Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bike Patrol: The Video

Lane Change: Bike Patrol on the Capital Crescent Trail from kate ryan on Vimeo.

NOTE: This video was taken before the collision between a cyclist and a jogger on the trail. Both parties in that incident were treated and released.

Bike Patrol: Capital Crescent Edition

It’s 7 a.m, the height of rush hour. But this isn’t the Beltway. It’s the Capital Crescent Trail –a favorite bike commuter route. Officer Donald Brew, with the Maryland National Capital Park Police is on patrol on his Trek bicycle. Is bike commuting really that popular?

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

News from the (Bike) Trail...

Took a ride on the Capital Crescent Trail this morning and met up with a member of the Maryland National Capital Park Police. While we were riding and interviewing, a cyclist shot up alongside us to flag Officer Donald Brew: there'd been a crash on the trail, not far from Massachussetts Avenue and Little Falls Parkway.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

I Think That I Shall Never See...Quite As Many Damaged Trees...

For you English majors...A Tree Grows In Brooklyn, A Tree Snaps in Half in Rockville. A common sight throughout the region after Sunday's violent storm sliced through the area.

Politics and Power (Outages)

Rockville homeowner Martha Lufkin's front yard...the part not buried under 70-feet of newly fallen pine...became the background for politicians talking up their response to Sunday's storm. Pictured here from left: Martha Lufkin, Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, Montgomery County Council President Nancy Floreen, Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.

"Here it comes!"

What Martha Lufkin of Rockville says her husband called out to her seconds before this 70-foot pine fell length-wise along the front of their house, inches from the front door, during Sunday's violent storm. No one was hurt, and the car in the driveway was untouched. The back door is getting plenty of use.

Talk About Power Politics...

Fuses were short at a Montgomery County Council hearing where Pepco's Tom Graham got a grilling from a very hot-under-the-collar Roger Berliner. Council member Berliner, who serves Bethesda told Graham it wasn't personal as he blasted the Pepco executive.

"My constituents are soooo tired of the unreliability of Pepco's system."

Berliner lost power. So did Council member Nancy Navarro, who serves Eastern Montgomery County. Navarro said managing without power was one thing. Trying to get accurate information was another.

"When I called Pepco to report my power was out, I was told it would be restored September 15th, at 3 a.m."

Her colleague Council member Duchy Trachtenberg joked "After the primary!"

Berlin chimed in "But only if you win!"

But things got serious as Berlin continued to grill Graham.

"You ought to have the best delivery system money can buy! And in the computer age in which reliability of service is sooo important, we have a very unreliable system!"

And then it got political as Berliner continued, "If Montgomery County is the engine of the state, and that engine is basically without power, we can't do our job!"

Graham responded, "Governor (Martin) O'Malley has expressed that to me a couple of times this week."

Berliner shot back, "I would think so."

During the meeting, Pepco officials said customers could start getting estimates of when they could expect to see their power restored by calling 1-877-PEPCO-62.

Afterwards, Graham was asked to explain why Pepco didn't bury power lines. Wouldn't that avoid the kind of damage seen after as storm like Sunday's with its high winds and downed trees? Graham said burying lines could add to headaches.

"If you have an overhead circuit, and you go outside and look, you can see the tree came down, you can see whatever the damage is. You can't see underground. So you have to locate it (the outage), you have to dig, sometimes you have to rebuild conduit---so there's a lot more effort involved in an underground circuit." And Graham says, that could make for even more delays when it comes to getting the power back on.

Still, Montgomery County officials are looking for more solutions. Council member Berliner says he's drafting a letter to the Maryland Public Service Commission asking it to examine Pepco's performance and push for improvements.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Storm Damage Report

Martha Lufkin of Rockville has new landscaping--but it's not what she had in mind.

"There is a 70-foot pine tree in my front yard, stretching from one end to the other."

From Snowpocalypse to This...Will September bring Fallmageddon?

City of Rockville Officials say even if you are served by Rockville City water? You are affected by the WSSC water restrictions now in effect. Those restrictions come in the wake of the Pepco power outages that affect @ 294,000 customers.

Here's what those of you who get Alert Montgomery saw. If you don't get Alert Montgomery, here's what's been posted:


A major storm has knocked out power to more than 200,000 Pepco customers in Montgomery County and left nearly a third of the County’s traffic signals without power. A number of trees throughout the County are down, some closing roads. Pepco has indicated this will be a "multi-day restoration."

Montgomery County and the American Red Cross will open a shelter at midnight tonight at the East County Recreation Center located at 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring.

