Sun Feb 28 2-4pm Laurel Area Fundraiser for County Council District 1 Candidate Mary Lehman

Come support Mary Lehman's
County Council Campaign
Sunday, February 28 2-4 p.m.
Tampico Grill
42 Washington Blvd. South
(Route 1 South)
Laurel, MD 20707
Donate online:
By Authority of Jeanne Taylor, Treasurer

Feb 22 South Laurel Apartment Fire Displaces 27

According to that article, those wishing to help the displaced residents should contact the Red Cross.

Photo exhibit compares life in Laurel in 1910, 2010
Special Events Mar 21 & 27

The Gazette Thursday, February 18, 2010

Laurel Historical Society and Museum


March 21 - Spring Back in Time
Laurel--The Laurel Museum, 817 Main St., hosts an afternoon of fun and discovery featuring crafts, games, snacks and activities for children of all ages at the Spring Back in Time event, 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., March 21. Cost is $5 per child, parents attend free. Pay at the door. Reservations required, call 301-725-7975. For more information and directions visit or call 301-725-7975.

March 27 - Night of the Comet - Laurel Historical Society Annual Gala
Laurel--The Laurel Historical Society will host their Annual Gala, 6:30 p.m., March 27, at the Carriage Room at Laurel Park Racetrack. Reservations required, call 301-725-7975 or visit Dinner, dance and a silent auction. Cost is $75 per person. The evening celebrates the year Haley's Comet streaked across the sky in 1910 and life in Laurel featured in the newest exhibit of the Laurel Museum, 817 Main Street, "Snapshots in Time: Our Community in 1910 and 2010". 

Regular Museum Hours & Arranged Tours - Free
The Laurel Museum is open Wednesday and Fridays 10:00 a.m.-2:00 p.m., and Sundays 1:00-4:00 p.m. Group tours are available by special arrangement. Admission is free, and there is a museum gift shop on the lower level. For more information and directions visit or call 301-725-7975.

Mar 18-21 Tabernacle Church Women's Conference

    Click image to view or print

    The Tabernacle Church 11601 South Laurel Drive, Laurel

Schools Superintendent Letter on Snow/Schools

Schools Superintendent Letter on Snow/Schools Feb 15, 2010

Provided by District 1 School Board Member, Rosalind Johnson

MD District 21 Snow Removal Update Feb 15

From Maryland State Delegation 21

Senator Jim Rosapepe
Delegate Barbara Frush
Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Delegate Ben Barnes

Thanks to all who have helped neighbors deal with last week's heavy snow fall and who have let us and County Councilmen Dernoga, Olson, and Benoit know which streets still needed plowing by county and state highway agencies. We've been in constant touch with them to focus their attention -- and plows -- on our neighborhoods and main roads like Routes 1, 197, 198, 212, 175 and 32. We've coordinated with the Cities of Laurel and College Park as well.

With snow still piled up from last week and more snow expected today, please let us know streets and intersections which still or again need plowing. Obviously, because the scale of last week's storms was unprecedented, the highway agencies did not have enough equipment to clear all roads and streets as quickly as any of us would like. That makes information from citizens who know exactly where the problems are especially important.

Likewise, if your power goes out, please notify PEPCO (1-877-PEPCO-62) or BGE (1-877-778-2222) as soon as possible. Additionally, the harsh weather and salting has created many dangerous pot holes. If you see potholes during your commute please call the state hot line at 301-952-0555.

And feel free to contact us as well.
Call 301 858 3141

Thanks again for your help through this challenging time.

Senator Jim Rosapepe
Delegate Barbara Frush
Delegate Joseline Peña-Melnyk
Delegate Ben Barnes

21st District Delegation
301 858 3141

Feb 15 Trash & Recycle Pick Up

According to a February 12 Prince George's County Press Release, recycling and trash collection, will operate on your street's regular schedule on Monday, February 15, 2010

Snow Update From Councilman Tom Dernoga
Feb 14 10:30 AM (#7)

From District 1 County Councilman Tom Dernoga:

Happy Valentine's Day! I think.

I am hoping that this will be my last day of snow duty (until tomorrow night) and that we can all get back to normal routines. Based on what I have seen, we are on the home stretch.

Weather Today: Partly to mostly sunny and breezy. 35-40. | Tonight: Mostly clear. Increasing clouds late. Teens to near 20. | Tomorrow: Snow or wintry mix develops. 32-37. (Wash Post)

Today should see the wrap up of the communities that have seen too little action. I have been around to every corner of the District and I will be out later this morning to check out the few remaining places I know of.

Saturday Tour - I will be brief – these posts of mine run on too long.

After getting out the Sat Morning Update (#6), I read and responded to emails for hours, compiled the latest complaints and forwarded a list to DPWT. Then I called to make sure they got it and that they would do something about it. DPWT is great but sometimes they don't see things the way you do, so I have to help … um, "interpret" your concerns.

