December 4, 2010

POWER: Montgomery County schools trump City of Rockville

Superintendent Jerry Weast wants 2 more classroom trailers at College Gardens Elementary School.

The City of Rockville said no.

Superintendent Weast put the trailers on the school grounds anyway. He will have the Board of Education vote to open the trailers to children on Tuesday, December 7, 2010 in defiance of the City of Rockville. The only thing interesting about this is that the Superintendent is actually asking for the Board of Education to take a public vote. What will the vote be? 8-1 in favor? SOURCE: Parents' Coalition

MOCO Committee Recommends Amendments to Dog Tethering Regulation

ROCKVILLE, Md., December 3, 2010—The Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee on Thursday, Dec. 2, recommended several amendments to Executive Regulation 10-10 that as originally proposed would have required dog owners to stay in the visual range of their tethered dogs. The committee’s recommendations aim to simultaneously provide adequate anti-cruelty protections for dogs and maintain a safe environment for County residents. The Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, decided not to support aspects of County Executive Isiah Leggett’s original proposal that tightened tethering regulations. Because the committee deemed that requiring dog owners to stay outside and within visual contact of the dog was unreasonable, it made its own recommendations for how best to protect the public and the animals. The proposed amendments were as follows: • Dogs could only be tethered between 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. • Dogs could only be tethered for a maximum of two hours per day • No dog could be tethered between 8 p.m. – 8 a.m. • Owners must use swivels at the ends of the tether to avoid the dog’s entanglement “Our main concern is that if a dog is tethered in a cruel or harmful way, it is not only detrimental to the dog’s well being, but it also jeopardizes public safety,” Councilmember Andrews said. “A dog that has been treated cruelly will have a bad temperament, which will consequently endanger the public.” In addition to the provisions about staying within visual contact of a tethered dog, Executive Regulation 10-10 outlined the safe transportation of dogs, the sufficient shelter parameters and the conditions under which dogs may be tied to a stationary or immobile object. In 2009, residents reported to Animal Control 116 cases related to tethering violations. Animal Control also found unlawful tethering violations through calls related to other animal welfare violations. Since 2002, when the County adopted its first regulations regarding tethering, owners have been banned from continuously tethering their dogs, especially during certain hours of the night. Councilmember Andrews supported additional limits on the number of hours per day that a dog could stay tethered. Outside dogs must have shelters that allow them to stand up and turn around while inside, but still allow them to warm the interior of the structure and retain their body heat. Furthermore, outdoor enclosures for dogs must be at least 100 square feet, except that dogs over 80 pounds must have at least 150 square feet. An additional 50 feet is required for each additional dog kept within the same enclosed area. Owners must maintain the area in a sanitary condition and keep it free from debris or stored material. The regulation also specifies that no cat may be tethered, chained, fastened, tied or restrained to a house, tree, fence or other object. The Public Safety Committee’s recommendations on the proposed regulation will be considered by the full Council at a later date.

Streetcar passes markup, but under consideration for cuts

A DC Council committee unanimously approved the streetcar approval resolution at a markup session this morning, but sources say Gray's budget staff and transition team are considering the program for cuts. Nothing has been decided, but the Gray's Council budget office believes that they still need to make additional capital cuts for FY11 beyond those proposed in Mayor Fenty's budget, and the streetcar is one program being considered.

Earlier this year, the Council approved the streetcar program, but required DDOT to conduct some more extensive planning to move forward. Passing the resolution marked up this morning, the Streetcar Project Comprehensive Plan Approval Resolution of 2010, will release the last $34.5 million to build the H Street-Benning Road line. SOURCE: Greater Greater Washington

Road Crews Put Down Wrong Chemicals, Slick Roads Cause Accidents

Traffic crews trying to get a Maryland highway ready for winter put down the wrong chemicals Friday morning. The error caused slick conditions on the road and at least 10 accidents. Dave Buck with Maryland State Highway confirms the bad mix of chemicals were applied near Georgia Avenue on I-495. Crews were supposed to apply only salt brine, but liquid magnesium was somehow mixed into one batch of the brine. Two trucks at different locations were loaded with the brine-magnesium mixture. The contractor’s trucks with the bad mixture has been identified. Maryland State Highway is investigating. Trucks with only salt brine went over the affected roads again to try and correct the problem. The area affected with the bad mix included the overpasses and bridges on 495 between Route 650 and Route 270.

December 3, 2010

Facts about MOCO schools

The following information has been provided courtesy of the MCPS Public Information Office.

Number of MCPS employees who earn more than $100,000 per year: 2,465
Number of MCPS employees who earn more than $70,000 per year: 8,028
Highest paid school principal: Michael Doran (Wootton High School): $150,123
Total number of MCPS employees (includes part-time employees): 21,432

SOURCE: Parents' Coalition

NRCC treasurer Christopher Ward sentenced to 37 months for stealing $844,000

A federal judge sentenced Christopher J. Ward to 37 months in prison on Thursday for stealing more than $844,000 from the National Republican Congressional Committee and other political fundraising committees for which he worked as treasurer.

"I am truly sorry for what I did and I take full responsibility," said Ward, 42, formerly of Bethesda.

"This is a serious offense. . . . You stole from small donor funds that worked to engage in political debate and the electoral process," said U.S. District Judge Colleen Kollar-Kotelly of the District. She added, "I'm not sure what happened to you, but you clearly lost your moral compass."

Kollar-Kotelly ordered Ward to forfeit $844,718, including $812,825 in restitution, which takes into account repayments already made. Ward, divorced from his wife and mother of their three children, ages 5 through 12, has turned over about $300,000, including proceeds from his house, and has no assets. The judge ordered him to pay back $150 a month upon release in addition to tax and child support obligations.

Ward served as treasurer for 83 GOP committees in a decade, including at the NRCC from 2003 until 2008, and admitted stealing funds for seven years before being discovered in 2008. The cash augmented an income that eventually topped $300,000 a year, paying for country club and private school tuition fees, home remodeling projects and vacation rentals. He will begin his sentence in January. SOURCE: Washington Post

Wheaton’s new tallest building

Wheaton has the potential to be a pedestrian downtown as good as Silver Spring or Bethesda, but for years redevelopment there has been slow to catch on. That may no longer be the case, thanks to what could be a game-changing new development there. Montgomery County recently approved plans for a 17-story mixed-use building at the corner of Georgia Ave and Reedie Drive on the site of an existing Safeway grocery store, directly across the street from Wheaton Metro. The plan calls for a new, larger Safeway to occupy the ground floor of a 486-unit, 195-foot-tall apartment building. It will be almost twice as tall as any existing building in Wheaton, and will be the most notable Transit Oriented Development in Wheaton’s history. More information is available via the site plan approval (pdf). SOURCE: Beyond DC

FBI Questioning Prince George's Co. Police Officers About College Park Student Beating

Multiple Accidents Tie Up Maryland Beltway

(WUSA) -- Maryland State Police were kept busy Friday morning with at least 6 accidents on the Beltway near Georgia Ave. The latest incident is on the Outer Loop just before the Mormon Temple. SOURCE: WUSA

Montgomery County news blurbs

From the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center

Coffee and Conversation with Ken Hartman, Director of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center. Find out about programs and services in Montgomery County, learn more about the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board and their role in the community, or just bring your concerns from your community to discuss. Friday, December 3, 2010 any time between 9:00 a.m. and 12:00 noon ˆBethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814

Montgomery County Council approves White Flint infrastructure financing plan.

