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This Week In Potomac 9-29-04

FIRE DAMAGES HOUSE ON BURBANK DRIVE

Firefighters from Station 30 of the Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department responded to a fire at a two-story single-family home at the 10900 block of Burbank Drive, at 1:45 a.m. on the morning of Saturday, Sept. 25, according to Eugene Roesser Jr., with Cabin John. A task force of 55 firefighters from Cabin John, the Carderock Naval Surface Warfare Center and Rockville arrived between the first and second alarm. The fire brought under control in approximately 40 minutes, though firefighters remained for several hours, Roesser said.

The fire cause roughly $250,000 in damage to the house, said Roesser, and the house is now unliveable. The family was displaced.

Firefighters determined that the cause of the fire was a malfunction in the house’s oil-burning furnace, which the family turned on that day in anticipation of cooler weather, said Roesser. “These oil burners and gas burners should be checked every year. … These things need to be serviced, it’s that simple,” Roesser said. “This is a huge problem this time of year.”

CABIN JOHN RESCUES TRAPPED KAYAKER

The Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department received a call from River Rescue at Old Anglers Inn that a kayaker was pinned in rocks in a stretch of rapids near Vaso Island at 3 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, said Eugene Roesser Jr., spokesman for Cabin John.

“The water was moving; it was an extremely dangerous portion of the river he was in,” Roesser said.

Boats from Cabin John, Fairfax County, Va. and an Eagle 3 Helicopter from the National Park Police were deployed in a rescue that lasted more than 90 minutes. “The guy was pinned in there,” Roesser said. “They struggled frantically to keep him above water.”

The kayaker’s foot was caught in the boat, and the river current made it difficult for rescue personnel to dislodge the boater’s foot from the boat. He was brought to safety at 5:15 p.m., making it one of the longest above-water rescues Roesser has been involved in after 30 years with Fire and Rescue, he said. “It was an exhausting, but thank God, successful rescue,” said Roesser.

LAST SUSPECT CHARGED IN POTOMAC RAPE

The fifth suspect in the Labor Day rape of a 19 year old Potomac woman was arrested Sept. 22, police say. Gujan Asimlee Lee, 18, of the 1300 block of East Capitol Street, NE, is charged with first degree rape and first dergee burglary. He is being held without bond.

Chris Benbow, one of the suspects arrested Sept. 9 was indicted Thursday. The other suspects are awaiting preliminary hearings.

Montgomery Conty Police have given the following account of the Sept. 6 incident: During the early morning, four suspects entered the victim's home on Falls Chapel Way armed with a handgun, demanded money and marijuana from the victim, and then raped and sexually assaulted the her. A fifth suspect had taken a key to the residence for the purpose of entering at a later time. He went to the residence with the other suspects, but did not enter the house.

ATTEMPTED ROBBERY AT MONTGOMERY MALL

Three men attempted to rob the Bailey Banks & Biddle jewelry store in Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery Sept. 22. According to police, the men posed as customers interested in diamonds and when the employee assisting them opened the case, the suspects sprayed the employee with pepper spray. The employee was able re-lock the case and nothing was taken. The suspects fled on foot.

Police say the suspects were last seen getting into a four-door Honda Accord with tinted windows and Maryland license plates. Thy are described as two tall, thin black men in their late 20's and one shorter black man in his late 20's weighing 220 pounds. The driver of the car is described as a Hispanic male in his 20's.

Anyone with information about this attempted robbery or the suspects is asked to call the Montgomery County Police's Major Crimes Division-Robbery at 240-773-5100. Those wishing to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-800-673-2777.

FAMILY FUN FEST

The Potomac Community Center at 11315 Falls Rd. hosts Family Fun Fest 2004 on Saturday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. rain or shine. Events include carnival games and prizes, moonbounce, obstacle course, DJ music and games, face painting, spin art, clown, snack bar and Humane Society pet adoption mobile unit. A $6 admission is good for all day unlimited rides and games.

Family Bingo Night is also at the Potomac Community Center on Saturday, Oct. 2, 5-8 p.m. Bingo Booklet (15-20 games) is $5, and prizes will be awarded. All proceeds benefit programs at the Community Center. Call 301-983-4471 for more information.

ORTHODOX CHURCH FESTIVAL

St. Peter and Paul Antiochian Orthodox Church will offer Greek food, gifts, crafts and activities this weekend. Friday, Oct. 1, 11-9; Saturday, Oct. 2, 11-9; and Sunday, Oct. 3, noon – 6. The church is located at 10620 River Road in Potomac.

