October 9, 2010

Al Phillips (Dist. 39 delegate candidate) signs term limits pledge

Al Phillips has signed the Maryland term limits pledge. Phillips begins at 2:12 in the video.

Woman charged with manslaughter in Dupont Circle hit-and-run

A Montgomery County woman was charged with involuntary manslaughter Friday morning after surrendering to D.C. police in the hit-and-run death of a woman who was struck while stepping out of a parked car in Dupont Circle. Jorida Davidson, 30, had been arrested by Montgomery police and charged with driving while intoxicated about 2:30 a.m. Thursday, an hour after the accident, said Cpl. Dan Friz, a Montgomery police spokesman. The arrest took place at the high-rise apartment building where Davidson lives in the county's Chevy Chase section, five miles north of Dupont Circle.

Davidson, who was released from custody in Montgomery early Thursday, surrendered to D.C. police about 5 a.m. Friday, authorities said. She was held pending an appearance later in the day in D.C. Superior Court. The victim, Kiela M. Ryan, 24, of Howard County, was stepping out of the driver's seat of a legally parked car on Connecticut Avenue NW near N Street when she was struck by a northbound Lexus sport-utility vehicle, police said.

As the dark-colored SUV continued north on Connecticut, police said, a bicyclist got close enough to note the vehicle's Maryland tag number. The bicyclist then reported the plate number to D.C. police. The accident occurred in the 1300 block of Connecticut Avenue. Police said Ryan's car was parked at the curb along the outer, northbound lane that runs parallel to the underpass where the central lanes dip below Dupont Circle. Ryan, of the 6900 block of Knighthood Lane in Columbia, suffered "massive internal injuries.

October 8, 2010

Mother, Child Struck By Vehicle While Crossing Street

ASPEN HILL, Md. - A 16-month-old girl is in serious condition Friday after being hit by an SUV in Aspen Hill. Police say her mother, 36-year-old Samira Kailey, of Sinking Spring, Pennsylvania, was pushing her in her stroller across Georgia Avenue and Aspen Hill Road when they were hit. Registered nurse Wendy Mejia jumped out of her minivan to help the little girl, who wasn't breathing and didn't have a pulse.

"I have two daughters of my own, and I wouldn't want anything to happen to them," Mejia said. "I had to help."

The driver of the SUV, a 53-year-old woman from Silver Spring, stayed on the scene. Police say it appears she had a green light.

After confirming Potomac debate with Brown, Mary Kane cancels

GOP Lieutenant Governor nominee Mary Kane has ducked out of a debate with incumbent Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown – even though it was to be held in her own community of Potomac! On Wednesday, Congregation Har Shalom of Potomac sent out this solicitation for a debate between Kane and Brown to be held this Sunday. Kane had confirmed participation prior to this notice, but upon learning that Brown had also confirmed, Kane pulled out citing a “scheduling conflict” the day after the notice was sent. Kane lives 3.5 miles away from the synagogue.

Brown released this statement:

Marylanders deserve an open and honest conversation between the candidates. I am prepared and excited to engage Mary Kane on the issues important to all Marylanders and was looking forward to sharing a stage with her on Sunday morning. Unfortunately, Mrs. Kane canceled her participation in a debate that is taking place just a few minutes from her home. Marylanders are asking real questions about how Bob Ehrlich and Mary Kane will pay for the hundreds of millions of dollars of promises they’ve made. I had hoped Mary Kane would have been willing to join me to answer these questions and others. I’ll be prepared to join Mrs. Kane for a debate at her earliest convenience. In the meantime, I look forward to joining the congregants of Har Shalom on Sunday morning to talk about the important issues we face – including public education, transportation and biojobs – and the O’Malley-Brown commitment to move Maryland forward.
SOURCE: MPW

POLL: Obama tops Bush 47-45 as better president

Americans are divided over whether President Barack Obama or his predecessor has performed better in the White House, according to a new national poll. And a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Friday also indicates in the battle for Congress, Republicans hold large advantages over the Democrats among independents, men and blue-collar whites. The poll also indicates that Republicans are much more enthusiastic than Democrats to vote. By 47 to 45 percent, Americans say Obama is a better president than George W. Bush. But that two point margin is down from a 23 point advantage one year ago.

