Wednesday, May 28, 2008

The Mayor's Report

May 20, 2008

The 2008 Mount Rainier Day Festival

What a day! More than 1,500 residents, neighbors, guests, visitor, artists, vendors, and others came to our City to participate in the Mount Rainier Day Festival! If you came out, you saw the crowded streets, and the foot traffic in our downtown area. Thank you for your support. We hope that we done you proud! Thank you to Miss Janis Lomax for heading up this year’s Committee and putting in all of those extra hours to make the Mount Rainier Day Festival special. So that I do not leave anyone out, know that the Mount Rainier Day Festival Committee was composed of the entire staff of the City of Mount Rainier. When you see any one of them on the streets over the next few days, PLEASE take a moment and say thank you.

Now, how about those vendors? More than 77 vendors, 17 of which are food vendors came out and supported this event. Even on the day of the Festival, vendors were just showing up to see if they could acquire a space, and if you were there, you know that space was at a premium. If my memory serves me correctly, we have about four empty spots that were sold to vendors who for some reason did not show, but every vending space was pretty much occupied even in places where we never anticipated placing a vendor. There was a good mix of craft and information vendors.

The Kiddie Korner was probably one of the most successful events of the day. If you saw the smiles on our children’s faces as they lined up for cotton candy, the moon bounce, the go karts, the pony rides or even the face paintings, you know they were happy. The skateboarders and the basketball players were equally happy about showing their skills during the various exhibitions. And, yes there was card playing right in the middle of it all.

The bands and other entertainment again proved to be a major draw to the festivities, and were well received by the crowds.

Also, hats off to our sponsors. In the past, we solicited (wrote grants) to our County Councilman, Will Campos and he has always provided significant financial support. Our own Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA) has also provided financial support to this festival over the years. To them, I say thank you for always being there. This year we reached out for financial support from others who provide services to our residents and they came through. Other sponsors included Washington Gas, PEPCO, IHOP, and WSSC. To our new partners, I say thank you and welcome aboard. I believe that after witnessing this year’s extravaganza, they will be back in full swing to support the 2009 Mount Rainier Day Festival.

And that brings me to my next topic.


I know that April 2010 Mount Rainier will be 100 years old, and that is not something to sneeze at in this day and age. We are not the oldest City in Maryland, but over the years we have continued to be a City, and today we are a thriving City. As the current Mayor of Mount Rainier, I feel that it is my duty and responsibility to begin planning for our 100 years’ celebration, and would like to take this opportunity to invite residents of the community to join in this preparation.

If you live, work, or even pass through this great City and wish to be a part of this celebration, this is your invitation to sign on. To sign on to the Committee, simply email Ms. Janis Lomax She will take your name, address, telephone number and email address and begin setting up the Committee. We will meet early and begin planning a grand celebration for 2010! Be a part of the action. Join this Committee today.

Historian/Writer NEEDED!

In addition to searching for Committee members to begin planning the 2010 celebration, Mount Rainier needs a historian to step forward to begin writing our history from 1975 to present, and for becoming the depository for our history. This will be an awesome task for someone inclined to capture the history of our coming or age municipality. It will be well worth the time and energy to see our history come alive on paper. If you have the time and skills to take on this task or know someone who is, please contact Ms. Lomax or any member of the Mayor and Council with all necessary contact information so that we can discuss this project with you.

The Mount Rainier Day Festival Parade

No, it was not a separate event, but I am taking the risk of sending out a few special thanks to this group of people who helped to make the Mount Rainier Day Festival a major hit. Participants in the parade came from all over, and the following is an inconclusive list of participants, but represents those I saw lining up at the Bunker Hill Fire Station:

