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Susan Belford

Stories by Susan

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.

Dinner Music

Focus Music brings folk and acoustic music to Potomac’s Tami’s Table.

Tami’s Table Café and Wine Bar, located at 12944-E Travilah Road, Potomac is the scene to check out.

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‘Tiger Trot’ Aids Fire Department

The hills and valleys of Potomac will suddenly come alive on Sunday, April 13 as more than 400 runners and walkers take to the streets for the 4th Annual “Tiger Trot.” The 5K run/walk, sponsored by the Connelly School of the Holy Child benefits the Cabin John Park Volunteer Fire Department as well as the wellness and fitness programs at the school. This community race draws both elite runners from the area as well as family, friends, neighbors, firefighters and Holy Child faculty. All are welcome to participate in the run and walk through Potomac neighborhoods.

4-Year-Olds Learn About Entrepreneurship

“Camila’s Lemonade Stand” author visits Potomac Nursery School.

“If you could start your own business — any business you wanted, what would you choose?” asked teacher Barbara Haas to her class of 4-year-olds at Potomac Nursery School. The question prompted answers from the children of “I would have a business where I could take care of animals” to “I would want to make delicious food for people.” Some wanted to become home builders, doctors or fire-fighters; others wanted to become lawyers to help other people.

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Churchill To Present ‘Urinetown’

Students to perform award-winning musical comedy

Water is one or our most important commodities — and many communities already know and fear the painful sanctions that governments put into place when droughts take place. But what if every drop of water had to be preserved and the U.S. government required all citizens to excrete only in a government-sanctioned urinal?

Spring Days Bring Outdoor Fun

Taking advantage of a sunny Saturday.

Spring is upon us, and when we get a warm day like Saturday — children and adults alike just can’t wait to get outside to enjoy the sunshine, fresh air and springtime temperatures.

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Country Club Manager Honored for Leadership

Bradley Cance, general manager and chief operating officer of the Bethesda Country Club was recently honored by his alma mater, Michigan State University with his selection into the 2013 Hall of Fame "Class of Mentors." Cance was chosen for the coaching and mentoring support he has given to students from the university. He has counseled and guided interns, and assisted future club managers in their searches for employment within the industry. He has also been one of the top two or three alumni in Destination Auction donations each year for 10 years. Cance received the award at the university’s annual Celebration of Leadership, held on Nov. 9, 2013 in New York City.

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Makes You Sweat, Makes You Sore — and Wanting More

Megaformer transforms Pilates workout.

Still working on that New Year’s Resolution to get fit and lose weight — but not making much progress? Sculpt Pilates Studio, featuring a new exercise program, recently opened Jan. 25 in Bethesda — with new machines and body sculpting exercises.

‘Blast from the Past 25 – Mixtape’ Opens at Churchill

Production marks silver anniversary.

The 1989 show — the first of its kind in the Potomac area — is a tradition that has continued, offering thousands of students the opportunity to showcase their talents.

Eight Family Adventures To Brighten Winter Days

Some ideas for getting out of the house.

Bundle up with hats and mittens, head out of the house, and take advantage of these cold days with some new adventures.

Local Students Perform in ‘Beauty and the Beast Jr.’

Musical to be presented by Bravo@Kat.

Bravo@Kat (Kensington Arts Theatre) will present Beauty and the Beast Jan. 31-Feb. 2, at the Randolph Road Theatre, 4010 Randolph Road, Silver Spring.

Holy Child Freshman Wins Junior Grand Prix Medals in Ice Dancing

Lorraine McNamara was 3 years old when she gingerly stepped onto the ice at a local skating rink while her mom was taking a lesson. Eleven years later, she is an accomplished ice dance competitor.

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Ring In Holiday Season with Gifts from Potomac Village

So much, so near.

The shopping season is here — and it’s time to find special gifts for everyone on your list. But instead of rushing to the mall, or heading to the outlets, this year, shop in Potomac.

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Local Producer’s ‘No Evidence Of Disease’ To Screen in Bethesda

Doctors in rock band honor their patients.

