<mh>Hit and Run, A Felony
<bt>By a 136-0 vote, the Maryland House of Delegates approved legislation (HB-256) that makes fleeing the scene of a crash that causes death or serious bodily injury a felony. Currently, it is a misdemeanor.
The bill, sponsored by Del. Bill Bronrott (D-16, Bethesda) and Del. Kumar Barve (D-17, Gaithersburg), doubles the penalties to five years in jail and/or a $5,000 fine for fleeing a serious bodily injury crash and 10 years in jail and/or a $10,000 fine for leaving the scene of a fatal crash.
Identical legislation (SB-345), sponsored by Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-18, Kensington) is expected to be voted on by the Senate later this week.
<bt>Del. Bill Bronrott (D-16, Bethesda) sponsored legislation (HB 130) to increase the state's share of building sidewalks and bikeways in Smart Growth Regions in the state. Currently, counties and municipalities split the cost in a 50-50 share.
Under House Bill 130, which was approved by the House on March 14, the state's share increased to 75 percent. Proponents say this will increase speed the construction of sidewalks and bikeways which will help improve community links to transit, schools and commercial areas. The bill will move to the Maryland State Senate later this General Assembly.
This bill and the felony hit-and-run legislation described above were legislative recommendations in the final report of the Montgomery County Blue Ribbon Panel on Pedestrian and Traffic Safety. Bronrott was the chair of the panel, which was appointed by Montgomery County executive Doug Duncan.
<mh>Tour the Charity Canal
<bt>Bike the entire 184.5 miles of the C&O Canal. Or bike 100 miles, or 10 miles instead.
Free training programs for the 6th annual Tour de Canal, the country's longest off-road charity ride, will start Saturday, April 20 at Carderock Park, at 7:45 a.m.
The Tour de Canal, a 184.5 charity ride that benefits the programs and services of the Alzheimer's Association, National Capital Area, is scheduled for Sept. 21-22, 2002 along the C&O Canal, from Cumberland to Georgetown.
Participants can join other bikers for trips of increasing lengths, starting at 12-15 miles and ending in late August with rides of 60-80 miles. Training rides will continue every Saturday through June 8 at C&O Canal at Carderock Park, off the Clara Barton Parkway, starting at 7:45 a.m.
Completing a free, 50-mile qualifying ride is mandatory to participate in the 184- and 100-mile rides on Sept. 21-22. Qualifying rides will take place at Carderock Park on Saturdays, June 8, Sunday, July 14 and Saturday, Aug. 10, at 7:45 a.m. Riders can also take part in the 100-mile and 10-mile portions of the race.
For information, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org, visit www.alz-nca.org or call toll-free at 1-866-259-0042.
<mh>Churchill Home to Orchestra Festival
<bt>Churchill High School is hosting the Montgomery County Public School Orchestra Festival on March 26. Churchill's orchestra is scheduled to perform at 4:45 p.m.
The Churchill Symphonic Band will compete in the MCPS Band Festival at Magruder High School on March 21 and is scheduled to perform at 1:15 p.m.
This performance is open to the public.
<mh>Maryland House to Honor Churchill Girls
<bt>Del. Jean Cryor (R-15) and the Maryland House of Delegates will honor the Churchill's girls basketball team, state champions, at a ceremony on scheduled for Tuesday, March 26.
"This is special for all of us," said Cryor.
Two of Maryland's delegates, Cheryly Carlson and Paul Kagan, are graduates of Winston Churchill High School.
Churchill girls won the Maryland State 4A Girls basketball championship on Saturday, March 11, the school's first-ever girls state basketball championship, under the direction of two-year coach Pat Fisher. Churchill has played in the Maryland championship game the last two years in a row.
<mh>Village Clean and Green
<bt>Potomac Clean and Green will meet on Saturday, April 13 from 9-11 a.m. for a spring community clean up of Potomac Village. Meet at the edge of the parking lot near the Safeway bus gazebo. Wear boots or sturdy shoes, long sleeves and gloves. Litter bags will be provided. Call Peggy Dennis at 301-983-9738.
* Many of the 65 flower tubs lining Potomac Village are available for adoption. Those with a green thumb can plant any flower or plant arrangement to their liking and will be responsible for the watering and upkeep of their tub.
Call Elie Pisarra Cain, who started this annual tradition, at 301-983-1537.
<mh>Thanks, Advisory Group
<bt>Members of the Master Plan Advisory Group will be presented certificates of appreciation by the Planning Board this Thursday, March 21, when the Board officially approves the County Council's Resolution of Adoption of the Potomac Master Plan, the 20-year blueprint for landuse in Potomac.
The ceremony is scheduled to take place as the last item of Thursday's worksession, at approximately 4:30 p.m., at 8787 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring.
Citizens who worked over two years with Planning Board staff to help develop the Master Plan include Elie Pisarra Cain, Ginny Barnes, Diana Conway, James Dove III, Steve Ellis, Gerald Foley, Pei-hwa Kung Foo, Thomas R. Gallagher, Robert Hanson, Nancy Lesser, Curtis H. Low, Linda Rentz Mayo, Janet Lee Ricks, Phyllis Shaw, Marilyn Van Degrift and Sheila Rickman Kessinger.
As a legal formality, the Master Plan is scheduled to be adopted by the Bi-county Maryland National Park and Planning Commission on Wednesday, April 17. Following adoption, the Planning Board will print an Interim Reference Edition of the Approved and Adopted Plan, incorporating all changes from the Council Resolution.
This will be a temporary document, in black and white, until a Final Master Plan is produced following Council approval of zoning text amendments and the Sectional Map Amendment in late summer.
<mh>Potomac River Crossing Debate Continues
<bt>A debate focusing on three controversial transportation projects — a new Potomac River crossing, the Intercounty Connector (ICC), and the Purple Line — will take place on March 21 at the Montgomery County Council building.
Panelists will argue both for and against each of the three projects. Panelists will include several authors of the recently-released Transportation Policy Task Force Report, community leaders and former elected officials.
The free event is sponsored by the the New Democrats of Montgomery County, along with The District 15 Democratic Club and Young Democrats of Montgomery County. Anyone can attend, regardless of party affiliation or registration status.
The debate will take place at 7:15 p.m. on the first floor auditorium of the County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.
<bt>According to police reports, a cell phone and charger were taken from the 10300 block of Coniston Court in Potomac between 11 p.m. on March 13 and 7 a.m. on March 14. Suspects gained access through the garage door.
* A residential burglary was also reported in the 7800 block of Coddle Harbor Lane in Potomac between March 7 and March 8. Nothing was
<bt>Saturday, March 23, 10 a.m. - 2 p.m.
75th Anniversary Open House celebration of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring. Call 301-495-4600.
Thursday, April 4, tentative
Public hearing on the county executive's proposed Operating Budget FY03. County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Md. 20850. Call 240-777-7900.
<mh>April 8, 10
<bt>Public hearings on the operating budget are scheduled to continue. County Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, Md. 20850. Call 240-777-7900.
<mh>Wednesday, April 10, 8 p.m.
<bt>West Montgomery County Citizens Association's monthly meeting. Speaker and topic to be announced. 8 p.m. Potomac Elementary School, 10311 River Road. Visit West Montgomery at www.wmcca.org
<mh>Monday, April 15
<bt>Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board Meeting, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Services Center, Room A, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda.