This Week in Potomac 4-5-06

This Week in Potomac 4-5-06


The Montgomery County Council voted unanimously April 4 to establish an ad hoc committeee to advise it on issues surrounding the county's 93,000-acre Agricultural Reserve.

The measure come in response to a flurry of recent battles over property rights, development, and agricultural preservation in the Reserve.

Late last year, the Council declined to allow large churches to set up campuses in the Reserve and established strict limits on paved surfaces in new developments.

More recently, Councilmembers Tom Perez (D-5) and Marilyn Praisner (D-4) proposed a moratorium on non-traditional septic systems in the Reserve, which they say are allowing residential development that was never intended.

But Council President George Leventhal (D-At Large) expressed reservations about the moratorium and proposed the task force instead.

Critics of the move say that it effectively shelves some of the county's most divisive land-use until after November's elections.

The Council will ask the task force to review pending and potential legislation concerning child lots, proposed building lot termination programs, uses of sand mound technology, and technical tracking and use issues associated with the Transfer of Development Rights program.

The group would report back to the Council "by year's end," according to a Council press release.

The Council is seeking applicants with significant knowledge of the issues involved. Those interested in serving on the Working Group, which will include 10-15 members, should send letters of interest by April 21 to Council President George Leventhal, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850. For more information, call Justina Ferber at 240-777-7938.

—Ken Millstone


Two Potomac teenagers were injured March 29, when a Mercedes station wagon ran a stop sign, struck a jeep and overturned, according to the Montgomery County Police.

Two of the passengers in the Mercedes, Amir Jahanshad, 17, of the 7800 block of Heatherton Lane in Potomac, and Jad Stephen Hopper, 18, of the 10900 block of Old Coach Road in Potomac, were taken to the hospital for treatment of their non-life threatening injuries.

The driver, Zachari Sewell Cooper, 17, of the 7800 block of Heatherton Lane in Potomac, and another passenger in the Mercedes were not injured.

At 11:38 a.m., officers responded to the intersection of Regency Drive and Georgetowne Drive for the report of a personal injury collision. Witnesses told them that the Mercedes was traveling south on Regency Drive faster than the 25 mph speed limit when it ran a stop sign and struck a 2004 Jeep Liberty that was traveling east on Georgetowne Drive.

The driver of the jeep and her passenger, both 17-year-olds from Potomac, were not injured.

Cooper, was issued two traffic citations: failure to stop at a stop sign and negligent driving, according to the police.


More than two dozen senior citizens were displaced from their homes at the North Potomac Senior Community after a fire on Tuesday, March 28 that caused $300,000 in damages.

Some seniors had to be rescued, but no one was injured in the fire.

About 75 firefighters responded to the fire, which broke out around 10:15 p.m. at the senior living complex at 11924 Darnestown Road. It took about 15 minutes to extinguish the two-alarm blaze. The building had residential fire sprinklers. The fire was caused by a malfunction with a faulty heater.

Residents from 25 units have been displaced.

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan recently signed an Executive Order creating a Senior Citizen Fire Safety Task Force

Five people died in fires in Montgomery County last year and all five were over the age of 75.


The 18th Annual Potomac River Watershed Cleanup is Saturday, April 8, 9 a.m.-noon, rain or shine. The cleanup is organized organized by the nonprofit environmental education group Alice Ferguson Foundation. Last year, 5,875 volunteers at 309 sites in four states and Washington, D.C. collected nearly 218 tons of old tires, shopping carts, cans, bottles, basketballs and other debris were pulled off the banks of rivers and creeks.

The Potomac sites listed below are among more than 100 in the Washington area.

For information on volunteering, directions to sites and other information call 301-292-6665 or visit

Potomac sites:

Swains Lock

Site Leader: Jim Heins, C & O Canal Association: or 301-949-3518

Notes: Can accommodate 25 volunteers

Cabin John Creek near Glen Echo

Directions: Park and meet at the one-lane bridge on MacArthur Boulevard near the intersection of MacArthur and Wilson Lane. Follow trail along Cabin John Creek down towards the C&O Canal between mile markers seven and eight.

Site Leader: Beth Rogers, Girl Scout Troop 3467

Notes: Volunteers welcome. No need to call ahead, just show up ready to work.

Site not suitable for volunteers with disabilities.

Great Falls Tavern

Site Leaders: Jim Heins and Steve DeLanoy, C&O Canal Association

Notes: Can accommodate 40 volunteers. More information at

C&O Canal

Carderock to the American Legion Bridge

Site Leader: Paul Fitzpatrick, Earth Share Federation,

Notes: Can accommodate 40 volunteers.

Old Angler’s Inn

Site Leaders: Elizabeth Benefiel and Rita Gerharz, The Bullis School


Thomas S. Wootton High School won a statewide award from the Siemens Foundation for being a leader in Advanced Placement test participation and performance. Wootton received a $1,000 grant from the Siemens Foundation to be used to support math and science education.

Advanced Placement is a program of the College Board, which administers the SAT and other tests.

The foundation names a top AP school, AP teacher, and male and female AP science student each year.

Montgomery Blair High School students Yueyang Li and John Kim won the Siemens Foundation scholarships of $2,000 each. Blair magnet teacher Nannette Dyas won the Siemens state teacher award and $1,000.


Volunteers are needed to help with the Potomac Clean & Green roadside and park clean up on Sat., April 8, 10 a.m.-noon. Meet in the parking lot near the Safeway gazebo for assignments. Wear boots or sturdy shoes, long sleeves and gloves. Litter bags will be provided. For more information or to sign up in advance, call Peggy Dennis at 301-983-9738.


The ninth annual Cassidy and Pinkard Race for Hope 5K run and walk takes place Sunday, May 7 at Freedom Plaza in Washington, beginning at 8:30 a.m. The race raises money for the non-profit Brain Tumor Society, a research and education organization.

Several Potomac families are major organizers and fund-raisers for the Society and the annual race. Seven Locks Elementary School parents Chris and Lisa Peabody raised more than $20,000 last year. They have participated annually since their nine-month-old daughter Caroline died from a brain tumor.

To learn more, register, or contribute visit An Almanac story about the Peabodys and the Race for Hope—published a year ago—can be found at


Winston Churchill High School students Jacinta Li and Rita Lin achieved semi-finalist status in the USA Biology Olympiad. They will compete for one of twenty spots at the USA Biology Olympiad National Finals.

Churchill’s Programming Team of seniors, Alex Kovalchuck and Erik Schaeffer and juniors Max Fang and Jonathan Sternberg placed No. 3 out of 40 teams at the University of Maryland High School Programming contest.


Churchill’s Concert Orchestra and Symphonic Orchestra both received superior ratings at the MCPS Orchestra Festival, and the Symphonic Orchestra received the highest scores in all of MCPS.

Churchill’s Showstoppers and Simply Irresistible show choirs competed this weekend at the Lee-Davis/Hanover Festival of Choirs at Hanover High School in Virginia.  Showstoppers came in third place out of 11 mixed show choirs, and Simply Irresistible came in third place out of 11 single-gender show choirs and won for Best Choreography.  Both choirs are directed by Carlos Barillo, Churchill's choral department director.