Takoma Park resident alleges civil rights violation during meeting

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — A Takoma Park resident claims that his civil rights were violated on the evening of Wednesday, July 25 during the City Council’s weekly meeting.

Byrne Kelly, 63, says three Takoma Park city employees violated his civil rights when they did not allow him to set up a table in the atrium of the Sam Abbott Citizens’ Center, where the Takoma Park City Council regularly holds its weekly meetings.


Singer-songwriters show humor and pain at the Rhizome

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Heartfelt folk ballads, songs based on Greek myths, and punk odes to making friends with woodland creatures while drugged out, came together at the Rhizome Monday night.

Singer-songwriter Jesse Ainslie began the night with his jangly, melancholy, country-influenced tracks. Ainslie, who is signed to Takoma Park’s own Epifo Records came to Rhizome as part of a tour supporting his latest album, “Only In The Dark.”


Jackals Field Hockey helps students prep for high school and college

Attendees hone their skills during the 2018 MC Jackals High School Prep Camp. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARKAttendees hone their skills during the 2018 MC Jackals High School Field Hockey Prep Camp. PHOTO BY MIKE CLARK  20 years ago, Jenna Ries, a former University of Maryland field hockey player, had an idea for a pre-high school club for the sport she played. Today, that organization is known as Jackals Field Hockey Club.

“When it started 20 years ago, our county did not have a lot of opportunities for traveling high school sports teams,” Ries said. “Now it goes as young as seven or eight years old.”

The Jackals Club, founded by Ries in 2000, is the preeminent field hockey program in Montgomery County. There are girls that will come from different recreation-level teams and try out for Jackals to make the top level training for college. Jackals also train kids at the college level, during their high school training, and when they’re getting set to be college-ready.

“It’s true development to get athletes prepared for college,” Ries said.


New luxury residential development approved for Germantown area

Scheduled to be completed approximately in the autumn of 2020, the Fairchild Apartment Development Plan was approved July 26 by the Montgomery County Planning Board to be built at the location of the parking lot across from the Germantown Regal Cinema along Aircraft Drive and Century Boulevard. 

This parking lot currently serves customers for IHOP, Red Robin, and Senor Tequila’s. The restaurant buildings will not be removed for the construction of the apartments. When contacted, managers of these restaurants were unaware of the apartment development plan. A worker at Red Robin said that although he was not aware that this construction would take place, a new apartment complex would be “awesome.”


MCPS bus driver charged with second-degree rape

080618 Kabongo Etienne 225x300Etienne K. Kabongo. COURTESY PHOTOMontgomery County Public Schools bus driver Etienne K. Kabongo has been charged with second-degree rape and other sexual abuse crimes for an incident that took place on a Montgomery County school bus.

According to Montgomery County Police, footage from a school-bus camera shows Kabongo, 62, of the 7800 block of Mineral Springs Drive in Gaithersburg – also known as “Mr. Steve” to students – sexually assaulting a 12-year-old girl. Police said the incident took place on July 31, while Kabongo was transporting kids who receive special-education services.


Silver Spring residents gather in vigil for Robert Lawrence White

Robert White vigil 20180805 183846About 150 people listen to speeches, and then later walk during a vigil for Robert White, the unarmed Silver Spring man who was shot dead by a County police officer. PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKSILVER SPRING — Irene Thompson, the sister of Robert Lawrence White, the Silver Spring resident shot to death by a County police officer on June 11, thanked the 150 people who attended Sunday’s vigil for her brother. While holding back tears, she declared, “There is no justice. We knew the officer would not be prosecuted.”

Thompson referred to the Office of the State’s Attorney for Howard County’s ruling that Police Officer Anand Badgujar was justified in shooting 41-year-old White, who was unarmed.


More track problems on Red Line bring about more delays

metro logoEngineers licensed in D.C. say select issues that the Federal Transit Administration reported on the Red Line this year are reasons for additional study by Metro, but do not threaten the safety of riders. 

A Federal Transit Administration Metro Safety Oversight inspector reported finding track problems on the Red Line that do not meet Metro protocol, according to reports FTA posted July 27.


Leggett wants a meeting with Jealous before he’ll offer endorsement

IkeLeggettIke Leggett FILE PHOTOLike some of the state’s Democrats, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has yet to give his endorsement in the gubernatorial race.

Usually in politics, politicians are quick to endorse fellow party members in general election campaigns, but some Democrats around the state have held back on an endorsement, including Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.


Hogan vows to step up efforts to halt human trafficking in Maryland

Human Trafficking hands grabbing nettingHuman Trafficking hands grabbing nettingROCKVILLE – Calling Maryland a hotbed for human trafficking, Gov. Larry Hogan (R) announced several initiatives to combat the problem plaguing the state.

Hogan signed an executive order Thursday creating the new position of anti-human trafficking director, an appointed position to help combat the problem. In addition, Hogan announced new funding for a variety of programs to help research and develop solutions to human trafficking.

Finally, Hogan said he would support a bill, which legislators will introduce on the first day of the 2019 legislative session in January that will increase time served for some felony human traffickers.

Hogan said three regions in Maryland are hotspots for human trafficking: Baltimore, Prince George’s County and Montgomery County.

“The chilling reality is that Maryland’s central location and access to major highways and airports like I-95 and BWI make our state a hotbed for human trafficking,” Hogan said.


Floreen gets the signatures

Says she still won’t call herself a candidate for county executive until ratified

Nancy Floreen smiles as she turns in her petition signatures.  COURTESY PHOTONancy Floreen smiles as she turns in her petition signatures. COURTESY PHOTOGAITHERSBURG — At-large County Council member Nancy Floreen said she is waiting for her paperwork to be processed before she will call herself a candidate for County Executive.

The four-term member of the County Council surprised many after she announced she would switch her party affiliation from Democrat to independent and make a run for County Executive. While her candidacy is not official yet, that has not stopped Floreen from campaigning.

On Monday, Floreen invited members of the media to watch as she turned in a petition with 20,343 signatures, calling for her to be placed on the November ballot. The 20,343 signatures are significantly more than the roughly 7,000 signatures Floreen needs from Montgomery County voters, but the signatures still have to be verified by Montgomery County Board of Elections staff, before Floreen’s name can be placed on the ballot.

Floreen said she is running in part because she is concerned about economic growth in the County and that the Democratic candidate, Council member Marc Elrich, will not be able to accommodate the needs of businesses.

“We are going to create a culture of making businesses feel that they add some value to our community,” Floreen said. “That’s only part of it – just part of it – but if we want to support our incredible school system, our park system, what our employees need, we need a tax base that will allow us to do that.”

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