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This Week in Potomac Sept. 20, 2006

<b>Community Center Hosts Family FunFest

</b>The Potomac Community Center hosts Family FunFest at 11315 Falls Road on Friday, Sept. 29, 5-8 p.m., featuring carnival games, prizes, moonbounce, obstacle course, face painting, spin art and food. Tickets are $7 for unlimited rides and games. Following the FunFest is Family Bingo Night from 8-10 p.m. Bingo booklets are $5, good for all prizes. Among this year’s prizes is Club Friday membership for the year. Call 240-777-6960.

<b>Flaps Benefit Dinner

</b>Potomac businesses are lending their support for Mental Health Association of Montgomery County in its 50th Anniversary Year. In honor of Mental Health Association (MHA) of Montgomery County's 50th Anniversary Celebration restaurants, salons, book stores and other local businesses are donating percentages of proceeds and other similar contributions to the organization.

On Monday, Sept. 25 from 5-9 p.m. Flaps of Potomac will donate 10 percent of the proceeds to MHA for those customers who indicate they were referred for the event. Call 301-983-2660 for reservations.

<b>Holy Child Hosts Brain Tumor Awareness Week

</b>The National Honor Society of the Connelly School of the Holy Child is hosting Brain Tumor Awareness Week Sept. 25-29. Throughout the week, the school raises funds for brain cancer research via the Brain Tumor Society. Funds raised by the Holy Child community will be used to support Ronan's Roadrunners, a team participating in the Race for Hope led by 10-year-old Jimmy Ronan, son of Grace Ronan. Last year, Ronan's Roadrunners contributed $40,000 to the $1.2 million raised by the Race for Hope. Contributions can be made to the Brain Tumor Society and sent to Holy Child, Attn: NHS, 9029 Bradley Blvd., Potomac, MD 20854. For additional information, call Holy Child at 301-365-0955 or visit www.holychild.org.

<b>County Reaches Agreement with Verizon

</b>On Sept. 13, Montgomery County officials announced that they have negotiated a franchise agreement with Verizon Communications for cable television services. The agreement, which they said is similar to those the county has with Comcast and RCN, will result in greater choice and increased competition among cable providers, while providing customers with important consumer protections. Verizon could begin signing on new customers in its initial service areas early next year. If approved by the County Council, the agreement will resolve litigation filed earlier this year by Verizon.

In exchange for the right to provide cable television services to County residents and businesses under the negotiated 15-year franchise agreement, Verizon is committed to supporting the County's Public Education and Government (PEG) channels, and providing cable television services to 100 public-use buildings such as schools, libraries, and fire stations. In addition, Verizon has agreed to pay the County five percent of gross revenues as a franchise fee and three percent of gross revenues for public access programming and other cable television needs. Verizon will also pay $1 million under the agreement, over the course of five years, for other cable-related investments.

A public hearing will be held on Sept. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville. Individuals may either testify in person at the public hearing or provide written comments for the record. To pre-register to testify at the hearing, contact the County's Cable Office at 240-777-3684.

Written comments may be submitted through 5 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 2. Comments should be mailed or delivered to DTS-Cable Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Suite 250, Rockville, MD 20850. Comments may also be submitted via email to amy.wilson@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Copies of the franchise application and related public documents are available for inspection in the Department of Technology Services, Cable Office, 100 Maryland Avenue, Suite 250, Rockville or on the Internet at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cable.

<b>Churchill Cross Country Hosts Page’s Run 5K

</b>Winston Churchill High School’s cross country team hosts the 2nd Annual Page’s Run, a 5-kilometer race/walk and quarter-mile kids fun run on Sunday, Oct. 8, 8:30 a.m. at Winston Churchill High School, 11300 Gainsborough Road, Potomac. Page’s Run will benefit the Page’s Memorial Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to raising awareness about cystic fibrosis and to combating the disease by raising funds to support research and medical needs. Page’s Run and Page’s Memorial Foundation are named after Kimberly “Page” Whetsell, a former Whitman student who died of cystic fibrosis last year at the age of 22. Fee is $20 for 5K, $25 on race day, $10 for kids fun run. Visit www.pagesrun.com for a registration form.

