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20th Anniversary Celebration of Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool
Civil War Soul Sisters: Civil War Era African American Women Who Published
Call for Local Veteran Artists!!!The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between
Newton White Mansion hosting The Dating Game: A Look at Teenage Dating
Department of Parks and Recreation Celebrating Black History Month
Technovation G.E.A.R. Program Coming to Oakcrest Community Center
Department of Parks and Recreation is Searching for Centenarians
Chief of Maryland-National Capital Park Police Retires
Artomatic 2015 Closes to Rave Reviews
Department of Parks and Recreation Deer Management Program Announcement
GEICO Gecko Theatre Presents Midweek Matinee Series at Publick Playhouse
M-NCPPC Announces Café Groove Dates
FEATURE: Law Enforcement and First Responders Meet and Greet Make Impact with Disability Community
M-NCPPC Wins 2015 Public Building of the Year Award
National Excellence in Inclusion Award Goes to Department of Parks and Recreation
M-NCPPC “BEST IN NATION” WITH UNPRECEDENTED SIXTH GOLD MEDAL AWARD WIN


Anita Pesses
Office: 301-446-3306; TTY 301-699-2544

20th Anniversary Celebration of Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool

CHILLUM, MD —The Maryland-National Captial Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County invites the community to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool.

When: Friday, February 19, 2016, from 4-8:30 pm

Where: Rollingcrest-Chillum Splash Pool (6122 Sargent Road, Chillum, MD 20782)

This year-round indoor splash pool is located adjacent to the Rollingcrest-Chillum Community Center. Its amenities include three 25-yard lap lanes, a specialized water play area for pre-schoolers with slides and spray features, and a family pool with water slides and spray features. In addition, the facility offers swimming lessons, water aerobics, certification courses, and birthday party packages available by reservation.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – FEBRUARY 4, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-868-1121; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
PHONE: 301-446-3327

Civil War Soul Sisters: Civil War Era African American Women Who Published

CLINTON, MD – Biographies, essays, and autobiographies, cookbooks, children's books, poetry and speeches - over seventy-five published works by African American women during the Civil War, an era when it was illegal for the vast majority of black Americans to learn to read or write. Lavonda Broadnax, a digital project coordinator with the Library of Congress, will speak on the accomplishments of these astonishing women. Arrive early, limited seating. This FREE event is suitable for all ages.
When: Saturday, February 27, 2016, from 4 - 5 p.m.

Where: Surratt House Museum (9118 Brandywine Road, Clinton, MD 20735)
Originally built as a middle-class farm house for John and Mary Surratt in 1852, the Surratt House is infamously connected to the assassination of President Abraham Lincoln. During the crucial decade before the Civil War, the house served as a tavern and hostelry, a post office, and a polling place. During the War, it was a safe house in the Confederate underground system which flourished in Southern Maryland. 



Today, the museum presents a variety of programs and events, recapturing the history of the mid-19th century life and focusing on the fascinating web of the Lincoln assassination conspiracy and the involvement of the Surratt family.


The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – February 2, 2016
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3327; MOBILE: 301-704-5272

Call for Local Veteran Artists!!!The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between
DEADLINE TO APPLY: FEBRUARY 27, 2016

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland - National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation is looking for veteran artists to participate in the upcoming The Art of Freedom: War, Peace and Everything in Between exhibit. This call is open to all veterans and active duty members of all branches of service who reside or are deployed in Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Virginia. The exhibition will showcase artwork by veterans and the military community using the creative process to promote healing, and provide insight into artistic expression as a tool for understanding the transition from military to civilian life. Female veterans and veterans of color are encouraged to apply.
This exhibition seeks to cultivate artistic support for veterans and active duty members to highlight the role art can play in the healing process of returning from deployment. Curators for the exhibition will select artworks for inclusion based on artistic merit, relevance to the exhibition theme, and suitability for display in the exhibition space. The Sports and Learning Center Gallery is a public space, open to all audiences that welcomes a large number of visitors of all ages. Artworks in the gallery are hung from picture rails that cannot support extremely heavy objects. Only artworks that can be displayed on the wall will be accepted. Curators for this exhibit will be Constance Mattox, Guest Curator, Arts Educator, Masters of Arts Administration and Phil Davis, Director, Brentwood Arts Exchange.
 February 27 - Deadline to apply (employees of The M-NCPPC are not eligible to participate)
 March 5 - Artists notified of acceptance

