Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Former Montgomery County Councilmember, School Board Member Blair G. Ewing Passes Away

Blair Ewing with Montgomery Councilmember Marc Elrich at the Silver Spring Blues Festival (photo by Alan Bowser)

Council President Andrews: ‘His Impact on Public Education in Montgomery Was Greater Than Any Other Single Person’

ROCKVILLE, Md., June 30, 2009—Former Montgomery County Councilmember and former member of the Montgomery County Board of Education Blair G. Ewing passed away today. Mr. Ewing, until very recently a member of the Maryland State Board of Education, was 76.

Mr. Ewing was elected as an at-large member of the Montgomery County Council in November of 1998 and served through 2002, chairing the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee and serving on the Transportation and Environment Committee. He lost in his bid for re-election in a September 2002 Democratic primary.

Prior to his election to the County Council, he served 22 years on the Montgomery County Board of Education. He was elected to the Board of Education six times and twice served as the board’s president.

Mr. Ewing, a native of Missouri and graduate of the University of Missouri, retired from the federal government in 1998 after 28 years of service, 22 as a senior executive in four federal agencies (the Department of Defense, the Office of Management and Budget, the Office of Personnel Management and the Department of Justice).

“Blair Ewing provided so many years of tireless service to the residents of Montgomery County. His unparalleled service made a lasting impression in the County,” said Council President Phil Andrews. “He made lasting contributions in public education, mental health services and integrity in government, among other areas. He was highly intelligent, gracious, effective and had a delightfully dry sense of humor. His impact on public education in Montgomery County was greater than that of any other single person. I had the pleasure and honor of serving on the Council with Blair Ewing for four years. The community has lost an outstanding leader who always put the public interest first.”

Mr. Ewing constantly said, “Education is the highest of all priorities in Montgomery County.”

Mr. Ewing was strong proponent of what has become known as “Smart Growth.” In an assessment of County priorities he issued in November 2001 as Council President, he said, “We must use all the tools at our disposal to place growth where it belongs, near transit and transit stations, require developers to pay a fair share of the costs of growth, use the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance and the Annual Growth Policy to restrain growth until we have truly been able to find the funds to build the needed schools and roads, build stronger protections for open space and for air quality, water quality and protections against noise pollution.”

Mr. Ewing came from a long line of public servants. One grandfather was the chief justice of the State Supreme Court in Missouri. His father was the mayor of a small town in Missouri and served for more than two decades as a school board member. His uncle, James T. Blair, was a governor of Missouri. Mr. Ewing traced ancestors who lived in Montgomery County to 1700, including those who helped found St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, Rock Creek Parish, in 1712. [That church is now in Washington, D.C.]

Mr. Ewing, who lived in Silver Spring, is survived by his wife, Martha Brockway.

He was a member of the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission, the Education Foundation’s board of directors and a civic association in Silver Spring.

Following his election as Council president in December of 2000, Mr. Ewing told The Journal Newspapers: “I am a big believer in the role government can play in the solution of problems. I am not one of those who subscribes to the notion that government is the source of the problems.”

Officials to seek funding for long-delayed bike route - Business Gazette

Metropolitan Branch Trail would connect downtown Silver Spring with downtown Washington, D.C.

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Monday, June 29, 2009

County officials will push for capital funding in next year's budget to continue a long-delayed bike trail that would run from downtown Silver Spring to downtown Washington, D.C., but residents say the county's efforts are overdue.

After preliminary designs for the Metropolitan Branch Trail, also known as the Georgetown Branch Trail, were completed three years ago, transportation officials said the project halted because it would be affected by the different proposed alignments for the Purple Line, a planned rapid-transit route between New Carrollton and Bethesda.


Buy Local Silver Spring

Sunday's Buy Local Silver Spring event was a great success. Located in the Arts Alley, behindd 8030 Georgia Avenue, local merchants and residents came together to encourage support of local Silver Spring businesses. There was live music on the Gallery Restaurant & Lounge Outdoor Terrace featuring Afro Beat Hip Hop from Kahli Abdu and Pidgin English; as well as Roadhouse Oldies’ own DJ Scooter Magruder and DJ Slow Roll spinning the Best of Old School and Older (Needle to the Groove Productions).

Among the participating merchants and organizations were: Photogroup, Mayorga Coffee Factory, Hook and Ladder Brewing Co., Gallery Restaurant & Lounge, Moorenko's Ice Cream, Roadhouse Oldies, Needle to the Groove Productions, Kahli Abdu and Pidgin English, Pyramid Atlantic Art Center, Space 88, South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association, SilverSpringPenguin.com, Washington Gardener Magazine, Steve Hanks, Silver Spring Historical Society, Willow Street Yoga, Silver Spring Volunteer Fire Department, Montgomery County Fire and Rescure Service

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Block party promotes ‘Buy Local' campaign - Gazette

Jason Tomassini and Jeremy Arias | Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The "Buy Local Block Party," an indoor-outdoor neighborhood celebration to promote Silver Spring's "Buy Local" campaign, will be held 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday at the Arts Alley, 8030 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring.

Admission is free and the event will feature performances from Silver Spring hip-hop group Kahli Abdu and Pidgin English and Roadhouse Oldies record shop's DJ Scooter Magruder and DJ Slow Roll. County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring will also be in attendance.

The event will also feature a Hook and Ladder Beer Garden at Mayorga Coffee Factory, treats from Moorenko's Ice Cream Café, pet portraits at the Photogroup Studios, a Pyramid Atlantic Community Arts Market, a potted plant sale from Washington Gardener Magazine, interactive art projects for kids and adults, live portrait sketches and live yoga demos with Willow Street Yoga instructors.

The Silver Spring Historical Society's new book "Historic Silver Spring" also will be on sale.

For more information, details and updates, visit the Buy Local Silver Spring Web site at www.buylocalsilverspring.com. The event is also sponsored by The Veridian at Silver Spring Metro.

For more information, e-mail Buy Local program manager Emily Adelman at eadelman@ledcmetro.org or call 202-540-7425.


Sligo Creek Golf Course Meeting at Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center

In a meeting at the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center organized by the North Hills of Sligo Civic Association, representatives of MSI and an advocate of disc golf made presentations of possible reuses of the golf course. The individual who was to talk about community gardens did not attend. Golf course issues were not discussed.

MSi suggested the establishment of six soccer fields, covering approximately 1/3 of the 65 acre space. Four artificial turf fields would be lighted and sited along the beltway, away from residential properties. There would be two natural turf soccer fields along Sligo Creek Parkway, near the parking lot.

