Wednesday, Aug. 22, 2007

Rockville honors its Good Neighbors

Annual program lauds city residents for their thoughtful gestures

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For the past couple of years, the Hall and Wolf families have helped their senior neighbor, Joseph McNulty, clear 230 feet of snow and ice from his driveway and sidewalk whenever bad weather hit the area.

Now it’s not just McNulty who considers them good neighbors.

The Hall and Wolf families are among the 13 recipients of this year’s Good Neighbor Award from the City of Rockville.

McNulty nominated former City Councilman John F. Hall Jr. and his wife, Malgosia E. Babiuch-Hall, and son, Jan Babiuch-Hall, as well as neighbors William and Tom Wolf, for their help during the winter months.

Hall said that while receiving the award was an honor, it is not something worthy of an award.

‘‘We’re just being neighborly, that’s all,” Hall said. ‘‘There’s no heroics here, just small neighborly stuff.”

That is what the awards are all about, city officials said.

Jennifer Kimball, Rockville’s assistant to the city manager, said the Good Neighbor Award offers ‘‘an opportunity for the mayor and council to recognize those people in the Rockville community who add to the quality of life to the city as a whole and their close-by neighbors.”

The winners, who were nominated by their neighbors, were honored during a reception Aug. 1 at the Glenview Mansion at Rockville Civic Center Park, a first in the program’s five-year existence. Previously, winners were recognized during Monday night mayor and council meetings.

Other winners were honored for community services, such as organizing community events or house-sitting for a neighbor.

The winners include:

*Connie Karecki and Nancy King were nominated for volunteering their time each morning and afternoon to make sure the children who wait for the bus at Broadwood Drive and Lewis Avenue remain safe.

*Debra Feldman has initiated and led the Fallsgrove Neighborhood Halloween Parade for the past three years, organizing publicity, manpower and refreshments for the event.

*Christina Ginsberg represents all Rockville neighborhoods as chairwoman for the Alliance of Rockville Neighborhood Associations. In that role, Ginsberg has been involved with the Twinbrook Neighborhood Plan and supported Veirs Mill Road Landscape Improvements, a new gym at Meadow Hall Elementary School, and school buses for students in Lincoln Park.

*Carl Peterson was nominated for his participation in events for the Potomac Woods community, such as the holiday toy drive, Santa visit, neighborhood yard sale, bingo and personally purchasing and cooking hundreds of hamburgers and hot dogs each year for the annual Labor Day picnic.

*College Gardens Civic Association President Mark Pierzchala was honored for his work with the city on projects such as the Watts Branch Stream Restoration and the College Gardens Pond and Park Redesign. He previously served as treasurer and secretary of the organization.

*Joe and Jeannie Popovich were recognized for devoting their time to maintaining the Watts Branch Parkway traffic circle in their Fallswood neighborhood. The Popoviches have taken charge by planting, mulching and tending to the circle all season.

*Marge Reiman is honored for being the person in her King Farm community her neighbors can trust. Reiman’s neighbors go to her for advice on home and garden upkeep, and count on her to keep safe watch over their pets and homes when they are out of town.

*Marianna, Cecelia and Augustina Rius were nominated for the garden of daffodils, tulips and sunflowers they created and maintain in their neighborhood traffic circle in Potomac Woods.

*Michael Rubin is honored for voluntarily watering the plants around his condominium in Woodmont Spring, collecting trash and cleaning the graffiti from the bus shelter. His neighbors also trust him to help in times of emergency, such as trying to help with a flood or broken appliances.

*Chris West of Potomac Woods was nominated for aiding his elderly neighbor, Anne Bruce, by picking up her newspaper for her. For years, West took it upon himself to help Bruce when she was no longer able to pick it up herself and since then — despite rain, snow or ice — Bruce can rely on her daily newspaper waiting for her against her front door.