301-926-2256 [email protected]


Next meeting: Monday, May 22, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The public is invited to attend. Actions at the April meeting included:

  • introduction of Ordinance 2017-01Adopting Town Budget and Tax Rate for FY 2018
  • introduction of Charter Resolution 2017-02 Amending the Clerk-Treasurer as Two (2) Separate Offices or the Merging of the Offices into One (1) Appointment
  • acceptance of proposal from A.B. Veirs for road work on Brown Street and on Center Street.


The Town Council will hold a public hearing on Monday, May 22, 2017 at 7:30 pm in McCathran Hall. The purpose of this hearing is to take public comment on proposed Ordinance No. 2017-01. This ordinance would adopt the Town Budget for the Fiscal Year July 1, 2017, through June 30, 2018, and levy an ad valorem tax on all assessable property within the Town of Washington Grove. Action on this ordinance would comply with State requirements to adopt the budget via an ordinance, and follow up presentation and voting on the budget at the Town Meeting. Copies of the proposed ordinance are available for inspection upon request to the Town of Washington Grove, P.O. Box 216, Washington Grove, MD 20880 or 301-926-2256.

Town Elections

Nominations for the Mayor and Council are closed. The nominees are as follows:

Mayor (1-year term) Joli McCathran

Council (3-year term) Audrey Maskery
Council (3-year term) John Compton

Vote on May 13, 2017 in the Council Room at McCathran Hall from 4:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

Hear Ye, Hear Ye!! ……….. Annual Town Meeting

This year’s Annual Town Meeting is set for May 13, 2017 in McCathran Hall at 8:00 p.m. Refreshments will follow the meeting.

Absentee Ballots

An absentee ballot for Town elections on Saturday, May 13th, 4:00 pm until 7:00 pm, may be requested in writing by qualified voters. A signed written request stating you will not be present to vote during the voting hours must be submitted to Meredith Horan, Chair of the Board of Supervisors of Elections, by May 3rd. Please send your requests and your completed absentee ballots to Meredith at
P.O. Box 337 or deliver to 127 Maple Avenue.

Town Council Recommends FY 2018 Budget

Mayor Joli McCathran presented a draft budget to the Council for their March 27, 2017 work session. Priorities include continued implementation of the 2015 Forest Stewardship Plan, additional playground equipment, increased funding for storm water control projects, reflective street name signs, restoration of walkways, and resurfacing the hard tennis court.

The Town Council has recommended a budget and tax rate for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2017. Anticipated income and recommended expenditures for the coming year (July 1, 2017 – June 30, 2018) are shown on the attached Town budget summary. The Council recommends the Town property tax rate decrease from $0.27 to the constant yield tax rate $0.255/$100 assessed valuation. The constant yield tax rate represents the real property tax rate for the coming tax year that will generate the same amount of revenue as generated during the current tax year. The dwelling unit charge, which is tied to the cost of trash and recycling collection, is proposed to increase from $108 to $117 per dwelling per year. Copies of the budget detail will be available at Town Elections and at Town Meeting on May 13, and are available now at the Town Office.

Questions may be directed to Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498 or Mayor Joli McCathran at 301-869-5358. Votes to adopt the proposed budget and tax rate will be taken by qualified voters assembled at the annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 13. See you there!

From the Mayor…

East Woods Trails Closure: The East Woods will be closed on Monday, May 8, 2017 while the Town’s invasive plant control contractor is working along our walking trails. This is planned to be a 1-day effort for closure of the entire East Woods, and the “rain date” is Tuesday, May 9, 2017. After this 1-day focus along the trails areas, additional work will continue in the East Woods for approximately 8 days over a 3-week period excluding weekends. Specific areas of the East Woods will be posted as the workers move ahead with non-native invasive plant control and removal. If there are questions, please contact me at [email protected] or via phone at 301-869-5358. For more information, please see the following links:
(The above link is the company the Town hired)

Here are a few points to keep in mind:

  • The contractor’s employees are all professionals with a background in forest management and are licensed to apply herbicides with the State of Maryland.
  • The contractor will post signs in each section of the East Woods as work progresses
  • A blue dye will be added to the mixture to allow for clearer vision of what has been treated. Even after the herbicide has dried and there is no danger of it being transferred to people or pets, the blue dye will be visible.
  • The mixture dries in 10 minutes. Once it is dry it cannot be picked up by persons or pets. Morning dew can sometimes make clothing or pet’s feet blue, but the chemicals will already be absorbed into the plant material.
  • Methods being used are cutting and dabbing of vines, pulling of plants and back-pack spaying where necessary.
  • A different product will be used in water sensitive areas as defined by our 2015 Forest Management Plan.
  • All work will be performed when weather conditions are favorable.

