301-926-2256 [email protected]

Town Council News

Next meeting: Monday » 11.11.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.

Actions at the October 14th Council meeting included:

  • approval of Resolution 2013-08; Resolution Regarding National Gateway Clearance Improvement Project (3)

CSX/Deer Park Bridge Update

On Tuesday, October 8, a Special Town Meeting was held to review the new plans submitted by CSX for raising the historic Deer Park Humpback Bridge. These plans are now available on the Town web site. The new CSX proposal is designed to have no impact within the Town. There is no change in the structural capacity (17 tons), the sight distance remains the same, the road width remains the same, light and noise intrusion remains the same and Railroad Street elevation remains the same. There is no impact on Town trees and tree cover. A unanimous vote (79 residents) approved wording for a new resolution to be sent to the Town Council for discussion and a vote. It was passed on October 14 by unanimous Council vote.

It is gratifying to see the stellar work of the Bridge Advisory Committee and many other volunteers and Town Officials coming to such a satisfactory conclusion. MANY thanks go to all of these volunteers for a job well done! Now the Town will continue to work with CSX and Montgomery County to ensure the project adheres to the no-impact parameters that were shown. If all goes as planned the construction phase will begin when school ends in the summer of 2014 and be completed before it begins again in the fall.

Leaves Are Falling

New and long-time residents alike are reminded of the Town contract for the removal of leaves in bulk each autumn. US Lawns will make regular but unscheduled pickups of leaves raked or blown into windrows within six feet of any walkway or roadway, excluding Railroad Street, 2nd Ave., 3rd Ave., 4th Ave., 5th Ave., and Boundary Street. This service begins November 1 and ends January 1, 2013, or as soon thereafter as we agree that the work is complete. This is your opportunity to have leaves removed without the additional work and expense of bagging.

Weather frequently affects this process, as rain can restrict movement of large trucks on the avenues. Also, one or two spectacular fall weekends in November or early December usually see most of us raking at the same time. The contractor will time pickups based on the availability of full truckloads for vacuuming. If you rake when most other people rake the windrows will probably disappear relatively quickly. If you feel that a particular pile has been ignored for an inordinate amount of time, please call Greg Silber at 301-926-1854 or e-mail him at [email protected].

Please place your windrows along the side of the road or walkway (keeping in mind, traffic & pedestrian flow), and don’t include brush or limbs that foul the vacuum.
Happy raking! It’s the rite of autumn, particularly in a town graced by so many beautiful deciduous trees.

Planning Commission News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 11.060.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.
The public is invited to attend.

If you are going to erect a building or structure (including fences), make structural alterations to, or move any existing building or other structure, you must first obtain a building permit from the Washington Grove Planning Commission. All permit applications must be received in the Town Office fourteen (14) days prior to the Planning Commission meeting at which they will receive their initial review. The applicant must post a "Notice To Neighbors" sign within seven (7) days of receiving it from the Town Clerk. The Planning Commission will not act on an application unless the Notice To Neighbors sign was posted in a timely fashion as confirmed by the Commission. Please contact the Town Office (301-926-2256) or [email protected], or see permits for more details. The Historic Preservation Commission will review most permit applications as well.

Permits approved on October Meeting:

  • 121 W.G. Lane » Fence

Permits up for review/approval on Nov.6:

  • 201 Grove Ave. » Fence

Historic Preservation News

Next meeting: Tuesday » 11.19.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.
Meetings are open to the public.


by Patricia Patula, Town Archivist

"The Telephone and Air Raid Drills"

The Town Archives contain WWII documents which give rare insight to the blackout drills during 1942 and 1943 and to the methods used by the air raid wardens. Prevalent throughout these directives and correspondence is the role played by the telephone. It was the primary means of communicating air raid signals between the Control Center and the wardens of Washington Grove.

