This Week in Potomac 4-18-07

This Week in Potomac 4-18-07

Humane Society Establishes Rachel Smith Fund

The Montgomery County Humane Society established the Rachel Smith Fund to create programs that will benefit teenagers and animals by pairing animals in need with troubled youths at emotional risk.

The fund was started with money donated by Winston Churchill High School juniors Suzanne Collier and Allie Cossman in honor of their late friend Rachel Smith. Smith was a junior at Thomas S. Wootton High School who disappeared in January with her friend Rachel Crites, a freshman at Montgomery College. After two weeks their bodies were found in rural Virginia. The two are believed to have died by suicide.

Cossman and Collier raised nearly $1,500 in a charity dog walk in held in February to honor of Smith. Cossman and Collier had been a part of a local Jewish youth organization with Smith and had known her for several years. The two girls organized the event with the help of their youth group.

The article “Labor of Love” in the April 4 Potomac Almanac incorrectly identified the organization, which was the Ahavah Chapter of B'nai B'rith Girls, through which Collier and Cossman came up with the idea of the charity dog.

Donations to the Rachel Smith Fund may be sent to Montgomery County Humane Society, Rachel Smith Task Force, 14645 Rothgeb Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. Call 240-773-5960 for more information.

Wootton High School Performs "Sweeney Todd"

The Wootton High School stage will soon be set in 19th century London, as its talented cast takes on Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's musical thriller, "Sweeney Todd — The Demon Barber of Fleet Street."

Parents are cautioned as some material in the play may be Inappropriate for children under 13.

"Sweeney Todd" is a dark and enthralling tale of love, obsession, madness and murder that has thrilled audiences on the Broadway stage.

The musical mixes drama with dark humor, telling the tale of an unjustly exiled barber who returns to 19th century London seeking revenge against the lecherous judge who framed him and ravaged his young wife.

The barber's thirst for blood soon expands to include his unfortunate customers. Soon the resourceful owner of the pie shop downstairs has the people of London lining up in droves with her mysterious new meat pie recipe.

The show will run April 20, 21, 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m. and April 22 at 2:00. p.m. Tickets may be purchased at the Wootton box office on school days April 12-19 and 23-26 from 3-6 p.m., and two hours before show times on performance days. Reserved seating is $15 for adults/students.

General admission is $10 for adults/$8 students. Rated PG-13. Ticket order forms also available on the Wootton Web site:

For more information, please call 301-279-8581. Wootton High School is located at 2100 Wootton Parkway, Rockville.

County Earth Day Awareness Events

April 22 is Earth Day and Montgomery County's Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) will celebrate with several events in the area designed to promote environmental awareness.

On April 19, from 4 to 8 p.m., DEP's Energy Team is supporting Whole Foods Market's Earth Day Fair by providing tips on becoming more energy-efficient, using clean energy and reducing generation of greenhouse gases. The fair will be at the Whole Foods market at 1649 Rockville Pike, Rockville.

Take a tour of Montgomery County's Recycling Center, do earth-friendly crafts, get energy-efficiency tips and learn how to reduce the environmental impacts of daily activities on Saturday, April 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. The event begins at 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville.

As Spring and Summer approach, learn tips to help beat the summer electricity blues. Join DEP's Senior Energy Planner Eric Coffman on April 26 from 7 to 9 p.m. at Christ Evangelical Lutheran Church located at 8011 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda. Coffman will offer tips that will save you money and energy while protecting the planet.

For more information on these and other County-sponsored Earth Day events, call DEP at 240-777-7700 or visit

Potomac Student Honored

Montgomery College student Vanessa Coleman of Potomac has been named to the 2007 First Team of the All-USA Community and Junior College Academic Team. The honor is given each year to only 20 students nationwide for their academic achievement and community and college involvement.

"Vanessa Coleman is an extraordinary young woman who has succeeded not only in the classroom, but also in serving the greater college community," said Montgomery College President Brian K. Johnson. "We're so proud of her accomplishments and know that she has a great future ahead of her, and we know that the foundation she built at Montgomery College will serve her well in all of her endeavors."

Coleman, 19, is a member of several honors societies at the school, serves as a student member of the college's Board of Trustees, is vice president of the Rockville Campus chapter of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society. She also volunteers at a community art gallery and has a part-time job as a software tester for a local company.

Coleman is in her second year at Montgomery College. She began taking courses there while still a student at Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville.

The award carries with it a $2,500 cash award for each honoree. She intends to transfer to a four-year institution in May.

Wanted: Volunteers at Lockhouse 8

The Potomac Conservancy is looking for river history buffs to help maintain and staff the River Center at historic Lockhouse 8 on the C&O Canal. This year, the River Center will feature a new exhibit, Backyard to the Bay, which will educate visitors about the Potomac River, its connection to the Chesapeake Bay, and what they can do in their own backyards to protect these resources. The full docent description is available at . Volunteers who wish to help staff the River Center should contact Judy Welles at

Info on Nursing Homes Available Online

An updated and redesigned resource to help Marylanders select a nursing home is now available on the Web. The “Maryland Nursing Home Guide” includes information on more than 200 comprehensive care nursing facilities and 34 continuing care retirement communities. Among the types of information available are quality of care assessments and results of recent inspection visits. The guide, developed by the Maryland Health Care Commission, is located by clicking on ‘Consumers’ on the commission’s Web site at

Board of Education Seeks Public Input

The Montgomery County Board of Education has requested community comment regarding its revised Policy IEA, Framework and Structure of Early Childhood and Elementary Education. The policy was revised to affirm the Board’s commitment to a challenging and comprehensive educational program for young students. Copies of the draft policy are available through the Public Information Office by calling 301-279-3391 or on the MCPS Web site at

Individuals who wish to provide comments should respond in writing by May 4. All responses should be sent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools, 850 Hungerford Drive, Rockville, MD 20850. The responses will be shared with the Board of Education.

Volunteer at a Local Park

Maryland-National Park and Planning Commission seeks volunteers at local parks in the area. For a full listing of all the opportunities available, contact Jayne Hench at 301-495-2504 or e-mail

Members for MD-355/I-270 Committee Sought

The Montgomery County Planning Board seeks applicants for a community advisory committee to collaborate with professional land-use planners to improve the county's MD 355/I-270 Technology Corridor. Send resumes to Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910; or 301-495-1320 (fax). Go to to learn more and/or download an application form. For more information on the MD 355/I-270 Technology Corridor master plan, contact Sandy Tallant at 301-495-1329 or

Recreation Department Offers Courses

Art classes for toddlers, karate, dance and magic-trick lessons for children, fencing lessons for teens and yoga for adults are a few of the courses offered by the Montgomery County Recreation Department at Potomac Community Center. Elsewhere in the county, the Rec Department offers courses from skateboarding to yoga to cooking to youth art. Registration deadlines for some of the courses are coming soon. Pick up the Montgomery County Recreation Department Guide a Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac, call 240-777-6840 or visit for course information.

Critical Blood Shortage

The National Institute of Health Blood Bank has announced an urgent need for type O blood donors. Both local and regional inventories of this blood type are dangerously low. If you are a donor with blood type O, donate today by visiting the NIH Blood Bank located on the first floor of the Clinical Center on the NIH campus in Bethesda. Hours of operation are from 7:30 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. Call for an appointment or directions at 301-496-1048. Convenient, free parking is available for blood donors.

If you have not donated blood before and are not sure if you are eligible, visit to learn more about being a donor at NIH.