Dskco visited a Rockville stronghold, the meeting place for local candidates and a stalwart of the community, so I was curious to read her review of Guiseppi’s. This is where my family gets our pizza on Friday nights. It’s the place to meet for lunch. As a newcomer, what did she think?
Dinner and a movie is such a relaxing way to start off a weekend. The bf and I went to see Alice in Wonderland 3D at Regal in Rockville Town Square, and had dinner at this pizza place called Giuseppi’s a few doors down. We wanted something fast and affordable. There is free parking a few blocks away and garage parking. The closest metro stop is Rockville on the red line.
She agreed this family-run and affordable Italian place will leave you with “no complaints”, especially their ‘Dinner and a Movie’ package: “for each $5 purchase, get a movie ticket for $6.50″.
Last year friends wanted dinner and a movie at Regal and they were surprised by all the special deals on East Montgomery Avenue. People still don’t know about the restaurant/Regal combos which make for a great local nights out.
Lunching in the DMV is a local Rockville blog reviewing restaurants throughout the metro DC area. Whenever she writes about a restaurant in Rockville, we post a link to her article. She stops by all those places you wonder about to let you know whether you should. We’re happy to share her experiences with our readers.
The festivities began at Glenview Mansion at noon with a greater than expected crowd. Rockville was throwing a party and the best part is always the friends who attend. A 12-member delegation from our Sister City of Pinneberg, Germany made the trip to help us celebrate, continuing one of the oldest enduring friendships in the Sister City program.
Pinneberg created a special Rockville Rose but we’ve had trouble bringing it into the country. The details of this long process are explained by Nate Carrick in his Gazette article. But the Pinneberg delegation didn’t let the lack of live roses stop them from commemorating our Sesquicentennial. They gave us a more lasting gift, a painting of Rockville Roses by Detlef Allenberg.
Pinneberg mayor, Kristen Alheit, emphasized how a rose shows pure lust for life, which she felt symbolized the relationship of our cities. The Rockville Rose is a very special breed with large, dark flowers which grow upright. Of the painting she said, “May this portrait express all that is important to us in the friendship between Rockville and Pinneberg.”
When she accepted the painting, Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio explained that roses are especially important to her since her mother’s name was Rose and her middle name is Rose, “I am Phyllis Rose.”
Bernd Hinrichs, President of the German American Society of Pinneberg, explained how roses have played a significant role in society since ancient Greece. Symbolizing affection and friendship, roses stand for distinction. In ancient times everyone could be sure that what was said while standing under roses was covered by a veil of secrecy. He added, “I know why men like to give roses to women.”
Then to honor the 25th anniversary of the founding of our Sister City Corporation, our German friends gave us an actual Rockville Rose enclosed in silver, a remarkable gift which will remain mysterious and everlasting.
During the ceremonies, Rotraut Bockstahler, past President of the Rockville Sister City Corporation, explained that Sesquicentennial means six times a quarter of a century. She was glad when she found out and I’m glad to finally know!
Quite a crowd also turned out for the evening festivities in Rockville Town Center. The Rockville Jazz Band warmed up the crowd before the ceremony. People gathered throughout the Square to hear them.
Mary van Balgooy, Executive Director of Peerless Rockville, was an absolute delight as the Master of Ceremonies for the evening with her friendly and bright demeanor which brought the ceremony together.
Dick Stoner detailed the Rockville’s 150 year history but he started by referencing the names previously given to our City: Owens Crossing, Williamsburg, and Montgomery Courthouse. His list of historical facts described things, the roads and buildings. He built upon each 50 year period and created a dynamic picture of Rockville over the years.
Lt. Governor Anthony Brown noted that he saw people in the audience shaking their heads when Mr. Stoner described the three hour trip from Washington to Rockville back in the olden days of horses. But then he noted,”You don’t speak lightly of traffic in Montgomery County.” He declared Rockville a “vibrant, exciting and nationally-recognized place to live.”
Perhaps the most fun part of the ceremony was the winner of the “Rockville in 2060” Essay Contest, Anish Senapati. Mayor Marcuccio gave him the opportunity to read his essay. He pictured flying cars and lots of pollution with tall sky scrapers 200 floors high, then declared the mayor of Rockville “will be me”.
