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This Week in Potomac and Civic Calendar 4-13-05

ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND REVAMPED

A Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission overhaul of the Adventure Playground at Cabin John Regional Park is expected to be completed in May 2005.

During redesign and construction of a new Adventure Playground, some parts of the playground have remained open as old equipment is removed and new equipment is installed.

The redesign of the playground is in response to maintenance realities, current safety and accessibility guidelines, and the desire to save existing large trees. New equipment has been added within the same footprint as the original playground while some of the existing pieces that remained in good condition have been retained.

Construction began in the fall of 2004 and will end with the repaving of pedestrian walkways around the site this and next month. Timely completion of the work is dependent on weather, Park and Planning officials said.

BIOTECH BILL PASSES

A tax credit bill to encourage development of Maryland's biotechnology industry passed the Maryland legislature on the last day of the 2005 session, April 10.

The bill, Introduced by Del. Brian Feldman (D-15), aims to make Maryland more competitive in attracting and retaining biotechnology companies and the jobs and revenue they generate.

If signed by the governor, the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Act will allow Maryland-based investors to claim an income tax credit on their investment. The credit will be available to individuals, corporations and venture capital firms.

Although ranked among the top biotechnology regions nationally, Maryland lags behind other major centers in terms of venture capital investment, according to Feldman, who represents Potomac. Last year, the state slipped in the annual Ernst & Young rankings of biotech centers.

Bioscience industry jobs are expected to grow 13 percent faster than employment overall, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

TAX-FREE CLOTHING WEEK APPROVED

Del. Jean Cryor's (R-15) bill to remove sales tax on clothing for one week prior to the beginning of the school year passed both houses of the Maryland General Assembly during its final week in session. House Bill 37 makes individual clothing purchases of up to $100 each tax-free Aug. 17-26, 2006.

The bill was designed partly because two of Maryland's neighbors, Delaware and Pennsylvania, have no sales tax on clothing. Lawmakers worry that local retailers are losing business those states.

Similar measures in Missouri, Florida, New York City and Texas have had great success, said Cryor, who represents Potomac.

Cryor said the bill would also stimulate the economy because families spending that week shopping will also make taxed purchases, eat in restaurant, and stay in Maryland hotels.

AUTHOR TO SPEAK AT SEMINARS

Dr. Carolyn Crowder, author of three books on parenting — “Backtalk,” “Eating, Sleeping, and Getting Up,” and “Whining” — will speak at two parenting seminars organized by YMCA Youth and Family Services this week.

The first seminar, “Parenting Essentials” will take place April 14 in the Suburban Hospital Auditorium with registration 6:30 p.m., seminar 7-9 p.m. Call 301-896-3939 to register, $15/person, $25/couple.

All proceeds will fund the prevention services of YMCA Youth & Family Services and fee waivers are available based on need.

A separate seminar aimed at teachers, social workers, and child care professionals will take place April 15. “Discipline, Not Drugs” will be at the Hilton, Washington D.C./Silver Spring with registration at 8:30 a.m. and a two-speaker program 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Fee $85, including continuing education units. Call 301-229-1347.

TWO SCHOOLS MEETINGS PLANNED

The Montgomery County Public Schools Board of Education Policy Committee will hold a special meeting April 21 7-9 p.m. for parents to discuss issues surrounding proposed changes to the Board’s Policy FAA, which governs school construction and community input processes.

The meeting will take place at the Carver Educational Services Center, Room 127, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. Call the Board office at 301-279-3617.

In addition, the Board of Education will meet with Churchill Cluster parents and community members May 9 at Cabin John Middle school, 10701 Gainsborough Road, Potomac, 7:30-9 p.m.

May 9 is the deadline for public comment on the Montgomery County Board of Education's proposed changes to the policy.

Copies of the draft policy and an operational framework containing proposed regulatory language are available from the MCPS Public Information Office by calling 301-279-3391 or on the MCPS Web site at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org.

Written comments should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Md. 20850.

BRONROTT WINS HEALTH CARE AWARD

Del. Bill Bronrott (D-16) has been named a “Health Care Hero” for 2005 by the Daily Record newspaper for his 25 years of dedication to injury prevention issues. Bronrott won top honors in the Community Outreach category for efforts related to drunk driving, obesity, and drug and alcohol abuse.

In the House of Delegates, Bronrott has sponsored public safety and transportation legislation, such as laws making hit-and-run in a fatal or life-threatening crash a felony, lowering the drunk driving limit to .08 blood-alcohol level, establishing a child booster seat law, increasing penalties against red light runners, and improving gun safety.

Bronrott serves on the House Special Committee on Drug and Alcohol Abuse and on the boards of the Charles Mathias National Study Center on Trauma and EMS, the American Trauma Society of Maryland, Suicide Prevention Education Awareness for Kids (SPEAK), and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG).

He was nominated for the award by former Del. Cheryl Kagan.

RIVER FESTIVAL AT ROCKWOOD MANOR

Potomac Paddlesports, river advocacy organizations and local kayakers will jointly host a fundraising event and open house to raise money for river preservation and awareness of conservation issues related to the Potomac. The event will be held at Rockwood Manor Park on April 23, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Festivities will include a silent auction, paddle-a-thon, free kayak clinics and demos, a kayak flea market, food and drink, a raffle, live music. Local organizations will also be on hand to provide information about river conservation issues.

From 9 a.m.-noon, experienced boaters will compete in a three-hour marathon race around the Mather Gorge, the section of the Potomac just below Great Falls.

The host organizations hope to raise at least $50,000 for river preservation, which will be donated to local non-profits including the Potomac Conservancy and the Potomac River Keeper. The event is free and open to the public, but a $10 donation is suggested. For more information visit www.potomacpaddlesports.com or call 301-831-8270.

CIVIC CALENDAR

Monday, April 18, 7 p.m.

April meeting of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory board at the Glen Echo Town Hall, 6106 Harvard Avenue, Glen Echo, 301-320-4041. The meeting agenda has not yet been announced.

Monday, May 9

Deadline for public comment on the Montgomery County Board of Education's proposed changes to Policy FAA, which deals with long range facilities planning — including school construction, school closures, and redistricting — and public comment in the planning process. The current version and proposed revision of Policy FAA, including draft regulatory language are available from the MCPS Public Information Office by calling 301-279-3391 or on the Montgomery County Public Schools Web site at www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org. Click on "Board of Education" on the left side and then on "Board Policies." Written comments should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, Maryland 20850 or e-mail to boe@fc.k12.mcps.md.us.