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Thursday, April 25, 2013

Third Annual Better Block Party

Gateway CDC Announcement
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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Plant and Seed Swap Coming UP


Plant and Seed Swap

at the Mount Rainier Community Tool Shed
Saturday, April 27
10 am-noon 

Bring your potted plants (veggies and flowers)  and your extra seeds (in clearly dated and marked envelopes), extra plant pots, stakes, and garden experience to share with fellow gardeners.  We may have some additional plants available for a donation to the Tool Shed.

If you don't have anything to share, come anyway --  swapping is not required.

This event is sponsored by the Mount Rainier Community Tool Shed. The Tool Shed is located at 3601 Bunker Hill Road. 

Questions about this event? call Mimi:  (301) 927-1720

Monday, April 15, 2013

Maryland General Assembly concluded the 2013 Session


Annapolis, MD – The Maryland General Assembly concluded the 2013 Session.  During this Session, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III,working in concert with Prince George’s County House and Senate Delegations,achieved legislative successes that benefit all Prince Georgians and addressed the County’s education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development priorities.

“I want to thank the members of the Prince George’s County House and Senate Delegations for delivering incredible legislative success for residents of the County,” said Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III. “By addressing both policy and funding needs for education, public safety, healthcare, and economic development, our delegation members have once again delivered positive results for our citizens.”   

EDUCATION:

·         Education Reform Legislation: Today, Governor O’Malley signedMaryland House of Delegates Bill 1107 into law.  HB 1107, which goes into effect on June 1, 2013, enables County Executive Rushern L. Baker III to select the next Superintendent who, pursuant to the legislation, will hereafter be referred to as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the PGCPS.  In addition, the County Executive will select the Chair and Vice Chair of the Board of Education. The legislation also authorizes the County Executive to appoint three members to the Board of Education and the County Council will make one appointment.  The legislation authorizes the Governor to appoint a three member search committee for the CEO.  The County Executive will select the new CEO from the three finalists recommended to him by the search committee.   In coming weeks, the County Executive will work with the Board of Education and the County Council to implement this new school governance structure. 
·         Net Taxable Income: The General Assembly also fixed the Net Taxable Income calculation formula.  Since the federal government changed the deadline for filing tax returns granted extensions, the relative wealth of a jurisdiction has been artificially undercounted to the detriment of Prince George’s County.  The General Assembly corrected this which will result in the County receiving an additional $2.5 million dollars this year and after a five year phase-in, an additional $12.5 million in revenue will be available for K-12 education in the County.
·         Funding for School Construction: The County will receive $29.3 million for school construction and rehabilitation projects. Additional school construction funding will likely be approved by the Board of Public Works later this spring.

PUBLIC SAFETY:

·         Abolishment of the Death Penalty:  County Executive Baker played an active role in testifying and lobbying for passage of this bill.  Throughout his and Prince George’s County’s First Lady, Christa Beverly Baker’s political careers, they have been strong advocates for the abolishment of the death penalty.
·         9-1-1 Surcharge: Establishes that the surcharge on wireless telecommunication services applies to prepaid service and establishes the amount of the prepaid wireless 9-1-1 fee at 60 cents per each retail transaction to increase funding to vital first responder services. The bill levels an inequity that had allowed prepaid wireless phone users to avoid having to contribute to funding for emergency services.
  
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT:

·         Transportation Funding : Statewide, the legislation will raise an average of $800 million annually, and is projected to support more than 8,800 jobs each year over a five-year period. During that five-year period, the package will generate an additional $3.4 billion for Maryland highway and transit projects leading to the construction of hundreds of millions of dollars worth of transportation projects of importance to Prince George’s County including the Purple Line and long neglected road projects throughout the County.
·         PILOT: Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) for specific Maryland- National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) taxes authorizes the M-NCPPC to enter into an agreement with the owner of an electric generating facility in Prince George’s County. The bill also requires the affirmative approval of the terms of a PILOT by the County Executive, County Council, and the Planning Board of Prince George’s County.