Nancy Floreen, President of the Montgomery County Council thought he would either be Chairman of the Planning Commission or President.We received proclamations from all levels of government and Mayor Marcuccio said it was overwhelming to receive “so many birthday cards”.
IMPACT, a dance troupe from The Finest! moved in energetic unison then a giant birthday cake with our 150th logo was enjoyed by the crowd.
By the end of the night, it was getting a bit chilly. Throughout the day people seemed genuinely happy to see each other. Perhaps after such a long, cold winter we were especially glad to come together as a community for a good time.
The Reverend Jane Wood concluded the formal ceremony by praying, “Practice random acts of kindness, particularly to those less fortunate than yourselves.”
I only hope we will during our next 150 years as a City.
During last Friday’s show at Austin Grill Rockville, I asked Keegan Corbey if he had a day job. He replied “Funny you should ask, I quit today.” With this daring move, he’s giving music his full-time attention.
His first CD, Navigators, will be released on February 13, 2010, the same night he opens for The Association (Never My Love) at the Birchmere. This well-deserved break will launch the next phase of this local performer’s career.
Born at Holy Cross Hospital, he laid down his first dollars for a guitar at age 13 while listening to garage bands like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Sound Garden. After Good Counsel High School he headed to Middle Tennessee State University. He’s back in Rockville and has decided if he’s going to make it musically, now is the time.
If Friday night’s show is any indication, he’s made the right decision. His intense presence and crowd-pleasing voice kept everyone out much later than expected. Keegan’s versions of popular songs made the audience forget the orginals then his own songs caught everyone’s attention. He and Dave Speake are a well-polished acoustic guitar duo, a unified pleasure to hear. Keegan even steps up the sound with a bass drum.
Dave played the harmonica for No Cover Charge, apparently the one and only song he’s allowed to pull it out for:
Keegan’s laying it all on the line to live his dream of being a songwriter performing his original “Neo-Celtic Americana folk rock”. There’s no doubt his obvious talent will win fans with every chord.
Tickets are still available for his Birchmere show with The Association on Saturday 2/13/10 at 7:30 p.m. $35. Fans eagerly anticipate his 8 song CD next month.
I had a great birthday weekend a few weeks ago. On New Years Day, the bf took me to Rockville Town Square for dinner at Sushi Damo, dessert at Gordon Biersh and Regal to watch Avatar in 3D (go see it if you haven’t yet!).
Sushi Damo is the bf’s favorite sushi place. Located in Rockville Town Square, there’s paid parking, meter and free parking all over the place. We parked at the theater for $1 since we were going to see a movie anyway. The closest metro stop would be Rockville on the red line.
As always, Dskco entices with her photos taking you right along for the discoveries. Read to find out about Green Tea Tiramisu and her birthday good time.
Lunching in the DMV is a local Rockville blog reviewing restaurants throughout the metro DC area. Whenever, she writes about a restaurant in Rockville, we post a link to her article. She stops by all those places you wonder about to let you know whether you should. We’re happy to share her experiences with our readers.
For the first time, I attended this wonderful New Year’s tradition and was delighted to be able to speak with Max van Balgooy. Since his campaign for City Council ended, he has continued to blog at Max for Rockville but is now writing about issues, people and events. He has graciously allowed me to share his latest post, New Year Opens in Rockville With Peerless Brunch.
The Peerless Rockville New Year’s Day Brunch at Glenview Mansion was the first official event celebrating the 150th anniversary of the City of Rockville and everyone enjoyed a beautiful day, a nice mix of members and friends, and of course, lots of good food.
Although it’s a holiday, the event always draws a good crowd of community leaders, including State Senator Forehand; State Delegates Barve, Simmons, and Gilchrist; Rockville Mayor Marcuccio; Rockville Councilmembers Gajewski, Newton, and Pierzchala; and City Clerk Funkhouser. This year’s event invited people to wear something vintage and among the standouts were Bill Forehand (with a Civil War sailor’s uniform) and Cindy Cotte Griffiths (with an amazing vintage dress–satin and velvet?).
