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Saturday, March 29, 2008

Teen Performance Nite at Joe's

Just wanted to make sure that you are aware of TEEN PERFORMANCE NITE at Joe's Movement Emporium. It's been building momentum but there are so many teens in Our COMMUNITY that have not been to one a single event at Joe's. Please PASS the word that this is a place FOR teens! Parent can drop off their kids and let them have fun in a safe and secure environment. So, come on and help me get the WORD OUT about 3 D Productions' Teen Performance Nite at Joe's, Every Friday, 7:30 to 10:30pm, $3 for middle and high school students.

Performances of music, spoken word, dance, open mic with hands-on learning in rap/spoken word, fashion, drumming and more.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Up coming X2rep! Events

March 27, 2008

Here are some upcoming events for one of the youth groups that are working within the Mount Rainier area. Hope you will come out and support them.

March 29th X2rep is performing at Our Teens Magazine All-Star basketball game. The event is going to be held at Forestville High School , It starts at 10:00am and it will last all day.

March 28th X2rep it taking a college tour of University of Maryland Eastern Shore . 10:00am-2:00pm

April 4th X2rep will be visiting Hampton University for (High School Day) and its 30th Anniversary

April 5th X2rep will be performing at the University of Maryland College park for a youth leadership conference sponsored by Global Champions. 10:00am -1:30pm

April X2rep will be performing for the Law Enforcement in...

May 17th X2rep will be performing at the Mount Rainier Day Festival.

June 14th X2rep will be performing at the Annual Juneteenth Movement Sponsored by BET Westlake High School starting at 10:00am

All X2rep representers its time to represent, put them t-shirts on and lets jump into another state of mind. All my entertainers we need you to be down like four flat tires, you're not going anywhere.

X2rep! All right! All right! All right!

X2rep! Inc
Time to Represent
Founder Mr. Metro Man
Youth Leader PCJ Rev. Child
301-343-7161
X2repinc@yahoo.com

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

COUNTY EXECUTIVE DISCLOSES COSTS OF POLICE LAWSUITS

Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson disclosed today that the county paid $555,000 in court judgments and settlements from lawsuits as a result of complaints against (County) police officers during fiscal year 2007.

This is the sixth year in a row that Johnson has exceeded the county's obligation, required by state law, that he report only the total of out-of-court settlements. Even though state law only requires notification to the County Council, local members of the House of Delegates and the Senate of Maryland, Johnson has continued to release the costs to the public.

Johnson said the residents and citizens have a right to know how much money is spent on settlements and judgments from lawsuits filed against law enforcement officers.

Between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007, 11 lawsuits involving law enforcement activities were settled out of court for $555,000.

Additionally, five lawsuits that went to trial resulted in judgments that totaled $300,317.12.

The Mayor's Report

March 25, 2008

Attached to this email and pasted below is my report on issues and items I believe to be important to Mount Rainier and Mount Rainier’s residents. This Report can also be found on my blog: http://themayorsspot.blogspot.com. (You may need to copy the link and paste it in the URL Address line.)

Mount Rainier’s Library

National Library Week is April 13- 19, 2008, and the theme this year is “Join the Circle of Knowledge!” Here is your opportunity to do just that by coming out to see the “Renewed Mount Rainier Library.”

On April 19, 2008, at 10:30am at the Mount Rainier Library 3409 Rhode Island Avenue there will be an open house reception with County Executive Jack B. Johnson, Councilman Will Campos, and Micki Feeny, the Director of the Prince George’s County Maryland Library System. This is a very auspicious occasion since it represents a giant step toward the renovation and improvement of our Library services here in the City. With a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates’ Foundation the Library has received 8 new computers and very needed renovation including new carpets.

Come on out, bring the kids and your neighbors to share in this historic occasion!

The Mount Rainier Tool Shed

Did you know that Mount Rainier has a tool shed with lots of tools and other equipment for working on your yards and home?

Well, we used to have LOTS of tools, but it has been brought to my attention that many of the members have borrowed our tools and have not returned them! If you borrowed tools from the Tool Shed, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE return them. We will not penalize you or make you feel bad for having forgotten to do. This is called amnesty. This period of amnesty will NOT endure forever, so if you borrowed tools, please return then ASAP. Thank you.

To borrow tools from the Tool Shed, please call on Saturdays between 10:00am and 1:00pm. Anthony “Tony” Lee will be operating the Tool Shed on an appointment basis. Email: anthonylee@att.net or call his cell: 240-273-2777.

