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Town Council News

Next meeting: Monday, July 12, 2021; 7:30pm
The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM at bit.ly/WGCouncilMeeting
Meeting ID: 297 850 640
Password: 074385
Or dial-in to 301-715-8592

Actions at the June 14th Meeting included:

  • Approval of Resolution 2021-09; Budget Transfers
  • Approval of the following Mayor’s appointments:
    • Charlie Challstrom – Board of Zoning Appeals
    • Peter Nagrod – Planning Commission
    • Bob Booher – Historic Preservation Commission
    • David Stopak – Historic Preservation Commission
  • Awarded road work contract to AB Veirs

Outcome of the Special Town Council Meeting

The Washington Grove Town Council held a Special Town Council Meeting on June 30, 2021 where they considered action in response to the Shared Use Bike Path Petition (PDF). The Town Council adopted five actions.  View the complete motion here (PDF).

Request for Volunteers

The Mayor and Town Council welcome volunteers to serve on the Shared Use Bike Path Connection Task Force. You may review the charge to this committee where the Task Force Mission and the Task Force Actions are described in the motion (PDF).

Please note you will be committing to complete the work of the Task Force and present the findings to the Town Council within four months of starting work (i.e., before the November 8, 2021 Town Council meeting).  Interested individuals should contact Mayor John Compton at 240-432-5700 or email [email protected]. It will be helpful if you provide a brief statement of your specific interest in the shared use path connection issue, and your commitment to the mission of the Task Force.

The Mayor, with concurrence of the Town Council, expects to appoint nine town residents to the Shared Use Path Connection Taskforce at the July 12th Town Council meeting.

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News from Grove Commissions

Historic Preservation Commission News

Next meeting: Tuesday, July 20, 2021; 7:30 pm.
The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM. For a copy of the Agenda, email Chairman Bob Booher ([email protected]).

Join Zoom Meeting:
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3440199688
Meeting ID: 344 019 9688

New This Month: A Brief History of the Indigenous People of Washington Grove Environs

This month, we share the brief history of indigenous people of Washington Grove environs that Town resident Ann Philips has researched and compiled with information contributed by Sarah Hedlund, Montgomery County Librarian/Archivist, and Heather Bouslog, Montgomery County Parks Archeologist.  The generous collaboration of resident Wendy Harris and former resident Clare Kelly proved equally invaluable to Ann, who undertook this project with an eye towards eventually including it in Washington Grove’s Wikipedia entry.

The land where Washington Grove, and all of Montgomery County, now stands was traveled and inhabited by indigenous people from around 10,000 BCE.  Members of the Massawomeck, Susquehannock, Seneca (Iroquois), and Piscataway-Conoy tribes lived in the area at the time of 17th century contact with Europeans, primarily using the land as crossover territory toward rock shelters, encampments, and sizable villages near the Potomac River. (1) (2)  Tribal boundaries were fluid. By 1700 most indigenous tribes had suffered rapid population decline due to infectious diseases and wars and had been forced out by English colonists. (3)

12,000 years ago, an era colder than today’s climate, Paleo-Indian people moved together over the evergreen-covered landscape in small groups, adapting to changing seasons as they hunted bison, giant beavers and mammoth using poles tipped with fluted points made from worked stone. Points have been found in the area where Seneca Creek flows into the Potomac River. (4) (5) (6)

9000 years ago, the climate warmed and plants and animals similar to today’s species spread along the Potomac. Signs of human occupation can be found along the Potomac near Dickerson and other areas. (4)

Around 3500 years ago, tribes settled more permanently although still moving seasonally across woodlands, streams, and rivers. Seed collecting led to agriculture, and pottery-making began. A settlement near Potomac Maryland dated from this period included burial sites for both humans and their dogs. (4) (6)

In the environs of Washington Grove is a steatite (soapstone) quarry site listed on the Maryland Inventory of Historic Properties, possibly dating from this Late Archaic time period. The presence of flaked stone tools suggests that Native Americans conducted quarrying here prior to the site’s use by local farmers and Washington Grove residents. (7)

