Page 1

new playground at magruder

getting your kicks on rt. 1

Magruder Park is undergoing a nearly complete playground renovation, with four new play structures. Page 3

Legend and Lore asks: Why all the romance surrounding the famed Route 66 when its cousin Route 1 is almost as long and just as storied? Page 2

Police collect unwanted medications By Lara Beaven Hyattsville police collected dozens of unused medications from residents Sept. 25 as part of a firsttime national initiative to prevent prescription drugs from falling into the wrong hands or entering the water supply. “I thought no one would want to go out of their way to return drugs,” said Sgt. Chris Purvis, the Hyattsville police officer who tallied the donations. But by the end, he said, residents had deposited — anonymously – a total of 8.8 pounds (approximately 60 containers and a few bags of pills). Hyattsville Communications Manager Abby Sandel said the city is open to holding a similar event in the future if there is community interest. Spearheaded by the federal Drug Enforcement Agency and backed by a number of national law enforcement and public health organizations, National Take Back Day aimed to reduce the risk of prescription drugs being consumed inappropriately. Prescription drug abuse, a growing problem nationally, is a major focus for the DEA. An additional benefit of the take-back effort was preventing unused prescription drugs from being flushed down the toilet,

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drugs continued on page 10

glass house

DC GlassWorks is a public-access glassblowing studio that fosters a strong sense of community. Page 4

Hyattsville Life&Times

Vol. 7 No. 10

Hyattsville’s Community Newspaper

October 2010

Residents complain about traffic By Paula Minaert At a September city council meeting, several Hyattsville residents held up yellow signs that read “No more traffic” and “No commuter thoroughfare,” hoping to draw attention to what they call serious long-standing traffic problems on their streets. They were worried about a recent traffic study done by consultants Sabra, Wang & Associates estimating that city streets will have more than 3,500 new morn-

ing and more than 4,500 new afternoon peak-hour vehicle trips, based on current traffic and projected development. Nina Faye, who lives on Queensbury Road, said that she questioned the numbers Sabra, Wang presented to the council in July. “One day I was [at Queensbury and 41st] for six minutes at 3:30 in the afternoon. And I saw more traffic than they claimed in a halfhour. If I can’t trust this number, how can I trust any of them?” Other residents questioned the

recommendation to lift that road’s current traffic restriction on westbound traffic between Route 1 and 43rd Avenue during peak morning traffic hours. Cheri Fulton has lived on Queensbury since 1987 and was involved in the effort that led to the Do Not Enter sign being posted. She said that traffic on the street is better now but is still bad – and drivers routinely ignore the sign. Another point of contention was the recommendation to make Queensbury one-way westbound

during peak hours, if traffic there continues to increase and if improvements to state roads are delayed. “Why facilitate traffic into my community from a state road?” asked resident Margaret Hayes at the Sept. 13 city council meeting. Hugh Turley, a columnist for the Life & Times who lives on Queensbury, said, “One-way shouldn’t be even a last resort.” He believes the goal for Queensbury should be to traffic continued on page 12



Local knitters and crocheters donate their pieces to Smithsonian exhibit

Hyattsville Life & Times PO Box 132 Hyattsville, MD 20781

by Kara Rose Beginning Oct. 16, an unusual reef will be displayed in the Ocean Hall of the National Museum of Natural History. Various knitters and crocheters,

including more than 100 from Hyattsville’s A Tangled Skein, used yarn and fibers of all sorts to make the reef. The Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef exhibit runs through April 24, 2011. Curators Margaret and Christine Wertheim, yarn continued on page 13

photo by chris currie Some of the pieces handmade by Hyattsville residents for the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef, an exhibit opening at the Smithsonian later this month.

Included: The October 6, 2010 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter — See Center Section

Page 2

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010


What’s the definition of “neighbor”? The easy, dictionary answer is: one living or located near another. It comes from an Old English word meaning “near-dweller.” It seems pretty straightforward. The word has cropped up quite a bit lately in official and unofficial conversations around Hyattsville. And I’ve started looking at the word more closely. I’ve heard people talk about neighbors and neighborhoods when they’re discussing things like traffic on the streets or the impact of development on the schools and the infrastructure. And when

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 Editorial Intern Kara Rose Production Ashley Perks Advertising 301.531.5234 Writers & Contributors Mylie Durham 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 7,500. HL&T is a member of the National Newspaper Association.

they’re talking about how to attract the kind of businesses they want to the neighborhood. A story on page 1 reports that some people in Hyattsville are worried about what increasing traffic is doing to their neighborhoods. They want to change the traffic patterns to protect their neighborhoods. But that action may push the traffic onto other city streets, say some other residents, and that isn’t right. These residents also want to protect their neighborhoods. And of course, probably all city residents want to protect their city from people who live elsewhere but travel through it. I’ve heard more than one person refer, usually with annoyance if not bitterness, to the city of University Park closing Queens Cha-

pel Road to cut-through traffic – and sending the cars, they say, to Hyattsville’s streets. Residents of UP would probably say they have the right to protect their neighborhoods, and it’s an unintended consequence if doing so negatively affects other neighborhoods. So how do we balance all these competing needs – and rights? These issues aren’t limited to traffic. They surfaced when the city council discussed working together with University Park and Riverdale Park to protect the integrity of Wells Run, which flows through all three jurisdictions. The question was asked: Would Hyattsville shoulder more of the burden than the other towns? Would its interests be protected? (Now “neighborhood” has expanded to include the whole city.)


The issues surfaced again when the council discussed the impact on the city of the proposed Landy development, located mostly outside the city behind Northwestern High School. Council members asked about this large development’s effect on schools, roads, sewage, and city services. One member said that if Hyattsville has to use Wells Run to handle storm water runoff, he would prefer that runoff to come from city residents, not from outside the city. Let me quickly add that I don’t have a problem with this. The council members were doing exactly what the job mandates: serving the city of Hyattsville. If they don’t do it, who will? But I wonder about the different ways we define “neighbor.” How close does a person have to live to qualify? One block? Two blocks?

Within the city? The world’s great religious and ethical traditions come down on the side of a wider, rather than a narrower, definition. But I’m burdened with the ability to see (usually) both sides of a question. The other side of this is that most of us, like the council members, have jobs to do. I’m a parent. When my children were small, my job was to protect them. That narrowed things a bit. A resident of Queensbury Road told me that someone who lives on 43rd Avenue said she didn’t want Queensbury to add traffic restrictions because that might send cars to her street, endangering her children. The person on Queensbury responded, “So that means your children are more important than ours?” I don’t have any answers here. I wish I did.



By Paula Minaert

Get your kicks on Route … One? by Kimberly Schmidt Folks have been getting their kicks on Route 66 since 1926. Nicknamed “the Mother Road,” the highway spans Chicago to L.A. — just like the song — more than 2,000 miles all the way. In fact, Route 66 boasts 2,448 miles. But Route 1, at 2,328 miles, isn’t far behind. Why all the lore and romance surrounding Route 66 and nothing on Route 1? On the Internet, one can find Route 66 songs, ghost stories, and even recipes. But there’s nothing for poor, forgotten Route 1. Recently, Legend & Lore has concentrated on the history of the Anacostia River. L&L moves now to historic Route 1, America’s first highway, a road older than the founding of our country. That’s right: Route 1 is older than Route 66 by oh, about two centuries. It has strip joints and houses of ill repute, has used car dealerships, and has seedy diners with nothing but meat and carbs on the menu. I would bet that Route 1 can lay claim to even more Krispy Kremes, abandoned theaters, and weed-choked downtowns than can 66. So what if Elvis didn’t sleep here? George Washington did. We know that the first POTUS traveled the route during peacetime and war and slept at a number of inns along the way. We

need an Ode to Route 1. As a challenge to any musicians in our midst, I will sing, during the Hyattsville Preservation Association’s post-House Tour picnic on May 15, 2011, whatever odes you write to Route 1, provided that the lyrics are not indecent. Route 1, which runs from Fort Kent, Maine, to Key West, Florida, started as a blazed footpath connecting the major young cities along the Atlantic Coast in the early 1700s. By 1730, it was a postal road; by 1742, it had widened into a carriage road. It became a stage coach line in 1783 and by 1812, it was designated for development as the Baltimore Washington Turnpike, which was completed in the 1820s. Remnants of the name are found in Baltimore Avenue, which runs through Hyattsville. It was designated Route 1 by an act of Congress in 1925, when the road numbering system was introduced. By the early 20th century, Route 1 bridged rivers and streams and connected the major East Coast cities, thus supporting interstate commerce. Route 1 runs along the “fall line,” that geographical demarcation where forested woodland drops onto coastal plains, the ancient shore line of the continent. The road has felt the heavy footsteps of troops and artillery. Two foreign invading armies marched

along Route 1. In 1780, 6,000 troops from France marched under Rochambeau and fought the British in New York, bolstering General Washington’s tattered army and winning the Revolutionary War for us, according to local historian John Sower, coordinator of the Friends of the Battle of Bladensburg. In 1814, the Battle of Bladensburg was fought as part of the War of 1812. This time it was British troops who marched down Route 1. The untested and unprepared American troops did not prevail in that battle, although the young nation eventually triumphed to win the war. The war, by the way, also gave us “The Star Spangled Banner.” There are no commemorative markers and no interpretive centers to explain this history. Sower hopes to change that in two years during the 200th anniversary celebrations of the War of 1812 with the unveiling of a Battle of Bladensburg marker, which will be placed on the lawn of the George Washington House, just across the road from the Peace Cross. By the late 19th century, Route 1’s transportation system was augmented by trolleys and trains, spurring the development of Hyattsville, Mt. Rainer, and Brentwood. The trolley line, which at one point ran from Washington, D.C. to Laurel, was discontin-

ued in 1958. Today most motorists race through Hyattsville unaware of the rich history found along the route and in the nearby neighborhoods. The beauty of Route 1 is that there are still pockets of history everywhere you look, including Washingtonslept-here inns, plantation houses, slave quarters, and freedmen’s communities rich in African-American agricultural and labor history. Route 1 is still dotted with gas stations and tourist cottages from the 1930s and mid-century diners. Many small, local preservation efforts are taking place in our area in a bid to restore our material history and also reconnect the road with its past. Future L&L articles will trace aspects of African American history along our stretch of Route 1, in a kind of guided tour, and the development of modes of transportation along Route 1’s storied path. Kimberly Schmidt is president of the Hyattsville Preservation Association. For more on the local history of Route 1, join the Hyattsville Preservation Association when born-and-bred Hyattsville resident Douglas Dudrow shares memories, pictures and stories from the Route 1 of his childhood. November 11 at 7:30 p.m. in the Municipal Building.

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

Page 3

New playground at Magruder Park opens later this month by Susie Currie Magruder Park is undergoing a nearly complete playground renovation, with four new play structures soon to be ready for climbing, sliding and more fun for neighborhood children. The park closed on Sept. 7 and is expected to reopen by Oct. 10, in time for the Hyattsville Cyclocross biking event at the park. “Even if the entire playground isn’t ready by Cyclocross, we’ll still open the areas that are finished,” said Hyattsville Communications Manager Abby Sandel. Three of the four replacement pieces are already installed. photo by susie currie The $110,000 project, funded by Some of the new equipment at Magruder Park waiting for children. a grant from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, is replacing all the large play with play table. “We were hoping to have been open by now,” added structures except the yellow-and-red one, designed for older children, near the tennis courts. As the newest, Sandel. A shipping delay of the final piece — the largest, with tunnel slide, platforms and bars — pushed that one is in the best condition. “The pieces are being replaced with similar things back the opening date. A ribbon-cutting is planned for the same age group,” said Sandel. “For instance, when all the structures are ready. The playground’s last upgrade was three years ago. It the fire engine is being replaced by a train.” Three new pieces are in place already. In addition replaced the spring bouncers, designed for smaller chilto the train, there’s a car and a giraffe, both equipped dren, with ones shaped like a rabbit and a butterfly.

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MyTwoCents Litter and critters in the park by Fred Seitz The City of Hyattsville refers to Magruder as its flagship park, and residents frequently enjoy sports, picnics, occasional performances and other entertainment there. But often, they leave a legacy of litter and trash that poses problems − and sometimes lethal threats − to the park’s full-time “residents,” who use the park not just for entertainment, but for their day-today (or night-to-night) living. Several of Woodsy Owl’s close relatives − a pair of barred owls and at least one great horned owl − have entertained and intrigued Hyattsville humans for several years. Numerous other birds visit or live in the park throughout the year. The most recent addition to Magruder Park’s feathered flock is a wild turkey, who probably wandered down the river after the state Department of Natural Resources released wild turkeys in nearby woodlands in 2006. However, birds and other animals are often attracted to the residue left on plastic wrap, containers, and bags and may choke or suffer from digestive failure when they ingest

the bag or plastic. Birds may also become entangled in plastic sixpack rings. In spring and summer, choruses of frogs and toads serenade Hyattsville humans (and eat insects, at no additional charge). American toads continue the symphony in late summer and early fall. These amphibians, as well as snakes and lizards, may be attracted to cans, plastic containers or jars by the insects in the containers and then become trapped in them and subsequently die of dehydration. Some of our park’s furrier residents (squirrels, raccoons, foxes) and even our domesticated dogs and cats are attracted to bags, plastic wrap, cans, and bottles due to food or liquid residue on them. Eating these materials can seriously injure the animals’ digestive tracts; even walking over them is hazardous, as glass or metal trash can injure feet (or paws). Preventing injury and sometimes death to our neighbors in the park is fairly simple: • Rinse and recycle bottles and cans. • Crush or cut up plastic containers such as yogurt containers, plastic wrap and put them in se-

cure recycling or trash bins. • Cut up the rings in six pack carriers and put them in a secure trash bin. • Join in one of the frequent litter cleanups sponsored by the City of Hyattsville or Neighbors of the Northwest Branch. Or be a solo cleanup person when you’re enjoying the park. The District of Columbia’s recently passed “bag tax” was designed to help clean up the Anacostia River. Maryland has been considering a similar tax. The Northwest Branch, which runs along the southwest side of Magruder Park, is a major tributary of the Anacostia, so preventing trash in Magruder Park is a “hands-on” way that Hyattsville can further the cause of a cleaner, fishable, and recreation-friendly Anacostia River. Remember that litter isn’t just unsightly; it can be deadly to our animal neighbors. Fred Seitz is a 23-year resident of Hyattsville and a 57-year critter fan. Now retired from the federal government, where he worked on environmental issues, he has participated in several river, park, and invasive-plant clean-ups.


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Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010




Public-access studio teaches glassblowing by Kara Rose

photo by kara rose At last month’s open house, visitors to DC Glassworks saw demonstrations (above) as well as end products. Among the displays was work by Andre Bossett, at left, and Ben Mathes, below.

glass and we need to rebuild the equipment.” DCGW offers weekly, daylong and weekend classes in glassblowing, metal-casting and welding. “We start everyone in beginning glassblowing, which goes over all the basic moves of glass. The goal is to make paper weights and drinking glasses,” Jones said. “Based on that class, you go on to make basic shapes and that’s where you learn some of the cones [and] reverse cones … . After those


Nestled among old car shops in the brick warehouses of 46th Avenue in Edmonston sits DC GlassWorks, a public-access glassblowing studio that fosters a strong sense of community. “People who are here work to promote art and glass,” DCGW Executive Director David D’Orio said. “It is truly about building a community.” D’Orio is the last remaining founder of DCGW, which started in 1996 in a private, two-car garage in Capitol Hill. The business moved to its current location in October 2001 to become a studio that’s open to the public. “When we were in D.C., it was more of a private shop. When we moved out here, the goal was to provide access,” D’Orio said. The 3,200-square-foot space consists of the main workspace, four private studios — with two more on the way — and a gallery to showcase the artwork created in the studio. The main workspace contains a glass furnace, five smaller furnaces to reheat the glass, benches for blowing and shaping, and all sorts of tools for each step along the way. Most of the studio equipment was designed and/or built by DCGW. “It would be about a half-million dollars if we bought it all,” said Steven Jones, DCGW’s director of education. “The glass furnace holds a giant pot of 600 pounds of glass at 2,080 degrees, 14 hours a day, seven days a week, 330 days a year. We only shut down in August, when it’s too hot to blow

two classes, you have a pretty good background and can go on to sculpture.” Glassblowing is a craft that is rarely practiced alone. There are four resident artists at the studio and eight part-time instructors. One instructor, Joe Corcoran, started taking classes at DCGW four years ago and now has solo shows for his work. Edmonston mayor Adam Ortiz is proud of the way DCGW has helped set the tone for reviving the city. “Although industrial properties can be seen as a limitation to a community, they can also provide tremendous opportunities. DC Glass-

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Works is a prime example,” said Ortiz, who called the studio one of Edmonston’s greatest assets. Because DCGW is one of the few glassblowing studios in the Washington metropolitan area, people travel from surrounding areas to use the space. Michael Ramen, a 15-year-old New Jersey native, lives in Alexandria, Va., but travels to the studio to continue his hobby. “I’m just so into the culture of it,” said Ramen, who started the craft four years ago. “Not a lot of people know about it. You pretty much know [of] the people that do it nationally. It’s an interesting way to make things and also, it is a very versatile medium.”

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Page 5

MissFloribunda Dear Miss Floribunda, Each fall I rake and put out bags of leaves for pickup by the municipality. Then, the following year, I drive out to the parks to shovel leaf mulch into bags and I dump it in my garden. Something is wrong with this picture. How would I go about composting my own leaves in my own back yard? Would code enforcement officers object? Please advise. Beleaguered By Leaves on Livingston Street Dear Beleaguered By Leaves, The very same municipality that picks or vacuums up your leaves and then later provides composted leaf mold in convenient piles is so far from objecting to householders composting their own leaves that it will even give you a free 3-foot-by3-foot plastic open-air composting bin if you request one. The only requirement is that

you be a resident of Hyattsville, and you will be asked to provide your address as proof. Call Julia McTague of the Department of Public Works at 301.985.5032, ext. 200. She will arrange transfer of your bin to the third floor of the Municipal Building, where you can pick it up between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. It’s as simple as that. (You can also make a bin of chicken wire or buy a similar one for $20 to $50.) Less simple is the actual composting of leaves. It requires a little more time and effort than you may imagine, with the biggest pile of leaves yielding only a small pile of compost. And don’t expect to have usable “green gold” the following spring; it takes up to two years for the leaves to decompose — even if you remember to turn the leaves, and add water and nitrogen fertilizer to speed up the process. If your lawn mower has a bagger, you can shred the leaves by mowing over the piles you’ve raked. Shredded leaves compost more quickly,

