April 22, 2011

Councilmember Valerie Ervin Joins Department of Parks, 7-Eleven for King Street Community Garden Groundbreaking

Release ID: 11-093
Release Date: 4/20/2011
Contact: Kelli Holsendolph 301-650-2866 or Neil H. Greenberger240-777-7939
From: Office of Valerie Ervin

At 10 a.m. on Wed., April 20, Community Leaders Will Get Started on Silver Spring Garden That Was 2 Years in Making

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 19, 2011—Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin, who represents District 5 that includes Silver Spring, Wheaton, Kensington and Takoma Park, at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, April 20, will join the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC), the Montgomery County Department of Parks, representatives from 7-Eleven and other community leaders for the groundbreaking of the new King Street Community Garden located at 7875 Eastern Avenue in Silver Spring.

The opening of the community garden location is more than two years in the making. Council President Ervin’s leadership was instrumental to making the location available to the public. Ervin worked with all parties to secure a three-way lease agreement finalized in March between the Department of Parks, 7-Eleven and the Maisel Development Company, which had plans to develop the site for other uses.

The garden will open mid-April, weather permitting.

The King Street Community Garden will join nine other community garden locations managed by the Montgomery County Department of Parks, including two other recent additions on Montgomery County Public Schools land.

The parks department is now accepting applications for its lottery for gardening at the King Street location. The site will offer at least 20 plots, each 200 square feet in size, for an annual fee of $30 per plot. A lottery application for gardening at the King Street location for the 2011 season is available online at www.ParksCommunityGardens.org.

Among the other groups expected to be represented at the groundbreaking are Montgomery College, Silver Spring Green, the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association, IMPACT Silver Spring, the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce, the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee, the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and the Silver Spring Regional Center Last edited: 12/23/2009

April 21, 2011

School board vice chairman sees bright future in following Maryland district's plan

Palm Beach County School Board Vice Chairwoman Debra Robinson wants to look to a Washington D.C. Beltway county to learn how to improve student academic achievement in Palm Beach County.

"This is my new model school district. They are doing some outstanding things," said Robinson, as she requested the board hold a series of workshops to study the initiatives used by the Montgomery County School District in Maryland to try to increase student achievement and get students better prepared for college.

Robinson suggested studying Montgomery County schools' "Seven Keys to College Readiness" program. According to the Montgomery County School District's website, that program sets forth seven goals students try to achieve ranging from completing advanced level reading classes by the second grade to getting a C or better on Algebra I by eighth grade and scoring a 1650 on SAT tests.

Montgomery County, which contains some affluent suburbs of Washington, D.C., such as Bethesda and Rockville, has one of the highest median household incomes of any county in the nation, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Montgomery County School District has about 140,000 students.

Robinson said she has requested data from Montgomery County's school district about their graduation rates, and their third grade reading and eighth grade algebra participation. Robinson said the Palm Beach County district could learn some things from Montgomery County about how to close the academic achievement gap among students. SOURCE: Palm Beach Post

O’Malley press secretary stepping down

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley is in search of a new press secretary. Shaun Adamec has informed O’Malley (D) in a resignation letter that he is leaving after next month to join City Year, a Boston-based organization that steers people into teaching and mentoring service.

Adamec became part of O’Malley’s press operation nearly three years ago. After a short stint as a deputy, he assumed the title of press secretary. He has since won a reputation as a workhorse and staunch defender of the governor’s record.

“After careful consideration over the last year, my wife, Elizabeth, and I have decided to return to our native New England and raise our two young boys closer to their grandparents and extended family,” Adamec wrote in his resignation letter. “I have recently accepted a very exciting role as Vice President of Communications for City Year, where I can continue my career advocating for social change and education reform. These are issues I’m honored to have worked with you on as well.”

A search is underway for a successor, O’Malley aides said. SOURCE: Washington Post

FEC Sued By Chris Van Hollen Over Huge Disclosure Loophole

A Democratic congressman on Thursday sued the Federal Election Commission in an effort to close a massive disclosure loophole before individuals and corporations have the chance to secretly funnel hundreds of millions of dollars into the 2012 presidential and congressional elections.

In his lawsuit, Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.) charges that in 2007 the FEC created the loophole by willfully misinterpreting disclosure requirements in the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2002, which is more commonly known as McCain-Feingold. That law clearly called for disclosure of donors to groups making "electioneering communications." Those are defined as the broadcast ads that refer to a federal candidate in the period 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary election.

But in 2007, the FEC added a regulation that complicated the original definition. Now disclosure is only required if a donation is explicitly made "for the purpose of electioneering communication."

As a result, a political group can -- and many now do -- refuse to divulge its donors on the grounds that those supporters were simply giving money to further the group's agenda, in a general sense.

"Not only is [the FEC regulation] inconsistent with the plain language of the statute, it is also manifestly contrary to Congressional intent and has created the opportunity for gross abuse," the lawsuit states. "Congress sought to require more, not less, disclosure of those whose donations fund 'electioneering communications.' The FEC's unlawful regulation produces a result that frustrates Congress's objective."

Van Hollen's case alleges that corporations in the 2010 campaign "exploited the enormous loophole created" by the FEC change.

