hyattsville life & times june 2010

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June 2010 edition of monthly community newspaper


  • HyattsvilleLife&TimesJune 2010Hyattsvilles Community NewspaperVol. 7 No. 6

    Included: The June 9, 2010 Issue of The Hyattsville Reporter See Center Section





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    BUSBOYS & pOETS OWNER SpEAKS AT HL&T EVENTThe Hyattsville Life & Times celebrated its 6th birthday with a party, and Busboys & Poets owner Andy Shallal was the keynote speaker. PAGE 3


    FROM FOUR WHEELS TO TWOResidents trade car keys and Metro passes for bike trails during this year's Bike to Work Day. PAGE 9

    Hyattsville resident and Washingtonian food critic Todd Kliman talks about his new book, The Wild Vine. PAGE 5

    deaTHS continued on page 11

    by Paula Minaert

    The Hyattsville Police Department is facing accusations of wrongdoing in two separate instances. The ac-cusations involve racism, abuse by police offi cers, and attempting to cover up discrimination and abuse.

    At a June 1 press conference held outside police headquarters, one current and one retired Hyattsville police offi cer said that they were subjected to retaliation when they spoke out about alleged abuse and racial and sexual discrimination within the department. Accord-ing to published sources, retired Lt. Gary Blakes and Offi cer Barbara Smith each said that they had spoken out about an instance of abuse by city

    Accusations follow city police dept.

    by Susie Currie

    For most people, Memorial Day weekend marked the beginning of pool season. But for those wanting to dive into the newly renovated Hamilton Splash Park, it will be pushed back by nearly three weeks, to June 17.

    Still, the renovations promise to be worth the wait. The Magruder Park pool will have three slides, fl oating-animal play structures, a tipping bucket, lily-pad cross-ings, and an aqua climbing wall. Also, the wading pool will have new splash features and a shaded area.

    The public pool like all others run by the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission had been scheduled to open on May 29. As recently as May 18, that date was confi rmed in a press release from M-NCPPC media offi cer Craig Kellstrom.

    But on May 25, just four days before the scheduled opening, Kellstrom circulated a release with an opening

    Pool opening delayed

    by Alex Scarfone

    On May 30, three young men died of what appeared to be accidental carbon monoxide poisoning after using a gas-fueled generator to power their Hyattsville home.

    Mark Brady, a spokesman for the Prince Georges County Fire and Emergency Medical Services De-partment, identifi ed the victims as Elon Jones, 21, and brothers Edward Gonzalez, 20, and Henrry Gonzalez, 18 an unusual spelling confi rmed on two forms of his identifi cation.

    Hyattsville police received a call from Diana Pasig, Edwards girl-friend, at 9:05 a.m. from the Gon-zalez house, on 38th Avenue near Longfellow Street. She told them she had found the three men un-conscious when she went to drop off the couples 4-year-old son.

    Friends and family members said that the home was in foreclo-sure and had been without power since the previous Thursday, due to unpaid utility bills. The young men were apparently using the generator to power the air condi-tioner and small appliances.

    More than 20 police offi cers re-portedly responded to the call, as a crowd gathered in front of the modest brick home. Many sobbed as the covered stretchers came down the stairs, behind yellow police tape.

    Carbon monoxide kills three

    City will switch to wind powerby Kara Rose

    The City Council passed an amendment during its May 24 budget meeting for a three-year plan with energy broker Clean Currents, LLC. The plan would provide, through Washington Gas, 100 percent wind power energy for all city-owned proper-ties. The amendment is expected to pass during the fi nal voting process, scheduled for June 7. If it does, the project would take effect July 1 and last through June 30, 2013.

    The Bethesda brokerage fi rm which has worked with the cities

    enerGY continued on page 10POOl continued on page 10

    POlIce continued on page 10

    photo by kara roseHamilton Splash Park was still under construction on May 29 the date it was supposed to open.


    photo by catie currieMandy the Clown delighted children with her balloon creations at the Third Annual Hyattsville Arts Festival on May 22. More pictures on page 11.