Brad Beeson, a disc golf aka Frisbee golf advocate, suggested an 18 or 27 “hole” disc golf course, alongside an arboretum with public art.

Community questions focused on lighting and traffic impacts of the recommendations, storm water management, financing, youth activities, and preservation of open and green space.

About 40 people attended the session, including Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, State Delegate Jeff Waldstreicher, and Friends of Sligo Creek President Bruce Sidwell. Residents of the Woodside Forest and Park Hills also attended. Representatives of the Parks Department were also present.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Free Outdoor Movies This Summer at Pyramid Atlantic

SILVER SPRING, MD - Pyramid Atlantic Arts Center and the Silver Spring Regional Center are joining forces this summer to present “Screen on the Lot.” The free outdoor movie series will feature three exciting movies for the public presented on a large outdoor screen in the Pyramid Atlantic parking lot. The public is invited to bring a blanket, lawn chairs and a picnic to enjoy the cinematic experience. The schedule of movies is as follows:

Wednesday, July 8th at 9 pm: School of Rock: Directed by Richard Linklater and starring Jack Black, Adam Pascal, and Lucas Papaelias. A wannabe rock star in need of cash poses as a substitute teacher at a prep school, and tries to turn his class into a rock band. Rated PG-13

Wednesday July 22nd at 9 pm: Transformers: Directed by Michael Bay and starring Shia LaBeouf, Megan Fox, and Josh Duhamel. An ancient struggle re-erupts on Earth between two extraterrestrial clans, the heroic Autobots and the evil Decepticons, with a clue to the ultimate power held by a young teenager. Rated PG-13

Wednesday August 5th at 9 am: Iron Man: Directed by Jon Favreau and starring Robert Downey Jr., Terrence Howard and Jeff Bridges. When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit When wealthy industrialist Tony Stark is forced to build an armored suit after a life-threatening incident, he ultimately decides to use its technology to fight against evil. Rated PG-13

For more information, email jdominguez@pyramid-atlantic.org.

Background: Pyramid Atlantic is a 501(c)(3) non-profit contemporary arts center located in the Arts & Entertainment District in downtown Silver Spring. Pyramid’s mission is to promote and nurture artistic excellence through imaginative programming in the visual arts for people of all ages, backgrounds, and abilities. For more information, visit http://www.pyramidatlanticartcenter.org.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Park Hills' Rain Garden Tour

In this picture, Diane Cameron, Jim Anderson, Jenny Reed and Paul Guinnessey.

On June 20, 2009, the Park Hills neighborhood of Silver Spring conducted its first "Rain Garden" tour with experts from the Audubon Naturalist Society and Friends of Sligo Creek.
The purpose of the walking tour was to check out sites where stormwater is causing problems of erosion, pollution, and flooding, and where opportunities for native plants (flowers, shrubs or trees),downspout diversions, and rain gardens can make a difference by slowing and cleansing the flow of water to Sligo Creek.
We identified candidate sites and will do follow-up visits to figure out where the Rain Garden/ native plant experts can cooperate with homeowners and Montgomery County to do actual projects.
During the walk-through, we offered advice to any homeowner who walked with us and wanted to show us their stormwater, erosion and drainage problems. Likewise we were interested in street runoff problems and planting opportunities in street right-of-ways and curb extension areas.

Diane Cameron of the Audubon Naturalist Society, along with Jenny Reed of the Friends of Sligo Creek storm water team accompanied neighbors from Park Hills. Jenny is the co-founder of Natural Resources Design, Inc.

Community Day in East Silver Spring

James Harden Daugherty, Buffalo Soldier

On Friday, June 19, 2009, there was an evening discussion in Kefa Café with James Daughterty, longtime Silver Spring resident, former Buffalo Soldier, and author of The Buffalo Saga, newly published. The discussion was sponsored by a great local Silver Spring business, Silver Spring Books, and its owner Cynthia Parker.

James Harden Daugherty is a World War II Buffalo Soldier. His military awards include a Bronze Star Medal for heroic achievement and a Combat Infantryman Badge for outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy. Following his discharge from military service, he has had a distinguished career serving in administrative positions in the United States Public Health Service. He has had an appointed position in the state of Maryland, and an elected position in Montgomery County, Maryland, both in the field of education. He currently lives with his family in Montgomery County, Maryland.

He was nineteen years old when he was drafted into the U.S. Army during WWII. He is a Black American, so it means that he must fight for a country that regarded him as an individual with no rights in the U.S. that white American were bound to respect. He was one of the Buffalo Soldiers, who belong to the 92nd Infantry Division, an all-Black unit whose highest-ranking officials were white. They were assigned to northern Italy, where they fought against German and Italian troops. They served with great distinction from late 1944 until the end of the war, with many killed and wounded. But he and some of his fellow Buffalo soldiers survived the devastation of war. Despite the hardships and challenges of WWII, the experiences they had made them stronger when they came back to the country – a still segregated United States of America.

That is author James Harden Daugherty’s story – and he shares it all in THE BUFFALO SAGA.

In this true story of hope and change, Daugherty believes that this and other Buffalo Soldier stories will push towards the tearing of prejudice and discrimination. The Buffalo Saga is just one of the many gripping stories that portray the past’s role and influence in the present.


Longtime merchants hold critical key to black history - Gazette

Historical Society seeks African-American business owners for connection to Silver Spring’s past

by Agnes Jasinski | Staff Writer | Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Rev. Samuel Myers decided he would open his own business when he was still a teenager, growing up in a small town in South Carolina and learning the dry cleaning trade from his father.

Decades later, Myers, 93, can boast to any doubters along the way that he has run his own shop in Silver Spring for 36 years – Jim Dandy Cleaners and Formal Wear on Bonifant Street.

‘‘You have to stand up and get knocked down, but you don’t lie down,” said Myers of Silver Spring, a black business owner in the downtown area since 1972, when there were few minority-owned shops.

He is known in the area by his ‘‘trade name,” Jim Dandy, which he said is more ‘‘catchy” than his formal moniker, and has also worked as a bellhop, night clerk, farmer and shop steward. ‘‘I was always out there, doing something,” he said.

Myers’ accomplishment is serving as a starting point for the Silver Spring Historical Society in its efforts to gather information on black history in the community’s business districts.

Jerry McCoy, president of the historical society, said it has been difficult to find material on black history in the area. The historical society hoped to speak to black business owners about finding materials and documents of the ‘‘African American presence as it applies to downtown Silver Spring” to eventually compile, learn from and display.

Historically, Silver Spring has been a predominantly Caucasian community, McCoy said, and the minority presence did not become visible until the 1960s and 1970s.

