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.

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Bowie 2015 Year in Review

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.  Bowie Living covered a lot of stories in 2015, and like the prior year, stories about retail stores and restaurants continue to be the most popular on social media.  I've told some of my friends that if a cure for Ebola is discovered in Bowie, the story would probably get a dozen likes on Facebook, but if a popular Chinese restaurants closes, the social media world would erupt!

The following are the top ten Bowie Living posts as reported by Facebook.

1. Cetrone’s Pizza will deliver pizza for the last time Friday night.
(94,718 unique views)


2. Bowie Living readers are reporting that long time Bowie eating establishment Grace's Fortune will be closing its Free State Shopping Center location in February due to rising rents.
(47,056 unique views)

3. American Pharoah’s link to Belair.  Triple Crown winner American Pharoah is a descendant of Nashua, the 1955 Horse of the Year.  Nashua is a product of Belair Stud, the stable and breeding farm that was once located on the grounds of the Belair Mansion in present day Bowie.

(42,320 unique views)

4. Seen today in Bowie's Old Stage neighborhood.  According to the firefighters on the scene, Suntrust Bank donated a house to a "wounded warrior," and the veteran was given an escort to the home by local firefighters."
(31,631 unique views)

5. Whitehall Shell on Route 197 this morning - damaged in last night's storm.
(23,828 unique views)

6. The Maryland Department of Agriculture (MDA) announced Friday that a mosquito collected in Bowie in July had tested positive for West Nile Virus.
(21,448 unique views)

7. Rash of home burglaries hits Bowie - story in The Bowie Blade-News by John McNamara
(16,149 unique views)

8. Police are investigating a shooting on Moylan Drive near the intersection with Millstream Drive.
(15,993 unique views)

9. New Speed Camera on Keynote Lane?  Bowie Living received a tip about a new speed camera on the corner of Keynote Lane and Kirk Lane.  The speed camera, it seems, is actually a fake.
(15,789 unique views)

10. Yet another restaurant in Bowie is closing.  Mi Hacienda in the Shoppes at Highbridge (intersection of Route 450 and Highbridge Road) will be closing for good on Saturday, August 15th.
(14.420 unique views)

Although it wasn't included in the top ten Facebook posts, stories about the old and new Bowie Marketplace were popular this year - from  the news that Harris Teeters is coming to Bowie, to the rogue video by Dan Bell showing the inside of the old Marketplace, to photos of the demolition, to the news that the popular Glory Days Grill would not be returning to Bowie.  Berman Enterprises, the developer of the new Marketplace, sparked additional interest in the shopping center with an announcement that the new center would include a concrete turtle - similar to the one that once kept children entertained at the Belair Shopping Center.

Bowie residents became part of a national debate this year when Linwood Holmes started flying a Confederate flag outside his Belair Drive home.  Mayor Fred Robinson had a letter delivered to Holmes in an effort to have the flag removed.  "I would respectfully ask that you reconsider your decision to display this flag and take it down," the letter said.  The mayor admitted that the city could not force Holmes to remove the flag, and Holmes continued to fly the flag.

Bowie lost its share of notable current and past residents in 2015.  Former Bowie Mayor Jim Conway passed away in September. He was credited with significant contributions to the Bowie Boys and Girls Club (BBGC) during the 1960s and early 1970s.  Anne Ainsworth passed away in September.  She was involved in multiple PTA groups in the 1970s, and along with her husband, she is credited with being instrumental in getting the Bowie Ice Rink built.  Sam Graham, a BBGC coach for more than 25 years, died unexpectedly in October.  According to a Bowie Blade-News article, Graham's approach to coaching was to promote teamwork and have fun.  Most recently, the city lost Mary Nusser to a heart attack,  Among her many accomplishments, the 58-year-old Nusser was seen as the driving force behind the development of the Bowie Performing Arts Center.

Unfortunately, local politics doesn't garner the attention that it deserves on social media.  The information is shared, but readers don't take as much interest as they do about new restaurants or even lost pets.

City elections took place in 2015, and for the first time in city history, the winners were elected to four year terms.  Among the winners was popular mayor Fred Robinson.  He was elected to an unprecedented ninth term.

The city council also lost two great men this year.  It wasn't because they weren't well liked.  They were.  The council members ran for offices in such a way that two council members were guaranteed not to return.

After serving for more than twenty-one years on the council, Dennis Brady lost his bid for mayor.  Most followers of local politics believe that Brady could have easily been reelected to his at-large council seat, and he could have had a good chance at running for mayor after Robinson retires.  Brady sought a different path.

At-large councilman Dufour Woolfley, who was appointed to the council in early 2015, lost his at-large seat when Jimmy Marcos and Henri Gardner both decided to run for the two available at-large seats on the council.  It was a bizarre turn of events when two men who voted to appoint Woolfley to the council earlier in the year, ran against Woolfley only months later. Woolfley was once described by Mayor Robinson as the "smartest person on the council," and he had a reputation for being well prepared for council meetings.  Bowie politics probably hasn't seen the last of Dufour Woolfley.

The following are other stories of interest from 2015.

  • For the first time in decades, the City of Bowie didn't host a Fourth of July fireworks display.
  • Bowie Police Departments held its first ever Citizen's Police Academy.
  • Bowie Police Department got its first police dog - a Golden Labrador named Rooster.
  • Bowie Police Department announced that it will purchase body cameras for its officers
  • The Gazette and sister publication, The Bowie Star, ceased publication.
  • The Bowie Baysox won the Eastern League Championship for the first time.
  • Renovations at Tulip Grove Elementary School are delayed.
  • A solar co-op formed for Bowie residents, and more than forty houses were converted to solar through the program by the end of 2015.
  • The Bowie City Council approved a plan for 2,500 residential units in the Melford business park.  The plan faces opposition in court by those who believe the 2006 Bowie Master Plan limits the number of residential units to 866.
  • German discount grocer Lidl announced plans to build a grocery story on the current location of Melvin Motors.
  • Walmart had some wins and losses in its quest to build a Walmart Supercenter on Route 301 across from the existing Bowie Walmart.  The most recent setbacks for the company will, at a minimum, delay the project for at least two years.