Salutations, Streetcar Suburbs!

Welcome to the Streetcar SpotlightTotal Eclipse of the Sun Edition. Dust off your safety solar glasses from 2017, totality is once again arcing across the United States on Monday, April 8. Hope you can catch it this time around, as the next one doesn’t cross the U.S. until 2044! You can still view the partial eclipse from the DMV: the National Science Foundation says it will be visible here between 2:04 p.m. and 4:32 p.m. EDT. Maximum eclipse will be at 3:20 p.m., with the sun 89% covered by the moon (viewing events at College Park Aviation Museum and the Eclipse Festival on the National Mall).

If you happen to miss it, keep an eye trained on the night sky near the North Star from now until sometime in September to see a rare nova visible to the naked eye only once every 80 years. Share your eclipse photos with the community on our related Facebook posts (HL&T, CPH&N, & Laurel)!

Click “view in browser” or HERE to see the full version with UPCOMING EVENTS.

Warm Fuzzies

Screenshot 2024 04 04 at 8.16.09 AMShout-out to Superintendent Millard House for acknowledging this week that transportation of kids in PGCPS isn’t working and launching an ambitious plan to improve it. We’ve covered the school bus SNAFUs for a while now and look forward to following up once the plan has been implemented.

Got a kudos for a local business or government office/employee? Send it to us to potentially be included in the next newsletter!

Local News in a Nutshell: Original Reporting & Analysis

Election Primaries

Picture1First up, if the November elections seem to be barreling towards us like a runaway train, here’s a gentle reminder that primary elections for Maryland are coming up next month on May 14. In addition to candidates for president of the United States, May’s primary will choose candidates for the U.S. Senate, representatives to U.S. Congress, judges for the Maryland Circuit Court in Prince George’s County, and delegates to each party’s national conventions. Check out our local election guide in print and online for voting details, candidate bios, and more!

Route 1 Construction Updates

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Phase 1 of construction is winding down on Route 1 this spring.
Photo credit: Jonathan Iacovacci

If your anxiety levels went up a notch from reading about elections, I’m afraid our next topic is driving on Route 1 😱 through College Park. Construction on the first phase of the project to add bike lanes, raised medians and turn lanes is expected to finish this spring after a year-long delay due to staffing and supply shortages.

Manager Kayla Scott at Looney’s Pub could be channeling us all with her comment on the ongoing construction headaches: “It’s been, what, three years?” To be honest, in the roughly eight years I’ve lived here total, I can’t remember a period without Route 1 construction. I wouldn’t hold my breath! Phase 2 is next, but it hasn’t even been funded yet.

More Route 1 Construction

Construction of Flats, a 317-unit building of affordable apartments will begin this spring and finish by early 2026.
Courtesy of RST Development

Speaking of roadwork on Route 1, a 317-unit affordable apartment building in College Park is slated to begin construction this month. “Flats at College Park” are going up on Route 1 between Delaware and Cherokee streets, where aging motels were demolished in February. Residents are concerned about traffic jams on neighborhood streets, but city leaders are hoping to funnel traffic to — you guessed it — Route 1. “The idea is that we want as much traffic on Route 1 as possible and as little traffic in the neighborhoods,” said resident and former city council member Kate Kennedy.

No-kill shelter in Laurel DOA

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Concerns about cost and staffing have halted progress on Laurel’s new animal shelter.
Photo courtesy of Heather Zadig

Meanwhile, in Laurel, city plans for a no-kill animal shelter have been tabled due to budgetary constraints, challenges in securing property and a shortage of volunteers. All those pets hastily acquired during the COVID-19 pandemic are now part of an opposite trend: an uptick in abandoned animals, especially cats. Currently, the city holds stray animals for 24 hours before transferring them to a county shelter 45 minutes away in Upper Marlboro — less than ideal (for pets and humans alike). City leaders on the no-kill shelter task force are still hoping to perhaps partner with the county to make the shelter happen.

Robot Wait-staff & Robot Bees

Finally, I was surprised to discover not one, but two Streetcar Suburbs columns referencing robots this month, one of which sent me to Google to be sure it wasn’t a staff April Fool’s joke. As you’ll read in Bob Reilly’s Beat of Laurel column this month, Sunny the robot at Denny’s is 100% real and ready to serve, though you’ll have to be the judge of the service quality. Then head on over to Miss Floribunda for a fascinating dive into the possible future of pollination: robot bees.

What do you think, should we embrace our robot overlords or “run away, run away!”? Take our totally unscientific Facebook polls ((HL&T, CPH&N, & Laurel) to weigh in.