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and you can use them as mulch in a second-season garden right away. Herr Huber Krumelschicht, our mulch expert, advises caution if you use this mulch for your perennials, shrubs, and trees: Letting it settle against the plants’ crowns may lead to rot. He and my other advisers think another good alternative is to add

with their own worms to speed the process, but I go on the principle “if you rot it they will come.”  Should you find you can’t make enough mulch for all your garden beds this year, don’t hesitate to take advantage of the leaf mulch offered through Oct. 29 at Magruder Park, Heurich Park and the University Hills Duck Pond Park. Providing citizens with this bonanza is one of the most useful services the City of Hyattsville offers its gardeners. So help yourself! The Hyattsville Horticultural Society encourages you and other gardeners to come to our next meeting and plant exchange on Oct. 16  at 10 a.m. at the home of Joe Buriel, 3909 Longfellow Street. Please direct questions to

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Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

Local dance studio set to open by Allison Trobiano After spending just one hour with Sylvia Alexander, the owner and founder of Hyattsville’s newest performance space, the enthusiasm and passion she has for her work is evident. And slightly contagious; by the end of our interview, she had ACDG Secretary Maurianne Weaver-Bulluck, Weaver-Bulluck’s daughter Ariana, and me all joining her in a

line dance called “The Easy.” “I just came here to drop something off and look what happened!” Weaver-Bulluck said. On Oct. 16, the Alexander Community Dance Group will make its debut in Hyattsville with an open house from 4 to 7 p.m. at the studio, 4318 Hamilton Street, Hyattsville. All are invited to attend. Until then, open classes are offered for people of all ages, with drop-in fees starting at $15 a class.

The classes range from ballet, tap, modern, jazz, hip-hop, salsa, and line dancing, to other aspects of the performing arts such as modeling and pageantry. The classes also provide a chance for people to register for the upcoming season and see how the company is run. Alexander founded ACDG back in the 1970s; since then, based primarily in Landover, she has been working with students throughout the Washington metropolitan area.

photo by valerie russell Sylvia Alexander, founder of Hyattsville’s Alexander Community Dance Group, leads an impromptu class.

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“We try to promote the performing arts by getting the students involved in a variety of things.” — Sylvia Alexander founder

structors, the students and their parents. “Their dedication has made the group what it has been,” she said. Everyone involved in ACDG, for example, does a lot of charity and volunteer work. The company gives back to the community through performances for nursing homes, churches, schools, sororities, and other local organizations. “We try to promote the performing arts by getting the students involved in a variety of things,” Alexander said. “We are a community-based dance group.” For more information, call 301.486.4590.

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Recently, she began searching for her own studio so she could have more freedom to use time and the studio space as she wishes. “We were trying to find a place we can call home, which brought us here,” she said. “We look forward to being a part of the Hyattsville family.” Alexander, who lives in Greenbelt, began dancing about age 8. She went on to teach at various programs until she founded ACDG when she was in her 20s. Since then, she has received numerous awards, including Talent America’s Woman of the Year in 2009. Her competition groups perform both locally and nationally, and Alexander said they have won many awards through Talent America and also participated in the national dance competition Star Power. Alexander also helps students and others become involved in the annual Talent America showcase held in Connecticut and New York, which gives them an opportunity to perform for agencies and “get their foot in the door,” she said. Alexander attributed much of the company’s success to the other in-

301-613-MATH (6284) 30 years of teaching and tutoring mathematics

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Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

Page 7

COMMUNITY CALENDAR Through October 24 This typeface doesn’t do it justice, but imagine a set of antennae with an eye on either side and you’ll understand the idea behind OVO, Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, starring … insects, complete with the troupe’s signature stunning

Pressed for time?

costumes, choreography and acrobatics. It’s a glimpse inside the world on the ground, and what happens when a mysterious egg appears in the midst of it. Tickets start at $38.50 for children and $55 for adults. Schedule varies by week; see for details. Big Top at the Plateau, National Harbor, Oxon Hill.

Wash & Fold Drop Off Full Service • Same Day Laundry Service Free Pick Up & Delivery or do it yourself at

October 10

October 16

Register now for the second annual Hyattsville Cyclocross, a day of races for every age. Fees are $20 to $25 per race, with proceeds to benefit Special Olympics of Prince George’s County; visit to register. Races begin at 9 a.m. at Magruder Park. or call 202.531.8173.

Patricia Vergara of Brazil and Cecilia Esquivel of Argentina present Cantaré: A Celebration of Latin American Music, an all-ages show featuring songs and instruments from that region, drawing from the musical heritage of the Caribbean, Central and South America. Free. 3 p.m. Hyattsville Library, 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.   calendar continued on page 8

American Mega Laundromat 301-559-0707 Across West Hyattsville Metro Station Corner of Ager Road & Hamilton St. Open 7 Days a Week 6 am to 11:30 pm

Weekly & Monthly Laundry Service Plans Available

Free electronics recycling Program

saturday, octoBer 16, 2010, 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 noon city oF Hyattsville dPW yard, 4633 arundel Place, Hyattsville

tHe city oF Hyattsville Will Provide residents tHe oPPortunity to disPose oF tHe FolloWing unWanted or unusaBle equiPment:

• Computer monitors • Central proCessing units • printers • Computer Keyboards, mouse & Wire • VCrs • radios • Copiers • teleVisions • Cell phones *a maximum oF 8 items Will Be accePted Per HouseHold.*

tHis Program is oPen to city oF Hyattsville residents only.

individuals ParticiPating in tHis Program Will Be required to sHoW ProoF oF identiFication include a driver’s license, military identiFication, a tax, Water or caBle Bill.

photo courtesy of cirque du soleil Cirque du Soleil puts its inimitable stamp on the insect world with “OVO,” now playing at National Harbor.

