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This Week in Potomac 10-20-04

BODY RECOVERED FROM POTOMAC RIVER

Swift water rescue personnel recovered the body of 62-year-old David Humphries Wright of Rockville on Sunday, Oct. 17, according to Montgomery County police. Wright’s body was recovered from the Virginia side of the Potomac River by county swift water rescue boats at 1:50 p.m. on Sunday, said Cabin John spokesperson Eugene Roesser Jr. and county Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer. Rescue personnel responded to a call after a kayaker thought he saw a body in the river.

Preliminary investigations by park and county investigators revealed no obvious signs of foul play or trauma to Wright’s body, which was identified by his family members, according to fire and rescue. He suffered from heart problems, according to fire and rescue.

Wright was reported missing by his family on Wednesday, Oct. 13, and his vehicle was parked at Great Falls, said Roesser. On that day, an off-duty firefighter called to report seeing what he thought was a body floating in the river. County swift water rescue boats, mounted police officers on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal towpath, a helicopter from the park police, and county police officers with specially trained dogs searched for Wright on Wednesday night. The search continued daily until the kayaker reported seeing his body on Sunday.

KAYAKER MISSING AFTER GREAT FALLS ACCIDENT

A kayaker is missing after falling from his boat while going through the chute at Great Falls, said Cabin John spokesperson Eugene Roesser Jr. and county Fire and Rescue spokesperson Pete Piringer. A kayaker called at 2:22 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 19, after shooting the falls with his friend, and seeing the friend go over the falls and come out of the boat. The kayaker’s boat was smashed from the fall. Cabin John rescue personnel in zodiac boats searched for nearly two hours and were unable to locate the man.

“He is still missing and presumed drowned,” Piringer said.

Drownings in the Great Falls area of the Potomac River were decreasing from an average of eight or nine per year, and last year there were no drownings there, Roesser said. This year, however, Cabin John has responded to more river rescue calls than usual, Roesser said, adding that a higher river level and faster flow is partially responsible.

“It’s concerning us plenty; it is a dangerous place to be, no matter how experienced you are,” Roesser said.

BOARD OF EDUCATION FORUM

Parents can hear from and ask questions of candidates for the Board of Education on Oct. 20, at Pyle Middle School, 6311 Wilson Lane, Bethesda.

All Montgomery County voters will have a chance to vote in each of three races on Nov. 2: at large, and districts 2 and 4. The Board of Education sets school policy, along with MCPS Superintendent Weast. Three candidates will be elected to the Board of Education this November. This forum is open to the public, and there will be time for questions from the audience.

The moderator is Richard Kahlenberg, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, where he writes about education, equal opportunity and civil rights, and is the author of three books, including "All Together Now: Creating Middle Class Schools through Public School Choice."

This forum is sponsored by the PTAs of the cluster schools of Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Whitman, Walter Johnson and Wheaton. Contact the local PTA president or Carole Brand at csbrand@verizon.net or 301-657-2547.

CORRECTION

The last name of Maliza Namude was misspelled in the article on International Walk to School Day, “Pedestrian Traffic,” in the Oct. 13 Potomac Almanac.

ANNUAL COMMUNITY SERVICE DAY

Montgomery County's 18th Annual Community Service Day is Saturday, Oct. 23. Coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, this day of service began in Montgomery County 18 years ago.

The day begins with an 8:30 a.m. kick-off rally and civic action fair in downtown Rockville at the Executive Office Building Cafeteria, 101 Monroe St. The Rally and Civic Action Fair runs from 8:30-10 a.m. Free continental breakfast will be available.

At 10 a.m., participants fan out to pre-arranged destinations across the county to work on service projects. Nonprofit and government agencies identify projects suitable for participants of all ages that can be completed in several hours. Volunteers, either as groups or individually, can play bingo with seniors, paint a family shelter, plant a garden for people with disabilities, collect litter in a stream valley, organize children's activities or prepare meals for homeless individuals. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center matches participants with a wide variety of projects. For further information on volunteer opportunities, call the center at 240-777-2600 or 240-777-2621.