 HEALTHCARE

·         Regional Medical Center: Ensured State’s commitment to the share of funding for the new Regional Medical Center to be built in Central Prince George’s County, as well as continuation of the State’s $15 million annual operating grant and the final $10 million installment in capital funds for infrastructure improvements to existing facilities.
·         Establishment of Alzheimer’s Disease Council: To continue the work initiated by the Maryland Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission.

BUDGET

For the upcoming fiscal year, the County will receive more than $1.1 billion in total operating and capital funding from the State - an increase of almost 7% from last year.  Some of the highlights include: 
·         $3.3 million school security initiative to make our schools safer and resistant to violent attacks
·         $500,000 for State’s Attorney for prosecution of violent crimes
·         $3.2 million for municipalities for transportation (separate grant in budget)
·         $19.6 million in police aid

Better Block Night, April 26, 2013 from 6 – 10 pm

Better Block Night, April 26, 2013 from 6 – 10 pm, around the Mount Rainier Circle  
Come to our info booth at City Hall Plaza to get a map to discover featured activities:
Chatter Chair: Mount Rainier Interactive, by artists Greta Byrum and Mike Turner, will turn an overlooked alleyway into an interactive story telling studio.

Library/Insurance Building: Meet the artist John Grunwell and his colorful mural design for the Library/Insurance building.

Launch Pad: Artist Will McKindley-Ward is the organizer of Launch Pad, a free workshop space serving the young musicians of the Gateway Arts District.  Designed by local musicians and music educators, the workshop assists high-school-age music acts in developing their own unique songcraft, stagecraft, and production skills. Launch Pad will provide live music in and outside of the Gallagher Building on Better Block Night.

Circle Deli Mural: Artist Melissa Glasser mural-in-progress installation will be on view with a chance to meet and talk with the artist. Circle Deli will provide delectable samples for passer-byers who stop in to learn more about Glasser’s creative life in the Gateway Arts District.

Partytime Liquor: This community-friendly liquor store will host a free wine tasting.

Urban Eats Music CafĂ©: See the new window lettering design and meet Art-st-Business partners, Robin Bliss, visual display artist and business owners Annette and Marsha Martin.  Live music and great eats!  8pm Mount Rainier Jam Band; 9pm Kim Reynolds Quartet

Mon Cheri Haitian Fine Art Gallery hosts and exhibition open reception for a large group show with Hyattsville Community Arts Alliance.

Adinkra Cultural Arts Center and Ubuntu Nakama: Stop by for a drum class observation and then get inspired to join the open dance and drum class for all ages. Love the way you move!

Veteran's Park: Art Works Studio School will bring a new spirit of fun and creativity to this park with their bubble art activity appropriate for artists of all ages.
       Street Performances by Taratibu Youth Association’s Pan-African Drill Team and wandering story-telling with Moira Jackson

Jimmy Tarlau's Report

Councilmember Jimmy Tarlau's Report:

Council Reviews Budget and Tax Issues:   As I wrote in my last report, the City is facing a serious budget shortfall as a result of lower assessments on houses in Mount Rainier (the good news is that prices of houses being sold are going up in our city).  Tax revenues will decrease by 14.8% or over $450,000.  The City Manager has proposed and the Mayor and Council are looking at a 7 cent tax increase.  This will bring in about $230,000.  Even with the proposed tax increase, most residents will see a decrease in the property taxes next year. 
We are also looking at increasing the fees on rental units by 50% from $100/unit to $150/per unit per year and raising other fees and licenses that have not been raised in a number of years.  The increased rental charges will put us in line with other cities in our area.  The big apartment complexes in our City (Kaywood, Queenstown and Queens Manor) also pay a lot of property taxes.  Last year they paid over $660,000 in property taxes and with the proposed increases in property taxes and rental fees, they will be paying over $1 million in revenue to the City next year.
            Last year we eliminated a code enforcement position and did not fill a police officer position.  We will be taking some money out of our reserves (which are over $1 million) but that is not the solution. We cannot continue to cut back positions without risking the basic services in our city, and I believe we must raise the tax rate.  The City will be holding a Public Hearing on the budget and tax increase on Tuesday April 23rd.  Please come and let us know what you feel the City should be doing to deal with the revenue shortfall.    

Utilities Reach Agreement on Removal of Double Poles:  In the past few months, Pepco has been upgrading its electrical system by installing new utility poles.  I have become increasingly irritated that the old utility poles are not removed. I think they are unsightly and a nuisance in places where there already is a limited sidewalk.  I have been driving around the area and have found close to 100 double poles in Mount Rainier.  There are probably thousands in Prince George’s County and throughout the state.
In doing some investigation, I have found the issue to be a little complicated.  First, Pepco does not tell the other utility companies that they have installed the new poles.  The utility companies, even when they are informed, take their time (years!)  to transfer the wires from the old poles to the new poles.  Pepco can’t take out the old poles because the cable and telephone wires are still on them.
Last month the utility companies finally came to a written agreement to remove the poles.   Senator Victor Ramirez and Delegate Tom Hucker had introduced legislation that would give the utility companies time limits to inform each other of what they’re doing and deadlines to transfer the wires and remove the old poles.  
Under the new agreement the telephone and cable companies will transfer their wires from the old poles to the new poles in 60 to 90 days and all the existing double poles will be removed by the end of next year.  I want to thank Senator Ramirez for keeping the pressure on the utility companies to get them to come to an agreement.

City Reviews Residential Parking Issue:  The City is discussing whether to set a policy on issuing residential permits on certain streets where there is tight parking and residents submit a petition requesting that permit parking be implemented. 

Zeke's Coffee to Open Facility, Coffee Bar in Northeast - Northeast D.C. is about to get a caffeine boost from Baltimore-based Zeke's Coffee. Rhode Island Avenue Insider reports that the company is planning a "roastery and coffee lab" for the for the 2300 block of Rhode Island Ave. NE. The company's website confirms the plans, saying it will open this year. From the blog:
“This new location [will] fulfill the wholesale side of his DC operations and to experiment with new flavors and mixes of coffee, hence the "coffee lab" concept.… but no worries, local coffee lovers, because the front 2/3 of the shop will be retail, a coffee bar, and seating (counter and bar stools) so you can pick up your favorite flavor of bean, try samples of the coffee, or just go all in with a cup of Zeke's and enjoy it on site. In fact, they are planning to have outdoor seating.”

Negotiations on Rhode Island Avenue Development Continuing - The City is continuing its discussions with Streetsense to finalize the sale of the properties on the 3200 Block of Rhode Island.  We are negotiating over the terms of the sale and expect a conclusion to the discussions in the next couple of months.  Meanwhile the Streetsense and Neighborhood Development Company (their partner) are moving ahead with design preparations for their project.

A Lot Is Happening This Spring In Mount Rainier

1 - Mount Rainier Candidates Forum:  Thursday April 18th 6 to 8 PM at the Mount Rainier Nature Center – 4701 31stPlace.  [Election is on May 6th]

2 - Neighborhood Watch Spring Into Action – April 21st   2 PM - PLEASE JOIN NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH AS WE SPRING INTO ACTION. LOCATION: MOUNT RAINIER SKATE PARK,  THE CORNER OF OTIS ST. AND WELLS AVE.  Bring your family to join Neighborhood Watch, a community-based crime prevention program where neighbors look out for each other’s safety, property and homes in a systematic and sustained way. It is based on the idea of residents, businesses,  police and other partners looking out for the safety of the neighborhood, establishing and maintaining open lines of communication, and collaborating to resolve problems of crime and disorder.  Feel free to bring light refreshments to share.

3 - Clothing Swap at Joe's Sunday April 21,  3- 5 pm, 3309 Bunker Hill Road:
Bring clothes and accessories to share and reuse. Clean out your closet and inherit a new wardrobe. Clothes can be dropped off the day of the event, or at Joe's from April 14 to 21. All remaining clothes will be donated to the ARC Thrift Store in Beltsville, MD that benefits programs serving adults with developmental disabilities. (As many folks in our hood are artists, feel free to bring items that are slightly stained or discolored but otherwise wearable, as the artists & gardeners can often use these items. Torn items made of interesting fabrics may also be of interest to the sewers/quilters/crafters in the group.)

