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& JINGLE BELL CLOCKED Adventure Theatre-MTC recounts classic Christmas tune. A-11 The Gazette BETHESDA | CHEVY CHASE | KENSINGTON DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, November 27, 2013 25 cents Planning board recommends a tunnel for Capital Crescent Trail C O U N T Y T R U A N C Y n COURT-STYLE PREVENTION PROGRAM LOOKS BEYOND ATTENDANCE n BY AGNES BLUM STAFF WRITER DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE University of Baltimore School of Law student Andrea Bento (left) and assistant state’s attorney George Simms (right) listen to a student during Truancy Court at A. Mario Loiederman Middle School in Silver Spring. students seats GETTING BACK IN LINDSAY A. POWERS AND ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH BY M STAFF WRITERS ontgomery County students who repeatedly miss class are getting guidance from unlikely allies: local prosecutors and judges. In a program that spread to the county from Baltimore in 2010, Montgomery County prosecutors and a local judge meet with students facing a range of attendance issues, from persistent lateness to chronic absence. According to a report by Montgomery County’s Office of Legislative Oversight, “habitual truancy” is defined as missing 18 days in a semester or 36 days of school in a school year. About 984 county public school students were habitually truant in 2009, including about 627 in high school, the report HABITUAL TRUANCY Montgomery County Public Schools’ habitual truancy rate has increased slightly in recent years as Maryland’s rate has decreased. “Habitual truancy” is defined as missing 18 days in a semester or 36 days of school in a school year, according to a report by Montgomery County’s Office of Legislative Oversight. 2.5 2.0 STATE 2.32% 1.93% 2.25% 1.89% 1.80% 1.5 1.0 0.5 0.0 2008-09 Constructing the underground section of the Capital Crescent Trail in downtown Bethesda in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act would cost the county about $40 million, county planners said at a Thursday planning board meeting. A less costly option would be to allow the tunnel to have a steeper grade than is permitted under the ADA, but install an elevator to meet requirements. That option would cost about $15 million, said David Anspacher, senior planner, at the Bethesda Purple Line Minor Master Plan Amendment session. The second option also would require closing a private parking lot on Elm Street, which would have to be done through negotiations between the county and the property owner. Anspacher said the trail is “intended to be one of the best trails in the country.” The planning staff recommended the Planning Board put the second, less expensive option into the Bethesda Purple Line Station Minor Master Plan amendment, but in the end the board decided to recommend that the plan include an option for the trail to go through the tunnel, beneath the Apex building at 7272 Wisconsin Ave., that is ADA compliant. Planners want to tear down the Apex building, which also houses the Bethesda Regal 10 movie theater, to build the “optimal” Bethesda station. Doing so would allow access to both the Purple Line and Metro’s Red Line, according to county documents. The Purple Line is a planned 16-mile $2.2 billion light rail that will link Bethesda and New Carrollton. Planning Board Member Norman Dreyfuss See TRAIL, Page A-9 MONTGOMERY 0.72% County must keep its promise on Purple Line, member says 0.63% 0.40% 2009-10 2010-11 1.13% 1.08% 2011-12 2012-13 Getting to give SOURCE: MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS, MARYLAND STATE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION says. The same year, more than 8,600 students were chronically absent, missing 20 or more days of school. Montgomery County ranks in the middle of the pack among Maryland counties’ habitual truancy rates. The Truancy Court Program is in five Montgomery County See TRUANCY, Page A-10 Group: Don’t build new White Flint school in park n Plan would limit park to after-school hours BY AGNES BLUM STAFF WRITER The Garrett Park Estates/White Flint Park Citizens’ Association unanimously rejected the county school board’s proposal to build a school in their neighborhood park, which would render it unavailable to locals during NEWS ACCESS FOR ALL County program aims to drastically increase amount of public information available. A-4 school hours. About 35 people showed up to express their distaste for the idea, which is called “colocating,” at a Nov. 20 meeting at Garrett Park Elementary School. There are 45 co-located schools and parks in the county. “You’re not looking to co-locate the park, you’re looking to take the park,” said Terry McCoy to Bruce Crispell, director of the school system’s Division of Long-range Planning, and Nkosi Yearwood of the planning department, echoing a frustration many in the audience ex- pressed. The school had been slated to be built as part of the White Flint Mall redevelopment and is included in the White Flint Sector Plan. It was to be built on the south side of the White Flint Mall property, currently a parking lot. But last year, the developer of the mall, Lerner Enterprises, reduced the size of the school site to 3.6 acres. The site was shrunken to accommodate a SPORTS A PATH WITH MANY DETOURS Magruder High School grad recovers from serious blood clot, pursues dream of playing professional soccer. B-1 See PARK, Page A-9 Automotive Business Calendar Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please RECYCLE DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE From left, kindergartners Camryn Fiorentino, Piper Lyons and Henry Wheaton-Schopp at Bethesda Country Day School pick out food items to be donated to needy families for Thanksgiving. The food went to the Bethesda Chevy-Chase YMCA. B-13 B-5 A-2 B-9 A-11 A-8 A-6 B-1 Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906197

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