301-926-2256 [email protected]

Town Council News

Next meeting: Monday » 09.13.10 @ 7:30 p.m. & Monday » 09.27.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.

Actions at the August Council meeting included:

  • decision to form a Maintenance Committee to assist in the long-term plans for Town maintenance. This is an advisory group that is being formed by Joe Clark.
  • voted to rejuvenate the speed humps on Ridge Road to get them to an appropriate height for our 15mph speed limit.


Wednesday September 15, 2010
7:30 p.m., McCathran Hall
Purpose: The meeting has been called by the Mayor for the purpose of consideration for authorizing the Mayor and Town Council to commit up to $100,000 from the current budget AND/OR Town reserves to purchase the LOS field.

No More Brush Pick-up by Town

Putting your yard waste in piles next to the avenue or roadway is no longer an option-it will not be picked up. If you need more information please contact Joe Clark at [email protected] or 301-869-7944. If you have questions about pick up by our trash contractor please contact Bill Robertson at [email protected] or 240-912-6080.

REMINDER: Residents are reminded that dumping brush on Town property, including Mulch Alley (near Town garage), is prohibited.

Update on Talks with CSX

During the past few months, the Town has been meeting and discussing the options for allowing CSX to have a greater clearance under the East Deer Park “Humpback” Bridge. As a reminder, the Town passed a resolution in January 2010 saying that lowering the tracks is the only option the Town would consider. In July, CSX made a presentation to the Town about another option-raising the bridge without causing major raising of Railroad Street. Since that meeting, where Town residents rejected any option other than lowering the tracks, CSX has been forthcoming with their Lowering the Tracks Report, which was conducted earlier this year. At the present time, residents on the Bridge Committee are reviewing the report and will have comments to CSX. In addition, the report is being reviewed by an outside consultant at no cost to the Town at this time. Sometime in late September or early October CSX will be addressing the Town’s comments regarding their report, and there may be another opportunity for residents to hear them address the Town in an information session. We will keep you posted as events unfold.

Important Legal Information about Trimming Trees/Shrubs near Town Roads

This may seem rather esoteric to many people, but the Town is obligated to participate in the Maryland State program to protect trees and shrubs that are in the right-of-way of Town Roads. This applies to any tree or shrub greater than 1 inch in diameter that is on Town property next to our roads. Many of the properties in Washington Grove have significant areas of Town property between their property and Town roads. Some properties on Maple Avenue and on Washington Grove Lane, for example, have as much as 25 feet of Town property between their lot lines and the road. Please become informed if this law applies to you before you begin trimming, removing, or installing trees or shrubs on property adjacent to a road.

The annotated code of the state Department of Natural Resources (DNR) specifies that before trimming, cutting, installing occurs, the resident must have a permit, unless there is someone in Town who could oversee such trimming, cutting, or installing to make sure it complies with the law. Georgette Cole, the Town Councilor for Forestry, met with DNR in February and received permission to have the Town receive a “blanket permit” if a Town employee takes the DNR 2 day training session, then passes their LTE exam. Maria Montefusco, who works as a part-time employee for the Town, passed the exam and is now certified to provide oversight for the Town.

What this means is that no resident or employee of the Town should trim, cut, or install trees or bushes on Town property adjacent to a road without receiving the OK from Maria, if the tree or bush is greater than 1 inch in diameter. We trust everyone will comply with the terms of the blanket approval and contact the Town Office if you need oversight or have questions.

Speeding and Other Dangerous Behaviors

In a Town with no sidewalks and many areas where the sides of the roads are obscured by vegetation, speeding can be very dangerous-both to residents, pets, and to other vehicles. We walk and bicycle in our roads, our children walk or bicycle in our roads, and we try to maintain a balance between vehicles and pedestrians. A few years ago we lowered our speed limit to 15 mph. Most residents attempt to keep their speed within range of that limit. There are those who choose not to abide by the lower speed and are putting everyone else in danger.

