The American premiere of this Olivier Award-winning, West End comedy is an instant hit. Born just six months apart, Queen Elizabeth II and Margaret Thatcher each had a destiny that would change the world. But when the British stiff upper lip softened and the gloves came off, which one - the Queen or the Iron Lady - had the upper hand? The wickedly funny comedy imagines what the two historic figures talked about behind closed doors.   roundhousetheatre.org

Top 10 Homes Sales
The top 10 home sales in Montgomery County in January of 2018 went for a combined $22,384,000, according to Carolyn Sappenfield of Carolyn Homes. The most expensive home sale was at 10007 Bentcross Drive in Potomac which sold for $3,650,000 - $649,000 below the list price.
All the other sellers got 93% or more of their asking price with one home - 3718 Bradley Lane in Chevy Chase - getting $25,000 more than the list price. The second most expensive sale was 3907 Leland Street in Chevy Chase which sold for its list price of $2,365,000. The other home sales were in North Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Bethesda, and Kensington. More Info

Public funding of presidential campaigns, where qualified political candidates receive federal government money to pay for valid campaign expenses, has been around since 1974. But how about public funding of political races at the county level? Under Maryland election law, counties can establish their own system of public campaign financing. In September of 2014, Montgomery County became the first county in Maryland and in the metropolitan area to adopt such a program when the council voted unanimously to extend public campaign financing for candidates for county executive and county council seats. The stated goals were to encourage greater voter participation in elections at the county level; entice more residents to run for office; and reduce the influence of large contributions from outside groups like businesses, political action committees and other large organizations. As of January 2017, the council had appropriated $6 million for matching funds. To qualify, candidates have to collect qualifying contributions, refuse contributions from select groups and organizations, raise a minimum amount of money from county residents, and meet other criteria. More Info  

For those who like executive summaries verses the "War and Peace" version of documents, the county's Popular Annual Financial Report is perfect. The 16-page document for fiscal year 2017 is available and it touches on a variety of issues, including revenue and expenditures, long-term capital planning, long-term debt, economic outlook, fiscal 2018 budget highlights, and more. One small nugget - the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is the county's largest employer with 30,089. Government agencies comprised the top five county employers before Adventist Healthcare, in the sixth position of 4,793 employees, appeared as the largest private sector employer.
More Info > For those who like to examine every detail, the county's Comprehensive Annual Financial Report is 288 pages of much more detailed reporting. More Info>

The Wheaton and Kensington Chamber of Commerce is hosting a lunch and networking event featuring Bob Bachman, president of the Montgomery County Historical Society. Bachman's presentation will discuss Montgomery County's rapid development in the 1950s as a suburb of Washington, D.C., with focus on demographics, housing and subdivisions, shopping centers, schools, parks, and recreation.  More Info>

What better way to visit and safely sample the products of the county's craft breweries than on a bus. Maryland Brewery Tours is launching brewery tours via motor coach that include behind the scenes tours, a pint at each stop, a limited-edition pint glass, and an all around good time. There are two scheduled tours: February 17 in honor of Maryland Craft Beer Lovers Month and on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.
Stops on the first tour include Denizens Brewing Company, Saints Row Brewing, 7 Locks Brewing, and Twin Valley Distillers. The March tour will hit 7 Locks Brewing, the Brookeville Beer Farm, Waredaca Brewing Company, and Saints Row Brewing. More Info

The winners of the 15th Annual Young Artist Awards will be presented in a prestigious concert at the Arts Barn in Gaithersburg on March 2 at 7:30 p.m. The competition is a juried event administered by the city of Gaithersburg and supported by the Kentlands Community Foundation. The musicians range in age between 12 to 18 and the categories include piano, vocal, string (bowed strings), string (plucked strings, woodwind, and brass. Tickets for the event are very limited. More Info

The county's Commission on Aging is looking for nominations to recognize outstanding volunteerism by an individual, organization or group. The Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award recognizes a lifetime of volunteer service while the Montgomery Serves Award recognizes volunteers of the year. The deadline for nominations is February 23 at 5 p.m. More Info>

Need a birthday party idea, rainy day or everyday activity for the little tyke or teen in your family? Here are three great MoCo places and businesses that cater to kids and birthdays.

Lunar New Year - Westfield Montgomery Mall in Bethesda is celebrating the Chinese Year of the Dog with a lunar new year community event on February 16 starting at 6 p.m. The free event will feature live, traditional entertainment, dragon dances, arts and crafts, and more. The celebration will take place on the Nordstrom court lower level. More Info>

Meet The Bubbas - Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg invites preschoolers to be part of the mall's Adventure Kids Club and sing, dance and learn with the Bubbas, a playful, folk-singing duo playing children's songs. The free, fun event starts February 22 at 10 a.m. More Info>

My Gym - Located in The Kentlands, My Gym has developed a program and facility devised to help children 6 weeks through 10-years-old develop physically, cognitively and emotionally. Kids have fun as they gain strength, balance, coordination, agility, and flexibility while developing social skills, confidence and self-esteem. More Info>

For the Foodies in Montgomery County

HELEN'S ON THE PIKE - The restaurant in Rockville that took over space abandoned by Addie's has closed. Although the restaurant by Helen Wasserman was highly regarded, a number of factors contributed to its closure. helensonthepike.com

SENOR TEQUILA'S - The authentic Mexican restaurant in Germantown with an extensive menu of great food is celebrating National Margarita Day, observed on February 22, with all-day specials. You can be sure that the tequila-based cocktail served with triple sec and lime will be one of them. senortequilas.com 

THE HALAL GUYS -The New York chain is slated to open its first Maryland location in Rockville on February 16 in Wintergreen Plaza. The company sees Maryland as fertile territory and is eyeing additional locations in Montgomery County.The Halal Guys serves a flavorful menu of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean selection, including gyros, falafel and chicken that are seasoned to perfection. thehalalguys.com

TOMMY JOE'S - After a short run, the Tommy Joe's location in the Kentlands has closed. The Tommy Joe's in Bethesda remains a popular and thriving nightspot. tommyjoes.com

Montgomery County is one of the nation's wealthiest counties, yet there is need throughout our region. Support your neighbors by donating to a county-based charity. The issue's charity focus is the Wheaton-based Mid-County United Ministries (MUM) which provides emergency food and assistance to people in crisis. MUM provides help to residents of Kensington, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Rockville, and Aspen Hill in the form of food distribution and eviction, utility and prescription drug assistance. Last year MUM was able to reach 1,516 households, a seven percent increase over 2016. mumhelp.org
Meet Woof and Growl (again). We featured this handsome duo before, but Roxie's Fund is still trying to place them in a good home. The lovable bundles of fun are looking for a fun family where they can relax in their Golden Years and give you all the love you can ask for. The pair's previous owner could no longer take care of them, but Woof and Growl love to go on walks, hang out and snuggle.   for.roxiesfund@gmail.com  www.roxiesfund.org


A website (trashnothing.com) invites you to join more than 1,200 county residents who are giving and receiving free stuff instead of tossing it a landfill. By promoting the three R's - reducing, reusing and recycling - the grassroots group is trying to make it simple for you to give away unwanted, but reusable items to people who can use them. It's called "free sharing," "free reuse" or "freecycling." Once you join your local group, you can create an "offer" post for items you want to give away or a "wanted" post for things you need. Interested group members contact you and you decide who gets the item.
  "Some of the most common posts are for items such as old electronics, building materials, clothes and books...cloth scraps, scratched CDs and broken appliances sometimes find homes with artists looking for materials or tinkerers looking for an interesting project or spare parts," according to the website. More Info>

Win a $25 gift certificate to the Fontina Grille in Rockville, a King Farm neighborhood favorite that makes Italian entrees and brick-oven pizza in a family-friendly atmosphere. Enter for a chance to win the gift certificate by emailing your name and address to: doug@montgomerymag.com. Put Fontina in the subject line. fontinagrille.com

The winner will be notified by email on February 26.

Online deal-based sites like LivingSocial and Groupon only clog your in-box with endless emails and alerts and, worse, make you pay to get your discount. Try our sister publication Premier Values Magazine where consumers can easily redeem discounts at restaurants, frame shops, home improvement companies and more. For example, Senor Tequila's in Germantown is offering up to $20 off your total food bill while the Golden Samovar in Rockville is offering $15 off your total dinner check of $60 or more. premiervaluesonline.com


Quote of the Day
"Never bend your head. Always hold it high. Look the world straight in the eye."
Helen Keller