Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Mount Rainier Nature Center Rain Garden

On Saturday November 5, 2011, the Prince George's County / Northwest Branch Watershed Stewards came together to install a raingarden project at our own Mount Rainier Nature Center.  This group of watershed stewards - Mount Rainier residents MaryLee Haughwout and Aaron Page, plus Bladensburg resident Chris Moore - are graduates of the first class of the National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy.

The National Capital Region Watershed Stewards Academy is a program of several regional environmental groups (including the organization I work for, Anacostia Watershed Society) aimed at developing insight and skills in community leaders to help raise awareness about and address watershed issues.  You can read their info sheet on the project after the jump, but I clipped the basics below:
What is a Rain Garden?
Rain gardens capture runoff and pollution from roads, parking lots and roofs and allow stormwater to slowly soak into the ground. Rain gardens use special sandy soils to promote water infiltration and feature deep- rooted native plants adapted to dry and wet conditions. In addition, rain gardens filter the toxins and oil and gas that are especially common in the first inch of rainwater that washes over polluted surfaces, like roads. Because rain gardens are planted with native plants, wildlife habitat is enhanced attracting beneficial birds, butterflies and insects.

The Project
The Mt. Rainier Nature Center rain garden is a capstone project for three Prince George’s County residents in efforts to reduce stormwater and pollution from entering the Northwest Branch and Anacostia River, with the aim of improving the health of these waterways. This project will promote ground water recharge in the Anacostia watershed while acting as a demonstration project and educational resource at the Mt. Rainier Nature Center.
All photos courtesy Jorge A. Mera from www.NewWhiteScreen.com
Volunteers plant water loving native plants in the rain garden

Friday, October 28, 2011

Welcome Shortcake Bakery!

Just wanted to let everyone know that Shortcake Bakery has opened in the former Rhode Island Red's space on Route 1 at the Northwest Branch trail (4700 Rhode Island Ave, Hyattsville, MD, 20781).

The bakery is run by the friendly (and talented) Cheryl, wife of former Senator David Harrington.  In fact, when I stopped in yesterday Senator Harrington was manning the register and put on a fresh pot of coffee for me.  Service with a smile!

Right now they are in a "soft open" phase and gradually expanding menu offerings and hours.  I can report that the scones, cookies, and Nantucket cranberry cake are excellent.  Today they will start serving the Red's style thin crust pizzas for lunch and bread is coming next week.  I believe the current hours are 6am - 5:30pm on weekdays but that definitely seems to be evolving.

I am very excited that our (greater) neighborhood now has a spot to get coffee and breakfast - perfect for those morning meetings!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Free Drug Take Back Program

This program is a great way to keep unwanted prescription drugs away from children and other potentially vulnerable persons.  It is also unsafe to flush medicines down your toilet because wastewater treatment plants are not designed to remove such chemicals, so pharmaceuticals end up in places like the Anacostia River and ultimately in our drinking water supplies.  I applaud MRPD for leading an effort that is good for our citizens and good for our environment!

City of Mount Rainier and the Mount Rainier Police Department Taking Back Unwanted Drugs
October 29th, 2011 at the Mount Rainier Police Department and Rainier Manor Retirement Center.

Mount Rainier, Maryland – On October 29 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. the Mount Rainier Police Department and the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will give the public another opportunity to prevent pill abuse and theft by ridding their homes of potentially dangerous expired, unused, and unwanted prescription drugs.  Bring your medications for disposal to the Mount Rainier Police Department located at 3249 Rhode Island Avenue and Rainier Manor Retirement Center at 3001 Queen’s Chapel Road.  The service is free and anonymous, no questions asked.

This initiative addresses a vital public safety and public health issue.  Medicines that languish in home cabinets are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high, as are the number of accidental poisonings and overdoses due to these drugs.  Studies show that a majority of abused prescription drugs are obtained from family and friends, including from the home medicine cabinet. In addition, Americans are now advised that their usual methods for disposing of unused medicines—flushing them down the toilet or throwing them in the trash—both pose potential safety and health hazards.

