Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Bowie News and Views

This week's episode of Bowie News and Views is now on YouTube in three parts. John Rouse and Burt Oliver chat with Greater Bowie Chamber of Commerce President Mark Melvin about the Chamber of Commerce, the state of the economy, zoning authority and more. Melvin announced that the GBCC will host a forum for the House of Delegates candidates in late August or early September.

It appears that the Bowie News and Views videos on YouTube have some fancy new graphics. Check it out.

Click here to see the entire Bowie News and Views YouTube collection, and click here to see the entire set of Bowie cable television YouTube videos.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Carolyn Malachi at Allen Pond Photo Gallery

Below are photos of the Carolyn Malachi Concert at Allen Pond Park, June 20, 2010. I have also included photos of the Prince George's County Police Rhythm in Blues Band. There was another opening act called the Color Performing Arts Group, but I arrived after they left the stage.

A larger set of photos from this event can be seen on Facebook by clicking here, but there's a short video below that you won't find on Facebook.

Carolyn Malachi's mother capturing pictures of the show.

This woman was introduced to the crowd as 74 year old Miss Virginia. Here she is dancing to music of the Prince George's County Police Rhythm in Blues Band.

Miss Virginia was invited to the stage to dance to some impromptu music before Carolyn Malachi came on.

Prince George's County Police Rhythm in Blues Band

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Wednesday's Earthquake Felt in Bowie

Think back to last Wednesday. Did you feel the earth move under your feet? Did you feel the sky tumbling down? According to a Baltimore Sun article, the recent 5.0 magnitude earthquake centered near Ottawa in southern Canada shook buildings in Bowie. It sounds hard to believe, but you can click here to read the story.

Martin's Deli in Old Bowie Under New Management

Martin's Deli Under New Management
According to a Bowie Star article, Martin's Deli in Old Bowie was taken over by Linda and Ray Hayden in April. Ray Hayden is the "Ray" in Ray's Towing Service, another popular Old Bowie business. The Haydens plan to change the name of the restaurant, and they are accepting suggestions. Click here to read the story.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Prince George's County School Board Reverses Boundary Changes

The school board unanimously overturned an earlier decision to move approximately 140 Bowie students from Whitehall Elementary School to Kenilworth after consideration of an emergency agenda item during last night's school board meeting. The vote was in response to updated student capacity numbers at both schools as well as concern by the board that the affected neighborhoods will be subject to another boundary change when the Fairwood Elementary School opens in 2011.

The board previously voted to change the boundaries based on recommendations from School Superintendent Dr. William R. Hite Jr. Hite suggested that the board allow some of the affected parents to transfer their children back to Whitehall Elementary School rather than reversing the boundary changes. Instead, the board's decision will keep the students at Whitehall, but some parents can request to have their children transferred to Kenilworth on an individual basis.

It's unlikely that the second boundary change vote would have taken place without the efforts of parents Sandy Short and Nancy Adamson. The duo have been working for months writing e-mails, making calls, researching capacity guidelines, measuring classrooms, speaking at meetings and even appearing on a local Bowie community cable television program. They wanted to get out the word that the boundary changes didn't make sense. Short attributes the new board decision to the help of Prince George's County School Board Chairwoman Verjeana Jacobs, the support of the City of Bowie, and the tireless fact finding efforts of Adamson who discovered the erroneous capacity numbers. Short was also grateful that City of Bowie Community Outreach Specialist Leni Stern spoke at last night's meeting on behalf of the parents.

Parents of Kenilworth Elementary School students became concerned in recent weeks when they discovered that some of the programs at the school would be affected and at least one trailer would have to be purchased to accommodate the extra students. Parents also learned that indoor physical education classes were going to take place in the same classrooms where students learn reading, writing and arithmetic. "The kids would be trying to do jumping jacks without hitting their desks," Short speculated.

The board's reversal comes after preparations already began for the transfer. Parents and teachers had already been notified, student records were being transfered, and administrators had already started preparing for the the new students at Kenilworth Elementary. New letters will soon be sent to parents, and teacher assignments will be reconsidered.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Weekend Events: June 26-27

Saturday, June 26, 2010

5 Oaks Performs Folk/Rock/Country Mix in Old Bowie
The Saturday Old Town Bowie Summer Concert Series continues with a return performance by 5 Oaks from 2pm to 4pm in Town Green Park. Click here (PDF file) for the 2010 concert series schedule, and click here (PDF file) for the 2010 Music in the Parks brochure. Click here for a Google image of Town Green Park.