Washington Grove Elementary School:
Principal, Susan Barranger, will be in attendance at the Monday, May 22, 2017 Town Council Meeting to discuss the Dual Language Program being implemented into the school. Beginning in Fall 2017, starting with Kindergarten, classes will be taught in English and Spanish on alternating days. This program will be implemented to cover all grades over a 6-year period. The goal is to have the children be bilingual when they finish 5th grade. This is not a magnate program. If you have a child entering Washington Grove Elementary School after January of their First Grade, and your child does not speak Spanish, your child will be directed to another school within the Gaithersburg Cluster. Children who speak Spanish may enter Washington Grove Elementary School at any grade level. Speaking English is not required. All are welcome to attend this meeting to hear more about this program.

Planning Commission:
Special thanks go out to Brenda Gumula who resigned after serving 5 years as a member of the Planning Commission. Her hard work and dedication is an outstanding example of how our volunteer community works. Thank you, Brenda! With this resignation, Deborah Mehlferber is now a full member of the Planning Commission. Georgette Cole has resigned her Town Council position to be appointed as the Alternate Member of the Planning
Commission. Thanks to both ladies for their commitment to the Town.

Planning Commission News…

Next meeting: Wed, May 3, 2017, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.
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. The procedures are available from the Town Clerk or from the Town’s website. Both the Historic Preservation Commission and the Planning Commission are here to help with your renovation/building project.

Permits up for approval on May 3, 2017:
410 Brown Street rear fence

Historic Preservation News…

Next meeting: Tuesday, May 16, 2017, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All meetings are open to the public.


By Wendy E. Harris, Volunteer Associate Archivist
News Dispatches from Other Centuries
A series devoted to describing Washington Grove’s earliest days based on historic newspapers (appearing as written) and original records in the Grove’s archives.

Our Woods and Walkways: Are They Historic? (Part Two)

Recently there has been much discussion as to whether various non-architectural features such as our community’s woods and walkways are truly “historic.” Whether or not this is the case, the woods of Washington Grove, representing nearly one-half of the Town’s lands, certainly have a history all their own. In our first installment, we explored meanings attached to the woods during two consecutive periods of Washington Grove’s history?its camp meeting era as well as the years when the community hosted a series of Chautauqua Assemblies.

In this, the second part of our article, we discuss how Washington Grove residents came to regard their woods during the Progressive Era (circa late 1880s to the early1920s). We will also examine subsequent reevaluations of the woods and their meaning that occurred during the second half of the twentieth century and beginning of the twenty-first century.

Documents found in our archives indicate that during the Progressive Era, Grove residents came to view their woods in more managerial, economic and quantitative terms. This period of American history is probably best understood as an attempt by the nation’s citizens to reform nearly every aspect of their society. Specifically relevant to the history of Washington Grove’s forests is the rise of the conservation movement with its emphasis upon improving the nation’s management and exploitation of natural resources. The leading reformer to emerge in this field was Gifford Pinchot (1865-1946), generally credited with introducing sustainable-yield forestry to America. Pinchot’s imprint upon the forests of Washington Grove can be traced through the work of one of his protégés, Fred W. Besley (1872-1960), Maryland’s first State Forester, who visited the Grove in 1913, at the invitation of the Washington Grove Association’s Board of Trustees.

Besley toured the Grove’s woodlands on July 29, 1913. His recommendations divided the Grove into sections and provided specific instructions as to areas within each best suited for cutting, cultivation with seedlings, or which would be better left undisturbed. According to the Forestry Committee’s report to the Washington Grove Association Board of Trustees (Meeting Minutes, August 1, 1913), Besley found the present-day West Woods to be the most likely source of firewood. The committee paraphrased Besley’s description of the West Woods forest as consisting “ . . . largely of pine, maple, chestnut, and some oak, of larger growth, with a second growth of poplars of different varieties, pines and oak, and some other kinds of trees of lesser importance as to value and numbers.”