By 1300 AD, indigenous people began to establish large settlements along the Potomac River, its islands, and uplands. They named the area Cohongoroota, “The Land Above the Falls”. The Piscataway people built longhouses ten feet high and twenty feet long, with barrel-shaped roofs covered with bark or woven mats. Villages were surrounded by palisades for protection, and outside were fields of maize, beans, squash, and leaf vegetables such as Chenopodium (goosefoot), Amaranthus and other plants. The bow and arrow were commonly used in hunting and warfare. A rock shelter in Gaithersburg near Seneca Creek (the Hargett-King Rockshelter) contained a blue bead, suggesting contact with Europeans. (4) (6)

In 1608, John Smith identified 166 tribes, including the Algonquian-speaking tribes of the Powhatan group in Virginia, the Piscataway in Southern Maryland, and the Nachotank (Anacostia) near the Anacostia River. Montgomery County was ringed by non-Algonquian speaking groups who were often hostile but were also trading partners: the Iroquoian-speaking Susquehannock’s near the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay (Susquehanna River), and the Siouan-speaking Monocans and Mannohoac west of the fall-line below the Potomac River. The Potomac River Valley was a major corridor in and out of the region. The tribes most prevalent in the area of Montgomery County just prior to European arrival were the Piscataway Conoy and the Susquehannock. (8)

In the late 1600’s, on Conoy Island near Point of Rocks, 150 Piscataway-Conoy people retreating from colonists’ discrimination built houses in a palisaded village, speaking an Algonquian language now extinct. By 1722 the tribe had lost two-thirds of their population. (9)(4)  Fearing further encroachment and hostility, the Piscataway-Conoy people left the area, some moving into Pennsylvania and farther north. Today, descendants of the northern migrants live on the Six Nations of the Grand River First Nation reserve in Ontario. Some members moved to Virginia and a few families stayed in their traditional homeland in Maryland. The three groups have identified as the Piscataway Indian Nation and Tayca Territory, the Piscataway Conoy Confederacy and Sub-Tribes, and the Cedarville Band of Piscataway Indians. (10)

As of December 2017, three tribes are recognized by the State of Maryland: The Piscataway Indian Nation, the Piscataway Conoy Tribe, and the Accohannock Indian Tribe. None of the tribes are federally recognized. (11)

As of the 2020 census, 40,000 Maryland residents self-identify as Native American. (12)

References

1 “Tribes and Cultures”, National Park Service.  Retrieved April 20, 2021.
2 “First Nations Across North America Map”, National Park Service. Retrieved April 20, 2021.
3 “Native Land”, Native Land Digital. Retrieved April 10, 2021.
4 “Native American Heritage Trail Guide” (PDF), sugarloafregionaltrails.org, 2016.
5 Walston, Mark, “The Montgomery County Story” (PDF), Montgomery County Historical Society, February 1986.
6 Maryland Archeological Conservation Lab, 2002. Maryland.gov. Retrieved April 12, 2021.
7 Washington Grove, MD National Register Nomination document (2020). Retrieved April 12, 2021.
8 Dent, Richard (1995). Chesapeake Prehistory, New York: Plenum Press.
9 Wikipedia: Piscataway Indian Nation and Tayac Territory. Retrieved April 20, 2021
10 Piscataway Conoy Tribe website. Retrieved April 21, 2021.
11 “Tribal Consultation”, Maryland Historical Trust. Maryland.gov. Retrieved May 19, 2021.
12 U.S. Census website, United States Census Bureau. Retrieved April 22, 2021.

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Planning Commission News

Next meeting: Wed., July 7, 2021; 7:30 p.m. The public is invited to attend this virtual meeting via ZOOM. As part of the Town’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, this Planning Commission Meeting will be conducted online, rather than in person.

Residents and the public can joining the Zoom videoconference at: https://zoom.us/j/781347688.
Meeting ID: 781 347 688
Or dial in to 301-715-8592 and following the audio instructions.

Building Permit Submission Deadline

The deadline to submit a building permit application for approval by the Planning Commission and review by the Historic Preservation Commission is the 2nd Wednesday of the month prior to the PC meeting at which the permit will be reviewed (this will be in the following month). This timing ensures the HPC will be able to complete a formal review before the PC meeting as this review is required for the PC to approve the permit in a timely fashion. If you are considering any renovation or building project at your house, be sure to get a copy of the procedures to apply for a Town Building Permit which will help you through the Town’s process.

