Monday, December 21, 2009

Officials Ask Residents and Businesses to Assist Disabled and Elderly in Removing Sidewalk Snow

Montgomery County officials ask residents and business owners to assist disabled and elderly residents who may need help in clearing snow and ice from their sidewalks. County law requires all residential and commercial property owners to clear their public sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm.

All residents are strongly encouraged to be good neighbors by clearing the sidewalks in front of their homes, as well as assisting those who may not be physically able to do so.

For more information or the latest snow-related updates, go to the County's website at Montgomery County's Highway Services, Department of Transportation, continues to staff its Call Center to respond to residents’ road-related questions and concerns at 240-777-6000.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Watch Out for Pedestrians!

Montgomery County officials are urging drivers to be especially alert for pedestrians walking in the roads because of snow-covered sidewalks. Drivers should also be cautious when pulling out of side streets onto main roads.

Pedestrians should:

• Be careful crossing the street.
• Wear appropriate shoes and brightly colored clothing while walking in snowy or icy conditions.
• Be cautious of slippery crosswalks and sidewalks.
• Be aware that drivers may have difficulty maneuvering or stopping their vehicles.
• Wear reflective clothing or stickers for maximum protection, especially at dawn and dusk.
• Make sure vehicles are stopped and that they are seen by drivers before proceeding in front of them.

Some other safety tips for residents who are clearing snow and Ice are:

• Slippery driveways and sidewalks can be hazardous. Keep them well shoveled and apply abrasive materials to improve traction.
• When shoveling snow, avoid overexertion. Take frequent breaks.
• If snow has covered fire hydrants, shovel it away so firefighters can easily locate them in the event of an emergency.

Montgomery County law requires that all residential and commercial property owners clear their public sidewalks within 24 hours of the end of a snowstorm.

For more information or the latest snow-related updates, go to the County's website at Montgomery County’s Highway Maintenance Section, Department of Transportation, continues to staff its Call Center to respond to residents’ road-related questions and concerns at 240-777-6000.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Emergency Declared for Montgomery County

Maryland State Police declared a Snow Emergency for Montgomery County, and County officials are urging residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. The snow emergency means that cars parked in designated snow emergency routes will be towed, and fire officials are asking residents to help identify and clear fire hydrants in their neighborhoods.

County snow removal crews are concentrating their efforts on more than 4,000 lane miles of County-maintained residential roadways and nearly 1,000 lane miles of primary/arterial roadways, with particular emphasis on maintaining access to the County’s five hospitals. Officials also report that all County facilities are closed on Saturday, December 19 and Sunday, December 20, including public schools, libraries and recreation centers. In addition, all events and activities scheduled to be held in public facilities on both days have been canceled.

As part of the snow emergency declaration, residents are asked to move vehicles parked in snow emergency routes. Vehicles not moved will be towed. Under this declaration, vehicles on the road must have all-weather or snow tires or chains, and taxi cabs operating in Montgomery County are allowed to charge $1.00 extra per trip.

Citizens in need of police or fire emergency services should contact 911. Non-emergency calls should be directed to 301-279-8000. Residents in need of shelter services or in crisis should contact the County’s Crisis Center at 240-777-4000. For more information about the County’s snow removal operations, call the Division of Highway Services at 240-777-6000 or go to .

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Pictures from Silver Spring's Thanksgiving Parade

From humble beginnings, a modest philanthropist - Gazette

Choice Hotels, ManorCare founder honored for giving

Stewart Bainum's Commonweal Foundation gives millions to help disadvantaged students.
By Jason Tomassini | The Gazette | Thursday, November 26, 2009

Stewart Bainum's empire began 73 years ago with $3 and a cardboard suitcase.

Bainum, 17 at the time, had been kicked out of his private high school outside Cincinnati because he couldn't afford the tuition.

So he took whatever money and belongings he had, hitchhiked to the Washington area after a recommendation from a friend, found a job as a plumber's assistant and made enough money to go back and get his high school diploma from the school that had tossed him.

"One day I was holding the suitcase too close to the road, and a car hit it," said Bainum, the founder of Choice Hotels International and ManorCare nursing homes. "I had to piece it all back together."

Things never came easily for him, Bainum, 90, said. But he has dedicated much of his life to making things simpler for others.

After making his fortune from Choice Hotels and ManorCare, Bainum began funding the Commonweal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that gives about $12 million per year of Bainum family money to scholarships and educational programs for disadvantaged students.