‘‘There was certainly a diversity along that corridor on Ellsworth Drive before the revitalization,” said Andrea Bray, a Silver Spring resident for the last 35 years and owner of Andrea’s Fine Hats on Eastern Avenue for the last 18 years.

Bray, who grew up in segregated Pittsburgh, Pa., in the 1960s, spent most of her life in broadcast journalism, moving from one television station to another, often as the only black woman in the newsroom. By the time she left journalism to open her own business – hats have been a lifelong passion, she said – the community was much more diverse and welcoming to minority business owners.

‘‘I don’t think I ever realized what was happening for me, personally. ... My parents did, and my community did, but it never really hit me,” she said of her experience in majority-white newsrooms.

Roland Dawes, the 80-year-old owner of Roland’s Unisex Barber Shop in Takoma Park since 1986, said when he was working to move up in the barber business, it was inconceivable for a black man to rent a shop, much less buy a building even in an area that was more diverse than most.

He described the Washington, D.C., area as ‘‘breaking loose” since, and the former ‘‘rules” on who was able to buy property became more lax in the decade before he opened the barber shop.

‘‘People may try to discourage you, tell you you can’t do this or that, but you just have to keep moving ahead,” said Dawes, who has run barber shops or refuse businesses since the 1950s, including a hair-cutting business in the Takoma neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Dawes has lived in Takoma Park since he was 3 years old.

In 2002, about 12 percent of the businesses in Montgomery County were black-owned, compared to nearly 16 percent statewide, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest statistics on minority-owned businesses. Jerome Love, vice president of the African American Chamber of Commerce of Montgomery County, said it was not tougher or easier for black men and women to run their own businesses today than it was 30 years ago, just ‘‘different.”

‘‘We’ve still got some work left to do, but it goes in both directions,” said Love, the CEO of Germantown-based AdCast Inc. ‘‘The owners of minority firms, they have to be willing to reach out to the county.”

Silver Spring resident Lisa Hoston, a black business owner of Concierge Transportation Services in Silver Spring for the last three years, said it is now less of an issue of minorities opening businesses, and more about being an entrepreneur in a difficult economy.

‘‘Of course, everyone told me it would be difficult; my parents said it would be hard,” she said. ‘‘But it was more about being able to get a plan together, get your finances in order.”

Myers agrees. The last eight years have been particularly troubling, as rents and utility costs have continued to increase. But Myers, who described himself as ‘‘slow to age,” has no plans to close his shop. Rather, he wants to expand into a larger site where he would be able to take on more customers and offer more services.

‘‘My daughter, she tells me to retire all the time,” he said. ‘‘I tell her, ‘And do what?’ I have no experience in loafing. Not a bit.”


Silver Spring, Wheaton concerts heat up summer - Gazette

Downtown areas keep the free music rolling

by Zachary Kohn | Special to The Gazette | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Silver Spring will be swinging a little less this summer, as its annual concert series will start a week later than in past years and end a week earlier due to economic hardships, organizers said.

And in Wheaton, the TGIF Summer Concert Series is already up and running with five more shows scheduled for the coming months.

According to Susan Hoffmann, director of marketing and special events for Silver Spring, the concert series, which kicks off this Thursday, is primarily funded by the county, which is struggling to make cuts to balance the budget in a challenging economy.

The series also uses corporate funds from the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation toward the end of the series and pays for major events such as the annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival, Hoffmann added.


Crossroad plans lack consensus, city officials say

Takoma Park stakeholders note key differences between counties' proposals for redevelopment project

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A consensus between major players in the revitalization of the New Hampshire Avenue corridor remains out of reach even as Prince George's County has released its sector plan for the project, according to key stakeholders testifying Monday before the Takoma Park City Council.

Both Prince George's and Montgomery counties are developing separate but similar plans for the revitalization along the Crossroads area of New Hampshire Avenue and University Boulevard, which cuts through both counties.

Plans will also require approval and input from the State Highway Administration. The Purple Line, a proposed 16-mile mass transit line planned to run through the Crossroads, will also play a significant role in shaping the area, making the Maryland Transit Authority a major player as well.

Along with the Purple Line, the plans also aim to redevelop the five major shopping centers in the Crossroads into mixed-use residential and retail high-rises and increasing the "walkability" of the area with broad pedestrian promenades and a buffered bike lane along University Boulevard.


Rec center construction slated to begin in 2010 - Gazette

New $24.3 million facility to be ‘biggest and nicest' in county, officials say

by Robert Dongu | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The White Oak Community Recreation Center will have a vegetated "green" roof, serve more than 30,000 residents and become a blueprint for future Montgomery County rec centers, according to county officials.

"It's going to be by far the biggest and nicest center to date," said William Kaarid, an administrative specialist for the county Recreation Department, at a public forum June 10 at the Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center in Silver Spring. The forum was sponsored by the East County Citizens Advisory Board.

Officials confirmed that the center, to be located near the Paint Branch Stream Valley Park southeast of Route 29 and near April and Stewart lanes, will have a 2010 construction start time. The $24.3 million project is in the county's 2009-2014 Capital Improvements Program.

The 33,000-square-foot center will include a gym, exercise room, social hall, kitchen, senior/community lounge, arts and kiln room, game room, vending space, conference room, offices, restrooms, computer lab, multi-use athletic court, and storage space. The site will be on 22.9 acres of park land.


A revitalized farmers market offers more than food - Gazette

Crossroads venue comes back for another year with fresh produce and entertainment

by Jeremy Arias | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Takoma Park's Crossroads Farmers Market will open for its third season today, offering a smorgasbord of food and produce, from locally-grown fruits and vegetables to Salvadoran pupusas and Korean bulgogi dishes.

Despite the death of the market's founder, Takoma Park resident John Hyde, in March, as well as hardships with the organization of the market last year, organizers are confident that the outdoor farmer's market in the 1300 block of Holton Lane will be better than ever this year with the addition of more vendors and a wider array of musical performers who will entertain customers from June through closing Oct. 28.


Jazz magazine folds after two decades - Gazette

Silver Spring music monthly suspends publication

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Friday, June 19, 2009

The magazine industry's struggles have hit a Silver Spring jazz monthly, which has suspended publication and temporarily dismissed staff as it tries to sell its assets amid financial problems.

Jazz Times has been published in Silver Spring for more than 20 years and has a circulation of roughly 100,000.

"The brand and operation will undergo reorganization and restructuring in order to remain competitive in the current media climate," according to a statement on the magazine's Web site. "Print publishing is expected to resume as soon as a sale is closed."


