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Hyattsville Life&Times

City allocates $50k for traffic study

Vol. 6 No. 3

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

Proposed vehicle ordinance sparks city controversy

By Karen Anderson


he Hyattsville City Council has allocated $50,000 for a city-wide traffic study to be completed over the next six months. Assistant City Administrator Vincent Jones said the study will begin once he is able to finalize the contract. Sabra, Wang & Associates, Inc., a Baltimore-based firm hired for the project, will spend roughly four months measuring the speed, volume and vehicle class of traffic throughout the city and at 28 specific intersections identified as being “indicative of traffic patterns.” “I know people, sort of on your own, are able to, through an eye level analysis, say that an intersection is not working,” Jones said. “But here we’re going to have the data collected to tell us what level of service a particular intersection is allowing for traffic flow.” Jones said the 28 intersections selected will “in no way” be the only ones reviewed. The data will be analyzed along with other information collected by the state in similar studies to measure the level of service each intersection is capable of, draft a 20-year forecast predicting the city’s evolving traffic needs, and suggest improvements – such as traffic calming devices –within the context of TRAFFIC continued on page 11

March 2009

By Paula Minaert


Things to do on St. Patrick’s Day By Annie Farber and Sarah Nemeth


Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

t might be a bit more Sherwood Forest than Emerald Isle traveling down the curves and hills on Georgetown Pike, but once you hit Great Falls, Va. you know you’ve come to the end of the rainbow. For there, nestled into the trees, is the Old Brogue, a traditional Irish pub. Beyond the Smithwick’s and Harp Lager, stands an authentic Celtic history, begun in Derry, Ireland and carried on by the Kearney family for over 70 years. It’s about a 40-minute drive from Hyattsville, but talk of good times had by all at this watering hole on St. Patrick’s Day is no blarney, according to general manager James Monroe. “It’s a lot of Irish flair,” he said of the getup of patrons on the Irish holiday. “A lot of green, a lot of suspenders, a lot of hats … A lot of having fun, a lot of dancing, a lot of talking.” No green beer is served because they don’t serve green beer in Ireland, Monroe said, but Chef John Conway’s traditional Irish breakfast, lunch and dinner pack a mean, “green” punch. ST. PATRICK’S continued on page 11

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


Despite a national recession, budget forecast looks fair for Hyattsville. PAGE 9

proposal by Hyattsville officials to change the way it regulates commercial vehicle parking in the city has led to discussion, confusion and some controversy. Tempers flared at a Feb. 17 public hearing on the issue, with one resident, Tim Hunt, saying the proposed ordinance sends a message of intolerance of those whose living requires a work vehicle. The revised ordinance states that any vehicle wider or longer than an average pickup truck — such as delivery trucks, utility trucks — won’t be allowed on city streets unless they are making a delivery or performing a service. They also would not be allowed to park in driveways

“[The ordinance] comes to mind as Gestapo [tactics] to run people out of town who work with their hands.” — Charles Hibbard resident

on city streets, unless they are inside a garage or parked behind the front of the house. Resident Charles Hibbard said the proposed ordinance would kill his business. He runs his plumbing and heating business out of PARKING continued on page 10

New Rec/Arts director makes good into best New director will keep Jams, expand community events By Sharmina Manandhar


yattsville’s new recreation director is looking forward to providing “high quality programs and events for the entire community, including some new youth and teen options.” Michigan native Anthony Mulkey started his new job Feb. 23 and has spent the past few weeks hunting

for as much information as possible about the city’s Department of Recreation and the Arts. “My focus is Anthony currently about Mulkey learning what has been offered in the past and continuing with the established successes while looking at ways to further meet the community’s needs,” Mulkey said.



Our story about Hyattsville’s own hypnotist won’t put you to sleep. PAGE 3

Police officer Mike Rudinski devotes his time to helping students. PAGE 8

MULKEY continued on page 10

Included: The march 11, 2009 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter—See Center Section

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

‘Hystory’: the past five years LettertotheEditor The HL&T is taking suggestions for a name for our newest feature. The winner will receive a gift certificate to a restaurant in Arts District Hyattsville. Please send submissions to 2008 County officials have offered a response to residents’ concerns over a bustling hub of pedestrians, traffic, Metro buses and shoppers near the corner of Belcrest Road and East West Highway, but it does not include many of the safety precautions neighbors have offered. 2007 (Editor’s Note: This is a corrected version of an item that appeared in this column in the February 2009 issue of the HL&T) Chad Williams-Bey, a student from Howard University in Washington, D.C., made known his intentions to file a lawsuit with the Hyattsville City Police De-

partment after he was hit several times with a Taser while police were breaking up a party on Jan. 21 in the Towers at University Town Center. Williams-Bey was charged, jailed and presented to a District court commissioner. He was released with a May 7 court date. According to Hyattsville Police Chief Douglas Holland, Williams-Bey did not file a lawsuit against the department. The HL&T would like to clarify, and provide more information to what it previously printed. “It is true Mr. Williams-Bey was arrested, charged, presented to a district court commissioner and later released prior to his court date,” Holland said. “This is a routine occurrence of events for incidents of this nature. What the article fails to mention is that on the court date Mr. WilliamsBey negotiated a plea and was placed on probation. As a matter of fact all persons arrested in this incident either pled, or were found guilty, or failed to appear for their initial court appearance. Neither Mr. Williams-Bey