"Democrats may want to think twice about bringing up former President George W. Bush's name while campaigning this year," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "But that doesn't mean that Americans regret their decision to put Obama in the White House in 2008. By a 50 to 42 percent margin, the public says that Obama has done a better job than Sen. John McCain would have done if he had won. And by a 10-point margin, Americans also say that Joe Biden has done a better job than Sarah Palin would have done as vice president," adds Holland. According to the poll, 45 percent of the public approves of the job Obama's doing as president, up three points from late last month, with 52 percent disapproving. Fifty-nine percent of independents disapprove of how the Obama's handling his duties, with 37 percent giving him a thumbs up. In the fight for control of Congress, 52 percent of likely voters say they would vote for the generic Republican candidate in their district if the election were held today, with 45 percent saying they would back the Democrat. The Republican's seven point margin is down from a nine point advantage late last month. According to the poll, independents say they would vote for the Republican candidate over the Democrat by a two to one margin.

"Blue-collar whites are also a particular problem for Democrats. Among white voters who describe their family as "white collar," the two parties are essentially tied. But more than seven out of ten whites who describe themselves as "blue collar" are planning to vote Republican in November," adds Holland.

The poll indicates that opinions on the economy may have a lot to do with that. Only 17 percent say the economy is starting to recover, and nearly four in ten say that the country is still in a downturn and conditions are getting worse. SOURCE: CNN

Washington Redskins football forecast

The suspect in the deadly hit and run turned herself in to police Friday morning and police say they plan to charge her with vehicular manslaughter. Jorida Davidson arrived at the station accompanied by a man just before 5:00 a.m. They spoke briefly with officers before police escorted her away.

Police say 24-year-old Kiela Marie Ryan of Columbia, Md., died Thursday morning after she was hit in the 1300 block of Connecticut Avenue around 1:30 a.m. by a Lexus SUV. Davidson, who was identified as the driver, took off, but a bicyclist followed and noted the license plate number.

Montgomery County Police say when they found Davidson in the vehicle just after 2:30 a.m. Thursday, the keys were out of the ignition and the engine was off. She was taken into custody on suspicion of DUI. Police say Davidson refused to take a breathalyzer. D.C. Police had her car, a black Lexus SUV, towed from the garage of the Elizabeth Condominium on North Park Avenue. There was damage to the right front headlight. A witness told police he saw the SUV hit Ryan as she was getting into a car in the northbound service road of Connecticut Avenue just south of Dupont Circle.

"A bicyclist followed the striking vehicle, noted the tag number and called police," said D.C. Police spokesman Gwen Crump. "The vehicle has been recovered in Montgomery County and we are working with the Montgomery County Police. We are actively pursuing a warrant."

The bicyclist, who declined to speak on camera or give his name, says he had ridden to the circle to escort his girlfriend home when he saw Ryan get hit. He says he followed the SUV and watched as it briefly stopped at red lights and then drove on through.

Law enforcement sources say investigators plan to charge Davidson with Vehicular Manslaughter. Davidson's online business profile says she is a freelance Albanian translator working primarily for the Voice of America. Montgomery County Police say they charged Davidson with DUI and released her into the custody of a sober person. Under Maryland law, drivers who refuse a breathalyzer test lose their licenses for four months. SOURCE: FOX

October 7, 2010

Helen Simonson kicks off Whitman community book talks

Whitman parent Helen Simonson discussed her bestselling novel Major Pettigrew’s Last Stand Oct. 5 in the media center as the first speaker in a series of community book talks. Helen Simonson reads a particularly funny chapter from her book during the book talk. Photo by Lucy Chen. The events, scheduled to be the first Wednesday of every month, focus on inviting published authors, poets, and other literary figures in the Whitman community to discuss their works at the school. Principal Alan Goodwin said local writers often share their literary works with him, and he thought would be a good idea to share those discussions with the public through a book club.

“It’s too bad we have all these talented authors in the community, and we don’t spend time having nice intellectual discussions about what they write,” he said. “So I came up with the idea of having a book discussion club. It would give notice to parents in the community who are writers, and it would give students a chance to talk to bona-fide published writers.”

Goodwin read Simonson’s book over the summer after his wife recommended it to him. He looked at the jacket photo of Simonson after reading, and recognized the face of a Whitman parent. Simonson introduced herself as being born and raised in England, the setting of the novel. Her family moved to Brooklyn two decades ago from England, and last year, she moved to Bethesda.