I hit the road mid-afternoon and checked out my West Laurel neighborhood. While it was made passable reasonably early in the week, remember that "passable" is a relative term and by the end of the week, people are pretty tired of chewed up snow that gets regular vehicles stuck. I toured almost the entire neighborhood and did what I could to prioritize equipment to the main internal arteries. People saw a lot of activity through evening and all night. There is still some more work, but things are a lot better.

I went to Mayfair to make sure that was done – yes! Then I checked out Old Gunpowder Spur andBirkhall/Davron. OK, but not great.

I headed to Calverton which was a major hot spot over night. If you think you had it bad, you have not been to Calverton. They really were at the end of the clean up list – their streets had not been even "passable" in the broadest sense. Boy was I in for a pleasant surprise. They may have been last, but they were best. They got the new shipment of front end loaders and they worked to get their cars off the streets. So, they had virtually wall-to-wall bare pavement. No packed snow/ice and no single lane. There is something to be said for being last, I guess. There was still a few streets to be done, but I spoke with the foreman and with Calverton activist Frank Cockerell to make sure it all got done before the loaders were moved. I spoke with some residents who decided not to boil me in oil now that they saw why we needed the loaders and what the loaders would do.

I went through Beltsville, which also had a lot of issues this week. Many streets had been made "passable" but they really weren't. A Metro Access Van had been stuck on 35th Place on Friday trying to bring a handicapped resident home, and there was another van stuck when I drove up. It was embarrassing. I had some residents give me "what for" (who can blame them), but I dragged a dump truck over there to get on it. I toured the side streets on the south Side of Montgomery Rd – the ones on the steep hill that are hard to get into good condition. They were improved and some were actually good, but it seems like more work is needed.

I ran down Sellman to Sellman Estates which had been deemed "passable" earlier in the week but was now a mess. A front end loader and a plow were making it all good.

I ran by Chestnut Hills so that Karen Coakley wouldn't be writing about me in the next Beltsville News (Smile) and that whole area really needed major work. The plows had been there but again, "passable" a few days ago had deteriorated into a mess. Fortunately, I knew that the plan was for the front end loaders in Calverton and Sellman Estates would be spending the rest of the evening in Chestnut Hills.

I exited Beltsville out Josephine and I was really disappointed that the area around Josephine and Brandon had not been done better than they were. Something to get done on Sunday. I made one more loop around West laurel on my way home and saw that some of the things we asked for were happening. I made one more loop around the neighborhood later in the evening and started to feel good.

I did not get to a few places that I wanted to, so I will be out on late this morning. I did send in requests about areas in Laurel and South Laurel and Vansville, and I called to make sure that they were getting attention. I will check them. I was told that Longwoods and Vansville got treated and I hope so. Also, Briarwood/Chip and Snow Hill Estates.


With any luck, my last Update will be later today after I do my tour and we can call an end to Snowmageddon. I really hope so. The upper-30's temperatures, sunlight and salt should really help today with actual melting.

As always, my staff and I are monitoring phone calls to the office (301) 952-3887 and emails that we receive. We are forwarding concerns directly to the personnel supervising the snow removal teams. I am getting these emails on my Blackberry - your message is being read and dealt with.

Since Saturday, all I have done is SNOW 24-7. It's what is expected and it is what should happen. Things are definitely slower than anyone would like. I don't control the plows or the operations. But, I have a duty to make sure that your problems are addressed and that DPWT knows what you are seeing. I believe that i am obligated to get out in the streets and see the situation first hand. In addition, since DPWT does not have time for neighborhood-level communications, it is also my role to try to tell you what is going on and what to expect. My staff and I are doing our best to keep you informed and to make sure that you get usable streets as soon as possible.

Tom Dernoga, Chair

Prince George's County Council (District 1)

(301) 952-3887

Snow Update From Councilman Tom Dernoga
Feb 13 9:30 AM

From County Councilman Tom Dernoga:

My staff and I are monitoring phone calls to the office (301) 952-3887 and emails to . We are forwarding concerns directly to the personnel supervising the snow removal teams. I am getting these emails on my Blackberry - your message is being read and dealt with.

Weather Today: Slight chance of morning light snow or flurries, then decreasing clouds. 33-38. Tonight: Clearing, breezy, and cold. 18-24. | Tomorrow: Mostly sunny. 35-39. (Wash Post)

I am fielding a lot of emails and calls. We are pushing DPWT to make as much progress as possible - although there is a lot of places still needing help. We expect to saw a lot of real progress Thur & Friday and should see excellent progress today/tonight. The mid-30's temperatures, sunlight and salt provided some actual melting.

I didn't get out the planned update yesterday (I started it, but got too busy). I also didn't get to read all emails, for which I apologize, but let me recap what I've been doing and what seems to be getting done.

As you may know from prior updates, I toured various parts of District 1 Monday night when I could get out and Tuesday night. Wed I followed instructions and stayed in during the blizzard (without power).

