Sunday, December 31, 2017

Most Popular Facebook Posts for 2017

It's the time of year to reflect on what's happened over the last twelve months, and to look forward to a new year.

As John McNamara reported in the Bowie Blade-News this week, development projects, the Maglev project, the Blue Sunday triple homicide, and attempts to recall city council members were all noteworthy stories from 2017.

Development projects in the City of Bowie have dominated the news for the last two years, including stories about the Marketplace apartments, the Jesuit property, the Melford property, and the new indoor sports facility.

A group calling itself Bowie Citizens for Accountable Government attempted to recall Bowie city council members Diane Polangin, Jimmy Marcos and Mayor Fred Robinson.  The group succeeded in recalling Polangin, thus forcing an upcoming election for the District 2 council seat.

Plans for a magnetic high-speed train included routes that would bisect some Bowie neighborhoods.  The plans were refined, and by the end of the year, only one Old Bowie neighborhood is still threatened.

All of those stories were certainly covered on Bowie Living, but popular posts on social media don't always coincide with the biggest news stories of the day.

Below are the ten most popular Bowie Living Facebook posts of 2017 in order of popularity, followed by a few "honorable mentions."

#1: Blue Sunday Bar & Grill Triple Homicide

January 29, 2017

When Bowie Living first reported this story, two people were dead and one was critically injured.  The third victim died a short time later.

The Bowie Blade-News covered the homicide and subsequent reopening of the store with the following articles.

#2: Miami Police Kill Temple Student Accused of Running Over Cop

October 9, 2017

Here is an excerpt of a Baltimore Sun article about the incident:

A 22-year-old Temple University student from Bowie who was in Miami Beach to celebrate her birthday drove her BMW into a Florida police officer and was fatally shot by another officer in front of a crowd of onlookers, police said.
Cariann Hithon crashed into several cars Sunday evening as people watched from sidewalk cafes in the tourist district known as South Beach. Video posted by the Miami Herald showed people standing around the wrecked car, wondering aloud what had happened. Then the BMW suddenly started moving again and took out the officer standing in front of it. Another officer fired three shots into the car.

#3: Father and Son Shot in Bowie

January 31, 2017

Here is an excerpt from a Bowie Blade-News article about the incident:

At about 2:15 Tuesday afternoon, Bowie police got a call about a shooting at the corner of Church Road an Urbana Lane. 
There, they found two men inside an SUV who had been shot. One was an adult, the other a teenager.

Photo courtesty of Melinda Machado Caldwell

#4: Three Year-Old Bowie Resident Arrested after Burglary Spree 

April 1, 2017

Each year Bowie Living creates its own "fake news" for April Fools' Day.  2017 was no exception, although this story was a repeat from 2011.

A joint investigation between the Bowie and Prince George's County police departments into a rash of recent burglaries resulted in the apprehension of the youngest suspect ever to be arrested in the county. A three year-old boy was detained by police on Thursday after detectives working a stakeout in Bowie's Whitehall section observed the preschooler exiting a house through a "doggy door" with stolen goods.

#5: Bowie residents weigh in on Belair Drive traffic measures

October 11, 2017

Residents' concerns were heard during a stakeholders' meeting about traffic calming plans for Belair Drive. Here is an excerpt from a Bowie Blade-News article about the meeting:

Belair Drive has long been used as a short-cut for drivers who use the residential street to avoid traffic back-ups during certain hours of the day on Route 197 or Route 3.
The road figures to get even busier when the Melford residential/retail complex is completed. The main road through the complex – Melford Boulevard – becomes Belair Drive on the west side of Route 3.

#6: City of Bowie sponsors fundraisers for Hurricane Harvey relief

September 1, 2017

#7: Student stabbed at Bowie High, ex-student arrested

May 17, 2017

Here is an excerpt from a Bowie Blade-News article about the incident:

An 18-year-old former Bowie School student was arrested last week and charged after he came to school, confronted a current student as part of an ongoing dispute, and stabbed the student with a pocket knife. 
The student, who is a juvenile, suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to Bowie police.

#8: New Chick-Fil-A Coming to Bowie

September 28, 2017

Several people have asked about the construction project between the Chick-Fil-A and Rip’s on Route 301. The new building is going to be a larger Chick-Fil-A, and the existing Chick-Fil-A building at that location will be torn down.
One of the benefits of the new design is a modified drive-thru configuration. The current drive-thru line frequently backs up onto East Ballpark Road, and it makes several parking spots unusable – including the handicap spaces.
The new drive-thru line will be longer, will be two lanes wide in some spots, and will block fewer parking spaces. The parking lot will have more parking spots overall, including more handicap parking spaces, and the handicap spaces will be more accessible. 

