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This Week in Potomac 8-15-07

County Fair Goes Green

The 2007 Montgomery County Agricultural Fair will feature a “Bay-Friendly Garden,” a 2,700-square foot garden that will showcase a variety of native and commonly planted ornamental grasses, flowers, small trees, shrubs and vegetables that are indigenous to the Mid-Atlantic Region. These plants are better adapted to local moisture, soil, and seasonal temperature conditions than non-natives, so they generally require less water and are more resistant to local insects, minimizing the need for pesticides. Less need for fertilizers or pesticides reduces the amount of these chemicals that are washed into stormwater systems, which flow into streams and eventually into the Chesapeake Bay. In addition, the use of native plants supports a larger and more diverse number of wildlife species than non-natives, providing for a better ecosystem balance.

This year’s County Fair will be held Aug. 10-18 at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. Visit www.mcagfair.com for more information.

International Tennis at Holton

The SuperGirls International Tennis Invitational, featuring 32 girls ages 12-14 from nine different countries, will be held for the first time in the United States at The Holton-Arms School, 7303 River Road, Bethesda. The event, held for the first time in the United States, will take place Aug. 13-18. For more information visit www.supergirlstennisinvitational.com

PAinT Art on Display at Behnke’s

"Dog Days of Summer," an exhibit featuring works by Potomac Artists in Touch (PAinT), will be on display at Behnke's Nursery, 9545 River Road, Potomac, Aug. 4-25.

Closed and on Recess

The Potomac Community Center is closed for cleaning and renovations through Sunday, Aug. 19. No bookings are available at the center during that time.

Montgomery County Council is on recess through the month of August. The next regular Committee meeting is scheduled for Sept. 6; the next regular Council session is scheduled for Sept. 11.

Reducing GPS Theft

The Montgomery County Department of Police will be giving away 1,200 micro fiber cloths at the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair to help minimize the chance of motorists having their vehicles broken into as thieves look for electronic devices. The micro fiber clothes can be used to wipe off the tell-tale suction cup mark that many GPS units leave on car windshield. Unlike regular disposable cloths, the micro fiber cloths are reusable, they do not require chemical cleaners to work, and can be washed hundreds of times before losing their effectiveness.

From June 1 to Aug. 10 there were a total of 287 GPS units stolen from automobiles across all of Montgomery County . Although some motorists remove the actual device and its suction cup holder from the windshield, many times the round mark created by the suction cup is left in place.

Montgomery County Police want to remind residents of the following to avoid becoming a victim of thefts from their vehicles:

* Lock your vehicle doors and set the vehicle alarm, if you have one.

* Take anything of value out of the vehicle when you get out of your vehicle. Valuables, and mechanisms that secure GPS and iPod systems in the vehicle, can be something that suspects are looking for when they target a vehicle.

* Park your vehicles in well lit areas.

* Report suspicious activities as soon as they occur. You may call the non-emergency number at 301-279-8000. If you believe it is an emergency, dial 911.

Women’s Retreat at Rockwood Manor

The Department of Parks is hosting its 2nd annual Fall Women's Outdoor Retreat at Rockwood Manor in Potomac, Sept. 7-9. During the weekend, participants will have chances to rock climb at Carderock, kayak on the C&O Canal , hike along the Billy Goat Trail and much more. The cost is $225 for dormitories and $275 for semi-private rooms and the fees include all activities, materials, equipment, meals and lodging. Visit www.wehavethewhere.com for more information.

Dems to Vote for New District 16 Delegate

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will meet and vote at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 11, to submit a name to the Governor for a Delegate for Legislative District 16. The Governor will appoint the Delegate after receipt of the submission. The vacancy is the result of the resignation of Delegate Marilyn Goldwater, effective Aug. 27. Goldwater, who suffers from multiple myeloma, a type of blood cancer, announced her resignation last week.

When a Montgomery County Democratic seat in the Maryland General Assembly becomes vacant, the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee must vote for an individual from that State Legislative District and submit the name to the Governor within 30 days of the vacancy.

Candidates for the Delegate position must be a registered Democrat residing in District 16, which 16 encompasses Bethesda, Cabin John, Glen Echo and parts of Chevy Chase, North Bethesda, Potomac and West Bethesda. Candidates should submit an application consisting of a resume and cover letter by 5 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 10, by mail or in person to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s headquarters, 3720 Farragut Ave., Third floor, Kensington , MD 20895 , by e-mail to MontgomeryDems@msn.com, or by Fax to 301-946-1002. Candidates are expected to attend the Sept. 11 meeting, address the Committee, to be followed by a question-and-answer period and the vote. For further information, call 301-946-1000.