Indeed, the massive increase in undisclosed spending was one of the biggest stories of the 2010 election cycle. Millions of dollars from donors who remain unidentified was spent by political groups -- conservative organizations, in particular. The Chamber of Commerce alone was responsible for nearly $33 million in untraceable spending.

Donors who prefer secrecy have flocked to nonprofit 501(c)(4) advocacy groups like former Bush administration adviser Karl Rove's Crossroads GPS, and to 501(c)(6) business associations like the Chamber.

In the wake of the Supreme Court's Citizen United decision last year, disclosure is basically the only legal remedy left for those who worry about a return to large-scale corruption, graft and deal-making. That ruling removed any limits on how much corporations can spend in federal elections.

But the Court explicitly upheld McCain-Feingold's disclosure requirements.

"The First Amendment protects political speech and disclosure permits citizens and shareholders to react to the speech of corporate entities in a proper way," lead author Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote for the majority in the 5-4 decision. "This transparency enables the electorate to make informed decisions and give proper weight to different speakers and messages."

Longtime campaign finance reform champion Fred Wertheimer's Democracy 21 group is among the backers of Van Hollen's lawsuit. SOURCE: Huffington Post

Maryland Young Republicans annual event

Only 10 Days Remain to register for the 2011 Maryland Young Republicans Convention at the Early Bird rate! The Convention will take place on Saturday, June 4th at the Doubletree Hotel, 210 Holiday Court, in Annapolis. Registration begins at 9 AM, and the convention will begin promptly at 10 AM. Lunch is included with your registration!

We will be electing our 2011-2013 Maryland Young Republicans Officers at this convention. But in addition, we will also be hearing from the following confirmed speakers:

The Honorable Alex Mooney; Chairman, Maryland Republican Party
The Honorable John Leopold; Anne Arundel County Executive
The Honorable Justin Ready; Maryland House of Delegates, District 5A
The Honorable David Marks; Baltimore County Councilman
Lisa Stickan, Young Republican National Federation (YRNF) Chairman
Cherie Short; National Finance Director, YRNF

The Early Bird rate of $30.00 per person is only good through April 30th! The rate will go up on May 1st. Registration is only available online. Visit http://mdyr.org/convention to register and for additional information. Please feel free to contact me with any questions or concerns you might have. Look forward to seeing you June 4th! Thanks Brian Griffiths 2011 MYR Convention Chairman brian@briangriffiths.com PS- We are offering sponsorship opportunities! Please feel free to contact me for details!

Tim Robbins Loses Both Parents in Two Weeks

Actor-director Tim Robbins is coping with the double heartache of his mother's death Sunday, 12 days after his father died, a shared experience that is supported by medical and anecdotal evidence. Mary Robbins, 78, suffered a heart arrhythmia, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Her husband of 59 years, Gil Robbins, 80, died of prostate cancer April 5, the Los Angeles Times reported. Both died at their home in Esteban Cantu, Mexico.

The phenomenon among longtime couples of dying so close to one another is well documented.

A 2007 study at the University of Glasgow that followed more than 4,000 couples found that, on average, widows and widowers were at least 30 percent more likely to die within the first six months of a spouse's death than those who hadn't lost a partner. Another large study in Jerusalem found that the grieving spouse's risk of death during those first six months went up by 50 percent.

Stories similar to the Robbins' have been reported around the world.

Welsh couple Donald and Rosemary Dix, who had been inseparable for most of their 55 years of marriage, died in February within minutes of each other.

Donald, who had been suffering from the flu, collapsed at home, according to the U.K.'s Daily Mail. After an ambulance left to take him to the hospital, Rosemary called their children to deliver the news, then collapsed and died. Donald passed away during the short ride to the hospital.

New Orleans couple Joseph and Maxine Cassin, who had also been married for 55 years, died four days apart in March 2010.

Their son, Daniel Cassin, told the Times-Picayune newspaper that after his 89-year-old father died in a hospital, he delivered the news to his mother. "I had told her she would be with Dad and he'd be waiting for her," he said.

Because his mother, 82, suffered from seizure-related problems, Cassin said, he wasn't sure if she comprehended the news, but perhaps she did.

As for the Robbins, they were professional musicians in the 1950s and '60s. Gil Robbins was a member of the folk band the Highwaymen.

His wife had previously beat colon cancer by treating herself holistically, according to the Associated Press. Her son, who won the Oscar for "Mystic River," told AP that his mother "had a calm and cheerful demeanor, a sharp wit, a gentle spirit and a generous and loving heart."

Tim Robbins with his parents Gil and Mary Robbins. Of his father, "The Shawshank Redemption" star told the Los Angeles Times: "He was very charming, open and funny. He had a real strong moral center; he spoke up for what he believed in."

Like his father, Robbins is known as much for his outspoken liberal views, shared with former partner Susan Sarandon, as he is for his acting and directing.

In addition to Robbins, his parents are survived by their other son, David, daughters Adele and Gabrielle and four grandchildren. SOURCE: ABC

Holy Week singing

Especially since Lorraine Kuchmy . . . and I will be singing with the Triduum Choir at St. Jane Frances de Chantal parish church this week, I thought it quite appropriate to invite all of you, including non-Christians, to attend our Holy Week performances beginning tonight. Hope you all can make it to any or all three of these, especially since this parish is reputed to have one of the best Triduum Choirs in the tri-state area!

