Salutations, Streetcar Suburbs!

Welcome to the Streetcar Spotlight — Sakura / St. Paddy’s Day Edition. With peak cherry blossoms expected within the same week as the popular Irish celebration this year, we might actually see more pink than green this St. Patrick’s Day. What are you more looking forward to — shamrocks or cherry blossoms? Weigh in on our totally unscientific survey Facebook (HL&TCPH&N, & Laurel)!

Whatever your preference, there’s sure to be plenty of coordinating cocktails at your favorite drink establishments this month. Kanpai! / Sláinte!

Warm Fuzzies

I was surprised to see that Women’s History Month largely kicks off with a bit of a whimper locally. Here’s a shout-out to the City of Laurel for… acknowledging we exist (with a seemingly charming event celebrating women this month, organized by councilwoman Christine Johnson). College Park seems to think women will be satisfied with a static exhibit at city hall, while Hyattsville’s website suggests residents look elsewhere for Women’s History events (!). 👀 Well this is awkward! I guess women are more of a West Coast thing?

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

SchoolBusPGC 17
Delayed, waylaid or simply missing buses have become commonplace in Prince George’s County Public Schools, which has been hit hard by the driver shortage snarling school transportation across the country.
Photo credit: Freddy Wolfe

First up, College Park’s Katelynn Winebrenner reports on the recent move of the Washington Commanders’ headquarters to the University of Maryland’s Discovery District on River Road. Both the city and the university (which owns and operates the business district) hope the NFL team’s administrative presence will attract other prominent companies to follow suit. Commuters who take River Road to school or work might also wonder what the team’s 200-person staff might mean for the daily traffic snarl on River Road at College Park Academy pickup times.

While we’re on the subject of school transportation SNAFUs, the latest PGCPS board meeting toward the end of February focused on bussing and transportation, according to Hyattsville Life & Times reporter Jess Daninhirsch. The objective of the school board meeting was to go over the proposed FY 2025 operating budget, yet bus problems dominated the public comment period, with one local parent saying his child’s bus had been at least 30 minutes late to school daily this year, depriving him of more than 50 hours of instructional time. The fall 2023 transportation audit suggests the district should stagger school start times and that parents use carpool apps to alleviate congestion.

In the meeting, board member Pamela Boozer-Strother (District 3) referenced a 2011 audit with similar recommendations in her comments: “Let’s be honest, we’ve been talking about the bell times in many task forces on transportation for years. This district has been unwilling to change them because every school community has a reason why they think their bell time shouldn’t change.” Despite understaffed busses and consistent and emphatic complaints from parents, the board voted unanimously to approve the budget, including a slight decrease in transportation spending — further reducing the number of bus drivers.

Ferments by Shelli Widmer
Shelli Widmer’s interest in gut health led her to lacto fermentation; the Hyattsville resident started making her own ferments last year.
Courtesy of Shelli Widmer

And if you’re feeling the need for a palate cleanser after that, check out the latest Life & Times Locavore column by Imke Ahlf-Wein, which offers a delightful dip into the tangy history and benefits of lacto-fermentation, highlighting both DIY versions and local options for getting these gut-health superfoods. My microbiome is going to be stoked when I try the sauerkraut recipe!

Last but not least, Laurel’s Jimmy Rogers gives an excellent overview this month of invasive plants choking local riverbanks and provides a guide for how to avoid such species at local plant nurseries. If plants are your passion, it just so happens that the City of Hyattsville is hosting a volunteer invasives removal on March 16 at Melrose Park from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. (RVSP with

