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County offers free month of bus ride on new Ride On Service

GAITHERSBURG -- Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett came to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Monday to offering residents a chance at a free ride.

On Monday, Leggett announced that the County will waive bus fares for the County’s new expedited bus service Ride On Extra as a way to entice commuters to take public transit rather driving themselves. Ride On Extra’s MD-355 route will begin Oct. 2 and will not charge fares for the month of October.

“Along Route 355, our busiest commuting route, people will have another option for getting to work and home, while using WiFi to stay connected,” Leggett said in a statement. “On an introductory basis, this service will be free during October, to encourage people to try it out and decide whether it might be preferable to their current commute by transit or car.”

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MoCo Dems begin the Summer of Resistance and Renewal

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee launched its “Summer of Resistance and Renewal in Montgomery County” in mid-July, but the canvassing that makes up those efforts began in earnest this past weekend. Those canvassing efforts are aimed at drop-off voters with the hope of ensuring a Gov. Larry Hogan loss in 2018.

“There’s good turnout for general elections, for presidential elections, more of a drop-off with midterms,” said Jackie Coolidge, a precinct official in District 18. “This is going to be a very exciting year leading up to the election.”

Before the canvassing started, the small group of canvassers gathered in the Margaret Schweinhaut Senior Center, and one of the organizers, Marie Mapes, posed an important question: “What are the barriers to (drop-off voters) feeling engaged in the Democratic Party?”

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Anniversary vigil honors victims of fatal fire

SILVER SPRING — Flower Branch tenant Felicia Prospere said she can still remember the cries and screams from the fire and explosion that killed seven at the Silver Spring apartment complex last August.

“As soon as I opened – my husband opened the door – I just saw flames – big flames, people crying and screaming, people, you know, letting kids out of the windows, out of the balcony, people just crying for help,” Prospere said. “I couldn’t help them, all I could do was run to save my own life.”

On Aug. 10, the first anniversary of the fire at the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Arliss Street in Silver Spring, tenants and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the sudden death and destruction from one year ago. Faith leaders, tenants, activists and politicians were present to remember the tenants that died in the fire: Fernando Jose Hernandez Orellana, 3, Deibi “David” Samir Lainez Morales, 8, Aseged Mekonen, 34, Saeda Ibrahim Deibi Samir, 41, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 and Saul Paniagua, 65.

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Malvo denied sentence appeal

ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge John Greenberg ruled against convicted “D.C. sniper” Lee Boyd “John” Malvo’s appeal of the life sentences he received for the murder of six people in 2002.

“The decision of Judge Greenberg today affirms that Mr. Malvo was properly sentenced to a maximum sentence available for his heinous acts – six consecutive sentences of live without the possibility of parole,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy.

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How far we’ve come . . .

Sentinel celebrates 162 years of publication and service to the Montgomery community through a variety of cultural changes

MoCo Sentinel 1st IssueA reprint of the first issue of the Montgomery County Sentinel from Saturday, Aug. 11, 1855. FILE PHOTO  

For 162 years, The Montgomery County Sentinel has provided the residents of the County weekly news coverage from its newsroom in Rockville.

“We are proud to carry on the tradition of independence, and of being a community leader,” said publisher Lynn Kapiloff. “Our commitment to this community has never been stronger.”

The Sentinel remains the only community newspaper still publishing in Montgomery County and has been named the News Organization of the year by the Maryland, Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association three out of the last five years.

Under the leadership of current owner Lynn Kapiloff and her late husband Dr. Bernard Kapiloff, The Sentinel became a beacon for Civil Rights and independence. During the 60s The Sentinel’s reporting on “The Giles case” – often referred to as the “’To Kill a Mockingbird’ case of Montgomery County,” led to freeing African Americans charged and wrongly convicted of rape.

But the paper was founded in different times and once stood for far different interests.

Founded in 1855 by Matthew Fields, like many newspapers of the era, The Sentinel began as a partisan publication in a divisive political environment prior to the Civil War in 1861. Issues such as slavery, tariffs, and state's rights were fiercely debated across the nation.

