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Wheaton High School wins Maryland Science Bowl

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ROCKVILLE — Wheaton High School won the Maryland Science Bowl on Saturday defeating Poolesville in the final round at Montgomery College. 

“I am incredibly proud of my students for their victory in the Maryland/DC Regional Science Bowl. They made this happen – they worked extremely hard and came together as a team in the way any coach would dream of,” Daniel Bates, a science teacher at Wheaton High School and coach of the winning team wrote in an email. 

Forty-eight teams representing 25 schools from across Maryland and DC participated in the tournament, with some schools fielding multiple entrants.

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“All I have of my family is only memory”

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Local woman recounts the harrowing journey from North Korea to living in Northern Montgomery County

Grace Jo 1Grace Jo recounts her life growing up in the oppressive regime of North Korea before moving to the United States. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER The longest Grace Jo ever went without food was 10 days when she was just a child. Without energy, no longer suffering from hunger pangs and with a high fever, she felt certain death was near. All she had consumed for the past nine days was cold water from a nearby river near her home in North Korea.

Finally, her parents returned from their illegal escape into China to find food for their six children.

Earlier, when Jo was five-and-a-half years old, her grandmother happened upon five newborn mice. She grilled them for Jo and her siblings, helping them survive through another bout of hunger while their parents continually crossed into China to bring back whatever food they could.

“How can I explain hunger?” said the Montgomery College student and Germantown resident. “I lived in a house made of wood. In the winter, the wind blew through the house” through all the holes, she said. “We were really cold and constantly hungry, and sometimes we didn’t have the energy to get the wood” to make a fire for warmth and cooking, she said.

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Award-winning author speaks at Gaithersburg High School

ngozi adichieChimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke at Gaithersburg High School on Sept. 26, as part of the One Maryland, One Book program. COURTESY PHOTO  GAITHERSBURG — Award-winning and world-renowned author Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie spoke to an audience of about 1,000 people at Gaithersburg High School on Sept. 26 as part of the One Maryland One Book program.

Adichie is a recipient of the MacArthur Genius Award and her work has been translated into over 30 languages.  She divides her time between nearby Columbia and Lagos, Nigeria.

The Maryland Humanities Council established the One Maryland One Book program 10 years ago to encourage Marylanders to read and discuss a certain book every year. A committee with the council chooses a book that aligns with the year’s theme. This year’s book is “Purple Hibiscus” by Adichie and the theme is “Home & Belonging.”

This year, there are 350 programs in the state focused on this book, including three events with the author, said Phoebe Stein, executive director of Maryland Humanities.

“Purple Hibiscus” is a coming-of-age novel that follows the account of 15-year-old Kambili as she navigates a fraught relationship with her abusive father during political upheaval in Nigeria. Kambili and her brother spend time together living in two different homes: one with their parents, and another with their aunt who, while having less money than Kambili’s family, has a home full of laughter and life. The novel tackles themes such as colonization, religious hypocrisy and gender and family dynamics.

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Local Man Leads Alt-Right

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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), claimed he 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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Inspector finds no violation of contract

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A Montgomery County report did not find that Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard misused taxpayer funds.

NBC News 4 reported a story last year that Pollard spent $70, 000 on trips since 2013, averaging 13 trips a year and expensing $1,792 for a five day stay at the Marriott Wardman in Northwest Washington.

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Leggett brings in the county budget

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Leggett 20091001 104316County Executive Ike Leggett

ROCKVILLE –, County Executive Ike Leggett met with the County Council to discuss his new proposed budget last week.

Unlike last year, this year Leggett does not propose any increase in property taxes above the charter limit in his $5.4 billion operating budget. Per usual, about half of the County’s proposed budget will go toward education with $2.5 billion for Montgomery County Public Schools and $309 million for Montgomery College.

Leggett’s proposed budget is a 2.7 percent increase from last year and does not dramatically increase funding for any County agency. In this year’s budget Leggett proposed a 2.3 percent increase to MCPS or $25 million additional to the state-mandated Maintenance of Effort.

“Given that, along with continued uncertainty about the economic recovery and State and federal actions, I am limiting any new programs or significant program expansions to those that clearly achieve our shared priorities and best serve County residents,” Leggett said.

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Manger talks about building trust at Montgomery College

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ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger said County police have about 500,000 contacts with the public every year, and each one has the potential to go awry.

“What I tell my cops is that every single one of those contacts can either contribute and build trust, or it can damage trust,” Manger said.

Last week Manger and Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard sat down for a discussion at Montgomery College’s Rockville campus to discuss relations between police and the community. Manger talked about the struggles to build trust with the community and the potential for unrest in the County.

“Ferguson can happen anywhere, you have to pay attention to the relationship that the police department has with the community,” Manger said.

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Educators, industry leaders and parents talk science

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SILVER SPRING – Montgomery County’s educators, industry leaders, and parents gathered Sunday to discuss expanding science engagement in and outside the public education system.

“People who are involved in their companies, we created an opportunity to meet one another, I think that was the prime motivator for most people who would be here today,” said County Council member Hans Riemer (D-At-Large) who was the organizer of the event.

The first ever Montgomery County STEM Summit took place at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Speakers included representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery County Public Libraries, and numerous locally-based science or tech industry businesses and non-profits.

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Parents and teachers express education concerns

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GERMANTOWN – Teachers, parents of students and family members of teachers said at a budget meeting Feb. 15 they were concerned about items such as minimum wage, allocation of staffing, availability of materials and class size.

County Council member Craig Rice (D-2),chair of the education committee, Montgomery College President DeRionne Pollard and Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Jack Smith led the town hall at Northwest High School.

Rocky Hill Middle School teacher Lisabeth Belman said she wanted their concerns to be heard.

“My issue is that teacher voice,” said Belman.

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