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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

The City of Mount Rainier is proud to announce that the United States Army Drill Team will perform their intricate and inspiring drill routine at this year’s National Night Out on August 4th. Their performance will begin at 7 pm so come out and enjoy an exciting evening of military precision!

The U.S. Army Drill Team, one of the 3rd U.S. Infantry's renowned specialty units, has earned international acclaim through its breathtaking routines with bayonet-tipped 1903 Springfield rifles. Organized to support The Old Guard's ceremonial commitments, the Drill Team has thrilled millions of youngsters and proud Americans for more than 25 years with their daring and complex performances. When not performing for the President or visiting dignitaries and heads of state, the Drill Team travels extensively supporting Army recruitment, acting as "good-will ambassadors" for the Army and participating in major military and civic functions.
Michael E. Scott
Community Shredding Day

Please mark you calendars for Saturday July 18th, 2009 for community shredding day. Priority One Shredding of Bowie, Maryland will provide free personal shredding services and secure document destruction from 8 am until 11am at the Bunker Hill Fire Station. Priority One Shredding is a leading provider of personal and business secure document destruction. Residents are welcome to watch their documents being destroyed, and once the shredding process is completed, the remains are locked in the mobile destruction unit until the paper is recycled. Priority One will also provide residents with a variety of identity theft prevention information free of charge.

If you miss the community shredding day on July 18th, be sure to bring your bulk documents to National Night Out. Priority One will be onsite from 6-9 pm providing shredding services to residents, again free of charge.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

FROM THE DESK OF THE MAYOR JULY 2009

The Maryland Municipal League (MML) represents the 157 towns, cities, and special districts in the State of Maryland. Annually, it hosts, on behalf of the municipalities and special districts, a convention that consists of workshops, vendors and exhibitors, and special sessions on issues that impact local governments. This year, core workshops included the following topics:

Consensus and Team Building
Basic Risk Management
Impact of Foreclosure on Code Enforcement
Municipal Officials Liability
Structure of Municipal Government
Using Geocache for Economic Development
Issues and Answers: MDE and State Planning
Traffic Calming 101
Why We Need Urban Pocket Parks
Speed Cameras Are Finally Legal, Now What?
Employee Wellness Programs
Green Building Codes
Roundtable: Cabinet Secretaries
Maryland Public Information Act
Overcrowding Forum
Smart Growth
Strategies for Reducing the Waste Stream
Non-Point Source Pollution

In addition to workshops and networking, the MML also recognizes municipalities for their accomplishments during the year. This year, Mount Rainier received a standing ovation for the gallant and heroic work of Corporal Eddie Murphy. Last year, Corporal Murphy saved the life of a small child in our community. The child had stopped breathing when he arrived on the scene. He immediately took charge of the situation, rendered CPR until the EMS unit arrived and took over, and worked with the parents to make sure that they were okay. For this heroic moment, Corporal Murphy received the "Employee of the Year Award." Mount Rainier is proud to have such dedicated employees. KUDOS Officer Murphy.

Yes, there were parties, receptions, business meetings, and a host of other activities available to all participants. I must say, however, that yours truly attended many of the workshops as possible, as well as the various business meetings and elections. As a result, I was re-elected to serve on MML's Board of Directors, and appointed to serve as chairperson of the MML's Communications Committee. Being on the MML Board of Directors provides another opportunity for Mount Rainier to be recognized as a "City on the Move." It also gives us a voice in determining what legislative items should be vigorously pursued (speed cameras, highway user fees, etc.) by MML during the legislative session.

As chair of the Communications Committee, I will have the opportunity to work with other legislators from around the State to come up with a theme or program that promotes municipal government while reaching out to help our children learn more about local government through the "If I Were Mayor Contest."

By attending this year's Convention, I was able to hear first-hand from County Executive Jack B. Johnson that the City would be awarded 8 to 12 summer jobs for some of our youths. Janis Lomax will be heading up the summer youth employment program. Since there will only be 8 to 12 slots this year, PLEASE make sure that your child registered with the County's Youth Employment Services and Summer Jobs Program, 9400 Peppercorn Place, Room 110, Largo, Maryland 20774, Tel: (301) 883-599, M-F 8:30am to 5:00pm.

Residents can learn more about the Maryland Municipal League by visiting their website a http://www.mdmunicipal.org. It is also a good site to help teach our children facts about Maryland. Thank you for letting me represent you at MML.

