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Pop ups popping up at Grosvenor Metro stop

xPop up Shops at Metro 1Pop-up shopping at Grovesnor Metro in Bethesda. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Commuters at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop aren’t rushing to their cars at the end of the day quite as quickly as they normally do. Between now and the end of June, the area between the parking lot and the entrance to the Red Line train is home to pop-up stores selling food, clothing and flowers on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

What started as an idea to demonstrate to commuters how they plan to redevelop the station area in a few years, Fivesquares Development in Washington, D.C., took a retired 4,000-series Metro car and cut it up into numerous pieces, which currently serve as home to the popup stores, which opened May 17.

“We wanted to bring life to the plaza,” said Ron Kaplan, principal at Fivesquares.

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Matthews roasted for charity

Kathleen Matthews HeadshotKathleen Matthews.                         FILE PHOTO  NORTH BETHESDA – A little more than a year ago, former ABC 7 news anchor and Marriott executive Kathleen Matthews conceded the most expensive House of Representatives election in the County.

One year after winning the Democratic Primary and five months after being sworn into Congress, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D- 8) finally got his chance to rub in his victory over Matthews –albeit for charity.

“The returns came early from Frederick and Carroll counties where our friend David Trone was trouncing us both.” Raskin said. “And we were on the edges of our seats. I could not wait for the votes to come in from Silver Spring and Takoma Park, she could not wait for the votes to come in from Georgetown and Nantucket.”

On May 11, Matthews’ friends, family members and even political rivals roasted her to raise money for the Jubilee Foundation, a non-profit that helps care for people with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

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Sentinel claims awards

Sentinel Staff Photo 1bThe Sentinel Staff with owner Lynn Kapiloff, seated. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER   ANNAPOLIS - The Montgomery County Sentinel Newspapers was awarded the Maryland Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association “News Organization of the Year” award for the second time in as many years in a ceremony here Friday.

“It is an honor to be awarded this distinction for the second time in as many years and the third time in the last five years,” said Sentinel owner Lynn Kapiloff. “It is vital for independent publications to remain vibrant – especially at this time in our history.”

The Sentinel won 35 awards out of a possible 48 categories, picking up first and second place in categories such as Investigative Reporting, State Government Reporting, and Multimedia Storytelling (news).

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CareFirst files for massive health premium hike

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield proposed monthly premiums averaging more than 50 percent higher for 2018 than for 2017, in filings to the Maryland Insurance Department for the online health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act.

The three other companies offering coverage in Maryland’s online/individual market, CIGNA, Kaiser Mid-Atlantic, and Evergreen Health, applied for substantial but smaller 2018 rates that average 37.4 percent, 18.1 percent, and 27.8 percent, respectively.

CareFirst has the largest market share by far over the company’s Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia market area, said the company’s CEO, Chet Burrell. It covers two out of every three people in that area with coverage purchased through the ACA online exchanges.

The public may comment online about the proposed rate increases through June 20. The Maryland Insurance Department will hold a public hearing on the proposals on June 21 at its offices in Baltimore. Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr., said the agency would make a decision by late summer. The ACA requires the agency to approve rates that are adequate to meet the costs of the coverage.

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Rockville promotes diversity with flag display

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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MoCo sees slight dip in number of homeless residents

Homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to an annual survey conducted by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

According to the survey, which was a one-night snapshot of the homeless population on Jan. 25 of this year, there were 894 homeless people in the County, as compared to 981 in 2016 and 1,100 in 2015.

The 894 people included 86 families and 172 children, according to the survey.

The survey, in its 17th year, tallied the homeless population in nine jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C. area. Overall, there were 11,128 homeless individuals in the nine jurisdictions, according to the survey which was released last week.

Amanda Harris, Montgomery County’s chief of special needs housing in its Department of Health and Human Services, called the numbers in the survey “typical,” although the survey noted that day was unseasonably warm.

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Gaithersburg residents vow to continue suit

GAITHERSBURG – The plaintiff in a lawsuit against the Gaithersburg city government has pledged to modify and refile his suit after being dealt a legal setback last week.

Aaron Rosenzweig, a Gaithersburg resident who has testified several times before Mayor Jud Ashman and the City Council and founded the website teamgaithersburg.org with the goal of increasing civic involvement, filed suit on Feb. 1 against Gaithersburg with regard to a vote taken by the Council on Dec. 19. On that date, the council passed two resolutions authorizing the annexation of the Johnson Property, an area near the intersection of Darnestown Road and Quince Orchard Boulevard and authorizing City Manager Tony Tomasello to execute an agreement to develop the property for mixed-zone commercial and residential development. Because of the absence or recusal of most of the five-member council, Council Vice President Neil Harris and Council member Michael Sesma passed both resolutions with a 2-0 vote.

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Takoma Park votes and changes its election laws

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK— The City mayor and Council changed the voting rules in the city charter May 10, bringing a slew of changes to the election process.

“It passed, we just changed our elections…it was harder than giving birth,” said Mayor Kate Stewart.

With the adoption of the charter amendment, the date of City elections will change from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years, synchronizing it with State and County elections.

It will also change the date of the nominating meeting, the day which the mayor and Council take office, and will extend the time for certification of election results. The length of the 2017 term will change, too.

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The eyes have it at NIH but eyes remain unseen so far

The National Institutes of Health have launched a competition to award a federal prize of $1 million for a bidder that can successfully replicate production of fully functioning eye tissue.

“What we really want from this competition is a better way to understand human retina disease and also learn about drugs that could potentially be worked for those diseases,” said Jessica Mazerik, who holds a doctorate of philosophy in cell biology and is the competition coordinator at NIH’s National Eye Institute (NEI).

Contestants are aiming to grow a fully functioning eye retina in a specimen dish. Researchers, biotechnology companies and pharmaceutical companies could then use the end product to research eye diseases and test potential treatments.

“We think we’re right on the cusp of being able to replicate the human light sensitivity of a human retina,” said Steve Becker, a colleague of Mazerik’s at NEI, who also has a doctorate of philosophy (PhD) in cell biology.

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Rosenstein of Bethesda in national news with his role in the FBI following Comey's sacking

Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein is not ignorant of controversy in Washington.

In 2006, Rosenstein was appointed U.S. Attorney for Maryland after then President George W. Bush fired seven U.S. Attorneys including Maryland’s Thomas M. DiBiagio.

Bethesda resident Rosenstein, the newly-appointed Deputy Attorney General for the U.S. Department of Justice, is now in the middle of one of the biggest stories in the country after President Donald J. Trump fired James Comey as director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week.

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