City of Hyattsville, Maryland

Notice of Public Meeting

City Election Practices & Procedures Monday, October 18, 2010 7:00 p.m. City Muncipal Building Third Floor Council Chambers (immediately prior to City Council Meeting) A Public Meeting will be held to review the City’s practices and procedures in advance of the May 2011 General Election, including: • Reviewing relevant sections of the City Code • Assessing the impact of any Constitutional changes (i.e., Early Voting) Please note: The next City-wide election is scheduled for Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Hyattsville R

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Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010 Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010


No. 202 • Octob • 301-985-5000


Hands Free Law Takes Effect Oct.1 Here’s everything drivers need to know: 1. What is Maryland’s Cell Phone Law that takes effect on October 1, 2010? Maryland Senate Bill 321 and House Bill 934 were signed into law by Governor O’Malley and take effect Oct. 1. The new law prohibits all drivers in Maryland from using hand-held cell phones while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway. Drivers under 18 already are prohibited from using cell phones at all while driving. 2. Are there any exceptions to the law? Phone calls placed to 9-1-1, ambulance, hospital, fire, or law enforcement agencies are allowed, as are calls made by emergency and law enforcement personnel. A driver is allowed to turn a hand-held phone on or off and to initiate or terminate a call. 3. Is the law a primary offense? The new law is a secondary offense, meaning a driver must first be detained for another offense, such as speeding or negligent driving, before he or she can be ticketed for a cell phone offense. However, “negligent driving” is a primary offense in Maryland and can be used as a precursor to citing violators of the new cell phone law. 4.What is the fine for the offense? The fine for a first offense is $40 and subsequent offenses are $100. Points are not assessed to the first-time violator’s driving record, except, three points are assessed if the violation contributes to a crash. If a violator has a second orsubsequent offense, he or she receives a point plus the fine. 5. Is this the same law as the texting law? Another law took effect in 2009 in Maryland that bans texting while driving. The primary texting law prohibits an individual from writing or sending text messages while operating a motor vehicle that is in motion or in the travel portion of the roadway. Violators may be assessed a fine not exceeding $500. This law does not apply to texting 9-1-1 or using a global positioning system. 6.Why is this law needed? Studies indicate that mobile phone conversations distract drivers and delay reaction time, which can cause and increase the severity of vehicular crashes. The National Safety Council estimates that cell phone use is responsible for 1.6 million crashes a year, nationally -- about 28 percent of all crashes. Maryland now joins seven other states (Calif., Conn., Del., N.J., N.Y., Ore. and Wash.), Washington D.C. and the Virgin Islands in banning hand-held cell phone use while driving.

IN OTHER NEWS... CYCLOCROSS RETURNS The second annual Hyattsville CX – that’s Cyclocross, racing on bicycles! – event will take place on Sunday, October 10, 2010 in Magruder Park. Visit their website to learn more: http://

HYATTSVILLE VOLUNTEER FIRE DEPARTMENT HOSTS 5 MILE RUN IN OCTOBER If biking isn’t your thing, check out the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department’s first 5-Mile Run, scheduled for Saturday, October 23. The Department’s annual open house takes place immediately following the race. Learn more at their site: hvfdrace/

ELECTRONICS RECYCLING Saturday, October 16 will be the next Electronics Recycling event at the

Department of Public 4633 Arundel Place a.m. to 12:00 noon. may recycle up t including telev and DVD pla computer mon and related equ boards, mouse and printers. charge for the you may be ask such as a driver’s l ity bill, to demonstrate City residence.

LEAF COLLECTION Leaf collection will resume November 1, 2010. The routes are unchanged from last season and can be viewed at or in the next edition of the Hyattsville Reporter.

Reporter Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010 Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

ber 6, 2010

c Works Yard, e, from 9:00 City residents to eight items visions, VCRs ayers, stereos, nitors, CPUS, uipment (keye), cell phones, There is no e program, but ked to show ID, license or utily of Hyattsville

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Calling all Ghouls and Goblins for Spooky Fest!

13 16

The City’s annual Spooky Fest returns to Magruder Park on Saturday, October 30.


Spooky Fest is free, family-friendly fun for kids of all ages. Started as a safe trick-or-treat alternative for our littlest ghouls and goblins, the event has grown into a seasonal celebration. This year’s event features: • A Monster Mash Dance Party • A Costume Contest for kids ages 0 to 12 • The Trick or Treat Trail There is no charge for the event. Call 301-985-5020 to RSVP.

19 23 28 30

City-wide Yard Sale, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Hyattsville Cyclocross at Magruder Park, see above. City Council Work Session, 7:00 p.m. City Council Meeting, 8:00 p.m. Hyattsville Environmental Committee meeting, 7:30 p.m. Electronics Recycling event at DPW Yard, 4633 Arundel Place, 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon Gorgeous Prince George’s Day. Contact Volunteer Services for information about area clean-ups: 301/985-5057 or Public Meeting: City Election Practices and Procedures, 7:00 p.m. City Council Meeting, 8:00 p.m. Planning Committee Meeting, 7:00 p.m. Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department 5 Mile Run, see above. Code Enforcement Advisory Committee meeting, 7:00 p.m. Spooky Fest, Magruder Park, 5:00 to 7:00 p.m. recreation

REGISTRATION IS OPEN FOR OCTOBER 9 CITY-WIDE YARD SALE City-wide Yard Sale Day is Saturday, October 9. On this day, no permits are required to hold a Yard Sale, and the City will publish a map showing all registered households. Stop by the City building or visit http:// to register.

PROJECT UPDATE Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning is nearing completion on their field improvement project at Heurich Park, behind Home Depot on East-West Highway. The project should be finished in November 2010.

CITY ELECTION PRACTICES PUBLIC MEETING A Public Meeting will take place on Monday, October 18 at 7:00 p.m. to discuss City Election Practices & Procedures in advance of the May 3, 2011 general election. The Board of Elections and City Clerk will re-

view relevant sections of the City Code, discuss the impact of any Constitutional Changes, and respond to inquiries. Questions or comments may be directed to Doug Barber, City Clerk at 301/985-5009 or

FREE LEAF MULCH AVAILABLE THROUGH OCTOBER 29 Through the end of the month, residents will be able to pick up free leaf mulch at three locations in the City: Magruder Park’s parking lot (40th Avenue & Hamilton Street), Heurich Park’s parking lot (Ager Road & Nicholson Street), and the University Hills Duck Pond Park parking lot (west end of Wells Parkway.) You will see signs at each mulch pile. Note that all three parks are open from dusk to dawn, daily. The Department of Public Works replenishes these piles on an as-needed basis. If you notice a mulch pile is low, please take a moment to call us at 301/985-5032. We will be happy to provide more. Mulch is ground from the leaves and wood chips collected by the cities of Hyattsville and Greenbelt. Both cities use the material in our planting projects. It’s natural, organ-


Happy Halloween! City-wide Trick or Treat

ic, and free of charge!

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.