Four days after last fall’s event, Congress passed the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010, which amends the Controlled Substances Act to allow an “ultimate user” of controlled substance medications to dispose of them by delivering them to entities authorized by the Attorney General to accept them.  The Act also allows the Attorney General to authorize long term care facilities to dispose of their residents’ controlled substances in certain instances.  DEA has begun drafting regulations to implement the Act.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Business Member Needed for Town Center Committee

This committee is important to implementation of our new Mixed Use Town Center Plan.  I am a member of the committee - we meet once a month (when there is an application) to consider signage and renovation plans for businesses in the town center.  In this way we can encourage a common "look and feel" to our business frontages, helping to tie together the whole commercial district.

City Seeks Business Member for Town Center Design Review Committee

The City is currently soliciting for one business member for the Town Center Design Review Committee.  The Committee is composed of 2 business members, 2 resident members and 2 municipal members and reviews all new development projects and exterior renovations in the Mixed-Use Town Center Zone.  This Zone extends along Rhode Island Avenue from the City limits into the 3400 block and along 34th Street from the 3700 block into the 4000 blocks and includes part of Bunker Hill.  Each Committee member will be given a copy of the Mount Rainier Town Center Development Plan. This plan contains the design guidelines which the Committee uses to review applications.

Business and/or property owner members
must own either a business or property within the Mixed-Use Town Center Zone or the City.  The City would again be looking for members who have a sense of fairness in reviewing applications and who are interested in the on-going revitalization of the downtown business area.  Committee members should be willing to help encourage appropriate building alterations and signage among business and property owners and to help educate rather than regulate. Applications to be on the Committee are due to City Hall by November 11, 2011.  The final selection of committee members will be made by the Maryland National Capital Park & Planning Commission from the pool of applicants submitted by the City.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Mount Rainier Homes tour - Sunday October 23

Mount Rainier Hosts 2011 Homes Tour

MOUNT RAINIER, Maryland (October 13, 2011) – The Mount Rainier 2011 Homes Tour will take place from 1 to 5 pm on Sunday, October 23rd. Old is made new again in the small historic district that will showcase seven historic homes and beautiful gardens. This self-guided tour will begin at Joe's Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road.  There will be a $5 fee to cover the cost of expenses.

Homes featured on the tour include:
·        a house built by Italian masons with a hallmark 1920's mural
·        a Windsor model Sears Catalog home with original cedar siding, yellow pine floors and wood windows and
·        "Tall Cedars" - a renovated four square brought back from the brink and accompanied by a stunning garden.

Also on display will be the home of well known artist and Mount Rainier resident Alan Binstock.  "Opening my home for the tour is not only a way for me to give back to the community after receiving state and city historic tax credits that made the renovation possible, but hopefully will inspire potential home buyers to see that even a house that is in serious decay can become both a comfortable home for the owner and architectural asset for Mount Rainier," said former Mayor Bryan Knedler.

Though designed as a walking tour, shuttle bus service will be available at each stop for those unable to walk the route. Upon registering, guests will receive the tour brochure which will serve as a ticket to gain access to participating homes.
In 2010, the Mount Rainier Centennial Committee revived the local tradition and due to the overwhelming response decided to make the tour annual. "A lot of people from the community are renovating their homes.  Last year they really enjoyed getting out, meeting neighbors and getting tips on how to make their renovation process smoother," said Councilman Jimmy Tarlau, committee chair.

#         #          #

Mount Rainier is located 4 miles from downtown Washington D.C. and is a historic community that serves as the gateway from Prince George's County to Washington, D.C.  Designated as part of the Maryland Gateway Arts District, the city is fast becoming something a model village for artists, environmentalists, pacifists and multiculturalists who are drawn to the city's unique history, demography, style and charm.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Work Session & Special Meeting - Tuesday October 18

TUESDAY, OCTOBER 18, 2011, 7:00 PM

Bike coop request for a storage shed
Vacant Properties
Clean Currents Wind Power
Brentwood Snow Removal
CDBG Discussion
Strategic Plans
Approve Quit Claim Deed Rainier Manor Apartments
Legislative Proposal

Special Meeting Agenda Items

Resolution 18-2011 Appointing Dawn Barnes to Youth and Recreation Committee
Vote to approve letter to Board of License Commissioners for URBAN EATS CAFE
Vote to approve Clean Currents as an alternative energy provider

3200 block Rhode Island Ave: Street Sense Proposal

At a special meeting of the Mount Rainier City Council on Monday, October 17, 2011, Street Sense presented a concept development plan for the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue (the former Bass Liquors and funeral home properties currently owned by the city).

