Since You Asked May-June 2013

Since You Asked May-June 2013

Polo, the ICC and local fiction authors

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What’s this I hear about polo being played in Montgomery County? How much does it cost to learn how to play? Is it safe for my kid?
—A reader in Silver Spring

Polo is indeed being played in the county—at multiple fields and arenas in Poolesville, where the 72 members of the Capitol Polo Club practice what’s known as the “sport of kings.” Members include kids and teens, and the club’s polo school, which provides lessons to new riders, includes students as young as 8, general manager Marcos Bignoli says.

He says beginners learn the sport in the club’s indoor arena, where the enclosed field and sandy surface provide a less challenging environment than the larger grass fields outdoors, where club members compete against each other and against traveling teams.

“It’s an extremely safe experience,” he says.

The club, which started in 2005, offers free, 45-minute introductory lessons that include the use of a horse and equipment, Bignoli says. Even people who have never ridden a horse, much less played a ballgame while atop one, are welcome, he says. If you’re hooked after the lesson, you can purchase 10 additional lessons for $1,200, according to Bignoli.

“It’s called the sport of kings, but really we think it’s just the king of sports,” Bignoli says. “A lot of people are intimidated by polo’s glamorous reputation—the Champagne, the Rolls-Royces. The sport does have that side to it, but nowadays it’s available to anyone, on almost any budget.”

For more information, contact Bignoli at 561-703-6273 or at marcos@capitolpolo.com.

Are people using the ICC? Has it helped ease congestion on other roads? How much toll money is collected? What is done about drivers who don’t pay the toll?
—A reader in Silver Spring

Drivers made more than 11.56 million trips on Maryland’s Intercounty Connector in the fiscal year that started July 1, 2011, and ended last June, says Maryland Transportation Authority spokesman John Sales. The ICC, an 18.8-mile, six-lane road connecting Prince George’s and Montgomery counties, netted $19.73 million in tolls during that fiscal year, Sales says. The tolls are collected via E-ZPass; drivers who use the ICC without the pass are mailed a bill for the toll and a processing fee of 50 percent of their toll rate. Those who don’t pay their bills will be issued $50 citations and could end up having their vehicle registrations flagged for nonrenewal.

Sales says the Maryland State Highway Administration completed a preliminary study last fall on whether the ICC has reduced congestion on nearby east-west roads, as officials had expected. He says the final study is expected to be complete soon.

Who are some of the popular fiction authors who live in the Bethesda area?
—A reader in Kensington

Alice McDermott. Photo by Patrice GilbertNovelists abound in the Bethesda area. To name a few: Bethesda’s Alice McDermott, whose Charming Billy won an American Book Award and a National Book Award for Fiction; and best-selling novelist Martha Grimes, who received the Grand Master Award from the Mystery Writers of America in 2012.

In Silver Spring, there’s George Pelecanos, who was a writer and producer for HBO’s The Wire and is author of several crime novels; and Manil Suri, author of The Death of Vishnu, The Age of Shiva and The City of Devi. And in Chevy Chase, Bethesda Magazine columnist Sarah Pekkanen came out with her fourth book, The Best of Us, in April.

Have a question you’d like answered about someone or something in the Bethesda area? Email sinceyouasked@bethesdamagazine.com. Please include your name and the city in which you live.

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