Applications may be submitted by mail or delivered in person and must arrive at the Brentwood Arts Exchange no later than February 27, 2016 at 4 p.m. No applications accepted by email. Each submission should include a CD containing:
 3-5 images of artworks to be considered
 A list of images that included titles, media, size and dates work was created.
 An artist statement relevant to artworks submitted.
 Proof of military or veteran status.
 All submitted materials must be clearly labeled with the artist’s name and contact information.
 Optional. SASE for return of applications. Applications will not be returned unless as SASE with adequate postage is provided.

Mail applications to:
Attn: The Art of Freedom Exhibition
Brentwood Arts Exchange
3901 Rhode Island Avenue
Brentwood, MD 20722
For additional information, please contact, Phil Davis, Director, Brentwood Arts Exchange, 3901 Rhode Island Avenue, Brentwood, MD 20722, or at 301.277.2863, and by email at phil.davis@pgparks.com.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JANUARY 20, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-249-7200; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Newton White Mansion hosting The Dating Game: A Look at Teenage Dating

MITCHELLVILLE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is hosting The Dating Game, an in-depth discussion on teenage dating, on Thursday, February 11, 2016, at Newton White Mansion.

This free event will feature an all-male panel and is focused towards a female audience. Topics will include recognizing dating violence, sexting, cyber violence, and ‘how to’ tips on treating young women with respect.

When: Thursday, February 11, 2016 – 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

Where: Newton White Mansion (2708 Enterprise Road, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JANUARY 19, 2016
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Department of Parks and Recreation Celebrating Black History Month

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is prepared to celebrate Black History Month with a plethora of events.

On almost every day in every part of the county, you’ll find an event that celebrates Black History Month.

Highlights include:
Black History Month Exhibition: Narrative in Black Identity
By Antonio McAfee, Tiffany Jones and Stephen Towns
Montpelier Arts Center – now through February 28 – Free
Using historic photos, personal journeys and portraits, these Baltimore-based artists help the viewer understand the importance of history and identity in contemporary times.

Black History Month Exhibition: Re-Invention
By Winston Harris
Montpelier Arts Center – now through February 28 – Free
A combination of printmaking techniques, digital manipulation, hand-colored processes and recycled part artwork produces images that provoke and promote self-awareness and spiritual enlightenment.

What Remains: Archaeological Discoveries of African American Life in Prince George’s County
Arts/Harmony Hall Regional Center – now through February 29 – Free
Opening Reception – January 31, noon to 2 p.m.
This exhibit focuses on African American life in Prince George’s County from the late 1600s to the early 1900s.

Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad/Eastern Shore Tour
Upper Marlboro Community Center - February 3, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. - $85 Residents, $102 Non-residents
Take a trip to the Eastern Shore to learn about the places, stories and events of Harriet Tubman and how she returned again and again to help lead others to freedom on her Underground Railroad missions.

Black History Gospel Celebration
Hillcrest Heights Community Center – February 6, 6-8 p.m. – Free
Listen to a celebration of gospel music’s contributions to black history with performances from local church choirs and dancers.


African American Participation in the War of 1812
Battle of Bladensburg Visitor Center – February 11 and 20, 1 p.m. – Free
Learn about the participation and stories of African Americans who fought with the American and British troops during the War of 1812, as well as the opportunities provided to runaway slaves who joined the British.

African American Aviators Tour
College Park Aviation Museum – February 13, 1 p.m. – Free with museum admission ($5 adults, $4 seniors, $2 children)
This special tour will tell you all about some of Prince George’s County’s lesser known aviation history.