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Silver Spring Blues Festival On-the-Air on AMTV-21

The first Annual Silver Spring Blues Festival at Downtown Silver Spring was videotaped for broadcast on Montgomery Community Television. Below are the current scheduled premiere air dates for the Silver Spring Blues Festival on AMTV 21.

· Episode #1 Sunday, June 14 10pm

· Episode #2 Sunday, June 21 10pm

· Episode #3 Sunday, June 28 10om

· Episode #4 Sunday, July 5 10pm

The first Silver Spring Blues Festival at Downtown Silver Spring was a huge success. Held on Saturday, May 9th on Ellsworth Drive, the festival attracted hundreds of blues fans and casual spectators under sunny skies.

The festival featured international bluesman "Memphis Gold" and his band which included legendary harmonica player Charlie Sayles and popular vocalist Black Betty. Other featured acts were Three Chords and the Truth, Silver Spring guitarist Jonny Grave, the DC Blues Society Band and the Capital Blues Ensemble. WPFW radio personality Ida Campbell was the festival emcee.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett attended the Silver Spring Blues Festival as did Montgomery County Councilmembers Valerie Ervin, Marc Elrich, George Leventhal, and Maryland State Delegate Tom Hucker.

The Silver Spring Blues Festival was produced by the Silver Spring Town Center, Inc., in partnership with the DC Blues Society, Montgomery College, PFA Silver Spring LLC, Three Keys Music, the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, the Silver Spring Penguin and the Silver Spring Voice.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Real Time - The seventh annual AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS documentary film festival returns to Silver Spring

by Karen Schafer | Staff Writer | June 10, 2009

Forget "The Real Housewives of New Jersey." It's time to get real. After all, who can resist a school designed to teach women how to manipulate and snag a millionaire or a bunch of daredevils who hold onto the side of a moving train while doing acrobatics?

Programmers have spent months comparing and critiquing some 2,000 submissions before whittling the number to 122 films from 58 countries for the seventh annual AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS documentary film festival, set for June 15 through June 22 at AFI Silver Theatre in Silver Spring.

For documentary filmmakers, Planet Earth and its inhabitants are like a big candy store. Fight fanatics might get a glimpse of Mohammed Ali when the famed heavyweight makes an appearance at the screening of "Facing Ali," and feline freaks will learn about a few ladies' penchant for taking in strays in "Cat Ladies." Subjects include a poor guy stuck filming Winnebago ads in the scorching heat, a South Korean farmer and his best friend, a 40-year-old ox, and even people struck by lightning.

Not so long ago, PBS and elementary schools were the genre's most viable venues, but with the advent of inexpensive camera equipment and the Internet, famous and not-so-well-known filmmakers are "exploring issues in-depth that the mainstream media isn't covering," notes Sky Sitney, SILVERDOCS' artistic director.

The festival also offers short films and classes, panel discussions, and meet-and-greets for those in the biz or seeking to try their luck in documentary filmmaking.

Sitney readily admits that the nuanced nature of most documentaries isn't suitable for children; this year's exception is "Racing Dreams," which follows two boys and a girl as they compete in the World Karting Championship.

Then there's the movie about Michelle and Colin Beavan, who live on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan. For one year, the couple gives up 21st-century accouterments, and not just their apartment's elevator. Gone are electricity, takeout pizza, even toilet paper. And best of all, they gave up their anonymity for Justin Schein; the filmmaker documented the good, the bad and Michelle's grieving for her favorite pastimes, shopping and reality TV, in his film "No-Impact Man."

Even when the subject has global implications, Schein believes great documentaries have to be "character driven." Environmental issues were the catalyst for creating this film, but the relationship between man and wife is what will fascinate audiences. Michelle is "everyman," while Colin is "the vegetarian and the driving force."

Just a few hundred miles north in Buffalo, N.Y., Samantha Buck spent almost a year filming what the Arlington, Va., native describes as an "ordinary Jewish family" living under "extraordinary circumstances." Karen, 21, is about to give birth to her third child, fathered by a black youth with a history of drug abuse from the "other side of town." With the pregnancy comes news that her second child is terminally ill with Tay Sachs disease. Within 91 minutes, class distinctions, racism and the complex melding of families makes for some uncomfortable moments. Audience reactions have been "visceral," the filmmaker admits. "Some people yell at the screen." Others demand to voice their outrage to the filmmaker. As for Buck, "that's what I hoped for."

Hope is a strong emotion, yet one's legacy can be equally important. This may have been one reason Marion Barry allowed filmmaker Dana Flor into his life. Making "The Nine Lives of Marion Barry" was never on Flor's to-do list, but while working on a story on police brutality in New York City, she was mistakenly given an old tape of Barry as an activist talking about police brutality.

"I was captivated. He was handsome, engaging, and this was a man I knew nothing about," recalls the D.C. native. "Yet everyone has such a passionate response, hatred versus love, for him."

Flor learned he was an important District leader in 1965, when there was a "dearth of leadership." Traveling with Barry, she also witnessed the city's "racial divide" while filming in Ward 8. "It was a different world; the people feel they have been forgotten."

Barry plans to attend, and a post-screening discussion is planned.

While most films have an underlying political or social theme, some docs just want to have fun. And for Michael Paul Stephenson, it demanded revisiting something that for years "horrified" the Los Angeles-based filmmaker. About two decades ago, Stephenson was just 11 when he made his feature film debut in the low budget "Trolls 2." Now he has created a homage to the film by making the "Best Worst Movie."

Such an idea would have been unfathomable after the first film's release. Months after finishing the movie, the actor received a tape of the film for Christmas, and immediately knew something was wrong. He didn't recognize the boy on the cover; they used another child for advertising. Nor did he understand why the film was called "Trolls 2," as the creatures were goblins, not trolls. As his family watched the movie, he recalls his father putting his head in his hands in shock, calling it the "worst movie ever," Stephenson recalls.

For years, "Trolls 2" may have embarrassed him, but he "never denied" he was in it. Stephenson went on to work behind the camera in marketing and ad campaigns. But about four years ago, he started getting e-mails from young people around the world telling him how much they loved the movie. Some were creating costumes and having "Trolls 2" parties. It was becoming a cult classic.

Stephenson knew it was time to revisit the "Trolls 2" phenomenon and make a film about its fans and the cast members' personal stories. He sought out the handsome young actor who played his father. George Hardy may have had dreams of stardom, but after making the film, he returned to his native Alabama. Stephenson says "he settled" and became a dentist.

