A small suburban storefront is seen, it has clearly suffered a large fire. Charred debris litters the parking lot. The burned storefronts are boarded up with plywood, a van from a "Jenkins Restoration" company is parked outside, bearing the business phone number.

Required Reading: Arson woes for charity; Metro politics; Wet weather

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. 17, 2018, edition: A College Park charity for homeless kids finds itself in need after arson; Metro problems, Metro politics; And a call for more indoor play-spaces. College Park charity devastated by arson (WUSA)

Metro needs late night service, and to not catch on fire (Greater Greater Washington)

Metro struggles with privatization (The Guardian)

Route 1 needs an indoor playspace (The Hyattsville Wire)

Hyattsville’s Holiday Tree lighting makes the season bright (The Hyattsville Life and Times)

Prince George’s walloped by rain (WTOP)

New police chief marks many firsts for Hyattsville

Before a packed room of law enforcement officers and well-wishers at Hyattsville’s city hall, Amal Awad was officially sworn in to her new role as chief of police for the Hyattsville City Police Department. The ceremony took place shortly after 2 p.m. Dec. 13, 2018. In assuming her new title, Awad becomes the first African-American, the first woman, and the first member of the LGBT community to lead Hyattsville’s police. 

In swearing in Awad, Hyattsville Mayor Candace Hollingsworth said the department has a leader committed to maintaining and building trust between the community and the police department. “Amal has dedicated and demonstrated to this community that she will lead the department at the highest level, that our community will have – through her leadership and the work of the police and law enforcement officers that are in this room and from our department and our partners – that our community will have a police department that delivers on the type of community policing that residents value and deserve,” said Hollingsworth during the event.

Details of Brentwood Vol. Fire Dept. embezzlement revealed

Editor’s note: This story has been updated with comments from Brentwood Volunteer Fire Department President William Broadus. 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.

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.

Council rundown: Hyattsville Council gets mass shooter training, weighs vote-by-mail proposal

Consider it a sign of the times: Hyattsville City Council went through security training at its Monday meeting. Part of the training, administered by Hyattsville City Police Department officers, dealt with the potential for a gunperson to open fire during a City Council meeting. According to multiple Council members, it is the first time city elected officials have participated in such a training scenario. Specific details of the security training were not open to the public. Instead, Hyattsville City Council unanimously voted to enter closed session to receive the security training near the start of its regularly-scheduled Nov.

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.

Hyattsville police officer firing upheld in court

A Prince George’s County judge has refused to overturn the firing of a Hyattsville city police officer with a history of allegations of excessive force, insubordination and racist behavior. Joseph McCall, a former corporal within the Hyattsville City Police Department, was fired February 2018. He appealed his firing to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, where he filed a petition for judicial review of his termination in March 2018. Due to Maryland’s Law Enforcement Officer Bill of Rights, police officers in the state guarantees a right to appeal disciplinary actions in this way. In an Oct.