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Leggett: ‘Severe Slowdown’ Possible For MoCo If Sequester Hits

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 2:25 pm | No Comments

County Executive Isiah Leggett gathered with County Council President Nancy Navarro (D-Mid-County) and his Prince George’s and Howard County counterparts on Tuesday morning in Rockville to urge Congress to avoid the federal sequester that could hit March 1.

The deep, across-the-board budget cuts throughout the federal government could mean employee furloughs, service reductions and fewer federal contracting awards that Leggett said would severely impact Montgomery County’s economy.

Leggett (D) said the county has 47,000 federal workers and thousands of businesses that contract with the federal government, “all of whom will be directly affected if Congress does not act.”

In fiscal 2012, Montgomery County had $5 billion in prime federal contracting awards what with sequestration cuts the county said would be adversely affected.

“The impact on Montgomery County from the sequestration could undo the economic gains we’ve made as the County and our country have begun to emerge from the financial crisis,” Leggett said in a prepared statement. “The loss to our County of millions of dollars in revenue could plunge us back into a severe slowdown causing budget shortfalls and a stagnant economy. We can’t let that happen.”

Montgomery County is facing a roughly $135 million budget shortfall in fiscal 2014.

Also this morning, President Barack Obama urged House Republicans to pass a measure that would delay the cuts for the rest of the year. Republicans have said they won’t pass a deal that includes tax hikes.

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker said, “Sequestration would feel like a cold to most of the nation, but to Prince George’s County and the rest of the Washington metropolitan area, it would feel like a bad case of pneumonia,” repeating a line used by Sen. Barbara Mikulski in a meeting last week with the Montgomery County Council.

Photo from MyMCMedia via Facebook

Gallery B Announces March Exhibition

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 1:45 pm | No Comments

The Bethesda Urban Partnership (BUP) announced three local Virginia artists will have their work displayed in the downtown studio’s March exhibition when it opens March 6:

Richard Levine of Arlington, VA is a painter and photographer whose work’s foundation is heavily influenced by his extensive travel throughout the United States, Europe and Asia. He has exhibited widely on the East Coast from New York to Massachusetts in both solo and group shows.

Agron Pire of Stone Ridge, VA, was born in Tirana, Albania and from an early age composed portrait and landscape works. He graduated from the School of Art in 1979. Since 1984, he has partaken in numerous exhibitions at the Tirana National Gallery of Art as well as foreign National galleries. One of his paintings is in permanent residence at Tirana’s National Gallery. In 2002 Agron immigrated to the United States where he continued to paint mostly in landscape form and in 2006 he opened a one-man show at Dulles International Airport. Eighteen original oil paintings were displayed and the works received much attention. Agron still continues to paint and his passion for landscape painting is fuelled by the beauty of Virginia’s scenery.

Mark Joseph Williams of Ashburn, VA, has been recognized by peers and industry organizations including the American Society of Marine Artists as a Signature Member. He is also a juried member of Oil Painters of America and the International Guild of Realism. His work has evolved organically over more than a decade into a fluid and contemporary approach depicting nature through the many vivid colors and textures of land, skies and water. Although his work is still anchored in traditional design, he is passionately exploring “echoes” of natural texture, lighting, and color elements beyond just strict interpretations of nature.

The exhibition at Gallery B (7700 Wisconsin Ave., Suite E) will be open from March 6 to March 30, from noon to 6 p.m. on Wednesday through Saturday. The opening reception will be held on Friday, March 8 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. in conjuction with BUP’s Bethesda Art Walk.

Gallery B’s February exhibition of photography will be open until March 2.

Image via Bethesda Urban Partnership

NIH, MoCo Stormwater Pond Entering Final Stages

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 12:30 pm | 2 Comments

Montgomery County is nearing the completion of an expansive pond on the NIH campus that environmental planners say will treat stormwater from downtown Bethesda and NIH that might have otherwise ended up in a tributary of Rock Creek.

The county started construction on the $2.5 million, six-acre Stoney Creek Stormwater Management Pond and site in October 2010. Construction was scheduled to last two years.

The project, which includes a 1.3-acre pond, two underground trash collection chambers and landscaping near the intersection of Wisconsin and Woodmont Avenues, is approaching its final stages, according to county spokeswoman Esther Bowring.

Bowring said the county will complete all site grading and construction by early March, at which point planting will begin. There will be periodic follow-ups as required to get the new grasses, shrubs and trees off to a good start.

The county regarded the location of the pond as key for capturing runoff from 204 acres of the Bethesda Central Business District and NIH campus. The project will also include a subsurface aerator for enhancing water circulation and other measures for discouraging mosquitoes or other pests.

The site sits on the southern edge of NIH’s campus, directly behind the apartments on Battery Lane.

Bethesda Native Bringing Story Of D.C. Neighborhood To Film Fest

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 11:20 am | No Comments

A pair of Bethesda natives are bringing a short documentary about a unique D.C. neighborhood tradition to the first ever Bethesda Film Fest in March.

And they’re excited about what the event could mean for the Bethesda arts scene.

Lance Kramer and brother Brandon Kramer made “Porchfest,” a seven-minute look at the one-of-a-kind block party Lance Kramer and a couple neighbors helped organize in 2011 in their Mt. Pleasant D.C. neighborhood.

