Archive for the 'Seniors' Category

January 9, 2010 update

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

PROPOSED ELIMINATION OF LOCAL RIDE-ON BUS SERVICE:  Montgomery County officials say that, in order to help close the large budget gap, they are considering cuts in bus service, including the weekday service of Route 36 that connects our community to the downtown Bethesda Metro station. A public forum will be held to address this and other proposed cuts in service on Monday, February 1, starting at 6:30 p.m. and ending after the last speaker at the Executive Office Building Cafeteria, Terrace Level, located at 101 Monroe Street, Rockville, Maryland. In the case of inclement weather, the public forum will be held on Tuesday,  February 2.

 The WBCA Board would like to know your views and whether you would like our association to take a formal position on this issue.  Please email your opinion to Sandy Vogelgesang (  In addition, if you feel strongly about this issue, do sign up to speak at the public forum on or before January 25 by furnishing your name, home address, telephone number, and email address to the Division of Transit Services, Ride On Public Forum, 101 Monroe Street, 5th Floor, Rockville, Maryland 20850.  Comments can be written, faxed or emailed to the Division of Transit services by COB, January 29, at the address just noted or faxed to 240-777-5801 or emailed to  Individuals who sign up to speak must bring two printed copies of their testimony for the record. 

POLICE ALERT ON CONTINUING DAYTIME BURGLARIES:  Detectives from the Montgomery County Police 1st District Investigative Section continue to investigate recent daytime residential burglaries that have occurred in the Potomac and Darnestown areas and that appear to be related.  Most of the burglaries have occurred on weekdays during the daylight hours.  In all of the burglaries, force was used to gain entry into the house either through a window or a door.  In each burglary, jewelry has been the target of the suspect(s). 

Residents are reminded to lock their doors and windows and make sure that their garage doors are secure when they are not at home.  Residents are also asked to notify their neighbors, and encouraged to have a caretaker stop by the house when they are away for extended periods of time.  In addition, residents are encouraged to use timers on their lights, radios, and televisions, and to hold their mail and news subscriptions while they are away.  The police ask that all residents report any and all alarm calls immediately when alerted of alarm activations at their residence.  Officers will immediately be dispatched to check the residence.

Report suspicious activity, vehicles, and individuals promptly to the police by calling the non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.  A detailed description of the suspicious person or vehicle is extremely helpful.  Descriptors may include race, gender, clothing-type, and hair color.  Obtaining the vehicle’s color, make, model, tag number, and direction of travel will also assist responding officers.   

Anyone who may have information about these residential burglaries and/or the involved suspect(s) is asked to call the 1st District Investigative Section at 240-773-6084. 

COUNTY MEETING ON SENIOR FRIENDLY COMMUNITIES:  The monthly meeting of the Montgomery County Civic Association – the umbrella organization of civic associations to which WBCA belongs – will focus on what several nearby neighborhoods are doing to help seniors and others continue to live in their homes and enjoy more community support.  The meeting will be held on Monday, January 11, 7:45-10:00 PM at the County Council Office Building (first floor auditorium) at 100 Maryland Avenue, Rockville.  Free parking in adjacent County garage.   The one-hour  program will start about 8:00 PM and will be followed by question period and reports on other County issues.  All citizens of WBCA welcome!  For more information, see


Sunday, October 25th, 2009
  • Problem with deer? Since many in the neighborhood have commented on increased damage to their gardens, tick bites and treatment for Lyme disease, and close calls with deer crossing Seven Lock, we have checked on what can be done by County authorities. Bill Hamilton, the main natural resources specialist for the County’s parks department, suggests that concerned residents send him an email ( noting your name, address and phone number and the nature of your concern or phone him at 301-949-4149. Mr. Hamilton prefers email so that he can tabulate the pattern of complaints from residents and use that data as the basis for next steps. Those steps could range from community briefing sessions, consideration of programs for special managed hunts in County parks (if supported by surrounding community). Please copy Sandy Vogelgesang, WBCA president ( so that I can reflect your concerns as accurately as possible in a letter, in behalf of the entire West Bradley community, to the director of the County parks.
  • Wellness Forum. Congressman Chris van Hollen will be the guest speaker at a program entitled “Feeling Your Best at Any Age.” The program, organized by Councilmember Roger Berliner and the Montgomery County Commission on Aging, will take place, Friday, November 13, 1-4 PM, at Sunrise at Fox Hill, 8300 Burdette Road, Bethesda. Resource Fair to begin at 1:00 PM and formal program to begin at 2:00 PM. Admission free. No RSVP needed. Parking available. For more information, call 240-777-7828.
  • “Howl-O-Ween” for Dogs and Dog Lovers!   The County Parks Department will hold the opening celebration of the Cabin John Dog Park on Saturday, October 31, 9:00 AM – Noon. This first dog park inside the Beltway provides off-leash exercise areas with separate facilities for large and small dogs.
  • Wondering what Federal health insurance to choose? Experts on federal health insurance plans will provide updates as Open Season approaches for 2010. The program closest to our community will be held on Thursday, November 19, 7:00- 9:00 PM, in the executive auditorium of the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe Street in Rockville (parking available on the street and nearby parking garage). The panel presentation begins at 7:30 PM.
  • Reminder to Community Street Captains. In order to keep our WBCA listserv current and help welcome new neighbors, let Sandy know changes in emails and contact information for new residents. Thanks – and Happy Halloween!

