Web edition of the distribution scheduled for April 2010
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Storm Photo Contest
Westbrook Expansion
Feature from Snowmageddon
House Sales
The Brookdale Citizens' Association Annual Meeting
Wednesday, May 5, 2010 at 7:30 pm
Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center
5311 Friendship Blvd.
7:30 Wine and Cheese, meet and greet
8:00-9:00 Meeting
  • Development News for Friendship Hgts (Bob Cope)
  • Protective Labeling of Community Drains (LEAF - Sarah Morse)
  • Neighborhood Security
  • Election of New Officers
Nominating Committee Chair: Mike Makuch, Brookdale North, mmakuch{AT}

President's Report

The beautiful days of Washington spring have begun and one could almost forget the receding months of snowmageddon. Congratulations to everyone who survived this incredible winter and special appreciation to those who found ways to help neighbors as they worked their way through the Great Shoveling of 2010 and the Power Outage in Brookdale North. One point of clarification about the responsibility for keeping the sidewalks clear of snow; residents whose properties abut Western, River, or Willard have the responsibility of shoveling the sidewalks adjacent to their houses; unfortunately in this last winter, that represented a particularly onerous job for people with corner lots. Hopefully that was a once-in-a-lifetime challenge.
We now deserve a truly magnificent spring!
This year's Brookdale Community Annual Meeting is planned for May 5 at a new venue -- the newly opened Wisconsin Place Community Center next to Bloomingdale's. So please reserve your calendars for May 5, 7:30-9:00. Anyone interested in touring the facilities that evening is invited to come a bit earlier to do so. We will open the proceedings with a wine and cheese reception at 7:30 to enable people to meet some new neighbors. The formal meeting will begin at 8:00. GEICO Security has kindly agreed to allow people to use their parking lot that evening. So you don't need to worry about limited on-street parking.
Once again I extend an invitation to anyone in Brookdale who is interested in holding office on the Brookdale Executive Committee or who is willing to volunteer to help organize established or new community activities. For elected office, please contact Mike Makuch, Chair of the Nominations Committee. Volunteers are asked to contact any member of the Executive Committee to express interest.
Finally, the new fiscal year for the Association begins in June 1. Dues for this year are still being accepted; a check for $20 made out to the Brookdale Citizens' Association can be sent to Larry Broadwell, the Treasurer at 5306 Saratoga Ave.
— Marie Moylan

Brookdale Comes Together in Face of Blizzard
– Gwen Lewis
There is nothing like a paralyzing snow storm to bring folks together. The snow that descended Feb. 5 through 10 in two major dumps had multiple ramifications for us. For some, it was being cut off from work, school, play, and usual activities. For others, it was the calamity of lost electricity, lack of heat and light, no computer, and fears of what was to come. Yet others watched as their beloved trees and shrubs broke under the heavy snow that kept mounting (approximately 48 inches fell).
It seems the power failure that impacted Cortland, Dalton, Andover, and parts of Merivale was due to an electrical short that occurred when a pine tree branch touched the wires above Cortland. The Tanzi family reported seeing flames jumping from the tree to the wires and back until the transformer blew at the corner of Cortland and Andover, heard by many. Electrical problems also affected folks on Park Ave. The North Brookdale outage lasted almost exactly 48 hours, from Saturday through Monday noon.
The first night of the outage, Sat. Feb. 6, seven families from Dalton, Cortland, and Westport were spotted eating at Mei Wah, one of the few restaurants open in the area that night. As the temperatures indoors plummeted, some residents headed for local hotels that did have power. Generous friends in the area with power invited others over for meals, shelter, and beds. (See story.)
Two residents were cited as especially helpful in clearing paths through Brookdale. Jose Hernandez, who lives on Andover, used his gas-powered snow blower to make a walk up Andover and onto Dalton, clearing the walks and drives of many neighbors. A few blocks away, residents of Merivale Rd. were especially appreciative of John Shorb's clearing their street and plowed-in drives of snow with his bobcat. Kudos to these generous men! And kudos to others not known to all!
As the storms and days wore on, the listserve got lots of use. The succession of topics was: 1st requests for help with digging; 2nd sightings of snowplows; 3rd information on store openings and contents; 4th the effectiveness of fireplaces; 5th worries about mail delivery; 6th obligations to clear sidewalks; and 7th when there would be garbage pickup. By the last of these, parents seemed to be ready for schools to reopen!

