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This Week in Potomac Sept. 27, 2006

<b>Thomas W. Pyle Middle School Honored </b>

Thomas W. Pyle Middle School in Bethesda has been named a National 2006 No Child Left Behind Blue Ribbon School for 2006 by the U.S. Department of Education for its outstanding academic achievement and dramatic improvement within subgroups at the school.

Pyle is the eighth National Blue Ribbon winner in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) selected since 1999, during a time in which the qualification rules increased significantly.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools program recognizes schools whose students achieve at very high levels, or schools that make significant progress in closing the achievement gap among student groups. Pyle is among six Maryland elementary and middle schools and 250 schools throughout the nation who received the honor.

Students at Pyle have consistently scored in the top 10 percent of all Maryland middle schools on the Maryland School Assessment (MSA) in mathematics and reading.

Overall, during the 2004-2005 school year, 91.1 percent of students were proficient on the mathematics section of the MSA and 95.7 percent were proficient on the reading section, an increase ranging from 3 to 5 percent over the previous year.

There also has been dramatic improvement within subgroups at the school. For example, African American students' proficiency rate in mathematics went from 30 percent in 2003 to almost 66 percent in 2005. The proficiency rate of students with limited English skills increased from 42 percent in 2003 to almost 79 percent in 2005.

Pyle Principal Michael Zarchin attributes the school's success to a combination of parental involvement, a hardworking staff, and students who have a strong work ethic.

The National Blue Ribbon Schools awards ceremony will take place on Friday, Nov. 10, beginning at 12:30 p.m., at the Washington Hilton and Towers in Washington, D. C.

<b>First District Police Station Holds Open House

</b> There will be an open house Saturday, Sept. 30 from noon-4 p.m. at First District Station, 1451 Seven Locks Road, Rockville.

Some of the events planned during the Open House include demonstrations by SWAT and K-9, child fingerprinting, child safety seat inspections, information from Motorcycle Traffic officers, the Montgomery County False Alarm Unit, the Family Crimes Division, and the Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. There will also be a clown and moon bounce to entertain children. The Maryland State Police Helicopter and a mounted officer with horse from Maryland-National Capitol Park Police will also be present. The Open House will be held rain or shine.

Call the 1st District station at 301-279-1591.

<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>Volunteer Fire Department Holds Open House

</b>Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department will have its annual open house on Sunday, Oct. 1 from noon-4 p.m. at Fire Station 10, 8001 River Road. The community will have the opportunity to view CJPVFD’s extensive fleet of fire trucks, specialized vehicles, and boats, including a brand new, customized combination ladder/rescue truck, one of only a few in the country. There will be a number of live, interactive demonstrations including rope rescue, repelling and car extrication. Moon bounce for younger children and volunteer opportunities for prospective high-school members. Visit www.cjpvfd.com.

<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. The party is at the Surrey 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>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>Watershed Restoration Projects

</b>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.

<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. 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>Capitol Steps Perform at Churchill

</b>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.

<b>Nominations 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.

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>Suspect in Local Burglaries Arrested in Virginia

</b>Detectives from Montgomery County Police 1st and 2nd District Investigative Sections have been investigating possibly related residential burglaries in their districts that had occurred in July, August, and September.

On Saturday, Sept. 9, 2006, the male suspect police believe to be responsible for four burglaries in Montgomery County, and his female accomplice, were arrested in Prince William County. The male suspect was also wanted in Virginia for burglaries committed there.

Tyrone Page, age 38, of no fixed address; and Kassandre Gasque-Carter, age 48, of the 100 block of Cressfell Circle in Irmo, South Carolina; were arrested in Virginia, after they used credit cards obtained from a burglary in Montgomery County.

On Sept. 9 at approximately 7:30 a.m., 1st District officers responded to the 9800 block of Kentsdale Drive in Potomac, after being contacted by Fairfax County Police that the residence may have been burglarized. The homeowners were initially unaware that anyone had entered their home overnight or during the early morning hours. Through the course of the investigation it was learned that the garage door had been left open and the door from the garage into the house had been left unlocked. It was further learned that property and credit cards had been removed from the home.

According to police, those credit cards were found to be in the possession of Page when he was arrested by Virginia law enforcement officers on Sept. 9. According to police, it was learned through the joint investigation that Gasque-Carter, who was with Page during the use of the stolen credit cards, had been the get-away car driver and had assisted Page with the burglary in Potomac.

According to police, Page and Gasque-Carter have been linked only to these other burglaries committed in Montgomery County:

* The 11100 block of Willowbrook Drive in Potomac, which occurred between 10:30 p.m. on Aug. 11, and 8 a.m. on Aug. 12. The garage door was left open, and the door from the garage to the house was unlocked. Property, and credit cards and driver’s license were taken from the victim’s purse that was sitting on a counter in the kitchen. Other small items were taken as well.