#9: Honeybaked Ham Opening Soon

September 26, 2017

#10: Bowie PD collecting donations for Houston Officers

September 3, 2016

The Bowie Police Department had been collecting donations for Houston Police Officers through last night (Saturday).
Lauren Brown captured this photo in the Bowie Police Department lobby Saturday morning. Lauren saw a line of cars waiting to donate their change to victims of Hurricane Harvey at City Hall Saturday morning, and a steady number of people were dropping off toiletries and other items inside the police department's lobby.

Photo Courtesy of Lauren Brown

Honorable Mentions

Theft from Swim Club

An Edgewater woman was charged and later plead guilty in a theft of more than $100,000 from the Belair Bath & Tennis Club.

Freak storm

April 6, 2017

Freak storm takes down trees in Meadowbrook, Victoria Heights, Yorktown and other Bowie neighborhoods.

Madeley Lane.  Photo courtesy of Kathy Mock.

Iconic Bowie sign to be stored for safekeeping

November 29, 2017

Here is an excerpt from a Bowie Blade-News article:

But the sign will live on somewhere in Bowie. It’s now in the hands of city officials, who plan to display it as a historical artifact.
“It is very much a piece of mid-century Bowie history,” said Pam Williams, the city’s manager of historic properties and its unofficial historian. “Everybody thought it was a critical piece of our culture.”

City retrofitting stormwater pond

September 20, 2017

Multiple people sent notes to Bowie Living asking about the construction taking place next to the Belair Swim & Racquet Club (BSR).  The Midwood Pond stormwater retrofit is the first of a dozen stormwater pond upgrades that the City of Bowie will be performing over the next five to seven years.  The retrofits will mean less pollution flowing into the Chesapeake Bay.

Photo coutesy of the City of Bowie

Bowie Branch Library Reopens after 6-month renovation project

June 29, 2017

Photo courtesy of Gant Brunnett Architects

Mishap at Tulip Grove Elementary School construction site

November 29, 2017

The new Tulip Grove Elementary School is still expected to open in the fall of 2018 despite a mishap at the construction site.

Photo courtesy of Mark De Russo

Promised improvements made to the Bowie Race Course property

September 22, 2017

Bowie High School Football field gets turf and lights

October 22, 2017

Courtesy photo

Vigil held for slain Bowie State University Student

May 22, 2017

Here is an excerpt from a Bowie Blade-News article:

Hundreds filled the Samuel L. Myers Auditorium Monday for a candlelight vigil to honor Collins, who was murdered Saturday on the University of Maryland campus in what police said was an unprovoked stabbing. A Severna Park man, Sean Christopher Urbanski, has been charged with first and second degree murder and is in custody, being held without bond.

City of Bowie Centennial Finale

May 6, 2017

The celebration of the City of Bowie's centennial culminated in an event at City Hall that included the burial of a time capsule .

Thursday, March 2, 2017

Belair at Bowie Aerial Photo - 1963

Robert F. Kniesche was a Baltimore based photographer who once worked for the Baltimore Sun.  Kniesche took aerial photographs of the Belair at Bowie development during the early 1960s, and Bowie Living acquired two of those photographs from the family of Don Westcott.  Westcott was a spokesperson for Levitt & Sons, the developer of Belair at Bowie.

The picture below was probably taken in the second half of 1963.  Somerset Elementary School, Kenilworth Elementary School and Belair Junior High School were already built, but Buckingham Elementary School and Foxhill Elementary School were not.  The Somerset, Buckingham, and Kenilworth neighborhoods had been developed, and the Tulip Grove neighborhood was under construction.  Only a portion of the Foxhill neighborhood appears in the photo, and it's clear that the Heather Hills and Meadowbrook neighborhoods had not yet been constructed.

The two Kniesche photos that Bowie Living acquired from the Westcott family have some damage.

Below are two images of one of the Kniesche Belair at Bowie photographs.  One images includes labels for some well known landmarks.  Click on the images for a better view.  Consider downloading the images to zoom in.

Robert F. Kniesche areial photo of Belair at Bowie circa 1963

Robert F. Kniesche areial photo of Belair at Bowie circa 1963 - with labels

Saturday, December 31, 2016

Most Popular Facebook Posts for 2016

It's the time of year to reflect on what's happened over the last twelve months, and to look forward to a new year.

