Prince george’s Proud: an UPDATE FROM COUNTY EXECUTIVE ALSOBROOKS
Dear Prince Georgians:
As we begin the new year, we are excited to reflect on all that we accomplished last year while looking forward to all that is to come. Our collective efforts have allowed us to make tremendous strides in improving the overall quality of life for all our residents and we were proud to end the year dedicating our time to ensuring our youth have the necessary resources and support they need to thrive.
Each December, our Office of Community Relations (OCR) hosts a Warm Coat Drive to distribute new coats to youth, and we are extremely excited to share that more than 500 coats were given to students at Gaywood Elementary School in Seabrook during the annual event. The OCR team also used this community service initiative as an opportunity to blend education and engagement by hosting an “aSTEMbly,” which offered a thrilling Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) demonstration for students.
This effort went above and beyond its initial goal of providing essential winter clothing for our youth, incorporating a fun and educational twist for students. They were able to enjoy demonstrations that combined science exploration with entertainment. The “aSTEMbly” captivated their young minds, allowing them to witness the wonders of science firsthand and leaving them inspired and eager to delve deeper into the world of STEM.
Our Office of Community Relations remains committed to serving the community through engaging programming and initiatives that connect people with County resources, and the success of their Warm Coat Drive and “aSTEMbly” serves as a testament to the power of partnership and vision. We want to thank them for their efforts to keep our community engaged and informed as well as all our community partners who helped to make this event a huge success. To learn more information about OCR, visit their website here.
Yours in service,
Prince George’s County Executive
Proud to be Around Prince George’s: Route 210 Speed Enforcement
On Wednesday, December 20, County Executive Alsobrooks joined the District 26 legislative team, the Route 210 Safety Committee, and other County and State leaders to bring awareness to speeding and reckless driving on Route 210. Earlier this year, the County supported legislation to increase the number of speed cameras along Route 210 and we are now supporting legislation to increase fines for speeding along this roadway. We recognize the need for better speed enforcement along Route 210 and are proud to support efforts to make this road safer for residents.
Beautifications Initiatives: Bring Your Reusable Bag When You Shop
It is time to “Bag it Right” Prince Georgians! Effective January 1, 2024, plastic bags are no longer being offered in the County so be sure to bring your reusable bags when you shop to avoid the bag fee! Plastic bags can easily break down into microplastics, making them terrible for the environment. If you are a business owner impacted by this new law, remember that the County will provide a three-month grace period to businesses before imposing any citations with monetary penalties. Learn more information on the Department of the Environment website here.
Our County Needs Your Help!
This year, we are thankful for the amazing Prince Georgians who work hard to keep our County clean and green. Find out what you can do to help on the Part of It, Proud of It website here!
Compost Your Christmas Tree
The Department of the Environment (DoE) is making it easy for residents to “recycle” cut and live Christmas trees (no artificial trees) by offering curbside pickup and a drop-off location. Christmas tree collection will run from Monday, January 8 to January 30. Residents with County-provided yard trim collection may place their undecorated, unbagged, live Christmas trees at the curb by 6:00 PM on Mondays. To learn more information, contact PGC311 or visit the DoE website here.
Apply for the School Waste Reduction and Composting Grant with MSDE:
Are you looking for a way for your school community to become greener? Apply for the School Waste Reduction and Composting Grant with Maryland State Department of Education and get up to $8,000 for your school to stop food waste and start composting!
Funds can be used to support the following:
- Provide educational resources and programs for students, parents, and staff
- Develop infrastructure aimed at measuring and reducing food waste (e.g., share tables and community fridges that divert food waste)
- Establish and maintain a composting program (e.g., purchase compost bins)
- Contract with commercial composters, municipal agencies, or county agencies that are able to recycle in-school organic waste
The deadline to apply is Saturday, January 13. Learn more information on the Clean Water Action website here.
