Summer 2004

Parkwood Resident's Association

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The next PRA meeting will be held on Monday, June 28th at 7:30 pm at the Kensington Park Library, lower level. Please contact Liz Brennan or Maryann Dillon if you have topics for the agenda.

June 28th Meeting Agenda Items

Please be sure to join us at our new meeting location, the Kensington Park Library, on Monday, June 28th. Based on recent activities in the neighborhood and a request for information on the county tree caring and replacement program, we have invited Guy Turenne, Manager of the MC DPW Tree Maintenance Program to share information and answer questions on the county’s tree program AND on policies regarding public land in residental areas – who is responsible for caring for what. We will also hear from Mary Cassell, Chair of the Kensington Parkwood Elementary School Engraved Brick Fundraising project, and the drawings for the new school will be on display. The PRA Garden Committee will present a draft 5 year plan to address care/maintenance of the common space in the Parkwood subdivision. Please be sure to attend this important meeting and bring your neighbor!

PRA Elects New Officers
At the March meeting the PRA membership voted in officers for the 2004-2006 terms. Liz Brennan is returning as President, Maryann Dillon is Vice President, Brenda Marshall was voted in as Secretary and Chris St. Clair is returning as Treasurer. Other PRA volunteers include Kitty Stone for membership, Kathy Byars for Welcome Committee, Paula Ficker for Block Captain Committee, Peter Galvin for pedestrian safety and traffic issues, Tom Robertson for Beltway noise issues, Peter Mansbach webmaster (check us out: http://www.parkwoodresidents.org ) and Heidi Lipson as listserve manager.

Have a New Neighbor?
The PRA is looking for ways to reach out to newcomers in the neighborhood. A PRA welcome packet has been developed and Welcome Committee Chair Kathy Byars and PRA Block Captain Committee Chair Paula Ficker have been diligently passing our packets out. If you would like to welcome a new neighbor or have Kathy or one of her volunteers drop off a packet, please contact her at 301-530-8809 or byarsagent@mris.com.

Coalition of Kensington Communities Update: Community Center Funding Approved
A $100,000 State Bill sponsored by District 18 Delegate Rich Madaleno and State Senator Sharon Grosfeld for planning and design of a Kensington Community Center was approved at the end of the legislative session. This is a huge victory for all Kensington residents. Both the CKC and the Town of Kensington (TOK) have been working with State and County officials for the past 3 years toward moving the Housing Opportunities Commission out of the old Kensington Elementary School on Summit/Detrick and turning the facility and property into a local community center and recreation park. Kensington is one of the few, if not the only, down-county community that does not currently have a community center. The CKC and the TOK will continue to work with elected officials to ensure funding for the construction of the facility. A huge thanks to the leadership of Delegate Madaleno and Senator Grosfeld!

The CKC is a unified body of 10 area civic associations founded to enhance the quality of life in the Kensington area. The CKC works with local and state government to address issues of recreation, transportation, pedestrian accessibility and economic growth affecting greater Kensington. Contact Liz Brennan at 301-530-3615 for more information.


Parkwood (WJ) Cluster Public School News
Kensington Parkwood Elementary School: In May the County Council approved the budget for the modernization of Kensington Parkwood Elementary including a gym! Construction is scheduled to start in July. Drawings for the project will be available at the June PRA meeting. Construction workers will be asked to park on-site or on the school side of the property to ensure that residents are not affected. Fall 04 Registration Underway: To ensure there is adequate staffing for next fall, the Kensington Parkwood Elementary School is encouraging any prospective families to register their children as soon as possible. If you have any questions about the school or its programs you can either contact PTA President Susan Workman 301-770-1088 or Principal John Cechini at 301-571-6949.

Walter Johnson Modernization Delayed (again!) The on-site modernization of Walter Johnson High School, which also includes an addition to relieve overcrowding, has been delayed again. The project began in 2001 with the construction of a much needed addition. This was followed by the modernization of the media center and the cafeteria. The school was to undergo construction for a new gym and auditorium this year, followed by the modernization of the remaining core area including classrooms and administrative offices. The project was originally scheduled to be completed in 2007 but due to limited State funding the Board of Education (BOE) has now rescheduled it for completion in 2009. The WJ PTSA lobbied members of the BOE and the County Council to no avail. WJ is the only high school in the county that was forced to undergo an on-site modernization. Of great concern at the moment is the lack of air conditioning in the older (majority) part of the building. PTSA leaders will be meeting with school construction officials over the summer to resolve this issue.

