April 16, 2011

Gas at $4 in nation's capital, 5 states; NY next

NEW YORK (AP) -- Drivers in Washington, D.C., on Saturday joined motorists in five states who are paying more than $4 per gallon for gasoline. The average price for gas in New York could top $4 by early next week. Hawaii, Alaska, California, Illinois and Connecticut already have pump prices above that mark, according to AAA's Daily Fuel Gauge. Hawaii has the highest price in the U.S. at $4.47 per gallon. The national average for gas has increased for 25 straight days, and is now $3.82 per gallon. Retail surveys suggest motorists are reacting to higher prices now by buying less fuel. Still, the government expects pump prices to keep climbing this summer as vacationers take to the highways.

The average price of gas rose to $4.003 per gallon in the nation's capital Saturday. The New York average is $3.996. For American drivers, the $4 mark harkens back to the summer of 2008, when oil rose to $147 per barrel and gas prices topped out at $4.11 per gallon before the economy went into a tailspin. The rapid increase at the pump follows a parallel rise in oil. Since Labor Day, oil has risen 48 percent and U.S. gas prices have gone up 42 percent. The increases gained momentum in Mid-February when a popular rebellion built in Libya, eventually turning violent and shutting down the country's exports. Crude has jumped 30 percent since then, with gas prices gaining 22 percent. SOURCE: Yahoo

Poolesville Dump name "Beauty Spot"; Open weekends


Beauty Spot: Poolesville

19200 Jerusalem Road
Poolesville MD 20837
The Poolesville Beauty Spot is located in the Poolesville Highway Maintenance Depot.
Hours of operation: Saturday and Sunday, 7:00 a.m. ñ 1:00 p.m

Holiday Closures

Throughout the winter, the Poolesville Beauty Spot will close whenever the Highway Services Depot, in which it is located, needs to switch over to salting and snow removal operations. When possible, we send out closure notifications.

Subscribe to our facility schedule and closure notifications, available as emails and wireless alerts Proof of residency

Accepts residential loads up to 499 pounds.

This facility does not accept:

commercial waste
regular household trash
scrap metal
yard trim
This facility accepts these materials:

lumber / wood / demolition debris
trash, bulky

O'Malley has a five-year plan

Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is announcing a five-year plan for economic development built on recommendations by a state-appointed commission.

"The plan outlines four key strategies to create and retain jobs and position Maryland as a leader in the new economy," according to O'Malley's office.

The governor will unveil his economic blueprint in Baltimore on Thursday alongside the city's mayor and the Maryland Economic Development Commission, the group that helped craft the plan over the last two years.

SOURCE: Washington Examiner

April 15, 2011

Montgomery County Neighborhood News

Weekly Crime Reports
District 1 (Rockville/Potomac)

District 2 (Bethesda-Chevy Chase, North Bethesda)

County’s Village Blueprint Now Available at Libraries Cost Underwritten by Local Business Montgomery County’s “Village Blueprint,” a step-by-step guide created to support communities within the county and throughout the region that want to start a senior Village organization in their neighborhood, is now available at all of the County’s public library branches. In addition to public libraries, copies of the Blueprint will be available at the County’s five regional service centers. For an electronic copy, go to: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/RSC/BCC/Seniors/blueprint_complete_032811.pdf

Bethesda Literary Festival April 15–17 Numerous literary events take place throughout downtown Bethesda during the Bethesda Literary Festival. See website for the complete list. www.bethesda.org/specialevents/litfest/litfest.htm

Leadership Montgomery Recruitment for Core, Senior and Youth Programs Applications are available on the website: www.leadershipmontgomerymd.org/

Free Financial Seminars at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center April 21 Two financial seminars will be held at 4805 Edgemoor Lane 2nd flr, Bethesda. Thursday, April 21, 2011 9:00am “Macro Planning” 11:30am - “Retirement Planning” To register please send email to: richard.bingham@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-8207 for further information. RecycleMyComputer program in need of working computer monitors Monitors can be dropped off on April 22 between 9 AM and 12PM at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center 2nd floor, 4805 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda. RecycleMyComputer is a 501c3. We will be happy to provide you with a receipt that you can use when filing your taxes.

The Career Gateway! Job Search training classes for Montgomery County residents age 50+ Turbo-charge your resume, hone your interviewing skills, network effectively, discover the hidden job market, and develop a personal job-search plan. The program features small classes, a long-term mentor, 30 hours of intensive training over two weeks (9am-4pm Mon., Wed., Fri), and valuable take-home materials. The final session for Spring 2011 begins on May 9. $75. Call 301-255-4200/4215 or email JCAUniversity@AccessJCA.org. Classes meet at the Jewish Council for the Aging, 12320 Parklawn Drive, Rockville.

Eligible Homeowners Should Apply for Property Tax Credit by May 1 Montgomery County homeowners who have a limited income or are at least 70 years of age may be eligible for property tax credits that will limit the amount of taxes they must pay. See press release montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/News/press/PR_details.asp?PrID=7477. To apply for these tax credits, homeowners must fill out one application form each year. Application forms are available by calling the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) at 1-800-944-7403, or by downloading the form and instructions from the SDAT website at www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/htc.html.

