July 17, 2010

MOCO FATE? Rolling fire department closures in Philly

New cuts may be coming to the Philadelphia Fire Department and they could include rolling closures of firehouses. What if you stopped by your local firehouse and found the firefighters who would normally be first to answer your call weren't there at all that day? It could happen. The city announced as many as four units each day may be taken out of service in neighborhoods city wide in hopes of saving more than $3.5 million in overtime to ease the city's budget crunch.

"He's (Mayor Michael Nutter) rolling the dice and he's playing Russian roulette with people's lives," said Bill Gault, President of Local 22, the firefighters' union.

Unlike past permanent shutdowns of five engine and two ladder companies, which prompted large neighborhood protests, neighbors apparently won't be told in advance or perhaps at all if their local engine or ladder company is being put out of service.

"It's smoke and mirrors. The citizens don't have any idea there's nobody in there," Gault said.

When asked if the rolling service cuts were an attempt to disguise fire department cutbacks in order to defuse neighborhood protests, Mayor Nutter said: "We've been very straightforward quite frankly. We're not disguising anything." Nutter said the rolling cuts will enable the city to avoid layoffs and added that protection for residents will not be impacted.

"When you call 911, we show up, that's the bottom line," Nutter said. CBS 3 Philly

July 16, 2010

Santos, Postal and Company, P.C. CPA firm assists Clients regarding fraud risk, more

Fraud Risk Increases in Tough Times
As the economy continues to decline and people experience financial hardship, the risk of fraud increases. The CPAs at SantosPostal can review your system of controls and recommend procedures to improve any identified weaknesses. Contact Tony Orsborne, Principal, at 240-499-2050 or via email at AOrsborne@SantosPostal.com.

Financial Check – Up
Just like you go to your doctor for an annual physical exam, and visit your dentist for periodic cleanings, it is imperative that you do not neglect your financial well being and schedule an appointment with Jim LaGrone, Principal, as soon as possible. Jim will assess your financial situation including, but not limited to, your retirement planning, college savings, portfolio allocations and diversification strategy, long term care needs, and any other aspects of your financial health that is critical for you and your family’s survival. Jim can be reached at 240-499-2043 or via email at JLaGrone@SantosPostal.com.

Bank Financing
Is your line of credit up for renewal and you're not sure about some of the terms and conditions the bank is requiring? Are you trying to obtain financing for the first time and find yourself unfamiliar with the process? Negotiating bank financing is a specialty. You wouldn’t give yourself a haircut or replace the engine to your car by yourself; you would let an expert help you. Do yourself a favor and call our expert, Bob Greenfest, Principal, before entering any type of financing relationship. Bob will use his 30 years of expertise and guide you through this process. Bob’s direct line is 240-499-2075.

The Great Recession or The Great Depression?

District 14 Republican slate is in place

A diverse group of four individuals have filed as Republican candidates for state office in Maryland Legislative District 14, Montgomery County. This ticket represents a new voice of modern, moderate Maryland –

Eric Cary- State Senate Candidate- Bio info at: www.EricCary.com

Pat Fenati- State Delegate Candidate- Bio info at: www.patriciafenati.org

Henry Kahwaty- State Delegate Candidate- Bio info at: HenryForMaryland.com

Maria Pena-Faustino- State Delegate Candidate- Info at: Maria4House@gmail.com

Please contact candidates directly to arrange interview or events- additional notices of activities will follow.

Forum in Hagerstown on Illegal immigration on Tuesday, July 20

Topi: "Illegal Immigration in Maryland - A Plan for Action!"
Tuesday, July 20, 2010, Time: 7:00- 9:00 p.m.

Speakers: Charles A. Jenkins, Sheriff of Frederick County Maryland

Frederick County is the only county in Maryland that has implemented the Federal 287(g) program in cooperation with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). Frederick County also participates in the ICE Secure Communities Program.

Brad Botwin, Director, Help Save Maryland

A multi-ethnic, grass roots citizens' organization with members state-wide. HSM opposes the use of tax dollars on programs and services that attract and sustain illegal aliens. HSM will discuss the financial and social costs of illegal immigration in Washington County and Maryland.

Location: Dimensions Dining & Catering. 132 Old National Pike (Alt. 40 just south of Funkstown). Hagerstown, MD 21740 301.739.7260

Come early and enjoy a relaxing dinner at Dimensions restaurant! Hosted by the Hagerstown Tea Party. For more information call Ann at 301-797-8051 or e-mail acorco9104@aol.com

Joe Russek Statement in District 5, against Valerie Ervin

I am running for Montgomery Council district 5 because of the very extensive spending and high taxes that the Council and Executive have forced on the County.  I cannot imagine what else they can tax.  We have higher property taxes (mine went up 30% in 2 years, parking fees went up over 300%, parking became much more difficult, the roads have become a speed control because some of them are street long potholes, barricades have been put in the middle of residential 2 lane streets on the false guise of safety, we lost over 300 parking spaces in my neighborhood alone because of the possible passage of school buses (there never were any problems for 50 years), business areas have lost entire streets to parking, dog owners are forced to pay $40 to let their dog play, the County is trying to tell us what we can eat. energy taxes have gone sky high.  The County admitted that they pay employees at least 20% more than any other area claiming that gives us better employees.  No, the people are the same - they are just paid more.  These are but a few of the things wrong with the County.  Read the Declaration!  Only one grievance is not true today - we don't quarter soldiers in private homes.  This is why the Tea Party exists.

Joseph M Russek - candidate for Montgomery Council dist 5
4200 Highwood Rd. Silver Spring, MD 20906

Montgomery County earthquake hits DC (and it's not Vovak defeating Leggett YET)

WASHINGTON — The largest earthquake ever recorded within 30 miles of Washington, D.C., rattled the capital early Friday, waking many residents but causing no reported damage. The quake hit at 5:04 a.m. ET with a magnitude of 3.6, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. It was centered near Rockville, Md., the USGS National Earthquake Information Center said. NBC News reported that the quake was felt in the D.C.-area, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Amy Vaughn, a spokesperson for USGS, told WRC-TV that the quake was the largest recorded within 50 kilometers (31 miles) of Washington since a database was created in 1974. The previous record within that time period was a 2.6 magnitude temblor in 1990. SOURCE: MSNBC

Daniel Vovak, a candidate against Ike Leggett in the Montgomery County Executive contest said a similar earthquake is inevitable if Montgomery County Democrats and Republicans join together to oust tax-loving Ike Leggett in November.

Confident of victory, Vovak says, "Yes, I awoke in the night and thought I had defeated Leggett, and no, it wasn't a dream either, but an earthquake. Similar to Connie Morella, I'm a Republican who has cross-party appeal and who will be fair as I control costs, eliminate the speed cameras, and begin comprehensive school reform."

Vovak's campaign website is VoteVovak.com

The following stats are from the USGS:

Magnitude 3.6

* Friday, July 16, 2010 at 09:04:47 UTC
* Friday, July 16, 2010 at 05:04:47 AM at epicenter
* Time of Earthquake in other Time Zones

Location 39.167°N, 77.252°W
Depth 5 km (3.1 miles) set by location program
Distances 15 km (10 miles) NW of Rockville, Maryland
30 km (15 miles) ENE of Leesburg, Virginia
35 km (20 miles) NW of WASHINGTON, D.C.
70 km (45 miles) WNW of ANNAPOLIS, Maryland
Location Uncertainty horizontal +/- 13.3 km (8.3 miles); depth fixed by location program
Parameters NST= 15, Nph= 15, Dmin=44.7 km, Rmss=1.49 sec, Gp=133°, M-type=”Nuttli” surface wave magnitude (mbLg), Version=6 Source


Event ID us2010yua6
This event has been reviewed by a seismologist.

This mornings earthquake is the largest ever recorded withing a 30 mile radius of Washington. Maybe our politicians are getting a wake-up call they can’t ignore! Oh wait—actually they can. Before the day is over, I’m certain someone, somewhere, will be able to blame G.W. Bush for this 3.6 magnitude DC earthquake. Thankfully, this was just a minor temblor and shouldn’t interfere in anyone’s plans to vacation in Maine this weekend. If you have any thoughts on ‘D.C. Earthquake: 3.6 Magnitude Quake Rattles Washington Area’ please leave them in the comment section.

If you have any theories why an earthquake would strike the DC area, leave those, too. This could be interesting. I’m thinking it’s a prelude to the coming November shock!

Former PayAmerica Clients Choose Payroll Network For Payroll Management Services

Payroll Network, the largest local, independently-owned payroll management company in the region, is proud to announce that several local companies who are former PayAmerica customers have selected Payroll Network for their payroll management needs. The Association of American Universities, L&T Health & Fitness, St. Ann’s Infant & Maternity Home, Marlboro Blueprint, Inc. and RDA Engineering Co, Inc. are among those who have decided to switch to Payroll Network following the announcement of the buyout of the former payroll management company, PayAmerica, by national provider ADP.