Neighbors Share Information via the PRA List

Parkwood residents have been sharing information about local vandalism/petty crimes, requesting/offering referrals for handymen, general contractors and car repair places, area physicians and more. The PRA listserve is the best way to stay connected to your neighbors 24/7. The e-mail group is open to all residents of the Parkwood subdivision. To subscribe, send a blank message to: parkwoodresidents-subscribe@yahoogroups.com. You will receive a confirmation message when you are subscribed. Do not write anything in the subject or body of the message. It will not be seen by anyone and you will not get a response. This listserv can save the PRA funds and more importantly make Parkwood a safer place to live. Sign on to the list serve and get your neighbor to as well!

PRA Crime Report
PRA neighbors have reported several acts of vandalism over the PRA listserve in the past several weeks. Most of these crimes were reported to local police and details include: Car vandalism on Ashwood Drive: If your car's logo has been "liberated" within the past week, please report it to the MCPD non-emergency unit at (301) 279-8000. They have had a rash of these incidents and are treating them as larcenies and will report them to the patrol units if it is seen as a recurring problem. Paint was splattered on the US mail box and stop sign at Clearbrook Lane and Clearbrook Place; several cars were also splashed. Porch furniture was taken and tossed around. At the corner of Dresden and Greenfield walkway lights were pulled up from the ground. Some of the folks on Parkwood Terrace have contacted park and county police regarding hearing gunshots fired in the woods near Franklin Street and Parkwood . Additionally park police are disassembling a kids' fort being built in the woods near Saul and Parkwood. The Kensington Heights neighborhood (north of the Town of Kensington) reports that a woman was observed stealing mail from a resident’s mailboxes. Keep an eye on your mailbox and collect your mail early!

WEEKLY CRIME UPDATES and ALERTS on the web! For the Bethesda District updates and alerts, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/POL/ask/bethesda/crimeupdates.asp For the Wheaton District go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/POL/ask/wheaton/crimealert.asp For the entire County, by police district (Bethesda is #2 and Wheaton is #4), go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/POL/ask/districStations.asp

Home Owners are Responsible for Maintaining their Property
County code requires owners to maintain their property. The Department of Housing & Community Affairs is responsible for enforcing all of those rules (they can fine the owner, or they can clean up the yard and put a lien against the property for the cost of the repairs). To file a complaint call (240) 777-3785. The Guide To Code Enforcement link: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Content/DHCA/housing/code_E/pdf/Guide%20To%20Code%20Enforcement.PDF. Examples of deterioration include loose or leaking gutters, peeling paint on exterior wood trim, missing roof shingles, missing or damaged siding, cracked concrete walkways or steps. Examples of public nuisance include vacant dwellings, unsecured excavations, unsafe fences, unsafe stairways; structures which are littered with garbage, or abandonment of appliances/equipment [more than two (2) days], which poses a threat of injury or danger to life; severely deteriorated, structurally unsafe or fire-damaged dwellings. Storing of inoperable and unlicensed vehicles on residential property is also unlawful. It is illegal to store dysfunctional motor vehicles for more than 30 days or unregistered vehicles for more than 90 days on private property. To report a non-functional, abandoned vehicle or unregistered vehicle on private property contact DHCA at (240) 777-3785. To report a non- functional, abandoned vehicle on a public road or right-of-way, contact the Police Department's Abandoned Auto Unit at 301-840-2454.

Summary of SHA Meeting on Possible Beltway Changes Submitted By Peter Galvin
In May the Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) held an open house at Walter Johnson HS to present their current study to decrease congestion on the Beltway and many other major roads around the State. You can find out more details and express your views by checking the project's website at http://capitalbeltway.mdprojects.com The SHA welcomes your comments.

Basically, the SHA has 3 options under consideration: no build (do nothing); improve about 10 interchanges, improve driver information, and related actions; and add more capacity (building more lanes).With respect to adding more lanes, SHA has been considering a variety of options:

  1. adding high occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes at ground level -- only those with a minimum number of passengers could use these lanes.
  2. adding high occupancy toll (HOT) lanes at ground level -- these could be used by high occupancy vehicles for free and by others willing to pay a fee;
  3. adding various combinations of express toll lanes (2 lanes or 4 lanes, ground level or elevated) - everybody using these lanes pays a fee, which is automatically adjusted to reflect time of day.
The SHA believes express lanes have more advantages than HOV or HOT lanes. Where they are in use, satisfaction levels seem high. The idea is that those folks in a hurry have the option of paying for the privilege of faster service. Of course this means the special lanes are not available to everyone else, regardless of number of passengers.