I personally believe that redeveloping this block, which is the front door of Mount Rainier, is absolutely vital to the economic health of our city.  Simply removing the blight would do wonders for first impressions of our great city, but increased tax base and retail spaces that serve our residents are also important project outcomes.
Proposed floor plan, ground floor of 3200 block Rhode Island Ave
Please keep in mind that the city council has not made any decisions at this point, and, in fact, another developer is due to present a proposal.   Note that Street Sense has indicated its willingness to negotiate many of the details contained in this proposal - a good sign for the true partnership that the city is looking for.  So please take a look at the basic concept and share your thoughts with me.

This is an issue I'll be tracking closely, and I know many of you are as interested as I am.  If you want to receive specific updates on the development process please email me and let me know, but I will do my best to keep this blog up to date as well.

Click through for the full plan

Monday, October 17, 2011

New Mixed Use Town Center Plan published

The new Mount Rainier Mixed Use Town Center Plan has been finalized, printed, and published!  Copies can be seen at the Mount Rainier Library and City Hall.  The report can also be viewed and/or downloaded on the web by clicking here: digital copy of Mount Rainier Mixed Use Town Center Plan

This plan is an important piece of the puzzle for revitalizing our historic commercial district.
Map of Mount Rainier MUTC Zone

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Special Meeting: Monday, October 17 - Rhode Island Ave Redevelopment

On Monday, October 18, 2011, 8pm, at City Hall, the Mount Rainier City Council will hold a special meeting to discuss redevelopment on the 3200 block of Rhode Island Ave.  We will be hearing a presentation from Street Sense regarding details of their proposed concept for Rhode Island Ave.

Neighbor Walk Sunday, 5:30pm - 32nd & Upshur

Please join the Mount Rainier Neighborhood Watch for our monthly visibility walk.  Dogs are welcome, and bring bags if you like to pick up trash as we walk.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Monster's Ball - Gateway CDC Fundraiser 10/29

The Monsters Ball

Gateway Community Development Corporation's Halloween Party Fundraiser.

The Gateway Arts Center
3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722

Saturday, October 29
8:00 pm 'til the wolves howl!

Ticket Levels

$10: 1 Free drink, food, COSTUME MANDATORY

$45: Free drinks, food, costume optional

$75: Free drinks, food, costume optional, plus $20 in raffle tickets for fabulous prizes

One entrance per ticket.


        DJ and Dancing- slamming, spooky beats.

        Evil Arts Laboratory- make and take adult art projects lead by Milkweed Studio.

        Joe's Zombie Dancers- reenacting Michael Jackson's "Thriller" video.
        Become a ZOMBIE dancer!

        Ghost Stories by Story League DC.

        Fire Tiki's. See pictures.

        Costume Contest, Raffle and Silent Auction. See prizes.

Purchase Your Ticket

Buy online now or pay by check by visiting the Gateway CDC office

Monday, October 3, 2011

Gateway CDC Membership Meeting - Saturday at Urban Eats

Gateway CDC Logo



Saturday October 8, 11am-1pm 
Come join your fellow Gateway CDC members at Urban Eats, on the traffic circle in Mount Rainier Saturday, October 8 from 11:00 am - 1:00 pm. 

Find out what's new at Gateway CDC and learn about ways to get involved in economic development in our community. You can renew your membership and be among the first to get your ticket to the Monster's Ball!
Stop in before your Saturday errands. Be sure to invite a friend.

Updated Agenda - October 4 Council Meeting

October 4, 2011
One Municipal Place
Mount Rainier, MD 20712

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance
Review and Approval of Agenda
Review and Approval of Minutes
Official Reports
  • Mayor 
  • Council 
  • City Manager 
  • Department Heads
General Public Comment (Limited to Three (3) minutes per person per subject matter)

New Business
Resolution 16-2011 Approving 2012 Community Legacy Application
Resolution 17-2011 Appointing Amber Coleman-Mortley to the Youth and Recreation Committee

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

CERT Training available Oct 1 & 2

Attention Mount Rainier!  In light of the plague of natural disasters we have suffered over the last few years (Snowmaggedon, earthquake, Hurricane Irene, Tropical Storm Lee) it would be great to have more of our neighbors go through the CERT program.

This weekend, October 1-2, 2011, Prince George's County Office of
Emergency Management ( OEM ) will be hosting a Community Emergency
Response Team (CERT) training.  DelMarVa Search and Rescue will be
teaching the class. The class will take place at the Prince George's
County Fire Services Building, it is located at 6820 Webster StreetLandover Hills, Md 20784. Registration is from 0800-0900 hours and classroom instruction is from 0900-1600 hours.