“In our experience, PayAmerica clients appreciate the extra hand holding we provide during and well beyond their transition to Payroll Network,” said Charlie Wolf, president and CEO of Payroll Network. “Our commitment to responsive, personalized customer service is unparalleled among payroll providers.”

As the largest independently-owned payroll management company in the region, Payroll Network provides payroll processing, tax filing, time and attendance, and HR-related services to businesses in the greater Washington, DC and Baltimore, MD metropolitan areas. A team of Certified Public Accountants established the firm in 1998, and it has become the trusted provider of integrated payroll services, known for its responsive, personalized service and customized solutions. For more information, visit www.payrollnetwork.com or call (240) 292-7112.

July 15, 2010

Saqib Ali for State Senate: Story of a Montgomery County liberal

Court Strikes Challenge to DC Gay Marriage Law

WASHINGTON - D.C.'s highest court has ruled against opponents of the city's same-sex marriage law, saying they cannot ask voters to overturn it. Opponents had wanted to challenge a law that took effect in Washington in March allowing same-sex couples to marry. They attempted to get approval to put an initiative on the ballot asking city voters to define marriage in the city as between one man and one woman. But city officials balked, saying a district human rights law barred initiatives that would authorize discrimination. On Thursday, the D.C. Court of Appeals ruled 5-4 that officials had the authority to keep the measure off the ballot and acted appropriately.

V.P. Dick Cheney receives battery-powered heart pump; will not have normal pulse

If former vice president Richard B. Cheney's experience is similar to that of other patients who have heart pumps implanted, he has a better than 50-50 chance of surviving two years. The device, which takes over the work of the heart's main pumping chamber, should make him feel better and allow him to do activities as strenuous as riding a bicycle. But it is far from a miracle cure for end-stage congestive heart failure, the condition from which he apparently suffers.

Cheney, 69, had a left ventricular assist device, or LVAD, implanted in his chest last week at Inova Fairfax Heart and Vascular Institute. In a statement Wednesday, Cheney said he was "entering a new phase of the disease . . . and decided to take advantage of one of the new technologies available."

The former vice president has not made public key details of his treatment. It isn't known whether he's hoping to get a heart transplant and is using the device only until then. The exact type of LVAD he received also isn't known. However, heart failure experts and published studies of ventricular assist devices sketch a general picture of his prognosis. It's likely he received a HeartMate II LVAD, made by the California company Thoratec, which is approved as either "bridge to transplantation" or as "destination therapy" -- permanent use. It consists of an electrical device implanted in the chest that draws blood from the left ventricle and pumps it into the aorta, the main artery leaving the heart.

A study published in December showed that 58 percent of patients who got the HeartMate II were alive two years later, and 46 percent were alive, hadn't had a stroke (the chief complication) and hadn't needed it replaced. Patients got a different Thoratec LVAD -- one that pumps the blood in pulses, like the heart, rather than continuously -- did much worse, the study found. Twenty-four percent survived two years, and nearly all of them had had their devices replaced during that period.

The prognosis for people with end-stage congestive heart failure who get neither a transplant nor an LVAD is dismal. In a previous study, it was 8 percent after two years. SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery County issues 'Code Orange Air Quality Action Day' for Friday, July 16

Tomorrow, Friday, July 16 has been forecast as a Code Orange Air Quality Action Day, indicating unhealthy air quality. As part of the region’s Air Quality Action Day program, Montgomery County takes voluntary actions to reduce its emissions of smog-forming chemicals, including ozone, and particulate matter. These voluntary actions include refueling County vehicles after dusk and curtailing median strip spraying, mowing and most asphalt paving. Residents are also urged to take the following steps to reduce harmful air emissions:

• Carpool, telecommute, or take mass transit to work;
• Limit driving and combine errands;
• Refuel after dark;
• Avoid using gasoline-powered lawn equipment, including mowers;
• Wait for a cooler day to use oil-based paints or switch to non-solvent or low VOC-based paints;
• Avoid using aerosols and household products that contain solvents;
• Avoid mid-day driving; or
• Conserve energy at home and work to reduce power demand.

Ozone is a major element of urban smog, and its presence can limit one’s ability to take a deep breath, or cause coughing, throat irritation, and breathing discomfort. There is also evidence that ozone can lower resistance to respiratory disease (such as pneumonia), damage lung tissue, and aggravate chronic lung disease (such as bronchitis). Children and those with pre-existing lung problems (such as asthma) are sensitive to the health effects of ozone. Even healthy adults involved in moderate or strenuous outdoor activities can experience the unhealthy effects of ozone.

Another air pollutant of concern in the Washington Metropolitan area is particulate matter. Particles in the air can cause or aggravate a number of health problems and have been linked with illnesses and deaths from heart or lung disease. At highest risk from particle pollution are people with heart or lung disease, older adults, children whose lungs are still developing, and adults and children who are active outdoors. Particles of concern include both very small, “fine” particles (that can only be seen through an electron microscope) and somewhat larger “coarse” dust particles. Fine particles have been more definitively linked to the most serious health problems.

Unhealthy levels of ground level ozone occur in the summer as intense sunlight interacts with oxides of nitrogen (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) volatile organic compounds. Ozone forming pollutants originate from vehicles, lawn-mowers and boats; emissions from power plants and other fuel burning equipment; and vapors from gasoline, paints and industrial processes. Particulate matter can either be directly emitted into the air or formed in the atmosphere by reactions of fuel combustion gases. Any measures taken to reduce ozone forming emissions will also reduce particulate matter.

Vehicles account for 30 to 40 percent of the pollutants that cause ozone in the Baltimore/Washington area and every summer day, gas-powered lawn and garden equipment release more than 100 times the VOC’s of a typical large industrial plant. For every person who postpones lawn mowing on Air Quality Action Days, potential VOC reductions equal the amount generated by a car driving from Montgomery County to Raleigh, North Carolina. The Washington region is in violation of Federal air quality standards established under the Clean Air Act for ozone. In addition to concerns about public health effects caused by poor air quality, the region could also lose federal funds for highway projects if Federal standards are not met. This could ultimately lead to even worse levels of congestion and air quality.

The region has successfully lowered overall pollution and reduced the number of Code Red days each summer. However, adding to the region’s challenge, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, recognizing the serious health impacts from ozone and particulate matter, established tougher air quality standards. While an air quality forecast of Code Red historically indicated poor air quality that did not meet Federal health based standards, now a Code Orange air quality forecast indicates air quality that fails to meet the strengthened Federal standards.

For more information visit the County’s Department of Environmental Protection’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep, or call 240-777-7700. For information on Ride On bus schedules, call the Transit Information Center at 311 (within Montgomery County) or 240-777-0311, or check the County’s web site at www.RideOnBus.com

Co-owner of Butler's Orchard in Germantown dies after farm accident

Todd Butler, co-owner of Butler's Orchard in Germantown, was injured in a farm accident July 3 and died five days later. Butler, 55, of Germantown was on his way to check the blueberry fields after a busy day at the farm market when he noticed a metal fence post out of place, according to his sister and orchard co-owner Susan Butler. The post broke as he attempted to repair it and struck him in the head, she said.

Todd Butler received stitches at the hospital and lost consciousness soon after that, Susan Butler said. He died July 8 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital in Rockville with his friends and family by his side. Their brother Wade Butler also operates the farm. Sister Carol Butler lives in Ohio. It was a minor accident with disastrous consequences, Susan Butler said.

"We had a good day of blueberry picking, a lot of customers, it was a holiday weekend," she said. "Everything was going great."

The siblings' parents, George and Shirley Butler, purchased 37 acres in Germantown after they graduated from college. They grew peaches and raised their four children in a log cabin. The farm now produces more than 25 varieties of fruits, vegetables and flowers on over 300 acres and hosts annual community events.

"Todd was a real forward-thinking guy, he had a lot of innovative ideas," said county agricultural services manager Jeremy Criss, who knew Todd Butler for more than 20 years.

"He played a huge role in trying to connect families with agriculture and teaching families where their food comes from," Criss said. "Going to Butler's is an experience, and that experience is important."

Susie Butler, Todd's high school sweetheart and wife of 31 years, described him as caring, compassionate and giving, someone who shared everything he had. He loved to farm and when he was not at the orchard he could often be found in his garden, she said. He also enjoyed antiquing and trips to the beach.

"I just can't say enough good things," Susie Butler said. They have a 20-year-old son, Matthew Butler.

