Monday, September 30, 2013

Boehner Chooses to Shutdown the Federal Government

Just moments before the President spoke, Boehner made the decision to let/shut down the Federal Government.  Immediately municipal officials were invited to a telephone conversation with the WHITE HOUSE.  Here's what I learned from the call with the White House:

1.  Everyone should be contacting their FEDERAL OFFICIALS, and insisting that they come to an agreement on keeping the Federal Government open

2.  The shutdown WILL RESULT IN $100 of thousands of dollars not being paid on the Federal debt (Congress' responsibilities are to pass the budget and pay bills)

3.  100s of thousand federal employees will be furloughed with no indication of when they will be returning to work

4.  Housing loans, business loans, SBA's ability to loan money, and other similar agencies will NOT be making loans during this period

5. National Parks, and the Smithsonians will be CLOSED

6.  Annual appropriations will not be impacted, e.g. Social Security, Medicare, will continue without interruption

7.  This will have a SERIOUS impact on our rebounding economy and will impact our progress negatively

8.  THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT WILL ROLL OUT ON OCTOBER 1, and the MARKET PLACE will be open for business providing health care to millions of Americans many of whom have NEVER had health care before.

9.  Number of Federal Workers impacted across the US is not known

10.  For information on specific projects, e.g., Federal Highway repairs, development etc. contact those Agencies DIRECTLY through their website

11.  General information may be obtained from

I hope this was helpful, and please feel free to pass this around to your network with the share button.

OPEN SPACE IN DANGER -- Thank you Delegate Niemann

A Bad Idea
Proposed Shopping Center and Road at University of Maryland Golf Course Makes No Sense

The University of Maryland and a well-connected developer are teaming up on a plan that could have serious consequences for our neighborhoods.

Although officially arriving as an “unsolicited proposal” from the developer, top officials of the University of Maryland have been promoting the idea of a big-box, multi-use development to be built on the grounds of the university’s golf course at the intersection of University Blvd (Route 193) and Adelphi Road.
A key part of the proposal is to extend Interstate 95 from the Beltway to the new development on the golf course. It is suspected that this is the real reason the university is interested in the proposal. It would provide the direct access to Byrd Stadium, Comcast Arena and other university facilities they have long wanted. It would also channel thousands of commuters every day onto Adelphi Road, University Road, Metzerott Road and Queens Chapel Road – while doing little to relief congestion elsewhere.
The proposal fails on every front:
· It would replace critical open space with one more sprawling shopping center. The state and the university have invested millions into upgrading the golf course and making it an environmental leader. This would be thrown away.
· The proposed road would channel commuter traffic onto local roads. This is contrary to our official policy of fostering smart growth and encouraging transit-oriented development. The City of College Park, working with the university, county and state, is making headway on reducing Route 1 traffic congestion. This would also undermine those efforts.
· There is no shortage of comparable shopping options in the area. College Park, Hyattsville, Greenbelt, Laurel and other nearby areas already have many of the businesses this development would presumably attract. If there is a need for more, there are plenty of other sites where growth can occur without the negative impacts. In fact, the City of College Park reports that there are 17 projects already planned for the area.
· The proposal was developed in secret and is being promoted in the backrooms. Because it would be on land owned by the university, it would not be subject to the same county review and comment that other developments have to undergo. This is a bad precedent that will circumvent processes designed to ensure that new development causes no harm.

The proposal has big backers. In addition to its well-connected developers, the university's president has been working behind the scenes to build support.
The Maryland Golf Course Coalition has also been formed by alumni, friends of the golf course and others in opposition. They have a very useful website that has information on what is going on and what you can do to help. Check it out at:
What Can You Do?

Contact the key decision-makers and tell them what a bad idea this is.
· Dr. Wallace Loh, President, University of Maryland, 3300 Metzerott Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783 –
· Dr. William Kirwan, Chancellor, University of Maryland System, 3300 Metzerott Rd, Adelphi, MD 20783 –
· Gov. Martin O’Malley, State Capitol, Annapolis, MD 21401 -
· State Treasurer Nancy Kopp, 80 Calvert St, Annapolis, MD 21401 –
· State Comptroller Peter Franchot, 80 Calvert St, Annapolis, MD 21401 -
· County Executive Rushern Baker, County Administration Building, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772 –

If you want more information, drop me a line or call me at 240-606-1298.

Delegate Doyle Niemann
Our mailing address is:
Friends of Doyle Niemann
P.O. Box 51
Mt. Rainier, MD 20712

NEW LAWS IN MARYLAND as of Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Don't get caught.  Ignorance of the LAW is no EXCUSE!  Here are the latest laws signed into law from the last Legislative Session:

News laws slated for Oct. 1 in Maryland

A long list of new laws go into effect Tuesday, Oct. 1. Here are some of the most talked about and most likely to make an impact on your daily life.

In the car
In Maryland, using a handheld device while driving is already illegal. But on Oct. 1, it will be primary offense, which means drivers can get a ticket if they are using the phone, even if they are not breaking any other traffic rules. Until Oct. 1, it is a secondary offense, meaning that a driver must first be committing another offense, such as speeding or negligent driving.

"Police officers can and will be pulling people over just for talking on their hand-held cellphone device without a hands-free option," says Montgomery County Police Captain Thomas Didone.
The fines for driver's caught using cellphones are as follows:
  • $75 - first offense
  • $125 - second offense
  • $175 - third and subsequent offenses
"An officer needs no other reason other than to watch somebody talking on the cellphone to pull them over and issue a citation," says Didone, who adds the the first offense is $83 when factoring in court costs.

Another adjustment in the car is a seat belt law making it a primary offense to drive or be a passenger in the front seat without a seat belt. Drivers or passengers riding in a car in the front seat must wear a seat belt or face a $50 fine.

Since it's a primary offense for people in front seats, a driver can be pulled over for only the seat belt offense. The fine doesn't apply only to the driver; a passenger can be ticketed, too. If the passenger is younger than 16, the driver will get the ticket.

An unbuckled backseat passenger faces a $50 fine as well, but it's a secondary offense.

On the road
Starting Oct. 1, drivers who go through a toll booth at a bridge or on the Intercounty Connector without paying up could face problems with their vehicle registration.
Initially, drivers are notified of the dues by mail and have 30 days from the mail date to pay. If the driver pays, the case is closed. After that, if no payment is received, Maryland Transportation Authority will issue a $50 ticket on top of the original toll. The driver has the option to challenge the ticket in court or pay up.  If the citation is ignored, registration will be flagged for non-renewal or suspended.

Controversial gun laws begin on Oct. 1 in Maryland. The new law requires safety training and fingerprinting to purchase a handgun and limits magazines to 10 rounds. A total of 45 assault weapons will be banned as well.

However, on the same day the new gun laws go into effect, a hearing is scheduled in an attempt toblock them from being implemented. Ahead of the law, Maryland has experienced a massive influx of applications for licenses as people try to beat the legislation.

A cyberbullying law, also known as "Grace's Law," makes it a criminal offense to use an interactive computer service, like Twitter or Facebook, to cause "serious emotional distress on a minor" or causes the minor to fear for his or her life or physical safety.

Those found guilty of the misdemeanor offense face up to a year in prison in addition to a possible $500 fine.  The law is named after Grace McComas, a 15-year-old from Woodbine, Md., who committed suicide in 2012 after being bullied on Twitter.

Your lawn
Lawn fertilizer laws are changing. New laws are set to go in place for manufacturers and distributors of fertilizer, lawn care professionals and homeowners or others treating residential lawns. The Department of Agriculture says the new requirements are meant to protect the Chesapeake Bay.  For a detailed list of requirements, view the Department of Agriculture's website.

Workplace pregnancy
Starting Oct. 1, new legislation will be in place for pregnant women in the work place. The law is designed to make sure those who are pregnant can't be denied certain reasonable accommodations at work or be forced out of their jobs because of disabilities brought on by pregnancy.

Certain chemicals found in synthetic marijuana, often known by street names such as "Spice" and "K2," will be designated as controlled and dangerous substances effective Oct. 1. This means they can't be distributed or possessed and if they are, it's a criminal offense.

More details on the new law will be provided on Monday, Sept. 30 at 10:30 a.m. at the Council Office Building in Rockville, Md. Retailers will also be sent a letter regarding the law.

