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This Week in Potomac 8-3-05

GREAT FALLS TAVERN FUNDING APPROVED

The federal appropriations bill that includes nearly $2 million in funding for restoration of the Great Falls Tavern and surrounding area has passed both houses of Congress. It was presented to the president July 29.

The bill, which makes fiscal year 2006 appropriations for the Department of the Interior and Environmental Protection Agency, originally passed the House May 19 and the Senate June 29, but needed to go to conference committee. The conference report passed the House 410-10 July 28 and the Senate 99-1 July 29.

The planned work on Great Falls Tavern includes new fire protection and a revamped heating and air conditioning system. Repairs will be made to deteriorating plaster and drywall inside the building and three more entry doors will be made Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant.

The fences around the tavern will be pushed outward, creating more open space around the historic building and, the park staff hopes, making the Tavern more inviting to park guests.

Those plans are part of a larger, two-part construction project that will also include an estimated $2 million improvement of the park entrance road and parking lot. Funding for the road work will come from the bill that funds the Department of Transportation, which has been reported in both houses of Congress, but not received a vote.

NEW COMMITTEE TO ADVISE ON SEX ED

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted July 27 to reconstitute the Citizens Advisory Committee on Family Life and Human Development with 15 members.

The School Board disbanded an earlier, 27-member committee in May after Montgomery County Public Schools lost a federal lawsuit charging bias in some of its sex ed materials and scrapped the curriculum. The suit came from two groups, Citizens for a Responsible Curriculum (CRC) and Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX).

The new committee will include eight at-large members and seven members representing organizations. Under the lawsuit settlement, CRC and PFOX will get two of those seats. One organizational seat will go to a high school student representing the Maryland Association of Student Councils and one of the at-large seats must also go to a Montgomery County high school student.

Members of the new committee will be appointed by the Board in open session in October.

MCPS is currently seeking applicants — students, individuals, and representatives of organizations — for committee. Appointments are for two years for adults and one year for students. All applicants must be Montgomery County residents and members of the previous committee are eligible. Members serve without compensation.

To obtain a committee application, contact Becky Gibson at 301-279-3301 or Becky_Gibson@fc.mcps.k12.md.us or visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/boe.

Applications must be received by close of business on Friday, Sept. 9, 2005, for appointments to be made by the Board of Education at the Board meeting on Oct. 11, 2005.