Thursday, I worked on my update, responded to emails and got a much-later-than-planned survery of the District. I went out at 5pm and stayed out until 11pm. I read and responded to emails to 3am on Friday morning (and I still wasn't done). I got up by 8am and started reading emails and working on the Friday update, but I had to leave to get out to see what was happening based on Thur night's information. I ended up at the Snow Operations Center again and finally came home around 7pm last night. As soon as i finish this update, I will head out for another survey.

My surveys help because the plow/tractor operators and the Supervisors in the Operations Center do not know your communities. They also don't have time to tour large sections of the District for 4-5 hours, and their Snow District goes almost to Bowie, down to the District line in Langley Park/Chillum and includes Glendale. So, I am able to check on your complaints and concerns and bring big issues directly to their attention.

Understanding DPWT Operations (Why haven't we seen a plow?)

The County is divided up into Snow Operations regions and each Region is divided up into Primary Road and Residential Street Sectors. Equipment generally does the Primary Road Sectors first, and then moves into the Residential Street Sectors.

Remember that the County has a lot of smaller plows and a number of big dump trucks with plows, with few front-end loaders or graders (which aren't normally needed). For this storm, with the 24-30 inches over the weekend, the plows could not handle the load. This forced the burden onto the dump trucks (an insufficient number for the need), and even the dump trucks had trouble. Trucks got stuck repeatedly and the constant wear and tear in harsh conditions led to various breakdowns. what is needed in the case of massive snow is digging by front end loaders and using graders. There are very few of these and it took time to get more and get them positioned. There has been a good surge in availability of this equipment since Thurs, so a lot of progress has started to be made.

While many people "never saw a plow" through mid-week or yesterday, there were crews all over the District doing what they could with the equipment they had. For these two storms, when they moved into the Residential Street Sectors, they focused on the main residential arteries in each community to try to get access at a minimal level - in large part so that emergency vehicles could get close to any incident and a plow could be detailed to assist with any emergency. This actually happened on a number of occasions, pulling that plow off of its assigned duties.

After the Primaries and main residential roads were done Sun & Mon, they moved into all residential streets to try to make them "passable". They may not be passable for YOUR car, depending on what you drive. "passable" often really means you need 4-wheel drive or front-wheel drive. however, most emergency vehicles can get through, and that is key.

Some streets appeared to have been skipped either because they are smaller or in corners or were blocked by vehicles - this shouldn't happen, but it has in some cases it did - OR because the residents' self-help made it look passable and the drivers moved on to worse streets. I know someone (maybe you and your neighbors) did something on every street I went to because I could not find any streets with 24+ inches of snow (although I'm sure someone has one somewhere). I did see a number of streets with 8-10 inches of snow and tire tracks made by 4-wheel drive vehicles that I would not consider passable (although I drove them in my Prius).

From Tues through Thur night, as the Primary Roads were put into decent shape, more equipment became available and allocated to this Region. The crews are assigned to a Residential Street Sector and they are going street by street. If you are at the opposite end of the Sector from where they start, it can be awhile before they get to you - this is very time consuming. Also, I have noticed that if they get to your street in sunlight or with a front-end loader, they are getting down to bare pavement in many instances. If they get to you at night or with a smaller plow they are improving on "passable". They will be back to get you to bare pavement as soon as possible. I got a lot of emails yesterday suggesting mid-to-late afternoon plowing due to the melting. The crews are doing that but it may not be in your neighborhood.

Also, passable is often 3-6 inches of hard-packed snow/ice. Passable for the right vehicle in cold weather because its as solid as pavement. With the salt and melting temperatures, the daytime traffic is tearing the ice into HUGE potholes (which then freeze). I know this. You know this. The Snow Team knows this. These streets are becoming impassable and the goal will be to get the streets down to bare pavement or as many bare spots as possible.

What I've Seen Lately

Following up on the last update about my Mon/Tues tour, Wed during the blizzard had the crews out in various areas, but I know I heard reports of plow sightings in Beltsville (along the Montgomery Road corridor), Hillandale and Adelphi, parts of South Laurel (such as Montpelier Woods) and some streets in West Laurel.

Thurs morning and afternoon, i heard a lot of complaints along the Montgomery Road corridor, Calverton and Buck Lodge (and others, but these were large areas in need). I asked to have those areas and South Laurel Drive/Snowden Pond prioritized as soon as possible on Thurs/Fri.


My tour took me through the Bounds/Sweitzer area of West Laurel (bare pavement so it must have been afternoon plowing or a loader), down through Virginia Manor to Ammendale (still in good shape), over to Powder Mill and down to Josephine (lots of justified complaints). I had promised to visit Cardinal & Hartford, so I did. And, I got stuck. A neighbor pulled me out (thank you!) and I headed out Sellman to Montgomery. Clearly, that area of Beltsville needed big work. I had already put on a lot of pressure to get trucks in that area and I knew that there were some working around Brandon/Josephine etc., and that there were more along the Montgomery Road corridor, but there was a lot of work to be done. I went northwest on Montgomery to the end and turned around (Montgomery was unacceptable as a major residential street). I checked out some side streets and while "passable" in the broadest sense of the word, they really needed more work - especially the very hilly south/west side of Montgomery.