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

  1. University of Maryland alumna and astronaut blasts into space for her first time! Mission specialist Jeanette Epps M.S. ’94, Ph.D. ’00 is one of four astronauts on NASA’s SpaceX Crew-8 mission, a six-month stint on the International Space Station (ISS), where she’ll serve as a flight engineer. ~@UofMaryland
  2. The county is accepting applications for its Summer Youth Enrichment Program (SYEP). County youth ages 14-24 can now apply, and applications are accepted through March 31. ~@CEXAlsobrooks, County Exec. Angela Alsobrooks.
  3. Registration is open now until April 2 for the 2024 Glow Walk/Run on April 6 to raise awareness and acceptance for Autism. Proceeds benefit the YouFit Scholarship Fund, helping send children with Autism to summer camps. ~@pgparks
  4. A woman was sexually assaulted by two strangers while walking in Hyattsville Monday evening shortly after 5 p.m. on the 6000 block of Ager Road. She was grabbed by two male strangers, who then sexually assaulted the woman at knifepoint in a wooded area before running away. Police released video of the men fleeing and are offering a cash award for help identifying them. ~@PGPDNews
  5. An e-scooter and an e-skateboard each caught fire in two separate incidents at the UMD Campus in College Park this week, one of which was indoors. The lithium ion battery was responsible for at least the scooter fire, and though e-scooters are prohibited indoors, there aren’t enough outdoor outlets on campus to charge them. ~@thedbk (The Diamondback)

That’s almost it for this edition — stay safe out there!

I’ve leave you with this lovely video, which I currently have on loop: “Your Neighbors Singing Mozart.” How many people from the community can you spot on stage? One of the many, many reasons I love living in this area. Keep singing!

As always, send me an email with your questions or comments on the newsletter!

Heather Marléne Zadig, Newsletter Editor

Upcoming Events

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

Thurs. March 7

4:30 – 9:30 p.mBoard Game Knights at Game Kastle College Park, every Thursday. Board gaming starts at 4:30, with drop-ins welcome all evening long!

7:30 – 9:30 p.m. $ March Curiosity Jam with Deep Shenoy, Brentwood Arts Exchange. Are you musically curious? Musicians and those who are interested in listening are invited to our monthly Curiosity Jam!  Please bring copies of sheet music if you have it.

Fri. March 8

3 – 5 p.m. $ International Women’s Day Skate. Herbert W. Wells Ice Rink / Building. Contact: Wendy Donley, $3 admission includes skates.

4:30 – 5:45 p.m. Kids and Teens Coding Club – Introduction to Python, 3D Design, and Engineering. Hyattsville Branch Library — Learning Lab. Ages 5-18. In these hands-on workshops, the University of Maryland’s Nearspace Balloon Payload Project will teach useful STEM skills. Register online.

7 – 9 p.m. Jim Groves Collective, Live music at Streetcar 82 in Hyattsville.

7:30 p.m. $ Greenbelt Cinema: Turn Every Page, Sponsored by My Dead Aunt’s Books – The Adventures of Robert Caro and Robert Gottlieb. With guest speakers and post-screening discussion. Delight in the fascinating, intersecting stories of the iconic Pulitzer Prize-winning author Robert Caro and his editor of 50 years, Robert Gottlieb, as they race to complete their life’s work.

8 – 10 p.m. $ Rhizome Presents a Doubleheader Performance: Jamal R. Moore and Janel Leppin, Brentwood Arts Exchange. Jamal R. Moore, a native of Baltimore, is a multiinstrumentalist, composer/performer and educator. Janel Leppin has been a pillar of Washington, D.C.’s creative music and jazz community for over 20 years, as a cellist, composer, arranger, bassist, and singer.

Fri. March 8 (+9, 10, 14, 16, 17)

Var. times. Laurel Mill Playhouse: Michael Frayn’s Noises Off takes a fond look at the follies of theatre folk. Called “the funniest farce ever written,” Noises Off presents a manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a flop called Nothing’s On.

Sat. March 9

10 a.m. – 2 p.m. The City of Laurel is celebrating Women’s History Month at the Laurel Multiservice Center on Saturday. There will be speakers, entertainment, activities, networking and a reception. For more information, contact Councilwoman Christine Johnson.

10 a.m. – 3 p.m. PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY RESIDENTS AGES 10-18 are invited to audition for the 2024 Teen Vocal Showcase! Selected soloist will perform and compete at the Historic Publick Playhouse for a grand prize of $1000. Auditions at Prince George’s Ballroom, 2411 Pinebrook Avenue, Landover. Call 301-341-0167 with questions.

10:30 a.m. – 3 p.m. Music For All: Concert Band Festival 2024. The University of Maryland School of Music is hosting the second Mid-Atlantic Concert Band festival. Middle and high schools from across the mid-Atlantic will come together for a day of masterclasses, clinics and performances. Dekelboum Concert Hall, UMD College Park.

