Friday, March 27, 2009

Budget Cuts, Faculty Turnover Test Montgomery Blair's Math-Science Magnet - Washington Post

An Academic Dynamo Under Stress
Budget Cuts, Faculty Turnover Test Montgomery Blair's Math-Science Magnet

By Daniel de Vise
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 23, 2009; B01

The tangle of knobs and wires suggested trade school. But this was mathematical physics, taught to seniors at Montgomery Blair High School by invitation only. James Schafer's students were building resistor-capacitor circuits, a test of differential equations they had solved two days earlier.

It had gone better on paper. At one table, a capacitor blew with a loud pop. Smoke rose from another corner. This was, Schafer mused, "the smell of learning."

For 20 years, some of the top math and science minds in the country have passed through the Science, Mathematics and Computer Science Magnet at Blair High in Silver Spring. But there's one question even the sharpest students cannot yet answer: Will this overachieving program remain a powerhouse in a time of budget cuts, teacher turnover and emerging competition?

Founded in 1985 to invigorate an under-performing school, the Blair magnet has far surpassed the goals of its architects. With 400 students on a campus of more than 2,700, the program produces more winners of science and math prizes than any other in the Washington region, save the Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology in Fairfax County. The magnet has yielded a stream of Intel Science Talent Search finalists, presidential scholars and winners of national "olympiads" in biology, physics and math. All of this success has helped Blair become a destination school.

"I've never actually met this many people who want to get the highest grade in the class all the time," said Sneha Kannan, 16, a senior, who is researching a polymer that delivers drugs directly to cancer cells. "I like being with kids who like to learn as much as I do."

But budget cuts last year pared the faculty from 18 to 14. The remaining teachers were asked to take an extra class. Four veteran teachers left, some in protest. A fifth died. The magnet had never had such churn.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Art that's good for the heart - Gazette

Rosemary Hills banners promote healthy lifestyles

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A cheery smile played across the lips of 7-year-old Saba Solomon on Friday at Rosemary Hills Primary School as she added the finishing touches to her painting: a thin green curve for a smile and two sky-blue circles for eyes.

All around her, the lounge-turned-canvass teemed with second-graders rushing from one table to another clutching Dixie cups full of paint and thin brushes in the final artist in residence workshop, all under the watchful eyes of the artist, Caryl Henry-Alexander.

Thanks to the artist-in-residence program sponsored by the Maryland State Arts Council, Henry-Alexander has spent the last few weeks meeting regularly with the 200 second-graders at the school to design and paint 16 banners, two for each class, which will soon adorn the school cafeteria.

Subcommittee OKs redevelopment of part of Falkland Chase - Gazette

Two portions of complex could be designated as historic

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A Montgomery County Council subcommittee gave the owner of Falkland Chase apartments in Silver Spring the green light to redevelop part of the property Monday, the same week a historic preservation organization named Falkland Chase one of Maryland's most endangered historic sites.

Report: Businesses should connect main shopping districts - Gazette

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

While businesses in Takoma Park do an admirable job of cashing in on a unique specialty market, more can be done to connect the main shopping districts and increase the attractiveness of the city as a unit, according to a Washington, D.C.-based market specialist.

While the city has some anchor stores that help draw shoppers to surrounding establishments, they are too spread out and insufficiently advertised to have the desired effect, according to Randall Gross, an economic consultant hired by the Old Takoma Business Association to compile a retail market analysis of the city.

Takoma Park and Friends of Sligo Creek pilot rainwater program - Gazette

If successful, effort could be replicated in other communities along tributary

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Friends of Sligo Creek hope the success of an upcoming pilot program to plant stormwater-collecting rain gardens in Takoma Park will spark interest in a similar county-wide effort.

As part of a joint effort by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the city of Takoma Park and Casa of Maryland, the FOSC hope to help plant roughly 10,000 of the water-conserving gardens in area homes along the creek from Wheaton down to Hyattsville, where the creek connects to the northwest branch of the Anacostia River, according to FOSC member Kit Gage.

Revenue Authority could retain control of Sligo Creek Golf Course - Gazette

Department of Parks to determine facility's future

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The future of the Sligo Creek Golf Course will be in the hands of the Montgomery County Council Tuesday when it votes on an amendment to the county Revenue Authority's lease to operate the course, potentially shutting it down as of Oct. 1 and forcing the county Planning Board to determine a new use for the land.