Simonson also discussed the process of writing and publishing the novel. The manuscript took her five years to write, as she balanced writing with taking care of her sons. Originally, the novel was just one chapter. But after winning first prize at a short story competition, she expanded the idea. SOURCE: Silver Chips

GOP star Chris Christie endorses Bob Ehrlich

New Jersey Gov. and GOP superstar Chris Christie is joining former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich on the campaign trail this week, bringing what Ehrlich hopes will be a major boost to his effort to unseat Gov. Martin O'Malley. Christie's brash, no-nonsense governing style has caught national attention since he won the governorship in 2009. His endorsement comes at a critical time in the Maryland governor's race, campaign analysts say. Recent polls show Ehrlich slipping slightly behind O'Malley in a state that is heavily Democratic.

"[Christie] is a huge star," said GOP strategist and former Republican National Committee spokesman Alex Conant. "His proposals to reform government in New Jersey is the type of leadership voters want to see everywhere. That's why he is in big demand across the country this fall."

Christie defeated Democratic incumbent Jon Corzine last year and inherited an $11 billion deficit, as well as one of the nation's most underfunded pension systems. Since taking office, Christie has identified more than $2 billion in unspent funds, forced schoolteachers to pay for their health care benefits and slashed state spending by $3 billion without raising taxes. Source: Washington Examiner

Woman Struck, Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver

WASHINGTON - Police are investigating a hit-and-run accident that killed a woman early Thursday morning in northwest DC. An adult female was struck by an SUV on the 1300 block of Connecticut Ave as she was getting out of her vehicle around 1:30 a.m. The woman was hospitalized and later died from her injuries. The SUV fled the scene, however, police were able to find it nearby in Montgomery County. The investigation is continuing.

National Merit Scholarship Corporation commends 65 seniors

65 seniors qualified as National Merit Commended Scholars, placing them in the top 36,000 students nationwide according to performance on the PSATs. Congratulations to the the following seniors who recieved a letter of commendation and Walt Whitman pen:

Emily Acker, Matthew Albrecht, Sahil Ansari, Kirstin Baglien, Ian Barnhart, Max Barnhart, Helene Benz, William Brownlee, Cameron Clements, Julia Cline, Julia Cole, Maxwell Craft, Madison Dipman, Leo Doran, Marco Espinosa, Jesse Freeman, Nikhil Gupta, Ryan Hauck, Daniel Imas, Nicholas Indrisano, Vera Ivezic, Stephen Jacobson, Bryan Joel, Haley Johnson, Brian Jones, David Kanter, Jonathan Kaufman, Tristan Kindig, Erik Koritzinsky, Maria Laukaitis, Rachel Lerner, Jessica Littman, Stewart Longsworth, Colin Macknight, Sarah Macy, Michael Mandler, Katherine McGowan, Colin Mealey, Alexander Meyer, Brad Moody, Amar Mukunda, Emily Nagle, Rian Nathani, Rachel Norris, Andrew Pecht, Sophia Pellegrini, Hannah Platt, Coleman Quimby, Mariana Robertson, Alex Rosenthal, Jacob Ross, Kai Sandbrink, Emily Schmidt, Ian Simonson, Joseph Strella, Mayhah Suri, Robin Temple, Andrew Thorson, Jacob Trauberman, Connor Vergara, Andrew Wyner, Vivian Yang, Francisco Zalduendo, Yiyan Zhang, Alex Zimmermann SOURCE: Black & White

ICC will require EZ pass??

New Intercounty Connector will Require E-Z Pass - http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dot/pressrelease/PR_details.asp?PrID=6967

Board of Elections Seeks Student Election Aides to Work for 2010 General Election - The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking school-age students, grades 6-12, to serve as Election Day student aides during the 2010 Gubernatorial General Election, Tuesday, November 2, 2010. Students and their guardians must attend mandatory training for students to serve on Election Day and, if applicable, to receive Student Service Learning (SSL) credits. Students are placed in neighboring precincts according to their home addresses. This initiative combines civic participation and the opportunity to observe democracy in action. This program is available to all students within a public, private, independent, religious or home-school setting located in Montgomery County. U.S. citizenship is not a pre-requisite to participate. Students with bilingual and American Sign Language skills are encouraged to apply. Interested parents/guardians can register their student(s) online before the October 15 deadline by visiting the Montgomery County Board of Elections website at https://www4.montgomerycountymd.gov/BoardOfElections/registerGuardianFv.seam. For additional information, email future.vote@montgomerycountymd.gov

