Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Fenton Street Market strives to paint neighborhood with art - Gazette

Vendors to reflect diversity and creativity of Fenton Village

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

Over a cup of coffee at Highland Coffee on Fenton Street in Silver Spring earlier this summer, resident Hannah McCann started daydreaming.

Idly staring at the intersection of Fenton and Silver Spring Avenue across the street, she didn't see the parking lot that was there. Instead, McCann saw her own vision of what the Fenton Village neighborhood should look like:

"Something a little funkier than you'd see in downtown Silver Spring," McCann said. "There are a lot of interesting people in our neighborhood, and I hold out hope that Fenton Village might eventually reflect that eclectic character."

Maybe it was the caffeine, but the 36-year-old stay-at-home mom abruptly walked over to the lot, called a phone number listed on a sign nearby and asked if the property owner could accommodate her vision: a vibrant market with artists from Silver Spring selling unique wares to their neighbors and visitors from across the region.

To her surprise, the answer was "Yes.''

Piney Branch Elementary's pool now open for fall - Gazette

People and Places | Jason Tomassini and Jeremy Arias | Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

The pool at Piney Branch Elementary School re-opened Sunday for its fall session thanks to last year's eleventh-hour budget scrambling by pool sponsor Adventist Community Services to ensure funding for another school year.

The pool will be open to lap swimmers and guests from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. before school and from 4 to 10 p.m. after school from Monday through Thursday, 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. Fridays and from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sundays, according to ACS officials. The pool will be closed on Saturdays.

Sligo Creek course supporters protest management fee - Gazette

Fee unfairly high for small course, they say

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

The Sligo Creek Golf Course can remain open past its scheduled closing date of Oct. 1 without using county funds, says a newly formed nonprofit group dedicated to saving the course.

The organization's proposal centers on a management fee charged by the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, which is scheduled to operate the Silver Spring course until Oct. 1 before handing operations back to the landowner, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Each of the Revenue Authority's nine golf courses was charged a $139,000 management fee in fiscal 2008 for costs associated with the authority's home office in Rockville, such as insurance fees, marketing fees and the salaries of 10 employees, said Executive Director Keith Miller.

"In essence, it's a bookkeeping fee. It pays for nothing at the golf course itself," said Merrill Goozner, the treasurer for Sligo Creek Golf Association Inc., a nonprofit group of residents who want to save the course. "… When you realize that's what it is, you say ‘Wow, how can you attribute this to every course the same?' "

Group walks to commemorate peer's death - Gazette

Movement alive one year after fatal shooting

by Jeremy Arias | Staff writer | Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2009

Defying the muggy humidity and looming thunderstorms Saturday afternoon, about 50 youth activists and community organizers met at a bus stop at 8555 Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring for a two-mile peace walk to remember a fallen friend and spread the message of nonviolence.

It was at that same bus stop on Nov. 1, 2008, that 14-year-old Montgomery Blair High School freshman Tai Lam was shot to death on a Ride On bus while on his way home from downtown Silver Spring with his friends. Galvanized by the ferocity of the incident, a youth-led nonviolence group, Mixed Unity, was formed by a coalition of Lam's classmates and members of other youth organizations to promote peace in the troubled neighborhoods of Silver Spring.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Builders Take Wait-and-See Approach to Purple Line - Washington Post

Completion Is Too Distant For Strapped Developers

By Katherine Shaver
Washington Post Staff Writer
Sunday, August 23, 2009

When Maryland officials promote plans to build a $1.68 billion Purple Line between Bethesda and New Carrollton, they often tout the power of light rail lines to transform older, struggling areas into thriving new hubs of transit-focused development.

They visualize worn, 1950s-era strip malls in places such as Langley Park being replaced with pedestrian-friendly communities of high-rise homes, offices, restaurants and shops clustered around train stations.

But missing from such visions have been the developers who would have to carry them out. With a few exceptions, they have remained conspicuously quiet as Maryland officials begin this fall to seek critical federal funding for the 16-mile project.