Todd Butler graduated from Damascus High School in 1973 and received a degree in horticulture from the University of Maryland in 1977. He was a member of the Delta Sigma Phi fraternity, the Maryland Horticultural Society, the national and state chapters of the Direct Marketing Association, the Maryland Apple Promotion Board, the Maryland Farm Bureau and the Upper Montgomery County Farmers Club. He was a founding member of the Potomac Valley Assembly Church in Germantown. SOURCE: Gazette

District 1 candidate Vricella vows no tax hikes, smaller government salaries

Although he is not running for County Council on his party's national platform, Republican Rob Vricella does have a prominent GOP role model: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie. Vricella, a Chevy Chase Village resident seeking to represent District 1, wants to shatter what he calls the "group think" on the County Council that has led to budget deficits and inflated government worker salaries. He wants to slash county budgets while holding the line on revenues so taxpayers get the best possible value. He vowed he would vote against any proposed property tax increase over the county's charter limit, an action that requires a unanimous council vote. In the future, Vricella said, he would cut spending and keep taxes at present levels until the budget situation allowed for them to be cut prudently.

"I think when families in this county are having a hard time making ends meet, I think the county employees need to share in that pain," Vricella said. "I mean, I'm not happy about it. But something has to be done. We can't raise taxes anymore."

In a similar vein, he bashed the county's recent increase in the energy tax and the carbon tax passed on Mirant's power plant in Dickerson, a tax proposed by District 1's incumbent Democrat, Roger Berliner of Potomac. For the council's leadership itself, he wants to cut council members' salaries and council staff budgets by 30 percent. More broadly, Vricella said, Fairfax County, Va., makes Montgomery County look fiscally suspect because it pays its government workers and teachers significantly less, and also spends less per public school student. Even if he has trouble attracting council and union support to his measures, Vricella said he hopes his outspoken attitude would at least shine a light on the council's budget situation. But he said he does not blame the unions. He blames council members for acceding too often to unions' negotiating position.

"These are incompetent people that do not deserve to be re-elected," he said.

Vricella has worked in real estate development for 20 years, and said he has personal knowledge about how government regulations and excessive taxes put a stranglehold on creativity. Rather than pushing development upcounty and increasing the infrastructure burden on county government, Vricella thinks the county's Smart Growth policy should be aggressively pursued in lower Montgomery County, so development is concentrated in existing urban areas. On transportation issues, Vricella thinks he can solve the problem of how to reduce Metro system costs without fare hikes or service cuts: Make the system's budget less opaque to be able to scour Metro's financial landscape for savings.

Despite the Democratic tradition in District 1, Vricella said he is running on basic pocketbook issues and has received positive reaction from residents. He said District 1 voters are open-minded about his message and do not want to be given mandates about their lives from politicians.

"People are not automatons," he said.

-Residence: Chevy Chase Village
-Date of birth: March 4, 1963
-Party: Republican
-Education: 1985, B.A., University of Maryland, College Park; 1988, J.D., Catholic University
-Work experience: 25 years work experience, primarily in the real estate industry
-Family: Married 19 years to Michelle; 8-year-old son, Robbie
-Top issues: Cutting spending to close the budget deficit, and not raising taxes
-Campaign funds on hand: About $10,000
-Previous political experience: Volunteered on past campaigns at the national, state and local level
-Other affiliations: Board Member for 20 years and former president for six years of Southern Maryland Vocational Industries, Inc., a nonprofit that provides housing and job-coaching services for the severely mentally and physically disabled
-Website: www.robvricella.com. SOURCE: Gazette

Council to discuss Purple Line

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 14, 2010—The Montgomery County Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment (T and E) Committee on Thursday, July 15, will discuss possible alignment and station locations for the proposed Purple Line that would be an east-west connection of the Bethesda and New Carrollton Metrorail stations. The committee also is scheduled to discuss the possibility of having a single track to the line in certain segments as a means of retaining more of the tree cover in the right-of-way.

The T and E Committee, which is chaired by Council President Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and George Leventhal, will begin at 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The session will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). It also will be available via streaming through the County Web site at www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

In February 2009, the Council and County Executive Isiah Leggett sent a joint letter to the Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation with their detailed recommendations for the Purple Line’s locally preferred alternative. Much of the testimony at a recent public hearing was from residents living near the right-of-way in Bethesda and Chevy Chase and from current users of the Georgetown Branch Interim Trail (who oppose sharing the right-of-way with the light rail line) and do not like the potential loss of the tree canopy in the area.

During its review of the Purple Line 18 months ago, the Council requested that the Maryland Transportation Authority (MTA) evaluate prospects of single-tracking the light rail line between Bethesda and Connecticut Avenue. A narrower single track would save trees along the planned route. MTA staff responded that a single track section would not allow the Purple Line to achieve its goal of six-minute peak-period headway.

Councilmember Roger Berliner, who represents the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area, has asked for another evaluation as to whether single tracking is viable. Another issue the T and E Committee will address is proposed Bill 6-10 that would set different noise level standards for certain seasonal arts and entertainment activities. The bill, whose chief sponsors are Council President Floreen and Councilmember Marc Elrich, would exempt noise levels created by those activities, up to a certain level, from being treated as a noise disturbance.

The bill would allow a performing arts facility (such as, but not limited to, Strathmore Hall in North Bethesda) that conducts at least five outdoor arts and entertainment activities (such as outdoor concerts or showing of movies) each year to, at its option, annually file a noise mitigation plan with the Department of Environmental Protection. The facility could then be subject to high maximum noise levels from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. from April through October.

Montgomery County news blurbs

Students Read and Play with Education Secretary, NFL Players - More than 70 students from Wheaton Woods Elementary School‚s Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) Program traveled to Washington D.C. on July 13 for the „Let‚s Read, Let‚s Move‰ event with U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan and Chris Draft, a linebacker for the Washington Redskins. Draft and Duncan read to the students and answered questions, before participating in a series of physical activities. Draft, a 13-year NFL veteran, brought two of his teammates to the event, linebackers H.B. Blades and Rocky McIntosh. To view the video go to: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/mainstory/story.aspx?id=130146

Bethesda Community Shred - Shred and recycle confidential documents. Upstairs at Bethesda Row, 7131 Arlington Rd. On Sunday, August 15th, 10am-2pm. Event is free for more information call 301/762-6990.

All 21 Local Governments in the COG Region Have Endorsed Region Forward - The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments announced at today‚s COG Board of Directors meeting that all 21 of its participating local governments have endorsed Region Forward, a new planning guide for achieving environmental, housing, transportation, and other regional goals. It features a voluntary compact agreement that asks area governments to pledge to use their best efforts to advance the goals in Region Forward. For more information go to: http://www.mwcog.org/news/press/detail.asp?NEWS_ID=461

Red, Blue and Yellow Lines Undergoing Renovation to Improve Reliability, Service - This weekend (July 16-18) Metro will make upgrades to its track, platforms and bridges on the Red, Blue and Yellow lines to improve reliability and service. As a result of this crucial work aimed at keeping the railroad in a state of good repair, riders can expect delays of up to 40 minutes. For more information go to: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=4565

Customer Notification System Keeps You in Touch - Whether it‚s a neighborhood water main replacement project, repairs to a broken water main or implementation of district-wide water restrictions, the WSSC Customer Notification System (CNS) can be your source of immediate information. For more information go to: http://www.wsscwater.com/home/jsp/misc/genericNews.faces?pgurl=/Communication/NewsRelease/2010/2010-07-14.html

2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards - Deadline for 2010 Bethesda Magazine Green Awards Nominations, Friday, July 16th. Winners will be recognized at the first Bethesda Green Gala, Thursday, October 7, 6-10 pm at Imagination Stage. For more information go to: http://bethesdamagazine.com/greenawards/

Universities at Shady Grove Hosts International Entrepreneurial Program, July 12-16

Rockville, Md.— Students from 14 high schools in Montgomery County Public Schools are gaining a greater understanding of international entrepreneurial program this week (July 12-16), thanks to the Silver Spring Chapter of The Links, Inc. and the organization’s partners The Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery County Public Schools. The Links, Inc. is a not-for-profit organization of 12,000 professional women of color in 270 chapters located in 42 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Bahamas, with the primary mission of providing service to local communities.

The LIFE: Youth International Entrepreneurial Program (LIFE-YIEP) is designed to provide students in grades 10, 11, and 12 attending Montgomery County Public Schools with an intensive week-long experience (approximately 35 hours) to increase their awareness of entrepreneurship within the global community. The focus of the project is to help students bridge entrepreneurship theory into practice with lectures, special guest speakers, web-based research labs, and small group activities. All of the activities are focused on helping the students create a business plan for a project/product that will be marketed in a foreign country. The country they are focusing on this week is Chile. In addition, the students are gaining a greater sensitivity about the importance and understanding of cultural differences for business ventures and economic development.

More than 40 students applied for the program. The Selection Committee recommended 26 finalists to be interviewed. Following the interviews, 21 students from 14 Montgomery County high schools were chosen for the inaugural class of LIFE-YIEP.