Brookdale's Own Snowmageddon
– Eric Sanne*
It was a dark and stormy night. No. Scratch that. It was light outside. I remember that. I remember that it just kept snowing, and snowing and snowing. The snow was so quiet as it blanketed the landscape inch by inch and foot by foot. Covering the houses, the walkways, the streets, snow just built up, enfolding us in its quiet, isolating us from each other. Judy and I and the kids were cut off from the world, from our neighborhood, from our neighbors. And then the power went out. No heat. No Google. No email. No cable. Our house just became colder and colder. Snow kept falling. Bummer.
For Ken Guenther and his wife Lilly the situation was not just an inconvenience but quite dire. He, too, was surrounded by snow. Eighteen inches of snow and climbing. He, too, had lost power including heat and hot water. His house, located on Dalton Road, was getting colder and colder. However, Ken had just gone through major open heart surgery. Not a fun thing to recover from open heart surgery with the power out. Snow can be such a lonely, even a scary experience when you are so isolated.
Lucky thing for Ken that he lives in Brookdale. Now you may think that Brookdale is all about great block parties. It is. You may think of Brookdale as a neighborhood civic force fighting off unwarranted development. It is. You may think that neighbors are just for chatting with when you walk your dog or dig in for some summer planting. They are. But Brookdale is so much more than that, and Ken's tale just proves the point.
It was Feb. 6th and after three days of snowfall, Brookdale was buried in, the Federal Government had been and would be closed, and Pepco was days away from any promise to restore power to a number of residents in Brookdale. The streets were so high with snow that they were impassable and would remain so for days yet. For Ken, this was a major problem.
Ken had just arrived back from a second visit to the hospital, one of those dreaded "procedures," on Feb. 2nd. Longtime friend and neighbor Campbell Graeub (Campbell hales from Switzerland as does Ken's wife Lilly) drove him home fearing to get caught in the snow storm just brewing. Ken's longest walk had been down a hospital corridor. He was, he now concedes, in a "hell of a shape." Campbell dropped him off, picked up some needed medicine and offered to assist in any way he could. Campbell just had time to quick-step it back to his and Joy's house on Westport Road before the snow started.
Only four days later, as Feb. 6th dawned, Ken and Lilly concluded that staying in their increasingly cold house was not a safe option. Lilly called the hospital but was unable to get through. Campbell called 911 only to be told that Ken's only option was to wait for a snowplow and then be brought back to the hospital. Another long time friend, neighbor and doctor, Tom Cardella, provided medical counseling to Ken and Lilly but could do little about their situation. Ken recalls the situation as "absolute desperation."
Fortunately, out of adversity there still are heroes who come to the rescue. In this case, a heroine. On this day and out of this adversity rose a neighbor to meet the challenge. Enter Mary Plache. Living across from Ken and Lilly on Dalton, a short walk in Spring but far far away after snowmageddon, Mary heard of Ken's plight and rose to the challenge. She knew that her uncle, Mike Becnel and his wife Pearl, lived three blocks away on Merivale Rd. and had power. Mary quickly contacted Mike, on Ken's behalf, and learned that Mike and Pearl could take Ken and Lilly in. The challenge remained of how to get Ken down three blocks, in 18" snow, when he could barely walk after his surgery. No snowmobile. No reindeer to pull a sleigh. A sled was not going to cut it. What was needed, Mary realized, was a pathway. Someone would have to dig a 12" inch wide, 19" deep path from Ken's house to the Becnel's. And it was still snowing.
Mary and Campbell got to work and started to dig. It was the only option and it was trench warfare. Had this been somewhere else (dare I say New York City?), Mary and Campbell might still have been digging a week later. However, on this day and out of this adversity arose four more heroes and heroines and from the most unlikely of Brookdale neighbors. Enter the kids of Brookdale. With a gung-ho attitude four kids rose to the challenge, took over the job and with carefree abandon dug that pathway. From Westport came Rinnie and Alexander Hewlett. From Murray came Helen and Evie Geary. All four are good friends. Our own Four Musketeers. It was an undertaking on a scale of the Roman siege of Masada but with a happier ending. The trench had to go down Dalton, turn left on Westport and then right on Merivale and down to the Becnel's front steps. It did. The path Ken had to walk on needed to be flat and straight and true. It was.
Upon completion, Ken bundled up for the long journey, donning a red hat borrowed from Campbell. Surrounded by Lilly, Joy Graub and Charles Hewlett and with Campbell backing him up in case he tottered, Ken embarked along the path to the Becnel's house. The four engineers cheered Ken on and scampered back and forth, suddenly worrying that the path might not be going to the right house. Ken recounts how the cheers and jumping of the kids inspired him to carry on. With Campbell guiding from behind, Ken made it down Westport. Finally he made landfall and was greeted on the doorstep by Mike Becnel who swept Ken into the warm interior of Becnel' s house. The Guenthers would stay four days at the Becnel's. Ken and Lilly remain very grateful noting how warm and wonderful their stay was and how excellent the cooking was.
The kids celebrated on their way back, posing for a brief picture and a moment of joy before returning home. The snow continued its quiet descent. Residents lit their fires to keep warm. Brookdale had come together to take care of its own. For those of us who see the hope of the future as resting with our children, those hopes look good indeed.
Pepco would only rescue Brookdale after a 48 hour outage.
*This article was made possible with the cooperation of Ken and Lilly Guenther and Campbell Graeub.