Peerless also encouraged everyone to submit their nominations for Places That Matter in Rockville (standing or not) and Peerless will be using it as a guide for events and activities for the upcoming year (Phyllis Marcuccio was actively supporting the Pump House).
Glenview Mansion is an ideal place to hold the brunch–it’s almost perfectly suited to this type of event–and it was wonderfully decorated for the holidays. Rockville is very fortunate to have such a marvelous historic venue for community events (so much better than a high school gym!). If you want to see a photoalbum from the day, click here.
And yes, he’s right about the velvet on my mom’s dress but I don’t think it’s satin.
With this event, Rockville has officially started to party like we’re 150 years old. Check out the schedule. Next Sunday the 150th Anniversary Photo Exhibit opens at Glenview Mansion from 1:30 to 3:30 PM. Don’t miss the photos from 43 residents along with a Then and Now exhibit of Rockville’s Downtown.
Zombies walked the streets of Rockville on Friday night unrecognizable to their friends. Over 30 of the undead met at the Apollo and lumbered off toward Town Square in route to the Regal Cinema to see >Zombieland.
Along the way a few of the living were startled and others were nervous as the zombies limped, dragged and peered into windows. All the onlookers kept giving second, third and fourth looks. You could tell most simply wanted to know what was going on. Why were there so many scary-looking zombies and where were they going?
Bill Bird, who I met through Rockville Central, suggested we have a Zombie Walk after I mentioned Silver Spring’s festivities so we gave it a try. Luckily a hilarious Zomcom (zombie comedy) was playing and it was a fine night for a walk. Even zombies need to stay healthy with exercise.
Here’s some photos taken by multiple photographers:
What continually amazes me is how the online Rockville community meets up in person. Rockville Central is not just names on a website. It’s people in a real community – living, working and playing together. This means the zombie world to me.
Last night’s Rockville Science Cafe attracted over 30 people for dinner and “deep” conversation and gave me something new to consider. Dr. Constance Bertka started by saying “At some time or another we’ve all wondered what’s down there under the ground.”
Connie described the new Sloan Deep Carbon Observatory at the Carnegie Geophysical Laboratory which has just begun to bring researchers together from around the world as they study the nature of carbon in the earth’s interior. After a general review of the interior of the earth, Connie described the process to test for carbon and the vast microbial ecosystems found under high pressure deep in the earth. Then she challenged us to think about the possibility of life IN other planets. They might be barren on the surface but have enormous ecosystems of life in their core. I have never considered this possibility.
Everyone filled a section of the Branded 72 dining room and enjoyed the B-B-Q. Sitting in a packed restaurant for dinner during a highly informative scientific dialogue was a unique experience. People from many different fields asked questions. I was impressed with the young curious students who came up to ask questions at the end. Everyone at the Cafe was certainly excited about science.
By the time the Science Cafe was over, another group was setting up for the Wednesday night music in the other section of the dining room. But I couldn’t stay because I wanted to make it to the Twinbrook Citizins Forum. Ruth Hanessian of the Animal Exchange told me the band was good. Most nights there is so much going on in Rockville, it’s difficult to choose!
>When we arrived at Uncorked last Saturday at about 3:30 PM, all 2,000 commemorative glasses had already been dispersed. The staff had to resort to handing out little plastic dessert-looking cups. At $10 per admission, the event had collected over $20,000 by the time it was halfway over.
Last year when I saw all the people around the winery tables, I thought the event was crowded with long lines for mouthful-sized tastes. This year, I realized everyone was actually enthusiastically discussing the wines, not waiting in line. People were gladly standing around to share their opinions on scents and tastes. Complete strangers were enjoying each other’s opinions. From Elk Run’s “Montgomery College” to Solomon’s Island fruity wines, people would take a sip and inevitably make a comment and enter into a conversation about wine.
In the Town Square, you could sit at a table with friends and enjoy a newly purchased bottle of wine together. The purple tablecloths and large grapes were quite festive. Many of the wines in the booths were sold out by the end of the event, proving the event was a wonderful opportunity to showcase the finest wines Maryland has to offer.