Full article at

Mixed Unity's Walk for Peace

Pictures from Mixed Unity's Peace March in Silver Spring on August 22, 2009. The purpose of the march was to express messages of peace and non-violence and to honor the memory of Tai Lam. Participants marched to Pyramid Atlantic's store on Georgia Avenue from the bus stop at the corner of Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street where the Montgomery Blair High School student was murdered in November 2009.

More pictures from the Mixed Unity Peace Walk at

Faces of Peace

Pictures from the Mixed Unity Peace March from Piney Branch Road and Arliss Street in Silver Spring to Pyramid Atlantic on Georgia Avenue. The purpose of the march was to honor the memory of slain Montgomery Blair High School student Tai Lam and to proclaim messages of peace and non-violence.

More "Faces of Peace at

Friday, August 21, 2009

County Executive Leggett on Sligo Creek Golf Course

July 29, 2009

Valerie Ervin, County Council, District 5
Marc Elrich, County Council, At-Large
Montgomery County Council
100 Maryland Avenue
Rockville, Maryland 20850

Dear Councilmembers Ervin and Elrich:

Thank you for your inquiries and discussion regarding possible solutions for the Sligo Creek Golf Course. As you are well aware, the Sligo Creek Golf Course is scheduled to close on October 1st of this year unless action is taken to preserve this facility for use by the local community and all County residents. In previous discussions with the County Council, the Revenue Authority has indicated that, without substantial capital investments, they do not believe this golf course has the potential for ever becoming self sufficient. For this reason, the Revenue Authority has requested and the Council has approved a change to the lease agreement with the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) to return responsibility for this golf course back to M-NCPPC.

After careful consideration on this matter and feedback I have received from you and a variety of community leaders, I believe we should again review our options before proceeding to close this golf course. Specifically, I will request that the County Council provide a supplemental appropriation to fund continued operations of the facility for no more than the next 24 months while we review other options to make this facility self-supporting for the long term. While this approach will continue temporarily the operation of the golf course, we need to avoid imposing these costs on the Revenue Authority or M-NCPPC for the continued operation of a facility with conditions that prevent it from becoming profitable.

I will shortly form a task force with representatives of the local community, Revenue Authority, M-NCPPC, and County Government who will identify and develop options for the continued, self-sustaining operation of the Sligo Creek Golf Course. I would welcome the Council's participation in this Task Force as well. I believe by collaboratively working together we can identify the appropriate solutions for maintaining this golf course in a self sustaining manner into the future.


Isiah Leggett
County Executive


cc: Phil Andrews, President, County Council
Roger Berliner, County Council
Nancy Floreen, County Council
Mike Knapp, County Council
George Leventhal, County Council
Nancy Navarro, County Council
Duchy Trachtenberg, County Council
Kathleen Boucher, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer
Keith Miller, Executive Director, Revenue Authority
Royce Hanson, Chair, Montgomery County Planning Board

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Silver Spring's Fillmore negotiations drag on, developer hoping for deal in 30 to 60 days - Examiner

By: Alan Suderman Examiner Staff Writer August 20, 2009

A Montgomery County developer said he expects to reach a deal with the county within the next 30 to 60 days to build a long-awaited music hall in Silver Spring.

County Executive Ike Leggett announced a deal two years ago with California-based Live Nation that would bring a Fillmore Music Hall to a former J.C. Penney store site on Silver Spring's Colesville Road. The deal would preserve the historic facade of the store, which has sat empty for nearly 20 years. Leggett pushed the County Council last year to approve $4 million in funds and special land-use rule changes that were supposed to pave the way for a deal with the developer, Lee Development Group.

But the path to the deal has been long, and Lee and Leggett are still trying to hammer out a deal, with the sticking points in their debate being kept private.

"We're almost there," said Bruce Lee, head of Lee Development Group.

Lee said his company is being asked to donate a "very valuable" piece of land before it has created a plan to build up the rest of the adjacent property it owns. In return, Lee said he wants assurances that the current county's rules for development won't change when his company decides to develop the rest of its property.

"We're not asking for additional density, we're not asking for money," Lee said. "We're not asking for anything outside the box."

The county official who is Leggett's point person on the project could not be reached for comment.

The Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, which supports building the Fillmore, has complained about the negotiations' lack of openness. Chairman Darian Unger said he is pleased to hear that a deal may be close, adding that his group has spent a long time waiting on "pins and needles."

