Monday, November 12, 2012

The Mount Rainier City Council has decided which developer will get a crack at two city-owned properties on Rhode Island Avenue. Check out City Councilmember Brent Bolin's blog for details.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Voting resources


LetMeVote Eng-Span

  • Election Day is Tuesday November 6
  • Maryland polls are open from 7 a.m. - 8 p.m.


Call 1-888-496-ACLU (2258)

  • Election Protection Hotline - The ACLU of Maryland 2012 Election Protection Campaign will be monitoring, recording, and responding to voter problems at the polls as well as any incidents of intimidation or suppression. If you have problems at the polls - we can help! 
  • Llame nuestra Línea de Protección 1-888-496-ACLU (2258) 







  • Voter Empowerment Cards / Tarjetas de Informacion para los Votantes (download and print!/¡descargar y imprimir!)

Do you know if former offenders can vote? 
  • Former Offender Voting Rights:
    • You CAN vote if you:
      • Are NOT currently incarcerated for a felony conviction
      • Are NOT currently on parole OR probation for a felony conviction
      • AND have registered to vote BEFORE October 16th, 2012. 
    • You do NOT need to provide documentation about your criminal history to register to vote
    • You must RE-REGISTER to vote after you complete your sentence, parole, and probation
    • You CAN register to vote if you have been convicted of a misdemeanor offense  
    • Click to download below! 
    • former_offenders_rights.jpg


want to volunteer?

  • Volunteer! Are you interested in the 2012 Elections? Would you like to volunteer and help protect voting rights in Maryland? 
    • Check out this flyer below for more info 
    • Contact Amy Cruice at : 

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Doyle Niemann's election choices

Election Choices

The 2012 General Election is only a few days away. Here's my take on our choices.


There is not much to say about the choices.  President Obama, Sen. Ben Cardin, and Rep. Donna Edwards have their flaws, but they are far better than the other choices.

One competitive race for School Board in District 4 is worth mentioning. It pits Micah Watson against incumbent Pat Eubanks. I believe Micah's experience as a municipal official and civil servant and his deliberate and balanced temperment make him the better choice at a time when critical decisions must be made--including the choice of a new superintendent and senior staff.

For judges, the five current judges face no opposition.

State Ballot Questions

Questions 1 and 2 will require judges of the Orphans Court, which handles estate and probate issues, to be lawyers in Prince George's and Baltimore Counties. This is a no brainer. These judges handle complex legal issues; they should be trained in the law they administer. The judges in our county are now lawyers, but that has not always been the case.  I am voting YES.

Question 3 will remove an elected official as soon as they enter a guilty plea or are found guilty in a trial. This is an issue close to our county, where we have had officials who have been convicted or plead guilty who have remained in office for months.  I am voting YES.

Question 4 (the "Dream Act") will ensure that anyone who graduates from one of our high schools, registers for the draft, and pays taxes can attend community college and, if they complete 60 hours of credit, transfer to a four-year state college while paying in-state tuition. It affects young students without legal documents. Education is always a good investment. Regardless of what happens with these students, they will be in a better position to make positive contributions and our society will benefit from it down the road. It also grants veterans in-state status. I am voting YES.

Question 5 will affirm the boundaries of congressional districts as drawn by the governor last year. At least one district is pretty absurd on its face, weaving around the state like some kind of deranged snake. On the other hand, all but two of our congressional districts are now more competitive and that will ensure better constituent service and more responsiveness to local concerns no matter who is elected. That is a good thing. A No vote is also unlikely to result in much more than minor change. As far as I am concerned, it is a toss-up.

Question 6 is a fundamental issue of fairness and justice for my family and myself. It will give loving couples the right to marry and enjoy all the benefits and obligations of civil marriage. It affects thousands of couples and their children who now lack critical rights and protections. They are friends and neighbors. There are abundant protections in the law for those who object on religious grounds. It is time. I am voting YES and will be working at the polls for Question 6. Let me know if you want to do the same.

