May 21 - May 27, 2015

 2015 Tax Sale Listings


 

  

Fire Department Provides In-Depth Look at Rescue Training

 

By Brian Marron
Capital News Service

BOWIE — Blinded by smoke and surrounded by Darth Vader-like breathing noises, reporters stepped into the boots of firefighters Wednesday with the Prince George's County Fire/Emergency Medical Services Department.

Donned in authentic fire protection gear, from the overalls to the helmet, media members followed county firefighters as they embarked on training and rescue drills at the vacant Market Place Mall in Bowie.

The training consisted of two drills, each with the same objective of entering and clearing a burning building, putting out the fire and rescuing possible victims trapped inside. The building was filled with thick, non-toxic smoke that made seeing one’s own hands nearly impossible.

Some reporters were camped inside the building with thermal imaging cameras to watch the action while others helped lay out, unravel and guide the hose toward the simulated fire.

From the heavy smoke to the mannequin weighing up to 185 pounds to portray victims, the drills simulated the most realistic conditions possible -- minus the extreme heat associated with actual fires, according to Battalion 1 Chief Christian Wargo.

While some firefighters certainly take advantage of technology like thermal cameras, Wargo emphasized that the drills also help responders heighten their senses, which is what they primarily rely on when working through such conditions.

“All they’re using is their feel, their hearing and their communication with each other,” said Wargo, who is also the project manager for the Market Place train-ing exercises. 

Berman Enterprises, a Rockville real estate agency, purchased the Market Place mall property in 2013. It is scheduled to be demolished and turned into a residential shopping complex at a to-be-determined time. In the meantime, the fire department has been using the property for training for the past few months, according to Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor.

Bashoor addressed the small crowd of fire personnel and press to express the department’s appreciation to be able to use the building as a training site.

“It’s been a long time since we’ve had this opportunity and we appreciate Berman Enterprises for working with us to make this facility available to use,” said Bashoor.

The department’s time at Market Place is set to expire Thursday, however there is a possibility for further use depending on how the demolition schedule is determined, according to the department spokesman Mark Brady.

Training will then move to local departments’ facilities and at the county’s fire academy in Cheltenham


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Maryland History Day Winners to Compete at National History Day
68 Students Advance; 82 Receive Special Awards

 

By Press Officer
MHC

(Baltimore) — More than 600 talented middle and high students, along with their proud parents and teachers, converged on the campus of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County on Saturday, May 2, 2015 to compete in the annual Maryland History Day state contest. Representing 10 counties and Baltimore City, 68 students were selected to advance to the National History Day competition.  Additionally, 82 students won special awards at the contest.

A program of the Maryland Humanities Council (MHC) now in its 15th year, the statewide competition involves nearly 23,000 students at the school level, representing 18 counties and Baltimore City.  Students research topics that address the National History Day theme and participate in school and county competitions to qualify for the state contest. The 2015 theme is Leadership and Legacy.

Winners were chosen at their district level for both individual and group efforts from five different categories—research papers, exhibits, performances, websites, and documentaries. First and second place winners will represent Maryland at the Kenneth E. Behring National History Day competition June 14–18, 2015 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  Students from Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Calvert, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Frederick, Montgomery, and Prince Georges counties and Baltimore City will represent Maryland at the national contest.

Prince Georges County Results Projects Advancing to National History Day:

Students: Aaliyah Beckles, Maya McAfee

Topic: Helen Keller: A Fight for a World Without Sound and Sight

Category: Exhibit

School: Accokeek Academy

County: Prince Georges County

Teacher: Nina Huff

Student: Lydia Waring

Topic: Mother Jones

Category: Documentary

School: Accokeek Academy

County: Prince Georges County

Teacher: Nina Huff

Special Prize Winners:

SPECIAL PRIZE IN AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY, sponsored by the Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture:

Student: Kyra Greenfield, Catherine Mbuashu Ndip

Topic: Fannie Lou Hamer:

A Passion for Voting

Category: Exhibit

School: Greenbelt Middle School

County: Prince Georges County

Teacher: Christina Doepel

THE JUDGES JAMES AND CONSTANTINE KIT SFEKAS AWARD FOR LAW AND SOCIETY, sponsored by Honorable Stephen J. and Dr. Elizabeth Sfekas:

Student: Kaylee Guadron

Topic: The First Empress

Category: Website

School: Northwestern High School

County: Prince Georges County

Teacher: Jessy Feinberg

SPECIAL PRIZE IN MILITARY HISTORY, sponsored by the Historical Miniatures Gaming Society:

Students: Calder Baldwin-Bott,

Elias Herrera, Chima Nwaogbe

Topic: General Patton: Ol Blood and Guts

Category: Documentary

School: Greenbelt Middle School

County: Prince Georges County

Teacher: Victoria Patch

The regions teachers were also recognized for their excellence in education: Jessy Feinberg, of Northwestern High School in Prince Georges County was presented with a District Teacher Award.

