In Memory of Anna Walker
We are sad to inform our readers that our columnist Anna Walker passed away on July 26, at the age of 58, of a previously undiagnosed condition.
Recruited by former managing editor Maria James, who described her as a “go-getter,” Walker inaugurated the “Taking Care of Business” column in 2019, in which she profiled local businesses and programs available to assist them. James remembers, “Anna was very supportive of our work and often shared the Hyattsville Life & Times with her many friends and family. She will be remembered as a champion of the arts and supporter of local businesses and her community.”
Walker was known for being direct. “What do you want to be managing editor for, anyway?” she asked current managing editor, Kit Slack, in their first phone conversation, leading to a fruitful conversation during which each learned much about the other.
Walker had a long career of using her pen and her voice to help others. On a blog she started recently, she offered the following advice for us all as the pandemic took hold:
“You may be overwhelmed and trying to handle more than one task at a time, including work-related projects and home/family life.
“Take the time to take a deep breath. OK, several breaths and be aware of what you are feeling. Pace yourself. Stop when you need to stop.”
During the past five years, Walker worked as a grant-writing professional and nonprofit consultant in the D.C. area. She hailed from Jackson, Miss., where she grew up in a blended family of 13 siblings; she was the third youngest. Anna’s mother was a homemaker, and her father was a brick mason. She spent the early part of her career as an educator, teaching at a school her father built.
She went on to serve for five years as the executive director of the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence.
We miss her here at the Hyattsville Life & Times, and offer her family our heartfelt condolences.
P3 school construction proposal progresses
On Oct. 7, Dr. Monica Goldson, CEO of Prince George’s County Schools, announced the selection of a development team to design, build and finance six schools, including the new Hyattsville Middle School, and then maintain them for over 30 years.
Prince George’s County Education and Community Partners will be recommended to the county board of education to lead the Alternative Construction Finance Program, the first public-private partnership of its kind, according to a county press release.
If the board approves the recommendation, Fengate Capital Management Ltd, Gilbane Development Company, Inc. and Gilbane Building Company will finance and build the schools, Stantec will serve as the architect and design lead, and Honeywell will be the lead service provider.
“We received three highly competitive bids for this project,” said Gabrielle Brown, the school system’s media relations director, in an Oct. 9 email. “We also conducted a competitive two-step procurement process, which yielded the selection of Prince George’s County Education and Community Partners based on a best value determination on the basis of technical and financial factors.”
“I am proud to lead the first school district in the nation that seeks to build and maintain schools through this innovative approach,” said Goldson. “Patchwork replacements prevent our buildings from functioning effectively. I am happy to have Prince George’s County Education and Community Partners join our program as we modernize our aging infrastructure to meet the 21st century needs of our students.”
If approved, the development team will allocate at least 30% of the total contract value, approximately $225 million, to local and minority-owned businesses over the life of the program. An estimated $135 million is expected to be allocated in the first 4 years, according to the press release. Additionally, the school system estimates this agreement will stimulate the county’s economy and add approximately 4,100 jobs during the design-build phase of the project.
All six schools are scheduled to be ready for occupancy July 2024. The education board is expected to vote on the proposed developer during its Oct. 21 meeting.
Hyattsville police officer indicted for off-duty assault
A City of Hyattsville police officer, Pvt. 1st Class Mitchell Lowery, age 29, has been accused of brandishing a handgun at a group of teenagers at an apartment complex pool in Columbia, Md., during an argument on the evening of July 13. The officer was off duty at the time.
On Sept. 2, a Howard County grand jury indicted Lowery on seven counts of first-degree assault and one count of using a handgun during the commission of a crime of violence.
According to Hyattsville Police Chief Amar Awad, Lowery was immediately suspended from duty, with pay, following the July incident, and has not been reinstated. Awad also noted that following the September indictment, Lowery is now suspended without pay.
Lowery’s defense attorney said that his client cooperated with the police, contests the charges and hopes to return to his position, according to a Sept. 15 report by WTOP News.
Lowery is expected to make his initial appearance in Howard County Circuit Court on Oct. 16.