Thursday, February 26, 2009

Silver Spring Thunderbolts - Adopt a baseball player!

Do you love baseball? Would you like to adopt a college baseball player for the summer?

All you have to do is contact the Silver Spring Thunderbolts, a community baseball team that plays at Blair High School in the wooden bat, Cal Ripken Sr. league. The summer season runs from June through July, and great college players come from all over the country come to play here. The out-of -state players stay with local host families, and they become a fun addition to your family. Some former players, like Jonathan Papelbon, the closer for the Red Sox, have gone on to the major leagues. Imagine telling your friends that you hosted a big leaguer before he made it big!

Host families receive a family pass, good for free admission to all of the Thunderbolt home games, so that you can always go root for your player. If you are interested in hosting a player, and you would like more information, please call Gina Lowe at 301-890-4282, or email her at:

Stop the Violence Concert hosted by Mixed Unity, March 7, 5-9 pm

Stop the Violence Concert hosted by Mixed Unity

What: Free youth concert to promote non-violence and to commemorate the life of Tai Lam.
Where: Downtown Silver Spring Silver Plaza Stage, Ellsworth Drive
When: Saturday, March 7th, 5 – 9pm

Details: On Saturday March 7th, young people from Montgomery County and the surrounding DC metropolitan area will congregate in Downtown Silver Spring to promote messages of nonviolence and peace via a free concert. Mixed Unity, the host of the event, are a group of teens who have come together to produce positive action following the death of Blair High School student Tai Lam in November.

This youth-led initiative is supported by a number of local groups including: Identity, Gap Busters Learning Center, Blair Sports Academy, Street Outreach Network, Asian American LEAD, Maryland Multicultural Youth Center, and Gandhi Brigade. The concert will consist of bands, poets, breakdancers, and motivational speakers along with Grooves from HOT 99.5 as the Master of Ceremony. Downtown Silver Spring, the main sponsor for the concert, invited Montgomery County notables to the event.

For more information about Mixed Unity, contact Lillian Buie at or 301.565.9411.

Downtown Silver Spring, located across from Discovery Communications’ headquarters and two blocks from the Silver Spring MARC station, is a successful urban redevelopment project with 440,000 SF of retail. The Downtown Silver Spring shopping district features an eclectic mix of entertainment, restaurants, retail, offices and a Courtyard Marriott Hotel. From the mosaic tile steps and interactive fountain, to the diversity of the eateries and retail, Downtown Silver Spring brings a new level to shopping, dining and entertainment.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Black History Month Exhibit and Reception at Coffield Community Center

An updated version of the History of Lyttonsville will be on exhibit in the lobby of the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Center through March 15. The exhibit displays a copy of the original deed conveying property in 1853 to Samuel Lytton, a freed slave. It also includes interesting maps, photographs, and numerous other documents and artifacts.

The exhibit can be viewed at the Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Center, 2450 Lyttonsville Road, Silver Spring, MD.

The Lyttonsville Civic Association will host a reception on Friday, February 27, 2009 at 6:30 PM to celebrate Black History Month and the history of the community and invites interested people to join us.

The Center is open from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM Mondays through Thursday; 9:00 AM to 8:00 PM Fridays; 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM Saturdays and noon to 5:00 PM Sundays.

Coffield Center Director, Ronald Martin at 2240-777-4900
Charlotte Coffield Lyttonsville Civic Association, 301-587-5512,
Patricia Tyson, Lyttonsville Civic Association, 301-588-1475,

Silver Spring Regional Services Center Director Named to New General Services Position - Press Release

For Immediate Release: February 19, 2009

Silver Spring Regional Services Center Director
Named to New General Services Position;
Gary Stith Moves to General Service Position,
Acting Director Named for Regional Center

Gary Stith, director of the County’s Silver Spring Regional Services Center for the past eight years, has been selected to fill the new position of Deputy Director of Planning and Special Projects within Montgomery County Department of General Services (DGS).

DGS Director David Dise explained the role of the new position. “We realized that in order to improve our approach to countywide planning and real estate development, we needed a position that would focus on these areas and help the Executive branch work with the County Council and Planning Board on significant land use policy and implementation issues.”

“Given what this new position calls for in terms of experience and skill level, I can think of no one better qualified to serve than Gary Stith,” said Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett. “For the past 16 years, he has been a leader and effective advocate for the Silver Spring community. This is an exciting opportunity for the County,” Leggett said, “and we look forward to Gary’s leadership and insight in this new, important position.”

