Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Youths explore social issues through films at festival

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A Silver Spring Youth Media Festival organized by the Gandhi Brigade explored the theme ‘‘Express Yourself” with films by young people on topics such as stereotypes and defining beauty on Saturday at City Place Mall in Silver Spring.

The festival, open to ages 11 to 18, was the first of its kind organized by the group, which uses video and digital media to explore social issues.

‘‘We wanted to see what they thought were the issues going on in the community,” said Hawa Toure, the youth coordinator for the Gandhi Brigade.

Toure said she hoped the event became annual. The festival also included artwork and a movie showing of everyone who submitted films to the festival, a media competition, and a community board that addressed what youth in the area were concerned about.

For more information on the Gandhi Brigade, visit

Old Blair on trackfor renovation

Plans to reopen the former Montgomery Blair High School auditorium moved past the Montgomery County Council without debate Monday thanks to an existing $25,000 in the county schools system budget that will pay for a study looking at how to move forward with renovations of the facility.

The County Council had already appropriated $190,000 in 2005 for the project; $140,000 of that remains, and would potentially be released once the county schools’ study was released.

County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring said at the County Council meeting Monday the feasibility study would take several months, and that a stakeholder group that would look at the programming of the space is being convened.

Stuart Moore, president of the Old Blair Auditorium Project, Inc., the nonprofit heading the renovation effort since 2004, said after the meeting that ‘‘kids in that community could really use some after-school support.”

‘‘This is a great opportunity to get some service providers coming into the school to do that,” Moore said.

The Old Blair Auditorium is now part of the Silver Spring International Middle School and Sligo Creek Elementary School campuses. For more information, visit

MTA hosts Purple Line open houses

The Maryland Transit Administration is continuing its series of open houses to update the public on the latest numbers regarding the Purple Line, in preparation for further studies planned for release this fall.

The next open house will be held 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at East Silver Spring Elementary School, 631 Silver Spring Ave. Information on travel times, costs, ridership, and alignment options specific to each community planned for the 14-mile east-west transit line will be available.

Open houses also are scheduled 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East West Highway, and 4 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. May 21 at the Langley Park Community Center, 1500 Merrimac Drive in Hyattsville.

Studies expected in the fall include an analysis of alternatives – the MTA has yet to decide whether the Purple Line would be most efficient as a rapid-bus line or light-rail transit system – and an environmental impact statement.

For more information, visit