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This Week in Potomac 6-20-07

Teens Rescued from River

U.S. Park Police rescued three teenagers from the Potomac River on Saturday, June 16.

The three boys, two 19-year-olds and one minor, were lifted from the river just north of Great Falls by a U.S. Park Police helicopter in a coordinated effort with Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Swift Water Rescue, Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said Pete Piringer, a spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue.

"The boys were not injured [but] U.S. Park Police cited the teens for being in a restricted area," Piringer said. Swimming in the river is dangerous because of strong currents, Piringer said, and nine people drowned in that area of the river between 2000 and 2004, Piringer said. Five of those drownings occurred in 2004. A renewed coordination between Maryland and Virginia rescue squads has resulted in no accidental drownings in the river over the last two years.

Heat Caution to Senior Citizens

The Maryland Department of the Aging has issued a summer weather advisory for senior citizens.

Heat Exhaustion is a warning that the body is getting too hot. The person may get thirsty, giddy, weak, uncoordinated, nauseous, may begin sweating profusely and have skin that becomes cold and clammy.

Heat Stroke is caused by excessive exposure to hot, humid temperatures, and kills an average of 1,700 people in the U.S. each year. The vast majority — 80 percent — of those deaths occur in persons age 50 and older, according to the Department of the Aging. Heat Stroke occurs when a person has a body temperature above 104 degrees. Symptoms may include confusion, combativeness, bizarre behavior, faintness, staggering, strong rapid pulse, dry skin, flushed skin, lack of sweating and even delirium or a coma. Immediate medical attention is essential when problems first begin.

To avoid Heat Exhaustion or Heat Stroke seniors are urged to drink plenty of fluids, even when they are not thirsty, and to eat fruits with a high water content such as watermelon, grapes, peaches, apples, strawberries and pears. Dress in light-weight, light-colored, loose-fitting clothing and avoiding rigorous activity and midday heat between the hours of noon and 4 p.m. When outdoors, be sure to use sunscreen and wear a hat. Use air conditioners indoors and when going outdoors get accustomed to the heat gradually. Be sure also to avoid cooking and eating hot, heavy meals.

Corrections

Susan Pereles, director of the July Fourth Cure Autism Now 5K in Potomac, was misquoted in the article “Racing for Autism” in the June 13 Almanac. According the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 150 children including 1 in 94 boys, are affected by autism. This is an increase from five years ago, when according to the CDC, one in 500 people were affected by autism.

The article “Ready for the Big Time” about Winston Churchill High School’s graduation in the June 6 Almanac had the wrong name for Churchill’s senior class president, His name is Jonathan Shim.

Almanac Photo Galleries

This week we launch a new feature on the Potomac Almanac Web site — photo galleries. Every week, Almanac and Connection Newspapers photographers and reporters take hundreds of photos at events around Potomac and Northern Virginia. And despite taking dozens of photos at some events, often only one or two photos make it into print.

Now on our Web site, readers can find many more photos from events. It is a work in progress, but already we have posted photos from many events, including high school proms and community events. We will post photos from many high school graduations as well. For example, families and friends can look for 25 photos of the Churchill graduation, 16 photos from Wootton’s graduation and 42 photos of Whitman’s graduation. More is on the way.

The photo galleries offer a chance to see many more photos of these and other events. Readers can e-mail the images to share them, and also have the opportunity to purchase prints, digital images or other items.

See www.PotomacAlmanac.com, and click on “Connection Photo Galleries.”

Revised Health Education Curriculum Adopted

On a vote of 6 to 1, the Montgomery County Board of Education approved revised Health Education lessons on human sexuality for students in Grades 8 and 10. The approval of the curriculum for full implementation in the 2007-2008 school year followed a field test in six middle and high schools in March and feedback from field-test teachers, parents, and students. Board member Steve Abrams voted against full implementation of the curriculum.

The eighth and tenth grade lessons comprise two 45-minute sessions in each grade on respecting differences in human sexuality. The purpose of the curriculum is to promote tolerance, empathy, and respect for all people regardless of sexual orientation. The curriculum also defines terms related to sexual orientation.