October 6, 2010

Famous Smoking Chimpanzee Dies At 52

Famous Smoking Chimpanzee Dies At 52

The Universities at Shady Grove Board of Advisors Releases 10th Anniversary Report to the Community

Reflecting on a decade of growth since its inception in 2000, The Universities at Shady Grove’s Board of Advisors (USG, www.shadygrove.umd.edu ) has released its first Report to the Community. Highlighting the more than 3,000 bachelor degrees granted during its first 10 years, the report offers an overview of USG’s past success, present endeavors and future growth opportunities. USG is a collaboration of nine leading public universities in Maryland offering more than 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs in Montgomery County. USG offers classes during daytime, evenings and weekends in both full-time and part-time formats supported by a full array of centralized student and academic services.

“By providing a unique pathway to high-quality higher education, USG has increased access to highly sought after programs for thousands of local students who may not have been able to pursue their academic dreams otherwise,” said Stewart Edelstein, Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs, University System of Maryland and Executive Director at USG. “We look forward to USG’s bright future and achieving the goals of adding new programs, constructing a fourth academic building and enrolling 5,000 students by 2015.”

“By opening more doors to excellent and affordable educational opportunities supported by top faculty and administrators, USG is a vital component of the University System of Maryland’s efforts to meet our state’s educational and workforce needs,” said Chancellor William E. Kirwan, University System of Maryland.

Along with a detailed timeline of the campus’s growth during the past 10 years, the Report also outlines student statistics and the personal, compelling stories behind those students; the significance of student scholarships at USG; USG’s commitment to sustainability and the community; the unique USG partnerships that occur with the direction of the USG Board of Advisors; USG’s meeting the region’s workforce needs; and the future of USG.

The full Report to the Community is available for downloading at www.shadygrove.umd.edu/news/2933 .

Over 100 jobs could be lost in Montgomery cuts

ROCKVILLE, Md. - Could losing ambulance fees mean losing ambulances? Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett's spokesman Patrick Lacefield says it's a possibility. Public safety agencies wouldn't be the only operations hit by cuts. Services to teenagers, middle school kids, new mothers and seniors could feel the pinch. The cuts are not inevitable. They are part of a "just-in-case" document, based on the possibility that voters could reject ambulance fees in a referendum next month.

Leggett warned he would release the budget cuts last week. He sent a memo with his proposal to the Montgomery County Council Tuesday afternoon. Leggett argues that the loss of revenues from ambulance fees would require him to cut $14 million from the 2011 fiscal budget. If the ambulance fees are repealed, the following services would be on the chopping block:

118 public safety jobs, including nine police officers in school
11 ambulances would be pulled out of service
$1 million in road resurfacing
4 sports academies that serve "at-risk" teenagers
8 of 15 "RecExtra" programs for "at-risk" middle school kids
Sunday service at area libraries
Cuts to "Care for Kids"
Cuts to Maternity Partnership
The proposal, which Leggett calls a "Savings Plan," is currently only a proposal.

The plan is predicated on the assumption that voters will repeal the county's ambulance fees. If voters repeal the fees, the budget cuts would be subject to a county council vote. SOURCE: WTOP

42 million Americans on food stamps; that's 1/8 of America!

The number of Americans receiving food stamps rose to a record 41.8 million in July as the jobless rate hovered near a 27-year high, the government said. Recipients of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program subsidies for food purchases jumped 18 percent from a year earlier and increased 1.4 percent from June, the U.S. Department of Agriculture said today in a statement on its website. Participation has set records for 20 straight months. Unemployment in September may have reached 9.7 percent, according to a Bloomberg News survey of analysts in advance of the release of last month’s rate on Oct. 8. Unemployment was 9.6 percent in July, near levels last seen in 1983. An average of 43.3 million people, more than an eighth of the population, will get food stamps each month in the year that began Oct. 1, according to White House estimates. SOURCE: Bloomberg

CAPTION is of a soup/bread line during The Great Depression

United Health Care opens first 'health care city'

UnitedHealthcare launched Health Care Lane, the first “Health Care City,” in Maryland and Virginia in September. Health Care Lane is a giant replica exhibit of a small town that enabled UnitedHealthcare customers and brokers to better understand health benefits at events in Bethesda and Hunt Valley, Md. and Reston, Va. The town is a real-life adaptation of www.healthcarelane.com , a virtual city that UnitedHealthcare launched last year.