Congressman Chris Van Hollen and staff
Senator David Harrington and staff
State’s Attorney Glenn Ivey and staff
Delegate Doyle Niemann
Delegate Victor Ramirez
County Councilman Will Campos and staff
Mount Rainier Riders
PJ Parks and the Mount Rainier Bike Coop
County Executive Jack Johnson’s PGC Mobile on the Government Bus (GO BUS)
The Prince George’s County Sheriff’s Department
The Bunker Hill Fire and Rescue Team
The Parkdale Marching Band
The Northwestern Marching Band
The Hyattsville Cheerleaders
The Red Hatters of MSA
The Bodacious Babes of Bowie
Larry Solomon and Thrifty Car Rental
The Mount Rainier Soccer Team
The Mount Rainier Police Department
Toby the Clown and others
Former Miss Mount Rainier, Sonatta Camara
Mount rainier Elementary Gentleman’s Club
Mount Rainier Elementary Sophisticated ladies
Mount Rainier Skateboarders
Paws of Enchantment
Mount. Rainier Martial Arts Center

To all of you, thank you for coming out and making this an enjoyable day for the residents and citizens of Mount Rainier Maryland.

For those who are NOT listed here, but was in the Mount Rainier Day Festival Parade, my heartfelt thanks and appreciation is just as real and sincere. If you will provide me with your information, I will make sure that you are listed in my next report.

It’s Almost Time for Drop-IN Basketball

June 6, is almost here, and registration and waiver forms for drop in basketball are available at Mount Rainier City Hall; Thomas Stone and Mount Rainier Elementary Schools; Kaywood Garden, Queens Manor, and Queenstown Apartments; and Brentwood Town Hall. The registration form is also included in this copy of “The Message.” PLEASE complete the form and return it to Mount Rainier’s City HALL no later than Monday, June 2, 2008. (A registration form for drop-in basketball is also attached to this report that can be filled out and returned to City Hall.)

Drop-in basketball is for youths 13-18. The program is hosted at Thomas Stone Elementary School in its Gymnasium. MNCPPC is working with the City of Mount Rainier and the Town of Brentwood to provide this recreational opportunity for our teenage boys and girls. We are hoping that parents will get involved and help our youths to take advantage of this program.

Background checks have been done on all volunteers, and we are ready to open the doors for our youth to shoot some hoops! All equipment has been donated by MNCPPC. Now we need our YOUTHS and PARENTS to come on out and play!

Community Volunteers STILL NEEDED!

Skilled and unskilled basketball players to work with our youths in learning sportsmen conduct, basketball skills, and life skills. Still want to be a part of the solution to our gang and youth crisis? Here is your opportunity. Please call (301-985-6585) or email ( me, if you are willing to commit 3 to six evening hours working with our youth.

Program Details:

• Starting June 6, 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

Spring Beautification Program Down Town

Hyattsville Nursery continues to work with our Public Works Department to improve the greenery of our down town area. This past week, our very own Public Works Department spent hours in the down town area cleaning and weeding after the rain to make us look good on Mount Rainier Day. They did an excellent job, and their work showed on Saturday.

We need to keep working our gateway, and more is planned to make it a show piece as we partner with the District of Columbia to make Rhode Island Avenue the Gateway to Prince George’s County and the Gateway to the District of Columbia.

Visitors to our City do not just ride down Rhode Island Avenue they tour the City and look at the other homes and yards. So, let’s get out there and cut that grass (I am trying for every two weeks to get my grass cut), and if you are into flowers and shrubs that is even better. Working together, we can make our quiet little City the show place of the County for small town living.

Continue to keep an eye on the down town area. We want it to be our showcase.

Partnering with the District of Columbia

Did you hear the big announcement on Saturday? If not, here it is. As a part of the redevelopment of the downtown area, Mount Rainier through vigorous efforts of our partner, Landmark Development, LLC the District of Columbia under the leadership of Mayor Adrian Fenty and Councilman Harry Thomas will be joining with Mount Rainier to extend redevelopment across the District line to South Dakota Avenue!

Just think of what this partnership will mean to the downtown development of Mount Rainier! Working together with the leadership in the District of Columbia, working with the leadership in our City we can make this the largest and best gateway entrance to any City!

Over the next few weeks, the City will be taking some major steps to begin the next phase of development along the south side of Rhode Island Avenue. One of the initial steps will be to begin some general studies that are needed before development can begin. Another is to begin cleaning up some of the blighted conditions along Rhode Island Avenue including the removal of blighted buildings. These are major steps that must be taken to revitalize our City, and we need you the residents on board with us. There will be upcoming hearings and charretts (involving municipal officials, developers, and residents), and information forums, and other communications as the Mayor and Council takes on this awesome task of changing the dynamics and appearance of our downtown are. We know we can count on your support in this endeavor.

The Mayor’s Adopt-A-Street Program

This program has taken off! We already have several streets adopted by groups. Kudos and thank yous to the organizations that have signed on. There is plenty of room for everyone else who wish to help keep our City streets clean. If you missed the program requirements in my previous report, here they are again. YOU are needed.


What is Adopt-a-Street?
Adopt-a-Street is a program launched by the Mayor of Mount Rainier to solicit help in keeping its streets clean by individuals, groups and organizations within the community. Volunteer individuals, groups and organizations “adopt” a three-block or longer stretch of a City street, make a two-year commitment to pick up the trash at least six times a year, and make minor improvements to the landscape, i.e., plant grass, flowers and/or mulch as appropriate.

Who can adopt?
Anyone can adopt a highway, families, businesses, civic and church groups, or even individuals. Children can participate with adult supervision as long as they are not allowed to work alone on the street, if they are under the age of 14. Children 14 and over participating in this project will earn community service hours for their participation.

Why Adopt?
This program provides an opportunity to show pride in our community. Individuals, groups and/or organizations also get recognition for their efforts on the Adopt-a-Street sign posted along their adopted street. Picking up trash along the streets is an easy, team-building project that takes no financial commitment and only a few hours each year.

How does it work?
Individuals, groups and/or organizations select a minimum of six convenient dates for the two (2) year project that everyone will get together to pick up trash and spruce up their street. The City will provide the trash bags, bright orange vests and safety instructions and information to each individual, group or organization wishing to participate in this project. The bags of litter or yard waste can be put out with regular yard waste and/or trash for pick up by Mount Rainier’s Public Works Department, and recyclables can be put out for recycling on recycling day!

What are the rewards?
Each individual, group and/or organization adopting a street or section of a street will be featured in the City’s newsletter “The Message.” In addition, the City will issue certificates of appreciation to each individual, group and/or organization adopting a street and/or a section of a street within the City.

Depending on how large a section is adopted by the individual, group or organization, the City will allow the group to purchase and erect a maximum of three signs with the individual, group and/or organization’s name. Signs will be similar to those seen along state highways but a size smaller. The signs will be erected by Mount Rainier’s Public Works Department.

Adopt me!
Just call Mount Rainier’s City Hall 301-985-6585 or e-mail the City’s Public Work’s Director at, and we will get you started in this environmentally friend program. Your efforts will be good for your street and an invaluable contribution to the City of Mount Rainier!

How do I get started?
Adopt-a-Street volunteers will serve a critical role in helping the City stay clean, and begin the process of cleaning the City for the celebration of our centennial. All of our streets are up for adoption. To find out what streets are most in need of adoption, call City Hall or check the Mount Rainier website and/or cable channel.


Joint Mount Rainier Brentwood Recreation Council

The Mount Rainier City Council recently established a three (3) member Mount Rainier Recreational Council (Rec Council). These three members will serve on the Mount Rainier Brentwood Recreation Council under Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) Recreation Department. The volunteer members of this Council are Donald Bell, Mirna Mejia (started the Mount Rainier Soccer Team) and Malinda Miles. The first meeting of the Mount Rainier Recreational Council was held on May 26, 2008 at 10:00am at Mount Rainier City Hall. The Rec Council will meet with the three (3) Brentwood members of the Brentwood Recreational Council (Rec Council) once they are appointed. At that meeting we will set the meeting schedule for the Rec Council for the year as well as identify programs for our communities. (NOTE: Each Rec Council can have more than three members, however, only the three appointed members will be able to vote on items and issues.) Mount Rainier Recreational Council still needs volunteers, and if you are interested, please call Mount Rainier City Hall.