Fall Update 2009

Sunday, September 13th, 2009


Greetings from your WBCA Board! We hope that you all enjoyed a wonderful summer! As we head into autumn, here’s the latest on local issues of interest to our community:

New Seven Locks Elementary School on Track. Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) reports continuing progress. Final drawings are being prepared for construction that will begin in July 2010. The new school, which will be twice the size of the current building and include a gymnasium, is scheduled to open in January 2012.

New Community Discussion Lists. Need tips from your neighbors about everything from babysitters to repair firms? WBCA has two discussion lists (burningrose for those east of Seven Locks Road and westofsevenlocks for those on the other side of Seven Locks) in addition to our announcement-only listserv. To subscribe to either or both of the discussion lists, email J.J. MacNab at

Help Update Neighbors’ Network. Serious crime in our community last fall provided a wake-up call for all of us. One positive outcome was the mobilization of WBCA’s Neighbors’ Network, consisting of volunteer Street Captains for every block in our 600-family community. Thanks to these volunteers, we have contact information for most residents (especially those living alone who might need a helping hand) and a listserv with emails that enables us to communicate quickly in case of emergency. Since there’s been some turnover in the community, we’d appreciate receiving new contact information (changes in emails or new neighbors) from either Street Captains or others who know of changes. Just send the information to Sandy Vogelgesang (WBCA president) at If you have moved out of our community and no longer wish to receive notices, let us know that as well.

Openings in Local Boy Scout Troop. Now that children are returning to school, local Scouts are seeking new recruits. Several boys in our community belong to Troop 1434. They would welcome others, age 10 ½ -17 years, who would like to join them for an exciting program of outdoor adventures. The troop meets every Thursday at the Seven Locks Baptist Church, 7:30-9:00 PM. Interested parents or boys can contact Scoutmaster Geoffrey Wolfe at 301-365-2347.

Illegal Signs at Seven Locks – Bradley Intersection. Several residents have voiced concern about the proliferation of commercial ad signs at this intersection. To put up signs legally, contact Frank DeLong at Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (301-370-3655) and pay a fee for the proper permit. If you see unauthorized signs, call Mr. DeLong, who will remove them, or take them out yourself.

Free Information and Services for Seniors. Jane Ross, WBCA Board Member, attended a recent County meeting on aging in place hosted by County Councilmember Roger Berliner. Jane reports that she was happily surprised to discover how many services are available. She recommends attending the periodic County meetings for seniors since she found that the speakers are excellent, there is much free material available and complimentary coffee and cookies are served! Thanks to Jane for providing the following sources of information:

 Background on NORC (“naturally occurring retirement communities” ) in nearby Burning Tree Village. Contact Leslie Kessler (301-526-2251) for information on how Burning Tree has created a fully operational nonprofit organization to help seniors and disabled neighbors remain in their homes.
 The Senior Connection (301-777-2448)
 Jay Kenney, chairman of the Department of Health and Human Services/Aging/Disability Services (244-777-3000)
 Fire and Rescue Safety Education (240-777-2448)
 Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at Scroll down and click on “Senior Information.” That Center is a great resource for information for everyone, on everything from how to get more street lights to how to petition for a speed bump.
 Montgomery County Silver Sneaker Free Exercise Program: The closest centers are the Clara Barton Community Center and the Potomac Community Center.
 GROWS (Grass Roots Organization for the Well-being of Seniors) at or 301-765-3325
 Free “Seniors’ Resource Guide” — Call the Beacon newspaper for information.
 Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (240-777-3636).

