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This Week in Potomac 10-11-06

Avenel's Request for Renovation Raises Environmental Concerns

TPC at Avenel, an 18-hole championship golf course located at 10000 Oaklyn Dr., has asked the Planning Board for permission to renovate their existing facilities and landscaping. Most of the requested modifications are environmental in nature. The golf course is partially located in the floodplain of the Rock Runs stream, and flooding, stream bank erosion and sedimentation have posed problems, such as at the Booz Allen Classic earlier this year, when the final round was pushed back two days, the longest delay for a PGA tournament in more than 20 years.

Some residents are concerned that Avenel's proposed renovations could be harmful to the environment. The Brickyard Citizens Association distributed fliers warning that Avenel "has asked the county for permission to move, straighten, and in other ways modify nearly a mile of Rock Run creek." Citizen associations for Brickyard, Mazza, River Falls and Avenel are convening a meeting for their residents at the River Falls Community Center on Wednesday, Oct. 11, at 7 p.m. Avenel representatives will make a presentation at the meeting and answer questions.

There will be a Board of Appeals hearing on the matter on Friday, Oct. 13.

Councilmembers Seek to Protect Champion Trees

Earlier this month, Coucilmembers Howard A. Denis (R-1) and Marilyn Praisner (D-4) introduced legislation today clarifying that the forest conservation law applies to Champion Trees wherever located and irrespective of the minimum lot size upon which the tree is growing.

A Champion Tree is the largest tree of its species in the County as designated by the County Forest Conservancy District Board. The County Forestry Board solicits nominations for champion trees from April through October in even numbered years. A professional forester measures the nominated tree and new championship certificates are awarded in April of odd numbered years as part of the County’s annual Arbor Day celebration.

Board of Elections Seeks Judges

Don't let the term fool you — you don't have to be an attorney to be an election day judge. The Board of Elections needs check-in judges, voting unit judges, and assistant chief judges. To learn more about the positions, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/elections/questionnaire.pdf. Democrats interested in volunteering can call the Board of Elections at 240-777-8570 or e-mail democrats@montgomerycountymd.gov. Republicans and all others can call 240-777-8575 or e-mail republicans@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Capitol Steps Perform at Churchill

The musical political satire of the Capitol Steps comes to Winston Churchill High School’s Gertrude Bish Auditorium, 11300 Gainsborough Road, on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 7 p.m. Proceeds will benefit the Winston Churchill High School Education Foundation. Tickets are $25 or $30. For an order form, visit www.churchillhs.org and click on "Capital Steps," and call 301-469-1242 or e-mail capsteps@churchillhs.org with ticket questions.

A Matter of Life and Death on Canal

Life and Death on the C&O Canal, an annual event at C&O Canal National Historical Park by Great Falls Tavern, takes place Oct. 21. Groups of 25 people at a time are taken every 15 minutes, beginning at 6:30 p.m., with the last group beginning at 9 p.m. Volunteers and National Park Staff dressed in period costume take participants for a fun and educational look at the darker side of canal history. Visitors will witness historic vignettes of strife and death that occurred during the canal’s history, and can learn about the struggles, accidents, epidemics and the American Civil War that plagued the men and women who lived and labored along the canal.

Advanced reservations are required. Tickets are $6 for adults, $4 for children 4-14 or seniors 62 or over. Children 3 and under are free; parental discretion is advised. Call 301-767-3714 or visit www.nps.gov/choh.

Seniors, People with Disabilities Ride Free

Seniors and people with disabilities can ride free on Metrobus in Montgomery County and Ride On, Monday through Friday, 9:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Seniors must be 65 years or older and have a valid Metro Senior ID card or Medicare card and photo ID, and persons with disabilities must have a Metro Disabled ID card. For more information, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov, then click "Transportation," then "Ride On."

Watershed Restoration Projects

<lst>The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Baltimore District) is investigating aquatic ecosystem restoration opportunities in conjunction with Montgomery County. Feasibility studies for a watershed-based restoration approach will be conducted for Muddy Branch and Great Seneca Creek. Goals include study and documentation of existing conditions; identification of problems and potential improvements; and identification of stormwater management and stream restoration needs. If you have any questions regarding this project, contact Jean Kapusnick at 410-962-4771 or jean.a.kapusnick@usace.army.mil.

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.

Daylight Saving Time Ends

Daylight Saving Time Ends on Sunday, Oct. 29 at 2 a.m. Remember "Fall Back" when changing clocks, and change the batteries in smoke detectors. Crime and collisions typically increase due to the increased periods of darkness.

Deer Hunts Scheduled

The Montgomery County Department of Parks plans to continue its deer management strategies this fall and winter. These initiatives will include carefully managed shotgun hunts in which only hunters who meet the highest level of state and county safety standards are permitted to participate.

Each participating park location will be closed from sunrise until sunset on hunting day(s). Appropriate park closing notices will be posted throughout each park. Expertly trained Park Police officers will conduct sharpshooting operations at some of the parks. Those parks will be closed to the public from 5:30 p.m. until sunrise from January 1 through March 31, 2007. Appropriate park closing notices will be posted throughout those parks as well.

Management shotgun deer hunting is scheduled in Blockhouse Point Conservation Park on Tuesday, Nov. 14. For further information and a complete list of parks where hunts are scheduled, visit www.mc-mncppc.org/environment/deer/index.shtm or call the Department of Parks’ deer information hotline at 301/495-3585.