Frustration with speeders has taken, what the Mayor believes is, an ugly turn that also puts everyone else in danger. In the past year, the Mayor has had residents report that some people are jumping out at cars, yelling at drivers (sometimes with obscenities), pounding on cars to gain the attention of speeders, and throwing things at cars. These practices are dangerous both for the frustrated resident and for the driver and passengers in cars. This behavior needs to stop while the Mayor and Town Council try to find solutions that are acceptable to ALL Town residents. We have had many hearings on the addition of speed bumps in Town and that issue will be considered, as will other more costly and creative methods. Nothing will be permanently done without Town resident input, so keep abreast of this issue if it is a concern of yours.

The Town relies on Montgomery County for traffic enforcement and we have been able to get them in the past to “drop by” occasionally to observe any traffic violations. This is not a solution, although they will do so again in the next weeks. The best short-term solution is to write down the time you observe unsafe driving and if you do not know the person driving, please write down the license number and make/color of car. If that information is passed on to the Town Office, a letter or visit from the Mayor will be a contact to implore them to slow down. Parents of younger drivers, please have a talk with your teenagers to drive slow and safe and to tell their visiting friends of the importance of maintaining safe Town roads.

Outdoor Lighting Advisory Committee

With the approval of the Town Council, a task force is convening to research and develop a proposed Outdoor Lighting Plan for the Town. This working group will aim to balance the need for safety – both navigational and security as well as the needs to reduce light pollution to curtail the degradation of the nighttime visual environment, to conserve energy, to reduce costs, to preserve the historic character of the Town, to protect flora and fauna, and to reduce health risks. Building on the good work of Charlie Challstrom who has researched bulbs and fixtures for streetlights, the group will meet in the latter half of October to begin to develop a long-range plan for the Town. If you are interested in being part of this working group, please contact Carolyn Rapkievian at [email protected]

Planning Commission News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 09.01.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.

At its August meeting, the Commission approved the following permit applications:

  • 505 Brown St. » fence

PC Contact Information

  • PC Chair – Bob Evans » 301-869-7816
  • Permits – Eric Gleason » 301-977-3135
  • For Code Insp. – Steve Werts » 301-926-1668
  • Fence Insp. – Samantha Beres » 301-330-8509
  • Council Rep. – Georgette Cole » 301-330-6740

Historic Preservation Commission News

Next meeting: Tuesday » 09.21.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. Meetings are open to the public. The HPC welcomes and encourages residents to come for an early consultation when planning a renovation.

Some Historic Food for Thought…

Q – Why do the original windows of my older home matter? What do they contribute to my home?

A – Reason #1: Old windows are built with high-quality materials
Wood windows made prior to the 1940’s are likely to be made from old growth wood. Why does this matter? Old growth wood has distinct physical characteristics that can make it superior to new materials. For instance, this wood is denser and more durable, rot resistant, and dimensionally stable than modern wood. Also, wood used to make windows constructed prior to the 1940’s was most likely harvested locally, making it better suited for local climate conditions.

Modern wood derived from tree farms grows fast due to management practices and the application of fertilizers. This is not necessarily bad because we need a steady supply of lumber for all sorts of uses. However, when it comes to selecting wood for windows, speedy growth is not always better. Fast-growing wood not only has growth rings that are further apart, but also a higher percentage of earlywood or sapwood. This earlywood is rich in sugars. Wood with more widely-spaced growth rings is less dense and therefore not as durable. The sugars feed the tree as it grows, but are also attractive to insects who don’t care if the wood is a live tree branch or your window sill. The slower and more naturally the tree is allowed to grow, the denser the structure. This results in a stable, dense wood that mills well, holds paint and stain well, is not as attractive to insects, and has natural rot resistance thanks to a higher percentage of latewood.

What does this mean for older windows? In short, a new wood window will not last as long as the original. What about mahogany or other hard woods? They may be an option, and will tend to be denser and of higher quality than plantation-growth southern yellow pine, for example. However, these high-grade wood products can be expensive. Also, if window replacement is being considered for sustainable reasons, it is far greener to retain and repair an existing window than to have timber shipped thousands of miles to be manufactured into a new product. Stay tuned for additional reasons in the next Town Bulletin.