In addition, the tenth-grade curriculum includes one 45-minute lesson and one video detailing the correct usage of a condom. The purpose of the condom demonstration lesson is to show proper application of a condom and to instill the importance of using a condom correctly and consistently to reduce the risk of unwanted pregnancies and sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS. The condom demonstration lesson emphasizes that abstinence is the only 100 percent effective method of preventing sexually transmitted infections and pregnancy.

The six schools participating in the field test were Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Sherwood High School, Watkins Mill High School, Argyle Middle School, Julius West Middle School, and Westland Middle School. The lessons will now become part of the health education curriculum in all 38 middle schools and 25 high schools beginning in the fall of 2007.

Local Students Win STAR Awards

One hundred sixty-four outstanding African-American students from Montgomery County Public Schools are recipients of this year’s awards from the STAR (Stand Tall and Reach) Scholarship Foundation.

One hundred thirty-four students received awards of either $1,000 or $250, for a total of $96,500. Local recipients of awards included Isaama Stool of Walt Whitman High School; Neffetara Morris, Sakeenah Muwwakkil and Samantha Wiggins of Winston Churchill High School; and Schuyler Cosby, Erica George, Beverly Ibeh, Justin Watkins and Alex Weaver of Thomas Wootton High School. Scholarship recipients maintained a minimum 3.0 grade point average and participated in extracurricular activities such as community service or employment. The awards were presented at the Sixth Annual STAR-Montgomery Awards Luncheon Saturday, June, at the Universities at Shady Grove. African-American high school students can compete annually for scholarships in the 9th, 10th, and 11th grades, giving them the potential to earn up to $3,000 toward their education, by winning the scholarship for three consecutive years.

For more information about the STAR Scholarship awards program, please call Dr. Clarice Somersall of Montgomery College at 240-567-1702; e-mail clarice.somersall@montgomerycollege.edu.

CAN 5K Approaches

For the seventh straight year, the Cure Autism Now 5K will bring runners, walkers and volunteers to Potomac Village on the Fourth of July. Proceeds benefit Cure Autism Now and Autism Speaks, formerly separate nonprofits that have merged to fund autism research and find a cure. Potomac’s Susan Pereles, the founder of the Can 5K, hopes to raise more than $200,000 with this year’s race, which will raise the event’s seven-year total to more than $1 million. Register now for the CAN 5K by visiting www.canrun.org.

A Day for Our Wounded Military Personnel

Camp Furman, founded by S. Ronald Furman in 1955, was a summer day camp which provided sports and recreation for children in the Washington metropolitan area. roan and Joan Furman would like to reactivate the camp, but instead of working with children would like to provide wounded military personnel at local military hospitals with a chance to spend a day in a country, park-like environment with swimming, volleyball, horseshoes, badminton, darts, ping-pong and a picnic lunch.

The Furmans are planning this activity with The American Red Cross of the National Capital Area. They will provide transportation for these events, and seek volunteers to assist with the games, coordinate with food vendors, and many other aspects of this day. Join the Furmans for an organizational meeting on Saturday, June 23, at 13211 Quarry Mill Road at 11 a.m. Monetary contributions to help with this effort would also be appreciated; make checks payable to the American Red Cross and specify “For Camp Furman.” The money will be used for equipment and supplies for these outings.

For further information contact Ron and/or Joan Furman at 301-948-7000, or e-mail furman@anproperties.com or joananpi@yahoo.com.

Police Officers and Personnel Honored

On June 14 at the Montgomery County Police Department recognized officers for meritorious service during a Quarterly Awards Ceremony. While every officer honored considers his/her heroics to be just part of the job, each has a compelling story of putting another person’s life before his or her own.

The Lifesaving Award is the second more prestigious award given by the department and was given to 15 officers. The Lifesaving Award is given to the employees who make a major contribution toward saving the life of another by providing essential medical treatment prior to the arrival of Emergency Medical Service personnel.

First District Officers Scott Davis and Samuel Mrvos received the Lifesaving Award for their actions on March 23, when they responded to a call for a woman preparing to jump from a bridge onto Interstate 270 at West Montgomery Avenue. Their actions prevented this woman from killing herself by jumping 30 feet to her death.