To view the entire Black History Month brochure, click here.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JANUARY 11, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-249-4252; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Technovation G.E.A.R. Program Coming to Oakcrest Community Center

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Oakcrest Community Center is hosting a S.T.E.A.M. course, starting on January 30, 2016, for the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County.

The free, 12-week course – Technovation, a G.E.A.R. (Girls Excited About Recreation) program – teaches girls ages 10 to 18 about technology entrepreneurship.

Participants will learn how to code while making a mobile application.

To learn more about the program, you can attend an interest meeting at Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex (7007 Bock Rd., Fort Washington, MD 20744) on Friday, January 22, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

When: 12 weeks starting Saturday, January 30, 2016. Classes meet on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Mondays from 7 to 9 p.m.
Where: Oakcrest Community Center (1300 Capitol Heights Blvd, Capitol Heights, MD 20743)

SMARTlink course number: 1649958

To register, please visit our online registration website or register in person at one of our community centers.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 7, 2016
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-206-3350; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Department of Parks and Recreation is Searching for Centenarians

LANDOVER, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is looking for County residents who are ages 95 and older to invite them to a special Centenarian Celebration in May.

Special recognition will be given to Centenarians – residents who are 100 years old and older.

To sign up, fill out this form or call 301-206-3350. Entrants must sign up no later than February 19, 2016.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 29, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Chief of Maryland-National Capital Park Police Retires
Larry Brownlee, Chief of Prince George’s County Division, retires after 40 years of service

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Prince George’s County Division’s Chief Larry Brownlee announced his retirement, effective January 1, 2016, after 40 years of dedicated service.

Captain Stanley Johnson will serve as the Acting Chief of Park Police, effective that date.

“We have mixed emotions with Chief Brownlee’s retirement announcement. While we are excited for him and his family, and agree that he has earned and deserves to move into this next phase in life, we know we will miss his leadership and the wealth of knowledge that he brought to the Commission during his 40 years,” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County.

Chief Brownlee has served as the Park Police’s Prince George’s Division Chief since 1997. During his career, which started in 1975, Brownlee was the first African American within the Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Prince George’s County Division, to be promoted to the rank of Sergeant, Lieutenant, Captain and then to Chief.

Chief Brownlee started with M-NCPPC Park Police in 1975 and has worked for the unit in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

In November 2002, Chief Brownlee led the Division to its first certification from the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA). Since then, the Division was re-accredited in 2005, 2008, 2011 and 2014.

Chief Brownlee has served as President of the Park Law Enforcement Association (PLEA), the Prince George’s County Municipal Police Chiefs Association, and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #30. He has served on numerous boards within the state and nationally, and was appointed by the Governor of Maryland as a Regional Representative to the Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission in 2008; he was re-appointed in 2011 and 2014.

Chief Brownlee attended Bowie State University, where he majored in Elementary Education. He is a graduate of the Prince George’s County Police Academy, and of the New England Institute of Law Enforcement Management and Command Training Program at Babson College. He attended Maryland Police and Correctional Training Commission (MPCTC) leadership programs, Law Enforcement Executive Development School, and numerous law enforcement leadership and command training programs throughout the U.S.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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For Immediate Release: December 23, 2015
Contact: M-NCPPC, Department of Parks and Recreation: Kira Calm Lewis, 301-446-3327, Kira.CalmLewis@pgparks.com

Artomatic 2015 Closes to Rave Reviews
Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Hosted Art Exhibit for First Time to Accolades

Riverdale, MD — Artomatic 2015, hosted by The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) Department of Parks and Recreation, closed its doors on Saturday, December 12, but not before receiving rave reviews. The free, non-juried event was held in a 90,000-square-foot space in Hyattsville near the New Carrollton Metro station.

Artomatic hosted hundreds of visual and performing artists from Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia who showcased their talents to tens of thousands of intrigued visitors.