Permits Up for Approval in July

  • 206 Chestnut Ave. (Moyer):  Demo greenhouse, add exterior stairs on garage
  • 203 2nd Ave. (Polston):  Shed
  • 114 Ridge Road (Temple):  2nd Story bathroom

Permits Approved in June

  • 202 Grove Ave. (Staneck):  Porch roof
  • 128 Chestnut Ave. (Atkins):  Fence

2021 Comprehensive Plan

It’s a milestone! The 2021 DRAFT Comprehensive Plan for the Town of Washington Grove has been submitted for review to the Maryland Department of Planning!  A public hearing has been set for Thursday September 2 at 7:30 pm.

The newly formatted 2021 Comprehensive Plan is available on our Town website. Residents are encouraged to review the plan and send comments to the Planning Commission if you have feedback. It’s about nine weeks until the public hearing and the record will remain open for comments for at least six weeks after the hearing. The Planning Commission will also get feedback from the Maryland Department of Planning and may hear from the Montgomery County Planning Department and the Gaithersburg and Rockville Planning Commissions.

The Planning Commission and various Town committees and work groups have been working on the plan for over two years now. We have at least 60 Town volunteers on this project, and either you are one of them or probably know someone who is.  In addition to the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission, we had helpful input from (alphabetically): the Bike Path Working Group, Border Committee, Emergency Preparedness and Safety Committee, Forestry and Beautification Committee, Housing Element Work Group, Interjurisdictional Work Group, Lake Committee, Lighting Committee, Racial and Social Equity Committee, Stormwater Management Committee, Sustainability Committee,
and Woods Committee.

There will be no regular work session in July. The next work session is tentatively set for August 18 at 7:30 pm.

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News from Grove Committees

Border Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, July 8, 2021; 7:30 p.m., via ZOOM Videoconference.
This Committee meets the second Thursday of each month. All are welcome. Contact Peter Nagrod ([email protected]) for information on how to join the meeting.

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Emergency Preparedness Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, July 29th at 7:30 p.m.
Join the Zoom meeting by videoconference: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/89199207143?pwd=aUVsTUpCbTRMWjdMdnZ1aEhLdGwrZz09
By Phone: 301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 869 6901 3210
Passcode: 511370

Happy Independence Day! We wish everyone a joyous and safe holiday. Please be mindful that fireworks seriously injure thousands of people each year, and that private possession and use of fireworks is illegal in Montgomery County. Enjoy the thrill of fireworks put-on by the pros! You can view a list of Fourth of July celebrations throughout the state here.

We are actively seeking new committee members! One committee goal is to promote a shared sense of preparedness, vigilance, and resilience to help strengthen our community. We welcome your input and ideas on how to achieve this and any other goals related to preparedness and safety. Please join us at our next meeting.

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Forestry and Beautification Committee (F&B) News

The F&B Committee is on summer break. The next meeting will be Wednesday September 8 to plan for fall tree planting. Don’t forget, if you have a suggestion for where a new tree is needed, please contact one of the F&B Co-Chairs Georgette Cole ([email protected]) or Audrey Maskery ([email protected]) or our Council Liaison Barbara Raimondo ([email protected]).

Now that the cicadas are retiring for another 17 years, it’s a great time to plant a new tree. Keep in mind that Montgomery County has a free tree planting program. Tree Montgomery will plant and help maintain a shade tree in your yard. The new tree will be a nice substantial one and they have tools to help you choose the right tree for your space.  Grovers are already taking advantage of this great program and you can too!

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Lake Committee News

Next Meeting: Thursday, July 15, 2021, 7:30 pm
Via ZOOM Video Conference
https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85028224870?pwd=ZURLeDU1a0JYTkJXT2lZNU94ZEJyQT09
By phone: 301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 850 2822 4870
Passcode: 506893

Lake Committee Meetings
Third Thursday of each month via Zoom until we can meet at the Town Hall. We need to plan for making the lake even better for this summer. New members welcome and encouraged!  Call or e-mail John Hutchinson if you have any questions or suggestions or want to be put on the notification list: 240-997-5820 (cell); [email protected]

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Lighting Committee News

The next meeting will take place in September via ZOOM Video Conferencing. We will continue to meet on the 4th Wednesday of every month. All are welcome to attend!

