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A LIFE’S LESSONS & Strathmore tribute honors Polish hero turned professor. A-9 The Gazette DAMASCUS | CLARKSBURG DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, February 26, 2014 25 cents Council headed for Clarksburg Cookies on credit Girl Scouts from Bethesda Troop 4959 — (from left) Amalia Sulk, 12, of Bethesda, Samantha Christenson, 12, of Rockville, and Miriam Herman, 14, of Bethesda — use a special smartphone device to take credit card payments for cookies at the NAMI store in Rockville on Saturday. Residents expected to weigh in on development n BY STAFF WRITER Residents in Clarksburg will have a chance Wednesday night to talk to the County Council about local issues, including proposed development limits for the area, at a Town Hall Meeting hosted by the council. The meeting is set for 8 p.m. at Rocky Hill Middle PHOTOS BY BILL RYAN/ THE GAZETTE Girl Scout troops in capital region now have card option for sales BY SHEMAIAH ELLIS SPECIAL TO THE GAZETTE D o you have a Samoa fix, but no cash? Do you need to satisfy your Thin Mint craving, but you’re short on dough? Your neighborhood Girl Scout might let you pay for your cookie order by credit card. The Girls Scouts recently adapted to the technological curve, thanks to Spark Pay by Capital One. This feature lets Girl Scout troops across the region accept credit cards, after years of cash-only payments. “This is an optional agreement depending on what troops think will work best for VIRGINIA TERHUNE their group,” said Nancy Wood, the public relations director for the Girl Scouts Council of the Nation’s Capital. Troops that want the electronic payment option will get credit card readers that can attach to smartphones and tablets. “Working with Capital One is very exciting for the Girl Scouts. We have a good relationship with the company and I think having this optional way to pay for cookies is a great thing to add,” Wood said. For its Spark Pay system, Capital One does not charge a transaction fee until there have been at least $1,000 in sales. A Spark Pay Web page says that after that threshold, there is a 2.70 percent fee per swipe if the user does not pay a monthly fee. For a $9.95 monthly fee, the rate drops to 1.95 percent per swipe. Wood said that, on average, a local troop sells about 150 boxes of cookies when it sets up a booth for a few hours in a public place. Knowing how many boxes of cookies they sell, troops can predict if they will hit the $1,000 threshold. “The troops get together at the beginning of every month and discuss all pieces of events going on. Last month, we worked out all minor details and decided that accepting credit cards would work for us.” said Girl Scout parent Miriam Christenson of Silver Spring. Cookies are $4 a box. As more people prefer electronic payments, the acceptance of credit cards could be a benefit, Christenson said. “I think this way we will sell more cookies. For those people who hardly carry cash, we will be more convenient,” Christenson said. On average, troops in the Council of the Nation’s Capital receive about 70 cents per box sold, which meant total earnings of about $3 million last year, according to the Girl Scouts. The rest of the money stays within the council to support essential operations, such as volunteer training, camp maintenance, and financial assistance to deserving girls and troops. With credit card fraud a hot topic, Christenson said she hopes customers aren’t skeptical of using the new payment option. See COOKIES, Page A-8 School, located at 22401 Brick Haven Way off Little Seneca Parkway west of Md. 355. Topping the list of concerns is likely to be controversial recommendations for limits on development to protect parts of fragile Ten Mile Creek. Five of the council members and County Executive Isiah Leggett have recommended a 6 percent cap on paving on the Pulte Homes site west of Interstate 270 and See COUNCIL, Page A-8 County Council races to feature familiar names Hucker, Barclay, Trachtenberg, Katz, Spiegel, Moore among candidates n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER In June’s primary elections, Montgomery County voters will have familiar political names to choose from for County Council seats. In District 5, Del. Tom Hucker (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring filed for the seat Tues- day and school board member Christopher Barclay filed for the seat Monday. In District 1, former Councilwoman Duchy Trachtenberg (D) of Rockville will challenge Councilman Roger Berliner (D) of Bethesda. District 3 features a showdown with three sitting elected officials in the Democratic primary: Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz and Councilman Ryan Spiegel, and Rockville Councilman Tom Moore. Tuesday was the filing See RACES, Page A-8 Crime rate declines in Montgomery n Cooperation a major factor in success, officials say BY ELIZABETH WAIBEL STAFF WRITER Crime dropped by 26 percent in Montgomery County, comparing crime rates from 2007 to 2013, according to police data released Tuesday — this despite a recent rash of homicides to start 2014. Officials say cooperation between different law enforcement agencies and the community has contributed to a drop in crime in Montgomery County over the past few years. County Executive Isiah Leggett, State’s Attorney John McCarthy, County Council President Craig Rice and Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger spoke at a Tuesday press conference to tout their combined efforts to reduce crime in the county. Overall, the number of crimes in the county dropped by 26 percent from 2007 to 2013, according to year-end crime statistics from the county. Nationwide, the number of crimes declined by 9 percent from 2007 to 2012. This year, however, already has almost matched last year’s total number of homicides at eight as of Tuesday. There were eight criminal homicides in the county in 2013, down from 15 in 2012 and 19 in 2005, the earliest data available online from police. So far this year, there have been seven homicides in the county, according to police. The number of forcible rapes reported was up from 102 in 2012 to 130 in 2013, according to the crime statistics. Manger said part of the increase was probably due to changes in how rapes are reported. The statistics Montgomery County released are part of the Uniform Crime Reporting program overseen by the FBI. Every year, law enforcement agencies around the country send data about crime in their areas to the bureau. In 2013, the program’s standards included reporting male victims. Before 2013, the statistics only counted female victims of rape. The police Family Crimes Division also took over investigating rapes where the victim and the suspect were intimate partners, according to a county press release. Many of the investigations came through the Family See CRIME, Page A-8 NEWS SPORTS Upcounty board members can’t agree on route, delay vote. Blake indoor track team needs only five athletes for a top three finish. A-3 B-1 DEAD END ON MIDCOUNTY HIGHWAY? SMALL SQUAD, BIG RESULTS Automotive Calendar Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please RECYCLE DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, flanked by County Council President Craig Rice (left), County Executive Isiah Leggett (center) and State’s Attorney John McCarthy (right), speaks Tuesday about the reasons for a decrease in crime in the county. B-9 A-2 B-6 A-9 A-7 B-4 B-1 Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906251

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