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This Week in Potomac 12-13-06

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

The Cabin John Volunteer Fire Department will be passing through neighborhoods between now and Christmas with Santa riding atop a fire engine and collecting unwrapped gifts to be given to charity for children ages 6-13. The schedule for Santa's rides is:

* Friday, Dec. 15, GlenGarry, The Palisades, Carderock, Mazza Woods, Mountain Gate, Eagle Rock, Natelli Woods, Potomac Ranch.

* Sunday, Dec. 17, Avenel, Clewerwall, Carderock Springs

* Monday, Dec. 18, Williamsburg Gardens, River Road Estates, Williamsburg Estates, Concord, The Village, Potomac Village, Potomac Village Shopping Center.

* Tuesday, Dec. 19, Camotop, Falconhurst, Bradley Farms, McAuley Park, Kentdale Park, Bradley Boulevard Estates, Congressional Manor, Congressional Forest Estates.

* Wednesday, Dec. 20, Stonehurst Center, Seven Locks Hills, Burning Tree Estates, Rose Hill Estates, Laurel Hill.

Thursday, Dec. 21, Arrowood, Bradley Hills Grove, Burning Tree Valley, Bradley Park, Frenchman's Creek.

* Friday, Dec. 22, West Bethesda Park, Oakwood Knolls, Locust Ridge, Cohasset.

Saturday, Dec. 23, Bannockburn, Bannockburn Estates, Al Marrah

Sunday, Dec. 24, Santa Delivers Toys to the Children!!

Churchill Recognized as Blue Ribbon School

Winston Churchill High School in Potomac has been named a Maryland No Child Left Behind/Blue Ribbon School of Excellence for 2006-2007 by the Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE).

Churchill High School will now go on to compete for the National Blue Ribbon School honor, awarded by the U.S. Department of Education.

"I'm really pleased for the staff and the students, they've worked really hard and are being recognized for their hard work," said Churchill Principal Dr. Joan Benz.

This is the first year Maryland high schools were among schools named for this honor under the new Blue Ribbon schools award process that uses performance on state assessments as the primary criterion for selection.

One of six Blue Ribbon schools announced by MSDE on December 11, Churchill was among the schools named on the basis of superior performance on High School Assessments in algebra and English, as well as outstanding performance on SAT and Advanced Placement (AP) exams.

Under the guidance of Benz, 82.7 percent of students have passed the algebra HSA exam. In addition, 90.3 percent of Churchill students have passed the HSA in English.

Almost 76 percent of Churchill’s Class of 2006 graduates took one or more AP exams, with a mean AP exam score of 3.7, compared with the overall MCPS mean score of 3.1. In this group of graduates, 70.4 percent earned one or more AP exam scores of 3 or higher.

"It's a team effort," said Liza Durant, Churchill PTA cluster co-coordinator, "but it is really the students we should be most proud of as this honor is really a measure of their outstanding academic performance."

Other state Blue Ribbon schools are George Washington Elementary School in Baltimore City, Hereford Middle School in Baltimore County, Burleigh Manor Middle School and River Hill High School in Howard County, and Heather Hills Elementary School in Prince George’s County. The Maryland Blue Ribbon schools will be honored at a March 12, 2007, banquet in Annapolis and will be recognized by the Maryland General Assembly.

Competition for National Blue Ribbon status will include a site visit to the school and evidence of other outstanding aspects of the school’s program.

Potomac Delegates Named To Key Posts In Legislature

Delegate Brian J. Feldman (D-15) has been named Chairman of the House Subcommittee on Banking, Economic Development, Science and Technology in the Maryland General Assembly by Speaker Mike Busch. Feldman, recently re-elected to a second term, authored and gained passage of the Biotechnology Investment Incentive Act, the state's first tax credit program to promote investments in Maryland's biotechnology industry. In 2005 Feldman was named the nationwide "State Legislator of the Year" by the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO).

Delegate Kathleen M. Dumais (D-15) has been appointed House Parliamentarian by Busch. Busch slated her for this position upon her reelection to the Maryland General Assembly as a result of the legislative acumen she demonstrated during her freshman term. As Parliamentarian, she will attend and participate in senior leadership meetings and contribute to policy and strategic decisions in the House of Delegates. She has also been named chair of the House Subcommittee on Family Law, after sponsoring and achieving passage of numerous family law bills in her first term.

Churchill Celebrates Mozart

All are invited to Winston Churchill High School’s “Celebration of Mozart: Arts in Learning” concert on Thursday, Dec. 14 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bish Auditorium, Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Rd., Potomac. The program features Mozart’s Requiem performed by more than 200 students in Churchill’s show choirs and orchestras, as well as other choral performances. A coffee reception and silent auction begin at 6:15 p.m.

The Surrey To Host Men’s Night

Friday, Dec. 15, has been designated “Men’s Night” at The Surrey, 10107 River Road, Potomac. Between 5 p.m. and 8 p.m. gentlemen are invited to partake of food and drink while shopping for their favorite ladies. Gifts will be boxed and completed with perky bows. No R.S.V.P. is needed.

All gentlemen who are looking for just the right gifts for the holidays are invited. From party platters to riding attire, your can find it at The Surrey, a 53-year-old Potomac landmark.

Hanukkah Community Celebration at Cabin John

The community is invited to join for the celebration and fun as they sample Hanukkah latkes and jelly donuts at the Hanukkah Community Celebration at Cabin John Shopping Center at the intersection of Seven Locks and Tuckerman roads on Sunday, Dec. 17 at 6 p.m. The event will include a special menorah lighting ceremony, live entertainment, music and giveaways. Contact Rabbi Bluming at 301-983-4200 or by e-mail at rabbi@chanadpotomac.org.

Har Shalom Hosts Hanukkah Happening

Congregation Har Shalom’s annual

Hanukkah Happening is a family event will be held on Sunday, Dec. 17, 4:30-7 p.m. at the synagogue, 11510 Falls Road, Potomac. Parents, grandparents and kids of all ages are invited to a fun-filled evening of arts and crafts, games, moonbounce, singing, dancing and a dairy dinner (lots of latkes!). Bring your Hanukkah spirit for a group lighting ceremony. Advance admission for the event (before Dec. 12) is $7 per adult, $5 for each child and a per-family maximum of $25; after Dec. 12 or at the door it will be $8 per adult, $6 per child and a family max of $30.  Reservations strongly recommended.  For more information, call the synagogue’s program committee at 301-299-7087, ext. 2321.

Critical Blood Shortage

The National Institute of Health Blood Bank has announced an urgent need for type O blood donors. Both local and regional inventories of this blood type are dangerously low. If you are a donor with blood type O, please donate today by visiting the NIH Blood Bank located on the first floor of the Clinical Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda. Hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Please call for an appointment or directions at 301-496-1048. Convenient, free parking is available for blood donors.

If you have not donated blood before and are not sure if you are eligible, please visit www.cc.nih.gov/dtm/html/donrinfo.htm to learn more about being a donor at NIH.

Community Offers Reward After Mailbox Vandalism

in the wake of extensive vandalism to numerous mailboxes in the River Falls neighborhood between Sept. 30 and October 1, the Community Association of River Falls is offering a private reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to the arrest or indictment of those responsible for the destruction of mailboxes in their community. The reward will be offered until Dec. 16.

Police received reports for nine incidents: four on Masters Drive, one on Buckboard Court, two on Bridle Lane, one on Bridle Court, and one on Brickyard Road. The victims last saw their mailboxes intact between 3:00 p.m. and 1:00 a.m. Community members believe many more mailboxes were damaged, but the incidents were not reported to the police.

Anyone who has information in reference to this vandalism should call the Crime Solvers of Montgomery County tip line toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). The Crime Solvers phone line guarantees anonymity.

Blindness Prevention Fundraiser, Free Glaucoma Screenings at Behnke Nurseries

Behnke Nurseries is partnering with the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington (POB) for a fundraising campaign to benefit POB’s sight-saving programs.

Between Nov. 16 and Dec. 24, Behnke Nurseries will donate $1 from every purchase made at its garden centers to the Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington, as well as provide locations for free glaucoma screenings.

The Prevention of Blindness Society of Metropolitan Washington will be sponsoring free glaucoma screenings at Behnke on 9545 River Road, Potomac, on Sunday, Nov. 26 and Saturday, Dec. 16 in Potomac from 9:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Legacy Open Space Advisory Group Members Sought

The Montgomery County Planning Board seeks individuals to serve on the Legacy Open Space Advisory Group. The group provides public input on which irreplaceable natural resources, watershed lands and historic properties are purchased and preserved for future generations.

The Legacy Open Space Advisory Group reviews the program to protect identified Legacy Open Space sites; reviews new nominations of sites for protection under the program; comments on park management plans for already acquired properties; and identifies other funding sources, such as private donations and foundation grants.

Advisory Group applicants must be residents of Montgomery County with an interest in the future of the County’s parks and green spaces; have the ability to attend four evening meetings per year; and have an interest in learning more about natural resources, historic sites, green space preservation, and urban open space issues. Experience with these issues is a plus, but not necessary.

To apply, please send a letter expressing your interest to: Brenda Sandberg, Legacy Open Space Program Manager, 1109 Spring Street, Suite 800, Silver Spring, MD 20910.

For more information on the Legacy Open Space program and the Advisory Group, please contact Brenda Sandberg at 301-650-4360 or Brenda.sandberg@mncppc-mc.org.