Menu

Local

Pedestrian killed after police car collision

Policelights 1A 74-year-old Kensington man was killed Wednesday evening after being struck by an unmarked police cruiser as he attempted to cross Veirs Mill Road on a Sunra motor scooter.

Officer Robert Farmer, an eight-year veteran of Montgomery County Police, was on duty at the time of the collision. He has been placed on mandatory administrative leave while an investigation is conducted. 

The victim, Loreto Andal Canubas of Dewey Road, was entering the eastbound lanes of Veirs Mill Road at approximately 9:45 p.m. after crossing westbound Veirs Mill Road, coming from Monterrey Drive. 

Read more...

County eyes multiple problems in preparing for possible hurricane

County emergency preparedness official Earl Stoddard said while the County is always preparing for a major storm or disaster it can never be fully prepared for a storm like Hurricane Harvey that hit Texas last week.

Stoddard, who is the executive director of the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security, the County office that focuses on emergency preparedness, said no local jurisdiction could handle a major natural disaster event by itself.

“There is no local jurisdiction by themselves that will be able to manage an event like that,” Stoddard said.

Read more...

Cardin meets interfaith group following Charlottesville riot

20170831 153445 1Sen. Ben Cardin (D) stands with interfaith clergy at discussion on community unity after Charlottesville rally violence in August. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  While there was much agreement expressed by the 45 interfaith clergy members who attended Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-Md.) Aug. 31 meeting on how to unite the community after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., there was also dissent.

While united against President Donald J. Trump’s statement equating white nationalists with the counter protesters at the Virginia rally last month, those attending the 90-minute discussion in Rockville also complained about conditions for their individual communities.

“Why, all of a sudden, does it take one person, one white person, to die, to forget all about the other 19 who were injured,” asked Bishop Paul Walker, of HYOP Life Skills Reentry Program. The death of an African-American doesn’t rile up the community the way the killing of a white person does, he said.

Read more...

Missing Olney woman found dead, boyfriend charged with her murder

wallenPolice have found the body of Laura Wallen, who had gone missing over the Labor Day weekend, in a shallow grave in Damascus. COURTESY PHOTO   

UPDATED 9/13/2017 AT 8:55 P.M. — Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, of Olney, has been found dead, and her boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger held a press conference at Police Headquarters to announce that Wallen’s body was found by police in a shallow grave on a plot of land on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus. Today at 5:30 p.m., police arrested Wallen’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, on the charge of first-degree murder and other related charges.

Police had information from local witnesses that Tessier had been frequenting the area where Wallen’s body was found in Damascus.

The last text communication that came in from Wallen's cellphone was to family members on Monday, Sept. 4 around 9:00 a.m. 

"It was troubling enough for family to call police," County Police Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said.

Police now believe that text on Monday morning was from Tessier, using Wallen’s cellphone and attempting to impersonate her. Police believe she was killed on Sunday, Sept. 3, according to Chief Manger.

Read more...

Shutdown of four Red Line Metro stations Labor Day weekend

Trains to follow Sunday schedule on Labor Day

metro logoMetro riders must board shuttles on part of the Red Line through Monday to allow for the continuation of a waterproofing pilot program to reduce leaks in tunnels and for maintenance work, spokesperson Ron Holzer said.

Holzer said the shutdown is scheduled for Sept. 2 through 4 and Sept. 9 and Sept. 10.

Buses replace trains between Twinbrook and Friendship Heights stations through closing Monday, officials said in a news release. White Flint, Grosvenor-Strathmore, Medical Center and Bethesda stations will be closed through Monday.

Read more...

Metro union calls for increased police presence after bus driver’s recent assault

Metro union president press conference 9 1 17Metro Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter asks Metro leadership to increase police presence on more bus routes Friday.   PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  A Metro union president said she continues to call for more police officers on buses after a passenger threw a cup of urine on a bus driver.

Amalgamated Transit Union Local 689 President Jackie Jeter said she has been urgently requesting police officers on more Metro buses since she took a leadership position for the union 10 years ago.

She said during a press conference at Minnesota Avenue Station Friday at least one driver for the X2 bus route, on which the urine incident occurred a few days ago, requested a supervisor or police officer ride on board with them for protection. Jeter then said a male bus driver left Minnesota Avenue Station in tears early Friday after a supervisor ordered him to complete the route without the protection he requested.

Read more...

Breaking Ground!

After delays local leaders celebrate Purple Line construction

JGS 9049Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the Purple Line groundbreaking. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  HYATTSVILLE – After 30 years of planning, workers finally broke ground on the Purple Line, the soon-to-be light rail line that will connect Metro stops in Montgomery County to Prince George’s County.

After the ceremony, workers began construction on the 16.2-mile $2 billion light rail line that will connect Bethesda Metro to New Carrolton Metro Station with 21 stops including at Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park and College Park.

Gov. Larry Hogan, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4), Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were on hand for the signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Purple Line.

Chao lauded the project saying the Purple Line is one of the largest public-private projects in the country. In April 2016, Hogan signed the $5.6 billion P3 contract to begin the long process of building the new rail system.

Read more...