Potomac Chamber Seeks Nominations

The Potomac Chamber of Commerce needs your help in its search for nominees for the following categories: Citizen of the Year, Businessperson of the Year, and Youth of the Year. These awards are given annually by the Potomac Chamber of Commerce and the winners will be featured in the Potomac Day Parade on Oct. 20. They will also be presented with plaques at the Awards Banquet in November.

Rules for nominations are as follows: the Businessperson of the Year and his or her company must work or do business and be a member of the Potomac Chamber of Commerce. The Citizen of the Year can be a private individual or organization in the 20854 zip code that has benefited the community. The Youth of the Year must reside in the 20854 zip code area.

Please mail your entries to the Potomac Chamber of Commerce, Inc., 9812 Falls Road, Ste 114, Box 321, Potomac, MD 20854, or fax them to 301-299-4650. The deadline is Sept. 29. The committee and the Chamber’s Board of Directors will vote on the nominees on or about Oct. 1. Visit www.PotomacChamber.org or call the Chamber at 301-299-2170 for further guidelines.

Step Up to the Plate

The Montgomery Avalanche, a 16-and-under girls fastpitch travel softball team based in Montgomery County, will be holding tryouts for the ‘07-08 season. The tryouts will be Aug. 22 from 6-8 p.m. at Wood Middle School in Rockville . This past spring and summer the team played in eight tournaments qualifying for the ASA Eastern Nationals. For further information call Mike April at 301-299-0633.

15 Vacancies on Forest Committee

County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill 15 public-member vacancies on the newly established Forest Conservation Advisory Committee. The public members should include urban and stewardship foresters, arborists, landscape architects, horticulturists and representatives from the nursery industry, persons directly engaged in agriculture, persons directly involved in the building industry, members of citizen groups, members of environmental and conservation organizations, and representatives of public utilities. For more information visit www.mongtomerycountymd.gov , click on “ County Executive ,” then “Boards, Committees, and Commissions,” then “Vacancy Notices.”

Town Hall at Potomac United Methodist

Come and speak to County Executive Isiah Leggett about your concerns and ideas at a Town Hall Meeting at Potomac United Methodist Church, 9908 South Glen Road, Potomac, on Thursday, Sept. 27. Free and open to all.

Comment on Local Parks

The Montgomery County Department of Parks is asking for comments from both users and neighbors of 31 small and medium-sized park recreation buildings within the county's parks system. The recreation buildings were reviewed for current condition, level of use and maintenance requirements by staff and consultants. A listing of the recreation buildings can be found in the June 28, 2007, Planning Board briefing memo.

The department's community outreach will include using the Internet to exchange information; sponsoring a public meeting in September; and making community group presentations. To request a review of the project at a group meeting or to share your views on the status of these park properties, e-mail Mark.Wallis@mncppc.org or call 301-650-4389. For information and updates, see www.parkplanningandstewardship.org. After reviewing and including public comments on the draft proposal, the Department of Parks will present a final recommendation to the Montgomery County Planning Board in early November.

House Tour Focuses on Environment

In its 52nd year the Potomac Country House Tour not only continues to galvanize 66 co-chairs managing 25 standing committees, and 350 volunteers to run the weekend event, but Chair Carol Jarvis turned the focus of the tour toward one that is of vital importance and interest: environmentally responsible living.

In alignment with this theme, the traditional boutique has been transformed into an Artisan Shop featuring original and one-of-a-kind items from environmentally conscious crafters and artists, many working with recycled material. Among the new vendors is the Arbor House Gift shop from the U.S. National Arboretum, appearing for the first time outside of the Arboretum location.

Homes chosen feature recycled and reused materials, and energy conscious building decisions that provide model approaches for the building industry. Of particular interest is the Glen Road Solar Ranch, which was conceived in the 1950s by historic preservationist Grosvenor Chapman, orienting it to capture a southern exposure. Chapman placed fireplaces in central locations, extended roof overhangs to allow maximum winter sun, while shielding summer sun, and insulating the concrete floor crawl space acting as a return plenum for the whole house and balancing heat fluctuations. Builder Guy Semmes of Hopkins & Porter updated his home working through issues such as routing extra energy to Pepco and learning about new recycled materials available locally.

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

Schedule of Events - September, 29 and 30:

11 a.m.–5 p.m. - Artisan Boutique, Luncheon and Dessert Table at St. Francis, Potomac

12–5 p.m. The Homes are open for touring.