I went down Route 1 (not as good as it should have been) to Cherry Hill Rd (which had been a disaster earlier in the week). The front end loader cleared up Cherry Hill very nice. I went up to check out Sellman Estates (moderately passable, but starting to deteriorate into potholes). From there, I went up to Allview Estates real fast where I had heard about impassable roads (technically, they were passable, but one could certainly argue). I headed down Riggs, through Forest Hill/Green Forest and Wooded Way (passable, but tough on the hills) to Adelphi and back up Riggs.


My blackbery had emails about Buck Lodge. I checked it out and it was worse than anything virtually any of you have seen. 8-10 inches of frozen snow with two tire tracks all the way through. I took it in my Prius but I have no idea how i made it through - It was scary and I was expecting to have to yell for help. I put Buck Lodge on the priority list for Friday and called it in to the Snow Operations Center. From there I checked out parts of White Oak Manor (a lot of bare pavement streets, but some bad side streets and cul-du-sacs (passable, but not very). I then hit Hillandale and found a huge front end loader clearing the virtually impassable Towhee/Phoebe entrance section. I went down Phoebe and it was 8-10" of snow/ice with two tire ruts. again, it was scary but I barely got through. There some trucks in Hillandale trying to clear up that sector before moving on. Many of the Hillandale streets were in pretty good shape, but there were still some places needing work.


I headed back up to Calverton because I had started to hear about it being impassable. I checked out the south side (Chapelview/Craiglawn) and it was in good shape. Then I went up Greenmount and checked the side streets. It was Buck Lodge all over again. I had a very scarey run through Dunnington and I bailed out on Castleleigh because I didn't want to try the hill up to Briggs Chaney. I had asked for plows out there, but they hadn't gotten there, so I called it in again and let them know that whatever they had thought ... most of Calverton was impassable and needed major equipment immediately.

Beltsville Again

I stopped back in Beltsville and saw that Cedar Lane had gotten pretty clear and that Howard looked pretty good. I went down Cardinal the other way and found someone stuck at Hartford. I got out and spoke with the residents and helped push the car out. I then went up Josephine (I swear there was a plow there at Brandon), headed out Brandon to Howard and came across another car that just couldn't get up the hill by the Elementary School because it had no traction. We pushed that out and I went up to Montgomery again and took it to Powder Mill. I found a dump truck laying salt, so I followed it over to Beltsville Heights and checked that out (passable, but terrible).

South Laurel

I then decided to wrap up the evening over in South Laurel. I needed to check on South Laurel Drive and Snowden Pond. On the way, I checked out Bedford (passable, but getting potholes - a few bare streets) and Montpelier Hills (ok). The big equipment was taking the previously impassable South Laurel Drive and making it look great. I confirmed that they were next going to Snowden Pond and then Montpelier Woods. So, i went to both and checked them out (passable, but terrible).

On the way back home, I swung through Snow Acres. The ring streets were very good, even some bare pavement. however, the connecting streets (Dub and Mark Place) were terrible.

I got home around midnight and worked on emails until 3am.

Friday, first thing I called in to push for Buck Lodge, Calverton, Beltsville, Mayfair and some smaller areas that had been missed. I also had Alex Hirtle, my Legislative Aide, camp out at the Snow Operations Center instead of working from our office in order to get more accurate info


Then, I decided to go down Old Gunpowder to Franklin Farms (largely bare pavement except Blackpool). Then, I headed over to Calverton (really, really bad) to see if the equipment was there. They told me it was but I didn't see it. I went down Powder Mill to Cherry Hill and checked out Allview. I didn't go on all the streets but what I saw was largely bare pavement, so it looked like they had cleaned it up as I had requested. I went down Cherry Hill to Starbucks to download your emails and confer with DPWT. They had me run down to Largo, drop my Prius and finally get a 4-wheel drive.


I came back to Beltsville to find that Route 1 was a parking lot. More lanes and turn lanes needed SHA! :-)

I cut through Tonquil and Usange (passable, but deteriorating and rough with the hills) and headed up Montgomery to Powder Mill. Montgomery was still unacceptable (one lane in spots) and the side streets on the southwest side still were tough because of the hill (passable doesn't work on an icy hill). I drove into a couple of streets, but it really needed work. I headed down Powder Mill to Beltsville Heights (formerly passable was deteriorating quickly.


Then, I headed to a meeting at the Snow Operations Center in Glendale. I and other Council members met with the Director and talked about communications and what needed to be done to get all streets up to a usable condition. Afterward, I headed up Kenilworth/Edmonston to Vansville. Cordwall and the streets around it were terrible - arguably "passable" but the deteriorating ice made it ridiculous. I check North Creek Farms - good - and went up Ellington to Muirkirk. I checked out Longwood. Some streets were pretty good, but most were formerly "passable" that had deteriorated into a mess.

