Required Reading: Greenbelt Metro bike trail; Improv for police; Opportunity zones

Required Reading is a simple, daily roundup of news coverage from other outlets relevant to Prince George’s County and its Route 1 communities. In our Dec. 14, 2018, edition: New questions for a proposed trail link to Greenbelt Metro, Prince George’s Police unscripted, and a look at these mysterious “opportunity zones.” Hurdles ahead for Greenbelt Metro bike trail plan (Greenbelt News-Review)

Prince George’s police turn to improve for de-escalation training (WAMU)

Maryland officials push for late-night Metro (The Montgomery Sentinel)

Providence hospital cutting back services (PGCTV)

Meet SeoulSpice founder Eric Shin (The Hyattsville Wire)

New age of Scouting joins boys with girls (Laurel Leader)

No need to subsidize St. Mary’s firing range (Southern Maryland Independent)

Another man hospitalized after shock at MGM casino (WTTG)

Air Force One hangar builder revealed (WTOP)

Opportunity zones pop up across Maryland (Baltimore Business Journal)


Berwyn Heights gets third mayor in less than six months.

Berwyn Heights has a new mayor in former Councilor Stephen Isler, who was sworn in at Berwyn Heights’ Dec. 12, 2018 meeting following the resignation of now former Mayor Lynn White. It is the second time since June that a Berwyn Heights mayor has resigned. 

“Last Thursday we received a message around 10 a.m. from now former Mayor White informing us she has resigned from her position as mayor and council member. We are really saddened to hear that. We were hoping to really work with her.

Details of Brentwood Vol. Fire Dept. embezzlement revealed

Several months after the trial ended, the nature of the crimes alleged to have been committed by Steven King have been revealed. King pled guilty in September to charges of embezzlement from the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department, where formerly served as president of the volunteer squad. The new details were disclosed in an interview with Denise Roberts, spokesperson for the Prince George’s County’s Office of the State’s Attorney. “Basically, he was living at the Fire Department, he was president of the Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department and he used company credit cards for personal expenses,” said Roberts.Roberts said the total amount embezzled was about $37,000. In May 2018, a Prince George’s County grand jury issued an indictment against King.

Concerned, but not yet opposed: UMD Golf Course proposal splits College Park Council

Correction: This article has been updated to correct an error that misattributed votes by Councilors John Rigg and Robert Day.College Park City Council, with Mayor Patrick Wojahn in the tie-breaker role, voted five-to-four to send a letter outlining serious concerns with, but not-yet opposition to, a controversial proposal to build intramural fields on the University of Maryland Golf Course. Minutes earlier, Wojahn cast a similar tie-breaking vote to defeat a motion to send a letter to university officials explicitly in opposition to the proposal. The votes disappointed dozens of city residents in attendance who encouraged City Council to flatly reject the proposal during debate over the issue at its Dec. 11, 2018 meeting. The proposal now heads to the University of Maryland’s Facilities Council, which will consider the proposal at a closed-door meeting scheduled for Dec.

Required Reading: 71 dispensaries licensed, 911 future, money for schools

Required Reading is a simple, daily roundup of news coverage relevant to Prince George’s County and its Route 1 communities. In today’s edition: Opponents rise to plan for Redskins’ stadium at Oxon Hill, 911 suggestions put forward, and $3.5 billion for state schools. Advocacy group ‘vehemently opposes’ pitch for Redskins stadium on Oxon Hill Farm. (Washington Business Journal)

Maryland commission puts forward next-gen recommendations (WTOP)

Hogan wants $3.5 billion for Maryland school construction (The Baltimore Sun)

71 Maryland dispensaries licensed as first year of sales end, 31 to go (Baltimore Business Journal)

Hyattsville Girl Scout Troop creates little free food pantry (Hyattsville Life & Times)

A steel-framed box bridge, narrow, suited for pedestrians and cyclists, stretches across a shallow, narrow streambed. In the background, winter has stripped a forest of trees of its leaves. Behind the forest, an apartment high-rise is visible.

Big extension of Little Paint Branch Trail to open soon, link Beltsville to regional trail network

Major construction on an expansion of the Little Paint Branch Trail is expected to be finished later this month, according to Prince George’s County officials. The new extended trail will run for 2.2 miles alongside Cherry Hill Road from the trail’s present-day terminus in Northern College Park near Cherry Hill Road Park. A steel hiker-biker bridge has been built to cross the Little Paint Branch creek. From there it will parallel Cherry Hill Road and cross the Beltway on existing bridges before turning east onto Sellman Road where it hooks up to an existing trail stub at Little Paint Branch Park in Beltsville. 

Robert Patten, trail development program manager at Prince George’s County Parks, praised construction crews for their ability to rapidly make progress on the trail once construction started. In particular, he said the rate of construction was notable because of the heavy rains that have presented obstacles for work, particularly around the streambed where the bridge is built.

“We hope to open the trail in March or April.

A partly-cloudy winter sky hovers over Riverdale Park Station at dusk, seen looking west from the Van Buren Street overpass. In the foreground, the concrete bridge platform curves away from the viewer, leading the eye to an unadorned concrete structure in the center of the photograph. This is the parking garage. It is flanked by rows of townhomes. A white sports utility vehicle is seen on the bridge, driving eastbound.

Reporter’s Notebook: Big development news last week

It may be repetitive, but once again, I start another Reporter’s Notebook with a big hearty thank you to all of Route 1 Reporter’s subscribers! Last week was a busy one on the news front, especially if you are into development. For starters, Route 1 Reporter was the first news outlet to report on new development activity at Riverdale Park Station, where hundreds of new apartments are either about to start construction or enter the development review pipeline. In all, more than 850 apartment units are planned for the development on parcels closest to the CSX tracks. More on this story below.

Hyattsville’s new chief a familiar face

Hyattsville city officials did not go far to pick its next chief of police, tapping interim chief Amal Awad to lead the city’s police department.  

Awad becomes both the first woman and the first African-American to head up the Hyattsville City Police Department in the city’s 132-year history. 

“I look forward to continuing to work with the dedicated men and women of the city of Hyattsville police department to enhance relationships, reduce crime and create opportunities so that all of our residents and community members feel safe, welcome and valued,” said Awad in a statement announcing her hire. 

Awad is a native Washingtonian who holds a master of science in management from Johns Hopkins University. Her career in law enforcement goes back 27 years, when she started her career as a Prince George’s County Police Department officer at its Hyattsville station. At PGPD, she eventually rose to commander of the force’s Bowie station before retiring with the rank of major. She has worked for Hyattsville since 2017, when she came out of retirement to serve as the captain for the force, ranking second to recently-retired Hyattsville police chief Doug Holland.