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Friday, December 30, 2011

From the Desk of Mayor Miles: SAFE and Happy New Year

From the Desk of Mayor Miles: SAFE and Happy New Year: From our County Executive, Rushern Baker New Year's is a time for celebration, not tragedy. Do your part: don't drink and drive. With the ...

SAFE and Happy New Year

From our County Executive, Rushern Baker

New Year's is a time for celebration, not tragedy. Do your part: don't drink and drive. With the SoberRide program offering free taxi rides all evening, there's no excuse to put yourself and others at risk. Call SoberRide toll-free at 800-200-TAXI and check out the article below for more details. Here's to a fun, safe, and happy New Year's Eve!

From the Washington Post

SoberRide offers free trip home
By Mark Berman

Area residents who drink have an easy way to avoid driving: The SoberRide program, which provides free taxi rides to people who shouldn’t be behind the wheel, runs through Sunday morning.

The service is available to people age 21 and older and covers a cab fare up to $30 (riders have to cover anything over that amount). Area residents can call SoberRide toll-free at 800-200-TAXI each night from 10 p.m. until 6 a.m.

SoberRide is available in the District as well as Virginia (Arlington, Fairfax, eastern Loudoun and Prince William counties and the cities of Alexandria, Falls Church, Fairfax, Manassas and Manassas Park) and Maryland (Montgomery and Prince George’s counties and the cities of Rockville, Bowie, College Park, Gaithersburg, Greenbelt and Takoma Park).

The Mayor Speaks Out on Youth Violence

Something must be done to address youth violence in the Mount Rainier, Brentwood, and North Brentwood neighborhoods. Law enforcement alone will not solve this problem. Pushing money at the problem will not solve the problem. Putting more police on the streets will not solve the problem. Increasing police on the streets supplement overtime pay for officers, increases the City's expenses, and forces crime to a different location.

These supplemental actions (as of yet) has not had any input from those who it affects the most—the City’s young people. This must change. We want our streets safe. We want our young people involved, and yet they have not been invited to the table.

On Wednesday, December 28, 2011, Team Mount Rainier Against Violence Society (Team MAVS) was formed. Its purpose is to work with our Youth, Mayor and Council, and other residents to address youth violence in the City.

City policies that affect young people will be reviewed. It is suspected that there are more policies and codes on the books about dogs and other animals than there are about the City's youth. I will be proposing that there be a review of curfew laws and their impact on youth.

Knowing that most crimes committed by minors are during specific after-school hours, the City must invest in after-school programs and activities that are age appropriate. We must stop letting our older teens invent their own entertainment. Programs for our youth must be developed in conjunction with our youth, their parents, the schools, and Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (MNCPPC). This will require the community sitting down with the youth and these stakeholders to create effective programs and activities.

The key to deterring late-night youth violence is to provide alternatives to the streets in the form of entertainment venues. There should be weekly and monthly organized events and activities for our youth that build healthy character. The old shove them off the streets attitude and tactics have simply not worked! There needs to be a safe place and space for our teens to get off the streets, protect the community, and even have some fun in the process.

This, of course, will require some funding from various sources, but should be a priority for the City of Mount Rainier! The budget for such planning is estimated to cost about $100,000, most of which could come from grant. Until the City is able to raise the kind of money needed to help build a facility for its youth, most of this funding would be spent on providing secure transportation back and forth to current MNCPPC parks and recreation centers. City police would be involved in making this transportation possible using the City's van and caller-a-bus. It would also require the hiring of a youth program and events coordinator that would work with the Mount Rainier Youth Council, Police Department, MNCPPC, and the community's youth and parents to determine appropriate activities and events.

Rather than patrolling the streets in their cars all night where their only interactions with youth are punitive, police officers could be used for proactive measures. Police officers could be very useful as a quiet deterrent at events, during transportation to and from events, and sitting in on planning meetings of the shareholders. Police officers could also be useful as a precautionary insurance policy outside of events. This proposal would simultaneously provide safety, without the youth feeling menaced by the police, build relationships with the youth in the community, and provide parents and the community with a safer environment. In addition, police could be working alongside the youth to make the community safer.

This is all needed because youth in Mount Rainier deserve better than what they have been given over the years. For example, the nearest "free" swimming pool is in Chillum. The pool in the community is and has been out of reach for our youth. Although improving, the Nature Center does not provide an outlet for youth 15 to 22 years of age.

In light of all of the issues surrounding the complexities of violence, the Mayor calls for the following actions:

• Police Department—review and report data to access the role youth 13 and over truly play in contributing to violence in our community, youth arrests, criminal activity, and homicides.

• Mayor and Council —host a public forum on youth recreation and youth violence in the community with youth(13 to 22) participation.

• Mayor and Council —prepare an outline of how they will address youth recreation and violence in the City of Mount Rainier, with a review of curfew laws, their implementation and/or prohibitions, specifically in regards to how youth will be detained and where they will be taken should such a law becomes policy, and budget/funding.

• MNCPPC—review it budget, protocol, and past recreational services in the City of Mount Rainier, providing recommendations for assisting the City in addressing it youth recreation and youth violence issues.

The need for real, comprehensive violence prevention is desperately needed, and the only good solutions are those that begin and end with community involvement, and where law enforcement is a mere tool when needed rather than the centerpiece. The City must open its ears to the voices of what is so often called this City’s future—our young people.

The City needs to provide solutions that our young people believe will work because so far the City has done very little to engage our youth, and the results are obvious! Another murder of a youth in Mount Rainier is UNACCEPTABLE!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

PEACE and BLESSINGS today and ALWAYS

On this day that we have set aside to honor the birth of Jesus, I want to take a moment to say to all of my family, friends, neighbors, residents and others that it is truly a blessing to have you in my life. I am sure that we all have different feelings and beliefs, but I also know that we have one thing in common, and without it we cannot live -- AIR.