County News for You
Stay Informed and Stay Safe: Latest Updates on COVID-19, Flu, and RSV in Maryland
As we begin the new year, it is important that everyone stays informed about the latest updates on COVID-19, influenza (flu), and Respiratory Syncytial Virus (RSV) in Maryland. According to the Maryland Department of Health (MDH), the rate of hospitalizations due to respiratory viruses has been increasing. It has exceeded ten hospitalizations per 100,000 residents for three consecutive weeks. To prevent the spread of these respiratory viruses, the County Health Department recommends wearing masks in all patient care areas and healthcare settings while maintaining good hand hygiene.
It is important for eligible individuals, such as patients, residents, and healthcare workers, to get vaccinated against COVID-19, influenza, and RSV. Other preventive measures include:
- washing hands regularly
- avoiding close contact with sick people
- staying home when sick
The County Health Department encourages residents to continue to work together to keep everyone healthy and safe. Your efforts make a difference in stopping the spread of respiratory viruses. Thank you for doing your part!
Holiday Waste Collection Schedule
County government offices, except for public safety agencies, will be closed on Monday, January 15, 2024, in observance of the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday.
Curbside collection of yard trim, food scraps, trash, and recycling will remain on a regular schedule for residents receiving County-provided services. There are NO changes due to the holiday.
Learn more information about waste collection services on the Department of the Environment website here.
Update: Waste Diversion and Recycling Awards Nominations
In honor of America Recycles Day on November 15, Keep Prince George’s County Beautiful (KPGCB) and the Prince George’s County Department of the Environment (DoE) present the annual Waste Diversion and Recycling Awards! The ceremony recognizes County individuals, commercial businesses, schools, and other entities who have demonstrated exceptional achievements in recycling and waste diversion to advance the mission of KPGCB and DoE.
Individuals can self-nominate or submit a nomination for a County resident, commercial business, school, or other entity that has demonstrated exceptional achievements in recycling and waste diversion to advance the mission of KPGCB and DoE. A 2023 nomination form must be submitted on behalf of the nominee, including all relevant and supporting documentation before January 16, 2024, at 6:00 PM.
Learn more and down the nomination forms in English and Spanish here.
Prince George’s County Announces Sidewalk Snow and Ice Removal Inspection Program
The Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) wants to remind residents and businesses that owners, tenants, and managers of residential and commercial properties with paved sidewalks adjacent to their properties are responsible for ensuring that sidewalk areas are cleared of snow and ice. Failing to clear snow and ice may result in the levying of fines.
Ensuring that public sidewalks are cleared of snow and ice is an important safety and accessibility consideration for pedestrians. It is especially important for young children, students who walk to school, older adults and people with ambulatory disabilities. Prince George’s County Code Section 23-150 mandates that responsible parties remove accumulated snow and ice from abutting sidewalks within 48 hours after snow has fallen or ice has accumulated to a depth of two or more inches.
Responsible parties who fail to clear the abutting sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a major snow event will be issued a reminder notice by a DPIE inspector. After another 24-hour period, the DPIE inspector will conduct a second inspection. If the responsible parties have failed to clear their sidewalks within the designated 48 hours following the end of a major snow event, the inspector will issue a citation that carries a fine of $100 per day. Additional citations may be issued for subsequent 24-hour periods until the accumulated snow and ice are cleared. Fines will continue to accumulate with each successive citation.
If the snow and ice are not removed in a timely manner, the County has the authority to hire a contractor to clear it and add the costs to the fines.
Areas of primary focus include sidewalks:
- Adjacent to commercial establishments and apartment/condominium complexes
- Along roadways within 1.5 miles of a school
- Along State designated highways
- Along County primary roadways
- Abutting major public gathering places, such as churches, assembly halls, etc.
- Reported through public complaints (PGC311)
For more information, visit DPIE’s website here.
Take a sneak peek at the new Surratts-Clinton Branch Library, slated to open in early 2024! The Prince George’s County Memorial Library System’s (PGCMLS) latest episode of “Hard Hat Librarian” is the last featuring Chief Operating Officer for Support Services Michael Gannon, who recently retired from PGCMLS, as he takes an “investigative” look behind the delays and offers a glimpse inside the new building.