My Top 5 Local Twitter Tidbits (okay, “X”)

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  1. Help track how much #litter you collect in your community. Check out PGC Dept. of the Environment for PGCLitterTRAK app training dates to prepare for Growing Green with Pride on April 27, individual or group clean-up. @pgcsprout

  2. Fatal Shooting: Officers responded to the 6500 blk of Ager Rd near the intersection with East-West Hwy. in Chillum at approx. 10:25 pm on March 29 for a shooting. An adult male in the parking lot with multiple gunshot wounds was pronounced dead on scene. $25k reward offered: Call @PGCrimeSolvers 1-866-411-TIPS with any info or submit a tip using the P3 Tips app. @PGPDNews

  3. Former NFL player and owner of Huncho House in Hyattsville, Tobias Dorzon, is in the quarterfinals for the Food Network show Tournament of Champions, hosted by Guy Fieri. After the competition, he hopes to expand to a second location in the county. @thebaynetcom

  4. PGCPS will have new standardized start times beginning in fall 2024. Right now, there are more than 20 times that schools start across Prince George’s County. Under the new plan, schools could start at 7:30 a.m., 8:30 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. @nbcwashington

  5. The city of College Park is set to launch a new website with a refurbished design in the coming weeks. Improvements include a better council and staff directory, updated and higher-quality College Park guides and maps and a dedicated language translation button. @thedbk (The Diamondback)

Screenshot 2024 04 03 at 10.10.54 PMHere’s hoping the stars align for clear skies during Monday’s eclipse, whether you view it from home or are traveling to another region for totality. Once the weather improves, I’m looking forward to checking out the newly repaired and reopened Trumbule Trail nature path in Driskell Park — thanks to the City of Hyattsville’s Public Works Department for tackling repairs!

Don’t be shy! Send me an email with any questions or comments on the newsletter. And fair winds and Godspeed to those journeying to the eclipse!

Zadig Headshot

Heather Marléne Zadig, Newsletter Editor

Upcoming Events

Unless marked with an “$,” events listed do not charge admission.

Fri. April 5

12-2pm. 365 Blacks Everyone Should Know Lunch & Launch at Busboys & Poets in Hyattsville. An opportunity to be among the first to embark on a year-round journey celebrating Black excellence. Come enjoy good food, great company, and enlightening conversations as we honor these remarkable figures. RSVP online. Lunch available to order.

8pm. $ Diametrically Composed at Gildenhorn Recital Hall UMD College Park, is a collection of newly commissioned works featuring flute, voice and piano exploring the duality of being a mother and an artist. Performed by Allison Loggins-Hull, Alicia Hall Moran and Gabriela Martinez.

Sat. April 6

10am. City of Laurel annual Patuxent River Cleanup. This will be the City’s 17th year participating in this statewide event coordinated by the Patuxent Riverkeepers. The staging area will be Riverfront Park, located at 22 Avondale Street, in the picnic area. Trash bags, gloves, and other hand tools will be provided; dress appropriately. Community service hours available.

12-2pm. Family Art Time, Laurel Library: For children who have autism or other exceptional needs and their families. Presented by Kyle’s Art for Autism World, Inc, this program aims to spread autism awareness throughout the community while offering a creative and welcoming space for individuals with exceptional needs to express themselves through art. Large Meeting Room A (Dorothy Height Room).

7-10pm. Four Shillings Short at The New Deal Café. The husband/wife duo of Aodh Og O’Tuama from Cork, Ireland and Christy Martin from California, play traditional and original music from the Celtic Lands, Medieval and Renaissance Europe, India and the Americas. Tipping encouraged.

8-10pm. $ Oh He Dead at Prince George’s Publick Playhouse in Bladensburg. DC-based band is a five-piece band known for putting on a haunting live show as Johnson “maneuvers her powerful voice — a combination of Stevie Nicks and Tracy Chapman” (Kojo Nnamdi) in rhythm with the band’s “sublime instrumentation” (NPR) and “infectious and soulful sound” (The Washington Post).

8-10pm. $ Special EFX featuring Chieli Minucci at Montpelier Arts Center in Laurel. Grammy-nominated jazz-fusion group Special EFX has been a major force on the jazz and world music scene for 40 years. Minucci’s music can also be heard on the soundtracks of the films “No Country for Old Men”, “Bowfinger”, “Legally Blonde”, “Panic”, and others.

Sun. April 7

2pm. $$ “Rideshare by Robert”: A Book, Blog & Band Audio-Visual Journey at Laurel Mill Playhouse. Local Author, Blogger, and Singer-Songwriter, Bob Reilly, will share stories and songs inspired by his book, “Rideshare by Robert.” Bob is a 40-year resident of Laurel and writes the “Beat of Laurel” column for The Laurel Independent newspaper. His rideshare stories cover the past 8 years, over 26,000 rides, and are filled with humor, compassion, and love for the human family in all its mess & glory.

