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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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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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Rockville hires new police chief

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Hagerstown Police Chief Victor BritoVictor Brito COUTESY PHOTO

Former Hagerstown chief is committed to community policing

After about five months, 100 candidates and three binders full of suggestions from residents, the search for Rockville’s new police chief finally came to an end last week after the City announced it has hired Victor Brito to lead the department.

Brito, who currently serves as Police Chief for the Hagerstown Police Department, will begin work in Rockville on June 18. Brito is taking over for Acting Police Chief Bob Rappaport, who served as a temporary replacement for Terry Treschuk. Treschuk had been Rockville’s police chief for 27 years until his retirement in June 2016.

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Rockville holds its annual Hometown Holidays parade for Memorial Day

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Calling himself “Mr. America,” Richard Montgomery High School junior Jabel Sallah, 17, loves attending the Rockville’s Hometown Holidays parade in his patriotic outfit “to make everyone happy.”  PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZCalling himself “Mr. America,” Richard Montgomery HS junior Jabel Sallah, 17, loves attending the Rockville’s Hometown Holidays parade in his patriotic outfit “to make everyone happy.” PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZ  Memorial Day in Rockville featured a parade filled with American flags, live music, veterans and remembrances of the fallen. Rockville Hometown Holidays included not only a Memorial Day Weekend music festival but also a chance for those attending to show appreciation for those who have served our country.

“I think everyone should be out here supporting, because not only are you supporting Rockville, you are supporting the troops and showing your appreciation for them serving this country,” said Desmonaye Brown, 23, Rockville native and staff member participating in the Hometown Holidays event. Although Brown said her duties included safety and security, she said she also wanted to celebrate her father.

“This day represents my father. He was honorably discharged in 1998, so I’m just out here to support him and support everyone else in my family who has served,” said Brown.

As the ceremony began, which included music by the Rockville Concert Band and the Rockville Chorus, a traditional wreath-laying ceremony, and a 21-gun salute and presentation of colors by American Legion Post 86 Color Guard, people sat along the sidewalks making way for the performers.

“The parade is a great free community event for families to come out and see the local community groups perform in the heart of Rockville Town Center,” said Amanda Knox, 30, the event specialist for Hometown Holidays. “Memorial Day is a great opportunity to thank and remember those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for our country, and it’s great to see the community come together and support that,” said Knox.

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Rockville passes budget with no tax increase

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Seal of Rockville MdThe Rockville Mayor and City Council adopted their 2019 fiscal year budget, keeping property tax rates the same for yet another year.

Rockville’s $136.2-million budget is a 4.5-percent increase from last year’s budget, which will help supplement the 4.5-percent wage increase City employees are set to see under the new budget. The increases allow the City to add several new positions in City government, including two additional police officers, one GIS/Asset Management support specialist, one urban forestry maintenance worker, and one information systems security engineer.

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The Safe Passage Center: helping families stay together

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IMG 2668The front door of the Safe Passage Center in Rockville, MD PHOTO BY ABBY CRUZIn 2007, Gail Pumphrey and her three children David, 12, Meagan, 10, and Brandon, 6, were shot and killed by their father on Thanksgiving Day during an unsupervised court-ordered visitation exchange at Unity Neighborhood Park in Montgomery County. 

Janet Blackburn, 62, sister of Gail Pumphrey and aunt of the Brockdorff children, believes if a place like the Safe Passage Center had existed back then, that tragedy could have been averted.

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DiSpirito makes two new hires

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Seal of Rockville MdRockville City Manager Robert DiSpirito made two key hires this week, announcing the City has hired a new police chief and planning director.

DiSpirito announced that the City has hired Victor Brito to be its new police chief, replacing Bob Rappaport who served as acting police chief since the City’s previous police chief, Terry Treschuk, retired in April of 2016.

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Vietnam War veterans attend unveiling of memorial in Rockville

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A Vietnam War veteran examines the new memorial in Rockville.  PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKA Vietnam War veteran examines the new memorial in Rockville.           PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  ROCKVILLE — Several hundred people, many of whom wavered between saluting and wiping tears from their eyes, watched solemnly as Montgomery County’s Vietnam Veterans Memorial wall was unveiled Monday afternoon.

The wall, located on Memorial Plaza in Rockville, features the names of the 130 County residents who were killed or reported missing in action during the Vietnam War.

During the afternoon ceremony, each of the 130 names was read aloud, followed by one single strike on a bell.

Just like at the Vietnam War Memorial in Washington, D.C., relatives and friends will be able to see their loved ones’ names and make rubbings for mementos. Also like at the national memorial, several relatives placed bouquets of roses near their loved ones’ names.

“Every time I come over here, I’ll see and remember others who I served with who didn’t come back,” said Stan Seidel, who fought in Vietnam in 1968. He was one of many veterans attending the ceremony, who wore their hats, uniforms, and honors with pride.

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Rockville landmark named for Chestnut Lodge

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Chestnut Lodge before the 2009 fire. COURTESY PHOTOChestnut Lodge before the 2009 fire. COURTESY PHOTO  The future park on the site of a former Rockville landmark finally has a name – Chestnut Lodge Park.

While the park on the site of the 19th-century mental institution, which burned down in a 2009 fire, has yet to be finished or officially approved, on Monday night the mayor and City Council unanimously approved the name of the park as “Chestnut Lodge Park,” which will be located on 500 West Montgomery Avenue.

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Rockville looks for more federal funding

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Seal of Rockville MdROCKVILLE — While traditionally reliant – in part – on county, state and federal dollars to assist with its infrastructure needs, Rockville is now increasingly having to rely on bonds to keep its bridges safe and its roads paved.

According to City Council member Mark Pierzchala, Rockville is receiving $4 million less in infrastructure funding from the county and state, meaning the City has had to turn to bonding to fund road and bridge projects.

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