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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.”

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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Local student receives new scholarship named for late Gaithersburg activist

Linda Hanson Gburg Mayor Jud AshmanThe late Linda M. Hanson and Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman, seen here in 2015 receiving a certificate of recognition. Ashman joined members of the Gaithersburg Rotary Club on Monday to honor the first recipient of a scholarship named for Hanson. COURTESY PHOTOGAITHERSBURG — At Monday night’s City Council meeting, Mayor Jud Ashman joined members of the Gaithersburg Rotary Club to honor the first recipient of a scholarship named for a city resident and activist. They named Kiana Taylor, a recent graduate of Quince Orchard High School, the winner of the Linda M. Hanson Scholarship. 

Hanson, a professional music teacher who passed away in January 2017, was an active member of the Gaithersburg Rotary Club, had served on the Gaithersburg Olde Towne Advisory Subcommittee, and at the time of her death, was executive director of Gaithersburg HELP, a nonprofit organization that provides food, transportation and medical services to underprivileged citizens and families.

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County refuses to release Amazon bid info

Amazon.com logo1When the New York Times received its public information act request on Montgomery County’s incentive offer to Amazon to locate its second headquarters here, the newspaper received 10 pages of material – with every word redacted.

But Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is making no apologies for the lack of transparency in the bid process, saying its secrecy is a prerequisite for attracting the tech-retail giant to the County.

“We're not going to discuss any of the details of our proposal at this point and time,” Leggett said. “Obviously, if we are moving forward, if Montgomery County is in the final running to get this, at that point of time, we will have everything open for people to have a discussion about.”

While other jurisdictions, including the State of Maryland, have publically released details of incentives they are offering to Amazon, Montgomery County is among many jurisdictions bidding to be the home of the retail giant that are refusing to release any details.

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Activists demand answers in cop shooting of Silver Spring man

YouTube screen capture of body-camera video released by Montgomery County Police of an officer providing backup to Officer Anand Badgujar during incident with Robert White. FILE PHOTOYouTube screen capture of body-camera video released by Montgomery County Police of an officer providing backup to Officer Anand Badgujar during incident with Robert White.          FILE PHOTO More than a week after police released the body-camera footage showing the June 11 police shooting of Robert White, activists have more questions about what happened.

While the State's Attorney for Howard County, who conducted the investigation of Montgomery County Police Officer Anand Badgujar, concluded that the shooting was “justified” and that he would not pursue criminal charges against the officer, activists are now questioning the events of June 11.

Laurel Hoa, an activist with Standing Up for Racial Justice, said the shooting could have been prevented if the officer had never approached White to begin with.

“I do not believe the shooting was justified; we do not believe Officer Badgujar should have approached Robert White in the first place,” Hoa said.

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Hogan makes his pitch to Montgomery County

BETHESDA — Gov. Larry Hogan (R) is not shy about his ambitions for 2018. 

He boasts about his high approval rating – 69 percent according to a Goucher Poll. He said he is confident that Amazon will place its new headquarters in the state, and he has declared he will do what no Republican gubernatorial candidate has done since 1990 – win Montgomery County.

“You know, a lot of people kind of laugh at that one, just liked they laugh at me saying I was going to be elected governor,” Hogan said about his declaration he will win Montgomery County in November’s election. “I think the people in Montgomery County – although I think it’s three to one, Democrat to Republican – I think they appreciate the job that we’ve done.”

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