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County executive candidates square off

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoPOTOMAC – Saturday’s candidate forum was one of the first opportunities for the four men filed to run for County Executive to take the stage together and speak to the public directly.

On Saturday, the Montgomery County Muslim Council hosted a forum at the Potomac Community Center for the four people who filed to run for County Executive candidates and current County Council member Roger Berliner (D-1) Marc Elrich (D- at large), George Leventhal (D- at large), and attorney and former member of the Maryland House of Delegates Robin Ficker.

The candidates answered questions about diversity, profiling, schools and taxes.

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Hogan dedicates Intercounty Connector to Bob Ehrlich

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Maryland Gov. Robert “Bob” Ehrlich met with then-President George W. Bush for lunch at Camp David in 2003, Bush asked Ehrlich a simple question.

“What can I do for you?” Ehrlich said Bush had asked him.

Ehrlich said governors usually have a short list of requests for the president, but at that meeting Ehrlich said only one thing came to mind – help in pushing the longplanned Intercounty Connector project along.

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County eyes multiple problems in preparing for possible hurricane

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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.

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More Than 100 Violations

Metro Investigations (First in a series): Broken Promises - Bad Dreams

Metro managers still struggling with a broken unsafe rail system

Metro entranceWhile the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority claims Metrorail services is getting “Back 2 Good” a four month long investigation by The Sentinel newspapers shows the Metro system is still suffering from a laundry list of ills – including more than 100 safety deficiencies.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said in June SafeTrack – WMATA’s yearlong effort to rehabili- tate its services was finished and three years worth of repairs were done in just a year. But Federal Transit Administration officials say there is still a list of 109 safety deficiencies that are past due.

“The mindset at the supervisor level and down is they really don’t do nothing unless they're specially directed to do it,” a former management level WMATA employee said. “They could walk right over something that was broke and not fix it because they were not told to do it.”

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County offers free month of bus ride on new Ride On Service

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GAITHERSBURG -- Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett came to the Montgomery County Fairgrounds Monday to offering residents a chance at a free ride.

On Monday, Leggett announced that the County will waive bus fares for the County’s new expedited bus service Ride On Extra as a way to entice commuters to take public transit rather driving themselves. Ride On Extra’s MD-355 route will begin Oct. 2 and will not charge fares for the month of October.

“Along Route 355, our busiest commuting route, people will have another option for getting to work and home, while using WiFi to stay connected,” Leggett said in a statement. “On an introductory basis, this service will be free during October, to encourage people to try it out and decide whether it might be preferable to their current commute by transit or car.”

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Anniversary vigil honors victims of fatal fire

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SILVER SPRING — Flower Branch tenant Felicia Prospere said she can still remember the cries and screams from the fire and explosion that killed seven at the Silver Spring apartment complex last August.

“As soon as I opened – my husband opened the door – I just saw flames – big flames, people crying and screaming, people, you know, letting kids out of the windows, out of the balcony, people just crying for help,” Prospere said. “I couldn’t help them, all I could do was run to save my own life.”

On Aug. 10, the first anniversary of the fire at the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Arliss Street in Silver Spring, tenants and community members gathered for a candlelight vigil to remember the sudden death and destruction from one year ago. Faith leaders, tenants, activists and politicians were present to remember the tenants that died in the fire: Fernando Jose Hernandez Orellana, 3, Deibi “David” Samir Lainez Morales, 8, Aseged Mekonen, 34, Saeda Ibrahim Deibi Samir, 41, Maria Auxiliadorai Castellon-Martinez, 53, Augusto Jimenez Sr., 62 and Saul Paniagua, 65.

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Malvo denied sentence appeal

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ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge John Greenberg ruled against convicted “D.C. sniper” Lee Boyd “John” Malvo’s appeal of the life sentences he received for the murder of six people in 2002.

“The decision of Judge Greenberg today affirms that Mr. Malvo was properly sentenced to a maximum sentence available for his heinous acts – six consecutive sentences of live without the possibility of parole,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy.

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Local educator held with no bail in robbery

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A local woman remains in jail with no bond after being charged in connection with a robbery scheme.

Police arrested and charged an 18-year-old man and 33-year-old school teacher in connection with robbing two men at gun point in a planned robbery in Gaithersburg.

City of Gaithersburg police arrested and charged Nelson Leiva, 18, and Lakeisha Burrison, 33, with armed robbery after holding up two men at gun point in a Gaithersburg parking lot in July. While Leiva was released on bond after he turned himself into police, Montgomery County District Court Judge John C. Moffett denied bond to Burrison.

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Protesters support Vigna

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Two dozen people wearing white t-shirts gathered Friday afternoon to proclaim their solidarity with convicted child sex abuser and former Cloverly Elementary School teacher John Vigna.

On Friday, Montgomery County Circuit Judge David Boynton sentenced Vigna to 48 years in prison for four counts of sexual abuse of a minor and five counts of third-degree sexual offense. “These kids are having a very hard time,” said State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy. “For anybody who thinks that the kids who are victims in this case are not continuing to suffer trauma from what happened to them, well you’ve go it wrong -- you got it wrong.”

Vigna was arrested last June after two 11-year-old victims told administration that Vigna sexually abused them. According to court documents, Vigna sexually abused one student at Cloverly Elementary School where he was a teacher, by squeezing her buttock and making her sit on his lap. Vigna abused another student by hugging her and squeezing her buttock. One of the victims told his or her parents after school one day about incident where Vigna hugged and squeezed his or her buttock. Police then interviewed both victims and charged Vigna when he turned himself in.

Police said Vigna sexually abused the victims during the 2013- 2014 and 2015-2016 school years.

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