Planning Continues for the Dog Park

Earlier this year, I noted in one of my reports that the Dog Park was coming. Although it has not been finalized, the Dog Park is still on the horizon. The dog park is to be located at Ager Road and Nicholson Street in Hyattsville. For all those interested in the particulars for the park and/or would like to get more information there will be a meeting in Hyattsville June 11, 2008 at 7:00pm at 4310 Gallatin Street. The meeting will be held in the Prangley Room.

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 is scheduled for May 28, 2008. 6:00pm Sports and Learning Center. Mark your calendar and plan to attend.

Significant Highlights of the City Budget

Without giving a play-by-play report of how hard the Mayor and Council and the Mount Rainier City employees are working for you, I frequently choose to just highlight some of the big items or new initiatives. It would be remiss of me, however, to not mention in this report the time and effort that has gone into developing this year’s budget and to point out a few major developments.

1. The City although in the “black” is not financially well off. We are making the payroll, paying our bills in a timely manner, and actually have some money in reserve/contingency. As in the past two years, the City has not had to borrow on its $400,000 line of credit to cover its expenses.
2. Although we have approximately $1.5 million in the reserve/contingency fund, we have not made all of the adjustments necessary to cover expected indebtedness, e.g., increased cost in the employee pension plan; increased salaries and benefits for all employees; improved health benefits; and higher cost of just doing business. For example, the City is not immune to the high cost of gas, high cost of repairs and maintenance to cars, trucks, buildings and other equipment that is essential for the City to conduct good business.
3. Last year the City initiated a program to help seniors, dissimilarly-abled persons, and persons with incomes below $60,000. This program resulted in the City distributing approximately $10,000 to residents meeting the eligibility requirement. During the coming year, it is expected that this rebate will increase to approximately $12,000. Those residents receiving funds last year have expressed their appreciation for the relief that came with the checks even though they were small checks.
4. The City has purchased and still needs to purchase another trash/garbage truck to meet the growing need for trash/yard waste/garbage collection in the City. This is a very expensive item, but a very necessary one.
5. During the past few years, the City has been seeking to replace it used and worn out police vehicles. Last year this resulted in the purchase of five new police cars that had to also be equipped for police use. This year, we are adding three new cars to our fleet.
6. Increased recreational activities for the youths of Mount Rainier continue to be a major concern of the Mayor and Council in each year’s budget. This year we have added $16,000 to help provide recreation. It is anticipated that as this program develops there will be increased cost associated with it.
7. As our population and demographics change, there will be an increased need for Mount Rainier to provide better communications to its residents. As part of our forward thinking, Mayor and Council are discussing higher level technology for meeting those needs, e.g., Polycom video conferencing.
8. Major thinking in this year’s budget is the acquisition and development of properties (3409 Rhode Island Avenue, the Southside of Rhode Island Avenue, and other properties in the downtown area are under consideration) within the City that have hindered development of the down town area. Although the City has sought to minimize its cash outlay to develop these properties by partnering with a major developing company, there are costs associated (e.g., legal fees, appraisals, environmental studies, etc.) with any development project within the City. In addition, as is frequently discussed, Mount Rainier was completely built out many years ago, and parking over the years has become a major issue. Therefore, Mayor and Council continue to discuss parking in the downtown area to support the current and growing development of our City.
9. Another goal is to provide longer hours for our police department to be open and available to the public. When our million plus police department was built, it was to be open 24-hours a day. That has never happened. In the proposed budget, the police department would be open during our current downtown business hours (7:00am until 12:00am approximately). This would provide for more effective police services during hours when crime is most likely to occur. I have personally checked our downtown area after the police station closed at 5:00pm and seen people trying to contact the police to report a crime or get information. For the dollars invested, the citizens of this City deserve a better return and Mayor and Council are seeking ways to increase the return. (NOTE: For the past 10 years, give or take a few, the City has paid almost a half million dollars for dispatch services, and this year those services are going up.)