“We were so thrilled to have the opportunity to host Artomatic this year. This is not only the first time the event was held in Prince George’s County, but it was also the first time it was held in Maryland,” said Elizabeth M. Hewlett, Chairman of The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. “Bringing this unique experience to the County all while supporting local artists in the process was a very important milestone."

For six weeks, M-NCPPC opened its doors to Artomatic and a plethora of creative and performance art forms including: live music, dance, spoken word and comedy, as well as a professional development series and special events showcases. Nearly every night of the event, there was an additional experience for attendees to participate in. In addition to discovering new art, they could grab a drink, listen to music and mingle with the creative community. No matter what kind of creative art form you preferred, there was something to like at Artomatic. And, the reviews speak to that:
“The building housing Artomatic 2015 is at 8100 Corporate Dr. in Hyattsville, and for the past month it has been under construction, as hundreds of visual artists have transformed walls, closets and floors of open space into a brilliantly lit gallery...” – Hamil R. Harris (The Washington Post: Local)

“Fire Dancers? Robots? Artomatic's Got It All in Hyattsville...” - Sarah Pixley (NBC4 News Blogger)
“Local residents who are lovers and supporters of the arts can now discover unique and exciting art exhibits at Artomatic 2015 for free.” – Tiffany Watson (PG Sentinel)
“Illustrative art inspired by movies, cartoons, pop music and comic books abounds. So does well-made decorative work in glass, wood, metal and fabric. There’s lots of photography, some of it distinguished by both technique and subject…” – Mark Jenkins (The Washington Post: In the galleries)
And, from Artomatic President, Micheline N. Kirsch, “Artomatic was thrilled to be immersed in the rich and diverse culture of Prince George’s County. There was a wonderful array of artistic expression, energy and community support. We look forward to future collaborations and on behalf of the entire Artomatic community we express our sincere gratitude to the M-NCPPC.”
“Hosting Artomatic was a big deal for the Department! Parks and Recreation has made a big investment in the arts in Prince George’s County, with several arts centers like Harmony Hall, Publick Playhouse and the Brentwood Arts Exchange,” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. “The arts are a creative magnet and I’m glad we were able to draw the community into Artomatic.”

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 15, 2015
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-627-7755; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

Department of Parks and Recreation Deer Management Program Announcement

RIVERDALE, MD – Beginning in January 2016, the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation’s specially-trained Maryland-National Capital Park Police officers will be conducting nighttime sharpshooting to reduce the local deer population at select parks. The three selected park sites will be:

- Enterprise Golf Course in Mitchellville, MD
- Henson Creek Golf Course in Fort Washington, MD
- Henson Creek Steam Valley Park (Oxon Hill Rd to Temple Hill Rd) in Fort Washington, MD

Sharpshooting activities will take place only at night from January 11-14 and 25-28, and February 8-11. Parks are closed to the public from sunset to sunrise. On-site signage will be placed at each of these parks to remind the public of the sharpshooting activities. Public safety is the Department’s top priority.

Much of the Prince George’s County suburban landscape offers an ideal deer habitat that has an abundance of food sources, no natural predators and limited hunting opportunities. These factors have contributed to the overpopulation of deer throughout much of the area.

Deer population reductions are needed to address the problems associated with too many deer. These problems can include forest ecology degradation, deer-vehicle collisions, concerns about Lyme Disease, landscape/property damage, agriculture damage and poor herd health. A reduction in the local deer herds will help alleviate these problems in those immediate areas.

All harvested deer will be donated to local food banks to help feed those in need.

In addition to the new sharpshooting program, the Department has traditionally allowed recreational deer hunting in select rural parks since 1986. In partnership with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, there are currently three parks that allow bow deer hunting: Aquasco Farm, Patuxent River Park-Billingsley and Gardner Road Park. These parks are multi-use and are still open to the public during the hunting season. For more information, go to dnr.maryland.gov.

For more information about the deer management program, please visit www.pgparks.com or email DeerManagement@pgparks.com.

