Thursday, December 19, 2013


I just received confirmation from head elf Bernard that Santa will be making his pre-Christmas visit to Mount Rainier on Saturday December 21st at 5pm. As in years past, Santa will be escorted by officers of the Mount Rainier Police Department and ride aboard a specially equipped fire truck from the Mount Rainier Fire Department.

This will be one of Santa’s last personal appearances before he returns to the North Pole to rest up for Christmas Eve, so you won’t want to miss him!

“You better watch out, you better not cry, you better not pout I’m telling you why – Santa Claus is coming to town.”

Michael E. Scott
Chief of Police
Mount Rainier Police Department
3249 Rhode Island Avenue
Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712
Twitter: @MRPDChief

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

From Senator Victor Ramirez

Dear Friends,

The Prince Georges County Public Safety Assistance Program, Inc. needs your help to continue providing food baskets to Prince Georgians in need, providing full holiday meal to more than 21,000 residents over the last 8 years. However, this year the program is in jeopardy, and it needs both food and cash donations.

There are several locations where you can make your non-perishable food donation. Collection drums for canned goods are located at District police stations throughout the county, the County Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, the Board of Education Sasscer Administration Building in Upper Marlboro, the Sheriffs Office in Upper Marlboro, the Department of Corrections in Upper Marlboro, Largo West in Largo, the Largo Government Center in Largo, the Courthouse (Upper Marlboro), Inglewood Center-3 (Largo), and FOP Lodge #89 in Upper Marlboro. All non-perishable food donations must be received by December 21, 2013. 

Monetary contributions to the Program help defray the cost of food items that are purchased for the food baskets. Tax-deductible contributions can be mailed to: PSAP Food, P.O. Box 548, Upper Marlboro, MD 20773. Checks should be made payable to the Public Safety Assistance Program, Inc. or to PSAP FOOD.  For more information, call Bill Milligan at 240-508-9080.

Thank you all in advance for your generosity during the holiday season.   


Victor R. Ramirez, Esq. 
State Senator
Legislative District 47 

Minimum Wage to increase July 1, 2014 to $8.75 reaching $11.50 with Cost of living increase every year thereafter!

The County Executive and the County Council will sign into law the County's minimum wage law on December 17, 2013.The bill, CB-94-2013, will increase the minimum wage over the next few years to $11.50 an hour with a cost of living every year there after.  Read the bill, and know your rights.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Area Schools Closed

Area schools including Prince George's County schools are closed today for the expected snow storm.  Here is the posted closing for the County:12/10/13, 4:28am - CODE RED - All schools and offices are closed for students and all personnel. (Código Rojo – El sistema escolar permanece cerrado para todos.)  - See more at:

Monday, December 09, 2013

PGCPS Will Have ATwo Hour Opening Delay

It is now official that Prince George's County Public Schools will have a two hour delay in opening! Here is what PGCPS website has on it this morning:

12/9/13, 4:46am - CODE ORANGE: All schools and offices are operating under a two-hour delay. EMERGENCY PERSONNEL must report to work on time and are not eligible for liberal leave.
(Las escuelas y las oficinas comenzarán dos horas después del horario normal.)

There will be NO work-study transportation. (Those students should NOT report to school.)
No half-day ECC or Pre-K programs.
Any other school program requiring transportation prior to 12 noon will NOT have transportation, including Howard B. Owens Science Center
No field trips.
Food Services will offer breakfast.
- See more at:

12/9/13, 4:46am - CODE ORANGE:  All schools and offices are operating under a two-hour delay.  EMERGENCY PERSONNEL must report to work on time and are not eligible for liberal leave.
(Las escuelas y las oficinas comenzarán dos horas después del horario normal.)
  • There will be NO work-study transportation. (Those students should NOT report to school.)
  • No half-day ECC or Pre-K programs.
  • Any other school program requiring transportation prior to 12 noon will NOT have transportation, including Howard B. Owens Science Center
  • No field trips.
  • Food Services will offer breakfast. 
- See more at:

Sunday, December 08, 2013

The County is prepared, and asks for your help


For immediate release:
December 8, 2013

For more information, contact:
Carol Terry
Public Information Officer
Prince George’s County
Department of Public Works and Transportation

Prince George’s County Prepares for Storm Warning

LARGO, MD - The Prince George’s County Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) announced that the County will move into full operation for snow and ice control beginning at 6 a.m. on Sunday, December 8, 2013 in preparation for the wintry mix that has been forecasted for our area.