What Can We Do for You? Let us know how West Bradley Citizens’ Association can help address any issues of concern to you. Our goal is to help build a sense of community and protect the interests of our neighborhood. Do visit our website ( for background and contact information. And to all of you who are new to our neighborhood, WELCOME!

Free Seminar for Seniors

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

The notice below, forwarded by Councilmember Berliner, might be of interest to some in our community or friends nearby.


With Guest Speakers:

“Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities:
The Changing Face of Montgomery County”
Beth Shapiro, Community Partners

“Aging in Place: It Takes a Village”
Leslie Kessler, Burning Tree Village
Ken Hartman, Director,
Bethesda Chevy-Chase Regional Services Center

“Staying Safe in Your Home”
Matthew Kelleher,
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services

“Housing: Understanding Your Options and
Making Informed Decisions”

Renee Groban, Jewish Council for the Aging

Question and Answer Panel Discussion Will Follow

Friday, June 19, 2009 2:00 – 4:00pm
The Anastasi Room
Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad
5020 Battery Lane
Bethesda, MD 20817
(Corner of Old Georgetown Road and Battery Lane)

Please call (240) 777-7828 for more information

Exhibitors: AARP, Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad, Family and Nursing Care Inc., G.R.O.W.S, Jewish Community Center of Greater Washington, Jewish Council for the Aging, Jewish Social Service Agency, Meals on Wheels, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services, Montgomery County Office of Aging and Disability, Montgomery County Office of Consumer Affairs, Montgomery County Police Department, OASIS, Senior Connection, Senior Health Insurance Program, Strategies for Independent Living, Suburban Hospital, The Beacon Newspaper, Top Banana Home-Delivered Groceries


Security for Seniors Forum

Tuesday, March 24th, 2009

Montgomery County Councilmember Roger Berliner invites you to a forum on

Security for Seniors in an Uncertain Time
Financial ~ Personal ~ Home

Special Guest Speaker
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin

Other Guest Speakers:

Mr. Stan Hinden: Living on Less
Former Washington Post financial writer
and author of How To Retire Happy

Commander Russ Hamill: Safety Tips for Seniors
Montgomery County Police Department

Friday, March 6, 2009
2:00-4:00 PM
The Anastasia Room,
Bethesda Chevy Chase Rescue Squad
5020 Battery Lane
Bethesda, MD 20817
(Corner of Old Georgetown Road and Battery Lane)
Please call (240) 777-7828 for more information

Exhibitors: Bethesda Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services
Center, Community Partners, Family and Nursing Care Inc., G.R.O.W.S, Interages, Jewish Council on
Aging, Meals on Wheels, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Department of Recreation,
Montgomery County Fire/Rescue Service, Montgomery County Police Department, Montgomery
County Office of Aging and Disability, OASIS, Senior Checked, Senior Connection, Senior Health
Insurance Program, Strategies for Independent Living, Suburban Hospital, The Beacon, Top Banana
Home-Delivered Groceries, Vamoose Bus


Scams Targeting the Elderly

Friday, February 13th, 2009

WBCA received today (February 13) the information noted below, forwarded from the Neighborhood Watch for the nearby Burning Tree community in Bethesda. We note this information, not only because of the specific concern it raises, but also in light of the tragic homicide in our area last September. Regarding that crime, the man charged with the Havenstein murder and three other home invasions (targeting seniors) is scheduled for trial in May. And, finally, regarding an unrelated item but one of obvious concern in our community, the raccoon that bit a child in our neighborhood recently did test positive for rabies – so do remain alert for other suspicious raccoons, foxes, etc.!

Police Investigate a Series of Diversion Scams Targeting Elderly Couples

Detectives from three District Investigative Sections are investigating three incidents of theft diversion scams targeting elderly couples in Gaithersburg, Rockville, and Bethesda. Detectives believe they may be related and committed by the same group of suspects.

In all three incidents, a suspect is dressed in a dark blue uniform and claims to be a government employee. In two of the incidents, he told the victims that their neighbor’s home had a flood and he would need the victims to accompany him to the basement of the home to inspect their water pipes. While the suspect and the victims are in the basement, two additional suspects enter the home and search for cash to steal. In the third incident, the suspect again claimed that a neighbor had a flood, but he wanted to check the water pressure in the victim’s home.

The first two incidents described above occurred on February 3 within an hour of each other. The first incident occurred at approximately 4:30 p.m. in the 1900 block of Stanley Avenue in Rockville. This incident involved an 85-year-old female victim and a 99-year-old male victim. The second incident occurred at approximately 5:00 p.m. in the 4400 block of West Virginia Avenue in Bethesda. This incident involved an 83-year-old female victim and a 90-year-old male victim. The third incident occurred on February 9 at approximately 12:00 p.m. in the 16600 block of South Westland Avenue in Gaithersburg. This incident involved a 72-year-old female victim and an 80-year-old male victim.

The first suspect is described as a Hispanic male, in his 30’s, 5’6″ to 5’8″ tall, with a thin build, and short black hair. He is wearing a dark blue shirt and dark blue pants. He is wearing what appears to be a yellow name badge with a picture. The second suspect is described as a Hispanic male, in his 30’s, with a medium build, and short black hair. He is wearing dark blue clothing. The third suspect is described as white male, in his 50’s, with a heavy build, and gray hair.

Anyone who has information about the thefts and/or the suspects is asked to call the 5th/6th District Investigative Section at 240-773-6237. Callers may remain anonymous.

10/6/08 Police Update

Tuesday, October 7th, 2008


October 6, 2008 Media Services Division, 240-773-5030

Update Update Update Update

Police release New Information at Community Meeting in Reference to Series of Home Invasions and Homicide

Tonight at 7:30 at a community meeting at Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda hosted by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett, Montgomery County Police released additional information to the public about a series of home invasions and a homicide that have targeted older residents. Detectives want to keep the public informed to reduce the risk to residents, and they continue to seek the public’s help in trying to identify the suspect believed responsible for six incidents. At this time only the homicide and two of the home invasion robberies have been officially linked, however detectives are investigating with the belief that the same individual has committed all six crimes.

Home Invasion Robberies:
• September 17, 2007, 11:40 p.m.
7600 block of Maryknoll Avenue, Bethesda, MD.
92-year-old female victim
• November 27, 2007, 1:03 a.m.
5500 block of Montgomery Street, Chevy Chase, MD.
77-year-old female victim
• January 9, 2008, 12:01 a.m.
2300 block of 49th Street. N.W., Washington, D.C.
84-year-old male and 85-year-old female victims
• February 27, 2008, 8:15 a.m.
11000 block of Picasso Lane, Potomac, MD.
78-year-old female victim.
Vehicle taken
• May 7, 2008, 2:30 a.m.
(Reported at this time, occurred earlier)
5800 block of Brookside Drive, Bethesda, MD
75-year-old male and 70-year-old female victims
• Found September 4, 8:43 a.m.
(Likely occurred overnight from 9/2 into 9/3 )
8900 block of Seven Locks Road, Potomac, MD
63-year-old victim.
Vehicle taken.

Detectives used DNA evidence to officially link the homicide to two of the home invasions that occurred in Montgomery County. The specific incidents that were linked are not being released due to the on-going investigation and for the safety of all of the surviving victims.

Similarities between the incidents:

• Victims in all incidents are older people (between 63 and 92 years old).
• All the victims were tied.
• All of the homes had secluded back yards.
• None of the homes had a residential alarm system.
• Suspect described similarly by all surviving victims as: a white or Latino male who spoke with a slight Hispanic accent, but spoke English very well, in his 20’s, 5’5” to 5’8” tall, with a medium build. He wore a mask in all but one incident. A wide variety of clothing was worn to include camouflage and one described as “dressed to fit in with the community”.


• Four victims were older women living alone, 2 incident victims were older couples (man and wife).
• Methods of entry: in some cases unlocked doors, in some pried open rear basement door, in some removed pane of glass from rear door.
• Phone lines to entire house cut once, lights disabled at circuit breakers inside house twice.
• Variety of items taken from homes.
• In one case, tools were found at the scene which the suspect may have brought with him in a dark duffel bag.

The length of time between incidents has varied from 43 to 119 days.

A series of unusual items were left at the Picasso Lane incident to include a purple backpack containing such property as: two baseball hats, one with a Nike logo, and one with a Lowe’s logo, marbles, a Smoot Lumber strap, a slingshot made out of a bundle of large rubber bands held together by a piece of denim cloth. It was later learned that the backpack had been stolen five years ago from the 3700 block of Harrison Street in northwest Washington, D.C.

