Archive for the ‘Montgomery County’ Category

Grade Fixing Scandal at Local High Schools

46 players at 7 area schools yesterday were found to have had their grades altered in order to make them eligible for high school sports. I thought this stuff only happened in crazy places like Texas and California, but apparently add Maryland to the list of places where teachers and administrators lie and cheat to get specific athletes on the field. Worse still, the GPA required for school activities is only a 2.0, meaning that the folks that they’re helping to cheat are likely the ones being disruptive in class, holding back the rest of the students and otherwise being meatheads.

More shocking? This quote from the Post:

Academic ineligibility, which affects everything from the drama club to the football team, has been an issue in Montgomery for several years. At some campuses, close to one-third of students don’t have 2.0 grade-point averages.

Wait. Nearly a third of the students at some schools around here are at less than a C average? Christ on a Pogo Stick, people, what are these teachers doing?

Metro RAC has vacancies

Attention commuters, foamers, et al., Metro wants your input:

There are eight vacancies on the transit agency’s Riders’ Advisory Council. Three positions from Montgomery County; one from Prince George’s County; two from the District of Columbia; one from Fairfax County and one at-large position.

Metro is looking for people who ride bus, rail and/or MetroAccess; live in the areas where there are vacancies; are not Metro employees or contractors or are not elected officials to fill the openings. All positions are unpaid. Selected members will serve one-, two- or three-year terms.

Press Release: Riders’ Advisory Council seeks new members

I can’t say I agree with this “deal” for Malvo

According to the latest AP report, Lee Boyd Malvo and his lawyers are playing “Let’s Make a Deal”.

To quote the article:

Malvo lawyer William Brennan told Montgomery County Circuit Judge James Ryan that he hoped to use the time before sentencing to “reach a global resolution to Mr. Malvo’s legal problems.” Asked later by reporters for specifics, Brennan would only say that he would have “candid, frank discussions with some local prosecutors.”

Uh…maybe I sound a little hard-core here, but didn’t Mr. Malvo’s behavior cause his legal problems? Yes, he technically wasn’t of legal age when all these things happened, but I would think that MOST 17 year olds would know right from wrong. Maybe I’m too harsh – especially when 17 year old males are involved.

And yes, federal laws do prohibit execution of those who committed qualifying offenses when the perp is a minor.

And YES, deals are part of the judicial system whether anyone likes to admit it or not.

However, if he’s not placed on death row, he should NEVER EVER EVER have the slightest inkling of a chance for parole. I know, from my own feelings, he placed a lot more fear in me than 9/11 did.

People were killed while mowing their lawns or pumping gas at their neighborhood gas station.

When the Beltway was closed down to find the notorious “white box truck”, we were stuck there for 2.5 hours, wondering if the snipers were right there with us in a different vehicle.

Nobody knew what was going to happen next, and this was during the “healing period” of 9/11. Some healing period.

I’m able to deal with comments against my position…but I hope whatever comments that are left are well thought out. This issue deserves that much.

Ladies and Gentlemen, the Fugitive Brass Quintet!

To answer a question that I’m sure will be asked, NO, these musicians are not jumping bail.

Far from it.

According to founding member Len Morse, “Where did that name come from? Our founding tuba player’s cat was called ‘The Fugitive.’ ”

Formed in 1997 (and nearing their 10th anniversary as a group), the Fugitive Brass Quintet was an offshoot from the Rockville Concert Band. The first members of the group were: Dave Rice (Tuba), Len Morse (Trumpet), Chris Campagna (Trumpet), Gail Hixenbaugh (French Horn), and Mark Nachtrieb (Trombone);

At this time, Morse, Campagna and Hixenbaugh are the remaining “founders” of the group, but with the assistance of fellow musicians that fill in, they still perform as a quintet.

The members of this group are well-seasoned performers.

A DC blogger worth reading…

If I have an “idol” in blogging, it would have to be Merujo

Merujo, like me, is a transplanted Midwesterner. She’s from the Illinois side of the Quad Cities (Moline) and I’m from the Iowa side. My mom was born and raised on the Iowa side (Davenport), so I know some of that city. Not enough to find my way out of a wet paper bag, but ya know…

When Merujo first encountered my blog, it was because of an entry I did regarding “explaining the ’80s”. We e-mailed each other a few times, and we discovered our common bond of the Midwest. I think the response on each side was, “Oh My God…is this weird or WHAT?”

Anyway, I had wanted to meet her for quite a while, but our schedules couldn’t jive. That’s life, but that’s also where blogs come in handy – you can keep track of folks and their “doin’s” (family saying…don’t ask…it’ll just be more confusing). If you read her blog, you’ll see she’s done a lot of traveling, a lot of photography, and a lot of other things…ALL very interesting.

I finally got to meet her, and I’ve gotta tell you, she’s every bit as engaging and fun in real life that she is in her writing. We hit it off right away…we immediately started gabbing about the things we liked back home and the things we hated.

The subject, inevitably, came around to why we moved here, and the reactions of friends from back home. I told her, “Some people were surprised I moved out here because they didn’t think I was that political.”

Her response? “I don’t think people realize that DC is about so much more than politics. I mean, I go to work every day across from the White House, flip off the President, and I don’t think twice about it. There’s so much more to this place. The DC they talk about is not my DC.”

