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.