AFI film festival celebrates African culture - Gazette

by Suzanne Pollak | Special to The Gazette | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Opening night of the New African Films Festival brought more than 400 people to the lobby of the American Film Institute's Silver Theatre and Cultural Center March 19, but it wasn't a typical night at the movies.

While awaiting the first movie, "13 Months of Sunshine," attendees of the opening night cocktail hour could bypass the usual movie popcorn and candy, and opt for a buffet featuring ye'abesha gomen (collard greens) and tikil gomen (cabbage) as well as beets and Ethiopian bread, compliments of nearby Abol Ethiopian Restaurant.

The film festival, which celebrates African culture and aims to give a better feel for life in African countries, had seven successful days at AFI, its third year at the theater on Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. Now in its fifth season, this year's festival featured about 30 films.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Nonprofit elects downtown property manager to board - Gazette

Talk of the Town | Jason Tomassini | Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A nonprofit dedicated to providing programming for the upcoming civic building and Veteran's Plaza in Silver Spring elected the manager of Downtown Silver Spring and a local jazz star to its board of directors.

At its March 18 meeting, the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. elected Marcus Johnson of Silver Spring and Jennifer Nettles of Gaithersburg as members of the Board.

Nettles is the manager of Downtown Silver Spring for Ellsworth Drive property manager Peterson Cos. and serves as a board member of the Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Board and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce. Johnson, a jazz pianist, is the founder, president and CEO of the Three Keys record label based in Silver Spring and has been involved in planning the annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival.

Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. was established in 2004 to provide community-based programming for the civic building site at the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street. The civic building is scheduled to be completed in March 2010 and the Veteran's Plaza is scheduled to open Nov. 11, which is Veteran's Day.

"It was thought that when the building design was completed there should be a community vehicle to enliven the new building," said Alan Bowser, president of the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc. "… We want this building to be the living room of the community."

Bowser said Nettles and Johnson will help the organization through their business connections in the community and experience with planning events downtown. Both are partners in the Silver Spring Blues Festival, which will be held May 9 on Ellsworth Drive.

The group has been meeting with the community to gauge the type of events residents would like to see at the site and given a recent focus on the presence of youth downtown, offering events to people of all ages and ethnicities is a priority, Bowser said.

"The civic building and Veterans Plaza are in the location where the turf was located," Bowser said. "We want young people to be involved in the maximum extent possible."

The 42,000 square-foot civic building will be complemented by Veterans Plaza, which is nearly an acre of public-use space for outdoor events. The estimated cost for the civic building is $19.7 million.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Councilmember Ervin, County Executive Leggett to Announce Pedestrian Improvements in Silver Spring on March 26

Enhancements to 2nd Avenue Will Improve Access to Public Transportation and Safety for Seniors, People with Disabilities

SILVER SPRING, Md., March 23, 2009—Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, the County Council’s representative to the Pedestrian Safety Advisory Committee and an advocate for pedestrian safety, will join County Executive Isiah Leggett and Silver Spring residents to announce the completion of pedestrian improvements to 2nd Avenue in Silver Spring. The event will take place Thursday, March 26, at 10 a.m. outside Elizabeth House at 1400 Fenwick Lane (intersection of Fenwick Lane and 2nd Avenue). A small reception will follow at Holy Cross Hospital Senior Source at 8580 2nd Ave. in Silver Spring.

In December 2006, Councilmember Ervin and County Executive Leggett released the Pedestrian Safety Initiative. The Initiative seeks to decrease the number of pedestrian related accidents through a comprehensive approach that includes education, enforcement and engineering. Along 2nd Avenue, a significant number of engineering improvements were made, including the installation of ADA accessible ramps and bump-outs, upgraded crosswalks and pedestrian signals and the relocation of a bus shelter.

“Pedestrian safety is all about improving access and creating connectivity, so that our residents are comfortable and safe while walking,” said Councilmember Ervin, who represents Kensington, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and Wheaton. “The improvements made on 2nd Avenue are particularly important due to the high number of seniors living in adjacent buildings and for those who participate in Holy Cross Senior Source programs.”