A community newspaper chronicling the life and times of Hyattsville Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781 Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation. Interested reporters should send their e-mail addresses to the editor to be reminded of deadlines and receive internal news. Articles and news submitted may be edited. The deadline is the last week of the month for the following month’s issue. Letters to the editor and opinions are encouraged. For all e-mail correspondence with HL&T: news, features, tips, advertising and business write to To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc. , e-mail For inquiries re advertising rates or to submit ad copy please email to Sarah Nemeth: Executive Editor 240.354.4832 Production: Ashley Perks Writers & Contribtors: Colleen Aistis John Aquilino Keith Blackburn Steve Clements Michael Martucci Hugh Turley Board of Directors: Christopher Currie Matthew McKnight Tim Hunt Bert Kapinus Sarah Nemeth Circulation: Copies are distributed monthly by U.S. Mail to every address in Hyattsville. Additional copies are distributed to libraries, selected businesses, community centers and churches in the city. Total circulation is 7,500. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

nor any other person arrested in this incident filed a civil suit against the City of Hyattsville or its police department.” 2006 Former City Councilman Charles “Charlie” Lawrence died on February 22at the age of 42. He served as a City Council Member for Ward 4 from1987 to 1991. 2005 Bob Youngentob, president of Eakin/Youngentob Associates (now EYA) presented plans to turn the Lustine showroom into residential and retail space on both sides of U.S. Route 1 at a standing-room only community meeting Feb. 9. 2004 Parson’s Brinkerhoff and MNCPPC presented to the City Council the results and input provided at a community meeting to get input from interested parties and the residents of Hyattsville in order to update the West Hyattsville Transit District Development Plan and Transit District Overlay Zone.


Hugh’sNews Meet Leroy Shield By Hugh Turley


ur current economy has been compared to the Great Depression. During those poor economic times of the 1930s, Hal Roach Studios produced some of the great comedy films of all time, including those of Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang. Those films also have some of the most recognizable music of the 20th century. The high quality of the Hal Roach comedies ensured they would be preserved. On television, millions and millions of Americans have watched reruns of Laurel and Hardy and Our Gang (also known as The Little Rascals). Almost everyone can recognize the Little Rascals theme song, though few know that the original title was “Good Old Days” or that the composer was Leroy Shield. He was also known as Roy Shield. The world renown of Laurel and Hardy made the music of their films familiar to all. For years, the composer of the music heard in the background remained a mystery. Shield was not credited

on the films. Even the 1962 obituary of Shield in Variety magazine failed to mention the composer’s most famous music. The original 1930s recordings of more than 100 songs are presumed lost and can only be heard in the films, along with dialog, traffic, and other noise. Part of one song may be in one film and another part of the song in another film, like pieces of a puzzle. In the mid-1990s a Dutch band, The Beau Hunks, led by Gert-Jan Blom, used the films to reconstruct the music. They transcribed the music on paper and then, using period instruments, recreated the sounds note for note as it was originally produced. In addition to the Little Rascals theme, some of the most recognizable titles heard in the films include: “The Moon and You,” “Beautiful Lady,” “Dash and Dot,” “Bells,” and “Little Dancing Girl.” The music can be found on the Internet by searching Google or YouTube. Shield’s granddaughter, Barbara Dolman Panek, told the Hyattsville Life & Times his music

Speaking truth to power First let me say, thank God for those with the courage to speak truth to power! In the February issue of the [Hyattsville] Life and Times Mr. Hugh Turley wrote in his column a commentary entitled “Time to break the silence.” It remains somewhat unclear to me where he was going with this compilation of quotes from Dr. Martin Luther King. There is, however, a statement that I feel compelled to respond to: “But we hear nothing from the last years of King’s life, from 1965 to 1968. His speeches during that time were as unacceptable then as they are today.” This must reflect his feelings about the portion of one of the speeches he quoted. This is that quote: “I could never raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today – my own government.” Mr. Turley also mentions in his commentary the opposition to this statement by press organizations and the NAACP. King’s values remained unchanged in his later years. That is not to say that he did not grow as a result of his personal interactions and his international travels. But his concern for all people remained unwavering. I have a copy of that speech on tape. At the time this speech was delivered our country was dealing with not just the civil rights movement but also the Vietnam War. King was an intellectual with an amazing

“This kind of music makes you feel good if you having a down day and even better if you are having a good day.” — Hugh’s brother music expert

is occasionally played on National Public Radio. “Vince Giardano and the Nighthawks sometimes play Roy’s music on Garrison Keillor’s ‘Prairie Home Companion,’” she said. Memories of her grandfather are sweet memories. “He was a genuine guy and always content to be in the background, like his music,” Panek

ability to see through patriotic slogans that mask the realities. No doubt he realized that the war presented an opportunity to seize control of territory that the French had lost, as we have done when Spain lost control over the Philippines, Puerto Rico, Cuba and other countries. As we know now, our Vietnam War was wrong! Just as the Iraq war was wrong and had absolutely nothing to do with our defense. And just like in the era of the Iraq war, the press got it wrong! And other organizations like the NAACP that depend on donations from other sectors of the community (sectors that may not have been anti-Vietnam War) choose to get it wrong! And who can argue that our country’s history is not one of violence, starting with the annihilation of Native Americans, the violence of the slave trade, and not to mention the deliberate destabilization of governments and training of many of the world’s dictators. Keep in mind that it was the US government that trained and financed [Osama] bin Laden so he could do in the Russians. King spoke his mind in spite of the power of those who wanted to stifle all public dialogs about war. For King, truth and honesty held more value than blind patriotism. It is because of statements like that of Mr. Turley, if my assessment is correct, that I have stressed the need for an educational component to the city’s [Martin Luther King Jr.] Day celebration so we may hear some of his speeches and have discussions about them. Robert Croslin Hyattsville

said. “He was very proud of the symphony he wrote called, ‘The Golden Spike.’” Shield was born in Waseca, Minn., in 1893 and began his career as a concert pianist. He composed semi-classical music, but spent most of his life as arranger and conductor for radio orchestras at NBC. He became assistant conductor to the acclaimed Arturo Toscanini and toured with him. During his life Shield composed hundreds of songs. His theme song, “You Are the One I Love,” was composed for his wife, Kay. If the current economy has you feeling gloomy, the music of Roy Shield can put a smile on your face. My brother once observed, “This kind of music makes you feel good if you are having a down day and even better if you are having a good day.”

