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In and Around Morningside-Skyline 
By Mary McHale 301-735-3451


Fall is here!  Time to make a Contest-worthy Gingerbread House!

Darnall’s Chance House Museum has announced that their 21st Annual Gingerbread House Contest is going virtual:  “Yes, that’s right—nothing can stop Darnall’s Chance House from hosting our annual competition!”

There will be a few changes, but for the most part, the show will be organized in the usual way.

• Contestants will still make entries and deliver them to the Museum.

• Judges will award 1st, 2nd and 3rd place in each of the three categories (Adult/ Family/Child) and prize money will be awarded.

• Voting for the Viewer’s Choice Awards will be conducted online.

• Entry drop-offs will be scheduled: November 29 & 30 and December 1 & 2.

• Online show dates, December 9–18.

In a few weeks they’ll email the 2020 rules and entry form.  For questions, call 301-952-8010.  Darnall’s Chance Museum is at 14800 Governor Oden Bowie Drive, on a hill overlooking Schoolhouse Pond in Upper Marlboro.

The way I figure: some of us are homebound.  Kids, too.  What better time to start thinking about competing in the contest; create a gingerbread house, store, castle, yacht, whatever.  One year my great-grandchildren, Mary and Wesley, participated.  Maybe you or your child or grandchild might give it a try. 


Neighbors & other good people

Judge Vincent Femia, 83, a retired Prince George’s Circuit Court judge who was also a prosecutor in a legal career spanning more than half a century, died June 28 at his home in Accokeek.  He continued to hear cases occasionally until 2019.

Seat Pleasant Mayor Eugene Grant has won a fifth term in a town election held Sept. 14, narrowly defeating former city employee Gigi Riley.

Former Morningside Councilwoman Carol (Kline) DeGraba has gone back to work as a school nurse at St. Raphael School, which has resumed in-person learning. She emailed, “I am there to help the other full time nurse while we are still dealing with Covid.  We are praying that all goes well so we can keep the school open.  The kids are so happy to be back in person, even if they have to wear masks and social distance.”  Carol, by the way, is the daughter of one of my favorite people, the late Martha Kline, who lived on Marianne Drive in Morningside and always read my column.

Last week in Milestones, I wished Ken and Janet Kay a happy 66th anniversary.   Julie emailed that the Kayes had moved to Virginia.  Ken Kaye (with an “e”) had been an oceanographer for Navy Oceanographic.  He died in 2018.


From the Nextdoor Town of Morningside website

Calvin Savoy:  “I’ve been in the neighborhood for almost nine months now and I couldn’t be happier.   Quiet, friendly, welcoming neighborhood.”

Tracy Press:  “I let my turtle out to play in my yard near the corner of Randolph and Suitland Road, and lost sight of him. He is a brownish/greenish red-eared slider with a yellow under-shell. He camouflages into the grass pretty easily. If you should see him pop up in your yard, please email me at”


Election 2020

Kenneth F. Harris II is running for the County Board Of Education from my district.  He graduated from Prince George’s Schools, has a B.S from UMBC and an M.S. from Johns Hopkins.   If he wins, he plans to push for rebuilding Suitland High School and reopening Forestville Military School.  I want him to reopen Skyline School. 

In District 8, an official Ballot Drop-Off box is located at the Southern Regional Technology & Recreational Complex, 7007 Bock Road, in Fort Washington.

In Prince George’s County, each of the 40 or so ballot drop boxes will be monitored by a 24/7 security camera as well as a person from the sheriff’s office, police department or Department of Parks and Recreation, says Daneen Banks, deputy administrator of the Board of Elections.

Changing landscape

The Fish Market in Clinton is open.  It shut down because of protests over a racist remark by the owner.  His wife apologized and asked forgiveness.  She said her husband has mental issues and that his name has been removed from ownership.  She hoped customers will return.  I noted several cars in the parking lot last weekend.

A new Starbucks is under construction at the corner of Pennsylvania Avenue and Donnell Drive, across from JC Penney and Royal Farms.

An “Advance Auto Parts Coming Soon” sign has gone up on the Allentown Andrews development on Allentown Road at Branch Avenue.

I always check The Washington Post for home sales.  The Sept. 17 edition lists four houses sold in Morningside: 4510 Allies Road, 4703 Beauford Road, 4305 Maple Road and 6625 Pine Grove Drive.  Prices ranged from $239,900 to $325,000.


Lillie Gerald dies at 98½

Lillie Gerald, of Suitland, died Sept. 10.  She was preceded in death by her parents, Giles and Olive Shipman, and her ten siblings.

She graduated from Clarkton HS in North Carolina and attended Fayetteville State University in North Carolina and Howard University in Washington.  She was a teacher for several years, enjoyed reading, writing poetry and listening to classical music.  She was a member of St. Philip’s Sodality.

