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May 22: This Week in Potomac

<sh>Emergency Crews Race Around

<bt>Sunday was not a good day for men on horseback, said Eugene Roesser, spokesperson for the Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department.

"The night before the was a good day at the Preakness, but it was busy day Sunday."

Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department responded to two trauma injuries at Sunday's Potomac Hunt Races, after two men fell off their horses. Both of the men injured, a 54-year-old male and a 34-year-old male, were taken to Suburban Hospital and were released the same day.

"We cover the Hunt Races every year," said Roesser. "There are usually a couple of injuries, but I don't remember there being two classified as trauma. We had injuries this year that were more serious than in the past." See story and photos, pages 3 and 8.

The Rescue department also responded to another horseback riding injury upcounty, said Roesser.

<sh>Fire Causes $25,000 Damage

<bt>It's good to have observant neighbors.

At noontime on Sunday, embers from a fire place chimney blew on to a cedar shake roof at 10701 Laurel Leaf Place, off MacArthur Blvd, near Old Angler's Inn, said Eugene Roesser, spokesperson for the Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department.

"A neighbor saw it happen and was able to get to the homeowner who got to us right away," said Roesser. "Due to the alert neighbor, we got there quickly. Thankfully, the fire was contained to the roof area of the house. Compared to what could have been … the home owner was lucky," said Roesser.

Station No. 30 (Falls Road) was the first due, and it received assistance from the fire department at David Taylor, Station 10 on River Road, and Stations No. 11 and 33. The fire was contained within 20 minutes, but not before $25,000 damage was done.

Roesser said it's the third fire he's seen from embers catching on cedar shake roofs this year.

"These types of roof are causing a significant problem when it comes to two things, fire place activity and when lightning strikes," said Roesser. "I don't think it's a great roof to have. They may look aesthetically pleasing, but I'll be candid, I'd stay away from that type of roof."

Roesser said homeowners, especially those with cedar shake roofs, should use caution having a fire in the fireplace on windy days. Roesser said homeowners should have a good spark arrester device, or screen at the top of the flue, that is in good condition.

Fires on Charity Lane and Garden Court this year also involved this type of roof, said Roesser.

<sh>Children Left Unattended

<bt>A 40-year-old Gaithersburg woman, who left her five-year-old son and three-year-old daughter unattended and locked inside a minivan while she went inside White Flint Fall on May 17, was charged by Montgomery County Police with one count of a violation of Family Law Article, Section 5-801, Leaving an Unattended Child Confined in a Motor Vehicle, according to police reports.

A patron of White Flint Mall alerted off-duty officer John Gallagher at 1:16 p.m. that she had seen two children locked inside a minivan, on the second level of a garage, near the entrance to The Eatery. The two children were strapped into their car seats, locked inside the minivan, with the windows rolled up. While Gallagher and officer Kristen Swanson stayed with the children, the mother returned to the minivan, explaining that she had just been gone a few minutes to run into the mall for some nail polish.

The penalty is a fine of up to $500 and up to 30 days in jail, or both. Maryland law states that it is against the law to leave a “child under the age of 8 years…to be locked or confined in a dwelling, building, enclosure, or motor vehicle” without proper supervision of a reliable person at least 13 years old.

<sh>Car Flips Several Times

<bt>Four individuals were trapped and pinned in an SUV vehicle that flipped several times before landing in the woods.

The accident occurred on Piney Meetinghouse and Palatine roads in North Potomac on Tuesday, May 21, at approximately 4:50 p.m., according to Eugene Roesser, spokesperson for the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department.

Two helicopters transported two individuals to the Medstar unit while the other two individuals were transported to Suburban Hospital.

"There is some speculation that the woman driving may have had a seizure, though that cannot be confirmed at this time," said Roesser.

No other cars were involved, although many roadways were closed down in the area. Rescue and medical units from Rockville and Cabin John responded to the accident.

<sh>Private Funds for Schools?

<bt>Three public forums are scheduled on a proposed Board of Education policy that would allow non-government funds to be used for facility improvements in Montgomery County Public Schools.

The proposed policy, “Facility Improvements That Are Not Funded with Montgomery County Revenues (CNE),” would permit the use of privately-raised funds for school facility improvements that support an individual school, supplement architectural or aesthetic enhancements to the facility, and/or enhance community use of the school, such as equipment improvements.

The first forum is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, at Thomas Pyle Middle School in Bethesda. The other two are Tuesday, June 18, at Sligo Middle School in Silver Spring; and Wednesday, July 10, at Martin Luther King, Jr. Middle School in Germantown. Each of the forums will begin at 7 p.m. in the schools’ multipurpose room, and they are open to the public without advance reservations.

Information about the background of the proposed policy will be provided at the forums by the school system’s Department of Facilities Management.

<sh>Election for Regency Estates

<bt>The Regency Estates Citizens Association, which consists of 990 homes, has been reactivated. The initial election of its officers and Board is scheduled for June 3, at 7:30 p.m., at the Herbert Hoover Middle School general purpose room. Those eligible to vote are residents, 18 or older, within the parameters covering Seven Locks, Tuckerman Lane, Declaration Lane, parts of Post Oak Drive, Declaration Lane and parts of Wild Olive Drive and Devilwood Road.

