Wednesday, December 19, 2012
The informal online survey received low participation from Wheaton's large Hispanic population.
Results from an informal public safety survey in Wheaton showed more concern with the appearance of the downtown area than with specific crime problems, Mid-County Regional Services Center Director Ana Lopez van Balen said. Van Balen presented the survey results Monday evening at the second meeting of the Wheaton Public Safety Work Group. Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro and Councilmember Hans Riemer organized the work group to "study and implement ways of improving public safety, quality of life, and perceptions of downtown Wheaton as it relates to revitalization efforts." [Read more on Wheaton Patch about the discussion at the work group's first meeting in November.] One survey question asked for specific ways to …
Tuesday, November 27, 2012
At its first meeting, the new Wheaton Public Safety Work Group discussed how to counteract damaging perceptions about crime in Wheaton.
“Wheaton is not a dangerous place,” said Fourth District Police Commander John Damskey at the first meeting of the Wheaton Public Safety Work Group on Nov. 19. “But the perception is horrible," he added. The new Wheaton Public Safety Work Group is tasked with finding ways of “improving public safety, quality of life, and perceptions of downtown Wheaton as it relates to revitalization efforts." At the Nov. 19 meeting, attendees talked about the changes Wheaton has undergone. They also discussed improving appearance and safety in Wheaton with more street lights, cameras at pay stations and median landscaping. In an Aug. 8 memorandum, Montgomery County councilmembers Hans Riemer (D–At Large) and Nancy Navarro (D-District 4) outlined the work …
Tuesday, May 15, 2012
Take a look inside the May 8 edition of "Montgomery Al Dia."
With red hair, red dress and red heels to match her fiery personality, Lorna Virgili checks her reflection in her iPhone before taping her bilingual radio show, which will hit not only the airwaves, but also a YouTube audience. Virgili hosts "Montgomery al Dia," a weekly half-hour Spanish-language segment on all things Montgomery County, which is broadcast every Tuesday at 2 p.m. on Radio America's 1540 AM channel. The studio is located in what is known as the Computer Building in Wheaton, at 11141 Georgia Avenue. Since its launch on April 3, full episodes of all of Virgili's broadcasts are now available on Montgomery County's YouTube channel. Virgili works as a Montgomery County public information officer and the principal Spanish-media…
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Regional planners hope to activate community involvement.
Though Wheaton has been designated an Arts & Entertainment District for nearly six years, Mid-County Regional Services Director Ana Lopez van Balen says there is still a lot of work ahead to embody that distinction. She plans to meet with Suzan Jenkins, CEO of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, and representatives from established arts groups in the community on Tuesday to brainstorm plans to boost a “unified vision” within Wheaton that is centered on the arts. Wheaton’s designation as an Arts & Entertainment District is meant to encourage artistic enterprise, primarily through tax credits, said Peter McGinnity, manager of the county's Wheaton Redevelopment Program. Commercial property owners who renovate their spaces to …
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Wheaton Redevelopment plans are in "steep competition with a number of other projects," the director of the county's Department of General Services told the Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee on Feb. 15.
- Ben Gross
Thursday, February 16, 2012
The Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee (WRAC) welcomed two guests to its Feb. 15 meeting to discuss the on-going preparation for Wheaton’s impending redevelopment, ranging from high-level project overviews to more granular aspects of working with individual businesses in Wheaton. Montgomery County Department of General Services Director David Dise provided an update on where redevelopment funding stood in discussion among county councilmembers, and which aspects of the project county funding would cover. Ana Lopez van Balen, the director of the Mid-County Regional Services Center, shared her recent work with small businesses in Wheaton and an update on plans for a small business program in conjunction with General Services. Van …
Wednesday, October 12, 2011
WUDAC, comprised of small and large business owners and residents, reported on a variety of issues, including the upcoming start of demolition at the Costco site.
On Tuesday evening, members of the Wheaton Urban District Advisory Committee met at the Mid-County Regional Services Center to share reports on various issues regarding Wheaton's downtown area. Here’s what was discussed:
Monday, October 3, 2011
Ana Lopez van Balen fills a post held by her predecessor for 16 years.
The Mid-County Service Center in Wheaton is the principal liaison between the county and businesses, communities and neighborhood organizations in the county's middle area. Patch sat down with Ana Lopez van Balen, who is taking over the center’s leadership from former director Natalie Cantor, who retired in June after 16 years. Prior to taking her current position, van Balen was executive director of Community Bridges, a leadership and empowerment organization for low-income girls. She has a master's degree from the Columbia University School of Social Work, and a bachelor's from Vanderbilt University in human & organizational development. Patch: If a citizen walks through the door at the mid-county center looking for help, what can you do…
Thursday, September 29, 2011
Five things to help you start your day the right way.
1. Today should be a bit drier, with only a 40 percent chance of rain. Highs should reach the mid-70s, with overnight lows expected to be in the mid-50s. 2. Happy New Year to readers celebrating Rosh Hashana. There is a family friendly service at Temple Shalom in Chevy Chase at 2:45 p.m. 3. If you were unable to attend the Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce breakfast to meet Ana Lopez van Balen—catch up on all the pictures and information now! 4. Bookmark Wheaton Patch so you can easily come back later today to fins all the best places to Get Out or go Yard Sale shopping this weekend. 5. According to GasBuddy’s website, the Freestate on Veirs Mill Road has Wheaton’s cheapest gas at $3.37 per gallon with the Exxon at Veirs Mill and …
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
Ana Lopez van Balen takes over position long-held by Natalie Cantor at the Mid-County Service Center.
Wheaton business and community leaders packed a corner of Panera Bread at the Wheaton Westfield Mall this morning to meet the new director of the Mid-County Service Center, Ana Lopez van Balen. The breakfast "mixer" was organized by the Wheaton & Kensington Chamber of Commerce. Van Balen--who has long been a non-profit and community leader--began as director on September 12. Van Balen is taking over from Natalie Cantor, who retired in June after 16 years in the position. The center is the principal liaison between the county and the businesses, communities and neighborhood organizations within the middle area of Montgomery County.
Thursday, July 21, 2011
Van Balen is currently director of Community Bridges and co-chair of Non Profit Montgomery.
A non-profit and community leader is on track to becoming the new director of the Mid-County Regional Services Center, after being nominated by County Executive Ike Leggett. Ana Lopez van Balen is the current director of Community Bridges, a non-profit that provides empowerment programs for young girls in the area. She is also the co-chair of Nonprofit Montgomery, and has worked with the Gilchrist Center in the past. Van Balen said that while it will be a difficult transition from her work with Community Bridges for the past five years, she is looking forward to continuing her work with the community on a "macro-level". "I saw this as an extension, in a community that has so many strengths," she said. Van Balen, who was named a 2009 …