  • Page 2 Hyattsville Life & Times | June 2010

    a community newspaper chronicling the

    life and times of Hyattsville

    Mailing address: PO Box 132, Hyattsville, Md 20781

    Hyattsville Life & Times is published monthly by Hyattsville Community Newspaper, Inc., a 501c(3) nonpro t cor-poration. Interested reporters should send their e-mail addresses to the editor to be reminded of deadlines and re-ceive internal news. Articles and news submitted may be edited. The dead-line is the last week of the month for the following months issue. Letters to the editor and opinions are encour-aged. For all e-mail correspondence with HL&T: news, features, tips, adver-tising and business write to To submit articles, letters to the editor, etc., e-mail

    executive editor Paula Minaert


    Managing editorSusie Currie


    editorial InternKara Rose

    ProductionAshley Perks

    advertising directorFelix Speight


    Writers & contributorsMylie DurhamVictoria Hille

    Valerie RussellKimberly Schmidt

    Hugh Turley

    Board of directors Julia Duin - President

    Chris Currie - Vice PresidentJamie Aycock - General Counsel

    Paula Minaert - SecretarySusie Currie - Ex O cio

    Circulation: Copies are distributed monthly by U.S. Mail to every address in Hyattsville. Additional copies are distrib-uted to libraries, selected businesses, community centers and churches in the city. Total circulation is 7,500.

    Hl&T is a member of the national newspaper association.


    by Paula Minaert

    On May 21, I visited James E. Duck-worth School, which lies up the road in Beltsville. It may seem a little re-mote from life here in Hyattsville, but actually its not. The city is con-nected to this school, and in more than one way.

    Duckworth, part of the Prince Georges County school system, provides special education for children ages 5 to 21. Some have severe disabilities and some have multiple disabilities. Because each one requires a great deal of very focused attention, most classes have fewer than seven students.

    Peer coaches rise to the challengeThat Friday, though, was a day to

    look at what the students can do, not what they cant. It was called Chal-lenge Day, and its part of the Spe-cial Olympics program. It celebrated students as they demonstrated their personal best in an adapted sport.

    Two of the students at Duckworth Kiearra Jarrell and Brandon Sara-via live here in Hyattsville. Thats the fi rst connection between the city and the school. Kiearra received a Special Olympics medal for taking part in the dance event, and Brandon was awarded one for basketball.

    I spoke with Brandons mother, Emely Saravia. She told me that the 12-year-old has attended the school since 2003, and he really likes it there.

    Now for the second connection with Hyattsville: the Duckworth ath-letes spend several months training for Challenge Day with the help of students, called peer coaches, who come from neighboring schools. One of those schools is our own Concordia Lutheran.

    In fact, the coaches for both Kiearra and Brandon attend Concordia. Kie-arras coaches were Eden Getnet and Charles Abbott and Brandons were Eric Morales and Folane Mengesha.

    Our students love doing this, said Mary Gillis, a Concordia teacher who came to Challenge Day. I started this program with my sixth graders, and they didnt want to stop as they moved up to seventh and eighth grades. So we have 43 students here today.

    It really blesses our kids. Some of the ones who have the most trouble following the rules turn out to be the best mentors. And being part of it is a blessing for the teachers, too.

    Theres yet another connection linking Duckworth with the city. One of the teachers at the school, Kate Schick, lives here in Hyattsville.

    These kids can learn and succeed, just in a different or unique way. Thats how I feel about teaching at Duckworth looking for that unique something, that spark in each stu-dent, and helping to bring it out,

    said Schick. With some students you may have to look a little harder, but it is defi nitely there. Some of our students are not able to walk or talk, but you can see that spark and appreciate their success when they smile at you or respond to your voice. Thats why I go to work every day.

    Schick stressed that peer coaches

    are integral to the whole program. They give our students a chance to interact with their non-disabled peers. And the coaches have the same opportunity. Every year, one of the coaches talks about discover-ing how they and their partners are more alike than different.

    Im proud Hyattsville is part of this story.Legend andLORE

    by Kimberly Schmidt

    In my sisters garden, not too far from the Northwest Branch of the Anacostia River, one fi nds scattered in the loose, rich soil hundreds of small, smooth