<b>Potomac Country House Tour Returns

</b>The 51st annual Potomac Country House Tour will be on Saturday, Sept. 30 and Sunday, Oct. 1, from noon-5 p.m. Four homes will be featured this year, each with its own unusual special feature providing visitors with an extraordinary opportunity to experience some of the most unique living spaces in the area.

When the doors open on this tour, visitors will experience four spectacular homes with arguable the most unique collection of features on any house tour. A Civil War style tavern, an Artist studio, a barn refitted as a full gym, an Arts & Crafts style guesthouse (architect Charles Goodman), a wine cellar, one of the original Bethesda gold mines and spectacular outdoor pool and patio living spaces.

The Potomac Country House Tour (PCHT) is sponsored by St. Francis Episcopal Church, Potomac. The proceeds from the PCHT have been central to the outreach ministry efforts for the church since 1955. The tour features houses and gardens of Potomac in a two-day event. Tickets will be sold for $20 in advance or $25 on tour days. The entire proceeds are used to benefit over 30 charitable organizations that assist the elderly, needy, hungry, ill and homeless; or that aid women, children and the disabled.

For additional information call 301-365-2055 or visit www.stfrancispotomac.org.

<b>Nominations Still Sought

</b>The Chamber of Commerce is seeking nominations for the Potomac citizen, businessperson, and youth of the year awards it gives in association with Potomac Day, Saturday, Oct. 28.

Nominations for the annual awards are due Sept. 30. Youth nominees must be high school students who live in Potomac, who have exhibited scholarship, leadership and a spirit of community service.

Businessperson nominees must work or do business in Potomac, be a member of the Potomac Chamber of Commerce, and have made contributions to the welfare of the community.

Citizen nominees must be individuals or groups in Potomac that have made a contribution to the local, regional or national welfare.

Winners are selected by the Chamber of Commerce board and recognized at an awards banquet on [[[[[[Nov. 17.]]]]]]]

For nomination forms and more information, visit www.potomacchamber.org or call 301-299-2170.

The annual celebration includes a children’s fair, 5K race, parade, and numerous local vendors and entertainers setting up outdoor booths. The race will kick off at 8:30 a.m., and parts of River Road and Falls Road will close for the parade at 10 a.m.

Last year, hundreds turned out for Potomac Day, which featured the Wootton High School marching band, Boy Scout troops, volunteer firefighters and local police.

If interested in participating in Potomac Day, contact Potomac Chamber of Commerce President Andy Ross at 301-299-2170.

<b>Global Warming in Maryland?

</b>According to a report by Environment Maryland, Maryland is getting warmer.

In the continental United States, the first seven months of 2006 were the warmest January-July of any year on record, according to the National Climatic Data Center. In Maryland, the average temperature was 2.8° F above the 20th century average, making it the eighth warmest January-July on record. The average temperature since 2000 in Baltimore is up 0.9° F compared with the previous three decades (1971-2000).

To examine how these recent temperature patterns compare with temperatures over the last 30 years, Environment Maryland researchers analyzed temperature data from 255 major weather stations in all 50 states and Washington, D.C. for the years 2000-2005 and the first six months of 2006. This recent data was compared to "normal" temperatures for the three decades spanning 1971-2000.

Findings include: Rising sea levels, combined with sinking land, have swallowed 13 islands in the Chesapeake Bay and consume 260 acres of land in Maryland each year.

In August, Environment Maryland released a report showing how the U.S. could cut global warming pollution by nearly 20% by 2020 by making our homes, cars, and businesses more efficient, switching to renewable energy sources, and giving Americans more alternatives to driving, paired with strong, mandatory limits on global warming emissions.

<b>Help Keep the Boat Afloat

</b>The Surrey in Potomac Village invites the public to a wine and cheese party to benefit the Charles F. Mercer, the new canal boat in the C&O Canal by Great Falls Tavern, on Thursday, Sept. 28, from 6-8 p.m. Twenty percent of all sales (saddles and consignment items excluded) will be donated to the boat. Although the Charles F. Mercer has arrived and is giving rides on the canal, additional funds are needed to cover remaining costs, which include insurance and the final installation of the wheelchair lift.

<b>Important Back-to-School Safety Reminders

</b>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.

<b>Marathon Anecdotal History Walking Tour

</b>Join the marathon series of Anecdotal History Walks from Capitol Hill to the White House on Sunday, Oct. 8 from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater Washington.

