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Affordable housing plan still on track after fire

  • Published in Local

Seal of Rockville MdROCKVILLE — Rockville’s plans for revamping affordable housing won’t be derailed by the effects of a fire that broke out at the Fireside Park Apartments almost two weeks ago.

The owner of the apartment complex, Rockville Housing Enterprise, planned to ask the city for a grant to update the apartment complex, located at 735 Monroe Street. RHE Executive Director Jessica Anderson said that although it may take a year to fully repair the damage inflicted by the fire, plans for making the needed addition is still on track and awaiting approval by the Mayor and City Council.

“Other than inspiring us to speed up our timeline…no,” Anderson said when asked if the Feb. 2 fire had affected the refinancing process, adding that she expects the repairing of fire damage and the refinancing process to go on at the same time.

“The two processes will work in parallel,” she said.

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Rockville mulls vote-by-mail for 2019 election

  • Published in Local

Seal of Rockville MdROCKVILLE — Rockville residents and area election officials had mostly positive things to say Monday as the Rockville City Council considered a proposal to ameliorate declining voter turnout in city elections by putting an end to in-person voting and implementing a vote-by-mail system for the city’s 2019 election, under which every registered voter in the City of Rockville would receive a ballot in the mail, which voters would return by Election Day. 

“It’s an experience I mourn the loss of, if I go in this direction,” said Rockville resident and former mayoral candidate Drew Powell, who said he favors the change to vote by mail. “It doesn’t mean I’m against the initiative, it’s just something I will miss.” 

The lone voice who spoke in opposition to the proposal was Rockville resident Brigitta Mulligan, who suggested that the proposal be put to a referendum rather than be decided on by the Council.

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Fire hits Rockville apartment complex

  • Published in Local

About 150 firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire Friday afternoon at the Fireside Park Apartments in Rockville.  PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYAbout 150 firefighters responded to a three-alarm fire Friday afternoon at the Fireside Park Apartments in Rockville. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEY  ROCKVILLE — More than 60 people have been displaced after the Fireside Park Apartments caught fire Friday afternoon.

Approximately 150 firefighters responded to the call for a three-alarm fire at the Fireside Park Apartments, located at 735 Monroe Street in Rockville, around 1:30 p.m.

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Spokesperson Pete Piringer said that no residents or firefighters were injured or killed in the fire.

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Rockville mulls 'vote by mail'

  • Published in Local

The City of Rockville is considering following the examples of Oregon, Washington state, and Colorado by moving to a vote-by-mail system for municipal elections.

“This is a wholesale change for the City,” said Council member Beryl Feinberg of the proposal for a vote-by-mail system, which was presented by Lois Neuman, who chairs the Rockville Board of Election Supervisors. 

If approved by the Mayor and Council, city residents would receive their ballot for the 2019 municipal election by mail, mark their ballot, place it in an envelope, sign an affidavit and mail their ballot in order to cast their vote.

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Rockville replacing road paving

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Rockville paversRoad crews in Rockville work on repaving the downtown area with brick pavers. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKFoot traffic from so many festivals, difficulties for drivers seeing lane markings and a desire to keep walkways as nice as the one in front of a nearby hotel are all part of the reason the City of Rockville is spending almost $1 million to replace some of its road paving around the Town Center area. 

“The lane markings didn’t do that well,” said City of Rockville Chief of Construction Management Mike Wilhelm.

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Rockville optimistic about budget status

  • Published in Local

Even as Montgomery County prepares for significant budget cuts to cover the $120 million budget shortfall that finance officials discovered for this fiscal year, Rockville City officials said their budget revenues are looking just fine.

“It’s an interesting contrast between the County and the City, in my opinion, the county always budgets to the bone and to have a budget crisis is pretty much usual,” said Rockville City Council Member Mark Pierzchala.

Last week Montgomery County officials suggested that the cause of the $120 million budget shortfall was a downturn in income tax receipts, which they attributed to choices made by large investors in anticipation of a large tax break from the Republican tax bill, which President Trump has pledged to sign early next year.

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Fatal collision may bring additional charges to suspect who fled scene

  • Published in Crime

Montgomery County Police are considering additional charges for a 24-year-old Bethesda man who was arrested for driving under the influence Saturday evening after the man fled on foot from an accident that left a 56-year-old man dead.

Police responded to a vehicular collision Saturday at 11:14 p.m. at the intersection of Rockville Pike and Congressional Lane in Rockville. Mark Steven Andrade, of the 7500 block of Democracy Blvd., was turning left onto Congressional Lane from northbound Rockville Pike when he collided with Ross Stanley Redler, of the 5900 block of Halpine Road. Redler was traveling southbound on Rockville Pike operating a 2014 Tao Tao scooter.

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Rockville undecided on new Pike plan

  • Published in Local

ROCKVILLE – The Rockville City Council continued its discussion on a zoning text amendment that would alter the City’s Rockville Pike Neighborhood Plan to increase maximum heights along Rockville Pike.

In 2016, the Mayor and Council passed the Rockville Pike Neighborhood plan that allowed for increased development and density along Rockville Pike. The plan is part of a region-wide effort to center increased development near mass transit such as Metro.

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Remembering veterans in a Rockville ceremony

  • Published in Local

Rockville Veterans Day Ceremony Mayor Bridget NewtonRockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton celebrates Veterans Day at the Rockville American Legion. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  American veterans “show and demonstrate there truly is good in our communities,” and to look at those who serve, said Marine Corps veteran Cpl. Enrique Mazon Jr. on Saturday during a Veterans’ Day ceremony at American Legion Post 86 in Rockville, and asked those gathered there to “look at the people who serve” rather than those in the news who demonstrate “divisiveness, a lack of civility and kindness.”

Mazon and his three brothers – all natives of Las Vegas, Nev. – have all served or are currently serving in the military, and have been involved in a combined total of six combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Rockville resident and married father of two praised his parents for showing their children that, “It’s not about us. It’s not about being entitled. It’s about the love. It’s about the duty and the selflessness” of being an American.

It’s important to realize that many who have served in this country’s military are now teachers, doctors, police officers and elected officials. They continue to serve “all with the same duty and dedication” they had while in the military, he said.

However, he said, some of these men and women who served their country now need others to step up and help them.

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Rockville man charged with murder of his married girlfriend

  • Published in Local

Dania Suyapa Mendez De Guerra Missing Person WheatonDania Suyapa Mendez de Guerra was found dead Friday near her place of work at a KFC in Wheaton. A co-worker has been arrested and charged in her apparent homicide. COURTESY PHOTO  

A local man is in jail without bail after authorities charged him with killing a married co-worker.

Prosecutors Saturday charged Elmer Marilan Campos-Martinez, 47, of Rockville with second degree murder. He apparently had an ongoing affair Dania Suyapa Mendez de Guerra, 21, of Wheaton. Campos-Martinez worked with de Guerra at the KFC restaurant on University Boulevard in Wheaton.

On Monday, a Rockville District Court judge denied bail to Campos-Martinez after learning a final removal order has been issued against him by U.S. Customs and Immigration Enforcement.

"The defendant presents a clear danger to the community and is a flight risk," Judge Margaret Schweitzer said in Rockville District Court Monday. "He has nothing to lose. It is appropriate for him to be held without bail." 

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