Update; April 15, 2020: Police say they are investigating the Highview Terrace fire as an arson. Police believe the victim, 23-year-old Washington, D.C., resident Zena Nichols was fatally shot by 42-year-old Jerome Harris, who lived at Highview Terrace. Police believe Harris set the fire after killing Nichols. Harris is at large, and has been charged with first-degree murder. Original Story
Two fires in Prince George’s County claimed three lives over the weekend.
An organized volunteer effort to get cloth masks into the hands of vulnerable people to help flatten the curve has launched in Prince George’s County’s Route 1 communities. Called Route 1 Mask Match, the group gives local crafters a way to put their skills to use helping vulnerable people and those who must interact with large populations in the Route 1 communities, from Mount Rainier to Beltsville. “Seniors groups up and down the corridor have already placed immediate requests for more than 50 masks,” said Lissa Bell, one of the organizers of the effort. “There is a great need for volunteers in the area to make these simple masks that will help save lives.”
The CDC now recommends that everyone wear cloth face masks while outside of the home together with social distancing techniques to slow the spread of the coronavirus and COVID-19, the disease it causes. As of April 7, the Maryland Department of Health reports more than 1,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Prince George’s County and 26 deaths.
The Prince George’s County unemployment is down compared to last September, matching the lowest rate the county has seen in the past year, according to the Department of Labor statistics released at the end of last month. The 3.6 percent unemployment rate for this September compared to a rate of 3.8 percent in the same month a year earlier. The last time the county’s unemployment rate dropped to 3.6 percent was in April. This January, the county’s unemployment rate climbed to 4.7 percent. Since then it has fluctuated, but now is one-tenth of a percent below the unemployment rate of the entire state.
Maryland’s unemployment rate of 3.7 percent matches the lowest level the state has experienced in the past decade, according to the Department of Labor.
Hyattsville is ramping up its efforts to get its residents counted on the 2020 Census. A key focus of the Hyattsville Complete Count Committee, formed earlier this month by the Hyattsville City Council, is to educate residents about the new electronic response option in the 2020 Census. Hyattsville is the latest Route 1 corridor city to launch a Complete Count committee. College Park and Mount Rainier have also taken similar steps. A recent survey by the Pew Research Center found 84 percent of U.S. adults intend to participate in the Census.
In March, the state agency made speed reductions, narrowed lanes to induce slower car speeds, and implemented safer pedestrian crossings. Lowering speed limits is a mix of engineering and enforcement, but in practice mostly the latter. Without a design change, you need something to change driver behavior; and that’s a cop or camera.
The fatal police shooting of Leonard Shand in Hyattsville was the most recent case of what an American Civil Liberties Union legal associate says is an ongoing failure by Maryland police departments to de-escalate situations with people who may have mental health issues.
Campaign spending was down in Hyattsville’s 2019 council elections, according to finance reports finalized by the city’s Ethics Commission earlier this month. Hyattsville City Council candidates spent, on average, almost $1,300 less on their campaigns in 2019 than candidates in 2017.
The Maryland State Highway Administration is currently in the process of re-designing the surface of Queens Chapel Road in Prince George’s County. The bad news: it doesn’t go far enough to enhance pedestrian or cyclist safety.
I have been a physical education and health teacher in Prince George’s County Public Schools for nine years. For the last five years, I have had the honor of being a physical education teacher. Our kids can’t wait for more funding. As a teacher, I want my students to have a healthy learning environment. I want to teach my students the importance of creating healthy habits while they are young.