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  • 1. Remembering the Fallen August 12, 2011 | In Local, News Prince George’s County Remembers Lives Lost in September 11 Tragedies By Tiffany Ellis Hudson Prince George's County will be keeping 9/11 victims in their hearts and constructing a memorial to honor them. Dozens of Prince George’s County residents — 68 Marylanders in all — perished in the attacks at the Pentagon, World Trade Center and crash of United Airlines Flight 93 on Sept. 11, 2001. The Sept. 11 tragedy, and the loss of Maryland lives, inspired Governor Martin O’Malley, members of the Maryland Commission of Public Art, the Maryland Port Administration and the Maryland State Arts Council to create the 9/11 Memorial of Maryland. Construction began in 2010 on the 22-foot long steel structure to be placed in front of Baltimore’s World Trade Center at the center of Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. The structure’s three twisted and torn amalgamated 2,000-pound steel columns, representing the World Trade Center, are just part of the memorial that recognizes the Maryland lives lost at all three sites. The memorial will also include an exhibit depicting the names and photographs of each of the Maryland lives that were lost. Funding for the memorial is provided by both private and public donations and is overseen by the Maryland State Arts Council. Completion is expected this summer and a memorial dedication is planned for 3 p.m., Sept. 11, 2011. Prince George’s will also honor the 343 members of the New York Fire Department who also lost their lives saving others on Sept. 11 by hosting the 9/11 Memorial Stair Climb from 9 a.m. to noon, Sept. 11. Prince George’s County Fire Chief Marc Bashoor and other members of the Fire/EMS Department are expected to participate. This is the first time the event will be held in Prince George’s. The event will be held at the Maryland Trade Center-Lockheed Martin Building at 7500 Greenway Center Drive in Greenbelt. ―I am the one who started it here in Prince George’s County,‖ said Kellie Bornman, of the stair climb. ―This is our first year and we hope to have them every year.‖ The Stair Climb is limited to firefighters, but community members wanting to show their support can participate in a 3-mile run/walk, equivalent to the 110 stories of the World Trade Center’s twin towers.
  • 2. On-site registration opens at 7 a.m. and a ceremony of remembrance will be at 8 a.m. Registration is $25 and all money raised will be donated to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation. Pre-registration is encouraged. Participants of the run/walk can pre-register at www.md911stairclimb@aol.com. Stair climb participants can pre-register at www.firehero.org and click on stair climb. For all other inquiries, contact Gloria A. Lowe at gglolowe2001@yahoo.com or Kellie L. Bornman at firekellie17@aol.com
  • 3. Eat Drink and Go Local August 12, 2011 | In Food & Dining, Lifestyle Maryland Wine Association Encourages Prince George’s to Buy Local By Tiffany Ellis Hudson The Maryland Wine Association is requesting that residents of Prince George's County head to their local markets to support local businesses. Movements across the country are encouraging people to support local enterprise in an attempt to drive and keep money in their communities. In July, Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and First Lady Katie O’Malley launched the ―Buy Local Challenge‖ to increase awareness of locally grown, produced or harvested food products. Now, the Maryland Wine Association is doing its part with ―go local‖ events across Maryland. ―Eat, Drink, Go Local‖ will take place in downtown Silver Spring from noon to 6 p.m. Oct. 22. The aim of ―Eat, Drink, Go Local‖ is to promote and encourage buying local products produced throughout Maryland by bringing together local farmers, chefs and wine. According to the Maryland Wine Association, Prince George’s County and other parts of southern Maryland (Anne Arundel, Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties) has become vital for some varieties of Italian and Mediterranean wines. Admission is free, but it costs $15 for wine tastings, which includes a stemless sampling glass and samples of Maryland wine, or $25 for wine and food pairings. Ticket holders for the food and wine pairings will receive a tasting glass and wine samples, a 6-bottle wine carrier (for wine and produce) and pairings of seasonal ingredients with different local wines. In addition to perusing regional produce in an open-air farmers’ market atmosphere, patrons can also watch cooking demonstrations from local chefs and restaurateurs and buy locally made merchandise. Farmers, restaurants and interested parties can contact Jade@MarylandWine.com for details.