— Steve Langer
During the February blizzards and blackouts, Don Junior posed a question on the Brookdale e-mail list. "It is commonly said that a conventional wood-burning fireplace pulls more heat out of a house than it puts in. Would that be true if your house had long been without conventional heat? Or might a fire then become a plus?" It's an interesting question, to which the answer is a definite "maybe."
The heat from a fireplace is transferred to a room and the objects in the room (e.g. you) by two means: radiation and convection. "Radiation" means light rays, both visible and invisible. Light emitted by the fire is absorbed by other objects and heats them up. When you're sitting uncomfortably close to a fire and shield your face, you're blocking the radiation. "Convection" is the flow of hot air. If your chimney is drawing properly, hot air near the fire is going up the flue (keeping smoke out of the room), so the room is heated mostly by radiation and not by convection. The hot air drawn out of the room and up the chimney has to be replaced by air coming into the house through other openings. That air is unheated. In the room with the fireplace, radiative heating may outweigh convective cooling, but the rest of the house feels little effect from radiation and will be cooled by the inflow of outside air.
So, to answer Don's question: it depends. If the inside of the house is already as cold as the outside air, then there's no disadvantage to drawing in more outside air, and the fire will be a net gain. If the inside air is already warm, and your fireplace configuration creates a large draft without much radiation, a fire will lower the temperature. There's a crossover somewhere between these two extremes. At what point is it worthwhile to light a fire? The answer will depend on the interior and exterior temperatures, the draftiness of your house, and the geometry of your fireplace and chimney.
Steve Langer is a physicist who knows nothing at all about fireplaces and made all of this up.

Westbrook Expansion Plan Heads for County Council Vote
— Diane Tanman
Westbrook Elementary School's expansion project could take another step forward in May when the Montgomery County Council is expected to consider whether to include the $11.8 million project in its six-year Capital Improvement Program budget. "We shouldn't take the vote for granted, but all communication with the council leads us to believe that the funding will go through smoothly and without contest when the vote happens in May," said JoAnne Scribner, Westbrook parent and chair of the Westbrook Expansion Committee.
Once funding is approved, the architects will move forward and begin the actual design phase. The plans currently include a gym and 15-classroom addition, which will more than double the school's capacity from about 290 to about 640. No renovations will be made to the existing school building. Parents and community residents will be invited to attend community meetings about the Westbrook expansion and give input on the design. It is anticipated that construction will begin in July 2011 and be completed by fall 2013.
Westbrook's population is growing. The school's building capacity is 269, but currently 415 students are enrolled. The projected enrollment for 2010/11 is 456 students, and up to 522 in the 2013/14 school year. Westbrook's last renovation was in 1989-1990.
As things stand now, the school is unable to hold school-wide assemblies, because the all-purpose room does not hold the current population of students. The playing field is often unusable for outdoor play, because it is too muddy due to drainage issues. There are currently five portable classrooms. Two of the portables take over Westbrook's one blacktop playground, leaving students with one less place to play when the field and lower playground are too damp for use. There is insufficient parking for teachers and parents. Westbrook is one of the few elementary schools in the county without a gym.
Muse Architects, the firm hired to design the Westbrook expansion, completed a feasibility study of the proposed project in September 2009. The study was required by the Montgomery County Council to better estimate the costs and scope associated with the construction project. The study proposed three options to the Facilities Advisory Committee, a group that reviews the feasibility study and the preliminary design of the expansion and acts as a liaison between MCPS Division of Construction and the various school communities. The committee selected its preferred option, which became the basis for the expansion funding request.
For any questions, contact the Westbrook PTA Co-Presidents, Claire Slabaugh and Julie Hoffman, or Mr. Ewald, Westbrook Elementary Principal. There is also a Westbrook Expansion website, located at

