Created by contributors in grades K-8, the HyattsKIDS Life & Times features local news, columns, and comics from our city’s youngest journalists. Our editors are Evan LeFevre and Claudia Romero Garvey. To participate, contact adult adviser Mary Frances Jiménez: firstname.lastname@example.org. We also invite readers’ questions for our “Ask a HyattsKID” advice column.
Local Families Support Today’s Hair After Fire
By Talika Gorski and Elliott Kramer
Today’s Hair, a family business based in College Park, has been operating for 26 years. You probably know someone who has had their hair cut by Pola Kry or her husband Sokha at Today’s Hair. Many HyattsKIDS reporters have been going since they were small. Our favorite part is the free lollipop at the end — and the great haircut, of course.
Since the pandemic started, Today’s Hair has been struggling. Pola says, “The pandemic affected me big-time. It is very hard because all my regular clients do not come out to get their hair cut.” Then, there was another challenge. At the beginning of February, a business next to the salon caught fire and it spread to the roof. The salon had to close due to water and smoke damage.
As a result, Pola started doing mobile haircuts. To make an appointment, you call or text Pola, decide on a date and she comes to your yard and cuts your hair. However, this arrangement is difficult. Group haircuts, where several haircuts are scheduled throughout the day in the same place, are better for Pola because she doesn’t have to travel so much.
In the Hyattsville area, Mary Warneka planned a group cut fundraiser to support Pola and her family. Although they were expecting rain, the weather was good. They had a funny sign for the event. There were three stations for haircutting, and they had 40 people come to get haircuts. Each station had chairs, mirrors, tables for their equipment, and tarps on the ground to catch the hair. Grayson Johnson, age 10, helped his mom set up tables and chairs. He chatted and hung out with younger children. He also got a haircut and helped donate funds to repair Today’s Hair.
While Pola misses her salon, she likes being outside and she is grateful that the local community has supported her, both through a GoFundMe page and by organizing the group haircuts. She hopes that in the summer, her salon will be open again. Pola says, “I hope the community keeps supporting us because I love to work with children and watch them grow up. That’s the most important thing.”
We can’t wait to go back and have our lollipops!
HyattsKIDS Catches Up With HVFD Chief
By Delia Silva
To learn more about the Hyattsville Volunteer Fire Department (HVFD), HyattsKIDS reached out to Ryan Pidgeon, our fire chief. Reporter Delia Silva started by asking about the schooling of a firefighter. Fire Chief Pidgeon said firefighters start with basic training of 135 hours: classes are two nights a week for three hours and then all day Saturday. For EMT basics, they have to train for another 165 hours. Pidgeon notes that “Those are just the basic requirements, and all of our members are constantly taking classes to better service the public.”
At the HVFD, six firefighters work every shift: Two will be in the ambulance, and the other four will staff the fire apparatus (engine, ladder truck, rescue squad). Fire Chief Pidgeon said that putting out a fire is a physically demanding job no matter the size of the fire.
The firehouse will soon be rebuilt so the HVFD has better facilities. During construction, they will move temporarily to the old Red Cross building.
Every spring, HVFD hosts an open house for kids and their families to learn about fire safety and visit the firehouse. Chief Pidgeon wants kids to know they should never play with lighters or matches. They can help make sure their homes have working smoke alarms. Kids should make a fire escape plan with their families, and if there is a fire, never ever go back inside the house for anything.
A Second Spring of Changed Traditions
By Nora Marx and Bella Romero
Every family has spring traditions, but because of the ongoing pandemic, some of the things we would regularly do remain impossible.
Like many others, reporter Bella Romero and her family usually go to see the cherry blossoms in D.C., at the Tidal Basin. But last year the area was blocked off, and will most likely be the same this year. However, the National Cherry Blossom Festival provided a mix of personal and virtual events this year, so we can still celebrate the blossoming trees.
Agnes Murphy, a third grader at Saint Jerome Academy, plants a garden every year — something the virus cannot easily disrupt. “I try to plant a couple things,” she said to HyattsKIDS reporters. Last year, she planted zinnias, cucumbers, and tomatoes. She will keep her garden this year.
The Great Magruder Park Egg Hunt, a Hyattsville activity that happens around Easter, was canceled again this year. Despite this, families can still create their own egg hunts around the house.
Traditionally, north of Jefferson Street, mysterious bunny tracks have appeared on Easter, left by the Easter Bunny, who presumably stepped in flour. Mr. Bunny was not available for comment.
Ask a HyattsKID: Creative Spring Ideas
By Irene Vaidyanathan and Evan LeFevre
My family really enjoys dyeing Easter eggs every year. What are some of the best dyeing methods, and how can we use them past the Easter season?
We usually buy the dyeing kits for the eggs, but you can also color them in a cheesecloth with food dye, or paint them with watercolors or acrylics. If you’re in the mood to do something really creative, you could use a needle to poke holes in both ends of the egg and then blow the contents of the egg out the other end. If done successfully, you could decorate the hollowed-out shell and keep it forever. If you don’t have as much time but still want to try some things out, you can use rubber bands wrapped around the egg before you dip it, and then you can keep parts of the eggs white and make really interesting patterns. If you want to keep going, you could also dye shirts and old cloth bags with tie dye.