Mandatory water restrictions have been imposed for all Montgomery County and Prince Georges County residents on public water systems because of a power outage at the Potomac Pumping Station, which provides about two-thirds of Montgomery County’s water. Residents and businesses are urged to use water only for essential indoor uses so sufficient water will be available for hospitals, emergency services and fire fighting.

Water customers should:
*Stop all outside water use – no watering lawns, no washing cars, no topping off swimming pools

*Use water only as necessary – i.e., shorter showers and turn off faucets after washing hands

*Limit toilet flushings (do not flush after every use)

*Limit washing machine and dishwasher use (wash full loads only)

The County has activated its 311 call center for non-emergency calls. Residents can report downed trees in the public right-of-way.

All Montgomery County Parks and Recreation programs are cancelled for tomorrow, Monday, July 26, including, classes, camps and activities.

* For emergency assistance, call 911.

* Don't travel if you don't need to. Treat all dark intersections as four-way stops. Proceed cautiously.

* Call Pepco at 1-877-737-2662 to report outages.

All activities in Montgomery County Public School buildings are canceled on Monday, July 26, due to widespread power outages. This includes all academic programs, summer camps, recreation programs and summer meals.
Ride On will operate on Monday, as will trash and recycling collections. These operations could be delayed due to traffic signal power outages.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Weather Extremes and My Bike Commitment

Ok, I'm not gonna lie.

I used a car this weekend.

I figure my bike-cred is now shot to blazes and I'm due for public flogging with an inner tube (Presta or Schraeder, you choose.)

Was it the hot weather (I'm not a fan and I think dogs that park on the cool tile of your kitchen floor and look at you like you must be high when you want to walk them at say, 12:30 on a steamy Saturday afternoon are pretty smart animals) or the tornado warnings that put me off?

Actually, it was poor planning.

I find to make the bike life work, you really need to plan accordingly, and stick to it. Which is not to say you can't cut loose and be spontaneous, but had I run my errands in the 'cool' of the day (that's relative under the current weather conditions) and stuck to my good intentions, I could have pulled off my chores via bike. Instead, some oversleeping and too long a time at the keyboard, and general dawdling put me way behind schedule, with planned errands piling up like cars on an icy interstate. Soooo...I went the automotive route.

Penance on my Gazelle Medeo in the morning.

Would This Earn Your Vote?

Politicians going the old-school shoe-leather route: Door knocking in 100 degree heat.

Maryland State Delegate Christopher Shank (R) reports on his Facebook page that he was looking for votes--hydrating all the way--with bottled water and a Boonsboro Fire Department cool cup. Then Shank (perhaps demonstrating his family creds?) reported after door-knocking, it would be off to the pool for a swim with the family.

On the other side of the aisle, Judd Legum, a Democrat running for Delegate in Maryland's District 30, reports "I enjoy Coke slurpees" on his Facebook page. He catalogued what kept him going in the sludgy hot weather as he went looking for votes: "Polished off while canvassing today: 1 liter water, 22 oz Coke Slurpee, 20 oz iced tea, 20 oz ice water, 32 oz Gatorade. Still thirsty."

But did that lose him the Pepsi vote?

Does the door-to-door approach work? Does going out in extreme weather show dedication or lack of common sense? (Not an editorial, just wondering how it strikes the voter.)

And did voters allow those fully hydrated politicians to um, well, de-hydrate as needed? Just curious.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Audio from Latest Coverage on Alice Swanson...

The arrest of the operator of the truck that killed Alice Swanson in 2008 raises a host of questions, and WTOP is working on getting answers to those questions, like whether KMG Hauling, the firm that hired Marco Fuentes Flores knew about his previous record of drug trafficking.

WTOP has already put in calls to KMG and to the Metropolitan Police Department on a range of questions surrounding Alice Swanson's case. When I get any new information, expect to hear it on the air, and see it on the web. 

For now, the audio I filed Friday night/Saturday morning...


Death of a Cyclist: Alice Swanson Update

Two years after her daughter was killed while riding a bike to work, a number of things about the case gnawed at Ruth Rowan.

First, the truck driver behind the wheel of the trash truck that killed her daughter was never charged. The DC police investigation suggested 22 year old Alice Swanson was at fault: that she rode into the truck as she pedaled in the bike lane on R Street NW and the truck made a right turn. That didn’t match the findings of three experts in the civil case on Alice’s death.

