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Trump cites MoCo criminal cases as proof that MS-13 gang are “animals”

White House LogoDays after President Trump used the word “animals” to describe people “coming into the country” in response to a question about gangs, he has refused to apologize and has cited cases in Montgomery County as evidence that some gang members are “animals.”

On Monday, the White House Press Secretary’s Office released a statement detailing violent attacks by members of the international gang Mara Salvatrucha-13, more commonly known as MS-13.

The statement specifically mentioned two cases involving alleged members of MS-13 in Montgomery County, doubling down on the “animal” comment the president made which drew widespread criticism as many people interpreted the comment as an attack against all undocumented immigrants, not only members of MS-13.

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Sentinel wins News Organization of the Year

The Sentinel square logoANNAPOLIS — Montgomery County Sentinel editorial staff took home three prestigious awards and dozens of others at the annual Maryland Delaware D.C. Press Association Conference Friday. 

The paper won the Association’s 2017 News Organization of the Year in its division, by earning the highest number of awards, for a third year in a row.

Sentinel staff earned a handful of awards for “Broken Promises - Bad Dreams, A Metro Investigation,” its months-long investigation of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority. The Sentinel tied with the Baltimore Sun to earn the James S. Keat Freedom of Information Award, one of the highest honors available.

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Lightning strikes cause two fires in Takoma Park

7200 Holly AvenueCrews attending in the aftermath of a fire at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVTAKOMA PARK — More than 100 firefighters responded to calls in the city Monday evening when lightning strikes set two separate homes ablaze during a storm that included numerous thunderstorm warnings.

At approximately 7:50 p.m., Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service arrived at the 7200 block of Holly Avenue in response to a roof fire before responding to a second fire less than an hour later at the 900 block of Larch Avenue, Piringer tweeted.

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Bethesda festival draws artists from all over country

IMG 1686Jazz Artist by Kimmy Cantrell PHOTO BY NICKOLAI SUKHAREVBETHESDA — Hundreds of artists from around the country gathered over the weekend at the annual Bethesda Fine Arts Festival.

Organized by the Bethesda Urban Partnership and the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District, the festival featured painters, photographers, and sculptors from numerous states across the country, who presented selections from their work in the Woodmont Triangle area of downtown Bethesda. Many artists also took the opportunity to sell pieces they had on display.

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Hogan sets up scholarship fund to offset community college tuition

Maryland SealA recently-passed Maryland law will make attending community college more affordable for state residents.

Last week, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed a bill that will help cover the cost of tuition for some state residents attending community colleges. The bill allocates $15 million in state funding to provide scholarships up to $5,000 for students whose family earn less than $150,000 a year or for adults with an income of $100,000 a year or less.

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Registration deadlines loom for coming elections

The last chance of local residents to register to vote is June 5 if they wish to vote in the primary election.  The deadline to update voters’ home addresses or party affiliations or to request a more-accessible polling place is also June 5, less than three weeks away. 

To vote in the primaries, residents who are eligible to vote but not registered, including 17-year-olds who will turn 18 by Nov. 6, the date of the General Election, must register to vote by June 5.

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Rockville landmark named for Chestnut Lodge

Chestnut Lodge before the 2009 fire. COURTESY PHOTOChestnut Lodge before the 2009 fire. COURTESY PHOTO  The future park on the site of a former Rockville landmark finally has a name – Chestnut Lodge Park.

While the park on the site of the 19th-century mental institution, which burned down in a 2009 fire, has yet to be finished or officially approved, on Monday night the mayor and City Council unanimously approved the name of the park as “Chestnut Lodge Park,” which will be located on 500 West Montgomery Avenue.

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Proposed elementary school could mean the end for G-Burg’s Kelley Park

Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — A proposed elementary school on the grounds of Kelley Park is causing concern for thousands of residents here.

On March 22, The Montgomery County Board of Education voted unanimously to approve the superintendent’s recommendation for the construction of a new elementary school in the Gaithersburg Cluster, where several elementary schools are operating well over capacity. The proposed site is on the grounds of Kelley Park in the Saybrooke neighborhood of Gaithersburg. The city-owned park features playgrounds, a stream, walking trails and baseball diamonds which host games for the Cal Ripken Collegiate League in the summer months. As the park is city property, the City Council has final approval over any construction plans.

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Council passes ZTA on small cell towers

countysealROCKVILLE — After more than a year of delays and revisions, the Council and telecommunications companies have finally gotten their way regarding small cell antennas.

On Tuesday, the Council unanimously approved a zoning text amendment clearing the way of the use of small cell telecommunication antennas in commercial zones.

“This is really intended to make some very modest changes to reflect the reality of our world,” said Council member Nancy Floreen (D-at large).

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County Executive candidates make pitch to local Jewish voters

With about five weeks to go before the Democratic Primary on June 26, the six Democratic candidates for County Executive have made their pitch to a wide variety of voter interests and constituent groups as they each tried to set him or herself apart in the field.

On Monday, Jewish voters had their turn to listen to and weigh in on the debate as the six Democratic candidates for County Executive gathered for another forum, this time at Kol Shalom in Rockville. The issues ranged from the rise in hate crimes and security to the County’s economy, with the candidates rehashing debates and making attempts to appeal to Jewish voters.

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