The film's Italian director, "Claudio Fragasso, had courage," Stephenson insists. "He didn't speak English, but was trying to make a good film. There was no camp, no irony. There was sincerity in the film."

"Trolls 2" will be screened right after "Best Worst Movie."

Not every film will have a cult following, but "for the 15 people searching for a challenging film," Sitney suggests "The Sound of Insects — Record of A Mummy." As abstract images take over the screen, a narrator reads a man's diary as he commits suicide by starving to death.

On a much lighter note, "September Issue" highlights the making of Vogue magazine's largest edition.

"It was interesting watching the tension between the photographer and Vogue editor Anna Wintour and seeing [actress] Sienna Miller having a bad hair day," Sitney says. The work it requires to create "such seamless beauty" takes the film to another level, showcasing the "mysterious Wintour and how this multibillion-dollar business affects all of our lives."

Seems that fashion is a lot like film.

The seventh annual AFI-Discovery Channel SILVERDOCS documentary film festival is set for June 15 through June 22 at AFI Silver Theatre, 8633 Colesville Road, Silver Spring. Admission to each film is $10, $50 for opening night. Visit www.silverdocs.com.


Friday, June 12, 2009

In bold brushstrokes, refugees tell their tales - Gazette

New Silver Spring mural calls attention to those who fled their countries in fear hoping for a better life

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

For three refugees living in Maryland, speaking out against the government in their native lands could mean prison time, physical injury or even death. But remaining silent could be just as harmful to countless others living in oppressive or war-torn countries.

While the three still fear backlash against themselves and their families, they hope their stories of perseverance and survival, captured in a new mural on Bonifant Street in Silver Spring, will illustrate the struggles of countless other refugees living in America and lead to change in their native lands.

Alan Bowser with artist Joel Bergner

Georges Mushayuma, a former mayor in the Democratic Republic of Congo, fled after finding himself between rival sides in his country's civil war. Mai Kyi, a Burmese woman, is afraid to return to her country after being exposed as a Christian while studying in the United States.

And an Iraqi woman, who asked to be referred to as "Zeena" for fear of backlash against her family, fled her native land after her brother was killed by Saddam Hussein's militia because her family showed loyalty to American troops invading her country.

All three established lives in the U.S. through the International Rescue Committee's Refugee Resettlement Center at 8700 Georgia Ave. in Silver Spring. The mural's artist used contacts at the center to find the three refugees and after interviewing them, immediately felt obligated to share their struggles with the public.

"With something this intense and important you can't just do a sloppy job," said Joel Bergner, a Washington, D.C., artist who spent three weeks painting the mural on the side of Kefa Café on Bonifant Street, using a $3,000 grant from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. "You have to do them justice."


Weed & Seed Committee Supports Montgomery County Code Enforcement Legislation

June 9, 2009, Silver Spring, Maryland – “To not enact these changes would result in the continued eroding of the quality of life in Montgomery County neighborhoods….” stated the Steering Committee of the Weed & Seed Program in its letter to the Montgomery County Council conveying support for County Executive, Isiah Leggett’s legislation on code enforcement.

On May 21st the Steering Committee took up discussion on four separate issues related to the Zoning Text Amendment, Bill 22-09, Bill 23-09 and Bill 24-09 slated for this evening’s public hearing. Alan Bowser, a member of the Silver Spring Citizen’s Advisory Board led the committee through the process of motion introductions, seconds, discussions and final vote. With each call for the vote came a “Unanimous” response from committee members. “I support these changes…” replied Richard Rosenzweig, Vice-President of the Oakview Citizen’s Association, an older 700 home community impacted by the changes.

The proposed legislation deals with a broad range of issues affecting Montgomery County’s oldest communities which includes home occupations and residential off-street parking, lessening the amount of time for violators to continuously appeal, standardizing the storage of unused vehicles, and mandating a time frame of completion of projects so they don’t continue to be an eyesore to the community.

“The result of the vote is no surprise the Oakview Community has been working towards this day for at least two years…” says Maura Lynch, Assistant State’s Attorney, with the Montgomery County State’s Attorney’s Office. In the spring of 2007 the Oakview Community had requested assistance from the Weed & Seed program to implement a Nuisance Abatement Initiative. Soon after a collaboration of county agencies joined together under a “Nuisance Abatement Task Force” responding to resident complaints ranging from large commercial vehicles being parked on driveways and streets, neglected vacant properties, graffiti on private and public property, and pursuit of criminal operations that included the drop off of stolen vehicles and sale of drugs.

“Please don’t leave us out, will this impact apartment complexes as well?” asked Luther Hinsley, the President of the Avery Park Community Association. Residents in the apartment complex have been pursuing the removal of commercial vehicles from their 600 unit complex and at least one former resident claimed the presence of the vehicles contributed to her entrapment by juveniles in an armed robbery attempt a couple of years ago.

This evening John Walters President of the Oakview Citizen’s Association will testify on behalf of the Oakview community and will be one of thirty-five speakers slated to speak before the Montgomery County Council.

This public hearing will be carried live over County Cable Montgomery Channel 6 starting at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Weed and Seed is a U.S. Department of Justice program that provides more than $1 million in funding over a five-year period to help communities provide focused law enforcement activities to “weed out” persistent criminal activity, while at the same time “seeding” with human services and community-building programs. With the Weed and Seed Model, community leaders work hand in hand with law enforcement officials, educators, government agencies and non-profits to help grow safe and healthy communities.

For more information about the Weed and Seed Program contact Victor Salazar at the Silver Spring Regional Services Center (301) 565-5847.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Urban thinking goes into proposed policy shift - Gazette

Discounts recommended for building close to transit

by Margie Hyslop | Staff writer | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

County planners are recommending that developers be offered discounted fees to build a mix of housing and shops near transit lines or basic services in an effort to reduce long car trips and traffic congestion.

The proposal, to be presented to the Planning Board on Thursday, is a step toward crafting a two-year policy to guide growth that the County Council will set in November.

Developments within a half-mile of passenger rail or bus lines could be exempt from fees levied to help pay for transportation improvements.

Developments farther from transit could be exempt from half those fees if they are built within a half-mile of 10 basic services such as a grocery, dry cleaner, library, park or fire station.


Sea Change Recommended In Montgomery Growth Policy - Washington Post

Sea Change Recommended In Montgomery Growth Policy

By Miranda S. Spivack | Washington Post Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Montgomery County planners are proposing a new vision for managing the county's growth, offering discounts to developers who build close to public transit, provide affordable housing and construct environmentally friendly buildings.

