Web edition of the distribution for September 2014
Photographs, addresses, personal emails, and phone numbers are ommitted. Look to your paper copy!


Vice President's Report
– Bob Banach, VP Brookdale North

As the summer draws to a close it is time to reflect on our wonderful Brookdale neighborhood of about 365 homes and the community we have created.

We held the annual meeting of the Brookdale Citizens' Association in May--it was well attended by both newer and long-term residents. We discussed development in the area and other issues and took some time to socialize with our neighbors (see complete report in separate article). Most importantly, we elected the officers of the association, deciding to run another year without a president and having the vice presidents lead the charge. We thanked Helen Podolske for her service as treasurer and welcomed Amy Rispin as the new treasurer. Amy got started right away by launching an exploratory committee to investigate how Brookdale might implement a stay-in-place effort for our older citizens.

The weather cooperated for our annual July 4th celebration led by Denise Holmes and her team. Our local Glen Echo Fire Department led the parade of bikes, strollers and walkers through the streets and we had festive patriotic band music even without a band (thanks to advances in technology and Brad Moore). There were lots of games for the kids to enjoy and conversation for the adults.

As I write this, past president Marie Moylan and her team are busy planning our end of summer neighborhood pot luck event for Saturday, Sept. 6 (if it rained we held it on Sept. 7). Each year hundreds of residents and kids gather on Dalton Road with their savory or sweet confections for sharing. Neighbors enjoy food, fun and music as well as an evening fire pit for s'mores and conversation.

The updated neighborhood directory is complete at last and should have been or will be delivered shortly by our team of nearly 25 volunteer block captains (some are new this year). Remember, we maintain only a printed version to protect the privacy of our residents and prevent marketers from obtaining the information.

We're working on a fall gathering where we plan to have the Glen Echo Fire Department explain fire safety tips for our homes and how we can all help them--did you know most of the department is staffed by volunteers and only five firemen are paid by the county? We are also working to have a police representative available for useful tips on home security. Other upcoming events include the annual Halloween party on Saturday, Oct. 25, and another wintertime lecture.

We can always use new volunteers so if you have some time, please let your neighborhood VP know what event you can help with. And, remember to visit our website,, for back issues of the Brookdale Bugle and other useful neighborhood information and join our email listserv by sending a request with your home address to for our private group.


Work on River Road To Continue
– Bill McCloskey

The good news is -- well, there isn't any. Traffic delays caused by Pepco construction on River Road between Western Avenue and Westbard Avenue will go on through at least January. Previous estimates were that the work would be done by early fall of this year.

Here's the official Pepco statement given to the Bugle:

"As the demand for electricity grows; Pepco has identified the need to upgrade an existing distribution substation within the Friendship Heights Community. The existing feeders are inadequate to supply the needs of a new substation and have to be upgraded.

"In January 2014, Pepco began the process of upgrading the underground facilities in the area of Little Falls Parkway & River Road. This included excavation to install approximately 6500 feet of underground transmission pipes from this location to the new substation.

"This work is needed to ensure the continued delivery of safe and reliable electric service to residential and commercial customers served by this substation. Due to several weather and construction related delays associated with complex underground work, we expect this phase of work to conclude by January 2015.

"Pepco will continue to work diligently to minimize the impact of the scheduled work on motorists and pedestrians. Our commitment is to keep those in the project area informed every step of the way and aim to complete our work with as little disruption as possible."

Because of the work, which often limits River Road to one lane in each direction during the middle of the day, many neighbors have been using Massachusetts Avenue to avoid the delays. When the work is done for the day, steel plates cover the excavation. WSSC has nothing to do with the River Road project; their recent efforts have been restricted to Willard Avenue from River to Friendship Boulevard.

A Brookdale resident spoke with the State Highway Administration (SHA) and learned they are planning to make a left turn lane on River Road to access Willard Avenue. All construction and widening will be on public domain, so there will be no infringement on private property. The maximum curb shift will be 12 inches, with most ranging between 8 and 12 inches.

The widening will be on the north side of River Rd only, from Baltimore Avenue across Willard Avenue, and continue up River Road 150 feet. To make more space, the current lanes will be reduced in width. SHA plans to send letters in this fall and begin construction in spring 2015.


