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Maryland Cell Phone Ban Begins

Maryland residents and those residents who travel through Maryland need to know that on Friday, October 1, 2010 (this Friday) - cell phone use will become illegal while driving. The offense will be a "secondary" offense, meaning that offenders can only be cited with it if they are pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

Beginning on Friday, people who wish to make a call while driving MUST use a hands free device. The fine will be $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations of the law.

Texting while driving has been illegal for some time now and already carries a fine.

Maryland is following suit with several other states with cellular phone bans while in operation of a motor vehicle, but it is one of the only (if not the only) state to list the law as a "secondary" offense.

Montgomery County Marks Fire Prevention Month

(WUSA) -- The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service plans to hold several open houses at fire stations around the county for Fire Prevention Month. This year's theme is "Smoke Alarms: A Sound You Can Live With".

All open house events will be free and feature tours of the station, fire safety activities, information and handouts and demonstrations of emergency equipment.

Here's a list of the open houses:

1 - 4pm
Bethesda Fire Department Station 6
6600 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, MD

11am - 4pm
Bethesda-Chevy Chase Rescue Squad 5020 Battery Lane, Bethesda, MD

Rock Creek Forest Elementary School in Chevy Chase gets Safety Upgrades

The Gazette reports that there are new pedestrian safety improvements along Grubb Road, intended to benefit Rock Creek Forest Elementary School and the surrounding Chevy Chase community, are expected to slow drivers traveling from Washington, D.C.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett announced Tuesday $15,000 in upgrades between the lanes of traffic near the school. The flat median, where pedestrians can wait to finish crossing traffic, resulted in narrower lanes, which the county hopes will slow traffic. The county also added a marked crosswalk, school crossing signs, "stop for pedestrian" signs, lane markings and raised pavement markers.

The county took action on the request of the school's parent-teacher association.

"It just calls attention to drivers who are heading north out of D.C.," said David Chia, the school's principal. "It just reminds them – well, you might see that green light, but there could be kids crossing."

If You Are Wondering Where the Speed Cam Money is Going, Here's An Example...

Chevy Chase Village will officially break ground on the Brookville Road Sidewalk Project on Saturday, October 2, at 9:00 a.m. The groundbreaking will take place along the sidewalk’s path located in front of the Brookville Road Park at the intersection of Brookville Road and Quincy Street. The current effort to install a pedestrian sidewalk along Brookville Road began five years ago in response to residents’ requests for a sidewalk along Brookville Road between East Irving Street and the existing sidewalk installed by the Village
of Martin’s Additions. The installation of this sidewalk is fully funded by revenues from Chevy Chase Village’s SafeSpeed Program (photo speed monitoring cameras). 


Car Free Day on September 22-Montgomery County Offers Tips on How You Can Participate

Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) invites residents and employees to join the Washington region in celebrating Car Free Day on Wednesday, September 22.  This annual, worldwide event encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or reduce the amount of driving that day.  Organizers promote the idea that using transit, biking, and walking – instead of driving – will reduce noise, pollution and stress.

            “People throughout the region are re-evaluating their relationship with the car,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Art Holmes.  “This is great news for transit and great news for the environment.  I encourage everyone to try transportation alternatives that will help us relieve congestion and the stress of commuting.”

AU Green Roof Built With McLean Gardens Neighbors

WASHINGTON DC (WUSA) -- A new environmentally-friendly "green" roof will get the finishing touches Wednesday on the campus of American University, enhancing the school's already strong eco-friendly reputation.

More than 50 volunteers from AU, its alumni, staff, and neighbors from McLean Gardens community of Northwest Washington spent several days installing the roof on the Kogod School of Business. Volunteers put low-maintenance plants on the roof to top it off. The school has dubbed it a modern "old-fashioned barn raising" as the community is actively involved.

GREEN DESIGN: New designs include "green walls"

Early Voting In Maryland Begins

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Gov. Martin O'Malley is hoping early voting in Maryland for the first time will create higher voter turnout.

O'Malley, a Democrat, was the 222nd voter who cast a ballot in the primary at the Public Safety Training Facility in Baltimore on Friday afternoon, the first day of early voting in Maryland.

Former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, O'Malley's likely opponent in November, also is encouraging people to vote early, even though he's been critical of early voting and vetoed legislation to create it when he was governor.

Ehrlich says it's now the law in the state and he's going to live with it and, it is hoped, take advantage of it. Andy Barth, an Ehrlich campaign spokesman, says Ehrlich is expected to take part in early voting next week.