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Susan Belford

Stories by Susan

Renovated Mall Ready for Holidays

ArcLight Cinema opens.

The renovated Westfield’s Montgomery Mall offers a state-of-the-art movie theater, a variety of new restaurants and dozens of stores just in time for Black Friday.

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Camargo, Guterman Launch Collection in Potomac

Designer, local entrepreneur join forces.

Jewelry designer Anthony Camargo is renowned for his line, Anthony Nak, worn by celebrities such as Angelina Jolie, Catherine Zeta Jones and Jennifer Lopez. Camargo recently relocated to the Potomac area from southeast Asia — and the designer has now joined forces with Potomac entrepreneur Barbara Guterman to release his new independent jewelry collection.

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Praising Muslim Foundation’s ‘Faith in Action’

Fundraising dinner highlight charitable activities.

More than 200 people attended the Montgomery County Muslim Foundation’s (MCMF) annual fundraising dinner on Nov. 1 where County Executive Isiah Leggett complimented the organization on their many charitable activities.

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Pet Calendar Raises Funds for Animal Groups

Proceeds to support Pet Connect Rescue and MCPAW.

Rudy is the gorgeous Cover Dog, Baxter is the adorable April Dog of the Month and Cayden is the June beauty.

Potomac: Local Authors To Appear at Annual Book Festival

Bringing writers and readers together.

The upcoming 45th Annual Lessans Family Book Festival will be a 10 days of presentations on a variety of books – many by authors who reside in the area.

Parade To Salute Honorees

Potomac Day arrives Saturday.

This Saturday's Oct. 25 Potomac Day promises to be bigger and better than last year.

Inspiring Others

Potomac resident shares entrepreneurial skills.

A Potomac resident’s motivational life-story is the inspiration for a “Serving Others” chapter in Richard Rende, Ph.D.’s latest book — a collaboration with entrepreneur Jen Prosek — entitled “Raising Can-Do Kids: Giving Children the Tools to Thrive in a Fast- Changing World.”

Assisting Hands of Potomac Provides Caregivers

Business helps relieve families’ stress.

When a loved one becomes ill, the family is forced into the position of either becoming a caregiver or finding the right person to lovingly provide care.

Metropolitan Community Club Hosts Gift Show

9th annual holiday event supports local charities.

There are only 62 shopping days until Hanukah and 72 shopping days until Christmas, but don’t panic. Just realize that it is once again time to create your list, start shopping – and find that special gift for each person on your list.

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‘This Is My Solemn Vow ...’

Potomac United Methodist Church holds Renewal of Vows ceremony.

When Peggy Conn suggested to her husband of 62 years that they participate in a Renewal of Marriage Vows ceremony with other couples from the Potomac United Methodist Church, her husband Dick responded, “I had no idea our marriage had expired.”

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Park After Dark Draws Capacity Crowd

Event helped raise funds for repairs.

As the crowd entered the Historic Great Falls Tavern on a balmy September evening, they were greeted by park rangers Mike Griffin and Ned Noddard showing off a bright red 1952 Chevy truck. Since the event celebrated the 60th anniversary of Chief Justice William O. Douglas’s walk of the entire 184.5 mile C&O Canal with editors from the Washington Post, a life-like photo of Douglas provided photo opportunities for attendees.

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Getting Ready for Potomac Day

Annual parade brings community together.

Oct. 25 is Potomac Day — and residents are already anticipating the excitement. Many are looking forward to the Grand Parade where children – and moms and dads too — can catch candy tossed from cars and trucks, spot a dentist dressed like the tooth fairy, cheer for their favorite businesses, political candidates and musical groups and applaud local Potomac leaders.

Housing Market Differs by Price Category

Overall, buyers looking for move-in properties.

Houses in D.C., Chevy Chase and Bethesda are snapped up days after they come on the market. However, many Potomac homes — particularly those selling for more than a million dollars — are remaining on the market for months without so much as an offer — or maybe even a buyer gracing their doors.

Raising Awareness about Interstitial Cystitis

Potomac woman launches petition for increased research funds.

Twenty-year-old Justine Stayman, a computer science major attending the University of Maryland’s Honors Program, was thrilled to be selected for the highly-competitive Hinman CEO program – the nation’s first living-learning entrepreneurship program. She was looking forward to living on the UM campus with other students who had a passion for launching their own businesses.