Pedestrian safety has been a priority in the administration of County Executive Leggett.

“My recommended operating budget for Fiscal Year 2010 increases spending on pedestrian safety by more than $4 million to further the goals of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative,” said County Executive Leggett. “I am committed to keeping pedestrians safe, and our engineering, enforcement and education efforts are making a difference. With these additional funds, we’ll be able to do more in Silver Spring and throughout the County.”

Councilmember Ervin recognized the efforts of many in helping spur the program.

“I want to thank Silver Spring resident Sheila Cogan for her advocacy on this project, the Department of Transportation for completing the work in such a timely manner and Jennifer Nettles of Downtown Silver Spring for helping with the reception,” said Councilmember Ervin. “Each pedestrian improvement we make creates a safer environment for our residents and helps reduce the potential for pedestrian accidents.”

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Saturday, March 21, 2009

Program Provides Direction To Preteens - Washington Post

By Julie Rasicot
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 19, 2009; GZ09

Fifth-grader Natalee Sosa remembers when she used to sit around a lot. She wouldn't even think about exercising.

But that was before she joined the Girls on the Run after-school program at Highland View Elementary School in Silver Spring. During semiweekly sessions last year, she gradually trained to run longer distances and surprised herself by completing a 5K run at the end of the nine-week program.

That's why Natalee said she did not hesitate to join about two dozen other girls on the field behind her school as the spring session of the running program met on a chilly afternoon last Thursday.

In the Brush Strokes, a Better Future - Washington Post

Art Program Offers the Homeless a Way to Express, and Renew, Themselves

By Lavinia Rachal
Special to The Washington Post
Thursday, March 19, 2009; GZ01

"I Rose From the Bottom."

The letters are painted in white and yellow, and have been stroked across a creamy fuchsia background on a small canvas board. It's part of a collection of works Alice Sims shows off by students in the art therapy class she teaches.

Sims is founder and president of the nonprofit group Art for the People, which offers the class at the Community Vision center's Progress Place day shelter for the homeless in Silver Spring.

Students have been taking the class for about five years, and Sims, 60, treats them and their art like her children. She proudly pointed out the genius touches in the abstracts, collages and paintings she pulled from a storage closet to show a recent visitor.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Silver Spring Jazz Star Dominates Billboard with Three Albums

Renowned Jazz Musician Marcus Johnson Dominates Billboard with Three Albums Topping the Contemporary Jazz Charts, Including the #2 Spot in the Country

(March 12, 2009-Washington, DC)— On the eve of his new album release, “Poetically Justified” (in stores May 19th), award winning Jazz pianist Marcus Johnson is riding high with the #2, #7 and #13 contemporary jazz albums in the country. First released in September 2008, the For the Love Of series includes three distinct compilations: FLO: Romance, FLO: Standards, and FLO: Chill all of which have been consistently featured on Billboard’s Top 25 Jazz contemporary charts. All three CDs deliver a smooth and jazzy feeling that makes for a relaxed yet passionate listening experience that keeps you coming back for more of the sultry FLO series.

Marcus Johnson is a force to be reckoned with in the music world, having his previous ten CDs all peak in the Top 25. Not to mention his exhilarating live performances which encompass a unique blend of musical dexterity and magnetic charm that has captured audiences the world over. The success of the FLO series is a testament to Johnson’s inspiration for the eagerly anticipated release of his 11th solo album, that “through the rough times, those who have faith and work hard are Poetically Justified by their success.”

The FLO series was released under the Three Keys Music label, which was co-founded by Marcus Johnson along with Bob Johnson, the founder of BET and owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Bobcats. The record label as well as the recording studio, Studio 8121, produces, distributes and promotes adult, urban, contemporary and jazz music. For more information please visit

The fight over Falkland Chase continues - Gazette

Residents, historians, developer argue pros and cons of developing on historical property

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

About 30 people testified for more than two hours before the Montgomery County Council last week to argue the historical significance of the Falkland Chase apartments in Silver Spring, which faces redevelopment if the council does not recommend the entire development for historic preservation.

Drive it when you need it in Silver Spring - Gazette

Shared-car service could be coming to county

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Silver Spring residents looking to gradually lose their addiction to automobiles should get help soon as the county looks to establish its own shared-car service in several urban areas, specifically downtown.

