Post 217 collecting funds for wounded veterans

Thursday, Jan. 18, 2007

The American Legion Post 217 in College Park is selling tickets for a Feb. 28 drawing, where 10 people will win $100 prizes. The rest of the money will be donated to wounded war veterans at Walter Reed Hospital and Bethesda Naval Hospital. The funds will be used to buy clothes, shoes, backpacks, shaving equipment and other goods, said Bill Bladen, an organizer of the event and a former service officer for the College Park legion.

More than half of the 2,000 tickets available have been sold, Bladen said, adding that locals are encouraged to buy as many raffle tickets as they want.

Tickets are being sold for $3 apiece or two for $5.

‘‘I think we should all support our wounded troops to some extent,” said Bladen, a World War II veteran and a Post 217 member for seven years.

Bladen said winners don’t have to attend the drawing, which is set for 5 p.m. Feb. 28 at the College Park American Legion, 9218 Baltimore Ave.

Call the legion at 301-441-2783 for more information.

Beltsville schoolplans open house

St. Joseph’s Catholic School on Montgomery Road in Beltsville will host an open house from 8 a.m. to noon Feb. 2 for prospective families, who will be taken on a tour of the school.

Open house organizers are touting the ‘‘Good News in Education” this year.

Doris Gaddi, an administrative assistant at the school, said one of St. Joseph’s primary focuses was to ‘‘prepare each student to function successfully in high school by the end of the eighth grade year.”

For more information call 301-937-7154.

State police graduates coming to Prince George’s

A class of 37 Maryland State Troopers graduated from the academy Dec. 22 after surviving six months of intense physical training and classroom work.

Six of the 37 officers graduating from the 128th Trooper Candidate Class at the Maryland State Police facility in Pikesville have been assigned to barracks in Prince George’s County, including the College Park and Forestville stations.

Col. Thomas Hutchins, state police superintendent, presided over the ceremony, along with Capt. Scott Yinger, state police commander, and keynote speaker Gen. Alberto Jose Jimenez of the Army National Guard.

Graduates included Maryland residents Patrick Lane, Ronald Teller III, John Pilkerton Jr., Sean McCarty, Anthony Ford, Jackson Lee Todd, William Rasinski, Ryan McNeely, Alvin Maker, John Davis II, Charles Mohr Jr., Quindell Hudson Jr., Darren Rosenblatt, Jerimy Tindal, Matthew Slack, Jacob Greer, Kendell Clagg Jr., Charles Evans, James Parker, Beth Ann Demory, Matthew Chatam, Gary Baker, Kendrick Gordy, Charles Neighoff, Brian Brennan and Shaun Bridges, who received awards for excelling in physical and academic tests.

Other graduates included John Wheatley, Joseph Stec, Catherine Shaffer, Joseph Romanchak, Jeremy Everly, Jonathon Novack, Scott Myers, Hasim Johnson, Kemery Hunt Jr., Gilbert Ewin Jr., and Kyle Clark.

Beltsville Bee participants

A group of geographically inclined fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders at Beltsville Elementary School competed in the school’s 19th annual Geography Bee Jan. 9.

After months of practice in the after-school Geography Club – which meets every other week — the pupils fielded questions about states, countries and continents across the globe. Fifth-grader Rebecca Bell won the event, and sixth-grader Philip Kirk finished second. Rebecca Gurwah, a sixth-grader, took third place. Other participants included last year’s winner Sara Mast, Pablo Zuniga, Xavior Williams, Anurichi Ubani, Iris Soto, Donald Smith, Ginamarie Shrader, Xolani Roberts, Nash Persaud, Dhara Patel, Bryan Morris, Jordan Lee, Kevin Argente, Oluwasheun Bello, Benjamin Brown, Daniel Diasgranados, Andrew Johnson and Nicholas Keppler.

Sira Bennett, a geography professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore Campus, and a judge at the Geography Bee, said the Beltsville pupils’ breadth of knowledge pleasantly surprised her.