But the other thing that bothered Rowan was information she says her lawyer told her about Marco Fuentes Flores, the driver of the trash truck. “The first thing my lawyer said was that there was someone named Flores who was arrested for drug trafficking.” If that were the case, Rowan wondered, what was he doing driving a truck? And it got more complicated when she says she learned that conviction led Fuentes Flores to be deported to his home country. So what was he doing back in the United States?

Federal officials apparently wondered the same thing---two years after Alice Swanson’s death, and after Rowan spoke to reporters. Channel 9 is reporting that Immigration and Customs Enforcement arrested Fuentes Flores on Thursday at KMG Hauling—the very same company he worked for when he was driving the truck that killed Alice. The same firm he worked for when Rowan says he was cited 5 times in as many months for a range of traffic violations.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Is Justice Blind? Well, the Lights Went Out...

Judges and lawyers were stopped in mid-sentence when the lights went out in Montgomery County's Circuit Court. It was just before 2 o'clock and Judge John Debilius was listening to attorneys in a status hearing on a murder case when power went off.  Waiting for a moment to see if the power would kick in the Judge said "Let the record reflect we are now--literally---in the dark."

After it was clear it would take a while to get the power back on, the decision was made to cut the day short. One of the biggest concerns: the need to have an audio record of all legal proceedings. 

Defense Attorney Barry Helfand said he was in the middle of an argument when the power went out. "Now in the old days, there was no such thing as tape recording--you had stenographers. And now, without a record? Everything comes to an immediate halt."

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

You Probably Know This...

WTOP posted this link when WABA brought it to our attention a while back. Then, after running the interview with Alice Swanson's mom, we were contacted by Eric Gilliland, formerly of WABA, now Executive Director of the National Association of City Transportation Officials. Eric reminded me of this Public Service Announcement, and I'll post it here...reminders never hurt.

Looking out for the Right Hook.

Thank you Edward, You Were Heard

Last week, after filing on the City Bikes Cupcake Ramble, I heard from a reader who was pleased to see that someone in what I guess would be called 'the mainstream media' was discussing cycling, but felt that I needed to focus on more serious issues. So here's what he said, and here's what I've been up to since I got input from Edward.

Animals Treated Like Trash...

Pets thrown away like trash...the Washington Humane Society heard about it, and is offering a $1,000 dollar reward to find out who dumped six guinea pigs in the trash.

Officials say two dead guinea pigs were found inside a broken, filthy cage in a trash can behind a buiding on Knox Place, SE. One guinea pig died soon after being rescued, the remaining three are being treated for dehydration and mite investation.

Scott Giacoppo, Vice President of External Affairs and Chief Programs Officer with the Washington Humane Society, says "No animal should be treated like yesterday's trash. The individual responsible for this crime of animal cruelty should be punished."  Giacoppo says anyone with information should contact the Humane Law Enforcement department at 202.-BE-HUMANE. Calls are confidential, and a reward is offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Hey, Was That You? Theft Caught on Tape...

Montgomery County police are investigating a series of thefts from cars in Silver Spring...a break could come if someone can identify a suspect from a homeowner's videotape of the incident. Check the police release...

Detectives from the Montgomery County Police 4th District are investigating a series of thefts from vehicles that occurred earlier this month and during which one suspect was captured in the act on a home video.

On July 7, 4th District officers responded to the Stonegate community in Silver Spring for the report of a series of eight thefts from vehicles that had occurred over the previous night. The thefts occurred on Silverstone Court, Silverstone Drive, Carona Drive, Watergate Road, and Amberleigh Drive. The suspect(s) entered three unlocked vehicles and four vehicles by breaking a window. In an eighth incident, an attempt was made to break a window but was unsuccessful. In that incident and in two others, nothing was taken. The items that were taken from vehicles included: GPS units, a gym bag, an iPod, a knife and a flashlight.

One of the residences happened to have a functioning outdoor video camera which taped one male suspect entering the vehicle parked in the residential driveway. Two additional males are seen at a distance walking in the street.

Detectives are hoping that someone will recognize the suspect in the vehicle. He appears to be a white male between the ages of 16 and 21, with black hair, and a medium build. He has a red tattoo on his upper right arm. He was wearing tan shorts and a light gray tee shirt at the time of these thefts. The other two males also appear to be between 16 and 21 years of age. One is wearing dark long pants and a light-colored tee shirt. The other is wearing light-colored slacks and a dark-colored tee shirt

Anyone with information about these suspects and/or thefts is asked to call the 4th District Investigative Section at 240-773-5530.

Meet Up at Metro...and More Campaign Trail News...