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 | October 2010


October 27

continued from page 7

Blue Sky Puppet Theatre presents an all-ages show, The Three (Not So) Little Pigs, a twist on the classic tale that has a vegetarian wolf and squabbling pig siblings who learn to work together. Free. 6:30 p.m. Hyattsville Library, 6530 Adelphi Road. 301.985.4690.  

October 17 and 31 Two fall farmer’s market stars, the apple and the pumpkin, get their due at Riversdale Mansion as the Seasonal Selections series of cooking demonstrations continues. On October 17, it’s The Sweet and Savory Apple; Halloween brings Peter, Peter, Pumpkin Eater. Noon to 3:30 p.m. Free; does not include museum admission. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.

October 22

October 30 The lineup of family fun at the College Park Aviation Museum’s Flight Fest includes pumpkin bowling, a costume contest, hayrides and more. $4. 1 to 5 p.m. 1985 Cpl. Frank Scott Drive, College Park. 301.864.6029. photos courtesy of Eduardo Patino Dancers from Ailey II will perform at the Publick Playhouse this month.

Take an after-hours stroll through the Riversdale grounds on a guided, lantern-lit Moonlight and Shadows Walk, open to ages 12 and up. Reservations must be made by October 20. $5. Tours at 7:30 and 8:30 p.m.; rain date, October 23. Riversdale House Museum, 4811 Riverdale Road, Riverdale Park. 301.864.0420.  

October 24

Pound the ground in the First Annual Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department 5-Mile Run, and you’ll see all five wards of the city on a course that starts and ends at the fire station. Afterwards, the HVFD hosts its annual open house through the af-

It’s an afternoon of ballets set to traditional spirituals, gospel and blues as Ailey II: A Celebration of American Dance takes the Publick Playhouse stage. $25. 4 p.m. Publick Playhouse, 5445 Landover Road, Cheverly. 301.277.1711. Call for information about midweek matinees for seniors and children.

October 23

ternoon. Registration is $30 per person or $70 for a team of up to four people, with proceeds benefiting the HVFD. Race from 8:15 to 10:15 a.m., followed by an open house. Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department, 6200 Belcrest Road. 301 927.5770 or

The city’s Fall Spooky Fest features a Candyland trick-or-treat trail, a magician, a costume contest and − new this year − a Monster Mash dance party with DJ Kurt. Free. 5 to 7 p.m. Magruder Park, 40th Avenue and Hamilton Street. 301.985.5020. Joe’s Movement Emporium’s 15th Anniversary bash includes performances, music, live sculpture, and a silent auction. $60. 7 to 10 p.m. at the current Mount Rainier location, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, with an after party to follow at the place it all started: 3802 34th Street. 301.699.1819.

photo courtesy of blue sky puppet theatre “The Three (Not So) Little Pigs” comes to Hyattsville Library on Oct. 27.

calendar continued on page 9

8,000 households


We’d like to thank our readers for helping us achieve a new circulation record this month!

Growing with Hyattsville

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

Page 9


continued from page 8

November 1 to 27 See artwork composed of two or more media in All Mixed Up: A Juried Exhibition of Mixed Media Work. Held annually for artists who live, work, or study in Prince George’s County, this year’s show is juried by art collector Philippa Hughes. The opening reception is November 4 from 6 to 9 p.m., and the exhibit is on display weekdays, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Brentwood Arts Exchange, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood. 301.277.2863.

November 5 and 6 Ten Thousand Villages is a fairtrade retail merchandiser offering jewelry, weavings, pottery, carved wood, toys, and holiday decorations from artists around the world. You can support them by getting a head start on your holiday shopping at the 25th Annual

International Craft Sale. Free. Friday, 4 to 9 p.m., and Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Hyattsville Mennonite Church, 4217 East-West Highway. 301.927.7327

Ongoing 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. Every Thursday seniors ages 60 and up can mix and mingle at the piano bar at the Gwendolyn Britt Senior Activity Center. Enjoy refreshments and a game of chess or Bid Whist. Free. 3 to 4:30 p.m. Gwendolyn Britt Senior Activ-


THE CLEANERS CORNER Vacuum Cleaner Sales and Service Sewing Machine Repair Janitorial Equipment and Supplies Carpet Cleaning Equipment and Supplies

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ity Center, 4009 Wallace Road, North Brentwood. 301.699.1238.

enue and Queensbury Road, Riverdale Park. 301.332.6258.

The West Hyattsville Farmers Market closes Oct. 26, so get your local produce while you can. Tuesdays from 2 to 6 p.m. Behind Queens Chapel Town Center, Queens Chapel Road and Hamilton Street. 301.627.0977. Runs through Oct. 26.

Join a park naturalist on a pontoon boat to search for birds and other wildlife on an Anacostia River Boat Tour. Tuesdays through Fridays through Oct. 29, noon to 12:45 p.m. All ages welcome. Bladensburg Waterfront Park, 4601 Annapolis Road, Bladensburg. 301.779.0371.

The producers-only Riverdale Park Farmers Market offers a variety of vegetables, fruits, honey, baked goods, meat, jams, flowers and more. Free. Thursdays, 3 to 7 p.m. through Nov. 18. At the intersection of Rhode Island Av-

Hyattsville’s New Center for the Performing Arts

Join us for our Grand Opening Open House! October 16, 2010 4-7p.m. Classes forming now for children and adults: Tap • Ballet • Line Dance Hip Hop • Modern • Pageantry Modeling • Universal Exercise

And our Neighboring Community


1891 Victorian, 5BRs, 2 1/2 baths, updated for todays living! Berwyn Heights $435,000 Charming Cape Cod, 3 BRs, 1 ½ baths, 4110 Kennedy St. Hyattsville $334,000

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@hyattsvillelife. com  or mail to  P.O. Box 132, Hyattsville, MD 20781. Deadline for November submissions is Oct. 23.

Alexander Community Dance Group

Helping Sell Hyattsville

Gorgeous Updated Victorian 3+BRs, 2 full baths, 5209 42nd Ave. Hyattsville $399,000

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:  Mon-

days, 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.  