Commenting on the selection, Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine called Stith “the perfect person for the job” due to his experience in planning and development and “strong skills” in working with the community.

Prior to serving as director of the Silver Spring Center, Stith served five years as Redevelopment Manager for the Silver Spring Redevelopment Program. In this capacity, he oversaw the redevelopment of the core area of Downtown Silver Spring and developed the Urban Renewal Plans that established the County’s authority to develop the project.

“The decision to accept the new position was difficult, but the DGS job will give me the opportunity to take on new challenges,” Stith said. “However, Silver Spring will always have a special place in my heart, and I will still be a Silver Spring resident.”

The Silver Spring Regional Services Center -- one of five such centers around the county -- serves as a liaison between the County government and residents and businesses. Staff members work with local residents, community groups, regional Citizen Advisory Boards and other public agencies to provide information, identify and assess regional problems, and obtain a community perspective on major policy issues.

Stith received a Master’s of City Planning and MA in Public Administration from Ohio State University and a BA in Sociology from Oklahoma State University. He serves on the Public-Private Partnership Council of the Urban Land Institute and is a charter member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. He is a member of the International Downtown Association and National Capital Chapter of the American Planning Association.

Stith will start his new job on March 2.

Acting Director Named

While the search is conducted for a new director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, Roylene Roberts of the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) will serve as acting director.

For the past five years, Roberts has worked in DHCA’s Community Development Division and currently serves as the chief of Neighborhood Revitalization. In this capacity, she coordinates revitalization efforts in several communities and with other departments on behalf of DHCA. Roberts is a member of the Maryland Downtown Development Association Board of Directors and serves on the national Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officers (NAHRO) Community Revitalization and Development Committee.

Prior to coming to Montgomery County, Roberts was director of Regional Assistance with the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

She also has 14 years of experience in municipal government as an administrator in both Maryland and Massachusetts.

“During my tenure with the County,” Roberts said, “I have been very fortunate to meet and work with many community members on a variety of Silver Spring initiatives, and I look forward to strengthening and furthering these working relationships.”

The new director, who will be chosen by County Executive Isiah Leggett, must be approved by the County Council.

# # #

Media Contact: Bonnie Ayers, 240-777-6507

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Crime attacked on three fronts in Montgomery - Gazette

Illegal immigrant offenders, juveniles and prison terms targeted

by Sebastian Montes and C. Benjamin Ford | Staff Writers | Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

Looking to beat back a spike in crime, Montgomery County is rolling out a three-pronged strategy that will add "new tools" to keep violent and repeat criminals off the streets.

Beginning next month, county officers will refer all suspects charged with violent crimes to federal immigration agents for possible deportation. The county is also lobbying state officials to make it harder for chronic juvenile offenders to qualify for release pending trial. And to bring Maryland's penal system in line with most other states, county leaders are backing legislation in Annapolis to require convicted criminals to serve more of their prison terms.

Bridge debate delays finalization of library plan - Gazette

County Council to launch public process to amend Urban Renewal Plan

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

If a 10-year-old revitalization plan drafted for Silver Spring is amended to permit a pedestrian bridge above Wayne Avenue, the Montgomery County Council is likely to approve the proposed span connecting the Wayne parking garage to the Silver Spring Library.

The council will now launch a public amendment process to the 1999 Silver Spring Urban Renewal Plan, which prohibits pedestrian bridges above certain streets in downtown Silver Spring. A pedestrian bridge is included in the council-approved design for the library to ensure safe access for children, seniors and the disabled.

IMPACT ‘neighbors' go door-to-door - Gazette

Nonprofit launches campaign to connect residents with services through ‘go to' representatives

by Amber Parcher | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

As the economy shows few signs of improving and more people need help to live in Montgomery County, a local nonprofit wants to create a go-to person in several neighborhoods who can direct people to the support they need.

The concept's title, Neighbors Supporting Neighbors, is simple, said members of IMPACT Silver Spring, a nonprofit designed to foster community involvement, especially among ethnic groups.

Stabbing in Silver Spring may be gang related - Gazette

Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009

Police believe a stabbing last week in the Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring was gang-related.

Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department's Third District station in Silver Spring responded about 4:44 p.m. Feb. 11 to the area of Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street where they found a 17-year-old male from Silver Spring suffering from stab wounds to his upper body.