As hundreds of guests traveled through the city, they visited the pharmacy, fitness center, wifi cafĂ©, biometric screening kiosk and much more. Townspeople represented various parts of the health care system and demonstrated how customers can use their benefits more effectively to fit their families’ needs. The event timing was particularly useful as millions of area residents are making important decisions about their health insurance plans this fall. After starting in the Baltimore/Washington, D.C. metro regions, Health Care Lane will be featured in various cities throughout the U.S.

Above (left to right): Seung Baick, Regional Marketing Director; Jim Cronin, Chief Executive Officer; and Steve Reidy, Vice President of Small Business Sales & Account Management; UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic.  From left to right: Ryan Gregoire Cope, Account Executive; Ernest Jenkins, Account Executive; and Ray Murphy, General Agent Sales Manager; UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic.  Irene Myers-Thompson, Regional Wellness Director, UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic

From left to right: Steve Reidy and Tammy O’Hare, Vice Presidents of Small Business Sales & Account Management; UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic

Kristin Lesniewski, Field Account Manager, UnitedHealthcare of the Mid-Atlantic

Montgomery County Democrat & Republican chairman debate

Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee Chairman Marc Korman and Montgomery County Republican Chairman Mark Uncapher debated on Charles Duffy's "Political Pulse " show.  The show was taped yesterday, including coverage of County and State races.  The show appears on Channel 16 TV in Montgomery County:

 Thurs, Oct 7th at 9:00 p.m.
 Fri-Sun, Oct. 8th-10th at 6:00 p.m. and
 Tues, October 12th, at 9:30 p.m.

O'Malley letter calls for halt on foreclosure proceedings

In response to a request this weekend by U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Dist. 7) of Baltimore, Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) has a signed joint letter with Cummings and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler calling on "Maryland mortgage servicers to halt current and future foreclosure proceedings until Maryland homeowners can be assured they're being treated fairly."

The joint letter, a copy of which was contained in a press release from the governor's office, was dated Oct. 4 and addressed to several companies, including Wells Fargo/Wachovia, PNC Financial Services Group, JP Morgan Chase & Co., Bank of America and CitiMortgage. A spokesman for the governor said the letters will actually be mailed Tuesday morning.

O'Malley said in the press release, "In recent days, several servicers, including JP Morgan Chase, Bank of America and GMAC/Ally Finance, have acknowledged that they have failed to follow proper procedures by filing affidavits in foreclosure cases without adequate personal knowledge of the underlying cases, trampling laws that were designed specifically to protect homeowners in default. They have recently announced suspension of foreclosures in 23 states." SOURCE: Gazette

Weather report for Montgomery County

National Mall Pool To Close For Upgrades

October 5, 2010

Chicago commuters ignore Rahm Emanuel at train station

Moco executive proposes $12.9M in cuts

Montgomery County executive Isiah Leggett (D) has proposed cutting ambulance service and laying off dozens of fire and rescue workers as part of bid to save $12.9 million in case a referendum on a county ambulance fee passes in November. In a letter to the county council, Leggett said the ballot question “will likely succeed,” and outlined steps he said should be taken immediately to find the money to make up for losing the fee. Volunteers firefighters, who have opposed the ambulance fee, would see a cut of more than $1 million. Leggett administration officials said they don’t like the cuts, but that they are required by the circumstances. Council member Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg-Rockville), and ambulance fee opponent, said the list is a “political document” meant to influence the vote. Andrews said there are other ways to make cuts that would cause less pain, citing millions of dollars in costs associated with additional comp time given county workers earlier this year. SOURCE: Washington Post

Army Ranger From Maryland Killed in Afghanistan

FREDERICK, Md. - The Pentagon says a U.S. Army Ranger from Maryland has been killed in combat in Afghanistan. Army officials say 29-year-old Sgt. 1st Class Lance Herman Vogeler was killed Friday in a heavy fire fight during combat operations in Afghanistan's Helmand province. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment at Hunter Army Airfield in Georgia. Vogeler was on his 12th deployment after seven previous deployments to Afghanistan and four deployments to Iraq.

The Frederick, Md., native enlisted in the U.S. Army in May 2001. He graduated from the Ranger training program later that year. Vogeler was posthumously awarded the Purple Heart, the Bronze Star Medal and the Meritorious Service Medal. He is survived by his wife, Melissa, and two children. SOURCE: FOX

Delaware Republican Senate candidate says "I'm not a witch"??

