Silver Spring resident files to run for County Clerk of the Court

AlanBowserPortraitAlan Bowser Photo provided by Alan BowserCiting a need “to bring more accountability, transparency, diversity, and representation to the courthouse,” Silver Spring resident Alan Bowser has launched his second bid to become the first person of color to be elected Clerk of the Circuit Court in Montgomery County.

“There’s never been a representative of color in the leadership of the courthouse, that could be 242 years in the County’s history,” he said. “Our goal is to open up the courthouse to different voices and bring people with different ideas and complexions to the table.” 

Bowser, 65, a Democrat and attorney in the County since 1995, also ran for the Clerk’s office in 2014. The reason he is challenging incumbent Barbara Meiklejohn, he explained, is because the courthouse does not currently represent the community it serves; if elected he will look to maintain a high standard of professionalism and performance among the court’s staff. 


Rockville bans polystyrene

ROCKVILLE — The Rockville Mayor and City Council on Monday unanimously approved a bill banning the use of polystyrene carry-out food containers that restaurants often use for take-out and delivery

The bill’s passage means Rockville joins the rest of Montgomery County in banning polystyrene, more commonly known by the trademarked name Styrofoam. Polystyrene is a petroleum-based thermoplastic material that is often used to make temporary containers for food or packaging peanuts, for which it is well-suited because of its strength and light weight. However, polystyrene is not biodegradable and often finds its ways into streams and rivers as it one of the main sources of litter in the County. 


Donations go well for those in need

food bank 2Lots of non-perishable foods were collected at the pop-up food bank parked at the Cabin John Ice Rink in Rockville Dec. 10. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKBefore she went skating with her friends on Sunday, 11-year-old Manneka Zimmerman gazed into the bag she’d brought and began to tally how many cans of beans, soups, and packs of rice cakes she had brought to the red recreational vehicle which spent six hours that day parked near the front of the Cabin John Ice Rink’s parking lot.

A large sign affixed to the vehicle instructed those headed in for skating and ice hockey practice to “Come in. Donate Food. Join us in making more holiday meals possible.”

Inside the vehicle were three large glass enclosures – one for cans, another for boxed food and the last for bagged food. As each participant stopped by to drop off their donations, they utilized a large computer terminal to record their name, email address, and the number of containers of food they’d donated.


Local resident’s mentorship of teen as Big Brother is ‘about balance’

Mason was only three years old when his mother had a stroke. His father had left the family when he was two years old. Now a sophomore at Magruder High School in Rockville, Mason has stepped up and helped his mother and younger sister in ways well beyond his years. 

His mother appreciates all that her son has done. Still, she wished her son could have some fun and, more importantly, find a mentor.


County finds a way to let beer pour freely

ROCKVILLE — The Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously passed a zoning text amendment to clarify an ambiguous regulation governing the operation of breweries in the County.

Zoning Text Amendment 17-07 changes County zoning laws to allow licensed brewers to make manufacturing beer their primary business in urban districts as opposed to the way current law required brewing beer to be an accessory business for a restaurant. 


Budget shortfall could hit County gang prevention

ROCKVILLE — Montgomery County Council Members are concerned that the County’s new effort to pour money into preventing the growth of gang activity could be a casualty of the forthcoming budget cuts intended to mitigate a budget shortfall.

“Here’s my concern so, alright, we are going to engage very actively in January to address the savings plan,” said Council member Nancy Navarro (D-4) during a joint meeting of the Council’s Public Safety and Health and Human Services Committees. “At the same time that we also heard there were programs that we have funded previously that have not actually been implemented.”


Local politicians arrested as county backs immigrants

ROCKVILLE — U.S. Capitol Police arrested two local politicians last week in act of civil disobedience as the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday approved a resolution expressing support for the continuation of two federal immigration policies – Temporary Protected Status and Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.

"We don't often do this, but I think under the Trump administration we wind up doing it more than customary," said Council member Marc Elrich (D-At-large).

Last Wednesday, Council President Hans Riemer (D-at large) and Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D-18) participated in the act of civil disobedience outside the U.S. Capitol. Capitol police arrested Riemer and Gutierrez after a staged act of civil disobedience to raise awareness for DACA and TPS.

"These are civil disobedience actions that are planned very carefully," said Sol Gutierrez, who said she'd been arrested four or five times in civil disobedience protests.


Berliner says “NO” to cuts in education while Leggett mulls options

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE — No program is safe from cuts as the County seeks to mitigate the effects of a projected budget shortfall next fiscal year, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said.

Last week Leggett announced that the County officials were anticipating a large unexpected budget shortfall, and asked that each County agency consider cutting two percent of their budget.

The sudden shortfall caught County finance analysts and council members by surprise as they based their $5.4 billion budget for the fiscal year 2018 off of much greater revenue projections.

"For me, everything is on the table, and you try to work through the particular details," Leggett said of the coming budget cuts.


Police investigate death of Walt Whitman student

A Montgomery County Police spokesman said police should have taken a missing person’s report when the father of a deceased 17-year-old Walt Whitman High School student first contacted them with concerns about his missing son who later turned up dead.

“Based on circumstances presented to us, a report could have been and probably should have been taken by a police officer at that point,” Montgomery County Police Spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said.

The father of Navid Sepehri said he gave police the location of his son's cell phone when he first contacted them at 3:30 a.m. Sunday, but Starks says police did not note Sepehri as missing until the afternoon.

“It’s under investigation,” Starks said.


Police investigating death of Walt Whitman student

Navid SepehriNavid Sepehri. COURTESY PHOTO  Montgomery County Police are investigating the death of a 17-year-old Walt Whitman High School student who was reported missing after he did not return home Saturday night, according to Montgomery County Police.

On Sunday, a search team found Navid Nicholas Sepehri of Radnor Road deceased in a wooded area behind Bannockburn Swim Club in the 6500 block of Laverock Lane of Bethesda.  

“The cause of death remains under investigation,” Montgomery County Police Spokesperson Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said. “There is much we are not able to confirm at this time.”

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, located in Baltimore, will conduct an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death.