Treasurer's Report
– Amy Rispin

Thanks to the planning ability of those who organized projects to celebrate Brookdale's 75th anniversary year (calendar year 2013) with new Brookdale signs, T-shirts, a summary of neighborhood history, and a commemorative dinner (held June 1, the first day of last fiscal year), the Association's latest year was also a success. Community compliance with the annual BCA dues was very high as well. Funds available at year-end were high and include ample funds to see through the anniversary dinner and to cover any future outlays to carry special community events as well as other activities.


Boundary Park Renovated
– Bill McCloskey

The D.C. Department of Transportation (DDOT) has renovated the space in Brookdale's Boundary Park around one of the original Maryland-District of Columbia sandstone boundary markers located on Western Avenue The marker is in a fence-enclosed area marked with a Montgomery Park Commission sign explaining its significance.

The marker--called Northwest 6--was set in 1792 and is one of 40--each a mile apart--that designated the border of the then-10-mile-square District of Columbia border. The size of the District was reduced when Virginia in 1846 reclaimed the lands it had ceded. The marker is six miles west of the North cornerstone. DDOT cleaned up the area inside and outside the stone marker fence and placed a cap made of lead on top of the stone. DDOT did not respond to inquiries from the Bugle asking whether the stone had been vandalized or why the cap was necessary. Boundary Park runs between River Road and Park Avenue and is bounded by Western Avenue and Park Place. The marker is near the bus stop near Park Avenue and Western Avenue.

The dedication plaque placed by the Montgomery Park Commission says "the boundary stones are considered the first monuments erected in the United States."


In Case You Missed It: Notes from May's Brookdale Community Annual Meeting
– May 7, 2014 Meeting Minutes, prepared by Judy Rivlin (Secretary, 2013-14)

The Brookdale Annual Meeting was held at the Wisconsin Place Recreation Center in Friendship Heights on May 7, 2014. About 70 residents attended, with refreshments and social time beforehand. Bob Banach, VP of Brookdale North, led the meeting as there was no President for the past year.

The meeting began with review and approval of the minutes from the 2013 annual meeting; after a motion was made and seconded, the minutes were approved by a voice vote.

Bob Banach reviewed the activities of the last year: they included our regular annual events such as the July 4 firetruck-led parade and party in the Brookdale park, the neighborhood-wide "block" party in September, a Halloween party, and a speaker's meeting in February on immigration held at the Wisconsin Place Recreation Center, as well as the several special events that marked Brookdale's 75th anniversary.

The special 75th anniversary events included a walking history tour of the neighborhood last spring that followed the publication of Amy Rispin's book on the history of Brookdale, as well as a well-attended dinner with slide show on June 1 at the Kenwood Country Club; we also had signs designed, purchased and installed at four entries into Brookdale (that were privately funded by many Brookdale residents).

Bob Banach also noted there was a mid-year change in Brookdale's listserv provider, and we have had several publications of our newsletter, the Bugle. Further, he noted that a new version of the Brookdale Directory is nearly completed and will be printed and distributed soon. He also noted that crime has not been a significant concern this year.

Bob Cope then gave an overview of zoning issues, focusing on plans for the redevelopment of the Westbard Shopping Center, and the GEICO property. [See story, p. 5] He noted that the County passed a new zoning code, and the GEICO property, which has been deemed "transit station metro" (a/k/a "TSM"), will now be zoned as "commercial/residential." For the Westbard property, the permitted height for new buildings is an expected challenge for our nearby neighborhoods. As there was substantial interest in these zoning issues, Bob Cope agreed to prepare a summary for the Bugle.

Helen Podolske explained the Treasurer's report, copies of which were distributed. (A copy of the Treasurer's Report is maintained within the Association's file.) She reminded the community that the Association's fiscal year runs June 1-May 31. After a motion was made and seconded, there was an affirmative vote to approve the Treasurer's report. Bob Banach noted that Treasurer Podolske has decided against serving as Treasurer for another year. The Community thanked her for her year of service as Association Treasurer.

Dan Byerly, Wohlshire VP, made the somewhat belated award for the first annual "scariest yard in Brookdale" which was won by Ron Tripp for the scary yard of last October. Dan then gave a report on the traffic survey he has been conducting through an online survey, which yielded 70 responses so far; he will leave it active a bit longer so more residents can participate. There was a general discussion about traffic and pedestrian safety concerns within and around Brookdale.

Amy Rispin led a discussion about creating a "stay in place" organization. [See story, p. 6] There seemed to be significant interest, and Amy agreed to coordinate efforts to create a program for Brookdale.

No new neighbors attended this meeting so there were no public welcomes or introductions to make.

Boyd McHugh, on behalf of the Nominations Committee, offered a slate of candidates for officers for the 2014-15 year: it is the same as the last year, except that Amy Rispin would take the position of Treasurer instead of Helen Podolske, and without a President again, VPs Bob Banach and Dan Byerly would again rotate the leadership position. The officers nominated were: Brookdale North VP, Bob Banach; Brookdale South VP, Yonce Shelton; Wohlshire VP, Dan Byerly; Orchardale VP, Allie Hicks; Treasurer, Amy Rispin; Secretary, Judy Rivlin. There were no other nominations made from the floor. The vote in favor of the nominated candidates was unanimous.

The last item of business was a change in who prepares and distributes the welcoming baskets to new neighbors. Cathy Solberg has done this for several years, but is ready to pass it to others. Fiona Carson and Shaazka Beyerle volunteered to take this over. The community thanked Cathy for doing this in the past and Fiona and Shaazka for stepping in.

There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 8:50pm.


Trees, Anyone?
– Fiona Carson

The street trees that were ordered a few years ago from the county by the Tree Planting Committee, headed up by our wonderful Gwen Lewis, are looking spectacular this year. We will soon be rivaling Kenwood with our cherry trees!

If anyone would like to order a street tree, which must be on the part of a yard that is considered County Right of Way, it takes about a year for it to be planted, but there is no charge.

They are referred to on the website ree/index.html as "replacement" trees, but a tree can be ordered regardless of whether there was a prior tree planted or not as long as the county arborist considers it an appropriate spot for a tree. There is a list of available trees on the website to choose from. It's a great program.

There is a separate county program to reduce the cost of planting a tree by $25, and that works no matter where the tree is planted.See: Then the State of Maryland has a similar program, with a $25 coupon, described at:


Meet Your 2014-15 Brookdale Officers

Bob Banach, VP Brookdale North
Bob Banach, Vice President for Brookdale North, his wife, Michele Parisi, and son, Richard, have been Brookdale homeowners on Dalton Road for over five years but are still settling in with a variety of home improvement projects to complete (on the other hand, with a house built in 1938, he's not sure you can ever be done working on your home). Bob and his family moved to Bethesda in 2007 before finding our neighborhood. Raised in Syracuse (go Orange), Bob received his bachelor's degree from Siena College in Albany (go Saints) and an MBA from NYU (go Violets). Bob has worked in advertising and marketing for over 30 years and is head of marketing communications for ProShares and ProFunds, an asset manager based in Bethesda. This will be Bob's fifth year on the board and he asks neighbors to volunteer ideas and time to strengthen our community.

Dan Byerly, VP Wohlshire
My wife, Kate, and I bought our house on River Road during the Snowmageddon of 2010 and moved in that spring. In 2011, we added our golden retriever, Jolene, to the family and in April 2013, we welcomed our son, Alex. Together, we love walking Brookdale's leafy streets and meeting neighbors. I am a former D.C. schoolteacher and administrator. I now work for Discovery Communications in the education division. This is my second year serving on the board.

Allie Hicks, VP Orchardale
My husband, Jim, and I bought our house on Willard Ave in 2001. Our three sons attend Westbrook Elementary. I am a Spanish teacher at Poolesville High School. This is my second year serving on the Board.

Amy Rispin, Treasurer
Amy and her husband, Paul, have lived at 5300 Saratoga Avenue for 30 years. As a Senior Scientist at the Environmental Protection Agency, she did international negotiations in health and safety standards. After retirement, she was inspired to write the "History of Brookdale" after a visit by descendants of the farm family who farmed Orchardale and built her house. Amy also serves as treasurer for the Southern Maryland community where they have a beach house.

Judy Rivlin, Secretary
With my husband, Eric, I have lived in Brookdale for over 20 years, and raised two daughters who successfully went through the local public schools. I am a labor lawyer, and work for the United Mine Workers of America. For several years, I have served as sous chef for the grilled pizzas at the annual Brookdale block party. This is my second year serving on the Board.

Yonce Shelton, VP Brookdale South
Yonce Shelton is the VP for Brookdale South. The Sheltons (wife JoJo, 5.5 year old son Cole, and bulldog Cash) moved here in May 2011 from Mt. Pleasant, DC. Cole is at Westbrook, JoJo has mastered the Metro ride downtown to her office at Google, and Yonce is doing spiritual formation work at the Carpenter's House near Westmoreland Circle (, and is pastoring a small church in College Park ( They welcome meeting more neighbors!


The Story Behind Brookdale Park and GEICO
– Bob Cope

Brookdale Park is currently owned by GEICO, which leases the park to Montgomery County Parks Department. The park goes way back in time but was recently addressed in the Friendship Heights Sector Plan, which was adopted by the County Council in January 1998.

The Sector Plan recommends that title to the park be transferred to the Parks Department at the time the GEICO site is developed. The Sector Plan also recommended that a portion of the GEICO site be rezoned for townhouses (the part adjoining Brookdale), and that the portion of the GEICO site that adjoins Willard Avenue and Friendship Boulevard be rezoned TSM (transit station mixed use). The TSM zone would then permit GEICO to build office buildings along Friendship Boulevard and low-rise garden apartments along Willard Avenue.

But there was a catch, and that catch was that a property could not be rezoned to the TSM unless there was a full-blown zoning hearing before a hearing examiner who would hear evidence and then conclude that the evidence supports the rezoning. That hearing took place in the fall of 1998.

Hearing examiners (like all judges) have a way of getting the parties to agree as to some aspects of the case, and so the hearing examiner called the parties into his office and stated that it would appear that the evidence supported the rezoning but there were many loose ends that needed to be tidied up, and would the parties be willing to sit down and somehow agree to binding elements which the hearing examiner would include in his report. Over the course of five days, the parties met at GEICO's offices from about 4 pm to 7 pm and hashed out binding elements. These binding elements are contained in the hearing examiner's report and, more importantly, are contained on a 36 inch by 42 inch piece of paper titled Development Plan, which is maintained in the files of the Montgomery County Planning Department.

At the spring annual meeting we gave a summary of the binding elements that are listed on the Development Plan, and several people requested that we summarize these binding elements in the upcoming Bugle since recent neighbors may not be aware of them, and so here they are.

At such time as construction begins, the property owner will do the following.

There are of course other binding elements, including those governing maintenance of the park, a staging plan for construction, and town house and office height. But the binding elements governing Brookdale Park seem to generate the most interest.

And so it came to pass that the hearing examiner recommended that the GEICO property be rezoned to TSM. The County Council accepted this recommendation and rezoned the property to TSM with the binding elements being incorporated into and made a part of the Council's approval.

But things are never simple. Recently the County Council adopted a new zoning code that eliminates the TSM zone. Thus GEICO will once again be rezoned; this time it will be rezoned to the new CR zone.

What does this mean? Well, for one thing it means that a fair amount of time was spent making sure that the new zoning code contained a grandfather clause requiring that a Development Plan (and its binding elements) will apply to any future construction on a CR-zoned site.

And the only way the Development Plan can be changed is through a new sector plan or through an amendment to the Development Plan, both of which must be approved by the County Council. Although such action cannot be ruled out, we doubt that after all these years the County Council would make any changes to the binding elements governing Brookdale Park.


Stay-in-Place in Brookdale
– Amy Rispin

What is Stay-in-Place? It is a movement that has caught fire throughout the U.S.--particularly in the greater Washington area, which has 34 stay-in-place communities or neighborhoods. The goal is to make it possible/comfortable for people of a wide range of demographics/ages to stay in their homes and thereby maintain stability in the neighborhood.

Montgomery County sees advantages to promoting Stay-in-Place and there are many services that can be made available to local "villages" once they are formed. Indeed, most surrounding communities have already formed "villages." Brookdale, with its long history of civility and working together as a community, its active Community Association, quarterly newsletter, website and listserv, has most of the components of Stay-in-Place.

Once formalized, a Brookdale "village" would provide a focal point of availability for odd jobs by our many talented teens, and encourages local schools to provide community services by volunteers. It can also provide a community-wide social network, even while drawing on the many advantages of the Washington area.

Its components are:

What's next? A great many folks expressed interest at last May's Brookdale annual meeting. Please contact Amy Rispin if you are interested in having a "village here" or want to help out in developing it. Likeminded individuals who want to help are needed to form a steering committee to get this off the ground. Remember, this will be our village.


Changes in Mail Pickup Times
– Campbell Graeub

We have noticed the mailbox at the corner of Westport and Dover being picked up late in the afternoon, not as usual in the late morning. The other day I asked the pick-up person if there had been a change. The answer is yes. The sign on the box will not change from "not before 10:00 a.m." Because some other boxes on his route have changed from twice a day to once a day pickups, this box will be picked up later. He said he will not get here before 2 p.m.

A notice along these lines might be in order: "The USPO has changed the pick up times for the mail boxes in Brookdale. The daily pick up (not on Sunday and holidays) will now occur after 2 p.m. as compared to before noon. The sign on the mailbox 'not before 10 a.m.' will not be changed. Get your outgoing mail in the box before 2 p.m. and it will go out that same day."


Brookdale Repaving to Continue
– Bill McCloskey

The county paved several of the Brookdale streets on the GEICO side of River Road this year and next year repaving is set for much of the rest of the community. Nicholas Boon of Montgomery County transportation highway services told the Bugle that "the Brookdale/Westgate Subdivision is one of our planned Residential Resurfacing projects that are scheduled for FY2015." He added that milling and paving will occur on Park Place, Brookdale Road, Cooper Lane, Overbrook Road, and Dover Road, but was unable to provide information on when the work will begin because a contractor has not yet been selected. Residents will be sent newsletters with information about the project a few weeks before construction begins, he said. If anyone sees streets that need work, he suggests calling the 311 Call Center. If you're interested in learning more about the Residential Resurfacing Program, you can check out the Division of Highway Services website at: hma. Meanwhile, in a separate project, WSSC estimates that the curb-to-curb resurfacing of Park Place will take place in late September or October. A swath was cut in the street last summer as part of pipe replacement in the neighborhood. A temporary patch has been in place since then.


New Parking Meters on Friendship Boulevard
– Campbell Graeub

At the July meeting of the Friendship Heights Transportation Management it was decided to recommend installing parking meters on the west side of Friendship Boulevard, between Western and Willard Avenues, and on the south side of Willard Avenue for the full length of the GEICO property.

There is space for 31 parked cars on Friendship Boulevard and 51 cars on Willard Avenue. The metered parking will be in effect from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday.

On Willard Avenue, except for the no-parking restrictions in the AM and PM periods, there will be long-term parking, with no limit of time, at the rate of $.65 per hour. On Friendship Blvd there will be a four-hour parking limit, at the rate of $1 per hour. The parking meters are expected to be installed this fall.

The Committee also considered installing parking meters on the east side of Wisconsin Avenue between Wisconsin Circle and the Saks building. It was decided to hold off any recommendation until additional traffic impact studies are completed.

Brookdale and neighboring communities undoubtedly will be experiencing overflow all-day parkers resulting from the installation of the new parking meters. Residents who notice and are disturbed by vehicles parked in front of their homes need to take appropriate actions with the authorities to report illegal parkers.


Real Estate Report, April-August 2014

Four homes sold in the second quarter of 2014:

There are three active listings, including two rentals:

We are looking forward to a strong second half of 2014. The National Association of Realtors is reporting a building up of momentum nationwide and a bright 2015.

Phyllis Wiesenfelder - Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc. 301-907-7600 office 301-529-3896 mobile




New Neighbors





Remembering Don Junior
– Betsy Norton

Brookdale lost a long-term and cherished resident on June 5, 2014. Lewis Donald Junior, known to all as "Don," died peacefully in his home, leaving scores of saddened friends and family. A native of Kansas, Don spent most of his adult years traveling and working in all corners of the world. Right out of high school he joined the Army Air Corps and served as tail gunner on the heavy bomber B-24 Liberator over Italy and Germany during World War II.

