May 29, 2010

Governor O'Malley's daughter, 18, treated and release from hospital

Gov. Martin O'Malley's 18-year-old daughter was admitted, treated and released Thursday night from a Baltimore hospital, according to a spokesman for the governor. A statement from the spokesman, Shaun Adamec, did not say why Tara O'Malley was admitted to Harbor Hospital. The statement calls it a private, family matter and asks that the O'Malley family's privacy be respected. The governor has two daughters and two sons; Tara O'Malley is the second-oldest child. SOURCE: Baltimore Sun

Man robbed in Wheaton and thrown from parking garage

WHEATON, Md. - Montgomery County police say a man found injured near a Wheaton parking garage told them two men dragged him to the fifth floor of the structure, beat and robbed him, then pushed him off. The 29-year-old man told police that he was attacked Thursday afternoon as he walked through the parking lot of the J.C. Penney at Westfield Wheaton shopping mall on Viers Mill Road. He told police the men dragged him to the fifth floor of the nearby Metro garage, took his wallet and cash and then pushed him off the edge, injuring his back and ankle. Police say the man's 40- to 50-foot fall was broken by tree branches and the thick bed of mulch he landed on. Someone who saw the man on the ground called police and he was taken to a hospital. Police have been unable to find witnesses. SOURCE: MY FOX

May 28, 2010

Former Governor Bob Ehrlich speaks out on O'Malley's Furloughs

DEATHS: William Hussmann, Planning chairman, CAO

William H. Hussmann, who held a series of powerful appointed positions in Montgomery County government over more than three decades, died Wednesday at a hospice in California. Hussmann was Planning Board chairman from 1994 until he decided not to seek another term in 2001. Later, he served several years as executive director of the North Fork Mono Rancheria Indian Housing Authority, at the foot of the Sierra Nevada mountains, until the effects of advanced kidney cancer forced him to give up work.

Hussmann's Montgomery County resume included working for developers Hallowell Corp. and Kettler Brothers, builder of Montgomery Village, in the 1970s and 1980s.

In 1970, Montgomery's first county executive, Republican James P. Gleason, hired Hussmann to be his chief administrative officer. Hussmann held that job for eight years during which he also worked briefly for Prince George's County Executive Winfield M. Kelly Jr., a Democrat. When he married his wife, Kathy, Hussmann became the son-in-law of Ida Mae Garrott, a County Council member from 1966 to 1974 who clashed openly with Gleason.

In the 1990s, Hussmann became Democratic County Executive Neal Potter's chief administrative officer, serving until the County Council appointed him to lead the planning board. Although there were concerns about having a former developer head the agency, many who opposed his decisions came to see him as fair and an honest broker. SOURCE: Gazette

Police and fire face furloughs: Teachers' salaries unchanged

Montgomery County employees, including police and firefighters, are facing furloughs, though teachers have been spared. The economic downturn forced the County Council to approve a $4.3 billion operating budget that represents the first decrease in spending since 1968. Firefighters feel that their noses are being rubbed in the dirt by the council. The head of the firefighters union said they have already given up $20 million in negotiated pay raises and retirement benefits. The furloughs make them furious, and they are not alone.

There was a silent protest by the Montgomery County fraternal order of police as the County Council approved the budget. The new budget, which takes effect July 1, mandates that all county employees except teachers will be furloughed three days, five days or eight days in the coming year based on their salary.

"They're just furloughing police and firefighters and other county workers and they're leaving the teachers, which are half of the budget, and they're not furloughing anybody from that side," said Matt Frasca, of the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police.

"The council supported furloughs for all employees and we have within our control furloughs for county government employees, but the school system has indicated that they don't intend to do furloughs, so it is up to the school system to decide how to take the cut that they are taking," said Councilman Phil Andrews, who chairs the public safety committee. Council cut the school budget by $24 million, a reduction of about $1,000 per pupil. The Montgomery County Public school system has eliminated more than 400 jobs and will increase class size to accommodate an influx of students whose families can no longer afford to pay for private schools.

"We've got 2,800 hundred more students coming to MCPS and we expect greater enrollment increases next year, so furloughs aren't really practical at MCPS," said schools spokesman Dan Tofig. "But we have made the cuts that we need to make in the budget."

The Montgomery County Council put a priority on schools and public safety, saying furloughs are better than layoffs. Council approved money for 36 new police recruits, and instead of eliminating all 33 education facility police officers assigned to schools, they are retaining 9 of them. But the balanced budget relies in part on a new ambulance fee, and that could pose a problem. There has been a fight over ambulance fees for years. Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett said they will be paid by insurance companies and medical transports will not cost patients anything out of pocket. But Montgomery County Volunteer Firefighters are opposed to ambulance fees and plan to take action against the fees. SOURCE:NBC Washington

Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson on WAMU

Today on The Politics Hour, Prince George's County Sheriff Michael Jackson came in-studio to address some of the issues that are sure to come up during his candidacy for the County Executive. In particular, Jackson defended his deputies actions during the errant July 2008 raid on Berwyn Heights Mayor Cheye Calvo's home, during which two of Calvo's dogs were killed: And remember, you can see all our videos on our You Tube channel here:

Gary Coleman, 42, dead; 'Different Strokes' star and cast

Gary Coleman has died at 42, is first to report. Coleman had been hospitalized in Provo, Utah since Wednesday, May 26, after suffering what his family called "a serious medical problem." As previously reported, Coleman had slipped into a coma and was on life support after suffering an intracranial hemorrhage. He was pulled of life support Friday morning and later passed away. His wife Shannon Price and her father were at the hospital Friday.

The Illinois native's death marks the end of a long, sad road for the diminutive Diff'rent Strokes star, who struggled professionally and financially as his fame and fortune diminished since the show went off the air in 1986. Coleman’s growth was hampered at a young age by a congenital kidney disease caused by focal segmental glomerulosclerosis, as he never grew beyond 4 feet, 8 inches tall. Twice having undergone kidney transplants in 1973 and 1984, Coleman required daily dialysis in his everyday life.

Coleman got his break in acting when caught the eye of TV icon Norman Lear, which eventually paved the way for him to star in Diff'rent Strokes as Arnold Jackson, a wisecracking runt adopted with his brother Willis (Todd Bridges) by a rich New York businessman (Conrad Bain). Coleman's considerable charisma -- buoyed by his catchphrase "What'cu Talkin Bout Willis" -- made the show a ratings winner in its' first three years, as the young actor was earning as much as $70,000 an episode at its’ peak. Coleman would wind up suing his parents in 1989 over missing money from his trust fund, and was awarded more than $1 million in 1993, but the money would not last, as he would wind up declaring bankruptcy six years later.

Coleman said in an appearance on Geraldo Rivera in 1993 that he had twice tried to overdose on sleeping pills. Coleman got some publicity in later years when he threw his name in the hat of the circus that was California's 2003 recall election, receiving more votes than other show biz candidates such as porn star Mary Carey and Gallagher, en route to an eighth overall finish to eventual winner Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Coleman's death marks another sad chapter for the Diff'rent Strokes cast, as Bridges' career was stunted by frequent drug incidents, while Dana Plato, who played Kimberly Drummond on the show, committed suicide via pill overdose in 1999. On a related note, Plato's son, Tyler Lambert, fatally shot himself in May 2010, nearly eleven years to the day of his mother's suicide. SOURCE: Radar Online

Budget cuts: main-line items

County officials cut total spending for the first time in more than 40 years. Here's a breakdown of the $4.27 billion budget after the council altered County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposals: Total budget, FY2011, which starts July 1:

County government: $1.52 billion (-$106 million/-6.5 percent)
Public schools: $2.10 billion (-$17 million/-0.8 percent)*
Montgomery College: $266 million ($260,000/0.1 percent)
Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission: $114 million (-$14 million/-11.3 percent)
Debt service: $262 million ($13 million/5.4 percent)
* Figure for 2010 excludes one-time debt payment of $79.5 million

Cuts for selected government departments*
Health and Human Services: $178 million ($-16 million/-8.4 percent)
Police: $230 million (-$16 million/-6.5 percent)
Fire and rescue: $182 million (-$11 million/-5.6 percent)
* Tax-supported budget only

Key revenue increases:
Energy tax increase: $110 million
Cellphone tax increase: $2 to $3.50 per line
Ambulance fee: $400 for basic emergency life support

How they voted:

Yes: Nancy Floreen (D-At Large); Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda); Marc Elrich (D-At Large); Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring); George L. Leventhal (D-At Large); Nancy Navarro (D-Eastern County); Duchy Trachtenberg (D-At Large)

No: Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville); Michael Knapp (D-Upcounty)

Related actions:
-- The council created a commission on restructuring government. The Leggett administration has been working on a similar initiative, and both branches say they are developing ideas for cutting spending long term.
-- The council passed a $5 per ton tax on carbon dioxide emissions that would affect the Mirant Corp. SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery County's $1 billion shortfall cut by $203 million

Montgomery County is going on a diet. And this time, officials say, they really mean it. On Thursday, it took the County Council just a few minutes to formally adopt a $4.27 billion budget for fiscal 2011 that trimmed spending by $203 million, or 4.5 percent, from what it approved last year. One budget down, five to go. In a break from past practice, the council will turn its attention to a six-year balanced budget plan. Council President Nancy Floreen (D-At Large) is pushing her colleagues to endorse the more conservative approach next month. Previously, the fiscal plan included annual shortfalls that could run into the hundreds of millions of dollars and would need to be closed each year.

"We're going to be leaner for the foreseeable future," Floreen said. "It's a new era for Montgomery County."

A draft of the long-term fiscal plan, submitted to the council by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D), shows spending for county agencies, after covering retiree health costs and bigger reserves, growing by less than 1 percent in fiscal 2012 and dropping by more than 2 percent in 2013. By contrast, spending grew 9.8 percent in 2007 and 7.4 percent in 2008. But it was clear Thursday, even after weeks of grim income-tax revenue projections and soul-searching over the role of government, that the struggle over public spending in one of the nation's richest counties is just beginning. With the fiscal pie expected to expand much more slowly than in past years, the personnel costs that make up the bulk of the budget are on the table for possible cuts.

Thursday's votes prompted boos and catcalls from a group of dozens of police officers who protested the canceled raises and forced furloughs that were part of the final budget deal. "We protect kids, too," read one flier held up by an officer, a jab at the powerful public schools, which rejected calls for employee furloughs. "$4.3 billion in political priorities," read another. After the council session, talk among police was about retribution, from traffic tickets to ballot boxes. One officer quipped that he'll be on the lookout for council members making a "rolling stop" on their commute to work. Another said members are looking ahead to the Democratic primary in September, when some incumbents on the county's all-Democratic council will face challenges.

"We'll get our day. We'll get the votes out there," said Cpl. Gary Turner, huddling with frustrated colleagues on the steps of the council building. "There are officers out there who just want to be paid according to what we do. We put our lives on the line every day, and we want to be taken seriously."

A key factor driving Montgomery's budget has been salary and benefits costs for public employees. Raises have outpaced those in the private sector in many cases, and the public schools have added employees faster than the population has grown. Over the past decade, total spending on salaries and wages for government workers and school employees, after accounting for inflation, was up about a third to more than $2 billion a year. When Leggett called for trimming cost-of-living increases for teachers after he took office in 2006, he faced protests and little support from the council. SOURCE: Washington Post

Emotional appeal to stop oil leak from Louisiana Congressman Charlie Melancon

Storms knock out power to thousands

A long line of thunderstorms produced pockets of heavy rain, lightning and hail across the Washington area Thursday night, and thousands lost power. The thunderstorms were slow moving and "embedded" across some areas to the south and west of the District, said Kevin Witt, a National Weather Service meteorologist. Penny-size hail was reported in some areas of Prince William County. The storms were expected to bring similar patterns to Prince George's and Charles county areas early Friday morning, as the system swept eastward. In Northern Virginia, Dominion Power reported about 9,000 customers without power about midnight. Pepco reported about 1,500 outages in Montgomery County and another 500 in the District. -- Clarence Williams. SOURCE: Washington Post

More budget cuts likely in Montgomery County

Council members in Montgomery County, Maryland have adopted a budget for next fiscal year full of cuts. Councilman Mike Knapp was one of two councilman to vote against the budget. He believes there weren't enough cuts in the plan. Knapp says there are still plenty of outstanding issues with the budget that could mean further spending reductions.

"We have potential litigation against the carbon tax piece that was put together. We have a potential referendum against the ambulance fee. We are still are waiting to see what our income tax receipts will look like, because if we see some movement there, we may have to come back with a savings plan already," says Knapp.

Police packed the council hearing room as the final vote on the budget was taken. Officers were protesting furlough days they will be forced to take, and the fact the school employees will not have to take them. School workers were the only unionized employees in the county that were not forced to take furloughs. The board of education argued if teachers had to take furloughs, it would have negatively affected student performance. SOURCE: WAMU

County news

Rockville's 22nd Annual Hometown Holidays Kicks Off Summer in the City - The 22nd annual Hometown Holidays celebration takes place Memorial Day weekend and features more than 40 bands and entertainers, Taste of Rockville, children's activities and an Art and Craft Festival.

Grammy-award winning Soul Asylum will headline the main stage on Sunday. New Orleans bands Tab Benoit, Papa Grows Funk and The Bruce Daigrepont Cajun Band will headline the main stage on Saturday. The Hometown Holidays festival takes place from 1-10 pm, Saturday, May 29 and Sunday, May 30. For more information go to:

30th Annual Washington Folk Festival - Glen Echo Park will come alive with folk music, dance and crafts on Saturday, June 5, and Sunday, June 6, from 12 pm to 7 pm as the Folklore Society of Greater Washington presents the 30th annual Washington Folk Festival. One of the most popular events of the year at Glen Echo Park, the free festival attracts over ten thousand visitors and brings together more than 400 local musicians, story tellers, dancers and crafts people. For more information go to:

Apply for Montgomery College Foundation Scholarships! - Are you planning to attend Montgomery College in the fall 2010 or spring 2011 semesters? If you need a little help paying for college, complete the Montgomery College Foundation Scholarship application for the 2010-2011 year. For more information go to:

MCPL - All libraries will be closed on Monday, May 31, in observance of Memorial Day. Alll libraries are now closed for the Summer on Sundays, hours will resume in the Fall. Also, the Bethesda Library closed at 3pm today due to no air conditioning in the building.

SAVE THE DATE - 2010 Smithsonian Folklife Festival, June 24ˆ28 and July 1ˆ5, 2010 - The Festival is held outdoors on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., between the Smithsonian museums. There is no admission charge. For more information go to:

County's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance Program Recognizes Volunteer Tax Preparers - County Executive Isiah Leggett and Health and Human Services Director Uma Ahluwalia recognized 39 volunteers who assisted low-income County residents in filing tax returns. With additional federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding, the Community Action Agency's free, Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program expanded to four locations at Family Services and at County‚s offices in Silver Spring and Takoma Park, and grew from serving 235 residents to more than 2,400. For more information go to:

Firing up the Grill? Keep these Safety Tips in Mind - It‚s that time of year again -- with summer fast approaching, residents will be firing up their grills and the last thing on many minds is probably safety, right? Well, it shouldn‚t be according to Fire Chief Richie Bowers. Firefighters responded to a serious grill fire this past weekend that remains under investigation with the homeowner was transported to a local hospital and currently recovering from 1st and 2nd degree burns sustained in the fire. For more information go to:

Metro Transit Police Officers Recognized for Bravery - Five Metro Transit Police Department (MTPD) officers were recognized by the Metro Board of Directors and General Manager today (May 27) for their bravery and heroism. Officers Christopher Fulda, Anthony Reefer, Jaime Lopera, Cleaton Battle and Reginald Russell rescued people from a burning building near the Naylor Road Metrorail station on April 9. For more information go to:

Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center ˆ Please be advised that our Center will discontinue selling all Youth Cruisers, Ride On Monthly passes, Senior Fare cards, Senior SmarTrip cards and distributing compost bins effective Monday, June 28, 2010. You will find alternate venues to purchase fare media and other locations distributing compost bins below in the Bethesda/Rockville area:

Compost Bins

Audubon Sanctuary Shop. Woodend Nature Sanctuary. 8940 Jones Mill Road. Chevy Chase, MD 20815. 301-652-3606 (Weekend hours - Sat. 9-5, Sun. 12-5)

Bethesda Green. 4825 Cordell Avenue, Suite 200. Bethesda, Maryland 20814. 240-396-2440.

Whole Foods Markets - Bethesda. 5269 River Road. Bethesda, MD 20816. 301-984-4860. Visit the Customer Service Desk

Fare Media. TRiPS Commuter Store. 17 Wisconsin Circle. (Near the Friendship Heights Metro Station). Monday-Friday, 11am-7pm. 240-773-TRiPS (8747)

TRiPS Commuter Store. 8413 Ramsey Ave. (Near the Silver Spring Metro Station). Monday-Friday, 7am-5pm. 240-773-TRiPS (8747)

Montgomery County Transit Information Center. 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor. Monday-Friday, 8am-4pm. 240-777-RIDE (7433).

Out to Lunch Wednesdays Returns June 2 - What do you get when you combine Wednesday's Farmers Market with a live band and a lot of great places to eat? Come see at Out To Lunch Wednesdays from 11 am to 2 pm, June 2 when East Montgomery Avenue becomes a festival with great food and services. Rags will perform rock. For more information go to:

17th Annual Imagination Bethesda - A Children's Street Festival Celebrating the Arts! The 17th annual Imagination Bethesda will take place on Woodmont Avenue between Bethesda Avenue and Elm Street on Saturday, June 5 from 11am-4pm. For more information go to:

REMINDER - Public Renaming Ceremony for Rockville Library to be Held May 28; New Display in Library Features Memorabilia from Soldiers‚ Families - A formal ceremony marking the official renaming of the Rockville Library to the Rockville Memorial Library will be held on Friday, May 28 at 11 am in the front of the building at 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville. For more information go to:

May 27, 2010

House fire in Wood Acres

A house fire near Wood Acres Elementary School May 25 gutted the garage and damaged the house with smoke before fire crews arrived around 6 p.m. No one was injured.

“We looked and saw the garage was on fire, and it was really huge,” said freshman Madeline Simon, who witnessed the fire. “You could see chunks of the car rolling down the driveway, on fire.”

Neighbor Kathy Tuchman alerted her husband Raymond to the smoke. While Kathy called 911, Raymond ran over to the burning house to alert its owners, Michael and Anthea Conlon.

“I banged on their door and got them out of the house because they didn’t even know that it was on fire,” Raymond said.

Anthea had already noticed smoke and suspected a fire. She, Michael and their two dogs escaped without injury.

“The smoke alarm didn’t go off until we were walking out the door,” Anthea said.

At least six fire engines, two ladder trucks, two ambulances, several police cars and a rescue crew arrived to put out the flames. Firefighters smashed in windows and drenched the house with hoses in a successful effort to stop the blaze. The garage burned, the entire house sustained smoke damage and first two floors have some water damage, deputy operations chief Mike McCarty said. Fire crews pronounced the house uninhabitable, Anthea said.

Fire officials are still unsure what the cause of the fire was, but it appears to have started in the garage near the automobile, McCarthy said. SOURCE: Black and White

Nancy Floreen explains budget tax increases, cuts, and additions

ROCKVILLE, Md., May 27, 2010—Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen issued the following statement after the Council’s approval today of the Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget: This has been an extraordinary and unprecedented fiscal experience, due, in large part, to the 21 percent decline in income tax revenue, and a historic increase in unemployment. We are closing a fiscal gap that in the short span of six months went from about $600 million to nearly $1 billion.

For the current fiscal year, before we could even get into the FY11 budget, this council approved two savings plans totaling $100 million and approved energy tax increases that will add $21 million in additional revenue to see us through to July.

This budget has been a moving target, and we have responded nimbly. Today, we have taken actions that address not just to the County Executive’s March 15 budget proposal, but also the reactions of the Rating Agencies we received immediately thereafter, and further writedowns in revenue we were presented with in late April.

We have moved steadily and in unison, driven by our collective commitment to four basic principles – fairness to taxpayers, equitable treatment of employees, commitment to the goal of a 6 percent reserve and a balanced fiscal plan. This budget achieves those goals.

We are reducing overall spending by 4.5 percent, for the first time in recorded Montgomery County history. We preserve our highest priority services, especially in education, public safety and service to our most vulnerable. Since to go any further would devastate these critical services to our residents, we have focused on the fairest way to ask our taxpayers to share the burden. We chose not to exceed the Charter Limit on property taxes this year and instead focused on revenue sources with widest range possible – a rebalanced and reduced energy tax from the County Executive’s proposal, a modest boost to the cell phone tax and the ambulance fee.

We have resisted the pressures to rush to judgment, to choose sides, or to take an adversarial position. Instead we have listened thoughtfully and carefully, and we have balanced extraordinarily valid competing goals and priorities. I want to thank my fellow Councilmembers for your commitment to making the difficult (and in many cases unpopular) decisions that are in the best interest of the County. Everyone has proceeded with integrity and respect as we have worked through some of the most difficult choices any Council sitting on this dais has ever had to face.

Not a one of us has shied away from a single hard decision. In our worksessions we have made our best efforts to find cost effective consolidation of programs through the regional services centers and office of community partnerships, through the operations of the parks and County police and through the coordination of services provided by the Department of Recreation and the Department of Parks. We have heard employees concerns about management levels and have investigated their issues. We have worried about the fairest way to share employee pain in reduced salaries and have extended furloughs progressively and comprehensively across the widest range of employee groups, including fire and police, within our control. We have asked for additional cooperation from the public school system and they have partnered with us in finding further reductions in their spending that do not affect our commitment to the classroom or educational excellence.

Next month we will be taking up the balanced fiscal plan that results from these budget decisions as well as the County Executive’s Reserve and Selective Fiscal Policies proposal that, together, will set the parameters of our fiscal future. And we are not done. We have this week committed to further work on governmental consolidation possibilities, and fiscal structural deficit analysis.

That means we will be leaner for the foreseeable future. In spite of this year’s difficulties, I am entirely optimistic about Montgomery County’s future thanks in part to the forethought and wisdom reflected in this very disciplined budget. Moreover, in just the past two months, we have taken significant steps to expand the County’s tax base.

We have unanimously approved two master plans, approved a bio-tech tax credit and will soon be establishing the Montgomery Business Development Corporation to advance job creation. SOURCE: Nancy Floreen Statement

Severe thunderstorm WATCH for Montgomery County

The National Weather Service has issued a SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH for Montgomery County until 9PM Tonight. The primary threat with these storms include extremely heavy rain, very large hail up to 2", lightning, and isolated tornadoes. Residents can report severe weather by replying to this alert. Those with outdoor plans this evening should monitor the skies and be prepared for threatening weather. Lightning is the number one severe weather killer in the US. If you are outdoors and storm approaches, seek safe shelter indoors.

A SEVERE THUNDERSTORM WATCH means conditions are favorable for severe storms in and close to the watch area. Severe thunderstorms can and occasionally do produce tornadoes with little or no advanced warning. Residents should be on the lookout for threatening weather conditions and listen for later statements and possible warnings. The National Weather Service has issued a FLASH FLOOD WATCH for Montgomery County until late this evening. Slow moving Severe Thunderstorms this afternoon will have the ability to produce 1-2" per hour rainfall rates for some areas.

Flash Floods kill more people every year than any other weather hazard. Do not drive through flooded areas. As little as 2 feet of water can sweep a vehicle off the road. Please stay alert for any severe watches or warnings. SKYWARN activation has been requested and spotters are asked to relay any reports to the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management, and the National Weather Service office in Sterling, VA. SOURCE: FOX DC

Pepco clarifies massive rate hike goes to Montgomery County

A Higher County Energy Tax Will Appear on Residential and Commercial Electric Bills
Washington , D.C . – Today, Montgomery County passed a measure assessing a significant increase in the energy tax that Pepco is required to collect through customer’s electric bills. Monies generated by the tax increase will go to Montgomery County - not Pepco.

Currently there is a line item on the Pepco bill that is identified as “Montgomery County Energy Tax.” By reviewing the most current Pepco bill, customers can gauge how this increase specifically impacts their account. Pepco believes that customers can lessen the impact of this tax increase on their overall bill by moderating their electric usage. “We remain committed to actively promoting our numerous “Blueprint for the Future” energy efficiency programs approved by the Maryland Public Service Commission to assist our customers in managing energy costs, said Thomas H. Graham, President, Pepco Region.

Pepco, a subsidiary of Pepco Holdings, Inc. (NYSE: POM), delivers safe, reliable and affordable electric service to more than 778,000 customers in Maryland and the District of Columbia. SOURCE: Pepco

Bomb-maker who revealed plot to kill Obama spared jailed time in liberal Montgomery County, Maryland

A 19-year-old from Montgomery County was spared jail time Wednesday for his role in a bomb-making case that unearthed an alleged plan to try to kill the president, in the final chapter of a two-year-old case that involved a pair of former prep school honor students and a cache of weapons in one of their bedrooms. Patrick Yevsukov, now a straight-A student at the University of Baltimore, was placed on three years' supervised probation. In 2008 and 2009, he gave investigators key information about his former close friend, Collin McKenzie-Gude, now 20, who was sentenced to nearly eight years in the case and remains in jail.

"I'm just very relieved it's over," Yevsukov said. "It's been a long two years."

Yevsukov wants to go to law school. His attorney, Rene Sandler, said she will try to have his convictions expunged from his record. In handing down the sentence Wednesday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge Louise G. Scrivener cited Yevsukov's extensive cooperation with investigators and said he had come a long way since his arrest two years ago on charges that he set off pipe bombs.

"I do have to comment that I think you've done an incredible job of turning things around in your life," Scrivener told Yevsukov.

In early 2009, Yevsukov pleaded guilty to two counts of manufacture or possession of a destructive device, one count of unauthorized access to a computer and one count of theft of less than $100. He admitted that while working as an intern at the Montgomery County Police Department he stole letterhead paper, which was to be used to obtain products restricted to law enforcement officers.

In discussions with investigators, Yevsukov said McKenzie-Gude had told him about his plan to try to kill then-candidate Barack Obama during the 2008 campaign. He also shared discussions between him and McKenzie-Gude about purchasing untraceable guns and about killing the seller if he tried to rob them.

