IF YOU HAPPEN to venture into College Park today, you're in luck: It's Amnesty Day. No, it's not a political event but a novel way to give folks in this Prince George's County municipality a tax break -- and a good time to boot.
It is all part of that city's "Parking Ticket Sale" this month. Here's the deal: pay all your parking tickets now -- typically $5 to $12.50 -- and the city erases the late payment penalties.
But there's more. Every 100th person who pays up wins a coupon that will wipe out one of your future parking tickets. Local merchants are offering discounts on food and clothing if you have a paid receipt to show you're no longer a scofflaw. If you pay for the tickets in person, you'll be handed a calendar of discounts and promotions by city businesses. Or if you're lazy, the city will accept payment by credit card by phone or mail.
Even law-abiding citizens have reason to celebrate today. College Park is giving away free balloons, popcorn, stickers and posters. Merchants are holding sidewalk sales and specials for everyone.
Now there's a city that knows how to have fun while getting the job done. Mayor Schmoke, we hope you're reading this -- and taking careful notes.
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THE EARLY returns suggest the mouthful of a name is going to be honored after all.
All three networks referred to "Oriole Park at Camden Yards" in their full and extravagant coverage of opening day at the new site. So did the out-of-town newspapers.
Here's the Washington Post lead on a Page 1 story:
"BALTIMORE, April 6--On a day of pure Americana, the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards opened for business this afternoon."
This is from the New York Times lead story on the sports page:
"BALTIMORE, April 6--". . . Oriole Park at Camden Yards, a traditional baseball-only stadium, progressed at last past the dress rehearsal stage today as Baltimore played its season debut against the Cleveland Indians."
Gov. William Donald Schaefer's fear that sports fans and journalists would abbreviate down to Oriole Park has not been realized. At least not yet. In fact, the headline on the Post story read, "It's a Grand Opening for Camden Yards."
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ON OPENING DAY at our new ballpark, some of the many signs warned of balls hit foul into the stands. A few signs were themselves a caution -- those denoting a vendor selling "Program's." Either way, it can be painful: being beaned or being punctuated.
True enough, the latter danger exists a long way from Camden Yard's (cq) and its field of dream's (cq). Let all beware of that high-flying error, the uncalled-for apostrophe.