Question 7 will expand casino gambling in Maryland. It is has been the subject of almost $100 million in ads, mailers and lobbying, most of which is unreliable or misleading. When you separate out that which is already law, the rhetoric, made up facts and half-truths, it comes down to a simple choice. Vote yes and the county might get an additional $16 million a year after 2017 (using nonpartisan Legislative Services numbers) and the state will get an additional $39.5 million a year that might be used for education. These are small amounts, however, in a county budget of $2.6 billion and a state education budget of $5.8 billion. On the other hand, casino owners will get $435 million and the families of those who gamble will lose an additional $500 million. I do not think this is a good deal. The impact on our economy and on the lives of people isn't worth the pitiful amount that will come to the county and state. I will vote NO.

Local Ballot Questions

There are seven local ballot issues.  Questions A and B make changes in the procedure for drawing County Council districts after each Census and in the way multi-year contracts are awarded. No one has raised any issues with these, as far as I know.  I will vote YES.

Questions C-G are bond issues. By law, they must pass if the county is to upgrade or construct libraries, community college buildings, police and fire stations and new public buildings, as well as to improve roads, bridges and make other transportation improvements.  I will vote YES.

Every election is important, but the array of issues in this year's election -- from the choice of President on down through the various ballot issues -- present some fundamental choices. Whatever your feelings about the issues or candidates, it is important to vote and to make yourself part of the process.

The polls will be open Tuesday from 7:00 in the mornign to 8:00 in the evening. If you haven't voted already, make sure you show up.

If you have additional questions about any of these matters, feel free to let me know by email at or by calling me directly at 240-606-1298.


Delegate Doyle Niemann
Maryland House of Delegates, District 47

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Public hearing today for Rhode Island Ave. development

Mount Rainier will hold a public hearing on the three proposals for development of a part of Rhode Island Ave. today at 7 p.m. at 1 Municipal Place Mount Rainier, MD 20712.

An article in the Gazette describes the three proposals briefly. My representative in the City Council, Jimmy Tarlau, provided a detailed memo from the Council Liaisons for Development to his constituents, which I will paste below. I will try to make it look good. Please excuse any formatting issues.

The mayor and council will vote on the proposals after the hearing.


FROM:           Council Liaisons for Development –
Ivy R. Thompson, Ward 2
            Brent C. Bolin, Ward 2

DATE:                        August 7, 2012

SUBJECT:      Recommendation to Council for City Issued RFP for Development of Rhode Island Avenue and Eastern Avenue


Council Liaisons for Development      
After the 2011 elections, committee assignments were revised and Ward 2 Councilmembers Ivy Thompson and Brent Bolin were designated by colleagues to serve as the development committee of the council. Mayor Miles and Councilmember Thompson previously served as the leads for this committee.

Request for Proposals
The City Council voted to reissue the Request for Proposals (RFP) and to hire the Holman Group to facilitate the reissuance of the RFP for the development of the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue. The criteria for submissions and the timelines for review were established within the RFP, which required that the City respond to the developers within a 45-day timeframe.

The City of Mount Rainier received three (3) proposals in response to the RFP issued for the development of the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue, Mount Rainier, Maryland 20712.  All of the proposals were received (hand delivered) prior to the 4:00pm deadline on May 30, 2012.  The responders were as follows in order of receipt:

·                     STREETSENSE – BETHESDA, MARYLAND
·                     AHC, INC., BALTIMORE, MARYLAND

Per consultation with the city’s development consultant, Mr. Kwasi Holman, on May 31, 2012, the following schedule was proposed as a next step action schedule:

Ø    May 31, 2012 – June 13, 2012, Proposals  reviewed by council liaisons for development Brent Bolin and Ivy Thompson, City Manager Jeannelle Wallace, Assistant City Manager Michael Jackson and Development Consultant Kwasi Holman .  Interview questions submitted for developers. .  . 
Ø    June 14-15, 2012 – Council liaisons, staff and Mr. Holman met with each responder on June 14, 2012 and June 15, 2012 (2 hour interviews) allowing the responders to answer questions and clarify financing options and scheduled payments to the city.
Ø    June 18, 2012- Council liaisons, staff and Mr. Holman met to discuss Assessment based on criteria provided in RFP announcement.
Ø    June 19, 2012 – Special Executive Session of the Mayor and Council to discuss/review recommendations of the council liaisons for development. Liaisons make recommendation to council in closed executive session. Council authorizes development liaisons to conduct further conversations.
Ø    July 10, 2012 – Special Executive Session of the Mayor and Council to discuss short list recommendations of the council liaisons for development; Additional financial info requested of all three developers. Council decides to extend the deadline for the city to respond to developers concerning proposal submission to August 15, 2012.
Ø    August 8, 2012 – Public Hearing concerning proposal submissions; council liaisons make recommendation to Mayor and Council and residents for development; summary of proposals provided by council liaisons for development.
Ø    August 9, 2012 – Special Meeting of the Mayor and Council concerning the RFP submissions for Rhode Island Avenue development.
Ø    August 15, 2012 – Notify respondents of City Council decision.

This process delineated was an aggressive time frame due to the MML Conference scheduled June 24-27, 2012. The Mayor and Council added an additional 30 days, after the July 10, 2012, Executive Session Meeting, due to the complexity of the financing of the City property. (The city purchased these properties with tax-exempt municipal bonds, significantly complicating potential financing options. The city subsequently asked each developer to consider purchasing the land up front to avoid legal technicalities.)

The three proposals were reviewed by council liaisons for development Ivy R. Thompson and Brent C. Bolin, City Manager Jeannelle Wallace, Assistant City Manager Michael Jackson, and Development Consultant Kwasi Holman and scored based upon the evaluation criteria as cited in the RFP.  The proposals were evaluated using the following criteria:

v  40% Design:   Strength of the Site Plan and Design based on aesthetic appeal, perceived ability to promote additional quality development
v  40% Ability to Implement Project:    This element of consideration evaluates the developer’s ability to complete the project as promised. It includes:
o   Strength of the letter from a financial institution indicating willingness to finance project
o   Proof of equity by the developer.
o   Experience of the developer in financing, implementing and constructing projects of similar size and scope.
o   Marketing plan
v  10% Land Price
v  10% Use of Sustainable and/or Environmentally Responsible (Green) Construction Standards and Products
v  Inclusion of Minority, Women and/or Local owned Businesses will be a consideration in the evaluation process but it is not a requirement

Evaluation Criteria Streetsense Med-Ped AHC
Design Contemporary look.  Incorporates property not owned by city. No retail tenant commitments, Structured parking was a plus, though primarily dedicated to residential. Has that medical office building look. Green elements are a plus. Major additional parking need a serious concern. Will project have spillover effects? Design is central to their process. Strong plan to seek community input. Universal design concept. Strong LEED commitment. All parking on site, though variance needed.
Ability to Implement Good financials, experienced team.
Hyattsville retail project experience. Requested $7 million gap financing.
Strong financials, experienced team
No previous projects completed.
Very strong financials, experienced team
Dozens of similar projects financed and completed.
Land Price Proposed city donate land. Offered $500,000 up front, the rest paid over time including from proposed EDI funds. Offered 10% of the land value up front, the rest paid over time by AHC.
Sustainability/Green Yes at least LEED Silver Yes, LEED Silver or Gold Yes, LEED Gold or ideally Platinum
Inclusion Yes Yes Yes

Each of the proposals referenced the Mixed Use Town Center Plan and included elements highlighting the site as a “gateway”.


Therefore, based upon the evaluation criteria and additional financial information obtained from each of the organizations the Development Committee recommends that the City Council vote to contract with AHC, Inc. to purchase and develop the 3200 Block of Rhode Island Avenue.

