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This Week in Potomac 11-23-05

TWO POTOMAC STUDENTS NAMED RHODES SCHOLARS

William L. Hwang and Rahul Satija, both Duke University seniors and Montgomery Blair High School alums from Potomac, were among the 32 recipients selected this weekend for Rhodes Scholarships. Nicholas M. Schmitz, a former Walt Whitman High School student from Bethesda and now a first class midshipman (senior) at the U.S. Naval Academy, was one of four Naval Academy students to be named a Rhodes Scholar this year.

Hwang, Satija and Schmitz were chosen from among 903 applicants at 333 colleges and universities throughout the country. Rhodes Scholarships, created in 1902 by the will of British philanthropist Cecil Rhodes, provide two or three years of study at Oxford University in England.

Hwang is a triple major in biomedical engineering, electrical and computer engineering, and physics. He has earned only a single grade in coursework lover than an A+, and that was an A. In 2003, he cofounded a nonprofit organization, United InnoWorks Academy, Inc. that develops creative science and engineering programs for young people with underprivileged backgrounds. He is also a member of a men’s volleyball squad at Duke. Hwang will pursue a doctorate in biological physics at Oxford.

Satija is a senior majoring in biology and music with a minor in math. He has been carrying out research in bioinformatics, currently focused on the sea urchin genome and smallpox virus. He is also concertmaster for the Duke Symphony Orchestra, first violinist of a student string quartet, and holds Duke’s only music performance scholarship. He teaches violin to inner city youth in Durham, N.C., and plays with the Duke recreational tennis club. Satija intends to pursue a doctoral degree in bioinformatics at Oxford.

Schmitz is a double major in political science and economics, with a minor in Japanese at the Naval Academy. He currently stands first in his class in overall Order of Merit, is a member of the varsity gymnastics team, and serves on the Brigade staff as 1st Regimental Commander. He plans to study political theory and serve in the Marine Corps.

PUBLIC HEARING ON DEVELOPMENT PROCESS

The Montgomery County Council will hold a public hearing Tuesday, November 29 at 7:30 p.m. to solicit public input on ways to strengthen the County's planning and development approval process in the wake of recent events involving the Clarksburg Town Center and other development projects in the county.

"We are anxious to hear from county residents on what should be done in the future to make sure that we have a development approval process that makes sense," said Council President Tom Perez. "We are all ears."

The hearing will be in the 7th Floor Council Chamber of the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Those wishing to testify should call 240-777-7931.

PEAK TIME FOR DEER-VEHICLE COLLISIONS

The Montgomery County Deer Management Work Group reminds county residents that it is once again the peak time for deer-auto collisions in the county.

Deer-mating season runs from October to January with a peak of activity the first three weeks of November. During this time deer are more active than usual and less wary of their surroundings, posing a greater than normal danger on the roads.

During the last 15 years, auto collisions involving deer have risen as both deer and human populations have increased in the county.  Since 2000, the accidents have leveled off, but remain common. Montgomery County Police reported about 2,000 deer-auto collisions last year.

The most important thing drivers can do to reduce the chances of being in anPEAK TIMEe the speed limit. At night reduce speeds below the limit, especially during rain or fog.

Other things to keep in mind:

• Deer are most active at dawn and dusk.

• Watch for deer where roads pass through wooded or rural areas.

• Deer crossing signs indicate where heavily used deer trails cross roadways. Slow down and watch for the eye-shine of deer near the road edges.

• Deer usually travel in groups. If you see a deer cross the road, slow down and use caution; more are likely to follow.

If a deer jumps in front of your car, brake in a controlled manner. Deer are quick and agile; it is more likely that they will leap out of your path than that you will be able to brake and steer around them. Most serious injuries occur when a driver skids out of control and leaves the road or swerves into oncoming traffic.

DEER HUNTS IN BLOCKHOUSE, MUDDY BRANCH

The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission announced plans Monday to expand its managed deer hunt program.

New hunt locations include the Serpentine Barrens Conservation Park and Muddy Branch Stream Valley Park in Potomac as well as the Dry Seneca Stream Valley Park in Poolesville, portions of the Great Seneca Stream Valley Park and North Germantown Greenway Park in Goshen.

This decision follows recommendations from an inter-agency work group commissioned to help reduce deer-related traffic accidents and other negative impacts.

Hunts in Potomac will take place at the Serpentine Barrens and Muddy Branch Parks, and Blockhouse Point Conservation Park (an existing hunt location) Tuesdays Nov. 8 and 22 and Dec. 13.

The parks will be closed from sunrise until sunset those days, and closure notices will be posted.

For more information, visit www.mc-mncppc.org/environment/deer/index.shtm or call the Commission’s deer information hotline at 301-495-3585.