As John McNamara reported in the Bowie Blade-News this week, development projects dominated the news this past year, including stories about the new Bowie Marketplace, the Marketplace apartments, the development plan for the Jesuit Property, the Melford property and the progress on the new indoor sports facility.

Funding for the Route 197 widening project was taken away and later restored.

Long-time Bowie City Manager David Deutsch retired in June, and replacement Alfred Lott was announced in November.

Repairs to the City of Bowie water supply system were estimated to cost $14 million over the next ten years after the city conducted a review of the system.

The Bowie Police Department activated its new 24-hour call center, and officers began patrolling with body cameras.

Renovations at Tulip Grove Elementary School continue to be delayed.

All of those stories were certainly covered on Bowie Living, but popular posts on social media don't always coincide with the biggest news stories of the day.

Below are the ten most popular Bowie Living Facebook posts of 2016 in order of popularity, followed by a few "honorable mentions."

#1: David Bowie Bushes

The top post was a photoshopped picture created by Neil Allen after the passing of singer David Bowie.

Kudos to Neil Allen for creating this masterpiece!
Interestingly, Bowie is a stage name. His real name is David Robert Jones. According to some reports, he changed his name to avoid confusion with David Jones - a popular theater actor in London at the time who would later be known as Davy Jones of the Monkees.
David Bowie claims that he took the name "Bowie" from the "ultimate American knife" - the Bowie Knife. However, the pronunciation of "Bowie" in "Bowie Knife" is the same pronunciation that we use for Bowie, Maryland. So David Bowie took the name, but changed the pronunciation.

Photo Courtesy of Neil Allen

#2: Threat At Bowie High School Brings Extra Police

A Twitter user named "Unknown Kid" posted a threat indicating that shots would be fired at the Bowie High School Annex at 1:55pm on May 18th.  There was a noticeable police presence at both Bowie High School and the Annex that day, and the threat was determined to be a hoax.

#3: City to Sell Belair Mansion

Each year Bowie Living creates its own "fake news" for April Fools' Day.  2016 was no exception.
After owning the Belair Mansion for more than fifty years, the City of Bowie will  be selling the historic property.  The revenue obtained from the sale is expected to help fund the purchase of a property for a new indoor recreation center in the city,

#4 Water main break causes temporary road closures

The fourth most popular post of 2016 was a Washington Post story about a water main break on Mitchellville Road.

#5: Beech trees on Belair Drive

A Bowie Living photo of the Beech trees on Belair Drive after an early-morning snow on March 4th.

#6: FBI involved after two commercial robberies

A crime report from the City of Bowie Police Department on March 15th.
On 03/15/16 at approximately 1014 hours, Bowie Officers responded to the CVS on Laurel-Bowie Road (Route 197) for a robbery. Initial investigation determined that two males entered the store, walked back to the pharmacy and jumped over the counter. Both suspects proceeded to fill their duffle bags with prescription cough syrup. A third male stood guard at the entrance of the door with some sort of pipe. All three males exited the store and fled in a dark color Chevy Camaro, possibly driven by a fourth suspect.
At 1026 hours, Bowie Officers responded to the Walgreens at Hilltop Plaza (Race Track Road) for a robbery. Initial investigation determined the same suspects entered the store with two jumping the counter with dufflebags. A pharmacist attempted to stop them and one suspect stated he had a gun and to move out of the way. Both suspects proceeded to fill their duffle bags with prescription cough medicine while the third suspect stood guard at the door with a pipe. All three males entered the same vehicle and fled westbound on Route 450. A short time later, a Prince George’s County Officer spotted the vehicle and gave chase into DC where they broke off the pursuit.
Prince George’s County CID Robbery was notified and is currently assuming control of the investigation. Also, the FBI responded to the scene to assist due to numerous similar incidents that they are investigating. There were no injuries to report at either location.

#7: Bowie family featured in Washington Post

This post was a link to a story in the Washington Post about Bowie's Fatzinger family.  Click here for the story.
Photo Courtesy of The Washington Post

#8: Bowie Marketplace renovation progressing

Bowie Living featured several stories about the Bowie Marketplace.  This story by John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News is Bowie Living's 8th most popular post of 2016.
Photo Courtesy of John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News

#9: The future of Glenn Dale Hospital

Exploring the shuttered Glenn Dale Hospital is a rite of passage for Bowie's youth, and news stories about the hospital bring out the memories on social media. This was true in February when John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News published a story about the future of the hospital property.
Photo Courtesy of John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News

#10: Melvin Motors Closes

After selling cars in the area since 1946, Melvin Motors closed.  This story by John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News is Bowie Living's tenth most popular post of 2016.