McKenzie-Gude was "the driving force" behind the plans, prosecutor Peter Feeney said in court Wednesday. Inside McKenzie-Gude's home, detectives found plans mapped out for the gun purchase, including an area marked "kill zone." But no other witnesses spoke to investigators about the alleged Obama plot, and maps and documents discovered in McKenzie-Gude's room were inconclusive, it was said in court hearings. SOURCE: Washington Post

On call-in show, Floreen claims Council finds funds for school cops

On this evening's call-in program with County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council President Nancy Floreen, Floreen announced that the Council has found funding to put 9 police officers in Montgomery County schools in the fall. (Previously 33 were in schools, plus 1 funded by the City of Gaithersburg and not part of the County funding.) She said the rest of the funding for these officers would have to come from MCPS. Police officers in MCPS facilities are known as Educational Facilities Officers or EFO's. This is the latest in the EFO chess game that has been going on as part of the FY11 budget discussions. SOURCE: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County

Montgomery County home sales

Aspen Hill area
WOODCREST DR., 14534-S.V. and Matthew J. Buckley to Susan Plano Faber, $403,000.
YELLOWHORN CT., 15608-Amy B. and John F. Greene to Kary B. and Barnett M. Lawrence, $572,000.

Bethesda area
CHELSEA LANE S., 4612-James L. Murray to David B. Lieb and Melinda Claybaugh, $669,000.
CLEARWOOD RD., 6264-M.S. and Key C. Yang to Maria and Djordje Petkoski, $820,000.
CRATHIE LANE, 6202-Paula S. Rothe to Martin Daniel Rojas and Maria Garcia Borreguero, $750,000.
HEMPSTEAD AVE., 8609-Kevin T. Miller to Thomas P. Kevorkian and Ivy R. Brown, $716,000.
HONESTY WAY, 7608-Ann F. Johnson, trustee, to Bapna Manish and Nanda Geeta, $890,000.
KENTBURY DR., 4311-Ruth D. Lewis, trustee, to Karin Shepardson and Sudipto Sarkar, $701,000.
LINDALE DR., 9300-Conlan Contractors to Debra L. and Robert E. Gutman, $1.26 million.
MONTROSE AVE., 10513-Everett Temple Greenstreet to James D. Wray, $239,900.
NAMAKAGAN RD., 5915-Karen Gulick to Kathryn and Joseph Coleman Jr., $625,000.
REDWING RD., 6209-Jan P. Montoya to Howard Lesser and Hanna Gutmann, $687,000.
WESTBARD AVE., 5201, No. 27-Margaret and Gregory V. Powell to Stewart Coke Morgan, $730,000.
WISCASSET RD., 6208-Michael Guerrero to George Spano, $1.1 million.

Boyds area
FABLE DR., 18403-Rahul Balchandani to Lian Chen, $590,000.
POPLAR GLEN CT., 18630, No. 8-Barnsley Corp. to Janice E. Byfield, $145,332.

Burtonsville area
ANGELTON TERR., 14111-Cathy A. Grantham to Anna and Faye Seydou, $276,500.
SADDLE CREEK WAY, 4401-Fremont Investment and Loan to Kitumba Disasi, $380,000.

Calverton-Colesville area
KATHRYN RD., 1012-Lilia O. Garcia to Jose Amaya Sorto, $330,000.
MORNINGSIDE DR., 1308-Nyassom D. Mobit to Shayne Philpotts, $340,000.
SILVER MOON WAY, 13427-Derrick A. Hicks to Michael Tsegai Tewolde and Feven G. Tareke, $349,900.
SNOW CLOUD LANE, 3421-Towns of Dogwood Corp. to Christos Guenet Guebre, $445,000.

Chevy Chase area
BRADLEY BLVD., 4954, No. 254-John J. Killeen to Reaghan H. Bik, $450,000.
FLORIDA ST., 6803-6803 Florida Street Corp. to Jeremie O. Waterman and Rachel Robboy, $1.65 million.
FRIENDSHIP BLVD., 5500, No. 1101N-Sam N. Solovey to Pei Wen Chen, $178,000.
KIRKSIDE DR., 5803-Alan F. Wohlstetter, trustee, to David A. O'Neil and Laura M. Billings, $1.25 million.
LELAND ST., 4330-Mary L. Randour to M.H. Holahan Development Corp., $835,000.
WOODLAWN AVE., 5304-M.R. and Eugene M. Waldron to Jeffrey D'Souza and Carol Grose, $3.5 million.

Clarksburg area
CATAWBA MANOR WAY, 13214-Amy C. and Nicholas E. Speidel to Huan Chee, $408,000.
FAIR GARDEN LANE, 22183-Toll Brothers Homes to Mishelle Dalal, $449,709.
FOREMAN BLVD., 12430-Clarksburg Village Corp. to Shaina B. and Matthew L. Green, $740,705.
KIGGER JACK LANE, 11903-Piedmont Road Corp. to Riyait Charanjit Singh, $765,690.
LITTLE SENECA PKWY., 11911-Beazer Homes to Sachin Shyamlal Lal and Neha Jain, $350,000.
MURPHY GROVE TERR., 12815-Jung Hye Sin to Mirmozaffari Yaseman, $327,500.
ROBIN SONG DR., 23318-NVR Inc. to Christine Dietz, $466,024.
SKYLARK RD., 11709-NVR Inc. to Phu Le, $351,015.
TIMBER CREEK LANE, 23137-Aurora Loan Services Corp. to Gongjie Yin and Yan Zhang, $440,000.
YELLOWWOOD DR., 23137-Hovnanian Homes to Cathy Lynn and Ryan Michael Criste, $420,000.
YELLOWWOOD DR., 23143-Beazer Homes to Benita F. and Sean A. Lester, $494,439.

Cloverly-Ednor area
WOONSOCKETT LANE, 322-Craig Benson to Lana Rajkumar, $314,000.
Damascus area
CUTSAIL DR., 24432-Eduardo Guzman to Kelly M. and Sean C. Byrne, $314,500.
JOHNS DR., 10109-Douglas R. Beavers to Peggy Cramer, $265,000.

Derwood area
BAEDERWOOD LANE, 16920-Charlene L. and S. Cohen to Eugenia Poliakov, $365,000.
OSKALOOSA DR., 7329-L.I. and Thomas W. Hitchcock to Cecilia Hernandez Andersen and Mark Daniel Andersen, $575,000.

Four Corners area
BELTON RD., 406-L.A. and Carl K. Bergmann to David A. Flagg and Cynthia A. Bergmann, $300,000.
CONCERTO LANE, 669-Laura M. and Brett E. Miller to Samuel Anguiano, $335,000.
DENNIS AVE., 816-Jens Steensen, trustee, to John A. Schippers, $390,000.
FOXGLOVE LANE, 11112-Leonard Norman Bebchick to Lisa Marie King and Christopher L. Cull, $380,000.
SHOREY RD., 224-Christopher Mark Keenan to Joshua S. Lehman, $461,000.
UNIVERSITY BLVD. E., 431-Inglesias Paco Corp. to Alexandria M. and Jean Claude Tounkara, $295,000.

Gaithersburg area
CALABAR DR., 17703-Leidy L. Cabrera to Yiting and Gregory A. Lloyd, $310,000.
CHICKADEE LANE, 18603-Gail and Brett Silver to Linda A. and John N. Dotson, $250,900.
DEER PARK LANE, 138-Carlos Castro to Amanda Gonzalez and Cindy Alas, $220,000.
DOGWOOD DR., 206-Fannie Mae to Jorge A. Urgiles, $269,000.
MIDDLE POINT CT., 103-Deutsche Bank, trustee, to Melissa and Gustavo Delgado, $220,000.
TRAVIS VIEW CT., 1374-Charles B. Abban to Cecilia Green, $240,000.
WHETSTONE GLEN ST., 561-Jane Pao Chen and Ping Li Shih to Ya Lin Tao, $288,000.
WHISPERING OAKS WAY, 8201, No. 304-Stellar Rosewood Corp. to Wendy C. Maldonado, $154,900.
WINDBROOKE CIR., 38-Wendy J. Carr to Catherine McArdle, $162,000.

Garrett Park area
KENILWORTH AVE., 11304-D.G. and James E. Williams to Heather and David Thibodeau, $700,000.

Germantown area
ESWORTHY RD., 13701-A.B. and Harvey Mars to David Harrison, $825,000.
FETLOCK DR., 19505-Stanislaus Kimon to Cecilia and Fernando Jimenez Sr., $170,000.
GALLOP TERR., 14119-Andrea L. Rockwell to Shijun Wang and Xiaohong Quan, $333,000.
HICKORY TREE WAY, 12401, No. 722-Samantha and David Edwards to Jie Chen, $94,500.
JAMIESON PL., 13536-N.L. and George V. Poole to Kimberly J. and Jeffrey A. Levine, $355,200.
LONG CHANNEL CIR., 14414-Edmond J. Golden to Yesenia F. and Yamir Diaz, $346,000.
MONARCH VISTA DR., 13723-101 Geneva Corp. to Jeffrey M. Non, $470,000.
SAGE TERR., 12877-Gustavo Zambrano to Nancy Damiano, $172,000.
SHADYSIDE LANE, 13043, No. 11-185-Fannie Mae to Michael L. Harding, $149,000.