  • 4. To Your Health July 24, 2011 | In National, News Cooperation and Collaboration means improvement in Prince George’s County Healthcare By Tiffany Ellis Hudson Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III speaks at Health Press Conference with Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley and County Council Chair Ingrid Turner / Photo: Michael Yourishin In a press conference, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker and Council Chair Ingrid Turner joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in an announcement about a history-making agreement to strengthen health care for Prince George’s County. In an unprecedented multi-party partnership between the State of Maryland and major healthcare system University of Maryland Medical System (UMMS), University System of Maryland (USM) and Dimensions Healthcare System, a plan has been set in motion to improve upon the existing Prince George’s Hospital Center (PGHC) and build a new Regional Medical Center in Prince George’s County. ―Today is a great day for our residents and the future of healthcare in Prince George’s County and throughout the region,‖ said Council Chair Turner. ―Thank you so much for joining us today for this momentous occasion.‖ ―Your leadership is tremendous,‖ said Turner to Baker. ―County Executive Baker, you are getting it done.‖ Members of the Prince George’s County Senate and House delegations; and all but one council member of Prince George’s County Council—Will Campos—was in attendance. This includes Obie Patterson (D-District 8); Leslie E. Johnson (D-District 6); Mary A. Lehman (D-District 1); Mel Franklin (D-District 9); Karen R. Toles (D-District 7); Andrea C. Harrison (D-District 5) and Vice Chair Eric Olson (D-District 3–were in attendance. Councilmember William A. (Will) Campos (D-District 2) was away on County business. The Memorandum of Understanding that was signed July 21 sets in motion a partnership that is envisioned to create the center. ―Today is about cooperation, collaboration and partnership that are putting us on the path to increasing quality healthcare for the residents of Prince George’s County,‖ Baker said. ―Access to quality health care is one of the most valuable services government can provide to its citizens.
  • 5. The combination of its clinical, educational, research expertise that UMMS will bring to Prince George’s County will add instant credibility to a system that has struggled to sustain itself.‖ Baker acknowledged and thanked a number of official and local leaders for staying focused on the goal of improving access to quality health care in the county. ―I want to add my thanks to all for coming together and working hard and keeping this in front of you despite everything else that has been going on.‖ The County Executive further reported that the three-phase project will redefine the approach to health options while becoming a vastly important facility to the Washington DC metropolitan area. ―We are about to do something here today that is a big deal,‖ said Baker. ―I think that going from phase one to phase two to phase three will not only change the way we do healthcare in the state of Maryland, but I dare say it will change the way we do healthcare in this nation and that is a big deal.‖ The Governor insists that this announcement is not just about keeping the hospital open, but fulfilling the mission of quality healthcare for the County. ―A top notch county like Prince George’s County deserves a top notch hospital,‖ O’Malley said. ―There is not another county in our state with more energy, with more promise, with more potential. This is one of the most dynamic and exciting counties in the entire country.‖ Lt. Governor Brown described the project as a ―significant step forward.‖ He acknowledged their historic investments in Maryland’s public schools, the Department of Housing and Community Development and transportation road projects. He also thanked the General Assembly, the hospital authority, Kenneth E. Glover–President and CEO of Dimensions Healthcare System– healthcare partners and the Governor for his leadership in insisting that they all work together. ―We’re here to celebrate another step forward as we improve the quality of healthcare that we’re delivering in Maryland,‖ Brown said. ―Today’s announcement is a pivotal moment to improve not just the quality of health care for County residents, but their quality of life,‖ added Baker. UMMS is a nonprofit corporation with 12 hospitals across Maryland and includes the nationally top ranked University of Maryland School of Medicine. It earns about $2.7 billion in annual revenue and employs 15,000 people. UMMS serves as advisor for this project will continue to do so for the Center once operational. They will not, however, manage the day to day activities. There is currently no site for the center and according to UMMS CEO Robert Chrencik, significant state and local funds will be needed to bring this project into reality. An initial study completed by the UMMS estimated the overall costs of this strategy to be in the range of $600 million.