(NOTE: West Philadelphia has opened a tool shed for its community. Visit their tool shed at http://www.westphillytools.org/). Dana Grabiner told her sister about our tool shed and I would like to think that we had some influence. Mount Rainier based on the news article is one of about 20 community tool sheds in the country.)

Electronic Recycling

Saturday, April 19, 2008, you can bundle up all of your old, unwanted electronic equipment and take it to our Public Works Department for recycling. Public Works is located at 3715 Wells Avenue. You must get your electronic equipment there between the hours of 0:00am and 1:00pm.

Public Works will be accepting: CPUs, keyboards, laptop computers, fax machines, telephones systems, printers, computer speakers, main frames, copiers, scanners, surge protectors, pagers, cell phones, cable, wire, circuit boards, CDs players, radios/stereos, VCRs, ink jet and toner cartridges and TVs.

Mount Rainier Day Festival

WOW, it has already been a year since we were hard at working planning last year’s Mount Rainier Day Festival, but be that as it may, here we are again in the midst of preparation for our one big day in the City!

Janis Lomax, Jeannelle Wallace and a host of other City staffers have been hard at work seeking vendors, getting permission to block off Rhode Island Avenue, seeking grants and entertainers, and making all of the necessary preparations to ensure that once again, the Mount Rainier Day Festival is the talking of the Region!

This is another opportunity for residents (especially our youths) to volunteer. If you have children in Prince George’s Public Schools, they are required to receive 36 hours of volunteer community service. If you have a child that is 14 and over needing community service hours, here is a perfect opportunity.

If you personally would like to get involved in the City, and didn’t know what you could do, this is a great opportunity for you to get your feet wet and have a good time doing it.

Call City Hall and speak with Janis Lomax. She will be happy to receive the call and get you involved. City Hall’s telephone number is 301-985-6585 between the hours of 9:00am and 5:00pm.

Basketball is COMING to Mount Rainier!

Basketball is here! Thomas Stone is the official location for basketball in Mount Rainier. Since the last Message, Prince George’s County’s Public Schools’ CEO John Deasy, Joe O’Neil, Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Mayor and Council of Brentwood, Hands On Barber Shop, and the Ministerial Alliance of Mount Rainier have come together to officially offer basketball to the youths of Mount Rainier and Brentwood.

This youth program is aimed at providing recreational activities for youth’s ages 13 to 18 in the form of basketball. The program will also have a life skills component.

Program Details:

• Starting June 1, 2008 the youth basketball developmental program will kick off
• Doors will open at 6:00pm for registration and organizational meeting
• The City of Mount Rainier
• Thomas Stone Elementary School Gymnasium

The program NEEDS youths to sign up to participate in this program. We NEED adults and young adult volunteers to help run the program. Parents and other community adults are encouraged and invited to attend the life skills sessions of the program.

Coaches and wanna be coaches, and just plain volunteers who wish to work with our teen population, PLEASE contact me via email or a telephone call to City Hall.

TEENS, this is for you, so let me know if you are interested in participating. Flyers with information will be going to your schools.

For more information and to volunteer, PLEASE call Mount Rainier’s City Hall, and/or send me an email (mayormiles@malindamiles.com).

Skate Board Park

The Mayor and Council again heard from the community about the Skate Boarding Park at Wells and Otis. Several of the residents spoke out against the park, but many others spoke in favor of the park. This issue had a public hearing several months ago and was unanimously approved and assigned to the Recreation Committee to come up with a design. Margaret Boozer, Red Dirt Studio, owner and operator and also an artist working in the City has taken on a major role working with our youth to design the skate park. In addition Mayor and Council heard from several of our youths who have become their own best advocates for the skate board park. Stay tuned for future discussions and presentation of the formal design for the skate board park.

MNCPPC Summer Camp Registration

MNCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation has experienced problems in computer systems since the daylight savings time change went into effect, and these problems have led to the decision to postpone the start of our Summer Day Camp registration period scheduled for Saturday, March 15, until Saturday, April 12. This date falls after the original Daylight Savings Time schedule, so we do not expect these problems to affect the new date.
Prince George’s County residents now may register beginning at 9 am, Saturday, April 12. Residents of other jurisdictions may register beginning at 9 am, Saturday, April 19.

If you have concerns about procedures or need more general information, please contact the Customer Service Help Desk at 301-699-CALL (2255).