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

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HYATTSVILLE VACUUM CLEANER SERVICE Home of PHOTO BY SARAH NEMETH Bob Minaert is hypnotizing Hyattsville with his certified hypnosis.

Hypnotizing Hyattsville By Emilie Openchowski


ob Minaert is a hypnotist. Before images pop into your head of a man holding a swinging pocket watch, saying, “You are getting very sleepy,” let me clarify — Minaert is a clinical hypnotist, not a stage hypnotist. This means that the hypnosis Minaert practices is oriented to solving problems. It’s serious, not showy. It isn’t flashy or over-the-top. It just is what it is — a method of helping people overcome their fears and reach their goals. “You have to be motivated for the hypnosis to work,” Minaert said. “You have to really want to accomplish the goal.” If you truly have the motivation to achieve something, chances are hypnosis will work for you, he said. Minaert has been a certified hypnotist since 2005. His passion for hypnosis developed as a result of a

life-threatening condition he faced about five years ago: he had to have a heart valve repaired. After his open-heart surgery, he realized that he wanted more than his 32-year-long government career. “I wanted to do something that was more involved with helping people,” he said. “I had tried hypnosis years before.” So he decided to get certified. His main clientele are people who want to confront their fears. Fears of flying, heights, public speaking and performance are the most common things Minaert sees. Take Victoria Hille, for example. She first consulted with Minaert to get over her performance anxiety because she wanted to audition for the University of Maryland chorus in September 2006. “My tendency was to lose my voice when nervous,” she said. “Even when not nervous, I was unable to HYPNOTIST continued on page 11

Vigil illuminates need for immigration justice By Annie Farber


prayer vigil for immigration renewal and action on Feb.18 at the First United Methodist Church in Hyattsville was part of a nationwide movement of faith communities working to bring humanity and compassion into the public dialogue on immigration. More than 75 cities across the country held similar vigils, calling on the Obama administration and members of Congress to show moral courage on the reform of immigration laws. The issue of immigration has become bolder in recent years, with

some Americans believing that immigrants are a source of job loss and crime, while others think they deserve the same dignity and respect as any other family or community. The vigil intended to highlight the latter belief. Rev. Joan Carter-Rimbach, UMC’s senior pastor, told those gathered – which included about 25 people of varying ages and races – that the community of faith knows what prayer can do in hopes that those initiating the immigration bill will be just. Pastor James Nyqbando, an imIMMIGRATION continued on page 9

PHOTO BY ANNIE FARBER A prayer vigil for immigration renewal and action was held Feb. 18 as part of a nationwide movement.

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City crime rate drops By Karen Anderson


he amount of robbery, burglary and vehicle theft has dropped in Hyattsville since local police began using crime data to guide their law enforcement last March, according to statistics provided by the Hyattsville Police Department. The new strategy, called Statistical Management Analysis and Reduction Tactics (SMART), works off of Chief Douglas Holland’s idea that “random patrol gives you random results.� So by monitoring weekly crime statistics, the department is able to target the times and locations most in need of its personnel and increase their presence there. “What you do between calls, that’s what reduces crime,� said patrol commander Lt. Mark Roski, to the Hyattsville City Council at a council work session on Feb. 9. The strategy is generating mostly positive results. In March of 2008 commercial and citizen robberies increased by 42.3 percent from 2007, but by December they were 3.3 percent less frequent than the year before. From April to November the number of burglaries was also steadily declining, with the exception of a spike in December. And although vehicle theft showed

a less direct trend, in December it decreased by 25 percent from December 2007. “I believe every crime that occurs did so because there was an opportunity to,� Roski said, adding that data can effectively direct the allocation of department resources. “Take away the opportunity, take away the crime. “All of our patrols are data driven, so based on what we’re finding here, that’s where we’re going.� The implementation of SMART is coupled with a change in patrol schedule from a four-patrol squad to a five-patrol squad, with officers working longer shifts but getting more days off. Sgt. Ron Santos said the new schedule increased the number of hours squads overlap each other by 133 percent, which allows the department to be more proactive in its crime prevention. The department can now give double coverage for about 3.5 hours during peak times six days a week. It can give triple coverage on a seventh day, Santos said. “We’re saving the city overtime without taking away from citizen needs,� he said. Hyattsville Mayor William Gardiner said SMART and the recent changes in the department’s patrol schedule are “primarily a change

in how the department analyzes its responses or identifies public safety issues in a timely fashion.â€? “It doesn’t require more funding or more personnel,â€? he said. “It’s really been a reallocation of existing sources and a stronger focus on crime data.â€? Roski described CompStat, the program model designed by the New York Transit on which SMART is based, as “the preferred crime reduction model that is sweeping the country right now.â€? Prior to SMART, the department analyzed crime statistics monthly, but Roski explained those statistics were a flawed resource. “Well, by the end of the month, that bad guy may have already moved on to a different crime or a different area, his modus ‌ operandi may have changed, so what we now have are real time stats that are done weekly,â€? he said. The department recognizes the study of carefully collected information as a proactive step in the defense against crime. SMART allows Hyattsville police to share weekly statistics, photos and details related to suspects more easily within the department and with the community. “We exchange information with everybody,â€? said Roski. “Several of our burglaries are now closed because of shared information.â€?