Hillandale area
PARHAM PL., 1602-Fremont Investment and Loan to Maria K. and Micheal S. Gomes, $250,100.
11TH AVE., 8628-Tomas M. Rodriguez to Jose Cruz, $150,000.

Kensington area
CAMPBELL PL., 2509-Marvin D. Smith to Gina M. and John F. Schulz, $583,500.
DECATUR AVE., 3311-Warren K. Lee to S&W Enterprise Corp., $190,000.

Laytonsville area
BROOKE KNOLLS RD., 20804-Laura Estep and Scott D. Liseno to Joyce Kiarie, $450,000.
DAMASCUS RD., 6408-HSBC Bank to Caryn A. Elder, $545,000.

Montgomery Village area
BROOKRIDGE CT., 9883-Christopher E. Shocklee to Raienne A. South, $170,000.
PIER POINT PL., 18639-Dorothy Skinner Mensah to Kasymova Dilfuza, $200,000.
SHREWSBURY CT., 9913-James O'Neil to Aldo F. Monacelli, $360,000.
WALBURG WAY, 9406-April I. Bower to Jacqueline and Arsenio Malondras, $192,000.

Norbeck-Layhill area
ASHMONT TERR., 2727-Maureen F. McCaw to Kaleab T. Giza, $250,000.
DEWEY RD., 12322-Robert L. Clark to Elena M. and Jonathan B. Sherman, $370,000.
FISKE TERR., 3503, No. 155-Dorothy M. Tucker, trustee, to Wayne R. Watkinson, $185,000.
GAWAYNE TERR., 3811, No. 29-Harriet M. Green to Kevin L. Springgs, $272,000.
HARRELL ST., 3316-M.P. and Charles F. Matson to Caitlin S. and Steven D. Torgerson, $310,000.
HIGHVIEW DR., 4108-Pedro D. Villanueva to Liliana Aviles, $265,000.
INTERLACHEN DR., 15100, No. 904-Linda Diane Eisenstadt to Barbara S. and Robert A. Tahler, $230,000.
KELSEY ST., 3812-Atlantis Properties Corp. to Scott D. Riffert, $339,000.
SADDLEBROOK DR., 12820-Louis Gorsky, trustee, to Anestine Theophile Lafond and Dorian A. Lafond, $395,000.

North Potomac area CHEVY CHASE ST., 93, No. 93-Kishor Mehta Viral to Lynda C. Madden, $392,500.
COLTON LANE, 13201-M.J. and E. Lee Gartner to Matthew M. Quinn, $500,000.
DOE LANE, 12802-Thang Do to Manju and Anand Swaroop, $764,000.
DUNLEITH CT., 13-A.E. and Thomas A. Marcinko to Teri and William Kreisl, $627,000.
ESWORTHY TERR., 15-James Curtis Moffatt, trustee, to Jon E. Clark and Maureen K. Ruskin, $930,000.
GRACELAND ST., 14-Jessica B. Carolin to Shiwei Song and Weiyun Wu, $486,000.
HADDONFIELD LANE, 13419-Gary R. Shifflett to Christine and Brian O'Donnell, $796,000.
LITTLE QUARRY RD., 128-John F. Bowis to Marie Chun Kao and Matthew M. Hsieh, $670,000.
MAIN MEWS, 1324-Roxanne E. and Raymond D. Fox to Kathryn and Lawrence Bojczyk, $520,000.
PONTIAC WAY, 48-Celia Ines Caputo to David Biss and Meghan Wrathall, $325,000.
WEST SIDE DR., 962, No. 21A-Jose C. Alvarez to Cecilia Kemisola Akintolayo, $150,000.
WINTER WALK DR., 325-San Hong to Ping Tsui, $489,000.

Olney area
OLD BALTIMORE RD., 18704-S.F. and Abies S. Oboh to Jun Ma and Yalan Li, $525,000.
RIO DULCE CT., 17404-A.R. and Samuel Levy to Leigh A. and Michael A. Eller, $575,000.
SHAMROCK DR., 17617-Christopher D. Elwood to Reed T. Vanorsdel, $400,000.
SUNDOWN FARMS WAY, 3425-Ana Maria and Steven A. Turner to Quanzeng Wang, $405,000.

Potomac area
BELLS RIDGE TERR., 8536-Carolyn J. McElroy to Grace D. Liu, $719,000.
CLIFFE HILL CT., 1-M.S. and H. Bruce Cranford to Jason S. Sherman, $715,000.
GREENLEAF AVE., 12217-Annabella C. Salinas to Srinivasan Balaji and Jamuna Sundararajan, $440,000.
KAREN DR., 11712-Richard F. Woodburn to Anh Tuan Pham and Hien Phuong Nguyen, $740,000.
LE HAVRE DR., 11535-Cheng Min Hwa, trustee, to Joshua E. and Marcella K. Jacobs, $920,000.
PARK POTOMAC AVE., 12500, No. 408-Park Potomac Corp. to Rita M. Brinn, $985,000.
RIVERWOOD DR., 10908-J.E. and Girija N. Singh to Ali Ghorbani and Bita Arabshahi, $1.32 million.
STRATTON DR., 2185-Narmina R. and Djeihoun Mollazade to Catherine and Yaya Moussa, $563,000.
WETHERFIELD LANE, 12053-Inessa and Igor Mosyak to Youbang Liu, $1 million.

Rockville area BOU AVE., 5750, No. 908-Midtown Montrose Corp. to Judy Lynn and Edward B. Gable Jr., $500,000.
BREWER HOUSE CIR., 5724-S.C. and Carl A. Pisano to Robert M. Goor and Linda M. Tebelman, $642,500.
CASEY LANE, 507-Robert G. Lees to Dario Canal, $510,000.
EMPIRE LANE, 11415-Antoinette M. Sayeh to Anthea and Kerry A. Thorn, $565,000.
INMAN PARK CIR., 5800, No. 1305-Jennifer A. Isenberg to Sandra L. Anderson, $255,000.
MAGRUDER LANE, 11801-Dee A. Tolson to Lori M. and Steven D. Drummond, $650,000.
OLD GEORGETOWN RD., 11710, No. 626-William A. Weiss to Eric Ekman, $282,500.
PARKLAWN DR., 11925, No. 101-Patricia A. McMahon to Smitha Maddala, $145,000.
POTOMAC CORNER DR., 10312-Sevag A. Poochikian to Rebecca L. Carty, $725,000.
SCHUYLKILL RD., 11116-Dimitri Alexander Galanis to Barbara L. and William B. Pitts, $325,000.
SETH PL., 310-David Palacios to Francis Huang Shenkuang, $220,000.
WEEPING CHERRY DR., 14014-S.A. and Steven M. Wishnow to Kelly H. and Benjamin B. Yu, $910,000.

Seneca Park area
MILESTONE MANOR LANE, 12410-Alain Roche to Abhijit and Rashmi Dasgupta, $475,000.
SCARLET LEAF TERR., 20909-Dee A. Wallace to Duc Nhan Cuong and Nguyet Giang Hong, $465,000.

Silver Spring area
CASSEDY ST., 2747-NPS Homes to Barbara B. Disckind, $616,120.
DERBY RIDGE LANE, 2133, No. 1-Jessica and Matthew Tebbe to Amy M. and Matthew J. Motyka, $455,000.
DEWITT DR., 9610, No. 206-Forest Glen Condo Corp. to Martha O. Lisle, $474,900.
FAIRVIEW CT., 1113-Irving H. Shames to Brett D. Freedman and Aviva Krauthammer, $519,000.
GRUBB RD., 8203, No. G101-Adele Goldberg, trustee, to Carisa M. Sumter, $229,000.
NEWELL ST., 8045, No. 204-Sameera Y. Hasan to Amber R. Fink, $265,000.
SILVER SPRING AVE., 410-Harold D. Bailey to Eric P. Benson and Kate Myers, $330,000.

Takoma Park area
GLAIZEWOOD AVE., 912-Barbara L. Appleby to Thomas Lucas Littlefield and Jennifer N. Littlefield, $440,000.
GUDE AVE., 6700-Arianne E. Camphire to Laura Tomes and Thomas Simchak, $330,000.
KENNEBEC AVE., 705-K.M. and Charles D. Aldrich to Margaret M. O'Connor, $318,000.
NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE., 7333, No. 1001-Tenacity Corp. to Sarah Misailidis, $175,000.
NEW HAMPSHIRE AVE., 7333, No. 201-Tenacity Corp. to Burt A. Henry, $152,500.

Twinbrook area
GRANDIN AVE., 1704-Henry L. Bowie to Teresa A. Halsell, $275,000.

Wheaton area BLUERIDGE AVE., 2518-James T. Pitts to Catherine T. and David S. Eaton, $406,000.
BYBEE CT., 11221-Arthur C. Colbert to Daniel James Kraiman and Michelle K. Gross, $335,000.
SLYE CT., 11103-Richard F. Malloy to Mildred W. Lloyd, $350,000.

