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by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 3:05 pm 481 0

Union Jack’s (4915 St Elmo Ave.) is hosting a charity karaoke event Sunday to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphona Society and in memory two North Bethesda brothers who died in a 2009 car crash.

Stone and Holt Weeks were 24 and 20, respectively, when they were killed in a chain reaction car crash in Virginia while returning to their parents’ home in the summer.

The brothers and Walter Johnson High School alums had bright futures, according to many, and regularly volunteered their time. As a senior at WJ, Holt Weeks created a fundraising project for the Leukemia & Lymphona Society that his parents and others have sustained since their death.

The karoke event is Sunday, from 8 p.m. to midnight and include prizes, raffles and volunteer opportunities. The minimum suggested donation is $10. Karaoke singers will be competing for more donations during the event, which includes a list of Stone and Holt’s favorite songs.

Last year’s event helped raise more than $9,000 in donations to the Leukemia & Lymphona Society, Rebuilding Together of Washington D.C. and Environment America.

For more information, visit the event website.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 1:50 pm 444 0

AAA Mid-Atlantic says more Maryland drivers are slowing down in highway work zones, except for one trouble spot on the Beltway.

The 365,000 speed tickets issued by mobile speed camera units in Maryland work zones is a significant improvement from the nearly half a million tickets issued last year, though AAA Mid-Atlantic did say fewer large-scale construction projects likely had a lot to do with that number.

On the stretch of the Beltway in Silver Spring between New Hampshire Avenue and University Bouelvard, 41,641 speeding tickets were issued from January through the end of November. That’s in addition to the 30,986 speeding tickets issued there from August 2011 through December 2011.

The state was working on the Northwest Branch bridge with a posted 55 mph speed limit. Vehicles traveling 12 mph over that limit were subject to the $40 citations.

Still, AAA Mid-Atlantic said there was a noticeable percentage decrease in the number of drivers speeding in work zones. The group says its analysis of state figures shows fewer than two out of every 100 drivers were caught speeding. The state began issuing speed tickets in work zones three years ago.

Since, AAA Mid-Atlantic’s John Townsend says work zone fatalities have declined 67 percent, crashes are down 16.8 percent and the number of injured persons is down almost 12 percent.

The State Highway Administration has two Bethesda-area projects underway (the Jones Bridge Road/Connecticut Avenue widening and the Wisconsin Avenue/Cedar Lane intersection improvement). More are on the way, including Walter Reed-related projects at Jones Bridge Road and at West Cedar Lane and Old Georgetown Road.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 12:00 pm 684 0

The Maryland Transit Administration will host a discussion of the latest Bethesda Purple Line plans tonight at Bethesda Elementary School (7600 Arlington Rd.).

The “neighborhood work group” is part of an ongoing series of meetings with neighbors and residents of areas that would be affected by the construction and development of the Purple Line, the 16-mile light rail that would connect Bethesda with Silver Spring and College Park before ending in New Carrollton.

The $2.15 billion project is supposed to be completed in 2020. But it is currently unfunded, and according to Montgomery County officials looking for a hike in the state’s gas tax, it’s in serious jeopardy of ever being built.

The meeting today is from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. and will include the latest renderings and designs for the Bethesda Purple Line Station, which would be built south of the existing Metro station at Wisconsin Avenue and Elm Street.

A number of issues remain, including how the Purple Line Station would connect with a planned South Metro Station entrance and how the light rail would affect the Capital Crescent Trail.

Some Trail advocates have been outspoken about their belief that the Purple Line shouldn’t touch existing Trail space at all. In October, MTA officials told a County Council committee they found a way to accomodate some of the walking path in the existing Trail tunnel under Wisconsin Avenue. The light rail is planned to travel through that tunnel.

Flickr photo by thisisbossi

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 10:45 am 954 0

Nearly 20 teachers at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School stopped shaving on Thanksgiving and paid $10 to enter the school’s beard-growing contest, proceeds of which will go to the Greentree Shelter at the National Center For Children and Families.

On Thursday, staff and students will vote on the best beard by casting ballots (each vote requires a $1 donation) during lunch.

This year, candidates were allowed to have student running mates, a strategy a few chose (presumably to up their chances).

The teachers and their beards are to the left.

The Greentree Shelter, at the NCCF’s Greentree Road facility, serves as a transitional home for homeless families, most of which are single mothers caring for children.

In November, philanthropist Jeffrey Slavin donated a two-story model lighthouse to the Center for use as a playhouse by children at the shelter.

Photo via Tim Gilmore

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 9:30 am 729 0

Montgomery County says pedestrian collisions have decreased 12 percent since 2009, when County Executive Isiah Leggett’s 2007 Pedestrian Safety Initiative was first funded.

Leggett (D) and others celebrated the five-year anniversary of the program at a press conference yesterday in Silver Spring. Within the 12 percent decrease, county officials say there has been a 21 percent drop in severe collisions when pedestrians are incapacitated or killed.

“In 2007, we charted a course to dramatically improve pedestrian safety and accessibility inMontgomery County – a course that is proving to be successful,” Leggett said in a prepared release. “We are seeing significant reductions in pedestrian collisions in areas where we have taken a comprehensive and targeted approach.  Every resident deserves a truly walkable community where pedestrians can safely cross the street.  Our challenge in the future is to continually reassess what we are doing, keep what’s working well and find new and creative ways to significantly expand our pedestrian safety efforts.”

The county identified 10 High Incidence Areas (HIAs) in which it says collisions have dropped by 45 percent since education, engineering and enforcement strategies first got almost $5 million of funding in July 2009.

Wisconsin Avenue, between Montgomery Avenue and Leland Avenue, was one of the HIAs as well as Old Georgetown Road between Fairmont Avenue and Edgemoor Lane.

Almost $2.2 million has been dedicated in the last three years to audits of those areas. Leggett said more emphasis has been put on street lighting, upgrading pedestrian signals, completing traffic calming projects and enforcing traffic laws in the HIAs, resulting in nearly 3,000 citations and about 1,000 warnings to pedestrians and motorists.

This year there have been six pedestrian fatalities in the county, down from 11 last year and a high of 19 in 2008.

by BethesdaNow.com — December 18, 2012 at 8:30 am 626 0

Friendship Heights, Bethesda Lead County In Transit Commuting — Based on the U.S. Census American Community Survey, Friendship Heights, downtown Bethesda and Grosvenor see some of the highest rates of residents who commute to work via mass transit. Forty percent or more of employed adults in those census tracts use transit. [Just Up The Pike]

Metro’s Cracked Rail Problem — The cracked rail last week near the Bethesda Metro station was No. 26 of the year for Metro and caused single tracking delays between rush hour. Yesterday, a rail cracked near the Friendship Heights Metro station. [Washington Examiner]

Photos From Big Train Holiday Auction — The annual fundraiser for the nonprofit Bethesda Big Train summer college baseball team was Sunday and included appearances from baseball reporter Tim Kurkjian and Washington Nationals utility man Steve Lombardozzi. [Big Train]

Flickr photo by Jason A. Photography

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