Developer denied alley ownership - Gazette

Builder seeking options after complaints at hearing over Fenton Village project

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

In a contentious planning hearing Thursday, two Fenton Village property owners and a developer argued over the impact of a large mixed-use project proposed for the neighborhood, with the county Planning Board rejecting the developer's request to build over alleyways currently serving nearby businesses.

Revenue Authority considers options at Sligo golf course - Gazette

Facility could return to Park and Planning if group decides to terminate lease

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

Pending approval from the County Council and Planning Board, the Montgomery County Revenue Authority will terminate its lease to operate Sligo Creek Golf Course, leaving the future of the Silver Spring course uncertain.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Missing Silver Spring Boy - February 18, 2009

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Family Crimes Division are investigating the disappearance of a missing Silver Spring boy. Darrionte James Hebron was last seen today at approximately 3:45 p.m., in the 9200 block of Columbia Boulevard in Silver Spring.

Darrionte James Hebron is described as a 12-year-old black male, 5’03” to 5’04” tall, and weighs 65 pounds. He was last seen wearing a puffy black jacket, red hooded sweatshirt with a football on the front, yellow short sleeved shirt, dark blue pants, and black and gray shoes. He was also carrying a clear see-through backpack. Darrionte is mentally challenged and functions at an 8 or 9 year old level. He does not take any medication.

Anyone who has information about Darrionte Hebron’s whereabouts is asked to contact the Montgomery County Police Family Crimes Division at 240-773-5400 or the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Agency Looks To End Lease At Sligo Creek Golf Course - Washington Post

Revenue Authority Also In Talks to Run RedGate

By Miranda S. Spivack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, February 12, 2009; GZ01

The Montgomery County Revenue Authority plans to ask the county's Park and Planning agency to allow it to back out of a lease deal at Sligo Creek Golf Course, saying that unless it can build a driving range at the site, the finances won't work.

Police: Stabbing in Silver Spring may be gang-related - Gazette

Wednesday stabbing in Long Branch resulted in serious injury to teenager

Gazette Staff

Police believe a stabbing Wednesday in the Long Branch neighborhood of Silver Spring was gang-related.

Officers from the Montgomery County Police Department's Third District station in Silver Spring responded about 4:44 p.m. to the area of Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street where they found a 17-year-old male from Silver Spring suffering from stab wounds to his upper body.

New SilverPlace site could cut costs, time - Gazette

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

A Bethesda developer has made an offer to county planners that it says could expedite construction and save the county $20 million on the proposed SilverPlace planning headquarters in Silver Spring, but the County Council and Planning Board want more proof of the offer's merits before negotiations can be considered.

Silver Spring Regional Center Director to step down - Gazette

Wednesday, Feb. 11, 2009

Gary Stith to take new job with county Department of General Services; officials begin search for replacement

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

After eight years as director of the Silver Spring Regional Center, Gary Stith will resign to accept a management position with the Montgomery County Department of General Services.

Wayne Avenue pedestrian bridge gets a boost - Gazette

County traffic officials to recommend span that would connect proposed new library with parking garage

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

Traffic officials will recommend a pedestrian bridge linking the Wayne Avenue garage with the new Silver Spring Library after ruling a street-level crosswalk too dangerous. But some residents and planning officials are concerned the bridge would stifle foot traffic in the downtown.

Committee to consider names for new civic building - Gazette

Former county executives suggested; Leggett to have final say

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

The county executive's office will begin the process of naming the new Silver Spring Civic Building after an elected official, with hopes that a work group assigned to the naming can make a decision before the building opens early next year.

The county will form a "naming committee" of officials and citizens to consider prominent officials to name the building after and the committee will then make a recommendation to County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) who will have the final say.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Summary Notes - Neighborhoods Committee Meeting - January 26, 2009

Neighborhoods Committee Meeting
Jan. 26, 2009 – 7:00 pm – Silver Spring Regional Services Center
Summary Notes

Participants: Dwayne Jenkins, Silver Spring Regional Services Center; Megan Moriarty, SSCAB; Jennifer Nettles, Peterson Management; Tony Hausner, Prezco; Luther Hinsley, Avery Park Community Association; Anita Morrison; Kusum Purohit; Ana Puentes; Alev Akbulut; Mary Reardon; Marcie Stickle; Victor Salazar, Weed & Seed; Kathy Stevens, SSCAB; Rukiyat Gilbert, Southern Management; Wayne Goldstein; Maura Lynch, State’s Attorney’s Office.

Megan Moriarty gave an update on the topics covered at the last SSCAB meeting and the Committee’s meeting after introductions. Kathy Stevens explained she and Darian Unger will represent the SSCAB in a meeting with the County Executive to discuss budget priorities on Feb. 3. Megan will circulate the final testimony to the committee.

Community Safety Issues

Victor Salazar gave an overview of the Northwest Park-Oakview Weed and Seed program. Highlights from the first two years of the program include: a decrease in crime due to police overtime funded through Weed and Seed; an expansion of community services offered to area residents. Luther Hinsley, a resident at Avery Park Apartments in the Weed and Seed target area, described his experience with the program including forming a neighborhood watch program. Victor presented the three budget priorities from the steering committee: maximize law enforcement and community policing efforts; provide safe, secure, healthy living environments; preserve community-based services for youth and families. As this is the third year of the five year program, Victor is looking for ways to institutionalize it and have residents assume the responsibility for its work.

Tony Hasner gave an update on the planning for Prezco’s crime prevention summit. The SSCAB and SSRC have agreed to co-sponsor the event with Prezco. They are working with the Governor’s Office of Crime Prevention to design the content and will need to choose focus topics soon, in addition to compiling data. Maura Lynch offered to help with data gathering and Kathy recommended leaving space during the summit for organic ideas to emerge (by using open space technology, for example). The summit is tentatively scheduled for May. The next planning meeting will be: Feb. 3, 7:30pm. Anyone interested in participating should contact Tony.

Action Planning Updates

Ana Puentes, Alev Akbulut and Kusum Purohit presented their collective ideas that emerged after meeting at the Silver Spring Action event in January. They are interested in helping small businesses in Silver Spring by improving their customer service, appearance and branding. Marci Stickle suggested they contact Emily Adelman at LEDC since she recently compiled the Shop Local guide for Silver Spring and knows many of the business owners. Other ideas included: doing mystery shopping at City Place; connecting owners with existing ESL classes; meeting with Aurelia Martin (manager at City Place); and finding ways to connect successful business owners with newer ones. Maura suggested contacting the Liquor Board because they have funds to provide small business training and are doing so in other parts of the County. She also described a group of owners, police and County Code Enforcement employees that meet in the Wheaton CBD on a monthly basis to discuss issues affecting small businesses. Dwayne Jenkins agreed to follow up on this model and see if that could happen in Silver Spring also.

Megan and Dwayne agreed to meet to discuss follow up from the December Youth Action Planning meeting and the idea of integrating youth voices into the SSCAB and Neighborhoods Committee.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Teens: Spare youth programs from cuts - Gazette

Students make their case for continued funding at county executive budget forum

by Robert Dongu | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

With county budget cuts approaching, area teens lobbied County Executive Isiah Leggett for youth program funding at a public forum last week in Silver Spring.

Seeking solutions for teens in Silver Spring - Gazette

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

When the artificial turf at Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street was removed to make way for the Silver Spring Civic Building and Veterans Plaza, youths in downtown Silver Spring lost their hangout spot. Now, teens and adults are discussing options for youths in the downtown area.

With large numbers of teens using Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street as their primary hangout spot, a group of Silver Spring community organizers and property managers formed last year to survey teens about the downtown and brainstorm ideas to make the area more attractive to youth.

Committee supports urgent care facility - Gazette

Council Notes | Jeremy Arias | Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

Increasing health care options for the elderly and maintaining access to quality care for the underinsured are the two biggest health issues facing Takoma Park, according to survey results presented Monday to the City Council.

A focus group concentrating on 58 lower-income, mostly minority residents cited the cost of health care and access for the underinsured as key issues. More affluent residents identified health care for the elderly and the retention of an urgent-care facility on the Washington Adventist Hospital campus as top priorities, according findings released by the council's Health Services Impact Committee.

‘Queer Socials' start a scene in Silver Spring - Gazette

by Amber Parcher | Staff Writer Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

Until about a week ago, the gay community in Silver Spring and outlying areas of Washington, D.C., wasn't really a community at all, said gay activist and Silver Spring resident Dan Furmansky. Popular gay bars in Wheaton, a gay night at a Mexican restaurant in downtown Silver Spring and similar events came and went but never really stuck around, he said.