Immigration fighting occurring in Silver Spring

An issue of national importance hit home in Silver Spring last weekend as several anti-illegal immigration groups rallied outside an immigrant-rights advocacy group's headquarters on University Boulevard. Flags were waved and fingers were wagged on both sides of the line Saturday in front of the Casa of Maryland worker's center as members of the Langley Park-based immigrant-rights group squared off with members of Rockville's Help Save Maryland. Both groups struggled to exercise their first-amendment rights against a backdrop of American flags, bullhorns and the flashing lights of several police cruisers parked along the street to uphold the amendment's wording: the right of the people to "peaceably assemble."

Up to 30 anti-illegal immigration protestors picketed outside Casa's center while nearly as many Casa volunteers helped clean the grounds inside the fence. Whitney Riley, of Baltimore, joined the Help Save Maryland protest as a way to voice her support for what she called "the rule of law" regarding immigration.

"We want [Casa] to stop funding illegal aliens with taxpayer money," she said. "They have pamphlets that show how to circumvent the law; ... in the end we need to be a nation that stands on the rule of law. Illegal immigration is illegal, period."

Casa supporter and Takoma Park resident David Robinson had a different view on the nonprofit's mission from the other side of the fence Saturday. SOURCE: Gazette. PICTURE: Rachel Fus/The Gazette: Kim Propeack, 43, advocacy and organizing director of Casa of Maryland, and Mike Reininger, 54, of Baltimore discuss the laws on sidewalk usage in front of the Casa of Maryland in Silver Spring on May 22.

May 26, 2010

Teachers and parents outraged over less cops for bullying

Police officers are not assigned to patrol the hallways of Montgomery County's public schools next year for the first time since 2003, sparking fears about a rise in violence and dangerous behaviors. This year, 34 police officers work inside the schools, assisting security guards and working with students to prevent crimes and detect risks. In spring 2009, an officer at Silver Spring's Springbrook High School prevented a planned bomb plot against the school's principal and a guidance counselor. In wealthier schools with a safer reputation, parents cite problems with drug and alcohol abuse, as well as bullying.

"We have no way of knowing how many incidents [the officers] have prevented, and we won't find out until next year when we see a possible increase in arrests," said Laurie Halverson, chairwoman of the health and safety committee for the Montgomery County Council of Parent-Teacher Associations. "Do we want to wait to find out?" County Executive Ike Leggett in March recommended the $4 million program be cut in half, for a savings to the county of $2 million as it tried to fill a nearly $1 billion shortfall through fiscal 2011. In April, Leggett shifted the remaining $2 million to the schools' budget, instead of the county's. But when the county cut an additional $24 million from the schools' budget last week, school officials said they couldn't afford to fund the officers. A similar program in Fairfax County was slated to be cut in half, but the Board of Supervisors found funding to keep it at the current year's levels.

"We'll still have security staff in the schools," said Montgomery schools spokesman Dana Tofig. "And we'll always work closely with the police."

But dozens of teachers and parents are trying to convince county leaders that security guards alone aren't enough.

"This action by the council is [a] tremendously shortsighted attempt to save money," wrote 36-year teaching veteran Gary Frace in an e-mail to the County Council. "Many of the issues we are facing in the schools today are of a much [more] serious nature than in the past," he wrote.

Halverson said PTA members have inspired more than 80 e-mails and numerous calls to local officials, asking for a reconsideration before the council passes its final budget on Thursday. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

School bus driver charged with child porn

GREENBELT, Md. - Federal prosecutors say a school bus driver has been charged with producing child pornography after an SD card was left at a convenience store counter. Twenty-seven-year-old Scott Smallwood of Upper Marlboro was arrested Friday. He was charged by criminal complaint. According to court documents, a customer at a convenience store in Clinton found an SD card, which is used to store data and images, on the counter. The patron took the card home, looked at the contents, and found several images of a man engaging in sexual conduct with a boy. The customer contacted Prince George's County police, who checked the convenience store's surveillance videos. They identified the boy and the man in the videos.

In May, already there are 7 promotions for school administrators

Because you can never have too many non-school based MCPS administrators! At the Monday, May 24, 2010, Board of Education meeting the Board promoted two more administrators to non-school based positions. That brings the total number of administrator promotions added by the Board of Education up to 7 for just the month of May. Sean W. Bulson, currently acting community superintendent, Office of School Performance, as community superintendent, Office of School Performance. James P. Fliakas, currently acting supervisor, Pre-K–English Language Arts, Department of Curriculum and Instruction Programs, as supervisor, Pre-K–English Language Arts, Department of Curriculum and Instruction Programs. SOURCE: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County

STANDARD-BEARER: Yet again, Maryland BOE waives Montgomery Maintenance-of-Effort rules

BALTIMORE — The state school board agreed today to waive Montgomery County's maintenance-of-effort requirement for next year, just hours after local officials testified before the panel that the sagging economy made it impossible for them to fully fund education in fiscal 2011. With the 7-5 vote, the state school board allows the county government to fund the schools at a level below this year's funding.

Without the waiver of the maintenance-of-effort requirement, governments that fail to fund their schools at least at the previous year's level face a reduction in state education aid. County Executive Isiah Leggett's proposed county schools' budget for fiscal 2011, which begins July 1, was $137.7 million less than what the school system requested. The county sought a $137.7 million waiver from the state school board. Reasoning the school system couldn't take cuts beyond what already was proposed, schools' Superintendent Jerry D. Weast, who has been vocal against school cuts, supported the waiver request. He called the case for the waiver "overwhelming." Weast accompanied Leggett, County Council President Nancy M. Floreen and school board President Patricia B. O'Neill to the state school board meeting.

"I think we're fine," Weast said after the hearing. "We anticipate everything to go through as anticipated."

"Why is the victim punished by a reduction in state support?" O'Neill (Dist. 3) of Bethesda asked state school board members. "Our children must not be made victims of the recession."

Leggett said it was "wonderful" the state school board granted the county's waiver request. As for the board's reasons for granting the waiver, Leggett said the panel recognized the county's dire financial circumstances, which have necessitated furloughs, layoffs and the elimination of pay raises for the upcoming fiscal year.

Last year, the county government sought a $79.5 million waiver, but the state board denied the request and said government officials had not made a strong enough case. The state school board then decided to withhold $23.4 million in state aid from the Montgomery school system. The General Assembly agreed to overturn that decision, however. If the state school board did not waive the county's maintenance-of-effort requirement for fiscal 2011, the school system faced a potential $51 million reduction in state aid as a penalty. SOURCE: Gazette

Pressured by Politico, DSCC fundraiser cancelled by EPA chief

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson, scheduled to headline a fundraiser for Senate Democrats next week in Manhattan, cancelled her appearance Tuesday afternoon, hours after a POLITICO story about the event sparked Republican criticism that it was inappropriate in the midst of the ongoing environmental crisis along the Louisiana coast. An EPA spokesman said Jackson was cancelling her appearance at the June 4th breakfast sponsored by the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee because she's focused on the clean-up of the BP oil spill.

"She's not going," said Allyn Brooks-LaSure, a spokesman at the agency, adding that "her priority has continued to be protecting human health and the environment" after the spill.

An aide said Jackson was invited to attend the fundraiser on March 12, well before the oil spill, and added that she had canceled her appearance at several events since the disaster, including the White House Correspondents' dinner, the TIME 100 banquet, and a long-scheduled foreign trip. The aide said she was just coming back to Washington from her latest trip to the region when the POLITICO story broke.

Aides didn't immediately respond to questions about why they waited until late in the day to alert the DSCC she wasn't coming. An e-mail sent to potential donors and attendees by Rafi Jafri, a Democratic fundraiser who has official role with the DSSC, said the event next month is being hosted by New Jersey PR man Michael Kempner. In an e-mail to prospective attendees, Jafri wrote that the breakfast "promises to be intimate, so each of you will have a real opportunity to get to know and to speak to Lisa about issues of concern to you and our nation."

"As many of you know, Lisa is on the front line of all environmental and energy policy in the United States and around the world," Jafri's e-mail reads.

Republicans had ripped Jackson’s upcoming appearance as an example of the administration’s warped priorities. SOURCE: Politico

What SEIU and Media Matter got wrong about Chevy Chase protest

Last week, Nina Easton, the Washington editor of Fortune, wrote a column about the SEIU and National People’s Action. The two progressive groups had sent roughly 500 protesters to Easton’s Chevy Chase neighborhood on May 16th to picket the front yard of Bank of America’s Greg Baer. Easton had just put her 2-year-old son down for a nap, and stepped outside to ask the protesters to quiet down. They didn’t. Easton wrote a column. And now she’s become the target of the SEIU and Media Matters for America.

Why? Because Easton, by “refusing” to disclose her husband’s relationship with Bank of America, was misleading her audience at Fortune, and the viewers of FOX News, where she commented on the protest. The only problem? There is no relationship between Easton’s husband and Bank of America.

According to SEIU blogger John Vandeventer, “one Google search” reveals that Easton’s ”husband is Russell Schriefer, Republican strategist and consultant to several big corporate interest groups. In fact, her husband’s client list includes the Business Roundtable, a special interest group that counts Bank of America and other Wall Street banks among its members.” Media Matters’ Brian Frederick reprinted the same intel, citing Vandeventer. Both writers suggested that Easton had committed journalistic malpractice by not revealing her husband’s business doings.