‘‘Some of them know an incredible amount of information,” she said.

Including fourth-graders in this year’s competition — a first at Beltsville — was also impressive, Bennett said.

‘‘To have fourth-graders compete with the others was just unbelievable when you think about [the curriculum]. ... They’re answering questions from all continents of the world, and that’s terrific.”

Environmental group showing movie in College Park

College Park’s Committee for a Better Environment (CBE) will host a free showing of the film, ‘‘Kilowatt Hours” at 7 p.m. Jan. 25 in City Hall Council Chambers, 4500 Knox Road in College Park.

The movie shows viewers where electricity originates, focusing on the use of coal extracted from mountains in West Virginia.

Janis Oppelt, a CBE member, said ‘‘Kilowatt Hours” also has an educational component, offering ways people can save energy, including the usage of environmentally friendly light bulbs.

Oppelt said the movie captures images of mountaintops being blown up so workers can extract massive amounts of coal, which is the source of about half the world’s electricity.

‘‘When you see these gorgeous mountaintops in West Virginia being blown up, you would have to be dead not to be moved by that,” she said. ‘‘[The movie] also talks about practical, common-sense solutions.”

The showing will be followed by a short discussion session.

Self defense course in College Park

The third in a series of self defense courses will start at 3 p.m. Saturday at College Park’s Studio of Korean Karate, 9811 Rhode Island Ave.

Organized by community members like Kim Lugo, president of the College Park Neighborhood Watch program, the two-hour class is designed for women, men and children of all ages. Students will engage in hands-on instruction and lectures from self-defense teachers.

Lugo said families could learn invaluable lessons at the karate studio.

‘‘Come out and see that you do have options and you can survive and attack,” she said. ‘‘Find out how to get away and flee or how to fight if necessary.”

For more information, call Lugo at 301-985-5476 or e-mail

City, employee earn national award

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) of the United States and Canada recently honored the City of College Park and city Finance Director Stephen Groh.

The national organization awarded College Park the Distinguished Budget Presentation Award for the budget compiled last spring. Groh was given the Certificate of Recognition for Budget Presentation, an award for the person primarily responsible for presenting the budget.

To be eligible for the award, a municipality’s budget must function as an adequate policy document, financial plan, operations guide for city staff and city officials and communications device. College Park rated proficient or better in each of the four categories.

GFOA, a nonprofit organization and the only distributor of national awards in governmental budgeting, gave the award to more than 1,000 entities across North America.

High Point graduate assigned to Texas Air Force base

Air Force Reserve technician Sgt. Dawn Brisco, a 1995 graduate of High Point High School in Beltsville, was recently assigned to Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, Texas.

Working with the Alamo Wing, Brisco will help provide managerial, administrative and operational services required to operate several C-5A strategic airlift aircraft. The Alamo Wing also ensures wartime preparedness of more than 3,000 military reservists assigned to more than 20 units. During wartime, Lackland is utilized as a main operating base with the responsibility for contingency tasking.

Brisco’s mother, Mary Brisco, is a Hyattsville resident, and her uncle, John Brisco, resides in the District.

Branchville invites volunteer firefighters

College Park’s Branchville Fire Department has scheduled tours for anyone interested in being a volunteer firefighter or emergency management technician. The tour, started this year by Prince George’s County, will begin at 11 a.m. on Feb. 3 at the fire department, 4905 Branchville Road.

Branchville volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions and accept applications as the group is shown fire departments in Greenbelt, Laurel and Beltsville.

Jen Chafin, a volunteer firefighter recruiter for Prince George’s County, said the four stations included in the tour are looking for more volunteers in 2007, along with most fire departments in the county.

‘‘We’re always looking for more volunteers, and this will be a way to get the process started and get people interested in becoming a volunteer,” Chafin said. ‘‘These stations are interested in getting new volunteers.”

The department will have fingerprint technicians and notaries to complete the application process. There will also be a question-and-answer session with tour leaders, Chafin said. Lunch will be provided.