Guided by Besley’s report, “helpers” trained in scientific forestry would select and mark trees for cutting based upon such criteria as species, maturity and marketability. Besley told the committee that these trees should “ . . . yield on an average of about 20 cords per acre.” In a letter dated September 22, 1913, the Board of Trustees thanked Besley for his assistance and informed him that his recommendations had been adopted.

For the next half-century forestry management practices in Washington Grove followed an approach similar to the one first introduced in 1913. In 1972, however, when a proposal for harvesting 400 of the largest trees in the West Woods was presented to the Town Council, a group of town residents protested. The result was a report issued by “A Special Forest Policy Committee” in May of that year. Among their recommendations was a temporary ban on timber cutting and also that “ . . . the town protect and maintain the integrity of its forest reserve, undiminished in acreage, as an indispensable element in preserving the idyllic character of the community.”

By the time the Town’s 2009 Master Plan was drafted, the East and West Woods had become valued for their “ . . . significant environmental and aesthetic benefits to the Town,” rather than for any value that could be realized from the sale of timber. What had once been a “reserve” was now regarded as a “preserve.” Although the woods of Washington Grove had undergone yet another shift in meanings, they remained an integral component of the Town’s historic landscape.

In our third and upcoming article, we will explore the history of Washington Grove’s streetscape, focusing upon the Town’s two most unique elements?its radial concentric street plan and pedestrian walkways.

Sources from WG Archives (including library books): Edwards, Philip K., Washington Grove, 1873-1937 (1988); Lampl, Elizabeth Jo and Clare Lise Cavicchi, “A Harvest in the Open for Saving Souls, The Camp Meetings of Montgomery County” (2004); “2009 Master Plan;” “President’s [George Woodward] Report to The Stockholders of Washington Grove Camp Meeting Association,” 5/30/1893; Special Forest Policy Committee Report to the Washington Grove Town Council, 5/15/1972; Washington Grove Association, Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes, 8/1/1913; Washington Grove Chautauqua Assembly Committee, “The Grove Chautauqua,” 1902.
Other Sources: Critic-Record “Washington Grove Camp-Meeting,” 8/12/1875, NewsBank; Kimmel, Ross and Offutt Johnson, “The History of Maryland State Parks” https://dnr.maryland.gov/Pages/md-conservation-history/State-Park-History.aspx; Rutkow, Eric, American Canopy: Trees, Forests and the Making of a Nation (2012); United States Dept. of Interior, National Park Service, Wesleyan Grove National Historic Landmark Nomination (2005); Washington Post, “Washington Grove Camp: Opening Day Among the Methodist Tenters in Maryland,” 8/12/1881. Wiebe, Robert H., The Search for Order, 1877-1920 (1967).

Recreation Committee News…

Next Meeting: Wed., May 10, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.

Enter and Sign In, Please! We cannot thank Emily Cavey enough for setting up the Rec’ing Crew’s SignUpGenius site. We do often remind you that we run on volunteer power (and brain power), but some of our newer neighbors may not have figured out just how many events and classes we offer; and this sign-up tool makes it really easy for you to let us know when you can lend a hand.
The link is as follows:

And on that subject… Our next event is the Memorial Day softball game, Monday, May 29, starting at 2 p.m.; and we need a few errand-runners to get popsicles, water, etc. Check the sign-up site, or the tech-challenged (ouch) can contact event leader Joey Fones at [email protected].

Music Weekend Relics-ation! Dig out your vinyl and vintage T’s and get ready for the return of the Rock & Roll Relics to the Gazebo, Saturday, June 17 from 7 to 10 p.m. Move and groove to the music of, as they say, “another millennium,” including the Beatles, Beach Boys, Jimmy Buffett, Robert Parker, Wilson Pickett, Bob Seger, the Four Seasons, CCR, and Martha and the Vandellas, to remind us all who put the “gold” in golden oldies. BYOB, and BYOBesties.
Free concert sponsored by the Recreation Committee

Kids Tennis Camp!! (Visit the link below)

Woman’s Club News…

Get your entries ready for A Carnival of Flowers on May 21st

In Washington Grove, May means the Woman’s Club’s Annual Flower Show, which this year is themed A Carnival of Flowers. You will soon be receiving more information about this always popular event, so be sure to put it on your calendar for Sunday, May 21st. If you can, please volunteer to help us make this the best flower show yet! Contact Georgette Cole at [email protected].