St. Jane Frances de Chantal Church
9601 Old Georgetown Road
Bethesda, Maryland 20814

Mass of the Lord’s Supper, 8:00 pm.
(Note: everyone is invited to participate in the Transfer of the Holy
Eucharist procession at the end, where we will all sing "Pange Lingua Gloriosi." Lyrics will provided in the program)

Solemn Liturgical Service: Reading of the Passion,
Veneration of the Cross & Holy Communion, 8:00 pm.

Easter Vigil & Mass of the Resurrection, 8:00 pm.

P.S. In case it matters to you, all of the pieces will be sung in either English or Latin.

Unlawful Tuition Policy for Illegal Aliens Challenged

Judicial Watch continued its aggressive, nationwide campaign against illegal alien sanctuary policies. Last Monday, I sent a letter to the Chairman of the Board of Trustees for New Jersey’s County College of Morris (CCM) challenging the school’s policy of providing discounted tuition for “undocumented” aliens.

And I got a quick response, too. CCM informed Judicial Watch that it will reevaluate its illegal alien tuition policy on April 20, 2011. As I noted in my letter — illegal aliens are ineligible for state and local public benefits, such as discounted tuition, under federal law:

There is no way to reconcile CCM’s policy with federal law. The policy provides a public benefit to individuals who are clearly ineligible for benefits [under federal law], and New Jersey has not authorized the provision of such benefits…CCM may not ignore federal laws when those laws are not consistent with its own policy preferences. We hope that CCM will reevaluate its new policy and conform it to the requirements of federal law.

Judicial Watch was tipped off to CCM’s illegal policy by the February 18, 2011, edition of The New Jersey Star-Ledger:
For the first time in nearly a decade, illegal immigrants will be allowed to take classes at the County College of Morris in a policy change that is drawing praise from some education officials and sharp criticism from immigration policy activists. The trustees at the Randolph-based college voted 7-1 earlier this week to reverse a rule barring undocumented students, school officials said. Starting this summer, the public two-year college will be one of the first schools in New Jersey to openly acknowledge it is enrolling illegal immigrants and allowing them to pay the same tuition rate as other county residents.
(Prior to the policy change CCM had barred illegal aliens from admission to the school.)

The article piqued the interest of our lawyers and investigators, who obtained a copy of the new CCM admissions policy. And sure enough, it clearly states that any illegal alien who graduated from an American high school (or possesses a GED equivalent), is under the age of 35, and has lived in the U.S. for five consecutive years, is eligible for admission. The policy further stipulates that illegal alien students may pay a discounted in-county tuition rate!

Now, as I said earlier, federal law states that unlawfully present aliens generally are ineligible for state or local public benefits, including postsecondary education benefits, such as reduced tuition, unless a state has enacted a law affirmatively providing for such eligibility. The State of New Jersey has enacted no such law. CCM simply decided to act on its own without proper legal authority.

Obviously, we can’t have colleges and universities ignoring federal law because they may have sympathies for a certain student population. And it is our hope that after considering the federal statutes at issue that the Board of Trustees will bring its tuition policy in line with federal law when it “reevaluates” that policy next week. Our challenge to CCM is not the first attempt we have made to stop institutions of higher education from doling out perks to illegal aliens. (And it won’t be the last, as we are considering similar challenges in other states, including Utah and California.) You may recall that on January 20, 2011, Judicial Watch filed a taxpayer lawsuit against the Board of Trustees of Maryland’s Montgomery College for unlawfully allowing discounted “in county” tuition rates for students who graduate from Montgomery County public high schools, regardless of their place of residency or immigration status.

The lawsuit argued that Montgomery College’s tuition policy violates both Maryland and federal law and places a substantial financial burden on Montgomery County taxpayers, who subsidize the cost of students attending the community college. Judicial Watch filed the lawsuit on behalf of Montgomery County taxpayers Michael Lee Philips, Patricia Fenati and David Drake in the Circuit Court for Montgomery County. In an attempt to moot the legal challenge, the Maryland legislature passed legislation this week authorizing illegal aliens to obtain taxpayer-funded in-state tuition benefits. (Liberals run the Maryland State Legislature so this did not come is a big surprise.) The good news is that this affront to the rule of law may be subject to a voter referendum. I expect that regular Maryland voters may wonder why their state politicians (and the radical illegal alien advocates behind them) would waste tax dollars this way. As I wrote the Washington Post:

[T]o use millions in tax dollars to provide these individuals tuition benefits not available to lawful U.S. residents (including legal immigrants) who live outside Maryland is a waste of limited resources.

If the rule of law means anything, states will not use tax money to provide aid and comfort to those who reside here in knowing violation of the law. And if the goal of Maryland legislators is to help individuals violate federal and state laws regarding illegal immigration, there are cheaper ways to do it.