Efforts to get a live music hall in Silver Spring date several years, first with the county unsuccessfully trying to get Alexandria's Birchmere Music Hall to open a second venue in Silver Spring.

County Councilman Marc Elrich, D-At Large, who voted against the zoning changes, said he and other council members were told last year that approval for the project was "critical" and "couldn't afford delay." He said it's "frustrating" not to have heard any updates on the project since.

Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg, D-At Large, said it was "troubling" that the project hadn't moved forward faster and that the County Council would have a "robust conversation" about the project if a deal isn't reached soon.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Trip to El Salvador helps locals connect to roots - Gazette

Gandhi Brigade makes documentary to spread understanding of country

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

Douglas Ceron-Reyes knew his trip to El Salvador with the Gandhi Brigade youth group would help him learn more about his family's Salvadoran roots.

But when Ceron-Reyes interviewed Salvadoran female soldiers for a short film about their fighting in the country's long, bloody civil war, he didn't realize how close to home their experiences would be.

"My mother was going to fight in the civil war," Ceron-Reyes, a Montgomery College student, said Saturday, just a few days after several members of the Gandhi Brigade returned from a 10-day trip to El Salvador. "Instead, she left for the U.S. to live with my grandfather and her brother."

"I didn't know any of this until I got back from El Salvador."

Like many other Salvadorans, Ceron-Reyes' mother fled El Salvador during the war, which began in 1980 and ended in 1992. The war killed an estimated 75,000 people. Through videos they shot with the help of Salvadoran youth groups, the Gandhi Brigade members quickly saw the stranglehold the war still has on the country.

"It's a huge scar on the country that they are still coming to terms with," said Gandhi Brigade Executive Director Richard Jaeggi, adding that he hopes to bring Salvadoran groups to the United States next year.

Eight youth members of the Gandhi Brigade made the trip, from Aug. 1 to Aug. 11, along with several of the Silver Spring-based organization's employees. The trip was funded by the California-based Chino Cienega Foundation and almost $10,000 raised through fundraising events and private donations over the past four months.

The Gandhi Brigade is a Silver Spring-based nonprofit that provides media training to middle school, high school and college students who then promote peace and nonviolence in the community. The El Salvador trip was dubbed a "media exchange" where the Gandhi Brigade youth taught two similar Salvadoran youth groups how to use media to promote their message.

Full story at

‘Weed and Seed' program reaps rewards for neighborhood - Gazette

Community strives to keep program alive

by Jason Tomassini | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2009

Within a cramped, two-bedroom apartment in the 848 building of the Northwest Park apartments in Silver Spring, a community plants its seeds and watches them grow.

In the living room, 10 young children sit at two small tables working diligently on arts and crafts. In a bedroom, eight teenage boys play video games and surf news Web sites on three computers, often bumping into each other in the close quarters.

The apartment has been converted into a YMCA of Metropolitan Washington community center, staffed by homegrown mentors and supervisors from the neighborhood. It's one of the many programs that receive funding from the Northwest Park/Oak View Weed and Seed program, which strives to tackle the crime, poverty and safety problems that have long plagued the area.

Each of the roughly 300 Weed and Seed programs nationwide is allotted $1 million over a five-year span. But many community-based nonprofit programs faced with the economic downturn have seen their budgets dwindle, and Weed and Seed has been hit by the economy as well, said Victor Salazar, the site coordinator for Northwest Park's program, which is the only Weed and Seed in the county and among four in the state.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lt. Gov. Brown Adds Mayor Ortiz To Reshuffled Staff - Maryland Moment - Washington Post

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) is adding some heft to his small staff with the addition of a mayor from Prince George's County.

Adam Ortiz, mayor of the town of Edmonston, joins Brown's office this week as a deputy chief of staff.

Ortiz has worked in state government since July 2007 as a special assistant to Tom Perez, the secretary of the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation. Brown confirmed the move Friday in Ocean City at the Maryland Association of Counties conference.

Ortiz's arrival is the part of larger shuffling of key personnel around Brown, among the Democrats expected to increasingly jockey to succeed O'Malley if he wins re-election next year.