Employees from DPW&T, as well as crews from the Department of Environmental Resources, Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, and the Maryland-National-Capital Park and Planning Commission will report to their snow districts on Sunday morning.  168 trucks have been mobilized to salt County roadways and remove any accumulation of snow and ice.

County residents can assist crews by parking only on even-numbered sides of residential streets or in their driveways.  Residents are also requsted to shovel their driveways after plowing and to remove snow/ice from the sidewalks abutting their homes and businesses. 

To report snow conditions on your street, wait 12 hours after the precipitation has stopped and call CountyClick at 311 or the Snow Information Center at  301-350-0500.  Residents may also visit the county’s website at to report snow conditions via the Snow Request Form.

Friday, December 06, 2013

Here's Whats Been Going On in Mount Rainier

 Our City is small, unique, and is host to our homes whether we live in apartments, single family residents, or other multi-family dwellings.  It is where we live, and often work and play.  Each of us moved here for various reasons, but we have stayed here for pretty much the same reasons.  That sense of community; that belonging; that sense of purpose, and of course our brand of politics!  
However, for some of us, the past two years have at best been challenging.  As your Mayor, I encourage you to look beyond the construction, the water main breaks, that huge arch of water that came straight down your chimney, and know that this too shall pass.  I have arranged for the City to have a major block party in the spring with a ribbon cutting ceremony to "officially" open the newly paved Bunker Hill Road!  Stay tuned.
Bunker Hill Road:  November was a very busy month.  In fact, it all started in October and just kept on coming.  It is good to see so much activity in the City.  We know that our old infrastructure is being updated and replaced.  That's good for the City even if it is painful for us as residents.
Street work is being done throughout the City.  New sewer lines are being put in, as well as the gas lines.  Because so much of the work in some areas have caused sidewalks to be removed as well as curbs and gutters, the City will get new sidewalks, new curbs and new gutters.  
Because so many companies (WSSC, Washington Gas, PEPCO and all of their contractors) are involved, it has been hard to always make sure that the right hand knows what the left hand is doing.  This has resulted in gas line breaks; water line shooting water up over houses, sink holes, blocked drive ways and blocked drive ways with cars in them, and lets not talk about the noise factor or the many other inconveniences.  Some neighbors have described it as living in hell. 
The good news to all of this is that we are beginning to see some light at the end of the tunnel.  HOWEVER, it is not the time to rejoice.  Keep checking.  Keep me and your councilmember informed of the work, quality of the work, and any other issue that might result in a future problem for the City.  You are our eyes and ears closet to the problem.  We need your help.
Allison Street Levee:  In the next few months, we will encounter even more construction/reconstruction when the County (DER) brings in its engineers to begin full scale work on the levee.  A number of you are aware that the levee has had some ongoing work for the past several months.  Much of that was testing the soil, evaluating the existing levee, and making some final decisions on the direction that is best for the County to go to meet the new Federal standard for levees.  (NOTE:  Jesse Christopherson has been assigned the lead on this project).
The pumping station in Brentwood will be restored, the levee walls and berms will be raised, and the 34th Street bridge will be replaced (one side at a time and will have an impact on traffic, Thomas Stone, and some of our residents). Upon completion and certification, the project will provide improved flood protection, and will carry the same flood requirements as have been in place since the installation of the levee, i.e., residents are advised to get flood insurance, but will not be required to get flood insurance.   The new finished bridge will have sidewalks on both sides, and may even have a bike lane.  It will also be raised higher than the current bridge.  In addition, traffic will be redirected in order to allow the work to be carried out.  
The new levee requires that there be no trees within 15 feet of the levee (the oak and plane trees that line Arundel Road, the trees in Richardson Park, the trees around the Nature Center, and behind Standard Pressing Machine Co. on Queens Chapel Road).  As part of the County’s agreement with the City, for each tree removed, the County will donate two trees that will be insured for one year after planting including watering them, and replacement should the trees not make it during the first year.   
Some specifics that you should understand:
F The levee work extends from 30th Street to Queens Chapel Road including the wall behind the 7/11 on 34th Street.  
F The levee wall throughout the project will be raised anywhere from 0.5 feet to 3 feet to meet certification requirements.
F 34th Street Bridge will be raised.  There will be traffic detours, but one side of the bride will remain open throughout the project to allow access to the school and some traffic in the area.  The detour will occur at 34th and Arundel with a left turn on Arundel during both construction periods (both directions).  There may be a need to request that Allison Street, in Brentwood, be made a one way street in the opposite direction.  (This will require a discussion with Brentwood) Signage will begin at Windom Road and will probably go all the way to Eastern Avenue to give motorist as much notice about the road and levee construction as possible.
F The wall will be stained (City will have an active role in determining the colors, possibly adding a mural etc.).
F Development and Implementation of a green street on Arundel Road.  Three concept plans have been offered ranging from $1.1 million to $890, 000+.  Copies of the plans are at City Hall and available online.  Residents will have an opportunity to provide input prior to final implementation.    This is NOT a part of the levee work, but is an olive branch of sort for the trees that will be removed, but also part of the County's bigger initiative to address the storm water issue.  
F Project is to be completed by end of 2015.  Because of the project, homeowners in the area will not be required to buy flood insurance, but would be encouraged to do so even as they are encouraged to do so now.
The following includes an update on what was reported last month as well as a kind of recap of some of the things that Mayor and Council, staff, and others have done throughout the year.
1) With the grant from the Department of Aging Secretary, Gloria Lawlah, the Whatcha Doin Seniors’ Club (WDSC) will hold its first official meeting on Monday, January 6 at 11:30am at the Mount Rainier Police Station.  Lunch will be served.  The purpose of the first meeting is to get ideas and set up activities for senior residents.  Transportation will be made available to those who need it.  
If you have not signed up to be a member of this newly forming Club, you should call Miss Janis Lomax immediately so that you can be a founding member!  Miss Lomax can be reached at 301-985-6585.  There are no fees to join, but you MUST be a senior (60 years and over).  See the October issue of the “Message” to learn more about the Whatcha Doin Seniors’ Club.
2)  The Halloween Party was a booming success.  Thank you to everyone that helped to make it possible and to all of the parents who came by and brought their children.  Based on your request, I believe we can repeat it again next year.  So mark your calendars.  NOTE: DOUBLE thanks to all those residents who came and brought their candy to be given out at the party.  It kept us from running completely out before 7:30pm.  If you have ideas and/or suggestions or would just like to help with this next year.  Please let me know.  
3)  Veterans Day Celebration on November 10, 2013 was a huge success.  Thank you to all of the participants.  Mount Rainier has its share of Veterans and a number of our police officers are veterans.  I am proud that many of our veterans came out to be honored at this event.  Secretary of Maryland’s Veterans Affairs, Edward Chow, Jr., and Maryland Municipal League’s first vice president Bruce Wahl were in attendance.  Intisar Haamid provided the refreshments, and the event was held in our very own Potts Building (also known as the Eastern Star building).  Thank yous and kudos to Janis Lomax for helping to make this event possible.
4)  I am humbled and thankful for the great support that was received on short notice for help to make Thanksgiving a reality for 44 families in our community.  Twenty families from Mount Rainier Elementary and 20 families from Thomas Stone Elementary received a turkey and some non-perishables to help them with their Thanksgiving feast.  The principals, counselors and teachers were just overwhelmed and appreciative of the help that was given to their students. Thank you to my little worker bees, Timothy Alexander, Charles Evans, and Eriyana Miles Barnes for their help in shopping, packing, loading, unloading, and bagging all of the items for the families.  Hours of work with smiles and a spirit of sharing were exhibited by all of them.  Without their help this project would have been much harder to accomplish.  Thanks also to Janis Lomax and Markita for their help and support.  Markita actually dug down in her pocket for the cranberry sauce to make sure every family received at least one can.  What a team! 
Donors to this event included Senator Victor Ramirez, Shoppers Food Warehouse on Chillum Road, Mario Cisnero, Dionne Luna Tenhue, Margaret Boozer, Carman Wigman, Brian Hicks, Khyyam Cooper, William (Lee) Miles, Captain Jimmy Stoots, and our own Chief Michael Scott.  Others did not give a name or did not want their names included in this list.  Thank you one and all for whatever the gift including kind words.
5)  Third update on Bunker Hill Road and other streets in Mount Rainier.  Reconstruction work has started on Bunker Hill Road.  Sidewalks, curbs and gutters are being installed (and from what I have seen, they are looking good).  With this warm weather, I am hopeful that we will see an entirely new street in the not too distant future.  Special thanks to former Mayor Bryan Knedler for taking off from work to oversee some of the reconstruction work on Bunker Hill.  There still tend to be some rule violations, but we have been on top of them and will continue to monitor this project until it is completed.
Your Councilmember, Brent Bolin, and I continue to walk and monitor the area to ensure compliance, but we need those pictures, and other information about issues of concern to you.  You are our eyes and ears.  We were assured that they will strive to complete their work prior to winter setting in, but everything depends on the weather and no more unexpected surprises.
Washington Gas has completed its work on Bunker Hill Road.  There are, however, still some issues on 31st with the soil replacement in our tree boxes.  That issues has been called to their attention for correcting.  As of Monday, December 2, all of the work being done on Bunker Hill Road is being done by Washington Gas Company.  They are in the reconstruction phase, i.e., rebuilding our street, sidewalks, and gutters.
Bunker Hill will soon be done.
Thirtieth Street has had most, if not all of the work done to prepare it for milling next spring.  Washington Gas will be doing that work.  HOWEVER, I have noticed that there has been some additional work being done, and that portion of 30th that was done first now looks as if it was never redone.  I will be discussing this with both utility companies to make sure that when one is finished they are all finished so that our streets will remain in good shape for a while.
Additional work is planned in the City.  Michael Jackson and I will soon be meeting on that project.  It is a big project similar to the one on Bunker Hill Road, but we will apply what we have learned from Bunker Hill Road as we begin this project.  We will keep you posted on where, when, what, how long and the extent of the work to be done once we have more information.
6)  The holiday season is here.  We need to be very diligent and mindful that there are those amongst us who have much less than we do.  During the Thanksgiving holidays, Thomas Stone Elementary and Mount Rainier Elementary identified 40 families that live in our community and are struggling to stay afloat.  Thanks to residents, family and friends from as far away as Colorado, we were able to meet their needs for Thanksgiving.  Those same families will be struggling for the Christmas Holiday season whether they celebrate Hanukkah, Christmas, Kwanza or none of the above, no one should be hungry in Mount Rainier.  
Our Holiday food drive is underway, and we are accepting can goods, pasta, and other nonperishables at the Mount Rainier Police Station and Mount Rainier City Hall.  This drive is being led by Captain Jimmy Stoots who has for the past many years made food basket donations to at least ten families each year.  This year, I have asked him to increase the number to 44.
In addition, we need toys for the children.  There are approximately 100 children between the 44 families.  The children’s ages range from one year to fourteen years of age.  If you have the resources are access to the resources, we are asking that you p donate at least one toy, new clothing item, electronic (teaching/learning toys) clearly marked for a boy or girl and the age.  The children or either at home (pre-school) or in K-6.
7)  Thursday, December 5, 2013, Councilmember Jimmy Tarlau officially announced his bid for State Delegate for District 47A! We had an awesome turnout, and Jim was warmly received and acknowledged as the candidate for our District. Now, it is time for us to go to work, to make sure that Mount Rainier, Brentwood, North Brentwood, Colmar Manor, Cottage City, and Bladensburg are fairly represented at the State level. Jimmy’s campaign needs volunteers, donations, and people ready for change to join on this uphill battle NOW! Our District has been reshaped and changed to meet specific agendas by our current politician, and it is large. Jimmy has been walking it and introducing himself to District 47A residents. He needs YOU to sign up and join him as he knocks on doors. There is an old saying “many hands make light work.” The Tarlau campaign needs MANY HANDS. 
8)  Last night, I heard someone say “We do not need any more politicians that show up for parades, kiss babies, throw big bashes, and promote themselves.” If you agree with that statement, then let's put into office that someone that will actually work for change in our community. We need somebody in Annapolis that will work for the working poor! So, I say "RUN JIMMY RUN!"
A lot happened in Mount Rainier this year, and I cannot recap it all, but a few of the highlights include:
The Cultural Academy For Excellence (CAFÉ) a 501©3 corporation moving into our neighborhood with activities for all ages.  CAFÉ began in 1996 with a grant from the Kaiser Permanente Building Hope Foundation. Founder and Executive Director Lorna Green together with a Board of Directors, committed professionals, parents and community leaders lend their expertise to keep CAFE’S program innovative and creative.
Bill Updike leaving the Council and New Councilmember Jesse Christopherson elected in Ward 1.
Another awesome Mount Rainier Day in spite of the rain.
Mayor and Council coming together to learn about TIFs and hiring an expert to lead us through the process of developing the Bass Property.
The completion and opening of the 36th Street Park.
Halloween party jointly sponsored by the Mayor and the Mount Rainier Police Department.
The first Veterans Celebration on November 10 honoring Mount Rainier’s Veterans.
Four new police officers sworn in with two of them being females bringing our police force back up to seventeen (17).
Construction work on our aging infrastructure on Bunker Hill Road continued to plague our residents.
New telegraph polls installed in the City raising PEPCO lines higher above our tree canopy.
Our tree canopy continued to be improved with the planting of more than 30 new trees in the City.
Council meeting are now being streamed on our website so that if you do not have cable you can still watch your Council at work.
Updated website with more tools and equipment for residents to stay in touch with what is going on in the City.
New police cars added to our fleet, and our officers equipped with body camera to better protect themselves, record the event, and provide a video recording for future use.
Code Enforcement has gone high tech.  They are recording and reporting events and incidents while in the field.  No longer having to go back to the office to write up the reports.
Electronic recycling has become a part of the City regular routine to help reduce our foot print on the environment.
This is just a snippet of what your City has been doing to make life better for all residents.  With a budget of less than five (5) million dollars, our staff, led by Ms. Jeannelle Wallace has managed to compete on all levels for keeping our community safe, clean, livable, and a destination by most visitors in the Washington Metropolitan area.
Your Mayor and Council have met regularly (for regular, special, and closed session) to make sure that appropriate policies and procedures are in place for staff to carry out their functions.  Spending has been held down, and minum tax raises have been the order of the day.  As your Mayor, I have enjoyed serving you tis past year, and look forward to serving you again in 2014.
Happy Holiday Wishes
In the spirit of the season and those who would be politically correct, I hereby declare the rest of 2013 as Mount Rainier’s Season of love, caring, and giving; and wish that neighbors will help one another not only during the remainder of December 2013, but throughout 2014.
Merry Christmas
Happy Hanukkah
Happy Kwanza
And peace and blessings to all including those who celebrate nothing!