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This Week in Potomac 3-15-06

DUNCAN FULLY FUNDS MCPS OPERATING BUDGET

Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan announced March 13 that he has included full funding for the Board of Education's $1.8 billion Fiscal Year 2007 operating budget in his county budget for next year. In addition, Duncan announced an additional $117 million in funding to keep school construction projects slated for 2007 and 2008 on schedule.

In January, MCPS officials warned that Duncan's funding of school system's capital budget request would result in delays for numerous construction projects, including several in Potomac. Duncan had fully funded the request, but the money was weighted toward latter part of the six-year period considered in county capital plans.

MCPS will also roll out full-day kindergarten at 30 more elementary schools next year.

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.

BOY SCOUT SPAGHETTI DINNER

Boy Scout Troop 773 in Potomac will hold its 47th annual spaghetti dinner March 18, 5-8 p.m. at the parish house of Potomac United Methodist Church, 10300 Falls Road (Falls and South Glen).

Scouts will be serving spaghetti along with coffee and a variety of desserts. Tickets are $8 and proceeds support troop outings and activities.

'BEACH WEEK' MEETING

Walt Whitman High School parents have organized an informational meeting for parents on planning for a safe "Beach Week," also known as "Senior Week," when many graduating seniors head to the Delaware and Maryland beaches.

The meeting will be Wednesday, March 29 at 7:30 p.m. in the Walt Whitman High School cafeteria.

Beach Week is not a school endorsed activity and many students select alternative activities for that week, but the meeting organizers wish to make information available to those parents and students who do plan to attend.

Corporal Cliff Dempsey of the Dewey Beach Police Department and Donald Robinson of the Delaware Alcohol Beverage Commission will speak at the meeting.

For more information, contact Whitman parent Rebecca Byers at rbcadc@aol.com.

FORUM ON UNDERAGE DRINKING

There will be a Montgomery County Community Forum on Underage Drinking, entitled "Start Talking Before they Start Drinking" on Thursday, March 30, 7- 9 p.m. at the Carver Auditorium, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville. The forum will be appropriate for parents and children ages 8 and up. Light refreshments will be served, and attendance is free.

For more information or to reserve a space contact Kathie Durbin at 240-777-1917 or Emily DeTitta at 240-777-1904.

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.