Mount Rainier Elections. Our election took place on May 4, and may seem like old news to some, but it is new news to others. On that day, more than three hundred(300) of a possible 3500 voters came out to have a voice in their City government. The headline in the Washington Post about local elections says it all " In Towns, Every Vote Can Pay Off, By Ovetta Wiggins and Nelson Hernandez, Washington Post Staff Writers, Thursday, May 14, 2009. In small municipalities, many residents do not see the need to stop there busy day to vote. They do not realize that it is local elected officials that are responsible for those little things in their everyday lives, e.g., trash removal, recycling, tree trimming, pot holes, street paving, sidewalk repairs, public safety, and yes those ever barking dogs. Your mayor and council are there for you, and it is up to you to elect those persons that will work for improvements in your City. Improvements within the City help to increase your property value and ensures the quality of life for all. To those 330+ residents who came out and voted in this election, THANK YOU! Although I ran uncontested, I appreciate immensely those 181 votes that I received, and extend a personal thank you to each one of you. I hope that you will continue to take an active role in Mount Rainier's growth and development.

Mayor and Council on Recess. If you have not already heard, the Mayor and Council voted at its last meeting that it would recess until the first Tuesday in September (September 1). Although we are on recess, we will be minding the shop. Special meetings of the Mayor and Council will be called as necessary to conduct business, and of course our staff will continue to carry out assigned functions. If you need any member of the Mayor and Council, do not hesitate to call. Our information is listed in this report, "The Message," Channels 21 and 70, as well as on our website www.mounrainiermd.org. We want to hear from you.

Contacting the Mayor and Council members. To contact the Mayor you should send an email to mayormiles@malindamiles.com and/or mayormiles@gmail.com. Both work, but only the "gmail" account can be viewed anywhere in the world. Therefore, it is the preferred account. You may also reach the Mayor by calling City Hall, 301-985-6585 and leaving a message. In previous years, I have made my cell phone number available, but it stays so full of voice mails, that it is impossible to return all of the calls. Rest assured that messages will be picked up and returned as quickly as humanly possible. If it is an emergency, PLEASE let staff know so that they can call and provide the nature of the urgency, and a speedy response can be provided.

Our Council members have provided the following as their contact information, and you are encouraged to use it when needed:
Ward 1: Alta Morton, Councilmember
Phone: 202-309-5455; altamm1@yahoo.com
Jimmy Tarlau, Councilmember
Phone: 301-335-6099; jtarlau@cwa-union.org
Ward 2 Ivy Thompson, Councilmember
Phone: 301-985-6585; friendsforivy@gmail.com
Bryan Knedler, Councilmember
Phone: 301-699-3134; bknedler@aol.com

People who often go unnoticed in City government. Mount Rainier has the most die-hard staff in municipal government. They respond to residents at the drop of a hat. They take verbal abuse (should have to, but they do). They do an outstanding job for the City for really low compensation, and they stay with us, year after year. The following persons (employees) are to be commended on their services to this City:

Graciella Carbonnel and Robert (Bob) Paige, the un-song husband and wife team of Mount Rainier -- Graciella and Bob have been with Mount Rainier for more than 20 years. This husband and wife team have worked behind the scenes with our cameras and television equipment for years. They produce and run our television productions. If it is on channel 21 or 70, they produced and recorded it. If there is a display for any event, including Main Street at the MML Convention, they designed and produced it. If there is an event going on in the City and shown on our local channel, they were there to record it. Our recorded historical history is a product of their love, labor and work for the City of Mount Rainier. In addition to their work in the studio, Graciella can be found driving our call-a-bus and performing other tasks for the City. See the MRTV report on our website for more details about the work of this fine couple, and our very fine employees. Thank you to both of you for all that you do!

Charles Stewart -- Charles is a long-time resident and employee of the City of Mount Rainier. Charles was one of the first to get his LCD licenses to drive our trash truck. He can be seen around the neighborhood cutting grass for our seniors, and working with other public work employee to ensure that our City stays clean. He is an un-song worker that most will not know, because he is not on the front line, he is behind the scenes. Thank you Charles for not only working for the Great City of Mount Rainier, but loving it enough to also live in it.

Captain Jimmy Stoots -- Home grown proof that you can raise um right in Mount Rainier. Captain Stoots came up through the ranks to become second in command in our police department. He did code enforcement, parking tickets, and went to the academy for police officers, he was in the police union, and now, we can be proud of his nearly twenty years in the employment of the City of Mount Rainier. Captain Stoots mother still resides in the Great City of Mount Rainier. She is also the widower of our former chief of police Denny Husk. Captain Stoots comes from a family of dedicated public servants, and we are honored to have him in our employ. Kudos to you for the service that you render to our Great City.