Proposal  Highlights In Order Of Receipt:

Proposes a 5-story mixed-use urban infill development. Ground floor retail space – proposes retail,  restaurants, small café. Above the ground level retail would be four levels of loft style residential apartments. This project incorporates the entire block in development, including properties not owned by the city and therefore outside the scope of the RFP.The proposal did not include letters of commitment from adjoining property owners.  The architecture will have a contemporary styling that is reflective of the loft industrial look. The historic gas station would be repurposed for a small neighborhood retail use.
210 Residential Units; market rate rents:
            21 efficiencies, 700 sf, $1300/month
            105 1-bedroom, 850 sf, $1513/month
            84 2-bedroom, 1000 sf, 1825/month
Parking: structured 2-3 levels, 210 spaces residential- fee based, limited retail and visitor parking
Retail: 18,225 s. f.
Open space: interior pocket park and interior courtyard, public sidewalks
Green Elements/Sustainability: green roofs, dark-sky lighting, recycled materials
Public Art: interior and exterior public art
Target market: 20’s -30’s with incomes of $50,000 - $100,000

Comments: Weak financial proposal to the city – asked for city to donate the land, includes payment to L.S. adjacent property owner, and also identified the need for $7 million of gap financing. The revised financial offer indicates Street Sense is “prepared to retire the debt in full upon closing on the property” A proposed date for closing was not given, but per the proposal the estimate for closing to occur is in 2015. The proposal contemplates developing the entire 3200 block, including land not owned by the city and therefore outside the scope of the RFP. Street Sense indicated that they have had discussions with the owner of Thrifty Truck Rental, but did not supply a letter of commitment. Proposal also contemplates purchase and demolition of owner occupied homes on Eastern Ave, again, without letters of commitment or contact with the current property owners.

Proposes a four story, steel frame, 44,000 s.f. Health Care Center, retail pharmacy and restaurant, office and a 24 hour Urgent Care facility. Each floor will be about 11,000 s.f.. The development proposal stayed within the scope of the RFP and included city owned property only. The first level will be dedicated to retail uses with the second and third floors comprising the medical center and the fourth floor dedicated to general or doctor’s offices. The Proposed Health Center:
Specialty Medical – 12,000
            General storage & technology – 1,000
Multi-purpose Office & other – 4,000
Urgent Care – 4,000 s.f.
Retail & Office – 23, 000 s.f.
Parking: 50 spaces on site, will need to work with City to address significant additional parking need
Green elements/Sustainability: LEED certified, solar generator and panels, rainwater cistern
Public Arts: incorporates artistic elements into design
Target Market: Services for patients within 1- 5(average 3) mile radius and households with incomes of $50,000 -$67,000

Comments: Offered $500,000 down payment to the city, with the rest of the land price to be repaid over time or as county funds developed. Due to the tax-exempt bond issue this proposal would not work. Med-Ped has requested the city’s help to find several hundred additional parking spaces to meet their customer volume; the city has serious doubts about its ability to find those spaces and/or prevent negative effects on residential parking on the city.

Proposes a four story, L-shaped building approximately 58,000 sf, residential development. The proposal is limited to the RFP City owned property. The development proposes 62 residential units that are accessible or readily adaptable. 10 units are to be fully equipped for use by the physically disables and 2 units will be equipped for sight and hearing disabled residents. Offers traditional and opens space floor plans, workforce housing:
42 1-bedroom, 672 sf, $1008/month
            20 2-bedroom, 962 sf, 1210/month
Parking provided (residential): 46 spaces, L-shaped parking loop in rear
Retail/Office: TBD – none proposed
Green Elements/Sustainability: LEED requirements, materials, construction and quality requirements, green roof
Landscaping of public spaces, incorporates green amenity roof, interior and exterior art, community spaces on each floor
Target market: workforce households with incomes $38,000-64,500 for 1-4 person households

Comments: Initial financial offer was for 10% down payment on land with the rest paid back in installments over the 15-year life of the tax credit financing arrangement. When presented with the tax-exempt bond issue and the city’s need to divest the properties, AHC worked to meet the city’s needs . AHC now proposes to pay 10% down in fall 2012 and complete purchase of the properties by March 2013 for the full value of the city’s bonds. Other concerns include making sure the marketing plan distinguishes this workforce housing from the significant number of low-income housing units already existing in Mount Rainier. AHC proposes to contain all parking on site, but will require a parking reduction departure from the county.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

