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Morningside-Skyline column for July 11

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Mary McHale

Published on: Wednesday, July 10, 2013

By Mary McHale

Possible plan for Pyles Lumber corner

A development proposal was drafted for the Pyles Lumber site at the corner of Branch Avenue, Allentown Road and Old Branch. A convenience store, gas station and carwash are planned by Royal Farms, a chain of convenience stores in Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The proposal is due to be presented to the Planning Board on Thursday.

The development is allowed under the C-M Zone, and it would demolish a long-standing eyesore. But the design does not contribute to what many of us envision at that important corner. We had hoped for an arts center in that area and had a major planning meeting several years ago.

If you also have concerns about this plan, you can contact the staff reviewer, Meika Fields, at 301-780-2458. Unfortunately, you have missed the July 11 hearing, but you can still give your input.

Camp Springs deserves better.

‘Consummate public servant’ JoAnn Bell dies

JoAnn Bell, a longtime District Heights resident who represented District 6 on the Prince George’s County Council in the 1980s and ’90s, died June 21. She was 75.

She grew up in Washington, D.C., and graduated from Notre Dame Academy at North Capitol and K Street, where she played several sports. She married Leroy “Joe” Bell and devoted herself to her family, education and Prince George’s County.

In paying tribute, Councilman Derrick Davis said JoAnn Bell “launched my career of public service to the citizens of the Sixth District in 1992, when she hired me as her constituent services aide. I will forever be indebted to her for teaching me to navigate county government. … She was the consummate public servant.”

She was a tireless supporter of education and a member of many PTAs, served on the board of directors of The Foundation Schools, McNamara High School and on the Maryland State Board of Education.

In the 1970s, Vesta Phiel served on a committee with JoAnn at Morningside School. Vesta said it was evident even then that JoAnn had “strong leadership qualities.”

JoAnn was the widow of Joe Bell. She is survived by her seven children, Joe, Chris, Tim, Phil, Jimmy and Tom Bell, and Vicki Shepardson; brothers Frank and Charles Minni; fourteen grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

The Rev. Everett Pearson celebrated Mass of Christian Burial at Mount Calvary Church. JoAnn’s son Jimmy gave a wonderful eulogy, recounting, among other things, how she loved to cook, “making it up as she went along.” County Executive Rushern Baker and former County Executive Wayne Curry also attended. JoAnn will be missed.


Jody (Bowman) Nyers grew up on Larches Court, in Morningside, next door to Kenny Carnes, the Olympic wheelchair racer who died suddenly June 8 at age 56. Jody emailed that she attended his funeral in Goldsboro, N.C. His untimely death was probably a heart attack, she said. She said his mother found him at his apartment, on the floor near his wheelchair.

As for Jody, her family moved to Morningside in 1966 and she attended Morningside Elementary, Foulois, and Crossland until she was bussed to Central. She graduated in 1974 and went to work for the Department of Agriculture, retiring in 2010. She married Larry Nyers, a Suitland High grad, in 1980 and they have two grown daughters. Larry is retired from the fire department and they now live near Myrtle Beach.

Jody told me there was a Benjamin D. Foulois Junior High School reunion over the weekend. She attended and promises to send an update and photos.

Tyler Stiles, a senior at Bishop McNamara, has been named The Gazette’s Player of the Year in baseball.

And I’m proud of my granddaughter, Claire Mudd, a freshman softball player at Eleanor Roosevelt, who was named to The Gazette’s Second Team outfield.

Oops: Father Damian (not Father Daniel, as I named him) Shadwell is the new Pastor at Holy Family Church.


Happy birthday to Jean Ihrig and Timothy Hollowsky, July 5; Chrissy Bennett and Marie Golihew, July 6; Father Kevin Cusick, Charles “Tony” Haley, Sue Richards and Rev. Dr. Kelvin McCune, July 7; Jimmy Gromen and Anthony Curcio-Bobbitt, July 8; Steve Dameron, Karlyn Davis, John Anthony III, Norma Jean Fazenbaker and my grandson Zachary Seidman, July 9; my daughter Elaine Seidman, July 10; Kevin Kline, Nicole Wade, Jane Cowan, Dee (Curcio) Brown and Dave Williams Jr., July 11; Kenard Simms, July 13; Laverne Peggy Simms, Krista Lanehart and Laura Thompson Hoffmann, July 14; Dessirae Johnson and Helen Jurney, July 15; Norma Wright and Gary Lewis, Jr., July 16; my granddaughter Claire Mudd, Michael Busky, Mike Fowler Jr. and former Morningside Chief of Police Stephen Armhold, July 17.

Happy anniversary to Dave and Carolyn Williams, their 38th on July 11, and to Morningside Councilman James and Selaine Ealey, their 54th on July 15.

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