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Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award

Katie Hamelburg, daughter of Jamie and Mark Hamelburg of Potomac, received the Diller Teen Tikkun Olam Award recently for a project inspiring fellow teen members of the United Synagogue Youth to perform 18,000 hours of volunteer service in one year.

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‘Heroes Walk To Fly’

Group provides airline tickets to military families visiting injured loved one.

A family receives the devastating call that their son, serving in the Afghanistan, had life-threatening injuries from an IED and was being air-lifted to Walter Reed National Medical Military Center. They were told to start driving to the nearest airport. The hospital staff would do what they could to keep their son alive until they got there, even though it was a five-hour flight.

End-of-Season Swim

End-of-Season Swim

Park After Dark To Honor Chief Justice Douglas

Event to commemorate 60th anniversary of Douglas’ 1954 walk to save the canal.

Potomac residents owe a huge debt to Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas for almost singlehandedly saving the C&O Canal. Douglas spearheaded a movement against a bill in Congress to destroy the C&O Canal to build a super-highway.

Taste of Potomac To Benefit Adoptions Together

Seventh annual event scheduled for Sept. 13.

“Today, there are five thousand children in the D.C. metropolitan area who are living in temporary care, waiting to be adopted. We need to make their dreams come true.” These are the words of Janice Goldwater whose vision and determination have helped to conquer the challenge of finding permanent homes for children regardless of their age, race or health issues.

Serving Up Innovative Cuisine

Executive Chef Chris Mayo transforms Bethesda Country Club’s menus.

June 29, 2012: The derecho hits Potomac and Bethesda, causing devastation and cancellations. Trees are down, high temperatures with even higher humidity prevail, and there is no power for a week resulting in refrigeration issues and camp-outs in basements.

Golf Tournament To Benefit Casey Cares

Potomac family and friends host annual charitable fundraiser.

The friends and family of Potomac’s Vince and Linda Crivella had been holding a casual, friendly golf tournament for nine years. After a few years, they decided to raise money for charity. The money they raised was donated to a different organization each year.

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A Dream That Came True

Free health care clinic founded by Potomac residents.

Fourteen years ago, Mercy Health Clinic was established in Gaithersburg with the mission to provide “quality health care from the heart for those in need.”

Hamelburg Selected for Diller ‘Tikkun Olam’ Award

Teen launched “Operation 18,000.”

“Tikkun Olam” is a Hebrew phrase which means “Repairing the World.” The concept suggests that all share in the responsibility to heal, repair and transform the world. Potomac’s Katie Hamelburg has adopted the phrase as her mantra and is on a fast-track to inspiring other teens to become involved in volunteerism to make their communities, nation and world a better place for all.

Mourning Loss of Betty Dunham

The heart of Dunham’s Motor Service.

It was 1948. Much of River Road was not paved, farming was a way of life in Potomac, people hitched their horses to a post at the crossroads of River and Falls – and Dunham’s Motor Service, Mitch Mitchell’s gas station, the Perry Store, and a bar pretty much made up the businesses of “downtown” Potomac.

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Local Blog Explores Spiritual Understanding

Salma Hasan Ali reflects on Ramadan.

Four years ago, Salma Hasan Ali began writing a blog called “30 Days, 30 Deeds” to share the essence of the month-long Muslim holiday Ramadan with her children ( Her writings reveal a heartfelt exploration of Ramadan, but also give insight into the life of a mother seeking to inspire her children to understand the true meaning of performing good deeds, expressing gratitude, saying prayers and practicing charity.

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Filling a Special Need

Potomac resident launches

Branson joined forces with her friend, entrepreneur Andrew Dunnavant, and over the past 9 months, they have built — a website that features not only a detailed inventory of resources from across the US, but provides reviews and information about many of the items on the list.

Increase Wellness, Decrease Stress

Members of Potomac Community Village learn easy-to-follow health tips.

More than 40 members and guests came out to listen to a presentation by certified personal trainer Stacy Holstein who spoke on the “Ten Best Ways to Increase your Wellness and Decrease your Stress.”

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Potomac Native Launches ‘QuickSolar’ Start-up

Design tool eases calculations on solar energy.

Former Potomac resident Alex Landau has created a web-based solar design tool to simplify the process of “going solar.”

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Albright Addresses McLean School Graduates

Go forth and make a difference.

Most graduation speakers are faced with the problem of emitting wisdom and life-lessons for the graduates who are leaving one phase in life and venturing on into their next act. Instead of speaking to the graduates about success and fortitude, McLean School Commencement Speaker Madeline Albright, Secretary of State under President Clinton, had students complete a survey, and she used the results and their views to formulate her speech.

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Raising Funds and Awareness for Autism

Teams spark spirit at 14th Annual Autism Speaks 5K/Fun Walk on July 4.

Helen Keller once said, “Alone we can do so little; together we can do so much.” The Autism Speaks 5K/Fun Run is living proof that joint efforts and collaboration are powerful. More than 100 teams gather forces each year to run and walk for their brothers, sisters, nieces, nephews, children, grandchildren, friends and school-mates — and also to support the drive to find a cure and better treatments for autism. The teams, made up of runners/walkers of all ages represent swim clubs, schools, families, friends and companies; many participants have been touched by autism and want to help raise funds and awareness for this important cause.

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Whaley Inspires Female Golfers

Pro golfer speaks at the First Tee of Montgomery County luncheon.

As the keynote speaker of The First Tee of Montgomery County luncheon and golf outing held at TPC Avenel on June 2, Whaley personalized her message of the importance of golf for girls and women.

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Huschmand Launches ‘Exclusively Entertainment’

Full-service entertainment company opens in Potomac.

A new company located in Potomac Village, Exclusively Entertainment, is available to meet residents’ event entertainment needs.

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Women's Club of Potomac to Host Art Show

Sale to raise funds for charity.

One hundred Montgomery County artists, more than 400 original art works, 35 local businesses and the Women’s Club of Potomac are joining together to host a juried art exhibition on June 7 and June 8.

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Business: Potomac Village Welcomes Focus Fine Photography

Making photos as expressive as possible.

"Photography is our passion. We don’t call it a job — it’s art.” This is the philosophy of both Parmiss Akbari and Naz Refaat — owners of Focus Fine Photography Studio which recently opened in Potomac Village.

Theater Performances Target Young Audiences

Bravo presents 'Annie Kids' and 'Into the Woods Jr.'

Give youngsters an opportunity to experience live theater by taking them to Bravo Productions at the Randolph Road Theater.

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Fisher Ortiz Leads Tennis Fundraiser for OI Research

He’s a “Kids Play for Good” ambassador.

Six-year-old Fisher Ortiz loves hitting baseballs, smacking tennis balls, and climbing high on a jungle gym. However, if he swings too hard, or misses a rung on a ladder, he could break an arm or leg because he was born with a rare disease called Osteogenesis Imperfecta (OI), also known as “brittle bone disease.”

The Playground in Potomac's Backyard

What the C&O National Park offers for summer fun.

The C&O Canal is a part of U.S. history and also of the history of Potomac. Many residents explore it time after time, learning something new each time they visit. They might spot an unusual bird, or enjoy listening to the thunder of the waters after a deluge of rain.

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Fun and Frolicking Through the Summer

Here are some suggestions for family activities in and around Potomac.

After school’s out, summer seems to fly by, with vacations, summer camp, sports clinics, team games and everything else. But every year, when fall starts, many wish they had done just a few more family outings or taken advantage of the many activities in and around Potomac. Here are some fun family leisure opportunities that shouldn’t be missed this summer. Start planning now for a memorable summer.

Strawberry Festival Returns Saturday

Potomac United Methodist Church hosts 24th annual event.

The Strawberry Festival is back. The Potomac United Methodist Church event features the some of the best chocolate-covered strawberries one will ever taste as well as an opportunity to spend a day shopping for one-of-a-kind items at the boutique, searching through Home Treasures for that perfect piece for one’s home, or sampling the home-baked goodies from the bake sale.

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Addressing Strokes

Fashion show at Old Angler’s Inn to raise funds for hospital program.

When Sara and Mark Reges’ youngest son Charles was just 9 years old, he was hit by a car in Potomac Village. He suffered a traumatic brain injury and was on life support for weeks at the Children’s National Medical Center. He was in critical care and partially paralyzed for months following the accident — but today he is a normal young man with no side effects.

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Speakers Fulfill ‘Inspiration Day’

Three speakers shared their stories of challenges, life experiences and personal successes at the MoverMoms’ third annual “Inspiration Day.” The April 27 event, held at the River Falls Clubhouse was attended by about 60 women who are a combination of MoverMoms’ participants along with family and friends.