From the Heart Community Health Fair 2012 | Praise 104.1

From the Heart Community Health Fair 2012 | Praise 104.1

From the Heart Community Health Fair 2012
“Reaching 1 person at a time, Changing 1 life at time, from our heart to yours”
Garden of Gethsemane Church Presents 
From the Heart Community Health Fair 2012
Fun for all, free give-a-ways and much more…….
Saturday July 21st, 2012 10am-4pm 3501 Bunker Hill Road Mount Rainier, MD 20712 (301) 832-2667

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Hooray for Joe's!

NEA Awards Joe’s Movement Emporium $50,000 Our Town Grant
Mount Rainier and Gateway Arts District Emerge Through Art Lives Here Campaign

Joe’s Movement Emporium has been awarded $50,000 from the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) to help enliven the Mount Rainier town center and promote the Gateway Arts District. Through Art Lives Here, an 18-month campaign, partners in the project will engage citizens through participatory public arts projects, pair artists with businesses and create pop-up installations, lease blighted commercial spaces and establish a Downtown Arts Season. The NEA is investing almost $5 million in small towns and arts organizations across the country to support creative placemaking. Joe’s is one of 80 selected among 300 applicants.

     “I am thrilled to have the support from the NEA’s Our Town grant because it reaffirms how special the creative community is in Mount Rainier and the Gateway Arts District,” said Brooke Kidd, Executive Director and Founder of Joe’s. “This project [Art Lives Here] will continue to build on our community programming, support business-artist partnerships, and bring visibility to the wonderful artists and programs that we have here.”   

     Through Our Town, the NEA supports creative placemaking projects that help transform communities into lively and sustainable places with the arts at their core. The grantee projects are designed to improve quality of life, encourage creative activity, create community identity and a sense of place, and help revitalize local economies. 

     Mount Rainier is considered by many to be the cultural heart of the Gateway Arts District and through several initiatives community leaders have improved and increased its profile in recent years. “People who experience Mount Rainier tend to fall in love with the neighborhood,” said Michelle Darden Lee, spokesperson for the project. “Our charge now is to serve as a bridge between the numerous creative efforts already established in the community and present that to the rest of the beltway area and beyond.”

Joe’s Movement Emporium is the community performing arts center of World Arts Focus, a 501(c)(3) charitable organization founded in 1992. The mission is to promote participation and practice in dance, movement, and performing arts traditions from around the world while using the arts as a key tool to revitalize community. Founded in 1992, World Arts Focus provides educational and cultural programs incorporating dance, movement and performing arts traditions from around the world. For more information call (301) 699-1819 or visit

The National Endowment for the Arts was established by Congress in 1965 as an independent agency of the federal government. To date, the NEA has awarded more than $4 billion to support artistic excellence, creativity, and innovation for the benefit of individuals and communities. The NEA extends its work through partnerships with state arts agencies, local leaders, other federal agencies, and the philanthropic sector. To join the discussion on how art works, visit the NEA at

Ward 1 Report from Councilmember Jimmy Tarlau

Council Makes Difficult Budget Decisions.  Over the last three months the Mayor and Council have been struggling with some difficult budget decisions.  While we have a good deal of money in our reserves (over $1.5 million), we have been dipping into our reserves for the past few years.  There are three basic reasons for the structural problem:  First, there have been major cutbacks in the amount of money the city receives from the state of MD.  We used to receive over $160,000 in state grants that have been reduced down to almost nothing.  Second, the evaluations on the houses in Mount Rainier have gone down, which is producing less revenue from the property tax, which is the largest revenue source in our city.  Third, we purchased a number of properties a few years ago in order to have more of a role in deciding on how development will proceed in our downtown area.  The debt payment on those properties is over $150,000 a year.
We were confronted with three basic choices:  (a) cut back services and layoff some personnel;  (b) raise revenue by increasing the tax rate;  (c) continue to dip into our reserve fund.  I thought we should dip into the reserves for one more year until we found out whether we would be able to sell the properties on Rhode Island Avenue, and at the same time do an overall assessment on what services could be cut back.  Others on the Council thought we should raise taxes this year. 
At the end we reached a compromise.  We held off raising taxes this year and instead eliminated two positions.  We will not be filling a vacancy in the police department and we will be eliminating one code enforcement position (and unfortunately laying off one of our three code enforcement officers).    Over the next year we will be seeing what happens to our properties on Rhode Island Avenue and doing a top-to-bottom review of all our city services.    At some point if we cannot cut back enough ‘discretionary’ programs,   we will all have to decide whether to increase taxes on single-family homes and the apartments or cut back services that we in the City are accustomed to.  This is a problem not just in Mount Rainier but in almost every jurisdiction in our area, in the state and throughout the country as the lingering effects of the recession result in lost revenues and decreased property values.