Readers of all ages are encouraged to join Prince George’s County Memorial Library System’s (PGCMLS) Washington Wizards Reading Challenge. Now through Sunday, March 31, participants can enter a drawing to win prizes, including game tickets and a Wizards drawstring bag, by completing and logging activities such as reading, watching Wizards games, attending virtual or in-person library programs, staying active, and connecting on social media, thanks to a partnership with PGCMLS, the Washington Wizards, and other local library systems. Looking for book recommendations? The challenge page also includes reading suggestions by age group and other resources to get started.
January New Year, New You
Embark on a journey to a healthier you with the January New Year, New You series. The Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is offering free nutrition and fitness programming to the community this new year. Join the Department on your path to wellness as you set goals to start the year off right. Available programs include:
- AM sweatshop
- Goal-setting workshop
- Live cooking demonstration
- Nutrition workshop
- Fitness classes
Learn more and register on the Department’s website here.
Cross Collaboration Event: Supporting Survivors of Human Trafficking with Co-occurring Serious Mental Illnesses
The Prince George’s County Human Trafficking Task Force, in collaboration with the District of Columbia Human Trafficking Task Force, is hosting a virtual, cross-jurisdiction, cross-discipline event on Thursday, February 1, from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM. Victims of human trafficking may struggle with serious mental illnesses (SMI) and other co-occurring disorders such as substance use disorder (SUD). This training will address the common challenges associated with victims experiencing SMI and SUD and discuss ways anti-trafficking agencies and allied professionals can collaborate with mental health and detox programs to provide wraparound services for victims in crisis. Register to attend here.
Home for the Holidays
The Homes for the Holidays Open House Event, hosted on Tuesday, December 26 and Wednesday, December 27, successfully paired over 100 families and individuals facing housing challenges with landlords who provided them with an opportunity to secure immediate housing in affordable communities. Many landlords revised their tenant selection criteria to accommodate these individuals and eliminate obstacles such as poor or no credit. Additionally, several units have already been pre-inspected, allowing for the immediate housing of these applicants. Currently, the Housing Authority has ten senior families that are in the process of completing applications and touring prospective units and 15 individuals and families have secured immediate housing, with many others having scheduled tours to complete their applications. Home for the Holidays is an initiative created and organized by the Housing Authority of Prince George’s County.
FSC First is excited to announce that Business Preparatory Support is back! Participants in Track 1 will receive guidance and resources to help them navigate the loan application process effectively. The goal of these sessions is to equip businesses with the knowledge and tools they need to strengthen their loan application. Learn more and register to participate here.
Join FSC First for an illuminating event to embark on a transformative journey towards financial abundance in 2024. Participants will be guided through managing debt, targeting customers, pricing, marketings, cashflow projections, and setting wealth goals. Learn more and register to attend here.
Spotlight On Prince George’s
Prince George’s County’s Department of Social Services Earns Highest Tier of Recognition for Work on LGBTQ+ Inclusivity
We are Prince George’s Proud of the Department of Social Services (DSS), who recently received the highest tier of recognition from the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) for Innovative Inclusion in 7 key policy and practice areas (one of only six public child welfare agencies to achieve this nationwide) and was named a Top LGBTQ+ Inclusive “Adoption & Foster Care” Agency for their matching and placement services as well as their inclusive policies and practices when it comes to engagement, recruitment, and best practice with LGBTQ+ families and community.
Only 13 states and the District of Columbia have explicit laws or policies in place to protect foster youth from discrimination based on both sexual orientation and gender identity. At a time when the LGBTQ+ community, particularly youth and young adults, are under attack and policies protecting LGBTQ youth in foster care from discrimination are a disparate patchwork from state to state, the work of the Prince George’s County Department of Social Services and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Foundation’s All Children – All Families (ACAF) program, is more important than ever!