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by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 2:45 pm 0

A former Bethesda preschool teacher pleaded guilty today to producing child pornography by filming his sexual abuse of several five-year-old students while teaching in Japan, according to the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia.

James Douglas Manring, 54, of Fredricksburg, Va., pleaded guilty to two counts of production of child pornography for bringing films of himself performing sexual acts on students while teaching at a preschool in Japan from 1996 until 1999.

Manring, who faces up to 40 years in prison, returned to the U.S. in 1999, according to a statement of facts and other court records. Manring taught preschool in Bethesda before he was arrested on Nov. 13, 2012, according to the press release.

Police say they discovered Manring had purchased approximately 46 “naturist” videos showing “graphic and simulated lascivious exhibition of the genitals and pubic areas of minor boys” from New York.

Prosecutors said the case was part of Project Safe Childhood, a Department of Justice initiative to combat child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006. This case was investigated by the U.S. Postal Inspection Service’s Washington Division’s Child Exploitation Investigations.

by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 2:10 pm 0

County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) and County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-East County) today praised Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller for his proposed gas tax hike that would help pay for transportation projects such as the Purple Line light rail.

But Leggett and Navarro were also careful when addressing whose responsibility it was to raise that revenue. Part of Miller’s plan would be a provision to allow individual counties to collect up to 5 cents per gallon for local projects.

While most Montgomery County lawmakers and a number of transportation advocates are in favor of raising the gas tax to help fund the Purple Line, it remains an unpopular political maneuver. According to a recent statewide poll, 73 percent oppose a 10 cents per gallon gas tax increase even though 56 percent think maintaining and improving Maryland’s transportation system is “very important.”

“We strongly believe that transportation funding is a state obligation that requires a state solution,” Leggett and Navarro said in a joint statement. “We support decisive statewide action by the General Assembly to increase revenue dedicated to transportation. As with any tax program, we hope the state will explore ways of minimizing the impact on lower income families.”

Rendering via Maryland Transit Administration

by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 12:35 pm 0

The Maryland State Highway Administration tonight will reveal its latest plans for a sidewalk that would wipe out trees along Chevy Chase’s “Green Mile” section of Wisconsin Avenue.

An environmental group and cycling organization are at odds over the project, which would mean the removal of 53 trees along a three-quarter-mile stretch of the east side of Wisconsin Avenue between Grafton Street and Bradley Lane. The tree removal would allow for an eight-foot shared-use sidewalk.

The Little Falls Watershed Alliance says County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) will attend tonight’s meeting (7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at 4511 Cumberland Ave.). The group is against the proposed $1.5 million sidewalk because it says the removal of the 53 trees will hurt the already fragile watershed.

Berliner has urged the SHA to take measures to protect the trees, which would not be replaced on the same strip because the curb is not big enough according to SHA regulations. The LFWA has proposed an alternative plan for new bus pads and a smaller section of sidewalk.

Now, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association is urging area cyclists to rally in support of the sidewalk, which would be federally funded:

While too narrow to be considered a shared-use path, the sidewalk would provide a safe place for pedestrians to access the three bus stops on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue. In addition, bicyclists who do not feel comfortable riding on the road could carefully use the sidewalk. With Capital Bikeshare expanding in both Washington, D.C. and Bethesda, a safe place to ride along Wisconsin Ave. is especially important.

The sidewalk would connect Friendship Heights and Bethesda, two major pedestrian areas. In September, the SHA announced it would be removing five large, decaying elm trees along the Green Mile.

Photo via State Highway Administration

by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 11:30 am 0

(UPDATED: 12:45 p.m.) County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) is coming to Bethesda tonight to discuss the upcoming budget, and it’s expected he’ll emphasize the challenges involved with another tight budget cycle.

But the forum might also serve as a question-and-answer type session on a range of Bethesda issues.

At a budget forum earlier this month in Silver Spring, Leggett answered questions about noise from the ICC highway. Before tonight’s forum starts at 7 p.m., the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board will meet.

A recent dust-up over the Bethesda Metro South Entrance project could come up. Leggett recommended delaying funding for the project because the county views it as tied to the uncertain Purple Line project. But transportation advocates say the South Entrance should be built regardless.

There’s also the long-term disruptions from the development of Lot 31 in Bethesda Row and the potential closure of the Bethesda Metro bus bays.

The forum will take place at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center (4805 Edgemoor Lane).

Not long after Leggett’s appearance tonight, County Councilman Roger Berliner (D-Bethesda-Potomac) will hold a similar gathering at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center.

A Council spokesman announced today that Berliner invites residents to join him at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday for another part of his series of “Conversations With Roger Berliner.”

Flickr photo by Alan Bowser

by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 9:50 am 0

Montgomery Parks staff will discuss schematic plans next week for an interpretative museum planned for Josiah Henson Park in North Bethesda.

The project would rehabilitate the existing Riley/Bolten House and log kitchen on the former plantation (11420 Old Georgetown Rd.) into exhibits that would share the life of Rev. Josiah Henson, who lived on the property as a slave before escaping to Canada.

Henson is the inspiration for Harriet Beecher Stowe’s “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” the landmark anti-slavery novel published in 1852.

The county bought the property for $1 million in 2006. The log cabin on the site, once known as Uncle Tom’s Cabin Special Park, was discovered to have been built after Henson left the plantation, causing some controversy.

But Montgomery Parks said they would have bought the property with that knowledge as it still is historic.

The review of design plans for the museum project is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 4 in the cafeteria of nearby Tilden Middle School (11211 Old Georgetown Rd., Rockville.) For more information, visit the Parks’ project page.

Flickr photo by lreed76

by BethesdaNow.com — January 28, 2013 at 8:40 am 0

Winter Weather Advisory In Effect Until Noon — A mix of freezing rain, sleet and snow is expected to continue this morning with accumulations of less than one inch. [National Weather Service]

Schools On 2-Hour Delay, Federal Government On Delayed Arrival — Both Montgomery County Schools and the federal government are operating with delays today because of the weather. [MCPS] [OPM.gov]

Valentine’s Day Open House At Woodmont Triangle Boutique Recent Woodmont Triangle arrival Take 5 Boutique (4920 Fairmont Ave.) will host a Valentine’s Day open house from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9 with free champagne, chocolate, light fare and style tips. [Take 5 Boutique]

Flickr photo by eddie.welker

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