The proposal, which the county's Planning Board will begin to assess tomorrow, would reduce the fees builders and developers pay if they adopt principles of smart growth that include getting residents and commuters out of their cars and into urban centers with stores and basic services near jobs. The approach is being pitched as an alternative to the traditional methods employed by the county's legally binding growth policy, which discourages construction if there is too much traffic or not enough classrooms.

"In the past, our growth policy has been based on what you cannot do," said Royce Hanson, chairman of the Planning Board, who has pushed for the approach.

Instead, he said, the county, a popular destination for biosciences and tech firms, should look for ways to allow growth while trying to ensure a high quality of life for those already in place. Montgomery will grow, one way or another, but the proposal will help those who already live and work in the county, as well as those moving in, he believes.

Montgomery's population is nearing 1 million and is expected to grow by 200,000 residents in the next two decades. County officials face major challenges figuring out how to make room for newcomers who might be arriving with the expansion of Bethesda's naval hospital or moving to the area because of its well-regarded schools and its proximity to jobs.

The staff proposal is likely to generate substantial debate this summer as the planning board readies a final proposal to send to the County Council.

It includes a conscious effort to minimize the role traffic jams play in limiting growth and instead allows traffic to grow with new housing and jobs. At the same time, the proposal tries to encourage construction closer to the county's 12 Metrorail stations and other public transportation through a system of financial incentives and discounts on impact fees.

"In the short term, there will be more congestion," said planning director Rollin Stanley, who led the staff effort to revamp the policy. "But we are setting up an ability for that pattern to change over time."

County Council member Marc Elrich (D-At large), who two years ago tangled with Hanson over what he said was a laissez-faire attitude towards traffic, remains worried. "The new proposed policy basically ignores what it does to existing residents to benefit whatever future development is planned," he said.

Jim Humphrey, head of the Montgomery County Civic Federation's land use committee, said he is concerned that the proposed changes would decrease the county's income from builders at a time when the treasury is lean. "We already face a $370 million shortfall for the next fiscal year," he said.

The proposal hit a major stumbling block Monday night, when school system demographer Bruce Crispell projected extensive school crowding in areas served by Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Clarksburg and Seneca Valley high schools. That forced the planning board to impose a one-year building moratorium in those areas beginning July 1 for anyone without approved plans. Because of projected crowding in nine other high schools, the board also approved a plan to require additional payments from developers in neighborhoods served by Walter Johnson, Northwest, Northwood, Paint Branch, Quince Orchard, Richard Montgomery, Rockville, Wheaton and Walt Whitman high schools.

Hanson said there was little the board could do since current growth law requires a moratorium when schools are projected to be too crowded.

Gigi Godwin, president of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce, said the system should be changed.

"We are not going to put up a 'Keep Out' sign," Godwin told the planning board Monday night. She said the moratorium will discourage companies clamoring to come to Montgomery to be near the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, the National Institute of Standards in Gaithersburg and the Food and Drug Administration, near downtown Silver Spring. The county also is trying to attract other federal agencies, she said.

In an era of continually tight county and state budgets, getting more money for school construction has proved a challenge. Stanley said school officials should consider ways to build on smaller lots.

The proposed growth policy will be aired in two public hearings this summer and in public planning board discussion sessions. The board is expected to vote on a plan by the end of next month. The County Council will then take it up in the fall, holding its own hearings and discussion sessions before voting by late November.


Congestion Report Includes Pedestrians - Washington Post

Analysis Shows Worst Intersections

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 11, 2009

In just six hours every morning and afternoon, as commuter traffic courses through downtown Silver Spring, nearly 2,000 people cross the intersection of Colesville Road and East West Highway on foot, making it one of the busiest pedestrian crossings in Montgomery County, a new study says.

For the first time, the county planning department's Highway Mobility Report, which analyzes congestion at 130 intersections across Montgomery, also counted pedestrians, who until recently were often given short shrift in discussions about how to make roads and intersections safer and more efficient.

"We wanted to make sure we were accounting for all different modes of travel," said Dan Hardy, transportation planning supervisor for the county's Department of Park and Planning, which released its 2009 report last week and presented it to the Planning Board on Monday. "We're trying to factor pedestrians into more of the decisions."

Those decisions include what priority the County Council gives to improving certain roads and intersections and where bus stops and sidewalks are located, Hardy said.


Residents encouraged to lobby for capital projects - Gazette

County officials offer suggestions for drawing attention to small-scale improvements

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 10, 2009

While large county projects planned for Silver Spring are already funded in the county's upcoming Capital Improvements Program, residents urged county officials Monday to provide future funding for smaller road improvements and trail projects.

Construction for the new civic building transit center has already been funded, as has the design phase for the new Silver Spring Library, county officials told the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board.

But county officials said residents should lobby the county executive and County Council to get funding for smaller projects, such as improvements to Seminary Road and a comprehensive study of traffic conditions along Dale Drive.


Leggett taps urban planner as regional center director - Gazette

East Silver Spring resident chosen from a field of 12 candidates

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer

After moving to Silver Spring five years ago, the county executive's choice to run the Silver Spring Regional Services Center said it didn't take him long to fall in love with his new hometown.

"As a resident and consumer of all that is Silver Spring, I love it," said Reemberto Rodriguez, 51, who lived in Atlanta for 40 years. "I honestly enjoy showing off what there is to see in Silver Spring."

And with his recent nomination as new director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, part of Rodriguez's job will be showing off Silver Spring. The County Council interviewed Rodriguez on Tuesday and is scheduled to confirm the position June 23. The tentative date for Rodriguez's first day as director is July 20.

Rodriguez, who was born in Cuba, raised in Atlanta and now lives in East Silver Spring, beat out 11 other applicants for the director job, which was vacated Feb. 26 by director Gary Stith, who held the position for eight years. Rodriguez was chosen by County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) because of his experience with NeighborWorks America, a national nonprofit organization focused on community development, and as an urban planner for the City of Atlanta.


Sunday, June 7, 2009

Silver Spring-Takoma Win Season Opener at Blair

The Thunderbolts opened their 10th season last night with a 10-2 win over the Alexandria Aces.

Righthander Spencer Patton (Towson) allowed no runs over five innings and struck out 4 hitters to get the win. Leftfielder Matt Hillsinger (Radford) and third baseman Devin Rivers (NW Shoals CC) each had three hits, including a triple by Hillsinger to lead off the game for the Thunderbolts. Mark Hill (George Mason), Casey Allison (Wingate) and Kyle Maldonado (UNO) each had two hits, with Maldonado driving in three runs. Matt Greene (Hagerstown CC) drove in two runs.

