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The Week in Potomac, Aug. 15, 2012

No Referendum?

— The county’s Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act — to take effect Jan. 1, 2013 — will raise $18 million a year from insurance company reimbursements for medical transport.

“No county resident will ever receive a bill, pay a co-pay or deductible. Non-county residents will receive a bill that can be submitted to their insurers for reimbursement. Those without insurance will be able to file for a waiver of the fees,” according to County Executive Isiah Leggett.

The money raised will be dedicated to staffing, apparatus, facilities and equipment.

Leggett and the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association announced the agreement to improve the relationship between the volunteer association and Montgomery County, according to the county.

“Although we are concerned that non-County residents will receive a bill for emergency transport, we do not support a referendum on the [Act],” said Marcine Goodloe, president of the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association. “The fire and rescue service enhancements that will result from this agreement are too critical to jeopardize.”

— Ken Moore

Honoring WWII Veterans

World War II veterans will be honored Wednesday, Sept. 19 at the Silver Spring Civic Building at One Veterans Plaza. County Executive Isiah Leggett, Council President Roger Berliner and the County Council will lead ceremonies starting at 10:30 a.m.

Speakers will include veterans who served in various aspects of World War II.

“So many in our community heroically served our nation, and the world, 70 years ago,” said Council President Berliner. “There have been many books written, and many movies made, about the people we will honor, but on this day, we will personally thank — and hear directly from — some of the men and women who did so much to shape the life and freedom we know today.”

The county’s public cable television channel will simulcast the event live. In addition, the PEG Network will be recording the stories of many of the veterans for a documentary that will first be shown on Veterans Day.

Montgomery Honors WW II Vets event organizers seek contact with more veterans. Veterans, or family and friends of the veterans, should call 240-777-7929.

November Ballot Charter

The Montgomery County Council approved ballot language Tuesday, July 31 for a proposed charter amendment that would help establish a program within the county merit system to recruit, select and hire people with disabilities directly for county positions.

Councilmember Phil Andrews was the chief sponsor. “The unemployment rate for people with disabilities far exceeds the general unemployment rate,” he said. “In order for the county to significantly expand opportunities to bring qualified people with severe disabilities directly into county government jobs, the county’s charter must be amended to provide that authority.”

Andrews told other council members earlier this year that the county has taken previous action to expand opportunities for people with disabilities; including 2010 legislation that provides a hiring preference to veterans and people with disabilities who are applying for an initial position in county government and are among the highest rated group of applicants.

County Executive Isiah Leggett and the county’s Commission on People with Disabilities strongly supports the charter amendment, according to county officials.

Zoning Rewrite Project

Montgomery County planners have been revising sections of the Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance since 2010. Planners seek to rewrite the Zoning Code — last rewritten in 1977 and 1,200 pages long — to modernize antiquated, redundant zoning regulations and create new tools to help achieve goals in community plans, according to the Montgomery County Planning Department.

“The revised code — which will be considered by the Planning Board in a number of work sessions before going to the County Council for review early in 2013 — is expected to reduce the number of zones, clarify what uses are permitted in each zone, and rethink 1950s-era commercial strips and office parks,” according to Planning Board officials.

Planners have released a consolidated draft combining all of those sections and seek input before taking a revised draft to the Planning Board for consideration in September and throughout the fall.

The draft Zoning Code covers what’s permitted in each zone, how one can build, and the process by which development is reviewed and approved. It consolidates 123 existing zones into less than 40 proposed zones and seeks to ensure consistency with current height and density rules as well as recommendations in each community’s Master Plan.

Download the draft at www.zoningmontgomery.org. Feedback is encouraged at the Zoning Rewrite Project’s online comment board.

Repairs at Angler’s

A breach in the towpath began on Sept. 5, 2008 as a sinkhole and grew to a full scale breach after it was inundated with heavy downpours and huge amounts of runoff from the surrounding hillsides.

A by-pass for the towpath installed in October 2008 to permit continued visitor access to this highly used area of the C&O National historical Park, and to prevent additional erosion at the point of the breach.

This summer, stone masons have completed selection and installation of stones for restoration of the historic stone wall to permanently repair the towpath breach near Angler’s Inn, according to the C&O Canal Trust. (See canaltrust.org.)

These stones will serve as the face for a new massive concrete retaining wall on top of a new concrete footing. Behind the stone face, the concrete retaining wall has been formed and placed to its required elevation on the downstream side.

The contractor has initiated the excavation and drainage operations necessary for restoration of the towpath and canal. The failure area is currently 125 feet across and is closed to visitors at this time.

Limited parking will be available.

Alternative parking is available at Carderock (2 miles east) and Great Falls (2.2 miles west).

The expected completion date for the work remains fall 2012.

Fall Recreation

Montgomery County Recreation announced its fall guide for programs, which includes a variety of sports leagues and classes programs, as well as several opportunities for travel.

The county offers therapeutic recreation services and programs for seniors, too.

To view the fall guide online, see www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec. Print copies are available at recreation centers, park facilities, libraries and government buildings. Mailed subscriptions can be obtained by signing up on line.