Rhode Island Avenue Development. A few months ago the City issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the two properties we own on the 3200 block of Rhode Island Avenue.  The deadline for submission was May 30th.  The good news is that there was real interest in developing these properties, and three interested parties (Streetsense, Dr. Jamal Fadul, and AHC, Inc) have submitted proposals to the City.  The Council has a development team that is meeting with each of the groups that submitted proposals to the City. Hopefully we will soon have a concrete plan for the development of those properties and we can have a public hearing on a plan for development of that site.

Hot Weather and Storm Damage.  Wow!  It’s been quite a few weeks, with record-setting high temperatures and two vicious storms.  Our house lost power for 12 hours during the first storm and had two huge tree limbs fall in our backyard, but we consider ourselves  extremely lucky for not having a longer period of time without power.  Our City actually did better than some of the neighboring towns in terms of storm damage.  I feel bad for those folks in Montgomery County who were without power for over a week.  I think our public works department did a good job clearing the street when trees blocked the roads and picking up the extra yard (tree) waste and hauling it away.  We still think we can do better, and the City will be reviewing its Emergency Preparedness Plan.  The senior housing building (Rainier Manor on Queens Chapel Road across from the Giant) was without power for two days, and there was no specific plan about who and how to assist those people in need.  It was a good test for the City and showed us weaknesses in how we deal with these kinds of crises.

Joe’s Movement Emporium Wins Prestigious Grant.   Joe’s just announced that they received a $50,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to help enliven the Mount Rainier town center.  The grant is for public arts projects that will pair artists with businesses and engage citizens through participatory public arts projects.  I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about the projects in the coming months. 

Thomas Stone Playground Undergoes Transformation.  From a recent press article:  “A dream is now a reality for children in Mount Rainier as their drawings were turned into a new playground today. In less than eight hours, the play space was built with the help of more than 200 volunteers from ForestersTM, Thomas Stone Elementary School, Prince George's County Public Schools and non-profit KaBOOM!. The new playground will serve more than 11,000 children and their families in the community for years to come….Planning for the playground began at a Design Day event held in April when local children and community leaders met with organizers from KaBOOM! and Foresters to design their dream playground. The children's drawings were then used to create the final playground design.”  Click here to read the whole article

Interview with Vernon Sears.  Vernon was born on Otis Street in the 1940s, grew up in our City and still lives here.  He has a great story tell about the white working class neighborhood he grew up in and how he and the City have changed.  Check it out on-line by clicking here.

Mount Rainier Is A Safe Place To Live. Every act of violence in our community is one too many.  When we find out about our neighbor’s car being broken into,  read about the sexual assault on the NW Branch, or grieve with the family whose teenage boy was killed last year, it does not seem that our community is a safe place to live.  But recent statistics released by the Mount Rainier Police Department actually show a continued decrease in reported crime over the last ten years.  There were 144 reported crimes in the first six months of this year, down from 181 in 2011 and 279 in 2003.  The chart below shows the continued decrease in crime in our community.