VOLUNTEER OPPORTUNITIES Montgomery County Volunteer Center www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer

Montgomery County Board Vacancies The deadline for application is April 15, 2011 for: • Commission on Common Ownership Communities • Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection • Committee for Ethnic Affairs • Recreation Advisory Boards The deadline for application is April 22, 2011 for: • Glen Echo Park Partnership Board of Directors • Committee on Hate/Violence • Noise Control Advisory Board • Sign Review Board The deadline for application is April 29, 2011 • Commission on Child Care • Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board (Business Representatives from the Bethesda-Chevy Chase and Potomac area are needed) Please visit: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/exec/vacancies/pr_list.asp County Executive Isiah Leggett is committed to representation on all of the County’s boards, committees, and commissions that is reflective of, and responsive to, our County’s residents.

Reckless driving citation for Montgomery judge Brian Kim

A Montgomery County District Judge was cited for reckless driving Thursday after another driver told police the judge had driven erratically and cut her off along an interstate during evening rush hour, according to Maryland State Police. Judge Brian G. Kim, 49, noted in Rockville legal circles for running a tight courtroom, faces a fine but no jail time in connection with the Oct. 18 incident. The other driver, a Rockville attorney, told police the incident started around 6 p.m. in downtown Rockville over a lane dispute, according to law enforcement sources and the State Police.

It continued westbound to Interstate 270. The victim eventually called 911 from her car, according to police. Kim’s attorney, Barry Helfand, said he expected the judge to pay the fine on Thursday. There is no indication that the victim has ever appeared before the judge.

In a written statement, the victim told police that the driver of a Honda CR-V was driving agressively, tailgating, swerving toward her, and braking hard in front of her car and pulling next to her while gesturing, according to police. The judge was identified using Motor Vehicle Administration records and the victim’s description of the driver, police said.

At one point, the victim said, she had to brake heavily and swerve to avoid a collision, according to sources. Kim presides in District Court, which handles relatively minor crimes when compared with the Circuit Court across the street. SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery Council Committees to Discuss FY12 Operating Budget Requests for Libraries, Fire and Rescue, MC 311 Call Center. Also on Thursday, April 14

Release ID: 11-090
Release Date: 4/14/2011
Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
From: Council Office

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 13, 2011—The Montgomery County Council’s Health and Human Services Committee at 2 p.m. on Thursday, April 14, will review the operating budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 from the Department of Public Libraries. County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended budget would reduce the libraries budget by 9.8 percent from the FY11 budget.

The Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Craig Rice, will meet in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting 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 www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

The County Executive’s recommendations would produce a net decrease of 19 full-time and 13 part-time library employees. This would be the fourth straight year the libraries budget is decreased. The proposed FY12 expenditure is 33.6 percent below the FY08 level.

After its review of the proposed budget, the HHS Committee will make recommendations that will be considered by the full Council. The Council will adopt the FY12 County budget in late May. It will go into effect on July 1.

At 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, will hold worksessions on the operating budget requests of the Fire Rescue and Service, the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and the Sheriff’s Office. The meeting will be televised live on County Cable Montgomery.

At 9:30 a.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Navarro and includes Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Hans Riemer, will discuss the budget requests of the MC 311 centralized call answering service, the Ethics Commission and the Office of the County Executive.

At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Berliner and includes Councilmembers Floreen and Riemer, will review the budget requests of the Fleet Management Division and the Facilities Division of the Department of General Services.

April 14, 2011

Honor for Del. Mike Busch

The Maryland Municipal League (MML), representing 157 Maryland cities and towns and two special taxing districts, has announced it will honor Maryland House Speaker Michael E. Busch with one of MML’s highest honors for Maryland elected officials at the MML Annual Convention June 25-29. Speaker Busch will receive the 2011 Distinguished Legislator Award at the Convention’s Inaugural Dinner on June 28 for his unwavering support and willingness to advocate on behalf of MML’s members to successfully reinstate 25 percent of municipal Highway User Revenues in the FY 2012 budget.

Please find more information below. Thanks for letting me know if you’re interested in speaking with a representative from MML or would like more information.

Rebecca Noel
(301) 581-7226 office. (410) 218-0431 cell

Youth Café for High School Students to Open in East County on Friday, April 15

Release ID: 11-089
Release Date: 4/13/2011
Contact: 240-777-7968
From: Council Office

Montgomery Councilmember Nancy Navarro Spearheaded Funding for Pilot Program at East County Community Center

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 13, 2011—The Montgomery County Department of Recreation will hold the first activity of Teen Escape Club Youth Café at the East County Community Center from 6:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15. The Teen Escape Club, a pilot program created with the strong support of Councilmember Nancy Navarro, is open to high school students only. Admission is free.

Teen Escape Club is a place for youth and the performing arts and will feature stage time for area high school bands, singers and performers to rehearse. The idea for a youth café emerged from members of the Youth Advisory Group (YAG) that Councilmember Navarro created in late 2009. Members of the group, comprised of a diverse group of students from high schools located within District 4, told Councilmember Navarro that the District needs more options for positive youth engagement. The students said that they were unaware of places in District 4 for youth to interact with their peers outside of school, and in a positive and safe environment that is appealing and inexpensive. Members imagined a “youth café” where young people could organize and participate in activities that are interesting to their age group.

The youth programming team, facilitated by the Department of Recreation, is comprised of Blake, Paint Branch and Springbrook high school students. They chose the name for the youth cafe. “Escape” has a dual meaning for the teens: “escape” out of their routine and “escape” into art and positive youth engagement. The youth programming team advises the Department of Recreation on the types of programs and activities the youth café should offer and is in charge of the marketing in the three local high schools.