What you should know about Cable Television. Many years ago, the mayor and council voted unanimously to bring a cable franchise to our City. A few years back, the City confirmed its decision to give exclusive cable rights to Verizon and Comcast. What does that mean to you? Well, it means that the dish, and any other service that wishes to do business in Mount Rainier cannot. Why did the City make this decision? One of the reason given at the time was those awful looking grey dishes that are popping up in yards, on roofs, and everywhere else without any consideration for others or the aesthetics of our neighborhoods. Back then the dishes were huge and even more noticeable. Now, they are smaller, but comes in twos and threes. Another reason for the decision, was the revenue cable generates for the City. Currently the City receives almost $100,000 each year in revenue. This constant flow of revenue help the City to provide better communications to the community through our cable channels (which are free to the City). It provides the cameras needed to tape events and broadcast them so that those who are unable to attend can watch in their homes. All in all, the City has a twenty plus year commitment to Comcast and Verizon, and those dishes violate our contract. If you have services other than with Comcast and/or Verizon, you are in violation. Please take the necessary actions to correct this violation immediately. Thank you.

Mayor and Council passes Fiscal 2010 budget.
The Charter requires that the City passes a budget for each fiscal year. Our fiscal year is July 1 to June 30 of each year. This year for the first time, in my history with the City, Mayor and Council passed its budget weeks before the due date. The budget highlights for the year are:
1. Continuation of the Homeowner's Property Tax Credit Program for residents who meet the Maryland State Homeowner's Property Tax Credit program and whose income is below $60,000.
2. Setting aside funding to continue improvements in youth recreation programs.
3. Funding to continue working with the removal of dead trees, limbs, branches and stumps.
4. Keeping our downtown area neat, clean, and welcoming.
5. Repayment on the new trash truck, patrol car, and the property acquisition loan for the Bass property.
(NOTE: There is also $10,000 in the budget for the preservation of windows and other maintenance of City Hall. Because of our approval for a grant from the Maryland Energy Administration, these funds will be used for other work in the City.)

There no increase in taxes again this year. In addition, Mayor and Council will not be decreasing any of the services currently enjoyed by our residents. In fact, over the past year, we have increased services and will continue to retain those services, e.g., the longer hours at the police station.

Identity Theft is Real. If you have not experienced this new crime phenomena, thank your luck stars. Many people in our region can tell you the horrors of identity theft. To help with the elimination of this crime in our community, the Mayor and Council will be hosting two events that will aid in protecting your identity.

The first event will be hosted on July 18. Corporal Murphy (the MML's employee of the year), is scheduling a community shredding day. This is an opportunity to bring out all of your "old" personal data and watch it become shredded and recycled for FREE.

This event will be repeated on "National Night Out (NNO)" on August 4, 2009 at Thomas Stone Elementary School. Come out and support these two events. They will help to de-clutter your house while making your personal data less attractive to crooks and thieves.

It's important to protect your personal information, and to take certain steps quickly to minimize the potential damage from identity theft if your information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen:
• Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review those reports carefully. Notifying one of the three nationwide consumer reporting companies is sufficient.
• Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently.
• File a police report with police department. This is an essential step in claiming your rights.
• Report your theft to the Federal Trade Commission, online, by phone, or by mail.
And before identity theft happens, learn how to safeguard your information at ftc.gov/idtheft.

Identity Theft: What To Do If Your Personal Information Has Been Compromised
The bottom line for online threats like phishing, spyware, and hackers is identity theft. ID theft occurs when someone uses your name, Social Security number, credit card number or other personal information without your permission to commit fraud or other crimes. That's why it's important to protect your personal information. To find out how to deter and detect identity theft, visit ftc.gov/idtheft.
But, according to OnGuard Online, if your personal information is accidentally disclosed or deliberately stolen, taking certain steps quickly can minimize the potential for the theft of your identity.
• Place a "Fraud Alert" on your credit reports, and review the reports carefully. The alert tells creditors to follow certain procedures before they open new accounts in your name or make changes to your existing accounts. The three nationwide consumer reporting companies have toll-free numbers for placing an initial 90-day fraud alert; a call to one company is sufficient:
• TransUnion: www.transunion.com, 1-800-680-7289
• Experian: www.experian.com, 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742)
• Equifax: www.equifax.com, 1-800-525-6285
Placing a fraud alert entitles you to free copies of your credit reports. Look for inquiries from companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on your accounts that you can't explain.
Close accounts. Close any accounts that have been tampered with or established fraudulently:
• Call the security or fraud departments of each company where an account was opened or changed without your okay. Follow up in writing, with copies of supporting documents.
• Use the ID Theft Affidavit to support your written statement.
• Ask for verification that the disputed account has been closed and the fraudulent debts discharged.
• Keep copies of documents and records of your conversations about the theft.
File a police report. File a report with law enforcement officials to help you with creditors who may want proof of the crime. This report will also help you claim your rights as a victim of identity theft.
Report the theft to the Federal Trade Commission. Your report helps law enforcement officials across the country in their investigations.

Online: ftc.gov/idtheft
By phone: 1-877-ID-THEFT (438-4338) or TTY, 1-866-653-4261

Don't forget to MARK YOUR CALENDARS and REMEMBER to attend one or both of the Shred Day events planned for just for you by our police department.

