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MoCo Wants Residents To Stay Safe During Cold Weather

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 4:15 pm | No Comments

With sub-freezing temperatures expected to continue tomorrow and another batch of light snow likely on the way, Montgomery County is urging residents to take some basic steps to be safe this winter.

Most deal with clearing snow and walking on ice:

Cold weather is here and more precipitation is likely. Planning to stay safe outdoors is especially important right now. Please consider these strategies:

Staying Upright

  • Arrange to have snow and ice removed from sidewalks and steps.
  • Wear boots or shoes with deep treads or traction slip-ons.
  • Avoid going out alone into snowy or icy conditions.
  • Use handrails on both sides of outdoor stairs.
  • Take your time while walking. Shuffle along with short, low steps and avoid a stiff posture.
  • Keep hands out of your pockets since you’ll need them to restore balance if you slip.
  • Carefully consider whether to walk over uncleared snow or to go around it.  Test how slippery a potentially slick area is by tapping your foot on it.

Shoveling Safely

  • Buy a shovel that feels most comfortable to you.
  • Since a shovel full of snow can weigh more than 10lbs, push the snow out of your way instead of lifting it. Use your legs (knees), not your back. Hold the shovel with arms apart to maximize leverage.
  • Do not shovel snow if you have heart disease or another physical condition that limits your and activity. Shoveling can increase blood pressure and cold weather constricts blood vessels, resulting in a significant increase in heart attack risk.

UPDATED: Bethesda Inner Loop Beltway Accident Causing Backups

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 3:20 pm | No Comments

(UPDATED: 4:00 p.m.) All lanes on the inner loop of the Beltway at Connecticut Avenue have been reopened. The accident involved four victims that were trapped in their vehicle, according to scanner traffic.

(ORIGINAL STORY: 3:20 p.m.) An accident on the inner loop of the Beltway at Connecticut Avenue has three lanes closed and is causing backups for three miles, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services.

MCFRS spokesman Capt. Scott Graham said officials were on the scene.

A live traffic feed shows a lane of cars getting by on the right side, right at the on-ramp from northbound Connecticut Avenue.

Photo via TrafficLand.com

Metro: Bethesda Station Rail Repair Shouldn’t Affect Evening Commute

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 1:25 pm | No Comments

A small crack to an outbound rail at the Bethesda Metro station is forcing single tracking in the area, but shouldn’t affect the evening commute, WMATA spokesman Philip Stewart said.

Red Line trains will single track between the Medical Center and Friendship Heights stations on the Glenmont-bound track for what Stewart said should be a short period of time. Metro crews are repairing the cracked rail.

As temperatures drop, cracked rails aren’t uncommon Stewart said.

Freezing temperatures force the rails to contract and can lead to cracks.

County Wants Out Of ‘Overlapping’ Trespass Towing Law

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 12:35 pm | No Comments

Montgomery County wants to opt out of a recent state trespass towing law officials say confuses its already stringent regulations against the practice.

But Eric Friedman, director of the county’s Office of Consumer Protection, told a County Council Committee today the state legislator who sponsored the law seems unwilling to allow the county to operate on its own. A towing company recently sued the county and the state for two provisions of the state law, which went into effect on Oct. 1.

“It’s very difficult to know which provisions are in,” Friedman said. “We have this somewhat overlapping, two-tiered system.”

Friedman said one particular problem that has popped up is an extra fee towing companies can now charge to deal with the state’s requirement to send a notice of a tow to a driver and a driver’s insurance company. Often, Friedman said, the towers will send the notice regardless of if the driver has already come to the tow lot to pick up the car.

The lawsuit against the state and county challenges the three-day rule and the state’s ban of “spotters” despite requiring towers to take photographs of people who “walk-off” from the private property their vehicles are in.

Friedman said towers often will tow a driver who briefly walks away from the business that owns the parking spot, whether it’s to send a letter, grab a slice of pizza or enter another store in the same shopping center.

Towing complaints remain the Office of Consumer Protection’s most common, with about 200 complaints a year, Friedman said. He estimated there are about 30,000 trespass tows every year in Montgomery County.

Friedman said State Del. Doyle Niemann (D-Prince George’s County) was not very open to granting Montgomery County a waiver from the law, but that Niemann plans to tighten the three-day notice provision.

Weekly Crime Report: Jan. 7 to Jan. 15

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 11:15 am | No Comments

For the second time since November, graffiti was discovered at Rock Creek Elementary School in Chevy Chase:

Graffiti was painted in the playground area of Rock Creek Elementary School, 8330 Grubb Road, Chevy Chase sometime on Wednesday, 1/9 or Thursday, 1/10.

Police reported graffiti was painted on recycling bins at the school some time on Nov. 12.

The rest of the most recent Bethesda District crime summary:

A sexual assault occurred in the 9700 block of Kenmore Drive, Kensington on Tuesday, 1/8.  The suspect is known to the victim.

A theft occurred at Whole Foods, 4420 Willard Avenue, Chevy Chase on Wednesday, 1/9 at approximately 1:00 p.m.  The suspect removed property from the unknowing victim.

A residential burglary occurred in the 10700 block of Mist Haven Terrace, Rockville on Tuesday, 1/15 between 9:15 a.m. and 11:15 p.m.  Forced entry; property taken.

A theft occurred at Safeway, 7625 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda on Tuesday, 1/15 between 10:00 p.m. and 11:15 p.m.  The suspect removed property from the unknowing victim.

Open House On MacArthur Boulevard Bike Trail Tonight

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 10:10 am | No Comments

The National Park Service will hold an open house tonight to discuss its preference for creating a new bike and walking path along MacArthur Boulevard.

The agency has been working with the Montgomery County Department of Transportation since 2005 to find a way around narowing the shoulder of MacArthur Boulevard near Goldsboro Road.

Tonight, they’ll propose an option that shifts 800 feet of the path on to the Cabin John Trolley Right of Way on the grounds of the Glen Echo Park and Clara Barton National Historic Site.

NPS officials will present the Environmental Assessment of that option and take comments from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in the Spanish Ballroom of Glen Echo Park (7300 MacArthur Blvd.).

The document detailing the plan can be found here.

Image via National Park Service

Morning Notes

by BethesdaNow.com | January 24, 2013 at 8:45 am | No Comments

MCPS On Two-Hour Delay Thursday — About an inch of overnight snow has Montgomery County Public Schools opening two hours later than usual on Thursday. [MCPS]

Bethesda Resident Turns 103 — Rita DiLazzara was honored with an event at the Clara Barton Community Center in Potomac, where County Executive Isiah Leggett turned up to present her with a certificate in honor of her milestone. She is one of the oldest people in the county. [Bethesda Patch]

Bethesda Teen Takes Biking To The Next Level — Ben Jacoby, 18, rides his bike nearly everywhere, enough places to have traveled 1,891 miles in January. He’s taking part in an international competition that tracks bike miles. [The Gazette]

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