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Takoma Park votes to allow outdoor dining

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council will vote Wednesday to approve an ordinance that will permit restaurants to establish outdoor seating areas on public sidewalks.

The proposed ordinance – which seven of the eight Council members supported during the first of two required votes last week – establishes a process by which restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and community kitchens can apply for permits that will allow them to set up outdoor dining areas on publicly-owned sidewalks within the city.

“I think this would be a great benefit to the community and to businesses to allow this,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3) while speaking during the Council’s Jan. 24 work session. “I was really excited by some of the ideas and recommendations that were in this related to doing some kind of innovative things like closing streets to offer opportunities for more of a plaza feel.”

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Takoma Park nonprofit promotes healthy eating and organic enterprise

  • Published in Local

With a $20,000 grant from the City of Takoma Park, the Crossroads Community Network aims to expand healthy food access for the city’s residents.

“This year we were up yet another 19.6 percent in sales … it shows our growth and sustainability as we become less dependent on federal nutrition benefits sales for our success which was the case in earlier years,” said Michelle Dudely, the Farmers Market and Healthy Eating manager of the organization, while giving an update on their progress to the City Council Wednesday evening.

“I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate … you bring together not only healthy eating classes but also recognize and embrace the cultural diversity that exists in the crossroads area and bring it to life,” said Council member Talisha Searcy (Ward 6).

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Pending hospital closure causes concern for residents of Takoma Park

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK — City officials were caught off guard after Washington Adventist Hospital officials relayed their intention on Tuesday, to potentially close critical medical facilities in the city. 

“The City Council is stunned and dismayed to hear of this decision,” said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “Losing the behavioral health facility is a great concern because of its use for the police.” 

The hospital’s vice president Robert Jepson informed Stewart they intend to seek permission from the state to close the psychiatric, inpatient behavioral health, and inpatient rehabilitation units once the hospital moves to a newly-planned 48-acre site in White Oak, city manager Suzanne Ludlow said.

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Takoma Park considers amending charter on appointments and hiring

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council is considering amending its charter to change how Council members interact with the city manager during the hiring and appointment process.

“We wanted to make sure that after we went through our process for the police chief that we revisited the language in our charter regarding how the Council may provide input to hiring decisions by the city manager,” Mayor Kate Stewart said during the meeting. 

The proposed changes would allow the city manager to consult the City Council on candidates’ qualifications during the hiring process. The City Council or individual Council members would also be allowed to provide limited input. A variation of the amendment would also require the city manager to outline the requested input in writing.

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Local band Aerial View launches East Coast tour in Takoma Park

  • Published in Music

Aerial View PhotoAerial View performing at the Takoma Park VFW post. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKEFriday night’s “Hibernation Station” concert at Takoma Parks VFW Post was anything but sleepyThe show,organized by the Twin Moon Arts Collective and local band Aerial View, displayed a wide variety of local talent, ranging from comedians, indie rock, and metal.

For the Silver Spring-based Aerial View the show commemorated the launch of their first-ever tour. The band will be playing six shows around the Northeast, hitting cities such as Philadelphia, New York City, and Boston.

“To see people who don’t live here, to play with various bands,a road trip is just fun.” said Aerial ViewfrontmanKjell Hansen, on the reasons for the tour.

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Takoma Park selects new police chief

  • Published in Local

Chief DeVaulAntonio DeVaul, former chief of the Montgomery County Park Police, has been named as Takoma Park's new police chief. COURTESY PHOTO  After a nine-month search, Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow on Tuesday announced Montgomery County Park Police Chief Antonio DeVaul as her choice to lead the city’s police department.

“We’re thrilled with the new police chief,” Mayor Kate Stewart said. “We went through a process since last spring to select a chief and the one we selected accepted the job.” 

Stewart said the search began when Takoma Park Police Chief Alan Goldberg resigned on March 10 for personal reasons. She explained the process included numerous council resolutions, meetings with stakeholders, and opportunities for residents to provide input.

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Local singer-songwriter releases debut of ‘Prototype’ in Takoma Park show

  • Published in Music

Ronnita Freeman Photo by Sam PascalRonnita Freeman performing at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park. COURTESY PHOTO BY SAM PASCALTAKOMA PARK — Singer-songwriter Ronnita Freeman’s set at the Electric Maid in Takoma Park last Friday started out with only two things; her voice and her guitar. Her minimalist approach soon transformed into a bombastic display of energy with her and her three-piece backing band, creating tremendous musical peaks and valleys.

The performance marked two firsts for Freeman: the debut of her first record “Prototype,” and her first performance with her backing band. Her songwriting on the five-track extended play CD features R&B tinged confessionals, sounding like a blend of Frank Ocean and Fleetwood Mac. 

“I finished the songs a year ago. The theme is of things I needed to say that were overdue,” said Freeman. “Songwriting got me reflecting on my relationships and other people’s stories.”

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Takoma Park sets priorities for legislature

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council laid out the municipality’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session in front of the District 20 delegation, taking into account the likelihood of budget cuts in next year's legislative session. 

“Takoma Park has a very active citizenry, and the government is very proactive here about getting these kinds of conversations going,” Del. David Moon (D) said after the meeting. 

Moon, who is the only member of the delegation to reside in the Takoma Park, explained that the state and county governments are facing major budget shortfalls that would complicate the policymaking environment in Annapolis.

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Takoma Park approves junction traffic study

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council on Wednesday approved a traffic study which will further advance the Takoma Junction redevelopment process.

“The city’s study is to identify options to address safety concerns and mitigate traffic congestion at Takoma Junction and evaluate the extent of cut-through traffic in adjacent neighborhoods,” City Manager Suzanne Ludlow said during the Council’s Wednesday evening meeting. “The findings will be used to advocate for roadway and intersection improvements.”

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Takoma Park inaugurates second woman majority council

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council seated more women than men on its dais Wednesday evening for the second time in its history. 

“Tonight I think is a night to celebrate, celebrating the incoming council members and those who have been reelected to serve,” said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “It is a new chapter in our city's history.”

Of the seven elected members, three women were elected to represent the city's residents.

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