After a month of protests from firefighters and the community, Prince George’s County has backed away from a recommendation to remove paid firefighters from the Beltsville Volunteer Fire Station.

The plan reportedly was to remove 20 career firefighters from the station house, which county officials had deemed unsafe. Volunteers were to be allowed to stay.

The move might have had a negative impact on College Park, as Beltsville is one of the neighborhood fire departments that routinely sends trucks to the city when fire breaks out here. In addition, according to College Park Mayor Fazlul Kabir, the Branchville Volunteer Fire Co. in College Park, which often is called as a backup to fires in Beltsville, could have become overtaxed with those requests if the Beltsville career staff had been moved out.

During a crowded mid-February hearing, county Fire Chief Tiffany Green announced the county would bring in residential trailers to house both career and volunteer firefighters while the Beltsville station undergoes repairs.

Good eats. Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema selected Northwest Chinese Food, located in College Park (7313 Baltimore Avenue), as one of his five favorite restaurants in February.

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Washington Post food critic Tom Sietsema writes some kind words about the rou jia mo, a sort of Chinese hamburger, at College Park’s own Northwest Chinese Food.
Photo credit: Adobe Stock Photo

Sietsema, who does not identify himself as a food critic when he visits restaurants to review, sampled the housemade liang pi, or wheat-flour noodles, and what the chef calls a “burger,” or rou jia mo, a filling of lamb, cumin, sweet onions and cumin wrapped in fresh bread.

“Then there are the dumplings to consider,” Sietsema wrote in a Feb. 20 review in the Post. “Make mine pork dumplings draped with a creamy blanket of sesame seeds and lit with chile oil.”

Sietsema called out the Shenyang-born owner, whose dishes feature “bold flavors and Korean influences.”

Greek suspension. Some downtown College Park neighborhoods have been  quieter lately since the University of Maryland (UMD) indefinitely suspended certain activities at 21 fraternities and 14 sororities pending an investigation into allegations of hazing.

College officials, in a letter to students’ families in late February, said behavior at some fraternities or sororities “posed a threat to the safety and well-being of members of the university community.” The letter did not name specific organizations.

The suspension applies to activities related to new members or involving alcohol on or off campus.

Some members of UMD’s Greek community have objected to the suspension, saying it is not fair to punish all fraternities and sororities for the actions of a few.

Tenant subsidies. The College Park City Council is considering expanding a proposed student housing subsidy to include low-income city renters. 

The council could vote as soon as March 19 on a subcommittee recommendation to include non-students in a pilot program that would grant $1,500 to tenants of the Route 1 high-rise apartments. 

The proposed revisions also offer the council the option to include some single-family home rentals in the expanded program.

To be eligible for the subsidy, students would need to qualify for Pell Grants. Non-students with incomes at or below the area median income could qualify for the grant, according to the recommendation.

More than a dozen College Park residents had objected to the original plan’s dedicating $225,000 to the program.

Social sports. The city is polling residents to gauge their interest in an adult social sports league.

The city has $30,000 in this year’s budget to spend on organizing opportunities for residents, including seniors, to participate in social sports like pickleball and bocce ball.

 To fill out the survey by the March 13 deadline, go to or request a paper copy by visiting the Department of Youth, Family and Senior Services at 4912 Nantucket Road.

Women’s history. An exhibit on female activism will be on display on the first floor of the College Park City Hall during March in recognition of Women’s History Month. College Park is the latest stop for the touring presentation, which is called, “Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia from Women’s Suffrage to Today,” organized by the Virginia Museum of History & Culture. Viewing hours are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Easter eggs. College Park will host an Easter egg hunt on Saturday, March 23, from 10 a.m. to noon at Calvert Park. Youngsters up to 10 years old receive a basket to collect eggs and prizes. Refreshments are included.