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Keep your eyes on the skies for the latest eclipse festivities

 

So you’ve picked up your NASA-approved glasses and gathered your viewing group for Monday’s solar eclipse. Now all you need is somewhere to watch it. Although Maryland viewers will only be able to catch 80 percent of solar coverage as opposed to a full eclipse, many local parks and libraries are taking advantage of this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to host viewing parties and events. Whether you’re looking to watch it with the kids or catch a glimpse yourself, the phenomenon can be caught in the area any time after 1 p.m. with coverage reaching totality around 3 p.m.

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County Joins Top Locations for Vaccine Research

Montgomery County, particularly Gaithersburg, has become a central hub for vaccine research and development, and to a lesser extent for vaccine manufacturing.

The County is a key vaccine development center “not only for the country, but the world,” said Brad Fackler, senior director for life sciences at the c.

There are no figures available for revenues brought into county companies for vaccines, or number of people employed here in the industry. However, the state Department of Commerce website says that the overall life sciences industry was responsible for $17.42 billion in gross state product (2015), 41,570 jobs with $4.28 billion in wages (2016), and $1.55 billion of federal procurement to contractors in the state (fiscal year 2016).

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Local Man Leads Alt-Right

Matthew Heimbach grew up in MoCo and helped organize the march in Charlottesville

Heimbach Chicago RallyMatthew Heimbach attended Poolesville High School and Montgomery College. COURTESY PHOTO  

Matthew Heimbach, the chairman of the Traditionalist Workers Party (a white nationalist organization), watched as anti-fascist counter-protesters showered his followers in bleach and urine in Charlottesville, Va. on Friday. His group was in Charlottesville as part of the “Unite the Right” rally that brought together dozens of alt-right groups together to protest the removal of the Robert E. Lee Statue from Emancipation Park.

Heimbach, who helped organized the rally said the city government was to blame for the violence in Charlottesville.

Raised locally, Heimbach attended Poolesville High School where he said he attempted to create a white student group.

“I got several hundred students to sign on to my paper to do it. The principal trashed it. I emailed every teacher to get a sponsor none of them responded; it must have been an administrative decision,” he said of his efforts.

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Flower Branch improves one year after fatal fire

Silver Spring fire 8 11 16This fire at Flower Branch Apartments last year cost seven people their lives. Inspectors and tenants say conditions are better one year later. FILE PHOTO  A year after the fire that killed seven at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring, things are steadily improving according to tenants, activists and politicians.

Last August’s fire brought attention to a countywide problem with code-enforcement at rental properties as the tragedy revealed the harsh living conditions in which tenants were living. Since the fire, according to tenants, things have steadily improved with stricter enforcement from the County and more attention from the management company.

“I’ve heard there are still issues going on,” said Felicia Prospere, vice president of the Flower Branch Tenant Association and resident at Flower Branch Apartments. “I know some changes have been made. There’s a new manager, he’s been very responsive to us…so far from what I heard from other tenants who have communicated with me, he has been addressing their concerns.”

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Federal judge rules in favor of MCPS in religion case

MCPS logo

A Fourth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals judge affirmed a U.S. District Court judge’s decision that religion is not one of the educational needs that Montgomery County Public Schools must meet by law.

Judge G. Steven Agee of the U.S. Court of Appeals Fourth Circuit said Monday under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, MCPS is providing a free and public education (FAPE) for the plaintiff’s child M.L., who was born with Down syndrome. The parents, Rabbi Akiva Leiman and Shani Leiman, had alleged that the proposed plan for M.L.’s education was inadequate because it did not include teaching practices observed in M.L.’s Orthodox Jewish community.

“MCPS provided M.L. with equal access to an education, on the same basis as it provides to all other students with disabilities,” Agee said in his opinion. “It does not provide religious and cultural instruction to its students with or without disabilities and has no duty under the IDEA to administer such instruction to M.L.”

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