Campaign season's in full swing:

Governor Martin O'Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown will be campaigning at Prince George's Metro stations this week.

Montgomery County's conducting voter registration drives at area libraries starting this Saturday at Germantown, Rockville, and Silver Spring.

And the mayoral race in DC features plenty of bragging in the blogosphere as to who's got the most support (read that: yard signs)

Bikesharing Stations: Where? Here. And There.

Here's the release from DDOT:

DDOT Releases Proposed District Bikesharing Locations

(Washington, D.C.) – The design and implementation of the District’s enhanced bike sharing program is rolling along with the District Department of Transportation’s (DDOT) release of a new map showing the proposed locations for the bikesharing stations. The District’s 100 bike stations will be located throughout the District in all 8 wards.

DDOT used a number of factors to determine the locations including population density, employment density, proximity to transit and the bike-to-work rate. DDOT also incorporated crowd sourcing as a means to identify locations. DDOT has posted 3 maps on its website, The 3 maps highlight various aspects of the analysis including a density analysis map and a crowd sourcing heat map. The third map shows the proposed locations for nearly all the stations.

The maps can be found on-line at under the Bicycle and Pedestrian programs.

DDOT planners and staff are busy notifying local Advisory Neighborhood Commissions and adjacent properties to provide additional information and to receive feedback from residents and community groups.

Bikesharing is bike transit – an automated, public bike rental system. DC and Arlington County are launching a new regional bikesharing system in fall 2010 with roughly 1100 bikes at 114 stations (100 in DC, 14 in Arlington).

The locations are scheduled to be rolled out (installed) starting in August thru November, with a launch of about 30 stations in September.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Why One Bike Shop says Ladies Nights are Needed

Are bike shops 'testosterone-only' zones? Some women feel that way, and point to a couple of indicators. 

Death of a Cyclist: Audio

If you didn't hear the reports that were filed on the investigation into the death of Stanton Miller, 48, of Gaithersburg, here they are. This is exactly what aired on WTOP.


Saturday, July 17, 2010

Death of a Cyclist: Update

WTOP filed the initial reports on this case, the following is an update:

A cyclist was killed while riding on the shoulder of Ridge Road in Gaithersburg last month. His lawyer, Barry Helfand, told the Gazette newspaper that his client, 34 year old Quinzy Fraser, was the man behind the wheel of the Chevy Tahoe that struck and killed 48 year old Stanton Miller.

So why are there no charges in the case?

Montgomery County police say the case is still under investigation, and they are waiting for toxicology reports. Initially, police say they detected an odor of alcohol when they interviewed Fraser at the scene of the crash. Fraser was charged with assault and resisting arrest when police attempted to get a blood alcohol level from him—those charges have been dropped. But police say once the investigation is complete, additional charges could be brought.

Fraser has a prior conviction of driving under the influence from 2004.

Miller was a popular and experienced cyclist. His death has fueled a debate on local blogs like this one about drunk driving and vehicular manslaughter laws in the state—groups including AAA Potomac have been trying to toughen those laws for years—and about how cars and bikes operate on local roadways.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Bike Fitness: Fueled by Cupcakes and Chenin Blanc?

Am I dreaming?

Can you really get/maintain fit/ness while chowing down cupcakes and slurping chardonnay?

I ask only because City Bikes is offering the Cupcake Ramble and Revolution Cycles is offering a new take on the girls' night out with Ladies Nights.

So at the City Bikes event (this Saturday with cupcakes courtesy of Sol, the sweet genius behind the sugary stuff at Tryst in DC) it's a shot at nibbling cupcakes in between the two segments of your ride, and at Revolution, it's wine with the girls while talking about cycling strategies (skorts or bike shorts? heels or Keens?) and sane cycling routes...

So again, am I dreaming? Jillian Michaels wants to rant that "Nothing's free!! Nothing!!!" while the folks at these neighborhood bike shops are telling me, "Come on, the frosting and finish on this chardonnay are great!"

You see why I ditched the car for a bike, right?

Is This What Bike Helmets Are For, Really?

I'm not a racer. I'm a plodder. Strictly a recreational and errand rider.
And I'm no expert here, but is this 'sporting'? Headbutting in cycling? Or am I naive?

I know the headbutt got this cyclist (Mark Renshaw) booted from the Tour de France, but wow. I thought it was very Speed Racer stuff. And not in a cool way.

This British announcer takes it in stride.