Honorable Mentions

Meteor Suspected as cause of Brush Fire

A meteor was initially suggested as a possible cause to a brush fire in the woods near Whitemarsh Park in April.  The news media ran with the story, but a scientist at NASA said, "not so fast!"
Photo Courtesy of the Bowie Volunteer Fire Department

Tommy the Turtle Back in Bowie

This story by John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News tells the tale of Tommy the Turtle - from his time in the old Belair Shopping Center to his return the the new Bowie Marketplace.
Photo Courtesy of John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News 

The City of Bowie Celebrates its Centennial

Bowie Railroad Museum gets a new Caboose

Photo Courtesy of David Mocko

Governor's Bridge won't reopen until 2019

Story by John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News.
Photo Courtesy of John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News 

Images of America: Bowie

Pam Williams, Historic Properties Manager for the City of Bowie, co-authored a book that was published in October called "Images of America: Bowie."

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Comedy Magician & Illusionist coming to the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts

Alex "Speed" de Tessieres (credit John McNamara at the Bowie Blade-News)

Alex "Speed" de Tessieres will be performing at the Bowie Center for the Performing Arts (BCPA) next week. I've heard great things about this show. The city hired De Tessieres for BowieFest, and according to the event organizers, he wowed adults as well as children. Jaws were dropping they said. Tickets are available on the BRAVA web site at (Bowie Regional Arts Vision Association). Come out and support a local Bowie magician, the BCPA and BRAVA!

Thursday September 15, 2016

High Energy Magic of Speed – Comedy Magician & Illusionist
High Energy Magic and Comedy. Speed is the original “High Energy Magician and Illusionist” known for his hyperactive, fast-paced, fun and modern performance style. This amazing magician has performed over 4,000 live shows across the entire East Coast and Canada over the past 23 years. The High Energy Magic of Speed Show Includes: High Energy Magic and Fun, Exciting and Original Stage Illusions, Massive Audience Participation and Interaction, and Sophisticated Dove Magic.
Doors Open at 6:00pm. Show at 7:00pm


Sunday, August 21, 2016

Samosa Supreme brings Kenyan Style Samosas to Bowie

After selling samosas at area events including Bowiefest and the International Festival, Samosa Supreme has opened a carryout store in Bowie.  Co-owner Rose Musonye-Smith said that the restaurant will initially be open three days per week as part of a "soft opening," and the hours will be expanded in October after a grand opening.

Although samosas are commonly thought of as Indian food, the triangle shaped stuffed pastries can be found in many cultures throughout the world.  The Samosa Supreme menu items have a Kenyan influence.

According to  Musonye-Smith, the British brought Indian indentured servants to her native Kenya in the 19th century.  The servants introduced Indian foods, and food like the samosas were then "Kenyanized" to suit the tastes of local people.

Although Indian style samosas are often served with flavorful and spicy sauces, it's more common to squeeze lime juice onto samosas in Kenya. Samosa Supreme serves fresh lime wedges with its samosas.

The Samosa Supreme menu includes samosas stuffed with spiced meats including beef, turkey and chicken.  Samosas stuffed with lentils or other vegetables are also available.  Samosas can be ordered spicy or mild.  Sides such as Jollof Rice or Mombasa Slaw are available, as are a few dessert items.  Although vegetarian and vegan options are available, the menu does not include gluten free items. Samosas can be purchased individually, but a discount is offered when purchasing a box of four.

Musonye-Smith said that the owners would eventually like to franchise Samosa Supreme.

Samosa Supreme is located at 14207 Old Annapolis Road - on the same property as the former Main Street Catering and J-Mart, but it is located in a separate building on the lot.

Until the grand opening, the hours are:

  • Friday: 11am to 8pm
  • Saturday:  11am to 8pm
  • Sunday: noon to 5pm

Order over the phone at (240) 929-4403.

Stop in and let them know you heard about Samosa Supreme on Bowie Living.


Friday, April 1, 2016

City to Sell Belair Mansion

Belair Mansion
After owning the Belair Mansion for more than fifty years, the City of Bowie will  be selling the historic property.  The revenue obtained from the sale is expected to help fund the purchase of a property for a new indoor recreation center in the city,

"The voters appreciate sound fiscal policy, and we felt that this decision was a fiscally responsible one" said Mayor G. Fred Robinson.  "Additional services cost money, and if we can find creative ways to pay for those services instead of raising taxes, that's a win for everyone in my book."