New Directory Coming – We Need You!
We’re hard at work on the next edition of the Town Directory. If you haven’t been contacted to update your information yet, please send us an e-mail saying nothing has changed, list any changes, or ask us for a form, at [email protected] or mail to Mimi Bolotin at Box 321, Washington Grove, MD 20880.

Annual Progressive Porch Party Saturday, June 24th. Once again, we need volunteers to host this event on your porches. If you can help us with this, please contact Sylvia Appleby at [email protected] or 301-926-9064.

As you enjoy your summer travels, please remember we will again be collecting those nice little bottles of shampoo, soap and such that your hotel rooms provide. Our fall Outreach Program will be filling bags with such items for the Gude Men’s Shelter.

Forestry & Beautification News…

The Forestry and Beautification Committee will be meeting on the second Wednesday (May 10) at 7:30 in the Council room. We’ll be reviewing spring tree planting, Arbor Day activities completed April 29, and other Town landscaping projects. All interested residents are encouraged to join us!

Woods Committee News…
Next Meeting: Monday, May 1, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. The June meeting will be on June 5, 2017, same time, same place. Meetings are open to the public. Please join us!

Maple Lake News…

Next Meeting: Thursday, May 18, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room.
Final plans for swim lessons, lifeguards and making the lake great for this summer. New members welcome and encouraged! Call John Hutchinson (301-926-8767) if you have any questions.

We are using the Humane Society’s protocol again to humanely prevent eggs from hatching this spring. In the past several years a pair of geese has nested in an area easily accessible to our egg-oiling team. They drive away the other geese during nesting season and then leave when their eggs do not hatch. Please do not feed or harass the nesting pair or disturb the nest. If you see a nest built, please call Ann Philips or John Hutchinson. We encourage visitors to the lake to take along a plastic bag and scoop droppings. THANKS!

Lake Opens: Memorial Day week-end May 28th, and seven days a week starting June 16th.

Gate Combination Changing April 30th: For the new number, please contact the Town Office 301-926-2256, or John Hutchinson at 240-997-5820.

Swim Lessons in July – Sign Up on the Web:
Swim Lessons will be offered in July (same days as S.I.T.P.) from July 5th through the 28th from 12:30 to 6:00. Please sign up by June 24th at: https://goo.gl/forms/HwLK3L1ntf6NmQQX2

Maple Lake Party Permits:
Make sure your party is official! Complete the online registration form and inquire at the Town Hall for an alcohol permit. Questions? Contact Emily Brown [email protected]

Emergency Preparedness Committee

Next Meeting: Thursday, May 25, 2017; 7:30 p.m. in the Council Room. All are welcome to attend.

Washington Grove Church News…

Singers Wanted…Do you love to sing? The choir at Washington Grove UMC is looking for men and women to sing at the 11 AM service on Sundays. Long-term commitment unnecessary, just a love of music and song. For more info call Craig English at 301-840-1897. Our joyful family worship services are Sunday mornings at 11:00 AM, at the Washington Grove United Methodist Church, 303 Chestnut Road, Washington Grove, MD 20880. Rev. EunJoung Joo (301-947-0532). Most Sunday’s, during the 11:00 AM church service, we also have Sunday school classes for children from nursery age to 5th grade. If you are interested, please contact Mary Lou English (301-840-1834 or [email protected]).

General Information

Bulk Trash Pickup Scheduled for WEDNESDAY May 17, 2017.
Materials may include furniture, appliances (nothing with freon like air conditioning units), rugs, large toys, small auto parts, etc. Material may NOT include construction by-products from your renovation projects, large automotive parts or tires. Items should not contain gasoline or motor oil. Please keep your metal separate from the rest of your items.

Meet the Candidates and Town Leaders
On Sunday, May 7, six days before the Town elections, we hope to have a lively candidate forum in McCathran Hall at 3:00 P.M. Please join us!

This is your chance to meet the candidates as well as officeholders not currently up for re-election. Come with your questions, get a feel for Town government, put a face to a name and enjoy light refreshments.

This event is sponsored by Town residents.

Translate »