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation will soon accept bids from private companies to establish a "carshare," a short-term car rental service commonly designed to complement public transportation. The carshare could be available at county-owned parking facilities and streets by the end of the year.

Youths push for nonviolence - Gazette

Concert organizers to meet with residents while promoting their message online and in the community

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A week after a nonviolence concert in downtown Silver Spring ended in fighting and sparked residents' concerns about the security and safety downtown, the youth organizers of the event say they are even more dedicated to stopping teen violence.

Developer plans 72-unit, nine-story building - Gazette

Planning Board commends design's public-use space in its approval of project in Fenton Village

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A new development project planned for Fenton Village will bring more residential units to the Silver Spring neighborhood, but its developer hopes zoning can be changed to include retail space in the project.

Takoma Park takes lead in informing renters of rights - Gazette

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Security deposits, repairs and landlords illegally entering units are regulars atop the lists of issues that the Takoma Park Department of Housing's Office of Landlord and Tenant Affairs address each month, according to city housing officials.

Condo conversion to displace residents - Gazette

Developer grants lease extensions to some but not all tenants at Takoma Overlook

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The owner of two New Hampshire Avenue apartment buildings has agreed to extend the leases of all disabled and elderly tenants while work begins to convert one of the buildings to condominiums, after some tenants argued they were not properly notified of their rights under county code.

A Purple Line trip back to the future? - Gazette

Issues raised by light rail were brought up by Chevy Chase trolley more than 100 years ago

by Andrew Ujifusa | Staff Writer

Whatever the impact of the proposed Purple Line light rail project, it's unlikely that it will feature cowcatchers, three-cent fares and local grocery delivery. In these respects, the Rock Creek Railway's legacy appears secure.

Supporters and opponents have considered the Purple Line's effect on transportation, development and recreation to 2030 and beyond. But the issues surrounding the bearing of mass transit on residential communities in Montgomery County go back to the late 19th century, when two revolutionary developments at the time, the suburb and the electric trolley, came together to form the first Chevy Chase communities.

Concert Organizers Praised - Letter to the Editor - Gazette - March 18, 2009

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Concert organizers praised

Although the recent concert in downtown Silver Spring ended badly with some fights and arrests, we shouldn't overlook the many positive outcomes from the event and its planning.

We should be proud of the efforts that the area teenagers made to honor the life of the Montgomery Blair High School student Tai Lam through music, dance and spoken word. The youth-organized Mixed Unity group should be applauded for their vision and hard work.

Now is the time to accentuate the positive, rather than focus on the few individuals who disrupted the program. We need to stand by the young people of who put together the event, the adults who supported them, the merchants who sponsored them, and our neighbors who came out to hear the messages of peace and non violence.

Alan S. Bowser, Silver Spring

The writer is on the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Violence won't stop future youth concerts - Gazette

Sixteen arrested Saturday after fight at otherwise peaceful event

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Although a fight broke out Saturday night at a "Stop the Violence" concert in downtown Silver Spring, youth organizers and downtown officials said the event was still a success and they will not be reluctant to hold youth events there in the future.

Silver Spring Neighborhood's event pictures at

Parents protest middle school schedule change - Gazette

Eastern Middle to drop from eight to seven periods

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Eastern Middle School parents say administrators changed the school's schedule from eight periods to seven without informing them or involving students in the decision-making process, as is required by a county education association contract. But school officials say they did nothing wrong in bringing about the change.

Police staffing below national average in county's 3rd District - Gazette

by Robert Dongu | Staff Writer Wednesday, March 11, 2009

While the number of Montgomery County police officers in the Third District compared to the overall population in the district is less than the national average, police say they are managing with smaller units that can deploy more efficiently.

County may be too wealthy for state help with pipes - Gazette

by Margie Hyslop | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 11, 2009o

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission won't know until late this week whether state environmental officials will recommend it for federal stimulus money to shore up its drinking water pipes that ruptured at a record rate last year.

The problem for the bicounty utility is that state officials are unsure whether the WSSC qualifies for the federal grants because the money is being distributed under the Environmental Protection Agency's clean water and drinking water quality programs, which traditionally allow grants and no-interest loans only to "disadvantaged" communities. Montgomery and Prince George's counties might be deemed too wealthy .