The success of the program is based on the strength of the partnerships that support LIFE-YIEP. The partnership with The Universities at Shady Grove is a good fit because the campus is an innovative model for delivering top-quality college degree programs. USG is not one university: instead it is a collaboration of nine leading public universities in Maryland offering more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Montgomery County. Established in 2000, USG serves more than 3,650 full and part-time students.

The second partner is the Montgomery County Public School System, which is providing two experienced teachers who regularly educate students on the topic of entrepreneurship. They are being supported by undergraduate and graduate student volunteers. The International Trends and Services Facet, the developer of LIFE-YIEP for the Silver Spring Chapter produced the materials for the program and distributed information about LIFE-YIEP to guidance counselors in the Montgomery County Public School System.

New Partner Joins Growing Business Consulting Group

McLean, VA — July 15, 2010 — Argy, Wiltse & Robinson, P.C. (Argy), a rapidly-growing certified public accounting and business advisory firm, is pleased to announce the addition of Mike Mellor, as Partner in the Business Consulting Group. Based out of our headquarters in McLean, VA, Mr. Mellor will advise a variety of companies with complex business transactions, including governance risk and compliance issues, internal audit needs, business process redesign and change management.

“Mike’s 18 years of business consulting experience will be invaluable to our firm and clients,” said Paul Argy, President and CEO. “Our clients will now be able to look to Mike for assistance addressing all of their business needs throughout their business life cycle including internal auditing needs, trust services, merger integration and a host of other requirements with which our clients may need assistance. He complements our existing Business Consulting Group extremely well and allows the group to be more of a one-stop shop for clients who need any kind of business consulting.”

Mike brings to Argy over 18 years of experience serving as a trusted business and financial advisor and auditor to mid-cap, small-cap and Fortune 100 companies. Mike has worked with many public registrants in the telecommunications, consumer products, retail and non-profit industries. Prior to joining Argy, Mike served as a partner with Grant Thornton and was most recently the Business Advisory Services leader in the Mid Atlantic. Mike is a CPA in both Virginia and Maryland.

The addition of Mike Mellor continues to build on Argy’s business approach of offering the technical expertise of “Big 4” firms with the responsiveness and fee structure of a local firm. Argy grew by nearly 30% in 2009, making it the 4th-fastest growing firm in the U.S. The addition of Mike Mellor is expected to further support Argy’s growth in the coming years.

O'Malley admits 'tactical mistake' in negative oil ad against Ehrlich

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) said Thursday that his campaign made a "tactical mistake" last month by producing a negative radio ad that linked former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to the gulf oil disaster. The ad, titled "Drill baby, drill," was the first in a series that O'Malley has launched since mid-June portraying Ehrlich as an agent for big oil, big tobacco, Wall Street and other special interests. O'Malley's underlying accusation in the ads is that Ehrlich's work for a law firm for the past four years has amounted to little more than unregistered lobbying. Ehrlich has called the charge "contemptible."

In the first ad, O'Malley also vaguely referenced a bipartisan vote Ehrlich took on a budget measure in Congress before becoming governor as evidence that Ehrlich was siding with big oil -- and by extension, somewhat culpable in the ongoing spill. The 2001 measure, which allowed for limited exploration, was supported by all of Maryland's Democratic representatives as well.

"When they wanted to open new parts of the gulf for drilling, Ehrlich voted with big oil again," a narrator says halfway through the ad.

On WTOP's "Ask The Governor" program, O'Malley told host Mark Segraves that he continues to believe that Ehrlich's work as a government affairs specialist boils down to an effort to cash in on relationships he made as governor, and previously, as a congressman. But he said that "Drill, baby drill" should not have mentioned the oil spill in the gulf "because it allowed the former governor to claim that we were making claims that he was associated with BP, which we never have."

O'Malley did not back away from any of the remaining claims in the ads, which have been dissected in the news pages of The Post and other publications, and criticized by several pundits and editorial boards, including The Post's. The governor made clear that he intends to continue to make Ehrlich's work for the past four years a campaign theme.

"We never accused him of being a registered lobbyist; what we accused him of was being a lobbyist," O'Malley said. "I think he has an obligation when he runs for office to disclose which interests he's been paid well to represent these last four years so voters can make an informed decision." SOURCE: Washington Post

Habitat Restaurant Week

MONTGOMERY COUNTY, MD (July 14, 2010)– This year Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, Maryland (HFH-MC) has enjoyed partnering with local restaurants in the Community Nights Out Campaign. The campaign strengthens the community by supporting local businesses that in turn donate a percentage of their proceeds from a specific day to HFH-MC to help build simple, decent, affordable housing in our community. Beginning Monday, July 26 through Friday, July 30, Habitat Restaurant Week will celebrate an entire week of restaurant nights at participating area locations. HFH-MC’s first Restaurant Week aims to involve local establishments in our attempt to raise awareness about affordable housing in Montgomery County and raise funds for the building of those affordable homes. The program not only benefits Habitat, but it also promotes local restaurants, bringing new patrons to their establishments.

Potomac Pizza, a monthly Community Night supporter, shares their Habitat experience. “Habitat not only takes the time to build homes, but builds long lasting relationships with the community. Potomac Pizza enjoys being given the unique opportunity to work so closely with an outstanding program!” Please join Habitat at one or all of the restaurants to support a great cause while enjoying great food and the company of friends and family during the week of July 26-30. In order for a percentage of your meal purchase to help support affordable housing, you must bring in the specified ticket for each restaurant. Ticket books are available on the Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County website at www.habitat-mc.org. See below for specific locations, dates and times.

Habitat Restaurant Week Participants (please check website for further details):

Monday, July 26, 4-9pm. Potomac Pizza. 625 Center Point Way, Gaithersburg, MD.

Monday, July 26, All Day. California Pizza Kitchen. Montgomery Mall & Washingtonian Center Locations

Tuesday, July 27, All Day. California Tortilla. 4869 Cordell Ave. Bethesda, MD.

Tuesday, July 27, All Day. California Pizza Kitchen. Montgomery Mall & Washingtonian Center Locations

Tuesday, July 27, All Day. Blackfinn Restaurant & Saloon. 4901 Fairmont Ave, Bethesda, MD.

Wednesday, July 28, 5-8 pm. Cosi. 7251 Woodmont Avenue, Bethesda, MD.

Thursday, July 29, All Day. Chili’s. 11428 Rockville Pike, Bethesda, MD.

Thursday, July 29, 4-9 pm. Growlers. 227 East Diamond Ave., Gaithersburg, MD.

Friday, July 30, 4-9 pm. Union Jack’s. 4915 St. Elmo Avenue, Bethesda, MD.

About Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County: HFH-MC is an affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International. Since 1982, Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County has been partnering with the community and low-income families living in substandard conditions, to build simple, decent, affordable housing. To date, HFH-MC has built or rehabilitated 55 homes for local families and has more homes in progress. HFH-MC supports the notion that good, stable housing matters for neighborhoods. Better quality of living leads to stronger citizens and families. Habitat for Humanity is about changing lives, one home at a time. Visit our website at www.habitat-mc.org

I-495 & I-270 Corridor After-Hours Business Mixer on July 21

In its fourth year of operation, this is longest running, regularly scheduled business mixer in the I-495 & I-270 corridors. We welcome small business owners, women, minority and veteran entrepreneurs and anyone interested in starting a business or entering the growing and increasingly more affluent Hispanic market. All beers, cocktails, specialty drinks at $3. Bring along plenty of business cards and business literature.

When: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 (third Wednesday of the month at 5:00 PM).
Time: 05:00 PM – 07:30 PM
Where: La Tasca - Spanish Tapas Bar & Restaurant, 141 Gibbs Street, Suite 305, Rockville, MD 20850.
Admission: Members: $10.00; Non-Members: $15.00. Pre-registration required. It includes one (1) free drink. Bar appetizers courtesy of the Mid-Atlantic Hispanic Chamber of Commerce. All beers and sangrias at happy-hour prices. Register online now.

Info: For more information about this event contact MAHCC Vice President Jorge E. Arce at 301-642-2409, Jorge Ribas at 301-404-1946 or Omayra Martinez at 787-593-2627.

Md. man charged with murder after shooting at Montgomery Co. house

Montgomery County detectives continued to probe a potentially thorny homicide case Wednesday that involved an armed victim, a man with whom he was arguing and an armed suspect who quickly turned himself in, officials said. The confrontation occurred about 1 a.m. Wednesday in the front yard of a home near Wheaton High School. Police identified the suspect as Larry A. Lamont, 27, of Silver Spring. Lamont was charged with first-degree murder and use of a handgun in a crime of violence.

He was expected to have a bond hearing on Thursday, according to county officials. Police identified the victim as Marcus D. Duffin, 27, of Gaithersburg. He was shot at least once in the upper body, police said. Based on the preliminary investigation, Lamont was at the home, in the 3300 block of Randolph Road, when Duffin arrived, police said. Duffin was looking for another man; he found him, and they began arguing, according to police. At some point, Duffin took out a handgun, police said. Lamont retrieved his own handgun from the residence, police said.

