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This Week in Potomac 11-15-06

Be Part of the Children’s Almanac

During the last week of the year, the Potomac Almanac publishes the Children’s Almanac, a collection of artwork, photographs, reviews, stories, poems and other creative writing created by students. We invite submissions from individual students, from art classes, from teachers and schools who have collected material from their classes, from public schools, from private schools, from nursery schools and high schools, from homeschool families. Submissions for the Children’s Almanac are due in the first week of December.

Mail submissions to The Potomac Almanac, Children’s edition, 7913 Westpark Drive, McLean, Va. 22102. Digital photos of artwork, and word or text documents for creative writing are preferred, but all submissions are welcome. Contact editor Alex Scofield with questions at PotomacAlmanac@hotmail.com, or 703-917-6453.

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.

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 these vandalisms 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.

Police Make Arrest for Theft from Rockville Swim Center Lockers

Investigators from the Montgomery County Police Retail Theft Unit have arrested a Germantown man for charges related to the theft of credit cards from patrons of the Rockville Swim Center, located at 355 Martins Lane in Rockville.

On Oct. 7, a wallet containing credit cards was stolen from the locker of a 59-year-old man from N. Potomac, as he used the facilities at the swim center. A short time later, loss prevention officers of the Target store in Gaithersburg observed a black male suspect using the stolen credit cards to purchase electronics.

On Oct. 9, a wallet containing credit cards was again stolen from a locker at the swim center. The victim was a 41-year-old man from Gaithersburg. The same black male suspect used the victim’s credit cards to make purchases at the Target store in Germantown. Additional charges were also made at other area stores, and a gas station as well.

According to police, loss prevention officers at a local Sports Authority identified the suspect as Kevin Bowman, age 19, of the 13300 block of Whitechurch Circle in Germantown. According to police, detectives were able to confirm his identity using witness information and video surveillance from the swim center during the period in question.

On Oct. 26, an arrest warrant was obtained for Bowman, charging him with two counts of theft under $500, theft by scheme - over $500, two counts of identity theft, and two counts of stealing the credit card of another.

On Oct. 31, 2006, police located Bowman and placed him under arrest. Bond was set at $15,000 for Bowman. On Nov. 1, he made bond and was released pending trial.

Anyone who may have information about these crimes is asked to call 911, or the county police non-emergency number at 201-279-9000. Those who wish to remain anonymous may call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free 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 these crimes.

Cold Weather is Here: Are You Fire Safe?

Time to Check Home Heating Systems and Smoke Alarms.

As cold temperatures embrace the Metro area, the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offer some safety tips. The fall season and the approaching winter months are typically the busiest time of the year for firefighters. Cooking, home heating systems, heating equipment and associated electrical systems, as well as holiday decorations too close to a heat source continuously are a significant factor in structural fires in Montgomery County. Many of these fires can be prevented. The following fire safety tips and information can help you maintain a fire-safe home and business this winter.

* Be sure your heater is in good working condition. Inspect exhaust parts for carbon build-up. Inspect electrical systems for overloads.

* Never use fuel burning appliances without proper room venting. Burning fuel such as kerosene, coal or propane, for (example) produces deadly fumes.

* Keep young children safely away from space heaters -- especially when they are wearing nightgowns or other loose clothing that can be easily ignited. Give space heaters space!

Kitchen Fires. Most kitchen fires occur because food is left unattended on the stove or in the oven. If you must leave the kitchen while cooking, take a spoon or potholder with you to remind you to return to the kitchen. Never cook with loose, dangling sleeves that can ignite easily. Heat cooking oils gradually and use extra caution when deep-frying. If a fire breaks out in a pan, put a lid on the pan. Never throw water on a grease fire. Never use a range or stove to heat your home.

Space Heaters. Buy only Underwriter's Laboratory (UL) approved heaters. Use only the manufacturer's recommended fuel for each heater. Do not use electric space heaters in the bathroom or around other wet areas. Do not dry or store

objects on top of your heater. Keep combustibles away from heat sources. Give space heaters space!

Smoking. We prefer that you don't smoke at all, but if you must - Don't leave smoking materials unattended. Use "safety ashtrays" with wide lips. Empty all ashtrays into the toilet or a metal container every night before going to bed. Never smoke in bed. Don't smoke when drowsy.

Candles. Keep burning candles out of children's and pet's reach; keep matches and lighters out of sight and locked away. Make sure they are in stable holders. Do not leave candles unattended and especially around children or pets.

Do not place candles near draperies or anything that might easily catch fire.

Make sure you put out candles when you go to bed or leave the home.

Fireplace Ashes. Remember never discard hot ashes inside or near the home. Place them in a metal container outside and well away from the house. Have your furnace and chimney professionally inspected and cleaned. Chimney tar build-up can ignite your chimney, roof and the whole house.

Change Your Clock and Change Your Battery. Recently, on Oct. 29, when we changed our clocks from Daylight Saving Time back to Eastern Standard Time and it was a good time to get into a lifesaving habit - when you Change Your Clock Change Your Battery. It’s not too late!

It is important that all residents know to have a working smoke alarm on each level of a home, have an escape plan (know how to get out quickly) and call the fire department from a safe area, preferably a neighbor's house. Do not delay. Do not return back in to your house. Call 911 right away.