Last week, the Montgomery County Community Foundation recognized Bainum as the county's philanthropist of the year, honoring the man not for his considerable wealth but for the way he used it.

After years of haggling, Fillmore nears fruition - Washington Post

New deal could lead to a concert hall in downtown Silver Spring

By Michael Laris | Washington Post Staff Writer | Saturday, November 14, 2009

On one hand, you have Devo, Sonic Youth, Los Lobos, the Pixies and the world's biggest concert promoter, Live Nation.

On the other, $4 million from Montgomery County taxpayers, millions more from the state and a host of uncommon legal guarantees for a longtime Maryland developer.

Together, that monster mash of music, cash and governmental wriggling could finally come together, after a deal late Thursday and years of haggling, to build a Fillmore-branded concert hall in downtown Silver Spring at the site of an abandoned J.C. Penney store on Colesville Road.

Fillmore deal to bring music to Silver Spring - Gazette

Some neighbors strike dissonant notes, fearing clogged traffic and higher rents

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Nov. 18, 2009

After months of patiently — and at times impatiently — waiting for Montgomery County and Lee Development Group to announce an agreement paving the way for a Fillmore music venue in downtown Silver Spring, residents finally got word of the deal late Thursday night.

But questions still remain about the transparency of the negotiations, how the Fillmore will impact the downtown and whether nearby businesses can survive increased rent.

Elementary students will shift schools to ease overcrowding - Gazette

Some parents fear move will fracture fledgling sense of community

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

Some students at East Silver Spring Elementary School will be reassigned to Sligo Creek Elementary School next year to manage class sizes at Sligo Creek, but East Silver Spring parents fear the move will fracture a growing community just beginning to unite.

The Montgomery County Board of Education voted to reassign about 25 East Silver Spring Elementary students to Sligo Creek Elementary School, a kindergarten through fifth-grade school in Silver Spring, beginning next school year. The BOE also voted to reassign students living in the City of Takoma Park but attending Sligo Creek to Takoma Park and Piney Branch elementary schools in Takoma Park to alleviate overcrowding at Sligo Creek.

County-funded team to address pedestrian safety along dangerous route - Gazette

by Jeremy Arias | Staff writer | Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2009

A rubbery screech echoed along Piney Branch Road in front of Eastern Carryout as a dark-green minivan hit the brakes too late at a red light and skidded part of the way into the intersection, blocking the crosswalk. Officer Norman Brissett quickly walked up to the vehicle and leaned in to talk with the driver.

A light rain wet the pavement along the busy road as impatient pedestrians and speedy drivers played a deadly game of hit-or-miss that has made this stretch of Piney Branch – between Flower Avenue and the Prince George's County border – the road with the highest number of pedestrian collisions in Montgomery County.

Residents lobby for Purple Line station - Gazette

Some fear stop would stir up quiet community along Dale Drive

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

The light-rail vs. bus rapid-transit Purple Line debate has finally been settled, but it's clear residents along Dale Drive in Silver Spring still have work to do, lobbying Monday night for a Purple Line station, and the transit-related amenities they say will come with it, to be placed in their neighborhood.

County officials and planners have told Maryland Transit Authority officials they are unsure about including a light-rail station at Dale Drive and Wayne Avenue along the Purple Line, a 16-mile, $1.5 billion mass-transit route that would connect downtown Bethesda to New Carrolton via Silver Spring. MTA included the Dale Drive station in the original Purple Line design, but county officials and planners weren't sure the station would yield positive ridership numbers.

School meetings to discuss redistricting elementaries - Gazette

Sligo Creek Elementary lobbied against bigger classes

Talk of the Town | Jason Tomassini | November 11, 2009

Parents of students at Sligo Creek Elementary School in Silver Spring have successfully lobbied the county Board of Education to consider new enrollment boundaries that would prevent larger class sizes at the school, as the board also considers recommendations from the school system superintendent.

Sligo Creek Park considers culling deer - Gazette

Park's booming population tramples ecosystem

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2009

One day in 2007, after a morning spent at Sligo Creek Park removing invasive plants so the native plants could survive, Sally Gagne took a moment to relax and look back on the acre of parkland she had proudly worked on to save.

Her pride quickly turned to panic.

"I couldn't believe how little was left," said Gagne, a Silver Spring resident and founder of the Friends of Sligo Creek, a local citizens group dedicated to improving the quality of the Sligo Creek Watershed, which covers 11.6 square miles from Wheaton to Hyattsville. "There were very few young trees and even fewer native plants."