FIRE DEPARTMENT AND HUMANE SOCIETY SAVE KITTEN

On Monday, Oct. 11, the combined efforts of the Montgomery County Humane Society's Field Services and the fire department paid off for an 8-week-old, orange tabby kitten. The kitten was rescued from a sewer drain on Oracle Place off Seven Locks Road. A good Samaritan called the Montgomery County Humane Society to report hearing a crying cat from the drain, and a field services technician responded to the call about 9:30 p.m. However, he was unable to capture or pinpoint the kitten's location during the initial search due to the darkness. The next day the Humane Society's field services supervisor, Shannon Puderbaugh, along with another field services technician, went out to try again. The kitten was still crying from the drain. After getting the lids off the sewer drain, Puderbaugh went down and was able to see two eyes staring back from approximately 40 feet away; the kitten was too frightened to come to him. A humane trap could not be left in the pipe because it would not fit and there was standing water in the drain.

The Fire Department responded to their call for assistance. A ladder was needed to put down a drain that was on the other side from where the kitten was located in the pipe. The fire department suggested running a gentle stream of water down the pipe to slide the kitten out the other side where the Humane Society's field services technicians were waiting with a net over the drain. Two hours after arriving on the scene, the kitten came sliding out the drain and into the net, wet but otherwise unharmed. It was only at this time that the rescuers identified their feline in distress as an orange tabby kitten.

The stray kitten, named "Dart" at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter, is safe and sound thanks to the collaborative efforts of the Montgomery County Humane Society Field Services and fire and rescue department. The kitten will be held for six days so an owner can claim him. After that time he will be able to go to an adopted home and a second chance in life.

TOWPATH RESURFACING UNDERWAY

The Chesapeake & Ohio Canal National Historical Park towpath will be resurfaced in Potomac from milepost 14, Olmsted Island area, to milepost 22, Violettes Lock, beginning immediately. According to the National Park Service, the towpath will remain open to the public, but visitors may encounter minor delays, and towpath users are encouraged to use extra caution.

JEWISH COMMUNITY CENTER HOSTS BOOK FESTIVAL

A dynamic array of authors are scheduled to speak and sign books at the 35th Annual Book Festival, Nov. 7-14, at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, located at 6125 Montrose Road in Rockville.

This year the festival celebrates its 35th year and there are 35 special events including the second annual cookbook author series, a family cooking demonstration, an Israeli wine tasting, musical programs, two popular lunch and lectures, a Sunday brunch and fashion event, and our most extensive schedule of family and children’s events to date. In addition over 8,000 books, compact discs, audiotapes and videos will be offered for sale.

All events are open to the public. Prices vary, but author lectures start at just $5. Several events are free.

Book festival hours are Sunday through Thursday, November 7-11, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Friday, November 12, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, November 14, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival is closed on Saturday.

To volunteer for the Book Festival, call 301-348-3804. For ticket reservations or further information, call the JCC Box Office at 301-348-3805. Visit www.jccgw.org.

COMMERCIAL BURGLARY

*Bozzut Construction Co., 11920 Darnestown Road, North Potomac, between 5 p.m. on Oct. 8 and 10 a.m. on Oct. 9. Cut padlock on front door, nothing taken.

RESIDENTAIL BURGLARY

*11900 block of Ashley Drive, Rockville, between 5:30 a.m. and 8:30 p.m., on Oct. 9. Twisted knob on basement door, kitchen utensils taken.

*2600 block of Northrup Drive, Rockville, between 5 p.m. and 11 p.m. on Oct. 10. Pried rear window, nothing taken.

*12200 block of Greenleaf Avenue in Potomac, between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m., on Oct. 9. Climbed through rear window, nothing taken.

*12200 block of Braxfield Court, in Rockville, between 4:45 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Oct. 5. Climbed through sliding glass door, X-box and games taken.

VOTE TABULATION DEMONSTRATION

The Montgomery County Board of Elections will conduct a public demonstration of how votes are tabulated on the Diebold Election System on Thursday, Oct. 21 at 2:30 p.m. The demonstration will take place at the Elections Office, 751 Twinbrook Parkway, Rockville.

Anyone planning to attend the demonstration should contact Joan Bruns at 240-777-8502.

GROWING HEALTHY KIDS

George Leventhal, chair of Montgomery County Health and Human Services, invites parents, school staff, students, community and business leaders, and health professionals are invited to “Growing Healthy Kids: Taking Action — Making Changes,” meetings dedicated to identifying strategies to improve nutrition and fitness in our community, child care settings, schools, clubs and organizations.

The closest meeting to Potomac will run from 7-9 p.m. Nov. 17, Suburban Hospital, 8600 Old Georgetown Rd., Bethesda.

Call Linda Goldsholl at 240-777-1701 or e-mail linda.goldsholl@montgomerycountymd.gov for more information.