Driver of Marcum‚s Stolen Vehicle Extradited to Montgomery County Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division Homicide/Sex Section are continuing to investigate the murder of Sue Ann Marcum, age 52, from the 6200 block of Massachusetts Avenue in Bethesda.

Anyone with information regarding this homicide investigation is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070. Those who wish to remain anonymous and become eligible for a reward should call Crime Solvers of Montgomery County toll-free at 1-866-411-TIPS (8477).


ROCKVILLE PIKE (MD 355) CROSSING STUDY: PLANNING BOARD MEETING ON MONDAY DEC. 6: The Planning Board is scheduled to discuss the Rockville Pike Crossing Study being conducted by Montgomery County DOT at 6 p.m. on Monday, December 6 at the Park & Planning office - 8787 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring. The Crossing Study is for a proposed project to provide safe pedestrian access and mitigate gridlock between the National Naval Medical Center and the Medical Center Metro station.

Alternative 2B has been selected as the preferred alternative:

MCDOT officials will give a presentation on the status of the study, and the Planning Board will hear public testimony and recommendations from Planning Staff. See the Montgomery County Planning Board's BRAC web site for more information:

BRAC IMPLEMENTATION COMMITTEE (BIC) TO RECEIVE MCDOT CROSSING STUDY PRESENTATION ON DECEMBER 21 MCDOT officials will provide an update on the Crossing Study at the next meeting of the County's BRAC Implementation Committee on Tuesday, December 21 at 7:30 p.m. at the BCC Regional Services Center. In addition. Maryland Dept. of Transportation (MDOT) officials will provide an update on the SHA Intersections Improvement project. More information on the Dec. 21 BIC meeting:

Transportation Resource Reference Guide for Seniors and People with Disabilities

For more information, please visit the county‚s website below to learn more about programs and resources.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Looks for Customer Feedback on Computer Use In Branches through Online Survey. The survey is accessible from any computer and takes an average of about 10 minutes to complete. It will run through December 3. Take the online survey on:

Recreation Department Sponsors Food Drive To Benefit Manna Food Bank Now through December 9 ˆ Residents are encouraged to participate by donating non-perishable food items at any of the department‚s community, recreation, aquatic or senior centers. To locate the closest recreational facility, go to

Each of us can contribute to strengthening our community by serving in Dr. King‚s honor on the King Holiday and throughout the year. What role will you play? Make January 17th a day ON, not a day off. For a listing of current volunteer opportunities, to share how your group will honor the day, and more information about the musical tribute at Strathmore, go to . For more information and questions, please email or call 240-777-2618.

Dr. Eric Wargotz declines bid for Maryland Republican Chairman

Regarding the move to recruit Dr. Eric Wargotz as a nominee for Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party, Dr. Wargotz has released the following remarks:

"I am both humbled and honored to have many central committee members, and supporters rallying me to run for the Chairman position. The past couple of weeks have been spent carefully considering this opportunity to lead our State party.

The upcoming term presents much opportunity for the Maryland Republican Party to focus its message and thus make substantive gains. Hopefully, a sharpened one carefully crafted based on traditional Conservative values with a goal towards truly achieving a two-party system in our great State.

In conjunction with family, friends, supporters and trusted advisors I have reached the conclusion that although I am up for the challenge of leading this effort as Chairman, I will forgo this unique opportunity at this time as I continue to strongly consider a run for elected office in the near future.

Thus, I offer my sincere congratulations to all nominees for Chairman of the Maryland Republican Party. I pledge my support, time and energy in assisting the new Chairman and the incoming Officers and Executive Board. Furthermore, I will continue to work with the Republican Party and others to promote core Conservative values in Maryland and throughout the Nation. Sincerely, Eric"

New Lodging In Bethesda For Wounded Warriors' Families

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) -- First Lady Michelle Obama is cutting the ribbon on three new residences for families of ailing U.S. service members and veterans in Bethesda. Mrs. Obama was scheduled to join other officials Thursday at the official opening of the Fisher Houses at the National Naval Medical Center. The residences were built by the Fisher House Foundation to provide free lodging for the families of as many as 225 ill and injured service members. The Rockville-based foundation has built and donated dozens of Fisher Houses at military and veterans facilities since 1991. The new residences are part of the planned move of Walter Reed Army Medical Center to Bethesda next year. SOURCE: WUSA

December 2, 2010

Clinic to offer late term abortions in Montgomery County

SILVER SPRING, MD - A Nebraska doctor who performs abortions late in a pregnancy is planning to begin offering the controversial procedures at a Maryland clinic. The Germantown Reproductive Services and Family Planning Clinic in Montgomery County already performs abortions. The word is spreading through the area about Dr. Leroy Carhart joining the clinic.

"I think it sucks that it is in a community and not like a big city but what are you going to do," said customer Chrisanthi Halkiotis. Some business leaders say the attraction doesn't help.

"You don't want to be in an area or community where your clients are scared," said business owner Adam Cox.

Carhart is among a select few physicians who perform the procedure. Carhart worked closely with another late term provider Dr. George Tiller. Tiller was shot and killed in Kansas 2009.

Happy Holidays from Manoli Canoli Restaurant

We would like to thank our fantastic customers for another successful year at Manoli Canoli by offering some super discounts this holiday season. Take advantage of savings up to 15% off any carry-out order and up to 20% on any catering order now through the end of December. We appreciate your business and want to wish you and your family and beautiful holiday season and Happy New Year.

Warm regards,

Manoli Canoli Restaurant
8540 Connecticut Avenue Chevy Chase, MD 20815
Phone: (301) 951-1818 Fax: (301) 951-1819

Police: Body found in trash can that of missing girl

WASHINGTON - A body found in a trash can in a Columbia Heights alley is that of a missing girl from Prince George's County, D.C. Police say. Police are investigating the murder of 17-year-old Ebony Franklin of Capitol Heights. Franklin was reported missing on Friday. Her family recently moved from Hyattsville to their new home on Pistachio Lane in Capitol Heights. Neighbors say Franklin lived with her father in D.C.

Her body was found in trash can in an alley in the 1000 block of Fairmont Street in Northwest on Monday. The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has ruled her death a homicide. The cause of death is not known. Anyone with information about this case is asked to call the police at (202) 727-9099 or 1-888-919-CRIME (1-888-919-2746). D.C. Police are offering a reward of up to $25,000 to anyone that provides information which leads to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons wanted for any homicide committed in the District of Columbia.

POST: Montgomery faces $350 million shortfall, leaving officials scouring for cuts

DANIEL VOVAK: The proposed cut of $19 million to the schools is less than 1% of its budget.

Montgomery County is facing a two-year budget shortfall of $350 million, an unexpectedly wide gap just six months after its last tumultuous round of reductions. Officials are being told to scour departments immediately for new cuts. Numerous programs will shrink or be eliminated, and hundreds of layoffs are possible next year, officials said. County Executive Isiah Leggett, for example, is calling for $19 million in cuts to the public school system, part of a broader mid-year "savings plan" that would also hit public safety and other county programs.

In an email to county staff Thursday, Leggett said he has instructed officials overseeing Fire and Rescue, Police, Health and Human Services, and transit to identify cuts totaling 5 percent of current spending in preparation for next year's budget. Other county government departments - from housing and libraries to recreation and the environment - were instructed to find cuts of 15 percent. The final numbers might shift, with say one department taking a 12 percent hit and other taking 17 percent, officials said. The targets are "starting points," Leggett said.

"I wish I could say to you that our difficulties are easing, but this is not the case," Leggett wrote.

Income tax revenues are down tens of millions of dollars from already diminished projections, he said, and other major forces are at play.

"The State of Maryland is facing a $1.6 billion deficit. The realignment in Congress may dampen our regional economy. And President Obama's just-announced two-year freeze on federal salaries will also adversely affect County tax revenues," Leggett said. SOURCE: Washington Post

Silver Spring House Damaged in Fire

A fire on Burket Court damaged a home in Silver Spring, Maryland. The fire started around 5:30 a.m. Thursday morning in the basement and spread to the upper floors. All of the occupants were able to get out of the house before firefighters arrived. A caused has not yet been determined.

Big delays on inner loop in VA

SOURCE: Washington Post

9:05 A.M. UPDATE: There is a disabled vehicle on the inner loop on the Maryland side of the American Legion Bridge. Expect delays. Delays continue on the inner loop approaching I-66. The closed lanes on the Dulles Toll Road have reopened. The I-95 North lane also reopened at the Springfield Interchange.

8:35 A.M. UPDATE: The inner loop delays now start at I-66 and stretch back to the Springfield Interchange. I-395 North is also jammed up at the 14th Street Bridge and several other points between the interchange and the bridge.

8:15 A.M. UPDATE: A cyclist was struck at the intersection of Suitland Parkway and Firth Sterling Avenue in Southeast. Drive with caution.

8:05 A.M. UPDATE: The accident on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road near the ramp to the Beltway is still blocking the right center lane and right outside lane. There are also still significant delays on the inner loop between the Springfield Interchange to Arlington Boulevard. I-395 North is also pretty backed up approaching the 14th Street Bridge.

7:50 A.M. UPDATE: An accident on I-95 North at the Springfield Interchange is blocking the right lane and shoulder, so expect big delays approaching the Beltway.

7:40 A.M. UPDATE: The outer loop accident after New Hampshire Avenue has been cleared.

7:25 A.M. UPDATE: The inner loop lane at Arlington Boulevard has reopened, but big delays remain on the stretch of the Beltway leading to that spot.

7:12 A.M. UPDATE: An accident on the eastbound Dulles Toll Road near the ramp to the Beltway is blocking the right center lane and right outside lane. Expect delays.

7:10 A.M. UPDATE: The southbound lane on I-270 South at I-370 has reopened, just one of the shoulders is blocked. Also for Maryland commuters: An accident on the outer loop after New Hampshire Avenue is blocking both shoulders and could cause delays.

6:50 A.M. UPDATE: The inner loop delays now stretch even further, snarling traffic closer to the Springfield Interchange.

6:40 A.M UPDATE: An accident on I-270 South at I-370 is blocking one southbound lane and one of the shoulders.

6:30 A.M. UPDATE: The accident on the inner loop is still blocking the left lane, and it is causing major backups. Traffic slows to a very slow crawl right after the Braddock Road exit and continues until after the lane closure. Expect big delays.

6:10 A.M. UPDATE: An accident on the inner loop is blocking the left lane and shoulder at Arlington Boulevard.

6 A.M. UPDATE: The westbound lanes of the unit block of Constitution Avenue in Northeast are closed due to a fallen tree.

GardPost® Awarded New Technology Records Storage Patent

(WASHINGTON, D.C.), November 23, 2010 – Bethesda-based GardPost, LLC has developed a kiosk service that enables consumers to create digital backups of important forms of identification and other vital records, for which US Patent #7,774,254 has been awarded. This user friendly self service kiosk incorporates leading edge technologies, including biometric identification controls and encrypted electronic storage offsite.

“Losing official identification documents can significantly complicate the process of restoring one’s identity, particularly in the wake of a natural or manmade disaster. Officially replacing these items is the first step in rebuilding, but without photo or digital copies it can be very difficult,” said CEO, Alec Zulf. “The GardPost® system fixes this problem by ensuring that backup copies of important records are available, stored securely offsite and accessible 24/7 via the Internet.” GardPost, LLC developed the system after its research found that having electronic facsimiles of identification and other vital documents can dramatically reduce the time it takes to get official replacements issued.

The system is designed to assist with identity restoration by ensuring that the scanned materials will be available for download 24/7 via Internet-enabled computers or smart phones, such as iPhone or BlackBerry. The GardPost® kiosk features a privacy screen and an easy-to-use flatbed scanner. Within minutes, a user can create an account, scan various forms of identification, and upload the documents to the company’s network of secure servers.

In addition to serving consumers, the GardPost® system represents a strategic opportunity for certain industries, such as financial services and banking that operate under highly regulated marketplaces to find value-added ways to differentiate service offerings from those of competitors. Completely scalable from one kiosk at a single location, to many thousands across an enterprise, the GardPost® network can become an exclusive competitive edge that succeeds by providing consumers with a much needed service.

GardPost, LLC seeks strategic alliances within particular industries, including financial services, banking, retail, and technology. For more information, contact Alec Zulf at 877-714-GARD or email at 7272 Wisconsin Avenue Suite 300. Bethesda, Maryland 20814. 877-714-GARD (4273).

Annual Democratic Holiday Party for MOCO

I's a Montgomery County Tradition! So please plan Now to Join with other Democratic Activists To Enjoy the Season.
When: Sunday, December 5, 2010
3:00 to 5:00 p.m.
Where: Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA)
12 Taft Court, in Rockville.

To continue our tradition,we ask everyone to Please bring A New, Unwrapped Toy to Make a Child Smile. Toys will be donated to Interfaith Works Community Ministry of Montgomery County which will distribute them. Also, please bring an item to share according to your last name.

A - I Dessert
J - N Side dish
O - Z Hors d'oeuvres
Questions: Call Sandy Raymond (301) 926-7783
Or Marie Wallace (301) 460-4320

2 Million Lose Jobless Benefits

Extended unemployment benefits for nearly 2 million Americans begin to run out Wednesday, cutting off a steady stream of income and guaranteeing a dismal holiday season for people already struggling with bills they cannot pay. Unless Congress changes its mind, benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks will end this month. That means Christmas is out of the question for Wayne Pittman, 46, of Lawrenceville, Ga., and his wife and 9-year-old son. The carpenter was working up to 80 hours a week at the beginning of the decade, but saw that gradually drop to 15 hours before it dried up completely. His last $297 check will go to necessities, not presents. "I have a little boy, and that's kind of hard to explain to him," Pittman said. The average weekly unemployment benefit in the U.S. is $302.90, though it varies widely depending on how states calculate the payment. Because of supplemental state programs and other factors, it's hard to know for sure who will lose their benefits at any given time. But the Labor Department estimates that, without a Congress-approved extension, about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas.

December 1, 2010

PG Policeman Suspended After Sleazy Texts

'Massive' Protests Planned at Germantown Abortion Clinic

GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA) -- National anti-abortion activists are planning to lay siege to a Gemantown clinic as a Nebraska doctor who performs controversial late-term abortions is planning to see patients there. "We're going to show our outrage at this," said Troy Newman of Operation Rescue from the group's Kansas headquarters. Newman is planning a press conference and protest Monday. Dr. Leroy Carhart is the most prominent of the handful of doctors in the U.S. who perform late-term abortions on women up to 26-weeks pregnant. He has been the subject of death threats and protests. His colleague Dr. George Tiller was murdered in Kansas last year. Carhart is moving his late-term abortion practice to other states after Nebraska outlawed the procedure. A spokesman for the Germantown Reproductive Health Services clinic announced Carhart would begin seeing patients there next week.

DC9 Can Reopen in Two Weeks: ABRA

A northwest D.C. bar connected to the apparent beating death of a man can reopen later this month, ABRA ruled at a hearing Wednesday. DC9's liquor license will be suspended until Dec. 15. After that, the bar can reopen and serve liquor with certain restrictions. Stay with News4 and for updates as they become available.

Deer hunters cited in Poolesville, Barnesville, Dickerson, Laytonsville, Beallsville

Even before Maryland's two-week firearms deer season opened last weekend, hunters were in the prowl. A few could pay dearly for jumping the gun. Three men were charged at 10:54 p.m. Nov. 11 with casting artificial light while in possession of a weapon, commonly called jacklighting. The incident occurred on West Offutt Road in Poolesville.

Officers confiscated a rifle, two spotlights, a meat cleaver and a knife from Jose Argueta Rodriguez, 38, Gustavo Adolfo Iglesias, 40, and Jose Acids Vigil, 31, all of Hyattsville. If convicted of jacklighting, they must forfeit their weapons to the state and their hunting licenses will be revoked for two to five years, Department of Natural Resources spokesman Sgt. Art Windemuth said.

"We do take spotlighting of deer seriously," he said. "It's a hazard to people in the area."

A first offense carries a maximum fine of $2,000 and six months in jail, he said. READ MORE: Gazette

Montgomery County Animal Watch

These were among the cases received by the Montgomery County Animal Services Division. For information on Montgomery County Animal Shelter hours and location, adoption and licensing procedures, rabies clinics and low-cost neutering, call 240-773-5960.

Dog runs into intersection: Route 355 and Shady Grove Rd., Rockville, Nov. 18. The division received a call about a large brown dog that was running in and out of the intersection, creating a traffic hazard. An animal services officer searched for the dog but didn't find it.

Cat placed under quarantine: Beallsville Rd., 22000 block, Barnesville, Nov. 15. The South Carolina Department of Health reported that a brown tabby belonging to a Montgomery County resident had bitten two people while visiting Horry County, S.C., with its owner. An animal services officer went to the owner's Montgomery address and placed the cat under a standard 10-day quarantine.

Pet photos with Santa: Pets can be taken to PetSmart, 5154 Nicholson Lane, Rockville from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday to have their picture taken with Santa for $9.99. PetSmart will donate $5 from each photo to Oldies But Goodies Cocker Spaniel Rescue. For details, visit or call 703-533-2373.

Pets available for adoption: Dogs, cats and other animals will be available for adoption through the Montgomery County Humane Society at this location. To confirm the time, call 240-793-4201 or go to

Germantown PetSmart
20924 Frederick Rd.
11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday

Shelter has adoptable cats: Cats and kittens will be available for adoption through the Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County's no-kill shelter at these locations. For information, call 301-740-2511 or visit

Gaithersburg Kentlands PetSmart
218 Kentlands Blvd.
noon to 3 p.m. Saturday

Gaithersburg Animal Welfare League of Montgomery County's no-kill shelter
18959 Bonanza Way
Noon to 3 p.m. Saturday
6 to 8 p.m. Wednesday

Ervin expected to take over leadership of Montgomery County Council

The next Montgomery County Council will not be sworn in until Monday, but most of the decisions about its leadership already have been made. And with few exceptions, it seems the transition will be smoother than last year's, when the council abandoned a decades-old tradition by bypassing then-council Vice President Roger Berliner for council president. In a split vote in December 2009, the council elected Nancy M. Floreen as council president.

This year, council Vice President Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring appears unchallenged, and is expected to be elected president on Tuesday, the day after the new council's term begins. Ervin said Monday that Berliner is likely to be the council's next vice president. Berliner said he jokes that he "campaigned on his experience" in the position.

His election as vice president is largely a way to make up for the votes against him a year ago, and to put that part of the council's history behind, he said. This time, Berliner said, he is confident that he will make the transition from vice president to president when it is his turn in 2011. SOURCE: Gazette

City’s First Bike Sharing Program Shows Success, Promise

Last month, a team of recent UMD graduates presented their class project in a manner that would likely earn them an A: they launched their first revenue-generating service of weBike, a community bike program that operates the country’s first station-less model of bike sharing.

Washington, DC Weather Video Forecast

Coastal Flood Advisory in effect until 3 PM EST Wednesday...
Wind Advisory in effect until 11 am EST this Wednesday...
Flash Flood Watch in effect until 1 PM EST this Wednesday...
Tornado Watch 762 in effect until 10 am EST this Wednesday...

Wednesday Morning
Showers with a chance of thunderstorms this morning...then partly sunny with a chance of showers this afternoon. Some thunderstorms may be severe with damaging winds. Locally heavy rainfall possible this morning. Breezy with highs in the lower 60s. Temperature falling to around 50 this afternoon. Southwest winds 20 to 25 mph with gusts up to 40 mph...becoming northwest 10 to 15 mph this afternoon. Chance of rain near 100 percent.

Wednesday Night
Mostly clear. Much cooler with lows around 30. West winds 10 to 15 mph.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 40s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday Night
Mostly cloudy in the evening...then becoming partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the mid 40s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Friday Night
Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.

Partly sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.

Saturday Night
Mostly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s.

Mostly sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.

Sunday Night
Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s.

Sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.

Monday Night
Mostly clear. Lows in the mid 20s.

Sunny. Highs in the lower 40s.

Montgomery County Council Approves Financing Plan for White Flint

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 30, 2010—The Montgomery County Council today approved a plan that would help pay for major infrastructure improvements required by the White Flint Sector Plan. Today’s action will spur a revitalization effort transforming the North Bethesda area around Rockville Pike into a more urban and denser community strongly supported by public transit and designed to make residents and workers less dependent on automobiles.

The County Council approved the White Flint Sector Plan in March. The County Planning Board began its work on the revitalization plan more than three years ago, working with an advisory board of about 50 stakeholders. Bill 50-10 that was passed today establishes a White Flint Special Taxing District. The bill authorizes the levy of an added property tax on commercial properties that would go toward funding specific transportation infrastructure improvements in the area. Existing residential properties would be excluded from the tax district. The improvements would include creation of street grids, streetscaping and bike lanes for the area.

Under the financing plan, the County would provide advance funding—through the sale of bonds—to ensure that the improvements are made early in the project rather than relying on piecemeal development to drive the delivery of the needed improvements. The County investment would be repaid through funds collected from the taxing district. The plan calls for the tax district to expire when sufficient revenues have been raised to pay for all of the infrastructure items on the list. Major roads that will be improved through the financing plan include Old Georgetown Road (Maryland 187), Nicholson Lane, Rockville Pike, Executive Boulevard, Marinelli Road and Nebel Street. Identified infrastructure improvements could cost an estimated $200 million if all are built.

The plan targets future growth along the Pike with development clustered around about 430 acres near the White Flint Metro Station. It will allow replacement of aging low-rise commercial properties in the area with mixed-use buildings as tall as 30 stories. The revitalized new urban neighborhood would include residences, offices, service-oriented businesses, restaurants and entertainment venues. The neighborhood would evolve through creation of a grid of streets to promote walkability for residents and employees.