Subject to change based on public input, SHA plans to further study only the option of adding 4 express toll lanes (2 in each direction) at ground level. According to staff, they recognize that not all streets onto which people currently exit can handle any more traffic (those who drive on the beltway past Georgia Avenue in the morning know what I mean). Thus the plan will probably call for the express lanes to have entrance and exit ramps at only certain places -- including I-270 and I-95. While this limits their utility, it also cuts costs and may be the only way they can operate in practice. The SHA will also continue studying the No-build and interchange improvements options. The schedule calls for the SHA to hold public workshops this Fall to receive further input. After that would be environmental assessment impacts, which by law requires special efforts to preserve public parks. Parkwood residents are encouraged to contact SHA with their opinions on this project!

Parkwood Starts Project Ladybug
Parkwood has formed an environmental awareness group to educate residents on healthier, non-toxic, alternatives for care of their lawn and garden. You don't need lawn chemicals anymore to create a lush, greener yard with minimal weeds. You can test soil pH with a kit from garden stores, then raise the pH with lime – many local weeds prefer acidic soils. Cut high to keep "invaders" in the dark. Spot spray weeds with a VINEGAR/LEMON JUICE mix! While you're making the switch, make sure your landscaper is licensed! Do they know what they are applying and why? Project Ladybug has compiled lists of companies who offer organic alternatives, websites for information on safe remedies for particular weeds, and health information for people and pets. For more information contact Jan Rothman at janr@erols.com.

Calling All Golfers
The county has developed an Automated Tee Time Reservation System for the following local golf courses: Little Bennett, Needwood, Northwest Park, Sligo Creek, and White Oak in Montgomery County, and Enterprise in Prince George's County. Customers are now able to reserve, modify, or cancel tee times via the Internet or over the phone, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Details are available at www.mncppc.org/golf or by telephone at 240-683-0466.

Excerpts from District 5 County Councilman Tom Perez’s Spring Newsletter (Tom’s entire report was forwarded on the PRA listserve early this Spring. I have included only highlights that would be of interest to Parkwood Residents. The entire report is linked on the Parkwood website:

District 5 E-News From County Councilmember Tom Perez, Spring 2004

Let’s Talk Trash Recently I introduced legislation that would put trash cans back into some County parks affected by last year’s decision to institute a ‘Carry-in, Carry-out’ policy for trash in most County parks... The “Carry-In, Carry-Out” policy was enacted to save money. A pilot program, initiated in December 2002, involved six parks. A preliminary analysis indicated that the program appears to be working in many places but not others. Specifically, in Sligo Creek Park it has resulted in a dramatic increase in trash, more money spent keeping up with the litter, and, still, a continuing trash problem. It has not been cost-effective. It also threatens to adversely affect fragile ecosystems along Sligo Creek, Rock Creek, and other stream valleys. It is time to adjust the program and recognize that we cannot adopt a one size fits all approach to this issue, because all parks are not alike. This is why we introduced legislation to return trash cans in stream valley parks with active recreational areas within 100 yards of a stream valley (note legislation did pass!).

School News: Kensington-Parkwood has finally reached the head of the line for modernization. Congratulations to the K-P community for their dogged advocacy. I will continue to advocate forcefully for our school construction needs throughout the county.

Community Center News: I am also working with the Housing Opportunities Commission to find a new and more effective location and facility. This will free up the current building so that it can be used as a Kensington community center. I want to thank the dozens of community members who have worked on all of these projects for their time and energy. New buildings will provide new opportunities, but it is the spirit of community that keeps our communities strong.

Remember that I believe that every resident should feel free to contact my office with comments or requests. My staff and I will try very hard to resolve issues or assist when and wherever we can. You can reach me at: councilmember.perez@montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-7966. I wish everyone a pleasant and happy Spring.

Tom


2004 Membership/Renewal Application – Annual Dues per household: $10


Please mail or deliver your 2004 PRA membership renewal dues to: Kitty Stone, 4313 Clearbrook Lane, Kensington, MD 20895. Please make check payable to: Parkwood Residents Association. Please print your information below:

Name:_______________________________________________________________________________

Address:_____________________________________________ City:___________________Zip:_______

Phone Numbers:(daytime)___________________________evening________________________________

Email:_______________________________________________________________________________

Parkwood Resident's Association Officers:

President: Liz Brennan, (301) 530-3615, brennanhouse@verizon.net, Vice President: Maryann Dillon, (301) 493-5140 dillem@erols.com,
Secretary: Brenda Marshall, (301) 530-0053 vze1wg7z@verizon.net, Treasurer: Chris St. Clair, (301) 897-8415, stclairs@speakeasy.net

PRA Website Address: http://www.parkwoodresidents.org, Webmaster: Peter Mansbach, (301) 493-8809, pmansbach@aol.com



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