For additional information call (301) 365-2055 or visit http://www.stfrancispotomac.org. St. Francis Episcopal Church, 10033 River Road, Potomac, MD 20854

Applicants Sought for Montgomery College Committee

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for a two-year term on the Nominating Committee for the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College. Applications must be submitted by Wednesday, Aug. 15.

The committee reviews applications for vacancies on the Board of Trustees of Montgomery College and submits recommendations to the Governor, who makes the appointment. Approximately three committee meetings are held. Meeting dates and locations are arranged at the convenience of the entire committee. In the past, the committee chairperson has requested that Committee members also attend several Board of Trustees meetings.

Applicants should send a letter expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, to: Council President Marilyn Praisner, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850. Letters of application must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 15. The names of all applicants are published and available for public review. Interviews are open to the public.

Applicants Sought for Board of Appeals

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for two four-year terms on the County Board of Appeals. The terms of Donna Barron (Republican) and Allison Ishihara Fultz (Democrat) expire in September 2007. Ms. Barron has served two full terms and is not eligible for reappointment. Ms. Fultz is chair of the board and has indicated that she will apply for reappointment.

Members of the Board receive $14,675 annually, with the chair receiving $21,013. Salaries are adjusted annually each December to reflect 50 percent of the change in the Washington Area Consumer Price Index.

Duties of the Board of Appeals are to:

* Make decisions on most applications for special exceptions as provided in the Zoning Ordinance

* Hear and decide requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance

* Hear appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by County government agencies

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to Council President Marilyn J. Praisner, County Council Office, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville, MD 20850. Applicatons must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 18.

Summer Reminder: Trees and Storms

During the summer, severe storms can cause tree damage. For downed trees due to high winds, report those on Montgomery County property to the Division of Operations at 240-777-6000. To report trees that have fallen on utility lines, contact the local utility companies. “Hot” wires or sparking wires — especially those across roadways — may be reported by calling 911. Trees that have fallen on private property are the responsibility of the property owner. The county’s Division of Consumer Affairs advises homeowners to deal with established tree removal businesses only, and to call Consumer Affairs first to check on a business complaint record. Consumer Affairs can be reached at 240-777-3636.

Ready for Reading Road Trip?

Young readers in Montgomery County are invited to take a “Reading Road Trip” by participating in the 2007 Summer Reading Club that began on June 14 in Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). The annual program, a cooperative project of the Maryland State Department of Education and public libraries in Maryland and the District of Columbia, is designed to encourage reading among young people of all ages.

Children who sign up for the program will receive a “gameboard” to keep track of their reading and a suggested reading list. To fit this year’s travel-related theme, the “gameboard” includes a map of the United States with interesting facts about the states featuring a variety of cultures and landmarks, “Wacky Facts,” “Rules of the Road,” and fun travel games. During the summer children will be able to receive various prizes and be able to purchase T-shirts with the “Reading Road Trip” imprint for $5, while supplies last.

Smoother Driving Ahead

The Montgomery County Police Department is once again participating in the “Smooth Operator” campaign, which began on Saturday, and will take place one week out of each of the summer months. The Smooth Operator Campaign targets aggressive drivers in Maryland, Northern Virginia, and the District of Columbia. Aggressive driving behaviors include: speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changing, failing to yield the right-of-way, and running red lights and stop signs.

The campaign for 2007 will consist of four, one-week-long waves in Aug. 5-11 and Sept. 2 -15. During these waves, Montgomery County Police will be especially committed to enforcing aggressive driving laws and traffic violations, to include a focus on the aggressive driving behaviors of teen drivers.

The Montgomery County Police Department wants to remind all motorists to be aware of their responsibility to obey all traffic laws and to always use caution when operating a motor vehicle. Montgomery County police and City of Rockville police are using automated speed enforcement cameras in some residential areas with speed limits of 35 mph or less and in some school zones. For more information about the Safe Speed program, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/police and click on the Safe Speed icon.

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.

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.

Cabin John Crab Feast

Cabin John’s 38th Annual Crab & Chicken Feast is slated for Saturday, Sept. 8, from 2-6 p.m. at the Clara Barton Community Center, 7425 MacArthur Blvd. A local tradition since the late 1960s, the community feast allows the Cabin John community to celebrate its economic and social diversity in a relaxed manner. Features include delicious food and refreshments, children’s bike parade to the feast; live music, children’s entertainment, and Cabin John memorabilia and T-shirts for sale. Tickets are available for $11 at the door, and $10 if bought in advance. For info or to volunteer, call 301-221-7827 or email cjcrabfeast@aol.com. For advance tickets, call 301-320-2685.

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. 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, then click “Departments,” then “Recreation,” then “RECord” 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.

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.