2012 Home Tour – October 14th 2012. Save the Date – We’re still looking for homes for the tour.  We’re not looking for the perfect renovation but just some interesting homes that can help your neighbors get some ideas from, about what they might do to their homes.  If one of your neighbors has a cool house and you think it would be a good fit for our home tour, let me know and I’ll ask the person myself (I can keep your name anonymous!).
National Night Out  - Tuesday August 7th.- This year’s  National Night Out will be held on the Southern side of our City at Otis and Wells (site of the skate board park) and will primarily consist of old-fashioned neighborhood walks.  
Neighborhood Watch Meeting – Sunday July 22nd at 1 PM.  Potluck Brunch at the Robinson Home - 3711 35th Street.  For more information call Tyrese Robinson: 301- 591-1773.  Neighbors Working Together in a Partnership with the Police can make for one of the best crime-fighting teams around!!
Youth and Recreation Committee Meeting - Monday July 30th at 6:30 PM at Mount Rainier City Hall.   The Y&R Committee is one of our most active city committees.  Last year it did a good job of coordinating the city’s grants to community groups that are working on recreational activities for our community.   “The Mount Rainier Recreation Committee aims to facilitate multi-generational recreational opportunities in the areas of sports, appreciation of our natural environment and the arts. The committee supports the work of activity specific recreational committees and ad hoc interest groups as needed. The Committee is the steward for the City of Mount Rainier recreational resources insuring that residents have full access and take full advantage of our neighborhood treasures: light refreshments will be provided.”                               
A Few Less Ward Reports. My full-time job has been keeping me very busy over the last few months so I apologize that my regular reports are not as frequent as they used to be.  Hopefully things will slow down at work and I’ll be able to send these out on a monthly basis.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Events at Urban Eats!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012     Red Alert SpokenHop Open Mic   8pm  Twitter @RedAlertWeds
Thursday, July 12, 2012   Family Game Night  - Bring your board games, kids, friends and neighors and let's PLAY GAMES!   6pm

Friday, July 13, 2012   Shawn Terrell Jazz Trio with Shawn Terrell on guitar, Raymond Chu (bass), and Steve Marcus (flute). - at 8:00pm-10pm
Sunday, July 15   Brunch Music with Violinist Raycurt Johnson - at 12pm-2pm

Sunday, July 15, 2012    Maceo Kemp presents Third Sunday Gospel Music - at 2:30pm-4:30pm
Entertainment is ALWAYS FREE - We do PASS the CAN for the Musicians/Performers - Please Give what you can.
Urban Eats Arts and Music Cafe
3311 Rhode Island Ave. 100A
Mount Rainier, Md 20712

Still here!

What happened to this blog? It seemed so promising at the beginning. Well, we had a second kid. They're like black holes, sucking in all your resources and eating time. But so loveable!

I will try to keep this going because I think it serves a need. But I could use some help. If anyone reading this wants to give a hand by writing little features about or related to Mount Rainier, please let me know. News tidbits are welcome, too. Or even MR-related opinions.


Saturday, February 18, 2012

Jimmy Tarlau's Ward 1 Report for February

Rhode Island Avenue Development UpdateThe City has reissued another RFP (Request for Proposal) for companies interested in developing the 3200 Block of Rhode Island Avenue (former Funeral Home and Bass Liquor properties).  We did not get any proposals turned in when we sent it out in December but we have been told that a number of developers are interested in investing in Mount Rainier.  The deadline is the beginning of March.  The City is also working with a development consultant who will give us some guidance about how to move the process along.
Better Block ProjectSave the date: April 28th.  Brooke Kidd, representing the Mount Rainier Business Association (MRBA), and Mike Gumpert, from the Gateway CDC, came to the last Council meeting and presented an exciting project which involves painting over the former funeral home on Eastern and Rhode Island Avenue to make it an exciting entrance to Mount Rainier and the Gateway Arts District.   Many people don’t even know when they’re in the Gateway Art District.  When the designs are available I’ll pass them along. 
New Parking Lot Opens - There is now a new parking lot across the street from City Hall (3500 Block of Perry Street).  It is free and ready to be used.  Hopefully there won’t be any more complaints about the lack of parking downtown.
Farmers Market Opens Saturday May 5thAt City Hall Plaza
Interview with Doyle Niemann:  As many of you know, I've been conducting interviews with longtime residents of Mount Rainier for the series "Mount Rainier Then and Now".
I had the opportunity to interview our own State Delegate Doyle Niemann about his coming to our city and how it has changed and not changed in the years he's lived here. I hope you enjoy it.

