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& CAPITALCONNECTION A cappella group blends voices for BlackRock show. B-5 The Gazette GAITHERSBURG | MONTGOMERY VILLAGE DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, December 11, 2013 25 cents Mayor, councilman eyeing higher office Easy sledding Katz will make final decision in early January BY JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITER Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz said Tuesday that he is considering a run for the Montgomery County Council District 3 seat currently held by County Councilman Philip M. Andrews. Andrews has filed as a candidate for county executive in 2014. In October, Katz closed his longtime business in Olde Towne Gaithersburg, Wolfson’s Department Store, but he said the closure had nothing to do with his potential run for the county seat. Katz said he began thinking seriously about running after many people from the community encouraged him to try and offered their help. “The more I thought about it, I realized that I could do so much more,” he said in a phone interview with The Gazette on Tuesday. His possible run was first reported on Montgomery Community Media. “I wouldn’t be turning my back on the Gaithersburg community. I would be helping so many more communities.” Katz, 63, said he will make a decision about running in early January. The Gaithersburg native has served on the City Council since 1978, when he was first elected as a councilmember. In September 1998, he was appointed to the position of mayor following the death of then-Mayor W. Edward Bohrer Jr. After winning re-election in November, Katz is currently serving a four-year term that will expire in November 2017. See KATZ, Page A-12 Spiegel will roll out campaign in weeks ahead BY JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITER TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE Nikki Johnson of the Kentlands takes her daughter Chloe, 4, sledding Tuesday outside Rachel Carson Elementary School in Gaithersburg. Students enjoyed snow days early in the week after two rounds of winter weather hit the region. For more on the weather, see Page A-4. Gaithersburg City Councilman Ryan Spiegel announced Thursday that he will run for the Montgomery County Council District 3 seat currently held by county Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D). Andrews is running for county executive in 2014. “This is a district that needs a good representative, and there’s an open seat,” Spiegel said. District 3 includes Gaithersburg, Rockville and nearby areas. Spiegel has served on the Gaithersburg council since 2007. He was reelected in 2011, and is serving a four-year term that will expire in November 2015. His announcement makes him the first declared candidate for the District 3 seat. However, no one had filed to run City to make roads, paths more biker friendly n Staff is considering addition of shared-lane markings to welcome cyclists BY JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITER Gaithersburg motorists and bicyclists will start to notice more bicyclefriendly streets and pathways over the next few years. At a meeting Monday before the City Council and city planning commission, staff gave a presentation on improving the bicycling facilities and routes in Gaithersburg. “Our focus tonight is on the implementation of the Bike Master Plan that was really improved by the mayor and council in 2010,” said John Schlichting, director of the city’s planning and code administration department. Community Planning Division Chief Trudy Schwarz and acting Director of Public Works Ollie NEWS WALK THIS WAY Gaithersburg officials celebrated the opening of the Teachers Way extension with a small ceremony to mark the project’s completion. A-3 Mumpower shared city staff’s recommendations with the City Council and planning commission. Among the many recommendations, Mumpower said one of the biggest suggested on-road projects is to place shared-lane street markings, or sharrows, on select area roads to indicate to roadway users that a bicyclist may ride in the lane. Paint or pre-cut thermoplastic markings can be used to implement this strategy, Mumpower said. Paint is a cheaper method, but it needs more maintenance. While the plastic markings cost more, they are typically more durable and require less maintenance, he said. “Staff is proposing that the city test both types of sharrows on Russell Avenue from Odendhal Avenue to Montgomery Village Avenue,” Mumpower said. That particular stretch of road was chosen as a test spot because it is an open, neutral location away from residential areas, Mumpower said. Once the most effective method has been determined, Mumpower said his department hopes to begin the formal implementation this spring. Staff proposed sharrows be installed on roads such as Saybrooke Oaks Boulevard, Victory Farm Drive, Girard Street and Christopher Avenue. Schwarz said another important project is increased signage for shared biking/walking paths that are separate from the road. “Most people understand that asphalt paths are for shared use, however several of the shared use paths in the city are concrete, which sends a mixed message to both pedestrians and bicyclists,” she said. “Signage needs to be added to these paths to inform people that they are allowed to ride or walk on these paths.” Mumpower also talked about the necessity of new signage that directs bikers to points of interest like parks See BIKER, Page A-12 SPORTS JAGUARS RETURN TOP TALENT Northwest’s indoor track and field teams expect big seasons. B-1 in that district as of Tuesday, according to the Maryland State Board of Elections website. Spiegel said a handful of factors encouraged him to run, including his familiarity with the district and his strong relationships with business and civic leaders. Spiegel also cited his policy experience and collaborative efforts from his time on the city council as skills he would bring to the county position. Looking at his legislative record, Spiegel said he would like to continue working on “economic development and increasing support for vulnerable segments of the population.” Bank on Gaithersburg, a program created by Spiegel to promote financial stability for families, is another initiative he said he wants to expand. See SPIEGEL, Page A-12 A (helping) hand up DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Volunteer Catherine Fitzgerald, a Kaiser Permanente employee, reaches up to load boxes with fresh food at Manna Food Center in Gaithersburg. In the days before Thanksgiving, the nonprofit saw more clients than expected. For more, see Page A-2. 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