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, I was inspired by the Feb. 11 HHS program given by Zora Lathan, executive director of the Chesapeake Ecology Center, and am determined not only to have a rain garden but to

seek out some native plants to put in it. Learning that native plants feed the pollinating insects that support our food supply made me realize that ecology is not “tree hugging� sentimentality but vital to our survival. I was shaken to the core to learn that an American oak supports 500 species of pollinators while a Bradford pear tree supports only two! Here’s the problem. I don’t have a big enough yard for an oak, plus the plants and grasses shown by Ms. Lathan in her presentation seemed rather tall. I am happy to replace turf with a native grass, but what is short enough to be mowed? While I’d love to have some delicious fruiting shrubs like high-bush blueberries and elderberries in the back yard, are there any medium-sized flowering plants suitable for bordering the walkway to my front door? Curious on Crittenden Street

Dear Curious, My twin brother Howabunda is eager to advise, as is our Aunt Sioux. Howabunda, who does not like to mow, suggests you replace your

turf with the genus carex, commonly known as sedge. A droughttolerant dwarf, it is “the lawn grass of the future,� he predicts. He recommended carex Pennsylvania “Hilltop� (of Maryland provenance despite its name); carex glauca, or “Blue sedge�; or carex nigra, black flowering sedge, which is often sold as carex flacca. I already grow some of his floral recommendations: blueeyed “grass�; the ravishing Virginia bluebell, dwarf-eared coreopsis, penstemon digitalis, narrow-leaf mountain mint and native varieties of creeping phlox. I’m also partial to our wild violets. But for lining a walkway I’d recommend the gorgeous scarlet lobelia cardinalis – or cardinal flower – black-eyed susans, native penstemons, monarda, and to fluff things up a bit, wood asters. I love golden-rod, and was happy to hear Ms. Lathan state that it does not aggravate allergies as accused. For small native trees, you have a wonderful selection: American holly; American crabapple (the flowers of which have a heavenly fragrance while the foliage provides spectacular color in autumn); Eastern FLORIBUNDA continued on page 7

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

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LifeNotes Nuts - and other ways to go green By Cassandra Johnson


s I’ve grown more environmentally aware, the steps I’ve taken to “go greenâ€? have been small but consistent. It makes me feel good when I’m “huggingâ€? the planet, and I’m committed to showing the love even more. My only New Year’s resolution was that I’d expand my green activities in 2009. So here’s some of what’s happening in the Johnson household in addition to our weekly recycling: â–Ą Thanks to a Christmas gift from a friend, who must have been reading my shopping list, I now have two stylish, reusable shopping bags. They’re roomy, polyester-sturdy, and waterproof. I carry these lightweight cuties in my pocketbook – they roll up into nifty hand-size bundles with snaps that keep them together. I’ll be getting more of these to eliminate those not-cool-in-so-many-ways plastic grocery bags. â–Ą I’ve been using soap nuts to wash laundry for almost two years now. Never heard of them? They’re amazing. They come from soapberry trees in India and Nepal. Natural and 100% biodegradable, these little shells clean laundry and give it a fresh scent. I know people with sensitive skin who won’t use anything else for washing clothes (and even travel with

their soap nuts!). The only issue I’ve had is that whites don’t turn out bright, so all-oxygen bleach is the way to go if bright whites are a must-have. â–Ą Another marvelous product I’m using is baking soda. I’m saying good-bye to as many chemical cleaning products as possible with the help of something I use in baking recipes. Have you ever really looked at a box of baking soda? It’s a multi-purpose wonder, and I’m beginning to rely on it for kitchen and bathroom cleaning, washing combs and brushes, and deodorizing. Since I love a fragrant home, I place a few drops of a favorite essential oil or mix on a diffuser pad, turn on the diffuser and enjoy hours of a natural, lovely scent. More importantly, I’ve been gradually stocking our medicine cabinet with “useful essential oils for the average homeâ€? based on information from “The Complete Book of Essential Oils & Aromatherapyâ€? by Valerie Ann Worwood. It’s a comprehensive look at applications of these natural substances, and if you’re like me, you’ll ďŹ nd them remarkable. â–Ą My husband lays claim to the natural life as a self-described country boy, and for the past 4 years he’s been going back to his roots by planting vegLIFE NOTES continued on page 7




Great discoveries in Hyattsville By Paula Minaert


like a lot of things about our city. In my walks around Hyattsville, I see much more than just people’s trash and litter. I also see things that delight me and things that amuse me. A house on 42nd Avenue has an Asian garden in its front yard. It contains big Japanese lanterns and some small ones and a statue of what I think is the Chinese goddess of compassion, Kuan Yin. Bushes and plants rise above beds of mulch and stones, creating an effect of clean lines and spaciousness. It gives me a feeling of serenity every time I walk by. On Nicholson Street is a house that is covered with decorative metalwork. Metal objects adorn the door, windows, siding, yard and even the car and van parked in front. You can make out horses, suns, owers, people and also designs like eur-de-lis and Celtic knots — all arranged with skill and care. It’s a fantasyland, for adults as well as children. A bright big blue buttery, probably wood but maybe metal, perches on a fence in West Hyattsville. A large owl sits on a tree stump in another yard

and ďŹ xes his eyes on everyone who passes by. Certain colors just appeal to me. There is a house close to the Prince George’s County District 1 Courthouse that used to be painted mauve with pale coral trim. That combination pleased my eyes, just like Celie loved the color purple in Alice Walker’s book. I was sad when the house was repainted. And then someone in the city drives a bright copper-colored car that shines in the sun. Now on to the things that amuse me. One of my favorites unfortunately no longer exists. On Queen’s Chapel Road, a yard used to have posted in it a big sign that read: “Change politicians and diapers often — same reason.â€? The sign was handlettered and obviously reflected someone’s deeply-felt sentiments. I have nothing against politicians — we need them, I know some, and I respect them — but the wordplay tickled me. I can’t help it. Then around Christmas time, my husband and I used to chuckle about the large inflatable Santas some people had in their yards. We didn’t laugh when they were

lit up and blown up for a nighttime display. We like them. We laughed when we saw them lying on the ground, face-down, during the day. It looked as if someone had gone around the city assassinating all the Santas. Finally, I once saw a sign in a yard – the universal don’t-eventhink-about-doing-this sign of a red circle with a line through it. Inside it was a drawing of a dog squatting. No words needed. There’s almost always something new to discover when I go out for a walk.





