Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Bethesda-Chevy Chase feasts on Restaurant Week

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Bethesda-Chevy Chase Restaurant Week kicked off Monday and will continue through Sunday. More than 30 restaurants are offering two-course lunches ranging from $10 to $20 and three-course dinners from $15 to $35. The event is cosponsored by the Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce, the Washington Post, NIH-NOAA Recreation and Welfare Association and the Bethesda Urban Partnership. To see a full list of restaurants, visit http:⁄⁄www.bccchamber.org.

Congress to vote soon on $4 million BRAC road funds

Montgomery County’s federal lawmakers secured the total $4 million requested earlier this year by Montgomery County to pay for transportation projects related to the upcoming expansion of Bethesda’s National Naval Medical Center.

U.S. Sens. Barbara A. Mikulski (D) of Baltimore and Benjamin L. Cardin (D) of Pikesville, along with the full Senate chamber, will soon vote on a $3 million appropriation that passed the Senate’s Appropriations Committee this month. Mikulski sits on the committee, as well as its Transportation⁄HUD subcommittee.

In the House of Representatives, U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D-Dist. 8) of Kensington expects the full House to vote this week or next week on a Transportation, Housing and Urban Development 2008 spending bill that carved out $1 million in Base Realignment and Closure-related transportation money for Montgomery County. The bill cleared the Appropriations Committee earlier this month. Van Hollen expected the $1 million to improve Route 355 — Rockville Pike and Wisconsin Avenue.

If both bills pass their respective chambers, a congressional conference will determine whether to appropriate the full $4 million.

The Maryland Department of Transportation would use the funds to improve state roads bordering the Bethesda base. The county had estimated that $5 million would be needed, with $1 million of local money supplementing the federal funds.

Fighter planes practicein D.C.-area skies

The North American Aerospace Defense Command and its Continental United States NORAD Region component held a series of training flights Monday and Tuesday in the Capital region, in coordination with the Air Force, Civil Air Patrol, the National Capital Region Command Center and federal aviation authorities.

Air Force fighter jets, Coast Guard helicopters and Civil Air Patrol aircraft were expected to fly throughout the day, late night and early morning hours. The exercises were expected to stretch into today in the event of poor weather.

The defense command has conducted similar exercises throughout the country and Canada as part of Operation Noble Eagle. Since Sept. 11, 2001, NORAD fighters have responded to more than 2,300 possible airborne threats in the United States and Canada.