After months of work in research, outreach and response to Pepco revised multi-year plan case 9655 -TWG Lighting Committee and all the affected municipalities are waiting to hear the response from the Maryland Public Service Commission. During this hiatus, it was decided that we could possibly take a summer break and not meet in July and August and
reconvene in September. If there was a response from Pepco that needed our attention TWG Lighting Committee would re-group. The next TWG Lighting Committee meeting is currently scheduled for September 22, 2021 at 7:30pm via ZOOM.

The TWG Lighting Committee has two other updates:
First, the bollard lights that were picked by the TWG Lighting Committee and approved by the Town Council will be installed on the outer path by McCathran Hall in the next few weeks. Secondly, Charlie Challstrom reported that the LED bulbs that we converted our streetlights to have held up very well. None have needed to be replaced after over a year and a half of use.

Questions, ideas or concerns? Please contact Virginia Quesada at 301-706-7933 (cell) or [email protected], or Robert N. Johnson at [email protected].

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Racial Equity Committee News

Next meeting: Sunday, July 18, 2021; 2:00 p.m.
All are welcome! Folks who would like to attend should email [email protected] to get the Zoom link. And more information on how to join the committee, our goals, past meeting minutes, and historical resources can be found here: https://linktr.ee/RacialEquityGrover.

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Recreation Committee News

The 4th of July in Washington Grove!

Grovers – Yes! You read that right.  We are doing our Grove 4th of July… in person!
Date: July 4 – Sunday
Time: 10:45 am
Place: The ballfield

We will have the following:

  • 11:00 am -12:00 pm – Judging of your Fourth attire, costume, crazy outfit, whatever you choose
  • Noon – Flag Raising, Musketry and modified parade in the ballfield
  • 1 pm – Picnic with hotdogs provided. Bring your own “other stuff”

Be there or be square!
Rec Committee

Need more information? Contact Sam Beres (515-450-9167 or Emily Cavey (240-838-1840).

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Woods Committee News

Next meeting: Tuesday, July 6, 2021; 7:30 p.m. in recognition of the federal observance of the Independence Day holiday on Monday, July 5, via Zoom Video Conference.
Join the Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82405334979?pwd=WG9YdVR1U2lSWDlXMHpWaFlyNzRXdz09
By Phone: 301 715 8592
Meeting ID: 842 2294 2851
Passcode: 733964

Our meetings are regularly held on the first Monday of each month. The August meeting will be on Monday, August 2, 2021.

The WC continues to manage non-native invasive (NNI) plants in our Forest Preserves. Our integrated pest control (IPC) contractor worked in mid-June to treat NNI (wisteria, mile-a-minute, and wavy leaf basket grass) off the trails in the East and West Woods. They also assisted us in clearing a short section of green briar to re-route a damaged area of the Challstrom trail near “Bradfield Crossing.” Once completed, this new trail section will replace the old stream crossing, which is becoming increasingly unsafe to use. We hope the ongoing walking trail improvements will make your forest preserves experience safer and more enjoyable.

A reminder: please stay on the walking trails to avoid understory vegetation where tick populations are predicted to be abundant this season. Here is a timely news article from the Washington Post on tick encounters and tick-borne diseases. Stay healthy and safe and enjoy the beauty of nature in our East and West Woods.

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News From Other Grove Organizations

Film Society News

Nothing this month.  Stay tuned.

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Sustainability Group: Climate Action News 

Next meeting: Tuesday, July 13, 2021, 7:30 PM
Join Zoom Meeting at https://us02web.zoom.us/j/3440199688
Meeting ID: 344 019 9688

Home Energy Audits
Our homes in the Grove tend to fall into three categories when it comes to energy efficiency. Those built originally as summer cottages with no insulation, those built with little concern for retaining heat or cooling before energy codes began requiring insulation, and a few built after the 1970s with ever-increasing levels of insulation and efficiency. Many of the first two groups have made gradual improvements in insulation, storm windows and doors, efforts to deal with air leakage, and more efficient heating and cooling.