Award-winning author and historian Anthony S. Pitch, featured on C-Span TV, the History Channel and National Public Radio, merges four of his favorite walking tours into one marathon walk to tempt well-wishers, history buffs, fitness freaks, health enthusiasts, couples, singles, and everyone else wanting to benefit this worthy cause. Pets also welcome.

The marathon four hour stroll includes stories about the British capture of Washington during the War of 1812 and the assassination of Abraham Lincoln and his death the following morning.

Rain or shine, meet at the base of the steps leading up to the front of the Supreme Court, 10 a.m., Sunday, Oct. 8. For those joining at the halfway mark, meet about noon at the E St. NW entrance to the Old Town Trolley's Welcome Center, corner 10th St. Estimated time of the entire marathon walk is four hours. $40 for the entire marathon or $25 for those joining at the E St. entrance. Reservations required. Contact the Tourette Syndrome Association of Greater Washington to purchase tickets at www.tsagw.org or call Voice at 301-681-4133, toll free at 877-295-2148 or fax 302-945-8980

<b>Triathletes Make Wishes Come True

</b>The Make-A-Wish Triathlon at Sea Colony is a swim-bike-run competition for up to 1,000 athletes at Sea Colony Resort, Bethany Beach, Del. on Sunday, Sept. 24. This USA Triathlon-sanctioned event features an ocean swim, scenic bike ride and exciting along the beach. The event concludes with a family-style picnic and awards ceremony at the waterfront in Bethany Beach.

For more information, please visit midatlantic.wish.org or call Stephanie Holland at 301-962-9474.

<b>Emergency Vehicle Guidelines

</b>The metropolitan area is often crowded and congested with traffic conditions caused by collisions, work zones, holiday travelers and sometimes just “normal” traffic. Extra care should be taken during this time of year – schools are opening, vacations are over and traffic patterns are changing. Emergency vehicles are impacted by these conditions, as well. When somebody calls 911 for help – the men and women of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service respond. How can everyday drivers help us to help you? – Normally, drivers will hear vehicles first, next they will see the vehicles, and then drivers need to clear for them.

*C – L – E – A – R for emergency vehicles.

* C – Calmly pull to and as close to the edge of the roadway as possible and stop.

* L – Leave room. Keep intersections clear and never try to follow emergency vehicles.

* E – Enter into traffic with caution after the emergency vehicle has passed. Remember to use signals.

* A – Aware (be). Be aware of your surroundings. Keep radio volume low and check rear view mirrors frequently.

* R – Remain stopped until the emergency vehicle ha passed. Be mindful that there may be additional emergency vehicles approaching.

Hear emergency vehicles.

When approached by an emergency vehicle – the law says to pull over to the closest parallel edge of the roadway and yield the right of way to the emergency vehicle. An emergency vehicle is one with an audible siren and/or siren and emergency flashing lights. When driving and approaching an emergency scene – slow down and move over. In other words - “Give us a brake!”

Reduce the risk of an accident near an emergency scene and around emergency equipment.

* Stay alert – expect anything to occur when approaching emergency vehicles.

* Pay close attention – watch for police or fire direction.

* Turn on your headlights – let on scene workers and other motorists see you.

* Don’t tailgate – unexpected stops frequently occur near scenes.

* Don’t speed – slow down.

* Keep up with the traffic flow – dedicate you full attention to the roadway and those traveling around you.

* Minimize distractions – avoid changing radio stations and using mobile cell phones while approaching these areas. Expect the unexpected – keep an eye out for emergency workers and their equipment.

*Be patient – remember, firefighters and EMT’s have been called to the scene and are working to help someone.

In Montgomery County pedestrian and traffic safety issues are front and center. If you travel by car or are a pedestrian, please place extra emphasis on safety. Simply looking both ways before crossing a street, crossing in a crosswalk, spending a few extra seconds to cinch the belt on your child's safety seat, or delaying departure to ensure you get enough rest before a long trip can make all the difference. Preventative safety, while measured in seconds or minutes, can save you from months or years of anguish, grief, and "what if". Be smart. Be safe.

<b>"Seven Signs of Terrorism" Video Recommended Viewing

</b>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.