The Gazette might not care, but we do.
Once again, I'm supposed to write something for Patch. Fresh out of ideas (as usual), I clicked my way over to the Gazette website in search inspiration, hit the "search news by community" link, and scanned the results for "College Park." It didn't turn out exactly like I planned. Instead of finding something to write about, I got articles on:
- A shoe drive organized by students in Laurel
- A Hyattsville bed and breakfast
- A Greenbelt Elementary School student making the honor roll
- Washington Capitals players visiting University Park
- The Comptroller's tour of Laurel's Main Street
- And assorted news about Prince George's County's recent woes.
As you can tell, NOT ONE of these is about College Park. Yet, in a weird way, the Gazette did inspire me, as it's lack of news about our fair city gave me something to write about—the host of noteworthy meetings, events, and initiatives that have or will soon take place right here in our backyard. Yeah, the Gazette probably won't cover them, but that's why you come to the Patch website, right?
Discussion about Rent Control thing at NCPCA Meeting
Okay, to be fair, the Gazette could have published an article about the discussion of the city's Rent Control Ordinance that took place at the North College Park Citizens Association (NCPCA) on Dec. 9, but I didn't see anything. That's neither here nor there. What matters is that, as usual, the NCPCA provided a forum for residents of North College Park to discuss and debate the pros and cons of the ordinance, which some say helps put a cap on rental properties and creates space for families and others say prevents home sales (to existing and would-be landlords) and prevents landlords from charging enough to maintain the buildings they own. I confess: I couldn't be there so I missed the discussion, but according to the meeting agenda, District 2 City Councilman Bob Catlin was there to speak in favor of the ordinance and local realtor Kimberly James spoke in opposition. Nevertheless, the fact that this took place just goes to show you that if you want to know what's happening in this town, you should join your local civic association and attend its meetings.
Explore College Park Series
The brainchild of City Council Member Marcus Afzali, the Enjoy College Park Tour is designed to bring College Park residents to together to talk about local issues and patronize local businesses in the interest of building community and promoting the idea of shopping and eating locally. If you haven't come out to one yet, consider checking out next month's tour (time and place TBA). You'll be glad you did. Not only can you eat some good food and rub elbows with fellow residents, but there are also guest speakers.
Concert at Vito's & Readings
Back in November, I wrote a piece titled "Wanted: Performance Space in College Park," in which I made two points: first, that a city like ours needs a space for artists to do their thing and second, while waiting around for one to materialize, members of the arts community should force the issue and start holding events to make the need for a space even more necessary. Well, I'm happy to announce two arts events taking place in the CP in the near future.
1) There will be a punk rock/heavy metal show taking place at Vito's Pizzeria (7313 Baltimore Ave.) on Saturday, Jan. 8 from 8:30 to 11:30 p.m. Yeah, this music is loud, (usually) fast, and (often) angry, and might not suit everyone's tastes, but the fact that it's happening in the CP is worth cheering. Let's hope this is the first of many.
2) On Jan. 29, four authors (three from Baltimore, the last TBA) will be reading their work at Second Last Rites, a literary event organized by yours truly, that will take place at the Old Parish House on Jan. 29. More information will be forthcoming, but I hope this is the first of a series of such events. (By the way, if you're a local writer who's interested in reading at a future event, please contact me.)
Food and Clothing Drives, Snow Brigades
A few posts ago, I wrote about the good work that the College Park Community Food Bank is doing and invited people to join me in helping out. Well, with your help, we donated more than 100 pounds of food to the food bank last Saturday – not bad for a first try and such short notice. We'll see if we can beat it when we try again in February. Yet, this drive was just a drop in the bucket when it comes to the good work taking place in our community everyday. Here's some information about two more similar initiatives:
1) My friend Fazlul Kabir helped collect items for a winter clothing drive that, according to his blog, brought in more than "20 or so large boxes of clothes from 3 locations – the NCPCA meeting at Davis Hall, Pizza Roma, and the Al-Huda School." If you'd like to donate, there's still time. You can make a contribution at the Berwyn Baptist Church, from Jan. 2 through 16. The box is located in the sanctuary.
2) District 1 City Councilman Patrick Wojahn is organizing a "shovel brigade" in North College Park. In a nut shell, a shovel brigade is a list of volunteers who make themselves available to shovel the driveways and walkways of the elderly and people with disabilities. So, if you live in North College Park and would like to volunteer (assuming we get snow this year), or know someone who is elderly or has a disability and needs such assistance, contact Wojahn through the city's website and let him know.
Smith is a resident of North College Park and treasurer of the North College Park Citizen's Association.