Community Center Opens

A new community center serving Montgomery's upcounty residents has opened in Damascus. It features athletic fields, a playground and an arts and crafts room with pottery kilns.

The $8.1 million Damascus Community Recreation Center, at 25520 Oak Dr., sits on 38 acres and includes a baseball and softball field with overlapping soccer fields, a gymnasium, exercise room, conference room and game room.

"It's a great asset to the community," said Hercules Twine, acting director of the center. "It's wonderful for the kids."

A Free Ride Home

Free taxicab rides will be offered Saturday and Sunday as part of the Halloween SoberRide program to keep drunk drivers off local roads.

Area residents ages 21 and older can call 800-200-TAXI from 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. both days. A free ride will be offered up to a $50 fare.

According to the Washington Regional Alcohol Program, which sponsors the program, nearly twice as many people are killed by drunk drivers in the region during Halloween than on New Year's Eve.

New Park and Ride Lot

Maryland transportation officials have opened a new Park and Ride lot in Gaithersburg as part of the $10 million Interstate 270/Route 117 (West Diamond Avenue) interchange improvement project.

Officials say that the lot, which lot has 320 spaces, should promote carpooling and help ease congestion.

Check Your Smoke Alarms

County officials are urging residents to check their home smoke alarms this weekend when they adjust their clocks for daylight saving time.

Recent surveys conducted by firefighters after serious fires in the county have found that nearly half of the smoke alarms checked did not work.

County residents can schedule a home safety evaluation by calling the Home Safety Hotline at 240-777-2476.

Volunteers Still Needed

More than 3,600 people participated Saturday in Montgomery County's Community Service Day, working on about 40 projects throughout the county.

The volunteers helped with landscaping at elementary schools, painted a group home, visited nursing homes and restored a living history farm.

The event was coordinated by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. While the day was a success, center director Andrea Jolly said volunteers are needed throughout the year. For information, call 240-777-2699 or visit