We are all breathing the same AIR. We exchange it between us regardless of race, color, creed, religion, sexual preference, nationality, etc. It is exchanged without purification. It is what it is, and today it is no different. So whether you celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanza, or nothing, our similarities are greater than our differences, and so I extend to you peace, love, blessings, respect, hope, and all those things that just by our humanness we hold dear, and WHOLEHEARTEDLY wish them to you and yours today and every day into the future.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Viewing and Wake Scheduled

One of our young residents departed this life on Friday, December 16. The Family has provided the following information:

Dontae John Cook
Sunrise: August 25, 1995
Sunset: December 16, 2011

Viewing and Service
Monday, December 26, 2011
Viewing: 8:45 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Service: 10:00 a.m.

New Horizon Christian Faith Church
2211 Varnum Street
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Repass
Mount Rainier Nature and
Recreation Center
4701 31st Place
Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712

Intermittent
National Harmony Hills Cemetery
7101 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD 20785

John and Dania Cook
Sister, Dajona Cook

3202 Upshur Street
Mount Rainier, MD 20712
301.779.5515

A trust fund is being established
for “Dontae John Cook.” Details
will be provided once finalized.

STOPPING the VIOLENCE

What's on my mind? This morning that is an excellent question. For the past two weeks, I have pondered what can be done to help our young men and women understand that violence is not the answer. Two Fridays in a row, our community has lost TWO young men ages 21 and 17 to gun violence. Senseless destruction of families, friendships, community and the sense of peace that one gets living in our community.

Guns have their place in our society -- law enforcement, the military, etc., but not in the hands of our juveniles! When guns are used for violence, they do not destroy just the person that got shot, but the shooter, both families, AND the communities in which both the shooter and the victim were participants. TODAY, my shout out is a PLEA to the young men and women in Mount Rainier, Brentwood, and North Brentwood. PLEASE PLEASE stop the violence. Let's find other ways to resolve our differences.

I am organizing a mediation program in Mount Rainier to address some of the differences and the disputes that young people are having with each other. For many of you, the skills were taught at Mount Rainier Elementary under Mr. C (Mr. Cantano who started the peace parade at Mount Rainier Elementary, and carried on by Ms. Reid the current principal at Mount Rainier).

Some how we have forgotten to respect life -- ours and that of our neighbors. We have walked away from values, such as honor, integrity, honesty, working for a living, helping one another, choosing right over wrong. Moral values are the standards of good and evil, which govern an individual’s behavior and choices. Each of us are born with it and our religious beliefs, government, community, family, friends and associates all work together to define those values.

I am ashamed to be a part of a community that says it is alright to shoot and to kill for pleasure, for things, and for no reason at all! This is Mount Rainier. This is our HOME. Respect it.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

MNCPPC's New Nixle Community Messaging Service

December 1, 2011


SUBJECT: New “Nixle” Community Messaging Service

This week, the Department of Parks and Recreation has launched a new community notification and messaging service called “Nixle” to improve communication with people who live, work, and recreate in our area. The system provides a quick, efficient, and secure way to get neighborhood-level information out to community members who subscribe to the system. Through www.nixle.com, the Department will be able to send text message (SMS) and e-mail alerts to subscribers in a specific area (down to a quarter of a mile) or the whole community.

Notifications could include weather-related Departmental closures and program cancellations, incidents such as a broken water main that might cause one particular facility to be closed, or a young child who walks away from a program—in that case, the alert could include a picture of the child with a map identifying the area where they were last seen. Other uses might include trail access updates, or even parking notifications at large festivals and events.

Through Nixle, we will deliver messages securely to subscribers (including staff) by e-mail and cell phone, supporting and expanding our community outreach efforts. Any public messages we send out via Nixle to post instantly on our website and on our Departmental Facebook page and Twitter feed, as well.

Obviously, the system will be most effective when we have large numbers of subscribers. You will soon see our registration campaign on www.pgparks.com, in the e-newsletter, on Facebook and Twitter, and on flyers at the front counter of facilities. We’re also issuing a challenge to all staff to ask five friends, neighbors or family members to sign up before the holidays! Please help us spread the word about our use of the system and add this information to the bottom of your e-mail signature: “Get up-to-the-minute notifications from the M-NCPPC Department of Parks and Recreation by e-mail and text: sign up at www.pgparks.com ”.

Nixle is a secure communications service available only to municipal, county, and state government agencies. The system is available at no cost to our customers and residents (standard text message rates will apply for subscribers who do not have text plans with their cell phone providers). Subscribers can receive technical and non-technical assistance directly from Nixle by sending email to support@nixle.com.

Sign up today: go to www.pgparks.com, click on the Nixle widget on the left side of the page, and follow the simple registration steps.

Nixle messaging is managed 24/7 by our Public Affairs and Marketing Division, with support from the Help Desk.

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Monday December 5, the 4000 block of 34th Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for repairs

After several inspections it has been determined that the hole in the center of the road in front of 4010 34th Street is seriously undermining the stability of the roadway. After consultation with WSSC and the Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation, it appears for now that the repairs are solely the responsibility of the City until further investigation reveals otherwise.

In an effort to ensure the safety of our residents and those who use 34th Street, the necessary repair work will be carried out starting Monday December 5th. As a result, the 4000 block of 34th Street will be closed to vehicular traffic for the duration of the repairs. At this time we do not know how long the street will be closed as the scope of work is not yet known. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.

Michael E. Scott
Chief of Police
Mount Rainier Police Department
3249 Rhode Island Avenue
Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712
301-985-6580
mscott@mountrainierpd.org
Chief's Blog: http://mrpdchief.blogspot.com
Twitter: @MRPDChief