The Hobart Street Porchfest will be celebrated for the third time this year, a “community showcase” of sorts that encourages neighbors to get to know each other through food, art, music and culture displayed on porches of the street’s homes.

The film emphasizes the vibrancy and potential of a city neighborhood, a topic Kramer and neighbor Tony Harvin discuss in the documentary as something typically associated with suburban communities. Kramer, who grew up in Bethesda, attended Walt Whitman High School and moved out of the area before returning to Hobart Street, said bringing the film to Bethesda represents “this life circle that I hope people really appreciate.”

“Aside from the day I was born, I grew up in Bethesda,” said Kramer, who was born in D.C. and whose grandfather and great grandfather lived in D.C. “For me, in a sense I felt like I had my own personal roots, my family roots. There was that personal part of me that really hatched together this idea to have a festival, which is really just kind of coming out of this love of the street.”

Harvin, a musician who spent his early childhood in a house on the street, came up with the idea after walking down the street and hearing kids and adults playing instruments in their homes. He got together with Kramer and others involved in established neighborhood social events and developed a simple framework.

“It was a little bit of a gamble, in that sense it was definitely a surprise to see all the ideas,” Kramer said. “There was a craft brewing station, somebody rented a moon bounce, there was a blues band and finger painting. Someone who I didn’t know set up a photography presentation. This event was basically saying, take something that you’re proud of, that you want to share or showcase that people might not know or appreciate about you and bring it out into the street so people can experience it.”

Kramer said he’d be shocked if the Bethesda Film Fest, the Bethesda Urban Partnership-sponsored event that will feature five short documentaries at Imagination Stage, doesn’t end up a big success.

“I think there’s already a strong film-going culture in Bethesda, now to take it one step further I think is really good,” Kramer said. “If you look at film festivals, they become these really good cultural catalysts. There’s something in the DNA of a film festival that I think has this really amazing power to do that.”

Photo via Meridian Hill Pictures

Bethesda Blues And Jazz Supper Club Announces First Shows

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 10:00 am | No Comments

The Bethesda Blues and Jazz Supper Club will open in the historic Bethesda Theater on March 1 and has announced a busy lineup of performers for March.

Grammy Award-winning trumpeter Irvin Mayfield and his New Orleans Jazz Orchestra will open up the club (7719 Wisconsin Ave.) on Friday, March 1 with an 8 p.m. performance running $40 per ticket.

Silver Spring’s Marcus Johnson, a jazz keyboardist and pianist, will perform on Saturday, March 2. Tickets for that performance are $25 each.

Entrees at the Club run from $17.95 to $34.95.

Potomac native and country singer Maggie Rose will headline at the Club on its second weekend, with shows on Friday, March 8 and Saturday, March 9. Tickets are $35 each.

Flickr photo by PLCjr

NWS: Snow And Sleet Mix Could Change To Rain

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 9:25 am | No Comments

The National Weather Service put out a Special Weather Statement about the sleet and rain mix hitting Bethesda and much of the area this morning:

…WINTRY MIX ACROSS CENTRAL MARYLAND THROUGH MID-MORNING…

PRECIPITATION WILL OVERSPREAD CENTRAL MARYLAND THROUGH 10 AM. PRECIPITATION IS LIKELY TO BEGIN AS A PERIOD OF SNOW AND SLEET BEFORE MIXING WITH AND CHANGING OVER TO RAIN DURING THE LATE MORNING.

SOME AREAS WILL SEE THE SNOW AND SLEET FALL MODERATELY FOR A TIME…WITH THE VISIBILITY REDUCED TO AROUND 1 MILE. AREAS THAT EXPERIENCE MODERATE SNOW AND SLEET COULD RECEIVE A QUICK COATING TO A QUARTER OF AN INCH OF ACCUMULATION. WHILE TEMPERATURES WILL GENERALLY BE IN THE MID TO UPPER 30S…THIS COULD RESULT IN A FEW SLICK SPOTS.

A rain and sleet mix began falling in Bethesda just after 9 a.m.

Morning Notes

by BethesdaNow.com | February 19, 2013 at 9:00 am | No Comments

Chevy Chase Landlord Faces Charges For Peeping On Tenants — Police say Dennis Alan Van Dusen hid cameras to secretly record three tenants in his Ridgewood Avenue house while they were nude or intimate with their boyfriends. He faces a March 4 trial and civil suits from two of the women and one of their boyfriends. [Washington Post]

Montgomery County Can’t Take Over Pepco Power Lines — The county attorney says the Maryland General Assembly would have to vote to allow Montgomery to revoke Pepco’s franchise over the electrical grid. Taking over some of the power lines and creating some form of public electric utility has been suggested as a solution to reliability issues. [Washington Examiner]

Whitman Wins Jazz Festival Competition — The Walt Whitman High School jazz band took home first place and a $1,000 cash prize for its performance at the Mid-Atlantic Jazz Festival last weekend in Rockville. The Whitman band improved on its second place showing from the 2012 competition against 11 other high school bands from the Mid-Atlantic. [h/t Amy Marie Moore]

Flickr photo by WKV

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