Asuntha Chiang-Smith, who has coordinated the state's response to the Base Realignment and Closure process, has also been elevated to deputy chief of staff status in Brown's office. She will continue to work on BRAC-related issues, a major focus for Brown, as well as other economic development topics.

Meanwhile, Brown's communications director, Barbara Streeter, recently left for a job as outreach liaison at the state Department of Housing & Community Development.

And Ben Stutz has arrived in the office as Brown's new policy director. Stutz had been a key staff member for Montgomery County Council member Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring). Stutz replaces Jeanette Ortiz, who has moved over to serve as Chiang-Smith's deputy on BRAC issues.

Earlier this year, Brown flipped his top two staffers, making Earl Adams his chief of staff, and Jerry Boden, who formerly held that title, a deputy chief of staff.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Silver Spring's 'Bandslam' Star Doesn't Play at Acting Anymore - Washington Post

By Lavanya Ramanathan
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, August 14, 2009

Gaelan Connell has a new apartment, and it has him fretting.

The gawky, curly-haired 20-year-old from Silver Spring has a starring role in the latest tween megamovie, "Bandslam." And in it, he holds his own against some of the genre's biggest stars, "High School Musical's" Vanessa Hudgens and Aly Michalka of Aly & AJ.

But it's Connell's new pied-a-terre -- in West Hollywood! The cliche! -- that has forced him to acknowledge what "Bandslam" could mean for his career: "I have an apartment in L.A. now, because I guess I'm now kind of going to do this movie thing," he says sheepishly, by phone from his new home.

Before this apartment acting had been just a hobby for Connell. "Bandslam," which follows a group of New Jersey high-schoolers vying to win a recording contract through a battle-of-the-bands competition called Bandslam, is only Connell's second movie role. But he is in every scene.

It's surprisingly unlike the cloying teen fare people have come to expect. Writers Todd Graff and Josh A. Cagan have instead grafted the sardonic wit of "Juno" onto a glossy, "HSM"-style romp. When a group of Bandslam competitors offers a sneak preview to shrieking fans in the school cafeteria, a character describes the scene as a "Nuremberg rally produced by MTV."

"It's really kind of like a John Hughes movie," says Connell, whose last name is pronounced kuh-NELL. "There's a lot of edge to it. . . . I think it surprises people."

And in the great cinematic tradition of nerd heroes such as Ferris Bueller, Connell's character, Will Burton, is an indie-rock-loving new kid at school who gets drawn into the Bandslam maelstrom.

Connell's previous foray into movies was nearly 10 years ago, when a casting director walked into his French immersion class at Maryvale Elementary School in Rockville and tapped him to play young Didi Drou ("Imagine a smaller me with much more hair, " he says) in the movie "Chocolat."

After the film wrapped, he continued acting as a hobby, winning roles in high school plays and playing Peter Pan in a production in Baltimore. After graduation from Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Connell enrolled at New York University's prestigious Tisch School -- not for acting but for filmmaking. "I have a little bit of a 'fro going on, so I thought I may as well get behind the camera," he jokes.

Nevertheless, when he heard about the "Bandslam" audition, Connell, who plays both guitar and cello, turned up to audition for Will.

"I kind of got thrown in it," Connell says. "I woke up, and I'm in Austin, shooting this movie. It's like day 5, and I'm kissing Vanessa Hudgens."

Ahh, yes, that kiss -- the one that sent bloggers into hysterics long before the movie was released. Who is this guy -- totally not Zac -- coming between the most celebrated couple of our time?

Zac Efron was cool, Connell assures us, and so were his co-stars. "It's crazy. It gets really overwhelming," he says of the celebrity life. "But these girls are so cool and down to earth about it. Once you really break through the bubble, they're more than normal."

As for him, he hasn't quite reached their level of Zen. "The last three weeks, I've felt like the main guy in 'Almost Famous,' " he says. Last week, he expressed hope he'd be far from the bustle of West Hollywood on the first night the film is screened.

"I think I'm going to go home to the Majestic in Silver Spring and see it on opening night. I think it's still nice to be home."