PC/HPC “Progress Report”

June 16, 2010 the Town held a forum to discuss possible plans to prevent out-of-scale development in Town, i.e. Mansionization. After the meeting a number of Town residents sent in their ideas to the Planning Commission and Historic Preservation Commission (PC-HPC) group studying the issues. Thank you to all those who provided their ideas and comments.

Please remember that these deliberations are continuing. Additional comments (short or long) are welcome on how to use zoning, education, tax credits, or who-knows-what to retain the scale and character of the Town over time. Comments or anecdotes on what you have seen or heard about what is done in other municipalities or counties to prevent Mansionization are also welcome.

Send your ideas to:[email protected]
or to P.O. Box 216 if you prefer to use USPS.

Lake Committee News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 09.08.10 @ 6:30 p.m. @ Maple Lake.
Meetings are open to the public.

It has been another great season at Maple Lake and we are scheduling the last Lake Committee Meeting for September 8th at 6:30pm. If the weather is good, we will meet at the Lake for an informal send-off, and maybe even party?

Agenda items include:

  • Policies and procedures for lifeguard responsibilities and activities at the lake.
  • Budget items for the next season, including picnic tables & locks,
  • Any other improvements for next season.

If you have any input, concerns, or comments, please attend this meeting or contact anyone on the Lake Committee. If the weather is not wonderful, the meeting will take place in the Council Room.

Recreation Committee News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 09.16.10 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.

Yoga in McCathran Hall

It’s that time again… Yoga instructor Terry Strother will start her classes again in September. Classes are on Tuesday nights from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. The fee is $10.00 per class and they begin on the 7th. For more information, call Terry at 240-631-2759.

Mousetrap Returns

Concert #1
Oct. 24, 2010
Ilya Itin – Piano

All concerts are at 3:00 p.m. in McCathran Hall. Flyers are in the mail.

Woman’s Club News

The Woman’s Club Annual Potluck Dinner is Friday, September 24 at 6:30 p.m. at the Club House. Please bring a dish to share and enjoy a presentation by Emma Strother telling of her service trip to Zambia. All are invited to attend. Families are welcome. For more information contact Margot Cavenagh at 301-963-0294.

Program Notes

Emma Strother recently went on a three week service trip to Zambia where she worked with various not-for-profit organizations and community schools in Lusaka and Monze. Among these were the Chikumbuso project for AIDS orphans and widows (started by a former neighbor to Washington Grove, Linda Wilkinson), the Malambo Basic School, and World Bicycle Relief. She had the opportunity to teach salsa dancing to fourth and fifth graders at Chikumbuso, build bicycles and deliver them to school girls who were otherwise walking up to forty kilometers daily, teach English and math to a sixth grade class that spoke very little English, turn rock into soil with a pick axe, and shadow a high school prefect at the David Kaunda Technical School in Lusaka.

Forestry Committee News

The former Community Gardens have been in a state of neglect for several years. Community use has ceased as deer foraging has increased and sunlight decreased. Several rounds of proposals have been discussed for the repurposing of this area.

The Forestry and Beautification Committee has reviewed several options and are in favor of returning the area to the grassed extension of Woodward Park that it was before the Community Gardens were established albeit with a larger number of trees. We favor this plan because we feel it will;

  1. Best preserve the open park-like feel of Woodward Park that is particularly desirable in this high visibility area adjacent to Grove Road.
  2. Limit the continuing spread of invasive non-native species like English ivy and bush honeysuckle and of native, invasive species like poison ivy.
  3. Limit the tendency we see in other parts of Town where overgrown areas have encouraged the dumping of yard waste, construction materials and other trash.
  4. Establish an attractive area for residents to view and walk while being easy to maintain.

