County Looking For Citizens Advisory Board Members — There are seven vacancies on the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, a group of 19 members representing Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Potomac, Kensington, North Bethesda and Rockville that advises county government on community needs. The application deadline is April 3. [Montgomery County Boards, Committees and Commissions]
Somerset’s All-Female Town Council — Some members of the all-female Town Council of Somerset are preparing for an unopposed run at re-election. The small town of just more than 1,200 near the D.C. line has been deemed one of the smartest in the nation, at least going by the percentage of residents with degrees. [The Gazette]
Council vs. School Board Tension Comes To Forefront During Budget Season — A report this week that showed a widening achievement gap in some areas and the school system’s recommended budget $10 million over the maintenance of effort law has exposed some cracks in the relationship between the Board of Education and County Council. [Washington Post]
Montgomery County leaders and residents today began a week of living on a $5-a-day food budget to draw attention to the daily struggle of 65,000 county residents who get assistance through the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), formerly known as Food Stamps.
Almost 27,000 county households were on SNAP assistance in fiscal year 2012, a 138 percent increase from fiscal year 2007, according to the county’s Department of Health and Human Services. Families that qualify for SNAP get an average daily benefit per person of $4.28, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Food and Nutrition Program.
So Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Silver Spring) and a number of her colleagues, MCPS officials, nonprofit workers and residents went grocery store shopping this morning for $25 worth of food to last them the whole week.
“We all know how expensive it is to live in Montgomery County,” Ervin said in a press release. Ervin and others, including Somerset mayor and philanthropist Jeffrey Slavin, shopped at a Rockville grocery store Monday morning before holding a press conference. “What many people may not know is how many working families struggle to put food on the table every day. The current economic crisis has forced more people than ever to ask for public assistance. This experience will give all of us a better understanding of what so many people in our nation — and many in our County — go through on a daily basis.”
The Challenge will conclude with a discussion of the issue on Friday in Silver Spring.
YMCA Repairs Water Main, Reopens — The Bethesda-Chevy Chase branch of the YMCA (9401 Old Georgetown Rd.) closed yesterday after a water main break on its grounds yesterday. After fixing the pipe overnight, the branch reopened with regular hours today. [YMCA via Facebook]
Duncan Will Start Campaign With Hefty Financial Advantage — Using funds left over from his aborted 2006 bid for governor, Doug Duncan will start the 2014 county executive campaign with a significant money advantage over Councilmembers Phil Andrews (D-Gaithersburg) and George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, the other two to announce their candidacy. [The Gazette]
Van Hollen Again Voted As Ranking Member of Budget Committee — Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives remained the same yesterday, after members of the Democratic caucus reasserted Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. Steny Hoyer as minority leader and minority whip, respectively. Kensington native and local Rep. Chris Van Hollen remained the ranking member of the Budget Committee. [WAMU]
Somerset Poolhouse Wins Architectural Award — A $3 million, just more than year-old pool facility in the Town of Somerset recently won an architectural design award. The Town did not pass a proposal that would have included moveable glass walls to enclose the pool during the winter. [Chevy Chase Patch]
Walter Reed Adds Jobs, NIH Loses Some — Walter Reed National Military Medical Center added 700 jobs in the last year, in addition to the 2,900 added in 2011. NIH was down 1,140 jobs in the past year as was Lockheed Martin, the Bethesda-based private military contractor, which lost 1,000 Maryland jobs. [The Gazette]
Flickr photo by Bill in DC
Somerset mayor and noted philanthropist Jeffrey Slavin donated a children’s playhouse to the National Center for Children and Families in a ceremony on Friday.
To NCCF Executive Director Dr. Sheryl Brissett Chapman, the two-story mock lighthouse with a slide and a pole is much more than a piece of playground equipment. It’s a powerful symbol to the people of NCCF’s Greentree Shelter, which serves as a transitional home primarily for single mothers with children.
“It’s important to see us really understand that children who come here do need to be inspired by us as a community, to see hope, to see life, to see a way out and that the community values them and their talented gifts,” Chapman said. “This is a very powerful gift and a powerful gift because this will excite them and help them feel the normalcy of childhood that every child deserves.”
Slavin, a real estate broker who runs his family’s Sanford and Doris Slavin Foundation, purchased the lighthouse in May, during a playhouse auction organized by Rebuilding Together Montgomery County. The event raised almost $120,000 for the Kensington-based nonprofit, which provides home repairs and upgrades to seniors or families in need.
All the playhouses were put on temporary display in Wisconsin Place, in Friendship Heights.
Slavin who has no children and said his house was too small for the structure anyway, connected with NCCF to place the lighthouse in the middle of its Greentree Road campus.
“My father was a sailor and he had a boat in Annapolis, and sailed in the bay,” Slavin said. “This is right in our backyard and so now we are dedicating this playhouse to the center so that for years to come the children in our community will be able to enjoy it.”