With all of the increases and the capital improvements that are being proposed there no tax increase is being proposed. The City bit the bullet on increasing taxes about seven years ago, and because of that tax increase and the major rise in our property values, the City has been able to dig itself out of the red, and begin building a solid base for future growth. It is my honest opinion that this is not the time to cut our taxes or to change the way in which we have begun to do business. We have fought for, demanded and received sound financial management of our resources (fiscal and physical).

As other municipalities seek to increase their taxes, Mount Rainier can stand its ground, continue its services, and continue to build toward its future. I believe we (Mayor, Council, and staff) are doing a good job. We need to seek new revenue streams and to seek partnerships that will help to make us economically sound as we develop and redeveloped our City.

Thank you to our many Volunteers

One of the ways the City has been able to expand services is through our volunteers. With a staff of 35 to 40 it is impossible to carry out every task or service requested by our residents. However, because of persons who have continuously volunteered and served on our many committees we have done and continue to do the impossible.

To those who volunteer and seek only the satisfaction of having contributed, I salute you and thank you. You are not often thanked for the many hours that you give to our City. Most of the residents do not even know your names, yet reap the benefits of your tireless efforts. As we begin the new fiscal year, it is my goal to find a way to formally recognize our volunteers as the valuable resource they are, and to take time to thank them publicly. So, look forward to more information on how this will be done, but know that it will be done because you are appreciated.

Basketball Court at 30th and Arundel

Thanks to Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC) the long awaited basketball court at 30th and Arundel is up and in use. It was good to watch the young boys and girls come out to play basketball. Parents please help us to keep the court up and open.

There are some rules that must be followed.
1) The basketball court is a shared space for the community.
2) The court is a part of the park and closes at dusk, no exceptions.
3) Consumption of alcoholic beverages or any kind is illegal and will be punished.
4) Everyone is expected to pitch in with keeping the park clean and available to others.
5) Profanity, fighting, and just plain bad behavior will not be tolerated and will be cause for the basketball hoops to once again be permanently remove.

These are very simple rules and easy enough to follow, so we are counting on our youths to be responsible, obey the rules, and enjoy the newly refurbished basketball court.

Soccer anyone?

Thanks to a very energetic and creative parent, Mirna Mejia, Mount Rainier has its on soccer team. It is called the Mount Rainier Community Soccer Club. Mirna Mejia is the proud mother of four boys one 11 years old, 9 years old and twin of 13 months. She also serves as the third member of the newly formed Mount Rainier Rec Council. Two Mirna’s boys attend Thomas Stone Elementary.

Working with her neighbor her neighbor Fernando Vargas and Thomas Stone’s Physical Education teacher Samantha Holtz they formed a soccer teams for six graders who wanted to play soccer. With the help and guidance from Capital Community Soccer, a non-profit organization in DC, they were able to secure equipment and uniforms that allowed them to play with their teams here at Mount Rainier. They played their first game April 26, 2008.

From this humble begin there are more than 21 boys playing and more coming every day. The goal is to form at least three (3) teams and be ready for them to play this fall. The team practices at Thomas Stone Elementary where soccer goals are being installed with the help of the Prince George’s County School System.

Interested? Contact City Hall (301-985-6585) and leave your name, telephone number and address and Ms. Mejia will get in touch with you. Better still come out and meet the mover and shaker of this program on Saturday, June 14, 2008 at 30th and Arundel Road from 11:30am until 4:00pm to share a hot dog and sign up.

Remember that non-Scientific Survey about Mail Delivery?

