Two-alarm Olney fire destroys townhouse, displaces 20 neighbors

  • Published in Local

Olney FireA two-alarm fire at an Olney townhouse displaced 20 people from their neighboring homes Friday night. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN  A two-alarm fire in Olney Friday night obliterated an entire townhouse, caused approximately $1.4 million in damages and displaced 20 people from neighboring homes, fire officials reported.

The fire started in a townhouse community in the 3500 block of Softwood Terrace as a result of a unidentified resident using lighter fluid to restart a wood-burning fire in the basement, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Spokesman Pete Piringer said.

“There was some kind of malfunction with the lighter fluid can,” Piringer said. “The fire came back at him and the rest of the lighter fluid became involved. Then the fire spread rapidly.”

The resident left the door to the basement open when evacuating, which fueled the fire, according to Piringer.

Piringer said a neighbor called the fire department after noticing the neighbor’s deck ablaze.

Station 40 of the Sandy Spring Volunteer Fire Department on Georgia Avenue in Olney was the first to respond at 7:15 p.m. Approximately 100 MCFRS firefighters overall from multiple stations responded to the fire, Piringer said.


Missing Olney woman found dead, boyfriend charged with her murder

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wallenPolice have found the body of Laura Wallen, who had gone missing over the Labor Day weekend, in a shallow grave in Damascus. COURTESY PHOTO   

UPDATED 9/13/2017 AT 8:55 P.M. — Laura Elizabeth Wallen, 31, of Olney, has been found dead, and her boyfriend has been arrested in connection with her murder.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger held a press conference at Police Headquarters to announce that Wallen’s body was found by police in a shallow grave on a plot of land on Prices Distillery Road in Damascus. Today at 5:30 p.m., police arrested Wallen’s boyfriend, Tyler Tessier, on the charge of first-degree murder and other related charges.

Police had information from local witnesses that Tessier had been frequenting the area where Wallen’s body was found in Damascus.

The last text communication that came in from Wallen's cellphone was to family members on Monday, Sept. 4 around 9:00 a.m. 

"It was troubling enough for family to call police," County Police Sgt. Rebecca Innocenti said.

Police now believe that text on Monday morning was from Tessier, using Wallen’s cellphone and attempting to impersonate her. Police believe she was killed on Sunday, Sept. 3, according to Chief Manger.


Chillious named assistant coach at UConn

  • Published in Sports

xChillious picRaphael Chillious. COURTESY PHOTO  

Olney native Raphael Chillious has been named associate head coach of the University of Connecticut men’s basketball program.

Chillious, a Sherwood graduate, has served as an assistant coach at the University of Washington for seven of the past eight seasons and was promoted to associate head coach at UW last year. He replaces longtime UConn assistant Glenn Miller, who was recently let go.

“We are very fortunate to be able to add Raphael Chillious to our coaching staff,” said UConn head coach Kevin Ollie. “He is a high-level recruiter, but that is far from the only thing he brings to us. He has been involved in many aspects of the college game and has so much experience – he’s been a coach for a long time, he’s worked with Nike … I love his energy, his developmental skills and his knowledge of the game, offensively and defensively. Wherever he’s been, he’s created a culture that is a winning culture.”


Center Stage: Superb and tension-filled 'Hamlet' explodes in Olney

NP Hamlet3Hamlet as staged in Olney brings a unique sense of tension. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

OLNEY – This upcoming weekend is the last chance to see Olney Theatre Centre’s free production of Shakespeare’s “Hamlet,” performed by the National Players.

The National Players are an Olney Theatre-based touring company celebrating nearly 68 years of performances.

Scenic Designer Paige Hathaway’s set is both practical and inventive.

The backdrop appears to be an assortment of wooden cabinets stacked on top of each other, with fold-out paintings and tables that emphasize the actors’ dialogue while creating a sense of immersion.  


County fares well in state tennis tournament

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DSC 8248Girls doubles champions Carina Greenberg and Sarina Wahl of Whitman High School. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH

OLNEY – Students from Montgomery County came away with multiple state champion medals in both singles and doubles play during the high school state championship held at Olney Manor Park Friday and Saturday.

Wootton junior Miranda Deng won her third straight state title Saturday (6-0, 6-3) when she went head-to-head with Sherwood senior and University of Richmond commit Lea Owens. Owens and Deng also play together as doubles partners.

Owens’ matchup against Deng marked her first appearance in the state finals.

“It felt good to get this far,” said Owens. “This tournament was just so tiring because of the heat.”

“I thought it was tougher than last year,” said Deng of her road to the finals. “I thought the competition has gotten harder and there were a lot of good matchups along the way.”

Wootton also took home the boys singles title as top-seeded sophomore Joseph Brailovsky earned a 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 victory against third seed Austin Yannone from Severna Park.


Good Counsel junior third at National Preps

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OLNEY–Good Counsel junior Brady Daniel went 5-1 on the way to a team-high third place finish at 220 pounds in last weekend’s National Preps Tournament, pacing the Falcons to fourth place in the season-ending event at Leigh University in Lehigh, Pennsylvania.


Wheaton’s Xavier Howard overcomes early heartache, wrestles for family

  • Published in Sports


OLNEY– As Xavier Howard posed for photos from the top spot on the victory podium, having won the Class 4A-3A West Regional title, his father, Donald, pointed skyward with his right index finger as tears began to flow from his eyes.

A 138-pound senior wrestler for Wheaton High, Howard had easily handled Walter Johnson’s J.D. Fitzpatrick, defeating a rival who had twice won decisions over him earlier in the season.


Good Counsel Falcons dominate tournament, achieve season-long goal

  • Published in Sports


BALTIMORE --Good Counsel's Kevin Snyder pinned four opponents in 22-, 49-, 82- and 85-seconds before decking Gilman’s Jake Brummett in 2:55 of their championship bout of Saturday’s private schools tournament at McDonogh of Baltimore. 

Snyder was among the Falcons’ six champions and seven finalists, nine wrestlers who finished within the top three, 11 in the top five, and 12 in the top eight for 290 points to 223 for the host and second-place Eagles, who had five runners-up and no champions.

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