Tuesday, April 19, 2016

Board requests funds for classroom instruction; infrastructure; ped safety

The following is text of a letter from the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board to members of the County Council concerning the FY17 County operating budget. The Board approved the letter at their April 18 meeting.

Dear Council President Floreen and Members of the County Council:

Thank you for this opportunity to provide testimony from the members of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board regarding the recommended fiscal year 2017 County Operating Budget. We appreciate your continued leadership on behalf of our community.

We commend County Executive Leggett for his courage in proposing a property tax increase in his recommended budget to address long-overdue needs – in particular greater investments in education. We strongly feel that additional transparency and public input will make our schools more effective at educating our children. The community has expressed concern that our additional tax dollars won't be directly allocated towards reducing classroom size and closing the achievement gap.

Our residential and business members agree that additional investment is needed for key priorities including: increased resources for school instruction; effective economic development; and bikeable/walkable streets.

Other specific issues pertinent to our area we would like to call to your attention are:

  • Increased investment in replacing aging infrastructure - and meeting the demands created by new development - including county roads, WSSC infrastructure, and WMATA;
  • The need for circulator services or similar transit improvements in the Pike District;
  • An improved and accurate snow removal tracking system; and
  • An increase in compensation for Bethesda Urban Partnership to maintain parity with County employees.

While we encourage the County Council to support the recommended tax increase at this time, it is important to continue to strive for and seek out improvements in solutions and approaches for a more efficient and effective government.

Thank you again for the opportunity to share our thoughts with you.


Scott Goldberg, Chair

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bethesda is for arts lovers.

Whether its painting, theater, poetry & prose, or live music - Make downtown Bethesda your destination for the Arts.  

The following list was compiled by the great folks at the Bethesda Urban Partnership.

Father Comes Home from the Wars (Parts 1, 2, and 3)
Jan 27 - Feb 21
Cat on a Hot Tin Roof
Mar 30 - Apr 24
The Who and the What
May 25 - Jun 19
Good Kids
Mar 11 - 13
You or Whatever I Can Get
Feb 11 - 27
Matt & Ben
Jack and Phil, Giant-Slayers, INC.
Feb 3 - Mar 13
Boxes, Boxes, Boxes!
Mar 8 - Apr 10
Looking for Roberto Clemente
Apr 13 - May 22
The Little Mermaid
Jun 22 - Aug 14
A Lesson from Aloes
April 29 - May 29
Evening of Poetry and Prose w/ Jane Shore & Howard Norman
Feb 4
Poetry and Prose Open Mic
Feb 10
An Evening with Jim Lehrer
March 24
Poetry and Prose Open Mic
April 10
E Ethelbert Miller Reading
April 14
Poet Lore 127th Birthday: Bruce Weigl & M. Nzadi Keita
April 28
Sara Becker, Barbara Mandel, Sam Miller & Ann Schaefer
Jan 6 – 30
Opening Reception: Jan 8
Andrew Wohl, Darlene Towson, Heather Jacks
Feb 3 – 27
Opening Reception: Feb 12
FoundOut Artists: Judy Levey, Linda Button,
Patricia Zannie, Shelley Lowenstein, and Robert Weiner
Mar 2 – 26
Opening Reception: Mar 11
John Bodkin
Mar 30 – Apr 23
Opening Reception: Apr 8
Karen Selbert
Apr 27 – May 21
Opening Reception: May 13
Bethesda Painting Awards
Jun 1 – 25
Opening Reception: Jun 10
Feb 12
March 11
April 8
May 13
June 10
Play in a Day
Feb 20
Bernard/Ebb Songwriting Awards Contest
March 4
Bethesda Film Fest
Mar 18 - 19
Bethesda Literary Festival
Apr 15 - 17
Bethesda Fine Arts Festival
May 14 - 15
Bethesda Painting Awards
Jun 1 – 25
Awards Reception: TBD
Opening Reception: Jun 10
Imagination Bethesda
June 4
Music Venues

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Get involved with Bethesda Big Train

The Big Train, Bethesda's collegiate summer baseball team, offers several ways to get involved now and year-'round. Here are a few:
  • Participate in the Big Train holiday toy drive (December 7 - December 12, 9 am-3 pm). Bring a new, unwrapped toy to Shirley Povich Field (directions) and receive four tickets to a 2016 Big Train game.  
  • Sign up your young ones for Bunt's Kids Club, a new option for Big Train fans 3-13 years old. 
  • Host a player next summer. Host families receive a free family pass to all 2016 Big Train home games.
For more information and other ideas, visit the Big Train website.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Advisory Board dismayed by early voting site recommendation

The following is text of a September 25, 2015 letter from the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board regarding the County Board of Elections recommendations on early voting locations for the 2016 election.  The Citizens Advisory Board advises the County Executive and County Council on local service and policy needs.

Dear Council Executive Leggett and Council President Leventhal,

As you know, the Montgomery County Board of Elections recently recommended to the Maryland Board of Elections nine locations as early voting sites for the 2016 elections. We are dismayed to learn that the County Board of Elections is recommending to discontinue use of the Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center - which previously served our community as an early voting site. We believe that the Jane Lawton Center should remain an early voting site through the 2016 election cycle for the following reasons:

  • The neighborhoods in the vicinity of the Lawton Center are home to a significant population of senior citizens. Nearly 20% of the 70,000 residents of the Bethesda and Chevy Chase Census Data Places are over the age of 65. The Lawton Center offers these residents a safe and convenient option rather than waiting in long lines on Election Day;
  • Discontinuing the Lawton Center leaves no early voting locations in Bethesda/Chevy Chase – a dense employment and population center that is well served by public transportation;
  • Election Day lines could increase in the Bethesda/Chevy Chase area because fewer voters will vote early without a convenient, local early voting site;
  • This being now the fourth election cycle with early voting - unless there is a necessary and compelling reason to change a location - retaining the same locations election after election creates a consistency that will translate into more voters utilizing these sites.

We ask that you communicate with the members of the Maryland Board of Elections and request that they maintain the Lawton Center as an early voting location. Please also communicate with Governor Hogan about this issue and the need for the Maryland Board of Elections to maintain the Lawton Center as an early voting location. As always, we are grateful for your consideration of our request.


Tara Flynn, Chair
Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Paint the Town mural project begins

Work has begun on a colorful, abstract 400-foot-long mural along the Capital Crescent Trail retaining wall on Arlintgon Road in Bethesda, across from Safeway. The project will take two to three weeks, weather permitting.

The project is the first public art mural project organized by the Bethesda Arts & Entertainment District, which is managed by the Bethesda Urban Partnership. The mural is being painted by Jessie Unterhalter and Katey Truhn, a Baltimore-based artist team. Below is a part of what the mural will look like.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

First day of school safety

The first day of school is next Monday, August 31. We'll see plenty of yellow school buses on our local streets and young people walking to school. With the new, later start times, please drive gently and be alert as you travel.

Under Maryland law, drivers travelling in both directions must stop and wait until a school bus's red lights stop flashing before proceeding. The only exception is on a divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation, either a physical barrier or a wide space, such as a swale. In that case, only traffic following the bus must stop. (See graphic below)

For parents, now is the time to remind children of pedestrian and bus safety tips. Maryland State Highway Administration has an excellent website on getting to and from school safely.