  • 6. In this partnership, a three-step strategy will be executed and focus will be on the overall infrastructure of the healthcare system. All must be in agreement before moving on to the next step, Brown said. In step one, the first four to six months will be used to determine scale, feasibility and strategy. Step two will take the following three to four months to refine projected costs and to determine the appropriate allocation of costs responsibility. In step three, the last four to six months will be used for site selection, architectural design and the submission of the Certificate of Need that they hope to obtain in the next 12-18 months. According to Brown, step three is going to cost $1.2 million and that cost will be shared equally by the partners. ―Now we have a vision for the future; we have a process and a business plan for getting us there,‖ O’Malley said. ―Whereas in the past we were always looking for a partner or a suitor; we believe now we have found that partner. This is a game-changing day.‖ According to Chrencik, the county deserves more than a ―community hospital.‖ Key concerns such as improving existing health services, increasing access to primary care and ensuring a stable and reliable health care system will also be addressed. The PGHC in Cheverly is currently the only trauma center serving thousands of residents in Southern Maryland. ―This hospital (PGHC) plays a critically important role in the statewide framework for healthcare, for medical emergency response. It is a critical part of the homeland security blanket when it comes to healthcare response. It is a designated trauma center. It has the only cardiac neo-natal unit in one of the busiest sections in our state,‖ O’Malley said. Governor O’Malley admits that is has been a long and frustrating process. ―It isn’t a hope, it’s a vision. It isn’t just a promise, it is a process,‖ he said. ―This is just a starting point,‖ added Brown. ―There’s a lot of work yet to be done. It’s a heavy lift.‖ Brown also acknowledged the project’s possible political hurdles and the challenge of financing. Still, everyone who spoke reaffirmed their commitment to providing a better healthcare system for Prince George’s County. ―We all recognize that we have a responsibility to ensure that every resident in our state has access to quality healthcare,‖ Brown said. ―This is a big deal for us. It is an extraordinary day of progress in Prince George’s County,‖ Baker said. ―Days like today remind us of why we ran for office. There’s no better day to be county executive for Prince George’s County.‖
  • 7. –Initial reporting by Deneen Wooten The N-Word July 8, 2011 | In Attitude, Blog, Destinations, Theater A New Play Debates The Casual Use of Racial Terms By Tiffany Ellis Hudson No matter what side of the argument you find yourself, the casual use of the N-word causes great debate. But what does the African-American community really have to say about this subject? ―The N word?‖—the directorial debut of Quinn Alston, a Southeast Washington, D.C. native and graduate of Coolidge High School— portrays real conversations on both sides of the issue. In this production, four friends debate over the origin, identifiable factors and social connotations of the controversial word. ―The N word?‖ can be seen at the Capital Fringe Festival July 15-24. Visit CapitalFringe.org or call 866-811-4111 for ticket information. The Good in Tanger Outlets July 8, 2011 | In Local, News Community Members To Give Input on the Upcoming Development By Tiffany Ellis Hudson
  • 8. A public meeting to discuss the proposed Tanger Outlets Development will take place from July 12 starting at 6 p.m. at Harmony Hall Regional Center auditorium in Fort Washington. The meeting is hosted by The Oxon Hill and Fort Washington Area Community Action Council. This meeting is a follow-up to and addresses issues brought up by the community at the June 9 meeting. Some of those issues were crime in the River Ridge Neighborhood, construction on Oxon Hill Road, plans relating to the proposed Tanger Outlet Development, the impact of public safety response times, the number of jobs and contracts that will go to local small and minority businesses, short-term and long-term fiscal impact on community and historic preservation. Transportation and police representatives as well as Andre Gingles from the Tanger Development Team will also be in attendance to answer question. For more info, contact Eric Johnston at ejohnston@greatfoodsllc.com. Chilean Cuisine July 8, 2011 | In Food & Dining, Lifestyle D.C. to Host Largest North American Specialty Food Event By Tiffany Ellis Hudson
