Friday, September 16, 2016

Van Hollen, Leggett, Berliner issue aircraft noise statement

The following statement was made available at the September 15 FAA meeting regarding flight path adjustments at Reagan National Airport:

We understand that aircraft noise is a serious concern in your community. This is the first public meeting the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has held for Montgomery County residents and it is important that your voice is heard. 

We believe the proposed flight procedure changes discussed tonight (“LAZIR B”) will exacerbate conditions for communities already impacted by "NextGEN" flight path changes implemented in 2015.

The effect of the NextGEN flight path changes has been disastrous in those few communities under the new, focused flight paths.  Aircraft now turn sooner and lower than previously.  The noise impact from the constant stream of aircraft over these neighborhoods is intolerable. 

LAZIR B further shifts those flight paths towards, and some cases over, Montgomery County neighborhoods. FAA’s modeling shows that noise will increase in those communities. 

We are working closely together to make our concerns known about the impacts of NextGEN and the LAZIR B adjustment. Over the summer, we asked FAA to return to pre-NextGen Flight paths until better solutions can be found. 

FAA should not be looking at tweaks to a failed system.  Instead, they need to employ their expertise to establish procedures that reverse the current detrimental impacts to County residents.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen
County Executive Isiah Leggett

Councilmember Roger Berliner

Friday, July 29, 2016

Branding the Pike

On March 29-30, ULI (Urban Land Institute) Washington conducted a technical assistance panel to help to develop concepts for visibly and distinctively identifying the Pike District, the commercial corridor along Rockville Pike between Grosvenor metro station to the south and the Rockville City limits, just south of the Twinbrook Metro station. The sponsor for this study, the White Flint Downtown Advisory Committee, was particularly interested in solidifying a new brand identity for the Pike District, establishing entry points to the area, and communicating major amenities that would attract people as the Pike District evolves.

ULI has released its report. The panel concluded that establishing an area's identity must be organic in order to be authentic and asserted that the identity of the study area will evolve over time. According to the panel, there is no need for a "giant sign" or an arbitrary moniker to create a sense of identity; these elements have a limited lifespan and can feel inauthentic. Instead, the panel encourages the sponsor to recreate the civic realm and view the new primary, secondary, and tertiary streets as foundational assets that can create a sense of identity and place through the intersections they create.


Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Conversation club on summer break - resumes September 14

There were 35 meetings of the English Language Conversation Club on Wednesdays, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM from September 16, 2015 to May 25, 2016 with the exceptions of November 11 and December 30, 2015. The conversation club met in Conference Room C, 2nd floor of the BCC Regional Services Center.

Many people from other countries live temporarily in the Bethesda Chevy Chase area. The conversation club is a “Montgomery County” welcome to those non-native English speakers and provides an opportunity for them to practice speaking English, exchange ideas and experiences, and meet others. There is no cost to participate in the club which is organized and facilitated by volunteers.

A total of 367 participants attended conversation club meetings during the year. There were an average of 10.5 attendees per session, with a low of 5 and a high of 19.

Twenty-nine (29) countries were represented: Argentina, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Brazil, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Ecuador, Egypt, Finland, France, Honduras, India, Iran, Iraq, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Morocco, Paraguay, Peru, Puerto Rico, Russia, South Korea, Sweden, Turkmenistan, Turkey, Ukraine and Uzbekistan.

During the year, the conversation club discussed topics of local, national and international interest, emphasizing current events. Participants shared experiences of their own countries and cultures. In October, the club talked about the issue of food waste (Waste Not, Want Not), common in many countries. During Women’s History Month in March, one week’s topic was Who and what is a feminist? The club considered the United States electoral process, on a local level -- the Montgomery County candidates in the Maryland primary – in April.

The English Language Conversation Club will resume after the summer on Wednesday, September 14, 2016, 11:00 AM to 12:30 PM.


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.