Lawmakers Put Rosecroft on Track for Voters' Referendum
A high-ranking senator from Prince George's County recently sponsored legislation that would allow a casino that features slot machines and Las Vegas-style table games in the county, if state and local voters approve. Sen. Douglas J.J. Peters (D) convened the Senate Budget Committee in the Maryland General Assembly last week to help overhaul provisions on gambling in the state.
Peters' legislation is on track toward a November 2012 referendum that would give residents the opportunity to decide whether gaming would be allowed in the county.
Muse to Take on Cardin - Could Become Maryland's First Black Senator C. Anthony Muse, a well-known minister who leads the Ark of Safety Christian Church in Upper Marlboro, Md., and a state senator representing southern Prince George's County, will take on U.S. Sen. Benjamin Cardin in the April 3 Democratic Party primary and thus seek to become the first African-American in history to represent the state of Maryland.
Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III was recently awarded the 2012 "Most Innovative Executive of the Year for Minority Business" – by the Maryland/Washington Minority Contractors Association (MWMCA) during their Ninth Annual 2012 Spring Business Showcase Expo at Martin's West in Baltimore.
The Prince George's County Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) plans to launch its first house lottery – in which one winner and two back-up winners will be drawn from a pool of pre-qualified applicants. Once a mortgage is obtained, the winner will be able to purchase a home for a substantially reduced price.
National Harbor's developer the Peterson Companies and MGM Resorts International announced that they have entered into an agreement for MGM Resorts to develop a "world-class destination resort casino at National Harbor." The agreement is contingent upon the Maryland Legislature passing legislation permitting a sixth casino license at National Harbor, a reduction in the casino tax rate and approval of a state-wide referendum by Maryland voters.
Listening is Goal of Congresswoman's Tour – Hairstyles weren't the only concerns on the minds of the women at D&V Hair Salon in Capitol Heights on a busy Tuesday morning. When Congresswoman Donna F. Edwards [D-Md.] walked through the door on August 21, focus shifted from weaves and twists to economic development and resources for ex-offenders.
Pastor on Mission to Increase Awareness about Africa – Jonathan Weaver, the college student, became captivated with Africa 41 years ago when he made his first trip to Nigeria to help build a clinic. Over the years, he developed an interest in raising the awareness of African Americans about a continent that many know little about. Weaver, now 62, and pastor of Greater Mt. Nebo A.M.E. Church in Bowie, remains impassioned about exposing African Americans to Africa, and this summer led a delegation of 12 to a country he said is misunderstood – Rwanda.
Kidney Action Day Draws Hundreds – Kidney disease was on the minds of hundreds of people who turned out for the Kidney Action Day held last Saturday at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. The annual event, sponsored by the American Kidney Fund [AKF], included a number of screenings, information booths and activities ranging from tai chi to group exercise. The goal was to raise awareness about kidney disease. LaVarne A. Burton, AKF president and CEO, said she was glad to see smiles on many faces because happy people are better able to focus on important matters such as health. "The number of Americans impacted by chronic kidney disease is already alarming [31 million], but what is even more shocking is that here in the Washington, D.C. metro area, rates of kidney disease are above the national average," said Burton.
Resolution is Goal of Home Preservation Workshop – The tears flowing from Karina Leake's eyes pretty much told the story. She finally got her mortgage loan modified. Leake couldn't help but cry last week while attending Wells Fargo's Home Preservation Workshop on September 13 at the Prince George's Sports and Learning Complex in Landover. That's when two hours into her session with an underwriter she learned that she qualified for a loan modification and her mortgage payment would be reduced by $530 a month.
MGM Resorts International Opens Office at National Harbor – At the ribbon cutting for MGM Resorts International's new office in Prince George's County, officials wanted to make one point clear – this is not a campaign office, it's an information office. That message, which comes in the wake of a barrage of pro and con gaming advertisements on television and radio, was repeated by MGM executives in formal remarks.
Rosecroft Raceway Could Become History - Election Day – Nov. 6 – could very well be doomsday for a Maryland horse racing establishment. That's how officials of Rosecroft Raceway see it. They predict that if voters approve the referendum on expansion of gaming in the state, it will mean the demise of the 63-year-old raceway. Karen Bailey, director of public affairs for Penn National Gaming [PNG], owner of Rosecroft, said that they're being squeezed out of consideration to develop a new casino in Prince George's County if the measure passes, which will likely force the track to close.
Groups Pro and Con on Gay Marriage Make Final Push – Maryland voters will decide whether to legalize gay marriage, a hotly contested issue on Nov. 6. With slightly more than five weeks to go, both sides are projecting confidence that they are gaining ground and that the election will turn in their favor. Still both sides agree that the coming weeks are critical to their success and that they have much to do. Kevin Nix, communications director for Marylanders for Marriage Equality, said the organization is "cautiously confident" about its efforts to have a favorable outcome from the election.
