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Cuba, U.S. Talk on Jailed Potomac Man

Juan O. Tamayo of The Miami Herald reports that the Obama administration's top diplomat on Latin America has met with Cuba's foreign minister to press for the release of a U.S. citizen jailed in Havana since December -- the latest in a recent string of high-level bilateral sessions.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere Arturo Valenzuela and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodríguez met in New York during a U.N. gathering last month, the State Department's top spokesman said Monday.

The previously unknown session was the most recent in a string of meetings between officials of the two countries, which have not had full diplomatic relations since the early 1960s.

``The meeting was to encourage the release of Alan Gross,'' Philip J. Crowley, assistant secretary for public affairs, told reporters during a briefing in Washington.

Asked if Havana gave any sign that Gross would be freed, Crowley said, ``I'm not aware that they did.''

21 MCPS Students Named Achievement Scholarship Semifinalists

Twenty-one Montgomery County Public Schools students have been named semifinalists for the National Achievement Scholarship. The scholarship program, administered by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, recognizes promising African American students throughout the nation.

More than 1,600 public, private and home school students, nationwide, were identified as semifinalists for the 2011 scholarship program, based on their performance on the PSAT. These students can now compete for up to 800 Achievement Scholarships.

Last year, 14 MCPS students from six schools were named semifinalists for the award, and eight received the scholarship. This year, the 21 MCPS semifinalists are from seven high schools across the county—Blair, Blake, Magruder, Richard Montgomery, Poolesville, Watkins Mill and Whitman. Overall, MCPS accounts for more than one-third of the public school semifinalists in the state of Maryland.


Potomac Chef Takes the Title of Mason Dixon Master Chef

Dennis Friedman, Executive Chef and Owner of Bezu (9812 Falls Road, Potomac), a French-Asian fusion restaurant, was named Mason Dixon Master Chef at the finals of the Mason Dixon Master Chef Tournament Monday, September 13, 2010. Friedman went head-to-head with Kenneth Plante, Executive Chef of Red Star, (906 South Wolfe Street, Baltimore) at the culmination of the four-month (16-week) tournament that began in May.

The Belvedere in downtown Baltimore was packed Monday night with over 130 in attendance to watch the chef show down. The energy was intense as the chefs prepared their three-course meal for the judges. Each chef was required to use the same proteins, fuse two different regions/styles together for each course and use cheese in at least one course.

Potomac Man Charged After Embezzling Over $1.6 Million from His Company

A criminal complaint has been filed charging Dwayne Wells, age 50, of Potomac, Maryland, with wire fraud in connection with a scheme to embezzle over $1.6 million from a mechanical engineering firm in which he was a part owner. The complaint was filed yesterday and unsealed today upon his arrest. His initial appearance is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. today in U.S. District Court in Greenbelt.

The charges were announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein and Special Agent in Charge Richard A. McFeely of the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Woman Dies In Potomac Home of Former Abia State Governor

Chinwe Ogbonna, 47, died from what is suspected to be cardiac arrest.

Ogbonna  and some friends had been visiting the home of former Abia State governor, Chief Orji Uzor Kalu in Potomac, Md.  She had become acquainted with Kalu last June and was interested in Nigerian politics.

According to reports, Ogbonna arrived at the home around 8:15 on Thursday of last week to talk about the latest political developments in Abia State and Nigeria.

While getting comfortable in the home with her friends, she suddenly screamed out in pain. Clutching her chest, she started vomiting.

An ambulance was called with medics trying their best to help, but Ogbonna died at 8:38pm.

The home was searched by Potomac Police and eyewitnesses were questioned.  No suspicion of foul play was found.

Ogbonna is being treated as a case of cardiac arrest. Her health history proves that she in fact had been living with a heart condition.

Potomac’s Own Wins Two Titles at USATF National Junior Olympics

Ronald Darby from Potomac, Md. defeated many; winning two sprint titles at the USATF National Junior Olympic Track and Field Championships in Sacramento, Ca.

A member of the 747 track club, Darby won the 100 and 200 meter dashes in the intermediate boys age group. He ran the fastest qualifying time in the 200 meters (21.52) and performed even better the next day, lowering it to a winning and personal-best time of 21.24.

This isn’t the first win for Darby, he also won three gold medals in the Maryland 3A State Meet held in May.