Important Back-to-School Safety Reminders

Montgomery County Public Schools are back in session, and Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, along with the officers of the Montgomery County Police Department, want to encourage all community members to continue to make the safety of our children a top priority.

All drivers should be on the lookout for young pedestrians who will be walking to and from school. Parents should set aside time to remind their children of the following: cross streets at marked crosswalks, look both ways before crossing the street, and don't cross the street between parked cars. If there isn't a sidewalk and it is necessary to walk in the street, walk on the left side facing traffic. Children and adults should follow the directions of our Crossing Guards who are there to assist and protect students.

Some students will be riding bicycles to school. Please remind them that they must follow all traffic rules and signs, i.e. stop signs and traffic lights. By law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle, while riding on a public street, right-of-way, or on a bicycle path.

Many students will be riding buses to school and all drivers are strongly reminded that they are required to stop at least 20 feet from school busses that are stopped with flashing red lights. It is also recommended that adults accompany young children to bus stops, and remain with them until the bus arrives.

The start of the school season is also a good time to remind children of basic safe practices. Children should not speak to strangers, and once they are home, they should not open or answer a knock at the door if an adult is not present without first determining who is there. Every child should have a list of parents', neighbors', and/or relatives' phone numbers that they can call for assistance. Children should also know when it is appropriate to call 9-1-1.

County police remind motorists that the violations of these Maryland Transportation Articles may result in the following penalties: speeding in a school zone incurs a fine of up to $1,000 and 5 points on your license, and passing a school bus with flashing red lights incurs a fine of $550 and 3 points against your license.

Parents who bring their children to school or pick them up after school, are reminded to obey the "No Parking, No Stopping, and No Standing" signs in a School Zone. A violation of this sign incurs a fine of $50.

"Seven Signs of Terrorism" Video Recommended Viewing

The Montgomery County Police Department recommends that community members view an informational video, "The Seven Signs of Terrorism," to help them become more knowledgeable about the types of suspicious behaviors that might precede a terrorist attack. This video is available for viewing on the Montgomery County and Montgomery County Police websites.

The Montgomery County Police "Seven Signs of Terrorism" video was based on a video developed by Michigan State Police in February of 2005. The Montgomery County "Seven Signs of Terrorism" video is narrated by MCP Chief J. Thomas Manger, and the performers are police officers, civilian police employees and police department volunteers.

Reminders to the public include: If the suspicious activity of a person is right in front of you, don't hesitate to call 911. For those that are in the state of Maryland, and are aware of an on-going situation that seems suspicious, calls can be made to the Maryland Coordination and Analysis Center at 1-800-492-TIPS (8477).

The video, which runs approximately seven minutes long, can be viewed on the home page of the Montgomery County government Web site under "Emergency Preparedness - Seven Signs of Terrorism video": www.montgomerycountymd.gov and at the bottom of the home page of the Montgomery County Police Web site under "Other Useful Links" - "Seven Signs of Terrorism": www.montgomerycountymd.gov/police.

What to Say When Calling 9-1-1

When somebody calls 911 for help, the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. Certain types of injuries, illness and even structure fires seem to occur more often around this time of the year. The end of the summer season and impending fall weather can mean busy times for area firefighters and emergency medical first responders.

Injuries are typically those associated with slips, falls or vehicle collisions, more often than not related to changing weather conditions, while the illnesses may be associated to predisposing medical conditions related to stroke or heart disease. Over seventy percent of the calls for help are associated with emergency medical services.

Whatever the need for emergency services, Montgomery County emergency call takers will ask specific questions in order to send the most appropriate help. In doing so for medical emergencies, dispatchers use a special screening process called Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD). The 911 call taker will normally ask a series of questions to come up with an appropriate level of response based on the information provided by the caller.

The first and most important bits of information required are the address and phone number, in case there is a disconnect or other issue during the 911 call process.

If a medical call is being reported, call takers will ask questions such as age and gender, and the exact problem being reported. Next, a series of questions that may follow, for a sick person: Is he/she breathing normally? Does he/she have chest pain? Is he/she bleeding or vomiting blood? Does he/she have a history of heart problems?

The number of questions needed to produce the most appropriate response increases with the seriousness of the medical problem. These additional questions are essential in determining whether the scene is safe for victims and emergency responders, if hazardous conditions are present, or if additional or specialized rescue equipment may be needed.

Additionally, if a patient is in cardiac arrest or childbirth is imminent, there are Pre-Arrival Instructions that fire and rescue dispatchers can give to help the caller in providing life-saving actions such as CPR and childbirth assistance. These instructions follow the protocols set forth by the State of Maryland Medical Protocols.

All of these questions can take time to ask, and at times to the caller it may seem that fire and rescue personnel may not be acting quick enough to send help. However, in most cases when there are additional questions being asked or instructions given, the call has already been sent via computer to be dispatched. Often units are alerted to respond and enroute while additional information is gathered over the telephone.

The Montgomery County Public Safety Communications Center (PSCC), Fire and Rescue Emergency Operations Center (ECC) is staffed entirely by uniformed firefighters (one of only a few in the United States) all of whom are Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT), including some specially trained as Paramedics, critical incident stress management, search and rescue, hazardous materials, foreign languages and other special skills. All fire and rescue communication personnel are nationally certified as Emergency Medical Dispatch (EMD) personnel. Fire and Rescue communication personnel dispatch an average of nearly 375 emergency calls a day or over 100,000 per year.