If you would like to take the CERT class, please feel free to
contact me by email at ksg2nd@comcast.net or by my cellular phone at

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Passing the Hat for Neighbors in Need

Passing the Hat for Neighbors in Need

As many Mount Rainier residents know, a few weeks ago there was a devastating fire on Otis Street that cost two families their homes - a total of 11 adults and 3 children are displaced.  Senior Ward 2 Council Member Ivy Thompson has taken the lead on organizing to help the families, and the two of us have formed a committee with neighbor Tyrese Robinson to facilitate "passing the hat" in the community so Mounties can donate to our neighbors in need.

The past two Saturdays money has been collected at the Mount Rainier Farmer's Market and we plan to make that available again this Saturday, September 17.  Also local businesses Glut, ZZ Pizza, and Nisey's Boutique, along with City Hall, have collection jars.  Tremendous thanks to them for being outstanding community members!

Passing The Hat: Busboys and Poets, Tuesday Sept. 20, 5PM-Close

Mark Your Calendars! Tuesday, Sept. 20 Busboys and Poets will join our efforts to Pass The Hat for our Neighbors in Need. They have graciously agreed to go against their normal protocol in order to help our community. On Tuesday, Sep. 20, they will donate 5% of money from FOOD AND DRINK sales toward out families.

Please Note: this is a community effort thus this offer is only valid at our local Busboys and Poets.
5331 Baltimore Ave.
Hyattsville, MD

Special thanks to neighbor Tyrese Robinson for really stepping up and making this happen!!

Anacostia Hours local currency info meeting 9/14

You are invited to…
“How to Use an Hour”  (an Anacostia Hour, that is…)
When:  Wednesday, September 14, 2011 – 7-9PM     
Where:  4104 32nd Street, Mount Rainier
Are you unsure what to do with those Anacostia Hours that are burning a hole in your pocket, or sitting in your cash register, or perhaps a kitchen drawer?  Are you thinking:  where did I put that directory of goods and services they gave me, when I signed up as a member? 
What:  Join the organizers of the Anacostia Hours local currency initiative on Wednesday, September 14, 2011, for a free and brief “inservice” training on how to make the most of your Hours, while boosting circulation of the currency and increasing benefits to community participants.   We will be hosting this event at 4104 32nd Street, Mount Rainier, from 7:00 – 9:00 PM.  All are welcome, members and non-members alike!  To accommodate those just getting back from work, we’ll begin the session with a pot luck supper offering.  Feel free to bring something to add to the potluck. 
This informal and interactive training will cover such topics as: 
  • using the Hours directory and website (www.anacostiahours.org)
  • initiating transactions
  • advertising your goods & services
  • keeping your membership current
  • getting change (smaller denomination Hours bills – or dollars and cents)
  • communicating with the Hours community
  • expanding the base of members, goods & services.
  • for storefront businesses, additional tips and guidance
To help us with planning, please RSVP to:  anacostiahours@yahoo.com  or
Nick Williams, nwilliams550@gmail.com, 443 722-0528

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Council Meeting, Tuesday 9/6/2011

September 6, 2011
One Municipal Place
7:00 PM 

Mayor and Council meetings are held every 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM at City Hall.

Call to Order and Pledge of Allegiance
Review and Approval of Agenda
Review and Approval of Minutes
Official Reports
  • Mayor 
  • Council 
  • City Manager 
  • Department Heads
General Public Comment (Limited to Three (3) minutes per person per subject matter)

New Business
Proclamation Designating September 2011 National Preparedness
Resolution 10-2011 appoint John Saunders to the City of Mount Rainier Ethics Commission
Resolution 11-2011 Approving Designated Areas for 2011 MainStreet Application
Resolution 12-2011 Approving Application for Tax Credit Joe’s Movement Emporium
Resolution 13-2011 Approving Application for Tax Credits for HIP Services, Inc.
Resolution 14-2011 Declaring city property surplus and disposing of police vehicles

Possible Funding for Irene Damage

Please contact City Hall (jwallace@mountrainiermd.org -  301-985-6583)  if you or someone you know suffered flooding in their basement as a result of Hurricane Irene.  It is a possibility that the homeowner may receive some assistance from FEMA.  Officials are slated to conduct an analysis starting next week on this matter.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Reasons to Love Mount Rainier

Monday morning started on a great note and I wanted to share the reason why with all my neighbors.