  • How can you know how well your house is performing?
  • How can you tell how much the improvements have helped?
  • How can you determine whether there are more worthwhile improvements to make?

For those of us without that expertise, the first step is an Energy Performance Assessment or Home Energy Audit. You can research and contract one on your own or take advantage of
Pepco’s assistance in procuring the services. Their website offers three paths:

The first is a free Virtual Home Energy Checkup where you fill out a questionnaire and receive an assessment and review without a site visit. It also then offers various free energy products including LED light bulbs, low-flow shower heads, pipe insulation, and power strips.

The second is a free Quick Home Energy Checkup with a home visit by a technician who will visually examine doors, windows, furnace, AC, water heater, lighting etc. The technician will provide a report with recommendations and also the free products above. They also provide lists of approved contractors that can do some of the recommended work.

The third is the Home Performance Assessment with EnergyStar Program. These are done by your choice of professionals certified by the Building Performance Institute from their ample approved list. The best firms do a thorough investigation of your heating and cooling equipment, doors and windows, insulation levels, ventilation, attics, crawl spaces, basements, pipe and duct insulation, water heater, humidifiers, appliances, and lighting. A test for air leakage is done with a blower door device that pressurizes the house and infrared cameras that detect gaps in insulation. A report and recommendations are provided along with targeted advice as to which best fit your circumstances.

Rebates for many of the recommendations are available from Pepco and they will do the paperwork to secure them. Pepco will cover up to $7500 of work. Many of the technician companies also execute some or all of the work or make recommendations of those that do. The audit is generally a $400 – $600 value but Pepco picks up all but $100.

The DC Consumer Checkbook provides guidance on energy audits, and if you join the Checkbook, you can also view their assessments of companies that perform the audits.

These two sources can be used together of course to select the best company to meet your needs. Or you can contact Bob Booher at 240-688-8611 with any questions or recommendations of your own.  Remember that there are tax credits for much of the work as well. We will be providing info on those later. Let’s start moving toward Net Zero.

TIP: This July 4th, declare your energy independence from fossil fuels. Ditch the disposable partyware and plastic water bottles; use real tableware and glasses instead for your backyard party. Try a vegan barbecue. Compost your party’s food scraps. Reduce, reuse, and recycle!!

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Washington Grove Cares News

Town residents can reach Washington Grove Cares to make requests for neighborly assistance in three ways:

  • Email us at [email protected],
  • Fill out a request form on our website at washingtongrovecares.org, or
  • Call and leave a message at 301-944-2962, and someone will return your call shortly.

Note that our telephone number has recently changed. 301-944-2962 is the new number.  Please correct our telephone number on page 3 of your 2020-2022 Washington Grove Directory.  We will deliver Washington Grove Cares refrigerator magnets, updated with the new telephone number. To request one, call us at 301-944-2962, leaving your name and street address.

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WG United Methodist Church (WGUMC) News

Washington Grove United Methodist Church is meeting at the church at 9:30 AM Sunday mornings!

We are again meeting at the Church, Sunday mornings at 9:30 AM. Weather permitting, we will be outside, under the maple tree. Otherwise, we’ll be socially distant in the sanctuary. Everyone should plan to wear a mask. If you prefer, you can still join us over Zoom. Please just contact Pastor Andrew Peck-McClain at
[email protected] to be included.

WGKids! is a monthly gathering for children, a ministry of the Washington Grove UMC. We meet the fourth Sunday of the month on Zoom, from 4:00-4:30 p.m. We sing, learn about a Bible story, and make something kid crafty. Please email Pastor Andy with questions or to participate at [email protected].

We continue to collect non-perishable food donations to support the St. Martin’s food bank. Your contributions can be dropped off on the screened-in porch at Peggy Hansen’s house, 201 Chestnut Avenue, in Washington Grove, or bring them when you join us on Sunday mornings.

WGUMC is a Reconciling Congregation, which means we believe that each person is a precious creation of God and is of sacred worth. We welcome and celebrate persons of every gender identity, racial or ethnic background, sexual orientation, and physical or mental ability into full participation in the life of this faith community. We celebrate the gift of love and affirm all loving relations and marriages. Our mission is To follow Jesus, worship God, and provide loving service to our community and the world. 