The confrontation continued in the front yard, according to police. Lamont then fired at Duffin, police said. Officers recovered two handguns connected with the incident. The shooting marks the county's 11th homicide of the year, police said. Police ask that anyone with information about the shooting call 240-773-5070. SOURCE: Washington Post

25th Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest Saturday, July 17 in Rockville Town Center

It’s the summer’s most highly anticipated event and everyone’s invited to join the fun at the 25th running of the Rockville Rotary Twilight Runfest, Saturday, July 17, 2010. It all takes place in Rockville Town Center on North Washington Street and Middle Lane. The Twilight Runfest Festival begins at 7 p.m. with live music, dancing and variety of food vendors for everyone. At day’s twilight, the wheelchair race takes off at 8:40 pm followed by the 8k race at 8:45 and the 1k Fun Run at 8:50 pm. Spectators will have a front row seat watching elite runners compete for open, masters and age group awards. Most runners will be there for the pure enjoyment of running a “night-time event” and partying after they cross the finish line.

REGISTRATION & PACKET PICKUP - Online registration will close 5 pm July 15 on signmeup.com. Packet Pickup and late registration will be held at Potomac River Running, 115 South Gibbs Street, Rockville Town Center at the following dates and times: Friday, July 16, 5 pm – 8 pm; and Saturday, July 17, 10 am – 4 pm. If we have not reached our registration limit, late registration and Packet Pickup will be at the race site beginning at 6 pm.

The 8k USATF certified course takes you through Rockville neighborhoods and around the Montgomery College campus. But this course is no slouch. It has some rolling hills so the neighbors will be there to cheer you on. The 1k Fun Run is a short out and back with both races finishing under the balloon arch and lights. Let the party begin! Once you cross the finish line, meet your family and friends at the post-race festival. Free refreshments and randoms awards for registered runners; live entertainment, music and dancing for everyone!

HOT WEATHER WARNING: Runners are reminded that it is typically hot and humid during this event and you should be properly trained for these conditions. Be sure to be properly hydrated before the race and take water on the course. Please read the safety info in your packet and follow the instructions. montgomery county road runners club, inc.

Awards will be given to the first five open male and female, top three masters, top three wheelchair finishers and top three male and female in age groups. The Twilight Runfest is presented by the Rockville Rotary Club, hosted by the City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks and conducted by the Montgomery County Road Runners Club Inc. Race proceeds will benefit the Rockville Youth Recreation Fund which enables disadvantaged youths to participate in fee-paid recreation programs. The City of Rockville Department of Recreation and Parks manages the Rockville Recreation fund, which allows hundreds of children and dozens of families the opportunity to participate in recreation programs that they could not otherwise afford. Residents who qualify as low income can request funding subsidy for one program per quarter, and must pay a portion of the fee out of pocket. Last year over two hundred children and families received funding to offset the cost of summer camp, sports leagues, after-school daycare, and teen programs. Families with low income were able to take classes, use the swim center and join a community center. Each year, combined donations from organizations such as the Rockville Rotary Club, Montgomery County Road Runners, and private citizens have averaged approximately $40,000. Although the fund operated in the black throughout the 1990’s, applications for subsidies have greatly increased, depleting the fund balance. In 2008 the requests for funds was nearly double the donations collected. Through the donations and support of clubs, businesses and individuals, this program can continue. 100% of your donation goes directly to the scholarship recipients. There are no administrative or operating costs charged to this fund. The City of Rockville fully supports this program to ensure the highest quality programs and fair and equal access to all eligible residents.

Its summer time – so don’t miss Rockville’s biggest summer block party. Run under the stars and dance by the light of the moon at Twilight Runfest! for more information, go to MCRRC.ORG

Candidate Murphy pledges to enforce Maryland immigration laws, gains Frederick sheriff's support

Crofton, Maryland, July 14, 2010 – Brian Murphy, Republican Candidate for Governor of Maryland, continues to stand firm in his commitment to protect Maryland citizens and enforce Maryland Laws. Murphy is the only candidate to have formalized his commitment to Arizona’s Immigration Bill (SB 1070) . And today, Murphy announced his support for statewide participation in Program 287(g). With this announcement, Murphy gained the support of Frederick Sheriff Chuck Jenkins, the only law enforcement official in Maryland to participate in 287(g).

Shown in a just released video , the two leaders discuss their shared vision and plans to partner together to curtail illegal immigration in Maryland. This endeavor would include applying a statewide enforcement of a program modeled after Sheriff Chuck Jenkins’ successful participation in Program 287(g), in which criminals detained by law enforcement officials in Frederick, who are later found to be in the United States illegally, are turned over to ICE authorities.

“[Through our participation in 287(g)] we have taken 650 criminals off the street of Frederick County. They have committed crimes, and they are in this country illegally,” said Jenkins. “Brian has my full support. We need a Governor of Maryland that is going to enforce the law.”

“Maryland citizens deserve a Governor who will enforce our laws. Program 287(g) is important to the safety of every Marylander, and I intend to promote the program as Governor. Illegal immigration is a huge problem in the United States, and it is a huge problem in Maryland. As Governor, I will be Maryland’s Chief Executive Officer, and Maryland’s Chief Law Enforcement Officer. And I will never shy away from either role,” said Murphy.

“Sheriff Jenkins is a leader in enforcing our immigration laws and he has my full support. He is doing a great service to ensure the safety of the citizens in Frederick, and in Maryland. His participation in program 287(g) must be emulated by other law enforcement officials. I look forward to working with Sheriff Jenkins on this critical issue,” said Murphy.

“I have complete faith in the men and women who serve our state in various public safety capacities. As I have said before, immigration is a public safety issue, it is a national security issue, and it is a law enforcement issue. It is not a race issue, and I will not allow it to become a race issue. I have confidence in our public safety officials to enforce our laws without prejudice,” continued Murphy.

Last week, Murphy signaled that law enforcement and accountability would be top priorities of his administration when he announced Mike Ryman as his running mate. Ryman, a former Marine Officer, FBI Agent, and Congressional Investigator, spent the majority of his career rooting out waste, fraud and abuse in the public and private sector. Ryman currently is a college forensics professor.

Brian Murphy and Robert Ehrlich are running in the Republican Primary on September 14. Governor Martin O’Malley is running in the Democratic Party Primary on September 14. The winners of the respective parties’ elections will square off against each other in the November 2 General Election. Brian Murphy is a successful Maryland businessman with a BA in Economics from the University of Maryland and an MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. He is founder of the Plimhimmon Group, whose first investment, the Smith Island Baking Company, has been featured in The Washington Post, the Wharton Magazine, the Baltimore Sun, BusinessWeek and other publications for its principled approach to job creation in Maryland.

For more information on the Brian Murphy for Governor campaign, see www.BrianMurphy2010.com . To set up a press or media interview with Murphy, please contact Karla Graham at Karla@BrianMurphy2010.com or (410) 924-4577.

Montgomery County news blurbs

Transit and Traffic Programs Recognized by Governor - Governor Martin O‚Malley recently awarded MCDOT his 2010 Smart, Green and Growing Award for encouraging transportation choices. The award praised Transit‚s Commuter Services‚ efforts and Traffic‚s Advanced Transportation Management System. For more information go to: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/Dot/PressRelease/PR_details.asp?PrID=6735

Burtonsville Fire Station Renovations and Expansion Completed - Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined Fire Chief Richard Bowers and members of the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) to cut a ribbon for the new 2,400 sq. ft. addition to the existing facility. For more information go to: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=6736

Metro General Manager Cites Safety, State of Good Repair Priorities at Transportation Panel - Metro General Manager Richard Sarles today discussed the transit agency‚s top priorities of safety, state of good repair and meeting future ridership demand during a panel discussion hosted by the U.S. Department of Transportation on the Surface Transportation Reauthorization Bill. For more information go to: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=4564

Alternate Polling Places Available - Voters may request a change in polling place for two reasons ˆ accessibility concerns or religious principles.

Accessibility Concerns: For the 2010 Gubernatorial Elections, all Montgomery County polling places are compliant with Maryland State Board of Elections accessibility guidelines.

Religious Principles: If you are assigned a polling place located in a religious institution, and entering that site conflicts with your religious beliefs and practices, you may request to be relocated to a nearby polling place.You may obtain a reassignment request form from the Maryland State Board of Elections‚ web site at http://www.elections.state.md.us/pdf/Request_for_Accessible_Polling_Place.pdf , by calling Christine Rzeszut at 240-777-8585, or by e-mail at nancy.rzeszut@montgomerycountymd.gov. The request must be received by 9 pm, August 24 for the Primary Election. If a satisfactory substitute polling place is not available voting at an Early Voting Center or by absentee ballot are alternatives. Early Voting will be held from September 3 through 9, excluding Sunday, from 10 am to 8 pm at five Montgomery County locations. For information on specific locations please visit our website at www.777vote.org . Applications for absentee ballots to be mailed must be submitted to the Board of Elections by 8 pm, September 7. For information on absentee voting, call 240-777-8550, or e-mail, absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov. Election Judges are still needed ˆ for information call 240-777-8533.

