This Week in Potomac 1-31-07

This Week in Potomac 1-31-07

Poolesville Man Loses Leg in Single-Car Accident on River Road

A single-vehicle accident on River Road last week cost the driver one of his legs. At 8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 23, Allan Douglas Simmons of Poolesville was traveling southbound on River Road near Pettit Way when he failed to negotiate a curve in the road and crashed through the guardrail in the northbound lane, said Officer Eric Burnett of the Montgomery Couny Police. Simmons, 24, was ejected from the vehicle. Police and emergency services responded, and Simmons, 24, was flown to Baltimore Shock Trauma Center where he was treated for serious injuries and had one of his legs amputated, Burnett said.

C&O Canal Taskforce Finalizing Recommendations to County Council

The C&O Canal Taskforce is in the process of refining its recommendations to the Montgomery County Council. When finalized, the recommendations will go to Marc Elrich (D-At Large), who is expected to use them to draft legislation that would revise the county's current Forest Conservation Law.

According to a preliminary copy of the recommendations, the taskforce will propose a more precise definition of what constitutes a forest and urge the future creation of a tree ordinance that would establish guidelines for tree removal on small suburban and urban residential lots. The current forest preservation law applies to lots that are 40,000 square feet or larger; the taskforce is expected to recommend that threshold to be reduced to 5,000 square feet in size.

The taskforce's recommendations will be ready in the next week, said Ginny Barnes, environmental chair of the West Montgomery County Citizens Association and a member of the taskforce.

An initial set of recommendations were provided by the taskforce to former Councilmember Howie A. Denis (R) in July 2006, said Barnes. Denis planned to use the recommendations into a bill, but Denis lost his bid for reelection to the Council in November and the legislation was never drafted.

The taskforce was created in the wake of a 2004 incident in which Washington Redskins owner Daniel Snyder obtained permission from the C&O Canal to remove trees from a conservationeasement on his lot, which is adjacent to the canal. It was later determined that the removal of those trees was illegal, and in 2005 Rep. Christopher Van Hollen (D-Md.) created a taskforce to look for ways to prevent any further such incidents. The taskforce disbanded in the beginning of Jan. 2007, but a workgroup from the taskforce is preparing the group's final recommendations.

First Lady Announces Launch of Hugh S. Sidey Scholarship

First Lady Laura Bush delivered remarks at the launch of the Hugh S. Sidey Scholarship from Print Journalism on Friday, Jan. 26. Sidey, a longtime Potomac resident, covered the U.S. presidency for more than 30 years, first for Life magazine during the Dwight Eisenhower Administration, and later with Time magazine, where he was the author of “The Presidency” column. Sidey died in November 2005.

The Sidey scholarship will support aspiring print journalists at Iowa State, Sidey’s alma mater, who exhibit extraordinary understanding of the responsibilities of covering the chief executive of the United States.

Holy Child Student Performs in McLean Community Theater

Margaret Berkowitz, an eighth-grade student at Connelly School of the Holy Child, will perform in the McLean Community Players’ production of "Life With Father," which debuted in 1939 and is the longest running non-musical on Broadway. Margaret is only one of five young people in the show, and she plays the same role that Elizabeth Taylor did the 1947 movie version.

The play opens Feb. 2 at the McLean Community Center's Alden Theater, 1234 Ingleside Ave., McLean, Va., and runs for the next three weekends. Show times are Feb. 2, 3, 9, 10, 16 and 17 at 8 p.m. and Feb. 4 and 11 at 2p.m. Tickets are $14 for adults and $12 for students and seniors. For ticket information, call the Alden Box Office at (703) 790-9223 or visit

Silver Spring Man Still Missing

Gilbert 'Gib' Campion of Wheaton disappeared Jan. 8 after going to C&O Canal National Historical Park at Great Falls. As of Tuesday, Jan. 30 he still had not been found. The U.S. Park Police describes Campion as a 5-foot-10, 170-pound, clean-shaven white male, 48 years old, with blue eyes, bald on top and salt-and-pepper hair on the side. Anyone who knows the whereabouts of Mr. Campion, or may have seen him in the park, is asked to call the U.S. Park Police Criminal Investigations Branch at 202-610-8730, or 24/7 at 202-619-7105.

Jonathan Deutsche Awards Season Under Way

Applications for the Jonathan Deutsche Musical Arts Memorial Award for Excellence in Jazz and Creative Arts Music are currently being accepted. The award is presented by the Potomac Community Center Advisory Board, Inc.

The competition is open to all high school students who attend a public or private school in Montgomery County, or who live in Montgomery County but attend school in a different district. A $500 award and two $250 awards will be offered to an individual or group of high school instrumentalists, vocalists, and composers for demonstrated excellence in jazz performance and composition. Contributions will be judge by working professional jazz musicians and will be based on musical creativity.

