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This Week in Potomac 8-1-07

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.

County Council on Recess

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.

Suspect Arrested for Burglaries in Chevy Chase

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police 2nd District Investigative Section arrested a suspect on July 24 for several burglaries in the Chevy Chase area, according to a press release from Montgomery County police.

On June 15, 2007, officers responded to the 5400 block of Wisconsin Avenue in Chevy Chase for the report of several burglaries at an apartment complex. Various items were taken from each residence. On July 2, 2007, officers responded to the 4500 block of North Park Avenue in Chevy Chase. A similar string of burglaries occurred at that condominium complex.

Through the course of the investigation, according to police, it was learned that Dwane Fairmont Earl, age 47, of the 1700 block of Park Road in Washington, D.C., was responsible for the burglaries. Detectives believe he is responsible for several other burglaries in Silver Spring, Bethesda, Washington D.C., and Arlington County, Va.

Earl was charged with several counts of first-degree burglary, third-degree burglary, fourth-degree burglary, and theft over $500. As of last week, he was being held at the Montgomery County Detention Center on $25,000 bond.

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.

Floreen named to State Panel

Montgomery County Councilmember Nancy Floreen (D—At-Large) has been named to the Maryland Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group, which is charged with supporting Governor Martin O’Malley’s newly-created Climate Change Commission.

The Maryland Commission on Climate Change is charged with advising the Governor and the General Assembly on matters related to climate change. Specifically, the Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Mitigation Working Group will evaluate and recommend goals to reduce the state’s greenhouse gas emissions and will develop a Comprehensive Greenhouse Gas and Carbon Footprint Reduction Strategy. She also chairs the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Climate Change Steering Committee.

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.