As I was driving up 34th Street, just south of Thomas Stone Elementary, I observed a man with a trash picker and a garbage bag picking up litter along the road.  I pulled up, rolled down my window, and thanked him for caring about the community.  Little things like this really mean a lot.

I love Mount Rainier because we have great neighbors!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Be Safe in the Heat!

The National Weather Service is predicting record breaking, triple digit heat through the weekend.  Please stay hydrated, stay out of the sun as much as possible, and please use Mount Rainier's cooling centers if your home is too warm.

Mount Rainier cooling centers:

Mount Rainier Police Department - 3249 Rhode Island Avenue
9-5 pm Monday-Friday

Mount Rainier Municipal Building - 3500 Perry Street
9-5pm Monday - Friday

Mount Rainier Nature Center - 4701 31st Place
5-8pm Tuesday-Saturday

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Art Openings Saturday, July 16

This Saturday, July 16 the Gateway Arts District will feature two terrific art openings - conveniently scheduled at 4pm and 7pm so you can attend both!  (If you haven't yet been to an art opening in the Gateway Arts District, I highly recommend it as a great way to see the amazing work being done in our community by our neighbors.  I haven't been to an opening yet that was stuffy or snobby, and generally there is free food and drinks!)

First, Mount Rainier residents Krista Schlyer  and Shahin Shikhaliyev are featured in a new group show in Gateway CDC's 39th Street Gallery at the Gateway Arts CenterMigrations: Perspectives on an elemental impulse features artistic perspectives on the theme Migrations, featuring photographer Krista Schlyer, painter Shahin Shikhaliyev, photographer Sonia Keiner, and digital artist Favianna Rodriguez.  Krista's contribution builds on the amazing work she started as the leader of ILCP's Borderlands project.  Gateway CDC showed some of the stunning Borderlands imagery at the EZ Storage studios during their first annual Art of Dessert fundraiser.  [Huffington Post story on the Borderlands project]
Possibly my favorite Borderlands image, though the nature & wildlife shots are stunning.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

EPIC Softball Game Today

The local area's finest pickup softball tradition rolled on today with an absolutely epic battle.  Mounties, Hyattsvillians, and Brooklanders took to the field for a full 9 innings of play that ended 19-15.

Men, woman, young, old, DC residents and Marylanders came together in the spirit of fun and fair play.  Please join us next time!  We try to play most Sundays, 4-6PM at Barnard Hill Park and will definitely play this coming Sunday, July 17.  This week we'll sent out another Doodle poll to gauge availability for the next several Sundays.  Please let me know if you want to be on the list!

Also possible are "travel games" where we head into DC to take on Brooklanders on their home turf, or challenge a non-profit's softball team.  We'll keep you posted on our old-fashioned barnstorming tour of local neighborhoods!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Softball Sundays! July 10 & 17, 4PM

Attention Mount Rainier,

After a break for the holiday, Mount Rainier pickup softball is back on with games this Sunday July 10 and next Sunday July 17.  I've played twice when we only had enough players for batting practice and even that was fun.  But for the next two Sundays we've had enough RSVPs that we expect to play games!  More info below from organizer Joe Robbins.

WHAT: Upcoming Softball games
WHEN: Sundays, July 10th and 17th, 2011 at 4:00pm
WHERE: Barnard Hill Park
WHY: Just because....

This is “pickup” softball at its finest...we’ve played a number of games so
far but are hoping that we can get "at least" 18-20 players for these two
Sundays in order to have “real” games! Here’s the way we’ve played so far:
five “swinging” strikes and you’re out, no stealing bases, co-ed and
intergenerational (if you can “try” to bat, catch and throw a softball as
well as run the bases you can play!)

If you have a glove please bring it along with snacks and
water. Bats and softballs provided. And if it threatens to rain or if a code
red is called for that day the games will be cancelled.

