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Toyota Prius remains a fuel-saving standout

Toyota Prius front view cropped for webThe Toyota Prius is best known for its aggressively futuristic styling and outstanding fuel economy, but it also boasts a spacious interior and ever-improving driving dynamics. COURTESY PHOTO  A decade ago, the Toyota Prius was practically the only game in town if you wanted the absolute maximum fuel efficiency, as it handily thrashed all the other gas-electric hybrids on the market with its’ unmistakable styling, five-door practicality and -- most importantly -- the absolute best gas mileage.
Today’s buyers, however, have a host of choices when looking to reduce their fuel consumption, whether from the plug-in hybrids that offer miles of electric-only range or a host of all-electric options that eliminate gasoline engines altogether. Conventional hybrids like the Prius are now more numerous than ever, and even today’s ordinary run-of-the-mill compact cars get increasingly impressive fuel economy.
This abundance of riches means Prius sales have slipped, but for the right driver the Prius remains an outstanding choice that’s pleasant to drive yet exceptionally fuel-efficient as well as decently affordable, with prices starting at $24,370.

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The Quince Orchard family mourns the loss of student athlete Terry

Tyler Terry.   COURTESY PHOTO  Tyler Terry. COURTESY PHOTO  The Quince Orchard High School community is mourning the death of senior football star Tyler Terry.
Terry, a two-way standout at the Gaithersburg school, died Sunday at Children’s National Hospital in Washington, D.C., nearly two weeks after being hospitalized with a heart condition. He was 17.
“For those of you who knew Tyler, we ask that you remember and celebrate his passion for football, his love of his family and friends, and his great big infectious smile,” Quince Orchard Principal Carole Working wrote in a letter addressed to the Quince Orchard High School Community. “For those of you who did not know him, we ask that you support Tyler’s friends and family during this time of loss.”

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Former Wootton wide receiver enjoys life as a Super Bowl champion

Mack HollinsMack Hollins. FILE PHOTOFormer Wootton wide receiver Mack Hollins is a Super Bowl champion.
The Rockville native celebrated the Philadelphia Eagles’ 41-33 victory over the New England Patriots Sunday in Super Bowl LII at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.
The Eagles’ rookie wide receiver and special teams contributor earned a Super Bowl ring in his first season on the job. Not a bad way to begin your NFL career.
Wootton head coach Eddie Tolliver said he watched the entire game from start to finish and beamed with pride over his former pupil.
“It just shows if you put the hard work and effort into it where you can go,” explained Tolliver, who noted that Hollins took a roundabout way to the NFL.

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Boo-Boo Palmer to be enshrined in college football’s Hall of Fame

Paul “Boo Boo” Palmer will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.  COURTESY PHOTOPaul “Boo Boo” Palmer will be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018. COURTESY PHOTO  Scotland community native Paul “Boo Boo” Palmer was honored this week with news that he would be enshrined in the College Football Hall of Fame’s Class of 2018.
The former Churchill running back did his damage at Temple University in Philadelphia before he was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs in the first round of the 1987 NFL Draft.
“The honor of earning admittance to the College Football Hall of Fame is overwhelming, and I can’t thank the committee enough for both my nomination and selection,” said Palmer, who became the first former Temple player selected for this prestigious honor. “I wouldn’t be able to accept this honor without the contributions of my teammates, coaches and the entire Temple community. With Temple football on the rise, I only hope my induction will crack the door for a number of other deserving Owls to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame down the road.”

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Promises, promises, and is it tee time again already?

Trump on golf courseI know we are in the middle of winter, but I didn't want to let this issue escape my scrutiny. Besides, it is sunny in West Palm Beach, Florida.
Remember during the presidential campaign of 2016 how often candidate Trump complained about how many times his predecessor took time off to play golf? Quite a bit as I recall. I also recall quite vividly candidate Trump promising not to play golf if elected because there is so much to do there won't be enough time to play golf.
He stated over and over again how he will be working, not playing. How he would “stay in the White House and work his ass off.” He accused his predecessor of playing more rounds of golf than Tiger Woods, than the players on the PGA tour. Quite a difference between promises made during a campaign and the reality after election. Especially when it comes to golf and the presidency and Donald J. Trump!
Now for some of that post-election reality as it relates to golf and vacation days as a whole. Reality: Donald J. Trump during his first year in office took five times more vacation days than his predecessor Barack H. Obama.