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Students get into mind of ‘Macbeth’ T

he tension at the dinner table is palpable. Guests are whispering among themselves. The hostess is visibly uncomfortable. Her husband has lost his temper in the presence of all his powerful friends, and is now edging toward the back of the room slowly, hands outstretched as if he means to catch an elusive butterfly. A small figure starts walking towards him, when suddenly, a woman’s voice interrupts. “No, no, you can’t let him catch you! You’re only inside his mind,” she says. The voice belongs to Saralyn Trainor, theatre lab teacher at Hyattsville Middle School. Her students have been chosen to perform at Folger’s Shakespeare Festival for the sixth year in a row, and there are only nine days left until the big performance. With a quick jump, Trainor is onstage and explains to her cast once more the significance of the banquet scene from Shakespeare’s “Macbeth,” which showcases the Scotsman’s guilt over the murder of Banquo, his faithful general. The students have been rehearsing for their big day since winter break, learning lines and memorizing positions so as to make their 25-minute performance run flawlessly by March 5. While the Folger Shakespeare Festival does not consider itself a competition, all performances are critiqued by a small panel of experts. The panel gives out awards to every student based on the aspect of their performance that made them


stand out. Over the years, Trainor has seen many proud pupil performers bring back awards from the festival. Most of her current seventh- and eighthgrade performers, however, are encountering the works of Shakespeare for the first time. “The period language makes it kind of hard,” said seventh-grader Aaron Harawa, who hopes to play the part of Macbeth at the festival. “But I think it really helps your enunciation, and it gives you a great insight into history.” Aaron wants to pursue acting, but is unsure about job prospects. “It’s kind of a hard business,” he said. “I think I’d like to go to law school, and maybe do a minor in theatre.” Eighth-grader Deneia Hall, who hopes to play Lady Macbeth, is less worried. “I think I’d actually rather major in theatre,” she said. Hall has already encountered Shakespeare’s work several times in her young acting career, participating in performances of “Hamlet” and “Much Ado About Nothing” in the past year. However, Lady Macbeth is a particularly complex character, she said. “I think you can play her two different ways,” Hall said. “She could be very sweet, but also very mean. Most of her lines have double meanings. I think Macbeth is more influenced by her than he should be.” Once the roles have been distributed, the performers gather on stage for the first practice of the day – Macbeth and Banquo encounter three witches on a dark Scottish moor.

After the first run-through, Harawa looks at his script, puzzled. “So many lines to learn, so little time,” he said.


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redbud; silky dogwood; and witch hazel, with fragrant blooms in late winter. For more information concerning desirable native trees, shrubs and flowers, check with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Agency and the Maryland Native Plant Society. Where can you easily find the plants? Aunt Sioux reports that the Riverdale Farmers Market boasts a native plants vendor. As it doesn’t open till spring she suggests that you log on to its Web site,, to see what is offered. Local nurseries also offer many varieties. To discuss this further and to see the literature and catalogs we have on hand, please come to the next meeting of the Hyattsville Horticultural Society at 10 a.m. on March 21 at City Hall, 4310 Gallatin St.

etable gardens. Last summer I convinced him to try controlling the pest infestations with a more organic approach, using various plants to ward off damaging insects. I’ve done more research since then, and this year we’re ready to dig in against cabbage holes and other pesky problems with a natural arsenal. I’m looking forward to expanding my ways of going green. Taking these small steps is just the beginning of what I intend to grow into an even bigger commitment. If I’ve given you any new ideas, or reinforced your own green vows, I’m happy to have helped. Cassie Johnson is a Reiki Master/ Teacher. Contact her at cassie_


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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

Police officer makes strong difference in students’ lives By Anke Bettina Irgang

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n his 12 years as school resource officer, Cpl. Michael Rudinski said he has seen about 18,000 students pass through Hyattsville’s Northwestern High School. While most have graduated and moved on, Rudinski has remained a counselor and confidante to many others throughout the years. “There’s a young girl in Houston who still calls me now and then for advice,” Rudinski said, as he settled into his office chair during an interview last week. “Many former students come in to show me the successes of their lives. Others come because they have issues and don’t feel comfortable talking to any other police officers in the community.” Rudinski describes his duties as SRO as a triangle with three main goals: counseling, teaching, and law enforcement. He insists that law enforcement is only the last resort, when classes and one-onone talks have failed to help. “My primary responsibility is acting as a positive role model,” he said. Rudinski has worked with the Hyattsville Police Department since 1993. He was born in Williamsburg, PA, and worked as a police officer in his home state for 10 years before moving to Maryland with his wife, Claire. He cannot, however, see himself returning to regular police work. “I purposely haven’t taken the test to become a sergeant, because

