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& A JOYFUL Noise Area choirs gather to spread the word on a region rich in talent. A-11 The Gazette OLNEY DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, February 5, 2014 25 cents North Branch Trail project may be halted An aerial view of the Washington Christian Academy campus in Olney. n BY PHOTO FROM NAI KLNB SARAH SCULLY STAFF WRITER Washington Christian to stay open Property purchased by Silver Spring-based church, will be used for weekend services n BY TERRI HOGAN STAFF WRITER Bethel World Outreach Ministries has purchased the Washington Christian Academy property, and through a lease-back arrangement, will allow the school to remain operational. Washington Christian Academy is a coeducational private school for students from kindergarten through 12th grade. The school, which opened in 1960, built a 68,000-square-foot building on 60 wooded acres at 16227 Batchellors Forest Road in Olney in 2008. Under terms of the sale, Bethel World Outreach Ministries will allow Washington Christian Academy to remain functional during the week. On weekends, the building will serve the congregational needs of the church. Head of School David Hawes admitted that the transaction was atypical, but said he was very pleased with the outcome. “We were dealing with a level of instability, so this puts us in a much better financial picture,” he said. “It’s been about six months since the church first approached us, and we have developed a real good relationship with them. We have talked about potential ministries that we can do together.” In recent years, the school’s enrollment had declined. Currently, there are 224 stu- See OPEN, Page A-10 Public campaign funding bill in works Measure would place limits on size of contributions n BY Now in the design stage, the trail likely will not receive funding RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER 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 executive in the June 24 primary, said Monday he believes the bill will encourage “We absolutely believe that Montgomery County is setting the model for other counties to follow and for the state to follow.” Jennifer Bevan-Dangel, executive director, Cause Maryland more candidates to run for office and more residents to participate in campaigns, as well as reduce the influence of special interests in government. Andrews said he’s been See FUNDING, Page A-10 Funding for the North Branch Hiker-Biker Trail has not been included in the county executive’s latest Capital Improvements Program Budget, although design is already underway. The paved trail would be about 2.2 miles long, with two segments, in the Rock Creek Regional Park and North Branch Stream Valley Park. It would connect larger trail systems in the county and Washington, D.C. In June the Montgomery County Planning Board approved a plan for the design stage of the trail, and the trail has been recommended in several master plans, several Rock Creek area plans, and the Countywide Park Trails Plan. These designs are expected to cost $520,000 once complete. The department has spent about $370,000 of that so far, out of the last CIP budget. The Parks Department recommended $4.29 million to be allocated for the project in the next county CIP budget, through 2020. “Due to affordability, the executive could not recommend that funding be put in,” said Amy Wilson, a management budget specialist. “We’re still coming out of the recession and we do have limited availability of funding, so it was just weighed against other priorities,” she said. Wilson emphasized that this is a new project; it was not previously included in the budget. But with the design near completion, park staff was disappointed by the omission. “Park staff is particularly concerned about this project, since final construction documents are underway and this project was promised to the community in 2010,” wrote Marian Elsasser, landscape architect for the parks department, in an email. She wrote that it was promised “as a follow-up project to the ICC environmental stewardship project for the Lake Frank Trail connector.” One segment of the trail would connect Lake Frank Lakeside Trail to the Emory Land Bikeway at the intersection of Muncaster Mill Road, northeast of Rockville. The northern segment would connect the Route 200 Bikeway to a future trail planned by a private developer at the Preserve at Rock Creek, west of Olney. The section planned by the developer will connect to a part of the North Branch Trail previously constructed north of Bowie Mill Road. “This trail is a critical segment of a continuous regional park trail system,” Elsasser wrote. Barbara Falcigno, president of the Greater Olney Civic Association, said the association had assumed the trail would be built. She was disappointed to see it left out of the budget. “It’s a very short section that needs to be completed for huge parts of the county to be opened up,” and accessible through the trail system, she said. Designs for the trail have already been funded, but construction, planned to begin in 2016, is reliant on the council’s See TRAIL, Page A-10 Wintry assault assails Montgomery County road salt supplies n Cold temperatures, regular storms have kept crews busy BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER 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 Keith Compton, the chief of the Division of NEWS 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 sometimes dipped into the single digits, Compton said. The State Highway Administration has had to use liquid magnesium, designed to make salt effective at much lower temperatures, in the state’s metropolitan areas where it’s usually not needed because the temperature of the pavement doesn’t generally get as cold as it has this year, said spokesman David Buck. About the only bright side has been that the cold temperatures have usually made the snow fluffy and easier to plow, he said. Buck said the winter has been a tough one around the state, with Garrett County accumulating more than 100 inches of snow and Ocean City getting about 13 inches. The highway agency has activated its emergency operations center 24 times since See SALT, Page A-10 SPORTS FROG CALLING FrogWatch volunteers are part of a nationwide program to collect data on the amphibians. A-7 TOUGH DECISIONS FOR ATHLETES Players make signing day commitments too early because of recruitment pressure. B-1 Automotive Business Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please RECYCLE BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE Salt trucks wait at a parking lot in Gaithersburg to start salting roads Monday. B-13 B-5 A-2 B-7 B-9 A-11 A-8 B-6 B-1 Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906240

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