The brevity of the telephone numbers at that time, being only three digits, not ten digits as present day listings have, served to facilitate the calls. Look at these telephone numbers of the wardens charged with operating the siren in the order named: E. N. Aiken . . . Phone 73-R; Joseph Nuttall . . Phone 31-R; and Alfred Christie . . .Phone 211.

The air raid signals were arranged in a color coded order that followed a “get ready, get set, GO” sequence. The first signal given was YELLOW, a confidential call from the Control Center to precinct wardens who then called the sector wardens who then called the block wardens. This was followed by BLUE, also confidential and by phone, and all personnel were to hold themselves in readiness. When the Control Center gave the RED signal over the telephone, the directive to the warden in charge was to sound the public alarm immediately as follows:

"AIR RAID ALARM (RED) sounding of an electric siren for a period of two minutes duration consisting of a fluctuating signal of varying pitch each fluctuation to extend over a period of approximately 6 seconds . . . and for the ALL CLEAR (WHITE) a continuous sounding of siren for a period of approximately 1 minute and 40 seconds." (Order #4, Brecht).

Some of the wardens had an auxiliary siren on their car and were directed to follow the same procedures as the primary siren. The sector wardens had to report by phone to the Director immediately after a drill and follow up the next morning with a written version.

District Warden Irving McCathran was pleased to report to Frank Severance, Air Warden for Gaithersburg District, that the "blackout in the Washington Grove area [on the night of April 14, 1942] proved to be 100% perfect . . . I desire at this time to commend the services of the telephone exchange, as this proved to be very efficient in facilitating my contact with the key men in my area."

The correspondence of the time hints of plans to install a remote control system which would automatically set off all sirens in the suburban area at one time but the ALL CLEAR signal would remain manually operated.

Source: Instructions for Sounding of Air Raid Systems and Order #4 by Albert E. Brault, Executive Director, Montgomery County Civilian Defense Council, and other correspondence from the Town of Washington Grove Archives.

Recreation Committee News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 01.15.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.
The public is invited to attend. New members always welcome!

The Continentals Return!

Friday, November 15, 7:30-10:30 p.m., McCathran Hall
Get out your dancing shoes and get ready for Washington’s premiere polka band. This versatile group of musicians will play a wide variety of dance music. Check out their website at www.mikesurratt.com Bring an unusual beer to share – snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided. No charge.

Sponsored by the Washington Grove Recreation Committee

Town Holiday Show

Mark your calendars! This year’s Holiday Show will take place on Dec. 14, 2013 in McCathran Hall.

The format of the show will be different this year, so an informational meeting for those who are interested has been scheduled for Saturday, November 2, 2 pm in McCathran Hall. Those who cannot attend the meeting, but are interested in participating, should contact Judy Mroczka at ([email protected]).

Clay Courts Committee

Next meeting: Tuesday » 12.10.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Your participation is encouraged. Come learn about the different types of "clay" courts. Your voice is important. Tell us what you think.

Woman’s Club News

Next meeting: Thursday » 11.14.13 @ 7:30 p.m. in Clubhouse.

Thanks to Sylvia Appleby, this October’s impromptu Games Night was great fun, though since the furloughed folks went back to work that day, the turnout was small.

Join us for an evening of painting holiday decorations on November 14th:

This event is open to all the kids and their parents. There will be decorations for Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and for you Seinfeld fans, Festivus. So come to the Clubhouse from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and remember to wear an old shirt or smock for maximum painting fun.

For Club members, the November 14th event will also include a few minutes of Club business. The Nominating Committee presents the following nominees for office:

  • President: Sylvia Appleby
  • Vice-President: Lynne Lucas-Dreiss
  • Treasurer: Cynthia Werts
  • Recording Secretary: Liz Robertson
  • Corresponding Secretary: Vacant

We need a new Corresponding Secretary! If you would be interested in serving on the Board, please contact Joli McCathran (mailto:[email protected]); Margo Cavenagh ([email protected]); or Marilynn Frey ([email protected]).


