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Council passes funding for immigrant legal services

countysealThe Montgomery County Council on Tuesday unanimously approved $373,957 in funds for legal services for immigrants facing deportation, as the Council was set to approve its budget.

The vote was met with protest from both immigration and legal advocates, who had originally supported the measure, and by opponents who said they do not want the County to spend taxpayer dollars on legal services for immigrants.

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New MCPS program to help teens struggling with drugs

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Montgomery County Public Schools recently formed a new partnership to enable students struggling with addiction to both recover and graduate from high school.

Thanks to a grant from Governor Larry Hogan intended to target the opioid epidemic, MCPS can start enrolling students in the new program sooner than previously planned, said MCPS Student Health and Wellness Coordinator Elizabeth Rathbone.

MCPS will partner with Family Services, Inc., a local organization in Gaithersburg, which offers substance abuse recovery programs. 

“MCPS is now coming alongside [Family Services, Inc.],” said spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala. “They’ve been providing recovery support.”

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Candidates speak at Aspen Hill public forum

ASPEN HILL — Nine of the 11 candidates seeking either reelection or their first election to one of the three seats in the Maryland House of Delegates from District 19 came to a public forum at the Aspen Hill Library Monday night. 

The Aspen Hill Library Advisory Committee, the Aspen Hill chapter of Friends of the Library, the Aspen Hill Civic Association, and the Strathmore Bel Pre Civic Association sponsored the forum. Elliot Chabot, chair of the Library Advisory Committee, served as moderator of the event.

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Gaithersburg Book Festival draws large crowd despite rain showers

Gaithersburg logoGAITHERSBURG — Thousands of people braved Saturday’s drizzle to attend the ninth annual Gaithersburg Book Festival. 

Mayor Jud Ashman, then a member of the City Council, founded the festival in 2010. Held every May on the grounds of Gaithersburg City Hall, the festival invites several fiction and non-fiction authors to read from their works and meet their readers.

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Council approves additional funding to Leggett’s budget

countysealThe Montgomery County Council unanimously approved an additional $14.8 million to the budget on its reconciliation list as the Council is set to give final approval to the budget Thursday.

The $14.8 million is a part of the Council reconciliation list, spending that was not originally included in the County Executive’s proposed budget and that the Council’s various committees voted to add through their weeks of meetings.

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Rockville passes budget with no tax increase

Seal of Rockville MdThe Rockville Mayor and City Council adopted their 2019 fiscal year budget, keeping property tax rates the same for yet another year.

Rockville’s $136.2-million budget is a 4.5-percent increase from last year’s budget, which will help supplement the 4.5-percent wage increase City employees are set to see under the new budget. The increases allow the City to add several new positions in City government, including two additional police officers, one GIS/Asset Management support specialist, one urban forestry maintenance worker, and one information systems security engineer.

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Takoma Problems Persist

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Tensions between residents and the Takoma Park City Council remain high as the project to redevelop a city-owned parking lot adjacent to the Takoma Park-Silver Spring Co-op enters its fifth year.

“Our county and the world is already affected enough by our cars and our carbon footprint, without trucks adding to it all,” said 13-year-old Ward 2 resident Elizabeth Comfort-Cohen during the City Council's weekly meeting Wednesday. Comfort-Cohen, who goes by the Co-op on her commute to school, expressed concern the proposed Takoma Junction Redevelopment project could have on pedestrians and cyclists. “All I’m asking, council members, is that you think long and hard about the effect this project can make on the community and not just the government.”

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The Safe Passage Center: helping families stay together

IMG 2668The front door of the Safe Passage Center in Rockville, MD PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZIn 2007, Gail Pumphrey and her three children David, 12, Meagan, 10, and Brandon, 6, were shot and killed by their father on Thanksgiving Day during an unsupervised court-ordered visitation exchange at Unity Neighborhood Park in Montgomery County. 

Janet Blackburn, 62, sister of Gail Pumphrey and aunt of the Brockdorff children, believes if a place like the Safe Passage Center had existed back then, that tragedy could have been averted.

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Takoma Park passes new fiscal year budget

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council passed its FY2018-2019 budget Wednesday evening with a unanimous vote.

“I think the process worked well this year … the proposal from the city manager seemed to reflect the priorities that we defined earlier and … not increasing taxes was important to many people,” said Ward 4 Council member Terry Seamens.

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DiSpirito makes two new hires

Seal of Rockville MdRockville City Manager Robert DiSpirito made two key hires this week, announcing the City has hired a new police chief and planning director.

DiSpirito announced that the City has hired Victor Brito to be its new police chief, replacing Bob Rappaport who served as acting police chief since the City’s previous police chief, Terry Treschuk, retired in April of 2016.

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