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Midsize Hyundai offers functional value

The 2018 Hyundai Sonata is an affordable, generally pleasant midsize sedan that’s less polished and fancy than the leading competitors. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Hyundai Sonata is an affordable, generally pleasant midsize sedan that’s less polished and fancy than the leading competitors. COURTESY PHOTO  Today’s car shoppers have many options for functionality and value. These qualities once defined the midsize family sedan class, but many buyers have turned instead to less expensive compact cars or to roomier crossover SUVs.
As many purely practical car shoppers look elsewhere, many midsize sedans have increasingly prioritized style and luxury to succeed in a more premium niche. But if you just want something comfortable and functional and still prefer a spacious four-door sedan, you should check out the newly-updated 2018 Hyundai Sonata.
The Sonata isn’t a dramatically-styled sports sedan like the latest Honda Accord, whose luxury-grade looks and driving experience elevate it above the family car norm. But the Sonata is also less expensive, with the well-equipped base SE model presenting a particularly strong value.
The 2018 Sonata starts at $22,935, and according to pricing site Truecar.com, you should be able to haggle it below $20,000. That’s an advantage of some $2,500 over a base Accord, and Hyundai also throws in an Android Auto/Apple CarPlay-compatible touchscreen, a blind-spot monitoring system and a long warranty.

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MS-13 and a parade

handcuffed manGang violence isn’t new in Montgomery County. It isn’t new anywhere in the country.
It is dangerous and serious, but the federal government has never been particularly good about dealing with the problem and the Trump administration is particularly inept in its ability to deal with one particular gang - MS-13.
The gang has been active for at least a decade and a half in Montgomery County and has been responsible for some horrible crimes, particularly in the immigrant community.
John Cronan, an assistant attorney general said Tuesday the Trump administration will not protect immigrants who come forward to testify against MS-13 members - particularly otherwise law-abiding illegal immigrants who fear deportation.

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Remember to “Turn out the vote”

FB IMG 1508619290410You might remember my column from a few months back on Oct. 5, entitled “Turning rhetoric into action with results.” It focused on efforts of Democrats at both the county and state levels to more effectively garner grassroots support for Democratic candidates. Consider this column to be a sequel or follow-up to that earlier column.
On the topic of turnout and grassroots fundraising, I attended a precinct organization meeting several weeks ago attended by more than 100 precinct leaders, district liaisons, and area coordinators. The function was hosted by the Montgomery County Democratic Party. During this meeting, Congressman Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) presented the Montgomery County Democratic Party with a check for $60,000, representing grassroots fundraising at its finest.
As our other Congressman John Sarbanes (D-Md.) often points out, grassroots fundraising primarily accomplishes two things. First, it makes the small donor feel more a part of the campaign process. Second, it causes the candidates to pay closer attention to the issues important to these small grassroots donors.
This is how it should be and this is at the core of how Democrats intend to reverse the current tide in elections at every level as we approach the 2018 midterms and the 2020 presidential elections. The importance of turning the tide cannot be underscored enough as the effort involves growing the grassroots in individual state legislative districts across the entire country to start taking back state houses as we approach the 2020 census and the accompanying redrawing of Congressional district lines in 2021.

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Pair of small crossovers has hidden flaws

2018 Toyota C HR cropped for webThe 2018 Toyota C-HR looks sporty and modern, but it’s humdrum to drive and its in-cabin connectivity is below par. COURTESY PHOTO  Sometimes, a car can stand out so positively in certain ways that it is worth forgiving its weak points. Other times, however, a car’s strengths can leave you blind to any flaws. The latter is a far more dangerous proposition, because you might only notice a vehicle’s downsides after you’ve already driven it off the lot.
Such a trap is easy to fall into when considering a pair of subcompact crossovers, the all-new 2018 Toyota C-HR and the freshly updated 2018 Mazda CX-3.
The Toyota mixes concept-car styling with five-door practicality, an elevated seating position, respectable gas mileage and an affordable base price of $23,495. The Mazda, meanwhile, trounces its ordinary-feeling competitors’ driving dynamics with sporty handling that makes it feel comparatively luxurious.
But look carefully at both of these crossovers before buying. While they may indeed fill the right niche for you, their compromises can also leave you wondering: “But... why?”

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Racists are simply and merely lazy

Charottlesville 2Racists are lazy.
There is no way around that realization. It takes some effort to view people as individuals and then weigh the good points against the bad points to make a determination about the quality of each individual. It is far easier to paint groups of people with a broad brush and take the individual assessment out of the equation. It is much easier to accept or condemn them as a group basing the decision on factors such as race or religion, or, for that matter, any of a host of other considerations such as income, country of birth or ancestry, level of education or any of a myriad of other subjective factors.
When it comes to race, that is a real easy one; it's as easy as distinguishing black, maybe brown, from white, no research necessary.

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