From there, I went up Virginia Manor to Mayfair which had been waiting for a front end loader for days. The loader had come, but it broke down. Mayfair Road was still terrible, but Mayfair Drive had a fair amount of bare pavement.

I called it a day and headed back for emails.

As soon as I get through some emails and check out status of last night/this morning, i will go do another tour today. I know that I need to find the last hot spots AND to check out those formerly "passable" streets that have melted into moonscape.

Look for me. I'm in a County-marked 4-wheel drive and I will stop to talk. Just be nice. A little.

What about Tom's Street?
I know a lot of people suspect political figures get their streets done first. I know better. I took a photo yesterday morning as evidence. My street is also "passable", but has a few bare spots down further from my house. I know a plow or two has come through because I've seen the evidence. But no front end loader, no bare pavement, etc. I can get out with my front wheel drive Prius, so no special treatment needed.

Since Saturday, all i have done is SNOW 24-7. It's what is expected and it is what should happen. Things are definitely slower than anyone would like. I don't control the plows or the operations. But, i have a duty to make sure that your problems are addressed and that DPWT knows what you are seeing. I believe that i am obligated to get out in the streets and see the situation first hand. In addition, since DPWT does not have time for neighborhood-level communications, it is also my role to try to tell you what is going on and what to expect. My staff and I are doing our best to keep you informed and to make sure that you get usable streets as soon as possible.

Tom Dernoga, Chair
Prince George's County Council (District 1)
(301) 952-3887

Remove Snow Around Mailboxes and Fire Hydrants

As we all struggle to get back to normal ... consider removing snow from around mailboxes and especially fire hydrants.

Feb 11 Abandoned & Illegal Parked Vehicles Will Be Ticketed & Towed Effective Immediately

... You've been warned! :-)

Seriously, this has been a problem and DPWT & the Police are finally able to deal with it.

Tom Dernoga, Chair
Prince George's County Council (District 1)
(301) 952-3887

------ Forwarded Message
From: "Hubbard, Susan D."
Date: Thu, 11 Feb 2010 12:38:14 -0500

Folks, with the arrival of new snow, we are focusing our efforts on primaries; however, we have not pulled all crews from residentials. We are awaiting a delivery of rental equipment from New York to assist us. Please remain patient. The governor has been pleading with folks to stay off the roads, but folks are not listening even though he issued a state of emergency. It is dangerous for our drivers, as well as motorists right now. We will get a crew there as soon as we can, and I apologize if crews have not been there, as yet. And, we are assisting emergency crews if they need us to plow a path for an emergency run. And, the governor is requesting folks throughout the state to not call their public works departments, but to let them get into the neighborhoods. We are not telling you that, but are telling you that if you call 301.350.0500, expect a wait. I am trying to answer all e-mails, but that is getting very hard to do, so if you do not get a "personal" e-mail, it is not intentional and your requests are being sent to the districts responsible for your specific areas. I have included a release that was just sent to all the media. Stay home, enjoy your family and neighbors, read a book, cook, etc. Believe me, after six straight days with no breaks, many of us would love to be doing just that, but it will be a little while before we can do that. Again, we are out there and we are working. And, we are waiting for the heavy equipment to arrive that was supposed to have arrived yesterday, but got stuck on a closed interstate. Spring is just around the corner, and the sun that is out today and will be out tomorrow will certainly help to melt some of this. Susan

Any typos, please excuse.


Immediate Release:
February 11, 2010

For additional information:
Susan Hubbard
Public Information Officer
Prince George's County
Department of Public Works and Transportation

Abandoned and Illegal Parked Vehicles Will Be Ticketed and Towed Effective Immediately

Forestville, MD - Prince George's County Executive Jack Johnson today announced that stranded vehicles or those parked illegally on county-maintained roadways will be ticketed and towed, effective immediately.

"It is imperative that we all work together to recover from this record breaking storm," Johnson said. "It is important that residents move their cars off streets into driveways or other off-street parking. If you cannot do that, please move your car to the even numbered side of the street so plows can get through your roads."

Snow removal crews from Prince George's County and around the region are reporting that plowing and de-icing efforts are being severely hampered by illegally parked vehicles along roadways.

In addition, citizens are cautioned not to threaten snow emergency personnel, more specifically, snow plow drivers. Police officers will be called to the scene to deal with this or any other similar situation.

As of 11 a.m. today, nearly all the primary roads in the county are passable and crews are working quickly to make all secondary roads passable. Once all primary and secondary roads are passable, crews will begin to move into residential streets.

"I know our citizens are getting very restless and they are calling everyone they can reach to find out when a plow will get to their street," Johnson said. "We're asking that you please remain patient and we will have plows into all residential areas within the next 1-2 days. We are experiencing conditions similar to those in more northern and mid-western states and folks have to understand that there will be impacted snow on roadways."