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – DECEMBER 11, 2015
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-277-1710; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

GEICO Gecko Theatre Presents Midweek Matinee Series at Publick Playhouse

CHEVERLY, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County is partnering with the GEICO Gecko Midweek Matinee series again for 2015-2016 to provide free concerts to youth in Prince George’s County.

The GEICO Philanthropic Foundation gave the Prince George’s County Parks and Recreation Foundation a $30,000 grant donation to fund the series, which are available free of charge to students at Title 1 schools in the county who might not otherwise have the opportunity to experience the magic of live theatre.

The Parks and Recreation Foundation helps position the Department of Parks and Recreation to use less of its overall operating budget for projects, services and programs due to donations from individuals, corporations and businesses.

“On behalf of the Parks and Recreation Foundation, we are thrilled to receive GEICO’s $30,000 donation,” said Steven Carter, Director of the Parks and Recreation Foundation. “Giving children exposure to the arts is extremely important to the Department, especially when it’s kids who might not have that opportunity without outside support. The Foundation hopes to continue nurturing corporate relationships, just like the one we have with GEICO, so that more children can be exposed to the arts and our other programs.”

The GEICO Gecko will present the donation at the Publick Playhouse at the live showing of “Season’s Greetings” on Monday, December 14, 2015. M-NCPPC executives will be in attendance to celebrate the occasion.

The Publick Playhouse is owned and operated by the Department of Parks and Recreation. The Department of Parks and Recreation acquired and began restoration of the Playhouse in 1975. The Playhouse serves as a venue for the performing arts, concerts, dance, theater and community events and is one of the two surviving Art Deco theatres in Prince George’s County.

For tickets and information, call the Publick Playhouse at 301-277-1710.

Remaining performances for the season include:
All shows are at 10:15 a.m. and noon
Monday, December 14, 2015 – Season’s Greetings
Monday February 1, 2016 – Jackie Robinson: A Game Apart
Monday, February 29, 2016 – The Right to Dream
Monday, March 14, 2016 – Upcycled Cinderella
Thursday, April 21, 2016 – Butterfly: The Story of a Life Cycle
Monday, May 9, 2016 – My Heart in a Suitcase

Where: Publick Playhouse (4410 Bishopmill Drive, Upper Marlboro, MD 20772)

The Department of Parks and Recreation, which has won an unprecedented six National Gold Medal Awards for excellence in the field of park and recreation management, provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – OCTOBER 30, 2015
PROGRAM INFORMATION CONTACT: 301-446-3244; TTY 301-699-2544
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

M-NCPPC Announces Café Groove Dates

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation has announced its 2015-16 Café Groove series, which takes place on the first Friday of each month through May.

Café Groove is a free, expressive arts program for teens, allowing them to enjoy artistic performances or be the performer themselves! Set in a cozy and relaxed coffeehouse atmosphere, Café Groove has an open mic format which allows teens to perform in front of their friends and family.

The March Café Groove will be a special evening, featuring the Prince George’s County Best Dance Crew competition.

This unique dance contest provides dancers with an opportunity to showcase artistry and techniques from all dance genres. The five-minute performances will feature 10 top dance crews competing for first-, second- and third-place prizes. Dance crews can be all-male, all-female or co-ed.

There will also be a singles freestyle contest, with the winner taking home a cash prize.

Café Groove Dates and Locations
All events are from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.

- November 6, 2015 – Prince George’s Ballroom (2411 Pinebrook Ave, Landover, MD 20785)
- December 4, 2015 – Artomatic Teen Night (8100 Corprorate Dr, Hyattsville, MD 20785)
- February 5, 2015 – Oakcrest Community Center (1300 Capitol Heights Blvd, Capitol Heights, MD 20743)
- March 4, 2015 – Publick Playhouse (5445 Landover Rd, Cheverly, MD 20784)
- April 1, 2015 – Hillcrest Heights Community Center (2300 Oxon Run Dr, Temple Hills, MD 20748)
- May 6, 2015 – Marlow Heights Community Center (2800 St Clair Dr, Temple Hills, MD 20748)

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 24, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

FEATURE: Law Enforcement and First Responders Meet and Greet Make Impact with Disability Community

RIVERDALE, MD – It was a question worth asking, and this student wasn’t holding back.

He hadn’t pulled questions so far while chatting with Corporal Randy Green, a Maryland-National Capital Park Police officer since 2006, and this question seemed the most important.

“What happens if you handcuff me and I can’t use my hands to speak,” the student asked through his deaf interpreter.

Green had the perfect response.

“I just told him, politely, ‘Well, if you don’t disobey the law, you won’t have to be handcuffed,’” Green said. “Everyone started laughing. He came up and gave me a high five. But he asked some questions to see if we have anything in place, and that’s the reason why this program is a big hit.”

That exchange came in the last year at one of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning’s two Meet and Greet with Law Enforcement and First Responders, a collaborative effort to connect those who protect our community with the disability community. This fall’s event will be taking place on Wednesday, October 7, 2015, at the Park Police’s Enterprise Substation in Mitchellville, Md.

One tragic incident points out the need for this event. In January of 2013, Ethan Saylor, of New Market, was spending his afternoon at a Frederick movie theater watching “Zero Dark Thirty,” which was so good that he didn’t want to leave. He had to see it again.

Saylor, who had Down syndrome, was asked to pay the $12 for reentry or leave. He wouldn’t leave, prompting movie theater staff to call the off-duty deputies who were working security. Things got physical while trying to remove Saylor, who didn’t like to be touched. After being handcuffed and taken to the ground, Saylor went quiet and stopped moving. He was pronounced dead at a local hospital soon after.

Saylor’s death at 26 years old became a national story, especially within the disability community. Sandy Kellstrom, a therapeutic recreation coordinator for M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, knew something needed to change.

“This program is important to reduce barriers and increase awareness among the communities,” Kellstrom said.

Kellstrom and two of her close friends within the disability community – Liz Burley, a transition specialist for the Prince George’s County Public Schools Department of Special Education, and Melonee Clark, an outreach program administrator for Arc Prince George’s County – put their heads together and came up with the idea of the meet and greet event.

They envisioned the event as a way for people in the disability community to meet police officers and first responders in a controlled environment, and also as a chance for the officers and responders to gain a better understanding of people with disabilities.

“Before this, we had nothing,” Clark said. “Even though it’s a festive event, it’s also an educational event. If an officer gets training – book training – that can’t take the place of actually talking to someone who has a disability, or someone who may use technology or sign language to communicate. These are experiences that officers or first responders need to know. So I think this is a win-win for the county.”

The event, which has been focused to reach the transition age range of 18 to 21 year olds and drew more than 500 participants combined at the first two events, has several different stations which groups rotate through. Highlights include meeting the canine unit, getting to go in and hear an ambulance, meeting Park Police’s mounted unit horses and seeing a helicopter.

This October, the event will be open to anyone older than 18.

“Getting kids not to fear sirens … some students get very animated or scream or have cases where they’re frightened by loud noises and bright lights,” Burley said. “So this opportunity shows them they don’t need to be afraid.”

After 13 years policing, Cpl. Green already had encounters with members of the disability community prior to attending his first meet and greet.

He recalls a time years ago when a deaf person was walking in a median on Landover Road. He knew to immediately get out a pen and notepad so the two could communicate.

Green knows this event is important, especially for those new to the job, and hopes it can prevent future situations like Saylor’s.

“Having that new officer in law enforcement, bringing them to meet people with disabilities… they get to see things in a different light,” Green said. “Just remember that what you’re doing today is going to affect your tomorrow.”

