Doc Drop: Mount Rainier library asbestos and lead testing results

The Mount Rainier public library has been closed for several weeks now due to concerns over asbestos and lead within the building. The good news is that no lead was found. But the bad news is that testing revealed the presence of asbestos. And it could cost Mount Rainier approximately $30,000 to re-open the library, according to documents obtained by Route 1 Reporter. At tonight’s Mount Rainier City Council worksession, city staff will brief elected officials on the state of the Mount Rainier library, which is operated by the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System.

Bunker Hill Fire Station lawsuit moves through motions

A lawsuit challenging the consolidation of the volunteer fire departments operating out of the Bunker Hill Fire Station continues to move ahead. This week, lawyers for both sides will be in court for a hearing on pending pre-trail disputes and motions, set for Nov. 20, 2018, in Upper Marlboro. According to a scheduling order issued by presiding judge John Davey, the pre-trial phase of the suit is expected to end by Jan. 30, 2019.

Cottage City, Mount Rainier, Laurel recognized for ‘green’ initiatives

For the first time since the program began, Cottage City has been certified as a Sustainable Maryland town. It joins more than 35 cities across Maryland recognized for environmental stewardship policy leadership by the Environmental Finance Center at the University of Maryland. Additionally, Mount Rainier and Laurel’s environmental policy efforts saw those Prince George’s County municipalities re-certified as Sustainable Maryland communities. To achieve certification, municipalities must form a Green Team comprised of local residents, community leaders, municipal staff and officials and complete a variety sustainability-related projects. Points are given depending on the type of the project undertaken Cities must earn at least 150 such points and submit the appropriate documentation as evidence that the Sustainable Maryland Certified requirements have been satisfied.

Former chief blasts Mt. Rainier police report; Shah says more investigations needed

As Mount Rainier residents digest the findings of a financial investigation into its police department, some City Council members have also weighed in on the news. One Council member has gone on the record to say additional financial issues within the police department were discovered during the course of the investigation and said more investigations are needed. Former city police chief Michael Scott said the investigative report, which focused on high rates of parking ticket waivers, was biased and misleading. Route 1 Reporter reached out to every member of Mount Rainier’s City Council, plus Mayor Malinda Miles, Scott and the Mount Rainier Fraternal Order of Police and City Manager Miranda Braatz for comment or reaction to the report. As of this writing, Scott and Councilors Shivali Shah (Ward One) and Luke Chesek (Ward Two) were the only ones to issue statements on the record for this story.

Mount Rainier economic development director resigns

Samantha Olatunji has resigned her post as Mount Rainier’s Economic Development Director. Mount Rainier City Administrator Miranda Braatz said Olatunji’s resignation was effective Monday, Oct. 1, 2018. While a recruiting effort is launched, economic development activities will be handled by Braatz, she said. Braatz said she could not reveal when the city learned of Olatunji’s departure.