The suspect asks for a variety of items to include cash and gold. He takes his time and looks wherever he wants throughout a home. Some unique items have been taken during the home invasions. One piece of jewelry is described as an “Old European cut” diamond ring with dark blue enamel on either side of the 18-karat yellow gold setting, and another is a voice-activated watch for the visually impaired manufactured by “LS&S”.

On September 24, there was an attempted residential burglary in the 4900 block of Asbury Lane in Bethesda. The 70-year-old victim who lives alone had a residential alarm system that activated during the evening. She did not learn until the following day that the basement door locks were damaged, and then called police. It is not known if this incident is related to the series, but serves as a reminder that all residents should not hesitate to call police for suspicious activity or suspicious person in a neighborhood.

Calls should be made to 911 if a situation is in progress, and to the Montgomery County Police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000 if the suspicious incident is not in progress.

Police are releasing photographs of several items hoping that someone will relate them to the individual responsible for these crimes. Because detectives have DNA evidence, possible suspects can be eliminated and therefore no one can be wrongfully associated with these crimes. Community members should be concerned about someone who can’t account for where he was late at night, someone who has property that doesn’t belong to him, and/or someone who can’t account for how he acquired unusual property. Anyone with information should call 240-773-5070. Callers may remain anonymous.

Montgomery County Police continue to remind everyone of the following strategies to help prevent crime in their neighborhoods.

• Ensure that there are functioning locks for all doors and windows and use them consistently. Garage doors should also be kept secured when not in use.
• Security systems that include alarms, exterior lighting with motion detectors, and timers for interior lighting are all measures that may prevent residential crime.
• Shrubbery close to the home that might provide concealment should be trimmed.
• Newspapers and mail should be taken in the day it is delivered. If residents are unable to pick it up, they should have a neighbor or family member collect it for them.
• If residents believe they are being followed they should not go home but drive to a public place. If they can safely obtain information that would be helpful to the police such as a description or tag number; they should do so as long as they don’t endanger themselves.
• If you suspect an intruder, don’t confront the person. If you can’t leave the house safely, lock yourself in a room with a phone or cell phone.
• Don’t enter your home if you see signs of forced entry. Go to a safe place to call police.
• Know your neighbors and your community – senior men or women living alone should develop regular daily contact with a friend, family member, or neighbor who will alert police if that regular contact is not made.
• Residents should call the police if they believe something doesn’t fit, occurs at an unusual time of day, or seems uncharacteristic to the area.

Police suggest that citizen associations participate in a collaborative effort between Montgomery County and “Connected Communities” part of Montgomery County’s largest electronic emergency alert notification network that connects community listservs. It is found at

The Victims’ Rights Foundation has set up a “Home Invasion Homicide Fund” to accept donations to increase the reward of $5,000 that they are offering for information that leads to an arrest and/or indictment of the individual responsible for the six home invasion robberies and homicide. All donations are tax deductible. Anyone wishing to donate to the fund should send a check with a notation in the memo line for the Home Invasion Homicide Fund to:

The Victims’ Rights Foundation
814 West Diamond Avenue, Suite 200
Gaithersburg, MD 20878

Crime Update: Two October 6th Meetings

Thursday, October 2nd, 2008


There will be two meetings on Monday, October 6, relating to crime and safety in our neighborhood:

(1) SAFETY PROGRAM AT LIBRARY: The Montgomery County Police will present a program, “Safety for Seniors,” in the downstairs community room of the Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Boulevard in Bethesda, 3:00 – 6:00 PM. The police will cover the following topics for residential security: locks, windows, doors, alarms, landscaping, reporting suspicious activity and when to call the police. There will also be table displays with more information.

(2) POLICE CHIEF BRIEFING ON RECENT HOMICIDE AND OTHER CRIMES: A public meeting regarding the homicide on Seven Locks Road, September 4, and the recent spate of home invasion and automobile robberies will take place from 7:30 PM to 9:00 PM at the Walt Whitman High School auditorium (7100 Whittier Boulevard in Bethesda ). Police Chief Tom Manger and officers of the Montgomery County Police Department will brief the community on the status of the Police Department’s efforts and answer questions from the audience. County Executive Isiah Leggett and Councilmember Roger Berliner will also attend the meeting.