PHOTO BY ASHBY HENDERSON Cpl. Michael Rudinski has remained a confidante to many students. if I pass they’d take me out of the school,” Rudinski says. “This is one of the only jobs where you can really make a difference in people’s lives. It’s the most moving thing when parents walk up to you at graduation, hug you and say, ‘I couldn’t have done it without you.’” Rudinski’s fondness for his long-time workplace quickly becomes apparent as he starts out for a morning walk around the school’s main building, greeting staff and students as he goes. His first stop is the school’s health center. The center offers all students free health services, in-

cluding dental care, Rudinski says. The waiting room is still dark and empty, as students are only beginning to arrive for classes. Back in the hall, an airy gallery provides a view of a spacious cafeteria. Beyond, are the school’s special needs and English as a Second Language classrooms. “At one point, we had 60 countries represented here, with 32 languages spoken,” he said. Rudinski is particularly proud of the school’s day care center, which is currently caring for 47 children. It enables dozens of teenage mothers and fathers to complete their education. “The strangest thing on my job is when a young girl comes to me and tells me ‘I’m pregnant,’” Rudinski said. “But with the facilities here, we can have them examined and monitored at the health center, and when the baby comes, they can take it to the day care center and stay in school.” Back in the office, Rudinski’s partner at the school, Joan Cox, shares memories of their years on the job. “He has as much of a social worker mentality as I do,” Cox says. “Sometimes he has to be a police officer and make an arrest, but that’s not all there is to it.” Rudinski, Cox explains, is always on call for students. “I mean, he gives the students his cell phone number,” she says. “These kids don’t need you Monday till Friday, 9 to 5. If you’re not available, they stop trusting you, calling you. When Mike’s cell phone rings during the night, he gets up and deals with whatever it is. “We can really only open the door for these kids,” Cox says. “But Mike’s great at getting them to walk through.”

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

Page 9

Budget discussions positive despite national recession By Karen Anderson


arly discussions of Hyattsville’s 2010 budget have been positive, despite the state of the national economy. “Everybody realizes how bad the economy is,” said Lee Henry, Hyattsville’s director of public works. “But it wouldn’t be very professional of us to not look to the future. We’re not always going to be in a recession. Eventually the cycle will turn.” He advised the council to pursue short-term and multi-year projects. “I am told by the city administrator that we’re doing much better than our neighbors,” said City Council President William Tierney (Ward 2) of the city’s current financial standing. “We will undoubtedly spend some of our general fund over the next several years, but the whole purpose of maintaining it will be to spend it in years where we’re bringing in less than expected,” Tierney said. During a Feb. 2 city council meeting, City Administrator Elaine Murphy proposed a list of 25 city priorities to be considered for external funding from federal, state, county and private sources through grants such as Community Legacy and Community Development Block. Included among the city’s priorities are new playground equipment at Magruder Park and improvements to area parks, soccer fields and signs at local Metro stations. Some projects on the list are already in progress and others had not yet been funded, said Mayor William Gardiner. He described this early version of the list as existing “just to give us an idea of what the possibilities might be.” Murphy said projects are identified on the city’s list of priorities to best determine need. The city will then proceed with the grant writing process.

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“We’ll certainly seek funding for those things if it’s available,” Tierney said. “It won’t stop the projects, it’ll just change the timeline. Several projects have alternative places where you can seek funding.” Other council members are skeptical about the need for or success of funding the proposed projects on the city’s priority list. “I was appalled,” Councilwoman Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5) said after the meeting. “When they bring up safety things, things for the police department, public works, I can go that way. We need money for things like that. But when they’re just talking pork, I can’t handle that.” “Some things can wait,” said Paula Perry (Ward 4), of the projects on the list. “We’re not in bad shape, right now,” she said. “But if we keep spending like we have in the past, I can see us getting into some trouble.” Councilman Anthony Patterson (Ward 3) suggested narrowing the list after evaluating the community impact each project might have. He encouraged the council to recognize “primary priorities” so that “there isn’t this laundry list of items out there that, realistically, some of them may not be funded.” Perry said Hyattsville goes after as many grants as possible, as she assumes all municipalities do, and will continue that practice this year.


continued from page 3

migrant from Kenya, spoke about his experience in coming to the U.S., along with the difficulty of finding a job when he first arrived and the help he received from the Immigration Clinic at the First United Methodist Church. “God bless whoever started this program,” he said. The audience gathered around in a circle, each with a lit candle, as Carter-Rimbach led a prayer about immigration reform. “[It] can’t be done alone, it needs to be with one another, with our neighbors,” she said, and prayed for those crossing borders or leaving family behind – and reminded everyone that there “is no justice when someone is treated unfairly.” Cindy Harding, who helped coordinate the vigil, assisted in establishing the Immigration Clinic at the church through the Justice for Our

“Fortunately, Hyattsville has been very lucky in the past to get some very good grants. But I’m afraid that in this tight budget it may end up hurting us this time,” she said, adding that this year grants may go to municipalities who have been overlooked in the past or which have special needs this year. The council will continue to work on the 2010 budget until its mandatory due date on July 1. Determining a set list of the city’s priorities for which to seek external funding will be an ongoing aspect of the process of drafting a budget.

Neighbors program. JFON aims to provide free, high-quality immigration legal services while also promoting education for ministry and advocacy. The church’s immigration clinic offers advice, education and referrals to clients, and Harding hopes to have citizenship classes sometime in March. There are more than 20 clinics in the JFON program, and each is part of a region. The First United Method-

ist Church joined the program about five years ago and is part of a sector with a church from Baltimore and one from Washington, D.C, Harding said. There is only one attorney for all three clinics, limiting the number of clients a clinic can take to seven or eight per month. Harding said the church’s immigration program will help more than 100 immigrants by the end of the year.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009

