City Scene

Applications Sought for City Council Vacancy

Are you passionate about Gaithersburg? Do you have great ideas for the city? If so, consider applying to fill the vacant City Council position left by the passing of longtime City Councilmember Henry Marraffa, Jr. The term of office for this position will expire November 2017. Applications are due by Dec. 2, 5 p.m. For more information and a City Council application packet, visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov/news/press-releases.

Quince Orchard Road Resurfacing Continues

The Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration (SHA) is continuing its work on MD 124/Quince Orchard Road from Orchard Ridge Drive to MD 355 (Frederick Road) in Gaithersburg. Weather permitting, this will be completed late fall.

Crews will patch, resurface and apply new pavement markings on all traffic lanes. To expedite all phases of work, crews are permitted to close one lane in both directions weekdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and two lanes overnight, Sunday through Friday, from 8 p.m. to 5 a.m.; work hours and lane closures may be amended.

Winter Lights Festival to Open

The City of Gaithersburg Winter Lights Festival welcomes visitors for its 21st season. The wondrous display of lights at Seneca Creek State Park will be open nightly Nov. 25 through Dec. 31, Sunday through Thursday from 6 to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday from 6 to 10 p.m. Please note that the festival will be closed on Dec. 25. The park is located at 11950 Clopper Road, just a few miles west of the intersection with I-270. Admission at the gate is $12 per car Monday through Thursday and $15 per car Friday through Sunday, payable by cash or credit card.

The 3.5-mile drive through the enchanted woodland setting of Seneca Creek State Park takes you past more than 450 illuminated displays and beautifully lit park trees that brighten the night. Making its debut this year is a new frog prince display, nestled amongst traditional festival favorites that include a Fantasy Castle and magical unicorn fountain, Winter Woods, Teddy Bear Land, Victorian Village, and the North Pole.

In the spirit of the holidays, proceeds from the 2016 festival will benefit local nonprofit organizations, including Baby’s Bounty, Rebuilding Together Montgomery County, Kentlands Community Foundation, Girls on the Run of Montgomery County, and Women Who Care Ministries.

International Debut for Gaithersburg Filmmaker

“The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus,” which was screened at Paragon Kentlands Stadium 10 in July, from Gaithersburg filmmaker Barry Worthington debuted on international screens the first weekend in November. The film was an official selection of the Jehlum Short & Long Film Festival and debuted Nov. 5 in Bangalore, Karnataka. The next day, “The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus” screened in New Delhi as part of the 5th Delhi Shorts International Film Festival.

Worthington said that this is the furthest any of his films has gone. “Being able to reach so many different people around the globe with this film makes me very happy,” he said, “especially considering what the film’s themes are. I remember when I would work as a teacher apprentice with my first film and video teacher at Gaithersburg High School as he would utilize filmmaking as a tool to teach his English Speakers of Other Languages classes. That experience shaped me greatly as both a filmmaker as well as a fellow person, and he taught me something that will always resonate with me: ‘Film can be a universal language.’”

Filmed in Gaithersburg, “The Infinitely Generous Francis Victus” is a mockumentary about a small town, Victus, and its search for the truth about its founder, farmer Francis Victus. To date, the film has won numerous awards and been the official selection at such national film festivals as Rails to Reels Film Festival 2016, Miami Independent Film Festival 2016, Canadian Diversity Film Festival 2016, LA Shorts Awards 2016, Indie Capitol Awards 2016, The Accolade Competition 2016, and The Indie Fest 2016.

Smoking Ban on City Property Extended

The Mayor and City Council voted Oct. 17 to ban smoking and vaping on city property with a few limited exceptions. The ban includes cigarettes, cigars, vaping and e-cigarettes in all public buildings and on public property in general, including all areas of parks. The previous smoking ban did not include vaping or e-cigarettes and only applied to enclosed public spaces and within 25 feet of park playground equipment.

The new law extends the smoking and vaping ban to all city-owned vehicles and could impact public ways such as roads when they are being temporarily used for city parades, festivals and other events. While these ordinance changes primarily impact city facilities and public spaces, the changes that were made extend the ban of vaping and e-cigarettes in other places previously identified as “no smoking” areas, such as elevators, restrooms, healthcare facilities, retail establishments and restaurants, shared work spaces, schools and theaters. This law will take effect Jan. 1, 2017.

Get Ready for Gaithersburg’s Jingle Jubilee

Welcome the holidays with a traditional tree lighting ceremony, holiday music, and a special visit from Santa at Gaithersburg’s Jingle Jubilee. The festivities take place at the City Hall Concert Pavilion in Olde Towne on Saturday, Dec. 3, 6 to 7:30 p.m. Look for costumed characters, a photo booth, giveaways and an opportunity to give back by donating needed items or money to the Adopt-A-Troop program. For more information about this fundraising event by the Veterans of Foreign Wars – John M. Carter Post #9862, call 301.948.0781 or visit www.gaithersburgmd.gov.

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