Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Fire department continues to get grants

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The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department recently received a $324,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

Since 2003, the station has received more than $1.8 million in state and federal grants, including a $600,000 grant in February according to the department.

The Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, which the department received, provides funding to help increase the number of trained, front-line firefighters available in the community, according to a press release from U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Baltimore.

The Kensington fire department will use the grant to recruit volunteer firefighters or Advanced Life Support providers by assisting with the cost of obtaining an Associates Degree in either Fire Science or Emergency Medical Technology in exchange for service to the department.

Capt. Chris St. John, a Kensington volunteer, previously told The Gazette that the department has a dedicated team of grant writers that have great success in obtaining funds for the station.

Previous awards for the Kensington station include $157,785 to purchase new firefighter gear and mass casualty equipment in 2006, $105,883 to purchase new gear for emergency medical services in 2005.

Photo contestat Brookside Gardens

To commemorate Brookside Gardens’ 40th anniversary, a 2009 calendar will be published featuring seasonal and historical photos taken at the Wheaton park.

Residents, including Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning staff, can submit their entries for the calendar, and winning photos will be chosen based on their appeal, content and the photographer’s skill.

Winners will receive photographic credit in the publication or merchandise in which they are used, and will also receive a complimentary copy of the product in which they are used. No other prizes or monetary awards will be given, according to Leslie McDermott, park spokeswoman.

Deadline to submit photos is May 1, and entrants are encouraged to visit for a list of rules, regulations and an application form.

Contact Brookside Gardens with any questions at 301-962-1427.

Kensington’s spring cleaning

One of Kensington’s smallest parks recently got a facelift.

Ernest Park, at the intersection of Connecticut Avenue, Baltimore Street and Armory Avenue, is a memorial to veterans of all United States conflicts. The town recently cleaned out the weeds and overgrowth in the park, which features a stone monument.

‘‘It just really needed some work, there were weeds and overgrowth all over,” said Mayor Peter Fosselman.

In addition to the trimming, Kensington artist Jason Swain carved an eagle statue from a tree trunk in the center of the small park.

The Town of Kensington will install flowerpots along Connecticut Avenue within the month to make the busy road a bit more pleasant.

Three-foot-tall flowerpots in the median strip along Connecticut may help slow speeding as well, according to Fosselman.

American Idol to appearat White Flint

Former American Idol contestant Ace Young, known to many fans of season five as the dreamy Idol, will be at the Borders Books location at White Flint Mall at 2 p.m. Saturday to sign copies of the book, ‘‘Chicken Soup for the American Idol Soul: Stories from the Idols and their Fans that Open Your Heart and Make Your Soul Sing.”

The book is a collection of inspirational stories by Idols and their fans about overcoming obstacles and living your dreams and includes a foreword by Idol judge Paula Abdul.

White Flint is located at 11301 Rockville Pike.

Pancake profits to feed a church summer camp

St. Paul’s United Methodist Church will hold its monthly all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast from 8 to 10:30 a.m., Saturday.

Proceeds from the ticket sales will benefit the West River United Methodist Center, a summer camp and retreat center located in Anne Arundel County.

Tickets cost $5 for adults, $2 for children under 12 years old and a $15 family maximum. The breakfast, featuring buckwheat pancakes, will be at Heavener Hall, corner of Fawcett and Mitchell streets, Kensington. For more information, call 301-933-7933.

This column is for you. Share your good news! Feel free to send press releases and news tips. Contact Patrick Dunne via e-mail at, phone at 301-280-3005, fax at 301-670-7183, or snail mail at 9030 Comprint Court, Gaithersburg, MD 20877.