After the war he returned to school and graduated from the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University. His career took him to Nigeria, Germany, Italy, Ethiopia, Zaire and The Netherlands among other places of temporary duty.

His family travels took him to numerous exotic and sometimes dangerous places where he, his wife, Jean, and their children, Christina and Melissa, would engage in innumerable and memorable adventures with intermittent stays back in Brookdale before ultimately retiring here in 1988.

Don was a generous man with his time, his wit and his intellect. He donated countless hours recording for the blind and researching various charities he felt would make the most of his considerable annual donations. He would entertain anyone who had the good fortune to stop by with his limericks, his jokes, and his views on global, national and local events.

But visitors did not get by with merely a social call or just a casual conversation about the weather; Don would poke and prod until he knew what made you tick and then challenge you to express your opinions, give your perspective and back it all up with facts. He delighted in making you think and you always left with a smile, knowing a little something more about yourself.

Don's much-loved wife, Jean, pre-deceased him in May of 2012. Both Don and Jean cared deeply about our community and this community cared as deeply about them. They are missed by so many of us.


Notices and Classifieds

Notes on Trees and Power Outages
At least one neighbor has noted that some of the recent power outages in Brookdale cannot be blamed on Pepco. Their cause was falling limbs from trees located on private property. It is the responsibility of property owners to maintain their trees. Next time you stroll in the neighborhood count the trees with dead branches, rotten crotches, and hangers, and you'll be surprised at the number.

Tutor for Math/Physics and Rowing Coach
Chris Buesser is a 2014 Physics graduate of Trinity College in Hartford, Ct., and is the new Coach for Boy's Crew at Churchill High School. Chris is available for private rowing lessons and tutoring in Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Math. Chris is an accomplished rower, having won the men's under 23 US trials in 2012, and competed for the US in Lithuania and hopes to compete in the 2016 US men's Olympics. Please contact Chris by calling or texting him (family friend recommended by Cathy and Don Solberg).

Smart Growth Meeting
Join the Coalition for Smarter Growth on October 18 from 10 a.m. to noon to learn what has been done in recent years to create a more walkable and vibrant Friendship Heights and what can be done to make it even more so. We'll be walking on both sides of the DC/Maryland line and also hearing about some of the history of development in the area. RSVP required. For more info or to RSVP please email

Brookdale Multi-Family Yard Sale
Saturday October 18, 8:00 a.m. to noon. Plan to join neighbors in this annual event. The more the merrier and successful. Contact Suzanne Oliwa to get your name and address on the list. If you are able to help post signs the morning of the sale along River Road and Western Avenue please call Campbell Graeub.

House for Rent
Brookdale Rental, Available September 2014. This large, all-brick colonial is steps from Friendship Heights and offers comfortable living space. The main level provides a foyer, living room with fireplace and bay window, dining room, family room with access to garden, kitchen, and powder room. The upper level of the home offers a Master bedroom with bath, 2 guest bedrooms, and a full bath. The lower level is finished with recessed lights and a tile floor and could be a recreation room or playroom. Other features include central air conditioning, 1-car garage, and a front porch. Please contact Zafira Lateef.

North Bethany House available for fall
This Brookdale Family Home is one back from the ocean and there are ocean views from 3 levels. It is on a wide, white, private beach. Located 3 miles North of the Town of Bethany. A serene quiet area with a first rate restaurant a few blocks away. The house has four bedrooms, 2 full and 2 half baths. A deck off the new master suite, and a dining deck on ground level with a table, grill, and outdoor enclosed shower. Completely outfitted, just bring personal items. Limit 8 people, no smoking and sorry no pets. Three parking spaces. Best time at the beach, warm Ocean, and less crowds and traffic.

Welcome Baskets
Fiona Carson and Shaazka Beyerle are now the coordinators for Brookdale's Welcome Baskets for new neighbors. Thanks to them and to Cathy Solberg, who previously handled the Welcome Baskets.


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

Editor: Deborah Kalb
Layout & Photo Editor: Steve Langer
Online Publication: Michael Oliwa
Visit Brookdale online at
The deadline to submit articles, notices, and ads for the January 2014 issue of the
Brookdale Bugle is 9pm December 26. Don't delay. Be early.