After purchasing the 5 1/2 acre property from Levitt & Sons for $1 in 1964, the city used the mansion as Bowie City Hall for fourteen years.  The building later underwent major renovations, and it reopened as a museum in 1995.

"I'm going to miss the old place," said Bowie's Historic Properties Manager, Pam Williams. "I'm going to miss it all - the distant view of Foxhill Lake from my office window, seeing the kids sledding in the winter, and, of course, the annual tree lighting ceremony every December."  Williams hopes that the next owner converts the property into a bed and breakfast.

Construction of the original section of the mansion was complete around 1747 for Provincial Governor of Maryland, Samuel Ogle and his wife Anne Tasker. After Governor Ogle's death, Benjamin Tasker, Jr. became responsible for the management of the property.  Tasker is credited with planting the row of Tulip Poplar trees leading to the property - many of which are still standing today.   The service wing on the east side of the mansion and the sunroom were added by members of the Woodward family in the early 20th century.  The Woodwards are also credited with construction of the stone stable building and the bridge over Foxhill Lake.

The city listed the property with local realtor "Special" Ed Haraway of Exit First Realty.  "Ed's been selling houses in the Bowie area for more than 30 years," said Robinson. "We felt that he was the one to best represent this unique property."

"Selling the Belair Mansion is going to be harder than selling your typical Rancher or Colonial," said Haraway, "but I welcome the opportunity."  Haraway believes that he'll have a buyer within six months.  "I bet there's a wealthy business owner out there just dying for something a little different - a unique place to live and host swanky parties," speculated Haraway.

According to the MLS listing, the mansion has 25 rooms, 6 bathrooms, a new heating system and energy efficient draperies that convey with the property.  The asking price?  $3.2 million.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Preventing a Financial Crisis after the Death of a Spouse

My wife and I received some heartbreaking news the day after Christmas.  One of our friends in Bowie passed away unexpectedly.  He left behind his wife and two school-aged children.

Along with experiencing overwhelming grief and sadness, his widow had to sort through all of the assets and financial accounts – including some accounts where no beneficiary was designated.  She had a message for all of her friends:  take steps to be prepared - just in case.

It was about the same time that I was exchanging messages with friend of Bowie Living, Denise Martin.  Denise is an estate planning and probate attorney practicing in Bowie at McChesney & Dale, P.C.  She agreed to write a blog post with recommended steps to take to be prepared for the untimely death of a spouse. The subject matter is too big to tackle in a single blog post, so Denise decided to focus on how to ensure a surviving spouse isn’t left with a financial crisis by making sure assets will be available in a timely manner.

Preventing a Financial Crisis after the Death of a Spouse
By Denise Martin 

A few months ago, I received a call from a man whose wife had passed away unexpectedly at a young age.  Beyond overwhelming grief, the surviving husband and their young children simultaneously faced a financial crisis.  The wife was the primary breadwinner and also the sole owner of many of the couple’s assets.  Here are some tips that will help prevent your family from facing such an emotional and financial crisis simultaneously:

1.      Any assets individually titled in a person’s name without a beneficiary designation must pass through probate; it can take months and sometimes years for probate assets to be distributed to heirs or beneficiaries.  As such, make sure there is a liquid asset available immediately for surviving family members to pay bills, funeral expenses, etc.  Such liquid assets may include:
a.       A joint bank account (the surviving joint owner, such as a spouse or adult child, typically becomes the immediate sole owner);
b.      A bank account with a payable on death (POD) or transfer on death (TOD) designation;
c.       A brokerage account (not a retirement account) that is either (1) jointly titled with a spouse or adult child, or (2) has a spouse or adult child designated as beneficiary; or
d.      Life insurance (won’t be available immediately, as typically the insurer must receive a copy of the death certificate before proceeds are disbursed).

2.      Make sure beneficiary designations are current.  And, unless a tax professional tells you otherwise, name an adult person(s) as the beneficiary, not your estate. 

3.      If you want control over how your assets pass, have a will (and/or trust) prepared.  Otherwise probated assets will pass according to state law to closest relatives.

The author of this article, Denise Martin, is an estate planning and probate attorney practicing in Bowie, Maryland, at McChesney & Dale, P.C.  For more information, feel free to contact Denise at (301) 805-6080 or  

When will assets become available?  See the Asset Availability Timeline.