PGCo, did you know… (Demo)

Doubletree Hilton Opening
Doubletree Hilton Opening

The new Largo DoubleTree by Hilton had its grand opening July 20th. There was big hullabaloo with all your local politicians and suchy-muches but your friendly neighborhood blogger, Ceemac, was not invited so guess what I’m going to tell you about? The absolutely FAB event that took place Wednesday, July 22nd at the Residence Inn Arlington.  Their PR team reached out to me to attend the event, but I couldn’t and I SO SO HAVE REGRETS! I was called in to serve my church as their social media suite host; I had a blast but I wished I could have attended both functions.  Residence Inn Arlington, located at 650 N. Quincy Street Arlington, VA 22203, hosted their Inn the Mix social event that represents the future of social events.  Three nights a week the hotel will feature a different opportunity to socialize in the lobby or outdoor space. Mondays is “It’s On,” night featuring tasty sips and snacks. On Tuesdays, they’re grilling and chilling with cold beverages. And they Mix It Up on Wednesdays, giving you a taste of the local area with great food truck fare, restaurant pop-in tastings or dessert to provide a sweet finale to your day.  I will be grabbing some buddies and attending one of these so stay tuned.  Take a look at the photos. PGCo’s own Goodies Frozen Custard (National Harbor) was there along with some of  DC’s hottest bakeries and restaurants including Dangerously Delicious Pies, Astro Donuts and Fried Chicken, a live DJ, electronic violinist, Seth G.

I’m not bitter. *giggle*
Fresh Dry CleanersShout out to Fresh Dry Cleaners in Hyattsville, 5557 Baltimore Avenue, Suite 300, 301-927-FRESH (3737). Independent owner and entrepreneur Ishmael Wilson is an asset to the thriving Hyattsville neighborhood. Ishmael Wilson reinvests his profits into Prince George’s County by providing job training, education, and community events.  Let’s support good businesses in the county.
Royal FarmsA new Royal Farms opened in Clinton, MD, at  6200 Allentown Road.  I have heard of Royal Farms but still didn’t know exactly what it was; I’ve never been to one.  Royal Farms sounds like a souped up Wawa.  It’s described as a gas station and convenience store, specializing in fresh made food. This location is the 26th LEED Certified convenience store in the Royal Farms chain. Grab some food, fill up, or charge your vehicle at their electric AV charging station
Simply MacA Simply Mac store opening at Bowie Town Center. Store will offer a full line of Apple products, including Mac computers, laptops and iPads, as well as a great selection of accessories. Specific date coming. They haven’t begun construction yet but according to someone I spoke with at Bowie Town Center, the opening date could be as soon as a month or two. Yay!

Wesleys Southern CuisineAlso coming to Bowie Town Center is Wesley’s Southern Cuisine. Executive chef Wesley Clark, the southern food specialists will dish out a mix of Creole food, soul food and seafood, such as gumbo, stuffed shrimp and pork ribs, to shoppers from the food court at Bowie Town Center. Wesley’s Southern Cuisine had its beginning as a catering business and has now branched out.

Shop Maryland Tax FreeJust in time for your back to school shopping, Maryland Tax-Free Week 2015 is here. Well almost here.  Sunday, August 9 – Saturday, August 15 you can purchase apparel and footwear $100 or less, per item,  exempt from the state sales tax. Accessory items are not included-whatever that means because really, don’t we all need a trinket to go along with the apparel and footwear.  Yes, I know this is timed for school shopping, but I say the good parents and helpful guardians should treat themselves to a tax free gift at this time too. Questions? Click HERE for FAQs.
Michael Deangelo Harris
Michael Deangelo Harris

In the news, as of  late, it seems like my hometown DC is experiencing a crazy spike in crime. Synthetic drugs, armed robberies, break-ins, multiple shootings night after night; Just lots of madness going on.  Prince George’s County has not been spared.  Thursday July 30th in the early hours, a man was found shot in the 6300 block of Livingston Road. He later died. Then there’s sicko Michael Deangelo Harris of the 3300 block of Curtis Drive in Suitland still lurking about. He is accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Mitchellville.  Take a look at that face and tell the police where he is. Another rapist is on the loose. He broke into the Regency Court Apartments (Suitland), entered a sleeping woman’s residence and assaulted her.

District 7 Police Station
District 7 Police Station

In the meantime, a spanking brand new District 7 police station in Fort Washington/Accokeek is going to have to sit for at least another year before it’s staffed because the county doesn’t have the money, according to reports.  State Delegate Jay Walker said he was “completely blindsided” by the decision to not staff the station, which is located near the soon to be completed MGM Casino at National Harbor.  From NBC4’s Tracee Wilkins report, “We can’t do it right now,” said Barry Stanton, the county’s public safety director. Opening the District 7 station in Fort Washington will require a staff of 50 police officers and seven civilians.  County Executive Rushern Baker argument was that the county council should have passed his budget. “I told them if they didn’t pass this [Baker’s proposed]  budget, these are the cuts you can expect.” I don’t know what kind of budgets, county The Prince George’s Police Department has consistently stated they will not redeploy officers from other districts stations in order to properly staff the new District 7 station. Crime has decreased in District 7 by 21%, but with the coming casino, that station is integral to keeping the crime statistics down.

MGM National Harbor School BusKeep crime down, build schools up. The County Council passed legislation that will give half of MGM National profits to the school system. Boy oh boy are we going to have to track this closely. I’m going to need help so inbox me if you’re a budget guru.  From the Washington Post: The Prince George’s County Council unanimously adopted new legislation that allocates half of the gaming revenue from the new MGM National Harbor for public education. The new law, CB-33-2015, requires that 50 percent of annual gaming revenue, up to a maximum of $25 million, be reserved for Prince George’s County Public Schools, Prince George’s Community College and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. The funds will be distributed as local impact grants from the profits of video lottery terminals, table games, real property and personal property taxes, hotel and motel taxes, and admission and amusement taxes.

College Park-Riverdale  Transit District Plan
College Park-Riverdale Transit District Plan

What’s looking like the best bet in town is investing in College Park/Riverdale and Prince George’s County transit oriented development.  I can’t tell you how happy I am about this. Everyone knows about the soon coming Whole Foods, but did you know the Target Express has opened? And by the way, they are hiring.  That area is turning into a real college town. Now we have to work on keeping the knuckleheads out who want to rob people. Washington Business Journal posted on the excitement surrounding development in College Park and PGCo’s metro stations: More than 100 developers and business leaders met at the University of Maryland’s Ritchie Coliseum in College Park to review options to develop some 8.6 acres of land around the College Park Metro station. Developers also viewed Prince George’s County’s Request for Qualifications for a 2.6-acre site as well as WMATA’s RFP for a 6-acre parcel available for development.

Economic Development CorpCheck out the Washington Business Journal’s “On the Road” session, which focused on Prince George’s County development HEREPrince George’s County’s Economic Development Corporation is on a quest to bring 862 companies to the county. Officials are calling it “Operation 862″ for the number of companies they’re targeting, this from WNEW/CBS Local. “It’s kind of top secret,” says Jim Coleman, president for the Economic Development Corporation. The county is targeting technology companies, law firms and federal agencies that have leases expiring within the next four years. These companies represent 45k jobs with salaries ranging from $50k-$80k
Maryland Mortgage ProgramIt’s a good time to purchase in PGCo. Washington Post reported that the biggest gains seen in the average sales price of a home halfway through 2015 are Greenbelt (up 32 percent), Oxon Hill (27.5 percent) and Glenn Dale (20.3 percent). Current median home prices in PGCo is $245,600. Check out the Maryland Mortgage Program for assistance with down payment and closing costs. Rent is not going down. Read the entire article and see how houses in PGCo are staying on the market for far less time and asking prices are being met. Now is the time to purchase.
Purple LinePrice is a problem for the Purple Line light rail system. Deputy Chief Administrative Office of Finance Tom Himler was quoted in the Prince George’s Sentinel, “The county has many “big things” coming up, Himler said, and that is why making additional contributions for the Purple Line has not been an easy process. However, he said, the Purple Line remains a critical priority for the county and they will do “whatever is necessary” to fund the project because of all of the economic benefits that could come from it…We’re going to have to move some things around. We’re trying to figure out a way to move this along but we have to be mindful of what we invest and what we’ll get in return from it.” Montgomery County has pledged an additional $40 million towards completing the Purple Line.  
Central Avenue Connector TrailMore progress is being made on the Central Avenue Corridor.  Councilman Derrick L. Davis and the PGCo Planning Department provided a recap of the June community meeting, which focused on the Central Avenue Connector Trail Project. This is hot news for people like my Hubster, Byron Nichols of BNFit and all the cycle and trial enthusiasts throughout the county.  The Central Avenue Connector trail will provide direct access to four Metrorail stations: Capitol Heights, Addison Road, Morgan Boulevard, Largo Town Center.  It will also improves existing pedestrian and bicycle travel along Central Avenue, especially near the Addison Road station The Central Avenue Connector Trail will begin just west of the Capitol Heights Metrorail Station, and will run through a combination of Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) right-of-way, neighborhood streets.  The trail will also include existing and planned trail segments before ending at the Largo Metrorail Station, with connections to the Addison Road and Morgan Boulevard Metrorail Stations along the route.
YMCA ThingamajigChildren ages 5-14 had a fun time submerged in science technology engineering and technology (STEM) innovation and imagination activities at YMCA’s Thingamajig Convention at the Showplace Arena’s. More than 4000 children attended along with 400 volunteers.  The 21st annual event is designed so that the participants walk away realizing that the sciences are, in fact, fun and part of our everyday experiences. Hands-on activities in a variety of fields such as engineering, aeronautics, botany and medicine allow children to develop strategic thinking and understand what a STEM career has to offer. Excellent.



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