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Morningside-Skyline column for Oct. 11

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Mary McHale

Published on: Friday, October 12, 2012

By Mary McHale

How Prince George’s was involved in the 2002 sniper attacks

On Oct. 2, 2002, and Oct. 3, 2002, five innocent people were shot and killed in Montgomery County and one was killed in Washington. They were men and women, black, white and Hispanic, going about their everyday activities — gassing the car, mowing the lawn, waiting for a bus, and walking down the street.

As October went on, seven more people were shot — five fatally — in Virginia, Montgomery County and in Prince George’s County.

Prince George’s figured heavily in this nightmare 10 years ago. First of all, John Allen Muhammad was probably in the area seeking his ex-wife Mildred, who was living in Clinton. She had escaped from him, taking their three children.

On Sept. 5, in Clinton, Paul LaRuffa, owner of Margellina’s Pizzeria, was leaving his restaurant when he was shot six times at close range. The shooter stole his laptop and $3,500 in restaurant receipts, which was used to buy a Chevy Caprice. The laptop was found in the Caprice after the snipers were arrested.

On Oct. 7, 13-year-old Iran Brown was shot and seriously wounded as he was entering Benjamin Tasker Middle School in Bowie.

On Oct. 22, bus driver Conrad Johnson, of Oxon Hill, was shot and killed as he stood on the top step of his Ride-On bus in Montgomery County. 

On Oct. 24, Muhammad and Lee Boyd Malvo were caught sleeping in their Caprice at a Western Maryland rest stop. They were tried, and Muhammad was executed in Virginia on Nov. 10, 2009. Malvo, a juvenile at the time of the shootings, is serving life without parole.

This week I drove past what was Margellina’s Pizzeria on Stuart Road. It has a new name, but the windows are covered up. I don’t know if it’s open.  

She loved to play Bingo

Melma E. Nanney, 91, one of Morningside’s longest-time residents, passed away Sept. 25. She was born in Brandywine on April 16, 1921, the youngest of the 10 children of John and Lena Tayman. After graduating from Brandywine School, (which then had 11 grades), she worked for a jeweler and a construction company.

On Jan. 9, 1943, at St. Peter’s Church in Washington, she married Harold Nanney who had come from Mississippi to live with his uncle on a neighboring farm. The newly-weds lived first in Washington and later on Deer Pond Lane in Camp Springs. By the time they moved to 512 Maple Road in Morningside in 1953, the family included their young daughter Peggy. Harold worked for McCoy Construction Company, which built St. Philip’s Rectory.

Melma was a founding member of St. Philip’s and a member of the Sodality. She regularly used her cooking talents to provide cakes for parish bake sales. She was an avid bingo player at Waysons Corner, or anywhere, often with her friend Mary Dean. 

She was preceded in death by her husband Harold, who died in 1973, and by nine siblings: Myrtle, Edna, Fannie, Brandt, Ollie, Bob, Albert, Jo and Minnie. She is survived by her daughter Margrette “Peggy” Nanney and her sister-in-law Ruth Nanney who has lived next door to her since 1964. Father Edward Hegnauer celebrated Mass of Christian Burial at St. Philip’s, and Melma is now buried with her husband Harold, at Cedar Hill Cemetery,

Coming up

The Morningside Volunteer Fire Department invites you to its Open House on Sat., Oct. 20, from noon to 5 p.m. There’ll be free hotdogs, hamburgers, and drinks, a moonbounce for the kids, fire-prevention and firefighter material, and smoke detector awareness.

The monthly Morningside Town Meeting will be on Oct. 16, at 8 p.m. All Morningsiders should be there.

Making Pennsylvania Avenue safer

The large number of vehicle crashes and pedestrian fatalities along the two miles between Forestville Road and Silver Hill Road has prompted the Maryland State Highway Administration to draft a plan to reduce the dangers.

Suggestions include a mid-block crosswalk between Donnell Drive and Walters Lane, better street lighting, continuous sidewalks and narrower lanes. If funding becomes available, work may start in 2014.


Happy birthday to T.J. Foster, Oct. 12; Chester Lanehart, Jr., Oct. 15; Mildred Peaire and Carolyn Williams, Oct. 16; Mary Louise Patterson and Frank McCrone, Oct. 17; Paul Long, Andrew Nicholas Smith, former Morningside Councilwoman Carol Kline DeGraba and VFW 9619’s essential person Nola Cook, Oct. 18.

Happy anniversary to Daisy and Ralph Young, their 59th on Oct. 15; Russ and Mary Mitchell, their 67th on Oct. 17; and Michael and Anita (Fulton) Freeman, their 32nd on Oct. 18.

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