...I heard an international broadcast earlier and despite my very limited Dutch, their announcers seemed a lot more unhappy with the headbutt as a strategy with lots of mentions of "de kop! de kop!" ("the head! the head!")*

*(or it could have been "het kop! het kop!", I failed to master the use of proper articles in a not so distant class in Nederlands.)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

And The Horses Are On The Track! (Not)

Maryland's horse racing industry's taking another hit. This time it's the standardbred* racing side that's limping through tough times that just got tougher...take a listen.

*Standardbred racing: instead of a jockey on the horse's back, these animals have drivers in sulkies behind them and must trot or pace. Standardbred is the name of the breed of horse, just as Thoroughbred is the name of the breed of horse that you see run on tracks under saddle.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Doggone Suspects

They could run, but they couldn't hide from the long arm of the law. Actually, it was the keen sense of smell of the law that led to the capture of two armed robbery suspects.

Just after 8:30 Tuesday morning, Montgomery County Police responded to a call about an armed robbery at a Rite Aide on Quince Orchard Road. The two suspects took off towards a nearby apartment complex, but Sabre, a member of the county's canine unit, tracked them down and sniffed them out.

Now 26 year old Terrell Reginald Kane and 25 year old Anthony Derrick Eskridge --both of Philadelphia--are charged in the holdup.

Water Log: the latest...

Crews with Rockville City's water system are still working on a water main break--the third in a week. This one is just a block from the break that sent a spectacular geyser of water shooting above the tree-line in Potomac last Wednesday. The latest break happened in the 24 inch main distribution line--the very same line that failed last week. The good news: no one lost water, and there are no restrictions on water use.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Rockville Gets Props...AND Another Water Main Break!

Just when they thought they could raise their toasting glasses to their Money Magazine designation as one of the top 100 places to live in the US, Rockville gets hit again...with another water main break. This one just a block from the last one.

The good news? No water restrictions. Yet. Here's the release from city officials....

Rockville Crews Work to Repair Water Main Break

Water Restrictions Have Not Been Issued

ROCKVILLE, Md., July 12, 2010 -City of Rockville Department of Public Works Crews are working to repair a water main pipe that broke about 4 p.m. Monday, July 12, in the 10800 block of South Glen Road.

There is no water service interruption to neighboring residents. Rockville crews have not yet determined the cause of the break to the 24-inch pipe or how long it will take to repair the break. The break occurred one block from a break to the City's main distribution line on July 7. The pipe serves as the only water main connecting the City's Water Treatment Plant and the distribution system.

The City is currently assessing its water supply, and has not issued any water restrictions at this time. Rockville's water is being supplied by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC). The City serves 13,445 homes in Rockville.

South Glen Road is currently closed to traffic between Norton Road and Deep Glen Road.
# # #

Rockville Rocks...according to Money Magazine

Sure, the city had to impose water restrictions for a few days while it repaired a water main break, but Rockville City's one of the best 100 places to live in the United States. That's according to Money Magazine. In a news release, Rockville officials tooted their own horn, saying the magazine cited the downtown's makeover and economic stability. Money put Rockville at number 31 out of 100.

Bike Bells. From Brussels to Bethesda...

Bike bells...just looking with sounds from a street band in the background..

Bike Bells from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

On the Job: Washington Humane Officer Jen Gardner

From abused animals to those that become pampered pets after adoption, Washington Humane Officer Jen Gardner sees it all.

You heard her on WTOP, now see what keeps her going---even on those blistering hot days of summer.

On the Job: Washington Humane Officer Jen Gardner from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Get Pumped Up, or Have a Fit...

...or make sure you're not just grinding your gears.

Bike mechanics are popping up at local farmer's markets: willing and able to help you stay safe and comfy on your 'green limo' (uh, your bike).

From finding the right seat position to making sure that quick-release wheel doesn't pop off right out from under you, volunteer bike mechanics like Gil Nissley are here to help. Watch as he works...

Free Bike Clinic from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Free! Bike! Clinic!

Put 'em all together, and you have a sweet deal while you go shopping at the local farmer's market. I found Gil Nissley working at the Glover Park-Burlieth Farmer's Market. Despite the rain, he was there ready to help do everything from chain maintenance, seat height adjustments, pumping air in your tires and fitting you to the bike so you can avoid the aches and pains that a rough ride from a bad fit can give you. Watch Gil at work...

Free Bike Clinic from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Yes, I Take Requests...

Some folks said they missed these reports on WTOP on Saturday, so here are the pieces I filed after interviewing Lauren Biel, Market Director for the Glover Park-Burlieth Farmer's Market:


Saturday, July 10, 2010

Rain, Rain, I know we need you, but...