Christine O'Donnell, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Delaware declares "I'm not a witch!" Is this actually a real ad from her campaign? Look at the black dress she's wearing and the white pearls, along with her hair and the eerie blue background. Then listen to the music. I think children throughout Delaware are going to dress like her for Halloween, as a witch!

Weather report for Montgomery County

Firefighter Layoffs Threatened In Montgomery County

Leaders in Montgomery County are crafting budget cuts that could lead to the layoffs of firefighters. A court ruling last week allowed a voter referendum on ambulance user fees to be placed on November's ballot. Should voters reject the fees, the county will face an immediate $14 million budget hole, necessitating the cuts. Volunteer firefighters at every turn have fought the fees, long supported by County Executive Isiah Leggett.

"We firmly believe some of the things that are being said about cuts of service and firing of firefighters and what have you is a scare tactic," said Marcine Goodloe, head of the county Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association.

A spokesman for Leggett confirmed layoffs of firefighters are being discussed, but dismissed claims by Goodloe that that possibility was a reprisal, saying the volunteer firefighters forced their hand by continuing to fight the user fees. Volunteer firefighters believe the fees might make people think twice about calling 911 for an ambulance because of what they may have to pay for doing so.SOURCE: NBC

Burtonsville man missing; car found at Yellowstone

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. - A search is under way in Yellowstone National Park for a Maryland man who has been reported missing. Authorities say 48-year-old Stuart Isaac of Burtonsville, Md., left a note for his family on Sept. 6 saying he was going on an extended cross country trip. His black 2009 Lexus sedan was found Sunday evening, Sept. 26, at Craig Pass along the section of the Grand Loop Road linking Old Faithful and West Thumb. The keys were still in the unlocked vehicle. Repeated searches from the ground and air have failed to locate Isaac, described as a black man who is 5 feet, 8-inches tall with black hair, brown eyes and tattoos on his shoulder blades and right triceps.

Car Crashes After Robbery in Takoma Park

Three people accused of robbing a restaurant in Takoma Park, Maryland are in custody Monday morning. Police say the gunmen robbed three people at the Eastern Carry-Out Sunday afternoon then sped away in a dodge intrepid. Police caught up with that vehicle after it crashed on Lincoln Avenue. Officials believe it may have hit a speed hump too fast, causing it to flip right in front of the Takoma Park mayor's home.



October 4, 2010

Storms Bring Tree Down on River Road

BETHESDA, Md. - A tree fell across River Road near Brookside Drive in Bethesda early Monday morning. One-lane of the east-bound lane is blocked but all of the west-bound lanes were closed. Crews are working to clear the debris and open all lanes as quickly as possible.

Montgomery wants to bar owners from leaving tied-up dogs out of sight Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/local/

Montgomery County residents: You may want to think again before tying up man's best friend. Under an anti-cruelty law proposed by County Executive Ike Leggett, dog owners would be required to remain in eyesight of pooches they tether ?-- or face a $500 fine. County officials say the measure would limit dogs' exposure to brutal weather conditions, as experienced this year during a scorching summer and snow-filled winter. Last year, animal control officials received 116 complaints related to tethering and discovered dozens of additional cases when responding to other incidents.

"Dogs are naturally social beings who thrive on interaction with human beings and other animals," said Adam Parascandola, director of Animal Cruelty Issues for the Humane Society of the United States. "A dog kept chained in one spot for hours, days, months or even years suffers immense psychological damage."

Earlier this year, Alexandria passed a similar law, which prohibits people from tethering dogs for more than three hours in a day. The District adopted a tethering standard nearly a decade ago and immediately saw animal-cruelty complaints drop 17 percent. Dog owners would face a $1,000 fine and up to three months in jail if the tethering exposes a dog to suffering or pain. br>
Read more at the Washington Examiner.

North Potomac Resident Nominated For Human Rights Hall Of Fame

North Potomac resident June Sampson has been nominated for the 2010 Montgomery County Office of Human Rights Hall of Fame. She and the other nine nominees were honored at a luncheon with County Executive Isiah Leggett on Thursday.

"It is a really a pleasure to have you here today," Leggett told the group gathered in the executive conference room. "We are an inclusive community, we are a great community. I think everyone recognizes the personal commitment you have all made, because everything you have done has helped make us what we are."

Sampson said she was surprised when she learned of her nomination two weeks ago.

"You don't do anything expecting to be rewarded," Sampson told Patch. "You just do it because it's the right thing to do."