I thought that was right on the money. I’ve become so jaded lately from work and other things in life getting in the way that I forget about it. So MY goal is to be more like Ms. Merujo and open my eyes to other things.

And also, stay tuned…I’m working on getting an interview of sorts with Stevens & Medley from 94.7 the Arrow as well as the Fugitive Brass Quintet and other “DC Musical Secrets”. I’ll try to be back more often…I PROMISE!!!!

Paper or Silica?

In the wake of the voting catastrophes in Maryland during the September 12th primaries, Governor Ehrlich is now calling for a return to paper ballots for the November 7th General Election. This is a bold and applaudable move. The Diebold solution that the State of Maryland paid over 100 mil for failed not only the laugh test, but the personnel failure test, and the hardware test as well. With machines rebooting during voting, registering a vote when none was cast, and leaving no verifiable paper trail behind, this is a system that can’t stand for trustable elections.

What I propose is this: Scantron. Everyone remembers these machines, albeit with a bit of horror, from testing in High School, but they provide everything that a ballot needs: Machine Readability, Paper Backup, Hand-countability, easy manufacture, easy reading. This is the perfect ballot and we’re ignoring it for a touch screen system because it looks flashy?

We have abandoned the paper ballot to our own peril, Governor Ehrlich knows it, you know it, let’s do something about it.

Carnival, Cattle, and Crashing Cars!

It will probably surprise no one that I’d never been to an agricultural fair before I came to DC. Where I grew up, farms were rarified reserves for horses or trees. Rye Playland was where you went for fun rides and cotton candy. Never the twain did meet. But then I moved here and met a Pennsylvanian well-schooled in ag fair fun, and it all changed.

Wait a minute. Something about that first sentence seems strange, eh? There are actually agricultural fairs in DC? Yes indeed, in our greater vicinity you can get your fill of dizzying rides, funnel cake, and award-wining squash that look like, ah, various anatomical features.

Take Montgomery County, whose annual agricultural fair began on August 11th and runs until the 19th. Not only can you get your fill of all the above carnival and agricultural delights, but you can also witness that most insane of rituals – the demolition derby. Watch as old wrecks are transformed into killing machines – engines roar, sparks fly, metal grinds metal – and the audience’s adrenaline rush is all very Crash.

So check it out this week (goat shows! cattle shows! horse shows! rabbit shows! monster truck pulls! milking shows!). I guarantee there’s something for everyone to enjoy. And if you can’t make it, never fear – I’m hitting the derby Friday night and will post photos of the burning rubber twisted metal wreckage for you to ogle.

Comcast Outdoor Film Festival at Strathmore

The 2006 Comcast Outdoor Film Festival begins tonight at Strathmore in North Bethesda with King Kong, apparently the recent version. Grounds open at 6:30 p.m. The event is free.

The full festival schedule:

Friday, Aug. 11: King Kong (PG-13)

Saturday, Aug. 12: Madagascar (PG)

Sunday, Aug. 13: Mr. & Mrs. Smith (PG-13)

Monday, Aug. 14: Curious George (G)

Tuesday, Aug. 15: The Maltese Falcon (unrated)

Wednesday, Aug. 16: Batman Begins (PG-13)

Thursday, Aug. 17: Walk the Line (PG-13)

Friday, Aug. 18: Monty Python and the Holy Grail (PG)

Saturday, Aug. 19: Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (PG-13)

Sunday, Aug. 20: The Princess Bride (PG)

Your best bet for getting there is Metro or parking at the Grosvenor station and walking up the hill.

Hard Times Cafe, Potomac Pizza and Ben & Jerry’s are the official restaurant partners. Proceeds benefit The Children’s Inn at NIH Special Love and Friends of the Clinical Center

Also, the final Screen on the Green for this summer is this Monday night, featuring Rocky.

Hat tip to WTOP’s Bob Madigan

From Iowa to DC

If you had asked me in – say – 1992 if I saw myself moving to the nation’s capital, I’d look at you and go, “Huh?”

Things change.

I moved here in the summer of 2001, having received a promotion with my previous job. This promotion required my move to the DC area. I was excited…not all my friends back home shared my enthusiasm.

One friend wanted to give me a year’s supply of mace. I told her, “No, because I may use it on my husband.” (BTW, I am divorced now, but I can honestly say I’ve never maced the guy.)

Another friend said I wasn’t political enough. I replied, “I’m not going there to take the President’s job. Have you seen how those people look when they get out of office? No thanks.”

My family had mixed feelings about it…crime, crowds, gourmet grocery stores…all things to be feared. However, since I’m stubborn, I went anyway.

So I’m driving through Montgomery

So I’m driving through Montgomery County today to deal with a family crisis, when I decide I need to change lanes. I signal, check my mirrors, glance over my shoulder, and start to move. Suddenly, I have to jump back into my lane because there’s a car right where I’m trying to merge to.

It’s a MoCo cop, and he’s giving me the look of death. Hey look, don’t hang out in my blind spot when you see me signaling and we won’t have these problems.

I’m not sure if I’m relieved that he didn’t pull me over or appalled at the stunning lack of professionalism when he flipped me the bird as I pulled in behind him.

Fuck you too, asshole.

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