A complete list of advancers, special prize winners, and teacher awards is available at www.mdhc.org. Maryland History Day is made possible with generous support from the Maryland State Department of Education, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and The Abell Foundation. Columbia Gas of Maryland, Whiting-Turner, and Ziger/Snead Architects sponsored specific award categories.


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County Council Urges Governor Hogan to Release $20 Million Slated for County Schools

  

By Press Officer
PG County Government

In a joint letter to Maryland Governor Larry Hogan, the Prince Georges County Council and County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III, strongly urge the Governor to release $20 million in FY 2016 state-appropriated funds supporting Prince Georges Countys 125,000 public school students.

The crucial school funding, which received overwhelming bipartisan support in both houses of the General Assembly during the 2015 legislative session, will not require any tax or fee increases, and is solely dedicated to education spending.

Council Chairman Mel Franklin says continuing to withhold the funding will have consequences. The failure to release $68 million in Geographical Cost of Education Index (GCEI) funds, set aside by the General Assembly in the state budget to support Marylands costliest school systems, will result in significant cuts in desperately needed programs for our school children and increased taxes on working families.

The joint letter to Governor Hogan also addresses the release of $15 million in approved operating funds for the Dimensions Healthcare system as part of the implementation of the new Regional Medical Center, and the need for forward movement on the Purple Line.

We look forward to your positive determination on important budgetary and policy decisions relative to the Countys priorities that will continue the prosperity and growth of Prince Georges County and therefore the State.

Stressing that Prince George’s County is well positioned as an economic engine in Maryland, the letter references the County’s 2015 Legislative Agenda focusing primarily on safeguarding the County’s budget priorities; specifically, securing previously committed State funding for the Regional Medical Center, protecting critical K-12 funding including the GCEI and school construction dollars, protecting transportation projects like the Purple Line that provide infrastructure investments and spur economic development by expanding the commercial tax base.


 

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George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III Delivers 5th “State of the Economy” Address to Business Leaders
County Executive Baker’s speech, “Investing in Education: The Time is Now!” focuses on importance of investing in PGCPS in order to grow County's economy.


By Press Officer
PGCPS

Upper Marlboro, MD - Prince Georges County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III delivered his 5th State of the Economy address entitled Investing in Education: The Time is Now! to business leaders during a breakfast hosted by the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation and the Greater Prince George's Business Roundtable held at the Colony South Hotel & Convention Center in Clinton, MD.  To watch the speech, please click here.  Residents are also encouraged to visit the Investing in Education Homepage on the Prince Georges County website to learn more about this investment. 

Investing in the Prince Georges County Public Schools is what we must do to change our trajectory, said County Executive Baker.  If we dont take ownership for investing in our childrens success, who will?  If we want to improve property values and bring more businesses here, this is what we must do. If we want to grow and expand our commercial tax base, this is what we must do. If we want to be the new economic engine of the State, this is what we must do. And if we want the best for our children and the families of Prince Georges County, this is what we must do. Our County is moving in the right direction.  But we must embrace this challenge and lay the foundation for your children and this County for generations to come.

As a follow-up to todays State of the Economy address, tomorrow, County Executive Baker will participate in the groundbreaking for a new Dave and Buster's Restaurant moving to Prince George's County which will be located at Ritchie Station Marketplace in Capitol Heights, MD at 10:30 a.m. and will be visiting Eleanor Roosevelt High School at 12:00 p.m. for the 31st Annual Science Fair and Research Practicum Symposium for STEM students.

Text of County Executive State of the Economy

Investing in Education: The Time is Now April 16, 2015

Good morning! It is another great day in Prince Georges County.  I want to say thank you to the EDC, and its Board of Directors. And the Greater Prince Georges Business Roundtable. I also want to say thank you for supporting so many of my administrations initiatives. I appreciate your commitment to making this County the best it can be.

President Barack Obama said, Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones weve been waiting for.  We are the change we seek. He is so right. And for the last 4 years, change has been this countys mantra and together, we have made great strides moving closer and closer to our destiny.

Today we can boast of having 2 of the 3 sites the GSA is considering for the new FBI headquarters. Last year we broke ground on the new Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.  Next month we will be cutting the ribbon to celebrate the opening of the first state government agency in Prince Georges County. A project that is jumpstarting development in New Carrollton.

In 4 years we've reduced crime 36%, and we are down 21% from last year. We have shown that our ability to continue to reduce crime is no fluke. Through programs like our Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative (TNI), we are proving that by working with communities to solve problems in a holistic manner we can make a difference. The TNI model has proven to be sustainable and effective.

