This Week In Potomac

This Week In Potomac

August 7, 2002

Terror Response 1

<bt>Under an anti-terrorism grant, Maryland will allocate a total of $5.47 million, $312,144 to Montgomery County, to purchase protective equipment for Maryland's first responders, according to the Office of the Governor. The grant was requested from the U.S. Justice Department's Office of Domestic Preparedness for the fiscal year 2002 and will begin to meet needs identified by local jurisdictions.

The money will be used to purchase protective clothing, communications equipment, detection equipment for chemical and/or biological agents and decontamination equipment.

Of the 5.47 million, 82 percent ($4,321,300) is allocated to local jurisdictions and 18 percent ($984,600) to State departments and agencies with first-response missions.

Montgomery County is to be allocated $312,144, more than any other jurisdiction in Maryland other than Baltimore City, which will receive $518,691.

Each county was assessed under a formula that took into account hazardous sites located in the county, the possible threat to those sites and the vulnerabilities of the sites. Population density around the sites and the total population of the counties were also considered, according to the Office of the Governor.

Governor Glendening established the Maryland Terrorism Forum in 1998 to prepare the State to respond to acts of terrorism, especially those involving weapons of mass destruction.


Terror Response 2

<bt>Following the events of Sept. 11 and a bomb threat that resulted in the evacuation of the Executive Office Building and Judicial Center, a review of safety precautions in County buildings resulted in recommendations to make them more secure, including limiting access to certain underground parking garages.

Beginning Aug. 26, new security measures will be implemented to ensure the public's safety and that of county employees who work in and visit the government complex in downtown Rockville. Visitor parking from the G2 Level of the Executive Office Building and Judicial Center garage will be moved to the first level of the Council Office Building garage.

Parking spaces for people with disabilities who are visiting the Executive Office Building will be available in front of the building on Monroe Street. Other paid parking options are available to the public nearby. On-street metered parking is also available around the downtown area.

In Dec. 2001, for the first time, County employees were required to obtain photo identification/access cards.

Caught on Camera

<bt>Police have issued a photo of a possible suspect of a burglary that occurred at a residence in the unit block of Oaklyn Court in June.

Photos were obtained after credit cards stolen in the burglary were used at an area Target Store, which provided photographs from the store security camera.

The burglary was reported to have occurred on Monday, June 10, sometime between 6 a.m. and 1:45 p.m., according to police.

According to police:

The homeowners were out of town, but a dog sitter came to the house a short time after 6 a.m. to feed and walk the victim's dog. At that time, the sitter wrote in a log that everything seemed normal. When the sitter returned to the house at 1:45 p.m., however, she wrote that someone must have come home early because the dog was locked in the basement.

It was not apparent to the sitter that the home had been burglarized, but when the owners returned at approximately 4 p.m., they reported that they saw that drawers had been rummaged through. The homeowners reported that both jewelry and credit cards were stolen.

Anyone who recognizes the man pictured pushing a shopping cart is asked to call the 1st District Investigative Section at 301-279-1602 or Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-800-673-2777.

It is believed that suspects entered because the garage would not lock. Police remind citizens of the importance of having and using all residential door and window locks. Community members who are at home should be vigilant in reporting any suspicious activity. Call 911 if suspicious activity is in progress; if discovered later, call the non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

<bt>Sandrah Torquemada, 32, of North Potomac, was indicted by a Montgomery County Grand Jury on Thursday, August 1, for the murder of her aunt, Bertha Torquemada, according to the office of the State's Attorney for Montgomery County. If convicted, Torquemada faces a maximum sentence of life imprisonment. A trial date has not yet been set.

According to the State's Attorney office:

Jaime Roberto Torquemada called police and fire rescue services on June 24 at approximately 4:24 p.m. to the residence of his sister Bertha Torquemada, on Dufief Court. Jaime Roberto Torquemada's daughter, Sandrah Torquemada, was living at the house with her aunt. He saw his daughter inside the house earlier in the day, but she would not let him in.

Jaime Torquemada drove home and called the house in an attempt to speak with his sister Bertha Torquemada, but nobody answered the phone. He drove back to the house, forced the front door open with a pry bar. He discovered his sister on the floor, unresponsive, and covered with blood.

When police and fire and rescue units arrived, they pronounced Bertha Torquemada dead at the scene, as a result of multiple stab wounds to her chest and neck area. Police officers gained entrance to a locked bathroom in the house and found Sandrah Torquemada in the bathroom in possession of a large butcher knife. She had a large amount to blood on both of her hands, clothing and shoes.

Register and Vote

<lst>The voter registration deadlines for the 2002 elections are 9 p.m. Aug. 20, 2002 for the Sept. 10 primary election, and 9 p.m. Oct. 15, 2002, for the Nov. 5 general election.

Voter registration applications are available from the Elections Office, 751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville. Call 240-777-8500 and leave a message at the 24-hour voter information line at 240-777-VOTE.

Forms are also available at all Montgomery County public libraries, Montgomery College, public high schools, U.S. post offices and county government regional service centers.

The form can be printed from the state elections Website at and mailed back.

Civic Calendar

<cal1>August 2002

<cal2>Park and Planning is scheduled to publish the staff draft of the Blockhouse Point Master Plan. To send comments about the park master plan in writing, or to get on the mailing list to receive information about the Blockhouse Point Master Plan, address letters to: Blockhouse Point Master Plan, 1109 Spring Street, Suite 800, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

<cal1>Sunday, Aug. 11, 4-7 p.m.

<cal2>Fundraiser for Councilmember Blair Ewing (D-At large), home of Bill and Diana Conway, 10600 River Road, Potomac. RSVP 301-983-6124.

<cal1>September 2002

<cal2>Park and Planning has tentatively scheduled a public meeting, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, to solicit comment and input on the staff draft of the Blockhouse Point Master Plan. Visit

<cal1>Saturday, Sept. 7, 6-8 p.m.

<cal2>Fundraiser for Del. Jean Cryor (R-15), home of Bill and Diana Conway, 10600 River Road, Potomac. RSVP 301-983-6124.

<cal1>Tuesday, Sept. 10

<cal2>Primary Elections will be held. Voter registration applications are available from the Elections Office, 751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville. Call 240-777-8500 and leave a message at the 24-hour voter information line at 240-777-VOTE.

<cal1>Thursday, Sept. 12

<cal2>Montgomery County Council resumes committee worksessions after its annual recess, which began on July 31. Regular Council worksessions begin the following Tuesday, Sept. 17.

<cal1>Thursday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.

<cal2>County Council Public Hearing on Councilmember Nancy Dacek's Bill 26-02, which would prohibit pedestrians from standing in a travel lane, roadway median or intersection, or approaching a motor vehicle in a travel lane to solicit or sell anything to occupants of the vehicle. County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. Call 240-777-7900 to testify.

<cal1>Thursday, Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.

<cal2>Western Area Recreation Advisory Board Meeting, Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac. Call 301-983-4471.

<cal1>Tuesday, Sept. 17

<cal2>Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board Meeting, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center, Room A, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.

<cal1>Tuesday, Sept. 17

<cal2>County Council Public Hearing, Zoning Text Amendment 02-21. Exemption provision — private schools on land owned or leased by a religious institution. County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. Call 240-777-7900 to testify.

<cal1>Tuesday, Nov. 5

<cal2>General Election.

<lst>Send items for the civic calendar to Potomac Almanac managing editor Ken Moore, 10220 River Road, Suite 330, Potomac, MD 20854; call 301-983-2600; e-mail to; Fax to 703-917-0991.