Monthly Archives: December 2016

HAPPY NEW YEAR AND A PROSPEROUS 2017 TO ALL!

img_7805Happy New Year 2017!

A clean, competent, caring, accountable, inclusive and honest local government.

That is what Prince George’s County have missed these past several years.

It is what we must aspire for in 2017 and close our dangerous dance with the Rushern Baker III regime.

We open 2017 with excitement brought by the changes at the Board of Education for Prince George’s County in which young leaders were elected by the citizenry in 2016 to help shape the county forward.

The new team at PGCPS Board deserve praise for restoring some hope and credibility of the local Board Elections.

They have given us something to smile about in a year dominated by gloom.

The success with the local Board elections here in the county underscores one important point: public officers who fail credibility test must be removed from office no matter who benefits from their stay.

Other than the local Board election, it is difficult to pinpoint 2016 successes with real impact on Prince George’s County citizenry. In 2017, we must address the issues with HB 1107 Law which created the hybrid board of Education.

Corruption commandeered our county in 2016 in a way we never imagined led by some of board members themselves.

Top county local government officials enjoying the patronage of the County Executive joined ranks with elites in big business to plunder public resources for the schools in complete disregard of the long-term interests of our County here in Prince George’s County.

BUSINESS AFFECTED
This conspiracy produced a tiny wealthy class in just a few years whose members can buy the latest model of anything at any price anywhere around the world and contribute anything anywhere while the rest of the population struggle to get basic resources.

From this corruption, all misfortunes flowed.

Community activists got excluded from the local government because they were viewed as enemies who would disrupt the eating. Court personnel in Maryland were bribed to make unfavorable rulings which continues to this day with the epic center being court of special appeals for Maryland. Several attorneys and law firms starting with the Thatcher Law Firm, PK Law, Bryan Chapman, The O’Neal Law Firm, Raouf Abdullah and others were bribed to mislead the courts.  If this circle of corruption is not broken, it will continue.

There are public officers who have lived years with being viewed as Opposition spies because of their race or background.

Those officers have had to forego promotion, got shuffled around, others fired and missed other entitlements.

The cost of living went up because businesses have to factor in bribes and incompetence in the management of the county.

Jobs disappeared and families relocated to other counties as firms closed shop or retrenched because of a hostile business environment.

Corruption especially at procurement is certainly a factor in these high costs in the county.

To enable the eating to proceed smoothly, institutions like the Ethics and Anti-Corruption offices got crippled largely through appointment of user-friendly top brass.

PATRIOTISM
Caring is something a local government cannot fake.

No competent, caring and accountable government can proceed on holiday when citizens are suffering, as is the case now because the county schools are not working as they should due to union corruption.

This is the time the county leadership is expected to burn the midnight oil for a solution instead of cover ups.

There is a glaring absence of well thought-out policy interventions to deal with emerging issues. Several students have been killed or participated in crimes and their stories washed under the table to paint the county as progressing properly.

people want to build the Prince George’s county for the better. What stands between us and our dreams is the corrupt local government led by Rushern Baker III.

The Prince George’s County local government wants to run our lives instead of enabling us to run our own lives.

It is our appeal to the people of Prince George’s County that we dedicate 2017 to the realization of a clean, honest, competent, inclusive and caring government which does not interfere with the local judiciary for personal gain.

We need to be aware that Rushern Baker III regime will use the money it has stolen through various dubious activities to corrupt the judicial system and electoral process as they did this year, buy support and steal elections thereby creating a vicious cycle of a corrupt regime, stolen elections and another corrupt regime which bribes local judges for personal gain.

We must stand up against the corrupt local regime which has no shame and is driven by a personal and malicious agenda. We must engage locally with Governor Larry Hogan and encourage him to help address these local issues from the state level without fear or favor to those engaged in corrupt activities to the detriment of many. Afterall, our governor ran on a platform to fight corruption.

Finally, May 2017 also usher in greater harmony and greater peace around the world: When communities unite and act together, we can imagine, inspire, shape, and make our world a better place for our children today and their sustainable futures tomorrow, and help bring our humanity and planet back into balance.

We can achieve it in the next election and elect good leaders. Happy New Year and a Prosperous 2017 to all and as always, may your worst years be behind you.

May the new year bring you new hope, many blessings, joy and happiness.

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PGCPS’ year a mix of loss and success.

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Maxwell and Eubanks 

UPPER MARLBORO – Prince George’s County Public Schools (PGCPS) was no stranger to front-page news in 2016.

This year was marked by multiple tragedies in the school systems, headline-grabbing scandals, and quiet successes. PGCPS celebrated 30 years of The Science Bowl, increased testing scores and graduation rates and saw grand achievements from their students, but the school year was also marred by allegations of child sexual abuse and the loss of the federal Head Start grant.

