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This Week in Potomac 6-22-05

INMATE DIES IN CELL

Detectives with the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division, Homicide and Sex section are investigating the death of an inmate at the Montgomery County Detention Center at 1307 Seven Locks Road.

At 11:45 p.m. June 16, 1st District police officers responded to the Detention Center for an emergency transport.

The initial investigation revealed that an inmate, Charles Haines, 42, of the 1300 block of Wiley Street, NE in Washington D.C., collapsed in his cell while brushing his teeth. His cellmate called for help and Montgomery County Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation officers immediately performed CPR until rescue units arrived. Haines was transported to Shady Grove Hospital where he was pronounced deceased at 12:30 a.m. June 17.

There is no evidence of foul play. An autopsy will be performed to determine the cause and manner of his death.

FREE CAB RIDES JULY 3-4

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program will operate its SoberRide program July 3 and 4, 4 p.m.-4 a.m. each day, to help keep impaired drivers off the roads. The program offers free taxi service to people celebrating the holiday with alcohol. The service is offered to area residents 21 and older who might otherwise have driven home after drinking.

Residents in Montgomery County, Prince George's County, Washington, D.C., and four Northern Virginia counties may call 1-800-200-TAXI and receive a free cab ride (up to a $50 fare) to get home safely. Cingular Wireless customers may also call #-TAXI for the same service.

Independence Day is the second-deadliest annual holiday for drivers, with more alcohol-related fatalities than New Year's, St. Patrick's Day, and Superbowl Sunday combined.

Washington Regional Alcohol Program is a non-profit, public-private partnership that addresses drunk driving and underage drinking. More than 10 local taxi companies donate the SoberRide service with the support of corporate sponsors.

CURE AUTISM NOW RUN

The fifth annual five kilometer run and family fun walk in Potomac takes place Monday, July 4, beginning next to the Potomac Library. The race benefits Cure Autism Now. The 5K road race starts 8 a.m.; 1-mile walk starts 8:05 a.m.

When the first CAN 5K took place in Potomac five years ago, one in 500 children was diagnosed with autism. Now there are one in 150 children diagnosed with autism. Improved diagnostic methods account for part of this increase, but not all of it. “This is a national epidemic,” said race organizer Susan Pereles.

To register or donate or for more information visit www.canrun.org.

SCHOOLS SEEK USED SUPPLIES

Montgomery County Public Schools and Learn Shop,  Inc. are collecting used school supplies in good condition for children in need as part of their annual Drive for Supplies

The groups seeking pencils, rulers, paper, glue, notebooks, crayons, scissors, folders, markers, dictionaries, etc. No clothing will be accepted.

Businesses and individuals may drop off donations in the cafeteria of Julius West Middle School, 651 Great Falls Road in Rockville July 5-8.

Students wishing to earn service learning hours may help sort and pack the supplies. For more information, contact the MCPS Student Affairs Office at 301-279-4957.

FUNDING FOR RESCUE TEAM

A provision of the 2006 Homeland Security Appropriations bill includes funding for Montgomery County's Urban Search and Rescue Task Force, according to Senators Barbara A. Mikulski (D-Md.) and Paul Sarbanes (D-Md.). The $30 million appropriation is a $27 million increase over President Bush's proposal.

The Montgomery County Task Force is part of a framework designed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency for bringing local emergency personnel into integrated disaster response task forces. The team responded to the attack on the Pentagon on Sept. 11, 2001.

The bill will move to the Senate floor for a vote, which has not yet been scheduled, and then move to a House-Senate Conference Committee, before returning to both houses for a final vote.

Mikulski is a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee and Sarbanes is a member of the Budget Committee.

PADDLE FOR CONSERVATON

Registration is open for the fourth annual Potomac Sojourn, a week-long canoeing and kayaking expedition with visits to important sites along the river, shoreline camping, ecological restoration projects, festive meals, meetings with elected officials, and more.

The Sojourn is co-sponsored by the Interstate Commission on the Potomac and the Alliance for the Chesapeake Bay to boost awareness of the Potomac River’s importance to the region and encourage residents to play an active role in its restoration. Novice and experienced paddlers are welcome to join, and may sign up for all or part of the trip.

The trip begins July 9 in Shepherdstown, W.Va. and ends in Great Falls, Va. with planned stops at White’s Ferry and Pennyfield Lock in Montgomery County.

For more information and registration, visit www.acb-online.org/project.cfm?vid=241.