Chandler's Drug and Medical Supplies, a small corner store in Landover Hills, has closed. Or at least part of it.
Last week, Chandler's shut down its pharmacy, a community fixture for 57 years. The retailer is one of many small businesses along Annapolis Road whose owners are wondering how they will fare when a Wal-Mart opens next year.
But it wasn't Wal-Mart that led to Chandler's partial closure. It was insurance companies, said Stephen Needel, the owner and pharmacist at Chandler's. More specifically, Needel said, it was the agreement insurance companies have with mail-order companies.
Needel reluctantly decided to sell his files to Giant.
"I don't mind going head to head with anybody," Needel said of chain pharmacies and Wal-Mart. "But the mail order, that's always been a problem for me."
"Why would people come in for a 30-day supply of pills and pay $20 when they are being offered a 90-day supply for $10," said Needel, who will continue to own the medical supply store.
Last week, Needel, 63, was trying to come to grips with leaving a store he has operated and worked in for 32 years.
He couldn't bring himself to take down pictures behind the pharmacy counter that told part of his life story. There's the picture of his children when they all were children. Pictures of the children when they were teenagers. Pictures of them as adults. And a copy of a custom car he always wanted.
"It's been upsetting, mentally and physically," Needel said.
Inspired by a Hero
Council member William A. Campos (D-Hyattsville) had been searching for months for a name to suggest to the school board for a school being built in West Hyattsville.
He couldn't come up with one.
Then, on the day after civil rights icon Rosa Parks died, it hit him.
Rosa Parks Elementary School.
Parks, whose refusal to give up her bus seat to a white man 50 years ago helped spark the civil rights movement, was remembered this week with tributes in Montgomery, Ala., Washington and Detroit. Parks died last week at age 92.
Campos said Parks is part of the reason that Prince George's, the most affluent majority black county in the country, is what it is today.
"It just seemed so appropriate," said Campos, the first Hispanic elected to the County Council. "She is literally responsible for us being at this level in this county."
Following the lead of national black politicians, council member Tony Knotts (D-Temple Hills) introduced a resolution recently blasting William J. Bennett for making a comment on his nationally broadcast radio show about aborting black babies.
The resolution, which described Bennett's remarks as "inflammatory, bigoted, hateful, hurtful and overtly racist," was unanimously approved.
Bennett has been widely criticized for saying last month that "if you wanted to reduce crime, you could, if that were your sole purpose, you could abort every black baby in this country, and your crime rate would go down."
Bennett went on to say: "That would be an impossibly ridiculous and morally reprehensible thing to do."
Knotts said in the resolution that it was "outrageous, irresponsible and morally reprehensible for a public radio personality and former national policy official to make such comments." Bennett, who has said that his comments have been misrepresented, served as education secretary under President Ronald Reagan.
Board Seat Lobbying
County Executive Jack Johnson (D) is putting on a full-court press to get the council to approve Donna M. P. Wilson as the replacement for Elizabeth "Betty" Hewlett as chairman of the county's planning board.
Johnson has not formally sent Wilson's name to the council. But it is clear that she is his choice.
Meetings and lunches are being scheduled to convince council members that Wilson, head of the county's Department of Environmental Resources, is suited for the job.
But some council members are privately questioning Wilson's background and experience. Others have raised concerns about her short tenure in the Department of Environmental Resources.
Wilson joined the administration two years ago. Before that she worked as an attorney for Goodwill Industries.
This isn't the first time Wilson's nomination has stalled.
In 2003, the County Council had qualms about approving her nomination for the job she now holds. Council members privately questioned her qualifications and experience then, but they ultimately gave her unanimous approval.
The lobbying comes after the council approved the controversial appointment of Juanita D. Miller to the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission this month.
Two members of the county staff were among the nearly 30,000 runners who participated in the Marine Corp Marathon last week.
Maureen Epps Webb, chief zoning hearing examiner, and Carmen Jackson Brown, an attorney with the Office of Law, both finished the 26.2-mile course, which began in Arlington and wound past the Kennedy Center, the Lincoln Monument, the Jefferson Memorial and the Pentagon before heading back to Arlington.
"I'm not sure I beat the 82-year-old lady," Epps Webb said with a laugh, adding that she finished in about six hours.
Jackson Brown said she was aiming to finish in 51/2 hours but crossed the finish line in about six.
The top female runner finished in a little more than 21/2 hours.