Death penalty
Officially in effect on Oct. 1, the death penalty is repealed in Maryland.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Kudos and Thank Yous for Public Safety Night in Mount Rainier

Last night, Mount Rainier had Public Safety Night.  It was to make up for our missed National Night Out (NNO), but it did more than that.  It brought people out of their homes to visit, hear great music, eat a hot dog or hamburger with a neighbor, and to just have a sense of community.  

Chief Scott and our police department, Luther Smith and our public works department did a yeoman's job in putting this together, and ensuring that other men and women in blue were on sight to share in this event.  Of course, 

Ms. Janis Lomax once again made sure that we had entertainment.  The band, the moon bounce, face painting with the clown, and of course my favorite, horseback riding.  

Our SPECIAL EVENT, however, was the landing of the police helicopter.  As soon as everyone decided that it was landing on the field, they started moving toward it.  You could feel the energy.  

Special guest appearances by Senator Victor Ramirez, Delegates Doyle Niemann, Delegate Jolene Ivey, Delegate Michael Summers, and Councilman Chris Mendoza.  

No competition with other municipalities, so most were able to stay and enjoy the music, and mingle with the residents.  Who knows, we just may have started something!

Thursday, September 05, 2013

Artist Reception Tonight

Jewel Box Gallery
The Shops at Queens Chillum
3104 Queens Chapel Road
Hyattsville, MD 20782 
Artist Reception Tonight
September 5 from 7:00 to 9:00 PM
Exhibition: September 5-28, 2013
Gallery Hours: Thursdays 7-9 PM, Fridays 7-9 PM, Saturdays 1-5 PM

jewel Box null
Erin Antognoli, Alan Binstock, Jo Ann Block,
Stephen Boocks, Matt Carl, Alexandra Chiou,
Sarah Dale, Kathy Hart, Joe Hicks, Tom Hill,
Emily Hoxworth, David Hubbard, J'Nell Jordan,
Ani Kasten, Courtnye Koivisto, Lisa Rosenstein,
Casey Snyder, Jeffrey Trueblood, and Laurie Tylec
Jewel Box (Pop-Up) Gallery
 Designed and Curated 
by John Paradiso and Tim McLoraine
alh image alh logo
Art Lives Here is coordinated by Joe's Movement Emporium with 
Gateway Community Development CorporationHyattsville Community Development Corporation and many arts organizations and county agencies on behalf of the vibrant creative community residing in the Gateway Arts District. Art Lives Here has received major funding from the National Endowment for the Arts, ArtPlace America, Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, the Cafritz Foundation and many generous local businesses.

Wednesday, September 04, 2013

Working together -- Joe's Movement Emporium and the Gateway CDC

Art Lives Here at The Shops at Queens Chillum
September 5, 2013, from 7 – 9 pm
JEWEL BOX, a pop-up gallery, will open its doors in a vacant 2,300 sq. ft. commercial space that was formerly Fleishers Jewelers, every Thursday, Friday and Saturday for public viewing. There will be an Opening Reception on September 5, 2013, from 7 – 9 pm. Emerging and established artists applied for an opportunity to participate in this group exhibition, which is curated by John Paradiso and Tim McLorraine.
Mount Rainier, MD - Art Lives Here and The Shops at Queens Chillum are pairing up to launch a series of placemaking events that showcase the talents of Gateway Arts District artists in a multi-use shopping center located in Hyattsville, Maryland and on the border of Mount Rainier. The Shops at Queens Chillum are funding these programs and events, which directly support local artists.

Tuesday, September 03, 2013

First Council Meeting for Fiscal Year 2013

The Mount Rainier City Council has been on recess since July.  I cannot speak for the Council, but I for one thoroughly enjoyed this MUCH needed break.  It is one of the first real breaks that the Council has had in quite a long time.  That being said, some work was done over and during the break.  Tomorrow, Tuesday, September 3 will the first Council meeting of the new fiscal year.  I hope that Mount Rainier residents will join the Mayor and Council as we begin this new session.  Regularly scheduled meetings of the Mayor and Council are held the first and third Tuesdays of each month unless otherwise noted.  Meetings begin at 7:00pm, and are HELD AT THE MOUNT RAINIER CITY HALL at One Municipal Place (next to the Metro Bus Stop), Mount Rainier MD 20712.  There is time on the agenda for public input.