A new adversary – a rapidly increasing deer population in Sligo Creek – had gotten to the plot before Gagne could, eating all of the native plants and saplings. The deer problem was bad in 2007, Gagne said, and is even worse now. And for the first time, FOSC is debating whether to cull the deer population in Sligo Creek before the entire ecosystem is ruined.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Assault on Sligo Creek Stream Valley Trail in Takoma Park: Police Need Your Help

November 20, 2009 (12:30 a.m.)

On November 19, 2009 between 5:00 and 5:15 p.m. a woman was sexually assaulted on the Sligo Creek Stream Valley Trail in Takoma Park, Maryland. A man grabbed the victim as she jogged the trail and forced her into a wooded area where he sexually assaulted her. The assault occurred between Maple Avenue and the Carroll Avenue bridge.

The suspect is described as a Hispanic male between 25- 35 years of age, 5'7 to 5'9, medium build, short military style black hair, wearing a heavy long sleeve beige shirt and loose fitting pants.

The Takoma Park Police and The Maryland-National Capital Park Police are jointly investigating this crime. Anyone who was in the area at the time, or has any information about this crime is asked to please call the Takoma Park Police at 301-270-1100.

Catherine E. Plevy
Executive Assistant
Public Information Officer (PIO)
Office of the Chief of Police
7500 Maple Avenue
Takoma Park, Maryland 20912
(301) 891-7142

Monday, November 16, 2009

Tribute to America’s Veterans” benefit concert

The “Tribute to America’s Veterans” benefit concert at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring was a great success!

The concert was sponsored by the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., in partnership with the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs and Building Bridges America, Inc.

Our musical performers--Memphis Gold, Jay Summerour and Jonny Grave—were excellent and warmly received by the enthusiastic audience.

Inspirational Veterans Day remarks were offered by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Commission on Veterans Affairs Chair, Bill Gray.

Montgomery County Council President Phil Andrews and Councilmembers Valerie Ervin and Duchy Trachtenberg presented County Council proclamations to Buffalo Soldiers Joseph Hairston and James Daugherty. Another Buffalo Soldier in the audience, Mr. Charles Williams, was recognized.

A Certificate of Appreciation from County Executive Leggett was presented to Rebuilding Together Montgomery County for its work in helping to make the homes of our veterans safe and accessible.

Seen in the audience were State Delegate Tom and Amy Fortin-Hucker, Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich, Robert Quinn, Chair, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Lorrie Knight-Majors, Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs, Ann Humphrey, Office of Representative Chris Van Hollen, Greg Hamilton, Vietnam Veterans of America, Ida Campbell, WPFW, and community representatives Anita Morrison, Charlotte Coffield, Woody Brosnan, and Evan Glass.

Thanks to Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Board members Jon Lourie, Graciela Jaschek, Aurelia Martin, Mark Kozaki, Don Berkemeyer, Jennifer Nettles, Jack Hewitt, David Fogel, Beth Wong, Sheryl Brissett-Chapman, and Mary Ann Zimmerman for their support and hard work.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

A Tribute to America’s Veterans Concert – November 10, 2009 at 7:30 pm

Please support the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc.’s Tribute to America’s Veterans benefit concert on Tuesday, November 10, 2009 at the Round House Theatre in Silver Spring.

The concert is sponsored by the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., in partnership with the Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs and Building Bridges America, Inc.

This exciting evening of entertainment will feature performances by Silver Spring’s own singer-songwriter Jonny Grave and the dazzling blues duo Memphis Gold and Jay Summerour.

Proceeds from this exciting musical event will benefit, “Rebuilding Together Montgomery,” a non-profit housing organization that assists veterans through home renovations.

There will also special presentations to famed Buffalo Soldiers Joseph Hairston and James Harden Daugherty by members of the Montgomery County Council.

Doors open at 7 pm. The program begins at 7:30 pm.

Please join us for an exciting evening of entertainment to salute our Veterans community in Montgomery County.

The Round House Theatre is located at 8641 Colesville Road, Silver Spring, Maryland.

Tickets are $20.00 each.

For ticket reservations, email or call Alan Bowser at 301-523-6659.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Silver Spring Library - Unveiling of Exterior Views

On October 24, 2009, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg and senior officials unveiled pictures of the exterior views of the new Silver Spring Library. The new Silver Spring Library will be located at the intersection of Wayne Avenue, Fenton Street and Bonifant Street. More than 1,000,000 patrons are expected to use the facility every year.