaper

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