Mass of Christian Burial was celebrated at St. Philip’s with burial at Fort Lincoln Cemetery.



Happy birthday to Alice Lucke and Judy Hansel Waby, Sept. 27;  Marshall Carson and Tim Ward, Sept. 28; my brother Tom Mudd and former Morningside Town Clerk Janice Diggs, Sept. 29; Peggy Nanney and Jessica (Williams) Proctor, Sept. 30; Jasmine Wade, Nola Thomas and my grandson Sam Mudd, Oct. 2.

Happy 57th anniversary to André and Cynthia Jordan on Sept. 28.

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By Audrey Johnson 301-922-5384


Parent Distance Learning Etiquette.  The PGCPS Technology Training Team has compiled best practices to help parents and guardians be good partners in education during distance learning.  Be mindful that the online classroom is in fact a classroom and not the appropriate time to engage or add comments during the teachers’ instructional time with the class.  Remember that school is a safe space for students to demonstrate their understanding, so teachers can identify areas of weakness to differentiate instruction to strengthen student’s skill set.

Communication:  schedule an appointment to discuss your child’s progress with his/her teacher.  Do not interrupt, engage, or interact with the teacher during live instruction.  Remember, schedule an appointment to talk to the teacher.  Recording instructional sessions without permission is prohibited.  Assist your child with their work as needed, but do not complete or supply answers.  Treat teachers with respect, in email, or any other communication.

When sending an email to teachers and school staff use a descriptive subject line.  Be clear about the issue you would like addressed and desired outcome.  Include your child’s full name and your name and contact information.  Kindly allow a 48-hour response time to parent emails.  Information from INSIDE PGCPS.


Office of Alumni Engagement “Live at 5” Facebook Chat (WE’RE BACK).  Join the virtual conversation every Wednesday at 5 p.m. on the BSU Office of Alumni Engagement Facebook Page.  In case you missed Facebook Chat Wednesday September 9, 2020 the first guest in our Fall Edition of Live at 5 was Cindy Jackson BSU Class of 1985.  Cindy is the immediate Past President of the Bowie Metropolitan Alumni Chapter (BMAC) and this year’s Chairwoman of the BSU Virtual Bike Tour.

U.S. CENSUS 2020

Deadline to Self-Respond is Wednesday, September 30.  Census data and funding will be more important than ever to help communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.  Call 1-844-330-2020 or visit My 2020  Must be completed online or by phone by 11:50 p.m. EST or postmarked on or before September 30.


PGCMLS is honored to support students, families, and educators this fall with online learning resources. Visit for access to resources for elementary, middle, and high school students.  Visit for access to resources for elementary, middle, and high school students. #VirtualSchool#PGCPSProudPrinceGeorges’sCountyPublicSchools. 

SALUTE TO Pomonkey High School Alumni Association (PHSAA) ALUMNI DAY

Alumni Day was cancelled this year for the first time ever.  But we are asking you to join us in celebrating a “Stay at Home” Alumni Day.  If you have not paused already to remember Alumni Day, pause for 5 minutes Saturday, September 26 between:  1 p.m. and 5 p.m.  Sit in a quiet area, think of what you were doing at last year’s Alumni Celebration.  Maybe you were spending time talking with classmates, enjoying talking with fellow alumni you hadn’t seen for a while, cheering for the “Roll Call” of classes, enjoying a chicken dinner or a sausage sandwich, laughing at the cake auction, part of a line dance, buying your 50/50 raffle ticket, enjoying the entertainment, listening attentively to Philip Thomas, our PHSAA, Inc.  President’s update on the state of the restoration and organization.

After your five minutes of remembrance, toast to our alma mater and vow to continue our support of the restoration project and plan to attend Alumni Day 2021.

With heartfelt sympathy the Association would like to extend condolences to the families of William “Bud” Thomas (Class of ‘39), Margie Posey (Class of ‘53), Everdene Jordan (Class of ‘55), Deloris Marbray (Class of ‘57).

Congratulations to 2020 Scholarship recipients Oliva Johnson, granddaughter of Juanita (Roy) Johnson who will be attending University of Chicago, Illinois.  Cameran Thompson, great-granddaughter of Paul Thompson who will be attending Stevenson University, Owings Mills, Maryland. Best wishes for a remarkably successful school year.  Information from PHSAA Newsletter.


Happy Birthday to Jane Perry, Osayi Omoregbe, Chidinma Mbakwe, Nancy Curtis, Mariama Davies, Ronal Jones, Pam Stahl, Donna Cain, Norman Noel, Alexis Proctor, Elijah P Knight, Kirk Samuel, Beonie Pearson, Idena Thomas, Karen Taylor, Curt Falby, Annie Cokes, James, IV  Dorsett, Kizzy Savoy, Umaru Davies, Rebecca Mosley and Paul Jeffrey Kerrick who are Clinton United Methodist Church members celebrating birthdays in September.



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