Montgomery volunteers head to Texas to assist in lifesaving efforts

MP1 5377The Montgomery County Swift Water rescue group readies to leave for Texas.                PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel from Montgomery County are in Texas this week as part of Maryland Task Force 1 to assist with emergency response to Hurricane Harvey.

Maryland Task Force 1, composed of MCFRS personnel, is one of 28 Federal Emergency Management Agency groups around the country that FEMA organizes, manages and can choose to activate, said MCFRS spokesperson Pete Piringer.

“All 28 teams are engaged, most of which are actually involved with swift water rescues,” said Piringer. “This is the first time since 9/11, I believe, that all are engaged at the same time.”

Read more...

P.G. photographer claims police took camera and erased photos

A local news photographer said his camera was taken from him by a Prince Georges County police officer, who then deleted some photos at an accident scene this weekend.

“The Sentinel newspapers have a rich tradition of community involvement and we hope the Prince Georges Police Department will respect our role in our community,” said Sentinel newspaper publisher Lynn Kapiloff.

“I go to homicide scenes, fatal accidents,” said Jim Davis, a photographer for the Prince George’s Sentinel. “No one has come up to me asking to see my pictures.”

Davis said he was reviewing pictures he had just taken at the scene of a five-vehicle crash Sunday, which police said was a double-fatal collision, on Edmonston Road just north of Cherrywood Lane in Greenbelt when a U.S. Park police officer approached him and asked to see his pictures. The officer said Davis needed to wait there until detectives arrived. When Davis asked why, the officer said he needed to see if he took pictures of license plates numbers. Davis said he was a reporter and showed the officer his press pass, which seemed to satisfy the officer.

A second officer, this one from Prince George’s County, approached Davis as he was walking back to his car and asked to see his pictures. When Davis asked why, the officer repeated that he needed to look at the pictures. Davis never received a reason, after repeating his question a few times.

Read more...

Candidates file for County Council seats

Since last week, two additional candidates filed their paper to run for two County Council seats that will be open in 2018.

That brings the total number of people who have filed to run for the open council seats to 22. The addition of a term limit referendum created four new open seats on the County Council for the 2018 election.

Meredith Wellington (District-1)

Meredith WellingtonCOURTESY PHOTO Wellington, a Democrat, and former member of the County Planning Board, said she got her start in politics when her son needed a place to play baseball. She said she and others helped lobby to the County to build what would become the Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase.Wellington is originally from Texas, but has lived in the County since 1978. Wellington served on the Planning Board for eight years from 1999 to 2007, the Montgomery County Park Foundation and has worked as a lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board.

Wellington said the community center is an example of the type of development she wants in the County, where the County encourages developers to make voluntary contributions to the surrounding community by helping to pay for land for parks, school or traffic infrastructure.

“I firmly believe that developers should make more in-kind donations to improve amenities,” Wellington said.

On transit, Wellington said she supports funding for Metro and Ride On Extra, but said the County should look at expanding or widening roads. Wellington said much of District 1 is not close to a Metro stop and she believes the County should widen roads in order to accommodate more cars and buses.

“So we have a network of roads that are suitable for buses,” Wellington said. “If we need to expand roads, widen roads, we should do that and that will also benefit cars.”

On economic development, Wellington said the County should be more aggressive in how it tries to attract businesses to relocate here, saying the County should have representatives around the world that market on behalf of the County.

“We are a premium location for science and we need to spread that word and develop ourselves more as science center,” she said.

On the environment, Wellington said she would like to see improvements in storm water management in the county. She wants to close a loophole for single-family homes and advocate for a greener, plant-based, approach to be used in storm water management.

Ashwani Jain (At-large)

Ashwani JainCOURTESY PHOTO  County native and a Democrat, Jain said he got his first foray into politics when he was asked in high school by then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president to volunteer. Jain, a cancer survivor who said for much of his life he felt powerless, said politics gave him empowerment and a sense of purpose. Jain worked campaigning for Obama much of his life until he was hired to work at the White House.

Jain, 28, said the issues of the County, affordable housing, schools, traffic and inclusion are related and that the County’s solutions to problems should be multi-dimensional.

“For me all those issues are interconnected end the best way we can close the opportunity gap is to address all those issues in a comprehensive way,” Jain said.

Jain said the County should pass a “Community Trust” ordinance to declare the County as a sanctuary jurisdiction.

Sanctuary jurisdiction is a loosely-defined term for cities and counties that prevent their local officials from assisting with enforcement of immigration law. County officials have said that Montgomery County is not a sanctuary county, and cooperates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for “serious criminals.”

However, Jain said he believes Montgomery County is a sanctuary jurisdiction.

“Given the fact we already operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction we just need the political will to declare it as such,” Jain said.

On education, Jain said he supports universal pre-kindergarten, saying it would cut the opportunity gap for the County’s African-American and Latino students. Jain said he also supports increasing the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour saying the County needs a “living wage.”

 Jain also said the County is losing technology start-ups and said he supports incentives, including tax incentives, to keep entrepreneurs in the County.

“We got to make sure if you are starting a business or you have a business that you are able to keep that business,” Jain said.

@neal_earley

 

Read more...