  • 9. Pastel de Jaibas (Pastel de cangrejo) or Chilean Crab Pudding / Photo: Canela Kitchen, Chile Chilean food will be the focus at this year’s Fancy Food Show in Washington D.C. at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center July 10-12. This is the second time in twenty years that D.C. will play host to North America’s largest specialty food and beverage event. Several Chilean food experts, distributors and other spokespersons are planned to speak on Chile’s rising food business. The show will feature more than 180,000 products from more than 80 countries, but Chile’s carbon-neutral pavilion will by far be one of the largest at the show. Chile ranks 16th among food exporting nations worldwide, holding 21 free trade agreements with 58 countries. Prince George’s County has a growing number of residents from South America. Throughout the week leading up to the show, Chilean food will be featured at several events and locations in the area. The Chilean Pavilion Inauguration will take place at 11:30am, Sunday, July 10. Chilean cooking demonstrations and tastings will be from noon to 3pm, Sunday July 10 through Tuesday, July 12 at the Chilean Pavilion. A Day for Jazz July 4, 2011 | In Destinations, Local, News, People/Scene Music Meets Community at This Year’s Lake Arbor Jazz Festival By Tiffany Ellis Hudson
  • 10. Chelsey Green Kevin Alexander has lived and worked in Lake Arbor for 24 years. From his passion for for the arts—jazz in particular—he formed the Prince George’s Cultural Arts Foundation. Its primary purpose is to support, promote and develop the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival. This year marks the second hosting for the 2011 Lake Arbor Jazz Festival (July 16) on the Lake Arbor Community Center Grounds in Mitchellville. Over 2,000 are expected to attend. Artists such as Saxophonist Marcus Mitchell, Saborsa, The Groove Skool Band, violinist Chelsey Green, solo improvisational flautist Althea Reneé, Brian Lenair and a score of others. Although the festival is a day-long affair, the events start off with the Prince Georges County Jazz Youth Orchestra at 3 p.m. and performances will run through 10 p.m. An avid jazz lover, Alexander solicited artists from local musician networks and larger jazz festivals such as the Capital Jazz Festival. The response was overwhelming. The festival’s main focus is to showcase local Prince George’s talent. ―This county has a lot of talented local musicians,‖ he said. ―We wanted to establish a platform to showcase local talent in a community-type setting.‖ One exception to the rule is Houston-native flautist Althea Renee. Although, she’s not from Prince George’s, but attended college in the D.C. metro area. The festival will also include food vendors, non-alcoholic beverages, moon bounce, skate mobile, face painting and will have various types of merchandisers. One missing element of last year’s festival, according to Alexander, included activities for teens. He initially planned to have a second stage for youth, but efforts fell through. To remedy that, this year as part of the Department of Parks and Recreation Safe Summer program, this festival will host a poetry slam competition as well as other activities. The department is a major sponsor of the festival.
  • 11. For those who desire a more intimate setting, ―A Jazzy Evening with Marcus Johnson and Art Sherrod‖ VIP Reception and Performance will take place July 15 at the Radisson Hotel Largo in D.C. ―We picked musicians that we felt would go well with an intimate type of reception,‖ he said. The Prince George’s Cultural Arts Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit. Alexander serves as the executive producer of the festival. Other members are Lisa Brown, Eric Liley, Eric Jackson, Kevin Harper, Charles Drain and Nadine Cid. ―Putting together this festival cannot be done by one or two people,‖ Alexander said. ―We’re not trying to compete with the larger festivals in the area. We want to showcase local talent and we want to have a place for Prince Georgians and the DC metro area to enjoy the jazz festival.‖ For more information about this year’s festival, visit www.lakearborjazz.com or email info@lakearborjazz.com. Those interested in performing in future festivals, contact talent@lakearborjazz.com. A Day For Jazz July 4, 2011 | In Destinations, People/Scene
  • 12. Music Meets Community at This Year’s Lake Arbor Jazz Festival By Tiffany Ellis Hudson Kevin Alexander has lived and worked in Lake Arbor for 24 years. From his passion for for the arts—jazz in particular—he formed the Prince George’s Cultural Arts Foundation. Its primary purpose is to support, promote and develop the Lake Arbor Jazz Festival. This year marks the second hosting for the 2011 Lake Arbor Jazz Festival (July 16) on the Lake Arbor Community Center Grounds in Mitchellville. Over 2,000 are expected to attend. Artists such as Saxophonist Marcus Mitchell, Saborsa, The Groove Skool Band, violinist Chelsey Green, solo improvisational flautist Althea Reneé, Brian Lenair and a score of others. Although the festival is a day-long affair, the events start off with the Prince Georges County Jazz Youth Orchestra at 3 p.m. and performances will run through 10 p.m. An avid jazz lover, Alexander solicited artists from local musician networks and larger jazz festivals such as the Capital Jazz Festival. The response was overwhelming. The festival’s main focus is to showcase local Prince George’s talent.
