Takoma Park votes to condemn gun violence

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City council voted to condemn acts of gun violence and to support the planned March 24 national “March for Our Lives” demonstration in a 6-1 vote, Wednesday evening.

“As a council … I felt like we really needed to support our young people and wanted a lot of the voices we’re hearing standing up,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3), who sponsored the resolution.


Meiklejohn runs for re-election

Barbara MeiklejohnClerk of the Circuit Court Barbara Meiklejohn. COURTESY PHOTOClerk of the Circuit Court Barbara Meiklejohn hopes voters will grant her a second term to work on some unfinished business.

“There’s things that haven’t been finished yet…I’d like to have a part in making sure they get completed,” she said.

Meiklejohn, 61, who won her first term in 2014 – but has worked in county courts since 1975 – is building her campaign around Maryland’s electronic court filing system.


County schools closing Wednesday due to snow forecast

Person walking in snowstormMontgomery County Public Schools are closed Wednesday due to “emergency weather conditions,” according to MCPS officials.

“All school and community activities in school buildings are also canceled,” MCPS officials said. “All administrative offices are open. Day care programs in school buildings may remain open as scheduled.”


Local officials unimpressed by Trump’s tough talk on opioid crisis

WASHINGTON — Despite President Trump’s unveiling of a three-prong strategy to combat opioid addiction and his claims that his administration is “involved more than any administration, by far” in efforts to end the nationwide opioid epidemic, Montgomery County officials and a member of President Trump’s own opioid commission remain unconvinced that an executive branch led by a President who dismisses the efficacy of his own presidential commission while calling for the death penalty for drug dealers is truly committed to fighting opioid abuse.

The new plan comes nearly three weeks after the White House held an opioid summit featuring cabinet secretaries and officials from various executive branch agencies who highlighted their accomplishments over the past year and previewed future plans for an audience of addiction treatment professionals, law enforcement, and ordinary Americans who have been affected by the epidemic or lost loved ones to it.

“The administration is going to be rolling out policy over the next three weeks, and it will be very, very strong,” Trump said while speaking toward the end of a White House’s opioid summit, which featured cabinet secretaries and officials from various executive branch agencies who highlighted their accomplishments over the past year and previewed future plans for an audience of addiction treatment professionals, law enforcement, and ordinary Americans who have been affected by the epidemic or lost loved ones to it.

The March 1 event was emceed by Counselor to the President Kellyanne Conway, Trump’s former campaign manager and one of the few senior advisors who has been with him since he became President in January of last year. Trump selected Conway, a veteran GOP pollster, political consultant and television pundit, to be the White House’s “opioid czar” in November despite her lack of qualifications or experience in medicine, public health or any other relevant field.

Nevertheless, Conway boasted that the administration has made “great progress” against opioids thanks to the work of the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis and Trump’s decision last year to order then-Acting Health and Human Services Secretary Don Wright to declare the crisis a Public Health Emergency. But Trump himself seemed to dismiss the idea that implementing the recommendations of his own commission would be effective in reducing the opioid scourge’s effects on the nation.

“If you want to be weak and you want to talk about just blue-ribbon committees, that’s not the answer,” said Trump, who then suggested that a solution could be found in harsher punishments – not prevention or treatment.


Takoma Park union at odds over performance

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — With contract negotiations at a standstill, the employees at Takoma Park’s Public Works Department say the city’s pay-for-performance system is an obstacle in their union negotiations with the city.

“The public should know if the city employees are being paid fairly,” said David Burbank, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3399. “The pay-for-performance system is a total misnomer … it’s a corporate-based pay system.”


Chief says Takoma Park crime is declining

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Highlighting the declining crime rate, Takoma Park police chief Antonio DeVaul delivered his first report as head of the city’s law enforcement agency Wednesday evening in front of the City Council.

“We’ve seen a slight decrease in reported crime over the last year,” DeVaul said during the meeting. “I’m pleased to announce that violent crime has decreased.”


B-CC students organize gun violence forum

B CC ForumSen. Chris Van Hollen met with students Sophie Cobb, Gabriela Jeliazkov and Julien Cary at a forum at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School to discuss gun violence. PHOTO BY NEAL EARLEYWASHINGTON Members of Congress joined three Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School students Tuesday at a forum on gun violence, continuing the student-led debate over guns after a massacre at a high school in Parkland, Florida, and giving the students another opportunity to take their issues to those in power.

“I had my opinion and I had my beliefs and, obviously, I felt very discouraged by the recent presidential election, but definitely I’m seeing that we do have the power to make a difference because prior, I think, I just felt helpless,” said Sophie Cobb, a B-CC senior who helped organize the event with two fellow students, Julien Cary and Gabriela Jeliazkov


Maryland legislative update

With less than a month left to go in this year’s legislative session, both chambers of the Maryland legislature are still working their way through several key pieces of legislation as their final deadline draws near.

Here is an update thus far on a select number of a few state bills:


Local high student to appear at Kennedy Center

WASHINGTON, D.C. — At age 16, Clarksburg High School Student Mateo Ferro will achieve something many performing artists only dream of: he will perform at the Kennedy Center. 

Ferro’s interest in musical theater began while a student at Rocky Hill Middle School in Clarksburg, where a teacher encouraged him to audition for the school productions when he was in sixth grade.


Maryland crafts legislation targeting presidential tax return

A Maryland bill that would require all future presidential candidates to release their tax returns passsed the Maryland Senate last week, taking aim at President Trump. 

The Presidential Candidate Tax Transparency Act – which passed the state Senate last week 28-17 – would make Maryland the first state to require future presidential candidates to release their tax returns as a condition of appearing on the ballot, so as to let voters evaluate any potential conflicts of interest.

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