Monday, March 9, 2009

Mixed Unity's "Stop the Violence" Concert in Silver Spring

A “Stop the Violence” concert was held in Downtown Silver Spring on March 7, 2009 to promote messages of peace and non-violence. The event was organized by “Mixed Unity,” a group of teens from various local youth groups, including Identity, Gap Busters Learning Center, Blair Sports Academy, Street Outreach Network, Asian American LEAD, Maryland Multicultural Youth Center and the Gandhi Brigade.

The concert lineup included performers and speakers from a broad range of genres. Bands like Those Guys, Class6, Latin Royalty & Desafio, and the Reaction Band, joined motivational speakers Juan Pacheco and Gaby Posado from Barrios Unidos. The program also included a “freestyle Rap Battle” and breakdancing contest.
The sponsoring groups joined together following the shooting death of Montgomery Blair High School student Tai Lam in November.

See more event pictures on Flickr

16 Are Arrested After 'Stop the Violence' Event - Washington Post

By Martin Weil
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, March 9, 2009; B06

Sixteen people were arrested in downtown Silver Spring on Saturday night after a "Stop the Violence" concert, authorities said.

A Montgomery County police spokesman said officers responded to incidents of disorderly conduct that broke out near the end of a concert at the Silver Spring plaza.

It was not clear what prompted the outbreaks, which led to charges that ranged from disorderly conduct to assault, Lt. Paul Starks said. No serious injury or property damage was reported, he said.

An official of the Downtown Silver Spring shopping district said Mixed Unity, a collaborative of youth-based nonprofit groups, held the concert, which included a cappella groups, poetry and live music. It drew several thousand people. The crowd included mainly young people and families, the official said.

Silver Spring Frets Over Purple Line - Washington Post

Some Worry About Effect on Downtown

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, March 5, 2009; GZ01

Many Silver Spring residents say they hope a Purple Line will someday provide a faster ride to Bethesda and other parts of the region. At the same time, they voice concerns about the impact of the transitway on their redeveloped restaurant and shopping district.

Some suggest that light-rail trains would travel too slowly and make traffic worse unless they run under the downtown area via a tunnel.

Some activists say the Purple Line's effects on the community's commercial area have gotten short shrift from Maryland transit planners, Montgomery County's elected officials and the news media when compared with the hubbub over trains potentially running along a popular wooded walking and biking path between Silver Spring and Bethesda.

Consolidation of rec programs on table - Gazette

Plan part of larger look at streamlining government to save money

by Janel Davis and Amber Parcher | Staff Writers | Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Reacting to a request by Councilman Marc Elrich to consider consolidating recreation programs in the county, civic and environmental groups are questioning the county's commitment to parks, and recreation officials are defending their efforts.

Lyttonsville community explores its roots - Gazette

At celebration, exhibit, residents learn about rich history of African-American neighborhood

by Matthew Smith | Staff Writer

For residents of the historically black neighborhood of Lyttonsville or Linden, history can live in your backyard and emerges those who remember the past come together to share it.

To celebrate the rich history of African-American culture in Montgomery County, county historians, activists and Lyttonsville residents gathered Friday at the neighborhood's Gwendolyn E. Coffield Community Center to celebrate black struggles in the nation and their accomplishments in their neighborhood.

Council seeks more involvement in hospital move process - Gazette

Council Notes | Jeremy Arias | Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In an ongoing attempt to maximize the services left by the Washington Adventist Hospital following its anticipated move in 2013, the City Council discussed strategies Monday with the City Attorney to ensure the highest level of responsiveness by the hospital to the city's ongoing health care needs.

Details of immigration policy go unnoticed - Gazette

Dozens of interviews show that county's change misunderstood

by Sebastian Montes | Staff Writer |Wednesday, March 4, 2009

In dozens of interviews across the county — at Westfield Wheaton mall, at a Starbucks in North Bethesda, outside Germantown's busiest shopping center — only a few interviewees knew details of what County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) ordered into practice Feb. 10. At best, interviewees had vague notions of a recent commotion; in several cases, they believed county police had been empowered to deport anyone they so chose.

