Monocacy Elementary Will Stay Open…the Fight for Reserve Schools Continues

Breaking News: Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Weast has released a recommendation that Monocacy Elementary, a popular school within the Reserve threatened with closure, should stay open.

While this news causes relief across the Reserve community, it does not go far enough. Monocacy was slated for closure because it had fewer students than non-Reserve schools. This policy ignores the fact that the rural area feeding the school has limited development and population by design. There is no way for these rural cluster schools to keep up with enrollment standards that govern the rest of the County. More than a resource for students and parents, in the County’s rural areas schools are often the only public meeting areas, hosting meetings, events and generally serving as a community center. Having these buildings serve double-duty this way saves the County money.

While Monocacy is off the chopping block, a formal rural schools policy is necessary to make sure that the entire Reserve cluster of schools is not faced with closure as a result of incongruous enrollment standards. We will be pushing this issue with the School Board as public hearings on this recommendation take place next month. Stay Tuned!

The Whole Recommendation

MCA Files Petition for Reconsideration on Barnesville Oaks

MCA is challenging the Planning Board’s approval of a large suburban-style development on the last largest remaining farm in the Reserve,MCA filed a petition asserting error in the Board’s decision and respectfully asking them to revisit the matter. MCA challenges conformity with the Master Plan citing State legislation passed in 2009 that strengthens the requirement that land use decisions support and do not conflict with governing Master plans.

Breaking News:  Developer has filed opposition to sending (remanding) the case back to Planning Board for their review and decision on MCA’s Petition for Reconsideration!  Unbelievably, their filing claims that because the developer quickly  filed their  notice of appeal of the condition regarding tenant houses and density first…MCA’s petition for reconsideration should not be addressed.  In other words, they are trying to prevent the process that allows for the Board to exercise their authority to reconsider matters when properly petitioned.  This move is a real slap in the face to the community who merely seeks to ensure that the Board has fully evaluated the subdivision in light of the Master Plan and existing law.

Stay tuned…

Announcing the 2010 Royce Hanson Award Winner, Tony Cohen!

Tony on the porch of Button Farm's historic Farmhouse

MCA is pleased to announce the 2010 Royce Hanson Award winner: Tony Cohen of Button Farm Living History Center!

Tony has long  been a thoughtful steward of Button Farm, preserving both the structures and history of this 19th century slave plantation. Tony makes history come alive for visitors with hands-on history programs depicting slave life and the escape to freedom through the Underground Railroad. The farm is also very much in the present, growing heirloom vegetables, providing Community Sponsored Agriculture Shares and growing food for Manna Food Bank.

This year’s Royce Hanson award acknowledges Tony’s joyful enthusiasm at bringing the cultural and agricultural  history of our region to life.

Please Join us to Celebrate Tony’s accomplishments!

Anthony Cohen is an historian, author, and explorer of the American past.  His love of history has led him to embark on two historic expeditions retracing routes of the Underground Railroad; the first in 1996 from Maryland to Amherstburg, Ontario and again in 1998 from Alabama to Canada, by foot boat and rail along wilderness trails and waterways. 2011 will bring his third and final expedition as he followed the route of his great-great grand uncle who fled slavery in Savannah, GA for freedom in Canada in 1849. This journey will be chronicled in a documentary, Patrick & Me, to be released nationwide in 2013.

Cohen has served as a consultant to the National Parks Conservation Association, Maryland Public Television, and NASA among others and trained Oprah Winfrey for her role as Sethe in the 1998 motion picture Beloved.  He is has published articles in national magazines and is Founder and President of The Menare Foundation, Inc., a national non-profit working to preserve the legacy of the Underground Railroad through the Button Farm Living History Center in Germantown, MD.

He received his B.A. in American Studies from American University. A native of Washington, DC he makes his home in Olney, MD.

Button Farm~ Have your History and Eat it Too!

Lymphoma Research Riders enjoy the Ag Reserve

On October 3rd, the Ag Reserve was the site of the Lymphoma Research Ride, a 25 and 50 mile bike ride to fund research into the Lymphoma disease. Bikers are just one group that comes out to the Reserve for the rural character and beautiful landscape. Click here to read one bikers story about biking the Reserve’s Rustic Roads.

Right now the Reserve is at its most beautiful and bountiful, the leaves are changing and orchards trees are heavy with apples, fields are full of pumpkins. Click here for the best pickin’s!