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MoCo makes bid for Amazon

  • Published in Local

Amazon.com logo1Just two weeks since Amazon asked states and counties to bid for its second headquarters—a project that could mean 50,000 jobs and $5 billion in investment to the winning locality—Montgomery County and competitors all around the country were busy putting their proposals together.

Seattle-based Amazon asked for bids on Sept. 7, and gave just six weeks for initial proposals due Oct. 19. From those, Amazon will select finalists to compete for the prize with fully-specified bids.

According to the Seattle Times, more than 100 cities/counties and states/provinces in the U.S. and Canada are putting together proposals. Amazon spokesperson Drew Herdener said at this early stage in the process, “Every city is on an equal playing field.” He indicated the company will choose finalists from the initial applicants, and will select a winner next year.

Even within the state of Maryland and the D.C. area, Montgomery County faces substantial competition. On Sept. 13, Gov. Larry Hogan threw his support to a bid to bring the Amazon project to Port Covington in Baltimore, a site owned by Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and investment firm Goldman Sachs. Hogan said he would personally lobby Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos on behalf of the Baltimore bid.

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Va. Circuit Court judge sentences man to 48 years for murders of Lyon sisters

  • Published in Local

LyonSisters Montgomery County policePhotos of sisters Sheila Lyon, 12, and Katherine Lyon, 10, before their disappearance in 1975. COURTESY PHOTOS  Bedford County Circuit Court Judge James W. Updike Jr. sentenced a man to 48 years for the murders of two young girls who disappeared from Montgomery County in 1975, according to court records.

Lloyd Lee Welch pleaded guilty to the first-degree murders he committed March 25, 1975, of sisters Sheila Mary Lyon, 12, and Katherine Mary Lyon, 10, according to court records.

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Cardin meets interfaith group following Charlottesville riot

  • Published in Local

20170831 153445 1Sen. Ben Cardin (D) stands with interfaith clergy at discussion on community unity after Charlottesville rally violence in August. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAK  While there was much agreement expressed by the 45 interfaith clergy members who attended Sen. Ben Cardin’s (D-Md.) Aug. 31 meeting on how to unite the community after the violence in Charlottesville, Va., there was also dissent.

While united against President Donald J. Trump’s statement equating white nationalists with the counter protesters at the Virginia rally last month, those attending the 90-minute discussion in Rockville also complained about conditions for their individual communities.

“Why, all of a sudden, does it take one person, one white person, to die, to forget all about the other 19 who were injured,” asked Bishop Paul Walker, of HYOP Life Skills Reentry Program. The death of an African-American doesn’t rile up the community the way the killing of a white person does, he said.

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Seneca Valley football team flattens Gaithersburg, 42-2

  • Published in Sports

1000 20170908 Seneca vs GaithersburgSeneca Valley senior Harold Dotson evades a would-be Gaithersburg tackle to bring the Screaming Eagles a first down. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  

GAITHERSBURG — Seneca Valley (2-0) defeated Gaithersburg (0-2) 42-2, as the Screaming Eagles won their home opener at their temporary home field at John H. Harvill Stadium at Gaithersburg High School.

Running back Semaj Meannu’s first touchdown of the night was a good omen for the Screaming Eagles. On the only the second play from scrimmage to begin the game, Meannu, broke a 56-yard touchdown run, making one cut and going untouched through the heart of the Gaithersburg defense.

While Gaithersburg struggled early, their offense, led by senior running back Ofori Sidrick and senior quarterback Tyler Woodward, steadily took the Trojans on a nine-play drive that ended in a blocked-field goal attempt that Seneca Valley defensive back Harold Dotson returned for a touchdown.

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Breaking Ground!

  • Published in Local

After delays local leaders celebrate Purple Line construction

JGS 9049Gov. Larry Hogan and U.S. Dept. of Transportation Secretary Elaine L. Chao at the Purple Line groundbreaking. PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH  HYATTSVILLE – After 30 years of planning, workers finally broke ground on the Purple Line, the soon-to-be light rail line that will connect Metro stops in Montgomery County to Prince George’s County.

After the ceremony, workers began construction on the 16.2-mile $2 billion light rail line that will connect Bethesda Metro to New Carrolton Metro Station with 21 stops including at Silver Spring, Takoma/Langley Park and College Park.

Gov. Larry Hogan, U.S. Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao, Rep. Anthony Brown (D-4), Sen. Chris Van Hollen, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker were on hand for the signing and groundbreaking ceremony for the Purple Line.

Chao lauded the project saying the Purple Line is one of the largest public-private projects in the country. In April 2016, Hogan signed the $5.6 billion P3 contract to begin the long process of building the new rail system.

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County to appeal recent pesticide ruling

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoAfter an Aug. 4 decision by a Montgomery County Circuit Court to strike down the County’ ban on pesticides, the County Council decided to appeal.

On Aug. 16, the County Council voted to direct the County Attorney, Marc Hansen, to appeal the Montgomery County’s Circuit Court decision on the County’ ban on “cosmetic” pesticides. Montgomery County Circuit Court Judge Terrence McGann ruled that County’s ordinance preempted state law.

“Our Council’s legal team advised us that the County would have a reasonable chance of prevailing in an appeal of the Circuit Court’s decision,” said Montgomery County President Roger Berliner (D-1) in a statement.

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Computer scientist runs for House of Delegates

  • Published in State

Brian Crider 400x400Brian Crider. COURTESY PHOTO    Brian Crider, a computer scientist, says he was compelled to run for the House of Delegates in District 19 because of his concern for Maryland and his background in activism.

“I’ve been an activist for many years, and we’re just not making the progress we need,” said Crider. “I feel like we can do more, so my goal is to make Maryland better.”

Crider, a Democrat, says that part of what he hopes to do if elected is make people aware of resources that can help them. However, he also has a lot of ideas for things he wants to change.

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County Joins Top Locations for Vaccine Research

  • Published in Local

Montgomery County, particularly Gaithersburg, has become a central hub for vaccine research and development, and to a lesser extent for vaccine manufacturing.

The County is a key vaccine development center “not only for the country, but the world,” said Brad Fackler, senior director for life sciences at the c.

There are no figures available for revenues brought into county companies for vaccines, or number of people employed here in the industry. However, the state Department of Commerce website says that the overall life sciences industry was responsible for $17.42 billion in gross state product (2015), 41,570 jobs with $4.28 billion in wages (2016), and $1.55 billion of federal procurement to contractors in the state (fiscal year 2016).

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Push back on minimum wage study by County

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoLast week’s release of a Montgomery County-commissioned study if the County increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour was a devastating blow to its proponents.

The results of the study, conducted by Philadelphia-based PFM Consulting group, are a dark prediction for minimum wage increase advocates, projecting the County would lose 47,000 jobs and $396.5 million in aggregate by 2022. The study also concludes that the County’s current minimum wage of $11.50 per hour is too high and the ideal minimum wage for the County would be $11 per hour.

Despite the sharp public relations blow the study dealt to their plan for a minimum wage increase, the members of the County Council that voted in favor of it have no intentions of backing down. However, even with the anticipated public rebuke of the study when its authors speak to the Council on Sept. 19, finding a way to increase the minimum wage will be a daunting task.Advocates on the Council for the minimum wage increase have attacked the study’s methodology saying it was conducted to reflect the sentiments of business owners surveys, saying the study were biased in favor of the feelings of business owners, not economic science.

“To me it’s just a total bogus study,” said Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), the lead sponsor of the bill to increase the minimum wage.

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