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Mayor's Report for November 2001

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By Mayor Michael Herman

Since the September 11 terrorist acts, it has been difficult to think of anything else. Now with the recent anthrax incidents, everyone around the country is taking added precautions. I urge all residents to exercise caution when opening mail from unknown sources and to contact the police if any suspicious or unusual packages arrive at your homes. Throughout the Washington, D.C., region hundreds of individuals are being asked to join the call to arms and national service. Our town's employees are doing just that. Two have already been called up by the national guard and are assisting in this multinational effort. We wish Police Officer Larry Hayes and Police dispatcher Carlos Joyner Godspeed. Our thoughts will be with them until they return safely to our ranks with honor and distinction.

As we struggle to return to normalcy, the town has daunting tasks ahead. Fortunately, over the past two months we have made great strides in the community through improving our public infrastructure. The State Highway Administration project on Kenilworth Avenue is nearly complete, with all paving operations now done. This brings to an end nearly 19 months of traffic agony for our residents. I believe this nearly $1 million project is a vast improvement and has sparked additional private investment on facade improvements along Kenilworth Avenue. It is a tremendous start.

The Riverdale Road project will be completed by the end of November. Three separate contractors, along with WSSC, have moved steadily to make this nearly $2 million project come in below projected cost and likely ahead of schedule. It has been quite a sacrifice, particularly for the residents of Riverdale Road. We hope the visual and structural improvements will last for many years to come. Given the cost savings due to prudent project management, the Town is requesting that the State permit us to use part of the original grant to get banners or flags for the soon to be erected light poles. Given financial constraints, the town was unable to fund the entire cost of the flags and brackets for even 30 poles. It was my sincere hope to have American flags proudly displayed during this time of national unity. However, to fully install a flag and bracket costs approximately $100 per pole. The cost to the town to do this broadly would have exceeded $5,000 to $10,000, money simply not available in our budget. If we are unsuccessful in our grant request, scores of residents have already generously offered financial assistance to get these flags flying. We will explore that if needed and thank you for the offers.

As the winter approaches other public works projects are being hurried to completion. The newly constructed section of 54th Avenue, the 57th Avenue overlay, driveway aprons on Somerset Road and Powhatan, as well as the WSSC work along Queensbury Road and adjacent streets are but a few projects that will be completed in the coming weeks. If and when the snow plows are going along our streets, this work will be done.

Finally and sadly, in late August one of our longstanding residents passed. Edith Kalmus, the wife of former town councilman David Kalmus and mother of former police chief Ralph Kalmus, was taken from us. She was a member of the seniors' group in our community. She will be fondly remembered for her smile and the kind words she bestowed upon me and so many other residents of this community. She will be missed.

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