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This Week in Potomac 5-2-07

Another Village Bank Robbed

For the second time in three weeks, a bank in the Potomac Promenade shopping center of Potomac Village was robbed.

On Friday, April 27, two suspects entered the Wachovia Bank in Potomac Promenade, displayed handguns and announced that they were robbing the bank. After obtaining an undisclosed amount of cash, the suspects fled in an unknown direction. No one was injured during the incident.

Friday's robbery comes exactly three weeks after the BB&T bank in Potomac Promenade was robbed. No arrests have been made in that case and police said it was not known if the two robberies were related. In the earlier case police described the suspect as possibly being a Hispanic or black male, 25 to 35 years of age, 5-foot-2, weighing 110 pounds, wearing a blue baseball cap, a white dust mask over his nose and mouth, sunglasses, a green long-sleeve shirt, and blue jeans.

The latest robbery involved two suspects. Police described the first suspect as a black male, 5-foot-8 to 5-foot-9 with a medium build, wearing a black coat and a mask. Police described the second suspect as a black male, 6-feet tall, with a heavy build, wearing a khaki jacket and a mask.

Anyone who has information about either robbery or the suspects involved is asked to call the Major Crimes Division, Robbery Section at 240-773-5100. 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 for either of these felony crimes.

Flea Market Itching for Vendors

The Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road, holds its annual Flea Market and Yard Sale on Saturday, May 5 from 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Free for buyers; vendor spaces are $30. For more information call 240-777-6960.

Landon Azalea Festival

The 54th annual Landon Azalea Festival begins Friday, May 4 and runs through Sunday, May 6. Visitors are welcome each day from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. to view the school’s azalea garden with more than 15,000 wildflower and azalea blooms. The event also includes a bake sale, a boutiques tent, inflatable games and an arcade. A Spring Fling party will kick things off on Thursday night with live music, a mini-auction and the drawing for this year's tuition raffle. Parking and general admission is free. Proceeds from the festival benefit the Landon Scholarship Fund and Faculty Enrichment. For more information call 301-320-1060 or visit the Landon Schools Web site at www.landon.net.

St. George Hosts Annual Greek Festival

The Saint George Greek Orthodox Church, 7701 Bradley Blvd., Bethesda, hosts its annual Spring Greek Festival on Friday, May 4 from 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.; Saturday, May 5 from 12-10 p.m. and Sunday, May 6 from 12-8 p.m. Traditional Greek cuisine, indoor and outdoor dining, festivities and Hellenic culture include live Greek music and Parathosi dance troupe. Rain or shine, free admission and parking. Visit www.stgeorge.org for more information.

Speed Cameras Now Issuing Tickets

Montgomery County Police announced that their Safe Speed Program will kick into full gear on Wednesday, May 2. The automated speed enforcement program uses stationary speed cameras and mobile speed enforcement vehicles to enforce speed limits in residential areas and school zones with a speed limit of 35 mph or less. Previously, violators had been issued warnings, but those warnings will now be citations, said Lucille Bauer, a spokesperson for Montgomery County Police.

In the Rockville/Potomac area, cameras are located on Dufief Mill Road, Bells Mill Road, Quince Orchard Road, Stone Ridge View Drive, Glen Mill Road, and Travilah Road. For a complete list of locations and for more information about the Safe Speed program, visit the Montgomery County Police Department Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/police and click on the "Safe Speed" icon on the front page.

Public Input Requested on County Growth

The Montgomery County Planning Board is holding a community growth policy forum on Saturday, May 5 to get public input about the future of the county's growth.

Questions that will be considered: What is the current pace of growth in the county? How should the county grow to consider the near and distant future? And what can public officials do to sustain and build upon Montgomery County's high quality of life?

The Planning Board's staff is currently crafting new recommendations to direct a new growth policy for the county. Public input influences those recommendations, which will be sent to the Montgomery County Council for review, discussion and possible adoption in May.

The community forum will be May 5 from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Park and Planning headquarters located at 8787 Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

Churchill Festival of the Arts

Winston Churchill High School’s Academy of Creative and Performing Arts invites the Churchill community to the annual Festival of the Arts. The festival runs through Saturday, May 5. For information on the time and events taking place during the festival, call 301-469-1200 or visit Churchill’s Web site at www.churchillhs.org.

Input Sought for Scotland Community Center

On Friday, May 11 at 7 p.m. an open meeting will be held at Scotland Community Center to get public input on the future of the 29 year-old facility. The meeting will be hosted by the Montgomery County Department of Recreation.

The center has not seen any substantial renovation during its time and has begun to show its age. The county is considering including funds to improve the center for the 2009 to 2014 County Improvement Program and would like to hear from the community what types of improvements are needed. The meeting will be held at the Scotland Community Center located at 7700 Scotland Drive in Potomac.

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 www.potomac.org/join/volunteer.html. Volunteers who wish to help staff the River Center should contact Judy Welles at weles@potomac.org.

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 www.mhcc.maryland.gov.

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 www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org.

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 jayne.hench@mncppc-mc.org.

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 http://montgomerycountymd.gov/content/rec/RECord/articles/february2007/earlybird.html 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 www.cc.nih.gov/dtm/html/donrinfo.htm to learn more about being a donor at NIH.