Community Policing Grant Implementation

The check has been delivered for the Mount Rainier/Brentwood community policing grant. The meeting with Brentwood to work out the details was delayed because of the special election that was held March 17. Now that their new Councilman has been seated, Mayor Bettyjean Schmiedigen and I will be setting the date to get this grant implemented. This is good news for Brentwood and Mount Rainier residents. It is a Livable Community Initiative.

Speed Cameras Legislation

Speed camera legislation just might become law! This is more good news for our City. Although the legislation is NOT designed to be a revenue generator, it will help to improve safety on our streets especially in those areas where children walk and play. Municipalities will be able to place speed cameras near and around schools and on streets where the posted speed limit is 45 miles or less, and to issue fines up to $40. Once this legislation has been signed into law, the Mayor and Council must issue an ordinance/resolution to adopt this legislation before it can be implemented. More news to come on the enactment of the speed camera law.

Spring Beautification Program Down Town

Beautification of our downtown area is on schedule. The plantings have been done and there are blossoms. The roundabout looks good with it new plantings, but we need to get motorists to stop damaging the curbs and other public property around the roundabout. Hyattsville Nursery working with our Public Works Department has assured the City that Rhode Island Avenue will be the gateway to Prince George’s County and the Gateway Arts District. Keep me informed of what you see and how our program is working with the beautification of our downtown area. New facades are also coming, so stay tuned.

And our New Senator is …

Senator David Harrington was sworn in as the Senator for the 47th Legislative District during the Fall Conference of the Maryland Mayors, and I was able to attend his swearing in. It was very moving and impressive. Senator Harrington had just been selected as Chair of the Prince George’s County Council when he was appointed to be our Senator by the Democratic Central Committee. The new chair of the County Council is Councilman Samuel Dean. Senator Harrington can be reached at the
Miller Senate Office Building, 2 West Wing
11 Bladen St., Annapolis, MD 21401
(410) 841-3745, (301) 858-3745
1-800-492-7122, ext. 3745 (toll free)
e-mail: david.harrington@senate.state.md.us
fax: (410) 841-3387, (301) 858-3387

Recent Public Hearings

A. On February 12, 2008, Mayor and Council hosted a public hearing on Ordinance 2-2008. Widespread publicity was given to this issue and it was covered by many of the local media. Residents who did not attend the hearing sent emails, made telephone calls, and otherwise shared their opinions about the Resolution. On a three to two vote the Resolution was tabled indefinitely. Many residents have since expressed their appreciation for living in a municipality where such issues can be openly discussed and debated. Others have expressed outrage and concern that the Mayor and Council spent so much time on this issue when there were other greater needs that should have been addressed. Still others have expressed disappointment and frustration that the Resolution was not passed. Yet others felt that they were intimidated by those who supported the Resolution. And, some even felt that they would be called racists by their neighbors for opposing the resolution.

These are the outcomes of a Democracy. We don’t always get what we want or all of what we want in the Democratic process, but we all should be able to be heard without being called names, intimidated, slandered, or castrated by those with opposing views. As a community, we still must work together to improve the lives and conditions of ALL of our residents who make up our very diverse population!

I personally believe that the position taken gives us the opportunity to come back together as a community and to continue to move toward embracing our differences and appreciating those things that brought us to Mount Rainier in the first place – the neighborhoods, the big houses, the tree lined streets, the sense of community, the closeness of our neighbors, and the freedom to be ourselves. Our immigrant residents were not at risk prior to the Resolution, and they have not at risk now. Let’s continue to work together to bring them to the table while keeping the rest of us at the table!

As reported in a recent ePodunk study, Mount Rainier is one of ten (10) of the most liberal places with populations under 25,000 to live in America. We are more tolerant of people, their life styles, differences, contributions, voting trends and a host of other factors. Therefore, it is very fitting that we want undertake a discussion of such magnitude, and still remain a VERY cohesive community.

Thank you and kudos to all of you that participated in this great debate! We are so much better because of it.

B) Mayor and Council held a hearing on Resolution 3-2008 regarding eminent domain and defining blight within the City. Unfortunately, I was unable to attend that meeting, but reviewed the CD of the meeting. City staff did an excellent job of showing the blighted condition of our downtown area. The testimony given at the hearing and the emails and telephone calls that I received on this issue supported the need for the legislation although some residents were very clear that they did not approve of the approach that has been taken by the Mayor and Council. Even though there is strong disagreement about the Mayor and Council’ methodology, there is equally strong agreement that the development of Rhode Island Avenue is crucial to the overall development of the Gateway Arts District. This project is also moving forward.

Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission(WSSC)

The WSSC has petitioned and been granted an 8% increase in their fees for the water delivered to our homes. This increase, according to WSSC is needed to revamp a deteriorating infrastructure that has been allowed to fall apart over the years and now requires a major overhaul. This 8% increase is less than they requested (9.5% with a flat $20 assessment added to the bill over the next ten years). As president of the Prince George’s County Municipal Association (PGCMA), WSSC was invited to come out and discuss these proposed increases with municipal elected officials. Following WSSC’s presentation, municipal officials were asked to contact WSSC and County elected officials to voice their objections to these increases. We did not get all of what we wanted, but we did get the increase reduced and the $20 fee dropped. Thank you County Executive Jack B. Johnson (Prince George’s County) and County Executive Isiah “Ike” Leggett (Montgomery County) for working together to get the fee dropped and the percentage increase reduced. Our water bill is going up, but not at the rate proposed by WSSC!

On Another Note…

County Executive Jack Johnson recently announced His Proposed FY 2009 Budget for the County.

In his announcement, Mr. Johnson said that despite a $121.6 million budget deficit that had to be addressed education and public safety would remain his top priorities.

According to Mr. Johnson, the budget deficit is a result of the slumping housing market that caused a significant decrease in transfer and recordation taxes because fewer homes are being sold. Additionally, the county lost $53.3 million when the General Assembly met in a special session last November to close a $1.7 billion state deficit.

To help cut spending, a hiring freeze has been imposed on all non-public safety positions. Johnson is also proposing an increase in recordation and income taxes.

If approved, the recordation tax rate would go from $2.20 to $2.50 per every $500 of value on each home sold. This is expected to generate $5.4 million in revenue for the county.

The income tax rate would increase from 3.1 percent to 3.2 percent, generating an additional $6.5 million in revenues. The average increase to citizens would be $40 per household.

Veterans Rental Assistance Program Launched

LARGO, MD - On March 1, 2008, the Housing Authority of Prince George's County, in partnership with the Department of Social Services, the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, and Kairos, a local non-profit organization, admitted its first homeless veteran to its Veteran Rental Assistance Program (VRAP).

The VRAP program will provide rental assistance and supportive services to twenty-five (25) eligible homeless veterans who reside in Prince George's County as well as help veterans increase life skills and/or income, and ultimately, self-sufficiency.

"On any given night in Prince George's County, hundreds of veterans who have sacrificed for this country with blood and limb return to the county only to face homelessness. We need to do better and this is a very small step in addressing a monumental problem", says Tommie Thompson, Executive Director of the Housing Authority of Prince George's County.

Homeless veterans interested in the VRAP program must conduct an initial interview with the Department of Social Services and subsequently referred to the U.S Department of Veterans Affairs for a comprehensive case management assessment. Veterans may contact Victoria Frazer of the Prince George's Department of Social Services at 301-909-6369. The veteran program is another Livable Community Initiative.

Have YOU Always Wanted a Park for Your Dog?

Well, the County has heard you and there will be a dog park close to our neighborhood. The County is looking at locating the dog park at the corner of Ager Road and Nicholson Street. Currently, Park and Planning is putting together plans for the layout of this dog park. While it is still preliminary, the plans will most likely include a fenced in area for larger dogs, a smaller area for smaller dogs, a shed for maintenance equipment, parking spaces, as well as a source of water for the dogs and their owners.

One thing the County is looking for from folks who are interested in using this park is a commitment to assist in its operation and maintenance. The primary maintenance and operation of the dog park will be under Park and Planning, however people are needed who will use the dog park, but also help make sure it is in tip top condition and that it is used responsibly. If you are interested, please contact Council Member Campos’ office at (301) 952-4436 and ask to speak with Brad Frome. You can also email Brad at bwfrome@co.pg.md.us

Are you a Performing Artist?

M-NCPPC is developing an inventory of Prince George's County performing artists including musicians, actors, theater professionals, and dancers for a new resource registry of performing artists and companies. The registry will help the public locate performers for special events—don’t miss out on this opportunity. Go to MNCPPC website (http://www.pgparks.com/) and fill out our Artist Registry Form.