  • Nov. 3, Sunday from 9 am – Food Drive for Gaithersburg Help, our local food pantry. Bags of canned and dried food can be left at church, or left curbside by 9 am, for pick-up during the Sunday school’s annual trick-or-treat for the food pantry. Among the most-needed foods at the moment are cereal (in regular-sized boxes), canned fruit, and peanut butter.
  • Nov. 17, Sunday, 11 am – Church Anniversary service, with 19th century camp meeting songs, and pot-luck lunch.
  • Nov. 26, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. – Interfaith Community Thanksgiving Service. Give thanks for the natural beauty of the Grove with music from various traditions, an historic Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation, and a sing-along of Grove favorites!
  • Dec. 6, Friday, 7-9:30 pm – SERRV Fair Trade Craft Fair, with Interfaith holiday sing-along at 7:30. Help out the third-world makers of these lovely crafts, as you do your holiday shopping and know that the proceeds go to the workers.

Forestry News

The Forestry and Beautification Committee has been working actively in the past 15 plus years to assess and augment trees in the Town parks. Under Darrell Anderson a census of the Town trees was done and young trees have been installed every year. Between 2005 and 2010 an average of 17 trees were installed per year. Sixteen trees were planted in 2011, sixteen in 2012 and, by the end of November, nineteen will have been planted in 2013. Since the Town acquired a mobile watering tank in 2010 the survival rate for our new trees has increased.

The newest trees are easy to spot by the support tethers around them. There’s a particularly handsome Sweet Gum next to the parking area across from McCathran Hall. Also easy to find is the new red oak at the Town entrance where we replaced the massive oak that fell in a storm on September 12. Many of our old oaks will fail or fall in the next 20 years and the appearance of the Grove will change as we wait for the new trees to reach maturity. It’s the responsibility of the Town government to look forward to the needs of both the Town Parks and the Town Forests as we discuss what we want for the future of our "Town within a Forest".

Bulk Trash Pickup Scheduled

The Town has scheduled a bulk trash pickup for Saturday, November 2, 2013. Please have your items “curbside” by 7:00 AM.

YARD WASTE Collection Ends

Per the amendment to our contract with Potomac Disposal, this year December 26th will be the last date for collection of recyclable yard waste. This service will resume in early March. Please make a note of this.

Holiday Trash Pickup

Potomac Disposal, Inc. WILL pick-up your trash and recycling on Thanksgiving morning. Please treat this as a regular collection day.

Deer Fences Down

Residents are reminded that deer fencing must be down by November 30th per Town Ordinance 3.328(g). Thanks!

Woods Group Meetings Scheduled

The Woods Group will meeting regularly in the coming months. Our next meeting is Monday, November 4th in the Council Room. Everyone is welcome to attend these work sessions where we will focus on developing a draft Forest Management Plan for our woods. We will be working to develop a draft plan for consideration at the 2014 Annual Town Meeting.

From the Post Office

With the Holidays Approaching…Our postmaster has asked that residents remember to include their PO Box number on all correspondence and packages including UPS and FedEx. Not doing so slows down the delivery of your mail because they have to look up your box number. The Post Office is aware of the difficulties that PO Box customers have with other carriers and suggests that you address mail in the following manner:

Ms. Jean Doe
600 Grove Ave. #000
Washington Grove, MD 20880

Thank you for your help with this issue!!

Film Society News

Now that our 14th season has gotten off the ground, we can look forward to November’s movie: 400 Blows. (Les quatre cents coups). Directed by François Truffaut, 1959, France, b&w, French with English subtitles, 99 minutes. Antoine Doinel, misunderstood at home and tormented at school, frequently runs away from both. The 400 Blows was inspired by Truffaut’s own troubled adolescence. Naturalistic yet resonant with feeling, it is one of the founding films of the French New Wave. Join us to watch this classic film on November 10, at 7 PM, in McCathran Hall; discussion to follow. Admission at the door is $7.

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