President's Report – Diane Tanman
The New Year presents the opportunity to look forward to a lot of fun neighborhood events in 2013. As a kick-off to our 75th Anniversary Year, the Brookdale Citizens' Association is hosting a winter social to unveil the new Brookdale signs, show a short film on the historical development of Friendship Heights, and most importantly, to socialize! Please join your neighbors at the Wisconsin Place Recreation Center on Wednesday, Feb. 13 at 7:30 PM, for this special event. Wine and cheese and lots of mingling guaranteed.
As we reflect on the past year, I am reminded again what a special place Brookdale is because of the people who live here. It's great to have all the amenities of Friendship Heights nearby, but how cold it would all feel without the sense of community that makes Brookdale special. It has been energizing to see so many neighbors attend the neighborhood socials and come together to plan for our 75th anniversary events. It's a wonderful opportunity for our neighborhood to focus on building community rather than just defending ourselves from commercial development and crime.
To that point, the Brookdale Signs Committee has done a tremendous job of such community building. Many thanks to Bill Grigg, Campbell Graeub, and Pat Kitchen for researching, designing and raising money for the sign effort.
Many thanks also to Cathy Solberg who continues to coordinate Brookdale's Welcome Basket program. Cathy delivered nine baskets to new neighbors this year. Please contact Cathy Solberg if you have a new neighbor in need of a basket!
Finally, a revised neighborhood directory is underway and should be distributed this spring. Block captains will be contacting you to confirm your contact information. Have a safe and happy 2013!
Let the 75th Anniversary Celebrations Begin – Marie Moylan
As the New Year 2013 begins, so does the year of Brookdale's 75th anniversary.
Festivities open with a neighborhood wine and cheese in the Wisconsin Community Center on Feb. 13 at 7:30 PM, where you will see – among other things described in the President's Report – the "Brookdale" signs purchased with generous contributions from Brookdale residents. We may also be able to offer Brookdale Anniversary T-shirts for sale by that time. And remember that GEICO allows us to use their parking lot during that evening, so please join us.
Plans are under development for a Family/Children's gettogether in the Brookdale Park in early May. Anyone who wants to help make that happen is asked to contact Denise Holmes.
The main social event of the year is the Brookdale Party at Kenwood Golf and Country Club on June 1. We have a beautiful setting with a large outdoor terrace overlooking the greens and an elegant party room with bar and piano music for our socializing and dining. Tickets for this special event go on sale at the beginning of April; tickets will cost $75 per person but there will be an "early bird" price of $65 for those who buy their tickets in the month of April. More information and an invitation will follow in March with guidance on how to buy your tickets. But put the date in your calendar now and please notify any former residents of Brookdale that they would be most welcome.
Dick Podolske is still looking for Brookdale photographs for the revolving slide show for the party. Both contemporary pictures and historic images of buildings or of people are most welcome. Additionally, Amy Rispin is pulling together a history of Brookdale that will be available in the months to come; she would welcome historic photographs, stories, or contacts who can contribute to her knowledge of the last 75 years in Brookdale. She is also hoping someone has information or records of the Brookdale Citizens' Association that predate 1998.
Updates about other events planned during the 75th Anniversary will be shared as the year unfolds. Ideas and volunteers are all welcome; please contact Marie Moylan or Cathy Solberg.
The 75th Anniversary Planning Committee needs the help and participation of everyone in Brookdale to help celebrate our very special neighborhood and to ensure that everyone ends the year with a wider network of caring neighbors and friends.
A Boy and His Pail – Bob Cope
I want to tell a little story about growing up in South Saint Louis in the '50s. Back then, the residential neighborhoods were well defined by ethnic groups and by the industries that employed them. The French fur traders arrived first and they lived in the Soulard neighborhood, which was fairly close to downtown. Further out from downtown and in the area just below Forest Park lived the Irish, Italians, and Germans. Directly south of Forest Park was the Irish neighborhood, where the Irish worked in the clay mines. South of the Irish was the Italian neighborhood where the fathers of Joe Garagiola and Yogi Berra worked in the furnaces, making clay bricks, clay pots, and other clay products. South of the Italians and along the Mississippi River was my neighborhood, the German neighborhood, where the Germans worked in the Anheuser-Busch Brewery producing products that made working in mines and furnaces more bearable.
After a day of hard study in the first grade, I would walk 10 blocks home and immediately go upstairs to the third floor, where my German grandmother lived in an accessory apartment along with my aunt and uncle and their kids (four cousins from different families sleeping in one bedroom was not unusual). My grandmother would give me her 16-oz. pail and a quarter (maybe a dime, inflation is so confusing) and I would walk one block to the neighborhood tavern (as a first grader), where the bartender would fill the pail with beer and give me two or three cents back. On the way home (not spilling a drop), I would stop at the corner grocery store and buy a couple pieces of candy. I would then take the pail upstairs to my grandmother, who would have two glasses of beer before dinner along with her appetizer of pickled herring, which had been purchased from the corner grocery store.
But things soon changed. Large grocery stores (A&P, Giant, Safeway) replaced the corner grocer. And in 1955 we moved to the suburbs, which were replacing the inner-city neighborhoods as the bedroom of choice. Along with the growth of suburbs came the concept of fixed zoning, which separates (isolates?) residential neighborhoods from retail and commercial establishments. No longer was there a corner grocery store or corner tavern. You did your shopping by driving to the area the Planners designated for retail. And no longer did workers walk to work. Rather, jobs were located in areas designated by Planners for commercial or industrial use. And so this is where we are today, with fixed residential zones that prohibit any use other than residential use by a single family. And, frankly, we like it that way. But things are about to change. As Yogi Berra said, it's déjà vu all over again.
Things will change because the Montgomery County Council believes that the current zoning code is outdated and needs to be entirely rewritten. About two years ago it asked the Planning Board to come up with an entirely new code. And that is what it has done. This February, after two years of hard work, the Planning Board will transmit a new zoning code (for residential and office and retail) to the County Council. The Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee of the County Council will then spend many months reviewing and revising the Planning Board draft. A final vote by the County Council is expected sometime next summer.
One of the areas of discussion has centered on returning to those Days of Yesteryear so that you can walk down to the neighborhood grocer or butcher or baker and buy all the fixings needed for dinner. One proposal even goes so far as to permit you to go into your back yard and select a nice roaster from the chicken coop. These changes would come about by liberalizing residential zones and opening them up to retail establishments. No longer will there be residential over here and retail over there. And no longer will all the houses look the same. Mixed in with single-family homes will be attached and unattached accessory apartments, town homes, group homes, duplexes, and clustered housing on very small lots.
Until the final draft is transmitted to the County Council this month, we will not know for sure what proposals have actually made it into the final draft. Once the draft is transmitted, we will be better able to focus on specific proposals. And by the time Brookdale holds its next annual meeting this spring, we will have a better handle on just how far the County Council intends to push the envelope. But what we do know now is that the zoning rewrite will impact every house and every neighborhood in Montgomery County.
Calling All Brookdale Residents, Especially Seniors! – Tino Calabia
Ever heard of "Wisconsin Place"? Or the Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center (WPCRC)? Well, "Wisconsin Place" covers the old Woodies (a.k.a Hecht's) site between Western and Willard Avenues.
WPCRC is our neighborhood Montgomery County facility at 5311 Friendship Blvd. on the mega-block anchored by Bloomingdale's on one side and Whole Foods on the other. Nearly invisible to passers-by, it's reachable from the Boulevard by elevator or a one-flight-up stairway.
Offering rental meeting rooms, a toddlers' playroom, a basketball court, a fitness room (22 machines of various types plus free weights), and lockers and shower rooms, the facility charges County residents a yearly membership of $180, allowing access Mon.-Thurs. from 9:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Fri.-Sun. until 5 p.m. (Fee-based classes range from Arts & Crafts to Zumba.)
Think a $180 a year membership is cheap? County seniors (55 and older) use the gym and fitness room at the bargain yearly fee of only $50, but just on Mon.-Fri. from 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. I used to believe tennis shoes were solely for loafing at home, so that abbreviated schedule for seniors suits me fine. Besides, midmorning to mid-afternoon on weekdays is when the fitness room often has only three or four visitors. You Brookdale seniors smart enough to fit regular exercise into your lives, maybe I'll see you then!
Update from the Little Falls Watershed Alliance – Richard Yates
Happy New Year from the Little Falls Watershed Alliance! Two thousand and twelve again was a very busy year for our trash removal volunteers, spending hundreds of hours picking up a thousand pounds of trash from the curbs, sidewalks, and parking lots along the streets in Friendship Heights and on Little Falls Parkway and River Road. We also have been contacting local merchants to encourage them to keep the areas around their business premises clean, and have been lobbying state and county officials to strengthen the enforcement and scope of solid waste laws.
Trash left on the ground creates a host of ills, including blighting the neighborhood, lowering property values, and damaging the environment. Rainwater washes it into storm drains that empty into the Little Falls Creek, and eventually farther downstream into the Potomac River and the Chesapeake Bay.
We hope for a better year in 2013. You can help. Please consider making and keeping one or more of the following resolutions for the New Year:
- I will dispose of trash and pet waste in a proper receptacle.
- I will educate my children to do the same.
- I will pick up at least 5 pieces of trash each day that I walk in the neighborhood.
- I and members of my household will "adopt" a street block near my home and strive to keep it trash free.
- I will educate myself about which materials are recyclable and deposit them in the appropriate blue recycling can (for mixed paper/cardboard) or bin (for mixed metals/plastic/glass) provided to me by the county. Please see: http://bit.ly/WBmzX5
- I will bind or contain loose papers before I put them in the blue recycling can, and bag garbage before placing it in my trash can, so as to minimize the chance of spillage upon collection by sanitation workers. I will clean up any spillage that does occur.
- I will pick up from in front of my home any newspapers delivered there, and I will contact the circulation department of any newspaper that I do not wish to receive to cancel delivery. For The Gazette, please see http://bit.ly/kQUYDR. The Examiner, please see: http://bit.ly/fC0JKm. The Washington Post, please see http://bit.ly/SeBsmz
- I will volunteer to participate in organized trash pick-ups conducted by the Little Falls Watershed Alliance. Please see http://www.lfwa.org/pick-up
- I will call 311 to report violations of the Montgomery County Code provisions that require businesses to keep their parking lots and other grounds free of trash. Please see http://www3.montgomerycountymd.gov/311/
- I will instruct any lawn mowing services that I employ to pick up any trash before mowing, and to not mow over it.
We wish you all a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2013. Thank you.
Yours for clean water and a clean neighborhood,
Richard F. Yates
Vice President for Government Relations & Trash Abatement Committee Coordinator
Little Falls Watershed Alliance, Inc.
Meet Your Neighbor: Thomas Paggini – Christine Ryan Jyoti
"I love the feeling here," says Thomas Paggini, one of Brookdale's newest residents. Thomas, his wife, Maddalena Moroni, and their two children, Anna (age 3) and baby son Sebastian, have been living on Harrison Street for three months now.
Thomas, a native of Milan, Italy, has been working in Washington, D.C. for the past three years as the U.S. correspondent for the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation. His job reporting on U.S. news and politics for the Italian radio branch of Radiotelevisione svizzera takes him all over the country, but as much as he enjoys travelling around the United States, he loves coming home to Brookdale.
When the time came to look for a new home (the family had been living in Glover Park), Thomas stumbled upon Brookdale. The neighborhood had everything Thomas and Maddalena were looking for. "Brookdale is convenient, nice, green, close to schools and Metro," says Thomas. The location was a perfect compromise for a family that needs easy access to downtown, where Thomas works, and Potomac, where Anna attends the German School.
Maddalena, also a journalist, is currently home with the children. The whole family enjoys taking advantage of the area's close proximity to the Capital Crescent Trail and communitysponsored events, including Brookdale's block party. "You don't expect that kind of thing anymore," says Thomas. "Brookdale has a small-town feel even though you're practically in D.C."
Real Estate Update - Phyllis Wiesenfelder
- 4842 Park Avenue. Cape Cod with 4 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths built in 1948. It was listed on August 9 for $729,999 and sold on September 28th for $708,000.
- 4627 River Road. Cape Cod with 3 bedrooms, 2 baths built in 1938. It was listed on September 7 for $759,000 and sold for $745,000 on November 2nd.
- 4707 Dover Road. Colonial with 3 bedrooms, 2 1/2 baths built in 1936. It was listed on July 11 for $778,000 and sold on September 27th for 727,000 with a $17,000 seller subsidy (closing cost credit) to the buyer.
Soaring Above The Highway – Laura Jeliazkov
It was a sharp, clear day in mid-November. We were driving along the highway somewhere between Bethesda and Baltimore when something caught my attention up in the cloudless sky. I tilted my face to the window to see an incredible sight. Not one, but three magnificent bald eagles soared together far above the din and exhaust of the rushing world. The only bald eagle I had ever seen before was at Acadia National Park in Maine two summers ago, perched atop a towering pine tree far in the distance. These three were close in comparison. Their wings took up vast expanses of the blue sky and reached towards each other as they flew side by side. Each regal brown shape was topped with a pure white head that seemed to float like a cloud. The three soared together, their wings brushing the air gracefully.
I would have never expected to spot these wondrous birds of prey along the I-95. Turns out, their winter migrating habits take them far and wide, beyond their usual habitats. Bald eagle breeding populations are found throughout North America: in Alaska, across much of Canada, along the Atlantic coast from maritime Canada to Florida, the Pacific Northwest, and the Great Lakes states. Smaller, sporadic eagle populations are sprinkled among the states of North America (except for Rhode Island and Vermont), and there are growing eagle populations in the Rocky Mountains and along the Gulf Coast. Preferred breeding sites are forested areas with minimal human disturbance in close proximity to bodies of water abundant in fish. Bald eagles nest in tall conifers where they construct beds of twigs that are masterpieces to behold. The typical nest is 5 to 6 feet in diameter and 2 to 4 feet tall. The largest bald eagle nest on record was found in St. Petersburg, Fla.; it was roughly 9 feet in diameter and 18 feet tall. Another famous one in Vermilion, Ohio, supposedly weighed more than 2 tons and was shaped like a wine glass. It was used for 34 years until the tree fell down.
From the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail, bald eagles range from 34 to 43 inches in length. Their wingspan can reach up to eight feet. Their weight usually varies between 5 and 15 pounds. Females are 25 percent larger than males, and juveniles tend to be larger in size, but lighter in weight, than mature eagles. An interesting fact is that bald eagles occupying the northern part of their range tend to be larger in size than their southern counterparts, so much so that they are technically considered a separate subspecies.
Come winter, when the lakes and rivers freeze over in the northern regions of the bald eagle range, the birds begin a journey to the south. Some travel to the coast. Others that live in the south, in Florida for example, are typically resident, remaining on their breeding territory throughout the year. The migration pattern of a bald eagle is very complex and varies with each individual depending on its age, the location of its home, the severity of the winter season there, and the availability of food. Juveniles explore nomadically for four years upon leaving the nest before settling down, so their migration habits differ from those of their parents. Flying hundreds of miles per day, some of these young birds have traveled as far north as Michigan from Florida, and others have reached Alaska from California. While adults migrate from late August through early December, peak migration for juveniles lasts only through mid-November. Mates migrate independently but meet back up with their partners at their wintering grounds. Bald eagles tend to migrate in large groups, so it is not uncommon to see them gathered by the hundreds at common roosts – pit stops along the migration route.
Eagles ride currents of rising warm air called thermals en route to their winter destinations, averaging a speed of 30 miles per hour. Their winter range encompasses most of the lower 48 states as well as southern portions of Canada and the coastal areas of Alaska and British Columbia. They look for areas with open water and an abundant food supply, like the Mississippi and Missouri rivers, the Pacific Northwest, and our very own Chesapeake Bay. Eagles return to their native breeding areas to nest in the spring as soon as the weather allows, usually between the months of January and March.
Interesting to note is that Benjamin Franklin once objected to the bald eagle becoming the United States' national emblem. Rather than do the work themselves, these birds of prey have been known to steal the live catches of other, smaller predators. Such thieving ways led Franklin to write, "For my own part, I wish the Bald Eagle had not been chosen the representative of our country. He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his living honestly."
I for one though, do not mind all that; when I saw those bald eagles soaring above I-95 this past November, I thought they were truly awe-inspiring.
Brookdale Citizens AssociationYear Ending May 31, 2012, and Comparison to Years Ended May 31, 2011 and 2010
|Dues to Friendship Hgts Coordinating Cmte||200||100||100|
|Neighborhood Directory, Web Site||170||122||-|
|Park cleanups, improvements||-||-||195|
|Events (4th of July, Halloween, etc.)||959||466||439|
|Meetings (annual, rain gardening, etc)||924||355||246|
|Dues collection, bank fees, other||283||-||10|
|Dues and donations||3,230||2,825||2,620|
|Net In / (Out)||(4,510)||784||732|
|Closing Balance includes:|
|Money market acct.||1,567|
|Less: Prepaid Dues||(1,411)|
|CD maturing 7/19/12||8,072|
Appeal for Westbrook Elementary School – Dana Rice*
Peeking across the banks of the Little Falls creek, you can see the progress of MCPS's $14M addition and gymnasium construction at Westbrook Elementary that will propel our beloved neighborhood gem into the next chapter of its 74-year history.
What's more exciting, there is a private effort driven by the Friends of Westbrook School Foundation's "One Community" campaign, which aims to raise $335,000 by Spring 2013 for three distinct projects being built in concert with the gym and new classroom wing construction. This opportunity only comes once in a school's lifetime. By taking advantage of the MCPS construction activity already ongoing, these three initiatives will be built faster and for less by capitalizing on the economies of scale offered.
The Friends of Westbrook's "One Community" campaign funded projects are:
- Outdoor Classroom / Courtyard
- Renovation, repair and enhancement of All-Purpose Room
- Technology investments for existing classrooms to bring them on par with new classroom tech tools.
The rapid construction of each of these Friends of Westbrook funded projects will unfold before your eyes. It's not hard to imaging the progress when it's right under our noses! With current pledges and gifts on hand, we've reached nearly 75% of our goal. We are grateful for the parents, grandparents, neighbors and small businesses who have helped put us on the sound financial footing. But we realize there are many others who haven't pledged yet. And we have to keep going, as February 1st is MCPS's deadline to us to confirm whether the Foundation has the funds raised for the All-Purpose Room project. With our support, the All-Purpose Room will change from a worn, ragged, non-ADA friendly space into a clean, sparkling open (and functioning) room with new floor, ceiling, lighting, sound system, expanded stage and ADA-compliant entrances and ramp.
Will we make it? We will make it with your help. Why donate to the Foundation's "One Community" campaign?
- It's tax-deductible (consult your tax advisor for the best way to do this)
- It helps foster a spectacular learning institution, which in turn has intrinsic influence on home values.
- Pledges can be fulfilled anytime through April 2013, so donors may spread the gift with monthly installments.
- This funding is only needed once – not an annual fund or continual appeal – so the gift is long-term.
The opportunity for our neighborhood only comes once. (Yes, we've already said that, but it bears repeating!) This is our chance. Won't you join our campaign that will make all three projects a reality? Contact Dana Rice at friendsofwestbrook&gmail.com to receive information about the campaign or send a donation by check to:
FOWS Foundation, 5110 Allan Terrace, Bethesda, MD 20816.
Checks should be made payable to FOWS Foundation.
*Dana Rice is president of the Friends of Westbrook School Foundation, Inc. (FOWS), a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
- New Neighbors:
- Charles Molluzzo, Alecia Brinkerhoff, and their toddler son, Costas, moved in over the summer. They are renting from the Szostak family, who are away on a military posting in Colombia for two years.
- Jenny O'Shea, her husband Cary Devorsetz, and their toddler daughter, Ellie, moved in June from D.C.
- Bob Rivkin, his wife, Cindy Moelis, and their teenage son, Alex Rivkin, moved in September from D.C.
- Blake Roberts, Jennifer Cannistra, and their infant son, Bryce, have moved to Dover Rd.
- Anna (Anne) Sloan passed away on Dec. 1 at age 94. Anna Sloan had nursing degrees from Providence Hospital and Catholic University. She worked for the Public Health Service, and supervised nursing services for several government agencies.
- Madelaine Husic passed away on Nov. 21 at age 98. A longtime federal worker, she retired in 1972 from the Bureau of Prisons. Survivors include two stepchildren, Mary Kuta and Mike Husic.
Neighborhood Notices And Classifieds
Brookdale's 2nd Annual Neighborhood Safety Audit
Monday, January 28, 2013 7:30 p.m. - Brookdale Park
Join your neighbors to walk the streets of Brookdale and identify areas potentially vulnerable to criminal activity. Last year, this event was successful in prompting the repair of several broken street lamps. We will meet in Brookdale Park (near the playground). Please bring a flashlight, pen, and clipboard if available. Thanks!
– Nicole Tysvaer Chair, Safe Streets Committee Brookdale Citizens' Association
Pedestrian Safety: Following an incident last month when a neighborhood 4th grader was hit by a car at the intersection of River Road and Willard Avenue, the neighborhood was made even more aware of the hazards of that intersection and the importance of looking out for pedestrians. Fortunately, the 4th grader– who was on his way to Westbrook Elementary School with his father, sister, friend, and dog, and was crossing in the crosswalk with the walk signal–is doing fine.
Dave Montgomery will be displaying digitally stitched panoramas from February 6 to March 2 in Bethesda's "Gallery B" (formerly the Frazier Gallery). This is the first floor of 7700 Wisconsin Avenue, on the plaza between Wisconsin and Old Georgetown Road. Bethesda's Art Walk is scheduled for Friday evening, February 8.
You are invited to attend a retrospective of the black and white photography of Gwen Lewis, February 17 - March 27, 2013 at River Road Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 6301 River Rd, off Whittier Blvd. The reception is scheduled for Sunday afternoon, February 24, 3-5 pm. Displayed prints will be selected from the hundred-plus shows that exhibited Gwen's work. Darkroom photography is a disappearing art, and this is a rare opportunity to observe the subtle superiority of the classic results over digital shots. Works will be on sale at reduced prices.
Bugle editor Deborah Kalb invites you to look at her new website, deborahkalbbooks.blogspot.com, where she interviews a wide range of authors (from Dan Rather to Bobbie Ann Mason to Pam Houston) about their books. The site is updated regularly, with new Q&As and daily historical factoids. Also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/deborahkalbbooks, and on Twitter&deborahkalb.
Children's Parties, The Party Masters – Highly skilled entertainers for your child's next party. Many characters and princesses available, see pictures of some at our site, http://www.thepartymasters.com. Games, face painting, magic, balloons, dancing; Theatre games too for the older child. We now offer tea with a princess. We are booking now.
Brooke has a MFA in Performance Art from UNC at Chapel Hill and is a member of The Screen Actors Guild, Actors Equity Association, and the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She is a new mom and teaches drama at Georgetown Day School.
HS Math and SAT (All Parts) Tutoring by Brookdale, BCC parent. Enjoyable, effective, reasonable. Many excellent recommendations. Contact Bobby Benjamin.
Hi Neighbors, Do you have an interest in being on or working with LFWA's Trash Abatement Committee? Apart from organizing trash pickups and encouraging people to pick up trash on their own, we monitor local trash conditions and contact businesses not complying with solid waste laws or report their violations to local authorities; report to police persons observed dumping or littering; and lobby government officials to step up enforcement of solid waste and anti-littering laws, and to adopt new legislation expanding the scope of these laws. The most important contribution you could make right now is to contact your friends and neighbors to get them involved, especially gathering a list of people who care about our trash problem and who would be willing to support trash abatement initiatives. The amount of time you would spend on any of this would be totally up to you. If you are interested, please call me at your convenience to discuss this further. Thank you.
My best, Richard
Richard F. Yates
Vice President for Government Relations & Trash Abatement
Committee Coordinator Little Falls Watershed Alliance, Inc.