Free Recreation Activities for Seniors

Did you know that if you are 60 years of age you can participate in various senior programs throughout the County for free? Maryland residents 60 years and older can use the fitness center and pool for free from 8:00am to noon Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at the Prince George’s Sports and Learning Complex, 8001 Sheriff Road, Landover MD. For further information call 301-583-2400; TTY 301-583-2483. Other MNCPPC facilities are also available and free to seniors.

Closest to us is the Cora B. Wood Senior Center named for a school teacher who saw the need for a senior center, and through the effort of Betterment for United Seniors (BUS) and Neighborhood United Project (NUP) worked to create a multi-purpose service center in an abandoned elementary school. Activities at the center include theme parties, educational programs, bingo, exercise and dance programs (including line dancing), cultural events, day trips, and college classes. Amenities include a computer lab, treadmill, and a library. Lunch and transportation are available through the Prince George's County Department of Family Services. The center is open from 9 am to 2 pm Monday through Friday. 3601 Taylor Street, Brentwood, MD 20772, 301-699-1238; TTY 301-445-4512

Joint Mount Rainier Brentwood Recreation Council

Mount Rainier is looking for three (3) people to serve on a joint Recreation Council. In conjunction with the Town of Brentwood, Mount Rainier will be forming a recreation council to work with Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). All homeowner are billed annually for recreation for County residents. Yet Mount Rainier, one of 27 municipalities in the County receives less than its fair share of these services. To change this and to bring programs and services to our area we need a recreation council dedicated to working with MNCPPC to identify our needs, and work with appropriate MNCPPC staff to ensure that our residents receive these programs and services. If you are interested and willing to serve on the recreation council, PLEASE call or email me ASAP!

Wondering about Crime in the City?

If you have always wanted to know how much crime is happening in your City, then you should check out Chief Michael Scott’s blog (http://mrpdchief.blogspot.com). Over the past few years, our crime statistics have gone down and continue to go down. Oftentimes, the news reporters report crime in our City that happened along or across our borders. You can get the real story directly from our own Chief of Police through his blog updates. Check it our today.

It’s Scholarship Season, and pretty soon our youths will be graduating

Don’t forget to contact our State Delegates and PGCMA for scholarships! If you have or know a deserving students in the 47th Legislative District who plan to attend a two- or four-year college located in Maryland have them contact me for PGCMA and Delegates Doyle Niemann, Victor Ramirez and Jolene Ivy for the Delegates’ scholarships. The application deadline for the State Delegates is Friday, March 28. To get a copy of their application and rules, please visit their websites. You must apply for scholarships with each of your Delegates individually. You may get additional information on the application process and download the application from PGCMA’s website http://www.pgcma.com/pgcmascholarship.html.

TIDBITS

Did you use MNCPPC programs child care programs this year? Well tax time is here and you may need The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission's Federal Tax ID # 526 001 550.

Did you know that efforts are underway to bring back derby racing on Eastern Avenue? Stay tuned for details.

Planning and Permitting 101

Are you confused about getting permits from the County and who handles planning and permitting? Well you just might want to attend a County sponsored workshop on Planning and Permitting being developed by the Department of Environmental Resources (DER) and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). This workshop has been tentatively scheduled for May 28, 2008. Mark your calendar and watch for further information on my Blog (http://themayorsspot.blogspot.com).

Your comments, concerns, and responses are welcome. So, please contact me at mayormiles@malindamiles.com or post a comment on my blog.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

ELECTRONIC RECYCLING

Mount Rainier's Public Works Department has earmarked Saturday April 19, 2008 as the day for the collection of Electronic Recyclable items from city residents. Items are to be taken to Public Works at 3715 Wells Avenue between the hours of 9:00 AM to 1:00 PM

The following are acceptable items:

CPUs, keyboards, laptop computers, fax machines, telephones systems, printers, computer speakers, main frames, copiers, scanners, surge protectors, pagers, cell phones, cable, wire, circuit boards, cd players, radios/stereos, VCRs, ink jet and toner cartridges and TVs.

Here's your chance to help the environment and clean out your home office!

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Renewal of the Mount Rainier Library

During National Library Week and In the spirit of springtime, The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System Invites you to celebrate the Renewal of the Mount Rainier Branch Library!

WHEN: Saturday, April 19
TIME: 10:30 am
WHERE: Mount Rainier Branch Library
3409 Rhode Island Ave.
Mount Rainier, MD 20712


For more information, please call 301-864-8937.

The addition of eight public access computers was made possible by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

The decision to make this happen was made possible by Micki Freeny, Director, PGCMLS!

Thank you Micki!