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TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm To Host Annual ‘The First Tee’

During the summer, if you visit the Montgomery County golf courses at Laytonsville, Needwood, Sligo, Northwest or Olney, you will see youngsters blasting balls from sand traps, laying into drives, trying to sink a long putt, or heading off to the tee box carrying their bags on their backs. These are just some of the youths in The First Tee summer program who are learning to play and love the game of golf but also gaining more in terms of personal growth and ethics.

Paintings at One Aum Yoga Center Encourage Tranquility

Local artists’ works are featured.

Both paintings and yoga promote a sense of calm and tranquility. The mood and the subject matter of a painting is a reflection on meditation while participating in yoga brings a sense of serenity and relaxation to the participant. When one enters Potomac’s One Aum Yoga Center, he or she can feel the calm vibe and experiences the peacefulness — a change from the hustle and bustle that pulls many into a world of commotion and activity. The space says relax — and the yoga and paintings provide the medium.

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Bullis Entrepreneurial Teams Compete for $10,000

In “Shark Tank”-like competition.

Six teams of Bullis seniors: $2,000 in start-up money, classes in entrepreneurship, ingenious mentors who helped teams brainstorm and take their dreams to reality, the thrill of starting a new company and seeing it blossom, judges who are successful entrepreneurs — and a grand prize of $10,000 to take their company to the next level. Welcome to the “Shark Tank” at the Bullis Upper School.

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Gomez-Gracia and Sogol Décor: ‘Marvelous May’

International style and design fills “The Haus.”

Looking for exclusive couture for a special occasion? Searching for distinctive home décor items? Seeking fashion or interior design advice? All are now available in Potomac at Gomez-Gracia, located in a little black and white house with black and white striped awnings — and a turquoise door — at 10040 Falls Road, minutes north of the Village. Here in “The Haus” are designer gowns, outfits, one-of-a kind home décor items, jewelry, handbags, paintings, furniture, gift items and more.

Bullis Gives Back

6th Annual 5k Run/2.5 Walk and “Buddy Run” this Sunday.

“Come run … Come walk … Come change a life.” It’s lunchtime in the Bullis cafeteria. Students are mingling and finding their tables, eating while discussing their classes, activities and what to do next weekend. Most students in the cafeteria are planning to spend Sunday, May 4 participating in “Bullis Gives Back” — the run/walk that gives them an opportunity to volunteer to pair up with a “Buddy” from The Diener School, from K.E.E.N (Kids Enjoy Exercise Now) or from the Treatment and Learning Centers/Katherine Thomas School (TLC/KTS).

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B’nai Tzedek Celebrates Its 25th Anniversary

Gala honors its founders.

In 1988, the movie “Field of Dreams” inspired viewers with the motto, “If you build it, they will come.” Armed with this philosophy, and encouraged by a few residents who were also passionate about establishing a new synagogue in Potomac, Symcha and Rabbi Stuart Weinblatt set off on a mission to create, in Weinblatt’s words, “a place where members grow Jewishly and take their Jewish journey, where they could deepen their ties to Judaism and discover its beauty and relevance.”

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Hospice Caring Celebrates 25 Years of Service

Multiple programs for those at life’s end and for the families they leave behind.

In 1989, Penny Gladhill, and six other Frederick Hospice volunteers saw and felt the need for free hospice services in Montgomery County. With enthusiasm and determination, they initiated Hospice Caring — a nonprofit organization that has affected thousands of lives in Montgomery County for 25 years.

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Potomac’s Mike Hammer Adjusts as Ambassador to Chile

Strengthening U.S.-Chile ties.

On Wednesday, March 5, Mike Hammer was quietly residing in Potomac with his family where he enjoyed weekend walks to Starbucks and watching his children’s sports activities. However, one day later, he was confirmed by the U.S. Senate as ambassador to Chile — and life started moving at a breath-taking pace. Three days after the confirmation, he and his family boarded Air Force Two to fly to Santiago with Vice President Joe Biden and Dr. Jill Biden.

Beth Shalom Hosts ‘Guys Night Out’

The 4th annual BBQ, Scotch and Seder Summit took place April 6 at the Beth Sholom Congregation on Seven Locks Road in Potomac.