“This is a very ambitious and complex plan that will transform the White Flint area along Rockville Pike into an exciting destination,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. “Property owners in White Flint have committed to a financing plan to speed up creation of infrastructure that would support growth. With everyone working together, as they have throughout the planning process, this will remake the strip shopping malls along the Pike into a new, urban community that will make Montgomery County proud.”

It is expected that as the plan is implemented over a period of about two decades, approximately 9,800 new residences will be added (there are approximately 2,300 residences currently within the plan area). There will be approximately 2,600 affordable housing units.

A key element of the plan will be the way it incorporates the Bethesda North Conference Center and Hotel into the transformed neighborhood. The plan provides for public gathering space and local parks. The long-term vision suggests civic or entertainment uses, such as a community playhouse or theater.

White Flint was proposed as an urban, mixed-use community as the center of North Bethesda more than 30 years ago as the influence of Metro’s Red Line was starting to take hold. The sector plan covers an area bounded by the CSX train tracks and White Flint Mall to the east, the merge point of Montrose Parkway and Old Georgetown Road to the north, Old Georgetown Road to the west and an area just below Edson Lane to the south. The Georgetown Prep school and the Strathmore Performing Arts Center are south of the plan. All of the plan is within a walkable three-quarters of a mile from the White Flint Metro Station.

Police ID Body of Teen Girl Found in Trash Can

The victim is 17-year-old Ebony Franklin, who was reported missing. Her body was discovered around 1:00 p.m. Monday in an alley near Fairmont and 11th Street in the northwest.

Prince George's Council Member Charged With Assault

UPPER MARLBORO, Md. (WUSA) -- Another Prince George's County politican is facing charges. Council Member Marilynn Bland has been charged with assaulting a council employee earlier this month. W. Randy Short, the executive director of the council's Youth Commission, has accused Bland of grabbing his collar and screaming, yelling and cursing at him. Short says Bland was upset because he started a meeting without her. Bland faces up to 10 years in prison or a $2500 fine if convicted.

November 30, 2010

Uma Thurman Stalker Busted in Montgomery County

(NewsCore) - The man convicted of stalking actress Uma Thurman was busted in Maryland just before Thanksgiving for violating an order of protection the “Kill Bill” star has against him, law enforcement sources told the New York Post Tuesday. Sources said the stalker, Jack Jordan, went “berserk” during an extradition hearing in Maryland and is now being held for observation for 30 days.

Jordan, convicted of stalking and harassing Thurman in 2008, allegedly made phone calls to her Manhattan office and cell phone in late October, sources said.

On Oct. 29, Jordan allegedly called Thurman’s office, spoke to her assistant and demanded to know her whereabouts. The next day, he allegedly called Thurman's personal mobile phone, which her assistant also answered.

Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department told entertainment website TMZ that Jordan was in the process of looking up Thurman’s name on Google when police arrived at his home. Jordan allegedly said Thurman's Swiss businessman boyfriend, Arpad Busson, was "not good enough" and "she should marry me." SOURCE: FOX

Prince George's Top Cop Backs Probe Of Nearly 50 Officers

Montgomery County Council Approves Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy's Purchase of its School

ROCKVILLE, MD - The Montgomery County Council today approved the Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy's purchase of its Aspen Hill site from the county. The Berman Hebrew Academy's more than 700 students, parents, teachers, staff, Board of Directors and alumni are proud that 14 years after leasing the former Peary High School property from Montgomery County, the school is one step closer to exercising its right to purchase, originally laid out in the 1996 lease.

The Council vote was 8-1, with Councilmembers Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Mike Knapp, George Leventhal, Nancy Navarro and Duchy Trachtenberg, Council President Nancy Floreen, and Council Vice-President Valerie Ervin, voting in favor of the purchase. The favorable vote came after the Montgomery County Planning Board voted to recommend support for purchase at its November 18 meeting, many community advocates provided testimony in favor of the purchase at a November 23 County Council public hearing, and the Planning Board and the Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees voted to support the purchase at a joint meeting November 29.

"On behalf of the entire Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy family, I want to thank those Council members who voted to support our right to buy," said Daphna Raskas, President of the Berman Hebrew Academy's Board. "I also want to extend our deep gratitude toward Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, who has been instrumental in helping us finalize an agreement that is beneficial to our school, our friends and neighbors in Aspen Hill, and the entire Montgomery County community, as well as toward Diane Schwartz Jones, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer in the County Executive's office. We are now one significant step closer to finally being able to truly call this wonderful place our home."

County Executive Leggett shared the following in support of the Berman Hebrew Academy's purchase, "I am pleased that the County Council has given the Berman Hebrew Academy's interest in buying its school the time and attention it deserves. The Council has come to the right conclusion in this matter. By voting in favor of the purchase, the County is adhering to a contractual obligation it made years ago, expressing gratitude for the exceptional renovation work the Berman Hebrew Academy invested, which positively impacted an entire neighborhood, and allowing the county to benefit from both an influx of funds and continued use of the school's recreational facilities."

The Berman Hebrew Academy also thanks the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington for its assistance. "We greatly appreciate the help of the Jewish Community Relations Council," said Larry Stern, the school's past president of the board. "Nobody from outside the school worked harder, and we're deeply grateful for its staff's insights and support from the start."

Man Dies After His Car Crashes In Bowie

BOWIE, Md. (WUSA) -- A man died after losing control of his car and crashing it Tuesday morning, police said. It happened at about 6:17 a.m. on the 1600 Block of Golf Course Drive, when the 2000 black Jaguar the man was driving crashed into a curb, mailbox and then another parked car. The exact cause of the accident is still under investigation. Police are not releasing the man's name until they can notify family members. SOURCE: WUSA

Keep Your Pets Safe During the Holidays

During the busy holiday season, it's easy to overlook items that can be toxic to your pets. Some common holiday plants such as poinsettias, holly, mistletoe, lilies and even your Christmas tree, can pose a certain level of danger. In most cases, except lilies, the level of toxicity depends upon how much your pet consumes and the weight of that pet.

The poinsettia has a kind of white sap that is emitted when the leaves and bracts are broken or chewed on. Christmas trees contain fir tree oil, which is emitted when the needles and branches are chewed on.

Both of these are irritants which may cause vomiting and/or irritation of the mouth and throat, although a great deal of sap or oil would have to be ingested to cause poisoning. Poinsettia sap and fir tree oil don't taste very good, which you would think would be enough to stop your pet after one bite. But most pet owners can list of bizarre and ostensibly inedible things their pets have chewed on with apparent relish. My own list would include ice gel packs, Christmas cactus, aloe vera, bras, yarn, ribbon, rags and socks.

Be sure to cover your Christmas tree stand so your pets can't get to the water. If you can't cover your stand, do not add Christmas tree preservative, aspirin, or anything else designed to keep your tree fresh. Mistletoe and holly berries are poisonous when consumed in large amounts. The toxicity would again depend upon how much was ingested and the pet's size. The symptoms are vomiting, diarrhea, urinating more than usual and drooling a lot. If your mistletoe has suddenly disappeared or you see your pet eating holly berries, by all means talk to your vet.

By far the most dangerous plant to cats are lilies, including Stargazer, Day, Asian, Glory, Rubrum, and Tiger lilies. While they are striking in bouquets, when even a tiny amount is ingested they can cause kidney failure and death in cats. The flower itself is apparently the most toxic, but all parts of the plant, including the leaves and even the pollen, is dangerous. Symptoms develop within 12 hours and include vomiting, seizures, tremors and lethargy. Renal failure sets in within 36 hours and by then it is usually too late to save the cat. READ MORE: North Potomac Patch

Search for Burglary Suspects in Wheaton

Will Washington, DC become part of Maryland?

Two years ago, with a Democrat elected president by a wide margin and solid majorities for that party in both the Senate and the House, full congressional voting rights for the District of Columbia seemed like a sure thing. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton said at the time, “I really can’t think of a scenario by which we could fail.”

After two decades of disappointment, Norton should have known better. Given the opportunity to screw up D.C. voting rights, the Democrats always do. Statehood seemed on track during the Carter Administration, but never happened. Bill Clinton, who also enjoyed congressional majorities when he was elected, put the matter on hold while he worked on other issues, only to see both houses go Republican in 1994. Barack Obama has given the issue little more than lip service, as he has grappled with more prominent national issues.

But it did look different this time. Though legislation granting D.C. a full House vote was of questionable constitutionality, it was gradually winning support, and the planned addition of another House seat for Republican Utah to counter Democratic D.C. made it more palatable to the GOP. But Republicans and conservative Democrats tacked on a measure that would considerably weaken the District’s gun laws, and House Democratic leaders pulled it from consideration for the year.

At the time, they had hopes that they could bring it up again in 2011. The party was expecting modest election losses, but did not yet foresee the actual loss of control. Now, with Republicans about to take charge, D.C. voting rights are dead -- again. House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told the Washington Post, “I think the best shot we had at voting rights was probably last year.”

Norton also said Democrats “should have been able to get this bill through,” but said she hopes to work with incoming Speaker John Boehner on the matter. A few leading House Republicans, including Mike Pence and Paul Ryan, support a D.C. vote at least in theory, but neither is expected to play a major role on any committee dealing with District matters. Mayor-Elect Vincent Gray gets a sit-down with Obama at the White House Wednesday, but it’s not likely to change things. Obama didn’t press D.C. rights when he had a House majority, and as DCist’s Martin Austermuhle writes, “even if Gray complains about Obama’s inattentiveness to the issue, there’s not really much that the President can do at this point to help the city in its quest to be something other than a modern-day federal colony.”

The condition of the D.C. rights movement can be seen in the renewed talk of statehood, which Gray has promoted. While the idea has appeal, it is very unpopular outside of the District. A 2005 poll showed that more than 80 percent of Americans think the District should have a House vote, but Ilir Zherka of D.C. Vote has estimated national support for D.C. statehood to be only about 20 percent.

And then there’s retrocession. The idea of returning most of the territory of the District to its former state, creating a big city called “Washington, Maryland,” has appeal to cartography buffs and some Republicans, and a historical precedent in the return of D.C. territory west of the Potomac to Virginia in the late 1840s. Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the top Republican on D.C. issues in the House, favors the idea. But it’s a nonstarter.

For one thing, any change to D.C.’s borders would require the revision or repeal of the Constitution’s 23rd Amendment, which gives D.C. three electoral votes. Ceding terrain to Maryland without repealing the amendment would leave three electoral votes in the hands of the handful of people who would be left living in the tiny National Capital Service Area. The Virginia precedent would permit retrocession to take place with a simple vote of Congress and the Maryland legislature, but the amendment problem would remain.

But also, the idea is unpopular with the people it would impact. Though polling numbers don’t exist, anecdotal evidence suggests Marylanders don’t really want the city of Washington to join their state. And as Hoyer told the Post, “I think the residents of the District of Columbia have no desire to be subsumed into the state of Maryland. They are very proud of the fact they are District of Columbia citizens.”

So we’re back where we started -- hoping for a remedy, with none in sight, and coping with a hostile House majority. As Virginia’s Tom Davis, the biggest GOP booster of a D.C. vote until his 2008 retirement, told the Post, the odds of passage in the next house are “zero.” He added, “The chance is gone, I would guess, for 10 years.” SOURCE: NBC Washington

Alex Mooney running for GOP chairman or 1VC

Dear Member of the Maryland Republican Central Committee,

I am writing to ask for your vote to serve as either the Chairman or the First Vice Chairman of the Maryland Republican party. Before making a decision as to which office to seek, I want to first ask for your input. After suffering a disappointing loss in my close election, I will not be returning to Annapolis after spending 12 years representing Frederick and Washington Counties as a State Senator, fighting hard for our Republican values.

Nonetheless, I am determined to continue to do battle against the liberal Democrats who operate an oppressive political monopoly on the citizens of Maryland. I have won four Republican primaries and three general elections, in addition to one hard fought loss. My experiences have given me valuable insight to help move our party forward by electing more Republicans to the state legislature.

First, I want you to know that I am a committed conservative. I am unabashedly pro-life and pro-Second Amendment. I signed, and kept, a pledge never to raise taxes when I first ran for office twelve years ago and proudly served as Taxpayer Protection Caucus Chairman in the Maryland Senate. Our party needs to be the party of tax and spending cuts. The role of the other officers of the Republican Party of Maryland is to support Republican candidates for public office. Merely offering advice and wishing candidates “good luck” is not enough.

I received most of my campaign training before I ran for office from a conservative training organization called The Leadership Institute (LI). Morton Blackwell is the President of LI and has been Virginia’s National Republican Committeeman since 1998. Mr. Blackwell served in the Reagan Administration and offers excellent training and guidance such as explaining that being right, in the sense of being philosophically correct, is not sufficient to win and that conservatives owe it to themselves to learn how to win.

Republican Party officials need to offer significant material support, including but not limited to:

• Funding
• Polling
• Voter registration drives
• Phone banking assistance
• Absentee and provisional ballot programs
• Early voting strategy/assistance
• Get Out The Vote (GOTV) program
• Information and research on issues and votes

This support needs to be provided by both the local Republican Central Committees and the State Party to those we encourage to seek office and especially to those in targeted races. When I first took office in 1999, there were three Republican state senators from Montgomery County (two were entirely within the county and one had part of the county). Now there are none.

In fact, no Republican candidate for the State Senate in Montgomery County this year even received 40% of the vote, failing to capitalize on several very divisive Democrat Senate primaries in these districts. We had some good candidates - they just did not have enough Republican Party support. Likewise, the last Republican House of Delegates member in Montgomery County was barely defeated in 2006 and there were no competitive Republicans for the House there this year. We cannot afford to give up on entire counties such as Montgomery.

You are likely aware of candidates in or near your area who would have greatly benefited from additional support from our party in their campaign. The Maryland House of Delegates picked up six seats, for which I congratulate them. I am proud that two of them were within my Senate district. Yet in the State Senate we lost two Senate seats by only a few hundred votes, and also missed picking up two seats also by a few hundred swing votes.

My point is that even a small amount of effort targeted in the right way can really make a difference in close races for candidates who work hard and make serious personal sacrifices to run for office and defend our values. We all need to work together toward that end for the next election. I caution you to beware of anyone seeking party leadership who simply thinks that all we need to win are a better set of talking points. While I agree that we must stick to our conservative Republican principles, we must also have a plan to raise money and use political technology to win elections.

The new incoming Republican Party chair should be willing to invest a significant amount of time to the important work recruiting candidates, fundraising, managing staff, talking to the press, meeting with elected Republican officials and other duties. I applaud Audrey Scott for her recent service doing this job full time in this election year and note that being chairman requires at least part time job hours – it is not merely a side hobby.

It is this time commitment away from gainful employment, along with making sure I have enough time for my wife and two small children, that gives me pause in running for party chair. If I am unable to make the commitment needed to run for party chair, then I will certainly seek the position of first vice chairman. I am also interested in seeing, as I hope you are, who else is running for party leadership and what plans and specific commitments they are able to make in seeking your support for that position. As Republicans in Maryland, we must require a serious commitment to hard and effective work from our leadership.

Since you are a duly elected member of the Maryland Republican Central Committee, I would like to hear back from you about your vision and concerns for our party and I’d like to ask for your support to serve as party chairman or first vice chairman.

Sincerley, Alex X. Mooney
State Senator, 1999-2010Senator Alex X. Mooney P.O. Box 669 Frederick, MD 21705 301-620-0200

Bethesda Lawyer Receives Leadership in Law Award

Bethesda, MD, November 30, 2010 — J. Bradford (Brad) McCullough, a principal at Bethesda-based Lerch, Early & Brewer, is a recipient of The Daily Record’s 2010 Leadership in Law Awards, which recognize the outstanding work being done by members of the legal community throughout Maryland.

“We are proud to honor Brad McCullough as one of The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Award winners for 2010,” says Christopher Eddings, Publisher of The Daily Record. “Brad embodies those traits that spurred The Daily Record to establish these awards ten years ago, namely outstanding leadership within the legal profession, betterment of the community at large, and a true willingness to mentor future leaders.”

For more information about The Daily Record’s Leadership in Law Awards, please visit

D.C. man in AU prof. case extradited

Montgomery County Police say a man investigated for his possible role in the slaying of an American University professor at her Bethesda home has been extradited to Maryland. Eighteen-year-old Deandrew Hamlin was returned to Maryland from Washington Monday evening. Police say he will be served with a warrant charging him with motor vehicle theft and other offenses. Police say the stolen car belonged to 52-year-old Sue Ann Marcum, who was found dead Oct. 25. The medical examiner ruled her death a homicide and determined that the cause of death was asphyxia and blunt force trauma. SOURCE: AP & Washington Post

Washington, DC Weather Video Forecast

Final Legislative Day for Councilmembers Mike Knapp and Duchy Trachtenberg

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 29, 2010—The final legislative day for the 16th Montgomery County Council on Tuesday, Nov. 30, will include several significant actions, including a schedule vote on Bill 50-10 that would create a special tax district to help pay for transportation infrastructure improvements to support the redevelopment of the White Flint area. The Council also is scheduled to vote on the proposed sale of Peary High School in Aspen Hill to the facility’s current tenant—the Berman Hebrew Academy.

The Council’s general session will begin 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting and today’s public hearings will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and also will be available via streaming through the County Web site at The meeting will be rebroadcast on CCM at 9 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 3.

The morning session will be the final one for two-term Councilmember Mike Knapp, who represents District 2, and for at-large Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg. It also will be the final presiding meeting for Councilmember Nancy Floreen, whose one-year term as Council President officially concludes on Dec. 6. The 17th County Council will elect new officers to one-year terms on Tuesday, Dec. 7.

Councilmembers Knapp and Trachtenberg are scheduled to reflect on their Council experiences at 11:15 a.m. Council President Floreen will offer thoughts on her one-year tenure as president and accomplishments of the 16th Council.

During the morning session, the Council is scheduled to take action on Bill 21-10 that will authorize funding for the replacement of Glenmont Fire Station 18. The station’s replacement is necessary because the existing station must be demolished to accommodate a major intersection improvement at the corner of Georgia Avenue and Randolph Road. The replacement station is estimated to cost $13 million.

The Council also will appoint 11 members to the new Clarksburg Infrastructure Working Group that will study options to help finance public infrastructure in the emerging community in the northern part of the County. Jennifer Russel, who served as the County’s ombudsman to Clarksburg in 2006-07 and who is now director of planning for Rodgers Consulting, Inc., is expected to be named the group’s chair. The Council created the working group when it voted to terminate the Clarksburg Town Center Development District this fall.

At 1:50 p.m., the Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution that would authorize sale of Peary High School in Aspen Hill to the Berman Hebrew Academy. Peary was closed in 1984 due to declining enrollment. The facility deteriorated while vacant, but in 1996, then County Executive Douglas Duncan negotiated a lease agreement with the Berman Academy. The agreement included an option for the school to purchase the property. The proposed sale terms the Council is scheduled to act upon include a provision that would allow the County to repurchase the school if it is needed for public school use. More than 500 people attended a public hearing on the issue on Nov. 23.

Discussion and possible action on a financing plan for public infrastructure for the future of the redeveloped White Flint area is scheduled to begin at 2:45 p.m. Earlier this year, the Council approved the White Flint Sector Plan that will lead to mixed-use development in the area around Rockville Pike between Bethesda and Rockville. The area will be transformed into a more urbanized community with increased residences, offices and retail space. Existing retail businesses standing one or two stories high could become modern complexes as high as 30 stories. The traffic- heavy Route 355 (Rockville Pike) will be part of an area with distinct street grids, creating a more walkable neighborhood.

Online Retailers Expect Record Breaking Cyber Monday

Second Potomac teenager sentenced for murder of Gaithersburg man

Emily Geller was given a life sentence in prison today, cut down to 25 years, for the 2009 murder of a Gaithersburg car salesman. Both Geller, 19 and her accomplice, Artie Ellis, 17, were given life sentences that were shortened to 25 years after they pleaded guilty to first-degree murder separately. They were reportedly dating at the time of the crime.

Before receiving her sentence today, Geller said it was Ellis who convinced her to take part in the crime and that during their relationship he would abuse her and forced her to into prostitution.

"I just wanted to show [Ellis] that I love him and that I'd do anything for him," she said. "...I swear I never meant for this to happen."

The Potomac residents were arrested in October 2009 and charged with killing and robbing Ali Reza Zare, 57, of Gaithersburg. Zare was found dead by a jogger along a wooded path near Bells Mill Elementary School in May. SOURCE: Gazette

November 29, 2010

Store Owner Shot in Chest During Robbery in Frederick

Salvation Army kettle donations drop

One of the Salvation Army's most recognizable fundraisers — the Red Kettle campaign —isn't performing well in its first week and representatives are pointing toward a new Giant Food policy as the reason. The National Capital Area Salvation Army reported today that the campaign — where volunteers and paid personnel stand outside shopping centers during the holidays ringing a bell to draw attention to the large red bucket next to them — has seen a $74,000 drop in donations compared to the same week last year.

Red Kettles collected $158,375 between Nov. 12 and 20 this year, compared to $232,378 in the same week in 2009. Area Commander Major Steve Morris, reported today that "the economy's tight hold on family budgets" and a new policy instituted by Giant Food account for the decrease. The grocer's policy reduced the number of days the Salvation Army can be at the grocery stores to one week in November and one week in December for four hours each day. SOURCE: Gazette

County considers allowing Magnet program bus fees

The Montgomery County Senate and House delegations are currently reviewing a bill that would repeal a Maryland law that prohibits MCPS from charging transportation fees for students who do not attend their home schools. Maryland Senator Richard S. Madaleno (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington proposed the bill. According to Madalenoís Chief of Staff Adam Fogel, the proposed bill does not define the amount of money that school systems would charge students. Additionally, the bill does not actually establish a fee for bus service or encourage the Board of Education to enact a fee for bus service.