All the while, you could hear the bands playing. Arty Hill and the Long Gone Daddy’s entertained Maryland Avenue then Lori Kelly brought smiles to everyone’s face on Gibbs Street. Sons of Bill stole the show as the final act on the main stage. Their youthful exuberance made me wish I was 20 again. The band wandered around the stage completely immersed in each other’s sound. Although I haven’t been to every show in Town Square, this was the first time I have witnessed the audience call for an encore. When Sons of Bill finished playing the crowd didn’t budge. The clapping and cheering continued until someone from the City announced there couldn’t be an encore. When I spoke with James Wilson he confirmed that he and his two brothers in the band have a father named Bill. He also said Rockville is “a good town and everybody’s really friendly”. I always like to hear it! But we need to allow encores even if it’s just one song.
Who made it to the demonstrations under the big tent? How was the L’Academie de Cuisine presentation by Patrice Olivon? What about the wine tasting or winemaking seminars? Were they worth it and did you learn anything?
Later in the evening when my husband and I were having dinner at Sushi Damo, I realized I hadn’t seen Divine, the woman covered in vines who comes alive after hiding in plain sight. She must not have performed in close proximity to the bands.
Although the day was hot, the wines kept everyone cool enough to enjoy a summertime afternoon while making new friends.
I must admit a prejudice, when I hear an exhibit is a “members show” I don’t hold very high expectations. Usually the show pulls from a small pool of artists so there’s not a wide range of talent. >Camouflage at VisArts obliterated my bias.
The show is comprised of the work from the members of Visarts. Anyone can join and receive a discount on classes and shop purchases. The exhibition was juried by Rex Stevens from the Maryland Institute College of Art and includes photographs, collages, oils, simple graphite drawings, fused glass, and imagination.
Here’s a fun twist. You can bribe the judges to pick your favorite for Best In Show. Donate a dollar for every one of your votes, pencil in your choices on the tally sheets, and the judges will pick the artwork with the most votes.
We were lucky enough to meet Sterling “Rip” Smith who lived in Rockville for 17 years but now resides in West Virginia. Last year he came to visit and was blown away by VisArts and our new Town Center. He joined VisArts to support their impressive programs. His two photographs catch the eye. View From The Court ($150) stretches out the columns of the Supreme Court portico with the Capital building in the distance. Rip explained his process. The finished product is actually a blending of five photographs taken at different exposures, so that the entire view is un-shadowed and detailed.
Herb Perone’s photographs exude sexuality. You can’t miss it. You can’t walk away. He captures the look, the feel and the daring of an available woman without regard for norms. The woman in Color Me Blue ($350) is enticing, inviting, textured, and true. The Cat Woman (($350) is one sexy kitten.
VisArts continues the dialogue with artists by encouraging visitors to send letters to the artists. After you answer one of the questions, you place the note in the mailbox and all of the responses will be delivered at the end of the show.
- What did you notice first?
- Is there a part you don’t understand?
- Is something missing?
- Does it remind you of anything?
- Should it be bigger or smaller?
- Do you want to keep looking at it?
Down the hall a second exhibition entitled Unique Visions provides the studio artists from VisArts with a chance to spread their wings. The most shining example is Mimi Harris. Her whimsical necklaces are featured in this month’s Washingtonian magazine, but her contributions to the exhibit go beyond necklaces to reach the ceiling and adorn the walls. How could we not notice Judith Heartsong’s Can You See Me ($1,400), an extremely red peacock? Kathie Perry Lynch’s Can’t See The Forest For The Trees ($950) is a glass panel with depth of sky and birch trees reminding me of my property in the Catskills. The recycled men’s neckties woven on a floor loom by Johnnie Gins are always eye-catching and her Family Ties ($325) is no exception. (Yes, you can bring in ties and she’ll make a very personal one for you.) Alan Sislen’s archival pigment prints ($295 each) feature a curved building which is artwork all on its own making the photos beyond unusual. Although you can visit these artists in their studios and purchase their work, the exhibit combines their gifts in a unique flourish.
The kid’s room, besides having a wonderful painting by Judith Heartsong called Bright Birthday Flowers, provides shapes to trace and masks to make. Children can camouflage themselves and read some books.
The only thing camouflaged is a true understanding of the talent in these exhibitions. Bribe away – it’s for a good cause.