We have reduced crime, which is helping to bolster our housing market.  Housing sales and property values are improving and we expect them to get better.  We are bringing in new development and we continue to chalk up wins like our first Whole Foods, Dave and Busters, Harris Teeter, as well as new hotels.  Companies like Bozzuto and Thompson Creek Windows electing to stay in the County and expand their operations.  Our major development projects are moving forward and we continue to tout $6 billion dollars in development projects that are working their way through the pipeline, ranging from our $650 million Regional Medical Center to the $1.2 billion, MGM Destination Resort Casino.

But in order for us to continue this unprecedented growth, we must be BOLD, INNOVATIVE and WILLING to take aggressive measures that will ensure our economic future. This is why we made some hard decisions in the FY 2016 proposed budget. No longer could we dip into our reserves to resolve revenue shortfall. In order to maintain our AAA bond rating, it was imperative that we propose cost cutting measures that will have longer term impact on our expenses.

So this years budget proposes employee furloughs and layoffs in order to balance the budget. In addition, we asked agencies to once again make needed cuts. However, there are two areas we did not cut: Education and Public Safety. These are two key areas that define any jurisdiction.

We have turned around crime and brought in major economic development, but the one area that continues to be our Achilles heel is the perceived quality of our public school system. While we have made some important changes that have led to improvements both in how our schools are run and how our children perform, I am not satisfied with where we are at this point.  Without a strong school system, our property values will continue to lag which will handicap our ability to attract more business and commerce to the County.

It is why we must do what our neighbors have done-- the District, Arlington, Fairfax, and Montgomery counties --- to attract people and businesses. They demonstrated their commitment to education by investing in their schools and their students. These are our competitors! This is a very wealthy region. 7 of the nations top 13 richest counties are all around us and we are competing with them for residents, businesses and retail. We cannot lose sight of the fact that elevating our schools is paramount to our future success--it is an economic necessity.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said, Over the long term, the only way we're going to raise wages, grow the economy, and improve American competitiveness is by investing in our people - especially their education.

Improving the quality of our schools is the key to helping us accelerate our recovery from the recession.  Without a strong school system, young families in D.C. or the surrounding area think twice about moving here. Without a strong school system, it will be far more difficult for us to be the economic engine for the State of Maryland.

Our children and our schools are important and we cannot continue to kick their futuresour futuredown the road like an old can.  I will not stand idly by and let us marginalize ourselves or our children. If we want to have one of the top schools systems in the state, we have to invest in them. We must believe that we can make it happen. We must believe within our hearts and souls that our schools can move into top ten by 2020.

Every day, real estate agents are trying to sell houses in the County and their clients are asking, So how are the schools in this neighborhood?  I want the answer to be The schools are excellent.  When your businesses are looking for strong candidates to fill jobs, you should not have to look any further than Prince Georges County, because they are college and career ready. When our Economic Development team recruits corporations that are looking to move their headquarters here or open an office; we must be able to proudly say, Our schools are great! A strong school system will create greater demand for office space and homes. Education is Everyones Business, and today, we ALL must realize that we have to make our schools our top priority. And that means increasing our investment in our children.

There has been a perception that our schools are not well-run and that my budget proposal to invest more in our schools is just throwing good money after bad. With the changes we made in the leadership of our schools, we are in a much better position to take on this very challenging task of catapulting our schools from the bottom to the top. You see, I understand that voters and business people like you are looking at several key factors before you support a project or initiative. I knew we had to show people that things have changed and our schools are worth investing in.

Two years ago, we revamped and strengthened our school board and added, new members who brought extensive experience and education in business, higher education, finance and teacher quality. We hired one of the nations top superintendents, Dr. Maxwell, who is a son of Prince Georges County and who has worked in 3 school districts in the state of Maryland.  We changed the name of his position from superintendent to CEO.  Why?  Because our schools are a major enterprise with a huge budget and countless assets.  I wanted a leader who not only understood how to educate children, but also understood the business of running a school system.

So for the past two years, Dr. Maxwell, his leadership team and the Board, have been assessing the state of our schools.  They have implemented programs and initiatives that have helped us make progress.  Elevating our teaching expertise and now Prince Georges County has the third highest number of National Board certified teachers in Maryland.  Implemented cost saving measures that have led to over $70 million in savings. Enrollment is up and continues to rise.  We had a historic improvement in graduation rates last year and 9th grade promotions are up significantly.

But to really move the needle and position us among the top ten school districts in the state,

I knew it would require us to make a significant investment. In the first year, this plan will require an investment of $133 million.  An investment that will impact All schools across the County.