  • 13. ―This county has a lot of talented local musicians,‖ he said. ―We wanted to establish a platform to showcase local talent in a community-type setting.‖ One exception to the rule is Houston-native flautist Althea Renee. Although, she’s not from Prince George’s, but attended college in the D.C. metro area. The festival will also include food vendors, non-alcoholic beverages, moon bounce, skate mobile, face painting and will have various types of merchandisers. One missing element of last year’s festival, according to Alexander, included activities for teens. He initially planned to have a second stage for youth, but efforts fell through. To remedy that, this year as part of the Department of Parks and Recreation Safe Summer program, this festival will host a poetry slam competition as well as other activities. The department is a major sponsor of the festival. For those who desire a more intimate setting, ―A Jazzy Evening with Marcus Johnson and Art Sherrod‖ VIP Reception and Performance will take place July 15 at the Radisson Hotel Largo in D.C. ―We picked musicians that we felt would go well with an intimate type of reception,‖ he said. The Prince George’s Cultural Arts Foundation is a newly formed nonprofit. Alexander serves as the executive producer of the festival. Other members are Lisa Brown, Eric Liley, Eric Jackson, Kevin Harper, Charles Drain and Nadine Cid. ―Putting together this festival cannot be done by one or two people,‖ Alexander said. ―We’re not trying to compete with the larger festivals in the area. We want to showcase local talent and we want to have a place for Prince Georgians and the DC metro area to enjoy the jazz festival.‖ For more information about this year’s festival, visit www.lakearborjazz.com or email info@lakearborjazz.com. Those interested in performing in future festivals, contact talent@lakearborjazz.com. Hospitality Goes Green June 21, 2011 | In Business, Fresh Starts The Hampton Inn & Suites To Make Pioneering Upgrades By Tiffany Ellis Hudson
  • 14. All over the country, businesses are taking advantage of federal and state incentives to be more environmentally responsible. Green development is considered beneficial because of its lower operating costs, improvement on indoor air quality, cost-effectiveness and reduced risk in health and exposure to the elements. LEED, or Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is an internationally-recognized green building certification system. One upcoming local LEED project includes the Hampton Inn & Suites hotel in Camp Springs. The Hampton Inn & Suites is a national franchise owned by the Hilton Hotels Corporation and is known for their award-winning customer satisfaction. The franchise is locally owned and operated by Raj and Shashikant T. Patel, proprietors of the Comfort Inn & Suites. If everything goes as planned, they are expected to break ground in August, pending final bank approval. According to Raj Patel–who heads hotel operations for Country Inn & Suites – the $15 million, 117-room project will take an estimated 10 months to fully develop and completion is projected for May 2012. ―It’s the biggest project we’ve done so far,‖ Patel said. LEED certification is acquired on a point system. Points are given for green efforts such as design innovation, indoor environmental quality and water efficiency. The ratings are 40-49 for certified, 50-59 for silver, 60-79 for gold and 80 or more for platinum. To date, plans to install an energy system, motion sensors to adjust power to rooms accordingly when guests are not in the rooms, thermal panels for heating water, an organic 6 foot tall, 50-foot wide retaining wall, the use of local materials and proximity to a metro station has earned the project Silver LEED certification. Additional points for natural materials furnishings and approval of a Greywater system installation are tentative.
  • 15. ―If we don’t have the Greywater system (the project) will be demoted to (certified),‖ Patel said. ―We’re shooting for gold, but hoping for silver. Saying it and doing it are two different things.‖ The Patels have been working on plans of a Greywater system–the first of its kind in Maryland– for about a year and a half. The Greywater system recycles and reuses shower water for landscaping and flushing toilets. Because the system is new, procedures and a manual have to be created and the process has caused a significant delay in the approval process. ―Everyone agrees that it’s safe and a good system,‖ Patel said. ―Bureaucracy is holding it up. Paperwork needs to get straight. They can start the project and level the ground, and if there’s no approval by then, they can scrap the plans for the system.‖ Green developers may look at LEED certification as a sort of a ―stamp of approval.‖ In a presentation to the bank, the Patels assured that this project would attract more business dollars due to things such as the Andrew Air Force Base expansion, the future development of the Branch Avenue business complex and the proximity to the Gaylord National Convention, National Mall and White House. The more than $150,000 saved through the property tax credit is a great incentive as well. Once completed, the hotel will have an indoor pool, snack bar, a wireless web atmosphere, free hot breakfast, flat screens in every room, microwaves, refrigerators, suites, Jacuzzi rooms and a 100-person meeting facility. According to Patel, because of the additional green initiatives, construction costs increases six percent more than a traditional building. He says he believes it’s worth spending the money to do it. ―The franchise was voted one of the best franchises in the United States,‖ said Patel. ―We give full refunds if you’re not satisfied.‖ After completion, both hotels will employ 70 people. Located one half mile from the Branch Avenue metro station, the last stop on the Green Line; Patel believes that location alone should bring in tourists from all over the world who can’t afford Washington, D.C. hotel prices. Overall, he believes people should stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites because of its reasonable prices, attractive amenities and proximity to public transportation. ―It’s in an area we want to grow and develop,‖ Patel said. ―We’re excited about this.‖
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