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This Week in Potomac 9-28-05

CRIME STATS SHOW SPIKE IN ROBBERIES

Violent crimes in Montgomery County decreased 6 percent and other crimes increased 4 percent in the first half of 2005, compared to the same period a year ago. Overall crime was essentially unchanged.

Murders were down 40 percent from 10 to 6 between January and June of this year, but rapes increased 11 percent from 64 to 71 and robberies increased 21 percent from 352 to 426.

Commercial robberies, including bank robberies, increased 64 percent from 55 in the first six months of 2004 to 90 in the same time period for 2005.

Commercial burglaries were off 18.5 percent and residential burglaries rose 8 percent compared to a year ago.

Fatal collisions were down from 29 to 23 and pedestrian fatalities decreased from 7 to 5.

COUNCIL VOTES TO REQUIRE DOG LEASHING

The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously Sept. 20 to approve revisions to the County’s animal control law , including the requirement that all dogs be leashed in public.

The law allows dogs to remain unleashed in county-sponsored dog parks and during “qualified activities” such as hunting, chasing, obedience or agility training, herding, tracking, or search and rescue.

The former law allowed dogs to be unleashed if “under verbal command” of the dog owner.

“These changes protect people and other animals alike from aggressive, unleashed dogs,” said the Council's Public Safety Committee Chair Phil Andrews (D-3) in a statement. “The previous law, allowing for unleashed dogs under ‘verbal command,’ was vague and unenforceable.”

The animal control revisions also provide for the microchipping of dangerous animals and those impounded as strays, allowing for easier identification of the owners of these animals.

COMMUNITY CENTER HOSTS FAMILY FUNFEST

The Potomac Community Center hosts Family FunFest at 11315 Falls Road on Friday, Sept. 30, 5-8 p.m., featuring carnival games, prizes, moonbounce, obstacle course, face painting, spin art and food. Tickets are $5 for unlimited rides and games. Following the FunFest is Family Bingo Night from 8-9:30 p.m. Bingo booklets are $5, good for all prizes. Call 301-777-6960.

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.

CAR WASH FOR HURRICANE KATRINA

Connelly School of the Holy Child students will be hold a car wash Saturday, Oct. 1, 1:30-4 p.m. to benefit the victims of Hurricane Katrina. The students will be collecting donations to contribute to the Katrina relief funds.

Connelly School of the Holy Child is located at 9029 Bradley Blvd., near the intersection of Bradley Blvd. and River Road.

For more information, call 301-365-0955 or visit www.holychild.org.

PAGE'S RUN BENEFITS CYSTIC FIBROSIS FOUNDATION

Join the first annual Page’s Run 5K, a 5-kilometer race and quarter-mile fun run through the neighborhoods around Winston Churchill High School on Oct. 16. Page’s Run honors Kimberly “Page” Whetsell, who died of cystic fibrosis at the age of 22 on June 3, 2005. Proceeds will benefit the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Call race director Steven Bettis, Churchill’s cross country coach, at 301-343-5633, e-mail coachbettis@yahoo.com, or visit www.pagesrun.com.

POTOMAC DAY TO HELP KATRINA VICTIMS

The Potomac Chamber of Commerce will donate proceeds from Potomac Day 2005 to Hurricane Katrina relief.

"Every year we choose a charity and we try to get local charities, but this year with the catastrophic level of Katrina, we though our resources would best be used there," said Chamber president Andrea Alderdice.

A specific charity has not yet been selected, though Alderdice said the American Red Cross and Salvation Army were likely candidates.

Potomac Day is a free event for community members, but raises money through the business fair and registration fees for the 5K fun run. The Chamber uses that money to cover event costs and donates the rest to charity — usually $5,000 or more.

"I think it may be more this year," Alderdice said. "We've gotten bigger and better every year."