Rainier Manor:  The Council held its February meeting at the senior citizen facility, Rainier Manor (3100 Queens Chapel Road).  It was a chance for people from the Northern section of the City to attend a Council meeting.  The senior citizen facility was recently renovated and is now one of the best facilities in the area.

TeamMavs:  I’m often struck by how much we enjoy the diversity of our city but also how different groups in our city co-exist but do not share the same experiences.  In the last few months two of our Black youth were shot and killed in our City.  I attended a very emotional memorial service at the house of one of the young people on Upshur Street.   
I thought about how the groups of young men who sometimes make us nervous as they share our  streets are often  students coming home from school or looking for something to do in our City.  There obviously is a real need in Mount Rainier for recreational programs for our older youth.
I really must applaud the leadership of Mayor Miles in mentoring the creation of an organization of young adults, Team Mavs (Team Mount Rainier Against Violence In Society), which is trying to keep young people off the streets and involve them in doing something positive and effective for the community.
Our whole community should do everything possible to make this organization work. They meet at the Mount Rainier Nature Center.  If you would like to help it succeed, write Mayor Miles at

History in the Making:  Community Conversations: Wed. Feb 22, 2012 6:30 – 8 PM - Joe’s Movement Emporium, 3309 Bunker Hill Road, Mount Rainier

Prince George’s County is a diverse community with a rich culture and history, but how can we present it in a way that is meaningful for everyone?  At this event, special guests will present views of the county's past, including the War of 1812, and give perspectives from the history of African Americans and indigenous peoples. Then we invite you to join the conversation to explore how this relates to you and the significant events and places in your neighborhood.

A community conversation with hosts State Senator Victor Ramirez, Delegate Jolene Ivey, Delegate Doyle Niemann, Delegate Michael Summers and Council Member Will Campos in the first in a series of four open forums on the history of our area and how to reveal, present and share it.

The event is free and light refreshments will be served.

Next Electronic Recycling Event – Saturday March 17 from 9 AM to 1 PM  at MR Public Works on Wells Ave (and Otis Street)

City Homeowner’s Tax Credit   - The City has issued checks to forty eight (48) residents for the City Homeowner’s tax credit for a total of $12,289.26.  The checks were sent to the PO this morning.  The City issues the checks based on the list received from the State of Maryland Department of Assessments and Taxation.  The City provides a tax credit of 10% of the amount allowed by the State as a State Homeowners Tax Credit.  The City Homeowner’s Tax credit is in addition to what residents get from the State.

Green Home Energy Program:  The City of Mount Rainier was selected as one of a few municipalities to implement a new statewide home energy efficiency program being offered by the Maryland Energy Administration (MEA).

The EmPOWER Clean Energy Communities grant program will provide energy efficiency grants to 5 homeowners (within the income requirements) in Mount Rainier to purchase and install energy efficient equipment/appliances as part of the pilot program. The caveat is that anyone who participated in a similar program within the last 6 months is ineligible.

All appliances purchased through the grant program must be ENERGY STAR qualified'.  The proposed allocation is $3000 - $5,000 per home energy retrofit, with an $8,000 per home maximum if an HVAC upgrade is necessary. For projects involving whole home energy retrofits, non-energy related health and safety repairs are capped at $500 per home.

Projects are to be completed by May 31, 2012.

Please contact City Hall at 301-985-6585 if you are interested in participating.

Income Requirement:

# of people in Household                      Income

1                                                       up to 63,150
2                                                       up to 72,150
3                                                       up to 81,200                                                                                                       
4                                                       up to 90,200
5                                                       up to 47,400
6                                                       up to 104,650 
any household over 6 people should inquire with City staff for income limits.