Both exhibits are on display until September 5, 2009. Check the VisArts website for summer hours and changes due to special events.
Our family was away in the Great Smoky Mountains last week but when we pulled back into Rockville, we decided to go to my Pick of the Week. The weather was perfect for the First Friday Deck Party so my husband, Charlie Grifftiths, and I headed over for a mini-date. Due to inclement weather, all the earlier Deck Parties this summer were cancelled, but this gem of a day made up for it.
The view from the Rooftop of the Arts and Innovation Building was clear on a such a welcoming, non-humid evening. The crowd was having a great time listening to Billy Coulter’s band. He appropriately wore sunglasses and chose songs to invigorate the start of the weekend. Some enjoyed upfront seating on the white leather couches while others danced. Most hung by the railings to enjoy the expansive view of Town Center and the amazing tree-covered landscape. Gordon Biersch served up the beer, wine and food to the over 21 crowd.
First Fridays is sponsored by the City of Rockville. In the crowd we saw Mayor Susan Hoffmann and City Council candidate, Tom Moore, along with some city staff. Since we weren’t present the entire time and could have missed seeing someone, let us know if you were there and if you had a good time.
The Rooftop always has a party planned:
SkyAtFive: Every Thursday night from 5 PM to 11 PM through October, the Rooftop and Lindy Productions hold the hippest party for those 21 and up. $5 cover includes a Peroni.
Breeze: Fridays August 14, September 18 and September 25, 2009 from 6 PM to 1 AM. 21 and older with a cover at the door. Dancing encouraged by DJTwinspin – HipHop, Top 40.
After Work Lounge: Saturday August 15, 2009 from 8 PM to 1 AM. 21 and over with a cover at the door. Presented by Washington-One with lots of DJ’s, Drummer’s, and Hookah’s and food from Oro Pomodoro.
Open Rooftop events sparkle in a unique way. The Rooftop has helped transform Town Center into one of the hippest nightlife locations in the DC area. Enjoy one of the public parties or rent it for your own event.
Last night all the >Playground Madness “camps” competed for the City Cup Award. Kids from all over Rockville brought their talents to Twinbrook Recreation Center. This summer, the skit competition was filled with tributes to Michael Jackson. Bouncing, dancing, slides, cartwheels, raps and shouts dominated the fun evening.
As soon as the skit competition was over and the award table was carried to the front, the crowd of kids went crazy with a giant extended roar. All those trophies!
I’m so excited because my Elwood Smith Playground won Best Skit of the Day. Here’s a video of the start of their performance Wade In The Water on saxophone, which was followed by ballet, Kung Fu and a giant cheer. These kids entertained with a variety of talent! (I have to disclose my son was one of them!)
City Staff visit the Playgrounds to determine who deserves awards in a variety of categories.
Best Banner – Montrose
Quick Start Tennis – Potomac Woods
Most Nurturing Staff – College Gardens
Most Sports & Games – King Farm
Most Challenging Situation to Overcome – Twinbrook
Most Enthusiastic – Double winners: Maryvale and King Farm
Most Organized – Lakewood
Best Staff Team – Double winners: Woodley Gardens and Montrose
Most Impressive – Elwood Smith
Quiet Storm – Lincoln Park Isreal
The large City Cup award goes to the best Playground representing all the energy and caring of a quality program. This year it was Potomac Woods. The kids were at a swim meet and couldn’t attend but I’m sure they’ll be excited. The two runners up for City Cup were Montrose and King Farm.
In addition to the competition, each playground hosted a game. The cost of the tickets benefited the Rockville Youth Recreation Fund. The Finest! also pounded their drums as part of the program.
Every summer, the City of Rockville brings our playgrounds to life with Playground Madness. For just $95 kids can play at their local parks from the end of June through the first week in August, 9:30 AM to 3:30 PM. When you look at the cost of camps for even one week, this program is extremely affordable. Not only does it provide much-needed quality activities for the kids, the program also trains counselors and teaches valuable leadership skills.
In the midst of all the kids carefully remembering their parts and demonstrating their favorite talent, it finally occurred to me why enjoy the skit competition. Each summer my mother would hang curtains across the garage and I would direct performances by all the kids in the neighborhood. We’d put together silly skits and invite all the parents. Come Out And Play has a much bigger audience.