Potomac River Safety and Rescue - Master Fire Fighter Donnie Simmons appeared recently on the County show „What‚s Brewin‰ to discuss the varied dangers of the Potomac River. Please take a moment and watch the video to learn more about this beautiful, yet potentially deadly, natural wonder. For more information go to: http://mcfrs.blogspot.com/2010/07/potomac-river-safety-and-rescue.html

Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board Meeting -The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board will meet on Monday July 19, 7:00 pm at the Potomac Community Center, 11315 Falls Road, Community Room, Potomac, Md. There will be presentations by Reginald Jeter, Department of Permitting Services and Commander Darryl W. McSwain, 1st District- Rockville. Also, there will be discussions about artificial turf at public schools and BRAC intersection improvements. Guests are invited to attend the board meetings and encouraged to ask questions and provide comments. If you have questions about an agenda item or to request special accommodations, please contact the office at 240-7777-8200, Fax 240-777-8211, TTY 240-777-8212 or email bethesda.citizen@montgomerycountymd.gov

July 14, 2010

Clean-up efforts made after storm

Audry Scott v. Susan Trumbull & Red Maryland v. Blue Maryland on State Circle

I am disappointed that Mark Newgent of Red Maryland mostly agrees with a blogger from America's most liberal blog (Daily Kos). What type of conservative representative is he (and Red Maryland) when Newgent did more job pandering to the Left than the Left did to the Right? It's no wonder Maryland (and Hawaii) are the weakest states in America for electing state-wide Republicans.

By the way, for Maryland Republican Chairman Audrey Scott to not utter the name of a single Republican running for U.S. Senator is just bad politics. (Dr. Neil Cohen, a dentist, is a candidate for U.S. Senate. Cohen's website is MarylandModerate.com.) It's also awful that Audrey did not find a single lawyer in Maryland to run for attorney general against Gansler, giving Gansler a clear-cut pathway to governor in 2014. Audrey's leadership void in Prince George's County (which Audrey once called home) is abysmal, especially since she ran for chairman on her "strong" roots in that county and their is an absolute void in filed candidates there.

Ask yourself who is more convincing in this chairman interview and it's no wonder Maryland Republicans have problems with their leadership. Thankfully, Audrey Scott in her campaign launch video for chairman promised that she would only serve for one year after Chairman Jim Pelura resigned.

Daniel Vovak is "the most conservative candidate electable" in Montgomery County, for County Executive. Those words are in quotes because Mark Newgent used them on State Circle, referring generically to Bob Ehrlich, a moderate in his primary against Brian Murphy, a conservative. Montgomery County is Maryland's most populated county and has the second most number of registered Republicans (behind Baltimore County).

Watch the full episode. See more State Circle.

Vovak endorses Hanson over Rice in District 2 (Upcounty)

Daniel Vovak, a candidate for Montgomery County Executive, has endorsed Royce Hanson in the District 2 (Upcounty) political Democrat contest. Vovak, of Bethesda, said he made the decision after phone calls with both Hanson and Robin Ficker, a former delegate and activist with Libertarian leanings. Vovak says Hanson accepted his endorsement and welcomed it.

Vovak's endorsement comes on the heels of a peculiar endorsement by Governor Martin O'Malley and County Executive Isiah Leggett, both of whom endorsed Craig Rice, a first-term delegate in District 15. In spite of the Washington Post endorsing Hanson, Maryland's two most powerful executives hand-picked a rookie over a veteran.

Vovak says, "When I read the joint press release that O'Malley and Leggett issued, I thought that if they would have substituted the name "Craig Rice" with "Royce Hanson" then it would have been accurate. I can understand why Governor O'Malley endorsed Rice, because he is closer to him in Annapolis, so Royce doesn't have much of a working relationship with O'Malley. But Leggett's endorsement of Rice is fundamentally disturbing. Why would Leggett not want Montgomery County's most knowledgeable land-use authority on the county council? Royce Hanson is a legend in Montgomery County and here our county executive wants to treat Hanson like a fossil."

Vovak added that, should Hanson be elected, that he will, nevertheless, resist some of Hanson's ambitious, costly plans. "That is why democracy exists in America," says Vovak. "Ideas are supposed to be at the table of government leaders and then publicly those ideas are aired out. Hanson's ideas are fresh and passionate and Rice is soggy. Besides, Rice is too shiny for my political tastes."

To win, Vovak is openly courting Democrats, Republicans, and Independents to work together to improve Montgomery County services with a less costly government. Previously, he announced the appointment of Councilman Mike Knapp as his chief administrative office.

NOTE: An earlier version of this press release was not clear that Vovak's endorsement did not cover the general election.

SOURCE: Vovak campaign

Council says disability payments unresolved

Montgomery County Council members are pushing for an overhaul of disability payments to much of the county's work force, particularly police officers, saying recent negotiations with public employees unions did nothing to rein in overly generous pensions. Union members secured additional time off -- pending council approval -- for non-school employees during bargaining with executive department officials, but the county's disability payment system wasn't altered. Under the current standard, disabled police officers and general government employees receive two-thirds of their salary in a tax-free pension regardless of the extent of their injuries.

Council members deadlocked last year on a measure that would have created a two-tiered system, basing disability pensions on injury severity, because some thought it was a bargaining matter. But now Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg, D-at large, is seeking sponsors for a bill that would create such a setup by July 2011 if no other agreements are reached.

"In order to get meaningful reform, you're really going to have to implement a two-tiered system," she said. "We can't apply the same benefits for everyone. There's a difference between a broken finger and paralyzed spine." From 1985 to 2008, 40 percent of retiring officers left work with disability pay, according to the police union -- far eclipsing surrounding counties.

Inspector General Thomas Dagley in a 2008 report concluded "a prudent person would consider [the system] abusive." He found more than 60 percent of officers retired with a disability pension in a recent three-year period. SOURCE: Examiner

Storm Knocks Trees Down, Floods Roads

Residents in the Washington region are waking up to downed trees and streets littered with debris Wednesday, after rounds of heavy rain, thunder, and lightning moved through the region with a vengeance overnight.

AARP Driver Safety Class Being Offered at Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center

AARP Driver Safety Class Being Offered at Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center. The Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center will host an AARP senior driver safety class on Saturday, July 17 from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The center is located at 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring. The four-hour driver training class is aimed at seniors who need a refresher course. The class will help seniors with certain driving maneuvers and will teach them how to utilize the new technology installed in late model vehicles. Participants receive a completion certificate at the conclusion of the class that will allow them to receive a 10 percent reduction on their auto insurance. The class is open to all ages, but only seniors age 50 and over are eligible for the insurance discount. Class registration fee is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. Seating is limited and pre-registration is encouraged. Call 240-777-8411.

Suspect surrenders after man shot dead near Wheaton High School

WHEATON, Md. - Montgomery County Police are investigating the death of a 27-year-old male who was found Wednesday morning in the 3300 block of Randolph Road in Wheaton. Officers responded to a call for shots fired in the area around Wheaton High School shortly after 1:00 a.m. for a call for shots fired. When they arrived they found the victim suffering from a gunshot wound to his upper body. The man died at the scene.

Around 2:00 a.m., a 27-year-old male walked into the 4th District Station located at 2300 Randolph Road and claimed to be responsible for the death of the victim. He was taken into custody and transported to the police headquarters to be interviewed. Police believe that the victim and a 22-year-old male acquaintance went to a residence in the 3300 block of Randolph Road and were involved in a confrontation outside the home in the front yard. It was during the confrontation that the victim was shot. SOURCE: FOX DC

July 13, 2010

Montgomery County to charge for dog park usage

Montgomery County news blurbs

REMINDER - District One Democratic Debate ˆ Mark your calendars - A debate of District One democratic candidates will take place on July 14 at 7:00 pm at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, Md. This debate is hosted by the Bethesda Civic Coalition, the Edgemoor Citizens Association, and the Downtown Bethesda Condominium Association.

The Bethesda Civic Coalition is a group of residents of Bethesda who came together to oppose development in the CBD not in compliance with the Sector Plan who have expanded their mission to include the impact of all aspects of growth in downtown Bethesda on all Montgomery County residents. The Edgemoor Citizens Association represents neighbors bordering the downtown Bethesda area and is involved in a wide variety of issues impacting neighborhood development, livability, recreation and transportation. The Downtown Bethesda Condominium Association represents 825+ condominium and town house owners in our downtown.