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continued from page 1 his home and owns two trucks. “[The ordinance] comes to mind as Gestapo [tactics] to run people out of town who work with their hands,” he said. But Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 4) said the issue has been “blown out of proportion.” “Parking can be at a premium in some areas, sometimes because of the amount of cars at one house,” she said. “Then add commercial vehicles to the mix — and you’re talking two or three at one house — and there has to be way to make it fair and equitable for everyone. If you’re not going to be courteous to your neighbor [about parking] then we’re going to regulate it.” An unsigned flyer that appeared on the windshield of his vehicle before the Feb. 17 meeting left Councilman Douglas Dudrow (Ward 1) wondering if misinformation in it led to further confusion. It stated: “Hyattsville is considering banning any work vehicle/commercial from driving on city streets, parking on city streets, or parking in a driveway in front of a house. The proposed definition of commercial vehicle includes ‘any vehicle … used for … any commercial enterprise.’” It is not immediately certain how many residents received the flyer that Dudrow received. However, the full language in the proposed ordinance states that the term “commercial vehicle” means “any vehicle that carries equipment ordinarily used for the furtherance

of any commercial enterprise.” “Light-weight pickups and vans without exterior equipment used for commercial purposes are not commercial vehicles,” said Mayor William Gardiner, adding that the text about equipment as part of the definition is likely to be revised. He said nothing in the ordinance bans commercial vehicles from carrying out their duties on city streets. In fact, the proposed ordinance is less strict than the current one, Gardiner said. Jurisdictional questions add more layers to the issue, because Hyattsville and Prince Georges County both have parking authority in the city, depending on the location. “The county regulates land use because of their zoning authority,” said Jerry Hampton, the city’s director of code enforcement. That means the county regulates parking on private property in the city, but the city has more flexibility with parking regulations on the street. The ordinance is an attempt to bring city code in line with county code, Gardiner said. State law mandates that city regulations must be at least as strict as county regulations. Gardiner disagreed with the suggestion made by some people that the city should let the county deal with the issue. “The county is declining to enforce issues like this in municipalities and we would likely get no enforcement,” he said. Tom Lopresti, a city resident who has a plumbing business based in Forestville, pointed out the negative environmental impact of not allowing commercial


continued from page 1 Mulkey also said that the department will seek community input for the development of new programs and events. “This development will be the result of a city initiated community-wide planning effort, and will include discussion topics regarding parks’ facilities, events, programs and opportunities related to recreation and the arts,” Mulkey said. “This community input will be used to formulate recommendations, focusing on new programs and events, for the City Council to consider.” Mulkey, who grew up near Detroit, received his bachelor’s degree in recreation, parks and leisure service administration from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in park, recreation and tourism resources from Michigan State University. Mulkey’s goal was to work his way up to a director’s position and he has had a variety of experience in the recreation industry. He served as an instructor for a juvenile at-risk outdoor program in Massachusetts, led trips in Kentucky as a rock climbing guide and managed a resort outside of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. Most recently, Mulkey served as the parks manager for a municipality west of Detroit, before coming to Hyattsville. “Many of the previous experiences were concurrent with my formal education and components of the necessary time that I needed to develop a diverse range of skills to be an effective director,” Mulkey said. “While I enjoyed the time at my previous position in Michigan, I felt that the time was right to pursue my career goal.” According to Hyattsville City Administrator Elaine Murphy, Mulkey’s “excellent experience history accumulated from previously held positions and his verified

vehicles to park in the city. “When I give my guys trucks to take home, it benefits everyone,” he said. “We could keep all the trucks out here [in Forestville], but then my people would have to drive here to get them and bring them back and then drive home. It’s a lot of wasted fuel.” Other residents see the real problem as safety. “The main issue is access,” said resident Mark Graham. “A lot of our streets are pretty narrow, with vehicles on both sides. We had a fire on 38th Street a year or so ago, and a big fire truck hit and did a lot of damage to cars getting to it.” Councilmember Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5) said the city needs to be consistent in the way that it lines up with county regulations. “The city is saying we have to go by the county rules with this vehicle thing, but then we agreed to let the pupusa trucks stay on Ager Road for another year,” she said. “So on one issue we are going by county rules and another we’re not. What does that say to our residents?” Members of Hyattsville’s Code Enforcement Committee suggested that the city gather more information to help revise the commercial vehicle ordinance. Specifically, it suggested that a pending traffic study add an analysis of street width in the city and further proposed getting information from the public works and police departments. As of now Gardiner said the council hasn’t discussed when it will revisit the ordinance, but he said there will be additional opportunities for public input.

education and training” separated him from the rest of the candidates. Mulkey discovered the open position in Hyattsville at the National Recreation and Parks Association conference in Baltimore. “The opportunity of moving to “During my Maryland for the short time here, City of Hyattsville I have already Director of Recreation and the Arts met a large position was very number of appealing to me,” talented and Mulkey said. “The interesting people.” community has a — Anthony Mulkey broad range of diRec. Arts director verse resources.” Mulkey also said that when he initially visited Hyattsville in January, he was really attracted to the size of the community and the city’s many charming neighborhoods. “During my short time here, I have already met a large number of talented and interesting people,” Mulkey said. “The ability to work in such an environment allows for so many great opportunities to offer the community highquality recreation programming and events.” According to Mulkey, he is excited about bringing back the city’s famous Summer Jams. “The event looks like it has a nice cross-section of food, music, and children’s activities,” Mulkey said. “The phrase is often used that recreation programs create community, and the Summer Jams feel like a nice example of the community gathering for an enjoyable experience.”