Jonathan Deutsche was a music lover and jazz enthusiast and piano player who graduated from Winston Churchill High School in 1997. He was killed in a car accident in 2002 at the age of 24. The award was created by his family and friends in his honor.

For information on how to apply, call Penny Heltzer at 301-983-9624.

Water-main Break on Newhall Avenue

A water-main break at the intersection of Newhall Road and Meriden Road sent torrents of water rushing down both streets the night of Friday, Jan. 26. Diane Berinstein noticed the break, which originated on her property, around 8 p.m. when a friend came to her house to drop something off.

"She was talking to me on her cell phone from her car and she said 'What is this river on the side of your house?'" said Berinstein.

The break sent water rushing down both street sides of Berinstein's property at the corner of both roads.

A repair crew came at approximately 11 p.m., Berinstein said, and while fixing that leak a valve burst at the intersection of Newhall Road and Persimmon Tree Road. The repairs of both ruptures were completed by 7 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 27.

Leggett Seeks Applicants for Recreation Advisory Boards

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett is seeking applicants to fill vacancies on the following Recreation Advisory Boards: Countywide (one regular position); East County (one regular position; two alternate positions); Mid-County (five regular vacancies; two alternate positions); Silver Spring (two regular positions; two alternate positions); Upcounty (one alternate position); Western Area (two alternate positions). The countywide and regional recreation boards advise the County Executive, County Council, the director of the Department of Recreation and the Planning Board on regional recreation needs, encourage the development of desirable parks and recreational opportunities, and advise and make recommendations to appropriate officials on matters concerning budgets, recreation programs, services, and facilities.

Membership on the regional boards includes nine regular members and two alternates. Members must reside in one of the five regions of Montgomery County. Residents who live within the city limits of Rockville, Gaithersburg or Washington Grove are not eligible for appointment. Members serve three-year terms without compensation. Meetings are usually held once a month in the evening in the respective geographic areas. To determine the region where you reside or for more specific information on the evening that the regional boards meet, please call 240-777-2528.

Applicants should write letter of interest by Feb. 2 to County Executive Isiah Leggett at the Executive Office Building, l0l Monroe Street, Rockville, MD 20850 or send an e-mail to A brief resume, with work and home phone numbers and e-mail address, should be included. Members of County boards, committees and commissions may not serve on more than one such group at a time.

Leggett's appointments are subject to confirmation by the County Council. Applications of those selected for appointment are made public as part of the confirmation process.

Montgomery Democrats to Elect New Member of the Central Committee

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, at its regular meeting on Feb. 13, will elect a member from Legislative District 16. The new member will replace Paul Mandell who has resigned. District 16 encompasses all or parts of Bethesda, Cabin John, Chevy Chase, North Bethesda, Potomac and Rockville.

All residing in District 16 who would like to fill the position should submit a letter of application with a resume by 5 p.m., Monday, Feb. 12, to the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee by mail to 3720 Farragut Avenue, Kensington, MD 20895, FAX to 301-946-1002 or e-mail to Applicants are requested to attend the Feb. 13 meeting at 7:30 p.m. and will be interviewed by the Committee members on their capability to fill this position. For further information, contact Elliot Chabot, Committee Secretary at 301-871-1113.

Navy Extends Scoping Period for Public Comments on BRAC-Related Expansion

U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Maryland Delegate William A. Bronrott (D-16) and Montgomery County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-1) announced on Jan. 10 the Department of the Navy's decision to extend the public comment period for the proposed expansion of the National Naval Medical Center (NNMC) for 30 days, until Feb. 3.

The public comment period, which is required by the National Environmental Policy Act, will give the public an additional opportunity to share its concerns over the proposed relocation of the Walter Reed Army Medical Center (WRAMC) services onto the NNMC campus.

At the request of the elected officials who represent the neighborhoods surrounding NNMC, the Navy also agreed to use the additional time to host well-publicized public forums to give interested individuals and neighborhood associations greater opportunities to learn about the full scope of this BRAC project and to express their views during this scoping period. Those who would like to provide public comment can do so via e-mail at or by phone at 301-295-2722.

National Naval Medical Center will also hold two additional public information meetings. The meetings are scheduled for Jan. 30 and Feb. 1 from 7-9 p.m. at the Pooks Hill Marriott in Bethesda.

The public will have another opportunity to formally comment in the summer of 2007 once the draft Environmental Impact Statement is published.

Public Libraries Add New Music Online Collection

Thanks to a new online service offered by Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), customers with MCPL cards can now access a variety of music — including African American, classical and folk — from their own homes.

Entitled Music Online, the database is part of the Montgomery Online Resources (MOR) collection and may be accessed from the MCPL home page, Music Online requires Macromedia Flash Player version 7 and higher or Microsoft Windows Media Player version 10 and higher.

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, please 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. Please 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, please visit to learn more about being a donor at NIH.