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This Week in Potomac 1-25-06

Carjacking on Westlake Drive

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division Robbery Section are investigating the report of a carjacking that occurred on Monday, Jan. 23 in the 10250 block of Westlake Drive in Bethesda, just across from Westfield Shoppingtown Montgomery, formerly known as Montgomery Mall.

According to police, unknown suspects approached the 79-year-old female victim from Bethesda, who was in the parking lot of her residence, around noon on Monday. After asking for directions from her, the suspects grabbed for her car keys and in the struggle, the victim fell backwards striking her head and hip on the ground.

Police say the suspects took the keys and the victim's wallet and then drove away in her four-door, silver 2000 Mitsubishi Mirage. The car has a Maryland license plate with the tag number KPW-666, according to police.

Police describe the suspects as four, possibly five, African-American teenagers, with at least two being females. No further description is available at this time.

The victim’s stolen car was recovered by Metropolitan Police officers, abandoned on Benning Road, N.E., Washington, D.C. The car has been returned to Montgomery County for processing.

The victim was transported to the hospital for treatment of what are believed to be non-life-threatening injuries. She remains hospitalized at this time.

Anyone who has information about this incident is asked to call the Robbery Section at 240-773-5100. Those who wish to remain anonymous should call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477). Crime Solvers will pay a cash reward of up to $1,000 for information provided to them that leads to an arrest and/or indictment in this felony crime.

Art Mini-Exhibit at Potomac Library

The Potomac Library, at 10101 Glenolden Drive, is giving a small-scale exhibit of artworks of Irene Liu Hou, a resident of Leisure World and a member of the Rossmoor Art Guild. This “mini-exhibit,” so named for its small size, features 15 small pieces of the aritsts’ work on a brightly lighted wall window. The exhibit will run until the end of the month.

Pyle Performs ‘Bye Bye Birdie’

Pyle Middle School presents the musical “Bye Bye Birdie” on Wednesday, Jan. 25, Thursday, Jan. 26 and Friday, Jan. 27 at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7, and may be purchased at the Pyle cafeteria on the day of performances from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.

Protesting Beltway Widening

On Wednesday, after the Almanac’s press deadline, Citizens Against Beltway Expansion, a coalition of neighborhood organizations in Montgomery and Prince George's counties, planned to announce a campaign against the State Highway Administration's plan to widen the beltway and create toll lanes in the middle. George Leventhal, president of the Montgomery County Council, joined members of Citizens Against Beltway Expansion at the event.

Town Hall Meeting

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD-08) will convene a town hall meeting for residents of the Eighth Congressional District. The Congressman will report to residents about the activities of the 109th Congress, including important issues such as the war with Iraq, Social Security, education, health care, gang violence, the economy, homeland security, disaster preparedness and transportation. Van Hollen will answer questions and respond to comments from the audience. All residents of the 8th Congressional district are invited to participate in this town hall meeting at Spark Matsunaga Elementary School, 13902 Bromfield Road, Germantown, on Monday, Feb. 13, 7:30-9 p.m. Call 301-424-3501.

C&O Canal Towpath Still Closed Along Widewater

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park has extended the temporary closure of the towpath in the Widewater section of the canal, between mile 13 and 13.6, because unseasonal weather conditions have prevented placement of the final towpath surface. “We were hoping to finish this up by the end of the calendar year,” said Dan Cody, a civil engineer with the Park Service.

A detour is provided around this construction area via Berma Road. Visitors are advised to follow posted detour signs. The detour will be in effect until further notice. “It’s all weather-dependent at this point,” Cody said.

Skate at Your Own Risk on C&O Canal

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal National Historical Park reminds visitors that ice skating in the park is at your own risk. Caution should be used whenever ice skating. Before going on the ice, ensure that the frozen water is at least four inches thick. For safety, always ice skate with at least one adult, and never go ice skating alone.