In addition to the musical aspect, an art competition called “So You Think You Can Draw?” will be held as part of the youth café evening and judged by area professional artists. There will also be food and video games. The Center will provide microphones and sound equipment for the stage time rehearsals, and basic materials for the art competition. Students will have an hour to create their sketches. The grand prize for the art competition will be $100; second and third place winners will also receive a prize.

Councilmember Nancy Navarro spearheaded the funding for the youth café pilot program in the East County in order to provide a positive outlet for teens in the area. Two additional youth café evenings are planned for future dates before July 1.

“The Teen Escape Club is part of a comprehensive and interdisciplinary approach to address the challenges in the East County,” said Councilmember Navarro. “When the members of the YAG told me about the youth café, I immediately started thinking of how this program could be implemented and presented proposals to the Departments of Recreation and Health and Human Services,” Councilmember Navarro added. “I am especially grateful to the Department of Recreation for taking this on and energetically implementing a program that will appeal to teens.”

She was able to find money from a community grant to fund the program.

“While I believe the entire County could benefit from youth cafes, a youth café in the East County area, especially the Briggs Chaney and White Oak areas, would have the greatest potential for positive impact,” said Councilmember Navarro. “The youth café will address the challenging issues that affect these areas by positively engaging youth. Furthermore, it could be the blueprint for other youth cafes throughout the County.”

“Providing recreation opportunities for kids to feel welcomed, included and safe is a core mission of the Department of Recreation and I am very proud of the Teen Escape Club Youth Café,” said Recreation Director Gabriel Albornoz. “A particular strength of this program is the creativity and involvement of teens in the planning and implementation of the project. I am very pleased the Recreation Department is able to offer such an amazing program for teens.”

The Briggs Chaney corridor is the No. 1 crime hot spot in the County, and White Oak faces similar challenges. As a result, the County’s Fiscal Year 2012 recommended budget includes funds for additional police officers in this area.

“While policing is important to address the crime issues in Briggs Chaney and White Oak, positive youth engagement deters young people from committing crimes in the first place,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Both approaches go hand-in-hand and must be jointly pursued to completely address the issues affecting these communities.”

Councilmember Navarro has asked the Council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development (PHED) Committee to consider funding the youth café program in FY12. The PHED Committee has oversight over the Department of Recreation.

“Ideally, I would love to see a youth café in District 4 continued in FY12,” said Councilmember Navarro. “Many youth cafés throughout the nation have had tremendous positive impacts on youth and I hope to see that in Montgomery County.”

For more information on the youth café, contact the office of Councilmember Navarro at 240-777-7968 or the Department of Recreation at 240-777-4984.

Silver Spring Teenager Reported Missing

Montgomery County Police is asking for the public's help in finding a missing Silver Spring 16-year-old. Dashanti Keshell Herring of the 8800 block of Piney Branch Road was last seen at her Piney Branch home on Tuesday at about 10 p.m. She is an African-American female, 4-feet-9-inches tall, weighs 94 pounds and has brown eyes and black hair. Her family is concerned because she has a medical condition and is not in possession of her medication. Anyone with information about where Dashanti Keshell Herring might be is asked to call the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at (301) 279-8000. Callers may remain anonymous.

Hogan launches new group targeting Democratic ‘monopoly’ in Md.

Larry Hogan, a Republican who explored a 2010 gubernatorial bid, has launched a new organization critical of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) and others in what he calls the Annapolis “monopoly.”

Change Maryland advertises itself as a “grassroots movement” that should appeal to frustrated Republicans, Democrats and independents. But it also appears to be a vehicle to boost the visibility of Hogan, a Cabinet secretary under former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Hogan, who held the title of appointments secretary, ended his 2010 exploratory bid when it became clear that Ehrlich would seek a rematch with O’Malley.

In an interview Wednesday, Hogan said a 2014 gubernatorial run is ”not out of the question” and suggested he would decide by early 2013, allowing plenty of time to raise money and mount a campaign.

The new group, though, is about trying to bring about change now, said Hogan, its chairman.

According to its Web site: “We can’t just sit back, accept the status quo, and allow an out of touch monopoly to run our state into the ground with no opposition, no debate, and no checks and balances. It’s time we said enough is enough.” SOURCE: Washington Post

April 13, 2011

Gov. O'Malley sets priorities for legislative session

Father receives kidney!

I have good news!! My father who has been battling end stage kidney failure received a kidney from a live donor ( a very good friend of the family) and both donor and recipient are doing well! The transplant was on February 22nd, my father is in the procedd of recovering well and is “out of the woods” as some say after experiencing some “scary speed bumps” of rejection symptoms and a very long hospitalization at Johns Hopkins. Part of his recovery is to get him back in good physical shape, and as a motivator, my dad and I are going to walk and raise money for the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland at their Kidney Walk coming up on May 1st at the Baltimore Zoo. The National Kidney Foundation of Maryland is dedicated to preventing kidney and urinary tract diseases, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by these diseases and increasing the availability of all organs for transplantation.

Check out the National Kidney Foundation of Maryland's Kidney Walk website! You can learn more about the event, and maybe even support my father and me in my fundraising efforts or join us to walk in Kidney Walk 2011!

Some email systems do not support the use of links and therefore this link may not appear to work. If so, copy and paste the following into your browser: http://www.kintera.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=460939&lis=1&kntae460939=F84F8494F8544AB9AF41A15F097E67CA&supId=325257687

Thank You For Your Support!

Shannon McLaughlin, CMA
Choice Hotels International is proposing to move their world headquarters to downtown Rockville but it includes a request to rename “Middle Lane” to “Choice Hotels Lane.” Really, this is no April Fool’s Joke–in a letter to the City of Rockville on March 11, Dan Slear of Choice Hotels International stated, ”To clarify, Choice requests to change East Middle Lane in its entirety to Choice Hotels Lane.” It’ll be considered at the April 13, 2011 Planning Commission Meeting–but if it happens, the joke will be on us. Although the name change was proffered as an incentive by the City of Rockville (really? really??), the staff report to the Planning Commission mentioned several concerns:

1) it raised eyebrows at the Emergency Communications Center and the Montgomery-National Capitol Park and Planning Commission, who not only were concerned about confusion by emergency responders (are we going to the hotel or the street?) but thought it odd that we’d rename a street after a company.

2) it changes the name of this street three times within a three block stretch–West Middle Lane, Choice Hotels Lane, and Park Road–in downtown. Boy, that’ll help people find their way around downtown.

3) downtown businesses, such as Gordon Biersch and HSBC Bank, who would be effected by the name change haven’t had sufficient time to respond, but I’m guessing they don’t want to change their neutral address to one that advertises another business.

4) it changes the name of an historic street, indeed, the name of a street that’s been part of downtown Rockville since 1803, when the first map of Rockville was drawn. Let’s see, which has the better track record? Middle Lane has been around for more than 200 years while Choice Hotels has been around since 1981. SOURCE: Max for Rockville

Local Montgomery County news blurbs

BRAC-related Construction Update: Cedar Lane Bridge

The following construction is related to the Base Realignment and Closure Act (BRAC) associated with the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda. It may impact traffic in the vicinity of the Center.

Rehabilitation of the bridge on Cedar Lane over Rock Creek is ongoing. On or about April 14th, the traffic pattern will switch to allow work along the southbound side of Cedar Lane. The actual date of the traffic switch is weather dependent. Please exercise caution and watch for signs to guide you through the work zone.

For more information, call 240-777.7223 or visit the Division of Transportation Engineering's website.

Wheaton Costco debate continues

Wheaton Costco debate continues: Montgomery County executive Ike Leggett is still pushing for a $4 million subsidy to attract Costco to Westfield Wheaton mall. Marc Elrich is opposed, George Leventhal supportive. Also, Costco is refusing to meet with the local neighborhood association. (Gazette, Danila Sheveiko) SOURCE: Greater Greater Washington

April 12, 2011

Government Opposes Hinckley’s Request for More Visits

Federal lawyers oppose a request by John Hinckley Jr. for more unsupervised visits to his mother’s home in Virginia. Hinckley attempted to assassinate President Ronald Reagan 30 years ago. A jury found him not guilty by reason on insanity and has since been committed to St. Elizabeth's Hospital in Washington.

Hinckley’s lawyers and doctors had asked a federal judge last month to grant him more visits to his mother's home. But in a court filing Monday, lawyers for the government said Hinckley offered no basis to grant him an unspecified number of new visits beyond the 12 he was granted in 2009 and has now used up. Hinckley shot Reagan in 1981 as he left a Washington hotel. SOURCE: NBC

Authorities Probe Arson at Walt Whitman High School

Montgomery County fire officials say someone threw an incendiary device into a classroom at Walt Whitman High School, located in Bethesda, causing a small explosion and fire. Assistant Chief Scott Graham of the Montgomery County Fire Department says officials aren’t sure what kind of device started the fire in the classroom around the back of the building before midnight Friday. Authorities are reviewing recordings from security cameras around the school for clues about who started the fire. The fire set off the sprinkler system, which caused water damage in several classrooms on the first and second floors. Crews worked through the weekend to clean up the damage and classes are expected to start on time on Monday. SOURCE: Claims Journal

Maryland alcohol tax bill approved, heads to O'Malley Read more: Maryland alcohol tax bill approved, heads to O'Malley

With less than two hours remaining in the 90-day session late Monday night, the Maryland General Assembly approved a 50 percent hike on the state alcohol tax.

If signed by Gov. Martin O’Malley, the state tax on liquor, beer and wine will jump from 6 percent to 9 percent, effective July 1. Two alcohol tax-related bills passed through the House and Senate on the final day of debate.

Senate Bill 994 was amended this weekend to do away with the 6 percent to 9 percent increase over a three-year period. That bill is expected to send $15 million of revenue from the first year toward programs for the developmentally disabled. The other bill, House Bill 1213, dedicates $47.5 million of the tax’s $85 million in projected first-year revenue to school construction.

Democrats lauded the bills passage, citing multiple winners Monday night.

“The increase in the alcohol tax is long overdue,” Del. Jolene Ivey, of Prince George’s County said in a text message to the Baltimore Business Journal. “The winners are the disability community, public schools, and the people of Maryland.” But some, mainly Republicans, questioned the bills intentions.

Many criticized the bill over the course of the day for being such a far cry from the dime-a-drink increase proposed in the Lorraine Sheehan Health and Community Services Act of 2011. SOURCE: Baltimore Business Journal

Spending deal dismantles two more Obamacare programs

The fine print of a spending deal struck by Republican and Democratic leaders late Friday to avert government shutdown shows the final bill will dismantle two key parts of Obamacare.

“The bill terminates two programs funded in ObamaCare (the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) and the Free Choice Voucher programs,” a summary released around 2:00 AM Tuesday by the House appropriations committee says.

Critics have blasted the CO-OP program as a “stealth public option,” the government insurance plan pushed by liberal Democrats during the consideration of Obamacare.

The modest victory for Republicans in dismantling the two programs is quite limited compared to the vast measures included in a House-passed funding bill, H.R. 1, but the program eliminations comprise the second time Congress has dismantled parts of the president’s health care law in recent weeks.

The legislation also compels a series of studies by the Government Accountability Office on Obamacare. One is an audit of the waivers from the law provided to many companies and unions, due in 60 days.

Also included in the deal are the elimination of four of President Obama’s policy “czars” – top officials not subject to Senate confirmation with murky, wide-ranging powers over White House policy and federal agencies.

The four eliminated are the “Health Care Czar,” the “Climate Change Czar,” the “Car Czar,” and the “Urban Affairs Czar.”

One change in the fine print likely to prove controversial is a provision reinstating a decision by the Fish and Wildlife Service to delist wolves from a list of endangered species in certain states.

Of federal agencies driving strict new regulation in the Obama era, the Environmental Protection Agency took a (relatively) big hit in its funding, surrendering a $1.6 billion cut, or 16 percent of its budget.

Meanwhile, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration escaped unscathed, maintaining its funding level from last year. That agency enforces regulations on workplaces. SOURCE: Daily Caller

Lululemon to Renovate and Re-Open Bethesda Store

The Lululemon company announced on its Facebook page late Monday that the Bethesda store will be renovated and re-opened in coming months. The store was the scene of a March 11 homicide in which store employee, Jayna Murray, 30, was killed. Her co-worker, Brittany Norwood, 28, has been charged in her murder. The company released this statement:

"Throughout this tragedy, we have been grateful for the overwhelming support & love from the Bethesda community. We remain committed to the people of Bethesda and want to begin the first step to healing together. This will include renovating the Bethesda store & reopening in the upcoming months. We will share store updates as we have them while continuing to support our team, the Murray family & the community." The announcement was met with an outpouring of support on the store's Facebook page from Bethesda residents and businesses, along with Lululemon shops from around the country. SOURCE: Bethesda Patch

D.C. Mayor Gray arrested at protest

District of Columbia Mayor Vince Gray and several members of the D.C. Council were arrested Monday during a protest over a federal spending plan. The budget deal that raised the District's ire includes a school vouchers program and a ban on using locally-raised money to fund abortions in the city.

Lutheran Church of St. Andrew

"Journey to the Cross" - Friday, April 22 at 11 am - An experience for the whole family! From the joy of Palm Sunday to the warmth of the Last Supper, from the powerful prayer in the Garden to the heartbreak of Jesus on the cross, come for a chance to see, hear, touch and taste the memorable highs and lows of a week like none other! The Lutheran Church of St Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring. Free admission. www.mystandrew.org 301-384-4394

"The Seven Last Words of Christ" - Friday, April 22 at 7 pm - The tradition of singing the Passion story began in the early centuries of the church. This beautiful and poignant choral rendition by celebrated French composer Dubois is presented in eight movements, each bringing to life one of Christ's final words at the crucifixion. Performed by Cantate Domino choir with soloists from University of Maryland Masters of Voice Program. Free admission. The Lutheran Church of St Andrew, 15300 New Hampshire Ave, Silver Spring. www.mystandrew.org 301-384-4394.

April 11, 2011

Tax increase on alcohol advancing in Md. House

Maryland’s House of Delegates on Saturday was angling to pass a targeted tax increase on alcohol for the first time in 38 years.

The House plan would collapse a three-year phase-in of the state sales tax on alcohol passed by the Senate into one year. Starting July 1, Maryland’s sales tax on beer, wine and spirits would jump from 6 percent to 9 percent, yielding about $85 million a year in new revenue.

Debate on the measure, which was approved by the Ways and Means Committee earlier Saturday, continued on the House floor past 10 p.m.

The measure still faces a final vote in the House and other hurdles before the General Assembly adjourns on Monday. The Senate has passed a measure that would raise the tax by 3 percentage points over three years.

The late-session move brought howls of protest from Republicans in the Democrat-led chamber. House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell (R-Calvert) accused the chamber of trying to “jam a tax down the throats of the citizens of Maryland.”

The higher rate would represent a partial victory for public health advocates and the Maryland Developmental Disabilities Coalition, which have lobbied for two years for a 10-cent per-drink tax increase to restore recessionary funding cuts made to social services. SOURCE: Washington Post

Montgomery Council Committees to Discuss FY12 Operating Budget Requests for OMB, Parks and Planning, Storm Cleanup

Release ID: 11-084
Release Date: 4/11/2011
Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
From: Council Office

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 8, 2011—The Montgomery County Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee at 9:30 a.m. on Monday, April 11, will start its review of the operating budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission. County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended budget would reduce the M-NCPPC budget by 12.9 percent from the overall agency request for tax-supported funds.

The PHED Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Marc Elrich and George Leventhal, will meet in the Third Floor Conference Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting 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 www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

At 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Council Hearing Room, the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Hans Riemer, will hold a worksession on the FY12 operating budget requests of the Office of Management and Budget, the Board of Elections and the Department of Finance.
At 2 p.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, which is chaired by Roger Berliner and includes Councilmembers Floreen and Riemer, will review budget needs for storm removal and cleanup operations. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery.

At 2 p.m. in the Third Floor Conference Room, the Health and Human Services Committee, which is chaired by George Leventhal and includes Councilmembers Navarro and Craig Rice, will hold a worksession on the FY12 funding needs for aging and disabilities programs and for special needs housing.

OPINION: High gas prices are Obama's fault

Now that the price of a barrel of oil went up more than $5 surpassing $100 a barrel because of revolution in Egypt and the rest of the Middle East, it is likely that our economic recession will just become greater with inflation. With the price of gas headed to $5 per gallon, you can count on the price of nearly everything else going up, too.

Oil companies and speculators are most certainly not to blame for raising prices when imported oil is at risk. Blame the liberal Obama administration and the environmental zealots for freezing and reducing domestic oil exploration and production. That's why our dependence on imported oil is so high, and our national security is now also a lot more at risk

The push for costly and unreliable green energy is a joke and will now only encourage the forthcoming energy crisis, Anybody with good common sense should know that It takes close to 10 years to bring new off-shore and on-land wells and more refineries into full production. Failure to start now will be cause an economic crisis such as this country has never seen and the Obama administration is to blame for this debacle.

Al Eisner, Silver Spring

Staff Recommendations for Changes in White Flint Implementation Guidelines

As mentioned in the last few posts, the White Flint Sector Plan requires the Planning Board to adopt implementation guidelines to cover both transportation and planning processes changes necessitated by the new features of the Plan. Some of these include the new Comprehensive Local Area Transportation Review (CLATR), which substitutes for earlier “how fast do cars move through intersections” tests, and the new “sketch plan” process, which provides for public input at earlier stages than the prior site plan-only process. The Montgomery County Planning Board has been reviewing and discussing these Implementation Guidelines for several weeks, and has another review session scheduled for next Thursday. The White Flint Implementation Committee will also discuss the Implementation Guidelines at its meeting next Monday night at the Montgomery Aquatic Center.

The Planning staff has now prepared some recommendations for changes in the draft Implementation Guidelines. Most of the changes are conforming to comments from participants, including the White Flint Implementation Committee’s Natalie Goldberg, who has suggested corrections to the “mode share” (use of public transit) requirements.

The staff memo can be found here: mmo_to_MCPB_re_White_Flint_Transportation_Approval_Mechanism SOURCE: Friends of White Flint

April 10, 2011

Federal judge, 103, still hearing federal cases in Kansas

WICHITA, Kan. (AP) -- In a courtroom in Wichita, the day begins much as it has for the past 49 years: Court is in session, U.S. District Judge Wesley Brown presiding. But what happens next is no longer routine; it's a testament to one man's sheer determination.

As lawyers and litigants wait in respectful silence, Brown, who is 103, carefully steers his power wheelchair behind the bench, his stooped frame almost disappearing behind its wooden bulk. He adjusts under his nose the plastic tubes from the oxygen tank lying next to the day's case documents. Then his voice rings out loud and firm to his law clerk, "Call your case."

Brown is the oldest working federal judge in the nation, one of four appointees by President Kennedy still on the bench. Federal judgeships are lifetime appointments, and no one has taken that term more seriously than Brown.

"As a federal judge, I was appointed for life or good behavior, whichever I lose first," Brown quipped in an interview. How does he plan to leave the post? "Feet first," he says.

In a profession where advanced age isn't unusual - and, indeed, is valued as a source of judicial wisdom - Brown has left legal colleagues awestruck by his stamina and devotion to work. His service also epitomizes how the federal court system keeps working even as litigation steadily increases, new judgeships remain rare, and judicial openings go unfilled for months or years.

"Senior judges keep the federal court system afloat given the rising case loads," said David Sellers, spokesman for the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts. Of the 1,294 sitting federal judges, Brown is one of 516 on "senior status," a form of semi-retirement that allows a judge to collect his salary but work at a reduced case level if he chooses. They handle almost a quarter of federal district trials.

And no one alive has logged more service than Brown, who took senior status in 1979 but still worked fulltime until recently. In March, he stopped taking new criminal cases and lightened his case load a bit. He still takes his full share of the new civil cases.

"I do it to be a public service," Brown said. "You got to have a reason to live. As long as you perform a public service, you have a reason to live."

Brown gets a ride to the federal courthouse at 8:30 a.m. every workday from the assisted living center where he lives. Until he was in his 90s, he climbed the stairs to his fourth-floor chambers. He works until about 3 p.m. presiding over hearings, reading court filings and discussing cases with his law clerks who handle the legal research.

In one concession to age, he keeps court hearings relatively short. But he listens intently to testimony and tells defendants to speak up or slow down if he has trouble following their statements. And, if necessary, he can be stern with lawyers, prodding them in a strong voice not to waste time.

Brown is known for his compassion for defendants, even those he sends to prison. When he sentenced Kassie Liebsch last month to 37 months for her role in a ticket scalping scandal, he told the tearful 28-year-old woman how much he and other court officials wanted her to succeed in the future.

"As an old man, it is hard for me to say I am sorry it happened," Brown told her. "I know you will do the right thing. Good luck and be well."

Brown also serves a senior statesman in the courthouse, giving colleagues the benefit of his long experience.

"He never pressures us or tells us what to do," said District Judge Eric Melgren, 54. "He shares his thoughts and we can benefit as we see fit."

Melgren, formerly the U.S. attorney for Kansas, recalled that Brown took him aside after he became top federal prosecutor and advised him that the most important decisions he would make would be the ones no one knew about - the ones in which he declined to prosecute someone. Melgren found that to be sound advice. Melgren said Brown also shares his thoughts on points of law.

"I don't get the perspective that he is stuck in the last century," Melgren said. "His views are pretty much as the rest of us."

Brown has a computer on his desk that he uses to keep up with current events and trends.

Some parties in lawsuits, however, have been skeptical about the idea of a 103-year-old judge hearing their case.

Last month Brown ruled in favor of Omaha-based Northern Natural Gas Co. in its bid to condemn more than 9,100 acres in south-central Kansas to contain gas migrating from an underground storage facility. The decision angered some of the 173 property owners affected.

"I don't care how good a guy he is," said Dorothy Trinkle, of Preston, one of the landowners. "Your mental and physical attributes diminish with age and I think there should be a cutoff date for federal judges. This is ridiculous to have him in there at that age."

Brown - who was born on June 22, 1907, in Hutchinson, Kan. - is six years older than the next oldest sitting federal judge. At least eight other federal judges are in their 90s, according to a federal court database.

He began his career in private practice in Hutchinson in 1933 and was appointed U.S. district judge in 1962. He has outlived two wives and only moved into an assisted living center four years ago.

Brown was able to play golf with his staff until 2006. Now, because of his physical limitations, his chief hobby is reading. He prefers murder mysteries and borrows Louis L'Amour westerns from his law clerk.

Brown has asked his colleagues to notify him if at any point they feel he is no longer able to do his job.

"I will quit this job when I think it is time," Brown said. "And I hope I do so and leave the country in better shape because I have been a part of it." SOURCE: AP

Md. trans bill on ‘hold’ in committee

A committee of the Maryland State Senate voted 6-5 to place a temporary hold on a transgender non-discrimination bill on Friday, adding yet another roadblock to a measure that survived a procedural attempt to kill it one week ago.

The Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee approved a request by Sen. Nancy Jacobs (R-Cecil and Harford Counties) to place the hold on the Gender Identity Non-Discrimination Act. Jacobs is one of the bill’s most outspoken opponents.

Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Montgomery County), the committee chair, voted against the hold, but three other committee Democrats joined the three Republican members of the 11-member committee to vote for the hold.

The action prevented the committee from voting to release the bill to the full Senate, which must pass the legislation before the end of the day on Monday, when the Maryland Legislature adjourns for the year.

Frosh’s office said Frosh was expected to allow the committee to vote on the bill on Saturday morning. Supporters said they were hopeful the legislation might reach the Senate floor for a debate and vote on the same day, as originally expected.

The Maryland House of Delegates has already passed the bill, and Gov. Martin O’Malley has said he would sign it.

Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Montgomery County), a member of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and a lead supporter of the bill, told the Blade late Friday that he and others supporting the bill were hopeful that at least two of the Democrats who voted for the hold would vote for the bill on Saturday morning when the committee was expected to meet between 10 and 11 a.m..

“The way I’m reading it now is we have five hard votes ‘yes’ and then there are at least two senators who supported the hold who could still vote for the bill tomorrow,” he said. “So I’m cautiously optimistic that we’ll be headed to the floor tomorrow,” he said.

Others familiar with the committee action identified the two Democrats who voted for the hold and who could vote for the bill as James Brochin and Bobby Zirkin, both Democrats from Baltimore County.

The Judicial Proceedings Committee was originally expected to vote on the measure Friday, one day after it held a two-hour hearing in Annapolis on Thursday in which about 40 witnesses testified for and against the bill.

Among those testifying against it were four transgender activists, including one from New York, who said the bill did not go far enough because it lacks a provision banning discrimination against transgender Marylanders in the area of public accommodations.

The bill’s author and chief sponsor, House of Delegates member Joseline Pina-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel Counties), testified that she reluctantly removed the public accommodations provision from the bill in order to line up enough votes to pass it in a House committee.

Pina-Melnyk has said the bill would have died in committee, as it has for the past four years, if the public accommodations provision remained a part of the legislation.

As currently written, the bill would ban discrimination against transgender people in the area of employment, housing, and credit – including bank loans. Most transgender activists in Maryland along with the National Center for Transgender Equality and the transgender rights project of the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force are supporting the bill. They say they plan to push for the addition of a public accommodations provision as early as next year.

The bill received a further boost Friday morning from the Washington Post, which published an editorial calling on the State Senate to quickly pass the measure as a first step in rectifying longstanding discrimination against transgender people.

“The legislation is a modest, fair and reasonable step in the direction of equal rights for a minority that continues to suffer widespread bias,” the Post said.

