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Rockville’s new police chief sworn in after a two year hiatus

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Seal of Rockville MdROCKVILLE — For more than two years, the City of Rockville has been without a permanent police chief.

Ever since longtime City Police Chief Terry Treschuk retired in June of 2016, there has been a vacancy at the top of the department that took until this week to fill.

On Monday, Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton swore in Victor Brito as Rockville’s new police chief. Brito, the former Hagerstown police chief and 25-year veteran of the D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, told the crowd gathered inside the cramped City Hall that policing was about building trust with the community through personal relationships.

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Compromise on stormwater management by Council

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countysealROCKVILLE — A potential compromise is on its way to resolve the split on the County Council about the future of contracting for stormwater-management projects – but not before more debate.

While on Tuesday, the County Council unanimously approved the introduction of an amendment to the capital budget to fund stormwater-management projects in a compromise between members of the Council and the County Executive, the debate over the County Executive’s authority, and the future of how the Department of Environmental Protection manages its stormwater projects is still not decided.

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Early voting numbers increase

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Numbers from the State Board of Elections show that early-voting turnout is higher than in previous midterm elections.

Through the first five days of the week-long early-voting period, 17,079 people casted ballots for the 2018 primary election, a significant increase from the 9,672 ballots cast through the first five days of the 2014 primary.

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New details on shooting of unarmed black man emerge

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A source close to the investigation has told the Sentinel that the encounter that led to the June 11 officer-involved shooting was initiated by Montgomery County Police Officer Anand Badgujar.

On June 11, Badgujar, 32, shot and killed 41-year-old Robert Lawrence White, an unarmed African-American man from Silver Spring. Badgujar was responding to a separate 911 call when he saw and approached White.

While police released some details of the incident, Montgomery County Police have not answered questions about some of the other details, and have refused to release the 911-call and body-camera footage.

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Unarmed Black Man Shot Dead

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Police officer placed on leave after 41-year-old with previous mental health issues killed

Officer Anand Badgujar.  COURTESY PHOTOOfficer Anand Badgujar. COURTESY PHOTO  Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger placed Officer Anand Badgujar – a two year police veteran – on paid administrative leave this week after the officer apparently shot and killed an unarmed 41-year-old African American man in Silver Spring Monday afternoon.

Police identified the victim as Robert Lawrence White. As recently as November 2015 a local district court judge committed White to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene for “examination as to competency to stand trial” in a misdemeanor trespassing case.

The court found “good cause to believe the defendant may be incompetent to stand trial” per an evaluation by the pretrial supervision unit.

The Sentinel has requested a copy of the findings from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene following the court ordered evaluation. The report was not made available by press time.

Badgujar, 32, is a former sergeant on the Baltimore police force where he served for five years. He is currently assigned to the Montgomery County Police Department’s 3rd District patrol division.

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County Executive race sees its first attack ad

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A clip from the ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair.  COURTESY PHOTOA clip from an ad released by County Council member Roger Berliner attacking fellow County Executive candidate David Blair. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — As the primary approaches, democrats running for County Executive continue to try and jockey for position attempting to appeal to local voters and to be gain attention, one candidate ran the first “attack ad” against an opponent.

Recently, County Council member and candidate for County Executive Roger Berliner (D-1) released an ad attacking one of his opponents, businessman David Blair, with the narrator in the ad saying Blair is a “another rich guy with zero experience, spending his millions to buy this election,” with a black-and-white photo of Blair morphing into a photo of Donald Trump.

But when a new resident to the County asked Berliner at a forum in Bethesda about who was most progressive and who was most conservative among the candidates, Berliner decided to answer the question by giving positive aspects of each candidate – including Blair.

“David Blair has been a successful businessman,” Berliner told the forum, running through the accomplishments of each one of his Democratic opponents.

This is one of the first ads in the County Executive race to directly attack another opponent.

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Up-County issues take center stage in Darnestown debate

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DARNESTOWN — With the June 26 primary closing in, candidates for County Executive continued their campaign tour to the up-County, this time making their pitch to voters in Darnestown.

While most of the County Executive forums have featured only the Democratic candidates running for office, the forum hosted by the Darnestown Civic Association included the County’s sole Republican candidate – Robin Ficker – as five of the candidates squared off to woo voters in one of the more rural parts of Montgomery County.

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Rockville adjusts MPDUs

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Seal of Rockville MdIn the hope of making the City’s expensive apartments more affordable to residents, the Rockville mayor and council decided Monday to change the standards for affordable housing units to make them available to more people.

The mayor and council unanimously approved the changes, which expand the regulations to allow people 120 percent below the City’s Area Median Income to be eligible for moderately-priced dwelling units and lower the rents for people renting MPDUs. The changes apply only to new units to be built within the City.

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Republicans ready for competitive District 2 race

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For 14 years, the County Council has gone without a Republican. Now two men vying in the primary think they can change that if given the chance.

Ed Amatetti, a Brooklyn-born former middle- and high-school science teacher, and Kyle Sefcik, a Gaithersburg-based professional mixed martial arts fighter-turned-small business owner, have both said 2018 is a ripe time for a Republican to replace incumbent Craig Rice in District 2.

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Rockville mourns loss of Marcuccio

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Phyllis Marcuccio.  COURTESY PHOTOPhyllis Marcuccio. COURTESY PHOTO  

Former Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio was perhaps the rarest thing in politics – a politician that people trusted.

Rockville’s former two-term mayor Marcuccio died last week of natural causes, leaving behind a legacy of maintaining the City’s historic feel while also attempting to make it a hub of science and technology. She served as mayor from 2009 to 2013, and was known for steering the City’s development carefully and being a champion for getting a dedicated building for the Rockville Science Center.

“It was clear to me she was smart. She understood Rockville. She cared deeply about Rockville,” said Ruth Hanessian, a longtime friend and neighbor of Marcuccio.

Marcuccio, 84, was a native of Rockville and graduated from Richard Montgomery High School. The transformation of Rockville from a small rural town into a rapidly-growing suburban community is something that helped prompt Maruccio to become involved in politics.

“Mayor Marcuccio was a deeply devoted public servant throughout her life and career,” said current Rockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton in a statement. “A longstanding Rockville resident, she prided herself as a grassroots activist and was an outspoken advocate for the city, always keeping the best interests of her community close to her heart.”

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