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Golf course eyed for veterans' therapy - Gazette

Councilwoman Ervin's proposal would have all-volunteer maintenance staff, charge for daily greens fees

by Amber Parcher and Jason Tomassini | Staff Writers | Wednesday, Aug. 12, 2009

A state veterans' affairs organization supports a County Council member's proposal to make the Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring a source of therapy for war veterans, but some say the idea is unprecedented in Maryland and details must be worked out to determine its viability.

Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring proposed the idea in a letter to the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and other county officials last week, suggesting the MDVA partner with the county to run the course specifically for injured veterans whose physical therapy could be supplemented with golf.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Broad Coalition Launches Non-Profit To Save Sligo Creek Golf Course

Welcomes Using Course to Aid Injured Vets

August 7, 2009 – The newly-formed non-profit Sligo Creek Golf Association, Inc. (SCGA) today launched a county-wide campaign to encourage Montgomery County Council to keep Sligo Creek Golf Course open while a task force with broad community involvement develops a plan to permanently preserve the historic course as a recreational venue.

“Sligo Creek Golf Course is a unique recreational resource for county residents,” said Karen Howland, president of the SCGA. “It is the only 9-hole golf course in the Montgomery County system that provides a friendly atmosphere for novice and low- and moderate-income golfers. Permanently closing the course would be a severe blow to the thousands of youths, women, minorities and senior citizen golfers who use the course every year.”

The SCGA applauds the past week's statements by county officials supporting alternatives to closure, including either a temporary subsidy or finding another government or non-profit entity willing to run the course.

“We understand the county faces severe budget difficulties,” Howland said. “The best alternative would be for its current operator – the Montgomery County Revenue Authority – to continue managing the facility without burdening the county while other options are explored.”

The SCGA welcomes all proposals from our elected officials and the public about ways to save Sligo golf in the short and long term. We were especially pleased to see the creative and praiseworthy suggestion from Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin to establish a partnership with the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs that would provide injured veterans with therapeutic golf at Sligo Creek. The SCGA looks forward to working with her and other county and state officials on the details.

“Sligo Creek golfers and neighbors would be proud to help our veterans by sharing this jewel of a golf course,” said Howland.

The SCGA represents golfers and non-golfers who want to see this property remain a golf course, including leaders of Friends of Sligo Creek, the Sligo Ladies’ Golf League, and several civic association presidents.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Silver Spring's National Night Out 2009

Pictures from the 26th Annual "National Night Out," America’s Night Out against crime in Silver Spring, Maryland.

See more pictures from the National Night Out at

National Night Out in Silver Spring

Tuesday, August 4, 2009 – Silver Spring, Maryland, Residents living in 5 Weed & Seed Communities came together this evening to celebrate the 26th Annual National Night Out, America’s Night Out against crime. Northwest Park, Avery Park and The Hamptons continued their annual tradition of hosting events and were joined this year by properties managed by Southern Management Corporation, Hampshire West and Chateau.

Children were treated to Montgomery County Police Department’s continued tradition of having a motorcade of police vehicles announcing their arrival with lights and sirens. Captain Donald Johnson, Commander of MCPD’s 3rd Police District was among them handing out tri-glow necklaces and other freebies to children and youth. Accompanying Captain Johnson was Lieutenant Robert McCullagh, Deputy Commander of the 3rd Police District and Co-Chair of the Weed & Seed Program’s Steering Committee.

“I really love coming back here to these communities!” stated Councilmember Valerie Ervin of Montgomery County’s 5th District as she was greeted by Luther Hinsely, President of the Avery Park Community Association. Ms. Ervin was part of the MCPD motorcade that traveled throughout Silver Spring during National Night Out 2008 and chose to return to visit Weed & Seed communities along with Amparo Macias her Constituent Liaison Representative.

By helping to coordinate 5 separate localized community events, the Weed & Seed program hopes to assist property managers and association presidents capitalize on the high attendance and feeling of goodwill to promote resident participation in on-going community projects like neighborhood watch programs, quality of life committees, and community engagement programs.