I admit on a day like today, gearing up to bike to the farmer's market, to the post office, to do assorted errands was, well, tough.

Instead of getting a running start, I opted for a second cup of coffee and waited for the torrential downpoour to turn to a manageable drizzle.

But I find it's a lot like those early morning workouts: you may go kicking and screaming (or yawning and whining) but once you get there, the fun begins.

I had a nice ride, the sun eventually showed up, and the area got at least some of the much-needed rain it's been waiting for.

More on farmers, rain, produce and the free bike-service waiting for you at area farmer's markets a bit later...

Friday, July 9, 2010

Farmer's Markets: Produce Didn't Wilt, Business Did..

Lauren Biel with DC Greens, which runs the Glover Park-Burlieth Farmer's Market, says the recent heat wave didn't hurt the produce, but it wilted business. Biel says customer counts were off by as much as 60 per cent at some DC markets, by 24 per cent at GP-Burlieth.

She's hoping it will recover with the break in the weather. Listen to WTOP 103.5 FM Saturday morning to hear more about what she's doing to make business bloom again.

Update: Cap Crescent Bike Crash

An update on the crash on the Capital Crescent Trail that involved two cyclists in a very unusual head-on collision. One of the riders, Jay Roberts, talked to WTOP. Roberts says he was not trying to lay blame, but was still digesting the events that put him and another rider, in the hospital.

Hot, Hot, Hot... how do you deal with the blazing, sticky heat and the hygenic issues presented by steamy weather? I keep having mirages that look something like this:

I keep hearing allowing yourself a little time on the back end of the ride to simply dab up the perspiration works, but these are the days that test even the most technical fabrics to the very last thread. Your strategies?

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Water Log: the Movie...

What you are seeing here is the fittings being prepped on the 24-inch main. Some work was delayed because of the need to truck parts in...and if you heard Bob Marbourg's traffic reports on 103.5 FM yesterday, you know it was a nightmare on the roads..
The good news is the wait for parts shouldn't change the expected lifting of water restrictions: look to midday Saturday for that. Stay tuned to WTOP 103.5 FM for the latest...

Water Main Break: Rockville City repairs 24-inch main from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Water Log: in Rockville This Time...

...where Department of Public Works Director Craig Simoneau explains residents who get Rockville water will be on those mandatory restrictions until Saturday mid-day. He says it will take that long to fill, chlorinate, flush and test the water in the newly installed pipe.

A 24 inch main ruptured late Wednesday, sending water shooting above the treetops near the intersection of South Glen Road and Deep Glen Drive. It took hours to determine whether it was a Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission pipe, or a Rockville City pipe--turned out, it was Rockville's.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Helping Animals Chill Out on Hot Days...

I spent the morning with Washington Humane Officer Jen Gardner. She was responding to heat-related calls.

We visited one home in NW DC where a little pup, named Nubia was left out in a backyard.

Hear the whole story on WTOP 103.5 FM...

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Everybody in the Pool!

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) has lifted water restrictions after the successful replacement of a large section of a 96-inch water main in Potomac. Residents there had been living with those restrictions since Thursday. The announcement came earlier this morning.

And local governments are coming up with ways to help you keep your cool as we suffer unhealthy air quality and broiling heat. In the District of Columbia, Mayor Adrian Fenty announced the expansion of library and pool hours, and services designed to assist those most vulnerable to heat-related illnesses.

Here are some of the details from a press release from the Mayor's Office:

Residents may visit any of the cooling centers located throughout the city.

All Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) outdoor pools are opening two hours early at 11 am and closing one hour later, by 9 pm. The following pools are operating on extended hours:

• Anacostia, 1800 Anacostia Drive, SE, (202) 724-1441

• Banneker, 2500 Georgia Avenue, NW, (202) 673-2121

• Benning Park, Southern Avenue and Fable Street, SE, (202) 645- 5044

• Douglass, Frederick Douglass Court and Stanton Terrace, SE, (202) 645- 5045

• Fort Dupont, Ridge Road and Burns Street, SE, (202) 645-5046

• Fort Stanton, 1800 Erie Street, SE, (202) 645- 5047

• Harry Thomas Sr., 1743 Lincoln Road, NE, (202) 541-7499

• Oxon Run, 4th Street and Mississippi Avenue, SE, (202) 645-5042

• Theodore R. Hagans Jr., 3201 Fort Lincoln Drive, NE, (202) 576-6389

• Volta Park (formerly Georgetown), 3400 Volta Place, NW, (202) 282-0381

Select District of Columbia Public Libraries (DCPL) will extend hours until 9 pm. This includes the following facilities:

• Anacostia Library, 1800 Good Hope Road, SE, (202) 715-7707

• Benning Library, 3935 Benning Road, NE, (202) 281-2583

• Cleveland Park Library, 3310 Connecticut Avenue, NW, (202) 282-3080

• Georgetown Interim Library, 3307 M Street, NW, (202) 724-8783

• Lamond-Riggs Neighborhood Library, 5401 South Dakota Avenue, NE, (202) 541-6255

• Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library, 901 G Street, NW, (202) 727-0321

• Northwest One Neighborhood Library, 155 L Street, NW, (202) 939-5946

• Palisades Neighborhood Library, 4901 V Street, NW, (202) 282-3139

• Southeast Neighborhood Library, 403 7th Street, SE, (202) 698-3377

• Takoma Park Neighborhood Library, 416 Cedar Street, NW, (202) 576-7252

• Washington Highlands Interim Library, 4037 South Capitol Street, SW, (202) 243-1184

The DC Office on Aging (DCOA) will extend its service and senior wellness centers hours to 7 pm. Seniors who need transportation to a cooling center may call 311.

• Congress Heights Senior Wellness Center, 3500 Martin Luther King, Jr., Avenue, SE, (202) 563-7225

• Hattie Holmes Senior Wellness Center, 324 Kennedy Street, NW, (202) 291-6170

• Model Cities Senior Wellness Center, 1901 Evarts Street, NE, (202) 635-1900

• Washington Seniors Wellness Center, 3001 Alabama Avenue, SE, (202) 581-9355

The Department of Health advises residents to stay indoors, limit strenuous outdoor activities, wear light-colored, loose-fitting clothing, and drink plenty of fluids – preferably water. Those who experience throbbing headaches, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting should seek immediate medical attention as they could be signs of heat-related illnesses. Those at greatest risk for heat-related illnesses are: infants, children up to four years old, people 65 years old and over, people who are overweight, and people who are ill or on certain medications.

For a full listing of all cooling centers and resources available to residents, please call 311 or visit

Monday, July 5, 2010

Water Log: Mandatory Water Restrictions Beyond Day 4...

If you count back from Thursday morning, when the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) imposed water restrictions due to a failing water main, it's been more than 4 days of water restrictions for 1.8 million of you.
So what gives?

Officials with WSSC say while the repairs made 'tremendous progress' over the weekend, and the new segment of the 96-inch pipe was installed by Monday, the testing that's required to make sure the water's pure and safe takes at least 16-18 hours. And that's where they are now.

So again, mandatory water restrictions remain in place for all WSSC customers, including commercial and residential. Here's a WSSC FAQ 

As of mid-day Monday, more than 250 warnings and 4 citations had been given out.

The Finale on the Fourth...

...couldn't pass up this chance to share some of Washington's Fourth of July Fireworks.

...but wait! There's more!

In this video, you'll see the Capitol Fourth fireworks display from the waterfront in Georgetown, between the Key Bridge and M Street.

The crowd on the Key Bridge was very appreciative and they were getting the benefit from a second display across the river.

Keep watching after the finale...the folks who put on this show had a little extra.

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th of July.
Untitled from kate ryan on Vimeo.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

July Gardens

Fireworks aren't the only explosion of color you can find on the Fourth of July. Check out the intensity of the colors in this July garden, right here in Washington, DC.

The Pressure's On... get a drop in water use, so there's no drop in water pressure.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) says they still need to see consumption drop while they get a newly-installed pipe in place.

Warnings have been issued to residents who've violated the mandatory water restrictions--and most are apparently the result of neighbors reporting neighbors.

To keep up with the very latest, check in with my colleagues at WTOP (103.5 FM)

Kensington 4th Bike Parade Shifts Gears and Times...

You may be disappointed to learn that Kensington's not having it's annual Fourth of July Bike Parade on Sunday, the 4th, but fear not. The parade's been moved to Monday morning. Here's the latest from the Town of Kensington (TOK).

The parade's set to step off (or roll out) at 10 am, but if you are among those two-wheeling it, be sure to assemble by 9:45 in your bikey best for a show of patriotic pedal-power.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

WSSC Water Restrictions: Day 3

WSSC customers remain under water restrictions as the utility that serves 1.8 million residents in Prince George's and Montgomery Counties works to repair a 96 inch pipe. 