The results are in. About 20 people responded to the survey and it was a fifty-fifty split on mail delivery. Fifty percent of those responding thought the delivery services in our area were great and the other fifty thought they were terrible. Regardless of the results, mail is still being misdirected/delivered too often for comfort. It was also reported that some days people who like me get a lot of mail don’t get any. Well, I have kicked this issue up to higher authorities and believe it or not they have the same problems (but by the bag full). I asked Senator Cardin’s and Congressman Van Hollen’s offices to look into this matter on our behalf, and they noted that they have experienced the same problem, and want to probe more into this matter to see if it is a widespread issue. So, I need to hear from you if you are frequently receiving someone else’s mail or not getting your mail.

Peace March at Mount Rainier Elementary

The Annual Peace March will be held at Mount Rainier Elementary on Friday, May 30, 2008 at 32nd and Shepherd. The parade will start around 9:00 and will last about an hour and a half. For more information please contact the school at 301-985-1810.

As always your comments, concerns, and responses are welcome. Contact me at or post a comment on my blog.

Website that might be of interest

Mayor Malinda Miles website –
Mayor Malinda Miles’ blog --
Chief Michael Scott’s blog: --
Historic Mount Rainier Maryland ---
Mount Rainier Police Department --
Bunker Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company ---
Mount Rainier Elementary School ---
Thomas Stone Elementary School ---
Hyattsville Middle School ---
Northwestern High School ---
Prince George’s County Municipal Association
Maryland Municipal League ---
Margaret Boozer ---
Joe’s Movement Emporium --
Friends of the Mount Rainier Library (FOL) ---
Gateway Community Development Corporation
Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA)
H & F Fine Arts --
Washington Metro Area Transit Service

Friday, May 09, 2008


The Mount Rainier Day Festival will once again feature a PARADE; food, craft, and informational vendors; a variety of bands, and other entertainers; and a host of fun activities for our children of all ages (including cotton candy)!

WHEN: MAY 17, 2008


TIMES: 8:00am TO 10:00am VENDORS SET UP









...and throughout the day our LOCAL ARTISTS invite you to TOUR THE GATEWAY ARTS DISTRICT STUDIOS!

Over 50 artists throughout the municipalities of Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood and Hyattsville will open their studios to the public on Saturday, May 17th from 12 Noon to 5 PM. Most studios are along a 2.1-mile stretch of the Route 1/Baltimore Avenue/Rhode Island Avenue corridor, but some are located in Mount Rainier's former industrial district at Otis and Wells.

The Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour is a public self-guided tour of professional and home based studios showcasing a variety of mediums---painting, sculpture, glass, photography, mixed media, clay/ceramics, printmaking and craftwork. Most studios are centrally located in the city of Mount Rainier with the Hyattsville Community Artists Alliance exhibiting at the Lustine Showroom as part of Arts District Hyattsville.

Home to many of the DC areas most celebrated artists and studios, which include DC GlassWorks, Red Dirt Studio, The Washington Glass School and Studio, FLUX, and the Quixote Center Gallery the arts district is a veritable hot spot of highly acclaimed artists that produce works that are exhibited and collected nationally and internationally. Artists include Margaret Boozer, Tim Tate, Ellyn Weiss, Laurel Lukaszewski, David D'Orio, Crisley McCarson, Kyan Bishop, Yvon Fleurival and many more.

A highlight of the tour includes the installation and printmaking show, Michael B. Platt: Lost and Found at the H & F Fine Arts Gallery. A native Washingtonian whose works are in collections at the Corcoran Gallery, the Smithsonian Museum of American Art, and the Library of Congress, Platt often focuses on the history of marginalized populations of Africa and the African Diaspora. A collaborative effort with poet Carol Beane, Lost and Found is set against the backdrop of American Slavery and the implications of Hurricane Katrina.

Drop in on classes and demonstrations at performing arts venues-World Arts Focus at Joe's Movement Emporium, Alafia Professional Dance Space, and Artmosphere Digital Arts Café.

This project is produced by Gateway CDC, with support provided by the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission, Prince George's County, Division of Arts and Cultural Heritage. For further information or press inquiries, contact Tonya Jordan at 301-864-3860, ext. 1 or email: