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157 Montgomery County Public School Students Are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

There are 157 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in the 2011 competition, eight more than the previous year. The semifinalists will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered in the spring. The competition is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The MCPS semifinalists come from 16 high schools. The schools and their number of semifinalists are:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: 8
Montgomery Blair: 40
Blake: 1
Winston Churchill: 13
Clarksburg: 1
Einstein: 1
Poolesville:  9
Quince Orchard: 2
Richard Montgomery: 30
Rockville: 1
Seneca Valley: 1
Springbrook: 3
Walter Johnson: 7
Walt Whitman: 24
Watkins Mill: 1
Wootton: 15

Maryland Cell Phone Ban Begins

Maryland residents and those residents who travel through Maryland need to know that on Friday, October 1, 2010 (this Friday) - cell phone use will become illegal while driving. The offense will be a "secondary" offense, meaning that offenders can only be cited with it if they are pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

Beginning on Friday, people who wish to make a call while driving MUST use a hands free device. The fine will be $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations of the law.

Texting while driving has been illegal for some time now and already carries a fine.

Maryland is following suit with several other states with cellular phone bans while in operation of a motor vehicle, but it is one of the only (if not the only) state to list the law as a "secondary" offense.

Celebrate Fall Foliage In Montgomery County

Fall Foliage Bus Tours

Saturday, October 16 & Saturday, October 23

Enjoy a special bus tour through the Up-county/Agricultural Reserve!  Join the staff of Heritage Montgomery as they share many of the region’s fascinating (and often amusing) stories and legends while pointing out orchards ripe with juicy apples, bountiful fields of pumpkins, and spectacular vistas adorned with autumn’s changing leaves!

Photo opportunities will abound as we drive through the countryside and stop and enjoy:

¨       The John Poole House & General Store

¨       Poolesville Museum in the Old Town Hall

¨       Lunch at the Comus Inn

¨       Pumpkins at the Comus Market

¨       The beauty of Sugarloaf Mountain

Stink Bugs: Invaders from The North

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (WUSA) --  They're here, especially those suburbs north of Washington closer to Pennsylvania.  I'm talking about 'Stink Bugs'. 

First noticed in the Allentown, Pennsylvania region in the late 1990s, these Asian natives probably hitched a ride on a shipping container.   They have been spreading out ever since and their numbers are also increasing. 

Web Link: Dr. Raupp's Bug Of The Week

University of Maryland Entomologist Mike Raupp has been tracking these pesky bugs.  They've been eating crops and even some trees bark.  There is very little they won't eat except for people and animals.  Also, they have no natural predators in North America, so their growth has gone unchecked.

When the weather turns cold, they'll start coming indoors and that could mean an infestation of 'Stink Bugs' in your home.

Maryland Schools Must Teach Environmental Education

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Maryland officials have ruled that schools must include environmental education in their pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classes.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted Tuesday to make environmental education part of students' education, but it will not be an official graduation requirement. Still, all students must complete a "local action" project to improve the environment either individually or with their school.

It's not clear how much schools will change as a result. In Montgomery County, for example, students already create butterfly gardens and vegetable patches, and "Green Teams" collect recycling items.

Beginning in 2015, superintendents will have to certify every five years that the regulation's requirements are met.

FBI Seeks Suspect In 38 Restaurant Robberies

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The FBI Baltimore field office says law enforcement agencies are searching for a man suspected of robbing dozens of restaurants in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia.

The FBI says since February 2009, there have been 38 armed robberies of restaurants in the region. That includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties in Maryland; Newark, Del.; York, Pa.; and Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia.

Authorities say the man has displayed a gun in all the robberies and is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Poolesville High School Ranks #60 on Newsweek’s list of Top 100 Public High Schools in the U.S.

The 2010 America's Best High Schools list ranks schools based on their efforts to provide all students access to rigorous classes, such as Advanced Placement (AP) and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses. Students who succeed in rigorous classes, like AP, are more than three times as likely to get a bachelor’s degree than those who do not, according to college completion data.  Among MCPS students in the classes of 2001-2004, only 25 percent of those who did not take an AP exam earned a bachelor’s degree. But among those students who took at least one AP exam, 60 percent earned a degree, and among those who scored 3 or higher on at least one exam, 76 percent earned a bachelor’s degree.