First District Officers Joseph Norton and Derek Teichler also received the Lifesaving Award for their actions on February 7, for their courage and professionalism when they responded to an address on Crawford Street in Rockville for someone suffering from stab wounds. It was later learned that the man had lost nearly half of his body’s blood and because of the quick actions of the officers, the man survived his injuries.

Volunteers Sought for Purple Line Committee

The Montgomery County Planning Board seeks applicants for a community advisory committee to work with its planners as they craft a plan for the proposed Metro Purple Line, slated to connect Bethesda and New Carrollton. The advisory committee will help planners analyze the transit line’s potential impacts on the community. Called a functional master plan, the resulting product will lay out the Planning Department’s recommendations for the type of transit (light rail or rapid bus), alignment, and station locations in Montgomery County.

Prospective Purple Line advisory committee members will attend frequent meetings through fall 2008. Other tasks will include considering environmental issues and resident concerns and ensuring conformance of the proposed Purple Line with other county master plans. The Planning Department staff plans to hold public outreach activities in concert with the advisory committee.

Representatives from civic groups, businesses, residents, environmental organizations, property owners and the general public are encouraged to apply for representation on the advisory committee by submitting a letter of interest by Friday, July 13, 2007. Applicants can send their letters via e-mail to Thomas.autrey@mncppc-mc.org, fax at 301-495-1302 or mail to Tom Autrey Transportation Planning Division, Montgomery County Planning Department, 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910-3760. Visit www.montgomeryplanning.org for more information.

Facilitators Needed for Study Circles

Facilitators are needed for the Study Circles Program in Montgomery County Public Schools. Study Circles is a dialogue and action program that works with schools to address racial and ethnic barriers to student achievement and parent involvement.

A meeting on Wednesday, June 27 from 7-8:30 p.m. is scheduled at the Carver Educational Services Center auditorium located at 850 Hungerford Drive in Rockville. The meeting will give an overview of the Study Circles process and specifics on roles and expectations of facilitators.

Participants selected will receive instruction in multicultural and group processes, a certificate of completion, and a stipend when they facilitate a full study circle.

For more information on the Study Circles program visit www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/departments/studycircles, call 301-279-3455, or e-mail studycircles@mcpsmd.org.

‘Killer Angels’ in the Amphitheater

The Heritage Theatre Company will present "Killer Angels" at the Cabin John Regional Park outdoor amphitheater on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, May 24-June 30, at 8:30 p.m. "Killer Angels" is the stage adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize winning Civil War novel about the 3-day battle of Gettysburg in 1863. For tickets call Heritage at 301-770-9080, or visit www.theheritagetheatre.org.

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. \

Summer Pedestrian Safety Tips

With the spring season in full bloom and the start of summer fast approaching, more people are enjoying outdoor activities. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, pedestrian injury is the second leading cause of unintentional injury-related death among children ages 5 to 14. To stay safe this summer, please follow these pedestrian and bicycling safety tips:

Pedestrian Tips

* Cross the street at marked crosswalks and intersections. Do not jaywalk.

* Before crossing, look left, right, and left again. Then look over your shoulder for turning vehicles.

* Make eye contact with drivers to make sure they see you.

* Use pedestrian pushbuttons.

* Begin crossing the street on the "Walk" signal.

* Wear light-colored or reflective clothing to be visible after dark and in bad weather.

* Do not wear headphones while walking.

* Watch out for trucks and buses backing out of parking spaces and driveways.

Driver Tips

* Stop for pedestrians at marked and unmarked crosswalks.

Clara Barton Holds Art Contest

The staff of Clara Barton National Historic Site invites artists to submit work for an upcoming exhibition entitled "The Art of Clara Barton." This show will display the work of artists who have created work related to Clara Barton along with original never-before exhibited work by the famous founder and president of the American Red Cross. Submit a clear, color photograph or digital image file of the artwork for consideration by August 19. The staff of Clara Barton National Historic Site will select the works for the exhibition. This exhibition will be held during the months of September and October. For more information visit www.nps.gov/clba/artists.htm or contact 301-320-1410.

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 July 1-7, 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.

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.