Police Union contract negotiations coming up in September. Time does fly when you are having fun, and even more so, if you are not. It is that time of year when the Mayor and Council must look at its relationship with its employees. Currently, we have group of employees that are unionized our employees in the Police department. Because of the current state of the economy we will be holding the line on raises, COLAs, benefits, and salaries. As we make decisions around each of these issues, we will be keeping in mind the major financial increases that were made under the previous contract. Some of the increases made during last contract negotiations included:
1. Increases in health care
2. Increases in the retirement system, and
3. Increases in salaries and other benefits

These cross the board increases have had serious impact on our budget and budgetary decisions during the past fiscal year. The goal this year is to make minor improvements and adjustments as we move forward with retaining good working relationships with our employees.

Swine Flu -- For the record, Swine Flu has not gone away, and your Emergency Preparedness Team, headed by Tonie Davis and Chief Michael Scott, is still staying abreast of this virus. Supplies were purchased for this event and are ready for use should the need arise. Please continue to use good hygiene as this is the best preventive method for this disease. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of this disease, consult with your physician immediately.

Mount Rainier Day Was a major success. If you missed our annual celebration of fun, food, dance, and entertainment, you MUST mark your calendar for Mount Rainier Day 2010. It is the year that we celebrate our 100th birthday! The Centennial Committee, headed by Councilman Jimmy Tarlau is looking for a few good men, women and children with ideas for celebrating our birthday all year long. (See Councilman Tarlau's information later in this report.) Call him and sign up today. Committee meetings have already started.

Peace Month -- May 2009. Thank you MJ Park for making the month of May a true experience in peace. Activities were held throughout the City during the month of May in spite of all of the rain. The first event was the dedication of the Peace Garden at 30th and Arundel Road. This celebration was well attended and enjoyed by all. Other activities were held at Joe's Movement Emporium with MJ taking the lead. On behalf of the Mayor and Council, I extend a wholehearted thank you to MJ, Jerry, Timmy, and everyone else that worked so hard to make Mount Rainier one of the leading communities working for peace in our community.

Principal Janet Reed, continued the tradition of our Peace March on June12 at Mount Rainier Elementary School. Thank you Principal Reed!

My New Soap Box, Domestic Violence. Until recently, I probably thought very little about domestic violence. It was something that happens, but not in our neighborhood. Well, since March 30, 2009, my naive thinking has forever been changed. On that day, I started working for the Family Crisis Center, Inc. of Prince George's County (no it is not a County run Agency). It was also on that day, that I witnessed, a husband and wife fight and explode into the streets. Since I do not know the details of how it started or who started it, I will only say that I witnessed a man beat his wife so badly that he knocked out one or more of her front teeth! Blood was everywhere. We offered her protection, called the police, and provided basic care. Unfortunately, she chose to return home because she felt that she deserved the "beating," and had "nowhere" else to go.

Domestic violence is real, and it is happening right here in our community. We need to become outspoken and proactive in ridding our community of this kind of behavior. I spoke with our Chief, and he told me that this is not an isolated incident. Domestic violence is one of the primary calls to our police station. Our officers are frequently responding to these calls and have very few tools to use when they get there.

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, please call 301-779-2100, and speak to someone. Or you may call the 24-hour Crisis Hotline at 301-731-2103. There will be someone there to help YOU, and it is FREE!

Websites that maybe of interest:
Malinda Miles --- www.malindamiles.com and http://themayorsspot.blogspot.com
Historic Mount Rainier Maryland --- http://www.mountrainiermd.org
Mount Rainier Police Department -- http://www.mountrainiermd.org/government/mrpd/index.html
Chief Scott's Blog -- http://mrpdchief.blogspot.com
Bunker Hill Volunteer Fire and Rescue Company --- http://www.mrvfd.org
Mount Rainier Elementary School --- http://www.pgcps.org/~mrainier/
Thomas Stone Elementary School --- http://www.pgcps.org/~tstone/index.htm
Hyattsville Middle School --- http://www.pgcps.org/~hyattsms/
Northwestern High School --- http://www.pgcps.pg.k12.md.us/~nwest
Prince George’s County Municipal Association http://www.mdmunicipal.org/chapterweb/pgcma
Maryland Municipal League --- http://www.mdmunicipal.org
Friends of the Mount Rainier Library (FOL) --- http://www.mtrainierfol.org/
Gateway Community Development Corporation www.gateway-cdc.org
Washington Metro Area Transit Service http://www.wmata.com/
Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA) www.mrbassociation.org
H & F Fine Arts --- http://www.hffinearts.com
Cora B. Woods Senior Center --- http://www.pgparks.com/places/seniorctr.html#Cora%20B.%20Wood
The Washington Glass School -- http://washingtonglassstudio.com
Joe's Movement Emporium --- http://www.joesmovement.org/
The Family Crisis Center, Inc -- www.familycrisiscenter-pgco.org