E-mail Fred J. Hamburger at fjhamburger@erols.com or call Brian Feldman at 301-309-0977.

<sh>Virginia Beltway Improvements

<bt>Citizens can comment on, review and discuss with representatives of Virginia Department of Transportation the potential improvements for approximately 14 miles of Interstate 495 from Maryland line at the American Legion Bridge to the interchange at Interstates 95/395/495 in Springfield, Va. The study includes several alternatives and improvements to 10 Beltway interchanges.

Meetings will be held on Wednesday, May 29, at the Tysons Westpark Hotel, 8401 Westpark Drive and on Thursday, May 30, at the Fairview Park Marriott, 3111 Fairview Park Drive in Falls Church, Va. All meetings will begin with a presentation at 6 p.m. and will follow with a citizen comment period until 9 p.m.

Written statements may be submitted until June 10 to Capital Beltway Study, c/0 Parsons Transportation Group, 10521 Rosehaven St., 2nd floor, Fairfax, Va. 22030.

Maps, drawings, a draft environmental impact statement and other data are available online at http://project1.parsons.com/capitalbeltway. Call 703-383-VDOT.

<sh>Keep Montgomery Beautiful

<bt>County residents who have captured the beauty of Montgomery County are encouraged to participate in the 11th Annual Amateur Photography Contest, sponsored by the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force. All photos must have been taken in Montgomery County and will be judged in the following categories:

* Montgomery County by Day: daytime outdoor shots that depict the fun, beautiful or exciting.

* Montgomery County by Night: nighttime outdoor shots of something fun, beautiful or exciting.

* Montgomery County Landmarks: outdoor shots of a natural or manmade landmark or scene that is commonly recognized.

* Montgomery County, Her People: shots of one or more residents engaged in leisure or community service.

* Montgomery County at Work: shots of one or more citizens at work.

Photographs up to 8" x 10" in size and dry-mounted on mat board will be accepted. There is no entry fee for participation. The deadline for entries is June 30. Winners will be honored at a special ceremony this fall.

Entries should be mailed to: Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, Montgomery County Amateur Photo Contest, 101 Monroe Street, 10th Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850-2540. For complete list of entry rules, call 240-777-7155 or visit the County’s website at www.dpwt.com.

<sh>Neighborhood Beautification Contest

<bt>To recognize community enhancements through landscaping and beautification projects, Keep Montgomery County Beautiful has launched its annual community beautification contest. The Task Force encourages landscaping that uses conservation practices to keep pesticides and fertilizers out of the Chesapeake Bay. Community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects to enhance the appearance of non-residential properties are urged to enter.

Categories include:

* Commercial/retail: outdoor projects at shopping malls, restaurants, retail centers, gas stations, etc.

* Public/institutional: outdoor projects at schools, government buildings, hospitals, churches or libraries.

* Cityscape: municipal street plantings in median strips or near traffic ramps and sidewalks.

* Community professional: landscaping projects that are designed and maintained by professional landscape architects or contractors.

* Community non-professional: plantings or landscape projects maintained by community residents through homeowner associations, garden clubs or civic organizations.

* Environmental/Ecological: wildlife habitat, wildflower plantings, wetlands plantings, and organic plantings.

* Youth: special projects initiated by young people, 18 years of age or younger.

* Sustained maintenance: one-, three- and five-year awards to previous three-time Award of Excellence winners.

Each category is judged on two levels — one for projects started since last fall and the other for projects begun prior to that time. The deadline for entries is June 15. Call the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful program at 240-777-7155, visit the website at www.dpwt.com or, write to: Keep Montgomery County Beautiful, Annual Beautification Awards, 101 Monroe Street, 10th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850-2540.

<sh>Civic Calendar

<cal1>Thursday, May 23, 7 p.m.

<cal2>Public forum to discuss Board of Education policy that would allow non-government funds to be used for facility improvements in Montgomery County Public Schools. Thomas Pyle Middle School, Thursday, May 23, Bethesda, 7 p.m.

<cal1>Tuesday, May 28, 7:30 p.m.

<cal2>Public forum to be held by the Western Area Recreational Advisory Board on the issue of age restrictions imposed on use of the inline skating rink at the Potomac Community Center. 301-983-4471.

<cal1>Wednesday, May 29, 3-5:30 p.m.; 7-9 p.m.

<cal2>Public forum held by Montgomery County Board of Education on "Grading and Reporting." Carver Educational Services Center auditorium, 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. There will be two sessions, one from 3-5:30 p.m. and a second one from 7-9 p.m. Individuals wishing to speak at the forum may call 301-279-3617. The policy being discussed may be obtained from the school system’s Web site at www.mcps.k12.md.us/departments/policy or by calling 301-279-3364.

<cal1>Sunday, June 2, 1-4 p.m.

<cal2>Blockhouse Point Conservation Park Master Plan Public Hike. Starts at the large parking lot on the south side of River Road, about 1.1 miles west of Pennyfield Lock and Esworthy road. The rain date is Sunday, June 9. Call Ron Gibbs at 301-949-2909.

<cal1>Monday, June 17, 7:15 p.m.

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