Residents are encouraged to register early since many programs fill quickly. Sign up online, by mail, by fax or in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administration Offices at 4010 Randolph Road in Silver Spring.

Great Falls Stewards

The Park Service and Canal Trust seek volunteers to come to Historic Great Falls Tavern on Aug. 25, Sept. 22 and Oct. 6 from 9 a.m. to noon. Volunteers, 12 and older, will paint, rake, clean and clear debris from the Tavern and the surrounding areas.

For more information or to sign up, contact Becky Curtis at 301-745-8889, or email her at volunteer@canaltrust.org.

High school students can receive Student Service Learning hours.

C&O Canal 5K

During his sophomore year in high school, Gregory Picard organized the Runners for the C&O Canal (Run 3.1 Miles … Preserve 184.5) to benefit the C&O Canal National Historical Park. Last fall, the inaugural race raised more than $1,200 to support the park and its non-profit partner, The C&O Canal Trust.

This year’s race begins Saturday, Sept. 16 at 8 a.m. at Meadowbrook Park (Candy Cane City), 7901 Meadowbrook Lane in Chevy Chase, and follows flat shady trails through Rock Creek Park.

See canaltrust.org or the race website at cando5K.weebly.com

Honoring Fallen Ranger

The Margaret Anderson Memorial 5K and walk is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 8 on the C&O Canal's towpath, from Antietam Campground to the Rumsey Bridge near Shepherdstown, W.Va., at 9 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 8.

Proceeds will be donated to Margaret Anderson’s family for the care of her two young daughters.

Anderson was a law enforcement park ranger stationed in the Palisades District of C&O Canal National Historical Park from 2004 to 2008.

She was shot to death New Year’s Day 2012 when she confronted a 24-year-old man who didn’t stop at a vehicle inspection station to check for snow tires and chains at Mount Rainier National Park. At that time, park rangers didn’t know that the assailant had shot four other people and was attempting to elude law enforcement when Anderson confronted him.

Pre-registration costs $20 and is available on the Canal Trust website: http://www.CanalTrust.org/MargaretAndersonMemorial5K.

The race will begin at 9 a.m.

Parking and registration packet pickup will take place from 7—8:30 a.m. at Ferry Hill Plantation in Sharpsburg, Maryland. Participants will be shuttled to the Antietam Campground (C&O Canal mile post 69.4). An after-event gathering will take place at the conclusion of the race at Ferry Hill.

For more information, contact Race Director Tom Shantz at 304-676-3257.

— Ken Moore

Park After Dark

Last year’s inaugural Park After Dark sold out. Tickets for this year’s event on Oct. 13 will benefit the C&O Canal National Historic Park.

The grounds of the historic Great Falls Tavern in Potomac will be the setting for an evening under the stars around the bonfire, listening and dancing to music and enjoying food and beverages. Silent and live auctions with special "experience packages," will be offered.

See www.canaltrust.org to purchase tickets. A portion of the ticket price is tax-deductible. For more information or to become a sponsor, contact info@canaltrust.org.

Democracy in Action

The Montgomery County Board of Elections seeks students from sixth grade through senior year of high school to serve as Election Day Student Aides during the 2012 Presidential General Election.

Interested students will be required to attend training with their guardians and will be placed on Election Day in neighboring precincts according to their home addresses, The effort would qualify as Student Service Learning credits.

The election takes place on Tuesday, Nov. 6, 2012.

Students with bilingual and American Sign Language skills are encouraged to apply.

Register before Oct. 1, 2012 at www.777vote.org.

Fluent Election Judges

The Board of Election also seeks election judges who are fluent in Spanish.

Election judges must be U.S. citizens, registered to vote in Maryland, and 18 years or older. Election judges must also be able to speak, read and write in English. Montgomery County residency is not a pre-requisite to serve.

All election judges will be compensated for training and for Election Day service.

Contact the Board at 240-777-8532, download an election judge questionnaire from www.777vote.org or e-mail Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Get Involved: County Committees

The County Executive seeks applicants for a number of County boards, committees and commissions.

Currently, the county seeks applications for three people to serve on the Cable and Communications Advisory Committee, which advises the County Executive and Council on franchise agreements between the county government and providers of cable television service.

One student member is sought to serve on the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council, which advises the council and County Executive and the Criminal Justice Coordinating Commission on policies, programs and legislation to prevent domestic violence.

Seven vacancies remain on the Commission on People with Disabilities.

The Board of Registration for Building Contractors seeks a builder member who provide for the licensing of residential building contractors.

Six vacancies will be filled on the Solid Waste Advisory Committee, which provides advice to the Council and Executive on solid waste/recycling management and education programs and legislation.

Five vacancies will be filled on the Water Quality Advisory Group.

See www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/exec/vacancies

Applications consisting of a brief cover letter, resume and contact information should be sent to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, Md. 20850 or by email to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov

Members of such committees may not serve on more than one group at any given time. Appointments are subject to confirmation by the County Council.

— Compiled by Ken Moore