Barnard Hill Park is located at the corner of Eastern Avenue and Randolph
Road NE / Bunker Hill (in DC). Map is below:


Sunday, May 8, 2011

Council Meeting - May 3, 2011

May 3, 2011
City Council Meeting

Michael Gumpert of Gateway CDC appeared to address questions regarding the $5000 public art grant the city and Gateway are collaborating on.  City will write Mount Rainier a check for upfront cost of the project, to be reimbursed per the terms of the grant.  Funds will be used for the painting of the 34th and Bunker Hill intersection for Mount Rainier Day (5/21/2011), a project spearheaded by Mike Turner and a committee of volunteers.

Maxine Drakeford, Supervisor, City of Mount Rainier Board of Elections
, appeared to read the results of the May 2, 2011 election.

Ward 1
Jimmy Tarlau (4 year term) - 96 votes
Bill Updike (2 year term - special election) - 91 votes

Ward 2
Adrienne Charles - 46 votes
Brent Bolin (4 year term) - 112 votes

The Council passed a motion accepting these results.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Thank you Ward 2!

Thanks to all of my friends for the kind words and thanks to all of my supporters for your votes.  I am honored to represent ALL of Ward 2 and look forward to doing so.  Getting out and meeting more of my neighbors was the best part of the campaign.

Special thanks to Adrienne Charles who ran a vigorous and positive campaign.  She is a committed citizen of this city and we are lucky to have her.  We have worked together with the Environmental Protection Board and I look forward to continuing that.

Election article from The Gazette

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Candidate Q & A, The Gazette

The Gazette has an excellent election section that features a Q & A with each candidate, including yours truly.

Follow this link to see more of my thoughts on expanding our commercial tax base, helping our local businesses, revitalizing our town center, and furthering the city's efforts to go green.

Mount Rainier Candidate Q & A - The Gazette

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Candidate Night - Watch the Video

Thanks so much to the League of Women Voters for organizing the Mount Rainier Candidate Night this past Wednesday, April 20, 2011 and special thanks to the two dozen or so people who attended.  The audience asked several excellent questions and it is worth your time to watch the video on Mount Rainier Television (MRTV).

Mount Rainier Candidate Night - First Half

Mount Rainier Candidate Night - Second Half

Friday, April 15, 2011

Local Government Sustainability Conference

Thursday, April 14, I traveled with fellow Mount Rainier resident Nick Williams to the Local Government Sustainability Conference organized by my friends at Maryland Sierra Club with support from Maryland Department of Natural Resources and  ICLEI (local governments for sustainability network).  I work daily with "green" issues and sustainability for local communities but as a candidate for city council I wanted to learn more about specific local government initiatives that could be applied in Mount Rainier.  Conference agenda (PDF)

The conference was opened by my friend, Mayor Adam Ortiz of Edmonston, who I like to call "The Anacostia's Mayor."  The Northeast Branch of the Anacostia divides Edmonston in two, and the town has done much to be good stewards of the river.  After experiencing flooding four times in ten years the citizens of Edmonston realized that as a low-lying community along the river, they were bearing the brunt of generations of stormwater mismanagement.  Edmonston flooded not once from the river itself but rather flooded due to stormwater runoff from the roads, parking lots, and roofs of areas upstream that were developed without adequate stormwater management.
The Anacostia River appeals in the Edmonston seal

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

City Recycling Event Saturday 4/16

FYI  the City is holding a recycling event this Saturday.  At the council meeting Monday night I asked City Manager Jeannelle Wallace what would be accepted and she said, "Everything.  Electronics, even stuff that doesn't work."

So bring out your junk on Saturday for a little spring cleaning and keep inappropriate waste out of our county landfull.

City of Mount Rainier Recycling Event
When: April 16, 2011
Where: Public Works Garage
3715 Wells Avenue
Time: 9am to 1pm

For more information contact Ruth Sandy at 301-985-6583

Monday, April 11, 2011

Mayor and Council Meeting Tonight

Special work session on the budget, tonight 7PM at Mt. Rainier Town Hall.
Agenda (pdf)
Mount Rainier Proposed FY12 Budget (pdf)

Neighborhood Watch Walk

Since February, Mount Rainier's neighborhood watch program has really been revitalized.  Rick Ruggles and John Campanile hosted an organizing meeting February 27 and have been serving as coordinators of the growing effort.  The initial meeting was attended by over two dozen people from all over town, many of whom expressed interest in organizing their own blocks as part of the greater effort.
Thanks to MRPD for "walking" with us!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Better Block Project Was Awesome

On Saturday, April 9, 2011, the Better Block Project provided a vision of what our historic 34th Street business district could be - vibrant, beautiful, and the center of our community.  I thought it was very telling that even though it was a chilly day, tons of people were out and about on the street throughout the event (even eating at the outdoor cafe spaces!).  Saturday's turnout shows that there is a lot of pent up demand in our community and I think that the city is at a moment to take proactive steps to really make our town center thrive.