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-in” 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.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Councilwoman suggests course serve veterans to stay profitable - Gazette

Ervin's proposes all-volunteer maintenance staff, charging for daily green fees

by Amber Parcher | Staff Writer | Wednesday, Aug. 5, 2009

The Sligo Creek Golf Course could soon be a source of therapy for war veterans, run entirely by volunteers and open to the community, if Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin has her way.

Ervin (D-Dist. 5), of Silver Spring, proposed the idea in a letter to the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs and other county officials Tuesday, suggesting the MDVA partner with the county to run the course specifically for injured veterans whose physical therapy could be supplemented with golf.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Residents, Golfers Establish Sligo Creek Golf Association, Inc.

August 4, 2009. At a well-attended community meeting at the Sligo Creek Golf Course, Silver Spring residents and Sligo Creek golfers welcomed the formation of a new nonprofit organization, the Sligo Creek Golf Association, Inc.

Participants also elected the Association's Board of Directors and officers. Elected as members of the Board of Directors of the Sligo Creek Golf Association, Inc. were: Bruce Sidwell, Carmen Maymi, Coco Kagan, Jim Pierobon, Joe Hibbeln, Karen Goozner, Karen Howland, Merrill Goozner, Michael Welsh, Steve Brown, Ted Power, Woody Brosnan and Alan Bowser, Esq.

Elected as officers of the Sligo Creek Golf Association, Inc. were: Karen Howland, President; Joe Hibbeln, Vice President; Merrill Goozner, Treasurer, and Karen Goozner, Secretary.

The Association will work to preserve and promote golf at the Sligo Creek Golf Course in Silver Spring, Maryland.

O'Malley commits to trains for Purple Line - Gazette

Next step is to get federal funding, governor says at news conference

by Daniel Valentine | Staff Writer | Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2009

Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) left no question about his vision for the Purple Line, announcing plans in a news conference Tuesday to lobby Congress for money to build a $1.5 billion above-ground train line connecting Bethesda to New Carrollton.

The planned mass transit line, which has been debated in Montgomery and Prince George's counties for more than 20 years, could begin carrying passengers as early as 2016, though state officials say it is more likely to come by 2020. The timetable depends entirely on the ability of the federal government to provide funding for construction.

O'Malley Endorses Light Rail for Purple Line - Washington Post

By Lisa Rein and James Hohmann
Tuesday, August 4, 2009 9:51 AM

Gov. Martin O'Malley endorsed a light-rail line over bus rapid transit Tuesday by announcing that Maryland will pursue federal transit money to build a Purple Line linking Prince George's and Montgomery counties.

"What we're presenting today is rightfully called the locally preferred alternative," O'Malley said during a news conference at the New Carrollton Metro station, the proposed eastern terminus for the Purple Line.

He said his administration will apply for funding for the 16-mile line as well as a 14-mile Red Line through Baltimore, two long-awaited projects that have been in the planning stages for years.

O'Malley described the decision as "the product of a consensus through disagreement." He said the light-rail option will be sleeker, narrower and more "pleasing to the eye" than previous generations.

"This is not your grandfather's light rail," he said.

O'Malley scheduled a whistle-stop train tour befitting both announcements: After the 8:30 press conference at New Carrollton, he planned to board a Baltimore-bound MARC train and travel to the West Baltimore station. When that train arrives at 10:14 a.m., he'll make his Red Line announcement.

Political support for both projects is behind light rail, although they face local opposition because they would run along local streets and not underground. The Purple Line would run along a popular wooded trail and through the golf course of a country club in Chevy Chase.

O'Malley was joined at New Carrollton by Purple Line supporters and government officials, including Maryland Rep. Donna F. Edwards (D) and Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D).

"I'm happy to put to bed the alignment questions," said Edwards, who wore a purple suit for the occasion.

Johnson said he plans to push for a bicycle trail along the Purple Line route.

Both lines are expected to get a boost from the No. 2 official at the U.S. Department of Transportation, John D. Porcari. who championed both when he was O'Malley's transportation secretary. But competition for federal money still will be tough.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Benches on the Silver Spring

A large and enthusiastic crowd was on hand to witness the unveiling of the "Benches on the Block," a project of Arts on the Block in partnership with Downtown Silver Spring and Pyramid Atlantic.