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Town Council News

Next meeting: Monday » 01.13.14 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room. The public is invited to attend.

Actions at the December 9th Council meeting included:

  • approval of FY2013 Audit Report.

Joint Work Session Scheduled

There will be a joint work session of the Town Council with the Planning Commission and the Historic Preservation Commission to discuss issues of mutual interest. This will take place on Monday, January 27, 2014 at 7:30 pm in McCathran Hall. Look for the agenda to be posted on the Town web site and at the Hall and Post Office on January 20th.

Deer Park Bridge Advisory Committee

At the December 9th Council meeting Ann Briggs, Chair of the Deer Park Bridge Advisory Committee, presented several recommendations to the Town Council. The recommendations cover both the Deer Park Bridge and what to do along the Railroad Street Corridor on the southwest edge of the Town. The Council will decide where this information should be assessed for potential future action. The Bridge Advisory Committee recommendations and associated documents are available on the Town web site.


Washington Grove Taxpayers

Every year the Town of Washington Grove receives a portion of the Maryland State income tax paid by Town residents. Because our residents do not have mail delivered to street addresses, this presents a challenge for the State Comptroller’s office when attributing the taxes collected to Washington Grove. It is critical that all Washington Grove residents (including renters!) designate “Washington Grove.” For Maryland iFile, under "Name of county and incorporated city, town, or special taxing area in which you were a resident on the last day of the taxable period," select "Montgomery, Washington Grove" from the drop down menu. This block is separate from the address blocks. Turbo Tax and H&R Block software also include drop down menus where you may select "Montgomery County" and then "Washington Grove." Please share this information with your renters and your tax preparer if appropriate. This DOES NOT increase your taxes, but DOES help ensure that the Town receives its proper share of local income tax revenue. Thanks for your help! Questions, call Treasurer Mary Challstrom at 301-926-4498.

Planning Commission News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 01.08.14 @ 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.

Historic Preservation News

Next meeting: Tuesday » 01.21.14 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.
Meetings are open to the public.


By Patricia Patula, Town Archivist

Prisoners’ Relief Society, Part One

Why are documents relating to the Prisoners’ Relief Society in Washington Grove’s WWII archives?
At first, one might think that this Society relates to the foreign prisoners of war held here in this area (Gaithersburg) during WWII. However, the prisoners being referred to are released convicts, or in modern parlance “ex-cons.” The goal of the Society was to establish a National Rehabilitation Bureau for men returning to the outside world after their prison terms were up. To more fully appreciate the Society’s brief (and unfortunate? fascinating? amusing? sad?) connection to the Grove in WWII, a mini-history of the organization follows.

The Prisoners’ Relief Society was founded by Earl Eliott Dudding after his own release from prison (1914). Dudding had been a respected and successful small town shopkeeper whose life changed drastically after he was sentenced to five years in prison for manslaughter of his uncle (1909). Due to extenuating circumstances Dudding was not given the death penalty or life imprisonment. In writing about those five years, Dudding referred to them as “the trail of the dead years.” (This became the title of his book which was published in 1932 and is still available.)

For years, Dudding resided in Washington DC, and there any prisoner could come for aid. Later, he worked on establishing a string of farms (circa 1936) over the country whereby the ex-prisoners could come to live and work after their release. They would be given a small salary, free lodging and clothing, and in addition to farming, there would be the manufacturing of the home handicraft type, lumbering, sawmills and brick making where suitable. There would be blacksmith shops, machine shops, tailor shops, and basket and furniture making shops. Since many of the men would be older, a variety of work was planned. The plan was approved at both federal and state levels. The theory is “to give the ex-convict a haven to which he can go upon emergence and accustom himself to freedom before facing the world.”
Summarized from Article “After Prison–What?” by Thomas J. Haskin, Fraternal Order of Police Journal, June, 1936, Washington Grove Town Archives

Then came World War II with United States involvement 1941-1945.

While Dudding did make an amazing contribution to the War effort on a national level, he also got involved with Washington Grove on a more personal level. That is why these documents relating to the Prisoners’ Relief Society are in the Grove’s WWII archives.
To be continued in a future issue. . .

Recreation Committee News

Next meeting: Wednesday » 01.15.14 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.

It’s A Wonderful Holiday Show!

Once again, our Town volunteers have delighted and amazed us all with their talent and enthusiasm. The "It’s A Wonderful Grove" holiday show was a soaring success with a packed audience. The charming and clever musical was not only entertaining, but had a wonderful message for us all.

Our lovely and talented producers and directors, Pat DiBella-Kreger and Judy Mroczka, outdid themselves with their wonderful story, funny and touching song lyrics and spot-on casting. Who will EVER forget Rob Gilmore’s Mayor of Tollville or our own charming Collin Turner as Uncle Billy? And the kids this year just stole the show!

Many, many, thanks to the dedicated volunteers who worked so hard to make this exceptional production happen. We are so lucky to live in a town where volunteers are so generous with their time and talents. Let’s hope the spirit of volunteering is catching, and we hear more and more bells ring in our future!

Winter Creative Film Making Class!

