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RAT PACK is BACK & Revue stirs memories of legendary entertainers. A-13 The Gazette GAITHERSBURG | MONTGOMERY VILLAGE DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, September 25, 2013 Parents warned at drug abuse forum Principal: ‘It’s a parental issue’ n BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER Addressing her fellow Wootton High School parents, Rachel Boxman said Thursday evening in the school’s auditorium that drug abuse among teenagers is prevalent in the Wootton community and beyond — and demands their attention. “Please do not think it does not apply to you,” said Boxman, a volunteer with The Partnership at, a nonprofit organization, who once worked on pharmaceutical studies. “I’m telling you, it could be your kid. Great kids make bad choices.” The forum was the last of four mandatory parent meetings the school scheduled specifically to Traffic and property values among concerns near golf center BY JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITER Montgomery Village residents say there is too much development planned for the former golf club in their neighborhood. The owner of the property, Monument Realty, held its second workshop with about 100 Montgomery Village residents on Thursday evening, asking them to contribute ideas and convey their concerns about the development slated to replace an 18-hole golf course with 600 homes. Throughout the night, many listeners expressed concerns about ‘He was the kindest, happiest man’ discuss drug abuse. While the majority of parents did not attend, Wootton Principal Michael Doran said about 500 parents total attended the four meetings, which he called “a good percentage” of parents who he felt would help spread the information. Judi Casey, vice president of the school’s PTSA, said the group’s desire to hold the meeting stemmed from concern about drug abuse at both the local and national levels. “We didn’t want to lose a kid for lack of trying and educating parents, so we decided to do this,” Casey said. The meetings wrapped up a few weeks before an Oct. 7 Montgomery County Public Schools forum on alcohol and drug abuse. It will be for parents and other county residents at Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville. See FORUM, Page A-12 Residents sound off on Montgomery Village course n 25 cents cramped neighborhoods and increased traffic. Sue Fierston bought her townhome in Fairway Islands 20 years ago after falling in love with the open view in the back, and is now upset to learn that the new construction could take away her favorite part of the property. “I was shocked by the density of the homes and I was saddened that the view from my house would be gone,” she said. Neighbors on Fierston’s street, Duffer Way, even created an online community group to encourage unity among residents and ensure that “Monument Realty respects the input of our citizens.” Montgomery Village resident Patricia Cuff said the increase in traffic due to more residential units See COURSE, Page A-12 DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Friends and family of John Roger Johnson attend a graveside service for him Tuesday at Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Silver Spring. Johnson was one of two Montgomery County residents killed in the Sept. 16 Navy Yard shootings in Washington, D.C. Navy Yard victim laid to rest John Roger Johnson of Derwood remembered for his kindness and powerful hugs n BY ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH STAFF WRITER Those who knew him say John Roger Johnson, or “J.J.,” loved fishing, his family, and sweeping his friends into bone-crushing bearhugs. Friends and family gathered at the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Gaithersburg to mourn Johnson, the patriarch of a brood of four daughters, 10 grandchildren and four stepchildren. The Derwood resident was one of two Montgomery County residents who died in the Navy Yard massacre on Sept. 16. Authorities say gunman Aaron Alexis, a troubled Navy Reservist, entered the Washington, D.C., facility and began firing with a shotgun he bought from a store in Lorton, Va. On Tuesday, hundreds of funeralgoers gathered at a church off Rockville Pike to remember a generous, optimistic man who looked for the best in everybody. “He was the kindest, happiest man,” Bob Coyne, a longtime friend and fellow churchgoer, said after the service. Like many there, he recalled Johnson’s paternal nature and how he became accustomed to Johnson’s strong bearhugs. “Finally, I just said, you’re not going to be around [J.J.] without getting an anaconda-like squeeze ... and I grew to love it,” he said. Johnson towered well above 6 feet and, in the many photos that have circulated of him since his death, had a radiant smile. The family did not allow reporters to attend the funeral, but a video showing the homily during the service was later posted online. In his homily, Good Shepherd’s pastor, David A. Sonnenberg Jr., spoke of Johnson’s faith in God and in the world around him. “He saw goodness in other people ... when someone can acknowledge that, maybe people can live up to that.” Johnson’s son-in-law Tony Zagami and his grandson Dino eulogized John- See VICTIM, Page A-12 Call continued for holiday school closures Students, others face hard decision on Muslim holy days n BY LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER Standing in front of the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville, Northwest High School senior Anhar Karim said he is one of many students in the county who have faced a hard decision related to two Muslim holidays. Karim said that when a holiday conflicts with school, he can either celebrate and miss class or go to school and miss the celebration. “We are forcing our students into an SPORTS JUST THE RESULTS B-CC’s two-way football star doesn’t have the numbers, but has the results. B-1 unreasonable decision,” said Karim, who is president of the Montgomery County Muslim Student Association. Karim and other speakers urged Montgomery County Public Schools to close when classes fall on Eid al-Adha and Eid al-Fitr during a Monday press conference held by the Maryland chapter of the Council of American Islamic Relations and the Equality for Eid Coalition. Eid al-Adha celebrates sacrifice to God and falls on Oct. 15 this year. Eid alFitr marks the end of the holy month of Ramadan and was Aug. 8. The dates of the holidays change because of the Islam lunar calendar. The coalition, which is sponsored by the council, formed about a year ago Automotive Calendar Classified Community News Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please RECYCLE B-15 A-2 B-11 A-4 A-13 A-11 B-8 B-1 to pursue a long-standing goal for the school closures. The speakers also called for school system students and staff to skip school on Oct. 15 and celebrate Eid al-Adha instead. Zainab Chaudry — vice president of the council’s Maryland chapter and a cochair of the coalition — said the initiative is not asking for special rights. “We’re only asking for equal rights,” she said. Montgomery County Councilman George Leventhal (D-At large) of Takoma Park, another speaker at the press conference, said Muslim students and their See CLOSURES, Page A-12 TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE Zainab Chaudry, vice president of the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Maryland chapter and co-chairwoman of Equality for Eid, speaks at a news conference Monday outside the Montgomery County Council Office Building in Rockville. SPECIAL SECTION GAZETTE HEALTH Special Women’s Issue What would you do if you found out you had the ‘breast cancer gene’? One woman tells her story. Plus: why women lose their hair; the latest on the risks and benefits of aspirin; the value of vitamin D FALL HOME SERVICES INSIDE FOCUS ON LAWN & TREE SERVICES LOCAL JOBS INSIDE ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906627

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