Grant to PGCC to Provide Fast-track IT Training – Prince George's Community College [PGCC] officials plan to use a multi-million grant to give unemployed veterans and displaced workers fast-track training for opportunities in the information technology field. The Maryland Higher Education Commission selected PGCC to receive the $2.5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor to develop the Information Technology Education & Career Pathway program. The goal of the non-credit program is to provide accelerated training in computer technology, networking and cybersecurity.
Grant Bolsters Nation's Cybersecurity Workforce – Prince George's Community College [PGCC] will be the recipient of a multi-million dollar cybersecurity grant that will likely benefit students far beyond the county's border. That's because the $5 million grant will continue the work of the National CyberWatch Center, based at PGCC, which is seeking ways to train workers in the emerging cybersecurity field and raise awareness about the need for a qualified workforce. Casey O'Brien, director of the center, said there's a "huge shortage" of qualified personnel in the cybersecurity field on a national level.
Voters Face a Mix of Ballot Questions Nov. 6 – When Maryland voters take to the polls on or before Election Day Nov. 6, they will face a number of decisions beyond candidates seeking office. There are seven questions on the statewide ballot covering such issues as qualifications of orphan court judges, suspension and removal of elected officials from office and in-state university tuition rates for undocumented immigrants. Two questions that have garnered considerable attention [and millions of advertising dollars] concern same-sex marriage and the expansion of gaming in Maryland.
New Tool Introduced to Fight Domestic Violence – In the fight against domestic violence, a new tool is being introduced in Prince George's County to identify high-risk victims of abuse and connect them with resource services. State and local officials and representatives of law enforcement and domestic violence victims' groups gathered last week at Hyattsville District Court to announce that all 30 local law enforcement agencies in Prince George's County will adopt use of the Maryland Network Against Domestic Violence's Lethality Assessment Program [LAP].
Voters Approve Gaming Expansion, Same-sex Marriage – Maryland voters approved all six questions on the Nov. 6 ballot, resulting in legalizing same-sex marriage and making way for a casino in Prince George's County and giving undocumented immigrants the opportunity to send their children to college at more favorable in-state tuition rates.
Democratic Incumbents Hold Seats – Voters in Maryland overwhelmingly chose experience in selecting leaders for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives on Nov. 6. Three incumbents – Representative Donna F. Edwards, Senator Ben Cardin and Congressman Steny H. Hoyer – won landslide victories in their respective races. Edwards scored a decisive victory to retain her congressional seat, beating challengers Faith Loudon and Scott Soffen. Edwards, 54, a Democrat, has represented the 4th congressional district since 2009, received 142,747 votes [75 percent] while Loudon, a retiree who has been a leader in the Maryland Republican Party for several years, garnered 43,186 votes and Libertarian Soffen received 3,818 votes.
Hundreds Attend New Tanger Outlets National Harbor Groundbreaking – When is a groundbreaking more like New York Fashion Week? When, Tanger Outlets teams up with The Peterson Companies to bring shopping to Prince George's County. The highly anticipated groundbreaking of the first Tanger Outlet center to come to Prince George's County took place on Nov. 29 at an event hailed as a celebration and which included a marching band, live blue crabs and 10 models strutting down a makeshift runway.
Lucky Homeowner Overjoyed with Home Renovations – The first visitors Derek Slocum welcomed to his new Whitfield Chapel Gardens home were a slew of government officials and newspaper and television reporters wielding cameras, tripods and notebooks. Slocum, the winner of Prince George's County's Department of Housing and Community Development's (HCD) first House Lottery, had a chance to walk through his new home on Dec. 3. In June, Slocum's name was pulled from a raffle barrel during a housing fair. Since then he and his family have anxiously awaited the completion of extensive renovations to the foreclosed house.
Seat Pleasant Honors Veterans – Veterans were honored in Seat Pleasant on Nov. 12 through poetry, song, recollections and promises that their sacrifices will not be forgotten. The hour-long ceremony at the Seat Pleasant Activity Center included presentation of colors by the Largo High School Junior ROTC, recitation of the poem "You Are Someone Special" by Seat Pleasant Councilman ReveralYeargin and the singing of the national anthem and "America the Beautiful" by Kim Carrington. About 40 people attended.
Prince George's County Council Passes Legislation to Form Office of Ethics and Accountability – The Prince George's County Council recently passed important legislation that will give Prince George's County citizens piece of mind that their government is being run to the highest of ethical standards. "I want to thank the Prince George's County Council for their incredible work during this recent session," said Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. "The cooperative efforts of the Prince George's County Council with my office, executive branch departments, community stakeholders and each council member's constituents have paid dividends with smart, aggressive, and progressive legislation that will improve the lives of our citizens. I want to congratulate the Prince George's County Council and look forward to working with them during the next Council session."