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Three midsize sedans offer a variety of quality

The 2018 Honda Accord, priced from $24,460, offers more daring styling, a fancier interior, and a sportier driving experience than the Toyota Camry. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Honda Accord, priced from $24,460, offers more daring styling, a fancier interior, and a sportier driving experience than the Toyota Camry. COURTESY PHOTO  When two competing cars are both excellent, it’s easy to think of them as interchangeable.
However, look carefully enough and you’ll often find that each one is most outstanding in its own particular niche.
Such is the case in the midsize sedan class. We’ve visited this class’ best-selling Honda Accord and Toyota Camry several times over the past year, as both have been fully redesigned for the 2018 model year. And at last, we’ve gotten to spend a full week in top-of-the-line versions of each best-seller.
This extra time revealed that even as both the Camry and the Accord have gotten sportier and more luxurious, it’s the Honda that has gone above and beyond in those areas. The Toyota, meanwhile, also delivers impressive performance and luxury, yet it does so while remaining a little more conservatively styled and function-oriented.

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Mueller questions

download 2As the suspense mounts regarding whether the leader of the free world will submit to questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the so-called “Russia investigation” and the existence of any “COLLUSION,” I thought it might be helpful to provide our president with some suggested answers to just a few of the 49 questions compiled by Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow. As reported in the New York Times a few weeks back, these 49 questions were crafted by Sekulow from discussions with the Mueller team.
The questions can be broken down into a few categories. These categories include questions related to the actions of and interaction with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, questions regarding conversations with former F.B.I. Director James Comey, questions pertaining to interaction with and decisions made by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and last, but certainly not least, questions dealing with any coordination by Trump or any members of his campaign (notice I did not use the word “COLLUSION”) with Rusha – I mean Russia).
So, here goes:

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Remembering beloved local coaching legend Walt King

Former Bullis head football coach Walt King.  COURTESY PHOTOFormer Bullis head football coach Walt King. COURTESY PHOTO  We recently lost a Montgomery County coaching legend.
Former Bullis head football coach Walt King died on April 2 at a Pennsylvania nursing home after suffering from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 77.
He is survived by three children, Kevin A. King, Rachel J. Linder and Natalie A. Hagle, and seven grandchildren, Courtney, Ashley, Megan, Kyler, Karley, Zachary and Melanie, and one great-grandson, Tanner.
King spent more than three decades at Bullis where he compiled a career record of 116-91-5 on the gridiron. In 1979, he led the Bulldogs to their first IAC co-championship. After serving as the head coach from 1976-1986, he had a brief stint as the school’s athletic director from 1979-1994. He assumed his role as head coach in 1992 and guided the Potomac private school to an undefeated season in 2000, a feat that helped King earn Montgomery County Coach of the Year honors.
“I just remember what a legend he was,” recalled Stan Gelbaugh, a former Bullis assistant under King. “He was at Bullis for a very long time and really left his mark as a coach and teacher on a lot of kids.”

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New Jeep Cherokee is a compact crossover

The 2019 Jeep Cherokee compact crossover, priced from $25,440, is newly updated with a redesigned front end, new features, and an available turbocharged engine. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2019 Jeep Cherokee compact crossover, priced from $25,440, is newly updated with a redesigned front end, new features, and available turbocharged engine. COURTESY PHOTO  Historically, the Jeep Cherokee was a boxy, utilitarian, mud-loving SUV whose extreme off-road capability made up for its crude on-road talents.
But since the 2014 model year, the Cherokee has been an aggressively modern compact crossover. Except for the vertically-slatted grille and a few cabin details, the 2014 Cherokee’s design paid little homage to its Jeep heritage.
Although sales have been strong, critics and customers alike have been divided over the latest Cherokee. Now, for the 2019 model year, Jeep has updated the vehicle to address some of customers' common complaints.
Attentive Jeep fans will notice the first difference instantly. The 2014-2018 Cherokee wore an odd face, with slit-like headlights sitting at the very top of the front end, and a second pair of boxier headlights below them. The 2019 model moderates that effect, drawing from Jeep’s smaller Compass and larger Grand Cherokee.

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Chicago Red Stars hand Washington Spirit another loss, 2-0

Chicago Red Stars vs. Washington SpiritBOYDS — Playing against a team that had a seven-game losing streak with a rookie keeper in the net, during an incredible downpour of rain, the Washington Spirit lost yet another match.
The Chicago Red Stars handed the Spirit another defeat, 2-0, on the Spirit’s home turf no less, and ready to start a winning streak. The Red Stars head back to Chicago with 3 new points towards improvement in the National Women’s Soccer League standings while the Spirit picked up zero.
Locally the weather has been nothing but wet all week and match day was no exception. Partly sunny skies during on field warmups turned cloudy when dark storm clouds marched in from the East. As the teams stood for the playing of the national anthem ready for the start of the game, the rain began.

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Rolls-Royce coupe offers delicious decadence

The tested Rolls-Royce Wraith — featuring a 624-horsepower engine, lambswool floor mats and a sky-simulating ceiling — has a sticker price of $420,930. COURTESY PHOTOThe tested Rolls-Royce Wraith — featuring a 624-horsepower engine, lambswool floor mats and a sky-simulating ceiling — has a sticker price of $420,930. COURTESY PHOTO  It’s nearly as expensive as Montgomery County’s median home value, but it’s an automobile whose value will plummet rather than appreciate.
It’s longer and less-fuel-efficient than a Cadillac Escalade SUV, but it’s a two-door, four-passenger coupe.
It’s a car whose paint job costs as much as a Nissan Versa and whose floor mats cost more than an iPhone X.
It’s the Rolls-Royce Wraith, a vehicle whose absurd impracticality will strike some as a glorious rejection of everyday automotive sensibilities — and others as a garish obscenity.

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The press isn’t going to go anywhere, Mr. President

20180509 155426 2 1As a political columnist for the Montgomery County Sentinel, I am fortunate to have a ringside seat to a period in our nation's history like no other.
Still, as interesting and fascinating as I find covering this White House and Congress, it is also frustrating beyond words as the members of the press are subjected to a continuous barrage by both the current president and the members of his press office of misinformation, spin, avoidance, side-stepping, condescension, insults, threats, and downright lies.
I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind to wonder what it would be like if everyone in the White House press room decided enough is enough and simply got up and walked out together, in unison, as one body, in protest. Now, quite honestly, that will never happen, nor should it for some very important reasons.

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Hyundai sedan offers sensible transportation

The 2018 Hyundai Elantra is a sensible, affordable compact sedan that offers modern technology, a pleasant driving experience and a long warranty. COURTESY PHOTOThe 2018 Hyundai Elantra is a sensible, affordable compact sedan that offers modern technology, a pleasant driving experience and a long warranty. COURTESY PHOTO  A good compact car can easily fit many lifestyles.
It’s affordable to buy and operate. Yet, it has enough refinement, technology, and style that you don’t have to feel like you've settled for the most basic way to get around.
To be clear, not every compact car fits this description. Some pursue a niche segment, perhaps adding performance or luxury at a higher price. Others simply trail their competitors.
But the Hyundai Elantra sedan checks every box in the above definition of a good compact car. While it’s unlikely to evoke strong desire, it offers fuss-free, wholly unobjectionable transportation at attainable prices, particularly if you can take advantage of its frequent incentives.

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The New Normal is neither

Nimah Nayel 2Today’s “New Normal,” isn’t new and it isn’t normal.
Sixteen-year-old baccalaureate student Nimah Nayel is a victim of the old racism and hate, long existent and awful in its scope.
This vile hatred, the antithesis of the American Spirit stayed dormant and seemingly was swept away into the dustbin of history where it belongs until the minions of Donald Trump took his racist and hate-filled rhetoric primetime and brought back the hatred with a vengeance.

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Despite loss to Portland, Spirit is coming together through experience

The Spirit's defense comes alive near the goal in a game against the Portland Thorns. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEThe Washington Spirit's defense comes alive near the goal in a game against the Portland Thorns. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFEAs of Saturday, the Washington Spirit has fallen to eighth place in the National Women’s Soccer League, when they dropped their latest match against the Portland Thorns 1-0.
It took the Thorns until the 68th minute to score their one goal. With one keeper and two defensive players backing her up, a pass from Tobin Heath to Ellie Carpenter was placed perfectly for Carpenter nick it into the net. As the ball started rolling back out of the net, Spirit keeper Aubrey Bledsoe and two defenders could be seen lying face down on the ground right where they landed trying to stop the ball.
Throughout the match, the Spirit missed out on at least three excellent chances to score, including a penalty kick, but the strikes were just off target, either over the top of the frame or wide. The accuracy just was not there.
As the rain came down in a heavy drizzle that just would not relent, the last 15 minutes of the second half saw a flurry of activity from the Spirit, forcing the Thorns into a bunkering position to protect their one-goal lead. The Spirit turned on the aggression and kept the pressure on the Thorns on their side of the field. The excitement of the Spirit potentially scoring a leveling goal was felt throughout the crowd right until the referee blew the final whistle in penalty time.

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