But according to a source close to the family, both writers are wrong. Yes, Russell Schriefer worked with the Business Roundtable–once, during the 90s. And yes, he’s worked for the Chamber of Commerce, but not since 2006. Currently, his firm “primarily does media for Republican senate, governor and presidential candidates”–not Bank of America.

Presumably it was the assumption that Easton had a dog in the fight–not just the fact that protesters woke up her 2-year-old and terrified Baer’s son, who was home alone–that led Vandeventer to write, “a woman came storming across her lawn, screaming at us to shut up and go away – telling us we had no business being there”; and, “The really interesting question here is: why is Ms. Easton so angry? And why has she decided to use her position as a member of the media to air her own personal rant at the people who showed up to share their foreclosure stories?”

Easton declined to comment for this story. Media Matters could not comment before this story went to print. The SEIU did not return The Daily Caller’s request for comment. SOURCE: Daily Caller

May 25, 2010

Glenmont man pleads guilty to swindling elderly woman

The scheme got its start, Montgomery County prosecutors said Monday, when an 87-year-old woman pulled into a gas station 3 1/2 years ago looking for directions home. A man playing Keno, James Brian Gendimenico, offered to help, and led her and her husband to their nearby house in his own car. During the next 2 1/2 years, according to prosecutors, he engaged in a crime that is expected to increase nationwide as the population grows older: He won her confidence, helping her with errands, bills and chores. And stole her money.

Gendimenico, 48, pleaded guilty to a theft scheme Monday. He could face 15 years in prison when he is sentenced Aug. 9, but he is likely to get less because of state sentencing guidelines. How much he took remains unclear and is expected to be determined at a hearing before sentencing.

Prosecutors say he stole at least $180,000 from the couple, who had no children and lived modestly on fixed incomes in the Glenmont area. As the husband's health deteriorated, Gendimenico persuaded the wife to grant him power of attorney and received more than 350 checks from the couple's bank accounts, according to prosecutors. By the time her husband died, she could no longer afford to bury him.

"He picked her clean," said Robert McCarthy, a lawyer appointed by the court to manage the widow's finances.

Montgomery County is seeing more cases like this. In early March, Roger Greenberg, 68, was convicted of swindling more than $100,000 from an 84-year-old woman whom he persuaded to marry him in a ceremony in the front seat of his car.

"People are figuring out we've got a bunch of rich old people here," said McCarthy, who also is involved in the Greenberg case.

"I'm seeing too many of these cases," Montgomery District Court Judge Gary Crawford said last year at an early hearing in the Gendimenico investigation.

"It's a huge problem," said Peggy Odick, an attorney for the county. "We're seeing tons of them, but he's actually wiped her out. There's nothing left." SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery County 's George Leventhal unleashed in public meeting

Facing criticism, Leggett blames Watchdog

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett's administration says public criticism by the inspector general violated local law, igniting a spat with the county's lead watchdog. During a County Council committee meeting in March, Inspector General Thomas Dagley accused the Leggett administration of hindering a handful of damaging investigations to county agencies. Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine -- two months later -- is countering that Dagley broke county law by not informing his office of obstacles before going public with his criticisms.

According to a letter obtained by The Washington Examiner, Firestine says Dagley was required to "immediately notify me if you have any problems obtaining documents or information from executive departments."

It also reads, "I believe that the significant time and effort that has been devoted to investigating all of your unsubstantiated allegations, although necessary, was a regrettable use of county resources."

Firestine found no evidence of interference with Dagley's work, according to the letter.

Dagley says the county attorney's office, by sharing information with police, hampered his examination of Montgomery's much-maligned tuition assistance program. The county is suing a police officer who allegedlyused more than $400,000 in public money to sell discounted guns to police officers and prison guards. Dagley called the cooperation "contrary to the basic principles and standards needed to ensure the independence of OIG work, protect confidential information and safeguard the identity of confidential sources" in a statement released Monday.

There was also interference with an investigation into a four-car pileup caused by an intoxicated former assistant county fire chief and payments to a child care center for low-income immigrants, Dagley says.

In an interview with The Examiner, Leggett called the claims against his administration "baseless" and added, "There is no smoking gun. What is it they are looking for?"

Council Vice President Valerie Ervin, D-Silver Spring, didn't take sides but referenced money the council restored last week to the inspector general's budget. Leggett had proposed slashing the department's funding by 54 percent. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Montgomery parents fight school cuts

Montgomery County (web | news) , Md. - Monday evening, parents in one of the region's top school districts are gearing up for a fight to save their schools' programs amid news of new, larger, budget cuts. They are speaking out even before the final budget figures are official at the Montgomery County Board of Education's first meeting since learning the budget may be slashed by an additional $24 million. This newest figure would join the $137 million in cuts already in place for next year. There will be no final decision Monday night, but parents are already preparing for what might happen.

"I'm concerned overall about the economics of our situation," said parent Nadine Bloch.

Late last week, the county council moved forward with plans to slash another $24 million from the already reduced school budget. Another round of schools cuts is now imminent. Parent Susan Katz Miller said, "The board really needs to get in there an scrutinize every line of cut that is going to be made and make sure that they're representing what the community is asking them to do."

Because the latest potential cut isn't yet finalized there is no official word on programs or staff that could be affected. But parents worry things like buses for special programs or elementary language programs may be on the chopping block. Both programs barely made it through the first round of cuts. So parents are speaking up now, hoping an early message -- weeks before any final decision -- will have a lasting effect on the board.

Parent Jane Welna shared, "It's terribly unfortunate and I hope that people can come up with some creative solutions to preserve some of the great programs MOGO schools has..."

Miller said, "I believe there are things in the budget that can be cut that aren't programs, that aren't going to affect kids directly."

In addition to parents, students will also voice their concerns and make their case to the board of education for programs they hope can be saved.

"Students tend to get a lot of respect when they go and testify. It's definitely an effective technique for getting the board's attention," stated Miller.

One of the parents you just heard from has an idea to save some money in the school district. It involves the school lunch trays. Tonight at 10 on the Washington Report we'll take a closer look at the idea, hear how much she says it will save and explore why the school appears to be uninterested in her plan. SOURCE: News 8

May 24, 2010

Sen. Landrieu promises BP will write you a check if you made $50,000

County news

From Our Fire House To Your Home ˆ Every Saturday afternoon, the women and men of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) go to various neighborhoods knocking on doors, handing out fire safety information, and offering to check smoke alarms. If you are in need of a new smoke alarm or battery, MCFRS will install them FREE! For more information, please visit:

Landscaping & Photography Contests ˆ Montgomery County Department of Transportation announced its annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) community beautification awards. Amateur photography competition nominations are due June 18th. The beautification contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties. Landscape competition nominations are due June 18th. For more information, please visit:

FREE Small Business Counseling Sessions! - The Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (B-CC RSC) has partnered with SCORE „Counselors of America‚s Small Business Owners‰ to offer free one-on-one small business counseling services at the B-CC RSC. Review your business plan, discuss marketing ideas and explore funding streams with a SCORE counselor! The B-CC RSC is conveniently located one block from the Bethesda Metro Station at 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, Maryland 20814. You can visit us online at: . Call 240-777-8200 to schedule your free counseling session today!

Montgomery County Police Win Regional Innovation in Information Technology Award ˆ The Montgomery County Police Department has been selected to receive the 7th Annual International Association of Chief of Police (IACP)-iXP Excellence in Technology Award for „Innovation in Information Technology, Regional/Multi-Jurisdictional Agency‰. Director of the MCPD Information Support & Analysis Division, Captain John (Mitch) Cunningham and NCR-LInX Program Manager, Catherine A. Miller will receive the award on Monday, May 24, 2010 in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information, please visit:

Montgomery County Seeks Applicants for County Organizational Reform Commission ˆ Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants to fill four positions on the newly created Organizational Reform Commission that will study the current structure of County Government and make recommendations on how it could work more effectively and efficiently. Application deadline is Monday, June 7th. For more information, please visit:

Alternative Financing & Resources For Small Businesses Seminar ˆ On Tuesday, June 1, 2010, from 9:30am until 12:30pm, the Germantown Innovation Center is hosting a small business seminar. Come learn about identifying non-traditional sources for business financing. Explore available resources to prepare your financial package. Meet one-on-one with financial experts and lending specialists. The Germantown Innovation Center is located at 20271 Goldenrod Lane in Germantown, Maryland on the 2nd floor. To register for this seminar, please go to:

Leggett claims his bodyguards are needed because of racism

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett says he needs his taxpayer-funded security team -- four bodyguards making $90,000 annually in salary and benefits -- since he still receives death threats, many of them "racially motivated." Leggett had been mum on the threats but told The Washington Examiner in an interview that the bodyguards are essential for his safety. "Oh yeah, I still get them," he said of the threats. "Things like, 'I'm going to kill you, Leggett'. You never know whether they mean it."