We are investing in programs such as:

• College & Career Readiness- $3 million

• Digital Literacy - $6 million

• Universal Pre-K - $2 million

• Retention Pay of Education - $20 million

• Family and Community Engagement - $1 million

This is a significant increase, but it is an investment we must make to secure our future.   It is the level of investment that our neighbors have been making for decades.

When comparing ourselves to our neighbors in Montgomery, Fairfax, Alexandria or Howard County, our local contribution to the total amount of money spent on education is the lowest percentage in the region. In fact, we contribute about 36% in County funds and the state contributes 57%. And Montgomery County contributes 66% locally and the state contributes 27%. The percentages are similar throughout the region.

The fact of the matter iswe have been limiting our improvement for far too long and this is our opportunity to change the course of things.  It is time to make the investments that will take us out of the economic policies of the 1970s and 80s and do what we must to do to position us for prosperity in the future.  For 15 cents more we can dramatically change our schools.  For businesses, we are asking you to make a significant investment as well. You too will contribute to this investment through property, personal property and telecommunication taxes.

Look, I understand that no one wants to pay more in taxes. I dont either.  But this is what we must do to change our trajectory.  If we dont take ownership for investing in our childrens success, who will? If we want to improve property values and bring more businesses here, this is what we must do. If we want to grow and expand our commercial tax base, this is what we must do. If we want to be the new economic engine of the State, this is what we must do. And if we want the best for our children and the families of Prince Georges County, this is what we must do.

Every year at my budget hearings the most common request is for more money to: expand academic programs, reduce classroom size, improve facilities; and provide all day pre-k. We cant keep talking about having better schools...but run and hide when the bill is due.  Do you know what the most asked question that I have heard in my 20 years of public service to this County? What are we going to do about our schools? My friends, it's time for us to put up... or forever hold our peace. We either want the best schools or we don't. It is just that simple!

This is our moment Now is the time. Will it be easy? Absolutely NOT! But I am confident we can through sacrifice, we will be successful. And with an unprecedented level of development projects on tap. A decreasing crime rate. An improving healthcare system with the new Regional Medical Center. And one of the top superintendents in the nation leading our school system.  Our County is moving in the right direction.  But we must embrace this challenge and lay the foundation for your children and this County for generations to come.

Remember, “Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time.  We are the ones we’ve been waiting for.  We are the change we seek.”  This investment is about change.  Dramatic Change! It is about us believing in schools and our children.  I refuse to give up on us. But more importantly, I refuse to give up on the children of Prince George’s County."


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Patuxent River Park and Clearwater Nature Center Certified as Maryland Green Centers

By Nate Rabner
Capital News Service

GREENBELT, MD – Patuxent River Park and Clearwater Nature Center, both Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation sites, were recognized by the Maryland Association of Environmental and Outdoor Education (MAEOE) as 2015 Maryland Green Centers.

Patuxent River Park was recertified while Clearwater Nature Center received first-time certification.

Maryland Green Centers partner with local schools modelling sustainable school practices, providing resources and forming partnerships that positively impact students, teachers and the community.

“This recognition reiterates our endeavor to be a leader in sustainability efforts in the County,” said Kyle Lowe, Acting Division Chief of the Natural and Historic Resources Division. “Part of the mission of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission is to educate the public on the importance of the environment and to preserve green space for future generations. The staffs at Patuxent River Park and Clearwater Nature Center are setting an exceptional example in these areas with their amazing public program offerings and beautiful sites.”

Patuxent River Park utilizes rain barrels, rain gardens, energy conservation products, a recycling program, habitat restoration and nesting boxes to enhance the environment and to provide an example of being “green” to the community.

The top projects that Patuxent River Park uses to promote green practices are: its Teacher Watershed Workshop; an American Indian village, which was built by student volunteers; developing new programs; organizing river cleanups and by offering citizen science opportunities.

At Clearwater Nature Center, staff uses its school-based programs to teach that nature can be found in all settings. They show visitors how to support green initiatives by teaching how to garden with native plants, by providing shelter for wildlife and by discouraging invasive species.

Clearwater’s top accomplishments are: educating on plastic pollution and food waste issues; improving the campfire circle so it can be used as an outdoor classroom; removing exotic invasive plants while expanding the native plant gardens; developing a series of natural craft programs and using the Green Center application to rethink and improve the center’s curriculum-based program offerings for schools.

There are currently 41 Maryland Green Centers and more than 481 Maryland Green Schools. The Maryland Green Schools program is nationally recognized as having significant impact with students and schools. The program encourages educational opportunities for preK-12 schools that increase awareness and understanding of environmental interrelationships that impact public health and our society, and that promote responsible environmental stewardship practices. The program is aligned with Chesapeake Bay Watershed Agreement 2014 goals and supports Maryland State Department of Education graduation requirements and standards.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

 

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