The stadium stage hailed all the official pomp and circumstance with the Fugitive Brass Quintet opening for the Rockville Concert Band. Never wanting to miss out on anything happening at an event, I left my family in the parking lot by the campus stage and headed over to the stadium where you could sing the National Anthem and see local elected officials in patriotic fashion. Dr. Judy Ackerman, Provost, welcomed everyone to the campus and introduced Mayor Susan Hoffmann, who then introduced all the city council members, John Britton, Piotr Gajewski, Phyllis Marcuccio and Anne Robbins, along with State Senator Jennie Forehand and Maryland State Delegate Kumar Barve. Every available spot in the grassy area between the bleachers and stage packed with people politely waiting for the fireworks. A small tease occurred during the Star Spangled Banner and then the location was front row for the main attraction.
When I walked back to the campus stage, I couldn’t believe the difference in atmosphere. Large groups of teenagers and young people in their 20’s were gathered in groups while younger kids had space to play, toss, and move around. A dedicated group crowded the stage where Redline’s talented musicians pumped out their recognizable rock. The outer parking lot was still partially vacant so people were spread out with real room to party.
I wish the campus stage could include more of the official festivities. At a minimum it would be nice to pipe in the National Anthem during the band’s break, so everyone at the location knows why the brief fireworks were set off early. Many of the kids thought the fireworks were starting and stopped playing in confusion. Since the songs during the fireworks are pumped into both locations, perhaps some link is possible.
Regardless, Burt Hall, Director of Recreation and Parks, said it was good to have both locations. I didn’t really understand until I visited and realized the City was providing two distinctive experiences to appeal to a very large portion of the population.
Rockville’s firework display is impressive for our size city. Every year I find myself thinking it was the finale and the show continues to an even bigger conclusion.
Vehicles were lined up at a complete stop to leave the parking lot. The police had streets blocked or made one-way to move everyone out quickly in an efficient manner. We parked at the swim center and waited briefly to leave so it wasn’t too bad.
>VisArts at Rockville‘s current exhibit is like Rockville Central. How? Both welcome comments.
Each piece in Sculpting Time has a black sketchbook hanging on the wall with a question on the cover. Visitors are invited to pick up a small pencil and answer. Some of you may have waited your whole life to answer such questions. Kyan Bishop’s installation on the floor called A fascination with the potential of completely falling apart ($18,000) invites you to answer the question “Is this art? Why or Why not?”
With this interaction between artist and viewer, the exhibit goes beyond the hay, tree stumps, and pottery on exhibit. You can respond to the artwork on the spot.
A video on making ceramics is tucked away in the corner, along with another showing Louise Radochonski installing Fallen Figures in the Portfolio Gallery. Before I read the question for this piece I thought I sometimes felt like the figure, half-finished and torn apart. When the question was “Is it finished?”, I already knew my answer.
Some of my favorites from this exhibit:
Catherine White’s clay slips hang on the wall like signs weathered by the ages. In addition to manipulated plates, she also has a piece called Sketchbooks which is an assortment of books opened on a wall. The piece makes you feel like you’re getting a look inside her head, into her creative train of thought.
When looking at clouds and trees we sometimes imagine resemblances. Eric Serritella’s Birch Stump Teapot belongs in a fantasy world and one can’t help but be glad it’s preserved.
Laurel Lukaszewski’s Nameless Night ($8,400) hangs from the ceiling, a modern cascade of black stoneware and steel.
In the Children’s Discovery Gallery, kids can color pots and lids, glue pieces together, and learn about ceramics from around the world.
In this exhibit the “… artists have released clay from conventional forms to explore how time permeates everything.” Find out how until July 26, 2009.
Did you know that on any given day in our community, over 1,100 people are experiencing homelessness? Seventy-two percent of the homeless adults in Montgomery County have at least one disability. Twenty-six percent work but cannot afford housing.Yesterday County Executive Isiah Leggett and many public and private partners officially cut the ribbon for the >new addition to the Gude Drive Complex, which provides emergency shelter, temporary housing and a range of on-site supportive services to homeless men in Montgomery County. Mr. Leggett spoke about his belief that communities are judged on how well they treat those with the least.