  • Saturdays, starting January 4 – February 22, 2014 from 2:00 – 3:00 PM. Ages 5-14. Instructor: Zach Fletcher.
  • Cost: $10 per class (Make checks to Town of Washington Grove)
  • Class size limited to 14 students

Dance Classes for Kids

For 5 to 7 year olds, a high-energy half-hour class that combines dance and movement including some basic ballet steps. From 4:15 to 4:45. $5 per class.
For 8 to 15 year olds, a short stretch and ballet warm up. Dances include ballet, jazz and zumba. Class members will do some choreography. From 4:45 to 5:45. $7 per class.
Both classes are held on Fridays in McCathran Hall and start on January 10. Call Samantha Beres for more information; 301-330-8509.

Yoga in the New Year!

Open Class format (come when you can) structured for beginners with a little bit of everything: poses, some chanting, breathing practices, deep relaxation and a touch of meditation.

  • Town Hall, Tuesdays 7-8:30; $10, cash or check (Payable to Town of Washington Grove)
  • Wear comfortable clothing and bring a yoga or pilates mat; blanket optional.
  • Questions? Feel free to contact Terry Strother, IYI Certified Hatha Instructor 240-631-2759.

Film Society News

Our first film of 2014 is A Separation, winner of the Oscar for Best Foreign Language Film of 2011. In this powerful Iranian film, a middle-class couple is on the brink of divorce. Simin has planned for them to leave Iran for their young daughter’s sake; Nader now refuses to move because he is caring for his Alzheimer’s-stricken father. These two characters and the impoverished couple with whom they become entangled remain deeply sympathetic, even when tempted into bending truth and compromising honor. Written and directed by Asghar Farhadi, Iran, Persian with English subtitles, 123 minutes. Please join us for the movie and discussion on January 12, 7 PM, in McCathran Hall; tickets are $7.00 at the door.

Woman’s Club News

The February meeting is the annual Chili Supper. Stay tuned…

Our January event will be our annual White Elephant Sale on January 18, 2014, at the home of Mary and Charlie Challstrom, 503 McCauley Street.

Join Us for the Annual White Elephant Sale!

The holidays are over, 2014 has started and the January blahs are setting in, but not to worry. This favorite Town tradition is coming soon. What is a White Elephant Sale you ask? Well, in Washington Grove, it’s a great excuse for a good time! Bring something you are willing to part with, be it useful, beautiful, or goofy. Then join the fun as it’s auctioned off to the highest bidder.
Just a reminder, we are still looking for two volunteers to act as hostesses for the evening. If you would like to help out, please contact Sylvia Appleby at (sylvia.appleby@nistgov) 301-926-9094.

Forestry News

Woods Group

Next meeting: Monday » 01.06.14 @ 7:30 p.m. in Council Room.

Woods Information Forums Scheduled

The Woods Group has been gathering information for the past two-three years about the health of our two forests and how to maintain these treasures for generations of future Grovers. Professionals from County, State and private sources have walked our woods, assessing the strengths and problems of our woods. Two current issues are Invasive Plants and White Tail Deer.
To bring residents up to date about the information on major issues we have gathered so far, we are presenting two information meetings:

    Jan. 23, 2014; 7:30-9:30 p.m. McCathran Hall
    Presenters will be:
    *George Timko, deer biologist with the Maryland Dept. Natural Resources who will give a brief overview of history of deer in the State and various methods of deer control.
    *Bill Hamilton, Montgomery County Dept. of Parks specialist in County deer control efforts and member of County Committee on deer management.
    February date to be determined.
    Presenters will be:
    *John Parrish, Forest Ecologist, formerly with National Park Service
    *Pat Klein, Veterinarian, volunteer at Second Chance and long time Town resident.
    After each presentation there will be time on the agenda for clarifications, questions, comments from the audience and the speakers.

Follow up to these two forums will determine the need for additional information gathering and, perhaps, more forums. The Woods Group also is hoping sometime in 2014 to provide a self-guided tour through our woods with special areas highlighted, thanks to a Woods Group techie member. This is still in the planning stage.

YARD WASTE Collection Over

Weekly collection of recyclable yard waste by Potomac Disposal ended on December 26th. This service will resume in March.

Christmas Tree Disposal

Christmas trees will be picked up roadside by Town Maintenance staff. When you place your tree out for collection, please remove all tinsel, ornaments, the stand and any other metal.

Leaf Pickup Ends on or about January 3rd

Leaf pickup by US Lawns will end on or about January 3, 2014. Per our contract, they will come back for a spring pick-up by April 1, 2014. Check future Town Bulletins for details.

Town Elections

Town Elections are coming up! Have you thought about becoming a member of the Town Council? We encourage anyone intrigued by this idea to talk to anyone in the Town Government about it. Or ask around among your neighbors—many residents have already served and can give you an idea of what it’s like. Washington Grove can only thrive with the participation of motivated residents like YOU!


Absence of PO Box Number Delays Delivery

Our postmaster has asked that residents remember to include their PO Box number on ALL correspondence and packages. 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!!

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