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Rockville bans smoking for outdoor dining areas

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cigarette with smokeROCKVILLE – Rockville passed another ordinance telling smokers to butt out.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted 4-1 to ban smoking at the outdoor seating and patio areas for restaurants and bars. The new ordinance includes vaping or electronic cigarettes, which release water vapor instead of tobacco smoke.

“It’s really exciting. It’s a great day for this City. As a resident and a dad, I’m thrilled to live in a place that prioritizes the health of kids and families,” said Adam Zimmerman, a Rockville resident who lobbied the City for months to pass the ban.

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Rockville promotes diversity with flag display

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Rockville Flags 21aFlags from countries around the world are being installed across Rockville. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Diversity is what the City of Rockville wanted to portray when officials decided to hang flags of the world on its light poles, but initial reaction to the flags created a diversity of another sort.

When shoppers mulling around Rockville Town Square recently were asked what they thought of the international display, a few said they hadn’t even noticed, and others thought the flags were regularly put up each year for Memorial Day. Only a few connected it with cultural diversity.

The City of Rockville currently is installing a total of 193 flags – the number of sovereign states in the United Nations – to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion. More than 150 are already decorating Rockville.

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Controversial statue defaced for second time

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20170509 190318The controversial Civil War statue in Rockville was hidden behind a gray wooden box, after vandals painted it. Now they got the box. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  ROCKVILLE – A wooden box encasing the Confederate statue located outside the Red Brick Courthouse did not deter someone from writing a second message related to the memorial.

By 7 p.m. Tuesday, someone had written the word “SAD!” in neon orange spray paint across the front of the box.

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Rockville considers relocating KID Museum

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ROCKVILLE – The Rockville City Council held a budget work session during its meeting Monday night, focusing mostly on proposed funds directed toward the KID Museum.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council discussed dedicating funds in the FY18 budget to possibly relocate the KID Museum, an interactive children’s museum currently located at the Davis Library in Bethesda.

The proposed plan would move the KID Museum to 255 Rockville Pike, near Rockville Town Square, where the County has several offices.

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17-year-old accused in Rockville rape awaits trial

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ROCKVILLE – Prosecutors will have until May 5 to decide whether to go forward with rape and sexual assault charges against Jose O. Montano, a Rockville High School student accused of raping a fellow student.

Montano, 17, along with Henry E. Sanchez, 18, was charged with first-degree rape and two first-degree sexual offense charges after police said the two Rockville High School students raped a 14-year-old girl during school hours.

District Court Judge Eugene Wolfe set Montano’s trial date for May 5, which means the state’s attorney will have until then to either proceed or drop the charges against Montano.

“Hopefully, they’ll make the right decision and realize Mr. Montano was arrested hastily without an investigation,” said Montano’s attorney, David Wooten.

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The Mystery of the John. C. Brown Bridge

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Photo170And who is Margaret S. Fletcher?

 

This is The John C. Brown Bridge. This bridge in Rockville is dedicated to the memory of the first Maryland man killed in the Korean war.

He died in June of 1950 and the monument dedicating the bridge in his name came on August 26, 1950.

Brown, a corporal, was killed in action and the plaque was posted on the bridge. Later the bridge was re-dedicated and the plaque was placed on a monument near the foot of the bridge, courtesy of the local VFW.

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Rockville battles budget woes

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Residents and community representatives spoke out Monday night in the last public hearing before the City Council passes the Fiscal Year 2018 budget.

City Manager Robert DiSpirito proposed a $129.4 million operating budget, which would be a 2.5 percent increase from last year’s. DiSpirito proposed to keep the city’s taxes for real property and personal property the same as last year’s.

The city manager said he did not have as much influence over the budget as he would like, given that he started in Rockville long after the city began to craft its budget.

“I’m a Johnny-come-lately on the process, definitely,” said DiSpirito, who started as city manager in January.

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It’s a game of musical chairs at Second Story Books

xSecond Story Books-Allan StypeckAllan Stypeck of Second Story Books. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

In their own version of musical chairs, those gathered on the ground floor of Second Story Books in Rockville on the last Saturday of each month continually move to the next chair. They reach their goal when it’s finally their turn to meet with the used bookstore’s president, Allan Stypeck.

Stypeck, who has spent 40 years appraising books and other documents, carefully handles all books, checks their conditions, scans the pages and pulls from his memory a wealth of history and recollections. Often that is enough to say what the book is worth. If not, he knows the right internet sites to determine the book’s value.

On a recent appraisal day, Stypeck examined a first edition of “Cujo” by Stephen King and immediately knew when it was published. He also reviewed a book that had an authentic signature of a few of this country’s founding fathers and another one written in German that was mandatory reading for those joining the Nazi ranks.

There can be as many as 200 people who show up to the monthly event, which has occurred at the Rockville bookstore for the past three years. Stypeck also has a used bookstore in Dupont Circle.

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Rockville stays the course

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said it is too early to tell whether a proposed ordinance to prevent city officials from enforcing immigration law could cause Rockville to lose federal funding. 

“The city council hasn't had the discussion yet,” said Donnell Newton when asked about whether Rockville could lose federal funding if the City Council passes the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance.

Monday night, residents each took their turn to mostly voice their opinions on one issue – immigration. For more than hour, during the usual public comment during city council meetings, residents told the City Council to pass the Fostering Community Trust ordinance, the proposed bill that would prevent city officials from complying with federal immigration detainers.

“This will ensure that our residents, citizens and permanent residents, visa holders and yes, also undocumented immigrants feel safe reporting crime and serving as witnesses,” said John Yang, president of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, a civil rights organization.

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UPDATE: Rockville fires Swift

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Rockville Seal

ROCKVILLE – Rockville is one manager down after action this week.

The city manager fired the director of Community Planning and Development Services March 3, spokesperson Marylou Berg confirmed.

“I made a change in the best interest of the organization and the City,” City Manager Rob DiSpirito said Monday. “I feel that the department needed new direction and a fresh start.”

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