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December 11: This Week in Potomac

Virginia is entitled to draw water from the Potomac River, ruled a special master appointed by the U.S. Supreme Court.

The special master recommends that the Supreme Court side with Virginia in a dispute with Maryland over water use rights to the Potomac River. Virginia had objected to Maryland's attempt to require Maryland permits before drawing water from the Potomac.

The special master rejected Maryland's arguments that Virginia's compact rights were limited to the tidal portion of the river below Washington D.C., that Maryland had an implied authority to regulate Virginia's access and that Virginia had acquiesced in Maryland's regulatory authority.

In 1996, Maryland rejected a request from the Fairfax County Water Authority for a permit to build a new water intake pipe extending offshore into the Potomac River. Last year, a Maryland judge ordered that the permit be granted to Virginia.

The Special Master's recommendation is not binding on the U.S. Supreme Court. There is no word on when the Supreme Court will consider the recommendation.

<sh>Help Shoveling Snow

<bt>The Winter Pedestrian Safety Act, enacted in the spring of 2001 to protect children who need to walk to school as well as other pedestrians, requires property owners to remove snow from the public sidewalk adjacent to their property within 24 hours after a snowfall.

The County law only requires snow clearance of public walkways.

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center needs volunteers who can help their neighbors who are elderly or who have disabilities shovel snow from walks and driveways. The County's Volunteer Center will match volunteers with those in the community with special needs. Call 240-777-2600 to volunteer.

Residents who cannot physically shovel snow or who may be out of town during a snowstorm can also contract with CASA de Maryland, which provides snow shoveling for a fee.

Call the CASA office at 301-431-4177 or 301-431-4185 to request assistance. Requests can be made by fax at 301-431-1371 or by e-mail at asalvador@casamd.org.

<sh>Holiday Sing-Along

<bt>Join Elie Pisarra-Cain and others for the annual Holiday Sing-Along for the whole family at Great Falls Tavern Visitor Center, 11710 MacArthur Blvd., at 1 p.m. Carol songbooks will be passed out, as well as cider and cookies. Call 301-767-3714.

<sh>Wake Up

<bt>WAKE UP, a group of parents who want to address the early start times of high schools will host a meeting Thursday, Dec. 12, from 7:30-9:30 p.m.

Members of WAKE UP say that scientific research indicates most adolescents are not ready to learn at 7:25 a.m., when most high school classes, and the group is seeking alternatives to the early start times.

The meeting will be held at the Red Brick Courthouse, Room 105, at the corner of Maryland Ave. and E. Jefferson St., in Rockville (directly across from the Rockville Library and diagonally across from the County Council Office Building in downtown Rockville). Parking is available.

According to the group, members of the Board of Education have indicated they are interested in starting pilot programs in certain high schools to see how early start times can be addressed. Parents interested in this issue are encouraged to attend.

More information about WAKE UP can be found at http://patesslinger.com/wakeup/

<sh>Christmas Music

<bt>The Washington Vocal Artists and Orchestra, directed by Rosemary Dyer, will perform at Potomac United Methodist Church on Sunday, Dec. 14 at 5 p.m. The church is located at the intersection of Falls Road and South Glen Road. Call 301-299-9383. Free, but donations are welcome.

<sh>Residential Burglaries

<bt>* Jewelry was taken from a residence in the 400 block of Kentsdale Drive, in Potomac, between 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. on Nov. 26. Burglars broke through a rear window.

* The Potomac Garden Center, 12024 Darnestown Rd. in North Potomac, was burglarized at 11:40 p.m. on Dec. 1. The front window was pried open, but nothing was taken.

<sh>Armed Robbery

<bt>According to police reports:

The Blockbuster Video Store, 10400 Old Georgetown Road, was robbed on Nov. 29 at approximately 1 a.m. A lone suspect — a male, approximately 5-foot-five, 130 pounds, gray face mask, blue jacket, black pants — confronted the owner outside the store after the store had been locked. He told the owner to go back into the store and turn the alarm off. He displayed a silver handgun and told the victim to open the safe. He took cash from the safe and fled the store.

* A 26-year-old Bethesda woman was walking home from work on Wisconsin Avenue near Woodmont Avenue when she saw a suspect following her. The suspect — a white male, 25-35 years old, 5-foot-10, 180 pounds, with dark hair, a ponytail, brown leather jacket, dark pants and a black backpack — grabbed the woman's pocketbook. When the victim yelled for help, he told her to be quiet and that he had a gun. The suspect ran towards NIH Library without obtaining any property from the victim.

<sh>Reflections

<bt>The Potomac Almanac’s first issue of 2003 will include a look at the year 2002, plus a look at the top issues for the coming year.

We invite short contributions from the community on any topic appropriate to reflections on a year past and a new year on its way — that is to say almost anything.

Please keep contributions under 300 words. We also welcome photographs.

Mail contributions by Dec. 14 to The Potomac Almanac, 10220 River Road, Suite 303, Potomac, MD 20854. E-mail to PotomacAlmanac@hotmail.com. Fax to 703-917-0991.

Please be sure to include name, town of residence and a phone number for verification with each submission.

For information, call 301-983-2600.

<sh>Snow Ball

<bt>A Father–Daughter Snow Ball dance to benefit teens living in group homes and foster care is scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 12, 2003, from 2 to 4 p.m., at the St. James Episcopal Church Social Hall in Potomac, 11815 Seven Locks Road, Potomac.

In addition to music and dance instruction for dads and daughters, the Snow Ball will feature crafts, beverages and dessert.

The event is sponsored by Senior Girl Scout Troop 1643. The Girl Scouts, all 15 years old, decided to help teens in foster care and group homes after hearing about some of the problems these teens face. Three scouts, two at Wootton and one at Churchill high schools, remain in the troop from their days together as Brownie Scouts in first grade. All three girls were awarded the Girl Scout Silver Award earlier this year.

Admission is $8 per father-daughter couple plus either body wash and nail polish or acne face wash and lip gloss. Additional daughters are $4 each and one of the personal care items. Additional cash donations and personal care items are welcome, as are decorative gift bags and sports logo memorabilia, such as hats and water bottles. All items should be in new condition. The scouts will be making gift bags for both boys and girls.

For information and reservations, call 301-299-6757.

For further information, contact Sheila Moldover, troop publicity, at 301-424-9318 or Karin Harrison, troop leader, 301-299-6757.

<sh>Cash Awards

<bt>Montgomery County elementary and middle schools earned financial awards for improvement through the revised Maryland School Performance Recognition Program. The awards recognize schools throughout the state that are making progress toward achieving state standards for school performance, based on the 2000-01 Maryland School Performance Report.

Local schools which received financial awards: Bannockburn Elementary, $1,886; Bells Mill Elementary, $1,886; Beverly Farms Elementary, $4,401; Burning Tree Elementary, $1,257; Cabin John Middle, $2,515; Fallsmead Elementary, $1,257; Herbert Hoover Middle, $3,144; Robert Frost Middle, $2,515; Seven Locks Elementary, $1,886; Travilah Elementary, $628; Wayside Elementary, $1,886.

<sh>Spinning New Web

<bt>Montgomery County government's new web site is www.montgomerycountymd.gov. The site combines the County's online interactive services web site with the informational site. The new site was launched on Nov. 18 and combines features from the county's first site (www.co.mo.md.us) with a site that offered interactive services (www.emontgomery.org).

County residents can use the site to pay property taxes, reserve ball fields, pay parking tickets and library fines, purchase bus and rail fares, register bicycles and renew library materials.

<sh>Civic Associations

<bt>The Planning Board's Community Relations Office is updating its civic and homeowners associations database. Call 301-495-4600 any time of the day or night with the current president's name, address and phone number.