N.E.D. or “No Evidence of Disease” — the words every patient hopes to hear — is the name of a rock band created by six GYN cancer surgeons who deliver a message and hope with each song they play. Bethesda’s Karen Simon has joined with Emmy Award-winning filmmaker, director Andrea Kalin of Washington D.C.’s Spark Media to produce a documentary that chronicles the lives of the doctors as well as the courage and experiences of their patients. The movie descriptor explains: “As music and medicine join forces in the fight for life, surgeons are transformed into rising rock stars, and their patients and loved ones jump on the bandwagon, infusing the struggle for survival with heart, hope and Rock ‘n’ Roll.” The doctors, irate because gynecological cancers do not receive the publicity that other cancers receive — or the funding — choose to take on the “Below the Belt” cancers. Their songs are original and they play not only for their own satisfaction, but to honor the courage of their female patients and their devoted families and friends, who join in the fight to make others aware of this “silent killer.”

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Join Donna E. Driscoll Walk for Dystonia

Event to raise funds for research.

Donna Driscoll is the voice of courage as she discusses dystonia, the disease she has lived with for nine years. “It’s frustrating and debilitating — but I never give up pushing. I feel better when I am trying.” Driscoll’s life was totally altered by this neurological movement disorder that she now battles on a daily basis. She had always been an active person who played competitive USTA team tennis, taught first grade at Garrett Park Elementary and traveled often to visit grandchildren. Because of dystonia, the Potomac resident has been forced to give up tennis, retire from her teaching position and quit walking her dog. She could not accompany her children and grandchildren to Disney World without a wheelchair and she had difficulty with daily tasks such as grocery shopping and walking up and down stairs. Yearly she vows to beat dystonia by raising funds for research and by increasing the public’s awareness. “Researchers have made strides in the treatment of dystonia, and I am determined to raise enough money to solve the mysteries of this disease and find a cure. Researchers have found new procedures and medicines that improve the lives of those with Parkinson’s — a disorder closely related to dystonia. I always say, ‘Parkinson’s has Michael J. Fox, dystonia has me.” Driscoll continues to increase the knowledge about her debilitating disease by trying to mobilize government officials to grant more funds to dystonia research.

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Understanding Disabilities

Wayside’s ‘SNAP’ Week teaches challenges of special needs.

Potomac’s St. Andrew’s Episcopal School Gym was over-flowing with students, parents and friends cheering the Wayside staff team on as they held their own against the acclaimed wheelchair basketball team The Maryland Ravens.

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Holiday Gift Show to Benefit Area Charities

Shopping takes on a new meaning.

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Get Ready for Potomac Day

Games and fun await this fall at Potomac Day.

Documentary Highlights Wounded Warriors Program

Documentary Highlights Wounded Warriors Program

Wounded Warrior J.D. Hartley credits a horse for changing his life. “I was scared at first, but I haven’t had a nightmare since I met Peanut, my horse.

Help Cure Ocular Melanoma on Sunday

This is a personal fight for Harvey Levine of Potomac, coordinator of the concert. His sister Sheila is fighting ocular melanoma – and he is doing everything in his power to raise funds for research.

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Providing Programs for Those with Developmental Disabilities

PCR works with other groups to launch similar programs.

In 1994, Joan and Jim Sullivan of Potomac proposed an idea to Father John Enzler and the parishioners of Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church — an idea that changed and improved services for teens and adults with developmental disabilities in Montgomery County.

Family Adventures Before Summer Ends

Planning end-of-summer activities.

It’s less than one month before the onslaught of the new school year. Homework, after-school activities, athletics and schedules will soon begin and continue for the next 10 months. Right now is the time to be thinking about how to best pack in some end-of-the-summer day-trip activities for your family to enjoy. Here are some innovative, action-packed — but close-by ideas — for finishing off this summer with a bang.

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Potomac Family Hosts Fresh Air Fund Child

“Seven days can change a child’s life.”

River Falls resident Gregory Mitchell was a “Fresh Air Fund” child — a “life-changing, character-shaping experience,” he said. Growing up in a single-parent household in the Bronx, N.Y.C. meant that he did not have an opportunity to leave the inner-city — the hot, noisy streets were the only playground he knew. From the ages of 10-13, the Fresh Air Fund provided a two-week summer visit with a large family in New Hampshire.