We propose to retain the larger, better quality trees now surrounding the existing fenced area and a selection of the volunteer trees now inside the fence. The fence materials, old garden shed, former garden materials and remaining vegetation will be removed by the maintenance staff with assistance from Forestry and Beautification volunteers. Additional volunteers may be needed to accomplish the final stages of cleanup. Grass seeding can then be done in late fall. We would like to add a few additional trees on the garden side facing 108 Pine Avenue where the existing tree cover is very light.
Residents who wish to comment on this proposal are urged to do so. Please send comments to [email protected] or call 301-330-6740.

Neighborhood Watch News

Report Crimes & Suspicious Activity!
Mont. Co. Police non-emergency: 301-279-8000
Town Office: 301-926-2256
Joe Clark: 301-869-7944
Keith Gillis/Leigh Partington: 301-208-1437

Incident Report:

  • July 27 – August 25 Incident Report:
    August 11: Hit and run. 100 block Washington Grove Lane – Driver lost control of vehicle and ran into front gate of the property, then left the scene. No one was injured. A police report was filed.

Please report criminal or suspicious activity to your Neighborhood Watch Block Captain or Coordinators. Filing a police report, too, helps the police department keep track of criminal incidents and is necessary for police to take action. Of course, for emergency situations call 911.


Check Facebook for photos of the Habitat building work in May, the June 12th Walk and 100th anniversary Celebration, and photo albums of all of our “Grove Relief” Town/Church rebuilding projects, now totaling 7. Just go to www.facebook.com and “search” Washington Grove United Methodist Church.

Upcoming Events

  • September 12th “Rally Day” — All are invited to the picnic following worship on Sept. 12th. Starting at 12:15, vegetarian and non-vegetarian hot-dogs will be served, and face-painting or temporary tattoos will be available-as well as a moon-bounce! Rally Day is the start of Sunday school for the new school year, and 11 am worship will include a dramatization of the 12 disciples, written and performed by the Sunday school. All welcome.

Star Gazing in the Grove!

Bring the whole family out for a monthly Star Party in Woodward Park. Hosted by John Tomlin and Carolyn Rapkievian, we’ll look for planets; get close-up views of the moon, view constellations, and more. Some telescopes and binoculars will be provided – bring yours if you wish. Our first gathering will be at 8:30pm Saturday September 11 with a “cloud date” of September 18.

Postmistress’ Cashier’s Desk from Town of Washington Grove Post Office – Silent Auction

The Washington Grove Post Office once shared the building across the tracks that contained and still contains Hershey’s Restaurant. The old cashier’s desk from that Post Office is now available. It had been preserved by the Maintenance Supervisor and the Town in the Town Maintenance Building since approximately 1979. The Town Maintenance staff will be pleased if this robust and solid piece of furniture can soon find a new home. Photos of this ready-for-restoration piece are located at the following;


This ready-for-restoration piece is now available to a good home. It is up for silent auction to the highest bidder/donor. For further information, please call the Town Office, 301/926-2256.
Interested parties or organizations should send their donation bid to:

Town of Washington Grove
PO Box 216
Washington Grove, MD 20880

Or email donation bids to
[email protected]

Include the following information with your bid:

  1. your bid in US dollars
  2. your name, address and your telephone number and or email address.

If anyone knows details concerning the history of this Post Mistress’ Cashier’s desk, e.g., who originally rescued it, etc., contact the Town Archivist or Town Clerk at [email protected]

Pet Reminder

The Town of Washington Grove adopted Montgomery County’s animal control legislation some time ago. The phone number for reporting stray dogs or cats is 240-773-5960.

At Large:
Any dog is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed, unless it is a service dog, is in a dog exercise area designated by the Maryland National Capital Park and Planning Commission, or is participating in an approved activity.

Any other animal (i.e., cat or livestock animal) is at large if it is outside the owner’s premises and not leashed or immediately responsive to verbal or non-verbal direction.

Unwanted Contact:
The pet owner must prevent unwelcome or unsolicited threatening physical contact or close proximity to a person or a domestic animal that occurs outside the owner’s property that may cause alarm in a reasonable person, such as biting, chasing, tracking, inhibiting movement, or jumping.

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