However, the county executive's office refused to disclose the nature, or even number, of threats made against Leggett. "We don't release that," said Patrick Lacefield, Leggett's spokesman. "We don't say details of threats. "We receive them with some frequency and some are fairly vicious."

Critics, including members of the police union, have scoffed at the setup, calling the security detail unnecessary and excessive in light of a $1 billion budget gap that will lead to a bevy of new taxes and slashed services next fiscal year. Montgomery County police also declined to provide the number of threats, but spokeswoman Lucille Baur said, "Investigations are ongoing right now."

She said no arrests have been made relating to threats against Leggett and added policedon't pursue anonymous letters or e-mails. Leggett said he initially wanted to dismiss the bodyguards but realized they were necessary after taking office. The security detail dates to the 2002 Beltway sniper attacks, before he was elected. He labeled the arrangement common practice throughout the Washington region. But Fairfax County, which mirrors Montgomery in wealth and crime rates, does not provide bodyguards for its government officials. The officers monitoring Leggett are part of the county's Security Services Division. Leggett said the bodyguards are used mainly when he travels for work -- "not 24/7" -- and said they are also responsible for building security. Council members didn't scrap the security funding during budget talks last week.

"I think it's still appropriate," said Democratic Councilman Phil Andrews, chairmanof the council's public safety committee.

"The most visible people in county government may need security detail. I accept that he gets threats." SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Healthy eating is subject during Rockville 5th grade class

During a press conference at College Gardens Elementary School to discuss the state's efforts to provide healthy food for its students, University of Maryland, College Park farm management specialist Jim Hanson seemed astounded by the questions from the young reporters in the crowd.

"Would it help if we showed them the raw data? Would it help if we actually showed them what we're eating in school?" said fifth-grader Veeraj Majethia.

"We need you at the university," Hanson said.

Veeraj is one of more than 100 fifth-graders at the Rockville school that participated in the student press conference May 12 to learn about the benefits of eating locally produced food and Maryland's Jane Lawton Farm to School Program. The school organized the event with help from the Audubon Naturalist Society's GreenKids educational outreach program. The students had done their research and were ready with questions. Several months ago, Veeraj and classmate Josiah Belfon-Valentine, both of Rockville, set out to determine the nutritional value of dishes based on their ingredients served in their school cafeteria. Their findings were so staggering that Veeraj said he no longer eats food prepared there.

"We calculated the nutrition and learned a side of macaroni and cheese here has more calories than a Big Mac," Veeraj said. "It's 564 calories."

He and Josiah hope College Gardens and Montgomery County Public Schools will introduce more nutritious meal options and better lunch service in the future.

According to the Montgomery County Public School website, the lunch menu for elementary school students must include an "entree-vegetable combination with two sides and milk." A peanut butter and jelly pocket and grilled cheese pocket are also available for students. Vegetables can range from green beans and corn to French fries and tater tots. SOURCE: GazettePICTURE: Photos by Brian Lewis/The Gazette. Parent Carrie Witkop talks with fifth-grade students at College Gardens Elementary School in Rockville last week, as they learned about the state's Jane Lawton Farm to School Program.

Did Weast and Leggett build Cabin John wall without approval?

Welcome to the urban middle school of the future! Take a look at THE WALL, as seen from the street level, that Superintendent Jerry Weast is constructing at the Cabin John Middle School modernization site. Attempts to find THE WALL on the construction plans for this school site submitted to the County have as yet been unsuccessful, but we will keep you updated on our search. In the meantime, take a look at THE WALL that is now next to the sidewalk on Gainsborough Road. This is how the school site will look from the street level and this is only the beginning of THE WALL. SOURCE: Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County

Pro-life clinics punished in Montgomery County

Alliance Defense Fund (ADF) has filed suit against Montgomery County, Maryland, charging discrimination against pro-life pregnancy centers. The county has enacted new speech rules that specifically target pro-life clinics, requiring them to post signs explaining that women should go elsewhere for care or advice. Under the new policy, failure to do so could result in fines exceeding $20,000 a month. However, the policy does not require pro-abortion facilities to provide similar notification.

"They basically tell [pro-life clinics they] have to post a sign saying that 'we don't have any medical professionals here, and the county recommends you go find a medical professional,'" explains Casey Mattox, legal counsel for ADF. "They don't impose any rule like that, of course, on abortion clinics, and they intentionally crafted this rule to exclude them."

The idea, according to Mattox, violates the Constitution by motivating potential clients for pro-life pregnancy centers to go somewhere else.

"The government can't create special speech rules just because people want to talk about pregnancy, and it absolutely can't target pro-life speakers with these special requirements and fines," he contends. "We're talking thousands of dollars in fines that they would impose upon them. This violates every core principle of free-speech rules."

The ADF legal counsel is asking the court to issue an injunction and halt enforcement of the law, pending a ruling in the case. SOURCE: One News Now

May 23, 2010

County News

Sustainable Commuting Workshop - Recent news articles and research indicate that work commutes are a heavy burden on businesses and employees in our region. Long commutes sap productivity and can impact a company‚s profit margin. Now is the time to implement commute-reducing programs that can reduce turnover costs, improve morale, and better position your business for the competitive future. Hear what area businesses are doing to shorten or eliminate commutes, increase productivity and improve bottom lines. Hear from local experts from the housing, telework and transportation fields.

Date: Thursday, June 10, 2010
Time: 8:30 am to 12 noon
Place: Executive Office Building
Auditorium Lobby Level, Rockville, MD
Registration: Call Commuter Services at 240-777-8384 or register online at

Metro General Manager to Senate Subcommittee: Improved safety, reliability plan in place - Metro General Manager Richard Sarles testified before the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies of the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations (May 19) and reiterated the transit agency‚s request for $150 million in fiscal year 2011. For more information go to:

Montgomery County Council Approves Ambulance Fee, Carbon Emitters Tax, Increases for Energy and Cell Phone Taxes. Measures˜Including $24.4 Million Reduction in MCPS Budget˜Point Toward Agreement on Thursday, May 20, of County‚s Fiscal Year - The Montgomery County Council today approved several key measures that allow it to preserve essential services while addressing the austere budget pressures created by the ongoing national recession. Today‚s actions, including the unanimous decision to reduce the Montgomery County Public Schools budget by $24.4 million, move the Council closer toward an agreement on the 2011 Fiscal Year Operating Budget. The Council is now scheduled to reach a tentative agreement on the budget in a session that begins at 1:30 pm on Thursday, May 20. For more information go to:

Montgomery County Guide to Recreation and Park Programs No Longer Mailed to Homes Due to Budget Constraints - The Summer 2010 edition of the Montgomery County Guide to Recreation and Park Programs will not be mailed to the homes of county residents this month but will instead go electronic as the Department of Parks and the Department of Recreation adapt to meet the challenges of the county‚s unprecedented budget shortfall. For more information go to:

Free Disaster Preparedness Training Sponsored by NAMI MC - In a big disaster, you need to be safe. That means planning ahead! Take your first step by coming to NAMI MC for disaster preparedness training. Expert trainer, Laura Copeland, will hold an interactive session presenting an overview of disaster basics, and will give tips on how to manage medication, access therapists, care for your pet, and minimize stress during an emergency.

 Free!
 Appropriate for Individuals Diagnosed with a Mental Illness as well as Family Members/Caregivers
 Bring your lunch - Sodas, Tea, & Water will be served
 Pre-register today!
 Free & Plentiful Parking

Wednesday May 26, 2010
10:00 am - 1:00 pm
NAMI Montgomery County Office
11718 Parklawn Drive ' Rockville, MD
Call Rose 301-949-5852 x105

REMINDER - Bike to Work Day is May 21st ˆ Join the Bethesda Transportation Solutions staff and Maryland State Delegate Bill Bronrott at 6:30 am on Friday, May 21st at the Bethesda pit stop (Reed Street, at the corner of Bethesda Ave & Woodmont Ave). Attendees will enjoy breakfast, prizes, DJ entertainment, bike tune-ups on site by REI and City Bikes, and more, all for FREE! Register in advance online at:

Customers Should Expect Lengthy Delays on Metrorail This Weekend - Customers can expect lengthy delays of up to 30 minutes this weekend (May 21-23) as old track components are replaced on the Red, Orange and Green lines, causing inbound and outbound trains to take turns sharing one track on portions of the rail system. For moreinformation go to:

Mayfair 2010 - Will be held at Bethesda Elementary School; there will be rides, games, food and fun something for everyone! On Sunday, May 23rd from Noon to 4 pm, Bethesda Elementary School, 7600 Arlington Road.

What Do You Think? - Tell us your opinion about your experiences with and attitudes toward Rockville. There are no right or wrong answers; just perceptions of what Rockville is. To access the survey go to:

Inadequate Funding Impacts Future Highway Projects and Metro - Members of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board (TPB) voted today to advance the 2010 update of the region‚s transportation plan. The plan update, which must be consistent with available revenue, will delete and delay more projects than it will add due to funding shortfalls at the state and local levels. For more information go to: