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This Week in Potomac 3-15-06

PLANNING ENVIRONMENTAL PRESERVATION

The Montgomery County Planning Board plans to develop a Green Infrastructure Master Plan that will outline a comprehensive vision for preserving the county’s environmental; resources.

The Board will receive community input on the proposed plan at a public hearing Thursday, March 9 at 7 p.m.

An initial outreach report—available at http://mcparkandplanning.org/green_infrastructure/index.shtm—explains why natural resources connections are important and why the county needs a functional master plan to protect them. It also outlines the relationship of this plan to other state and county plans and programs, and the proposed timeline and outreach strategy for its development.

To get involved in the development of the plan, contact environmental planner Mark Symborski at mark.symborski@mncppc-mc.org 301-495-4636.

RIDES FOR ST. PATRICK'S DAY

The Washington Regional Alcohol Program 's St. Patty's Day SoberRide program will be in operation on Friday, March 17 from 4 p.m. until 4 a.m. the following morning

During this 12-hour period, area residents celebrating St. Patrick's Day with alcohol may call the toll-free SoberRide phone number, 800-200-TAXI, and a receive a free trip home, up to a $50 fare. Cingular Wireless customers can dial #-TAXI for the same service. Local taxicab companies throughout the Washington-metropolitan area provide this no-cost service to local residents age 21 and older who otherwise may have attempted to drive home after drinking.

SoberRide is offered throughout Montgomery County as well as in the District of Columbia, Prince George's County, Fairfax County, eastern Loudon County and other areas

Since 1993, WRAP's SoberRide program has provided more than 33,000 free cab rides home to would-be impaired drivers in the Washington area.

For more information, visit www.soberride.com.

TAX CLINIC MARCH 18

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen will host a tax clinic on Saturday, March 18, 9:30-11 a.m. at Sligo Middle School, 1401 Dennis Avenue in Silver Spring. Representatives from federal, state, and county taxing authorities will be present to answer tax questions and provide information on electronic filing, earned income tax credits, child tax credits, disaster relief credits, green energy tax credits, and other topics. A sign language interpreter will be provided. For more information, call 301-424-3501

FORUM ON M.S. IMPROVEMENTS

Parents and students are invited to attend a series of public forums to discuss ways to strengthen Montgomery County Public Schools’ middle school programs. Feedback and from the public will help guide the school system's middle school reform initiative.

The forums will be Thursday, March 23, at Herbert Hoover Middle School in Potomac,

Wednesday, March 29 at Montgomery Village Middle School and Monday, April 3 at Francis Scott Key Middle School. All there forums are from 7-9 p.m. Interpreters for Spanish, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, and French will be available.

For directions to the schools or more information, visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org.

CHURCHILL SPORTS NIGHT GALA

A dinner and cocktail reception, silent auction, and a performance by comedian Roger Mursick will all be part of CHS Sports Night 2006 at Bethesda Country Club on Friday, March 10, a fund-raiser for the athletics program at Winston Churchill High School. Last year’s Hall of Fame Gala raised $140,000 that went to restore three athletic fields at Churchill and purchased equipment for the swimming and track teams. Admission is $125, with proceeds going to field maintenance, a “reel” mower for the lower athletic field, repairs to the softball field drainage, track and field equipment, and uniforms for Churchill’s volleyball, golf, basketball, softball and baseball teams. Call Rich LaFleur at 703-847-7550 or e-mail bulldogbooster@bulldogbooster.org.

CONSERVANCY SEEKS EVENT LEADERS

As the Potomac Conservancy prepares the new Lockhouse 8 River Center for its first full season of operation, it is seeking volunteers to lead recreational activities and outreach events.

Volunteers are encouraged to share their knowledge and talents: lead a naturalist walk, teach a wood-carving class, or give a banjo lesson.

The River Center at Lockhouse 8 offers visitors a new understanding of the Potomac River, its connection to the Chesapeake Bay, and what they can do to protect these special resources. It will reopen in May.

Contact Heather Montgomery, conservation program assistant at montgomery@potomac.org.

CONGRESSIONAL ART COMPETITION

High school students invited t participate in the 25th Annual Congressional Art Competition. All students who live or attend school in Maryland's eighth congressional district are eligible to participate in the contest sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen.

The entries will be exhibited at Strathmore Arts Center April 1-28 and the winning entry will be displayed for one year in the U.S. Capitol with the winners from each of the nation's 435 districts.

Runners-up will be displayed in Van Hollen's congressional offices.

Entry forms must be signed by the entrant, a teacher, and a parent and faxed by March 15 301-424-5992

Forms and more detailed information are available at www.house.gov/vanhollen. Questions may be directed to Congressional Art Competition Coordinator Linda Pepper at 301-657-8650 or at pepper461@aol.com.