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Posted on: May 6, 2021

Community Connections Newsletter: Prince George's Proud - An Update From CEX Alsobrooks

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Thursday, May 6, 2021

Prince George's Proud:

An Update From County Executive Alsobrooks

Dear Prince Georgians:

I want to take time to acknowledge our older adults and say thank you to our seniors. It has been a tough year for everyone throughout the pandemic, but especially for one of our most vulnerable populations. Even in the midst of the incredible challenges we have faced during COVID-19, the strength of our seniors has been on display for everyone to see.

That is why I am proud to acknowledge our seniors and celebrate May as Older American’s Month with you. The theme for this year’s Older Americans Month is Communities of Strength.  For a long time, Prince George’s County seniors have been the backbone of this community, and we want to honor their stories and contributions and emphasize their strength in the community.

There are some 170,000 older adults living in Prince George’s County. Each one of these seniors have built resilience and strength over their lives through their successes, joys and extreme difficulties. Yet each of their stories and contributions help to support and inspire others. During this pandemic, I’ve witnessed their resilience in overcoming new challenges.

Our seniors have been able to navigate Zoom and other virtual platforms with the help of neighbors, family and friends so they can connect with loved ones. That’s why we are excited to share in this newsletter a series of virtual events honoring seniors and the achievements of older adults.

I also want to raise awareness for those struggling with mental health. May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and I want those who may be living with mental health issues to know they are not alone. Each year millions of Americans face the reality of living with a mental illness, and for far too long our County has had limited access to behavioral health services. However, we are meeting this challenge head on.

Last month, I was joined by Luminis Health Doctors Community Medical Center (LHDCMC) and members of the Prince George’s County Council to break ground on a new two-story, 31,200 square foot, behavioral health services facility that will feature a wide array of behavioral health services to ensure residents dealing with mental health issues and substance use disorders can receive treatment in Prince George’s County.

When I took office as County Executive, I said that we would place a greater emphasis on behavioral health and social services in our County, and I am proud to say that we are delivering on that promise together. Please remember that if you or someone you know is in crisis, you can contact Maryland’s crisis hotline by calling 2-1-1 and pressing option 1, or by texting 898-211.

I look forward to our continued work to improve the health and wellbeing of all our residents as we build a stronger, healthier Prince George’s County.

 

Yours in service,

Angela Alsobrooks

Prince George’s County Executive


COVID-19 Updates

Library Limited Branch Services Resume

Library Phase 2 Reopening

The Prince George's County Memorial Library System (PGCMLS) has resumed limited branch services at select locations as part of Phase 2 of the Library's reopening. Customers may book an appointment for Phase 2 services (computer reservations, limited display browsing, and curbside service) online up to 7 days in advance. Participating branches are Bowie, Laurel, New Carrollton, Oxon Hill, South Bowie, and Spauldings. Additional branches will add these services in May but will continue with Curbside Service only until then. Visit pgcmls.info/reopening for more information and to book an appointment.

Effective April 28, the Library's new hours will be Tuesday 1:00 PM – 6:00 PM, Wednesday 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM, Thursday-Friday 1:00 – 6:00 PM, Saturday 1:00 PM – 5:00 PM.


COVID-19 Relief Fund for Small Businesses

Flex Grant Fund

FSC First will be administering the VLT Flex Grant/Loan Matching Fund, also known as the Small Minority and Women Owned Business Account, COVID-19 RELIEF Program, as a 50/50 Matching grant/loan program. Loans will be matched with a grant up to 50% of the qualified loan amount or $50,000, whichever is less. The grant will be disbursed once the loan proceeds are utilized for leasehold improvements, real estate purchase, furniture, machinery, equipment or inventory. All funds (loan and grant) must be fully disbursed by 6/30/2021. This program is available for existing businesses that can demonstrate an ongoing impact from the COVID-19 pandemic. Click here to visit the program page and apply.


Beautification Initiatives

Growing Green with Pride Day

Growing Green

On Saturday May 1, 2021, more than 1,375 volunteers joined Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks for “Growing Green with Pride Day,” a county-wide, biannual community cleanup event that supports the County’s Beautification Initiative. More than 80 groups across the County came together to collect litter, place mulch, and cleanup area roadways and neighborhoods. We are Prince George’s Proud of all the volunteers who helped remove more than 49.7 tons (99,400 pounds) of litter and illegal dumping to beautify the County.


County News For You

County Executive Alsobrooks Accepting School Board Member Applications

PGGPCS

Due to a vacant appointed position on the County Board of Education, the County Executive is accepting applications from County residents who would be interested in filling the seat on the Board of Education for a four-year term. County residents interested in being considered should submit a resume and letter of interest to CountyExecutive@co.pg.md.us by May 14, 2021.

Any County resident is eligible to apply, as members appointed by the County Executive do not need to live in a specific Board District in order to serve on the Board of Education. Based on Maryland statutory requirements, appointed members must possess knowledge and expertise in education, higher education, business, finance, or successful administration of a business, nonprofit or government entity. Only applicants that meet these requirements will be considered for the position.


May is Mental Health Awareness Month

Step Forward to a New You

The Health Department is teaming up with WKYS to sponsor a special live, online event on WKYSDC.com, Facebook and YouTube in recognition of Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Join WKYS DJ Little Bacon Bear from 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM for “Step Forward to a New You: The New Norm After the Storm,” featuring Health Department behavioral health expert Dr. Billina Shaw and local youth. As we get closer to getting out of the COVID-19 storm and into a new normal, this enlightening discussion will explore the best strategies to get help – for yourself or a friend—with depression, anxiety, or any other strong emotions you have been struggling with.

Get more details about the event at KYSDC.com/events. For information on local mental health and substance use disorder resources, please visit the Health Department’s website.


May is Older Americans Month

Older Americans Month

Each May, the Department of Family Services, Aging and Disabilities Services Division leads the celebration of Older Americans Month (OAM) in Prince George’s County. This year’s theme is Communities of Strength, which recognizes the important role older adults play in fostering the connection and engagement that build strong, resilient communities. Join the Department of Family Services and the Advisory Committee on Aging for a series of virtual events honoring seniors and the achievements of older adults. For more information, click here.  


Men’s Challenge Initiative in May

Mens Challenge

Join the Department of Family Services for a new installment of the Men’s Challenge Initiative, a series of group discussions that seeks to influence men and boys through conversations about developing healthy relationships. Topics of discussion will include Building Bridges, Not Walls and Steps to Improve Communication. Another topic of discussion, Listening to Hear, Not to Answer, will look at the way we communicate and uncover the power of our actions and changes in our behavior. For more information, click here.


Earth Day Every Day 2021!

Earth Day Everyday

You still have time to join in Earth Month celebrations. Whether you're at home or at a safe distance, workshops and events are being hosted all month long in honor of Earth Day. The Department of the Environment (DoE) encourages you to celebrate Earth Day Every Day!

Visit DoE’s spotlight on County environmental advocates that have dedicated their work to improving their communities. View their profiles and more Earth Day celebrations by visiting bit.ly/PGCEarthDayEveryDay.


Curbside Bulky Trash Collection

Bulk Trash

Items that are too big to fit in your trash bin won’t be hauled away in your regular curbside trash collection. Schedule your curbside bulky trash appointment today by calling 311 or visiting bulkytrash.princegeorgescountymd.gov. Accepted items and more information can be found at bit.ly/PGCbulkyacceptable.


Emerging Landscaper’s Program

Eleanor Roosevelt High School Students Win Local Envirothon Competition

Envirothon

On April 21, 2021, the Prince George’s Soil Conservation District (PGSCD) partnered with the William S. Schmidt Outdoor Education Center to host the first virtual Envirothon Competition in Prince George’s County. Nine teams from Prince George's County Public High Schools were tested in four different areas: aquatics, forestry, soils, and wildlife. Participating schools included Duval, Eleanor Roosevelt, Fairmont Heights, Laurel, Oxon Hill and Potomac high schools. Eleanor Roosevelt High School won first place honors and Laurel High School came in second place. Prince George’s County was the only Maryland jurisdiction to host a virtual local competition. PGSCD partnered with the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) and Maryland’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS-MD) to provide training opportunities and resources to the teams and coaches. To learn more about Envirothon, click here.


Human Relations Commission Implements Language Access Program

Human Relations Commission

On March 29, 2021, the Human Relations Commission implemented the Language Access Program in the County by conducting a series of meetings with Directors of eighteen County agencies under the Language Access for Public Services Act of 2017 and the Language Access for Public Services Act of 2020 Amendment. These acts were enacted to provide enhanced language access services to all County residents considered as limited and non-English proficient, and to ensure that all County residents receive equal services regardless of the language they speak.

The agencies covered by the acts are required to appoint a Language Access Compliance Program Coordinator (LACPC) to ensure the agency’s compliance, develop a biannual language access plan, provide interpretation and translations of vitals documents into non-English languages when requested, conduct language access compliance training to staff members, conduct outreach to non-English speaking communities, and more. To learn more about the Language Access Compliance Program and how it may help you access County services, click here.


Social Services Recognizes April as Child Abuse Prevention Month

Recognize React Report

While it takes a village to raise a child, it also takes a village to protect one. This Child Abuse Prevention Month, the Department of Social Services wants residents to be able to recognize, react, and report child abuse. Click here to learn more. 


Prince George’s Arts and Cultural Study Would Like to Hear from You

Cultural Arts

The Cultural Arts Study would like to learn more about how you connect with the arts and cultural expressions in Prince George’s County. Please take 10 minutes and click here to participate in this online survey. Also, visit the Cultural Arts Study website to view the presentation, hear ideas shared at the virtual community meeting, and to learn more about the Cultural Arts Study. Connect with the arts because art is what you make it!


Employee Spotlight: DPIE Staff Use Masks, Social Distancing and Technology to Continue Services During COVID-19 Pandemic

DPIE

Inspections

Shaghayegh "Monica" Hemmatian of the Inspections Division measures the footing for a deck during a residential inspection. During the pandemic, inspectors have donned masks and utilized social distancing to conduct inspections safely. DPIE began conducting virtual inspections shortly after the shutdown of some residential projects to allow property owners to complete their projects. The agency's ability to continue inspections of commercial projects allowed new home construction to thrive and businesses to open in 2020 to serve residents and generate revenue for the County. 

Property Maintenance Standards Enforcement

Enforcement Division Property Standards Inspectors Rick Smith and David McLaurin prepare to participate in a door-to-door education campaign in Laurel. Enforcement has continued to inspect for property maintenance code compliance, issue citations and work with property owners to address violations. The Administrative Hearing Unit has been granted additional authority to adjudicate violation cases more expeditiously and the Nuisance Abatement Board continues to address nuisance properties.               

Permitting and Licensing

Licensing Supervisor Heidi Stearlings and other members of the Permitting and Licensing Division have ensured that licenses and permits continue to be issued. Employees are working from home using updated technology. Implementation of the Momentum online system is facilitating business and rental license application submission, document upload and fee payment. It also allows customers to print out the licenses once applications have been reviewed and approved. Permitting staff are working on as many as 120 permit applications daily. Plan review and other tasks also continue.


Spotlight On Prince George's

In The News: The County Where Black Women Hold Power

CEX

Recently, the Washington Post highlighted the many women leaders within the Alsobrooks Administration. We are Prince George’s Proud of all these women who continue to serve our community and open doors for future generations of leaders. Read the article here.  


In the News: Celebrating DPIE Employee Sue Hall

Miss Sue

Sue Hall, an employee in our Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement, is celebrating 45 years with the County Government and her 85th birthday. Because her colleagues could not celebrate her in person due to the pandemic, they reached out to WJLA/ABC7 to ask if the station could help celebrate “Miss Sue.” We ask you to join us in wishing Miss Sue a happy birthday and thanking her for her continued service to our community. Watch the news story here.


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