Montgomery County is the only county in the state excluded from charging a fee for magnet program transportation, according to Fogel. Funds from bus fees would provide the Board of Education (BOE) with additional flexibility as the Board deals with the budget gap. These extra funds would also most likely prevent future cuts to various student services, Fogel explained. A public hearing will be held in Rockville on Dec. 6 to hear testimony on this bill. In order for the bill to pass, it must go through the Senate and House Montgomery County Delegation. It will then pass through the full General Assembly for further deliberation by Land Use and Transportation subcommittees. SOURCE: Silver Chips

New Brightwell Crossing Community in Poolesville, MD Receives Three Awards

Poolesville, MD—Brightwell Crossing ( ), Kettler Forlines Homes’ newest residential living community in Western Montgomery County, has been honored with a Maryland-National Capital Building Industry Association ( , MNCBIA) Environmental Award and two 2010 Great American Living Awards ( , GALA). The Great American Living Awards are hosted by the Washington Area Building Industry Associations.

“These awards truly reflect the essence of Brightwell Crossing homes—functional, efficient homes for today’s modern family, that don’t compromise on the cherished elements of a traditional home,” said Richard Kettler, owner of Kettler Forlines Homes. “We proudly accept these awards as our first families are ready to move into their award-winning ­­­homes. Within a manner of weeks, the first homeowners of Brightwell Crossing will be calling the community home.”

MNCBIA’s Environmental Awards recognize builders and developers like Kettler Forlines Homes who go to extra lengths to preserve, enhance and protect the environment. Kettler Forlines Homes ( ) won in the Building (Lot Specific) category for Brightwell Crossing’s Montgomery model home in Poolesville, MD. Among one of the first new homes to be certified with the EPA Indoor airPLUS label, the Montgomery home is designed for improved air quality, lower utility costs, greater comfort, and better durability. The model also exceeds ENERGY STAR® for homes criteria, employing such energy-saving features as Low-E windows, exterior foam sealing, a high-efficiency gas furnace and pressure-tested sealed ductwork.

At the 2010 GALA Awards, Brightwell Crossing’s Montgomery model home was recognized in two categories: Best Design and Architecture for Detached Homes (3,201-3,800 finished square feet) and Best Interior Merchandising for a Detached Home (3,201-3,800 finished square feet). The GALA program celebrates excellence in the Washington, D.C. region’s new home building industry.

With the model home located at 17919 Elgin Rd. in Poolesville, Brightwell Crossing lot sizes range from one-third to one acre and home prices start in the $500,000s. Seven new home designs are available to choose from, ranging from 2,450 to 4,200 square feet. Currently, one half of Brightwell Crossing’s Phase I homes have been sold.

Contact Chris Pikus, community sales manager, 301-208-2588 or at, for a personal tour of the model home between 11 a.m. and 6 p.m. daily. Visit the community’s new website, , for more details, interactive floor plans and virtual tours.

Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy's Statement on Montgomery County Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees

Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy
Harry A. Epstein Campus
13300 Arctic Avenue, Rockville, MD 20853-3012
(301) 962-9400; Fax (301) 962-3991;

November 29, 2010

CONTACT: Samantha Friedman, Rabinowitz/Dorf Communications,
(202) 265-3000 (o) or (202) 215-9260 (c),

Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy’s Statement on the Montgomery County Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees’ Support for Purchase of Aspen Hill Site

ROCKVILLE, MD — The Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy issued the following statement in response to the Montgomery County Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees’ public worksession today, during which the members of the two committees expressed approval for the Academy’s purchase of its Aspen Hill site from the County: The Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy’s more than 700 students, Board of Directors, parents, teachers, staff and alumni are appreciative that the Montgomery County Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees came to a conclusion in favor of our school’s exercise of our right to purchase. After thorough discussion of the proposal, the members of the two committees realized the mutual benefits to both the Berman Hebrew Academy and the greater Montgomery County community.

As we move one step closer to a full County Council vote on the purchase, we wish to reiterate our gratitude for the strong and diverse array of support we’ve received thus far. We are proud to be a part of the Aspen Hill community, where we have built many relationships over the past 14 years, and we are grateful that so many Montgomery County residents – whether they send their children to public, private or parochial school – understand the often untold value of diversity in educational options.

The Council is scheduled to vote on the issue tomorrow at 1:50 p.m. We trust that the members of the Council will take into account the support of both the Planning Board and the Education and Management and Fiscal Policy Committees, as well as the great show of public support demonstrated at the November 23 public hearing, when they vote on this critical matter.

Redskins Fall to Vikings 17-13

One Man Dies In Single Car Accident In Burtonsville

BURTONSVILLE, MD (WUSA)-- One man is dead and another suffered non-life threatening injuries after a single vehicle accident early Saturday in Burtonsville, MD. Montgomery County Police say that the preliminary investigation indicated that at approximately 2:11 a.m., a 1998 black Honda Accord was traveling eastbound on the 4300 block of Dustin Road when, for reasons still unknown, it left the road and struck a tree.

The front seat passenger,who was wearing his seatbelt, Jayant Prasad Singh, age 25, of the 4300 block of Dustin Road, was pronounced deceased at the scene. The driver, Rahul Sharma, age 25, of the 5900 block of Clifton Oaks Drive in Clarksville, who was also wearing his seatbelt, was flown to the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore with non-life threatening injuries. Anyone who may have information about this collision is asked to contact the Montgomery County Police Collision Reconstruction Unit at 301-840-2435. SOURCE: WUSA

Montgomery Council to Address Structural Budget Deficit, Financing Plan for White Flint On Tuesday, Nov. 23, Evening Public Hearing Will Focus on Prop

ROCKVILLE, Md., November 22, 2010—The Montgomery County Council at 2:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 23, will receive a report from the Council’s Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO) that details how steadily rising costs of the County’s commitments, including employee pensions, health care benefits, and debt service, have created a structural budget challenge that must be addressed in order for the County to achieve long-term fiscal sustainability.

The Council also will hold a morning worksession on Bill 50-10 that would create a special tax district to help pay for transportation infrastructure improvements to support the redevelopment of the White Flint area. At 7:30 p.m., the Council will hold a public hearing on the proposed sale of the former Peary High School in Aspen Hill to the building’s current occupant the Berman Hebrew Academy.

The Council’s general session on a full day will begin 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting and today’s public hearings will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and also will be available via streaming through the County Web site at The meeting will be rebroadcast on CCM at 9 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 26.

Council President Nancy Floreen initiated the OLO report earlier this year, during the Council’s deliberations on the FY11 operating budget. The Council requested examination of the County’s tax-supported revenue and spending trends over the past 10 years and projected spending for the next six years. The OLO review includes the budgets of Montgomery County Government, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The discussion on a financing plan for public infrastructure for the future of the redeveloped White Flint area is scheduled to begin at 10:30 a.m. Earlier this year, the Council approved the White Flint Sector Plan that will lead to mixed-use development in the area around Rockville Pike between Bethesda and Rockville. The area will be transformed into a more urbanized community with increased residences, offices and retail space. Existing retail businesses standing one or two stories high could become modern complexes as high as 30 stories. The traffic-heavy Route 355 (Rockville Pike) will be part of an area with distinct street grids, creating a more walkable neighborhood.