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Change Is All Around Us

Hyattsville and its residents have seen a lot of change in the last decade and will continue to experience more.

The song "Landslide," written by Stevie Nicks in 1975, and performed with the band Fleetwood Mac, has always been a tearjerker for me. Life's changing seasons are sometimes challenging. That doesn't mean the future won't be great, but moving on can be bumpy.

If you talk with your neighbors and friends in Hyattsville, I'm sure you'll find the same things I have found - friends who have lost their jobs, friends who have new babies, people who just retired, people who have recently lost a parent. One friend has a child just entering preschool. Another has a child starting a new high school. In our house, we have a recent high school graduate who is about to leave for college, leaving us with an empty nest.

We couldn't be prouder, and we know that things will be great. But in this time of change for our family, we'll be looking to our community for support. Thankfully, we have much support from many friends in our neighborhood and the larger community (and just so you know, we'll be calling).

But what of these other life changes?

In our community, we have folks who are new to the country, with minimal English skills. We have folks new to the Washington, D.C., area who are here for jobs or school. In the last decade, the City of Hyattsville's population has increased a bit more than 20 percent due to annexation of the University Hills neighborhood and the Mall at Prince Georges area (and its subsequent development) and the new developments on Route 1.

What community resources are available to integrate the new into the existing? How do people get information about schools, retirement communities, jobs, schools or caregivers? Where do residents go for help and where can those who have something to give offer their help?

And what about changes within our community?

With a larger population, we have witnessed increased crime and a stress on the Hyattsville Police Department. The number of new, high-density residences has increased traffic. The increase in retail opportunities has generally been regarded as positive, but the economic downturn has been stressful on small businesses.

What can local government do to help get us all through these changes, without increasing taxes to the point of pain?

In this column, we will examine the change our community is experiencing, the inevitability of it and how we are coping with it.

Let us know what signs of change you see by sending me your stories. I'm particularly interested in how a change - large or small, traumatic or mundane - was assisted, facilitated or thwarted by your community. I look forward to hearing from you.

"The times they are a-changin' " - Bob Dylan

"The more things change, the more they are the same." (Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.) -- Alphonse Karr, Les Guêpes, January 1849.

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