Seen at the game, Montgomery Councilmembers George Leventhal and Valerie Ervin, State Delegates Tom Hucker and Sheila Hixton and Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams.

The Thunderbolts play a doubleheader today against the Bethesda Big Train, with the first game starting at 5:30. The DH is sponsored by Far East Motors.

The first at-bat...

the first Thunderbolts run of the season...

Montgomery Preservation Inc. Awards at the B&O Railway Station

On Friday, June 5, 2009, Montgomery Preservation Inc, recognized a group of distinguished homeowners, architects, designers and citizen groups for their historic preservation projects in Montgomery County. The ceremony was held at the old B&O Train Station on Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring--a major project of Montgomery Preservation Inc.

During the program, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett presented a special award to the mother of the late Wayne Goldstein, who, until his death in April, was the President of Montgomery Preservation Inc.

Among the many awardees were residents of the Lyttonville community of Silver Spring who won an award for their Black History Month exhibit which illuminated the life and times of Sammuel Lytton, a freed slave. The exhibit included a copy of the original deed conveying property in 1853 to Samuel Lytton, as well as interesting maps, photographs, and numerous other documents and artifacts.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

At Stake, a Community's Identity - Washington Post

Purple Line, Other Issues Galvanize East Silver Spring

By Jim Brocker
Special to The Washington Post
Saturday, June 6, 2009

When East Silver Spring residents realized that the Purple Line could be tracking through their community, they formed lobbying groups, flocked to forums and peppered public officials with testimony about potential routes for the transit line. In the process, the residents discovered one another and rediscovered their neighborhood.

"I think standing up for our community when we were threatened with being divided by the Purple Line really made us realize how lucky we were to have what we have," said Hannah McCann, a Silver Spring Avenue resident whose back yard lies in the path of one of the proposed routes.

McCann and other residents of the century-old neighborhood took another look at what initially drew them to East Silver Spring: affordable homes near ethnic restaurants, shops and public transit; a diverse mix of cultures; and camaraderie with neighbors that includes play groups for children and Friday evening happy hours.

"I know neighbors now that I would not probably have known," said Ernest Bland, an architect who lobbied against a Sligo Avenue route no longer being considered that would have affected his home and his business a few blocks away. "We coalesced as a community. We're very conscious about what's going on."

Homeowners are still monitoring the Purple Line talks as the state continues to evaluate options, including a route along Wayne Avenue and Bonifant Street on East Silver Spring's northern border.

In the meantime, as development in Silver Spring's central business district spreads toward the Fenton Street corridor in East Silver Spring, residents are focusing on ways to retain the existing businesses and restaurants.

"The biggest challenge is to not lose what we have," said Karen Roper, an officer of the East Silver Spring Citizens Association, which includes 1,200 households. "How do you add without gentrifying to the point where you lose the small businesses, lose the diversity?"

Roper, the county and local businesses helped produce a brochure highlighting the neighborhood's eateries and services, and other residents, including author Jerry McCoy, are working to raise awareness about the homes and the history.

McCoy, the president of the Silver Spring Historical Society, has lived in the neighborhood since 1992. He praised its bungalows and foursquare homes, box-shaped two-story structures with dormers and front porches, calling them almost like "farmhouses sprinkled through the neighborhood." McCoy said a committee has formed to consider requesting designation as a historic district.

Deb McCormick and Stevan Lieberman say they purchased their older Silver Spring Avenue home from owners who were born in it. McCormick said they enjoy the house's character, although Lieberman added with a smile, "The floors creak, so you always hear somebody coming." Owning an older home means "always fixing it and changing it -- making it your own," he said.

But residents say the homes are worth it. McCann and her husband, Jonathan Witte, lived in a smaller home in the neighborhood before they moved into a bungalow. The couple now has two sons, ages 2 and 4. Though the house sometimes "does feel too small with rambunctious little boys," McCann said it actually contains "well thought-out livable space," with bigger living areas and smaller sleeping areas, a welcoming front porch and windows that provide cross-ventilation.

McCann's neighbor Laurie Breen also moved from a nearby house with her husband, Robert Rosenberg. Their daughter, Emma, 6, goes to East Silver Spring Elementary School, and their son, Harry, 4, will also attend school there. Breen said it's important for her children to meet youngsters from varied ethnic and economic backgrounds. "My kids don't come home saying they need the five newest toys every day," she said.

Residents say they are wary of crime, particularly just north of the neighborhood in the central downtown area. Roper, a 25-year resident, now hesitates to walk after 9 p.m. from the commercial areas to her home, and said the new development nearby has also brought new concerns.

But residents say they feel safe at home. East Silver Spring's houses sit snugly on small lots, allowing neighbors to look after one another. They enjoy strolling along the tree-lined streets, creating opportunities for what Nancy Nickell called "great spontaneous conversations on the sidewalks."

Jim Higgins, an East Silver Spring resident and an agent for Weichert Realtors, said only a few houses have recently come on the market. One sold in 14 days and one sold in a week. "People have come to realize that the neighborhood is more affordable and it's still close in," he said.

Bob Colvin, 76, the president of the East Silver Spring Citizens Association, has resided for about 50 years in a house where his parents once lived. He would like to see improved lighting and is concerned about the potential for high-rise, high-density development for the Fenton Street commercial corridor known as Fenton Village.

Colvin and Roper also noted the importance of the neighborhood's industrial area that includes several auto repair shops that provide jobs and services for residents. "I don't see why we can't have an industrial area and high-end condos," Roper said.

Business owners appreciate the support. Daniel Goodwin, owner of Silver Spring Books, said he enjoys the "good exchange of information" with local customers. That conversation often carries over to the area's local restaurants and coffee shops. A co-owner of Kefa Cafe, Lene Tsegaye, noted that her shop does not feature Internet access because she wants to encourage chatting.

Kefa is one of several Ethiopian-owned businesses in the neighborhood. Tsegaye and her sister Abeba have operated their Bonifant Street shop since 1996. "The nicest thing is that the people who came in 1996, they still come," she said.

If the Purple Line is built, residents hope the transit will not attract the density that might displace existing businesses. Standing on Bonifant Street on a recent afternoon, Roper wondered: "Where else are you going to find a gun shop, a tattoo parlor, a used book store and high-end restaurants all in the same block?"


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Planners: Developer must provide service access to businesses - Gazette

Opponents of Studio Plaza project in Fenton Village say plan would hinder, block use of alleys

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 3, 2009

After granting early approval for a mixed-use development planned for Fenton Village, the Montgomery County Planning Board told the developer last week that future plans for the project must ensure nearby businesses have access to service alleys, a problem that has enraged merchants and residents in the Silver Spring neighborhood.