This facility goes a long way in helping those most in need. The Complex puts a roof over the:
- The administrative and program offices for the Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless (MCCH), for which I work part-time.
- MCCH’s Home Builders Care Assessment Center, a 24/7 shelter for men experiencing homelessness
- MCCH’s Adrianne’s Safe Havens, a transitional housing program for 15 homeless men with chronic metal illness
- Community Ministries or Rockville’s (CMR’s) Chase Partnership House, transitional housing for 36 homeless men in recovery
Sharan London, the Executive Director of MCCH described the tremendous changes made possible with the programs at the Gude Drive Complex:
We’re standing at the old county landfill… and on this landfill, this complex was built. All of our partners–the County, the State, the Housing Opportunities Commission and Home Builders Care Foundation – had a role in making these buildings out of nothing… taking a literal wasteland and building temporary homes for hundreds of men. I am struck by how that work parallels what we are doing for the men who stay here. We bring them in when they often have nothing, and help them to rebuild their lives.
I am thankful for the men like John who came to the HBCAC having lived on and off the streets for over a year, struggled with addiction and is now enrolled in a certificate program at Montgomery College which will lead him out of homelessness and into housing.
And I am here today for men like Michael who is finally feeling comfortable enough while living at Adrianne’s Safe Havens to meet with a psychiatrist and talk about the illness that lead him to live in the woods for years.
I am especially grateful to Rick Nelson for DHCA’s support, to Stephanie Killian and Joe Giloley who came to look at the old bus repair station that was Chase and the old Conservation Corps building that was Safe Havens to see about renovating those buildings and who said “We’re housers and people shouldn’t live like this.”
It is a pleasure and honor to be part of both the physical transformation of the complex and the transformation of the lives of the men who stay here. And I am deeply honored to be a part of the team that does both. Thank you all.
A resident of the Home Builders Care Assessment Center, James Toler, also told his story:
I first came to the shelter in 2000 when the original building had just been built. Fortunately, I never had to stay in the trailer but heard from other residents that it was basically like being outside. You were still exposed to the elements and the wind came through the doors and windows. They didn’t feel safe or comfortable. I also got to see the other two buildings here – Adrianne’s Safe Haven and Chase Partnership House. Both were in terrible condition.
I left the shelter a month later after finding a new job. I eventually started my own landscaping company, which I ran for five years with my son. When our customers couldn’t afford our services anymore because of the downturn in the economy, I eventually lost my business, my apartment, and ended up back here this past April.
The construction at Gude Drive had just been completed and I was surprised at the changes. The new additions provide basic things like access to more showers and laundry. There’s also more space for other important things like studying, drawing, medical care, and private offices to meet with your case manager so they can help you put your life back in order. There’s also space for the Back-to-Work project. I participate in this project and work with the vocational counselor who helps residents find jobs. I am working to pursue a drafting course at Montgomery College so that I can become a Landscape Architect.
I’ve stayed in other shelters and call the Home Builders Care Assessment Center the Hilton of Shelters – it’s safe, clean, and state-of-the-art. It gives you the opportunity to get past the anger, the frustration. It makes the unmanageable manageable. I want to thank all the people here who helped make these new buildings possible – from the County Executive to the guys working the construction site. Thank you. I also want to thank Mr. Butler and the rest of the staff at the Home Builders Care Assessment Center, and also all the volunteers who bring warm and nutritious food. These new facilities will ensure that homeless men in Montgomery County have a safe, nurturing environment to rebuild hope, dignity and a positive future with a permanent home.
What also touched me was a resident of Chase Partnership House who gave me a tour and enthusiastically pointed out the rooms, common areas, and a photo mural depicting years of images from this CMR program. He was so proud and you could tell how this was his home.
Ted Smart of the Home Builder’s Care Foundation (HBCF) spoke about being grateful to be a part of the team to construct the addition and he was a volunteer project manager. HBCF donated $300,000 in goods and services to make this addition possible and he expressed how pleased all of the builders are to give back to the community.
The Gude Drive Complex shows how a community working together can change lives.