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Folk Festival Draws Hundreds in Takoma Park

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TAKOMA PARK – Hundreds of Takoma Park residents gathered Sunday afternoon for the city's annual folk festival to celebrate cultural diversity.

"Today's event is terrific, one, we have perfect weather for it, second we have amazing organizers who have taken up the planning of the folk festival this year and they've done an amazing job," said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. "It appeals to all different tastes," she added.

Set on the grounds of Takoma Park Middle School, the festival attracted musicians, dancers, and artists from across the region who displayed their talents and crafts to an observant crowd that strolled between booths and stages.

"I think it's terrific, the music is good, people seem to be enjoying themselves, the weather is perfect, and hopefully next year it's going to be bigger, bolder, and stronger," said 40-year Takoma Park resident and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot.

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Community-minded dance group kicks up heels

IMG 5630 JoriKetten copy Dance ExchangeFamilies participate in a Moving Field Guide, an interactive experience led by Dance Exchange artists along with naturalists. COURTESY PHOTO BY JORI KETTEN  When Gene Kelly passed away, a dance critic commented that he made truck drivers feel they could dance.

Dance Exchange has similar goals.

For 40 years – 20 of them in Takoma Park – Dance Exchange has been “democratizing” what is often seen as an “elitist” art form. The nonprofit organization believes “you don’t have to be a dancer to dance, that whoever you are, you can move your body,” said Alison Waldman, marketing and communications manager.

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Takoma Park record label fosters homegrown talent

Tired of being forced to relinquish artistic and creative control to major labels, Grammy-winning producer and Takoma Park native Charlie Pilzer decided to forge his own path. He founded Azalea City Recordings in 1996.

For Pilzer, the label gives his job as a recording engineer and producer a more personal touch.

“I’m immersed in music hours and hours every day. I’ve worked on well over 2000 albums. The cool thing about the label is that it keeps it on a personal level. It doesn’t become a factory to me,” said Pilzer.

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Takoma Park City Council experiences difficulties with youth-mentoring nonprofit

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK – Over two straight meetings, members of the Takoma Park City Council discussed the difficulties they experienced when attempting to contact one of their nonprofit partners.

The organization in question, Making a New United People, had an agreement with the City Council to help young adults find summer employment.

The agreement, which Council member Fred Schultz (Ward 6) described as a "handshake agreement," involved the organization to assist 20 young adults in getting hired at a Taco Bell restaurant located near New Hampshire Avenue in Takoma Park. The agreement was not related to any other contracts the organization has with the city.

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Local station celebrates a year of local passionate programs

Marika Partridge first became passionate about radio when she stumbled upon a community radio station in Alaska while working as a cartographer. Now 32 years later and after 16 years as the director of NPR’s All Things Considered, Partridge, on the 16th, is celebrating the one-year anniversary of WOWD-LP Takoma Park 94.3FM, the radio station she founded.

“I can walk over to a radio station, open the door and get on the air," Said Partridge. "It’s as if some angel designed my retirement plan for me.”

Partridge, who retired from NPR to take care of her autistic child, first had the idea for local DC radio after hearing about the Prometheus Project, a non-profit organization focused on building low-powered radio stations.

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Takoma Park moves forward with library

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK- The bond issuance for two major projects in Takoma Park has passed its first reading unanimously and has moved onto a second one, a major step forward for the renovation of the Takoma Park Library.

The bond will also finance improvements to the Ethan Allen Gateway and the Flower Avenue Green Street project.

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Takoma Park votes and changes its election laws

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK— The City mayor and Council changed the voting rules in the city charter May 10, bringing a slew of changes to the election process.

“It passed, we just changed our elections…it was harder than giving birth,” said Mayor Kate Stewart.

With the adoption of the charter amendment, the date of City elections will change from odd-numbered years to even-numbered years, synchronizing it with State and County elections.

It will also change the date of the nominating meeting, the day which the mayor and Council take office, and will extend the time for certification of election results. The length of the 2017 term will change, too.

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Stormwater fees discussed in Takoma Park and may nearly double

  • Published in Local

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Takoma Park held a presentation on the proposed budget for Fiscal Year 2018, introducing new expenses and possible changes, including an increase to the city’s stormwater fee.

The plans are currently in a proposal stage and will go through public hearings and other stages.

There were areas of contention for some of the council members, such as a proposed increase to the stormwater fee from $55 to $92.

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Takoma Park concerned about status

  • Published in Local

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Takoma Park is concerned after the Trump administration issued an executive order that may punish sanctuary cities.

The City of Takoma Park considers itself to be a sanctuary city, where city officials (including police) will not identify illegal immigrants. The city has been a sanctuary city since 1985, and its sanctuary law specifically prohibits city employees from asking city residents about their citizenship and immigration status, as well as cooperating with federal laws that may lead to deportations, according to the city.

“One of the things we want to make sure is that people have the information they need and resources they need to answer their questions and to meet the challenges that are facing us,” said Mayor Kate Stewart.

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Cellphone helps lead to murder conviction

  • Published in Crime

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ROCKVILLE – A man and woman each face up to 30 years in prison after the Circuit Court jury found them both guilty of second-degree murder of the woman’s husband, State’s Attorney spokesperson Ramon Korionoff said Friday.

The jury spent more than 11 hours over two days discussing the case, Korionoff said. The pair’s sentencing date is July 25.

Takoma Park Police arrested Larlane Pannell-Brown, age 70, and Hussain Ali Zadeh, 50, in June 2015 for the murder of Cecil Brown, Panell-Brown’s husband, according to court documents. The arrests followed a months-long investigation after police found Brown dead in the woman’s backyard in August 2014.

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