Here's the latest from WTOP

And to catch up on all the latest information for your Independence Day plans, tune in to WTOP 103.5 FM

Friday, July 2, 2010

Collision On Capital Crescent Trail: 2 cyclists hurt

Here's the information provided by Sgt. Lauryn McNeill with the Maryland-National Capital Park Police:

"Two bicyclists were injured and hospitalized after a head-on collision on the Capital Crescent Trail near Little Falls Parkway. This morning around 8:30, a cyclist headed for NIH moved around two pedestrians and into the path of an oncoming cyclist. Both cyclists were transported to Suburban Hospital for treatment. Investigation is still underway."

I checked in with Sgt. McNeill and asked if both cyclists were wearing helmets. I ask because one witness reported that both cyclists appeared to lose consciousness. McNeill says one cyclist was wearing a helmet, it's not clear if the second one was. (No fault-finding here, just curious: inside and outside the cycling world there is a heated debate on to-wear or not-to-wear. I note in my travels to Germany, France, Belgium, few cyclists wear them unless they are going for sprints or on teams. I'm interested in the issue.)

Police remind you:
  • Warn when passing (call it out, use a bell)
  • Pass only when safe
  • Wear a helmet
  • Do not wear headphones
  • Stay to the right
  • Yield to those passing you

My own analysis:

The Capital Crescent is a great trail. It is a much-loved trail-meaning it can get packed.  At the time this crash occurred, it can host a lot of commuters--so the pace can be a bit faster than say, a Sunday afternoon.

Bottom line: it can get mighty crowded and not everyone's traveling at the same pace. And it's not a biker's trail. It's not a hiker's trail. It's a mixed-use trail. That can make it tricky.
I love this trail, but recognize it calls on all of us to exercise some caution, even when we'd love to let it fly. No blame here, no finger-pointing (I sometimes wear headphones, especially in the winter, cause they make great earwarmers!) but just a reminder. Look out for the other guy (in a good way) and stay safe. Wishing those cyclists a speedy recovery.

Metro Independent of Bikes on the 4th...

A reminder:

If you are a cyclist who likes to go 'mulit-modal' and get the bike to a distant velo-spot on the weekends, remember-- NO BIKES on board Metro on the 4th of July.

That's been a policy with Metro, which cites the heavy use the stations get when the crowds head down to the Mall to celebrate Independence Day.

Water Restrictions: Day 2

Yes, Montgomery and Prince Georges County WSSC customers, you are still under mandatory water restrictions.

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission has crews working on the cracked pipe in Potomac and says draining the pipe of water has been a challenge. They've had trouble getting a good seal when shutting off a section of the damaged pipe, but John White, WSSC spokesman, says the expectation is that restrictions will remain in place for a total of four days.

Check back with WTOP 103.5 FM for updates throughout the holiday weekend...

"Get In My Belly!"

Why would anyone brag about their big belly?

Well, what if yours could compact trash (and no, we don’t mean the last meal you ate) and send text messages?

Because that’s exactly what Rosslyn’s solar-powered ‘Big Belly’ trash compactors can do.

As the name suggests, the trash containers are solar-powered, and because they can crush trash, they can store up to 5 times the amount of an ordinary trash can, saving on the number of collection trips needed. But even better, the compactors can send an SMS message to operators to let them know, it’s time to collect all that trash.*

Monique O’Grady with the Rosslyn Business Improvement District explains the BID just got 30 of the Big Belly trash compactors. O’Grady is practically giddy when she talks about the containers: “We love our Big Bellies, we love them!”

And not just because the name is fun to say, but because O’Grady says, they are expected to provide a great return on the investment dollar: “The wonderful thing about these Big Belly receptacles is that they eliminate about 4 out of every 5 collection trips. That’s about an 80% savings in fuel and other resources.”

If only they had trash cans that could empty themselves…

*O'Grady contacted WTOP to clarify a point: while the Big Belly trash compactors do indeed have that ability to SMS an operator to say "Empty me! Now!" the Rosslyn BID did not opt for that feature, figuring they could keep on top of the trash flow without it. Still, cool to know that the option is there...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

WSSC Issues Water Restrictions in MOCO and PG

All customers are affected...water restrictions are in effect immediately.

John White with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission says a problem with a 96 inch main in Potomac means the water flow will be restricted for the next 4 days.

Under the restrictions:

No outdoor use of water:
No carwashing, no topping off of pools, no watering lawns
Restrict flushing toilets: don't flush after each use
Restrict use of dishwashers and washing machines: and do full loads only.

White says citations can be issued to anyone who violates the restrictions.

Tune in to WTOP 103.5 FM to hear more...check our website at