Judicial Watch tries to leave no stone unturned when it comes to confronting sanctuary cities and states that roll out the welcome mat for illegal aliens (with the full endorsement of the Obama administration.) SOURCE: BigGovernment.com

April 20, 2011

Gay Suicide in the U.S., By Region

As the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth, The Trevor Project has served the needs of LGBTQ youth at a dark moment in their lives for the past 13 years -- offering hope and expertise when few others are can.

The findings in Dr. Hatzenbuehler's recently published study in Pediatrics largely mirror what we have learned through the Trevor Lifeline regarding social environments and the risk for suicide among LGTBQ youth -- namely that young people who live in areas with a more negative sociopolitical climate towards LGBTQ young people and without affirming resources are at an increased risk for suicide when compared with their peers in more supportive environments.

More than 70 percent of the thousands of calls to the 24/7 Trevor Lifeline originate in the southern and central regions of the United States, where there are traditionally fewer legal protections, in- and out-of-school support services and accepting environments for LGBTQ young people. While there are wonderful programs in these areas that do excellent work, some youth in these areas receive less support and face tougher challenges in their communities and schools. SOURCE: Huffington Post

Montgomery County Neighborhood News

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 needs donated 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.

Bethesda-Chevy Chase (B-CC) Regional Services Center (RSC) sponsors Blood Drive Tuesday, May 24, 2011 The American Red Cross will be holding a blood drive on Tuesday, May 24, 2011 from 09:00 AM-03:00 PM at Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemore Lane 2nd floor. For your convenience we are offering the ability to schedule your appointment online by clicking www.membersforlife.org/rccm/mobilesch/login.php?sponsorcode=16985 or please call: 1-800-RED CROSS sponsor code 16985. For further information contact Richard on 240-777-8207.

Police arrest three students for arson, fire damage destroys student work

Police arrested two juniors and a senior, all males, April 11 for their involvement in the arson last Friday and another arson case at White Flint neighborhood park March 20.

Police charged 19-year-old senior Wyatt Dentel as an adult with assistance in the Whitman arson, according to the automated fire marshal investigators’ media line. He is currently held at the Montgomery County correctional facility.

In addition, police charged the two 17-year-old juniors with second degree arson, first degree malicious burning and malicious destruction of property for both the April 8 Whitman arson and the White Flint neighborhood park fire. The juveniles’ detainment has yet to be determined.

Dentel was also charged as an adult with second degree arson, first degree malicious burning and malicious destruction of property for the White Flint neighborhood park fire.

Montgomery County fire marshal investigators, security camera footage, tips from students and other evidence helped the administration identify the three Whitman students.

“We are happy to have identified the perpetrators and have a sense of relief that we can now move on to more positive things,” principal Alan Goodwin said.

At around 11:45 p.m. Friday night, the three students used a rock to break a window in art teacher Nancy Mornini’s room. They then poured gasoline into the classroom and ignited the gasoline. The sprinkler system immediately doused the fire but left up to four inches of water in neighboring classrooms. Some damaged classrooms will be ready for students by Wednesday, while others won’t be ready until after spring break. SOURCE: Black & White

O’Malley touts latest blue crab estimate

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday pointed to a new estimate of the Chesapeake Bay’s blue crab population, saying it was more evidence of the wisdom of controversial limits imposed on harvesting in 2008. The latest figure of 460 million was down from 658 million a year ago, when officials touted an extraordinary comeback. But O’Malley and others gathered at a news conference at a crab house in Riva, Md., attributed that to a deep freeze this winter that killed an unusually large number of crabs in the bay.

“The crab population is coming back,” O’Malley (D) said. “Overall, we are moving forward.”

The crab, a key part of both the bay’s ecosystem and the region’s seafood economy, had been rapidly declining during the 2000s, with its population reaching a low of 249 million in 2007, the year O’Malley took office. O’Malley said the population figure announced Tuesday, from an annual winter dredge survey, was the second-highest since 1997 and represented the third year in a row officials have exceeded their goal. SOURCE: Washington Post

April 19, 2011

'Happy Days' Cast Members Sue CBS

(NewsCore) - LOS ANGELES -- Former "Happy Days" cast members filed a lawsuit against CBS Tuesday, claiming they were deprived profits from merchandise emblazoned with their image, The Washington Post reported. Though the show ended in the early 80s, "Happy Days" memorabilia, including t-shirts, comic books and even casino slot machines, has continued to do well with consumers. In the $10 million lawsuit filed in Los Angeles, select actors from the show claimed they deserve a percent of the profits from the sale of the items, according to their contracts.

"We agree that funds are owed to the actors and have been working with them for quite some time to resolve the issue," CBS said in a statement to CNN, adding that they believed the damages totaled in the thousands not millions of dollars.

The plantiffs in the case include Marion Ross (Marion Cunningham), Anson Williams (Potsie), Don Most (Ralph Malph), Erin Moran (Joanie Cunningham) and the estate of the late Tom Bosley (Howard Cunningham). The better known stars of the show -- Henry Winkler (Fonz), director Ron Howard (Richie Cunningham) and Scott Baio (Chachi Arcola) -- are not participating in the case. SOURCE: FOX

Montgomery County Council to block Leggett's $4m Costco deal

Montgomery County Council members have quietly formed a coalition to block a $4 million grant to lure big-box retailer Costco to Wheaton, effectively gutting the centerpiece of a push by County Executive Ike Leggett to revitalize the area amid concerns about lavishing major retailers with taxpayer dollars while slashing public services. Leggett pushed the contentious deal through the previous council, saying the sweetener was needed to transform a pocket riddled with strip malls, shuttered stores and an array of economic ventures that never materialized.

Leggett placed the funding in his proposed budget beginning next fiscal year. And now, the majority of the council is against the multimillion-dollar grant to bring Costco to the Westfield Wheaton Shopping Mall.

"Westfield Mall has gazillions of dollars," said Councilman Marc Elrich, D-at large. "The idea we're giving them $4 million more -- no way. They're going to make a freaking fortune on Costco. They need to suck it up and deal with it."

Behind the scenes, Leggett has been lobbying council members opposed to the deal, furious they would even consider backing out of the agreement with Westfield, according to multiple county officials.

Leggett has said Costco would generate more than $1 million annually for the county's tax coffers.

However, council members said they simply could not justify the expense amid substantial cutbacks in transportation, public safety, and parks and libraries.

"I know that it would be a challenge for me to support something I felt was a misuse of taxpayer dollars, even if the previously council did it," said Councilman Craig Rice, D-Germantown, who added he would vote against the grant.

Patrick Lacefield, a spokesman for Leggett, said abandoning the subsidy would put the Costco deal "in jeopardy" and undermine the county's credibility with investors.

"We have moved ahead on this," he said. "This would require us to break a deal. This is not a money taker from the county. What you have to do in times like this -- you have to make investments."

Some nearby residents and county planners have balked at the deal, arguing the bulk-goods retailer would add urban sprawl rather than foster a walkable community near a Metro station.

For their part, Costco's backers expect the deal to go forward.

"The agreement is in place, and was negotiated in good faith," said Westfield spokeswoman Katy Dickey. "The expectation is that the county will follow through on its promise."

SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner’s Statement on BRAC Funding

Release ID: 11-092
Release Date: 4/18/2011
Contact: 240-777-7828
From: Office of Roger Berliner

Thanks Members of Congress for Helping Obtain Funding For Needed Transportation Improvements in National Naval Medical Center Area of Bethesda

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 18, 2011—Montgomery County Vice President Roger Berliner (who represents District 1 that includes Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac) today saluted U.S. Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin and Congressman Chris Van Hollen for their efforts to obtain $300 million in the Continuing Resolution that passed last week to ease BRAC (Defense Base Realignment and Closure)-related congestion around the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and near other communities with BRAC-impacted facilities.

The complete text of Council Vice President Berliner’s statement:

Today we are here in large measure to pay tribute to Team Maryland—Congressman Van Hollen and Senators Mikulski and Cardin—for their tenacious and hard fought victory to secure critically needed federal funds to mitigate the impact of expanding a major federal facility.

While our Congressional delegation recognized early on that it truly is the responsibility of the Department of Defense to address the traffic impacts of the new National Naval Medical Center that recognition was not necessarily shared by either the Defense Department or Congress as a whole. Through their sheer perseverance, they secured the federal funds we need to make major transit and road improvements to offset the impact of twice as many visitors going to this critical facility.

Everyone knows that this particular portion of our community is already in gridlock. Doubling the number of trips in an area already choking on traffic could be a potential nightmare. These federal dollars will ease our communities concerns and allow us to welcome our wounded warriors and their families without reservation.

Thank you Team Maryland.

One person struck, killed by train in Gaithersburg

A person was hit by a train and killed near the county fairgrounds in Gaithersburg today, police said. Police do not yet know the identity or gender of the person who was struck at 1:22 p.m., said Officer Amy Daum, spokeswoman for Montgomery County Police. The crossings at North Summit Avenue and Chestnut Street are expected to be closed through the afternoon, Daum said. The person was hit by a CSX train between Summit Avenue and Chestnut Street, Daum said. A representative from CSX was not immediately available for comment. SOURCE: Gazette

Former Md. governor, Baltimore mayor dies

Former Md. Governor, Baltimore Mayor William Donald Schaefer Dies: MyFoxDC.com

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — For decades, former Maryland Gov. William Donald Schaefer guided massive public works and economic development projects which rejuvenated his beloved hometown of Baltimore, wielding a personality that was occasionally combative and always vivacious and determined. Even while he was pushing the construction of two new major league stadiums in Downtown Baltimore and the development which transformed a barren waterfront into a tourist destination, Schaefer was still accessible by the people he governed as four-term mayor and two-term governor.

"So he showed up at all these routine groundbreakings and he would wear the silly hat, he would make the funny face, he would stick his tongue out at the reporters," said Schaefer's former press secretary, Bob Douglas. "He was elevating the routine into the special."

Schaefer died Monday at his home at the Charlestown retirement community outside Baltimore, said former aide Lainy LeBow-Sachs. She said she was holding his hand at the end. He was 89.

Schaefer had been hospitalized for five days with pneumonia earlier this month. At his first Cabinet meeting as governor in 1987, Douglas recalled Schaefer scrawling his edict in black marker on a board: "Help People."

Asked in a 1993 interview how he wanted to be remembered, Schaefer replied: "Simple words, 'He cared.' That's all. I cared. Each person was individually important to me." He approached every task with intensity. His philosophy was summed up by his two favorite phrases: "Do it now" and "Time is not on our side."

Gov. Martin O'Malley ordered Monday that flags be flown at half-staff. O'Malley said Schaefer "demonstrated an unrelenting drive to make Maryland a better place. "William Donald Schaefer loved his city and his state with great exuberance because there was nothing more important to him than the people that he served with such loyalty."

Schaefer was mayor from 1971 to 1986 and battled to fill potholes as mayor and never missed an opportunity to tout his hometown, even jumping in a seal pool while wearing a turn-of-the century bathing suit and holding a rubber ducky to promote a new aquarium.

The Democrat was a Maryland political icon who held statewide office into his 80s. But his brashness and unpredictability made for a tumultuous two terms as governor, starting in 1987. Fellow politicians and citizens who did not agree with him felt his wrath.

Schaefer disliked being called a "bricks-and-mortar" politician. But he built his reputation as a man who got things done with projects such as Baltimore's Inner Harbor and a new stadium for the Orioles baseball team. The biggest gift Schaefer gave the city was his spirit, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake said Monday night as she stood near a statue of Schaefer at the Inner Harbor.

"He gave Baltimore city a spirit of possibilities, a spirit that we had a promising future," she said. "If you looked around at the Baltimore that he saw, there were a lot of reasons to be skeptical about the future of Baltimore. He used all of his strength, his political acumen, his personality, his drive to grow our city."

Schaefer's success as mayor helped him to a landslide victory in the 1986 gubernatorial race, when he got 82 percent of the vote. But the unconventional leadership style and prickly personality that made him a popular mayor did not work well at the state level.

When citizens criticized him in letters to newspapers or calls to radio shows, Schaefer called them on the phone or wrote them nasty letters.

He infuriated Eastern Shore residents by making an offhand joke likening their farming region to an outhouse.

He was impatient and demanding, often feuding with fellow elected officials who did not do what he wanted fast enough.

"He's quite autocratic. Everything has to be done his way," said former Sen. Julian Lapides, a Baltimore Democrat. During an uneasy four-year hiatus from public life, the retired governor missed the spotlight and a forgiving electorate welcomed him back in 1998 as state comptroller.

It did not take long for the old Schaefer to emerge. He quickly renewed a feud with then-Gov. Parris Glendening, criticizing him as they sat side by side at Board of Public Works meetings.

While Schaefer's loose tongue enlivened meetings, it also got him in trouble. He made headlines in 2006 after telling a 24-year-old female aide to walk past him again in a public meeting to ogle her backside. He also made news that year for criticizing the expense of educating illegal immigrants.

Schaefer ended up losing the Democratic primary in his re-election bid months later, coming in third in a three-way race.

His declining health in recent years meant few public appearances. On his 88th birthday, he attended a dedication of a statue in his honor at Baltimore's Inner Harbor.

A Baltimore resident through and through, Schaefer was born in the city Nov. 2, 1921. He was educated in the city's public schools and attended the University of Baltimore, getting a bachelor's degree in 1942.

Schaefer started out on a legal career that was put on hold when he joined the Army during World War II and administered hospitals in England. After the war, he resumed his legal career in real estate law. He earned a law degree in 1954 from the University of Baltimore School of Law and had a practice with two colleagues. He won his first election in 1955 as a Baltimore City Council member. He became council president in 1967. Despite his prominence, Schaefer remained a man of simple tastes. He lived most of his life in the small city row house where he grew up before moving to a modest house in Anne Arundel County between Baltimore and Annapolis.

Schaefer never married, and seemed to be wedded to his work. But he maintained a relationship for many years with Hilda Mae Snoops, who was his frequent companion and hostess at the governor's mansion. She died in 1999. "I've always gotten the feeling that he never got much out of life personally," Lapides said. "He was totally devoted to public service, and with the passage of time, there are going to be more pluses than minuses on his record."

Schaefer will lie in repose Monday at the State House and April 26 at Baltimore's City Hall. His funeral will be on April 27 at the Old St. Paul's Church in Baltimore, and he will be buried later that afternoon at Dulaney Valley Memorial Gardens, said Douglas, his former press secretary. SOURCE: AP

Report: Suspect in Violent Athletic Store Death Puzzles Investigators

The charges against her are shocking, but to some, they're simply unbelievable. Police say Brittany Norwood became so enraged when Jayna Murray discovered she had stolen from the high-end Maryland athletic store where they worked that she allegedly proceeded to beat Murray to death inside the store March 11. But those who know Norwood say it's difficult to comprehend that the bubbly, helpful athlete could be capable of a brutal murder.

"In the four years I knew Brittany, I never saw her upset, never saw her angry at anyone," Glentis Michel, a friend of Norwood's from New York's Stony Brook University, where Norwood was a soccer star, told The Washington Post. "She always had a big smile on her face."

Norwood had no violent history and is consistently described as friendly and upbeat. So investigators and friends of the 28-year-old woman are struggling to understand how she could have lost it so severely inside the Bethesda, Md., store that she crushed the skull and severed the spine of her co-worker, the Post says. Norwood's teammates from her college soccer team have said she had a reputation for petty theft but was never overly aggressive.

"It's beyond belief," Norwood's father, Earl Norwood, told the paper.

The father, who used to watch his daughter's soccer games near the family home in Kent, Wash., said he could not imagine a scenario in which Brittany would kill another human being. And making matters more vexing, investigators told the Post they believe Norwood and Murray had had no previous confrontation.

STATEMENT Of Comptroller Peter Franchot On The Passing Of Governor William Donald Schaefer

“William Donald Schaefer was an icon and a true Maryland treasure. His tenacity and forceful advocacy on behalf of all Marylanders will forever serve as guidance to me as comptroller. His compassion and steadfast commitment to his community should serve as a role model to all public servants and to all Marylanders, as well.

Whether as mayor, governor or comptroller, William Donald Schaefer was never satisfied with the status quo and always believed government was there to create a climate of opportunity for all citizens. No detail was too small to escape his notice and nothing was beneath him when it came to fulfilling his lifelong goal of ‘Helping People’. His legacy of a thriving Inner Harbor and downtown Baltimore, of a progressive and more compassionate and efficient state government will live on for generations. We all will remember and miss Governor Schaefer. While this is a difficult time for his friends and all Marylanders who loved him and cherish his legacy, we can celebrate a life well lived and over 50 years of unequaled public service.”

Media Contact: Christine Feldmann, 443-336-0215

Congratulations to Morgan Amat (’10) for winning the Cherry Blossom photo contest

April 18, 2011

Framework for Deficit Reduction

Today, President Obama gave a speech at the George Washington University and laid out his plan for a balanced approach to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over twelve years, based on the values of shared responsibility and shared prosperity. The President’s approach borrows from the Bipartisan Fiscal Commission and builds on $1 trillion in deficit reductions in the President’s 2012 budget. President Obama's approach falls into four main areas, which are summed up in the graphic below:

Va. Nuclear Power Plant Shuts Down After Storm

Dominion Virginia Power reports that an apparent tornado touched down on the switchyard supporting the Surry Power Station and the facility's access road Saturday. The storm cut off the electrical feed from the grid to the station, which is located in Surry County, Va. Both reactors at the station shut down automatically as designed and backup diesel generators started immediately to provide the electricity necessary to maintain both units.

A spokesperson for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission says no release of radioactive material occurred beyond minor releases associated with normal station operations. That release is below federally approved operating limits and poses no threat to station workers or the public, the NRC said in a statement released Sunday.

The apparent tornado did not strike the two nuclear units, which are designed to withstand natural events such as tornadoes, hurricanes and earthquakes. Power company personnel and NRC staff are working to restore full electrical service to the station. SOURCE: NBC

Life tips, by man who lived to 114

The world's oldest man has died at the age of 114. Walter Breuning's earliest memories were from 111 years ago when he was three, of his grandfather's tales of the American civil war. He revealed his rules for a long life shortly before dying in Montana. They are: embrace change; eat two meals a day; work as long as you can; help others, and don't fear death "because you're born to die". He was the world's second-oldest person. Besse Cooper of Georgia was born 26 days earlier. SOURCE: This is London

Spring in Bethesda by Mark Mortin

Every year there is one special day when the cherry blossoms have passed their peak, when the wind and temperature are just right and you can stand under a canopy of cherry trees while the white and pink blossoms fall around you like snow.

Police seek suspects in armed Chevy Chase carjacking

Police are looking for two men wanted in an armed Monday morning carjacking in Chevy Chase. Two men approached a black Audi A4 on the 4500 block of Willard Avenue at about 5:45 a.m. and demanded the vehicle, Montgomery County police said. One of the men was armed with a handgun.

The driver got out of the vehicle, and the suspects fled in the car toward the District, police said. The driver wasn't hurt. The suspects are described as black men who are about 5 feet 9 inches tall. Both were wearing dark clothing. The car is a 2010 four-door black Audi A4 with the Maryland license plate 6FW N44. It is a rental car and has the phrase "courtesy car" around the tag. Anyone with information is asked to call police at 240-773-5100 or Crime Solvers at 1-866-411-8477. SOURCE: Washington Examiner

Boy Scouts Rescued After Being Stranded By High Water

Boy Scouts Rescued After Being Stranded By High Water: MyFoxDC.com

WHITE'S FERRY, Md. - Montgomery County fire officials have rescued a group of Boy Scouts who became trapped by high water while camping near White's Ferry. Assistant Fire Chief Scott Graham said Monday morning that fourteen Boy Scouts and six of their advisers who were camping overnight were unable to leave a campground site due to high water surrounding them. None of the scouts were injured. Heavy rain over the weekend has resulted in flooded rivers and streams. A Coastal Flood Warning in effect until midnight Monday.

Georgetown Waterfront Floods, Buildings Evacuated

Habitat for Humanity 6th Annual Golf Classic

GAITHERSBURG, MD – April 18, 2011 –Habitat for Humanity of Montgomery County, MD, Inc. (HFH-MC) is gearing up for its 6th Annual Golf Classic on Friday, June 3rd. HFH-MC hosts this event annually as its largest fundraising endeavor. This year funds raised will go towards the rehabilitation efforts of vacant, distressed homes as part of the Neighborhood Revitalization Program (NRP). Funds raised will also contribute to the Weatherization Program, which provides free basic weatherization services to increase energy efficiency in older homes for low-income Montgomery County homeowners.

