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A JOYFUL Noise & Area choirs gather to spread the word on a region rich in talent. B-5 The Gazette GERMANTOWN | POOLESVILLE | BOYDS DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, February 5, 2014 25 cents Bill allows for public campaign funding n Measure would help fund candidates, but place limits on size of contributions BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER The Potomac River has been moving, but “huge, huge sheets of ice” forced Malcolm Brown to shut down White’s Ferry in Poolesville 11 days last month. PHOTOS BY TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE Weather freezes out White’s Ferry commuters Ice floes on Potomac send motorists to alternate routes n BY SYLVIA CARIGNAN STAFF WRITER Unseasonably frigid temperatures have hit White’s Ferry and its commuters hard this winter. Operator Malcolm Brown said the ferry — which links Poolesville and Northern Virginia across the Potomac River — was closed for 11 days in January. That wasn’t a record, but it wasn’t good for business, either. “We have been closed an entire month before,” but that was decades ago, Brown said. He declined to disclose how much money the business has lost because of the closures. The main culprits last month were ice on the Potomac and high water. Brown said the river is moving, but there are “huge, huge sheets of ice” slowly wending their way downstream. If the water’s surface is frozen completely, he said, the ferry can channel through it. With ice floes, the river is much more difficult to traverse. The ferry has a capacity of 24 cars and is used mostly by commuters to Northern Virginia. A one-way ride costs $5; round trips go for $8. It’s the last Potomac River ferry in Montgomery County and one of the last in the region that cross the river. Dan Levine of Poolesville said he takes the ferry about once a week to Cold temperatures, regular storms have kept crews busy RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Having survived last month’s polar vortex and with Punxsutawney Phil recently predicting six more weeks of winter weather, state, county and local officials are keeping an eye on the toll this winter’s weather has taken on their supplies and budgets. Montgomery County has used slightly less than 50,000 tons of road salt since the winter season started in November, said SPORTS NEWS FROG CALLING FrogWatch volunteers are part of a nationwide program to collect data on the amphibians. A-9 TOUGH DECISIONS FOR ATHLETES Players make signing day commitments too early because of recruitment pressure. B-1 School system updating policy to follow new state regulations LINDSAY A. POWERS STAFF WRITER n Salt trucks wait at a parking lot in Gaithersburg to start salting roads Monday. Officials gain more discretion for discipline BY Keith Compton, the chief of the Division of Highway Services in the county’s Department of Transportation. At $52 a ton from the county’s supplier at the Port of Baltimore, that’s about $2.6 million worth of salt so far this winter. The county tries to keep about 30,000 tons on hand so it will always be prepared for a major storm. “That’s the comfort zone,” Compton said. County road crews responded to eight weather events in January, and also had to deal with a lot of ice created by the unseasonably cold temperatures that some- Montgomery County school administrators can use discretion for disciplinary action against students involved in major offenses, after the state school board adopted new regulations on Jan. 28. In addition, the regulations call longterm suspensions and expulsions as “last resort options,” and outlines what schools must do to help suspended students receive certain services, according to the state board’s proposed regulations. Montgomery County Public Schools and other Maryland school districts have until the beginning of next school year to update their policies. Lori-Christina Webb — executive director to the county school system’s deputy superintendent of teaching, learning and programs — said school-level administrators now can use discretion to decide more serious disciplinary cases. Such decisions were previously guided by minimum and maximum discipline outlined in the school system’s policy, she said. Webb said school administrators previously could use discretion for the “vast See SALT, Page A-10 See DISCIPLINE, Page A-10 Winter assails salt supplies BY See FUNDING, Page A-10 n Signs along White’s Ferry Road let drivers know they had better seek an alternate river crossing to Northern Virginia on a recent day. See FERRY, Page A-10 A bill to provide public funding for county executive and county council campaigns has drawn praise from a number of organizations dedicated to good government as an example for other jurisdictions to follow. The bill, sponsored by Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg and co-sponsored by all eight of his council colleagues, would allow candidates to receive public money to help fund their campaigns, but places limits on the size of contributions for candidates who accept it. The bill was introduced Tuesday. Andrews, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for county Automotive Business Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-14 A-11 A-2 A-13 B-10 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906240

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