Two of PGCPS’s leaders, Chief Executive Officer Kevin Maxwell and Board of Education Chair Segun Eubanks, reflected on the school year and how they gauged PGCPS’s progress and shortfalls.

“There’s no doubt that there were certainly some big, significant challenges for our school system this year, and certainly the issues about reporting and child abuse and those kind of things have been big conversations, as was the loss of the Head Start grant,” Maxwell said. “That said, I have to tell you, I’m pretty proud of how people reacted and responded to it.”

PGCPS had a pretty rocky start to its year. In February, then-school aide Deonte Carraway was arrested in connection to the alleged making of child porn and other child sexual abuse allegations at Judge Sylvania Woods Elementary School in Glenarden.

Carraway allegedly produced more than 50 videos with children between the ages of 9 and 12 that included at least 23 alleged victims. A grand jury later indicted Carraway on approximately 270 counts of sex offenses, child porn and sexual abuse of a minor.

In response, the school system set up a Student Safety Task Force to guide PGCPS on what it can and should do to ensure student safety. That task force made several recommendations to Maxwell and the county board of education, which the board then started to put into place during an emergency summer session.

Since then, the system has been actively updating policies and retraining teachers, principals and school employees on appropriate behavior, reporting policies and knowing the signs of child abuse.

“We have been doing the retraining and we have been very aggressive, I think, in our response ,” Maxwell said. “We’re a lot farther along and we’re a lot better educated in terms of training of our staff and in the issues surrounding that work.”

In August, PGCPS faced another setback when the system announced they would lose the more than $6 million federal Head Start grant after reported noncompliance with fixing concerns raised by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF).

The ACF had sent a report to the school system detailing deficiencies it found with the county Head Start program, which included examples of broken policies regarding student punishment. Though Maxwell and the report noted PGCPS did make efforts to correct the deficiencies, when the ACF reviewed progress, they found different instances of noncompliance and decided to rescind the grant.

Since then, Maxwell announced the school system would relinquish the grant rather than fight to keep it and initiated a similar program titled Early Start. The school system eliminated its office of Head Start and moved the new program into its early childhood office without a break in services to families and students.

“We were able to keep our promise with the Head Start work and made sure every single child that was affected continued to have service provided and we have done that,” Maxwell said. “I think we should be judged on how we responded and I think we responded well.”

PGCPS has faced other controversies and hardships as well. The decision to close both Forestville High School and Skyline Elementary was heavily debated and fought by the communities and families impacted by those schools.

Former Board of Education member Lyn Mundey was convicted in a school lunch theft scheme, a Forestville teacher was arrested for alleged sexual abuse of a student and the school system lost two teachers to domestic violence, lost students to both gun violence and vehicular accidents, and lost a principal to an undetected heart disorder.

“We know and understand that how we respond to these crises and how we get through them together, that we need to figure out how to be more unified after crises and loss than we were beforehand,” Eubanks said. “I think we’ve seen that kind of response through this year. I don’t know that we could have had a year with quite as much loss and difficulty as we had this year.”

However, 2016 was also a year of great improvements and successes for the school system.

In February, the school system received half of the state Excellence in Gifted and Talented Education (EGATE) Awards, and Angela Malone, an Oxon Hill Middle School teacher, received the acclaimed Milken Family Award, also known as the “Oscar of Education.”

In March, PGCPS celebrated a 2 percent increase in overall graduation rates from the previous year, according to state data. The 79 percent overall graduation rate is the highest on record for the school system and puts it just behind the national graduation rate of 82 percent, which is detailed in a U.S. Department of Education report.

“We said that in order for us to really improve as a district in dramatic ways, we need to improve not just as everybody else is improving but faster than the state average,” Eubanks said. “We’ve done that in both our kindergarten readiness assessment and in our graduation rate.”

The school system also saw a 1.2 percent improvement on the overall pass rate for Advanced Placement tests, a 1.7 percent overall increase in International Baccalaureate pass rates, and a slight increase in ACT scores, according to the state department of education. At the same time the system did see a slight dip in Maryland School Assessments and SAT scores.

Both Maxwell and Eubanks attributed these increases to a large effort from all school employees. Maxwell said the school specifically tackled graduation rates by taking a new approach to the matter, including utilizing a credit recovery system and systematically identifying which students needed support.

And the hard work put in by teachers and administrators alike has not gone unnoticed, considering the school system welcomed nearly 1,000 more students this year and a growing list of public-private partnerships with community businesses and large names like Venture Philanthropy, Junior Achievement, and County Executive Rushern Baker, III’s Transforming Neighborhoods Initiative.

“Even through all of those things with the head start and what happened early in the year with Carraway, we didn’t lose enrollment in our schools. None of our parents took their children out of the head start program,” Baker said.

Baker also lauded recent changes the system has made to improve the overall culture at PGCPS and touted the improving and trailblazing arts and language programs, something that Economic Development Corporation President Jim Coleman also applauded.

“The results are clear: 2,000 more kids are enrolled in our school system today versus when County Executive Baker went into office. Second thing is 11 out of 24 of our high schools saw double-digit improvements in SAT scores last year. And lastly, he’s got so many hotshot programs going on in technology and STEM. It’s off the charts,” Coleman said.

In 2016, PGCPS also launched its Family Institute to increase and improve family engagement across all facets of the school system, celebrated 30 years of French Immersion, and began the year with only 33 teacher vacancies, which is no small feat for a system of its size.

The body also increased the number of arts integration schools to 65, continued expanding its language programs and is now home to more than 300 National Board Certified Teachers.

“To see the work that we’ve done in Prince George’s County is really incredible, especially considering that, not too long ago, people said that teachers who teach high-need students, teachers who teach in predominantly urban schools and teachers of color have a significantly harder time achieving National Board certification,” Eubanks said. “We’re breaking the mold in all three of those categories.”

PGCPS was also home to a number of Gates Millennium Scholars, the regional Science Fair champ, numerous Ivy League acceptances, and millions of dollars in college scholarships.

In addition to academic successes, county school students also shone bright in athletics. County students claimed three state titles and broke records at the state track and field championships; Prince George’s dominated the basketball scene with both Forestville and Largo girls winning their divisions and Eleanor Roosevelt boys doing the same; and Dr. Henry A. Wise, Jr. High School also just won back-to-back state championships in football.

“We end 2016 moving into 2017, I think in many ways, more united, more determined as a board and as a team with the administration,” Eubanks said.

via Prince George’s sentinel.
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Md. U.S. attorney’s office recovers nearly $47 million in FY16, DOJ says.

sksYwNTt_400x400.pngThe Maryland U.S. attorney’s office collected nearly $47 million in criminal and civil recoveries in the fiscal year that ended Sept. 30, the federal Justice Department reported Thursday.

Of that figure, more than $35 million came via civil actions, including money that had been lost to the U.S. government through fraud or other misconduct or by violations of federal health, safety, civil rights or environmental laws, the department stated.

These civil cases included investigations against PNC Bank, Foundation Health Service Inc., Arkema Inc. and Westvaco. The U.S attorney’s office also collected civil penalties under the federal Controlled Substances Act from investigations of CVS Pharmacy Inc., Value Drug Inc. and Drug City Pharmacy Inc., the department reported.

As for criminal recoveries, the Maryland U.S. attorney’s office collected $11.5 million through restitution, criminal fines and felony assessments.

In all, the U.S. attorney’s offices nationwide recovered more than $15.3 billion in fiscal 2016…

http://thedailyrecord.com/2016/12/15/md-u-s-attorneys-office-recovers-nearly-47-million-in-fy16-doj-says/

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Organizational Chart – U.S Attorney Office District Of Maryland

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PGCPS Mom pleads for help in daughter’s slaying case.

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The late Allyssa Banks

Allyssa Banks was an ambitious student, joining the choir, band and ROTC while taking advanced classes and serving as student government president before graduating from Largo High School this year.

Even as an elementary school pupil, according to Lydia Banks, her mother, she was the type of kid who was doing everything right.

Which has left Lydia Banks wondering why anyone would cut short her child’s promising future — and who did.

On Oct. 19 2016, her daughter was gunned down during an evening, and the case remains open.

“I’m hurt. I’m angry. I’m totally at a loss,” Lydia Banks said. “But I pray that whoever saw anything that night or heard anything, that they would come to justice, because Allyssa did not have to die like that.”

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Police are investigating the fatal shooting of Allyssa Banks, a recent Largo High School graduate. (Family photo)

Allyssa Banks was out with her boyfriend in the early morning of Oct. 19. They had spent the day together. She had gotten her hair done earlier, and he was pampering her, Lydia Banks said.

But when they were about to get into their car about 1:45 a.m. near Swiss Gap and Prince Place in Largo, at least one person approached them with a gun, according to Prince George’s County police. Both of them were shot.

Banks’s boyfriend survived, but Allyssa Banks was pronounced dead at a hospital, police said.

 A reward of up to $25,000 is available for information leading to an arrest and indictment. Authorities are asking anyone with information to call 1-866-411-TIPS, and callers can remain anonymous.

“These are true victims here,” Hubbard said. “We just want to bring comfort to Allyssa’s family.”

Banks was well-liked at Largo High School, which hosted remembrances in the days after her death, said principal Afie Mirshah. The choir sang songs dedicated to her, family and friends spoke about her bright personality, and students who remembered their former school president released balloons in her honor.

Mirshah remembered Banks as a dedicated, mature teen who was full of potential.

“She did everything to the best of her ability, and the best of her ability turned out to be really spectacular,” the principal said. “She was a very positive spirit.”

Mirshah said she and the Largo High community are shocked that Banks would be a victim of such a violent crime. “She never, ever got in trouble,” she said. “You would never, ever say the word ‘trouble’ and ‘Allyssa Banks’ in the same sentence.”

Deja Haley said she had known Banks since childhood. When Haley became a freshman at Largo, Banks took the time to walk her to all of her classes and help her feel comfortable with her new school.

Banks and her boyfriend had been dating for about eight months, Lydia Banks said. They were both homebodies who liked to study together, attend night classes or take care of the dog they had just adopted.

“They were two bright kids,” Lydia Banks said. “It was a relationship that blossomed right before your eyes.”

Lydia Banks said her daughter’s absence has been difficult, made even harder around the holidays. Her daughter loved the festivities of Christmas, cooking with her mother and picking out the perfect tree every year.

“It was a wonderful holiday for us,” Lydia Banks said. But not, she said, this year.

via Washington Post CewlqwEXIAA-xKw

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Happy Kwanzaa

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During Kwanzaa, friends and family exchange messages of hope, commitment to excellence, belief in possibility, the beauty of aspiration, the importance of equality and the inevitability of success.

Hope the spirit of Kwanzaa…

Bring happiness to you and dear ones.

Wishing you a….

joyous Kwanzaa.

Exciting traditional female and male Zulu Dancing. Filmed by Tekweni TV Productions, a television production company based in Durban South Africa. Part of series to appreciate African Culture.

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Md. lawmakers create special panel to investigate payroll mistakes

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Part of Md. lawmakers offices in Annapolis are pictured here. The lawmakers have created a special panel to investigate state’s payroll mistakes

By Josh Hicks

Dina Holden, 25, a corrections officer in Somerset County, said several of her last few paychecks were missing overtime and regular pay, forcing her to scale back holiday shopping. “This is the worst time of year for this to be happening,” she said.A special Maryland legislative panel will investigate recent payroll mistakes that shortchanged state corrections workers for several weeks leading up to the holiday season.

State Senate Finance Committee Chairman Thomas Middleton (D-Charles) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore) on Friday announced plans to form the work group, accusing Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his administration of “irresponsible oversight.”

“What has happened here under this administration is unconscionable,” Middleton said, adding that the administration had been warned about potential problems with a new payroll system installed this year.

Hogan spokeswoman Amelia Chasse said the administration will cooperate with the review panel.

“Ensuring that every state employee is paid correctly for every single hour they work is incredibly important and is something taken very seriously by this administration,” she said.

 The state issued more than $81,000 in paper checks last month to help rectify the errors affecting corrections workers, whose pay is complicated because of overtime, night shifts and special assignments. Officials with the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services say the mistakes occurred when timekeepers manually transferred information from employee time sheets into the state’s payroll system.

Nearly every Maryland agency uses a new online payroll program chosen by the administration of former governor Martin O’Malley (D), but corrections employees still use paper time sheets because of a security policy that prohibits Internet access in prisons.

Because of the recent problems, the state has begun testing and installing a new swipe-card timekeeping system for corrections officers that automatically transmits their hours into the payroll program.

The administration has also set up an office to quickly resolve paycheck errors, and it has hired dozens of temporary employees to help process payroll information.

The administration has promised to work with state-employee unions to determine the full scope of the problem and provide back pay. The errors have affected less than 1 percent of the state’s nearly 9,900 Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services employees, said Amelia Chase, deputy communications director for the  governor’s office.

via Washington post

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Wishes for a very Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year for 2017

christmas_png17251Goodwill to all men……and the women and the kids.

For us in the United States, Christmas has just started. For most though, around the world, Christmas is nearly over.

We wish everyone a very Merry Christmas, and best wishes for the upcoming year ahead, 2017. Thank you very much for your support of our blog, and invaluable feedback this past year. There are still many issues at play and interference of rights to suppress the voice of the voiceless in our communities through deliberate acts of discrimination. We pray the media will play a major role in Prince George’s County without intimidation to help foster a proper change in the new year.  The media are essential to democracy. In fact, a democratic election is impossible without media. The media, especially community radio, blogs, TV stations should always be at the forefront of informing and educating the electorate, ensuring that the rules and regulations are well explained and abided by, and ensuring fairness by providing platforms to politicians from across the divide to campaign.

There continues to be serious issues and obstruction of justice in several ways within the Prince George’s county and the state of Maryland in general to the detriment of many. These willful violations will continue to undermine the county for many years to come unless addressed.

Let us hope you will join us for a continued exploration on how to make the world a better place through real life stories in 2017. Thankfully Christmas only comes around once a year.

So let us wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

from everyone

~ Reform Sasscer Movement for Prince George’s County ~15698346_1380503621960239_2684543062171572537_n0_63a26_d19e708d_xxl

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