Rockville Crews Work to Repair Water Main Break - City of Rockville Department of Public Works Crews are working to repair a water main pipe that broke about 4 pm, Monday, July 12, in the 10800 block of South Glen Road. For more information go to: http://www.rockvillemd.gov/news/2010/07-july/07-12-10d.html

Bethesda Outdoor Movies: Stars on the Avenue - Enjoy a series of movies in different genres: When Harry Met Sally, The Maltese Falcon, Sherlock Holmes, The Blind Side & Chicago. Woodmont Triangle, corner of Norfolk & Auburn Ave. 9pm. FREE. 301/215-6660. For more information go to: http://www.bethesda.org/bethesda/bethesda-outdoor-movies

REMINDER - The Care & Feeding of Volunteers ˆ A FREE Seminar ˆ Want to learn all the basics in operating a successful volunteer program? The Care and Feeding of Volunteers seminar will take place on July 14 from 1pm ˆ 2:30pm at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD. Trainer Barbara Hammack will conduct this seminar on issues related to establishing any viable volunteer program. Please note that it is critical that people attending the training be available on both dates, since the second session will be built around the first one. If you have questions or would like to sign-up call Karen Thon at 240-777-8200 or email her at karen.thon@montgomerycountymd.gov

Lakewood Pedestrian Bridge to be Removed - The City of Rockville will be replacing the pedestrian bridge located over Wootton Parkway between Lindley Terrace and Keynes Lane. The bridge connects Glenmore Terrace and Lakewood Elementary School. For more information go to: http://www.rockvillemd.gov/residents/publicworks/lakewood_bridge

The Universities at Shady Grove 2010 Summer Open House

Hundreds of prospective students and families are invited to attend the Universities at Shady Grove (USG) Summer 2010 Open House. Prospective students and their families will have the opportunity to meet with representatives from participating universities to learn about admission requirements, transfer of credit, career tracks, financial aid, and more. Participants will also have the opportunity to meet Student Ambassadors to learn about USG’s personalized "student experience" and to take a walking tour of the campus’ state-of-the-art "green" facilities.

The event will be on Saturday, July 17, 2010 from 9 a.m. – 12 noon. The location is The Universities at Shady Grove, Camille Kendall Academic Center (SGIII) - Lobby. 9630 Gudelsky Dr. Rockville, Md. 20850.

There is no cost for the event. For more info, contact Joe Bucci, 301-738-6356, jbucci@umd.edu. Preregister to save time: www.shadygrove.umd.edu.

POLL: Ehrlich and O'Malley are tied

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. holds a 1 percentage point lead over Gov. Martin O'Malley in a Rasmussen Reports poll released Monday. The telephone survey of 500 likely voters in Maryland, taken July 8, has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percentage points, meaning the results represent a statistical dead heat. Ehrlich (R) leads O'Malley for the first time in the latest poll, 47 percent to 46 percent. Two percent said they preferred another candidate and 5 percent were undecided.

"This is going to be a close election, we've always known that," said O'Malley (D) campaign spokesman Rick Abbruzzese. "The governor looks forward to doing what he's been doing, which is traveling around the state, sharing views with voters and making the tough decisions necessary to get the state through this national recession."

The O'Malley campaign prefers to refer to a May poll conducted by The Washington Post that gave the incumbent governor an 8 percentage point lead. The Ehrlich camp sees a trend. O'Malley led 49 percent to 43 percent in the Rasmussen poll taken in February, before Ehrlich said he would run for the post he held from 2003 to 2007. By April, when Ehrlich announced, he had closed the gap with O'Malley to 47-44.

"That trend shows that voters aren't interested in the negative ads that O'Malley has been airing," said Ehrlich campaign spokesman Andy Barth. "In fact, they hurt him more than they hurt us. And [voters] are interested in our determination to create jobs and reduce taxes."

O'Malley on Friday unveiled a television ad titled "Tough Choices." The ad says O'Malley inherited a $1.7 billion budget deficit but made "tough choices" by cutting spending, freezing college tuition, making "record investments" in schools and creating "tax credits for small businesses to create jobs." The $1.7 billion figure includes a deficit left by the General Assembly's failure to find a way to fund a $1.3 billion increase in education funding passed in 2002. The O'Malley campaign says the figure represents the gap O'Malley would have faced by fiscal 2009 had he not pushed a tax package passed by the legislature during a 2007 special session. The Ehrlich campaign disputes the ad, which was set to air beginning Monday in Baltimore.

"The truth is we left a surplus," Barth said of the Ehrlich administration. "It was $247 million in the general fund and enough in the rainy day fund for a surplus of over a billion dollars. They talk about tough choice. They're not able to choose the truth."

The O'Malley campaign also made a calculated move in enlisting President Obama (D) to make a pitch on the governor's behalf. Obama is increasingly unpopular nationally but holds a 57 percent approval rating in Maryland, according to the Rasmussen poll. On Thursday, Obama supporters in Maryland received a blast e-mail from the president encouraging volunteers to knock on doors and make phone calls in support of O'Malley. The campaign received inquiries "in the thousands" from people interested in volunteering for O'Malley after the e-mail went out, Abbruzzese said.

"The president remains very popular in Maryland and the governor was honored that the president agreed to send out that e-mail," he said. "And the response has been tremendous." More information on the poll is available at www.rasmussenreports.com. SOURCE: Gazette

Some Montgomery County fire fighters to get a raise

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has agreed to cut firefighter physical fitness costs from the budget in order to give some emergency workers a pay raise. Leggett and the Montgomery County firefighters' union recently formed an agreement to drop random drug and alcohol testing and eliminate the department's physiologist position for two years to fund special pay for firefighters with advanced life support training.

In a memo to the county council, Legislative Attorney Bob Drummer advises against the move, saying the savings will not ultimately benefit the department nor the county as a whole. If the special pay raise is granted for fiscal year 2011, the firefighters would be the only county employees to see a raise in salary, while all other county employees are furloughed. SOURCE: WTOP

Only 1 of 6 Dupont Circle escalators are working

15th Annual F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference scheduled for October 16

The F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference is a full-day writing event in Rockville, where Fitzgerald summered and wrote some of his most famous works. The Conference, held every October, features small group discussions, workshops and seminars for writers of all genres. Pulling talent from the Washington DC area and beyond, the Conference offers writers one-on-one access to some of the premiere names in publishing today.

Every year the F. Scott Fitzgerald Literary Conference bestows an award for Outstanding Achievement to a writer of distinction. The award winning author participates fully in the Conference, meeting with attendees to offer advice and share experiences. The 15th Annual Conference is proud to honor distinguished author, Alice McDermott as the 2010 Award recipient. This event is open to the public, accessible by Metro and bus. Online registration: www.fscottfitzgerald.wordpress.com or 301-309-9461

Saturday, October 16, 2010. Montgomery College, Rockville. 8:30-5:30

Montgomery Council and Executive confused over $7 million calculation

It's back to the drawing board in Montgomery County as contract negotiations continue for county employees. But the latest round of amendments from the county executive are stirring up some criticism from local leaders. Two proposed changes involving comp days and drug testing have Council President Nancy Floreen asking, what were they thinking? But a spokesman for Ike Leggett says their decision was well thought out and cost-effective.

"Actually, council members are making this more complicated than it is, and this is all a result of them rejecting the first contract," stated County Spokesman Patrick Lacefield.

County leaders didn't see eye-to-eye when union contracts for employees were up for review back in May. A month later, there are still more hurdles to overcome.

Floreen said, "I'm not sure there's going to be a lot of enthusiasm for revisiting our fiscal exposure in terms of these contracts."

The county executive came back to the table with some changes, factoring in the sacrifices employees were already forced to make such as furlough days and forgoing cost of living increases.

"What we were looking for was something that given that employees were giving up all of these things, that we could give them,and we were going to give them that wasn't going to cost any money," said Lacefield.

That's how the County Executive's Office came up with three comp days. It's time off that council president Nancy Floreen says will come with a price if workers decide to use those days before annual leave and carry over the remaining hours.

Floreen said, "Our staff tells us it could amount as high as 7 million dollars."

Lacefield says this is not the case.

"There's actually no cost in this. We don't have to ask the council for any increased appropriations," stated Lacefield.

Another issue on the radar is eliminating drug and alcohol testing for fire and rescue employees.

"Firefighters had agreed to begin random drug testing this year, but since the council rejected the contract when they came back to negotiating the firefighters said we're not going to agree to it this time," said Lacefield.

Floreen told us, "I hope we'll be able to reinstate that."