Snow Update From Councilman Tom Dernoga
Feb 11 10:15 AM

My staff and I are monitoring phone calls to the office (301) 952-3887 and emails that we receive. We are forwarding concerns directly to the personnel supervising the snow removal teams. I am getting these emails on my Blackberry - your message is being read and dealt with.

Weather today: It will be a bright day due to sunny skies and a fresh blanket of snow. Winds from the northwest at 15 to 25 mph will lead to wind chills in the teens. This will lead to blowing and drifting snow in open areas resulting in occasionally low visibility. Highs will struggle to reach the freezing mark.

This means that while we can be thankful that the snow has stopped, the winds will blow snow from the huge piles back onto cleared roadways, making them dangerous - And, creating more work for the clean up crews. There will not be any real melting helping us and the larger piles will be blocks of ice further exacerbating clean up. With no real warm weather on the horizon, clean up will happen slowly, there will be black ice all over and there will large mounds of snow obscuring views at intersections and interchanges for awhile. sigh.


Yesterday - with State Highway, PEPCO and others deciding to pull their crews off the roads, I concluded that it was the day to listen and stay home. And, I lost power for a good bit of the day, so I was rather limited. DPWT kept their crews out on the roads. They had two goals - First, to try to keep up on the Primary Roads. Second, to try to reach those side streets and cul-du-sacs that had not been reached.

[Yeah, yeah, I know - Jack Johnson claimed that 95% of County roads had been cleared or seen a plow or something... OK, well that is NOT north County. I know that and I am not confused about what has been done or not done. I also know that "done" means "passable" which really means potentially passable. More on that below.]

So, yesterday, I did get emails from a number of people who had waited forever - and they got plows mid-to-late day. I don't know how great the plowing was, but I will check it out. The good news is that the plows continued to work in really bad conditions to get where they were still needed.

Today - the focus is going to be on Primary roads (that's the way it has to be). However, I am commandeering a 4-wheel drive and some plows and I will be touring the District. [I know I'm the only person crazy enough to drive the residential streets in a Prius checking things out, but I know that to get everywhere I really need a good vehicle.] So, you should really expect to see plows FRIDAY and SATURDAY in your neighborhood. If you live farther from the main streets in your neighborhood or in a cozy cul-du-sac, the laws of physics put you near the end.

Having said expect Friday/Saturday, because we have had so many corners that were not reached timely, I am trying to get a couple plows to stay in neighborhoods today - that would be the crew that comes on from Noon to Midnight, so don't expect anything for awhile. And, since I will be lucky to get a couple of plows before mid-day tomorrow, they will not be able to get everywhere. Expect Friday/Saturday and be pleasantly surprised if you see a plow tonight or if you wake up to a plowed street.

Now, I'm no plow expert - far from it - however, with the amount of snow, the huge piles, the wind drifts, the black ice, the continuing cold (etc.), I do not think that a plow is coming in right now and making your street perfect. There is a lot of packed ice under the snow and it needs the snow off, salt on*, some sunlight or warmer temps and then follow-up plowing. In order to get to all residential streets fairly timely, the plows cannot sit in one neighborhood overly long. They will be back again, though.

Another thing - with all of the cars sitting along the side of the roadway.... those cars make it real hard to plow completely and it really slows things down. Also, it often has the drivers dumping the snow load in your driveway and then you scream at the drivers. We do not like when they do this and I know they are trained not to do it, but sometimes they are frustrated to dealing with all of the cars whizzing by like crazy, or blocking the road, or parked where it's tough to clean your street. While we would love every county employee and every contractor to be well-trained and professional, we don't get enough snow usually to practice (and not with snow this deep) and they also get frustrated. Please report any rudeness or unprofessional behavior - it cannot be tolerated - but also understand that these drivers are working 12 hours solid and dealing with a lot of inconsiderate citizens who are making their jobs more difficult.

If you can get your cars and your neighbors cars off the street for a couple of days, you are much more likely to see a real good plow job.

OK, I'm wrapping up here - as i said, I will be commandeering a 4-wheel drive and trying to sneak off with a couple of plows to get the jump on neighborhood streets later today. To the extent we can get these plows, they will be focused on those places that have not seen a plow or saw it and the end. [I know, you all think that was YOU, but I know the places that really were at the end and still need help.] You really should look for plows mid-day Friday through Saturday. It could even be Sunday - there is a LOT of work and there cannot be plows in all locations at the same time.

NOTE: Following are the general guidelines for snow removal - it may be slower because of the previous storm. Please have reasonable expectation. We are looking at the 8" - 12" expectation measuring from about 7pm yesterday. Considering the windy blizzard conditions on top of the previous snow and you can see where mid-day Friday is what you should expect, with carry over to Saturday.

Primary Roads 4 - 8 inches Bare Pavement within 12 hours

Residential Streets 4 - 8 inches Passable within 24-36 hours

Primary Roads 8 - 12 inches Bare Pavement within 24 hours

Residential Streets 8 - 12 inches Passable within 36 - 48 hours

• Move and keep vehicles off snow emergency routes

• Park in driveways or other off-road locations wherever possible

• Park only on the EVEN-NUMBERED sides of streets

(This is very important in order to allow plows to clear residential roadways. Plows cannot maneuver around vehicles to clear roadways. One side of the roadway must clear of vehicles for plow drivers to effectively perform snow and ice removal services.)

Call or email with updates from your community, but follow the expectations.

Tom Dernoga, Chair
Prince George's County Council (District 1)
(301) 952-3887

*** If MY power goes out, I will lose internet access so updates and replies will cease for awhile.

**** Tom's rant: Two peeves. Look, we are ALL frustrated and no one wants "excuses". At the same time, while many people "get" that this storm(s) has been epic, plenty of people have an expectation that they should get the same service for this 24-30" storm as they should for an 8" storm. That just wasn't going to happen. I know I'm unhappy with certain aspects of the operations, and I am taking those up with the Administration. However, that doesn't mean that some of the complaints that I am getting are logical or remotely realistic.

Peeve #1 - Why are Route 1, Route 197, I-95 worse in Prince George's County than Howard, Montgomery or AA? What is wrong with County government such that these main roads are in poor shape? WRONG!! These are State roads under SHA jurisdiction. It is very curious why the State has our roads in worse shape than other Counties. I'm unhappy with it too, and the question really does need to be asked. Same State Highway Administration, different results here. DPWT and I can take the blame for Cherry lane, Contee Road and Cherry Hill, etc., but please do not blame us for State roads.

Peeve #2 - Montgomery County roads are so much better. Why is the County so incompetent? Arguably, a fair question, but it is very similar to the discussion of why the Pittsburgh Pirates or Kansas City Royals rarely compete with the NY Yankees for the World Series. When the Yankees have individual players making as much money as the entire Royals' team, success is going to be tough. Is this whining? Maybe, but I would love to hear all of the suggestions - I have some ideas, too, but I do not fully run this show. here are the numbers: Montgomery County budget of about $3.65 billion or about $4,200 to spend per resident. Prince George's County budget of about $2.6 billion or about $3,000 to spend per resident. Maybe I'm making excuses, maybe others have a better idea who to compete with these numbers, but there is nothing like having money to throw at your problems. For this storm event, DPWT had under 300 pieces of equipment. Montgomery usually goes with 500 pieces, but upped their complement to 900 pieces. 900 v. 300? Who will look better? So why didn't Prince George's up their complement? Good question that I am exploring. An effort was made. Was it good enough? Apparently not, but ... In some cases, contractors preferred to go with Montgomery, Howard or the State Highway. Apparently, this became a case of everyone for themselves and Prince George's got kicked around. I had no role in any of that, so I'm like you in asking what happened and why. However, I do know that wealthier counties have greater opportunities for success. For one thing, over the years of spending more money per resident for "infrastructure", Counties like Montgomery build up capacity and relationships that can help them at these times. What disappoints me is reading where Montgomery got support from MD National Guard. Did that happen here? I want to know what the State did to help the County... or, what it's going to do. We need more big dump trucks to handle the heavy snow. DPWT tried to hire some contractors and offered to pay more than the State, but were turned down because the contractors prefer operating on the open highways than trying to get into the neighborhood streets that are tougher to deal with. Yes, we definitely need to assess what went right and what went wrong, but it's really tough to listen to comparisons to how great your rich uncle did. As much as you should be expecting answers from County officials, you should also be asking what the State did to pitch in knowing that this County lacks the same financial resources as other, wealthier Counties.

PG County Snow and Ice Control FAQ
Find If Your Street is County-Maintained
Get A PG County Street Plowed

During the current Snow Emergency, snow-related calls to the Office of Emergency Preparedness at (301) 583-1899 are currently being referred to the Snow Information Center at (301) 350-0500 (so call this number directly), and after hours calls are automatically redirected there -- which is currently staffed by Fire Service officers. Unlike what that FAQ says about "assistance with transportation to medical appointments", those answering the phone recommend calling 911 (not them) for that. In any case, if you call either number, you may wait a long time for an answer during this snow emergency.

This is the county street plowing request form. There may be a better way to determine if your street is county-maintained and therefore eligible for county plowing, but i offer it here as an incremental solution.
  • Page 1 enter street name (without ST, PL, CT, etc)
  • Page 2 look in menu for full street name
  • Submit form only if you want your street to be plowed

Feb 8-10 No PG Co Trash Pickup - Weather

For Immediate Release: February 08, 2010
Contact: Carol Terry, (301) 883-5961

Prince George’s County Announces [Trash-Related] Closings Due to Inclement Weather

LARGO, MD – Prince George’s County announced today that the following [trash-related] services and facilities will be closed on Monday, February 8 through Wednesday February 10, 2010 due to inclement weather.

Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill Closed

Brown Station Road Public Closed Convenience Center

Electronics Recycling Acceptance Site Closed (Located at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill)

Household Hazardous Waste Acceptance Site Closed (Located at the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill)

Missouri Avenue Solid Waste Acceptance Closed & Recycling Center

Trash Collection: No Collection
Collection will resume on the next regularly scheduled collection day [after Feb 10]

For more information, please contact the Brown Station Road Sanitary Landfill at (301) 952-7630 or visit

GS: My clarifications are in brackets [ ]

Feb 8 County Still in State of Emergency

i'm guessing this means there won't be any trash collection for a while ... especially with another 10-20 inches of snow coming Feb 9-10 ...
Prince George's County
Date: February 8, 2010

UPPER MARLBORO, MD – Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson has declared a State of Emergency effective immediately.

The National Weather Service predicted 16-28 inches of snow will fall [did fall] Friday and continuing through Saturday evening [Feb 5-6].

Johnson is asking residents to stay off the roadways and remain home during the storm so Department of Public Works and Transportation’s road crews can clear the roadways of snow.

As part of the snow emergency plan, all cars must be removed from snow emergency routes, which are posted with designated signs, to avoid being ticketed and/or towed.

Residents are also reminded to check their emergency preparedness kits and make sure they have everything needed if they are snowed in for a couple of days, including any necessary medications. Residents can go to the county website,, for more information on what to have in an emergency preparedness kit.

On non-snow emergency routes, residents are asked to park off roadways in driveways or other off-street parking areas. If residents find that they can only park along the roadway, they are requested to park ONLY on the EVEN NUMBERED side of the roadways.

... Residents may call the county’s Snow Emergency Information Center at 301.350.0500

[ GS: For emergencies requiring Police, Fire or Medical response, call 911 ]

PG County Winter Weather Advisory

Prince George's County
Winter Weather Advisory
February 5, 2010

LARGO, MD – Prince George’s County’s Department of Public Works and Transportation (DPW&T) staff goes into full snow operations deployment today at 1:00 p.m. to ensure full coverage on county roadways during and after the predicted record breaking snow event.

The Metro area forecast calls for a minimum of 16 with upwards to 24 or more inches of snow to fall beginning early this afternoon and continuing through to tomorrow evening. Crews will work 12-hour, round-the-clock shifts for as long as necessary to keep more than 1,821 miles (5,000+ lane miles) of county-maintained roadways clear of snow and ice to ensure the safety of residents, citizens, and others traveling through the county.

During a normal 12-hour rotating shift, more than 240 vehicles and 250 employees work to clear Prince George’s County maintained roadways.

However, Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson has tapped other county agency to assist DPW&T during this event, which will bring the total to nearly 300 snow vehicles on the roadways during a 12-hour shift. Those agencies include the county’s departments of Environmental Resources, Central Services and others as needed, as well as the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission and the Prince George’s County Board
of Education.

Command staff work out of DPW&T’s TRIP Center located at 8414 D’Arcy Road, Forestville, MD, where press ride alongs and photo/interview opportunities can be arranged on site or in the field during the snow event. Visual opportunities range from loading trucks at the salt dome and plowing roads to a state of the art street monitoring center and command strategy room.

To assist road crews in keeping roadways clear, residents are requested to:

• Move and keep vehicles off snow emergency routes

• Park in driveways or other off-road locations wherever possible

• Park only on the EVEN-NUMBERED sides of streets
(This is very important in order to allow plows to clear residential roadways. Plows cannot maneuver around vehicles to clear roadways. One side of the roadway must clear of vehicles for plow drivers to effectively perform snow and ice removal services.)

It also is important for single-family homeowners or renters and business
proprietors to remember that they are responsible for:

• Removal of snow and/or ice from sidewalks abutting their homes
or business establishments

• Removal of snow from around fire hydrants is appreciated

As in all inclement weather conditions, citizens and residents are encouraged not to drive for their own safety, as well as that of emergency crews. Should drivers find it necessary to be on county roadways during or immediately after a storm event, they need to allow extra travel time and use extreme caution.

Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson may declare a State-of-Emergency, which would go into effect at some point after the snow has begun to fall. If a State-of-Emergency is declared, motorists should not drive or park on snow emergency routes or they could be subject to a ticket and fine.

In addition to DPW&T staff, members of the department’s successful Community Partnering Program will report to DPW&T concerning roadway conditions within their communities after crews have begun to focus on residential roadways. This allows crews to quickly redeploy where needed.

It should be noted that primary roadways are serviced first, followed by secondary and residential roadways. Primary roads are addressed first to ensure that public safety and other emergency vehicles are able to travel.

Following a storm of this predicted magnitude, it could take crews up to 48-hours or more after the end of the snowfall before they can focus on residential streets. Residents and citizens may contact the county’s Snow Information Center in the event of an emergency or to report concerns about roadway conditions (please do not report on residential roadway conditions before the 48-hour period) by calling 301.350.0500.

In a snow event of this predicted magnitude, folks are asked to be patient, do not drive on roadways, and park only on the EVEN-NUMBERED side of the street if off-street parking is not available.