Beautiful Updated Rambler 3 BRs, 2 Full baths, 4700 40th Ave. Hyattsville $335,000

REDUCED Nice Rambler, 3BR, 2 baths, 4501 30th St. Mt. Rainier $225,000


Spacious 4 level 3+ BRs, 2 1/2 baths, finished lower level and storage room. University Park $450,000

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Page 10


continued from page 1 where they could end up in local streams and rivers and harm aquatic life or get into the human water supply, according to the National Association of Attorneys General, which supported the initiative. Disposal options for controlled substances, such as opioids, are especially limited under most circumstances due to the risk of the medications being diverted to the black market. If you missed the take-back event, the Environmental Protection Agency and Food and Drug Administration recommend that most medications be disposed of in the trash. According to guidelines developed by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, you should remove the medication from its container and mix it with an undesirable substance, such as used coffee grounds or kitty litter. Then put the mixture in a disposable container with a lid, such as a margarine container, or a sealable bag and place it in the trash. A few drugs that are controlled substances have instructions on their labels that unused portions should be flushed. FDA says this is currently the best way to immediately and permanently remove the risk of abuse or accidental poisoning from the home. Scientists have yet to find any evidence of harmful effects to human health from medicines in the environment, and any potential risk to people and the environment from flushing the roughly two dozen medications on the list is outweighed by the known possibility of life-threatening risks from accidental ingestion, according to FDA.

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

hyattsville International Street Festival

Photos by Cynthia Mitchel Scenes from this year’s International Street Festival, held at Queens Chapel Town Center on Sept. 25.

Calling all Ghouls and Goblins for...

Spooky Fest! The City’s annual Spooky Fest returns to Magruder Park on Saturday, October 30. Spooky Fest is free, family-friendly fun for kids of all ages. Started as a safe trick-or-treat alternative for our littlest ghouls and goblins, the event has grown into a seasonal celebration. This year’s event features: A Monster Mash Dance Party A Costume Contest for kids ages 0 to 12 The Trick or Treat Trail There is no charge for the event. Call 301/985-5020 to RSVP.

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

Page 11

Commentary & opinion on history & politics

Hugh’sNews The ultimate catalog shopper: Sears houses By Hugh Turley At the close of the 19 th century, streetcar service came to Hyattsville, spurring a period of growth. After World War I, there was a building boom of affordable houses, including authentic Sears kit homes. Many of these vintage houses still add character and charm to the city. Sears, Roebuck and Co. did not invent kit homes. But it marketed the concept through its catalog, selling an estimated 75,000 homes between 1908 and 1940. The cachet of a Sears home is its superior materials and craftsmanship; today a plumber or tradesman working in a basement will gaze at the beams and marvel at the quality of now-extinct building materials. Sears homes were designed so the owner could build the home himself or hire a carpenter. All of the lumber was pre-cut and numbered. A kit might include 30,000 parts and everything necessary to assemble them, including paint, nails and screws. Sears acquired lumber mills and a millwork plant to produce the kits, which were sold and shipped to customers, usually near a rail line. They were built throughout the Washington area, including many still standing in Arlington and Chevy Chase. Locally, kits were ordered

courtesy of the sears archive The Villonia, one style of kit home advertised in a 1930s Sears catalog, can be seen on many Hyattsville streets. and delivered through the Hyattsville Hardware store, now Franklins Restaurant, Brewery and General Store. The materials were shipped in stages so that they arrived as needed. The makings of a typical house would fit inside two railroad boxcars. Each home could be customized to suit personal taste and budget, with customers choosing coal or oil heating, electric or gas lighting, and particular styles of doors, shingles and light fixtures. Any frame-house design could also be constructed in brick; floor plans could be reversed.

Several kit styles are represented in Hyattsville, including a colonial model and bungalows with names like The Crescent, The Argyle, and The Vallonia. The Vallonia kit homes along Queensbury Road were built between 1921 and 1931. Maggie Henney’s great-grandfather assembled his Vallonia in 1923 with the help of graduate students from the University of Maryland. Henney’s front porch columns and railings are exactly the same as the model featured in the catalog. This house on Queensbury is airy with lots of closet space, the kind of home

where children would play hide-and-seek. The price for a Vallonia model ranged from $2,096 to $2,537, depending on buyer preferences. Gold and silver coins were in circulation back then, so a home might cost a little more than one hundred $20 gold coins. (Today a similar one-ounce gold coin is worth about $1,300; gold seems to be rising to meet falling real estate prices.) During the 1920s, the average annual salary was about $1,250. A typical down payment would be 25 percent of the value of the lot and the house; loans — also from Sears — typically ran for five years at 6 percent interest. The beautiful old homes found in Hyattsville, with cozy fireplaces and quality millwork, are reminiscent of the good old days when virtue triumphed. You can almost see Jimmy Stewart from “It’s a Wonderful Life” standing on the front porch or coming though the swinging door from the kitchen. Now, though, development is threatening the quaint old town, with traffic congestion crowding the state highways. Hyattsville still provides residents a peaceful retreat to a bygone era, but the town has reached a crossroads as the mayor and city council consider recommendations to direct more traffic through these residential neighborhoods. Are we about to take off in a new direction?

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Page 12

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010


continued from page 1 calm the traffic, and said he has collected 200 signatures on a petition to do that. He added that the city should model its actions on University Park, which closed Queens Chapel Road to all commuter traffic. Vincent Jones, assistant city administrator, said the reason the Sabra, Wang study had suggestions for Queensbury is that it handles traffic differently from strictly residential streets, such as Jefferson or Madison. “Everyone agrees people use Queensbury as a cut-through to get to where they’re going, in or out of the city,” he said. “And people use it as an alternative to EastWest Highway. So that’s why Sabra, Wang felt it was in everyone’s best interest to look at options for Queensbury.” Mayor Bill Gardiner defended the study, pointing out that attention has focused on the few recommendations about Queensbury and the full study should be read. “If you read it – and it’s very comprehensive, 75 pages − its approach is indeed to reduce cut-through traffic and prioritize bicyclers, pedestrians and local auto traffic on city streets. The

study has a number of good recommendations that will increase public safety and reduce some of our traffic. I think 90 percent of our residents would support these recommendations.” Councilmember Matthew McKnight (Ward 3) also said it is very comprehensive, with dozens of recommendations. “Some are good and some are bad. Especially with the bike and pedestrian part, it has some really good recommendations. The council and the residents need to have public meetings to discuss things and hash them out.” But Bill Tierney (Ward 2) said, “The study only addresses part of the issue, movement of traffic through the city, and not qualityof-life issues for residents. I think council should have the study enlarged or send it back. “There are a number of areas with traffic issues. There’s traffic flow around schools, which the police Community Action Team is working on. There are heavy pedestrian crossing issues in some areas and sidewalk connectivity issues, and of course the cross-traffic on major streets through the city. All of these will have to be looked at, individually and collectively.” Councilmember Paula Perry (Ward 5) said the traffic problems are not

just on a few streets in the city. She’s received many complaints about traffic in her West Hyattsville neighborhood. “Most of the streets here have problems. People are not stopping at stop signs and the amount of traffic has picked up with all the multifamily homes.” Elsewhere in the city, residents of another major cut-through are wondering why the study ignored their street altogether. Connecting Queens Chapel Road and Route 1 is Crittenden Street, which turns into 40th Place and Hamilton Street moving eastward and intersects a number of smaller roads. Residents there, too, are worried about safety. “I’ve lived here since 2005 and back then we had some minor traffic during rush hour,” said Miguel Corrigan, of 40th Place. “But now we’ve turned into an artery between Route 1 and Queens Chapel, with tons of work vehicles, WSSC vans, speeding rescue vans. It’s turned into a nightmare, with cars going 40 to 50 miles per hour down the street. They’re going to hit somebody.” The curved road has led to onecar accidents. “I once watched a man die in front of my house after an accident,” recalled longtime Crittenden Street resident Chris Currie. “Another time a car was going so fast jumped a curb at the bend and it ended up in a tree.

Not against the tree, in it.” On nearby Banner Street, Joe Bryan said that drivers tend to run the stop sign in front of his house at high speed; there’s no trafficcalming crosswalk or a two-way stop for several blocks. He said most of his neighbors support widening the sidewalks and narrowing the roads to slow drivers down. “It’s a pretty broadly held view. We must have 20 or 25 young children living on this street and we don’t feel comfortable walking the two blocks to Magruder Park because of the conditions,” said Bryan. “The theme of the city is ‘a world within walking distance.’ We can do better. We should do better.” Some people on nearby streets, though, worry that making changes to Crittenden would worsen their traffic. Nick Harris, who lives on Hamilton Street, is one of them. Harris also has problems with the traffic study, noting that Mr. Silberman of Sabra, Wang said at a council meeting that the study looked at delays, not volume. “His comments,” said Harris, “suggest that the study focused principally, if not exclusively, on the motorist’s perspective.  What we need is a traffic study that looks at traffic not simply from the motorist’s point of view, but from the residents’ as well, a study

that identifies all the areas in town where traffic causes quality of life and/or safety issues.” Crittenden Street residents asked for a solution in 2003, when they petitioned the City Council for traffic calming measures. In response, the city contracted with the Neighborhood Design Center to develop a proposal for their street; its conceptual plan was endorsed by the residents and approved by the council in 2004. The plan called for widening the sidewalk on one side and narrowing both lanes of the street. But in 2008, when the Department of Public Works submitted its repaving plan for Crittenden Street and 40th Place, it did not include the calming measures for those two streets and the Sabra Wang study exempted them from its purview. Jones explained that Crittenden Street has other issues because it needs to be rebuilt and so was outside the scope of the study. “There are plans for us to reconstruct Crittenden and 40th but because it’s a special project it has its own sort of study. You have rightsof-way and property-line issues.” He also said that recently the Department of Public Works got approval from the council to get the final engineering work done on that area so they can move to construction.

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Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

“We can hardly wait to see it. It’s not often that you get to see something you’ve made in the Smithsonian.” — Cheryl Hoffman A Tangled Skein co-owner

after the mathematical model it resembles − by increasing the number of stitches very rapidly to create a ruffled shape. “It seemed a really worthwhile project and something our customers wanted to get involved with,” said Paulson. Many worked privately in their homes, while others completed their pieces during the Skein’s Thursday night knitting circles. Several hundred pieces were made by the Aug. 31 deadline. Some people brought trash bags full of reef creations, while others opted for just one or two. The pieces varied vastly in size, shape and color, just as natural reefs do, and were made from any material

Photo © the IFF The L.A.-based Institute For Figuring’s Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef that the knitters could get their hands on. Contributing knitter Katherine Condliffe of Greenbelt submitted five or six pieces, including one modeled on a sea anemone and two knitted from plastic bags. “I enjoy the process of working with my hands, and I love the yarn and all the different fibers that I work with,” she said. “[Also,] it’s just really cool to be part of a project that’s not only going to be in the Smithsonian, but is also a


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people to get involved in groups and have a space that would be comfortable for people to knit [and] to crochet,” said Hoffman, who is one of seven instructors who teach stitching, spinning, knitting and crocheting to people of all ages. “There’s always something new to learn,” Condliffe said. “I don’t think anyone knows all of it. We learn new techniques from all over the world. We are interested in preserving the craft.”

worldwide thing.” Condliffe says she learned how to knit more than 50 years ago from her grandmother and got “kind of obsessed with it.” She’s part of the tightly knit community at A Tangled Skein, which opened in January 2007. Customers who come to browse pattern books or the hundred hues of yarn often return to work on their projects, whether in a group or as part of a class. “We wanted to make a space for

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co-founders of the Institute for Figuring, came up with the concept when they moved from their native Australia to Los Angeles. The twin sisters created the “core reef” display by making crochet models of the curves found in hyperbolic geometry (and in nature, such as coral) to raise awareness of the effect of global warming and pollutants on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the world’s largest. Connected, the shapes form the Hyperbolic Crochet Coral Reef. It became a traveling display, and soon “satellite reefs” − created by residents of the cities hosting the exhibit − began to take shape. The first was in 2007, in Chicago; since then, thousands of volunteers have created these satellites in art galleries and science museums from New York to Dublin. When the Smithsonian was looking for contributions to their satellite exhibit, staff members reached out to many yarn shops in the Washington metropolitan area. “We were just one part of this large effort,” said Cheryl Hoffman, who owns the shop with Larry Paulson. “We can hardly wait to see it. It’s not often that you get to see something you’ve made in the Smithsonian.” The Smithsonian sent program

coordinator Jennifer Lindsay to the store on July 1 to explain the project to interested knitters. She demonstrated how to make the hyperbola-shaped “coral” − named

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continued from page 1

Page 13


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Page 14

Hyattsville Life & Times | October 2010

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October 2010 Hyattsville Life & Times  

October installment of community newspaper

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