Property owners have complained that Silver Spring-based developer Robert Hillerson's Studio Plaza project, proposed for the county-owned Parking Lot 3 at the corner of Thayer and Silver Spring avenues, will hinder customer and delivery access to their buildings. The project would require the abandonment of several alleys currently used by businesses near the site.

Planning Board Chairman Royce Hanson said the board would not intervene in arguments between the property owners and the developer. But he said subsequent plans for the project must "show adequate access for customers and deliveries to the adjacent projects" before they will be approved.


County plans transit center for White Oak - Gazette

Proposed facility seen as a way to increase safety, transportation options in growing area

by Robert Dongu | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Government employees and a new hospital are coming to White Oak. A new transportation center may also be on its way.

The White Oak Transit Center, to be located near the White Oak Shopping Center on New Hampshire Avenue and Lockwood Drive, would include six bus shelters and a bus and pedestrian queuing area. The center also would include a traffic signal in the area of Lockwood and the shopping center area, and increase safety at area bus stops, according to a county Division of Transit Services employee.

"It'll define the bus stop," said Phil McLaughlin, manager of operations planning for the Division of Transit of Services. "It'll define where people should transfer."


Residents: Keep golf at Sligo Creek course - Gazette

Parks Department weighing options for facility

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, June 3, 2009

While county planning officials have said Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring will no longer be operated as a golf course beginning this fall, residents asked officials last week to consider any alternative that would keep golf at Sligo Creek.

Parks Department officials met with residents May 26 to discuss the future of the course, which the county Revenue Authority will hand back to Park and Planning on Oct. 1 because the course was ruled a financial drain on the county golf system. It will still operate as a golf course until that date.

But most residents at the meeting weren't interested in finding new uses for the course instead they wanted to explore options that would save the course for golfers of all ages and ability and allow the site to offer the youth golf program First Tee of Montgomery County.


DJ Was a Rock-and-Roll Apostle in D.C. Area - Washington Post

By Adam Bernstein Washington Post Staff Writer Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Don Dillard, 74, a freewheeling disc jockey who helped introduce rock-and-roll to the Washington area from his tiny Wheaton station, died May 28 at his home in Annapolis after an apparent heart attack.

Starting in the mid-1950s, Mr. Dillard and TV dance show host Milt Grant were dominant players in the effort to bring rock to local audiences at a time when the non-threatening pop of singers Doris Day and Frankie Laine prevailed on the dial.

Many radio stations were cautious about playing too much rock at that transitional moment before rock's ascendancy, and so they interspersed Elvis Presley or Little Richard with Pat Boone, Eydie Gormé and Andy Williams. Mr. Dillard is not remembered as approaching his craft gingerly.

On WDON-AM, Mr. Dillard enjoyed rare freedom to broadcast whatever he liked: rock-and-roll, rockabilly, black and white doo-wop, and rhythm-and blues. He was under no commercial pressure from the station's owner, who happened to be his father, an entrepreneur who also owned WASH-FM and a network of 52 other radio stations in the Mid-Atlantic region.


Montgomery County gang unit tallies prosecutions - Examiner

by NAFEESA SYEED, The Associated Press 2009-06-01 18:36:00.0

ROCKVILLE, Md. - State prosecutors have improved their tracking of gang-related cases in Montgomery County, with the number of prosecutions reaching about 1,000 defendants in the last two years, county leaders said Monday.

Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy said that since his office created a gang prosecution unit in 2007, prosecutors have worked with law enforcement agencies to boost efforts to identify offenders who belong to gangs. McCarthy said his office only prosecuted 77 such cases in 2006.

"This does not mean that gang activity has drastically increased," McCarthy said. "Rather, what it means is that we have improved our ability to identify known gang members when they commit crimes and when they go through the criminal justice system."

McCarthy said prosecutors are identifying gang members at a higher rate because they work with police and corrections officers to pin down criminals' affiliations.


County Executive Announces New Regional Services Center Directors

Silver Spring Regional Services Center

Reemberto Rodríguez is Leggett’s choice to serve as the new director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center. For nearly two decades, Rodríguez worked with NeighborWorks America (formerly the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation) in various capacities. The past five years, he was Training Manager, leading the design, development and implementation of two Professional Certificate Programs – Community Engagement and Neighborhood Revitalization.

For six years, he served the City of Atlanta in the Department of Community Development’s Bureau of Planning. Other positions he held within the Department were managing the Division of Housing and Economic Development and working as a Housing Planner and Urban Designer during his time in Atlanta. Working under two mayors in Atlanta, he helped bring business interests and local government together with area residents in reshaping the city’s downtown area.

He also has extensive experience as a trainer and facilitator, covering topics such as Neighborhood Revitalization Strategies, Design Charettes, How to Engage Your Community, Public Private Partnerships and Ethnic Collaboration.

Leggett called Rodríguez “a perfect fit for the position. His extensive background in building community partnerships, planning and revitalization will be put to good use in Silver Spring.”

He received both a Bachelor of Science -- specializing in architecture, with a minor in Political Science -- and a Masters of Architecture, specializing in Urban Design, from Georgia Tech. Rodriguez, 51, also holds a Masters of Urban Affairs, specializing in Community Development, from Georgia State University.

A resident of Silver Spring, Rodríguez also has served on numerous boards and holds various professional memberships. Among his community involvement, he is a member of the East Silver Spring Civic Association and serves as treasurer of Impact Silver Spring.

East County Regional Services Center

Joy L. Nurmi has been chosen by Leggett to serve as the new director of the East County Regional Services Center. Over the past 14 years, Nurmi had served as chief of staff for County Councilmembers Betty Ann Krahnke, Marilyn Praisner and Don Praisner.

Prior to that time, she worked with The Gazette Newspapers in various capacities – from reporter to Managing Editor and News Editor.

Before her career with The Gazette, she was a legislative analyst/editor with Southern Technical Services in Bethesda and a legislative policy analyst/editor for Engineering, Planning and Management (EPM), also in Bethesda.

Leggett said that Nurmi “brings the right mix of County experience and knowledge of the east county to the job. Having worked at the Council with both Marilyn and Don Praisner has given her a good perspective of East County issues.”

Nurmi received a B.S. in Communications, magna cum laude, from the University of Maryland University College.

She is a member of the Collaboration Council’s Out-of-School Time Task Force and has served as chair of both the Legislative Committee of Montgomery County’s Comprehensive Strategy on Juvenile Justice and the Public Relations Committee of the County’s Task Force on Domestic Violence.

Nurmi, 57, resides in Germantown.