In 2001, Sampson decided the right thing to do was to expose teenagers in Montgomery County to the reality of Africa. As part of her not-for-profit organization Parenting Plus Associates, Sampson began taking students between the ages of 12 and 16 on trips to Africa each year.

"I want to let them see for themselves what Africa really is," she said. "Hopefully they will be ambassadors, and they can come back and show their communities everything they have experienced."

She requires students pay $500 to insure they will turn up for the trip, but she funds all other expenses.

"It brings me a lot of pleasure to do these trips," she added. SOURCE: North Potomac Patch

McNabb Cheered, Then Beats Eagles in Philly Return

STUPID: Montgomery County claims wrong house is Uncle Tom's

In 2006, at the height of the housing bubble, Montgomery County paid $1 million to buy a two-story colonial in North Bethesda with a log cabin jutting out on one side. The house had been on the market only a couple of months, but county officials felt compelled to act quickly: This might be their only chance to save the real Uncle Tom's Cabin - the former home of Josiah Henson, the model for the title character in Harriet Beecher Stowe's seminal antislavery novel.

Since 2006, state and county officials have spent another $1 million to expand and study the property, and in recent months, Montgomery has held public meetings to solicit ideas on how to turn the old farmhouse into a public museum. There is just one problem, though. The house on Old Georgetown Road is not the real Uncle Tom's Cabin.

The house was once home to the Riley family, who held Henson as chattel, and the years Henson spent on the 3,700-acre Riley plantation, from 1795 to 1830, did form the basis of his memoirs, which Stowe, in turn, relied heavily on. But historians have determined that Henson never lived in either the house or the cabin, which was then a kitchen. He lived in slave quarters that are long gone.

"I seriously doubt the county would have spent upwards of $2 million if they had known the cabin was not the real Uncle Tom's Cabin," said David Rotenstein, who was on the county Historic Preservation Commission at the time of the purchase.

Henson does refer to spending at least one night in the Riley kitchen, but it was probably not in the room that survives. A 2008 analysis of the tree rings on the cabin's logs found that the cabin wing was built around 1850 - more than a decade after Henson had fled the United States for Canada, where he established a fugitive slave community called Dawn. That inconvenient truth presents an immediate challenge to county officials: what to call the place. The site's official name is still Uncle Tom's Cabin Special Park.

But starting in 2007, parks officials began referring to it as the Josiah Henson Historic Site (formerly Riley House/Uncle Tom's Cabin). The name change has not been formally approved and is awaiting public comment. So far, county residents have split into roughly two camps - those who want to keep the association with the book "Uncle Tom's Cabin" front and center, and those who say it's more important to focus on Henson, according to park and planning official Rachel Newhouse. SOURCE: Washington Post

Brandman: There is no Ombudsman

This is a funny pick-up from Parents' Coalition of Montgomery County.

Weather report for Montgomery County

October 3, 2010

Paving to begin today on I-370 in Derwood

The State Highway Administration will carry out nighttime paving work on lanes of the Intercounty Connector from Sunday through Thursday between Shady Grove Road and Interstate 370. Crews will work between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. each day. No work is scheduled for Oct. 8 and 9, but might have to resume Oct. 10 depending on weather conditions.

The roads that are closest to the paving are Briardale Road, Polara Place, Rydal Terrace, Epsilon Drive, Amity Court and Amity Terrace. ICC spokesman Ray Feldmann said no nighttime paving will be done in the Winters Run community, where night work had been done earlier this month. He said no local roads will be closed due to the construction.

"The main reason for the overnight work is because we're getting close to a period where weather-wise, we will not be able to do much," he said. "We're running out of time on some of the paving operations."

Paving work can only be done when temperatures are 50 degrees or higher. Construction workers will use vibratory rollers to compact the asphalt, which tends to produce loud noises. SOURCE: Gazette

School Bus, Car Involved in Accident in Germantown

GERMANTOWN, Md. - Montgomery County police are investigating an accident involving a school bus and a passenger vehicle. The accident happened around 11:30 a.m. Friday near Great Seneca Hwy and Middlebrook Rd. in Germantown. Details of the accident are not yet known, however, images from SKYFOX show a badly damaged gray vehicle next to the bus. The rear of the bus appears damaged. Officers say the bus was unoccupied at the time. The driver was not injured. The driver of the vehicle was transported to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The passenger was transported as a precaution. The intersection was shut down while crews investigated.