Board rules golf course a drain on finances - Gazette

County Revenue Authority seeks to terminate its lease with Sligo facility

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, March 4, 2009

The Montgomery Planning Board ruled last week that Sligo Creek Golf Course has a negative effect on the county golf system's financial situation, moving the county Revenue Authority one step closer to terminating its lease to operate the course.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Habitat for Humanity: Information Sessions - March 14, 2009

Habitat for Humanity will be hosting two information sessions on March 14 at the First Baptist Church in Silver Spring (10am and 2pm). These are for residents interested in applying to buy one of Habitat’s houses in the Glenmont/Aspen Hill area. Habitat has partnered with Montgomery County to buy foreclosed houses, rehab them up (including “greening” them) and then sell them to qualified buyers with an affordable long-term mortgage.

There are a number of requirements – income minimums and maximums, must be a permanent, legal resident, have to spend 200-500 hours working on the house – and there are a limited number of houses.

But, it would be a great opportunity for those that do meet all the requirements. Please forward this on to anyone you think would be interested and/or possibly qualify. And the website is:

To attend the session, please contact Habitat directly – they have limited slots for each session. 301.990.0014 ext. 15 or 18.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Hospital provides $250K to primary care clinic - Gazette

Washington Adventist officials say facility crucial to providing care to uninsured, underinsured residents

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Washington Adventist Hospital is helping to fund the Mary's Center Primary Care Clinic in Long Branch for a second year in an effort to provide underinsured or uninsured residents in the county with access to health care without having to rely on emergency room care at major hospitals.

The Takoma Park hospital announced Monday it will continue to provide $250,000 annually to the nearby health center, which opened last May. Having such a facility in close proximity to the hospital helps uninsured residents avoid having to use emergency rooms for primary care, which takes away resources needed for real medical emergencies, Washington Adventist officials said Monday.

Gang intervention forum focuses on youth outreach - Gazette

After-school activities, parental involvement keys to steering youngsters from violence

by Matthew Smith | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

Discussion facilitators and parents focused on reaching to out to rebellious and rambunctious youths to steer them away from violence, during the third and final forum in a series of community gang intervention meetings held last week at Broad Acres Elementary School in Silver Spring.

Legislators avoid specifics to tough budget questions - Gazette

At Democratic club meeting, politicians outline governor's proposed cuts

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, February 25, 2009

While the cost of teachers' pensions won't likely be handed to the county in the next two years, state and local lawmakers avoided questions regarding how cuts in the governor's proposed budget will impact the local economy in a meeting last week with residents.

With the state facing a $2 billion budget shortfall in fiscal 2009, state legislators are considering transferring teachers' pension costs from the state to county budgets. With Montgomery County facing its own $450 million deficit, the idea was tentatively dismissed by state Sen. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. at a forum held Feb. 18 by the Greater Silver Spring Democratic Club in Takoma Park.

Security upgrades reduce crime at two hotels - Gazette

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

Management at a South Silver Spring hotel that has been a haven for crime is complying with a security overhaul mandated by county law enforcement and has seen slight decreases in crime since December.

Concerns linger over plans for Falkland Chase - Gazette

Property owner says displaced residents will have a place to live if redevelopment is allowed to proceed

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

While the Montgomery County Council will vote next month on whether to permit redevelopment of the Falkland Chase apartments, residents that would be displaced by development say the council will also be voting on their future.

Silver Theatre restructures management - Gazette

Fundraising has been a challenge in tough economy, Murray Horwitz says

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

The American Film Institute Silver Theatre and Cultural Center hired a new director earlier this month after its longtime director, Murray Horwitz, was laid off.

Horwitz's successor is former Silver Theatre Deputy Director Ray Barry, who has held the position since 1997 after the county agreed to help restore the theater. He has worked for AFI for more than 30 years, including as head of the AFI National Film Theatre at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Barry's former position will not be filled.

Panel: Gang woes at Einstein not as bad as some think - Gazette

PTA meeting gives parents tools to detect, prevent gang involvement

by Jen Beasley | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Feb. 25, 2009

A panel of experts at Albert Einstein High School last week revealed one very important fact about what parents should know about gangs there: It's not as bad as everyone might think.