In the past five years, the Golf Classic was a sold out event, and we are hoping to continue this tradition. Players enjoy the challenge of Whiskey Creek’s award winning course, share a day networking with colleagues and more importantly, learn about the work of HFH-MC and the dedicated sponsors that support it. There are a number of ways to participate in the Golf classic as a sponsor, raffle or silent auction donor, or as a player. Visit http://www.habitat-mc.org/events/golf.html to see sponsorship packages.

HFH-MC 6th Annual Golf Classic

Friday, June 3, 2011

Whiskey Creek Golf Club 4804 Whiskey Court Ijamsville, MD 21754

This event requires registration for the public and is open to the media. HFH-MC staff, board, volunteers and sponsors will be available for photos and interviews. To register, please contact Debbie Hayden at 301-990-0014 x 13 or via email at debbie.hayden@habitat-mc.org.

Montgomery Council Committees to Discuss FY12 Operating Budget Requests for Police, School Resource Officers, Recreation. Also on Friday, April 15: Ur

Release ID: 11-091
Release Date: 4/14/2011
Contact: Neil Greenberger 240-777-7939 or Delphine Harriston240-777-7931
From: Council Office

ROCKVILLE, Md., April 14, 2011—The Montgomery County Council’s Public Safety Committee and its Education Committee 1:30 p.m. on Friday, April 15, will meet jointly to review the operating budget request for Fiscal Year 2012 concerning School Resource Officers. County Executive Isiah Leggett’s recommended budget would abolish the program that places police officers in schools and would redeploy nine officers currently in those positions to other duties.

The Public Safety Committee, which is chaired by Phil Andrews and includes Councilmembers Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich, and the Education Committee, which is chaired by Councilmember Valerie Ervin and includes Councilmembers Andrews and Craig Rice, will meet in the Seventh Floor Hearing 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 recommendation to abolish the School Resource Officers program would reduce expenditures in FY12 by $1,050,080. The program that places officers in schools, originally called the Educational Facilities Officers (EFO) program, was established for the 2003-04 school year with a $4 million grant that was used to hire 32 new police officers in high schools and middle schools. The program has been gradually reduced as the County has faced increasing budget pressures in recent years.

After its review of the proposed budget, the joint committees 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 2:30 p.m., the Public Safety Committee will hold a worksession on the operating budget request of the Police Department. That meeting also will be televised live by 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 Nancy Navarro and includes Councilmembers Ervin and Hans Riemer, will discuss the budget requests of the Office of the Inspector General, the Department of General Services and the Office of Intergovernmental Relations.

At 9:30 a.m. in the Seventh Floor Hearing Room, the Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee, which is chaired by Nancy Floreen and includes Councilmembers Elrich and George Leventhal, will review the operating budget request of the Department of Recreation. County Executive Leggett has recommended that the recreation budget be decreased by 5.5 percent from the FY11 original approved budget. If the recommendation is approved, it would mean that the Department of Recreation’s overall expenditures will have declined by 21.8 percent since FY08 and the number of career staff in that period would have been reduced by 42.3 percent.

The County Executive’s recommendations would eliminate youth flag football and T ball sports programs, but would retain funding for youth basketball programs. Teen special events would be eliminated. The PHED Committee also will hold a worksession on the operating budget request for the County’s Urban Districts that were created to promote activities that benefit residential and commercial interests in the Bethesda, Silver Spring and Wheaton areas.

Income Tax Returns Due Monday April 18 by Midnight

WASHINGTON - Monday is the deadline for filing for federal taxes. Why April 18 this year instead of April 15? It's because the District of Columbia observed Emancipation Day on Friday. Abraham Lincoln signed the law that ended slavery in the District on April 16, 1862. He didn't sign the Emancipation Proclamation freeing all slaves for another eight months. Since April 16 fell on Saturday, the holiday was moved to Friday. By law, local holidays in the nation's capital impact tax deadlines the same way federal holidays do. States usually follow the federal deadline.

Maryland Post Offices

-Hampton Park Post Office - 9201 Edgeworth Drive, Capital Hts., MD 9:00 AM - 8:00 PM -Suburban Plant Finance - 16501 Shady Grove Rd Gaithersburg, MD 7:30 AM - 8:00 PM SOURCE: FOX

Mikulski, Cardin, to Announce Brac Funds

BETHESDA, Md. (AP) Maryland's senators are announcing $300 million for traffic improvements related to military base realignment. Sen. Barbara Mikulski and Sen. Benjamin Cardin will visit the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda on Monday to make the announcement. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Patrick O'Neil, who is chairman of the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, also are expected to attend. The money will be used to help alleviate congestion at traffic hot spots near the National Naval Medical Center in Bethesda and Fort Belvoir in Alexandria, Va. It will pay for improvements to surrounding roads, including Maryland 355 and upgrades to the Medical Center Metro station.