When: Wednesday, October 7, 2015 – 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Where: Park Police Enterprise Substation, Mounted Unit (3002 Enterprise Road, Mitchellville, MD 20721)

For information on attending future events, contact Sandy Kellstrom at sandra.kellstrom@pgparks.com.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 21, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

M-NCPPC Wins 2015 Public Building of the Year Award

RIVERDALE, MD – The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning (M-NCPPC), Department of Parks and Recreation for Prince George’s County, was awarded Public Building of the Year by the American Institute of Architects Maryland for architecture used while building Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex in Fort Washington, Md.

The 37,000-square-foot building, designed by Suman Sorg, FAIA and Sorg Architects, opened in 2013. The jury selected the building for the award because it “showcases the power of architecture to function as a catalyst to bring a community together.”

A colored-glass front highlights the building’s design, with blue and green hues to connect the building to the surrounding natural landscape. Sorg said she chose white metal for the structure to give it a lighter feel, and kept the building’s height minimal so it didn’t overpower the surrounding community.

Sustainability was another focal point in the design, Sorg said, installing a green roof, and items for water and energy conservation.

This LEED Silver certified building has unique amenities, including a rock climbing wall, a recording studio, an environmental science lab, a computer lab, a double gymnasium, a dance studio, seminar rooms, teen and adult cafés, fitness rooms and a multi-purpose room with warming kitchen.

The jury finished by saying that Southern Regional Technology and Recreation Complex “is a model for architecture in the public realm.”

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – SEPTEMBER 17, 2015
PUBLIC AFFAIRS AND MARKETING CONTACT: KIRA CALM LEWIS
OFFICE: 301-446-3313; MOBILE: 301-446-3327

National Excellence in Inclusion Award Goes to Department of Parks and Recreation

RIVERDALE MD – Recreation inclusion services for people with disabilities in Prince George’s County are bringing home national honors. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission’s Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County today received a National Excellence in Inclusion Award from the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA). The award was presented at the 2015 NRPA Annual Congress in Las Vegas, Nev.

This is the second time M-NCPPC’s Special Programs Division has received this award, first winning in 2004 when the award was given by the National Institute of Recreation Inclusion.

“It is a tremendous honor to receive this award,” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation. “Our inclusion employees are being rightfully recognized for their 40 years of leading at the cutting edge of the industry in therapeutic recreation and inclusion services.”

Each year, NRPA National Awards are presented to individuals and agencies across the U.S. to honor their efforts – both professional and personal – in the field of parks and recreation. There are 10 award categories in the NRPA’s National Awards program. Recipients are selected from a pool of applicants by NRPA’s National Awards and Scholarship Committee, and are chosen for excellence in a variety of topics, including professional and voluntary service, programming, leadership, research and public outreach.

The Excellence in Inclusion Award recognizes and honors an agency/organization that has rendered significant leadership efforts and advocacy in inclusive processes and practices. The agency/organization demonstrates and excels in inclusive programming by providing inclusive opportunities to people of diversity or with disabilities.

M-NCPPC first began offering therapeutic recreation programs in Prince George’s County in 1974 and was a national leader in the industry. M-NCPPC’s Department of Parks and Recreation established the program 16 years before it was mandated by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), with support from the community, advocates and parents of children with disabilities.

The Special Programs Division’s Therapeutic Recreation team ensures that all of the Department’s employees, programs and facilities are equipped to serve people of any ability by hiring and training inclusion support staff, recruiting individuals with disabilities for employment, requiring ADA training for career staff, providing sign language interpretation, and dedicating staff for ADA programs and facility access.

Inclusion Services staff provide disability accommodations to facilitate opportunities for people with – and without – disabilities to participate in recreation and leisure activities together. These services may include the use of companions in a class or activity, support staff to enhance the staff-to-participant ratio, assistive listening devices and adapted equipment. The Department also provides specialized therapeutic recreation programs to meet the needs of people with disabilities who wish to participate in specialized programming.

Inclusion services may be requested at the time a customer registers for a program or class.

The Department of Parks and Recreation provides comprehensive park and recreation programs, facilities and services which respond to changing needs within our communities. The Department strives to preserve, enhance and protect our open spaces to enrich the quality of life for present and future generations in a safe and secure environment.