We have several great established businesses like Glut, Nisey's Boutique, and the super delicious Island Style Ice Cream.  Add in shows or classes at Joe's Movement Emporium and a meal at the wonderful new vegan bakery and cafe Sweet and Natural and you begin to realize that locals and visitors alike could spend a happy afternoon in our town center!  The problem is, no one is sharing this message with the world.

I think the city should work closely with the Mount Rainier Business Association (check out the MRBA welcome package) to promote our existing businesses and attract new investment to our town center.  A marketing plan for our existing businesses and for the historic business district as a whole would establish a sense of place and show the world what Mount Rainier has to offer.  Thousands of cars drive through town every day on Route 1 - imagine if we captured even a fraction of that traffic for a trip up 34th Street to our historic business district.

The excellent Mount Rainier, Maryland blog has great photos and videos from Better Block.

Stay tuned for more video of the Mount Rainier Better Block event

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Earth Day Cleanup of the Anacostia River

Saturday April 9 was the annual Earth Day cleanup sponsored by the organization I work for, Anacostia Watershed Society.  Each year we typically host about 2500 volunteers at around 25 sites all over the Anacostia watershed.  Months of planning was thrown into disarray Thursday and Friday as we prepared for a possible government shutdown, moving hundreds of volunteers from federal parkland.  Fortunately we have an extemely dedicated group of volunteers and there was a great turnout at the cleanup despite the changes and the cold damp weather.
The beautiful Anacostia River, April 7, 2011

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Certified Candidate!

Monday night the election judges certified my ballot petition and at last night's city council meeting my candidacy was made official!

Vote May 2, 2011, 7am - 7pm at 3405 Rhode Island Avenue (Star Potts Hall) between City Hall and the library.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Better Block Project

Sunday I participated in "Elbow Grease Weekend" for the Better Block Project in Mount Rainier, a collaborative community-driven project to invigorate our historic 34th Street business district.  The idea is to show the potential of the Mount Rainier Town Center by showing off our "Main Street" at its best for one day - a new coat of paint on old buildings, revitalized storefronts for existing businesses, and "pop-up" art and businesses in vacant storefronts.  I encourage everyone to come out on Saturday, April 9 from noon to 6pm at 34th St and Bunker Hill Road and support this kind of creative thinking about revitalizing our community.
Painting the Odd Even Thrift Shop at 34th and Rhode Island

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Candidate Statement

Mount Rainier residents are lucky to live in a place with such a great sense of community, where most of us not only know our neighbors but are actually friends with them.  Over the years we have lived here we’ve been welcomed by long-time residents, and we in turn have welcomed the young families that are moving in.  The city’s civic spirit caught me early on and I’ve been involved with things like the Mixed Use Town Center Plan, the Environmental Protection Board, and helping the city with grant applications.  With your support I would like to continue that engagement by serving in the Ward 2 council seat that is opening up due to Bryan Knedler's retirement.

I work at the Bladensburg-based non-profit Anacostia Watershed Society where, as Director of Advocacy, I work with local, county, and state elected officials to clean up the Anacostia River and its tributaries.  A big part of my job is advocating for high quality redevelopment in Prince George’s County communities, like Mt. Rainier, that were built out years ago and are struggling to find the right kind of reinvestment.  I believe in a triple bottom line approach - people, planet, profit - because in these tough economic times we must use our precious resources, whether tax dollars or clean water, more wisely.  I bring a background in public administration, law, and city management that I believe will be an asset to the council.  I am engaged in the future of the county through my membership in Leadership Prince George’s.

Over the last several years the city has accomplished great things.  With a new town center plan and city ownership of key properties, the time is right to complete the revitalization of our main street.  The economic health of our city - implementing the town center plan and retaining and attracting businesses - is my top priority.  I will also work to increase public safety in the town, cleaning up the town center so our businesses can thrive and making our homes safer through partnerships between police and neighborhood watch.  Finally I will focus on “green” initiatives such as the Mayor’s work with Sustainable Maryland and Councilmember Thompson’s vision of a comprehensive plan for our infrastructure budget.