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“Our Voices” brings advocacy to Silver Spring

  • Published in Local

Akieal WIlliams and Jarret Smith talk with interns from OVM before the meetingAkieal WIlliams and Jarret Smith talk with interns from OVM before the meeting. PHOTO BY CAROLYN KOMATSOULIS   It’s going to be an uphill battle for Our Voices Matter, a group hoping to promote civic engagement in Silver Spring and inspire activism for local issues.

The group began after Will Jawando ran for state delegate in 2014 and realized that the people in the Long Branch neighborhood where he grew up didn’t feel like their vote mattered.

“‛Why are you asking for my vote? My voice doesn’t matter,’” John Randall, OVM’s director of operations, said about what Jawando heard while canvassing. “I think people were just feeling a sense of powerlessness,” said Randall.

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Purple Line clears legal step

  • Published in Local

A week after a panel of federal judges granted a stay, giving the paused Purple Line project new life, the County Council gave the go-ahead to the state transit administration to start work on the project.

On July 24, the Council approved a franchise agreement to allow the Maryland Transit Administration to build, operate and maintain the Purple Line in County owned right-of-ways. The unanimous agreement by the Council clears a legal step by giving the MTA the franchise agreement and authority to start working on the project on County-owned land.

The County will not charge the MTA for the new 70-year franchise agreement, citing “public benefits” for the project. Most of the County-owned land that the franchise agreement covers is in the Georgetown Branch area, a strip of land between Bethesda and Silver Spring.

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Fire and Rescue respond to trash fire in Silver Spring

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Trash fire 1Montgomery County Fire and Rescue responded to a trash fire at an apartment complex in Silver Spring. PHOTO COURTESY OF ABBY SALISU Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service responded to a trash fire in Silver Spring Friday morning.

MCFRS Spokesperson Pete Piringer said firefighters responded to a call about a large trash fire at the Aston Woods apartment complex on Gateshead Manor Way in Silver Spring at around 10 a.m. Friday. Piringer said no one was injured in the fire.

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Tornado touches down in Silver Spring

  • Published in Local

House damaged by tornadoDamage to a home in Silver Spring after a tornado on Monday. PHOTO BY MATT COHEN A late summer afternoon thunderstorm in the D.C. suburbs is commonplace for residents. But on Monday, June 19, this storm proved to be much more.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado struck in a Silver Spring neighborhood near the Dennis and Edgewood Avenue intersection. The NWS reports the tornado to be of the EF-0 class, meaning wind gusts of 65 to 85 miles per hour.

The powerful wind gusts uprooted multiple trees, took down power lines, and two homes were rendered uninhabitable as a result of the tornado.

Julia Kemp, a homeowner of 23 years in the affected area, described her account of the windstorm, saying, “It was about 3:48, my son had just called me. I was on the phone and could hear the storm coming, the rain and the wind. The wind got really, really strong, like I had never heard it before...and there was just this crashing on the roof. Banging, banging, over and over. I thought for sure that one of these trees was coming down. I ran back and forth between a couple of bedrooms looking at the ceiling, looking for branches. It calmed down, and I finally came out and the whole front lawn was covered in branches, you couldn’t walk out the front door without moving them. The whole neighborhood looked like a war-zone.”

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Muslim center celebrates 40 years in the county

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING – While anti-Islamic hate crimes have risen nationally in recent years, the members of the Muslim Community Center on New Hampshire Avenue say they feel as welcome in Montgomery County as they have since the center opened in 1976.

The center was the brainchild of several Montgomery County residents who, at the time, attended the Islamic Center of Washington on Embassy Row in Washington, D.C., and were interested in starting a community center to service the county. Sajjad Durrani, a founder of the center who still serves on its board of trustees, recalls that the center received support from the community during its construction. 

“When we applied for a permit, there was a public hearing with the County, of course,” Durrani said. “Many people around here came to the hearing to support us, which made a big impression on us. During construction, the church next door allowed us to use their power and brought water over to us.”

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Diop kicks his way to professional fighter

  • Published in Sports

At first glance, Keemaan (pronounced “k?y?-m?n”) Diop is a typical young man who has lived in Silver Spring, attended school and taken various courses, wrestled a bit and made friends. However, whereas other students aspire to become a lawyer, doctor, or other profession, the soft-spoken Diop aspires to become a professional Muay Thai kickboxer.

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Silver Spring to get new extended stay hotel

  • Published in Local

8600 Rendering 2-17Artist's rendering of the new Silver Spring hotel.  

Developers will start construction in December on an extended-stay Residence Inn by Marriott hotel at the corner of Colesville Road and Georgia Avenue in Silver Spring.

The site, now occupied by a Gulf gas station, is directly across from Discovery Communications, two blocks from the Silver Spring Metro station, three blocks from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration and near the heart of downtown Silver Spring.

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Maryland Congress members speak out against Trump in Silver Spring town hall

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING – Members of Congress representing Montgomery County appeared at a town hall meeting to express their concerns Sunday about President Donald J. Trump’s choices on various issues, from healthcare to Syrian refugees.

Senators Chris Van Hollen (D) and Ben Cardin (D) as well as Congressmen John Delaney (D-6), Jamie Raskin (D-8) and John Sarbanes (D-3) spoke on a number of topics before taking questions from constituents in the audience. They said they did not believe Trump’s decisions and remarks on current challenges facing the U.S. coincided with community interests. 

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Muslim doctor gives back to his community

  • Published in Local

SILVER SPRING, Maryland – For the past 10 years, Dr. Ashraf Meelu has paid out-of-pocket to offer basic health care in clinics open to the public.

The 64-year-old Muslim doctor from Lothian, Maryland, along with a few volunteers, spends Friday mornings providing flu shots, measuring blood pressure and offering other health treatments at a Guatemalan consulate in Silver Spring, Maryland.

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