Edwards vows to revive economy - Gazette

Congresswoman talks budget, Middle East and transportation at town hall meeting

by Suzanne Pollak | Special to The Gazette | Wednesday, Feb. 4, 2009

U.S. Rep. Donna F. Edwards said she will work hard to revive the economy while holding recipients of government funds accountable as the nation struggles through the current recession during a town hall meeting Saturday.

"It is a really difficult time," said Edwards (D-Dist. 4) of Fort Washington during the 90-minute meeting at Silver Spring Library. "People are losing their homes, their jobs. They are unsure of their retirement – just generally struggling."

Long Branch Neighborhood Initiative (LBNI) General Meeting - March 5

Long Branch Neighborhood Initiative (LBNI) General Meeting
Thursday, March 5th, 7:30 p.m., Community Lounge
Long Branch Community Center

Maura Lynch, Assistant State's Attorney and Community Prosecutor for the Silver Spring District, will be our special guest on Thursday, March 5th. She will talk about a state law known as Nuisance Abatement which can be used by community groups as a tool to expel drug dealers and prostitutes from our neighborhoods. (Those of you living in the Bradford Road-Plymouth Street area will remember the 72-hour eviction of drug dealer, pimp, and gun runner Paul Mitchell back in the late 1990s. This was accomplished through the Nuisance Abatement Act. It was breath-takingly fast!)

Maura will also talk about a special effort now being made in the Carroll Avenue-Quebec Terrace section of New Hampshire Estates. It draws on the model used in the Bradford-Plymouth neighborhood and also on Glenville Road to bring various stakeholders to the table -- in this case, landlords, tenants, home owners, code enforcers, police, prosecutors, and, by extension, other agencies of government -- to address issues, especially those relating to crime, gangs, drug dealing in the buildings, safety of the residents, code compliance, and quality of life for the residents.

Many of us have become very cynical and are apt to say, "Been there, done it." But, those who remember the Bradford-Plymouth effort run by residents Katie Sargent, Rose Bernard, and Noreene Stehlik will understand just how powerful these groups can be and how much change they can make for the better.

Maura will be able to answer your questions about how your community can organize itself and work with others to address long-standing issues using Nuisance Abatement. There are specific situations in which it applies, so it will be helpful to you to come and learn about the process in detail.

This will be the second meeting of LBNI as it revitalizes itself. We appreciate everyone's interest and encouragement and hope to see you all again, plus other folks as well.

Someone once asked, "Where do we start?"

The answer is "Start somewhere!"

If you have any questions or you want us to know about something going on in your community, please contact me.

Thanks a million!

Jim Johnson
8511 Flower Avenue, No. 3
Silver Spring, Maryland 20912-6638

Silver Spring Library Site Project - Meeting - February 5 , 2009

Where: Silver Spring Library, 8901 Colesville Road, February 5, 2009
When: 7:00 p.m.
What: The County Council asked that the Department of Transportation evaluate a mid-block crossing at the new Silver Spring Library in lieu of a bridge over Wayne Avenue connecting the new library to the Wayne Avenue Garage.

The meeting is open to the public!

Sponsored by Silver Spring Regional Center, Montgomery County Department of General Services – Building, Design and Construction Section, and Montgomery County Public Libraries

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. Celebrates Black History Month

Throughout Black History Month, the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. will periodically highlight the artistic and cultural contributions of African Americans through its blog

Black History Month is an annual remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African diaspora. The remembrance was originated in 1926 by historian Carter G. Woodson as "Negro History Week". Woodson chose the second week of February because it marked the birthdays of two Americans who greatly influenced the lives and social condition of African Americans: former President Abraham Lincoln and abolitionist Frederick Douglass. Woodson also founded the Association for the Study of Negro Life and History, now the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. []

More on Black History Month at

First up, WBGO Studio Session: Robert Glasper Trio - "Enoch's (Inaugural) Meditation"

Check out Robert Glasper's Enoch's Meditation on YouTube

Jazz pianist Robert Glasper plays an original composition "Enoch's Meditation," with narrative from Martin Luther King's 1966 "We Shall Overcome" speech, Barack Obama's presidential election night victory speech from Grant Park in Chicago, audio from Dr. Cornel West, and a spontaneous piano reharmonization of the presidential anthem, "Hail to the Chief." This performance was recorded January 14th at WBGO Studios in Newark, New Jersey. Produced by Josh Jackson. Mix by Josh Webb, with assistance from David Tallacksen. Happy Inauguration 2009, from the jazz community!

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