TASTE OF BETHESDA

The Taste of Bethesda takes place on Saturday, Oct. 2, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. The food and music festival brings 50 restaurants and four stages of musical and cultural performances, as well as a children's area that will provide additional entertainment for young visitors.

The event is located on Fairmont, Norfolk, St. Elmo, Cordell and Del Ray avenues in the heart of Bethesda's Woodmont Triangle. Taste of Bethesda celebrates its 15th year of showcasing the diverse cuisine offered by Bethesda's restaurant community.

Admission to the event is free. Tickets will be sold on-site to “taste” different foods; a serving costs one to three tickets, and tickets are $5 for four tickets. The event is located three blocks from the Bethesda Metro station. Free parking is also available in downtown Bethesda's public garages. The free Bethesda 8 Trolley will transport visitors to and from the Bethesda Metro station and all public garages.

Taste of Bethesda is a part of "Best of Bethesda Day," which also includes Come Back to Bethesda, a car show and family day fund-riser benefiting the Children's Inn at NIH.

The Bethesda Urban Partnership Inc. (BUP) is the creator and sponsor of the Taste of Bethesda Imagination Bethesda, a free summer concert series and the Bethesda Literary Festival.

OPEN HOUSE AT CABIN JOHN FIRE DEPARTMENT

Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department will hold its annual open house at station 10 on River Road on Sunday, Oct. 10, from noon to 5 p.m.

BETHESDA ARTIST MARKET

A Bethesda Artist Market is scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 10, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. The events feature artwork and crafts for sale by local and regional artists who were selected by artists from the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee. The Bethesda Artist market is free to the public and takes place in the Bethesda Place Plaza located at 7700 Wisconsin Ave. The Bethesda Place Plaza is located one block north of the Bethesda Metro station. Free parking can be found in the new Cheltenham/Wisconsin garage across the street from the Bethesda Place Plaza. For information, visit www.bethesda.org, or call 301-215-6660.

BOARD OF EDUCATION COMMUNITY FORUM TAKES PLACE OCT. 7

The Board of Education will have a community forum on Oct. 7 as part of a new process to involve the public in the early stages of the development of the school system's operating budget. The meeting will reach out to people who are not typically involved in the planning and budgeting process and provide an opportunity for the public to give input about the future of MCPS through its annual update of the strategic plan, "Our Call to Action: Pursuit of Excellence," and to discuss budget issues related to the plan. The forum is scheduled for 7-10 p.m., in the auditorium of the Carver Educational Services Center at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITY

The Montgomery County Child Care and Referral Center is committed to making quality child care available to all children in Montgomery County. To achieve this goal, the center provides a variety of services to parents, child-care providers and the community and works closely with an Advisory board in the development of services and programs. In the past year, the Advisory Board helped the center collect data from over 500 child-care providers by spearheading the "Step Up for Child Care, Step Up for Children" campaign. Members also worked with the Commission on Child Care to organize a Community Speak Out, which highlighted child-care experiences of families in the county.

To help make a difference for young children in the community, volunteer to be part of the Advisory Board. The program is seeking enthusiastic candidates to represent parents, businesses and the community at large. Those selected to participate are required to attend six meetings per year and participate in an e-mail network for a two-year term. For more information, contact the Montgomery County Child Care & Referral Center at 301-279-1811.

CARDEROCK SPRINGS WINS NATIONAL AWARD

Carderock Springs Elementary was named a National No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School by the Department of Education in an announcement made Sept. 17 by U.S. Secretary of Education Rod Paige.

The No Child Left Behind/Blue Ribbon School program recognizes schools that excel or exhibit significant improvement in reading and mathematics as measured by state assessments.

The school was one of six Maryland schools that were nominated for the national award after they won similar recognition from the state last fall. All six were selected for the Blue Ribbon while only 64 percent of the states' nominees nationwide were selected.

BURGLARY

* Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, between 3 and 4:40 a.m., on Sept. 14. Broke out window, climbed through and unlocked door. Unknown if anything was taken; however, two chickens were left behind. The chickens, a rooster and a hen, were taken to a local farm.

* 15300 Bitterroot Way, Rockville, between 10 and 10:45 a.m. on Sept. 15. Possibly entered through a rear window, jewelry taken.

* 6400 block of Kirby Road in Bethesda, between Sept. 3 and Sept. 14. Broke through sliding glass door; attempt only.