In-Line and Skateboard Demonstrations
9am to 6pm at the Bowie Skate Park. Live music, raffle and skateboard and in-line skating demonstrations will be featured at this all-day event. Helmet with chin strap is required. For information, call 301-858-1962.

Moonlight Walk through Whitemarsh Park
8:45pm at Whitemarsh Park. Join a City of Bowie Park Ranger for a moonlight walk through the Whitemarsh Park trails. Look, listen, and learn about nature along the way. An adult chaperone must accompany all children throughout the event. The program is free. Registration is required. Email

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Bowie Farmers' Market
Open from 8am to noon in the Bowie High School parking lot. The farmers' market is held each Sunday through October 31st.

The Winstons Play Motown in Allen Pond Park
Come hear some Motown sounds when The Winstons return to Allen Pond Park from 7pm to 8pm. The event is part of the City of Bowie's 2010 Sunday Sunset Concert Series at Allen Pond Park. Click here for a PDF file containing the 2010 schedule.

Here is The Winstons performing Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours.

Two Bowie "Old Timers" Reflect on the Passing of Nancy O'Brien

Former Bowie Blade-News Editor John Rouse and retired District Court Judge Jerry Devlin reflect on the passing of former Bowie resident Nancy O'Brien. A memorial service for O'Brien will be held Wednesday, June 30th at 4:30pm at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Bowie followed by an Irish Wake at the Knights of Columbus Hall on Route 3 (see maps below).

Bowie has lost yet another of its pioneers, those folks who settled here while developer Bill Levitt was still building the homes that created the brand new community that drew people from all demographic groups to within its borders. "Wow, an affordable house. Let's go see what Bowie's like," was the rallying call for many pioneers like Jack and Nancy O'Brien. The O'Briens became fixtures of the local social and political scene, and were known to virtually everyone back in that earlier, more tranqul "bedroom" community, as it was then known.

Name it, and Nancy was involved. She flittered about the small community like a whirling dervish. Social events, clubs and, yes, politics were within her range of interests. Of course, back then Bowie politics was little more than the Bowie Citizens Association. Even county government was small and less overbearing than that massive arrogant bureaucracy of today. And there was Nancy in the midst of it all, singing or bellowing for Bowie's interests. Sadly, another pioneer gone.

- John Rouse


Nancy O' Brien was a fixture at what seemed like all political events both in her husbands' successful campaign and in other Democratic Party functions. A talented pianist, she was a showstopper for decades.

Old timers will recall when the late Congressman Hervey G. Machen ran against Ed Conroy for the 5th District Congressional seat. Hervey, who was famous for his malapropisms, promised that if he were elected he would maintain close "rap-a-pore" with the people of Bowie. Nancy sat down at the piano and came up with the following (to the tune of "For Boston")

For Hervey, for Hervey
We're all so proud of you
That we sent you down to Washing -ton
Conroy worked so hard to get in the door
But you won the race with you rap-a-pore
For Hervey for Hervey
We're all so proud of you

I have known Nancy for most of my life. She was a graduate of Scituate High School Class of 1949 and her mother ran a real estate firm in Scituate Harbor called McDonald Brothers. She was a friend of Phyllis Mitchell who lived a couple of doors down Spaulding Avenue, and they were friends of my sister Pat.

- Jerry Devlin

St. Pius X Church
14700 Annapolis Rd
Bowie, MD 20715-1899
(301) 262-0203

Knights of Columbus Hall
6111 Columbian Way
Bowie, Maryland
(301) 262-1041

Weekly News from the Bowie Star

Read more details about the Red Robin restaurant planned for the Bowie Town Center, last weekend's "Skate Don't Hate" skateboard competition at Allen Pond Park and the recent murder of Aaron Leach.

The following stories appeared in this week's Bowie Star:

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Bowie News and Views

This week's episode of Bowie News and Views is now on YouTube in three parts. John Rouse chats with Bowie Mayor G. Fred Robinson about Park and Planning, the upcoming election, the Memorial Day Parade and the relationship between the city and the county governments. Mayor Robinson also shares his favorite Einstein quote:

"Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity."

You'll have to watch the show for the context.

Click here to see the entire Bowie News and Views YouTube collection, and click here to see the entire set of Bowie cable television YouTube videos.

Muffin Man Caribbean Cafe Coming to Bowie

by Mimi

When I was a kid in Bowie in the 70s and 80s, if you wanted ethnic food in Bowie, pizza (Happy Italian) or Chinese (Golden Pavilion) was about as exciting as it got. But that was then.

Three decades later, we have Thai (East Moon); Japanese (Sakura); Mexican (Mi Hacienda) and great barbecue (KBQ). We can even get tandoori at the Bowie Town Center food court (White Tiger).

And this summer, our culinary options in Bowie will be expanded further with the addition of the Muffin Man Caribbean Cafe, which is slated to open in Hilltop Plaza later this year. The original “Muffin Man” is in a strip shopping center on Lanham-Severn Road in Seabrook. We decided to check it out this weekend.

Recognized as one of Washingtonian Magazine’s “Cheap Eats,” Muffin Man serves up two dozen varieties of muffins – from the exotic (guava, mango, tropical lime) to the more familiar (blueberry, chocolate chip, banana nut) – and spicy Jamaican fare.

We had originally thought we’d go by in the morning to grab a muffin, but oddly, the place doesn’t open until 11 a.m. – a little late for breakfast. I don’t often feel like a blueberry muffin for lunch. But maybe that’s just me.

The place is decorated like you’d think a Jamaican joint would be – cool Island colors, the requisite Bob Marley mural on the wall, and reggae singer Shaggy tunes blaring.

If you go for lunch, be prepared. Like the softball-sized muffins, the portions are huge.

Unfortunately, when it comes to eating, our kids are typical kids. We aren’t like those pretentious Montgomery County types who brag about their kids’ adventurous palettes and eschew high fructose corn syrup. Without any familiar kid favorites on the menu, our kids ate chocolate chip muffins for lunch (bad parents).

We shared the ziggy (honey glazed) wings and jerk wings served with rice and peas and cabbage. While I’m not fond of chicken that isn’t white or boneless (I know. I hate me too), the meat was fall-off-the-bone tender and the jerk wings had a nice peppery bite. The cabbage and rice and peas were nice accompaniments.

We washed down our meal with sweet Jamaican pineapple sodas and limeades.

The dense muffins were so heavy; they were almost leaden, but moist and fresh. We’d definitely go back for those. But for one meal, sodas and three muffins, our meal came to about 30 bucks – not really a “cheap eat” for fairly simple fare at lunchtime.

We'll definitely give it a try when it comes to Bowie. Next time we'll bring our appetites and leave the kids at home.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Bowie Skate Park Photo Gallery

I snapped a few photos of skateboarders at the Allen Pond Skate Park Sunday after the Skate Don't Hate skateboard competition. The event ended earlier than expected. I overheard that as many as 30 people who registered for the event didn't show up to compete, but I did find a few skateboarders still hanging around after the competition.

A father and son on Father's Day

T-Shirt from the Skate Don't Hate competition

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Seen Around Town, June 19 - 20

Joe Tichy performs at the Bowie Town Park as part of the Saturday Old Town Bowie Summer Concert Series. Click here (PDF file) for the 2010 concert series schedule, and click here (PDF file) for the 2010 Music in the Parks brochure.

The stairs to the second floor of the railroad tower at the Bowie Train Station Museum were repaired about two months ago. Visitors were unable to see the room on the second floor of the tower for several years. My son and I checked out the contents of the top floor on Saturday afternoon for the first time. The next time you visit the museum, ask the person on duty to let you in to check things out.

Farm stand on Old Chapel Road between Route 197 and Highbridge Road. It's still a little early for the corn, but you can get tomatoes, beans, zucchini, cukes and more.

City of Bowie's In the Park After Dark program. A park ranger reads a story to children at Allen Pond Park Saturday night.

Farmers' Market Sunday morning in the library/high school parking lot.

Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe mobile unit at the Farmers' Market

Abandon home endorses Michael Jackson

Shooting Leaves One Dead in Bowie Saturday Night

The Washington Post is reporting that three people were shot at a party late Saturday in the 11500 block of Lottsford Terrace in the Woodmore section of Bowie (see map below). Aaron Leach, 21, of Upper Marlboro was killed, and two other men were wounded. Family members were told that Leach broke up a fight between two men during a party, and one of the men left and later returned with a gun. Click here to read the story in the Washington Post.

11500 block of Lottsford Terrace, Bowie, MD

See also:

Changes Taking Place in Old Bowie

The Fabian House Cafe closed earlier this month, the Shops at Fabian House will be closing June 30th, and Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe will be moving from from its current location behind the Bowie Antique Depot to the historic Fabian House during the first week of July. Some of the current Fabian House vendors will be leaving the location, and it's possible that some may be staying. The owners of Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe are looking for vendors to fill some of the empty spots.

The Fabian House is located at 8519 Chestnut Avenue in Old Bowie (see map below). The building once housed the Joffe Family General Store. Click here for a bit of the Fabian House history.

A June, 2009 Bowie Living post about Simple Pleasures Ice Cafe can be seen by clicking here.

Fabian House

8519 Chestnut Ave, Bowie, MD 20720

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Rushern Baker Robo Call

Today must be the day for robo calls by 2010 Prince George's County Executive candidates. After receiving a Gerron Levi robo call this morning, I received two recorded calls from Rushern Baker this afternoon (I assume one was for me and one was for my wife). Here are some of the differences between the phone calls:

  • The caller ID displayed "UNAVAILABLE" on the first call and "RUSHERN BAKER" for the second call.
  • The area code for the Levi call was 202, and the area code for the Baker call was 301.
  • The first recorded caller did not identify herself. The second call featured the voice of Rushern Baker.
  • The Levi message was an attack on Michael Jackson's performance, and the Baker call described some of Baker's ideas for making "a good county great."
Rushern Baker included the following in his call.

  • Baker said that he has "real solutions," and he mentions that you might be hearing negative calls from others. I wonder who he has in mind.
  • Baker invited me to attend a small business owners forum on June 23 at 8:30 at the FOP lodge in Upper Marlboro. I missed whether that was 8:30am or 8:30pm, and there is no mention of it on his Web site or his Facebook page that I could find.
  • Baker said that he is the only candidate with a plan to protect our tax dollars from corruption.
  • Baker said something about creating duty free zones. I found the following when I searched the Internet. I wonder if he already ran this by the Annapolis crowd.
Seek legislation at the state level to create duty-free zones within targeted neighborhoods. This legislation would seek a sales tax exemption as well as local tax exemption for a 36- to 48-month period for companies located and willing to locate in communities facing the greatest difficulty attracting quality jobs and vendors. The goal would be to give these companies within communities a 3- to 5-year waiver on sales taxes, which would give them a competitive edge, encourage consumers to shop in these communities. Larger companies would have to achieve certain goals on hiring and use of local vendors to apply. This will help Prince George’s County. Additional incentives would be added for companies that have a certain percentage of their employees become homeowners in Prince George’s County or pay income taxes in Prince George's.

Gerron Levi Robo Call

I just received a robo call promoting Gerron Levi for Prince George's County Executive, but the call was more about Sheriff Michael Jackson than Levi. The "caller" suggests that Jackson's focus on his campaign for County Executive is to blame for the high number of warrants that have not been served by the Sheriff's office. I didn't hear how many warrants the caller claimed were unserved. "Don't be fooled by the large signs, " the caller also warned. It's clear who Gerron Levi views as the competition in this race.

The robo call came from area code 202 - not from gorgeous Prince George's.

Youth Equipment Stolen from Grace Baptist Church in Bowie

Fox 5 news is reporting that "gym mats and other trampoline equipment" along with a trailer were stolen from the Grace Baptist Church Youth Annex on Torah Lane in the middle of a four day long youth event called iTeens Remix. Click here to read the story and see the related video.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Red Robin Restaurant Considered for Bowie Town Center

Plans are being evaluated to convert the Bowie Town Center Famous Footwear location into a Red Robin Gourmet Burgers restaurant. A revision to the Bowie Town Center Specific Design Plan is being considered, and a public hearing will take place during next Monday's City Council Meeting. A bid for construction has been posted, and a permit for construction has been submitted.

The following details for the public hearing are posted on the City of Bowie Web site.

Public Hearing at City Council Meeting

Council Chambers
Bowie City Hall
2614 Kenhill Drive
Bowie, MD 20715

June 21, 2010, 8:00pm

Red Robin lnternational Inc has submitted an application for a Revision to a Specific Design Plan SDP for the purpose of converting approximately 5328 sq ft of existing retail use at Famous Footwear to a non-fastfood food restaurant. The project also includes constructing a 318 sq ft cooler to be attached to the restaurant within an existing service court area and constructing a 43 sq ft vestibule to the front northern building elevation. The subject site is located in Bowie Town Center, on the south side of MD Route 197 Collington Road directly opposite the Bowie Corporate Center and is currently zoned MAC Major Activity Center where the proposed use is permitted by right under the Prince George's County Zoning Ordinance.

The City has scheduled the following public hearing Bowie City Council Monday June 21, 2010 at 8 p.m. Your attendance and participation are welcome at this meeting. In the interim should you have any questions regarding this project please do not hesitate to call 301-809-3047.

Seen Around Town

Progress is being made at the new Bowie City Hall construction site. I expect it will look good when it's finished.

The pond at Bowie Town Center Park was looking terrible the other day. I took this picture on Tuesday, June 8th.

New speed camera on Belair Drive

New right turning lane on Kenhill Drive at Route 197

Baby geese at the Governor Bridge Natural Area in Bowie