The county does have the ability to administer drug tests to employees when there is a need to do so. This contract specifically addresses fire and rescue employees. It's now up to council members to approve or reject the amendments. SOURCE: News 8

Habitat to Celebrate Kickoff of First Interfaith House

GAITHERSBURG, MD (July 6, 2010) - On July 18, 2010 the Lutheran Church of St. Andrew is hosting an Interfaith Ice Cream Social and Talent Showcase to celebrate the kickoff of Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, MD $B!G (Bs Interfaith House. The Interfaith House is a collaboration of local congregations coming together to help fund the rehabilitation of a vacant, foreclosed home in Silver Spring, MD. Teams of 10 will be volunteering every Friday and Saturday starting July 17th and working through September. The house will then be purchased by a low-income family in need of a simple, decent, energy efficient, and affordable home.

This Interfaith House will be the first time a group of faith organizations will sponsor and build a Habitat home together. In order to provide an educational experience as well a humbling community service project, congregations are encouraged to send a small group of volunteers to be paired with volunteers of another faith group. This way, they will indeed be working side-by-side towards a common goal, all while learning from each other in conversation throughout the day. Current sponsoring congregations are: Silver Spring United Methodist Cooperative Parish (Marvin Memorial United Methodist Church & Woodside United Methodist Church), Bethesda United Methodist Church, Gaithersburg Presbyterian Church, St. Camillus Catholic Church, Our Lady of Mercy Catholic Church joined with Church of the Resurrection, St. Dunstan Episcopal Church and St. Rose of Lima Catholic Church. (Updated as of 7/02/10)

Rachel Cornwell, lead pastor of Silver Spring United Methodist Cooperative Parish expresses her excitement of the power behind this build. $B!H (BThe Interfaith House is especially exciting because it gives us the chance to work with our neighbors of other faiths, all of us knowing that while we have different beliefs, we have similar values and we share the hope for a community in which everyone has access to adequate housing. $B!I (B

In the spirit of cooperation that the Interfaith House promotes, the Ice Cream Social and Talent Showcase will highlight and thank the congregations who have contributed their time and money to this project. The event also aims to present the Interfaith initiative to those communities not involved. A suggested donation of $10 per guest will benefit the rehabilitation of Habitat $B!G (Bs first Interfaith home. The event will begin at 4:00pm with ice cream and fellowship, followed by the talent showcase beginning at 5:00pm. During the event, Habitat volunteers will discuss future volunteer and fundraising opportunities. Additionally, a new Habitat homeowner will share how their new home has changed the life of their family. The social will provide a comfortable environment for different faith groups to celebrate each other $B!G (Bs gifts while supporting HFH-MC $B!G (Bs goal of eliminating substandard housing in Montgomery County.

July 12, 2010

Broken Metro Escalators Cause Riders to Climb Steps

Montgomery County news blurbs

Stewartown Homes, a Section 236 affordable housing community in Gaithersburg, owned by the Housing Opportunities Commission, is opening its waiting list for 2 and 4-bedroom homes beginning on Monday, July 12, 2010. The waiting list will close on Friday, July 30, 2010. No applications will be accepted before or after these dates. Please call or email the Assistant Community Manager Carolina Delgado to set up an appointment to apply for the waiting list, once the list opens. *** No walk-ins. *** Call 301-840-1998 first, or send an email to schedule an appointment. The email address is: stewartownhomeslease@comcast.net , the manager would prefer that interested parties contact her directly if possible. For more information go to: http://www.hocmc.org/documents/stewartownopeninglist.pdf

Banjo Man--Summertime Fun - The Banjo Man leads us in a musical celebration of Summer. Well-known local entertainer visits us courtesy of The Friends of Library, Montgomery County, Little Falls Chapter. For the whole family. No registration needed. A summertime program for children and families on Tuesday, July 13th at Little Falls Library in Bethesda.

MCPS Class of 2010 Earns 62 National Merit Scholarship Awards - Twenty graduates from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) have been named in the second round of college-sponsored National Merit Scholarships. They are among 35 winners in Maryland of scholarships sponsored by colleges and universities throughout the nation. For more information go to: http://www.montgomeryschoolsmd.org/press/index.aspx?page=showrelease&id=2791

"Crazy For You" Opens July 16; Features Songs by the Gershwin¡¯s - Combine 19 fabulous Gershwin tunes and the hilarious dialogue from Ken Ludwig ("Lend Me a Tenor") with the glamour of New York City, the dust of Nevada, high-kicking showgirls and rootin'-tootin' cowboys and what have you got? A toe-tapping, tap-dancing, fun-loving, exhilarating sensation! For more information go to: http://insidemc.montgomerycollege.edu/showStory.php?id=20332

Metro Gets Green Light on Safety, State of Good Repair Projects - Metro has received pre-award authority from the Federal Transit Administration to move forward with more than $220 million worth of projects that address Metro¡¯s most urgent safety and state-of-good-repair needs. For more information go to: http://www.wmata.com/about_metro/news/PressReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=4562

Park Permits Website Faster and Easier! - www.ParkPermits.org has a new look with new features. Now park users can find, check the availability of, reserve and pay to permit popular park facilities such as picnic shelters, campsites, park activity buildings and others with ease. The recently upgraded Park Permits website offers park user¡¯s 24-hour-a-day, 7-day-a-week access.

FREE Summer Concert Series! - Join us for free music in the Park during our new Summer Concert Series. Presented by the Glen Echo Park Partnership for Arts & Culture, the Summer Concert Series features three nights of live music in the Bumper Car Pavilion on selected Thursday evenings.
July 15: Feel So Good Band, A Fundraiser for Haiti Relief
Concerts begin at 7:30 pm and will be held rain or shine. The historic Dentzel carousel will also be open. The Ballroom Caf¨œ will offer a special picnic menu for visitors on concert days. For more information or to pre-order; please call 301-320-0348 to download menu and order form go to: http://www.glenechopark.org/pdfs/CafeConcertMenu_OrderForm.pdf

Green Night Out with Green DMV - This fundraiser for non-profit group Green DMV features Van Jones and will be hosted by NBC4¡äs Wendy Rieger. Green DMV promotes clean energy and green jobs in low-income communities across America as a pathway out of poverty. Takes place at the Longview Gallery, 1234 9th Street, NW on July 13th from 7-9pm. For more information go to: http://www.greendmv.org/greennightout.html

Rockville Concert Band to Perform Free Outdoor Concert - The Rockville Concert Band will perform a free community concert full of popular concert band classics in a "Patio Performance" Tuesday, July 20, at 7:30 pm. The concert will be held on the patio of the F. Scott Fitzgerald Theatre at Rockville Civic Center Park, 603 Edmonston Drive. For more information go to: http://www.rockvillemd.gov/news/2010/07-july/07-12-10.html

Safety Partnership with Montgomery County Police Honored - The partnership between MCPS and the Montgomery County Police was honored during the Superintendent¡¯s Annual Breakfast Meeting at the Lathrop Outdoor Education Center. Superintendent Jerry D. Weast presented the Lieutenant John M. Queen Outstanding Service Award to Steven Smugersky, educational facilities officer (EFO) at Seneca Valley High School.

Robbery Suspects Who Posed as Police Arrested

QuteCare seeks to match domestic health with elderly needs

QuteCare Household Staffing Services works to match domestic service professionals and home health aides to homes and families that need assistance in taking care of their loved ones. They provide services in the area of eldercare, childcare, housekeeping/cleaning services, administrative/personal assistance services and child tutoring services. They understand the demands of fast-paced living and work to recruit and screen candidates from a pool of well qualified, dependable and attentive caregivers who are emotionally and professionally suited for their clients’ needs. QuteCare is not a referral agency, hence they charge no placement fees or application fees, they handle caregiver’s payroll and tax issues so that you can relax. With QuteCare you make the final decision of the caregiver you hire as you are given the opportunity to interview the caregivers matched with you to ensure you are getting the caregiver you are comfortable with. QuteCare Household Staffing Services can be contacted Monday through Saturday 9:00am – 6:00pm at 301-217-0024 where one of their friendly agents is more than willing to work with you, or you can visit their website at www.qutecare.com.

WSSC GM discussed Montgomery County water restrictions

HOT: Montgomery County man's electricity taxes jump from $7.31 to $41.63

ROCKVILLE, Md. - You might be a little shocked if you haven't taken a look at your electricity bill lately. A 150 percent energy tax increase went into effect July 1 in Montgomery County. It will be in effect for two years. The tax per kilowatt hour of electricity use jumped from half a cent to 1.3 cents. The cost per therm of natural gas rose from 4 cents to 11.5 cents. Last month's increased energy bills were tied to a temporary -- even larger -- energy tax increase passed by the Montgomery County Council in May to make budget for the fiscal year, according to The Examiner. The energy tax rate was increased 300-percent until the end of June.

Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for County Executive Isiah "Ike" Leggett, says the increase is unavoidable. "Barring an increase in this tax, however, county government would have been required to make even deeper reductions in county services," he tells the paper. In a complaint to the council, one Gaithersburg resident wrote that he was shocked to see the energy tax on his June Pepco bill jump to $41.63, after being billed $7.31 in May. SOURCE: WTOP