No Nominations for New Award Prince George's Plaza in Hyattsville announced in the summer that it was searching for outstanding area volunteers and local heroes who had demonstrated unselfish courage in helping others for its 2002 American Spirit Awards. Winners of the new award were to get prizes and a $500 check for the charity of their choice, to be received at the mall's Breakfast of Champions awards ceremony in September.

There were no winners because not one application was received.

Undaunted, the organizers of the American Spirit Awards will return next year, with what they hope is a better marketing plan.

"I think we will get the word out three to four months earlier next time, instead of just one month ahead," said Betsy Tweedale of Simon Public Relations Group, which handles the mall's publicity.

Nominees must be residents of Prince George's County and have performed community service within the county.

"We are committed to recognizing individuals within our community who are working to make this world a better place," said Daphne Doyle, the mall's marketing director.

"We are proud to be a part of this community. The American Spirit Awards program is our way of bringing the outstanding individuals much deserved recognition for their altruistic work."

For more information, call Doyle at 301-559-8844, Ext. 116.

Business Development Center Opens A coalition of community nonprofits and a private business consortium has announced the opening of the Verizon Business Development Center in Camp Springs.

The center is a community partnership between Verizon and the Economic Development and Training Institute (EDTI), headed by Joe Gaskin. Gaskin formed EDTI to help small businesses and nonprofits find low-rent office space and share resources.

Verizon is providing financial and technical assistance for EDTI, whose purpose is to bring organizations under one roof to create business synergy among them.

The new center, which has room to house 100 groups, will initially house 20 permanent groups and companies at a reduced rent. Tenants include a public relations firm, a cleaning company and a placement firm to help ex-convicts.

Official Promotes Renewable Energy Maryland Public Service Commissioner Gail McDonald recently shared the state's perspective on the need for sustainable sources of energy with regulators from around the world.

The World Energy Council Executive Assembly held its regulators round table on renewable energy in Cairo in October. McDonald, a Fort Washington resident, talked about how renewable energy leads to environmental and economic development as well as energy security.

Using approaches such as government purchases and renewable portfolio standards will increase the usage of renewable resources, she said.

Established in 1910 by the Maryland General Assembly, the Public Service Commission regulates public utilities and certain passenger transportation companies doing business in Maryland. The commission also plays a role in setting utility rates.

-- Willie Pugh

If you have an item for Business Notes, please let us know. Send an e-mail to pgextra@washpost.com; a fax to 301-952-1397; or write to Business Notes, Prince George's Extra, The Washington Post, 14402 Old Mill Rd., Suite 201, Upper Marlboro, Md. 20772.

Gail McDonald