Where the Boys Are
– Gwen Lewis
Cub Scouts is the name of the game initiated by parents to ensure the "old fashioned" values of helpfulness, self-reliance, trustworthiness, cooperation, etc. The Westbrook PTA sponsors the 65-member Pack #56, led by Fred Atwood (Campbell and Joy Graeub's son-in-law) for the 10th year, which includes boys from Westbrook and Washington Episcopal School. The entire pack meets monthly, bringing boys in grades 1-5 together to engage in larger projects with themes such as "take flight" (cool airplanes), to conduct service projects (Angel Tree program for the Salvation Army), and to practice citizenship, recognize scouts with awards, and play games. The dens (about 20 boys in the same class year) meet another time each month. Two neighborhood men currently lead dens. Brad Moore is leader of the webelos den to which his older son Carl belongs. Peter Sisler serves as the leader of the wolf den to which his son Lewis belongs.
The pack engages in various activities including overnight camp outs spring and fall, cleaning up the environment, training for badges, charitable giving, and community-building activities. (You may remember their food collection prior to Thanksgiving.) The boys enjoy the comradery while they do interesting and challenging things. On April 10, the boys engage in one of the beloved projects the Pinewood Derby. They design and build cars from wood blocks 7 x 2 ½ inches, which they race on an inclined plane
In 2010 the Boy Scouts is celebrating its Centennial year. Cub Pack #56 has applied to march in the Grand Centennial Parade on July 25th in Washington, DC.


Recommended Service Providers
The Brookdale website contains a growing list of recommendations for service providers. You are invited to use it if you need appliance repair, a plumber, or other help. Enter through the Brookdale Community page, Then add to the list if you are pleased with service you have found. Please provide contact information as shown in the current list. Send it in an email to dcmontgom{AT} In the subject line, include the word "brookdale" so that the webmaster reads your contribution.

Westbrook Carnival Goes Green
– Diane Tanman
The Westbrook Carnival, Westbrook Elementary School's biggest fundraiser of the year, will take place Friday, May 7, from 3 to 7 p.m. This year's theme is "Go Green." By tradition, each Westbrook student orders a T-shirt decorated with the theme and wears it to school on carnival day.
The public is welcome to attend all festivities, including games, moon bounces, and obstacle curses. The main food vendors are Armand's Pizza and Red, Hot & Blue barbecue. Parking is closed on Allan Terrace near the school and residents are encouraged to walk to the event. The carnival is a great place to see classmates and neighbors, and also serves as an annual reunion for Westbrook Elementary alumni.

Brookdale Yard Sale
A Brookdale neighborhood yard sale is being planned by neighbor Deniz Ergener (a resident of Merivale Rd.) for May 2010. Anyone who wants to help Deniz organize the yard sale and/or have a sale at their property, please contact her at denizerg1{AT}

Independence Day Parade
The annual Independence Day Parade will be held the morning of July 4, starting in Brookdale Park. Specifics will be announced closer to the date on the web, through the listserve, and in posted notices. Please volunteer to help organize this community event by calling one of the officers.

Friendship Heights Plaza
National Realty & Development Corporation intends to create a single-story 40,000-square-foot upscale boutique building across from Lord & Taylor. For a plan and more information, visit

Metro Exit Open/Free Drop-off Parking
On April 1 the Friendship Heights Metro Exit to the Wisconsin Place parking garage and street corner opened without fanfare. Although not marked for "Kiss and Ride" as anticipated, it is now possible to drive into the garage to pick up or drop off passengers for Metro using the short-term parking available. This gives 20 minutes of free parking.

Feeling the Urge to Compost?
— Heidi Evans
Guess what? All residents of Montgomery County MD may receive a FREE composter to use in their backyard. I just picked one up at the Audubon Naturalist Society off Jones Mill Road, but they are available at other locations as well. For more information, visit the Montgomery County MD website at, look under the division of solid waste, and search under compost bins. Composting is great for the environment. It reduces landfill use, saves money on fertilizers and soil conditioners, and imporves the health of gardens and plants. Get your free composter today from Montgomery County.

County Street Tree Program Unfunded
One of the cuts in County funding during FY2010 is the street tree program. Whether they will put this program back in the 2011 budget is unclear at the time The Bugle went to press.

Gardening Tips for Spring Clean Up
See Adrian Higgins, "Spring triage will get gardens back in the pink," Washington Post, Thursday, March 18, 2010, pp. 5-8.

A Brookdale "list" allows sharing messages by e-mail. Your message to "the list" is sent to all members who have subscribed. If you would like to join the Brookdale e-mail list, sign up at the following site:
Once you have subscribed, you can send a message to everyone on the list by addressing brookdale{AT}

Brookdale's 2010 Graduating Seniors
The following students from Brookdale will be graduating this year from the named high schools.
Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School:
Harriet Carson
Rachel Gefen
Annika Glennon
Josephina Silva-Lopes
Katherine Tripp

Broadneck High School:
Alex Tanman

Connelly School of the Holy Child:
deLancey Webster
Charlotte (Charlie) Benziger

The Nora School:
Brad McHugh

Congratulations to all of you!

Evelyn & Kristopher Haag, 4721 River Road, welcomed their second baby, Amιlia Isabelle on Nov. 27th 2009. Amelia joined 2 year old, Matisse Alexei.
At 5020 Park Place, a little girl named Helen was born to Rebecca and Chris Anzidei on January 5, 2010.
Tanya Stinson, from Macon, GA, on a 2-year assignment with GEICO, and her daughters Lauren (10) and Kayla (15) Fuller now reside at 4511 Cortland Rd.
Paul and Cathy Jones and their two kids, Allie and Hale, are back in their home at 4803 Dover Court. Paul had been posted in Manila but is now back

Classified Ads

College student seeks work, returning for the summer and available early May for babysitting, party helper, etc. Sarah Sanne: 202-680-8121, 301-652-7855.

Help wanted next fall: Someone to supervise 12 year old with homework, and occasional after school activities starting next fall - four days a week from 3 to 6 pm. Must have a car available. Contact Darcy at darcking{AT} with questions.

Share office space with me: DOWNTOWN BETHESDA - Office sublet available half- to full-time. Cozy office in lovely three-office suite with shared waiting room. Tenant should be reasonably quiet and discreet as suite is shared with psychotherapists. Reasonable rent. Available furnished, but tenant(s) are welcome to make it their own. Parking spot available to lease. Easy access to METRO, shops, restaurants, public and on-street parking. Call Crystal at 301-951-0408 or email to cjaugust2005{AT} Crystal August, 5204 Andover Road.

Yamaha cherry console piano for sale by original owner in very good condition. Bench included. Valued over $1000. Will sell for $750. becnel{AT} or 301-653-1991.

Recent Brookdale Real Estate Transactions
– Phyllis Wiesenfelder*
Active Sales:
4613 Merivale Rd. was listed at $1,495,000 on 3/5. The 5 bdrm 4 ½ bath colonial was built in 1938.
4732 Merivale Rd. was listed for $749,000 on 3/25. The 3 bdrm 2 ½ bath colonial sold for the list price on 3/30.
4633 River Rd. was listed for $675,000 on 11/02/09. This 2 bdrm 2 bath colonial built in 1938 went under contract for $659,000 on 2/18.
4604 Harrison Rd. was listed for $945,000 on 3/11. This colonial 3 bdrm, 3 ½ bath built in 1938 went under contract on 3/12.
4600 Overbrook Rd. was listed for $4,200/mo. The 5 bd, 4 bath colonial was built in 1936.
4628 River Rd. was listed for $2,050 and rented for $2,075 on 1/5. This 1940 colonial has 3 bdrm 1 ½ baths.
*An agent for Long & Foster Realtors.

Photography Contest Winners!
The Brookdale Bugle held its first ever photo contest for pictures of the Winter Blizzard. Participation was excellent with 15 residents submitting 35 highly competitive entries. The judge for our contest was Louis Jacobson, Brookdale resident and a photography and visual arts critic for Washington City Paper. His anonymous selections were

First place: Dai Baker's "House and Snow"

Runner-up: Steve Langer's "X-Games on Dalton"

Honorable mention: Noki Trias' "Powerless Against the Elements"

Honorable mention: Naomi Langer's "The Snow Comes in on Little Cat's Feet"

Honorable mention: Steve Langer's "Submerged Car"

Honorable mention: Willem Bier's "Juniors' House in Snow"

Thank you to all the participants. We hope that you might enjoy participating in other contests in the future as well as contributing to the illustrative photos needed in the Bugle.

The Brookdale Bugle is a publication of the Brookdale Citizens' Association. It comes out three times a year – January, April, and September.

The deadline to submit articles, notices, and ads for the September 2010 issue of the Brookdale Bugle is 9 p.m. September 2.

Editor                       Gwen Lewis
Assistant Editor         Deborah Kalb
Layout (hard copy)   Steve Langer

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