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Woman’s Club News

Calling kids of all ages to McCathran Hall, Saturday July 17th at 7:00 PM! 
Come join us to cheer for the chickens in the movie Chicken Run as they plot their escape from the Tweedy’s farm! You’ll want to see this original before the sequel is released!  Invite your parents to join you and assure them it’s Rated G! It runs about 84 minutes. This first in-person event in over 15 months is cosponsored by the Washington Grove Woman’s Club and the Film Society.

We’re Helping Out Where SNAP Leaves Off
As the desperate needs of those around us continue, we are collecting some of the much-needed items that SNAP (formerly Food Stamps) doesn’t pay for.  We recently provided some of these much-needed items to the apartment residents of the MoCo Coalition for the Homeless’s Archways Program.

Donations are appreciated, or if you would rather give us a check, please note that it’s for SNAP Plus.  Especially needed are:

  • Similac – especially the blue boxes of powder
  • Pedialyte – any flavor
  • Diapers – sizes 3 and up
  • Diaper wipes
  • Toilet paper
  • Feminine hygiene products

Helping Archways Kids and Their Families
This year, our Club has added helping the Archways families as one of our Outreach Programs. Archways is part of the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, and it serves families who have experienced chronic homelessness, which means they have been homeless for at least 12 months and they have a family member who has a diagnosed disability.

Archways clients live in apartments rented from private landlords throughout Montgomery County.  Their social worker works with these families to prevent them from falling back into homelessness. A family accepted into this program does not pay rent or utilities.

Archways is having great success with the children of these families, with one going to UMBC on a full scholarship this fall, and another entering a middle school magnet program!  But summer presents yet another challenge to these kids, since it’s not easy for their families to get them to the library and they can’t afford books. This makes it far too easy for them to fall behind over the summer months. So, this summer, we are starting a Summer Reading Club, but we need NEW (or very gently used) books for children from ages 2 to 16. Having books would mean the world to these kids! The kid’s goals will be based on their individual abilities, and we will give prizes as they reach those goals. We will begin July 1st. One of the greatest gifts we can give is a love of reading!

For the Archways families, we need six things for them each month, or more if we can give more. Most needed are non-snap items like toilet paper, paper towels, soap, clothing detergent, toiletries . And we need treats for the kids. There are 12 kids in the program, ranging in age from 2-18 and a 9-month-old baby. The social worker likes to bring them something when she does her visits. The past two months we have had treats and non-SNAP items and books for the kids. Our goal is at least one treat and one non-SNAP item a
month. There is also a family at the Archways program that would like plastic silverware. Please consider donating the plasticware that comes with your take-out food. They don’t care if it doesn’t all match.

If you’d like to give a check to the Woman’s Club, mark it for Archways or for Shelter Projects.

The WGES Supply Closet Needs Restocking!
Many stores put back to school supplies on sale around the 4th of July. One of the Club’s outreach programs is to keep the teachers supply closet well stocked. Without this community support, the teachers end up buying needed supplies for the less fortunate children out of their own pockets!  As always, checks are also appreciated, just mark them for the Supply Closet.

Where to Drop Off Your Donations
Monetary donations should be made out to the Woman’s Club with a notation in the Memo line if you want it to go towards a specific project. All donations can be dropped off either in the boxes on the Clubhouse porch or in the painted can on Wendy Weisbard’s porch at 119 Grove Road.

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Other Notices

Nothing this month!

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July Coming Events Calendar

(All meetings via ZOOM Conference unless otherwise indicated)

July 5 » Woods Committee 7:30 pm
July 7 » Planning Commission 7:30 pm
July 8 » Border Committee 7:30 pm
July 12 » Town Council 7:30 pm
July 14 » BUILDING PERMIT SUBMISSION DEADLINE
July 15 » Lake Committee 7:30 pm
July 17 » Family Movie ”Chicken Run” 7:00 pm Town Hall
July 18 » Racial Equity Committee 2:00 pm
July 20 » Historic Preservation Commission 7:30 pm
July 29 » Emergency Preparedness & Safety 7:30 pm
Aug 2 » Woods Committee 7:30 pm

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