Hyattsville Life & Times | March 2009


continued from page 1

Here’s what breakfast looks like: Imported Irish banger sausage; black and white pudding – black is pig’s blood and white is pork and whole meal – Bachelor’s baked beans; sautéed mushrooms; scrambled eggs; broiled tomatoes and homemade brown bread. Conway has his own way of describing the brouhaha on March 17th. “That’s just like crazy, dancing and singing,” he said in his Irish brogue. “Just crazy stuff.” This year is the pub’s 28th St. Patrick’s Day celebration. There will be traditional Irish music and three different venues open throughout the day. The Snuggery Dining room will be open for Irish breakfast, lunch and dinner, but requires reservations. The Pub and Back Patios will open at 10 a.m. and offer limited seating, a limited menu, and pretty much a stand up party all day and night for a cover charge of $10. To start the celebrating even earlier, the


continued from page 3

use my voice to full capacity.” Not only did Hille get accepted to the University of Maryland chorus, but achieving this goal also inspired her to reach even higher. Hille went back to Minaert in February 2008 when she wanted what she calls a “booster shot” to sing in a choir for the Pope when he came to visit Washington, D.C. It worked again, and Hille has not had to return for further hypnosis since. “I would say that hypnosis as practiced by Mr. Minaert is an incredibly effective therapeutic aid, with benefits going far beyond the problem at hand,” she said. The fact that people usually only need one or two sessions surprises many clients, Minaert said. He usually meets with someone for a half-hour consultation to assess the roots of the client’s problems and the best approach for their hypnosis before the actual hypnosis session, which lasts one hour. During the hypnosis session, Minaert has the client relax physically but he doesn’t allow them to fall asleep. He then taps into the subconscious to help the client eliminate the roots of the fear or the desire to continue the addiction. He records the session on his computer and gives the client the recording, telling them to continue to listen to it to reinforce the initial session. The desire to quit smoking is “one of the biggies,” Minaert said. During a consultation with someone trying to kick the habit, he determines where the desire to smoke comes from, be it a social habit or an addiction to nicotine. During the hypnosis session, Mi-

Page 11 Party Tent will open at 9 a.m. with an Irish Red Bull bar. To simplify things, no cash is exchanged inside. No, patrons aren’t that lucky – a carnival ticket system is used on St. Patrick’s Day. “It’s basically a lot of standing room,” Monroe said, adding that it gets so packed that many people end up eating standing up. “The line usually starts lining up [outside] about 6 a.m.,” he said. “They bring beer to drink with them while they wait. “A lot of people come every year. They do this religiously.” Also sure to be celebrating is Murphy’s, an Irish pub in Old Town Alexandria, Va., which will serve lunch and then switch over to standing room only to prepare for live entertainment. There will be an Irish specialty menu and “a good time,” promised General Manager Mary Pereira. Closer to home, Hank’s Tavern and Eats, at University Town Center, does not have a finalized menu, but beer, Irish whiskey, and corn beef and cabbage specials are how they will likely celebrate.

naert attempts to tell the subconscious that it does not need a cigarette to be social or that it does not need the nicotine. “Smoking usually needs one to two sessions,” Minaert said. “I once had a client who smoked [a lot] and wanted to quit because it costs so much. After one session, she lost the desire to smoke again. Her last cigarette was the one she smoked right before the hypnosis.” People get confused sometimes because they don’t feel the effects of the hypnosis during the session, Minaert said. “But it’s not immediate,” he said. “It’s a gradual process.” He and two other hypnotists from the Metro region have joined together to create Pathways to Healing, which provides hypnosis for soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan. There are no completely effective solutions to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but hypnosis can help with removing the trauma the soldiers feel upon return, Minaert said. All-in-all, Minaert’s profession is best summarized by looking at a poster he has hanging on the wall of his office. It’s a picture of an iceberg, its tip above the water and the bigger, more mysterious part below the water. “What I do is address this part under water,” Minaert said, referring to the poster. “With the client, I take away the counterproductive ideas [in the subconscious] and replace them with positive suggestions.” The most revealing part of the poster, however, is the caption. It says “Hidden Depths.” And that’s exactly what Minaert explores. For more information visit

Neighboring Carolina Kitchen, despite being a southern restaurant, will have plenty of St. Paddy’s decorations, green beer and special desserts with green icing. They will also have an extended


continued from page 1 the area’s traffic flow. “I hear a lot of concerns about traffic from residents,” said Councilwoman Krista Atteberry (Ward 3). “But what’s hard to do with traffic is if you solve one problem on one street, it tends to likely cause a problem on another nearby street. So the city has been hesitant to kind of move forward in most cases in a piecemeal fashion.” Although the council unanimously approved funding for the study on Feb. 17, its members initially raised concerns on two fronts — justification of funds and the integration of public opinion. Jones said about 40 percent of the $50,000 would go to the traffic counts. “It’s a lot of work for people to physically go down and count the traffic volume,” he said. Councilman Douglas Dudrow (Ward 1) cited his disappointment with a past traffic study in which the eventual findings suggested changes Hyattsville was unable to make. “It basically ended up in a circular file someplace,” Dudrow said. But Jones said the current study will be productive for Hyattsville. “We’re going to have a chance to look at a draft and give feedback,” Jones said. “So if there’s something we don’t particularly like, we just need to make sure we raise those objections before we

Happy Hour, but plans are still being made. “I usually let the bartenders decide,” said manager Cathy Nelson. Franklin’s Restaurant, Brewery, and General Store off Route

1 has no special plans for March 17, but as one waitress said, “We’ll be here, open, and in good spirits.” And that just about says it all for St. Patrick’s Day.

get the final product.” Atteberry also said residents should be able to provide input on the choice of the 28 intersections throughout the city where the counts will occur. “We want to make sure we pay attention to residents,” Jones said. “We want to use empirical data to kind of guide how we develop our traffic pattern in the city.”

“It's a lot of work for people to physically go down and count the traffic volume." — Vincent Jones Assistant City Administrator

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Hyattsville Life & Times March 2009  

The March issue of the Hyattsville Life & Times

Hyattsville Life & Times March 2009  

The March issue of the Hyattsville Life & Times