3-5pm. Ian Riggs: “Hotel Slippers” at Maryland Meadworks in Hyattsville. Ian Riggs sings and plays musical moods fit for sunlit afternoon rooms and spaces. He will be joined by Manny Arciniega on Drums/percussion and other special guests. Tipping encouraged.

Mon. April 8, 1:30pm+. View the solar eclipse at College Park Aviation Museum. Pop by after school or take a late lunch to witness this astronomical event! Viewing glasses will be distributed while supplies last. Program is weather dependent. Total eclipse occurs at 3:20 pm.

Mon. April 8 (& 14), 8 pm (& 1pm). $ Miyazaki Mondays series at Greenbelt Cinema: Ghost in the Shell (rated R). When available the subbed version of the film will play on Mondays and the dubbed version will play on Saturdays. Not all films are appropriate for children.

Tues. April 9, 4:30-5:30pm. Calling youth leaders! Are you a young person aged 12-22 interested in social justice? Apply for the Prince George’s County Office of Human Rights and PGCMLS’s Youth Leadership Academy! Meeting every Tuesday in April from 4:30 – 5:30 p.m. in person at the Bladensburg Branch Library, the Youth Leadership Academy will educate and inspire you about social justice leaders, movements, and actions.

Wed. April 10, 10-10:30am. Story Time every Wed. morning for infants and up. College Park Community Library, Church of the Nazarene, 9740 Rhode Island Ave. Contact: 301-474-8044 for more info.

Fri. April 12

6-9pm. Night Owls Session! Hyattsville’s Night Owls offers fun, interactive, and educational activities at the Driskell Park Recreation Center for children in grades K – 5! Sign your child up to enjoy a Friday evening out!

7-10pm. Grown-up Comedian Barbies: A free, all-woman stand-up comedy show hosted by Hyattsville’s own Megan Miller @ Maryland Meadworks. Doors open at 7p. Seating is limited! First come first served. DMV comediennes – Lilly Brackett, Sara DuBois, and Olivia Vida. Adult content. Tipping encouraged.

8-10pm. $ Yuri’s Night: Pat Cain and Sarah Marie Hughes at Brentwood Arts Exchange. Come join the world space party that is Yuri’s Night, a celebration of humankind’s first entry into space by Yuri Gagarin on April 12, 1961. Multi-instrumentalist improviser and composer Sarah Marie Hughes will join experimental electronic musician Pat Cain for a collaborative imagination of music from space, spacey sounds, and alien imaginings.

Sat. April 13

10:30-11:30am. Bibliobop Dance Party, Greenbelt Branch Library. Bust a move and shake your sillies out. Bring your parents or caregivers and prepare to boogie and bop until we all drop! For kids 0-5.

11am-2pm. Artisan Shop Spring Pop-Up & Artist Demos at Brentwood Arts Exchange. This event offers a fantastic opportunity to meet local artists, shop their unique handmade items, and learn about their creative process through interactive artist demonstrations. Enjoy a 15% discount on everything in the Artisan Shop.

11am-4pm. Joe’s Movement Emporium with the Mount Rainier Nature Center will celebrate this Earth Day with a Garden Crawl and Open House. Various partners and host sites will have nature-based workshops, hands-on green activities, giveaways, gardening tips, and much more. The map will lead you along the route to see Joe’s GreenWorks, the Trash trap, local food forests, Mount Rainier native plants, Joe’s Arte Para Todos, TreeDC, PG Audubon Society, and the City of Mount Rainier Tree commission. RSVP online.

Sun. April 14

12-5pm. Books and Brews Tour Book Fair at Denizens in Riverdale Park. In support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

1-3pm. Neighborhood Design Center’s Trash Dash at Bladensburg Waterfront Park. Teams of eco-warriors compete to see who can collect the most trash in one hour. Like fundraising races, teams of 5-10 people are encouraged to get sponsors to donate to support their clean-up efforts as they race against the clock, competing for prizes in categories like most trash collected, best found object, and team spirit. Family-friendly FUNdraiser.

2pm. The Celtic MusicFest at Laurel Mill Playhouse: Classic & Contemporary Celtic music, featuring Gary Eurice and Drew Vervan. The Celtic Music Club is a small group of musicians whose main activity is a weekly gathering, during which they play instrumental dance tunes. Afterwards head next door to Olive on Main for food & drinks. More info: Maureen Rogers at 301-617-9906 or email