11 a.m. – 1 p.m. Expungement Clinic – Hosted by Community Legal Services. Laurel Branch Library – Large Meeting Room A (Dorothy Height Room). One-on-one consultations with an attorney to evaluate your past criminal record for expungement eligibility, help preparing expungement petitions, and education on new and changing expungement laws, such as cannabis possession expungement.

4 – 6 p.m. The 2nd Saturday Lecture at the Church of the Brethren: UMD professor Russell Dickerson will present his department’s research on methane, a potent greenhouse gas. Learn how they quantify methane emissions from leaky infrastructure including gas pipes, wastewater treatment facilities, and landfills, and what engaged citizens can do to encourage county, state, and federal officials to support more research, enact and enforce stricter controls, and do more recycling and composting. 4413 Tuckerman St University Park.

Sun. March 10

11 a.m. – 2 p.m. Hyattsville Irish Session & Sunday Brunch. Play or listen to the only trad session in Prince George’s County! 2nd and 4th Sunday of every month at Maryland Meadworks.

2 – 4 p.m. $ Princess Party: The Princess and the Frog, Prince George’s Publick Playhouse (Bladensburg). For our second annual Royal Dress-up & Family Fun Day, dress as your favorite animated prince, princess, or other character and join the fun with our real-life royal guests.

3 p.m. Faculty Artist Series: Left Bank Quartet and Friends, Gildenhorn Recital Hall, UMD College Park. Members of the Left Bank Quartet are joined by faculty from around the School of Music for this exciting performance of works by Beach, Shostakovich and Mozart.

Mon. March 11

3:30 – 5:30p.m. Teen Game Day – Held in Meeting Room BLaurel Branch Library. (13-18 YRS) Play chess, board games, video games, and have some friendly competition! Bring your own game or play one of ours. Teens can earn community service hours.

7 – 9 p.m. Independent Film Series: “Fashion Reimagined.” Hyattsville Library – “A must watch, not just for the fashion industry, but for everyone who wears clothes”, Jess Cartner-Morley, The Guardian. Meeting Room 2, Adults. (100 mins.).

Mondays March 11, 18, and 25

6:30 – 7:30 p.m. $ The Dundunba Experience For Women* (*all genders welcome) Joe’s Movement Emporium. West African Dundunba Drumming for women*, instructed by seasoned drummer Malari Moore – he will teach primarily dundun, sangba and possibly kenkene drums. Class is geared towards adults but youth 16 years of age and older can join.

Tues. March 12

1 – 2 p.m. Job Seekers Club, Mount Rainier Library. Looking for a job? Preparing for an interview? Need help filling out an application? Find answers to your questions, and receive guidance from library staff.

6 – 9 p.m. $ Tuesday Night Drop-In Figure Drawing Sessions at Pyramid Atlantic Art Center. 4318 Gallatin Street, Hyattsville. Weekly Hyattsville Figure Drawing Group. What: Sharpen your drawing skills in a relaxed, informal setting. Bring your favorite art supplies and sketch from a live, nude art model.

8 p.m. $-$$ A bass player above all else, Meshell Ndegeocello brings her warm, fat and melodic groove to the stage. The D.C. area native takes sojourns into soul, R&B, jazz, hip-hop and rock, in a search for love, justice, respect and resolution. Kay Theater, UMD College Park.

Thurs. March 14

7:30 – 9:30 p.m. Weekly Thursday Trivia at Denizens Brewing, Riverdale Park. There are prizes for the top teams and delicious beer available for everyone!

Fri. March 15

8 p.m. $-$$ Baltimore Symphony Orchestra & UMD Concert Choir: Orff’s Carmina Burana. Dekelboum Concert Hall, College Park.

Sun. March 17

4 – 7 p.m. O’McPub Band (Irish music) at Streetcar 82 in Hyattsville.

6 – 8 p.m. Corned Beef Hash, New Deal Café in Greenbelt: This renowned DC/Baltimore-based trio will take you on a no-holds-barred journey through Irish jigs and reels, stirring Yiddish songs, and French-Canadian toe-tappers. We promise you’ll be glad you came along. (Tipping the band encouraged.)