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Council works toward Grosvenor-Strathmore Master Plan

1200px Grosvenor strathmoreGrosvenor-Strathmore Metro station.  COURTESY PHOTOThe Montgomery County Council discussed height increases to the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro Area Minor Master Plan in a work session Tuesday.

Grosvenor-Strathmore Master Plan would allow for increased development around the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop in North Bethesda. The council made no final decision on Tuesday during their work session, instead focusing on proposed height changes that planner increased to allow for more development.

“It’s always challenging when we try to maximize the potential at a Metro station because those who have lived there for some time worry that there may be disruption in their lifestyle or their view-shed or the landscape they’ve become accustomed to,” said Council member George Leventhal (D-at large). “But it’s also very important that we do look ahead to a future where we maximize the number of people who live at mass-transit in the hope that we do not foster sprawl or develop our Ag-reserve.”

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Takoma Park inaugurates second woman majority council

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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County takes in feedback on BRT at open house

SILVER SPRING — County transportation officials on Monday showed off preliminary designs for the planned Route 29 Bus Rapid Transit system at the last of three open houses to gauge public response to the plan, which is still in the preliminary stages.

“The thing about the primary design is that there is still time to make changes if there is something the public reacts to very strongly. If they really like something or if they really don’t like something, we’re still early enough in the design process that we can make tweaks to the design,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation BRT Project Manager Joana Conklin, adding that most of the recommendations she received from residents were related to proposed station locations.

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Just Can it! This guy has them all

beer can collectionDarrin Middleton with some of the beer cans from his collection.                      PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKSILVER SPRING — It started when Darrin Middleton was 12 years old, walking around his Calverton neighborhood with his older brother, Justin Middleton. The boys started collecting the beer cans they found while walking in the woods and in trash piles. Then the brothers started going with their father to his Wednesday night bowling league where they asked everyone who finished a beer if they could have the can.

One time, the two brothers and a friend were checking out a dumpster when they spotted a one-gallon beer can. Without hesitating, all three young men jumped right into that large, smelly trash receptacle, pulling out a German draft beer can.

The brothers went to beer conventions, but they never purchased any expensive or rare cans.

“We were just collecting anything at the time,” Middleton, who lives in Silver Spring with his wife and two children, aged 13 and 17.

“At that time, everyone was collecting cans. That’s what you did when you were a kid,” he said, acknowledging that most people didn’t collect quite so many.

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MCPS redistricting gets mixed parental responses

MCPS logoROCKVILLE — Parents of Montgomery County Public Schools elementary school students told school board members they are concerned about redistricting plans in the Richard Montgomery High School cluster that might require more students to take the bus or redistribute the number of students receiving free or reduced-price lunches.

They raised the concerns during a school board hearing on the plan, which would cover College Gardens, Ritchie Park, Beall, and Twinbrook Elementary Schools.

Twinbrook ES parent Melissa Downs said she does not believe reducing FARM rates is a justified reason for changes.

"Our FARM rate does not define us," she said. "Our strong community is what defines us."

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Police investigating two reports of shots fired at Gaithersburg church

New Life Seventh day Adventist Church front side view 1bNew Life Seventh day Adventist Church   Photo by Glynis KazanjianPolice are investigating two reports of shots fired at a Gaithersburg church which occurred this week.

A parishioner from the New Life Seventh-day Adventist Church at 7401 Muncaster Mill Road notified police Wednesday evening about a bullet hole he found in a window frame at the building’s front entrance. Police responded to the scene and recovered a bullet fragment from the frame.

Montgomery County Police officers from the Sixth District station responded to a second call at the same location on Thursday at 11:13 p.m. about multiple gunshots heard outside the church. Police said gunfire damage occurred again at the front and also along the sides of the church; several shell casings were recovered on Muncaster Mill Road. Police cannot yet confirm the total number of fired shots or from where the shots originated.

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Remembering veterans in a Rockville ceremony

Rockville Veterans Day Ceremony Mayor Bridget NewtonRockville Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton celebrates Veterans Day at the Rockville American Legion. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  American veterans “show and demonstrate there truly is good in our communities,” and to look at those who serve, said Marine Corps veteran Cpl. Enrique Mazon Jr. on Saturday during a Veterans’ Day ceremony at American Legion Post 86 in Rockville, and asked those gathered there to “look at the people who serve” rather than those in the news who demonstrate “divisiveness, a lack of civility and kindness.”

Mazon and his three brothers – all natives of Las Vegas, Nev. – have all served or are currently serving in the military, and have been involved in a combined total of six combat deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The Rockville resident and married father of two praised his parents for showing their children that, “It’s not about us. It’s not about being entitled. It’s about the love. It’s about the duty and the selflessness” of being an American.

It’s important to realize that many who have served in this country’s military are now teachers, doctors, police officers and elected officials. They continue to serve “all with the same duty and dedication” they had while in the military, he said.

However, he said, some of these men and women who served their country now need others to step up and help them.

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Rice says debt, school capacity problems and Purple Line influencing County CIP

GAITHERSBURG – County residents say they are concerned about capital budget projects, such as the aging Poolesville High School never being refreshed and the security of temporary classrooms near elementary schools.

On Monday, County Council Education Committee chairperson Craig Rice (District 2) told residents that the Purple Line – the light-rail service to connect Montgomery and Prince George’s counties—as well as the Council’s new spending affordability guidelines and County debt are chipping away at the money County will permit to be spent on school building costs and capital projects for schools in the FY 2019-2024 Capital Improvements Plan.

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Gaithersburg Mayor and Council sworn in

GAITHERSBURG – The winners of last Tuesday’s municipal election were sworn into office Monday night as Gaithersburg’s Mayor Jud Ashman and City Council members Michael Sesma and Laurie-Anne Sayles took their oaths of office during a special session held in the council chambers.

After a representative of the Montgomery County Board of Election Supervisors presented the officially-certified results from last week’s election, Ashman, the winner of last week’s mayoral election, took the oath administered by Montgomery County Circuit Court Clerk Barbara Mieklejohn.

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Council committee recommends circus animal ban bill

While the venerable Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Baily Circus lowered the curtain its last show earlier this year following years of protests by animal rights groups, a proposed County bill could prevent any remaining traditional circus from operating in Montgomery County.

On Nov. 9, the Montgomery County Council Public Safety Committee recommended adoption of Bill 23-17, which would prohibit circuses and other traveling shows from using many species of animals as performers in Montgomery County.

Leventhal said the bill is meant to prohibit traveling circus animals and exempts animals that are used as livestock or for agricultural purposes.

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