4 - Tuesday April 23 – Public Hearing and public Comment on Budget and Tax Rate

5 - Better Block Night - April 26, 2013 –Mount Rainier Circle – 6pm to 10pm
Come down and enjoy a clean and vibrant Mount Rainier Circle. Visit local shops, hear live music, and discover art on the street and in store windows. In this sneak peek of our ideal downtown, local artists fill vacant commercial buildings with pop-up arts, give business facades a facelift, and bring the streets and sidewalks to life!
6 - Mount Rainier-Gateway 5K Run Set for Saturday April 27th - You can now register online by going to   http://www.racepacket.com/secure/regmain.php  .  There is a $15 fee for runners and each runner will get a specially designed Mount Rainier 5K t-shirt.  There will also be a 1 mile walk/run for those who don’t want to do the full 3.1 miles.  If you would be willing to volunteer (to hand out water and keep people on the right route) please send me an e-mail.  It should be fun.  It’s either the first, or the first in a long time, race we’ve run in our community. 

7 - Farmer’s Market Opening Day – Saturday May 4th

8 - 2013 Mount Rainier Home Tour Set for Sunday May 5th -   We now have 8 houses committed to participate, so the Tour is a definite go.  It will be from 1 to 5 PM.  To take the tour, register that day at Joe’s Movement Emporium (3309 Bunker Hill Road).  The fee for the Tour is $5.

9 - Election Day in Mount Rainier:  Monday May 6 from 8 AM to 7 PM at the Star Potts Hall Building (next to the City Municipal Building) 3405 Rhode Island Avenue.   The election will be for Mayor, one Councilmember in Ward 1, and one Councilmember in Ward 2. 

10 - Mayor and Council Vote on Budget and Tax Rate:  Tuesday May 7th at 7 PM

11 - Gateway Arts District Open Studio Tour Saturday, May 11, 2013 12:00 - 5:00pm After-Party 5:30 - 8:00 PM - 17 Venues. 70 Studios. Over 130 Artists.  Tour begins at Gateway Arts Center 3901 Rhode Island Ave., Brentwood, MD 20722. Mark your calendar for the one of the best events in the greater Washington, D.C., metro area - the 9th Annual Open Studio Tour, presented by the Gateway Community Development Corporation! This highly popular event showcases professional artists representing nearly every visual arts medium. You'll have access to art galleries, studios, cultural centers and performing spaces throughout the Prince George's County Gateway Arts District.  
                A free shuttle bus, with limited seating, is available to transport art enthusiasts between locations, with some studios within walking distance.   
For more information, visit www.gatewayopenstudios.org or call 301.864.3860.

12 - Mount Rainier Day - Saturday May 19th - 11 ARE to 6 PM Persons interested in participating contact Janis Lomax at City Hall(301-985-6585)

13 – Electronic Recycling – Saturday June 15th at Mount Rainier Public Works from 9 AM to 1 PM

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

PLEASE Support My Candidacy for MAYOR

Today, April 1, 2013, I officially placed my name on the ballot for the upcoming election in Mount Rainier Maryland to serve as your mayor for a third term.

I want and need the support of you, the residents of Mount Rainier as we work to build a community in which we all feel at home, feel safe, and of which we are all very PROUD!

A lot of work has been done to make Mount Rainier the wonderful place that it has become.  A lot of work is still needed to move it to the greatness that it can be.

For years, now, we have dreamed of our own great restaurant; our own bank; our own revitalized down town area with shops, and outdoor cafe.  We want to be a revitalized Mount Rainier, not another Takoma Park.  We cherish our uniqueness.

We want to protect our earth and our resources, and yes, we decided long time ago that going green is not a fad, but a way of life in Mount Rainier.

I have enjoyed being a part of this growth and development, and I am asking you to give me four more years.  Our election is Monday, May 6, 2013, Mount Rainier's City Hall, One Municipal Place from 7:00am until 8:00pm.

PLEASE, come out and cast your vote for MAYOR MALINDA MILES.  Together we can continue to move Mount Rainier FORWARD!