Life, the University of Maryland and Everything

5062733545 c74bb58339 z Life, the University of Maryland and Everything

Photo by Flickr user carmichaellibrary

The University of Maryland is home to one of the higher education’s most powerful supercomputers — and one of its nerdiest jokes.

According to the Washington Post, the university’s supercomputer, deepthought2, was named the 14th most powerful one owned by an American college:

Deepthought2 is an array of computing equipment able to process 300 trillion operations every second, making it — in computer-speak — a 300 teraflop machine. That capacity is the equivalent of about 10,000 laptops working in concert, university officials said.

The supercomputer’s name comes from Deep Thought, a fictional computer in Douglas Adams’ “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” series which was designed to find the answer to “life, the universe and everything.”

The answer, for those who haven’t heard, is the number 42.

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The Saucer is Saved, But Not the Library

IMG 8338 1024x768 The Saucer is Saved, But Not the Library

It looks like the saucer will be saved, but the library behind it will not be.

According to an article in the Gazette, the architects in charge of designing a new public library in Hyattsville will keep the iconic entryway. But, to the disappointment of some local activists, they still intend to tear down the aged building it’s attached to:

“We heard loud and clear that the saucer is important to the community as both an architectural feature and as a community icon that people have grown up with,” said Melanie Hennigan, president of Grimm + Parker, the Calverton-based architectural firm hired by the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System to design a new Hyattsville branch library.

All three options presented by Grimm + Parker at a community meeting kept the saucer, either as an entryway or else as part of a mini-park on site.

The architects also plan to do a “feasibility study” of renovating the existing building, but given the problems of meeting modern standards for access for the disabled and more natural lighting, this is likely just so much window dressing so that local politicians will seem responsive to the community.

The Hyattsville Wire has said all along this would be the best outcome — respecting the city’s past and keeping it funky while also putting the needs of library patrons first.

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Hyattsville’s New Comic Hero Playground Opens

photo 1024x768 Hyattsvilles New Comic Hero Playground Opens

Hyattsville has a new superhero-themed playground, thanks to Landscape Architecture Supervisor Brenda Iraola and others at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, which held a grand opening last week.

The new Comic Hero Playground is colorfully designed in red, yellow, and blue steel and has a variety of activities for kids of all ages. It’s located behind the Home Depot in Heurich Park at 6001 Ager Road in Hyattsville.

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Vigilante Coffee Brings Attention to Hyattsville

IMG 5849 1024x682 Vigilante Coffee Brings Attention to HyattsvilleVigilante Coffee has brought new attention to downtown Hyattsville.

The coffee roaster, which had its grand opening Saturday, was recently featured in Time magazine’s list of things to do while in Washington, D.C.

And its new Hyattsville location got a lengthy write-up in the Washington Post:

From the coffee bar, which is decorated with skateboards showing the stages of coffee production, customers can watch raw beans go into the roaster before being weighed and packaged for sale, or ground and turned into a pour-over coffee or a cup of Flat White. “A lot of people don’t get it,” Vigilante says of the setup. “They’ve never seen raw coffee. I wanted to put on a show.”

The flat white is the latest sign of Hyattsville’s hipness, joining the bikram yoga studio in Riverdale Park, Busboys and Poetsthe upcoming Whole Foods Market, wheatpaste artthe cupcake shop in the Arts District and organic food dumpster divers.

For the uninitiated, a flat white is a coffee drink made with two shots of espresso and steamed milk, first popularized in Australia and New Zealand in the 1980s. Basically, it tastes like a latte, but with more hipster cachet now that even McDonald’s sells lattes.

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An Interview with Green Owl Design

Green Owl design Hyattsville Wire 3 1024x576 An Interview with Green Owl Design

Photo courtesy of Green Owl Design.

Downtown Hyattsville will get a little more funky this Saturday.

Interior design firm Green Owl Design will hold a grand opening from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m. at its new location inside the renovated Model T dealership on Gallatin Street next to the post office.

The Hyattsville Wire spoke with owners Erica Riggio and Angela Justice by email about their new business.

What does Green Owl Design do?

We are a full service interior design firm specializing in boutique commercial design and select residential projects. Our boutique showcases a variety of home décor items and local artists’ creations ranging from custom furniture, fine art, vintage finds and clothing to jewelry and more.

Where did the name come from?

The name was conceived in an effort to capture the philosophy of using local resources for design and retail and creating original and unique spaces. Owls are wise, nocturnal, and they represent the type of creative creatures that we are. Our friend graciously took the liberty to create a logo for us, and we loved it. A green owl is original and doesn’t exist, this represents a more creative entity that speaks to our unique approach to design.

Why did you choose to locate in Hyattsville?

There is a great emerging art scene in Hyattsville. Here, artistic people are really recognized. This is a community of creative people that need more businesses to showcase local talent. There is no other shop like Green Owl Design. We have completed residential and commercial design projects in this area. And last, but definitely not least, Hyattsville is a “great place to live and work!”

Where did you work before here?

During and after attending graduate school for interior design, Angela Justice worked for a luxury kitchen and bath design company. The economy took a downturn which greatly affected the company. She then made the decision to begin her own design firm which she ran since 2009 called Space 26 Designs. Her firm completed numerous residential and commercial design projects.

Erica Riggio previously worked for commercial and residential design firms, but ultimately knew she wanted to begin her own business. Shortly after graduating from graduate school for Interior Design, she began Riggio Design. For over 6 years, her firm completed residential and commercial projects of all sizes spanning across the U.S.

What do customers think of your building?

Most people we have encountered are very pleased with how the building has been renovated. Since we our celebrating our grand opening this Saturday, we will then get a better gauge of how the community receives our concept and our boutique.

Personally, we are very pleased with the renovation of the Palmer building and think it is a testament to how a building should be revamped to fit the growing needs of the community. We assisted the owner whenever possible and are pleased with his attention to detail and commitment to creating a solid, quality commercial business space. We love the space and our neighbors with whom we share the address!

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Soft Opening for Hyattsville’s Vigilante Coffee Co.

20140707 124308 1024x768 Soft Opening for Hyattsvilles Vigilante Coffee Co.

Hyattsville’s new Vigilante Coffee Company opened earlier this week with limited hours, Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., through July 18 as part of a soft opening with doors to officially open on Saturday, July 19.

The Hyattsville Wire caught up with Christopher Vigilante, owner and founder of the shop, who was enthusiastic about opening up a new location in Hyattsville.

The new coffee shop is located at 4317 Gallatin St. downtown next to the post office in the renovated gray brick building on the side facing the alley. There isn’t an exterior sign yet, but we imagine that will be coming soon.

Vigilante himself has an interesting background in coffee tracing all the way back to Hawaii where he lived and worked. You can read all about it here.

The new Hyattsville location is both a roastery and café.

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Hyattsville’s Newspaper Goes Online

Screen Shot 2014 07 08 at 5.10.33 AM Hyattsvilles Newspaper Goes Online

The Hyattsville Life & Times has gone online in a big way.

After 10 years in print, the nonprofit newspaper soft-launched the new website late last month to complement its monthly newspaper.

The web team will be led by Rebecca Bennett, who recently stepped down as WJLA’s feed coordinator to care for her newborn. Another contributor is local freelancer Katy June-Friesen, who is working on a doctorate at the University of Maryland’s School of Journalism.

The Hyattsville Wire caught up with Bennett via email recently for a Q&A.

How often do you plan to update the website?

We set a preliminary goal of two new stories per week in addition to what is in the print edition. Eventually, I hope that residents and readers will be able to wake up every morning and have something new to read from us. We’ve posted almost 25 stories in the past two weeks that we just had to share with the community, so I think we’re on our way.

How will the website’s mission differ from the monthly newspaper?

We’ll be able to bring news and information to the community in a more timely fashion. The print edition has a space limit, but the Internet still seems to be limitless in how much information it can hold. There are more opportunities to engage readers and get feedback from them.

A priority for the Hyattsville Life & Times is to have a searchable archive of as many back issues as possible. And, a website comes with a lot of new features that are not feasible in the print format. We also wanted the newspaper’s website to be a collection point for information reported elsewhere of interest to the residents of Hyattsville.

What is the site built on? WordPress?

Yes, our website is built using WordPress. I have been managing websites using various (content management) platforms for small non-profits for almost 10 years. I first looked into WordPress maybe 5-6 years ago. I was skeptical when Chris Currie suggested it as being a good option, because I wrote it off long ago. That night, I left the meeting and started looking into it. I was instantly sold on WordPress as an easy-to-use platform. Administrators can even edit the php files right from the web interface. I was really blown away. Almost everything is self-contained in WordPress.

How many writers will you have for the website?

Total, we have 3-4 contributors for the website. We have asked current Hyattsville Life & Times staff interested in contributing to the web to do so. If anyone not currently contributing to the newspaper is interested in contributing to the website in some form or fashion, email

Why now? The HL&T hasn’t had a website for a long time (other than the PDF versions). What sparked this decision now?

It was less a decision as it was an opportunity on multiple fronts. There was just this perfect storm of the Hyattsville Life & Times needing a website and me needing an online news project to manage. I had not previously been involved with contributing to the paper.

I approached the Hyattsville Life & Times in March of 2014 with this crazy idea that I could manage a website for them. I have been working in television news for 10 years, I have a diverse background that includes managing CMS applications for various projects. I believe a website is an indispensable part of a news organization’s brand, and I have watched news websites evolve, news websites done well, and watched news websites done poorly over my career.

Hyattsville Life & Times knew that the eventually needed a website. They had already laid out the purpose, mission, and goals of the project.

Hyattsville Life & Times created this amazing print product, to which an astounding amount of time and effort is dedicated. And, a news website is its own completely different monster that requires an additional set of volunteer staff. More importantly, it requires one person to be the administrator and editor of the website full-time.

We are all fortunate that a set of circumstance brought us all together. We are all going to benefit from the existence of, and so will the community.

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Spice 6 Serves Halal Meals

photo 3 1024x627 Spice 6 Serves Halal Meals

A second restaurant in Arts District Hyattsville is now advertising that it’s halal.

Like the Elevation Burger a few doors down, the Spice 6 Indian restaurant has a small sticker on the door that its meat is certified to meet Muslim standards of preparation.

Owner Vik Singh told the Hyattsville Wire that the restaurant had always served halal meat, which is more expensive, but hadn’t advertised it.

“Everything remains the same as far as cooking,” he said in an email. “We just buy meats from a certified halal company.”

Singh said he decided to put the sign on the door after customers asked about it, since it’s not uncommon for Indian restaurants to serve halal meat. (According to the Pew Research Center, India has the world’s second-largest Muslim population.)

Halal meat makes sense for Hyattsville, which is in a county with a significant Muslim population. As Elevation Burger found, the meat is also more humanely prepared, a good selling point in an area with lots of organic and healthy dining options.

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Vigilante Coffee to Open July 19

coffeebean Vigilante Coffee to Open July 19

Flickr photo of random coffee bean courtesy of

Vigilante Coffee will hold a grand opening for its new Hyattsville location on Saturday, July 19.

Owner Chris Vigilante told the Hyattsville Wire that the opening of the store, located across the alley from the post office on Gallatin Street, has been waiting on its final inspection, but some details of the new coffee shop are already set.

The roastery and coffee bar will be open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. It sounds like those hours could change if there is more demand, though.

“There will be a full service espresso bar, pour over coffee, cold brew iced coffee (growler exchange available), freshly roasted beans for sale and we’ll feature various specialty custom drinks as some of our staff prepares to compete professionally in the United States Barista Competition in 2015,” Vigilante said in an email.

The coffee shop will also regular public coffee cuppings —the coffee equivalent of a wine tasting — and host regular classes on things like the fundamentals of espresso.

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Whole Foods Construction Underway

IMG 5721 1024x682 Whole Foods Construction UnderwayThe construction of Whole Foods Market at Riverdale Park Station on Route 1 is underway with the grading work now on Sundays too, according to the project’s website.

L.F. Jennings, the general contractor, will continue rough grading on the site and hauling off excess water and trees.

Whole Foods Market signed a lease with the Cafritz family as part of the new Riverdale Park Station, a planned $250 million, 37-acre mixed-used retail destination.

This will be Prince George’s County’s first Whole Foods and is slated to open in late 2015.

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