Among those testifying in favor of the bill on Thursday was attorney Lisa Mottet, director of the NGLTF transgender rights project. Longtime transgender rights opponent Ruth Jacobs, head of Citizens for a Responsible Government, emerged as the lead witness against the bill on its merits, saying she opposes any form of anti-discrimination protection based on gender identity. SOURCE: Washington Blade

O'Malley announces infrastructure plans

Baltimore County Lincoln / Reagan Dinner

Fellow Republican Central Committee Member:


I am writing you to inform and invite you to our 2011 Baltimore County Lincoln / Reagan Dinner entitled, “A Night At The Ellies.”

The BCRCC, along with the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, is coming together to highlight women of accomplishment across the state and across the decades. In our group of Ellie honorees, we have former chairs of the MD GOP, leaders of Republican clubs, women who crashed through the glass ceiling of elective office and candidates that changed the political landscape of their communities. We are honored to have each of them with us on this great evening as we celebrate 90 Years of Republican Women in Maryland Politics.

Now, to the particulars:

Our Ellie Honorees are (in alphabetical order): Nicolee Ambrose (Baltimore City) , Rachel Audi (Montgomery County), Helen Bentley (Baltimore County), Julianne Grim (Baltimore County), Marjorie Holt (Anne Arundel County), Dottie Kelly (Frederick), Ellen Sauerbrey, Audrey Scott (Queen Anne's County), Joyce Terhes (Montgomery County) and Diana Waterman (Queen Anne's County).

Date, Time, Location: The “Night at the Ellies” will be held on the evening of Wednesday, May 4th from 6:30 until 10 pm at Martin’s East which is located at 9000 Pulaski Highway, Middle River, MD 21220. Direction: Baltimore Beltway to exit 35B (US 40 East) towards Aberdeen, travel 1.7 miles, make a U-turn at Holly Drive / Oak Grove Drive and turn into parking lot.

Tickets: The ticket cost is $80 per person and can be purchased online or $750 for a table of 10. You can contact me or our event co-chair Hillary Pennington (who is copied on this e-mail) if you wish to make arrangements for purchasing a table for your central committee, Republican club or group. We will have a VIP reception with our Ellie honorees and our keynote speaker starting at 6 pm. The VIP ticket is $125 per person and can be purchased online at the flowing website: http://www.anightattheellies.com/Tickets.html

Speaker: Our speaker is the Honorable Jo Anne B. Barnhart who served as the Commissioner of Social Security for President George W. Bush from 2001 through 2007. A brief bio on Commissioner Barnhart is available on the Ellie’s website: http://www.anightattheellies.com/Commissioner_Barnhart.html

Flow of the Ellie’s event: After the VIP reception, there will be a few opening items to the general evening’s event (Welcome, Pledge to the Flag, Invocation, etc). The Ellie recipients will be announced with a brief bio highlighting their accomplishments. We envision the entire scripted event to start at 7:30 and be over in one hour.

Post-event activities: After the keynote speaker gives her remarks and the Ellies are presented, the BCRCC annual awards will be announced and we will have the benediction ending the formal program. After the program is completed, there will be a live band playing music, dancing and we will have activities such as a silent auction and games of chance (wheels) that will be run by some of our Republican clubs.

I have attached a digital postcard reminder of the event for your information. We hope you can attend this evening to help us celebrate 90 Years of Republican Women in Maryland Politics.

SAVE THE DATE: See you at The Ellies on Wednesday, May 4th in Baltimore!

All The Best,

Tony Campbell
Chairman, Baltimore County Republican Central Committee

Del. Eric Luedtke Calls for New Burtonsville Giant to Stop 'Draining Economic Vitality'

Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Dist. 14) recently wrote to Giant of Maryland, parent company of Giant on Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. Luedtke expressed concern over the health of Burtonsville Crossing since the new shopping center, Burtonsville Town Square, opened in November. Giant operated a grocery store in Burtonsville Crossing until late last year when the company moved its store to the newer shopping center across the street.

Reportedly, Giant has the right to prevent similar businesses from moving into their old spot in Burtonsville Crossing.

The text of Luedtke's letter:

April 4, 2011
Don Sussman
Interim President
Giant of Maryland
8301 Professional Place, Suite 115
Landover, MD 20785
Mr. Sussman:

I write to express my deep concern about Giant’s continued delaying tactics in regard to efforts to find a new tenant for the old Giant space in the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center. While the Burtonsville community appreciates the new, modern supermarket your company has opened, it is unacceptable to our community for the now empty space across the street to continue to remain vacant. As a drive through Burtonsville Crossing will show you, the lack of an anchor store in the shopping center has had a profound negative impact on the restaurants and stores in the center. While I respect Giant’s business interest in the matter, Burtonsville’s residents supported both the Giant and the Dutch Country Farmers Market for many years, and it is reasonable to assume that a specialty store in the old Giant space would not hurt your new store’s bottom line.

I am particularly disappointed in Giant’s actions given the long history of commitment to the greater community that your company has shown. Giant has long been a leader in charitable giving and community engagement in the Washington Metropolitan Area. Those past actions stand in stark contrast to your actions in Burtonsville. Giant’s insistence on maintaining the lease on a vacant anchor storefront is effectively draining the economic vitality from Burtonsville.

I urge you to be a good neighbor to the residents of Burtonsville, and reach an agreement as soon as possible with Edens & Avant so that our community may move forward.

Delegate Eric Luedtke

Officials at Giant could not be reached for comment by the time the letter was obtained by Patch after-hours Friday.