For more on the Department of Parks and Recreation, visit www.pgparks.com and stay connected on Facebook and Twitter. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, Department of Parks and Recreation encourages and supports the participation of individuals with disabilities in all programs and services.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – September 15, 2015
Prince George’s Parks and Recreation: KIRA CALM LEWIS
301-704-5272; KiraCalmLewis@pgparks.com
Montgomery Parks: MELISSA CHOTINER
301-650-2866; Melissa.Chotiner@MontgomeryParks.org

M-NCPPC “BEST IN NATION” WITH UNPRECEDENTED SIXTH GOLD MEDAL AWARD WIN

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) today won the prestigious 2015 National Gold Medal Award for excellence in Parks and Recreation Management. The Gold Medal is one of the highest professional awards available to parks and recreation agencies throughout the country and involves a stringent qualification and judging process. The Gold Medal Award is presented annually by the American Academy for Park and Recreation Administration (AAPRA) in partnership with the National Recreation and Park Association (NRPA).

M-NCPPC has a long history of Gold Medal successes, winning the prize in 1973, 1977, 1984 and 2003. M-NCPPC won its fifth Gold Medal in 1983 for leadership in special recreation and outstanding community achievement in serving people with disabilities. This year’s win secured the agency’s sixth Gold Medal. No other agency in the country has ever won six.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary with NRPA, the Gold Medal Awards program honors communities in the U.S. that demonstrate excellence in parks and recreation through long-range planning, resource management, volunteerism, environmental stewardship, program development, professional development and agency recognition. Gold Medal Award winners were selected from finalists in five population classes, and Grand Plaque recipients were announced today, September 15, during NRPA’s Annual Congress & Exposition in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“The Commission is extremely honored and privileged to receive this unprecedented, sixth National Gold Medal on behalf of the 1.8 million residents we serve in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, and on behalf of our talented and creative staff members and unselfish volunteers’” M-NCPPC Chairman Elizabeth M. Hewlett said. “In partnership with our actively engaged citizens, M-NCPPC has worked diligently throughout our 85-plus year history to successfully deliver outstanding, affordable parks and recreation opportunities and experiences for all.”

"This award is a product of the hard work and dedication of our staff," M-NCPPC Vice Chair Casey Anderson said. "I'm thrilled that they are getting the recognition they deserve. They know that we need to innovate and adapt to meet the challenge of being the best, and I am proud to work with them."

“We continue our commitment to delivering outstanding parks and recreation services to the residents of Prince George’s County,’” said Ronnie Gathers, Director of the Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation. “Recognition by this distinguished organization honors the dedication of our staff and motivates us to continue to perform at the highest level.”

Michael F. Riley, Director of Montgomery Parks, said, “This prestigious national award reflects the high standards of excellence we strive for. This award also reflects that hard work and commitment of our talented staff and community volunteers who support our mission as well as our parks, facilities and programs. We are both honored and humbled by this award, and are committed to continuing our efforts to protect and provide excellent, safe and accessible parks and programs to the residents of Montgomery County.”

Established in 1927 by state law to acquire, develop and maintain park land and open space, and to plan for the orderly development of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties, M-NCPPC has grown and evolved to keep pace with the growth and diversity of the bi-county area it serves. Under direction of its Montgomery County Department of Parks and Prince George’s County Department of Parks and Recreation, the Commission today maintains more than 57,000 acres of parkland and open space, operates more than 200 recreational facilities, and attracts more than 25 million visitors each year.

The National Recreation and Park Association is a national not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing park, recreation and conservation efforts that enhance quality of life for all people. NRPA encourages the promotion of healthy and active lifestyles, conservation initiatives and equitable access to parks and public space. For more information, visit www.nrpa.org or www.aapra.org.

For more information about The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, visit mncppc.org. And, for more information about the Department of Parks and Recreation in Prince George’s County, visit pgparks.com and stay connected on facebook.com/pgparks and twitter.com/pgparks.

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