* The 6700 block of Tomlinson Terrace in Cabin John, which occurred sometime between 12:01 a.m. and 2 a.m. on August 25. In this incident the victim believed that doors to the home were locked, but couldn’t remember if the garage door was left open. There was no evidence of forced entry. Credit cards, and

other property was taken.

* The 8100 block of Tomlinson Avenue in Cabin John, which occurred sometime between 12:30 a.m. and 7 a.m. on July 29. The garage door was left open and the door from the garage to the house was unlocked. Credit cards were taken from a wallet and fanny pack left on the kitchen counter.

Detectives from Montgomery County Police had been in contact with Fairfax County Police detectives because many of the credit cards stolen from Montgomery County homes had been used at businesses in Virginia.

On Sept. 9, Montgomery County Police obtained an arrest warrant charging Gasque-Carter with conspiracy to commit first-degree burglary, first-degree burglary, and theft over $500. Warrants were on file for Tyrone Page charging him with the burglaries in Montgomery County. Page is currently being held without bond in Fairfax County. On September 13, Gasque-Carter was transported

from Fairfax County to Montgomery County where she remains in the Montgomery County Detention Center on a $12,500 bond.

Montgomery County Police would like to once again remind our community members of the critical importance of closing and locking garage doors and doors leading from the garage into the home. In these cases, the defendants drove through communities particularly looking for open garage doors. They would then determine if a door into the home was locked, if not, entry was made and items found close to the entry point were taken. Every year there are burglaries of this nature that can be prevented by consistently following basic safe practices. No one should take their security for granted, nor assume that their home or community is immune from crime.

<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>Planning Board Votes on Public Golf Course Lease Agreement

</b>The Montgomery County Planning Board voted to move forward with a long-term lease with the Montgomery County Revenue Authority to operate all nine public golf courses in the county, according to a Planning Board press release last week.

According to the press release, the transfer was proposed in order to consolidate the operations of public golf courses in Montgomery County under a single agency to address potential financial shortfalls. Last year, the Revenue Authority earned $734,000 from the five golf courses it owns and operates and Park and Planning lost close to $500,000 on its four courses.

The Revenue Authority will run the golf operations and Park and Planning will retain ownership of the land. The two agencies will sign a lease that will incorporate the terms of the operating agreement. When the lease is signed, it will be reviewed by the Montgomery County Council who has final approval authority on the transfer.

<b>Bomb Threat and Arrest at Quince Orchard High School

</b>On Tuesday, Sept. 19 at approximately 11:30 a.m., 1st District officers responded to Quince Orchard High School at 15800 Quince Orchard Drive in North Potomac, for the report of a written bomb threat.

A student told the principal that there was a bomb threat written in a girl's bathroom in the school, and police were called. Responding officers found a threat to blow up the school written in pink lipstick on a bathroom stall partition wall.

The Montgomery County Police Educational Facilities Officer assigned to the school worked with the 1st District officers and school security staff to try to determine who was responsible for the threat. It was determined that the same student who had reported the threat to school administrators was responsible for writing it.

The 16-year-old female from Gaithersburg was charged as a juvenile on Sept. 22, with threat to explode or burn a building, reckless endangerment, destruction of property and disruption of the educational process.

<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>Police Seek Help in Identifying Suspect Using Credit Cards Taken from Bethesda Fitness Club

</b>Detectives from the Montgomery County Police 2nd District Investigative Section are asking for help in identifying a suspect who was using credit cards stolen from a locker at a Fitness First gym.

On July 23 at approximately 9:19 a.m., officers from the 2nd District were called to the 7900 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Bethesda, for a theft. Officers learned that between 2:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. on July 22, someone entered the Men’s Locker Room of the Fitness First gym. The victim’s locker was secured by a cylinder padlock. The lock was opened by unknown means, the victim had some items taken from his wallet, and the lock was reset.

The victim was alerted by the credit card companies of some large purchases to his accounts. The victim had not made the purchases described. Detectives learned that the credit cards were used in the Rockville area by a man who made credit card purchases at the White Flint Mall. Detectives obtained pictures from a surveillance camera and are asking the public for help in identifying the man who was using the stolen credit cards. It is not known if the man was responsible for the theft or if he was just using the stolen credit cards.

The suspect is described as a 30- to 40-year-old black male, 5’8" to 6’0" tall, with a thin build, and being bald or balding. He was wearing a black shirt, black shorts, and dark-colored loafers.

Anyone who has information about the theft or the suspect in the photo is asked to call Detective Poole of the 2nd District Investigative Section at 301-657-0141. 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 this felony crime.

<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.

<b>What to Say When Calling 9-1-1

</b>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.