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Local News

Sentinel claims awards

18-05-2017 Hits:408 Local Carolyn Komatsoulis - avatar Carolyn Komatsoulis

The Sentinel Staff with owner Lynn Kapiloff, seated. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER   ANNAPOLIS - The Montgomery County Sentinel Newspapers was awarded the Maryland Delaware, District of Columbia Press Association “News Organization of the Year” award for the second time in as many years in a ceremony here Friday. “It is an honor to be awarded this distinction for the second time in as many years and the third time in the last five years,” said Sentinel owner Lynn Kapiloff. “It is vital for independent publications to remain vibrant – especially at this time in our history.” The Sentinel won 35 awards out of a possible 48 categories, picking up first and second place in categories such as Investigative Reporting, State Government Reporting, and Multimedia Storytelling (news).

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Rockville promotes diversity with flag d…

18-05-2017 Hits:267 Local Suzanne Pollak - avatar Suzanne Pollak

Flags from countries around the world are being installed across Rockville. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Diversity is what the City of Rockville wanted to portray when officials decided to hang flags of the world on its light poles, but initial reaction to the flags created a diversity of another sort. When shoppers mulling around Rockville Town Square recently were asked what they thought of the international display, a few said they hadn’t even noticed, and others thought the flags were regularly put up each year for Memorial Day. Only a few connected it with cultural diversity. The City of Rockville currently is installing a total of 193 flags – the number of sovereign states in the United Nations – to show its commitment to diversity and inclusion. More than 150 are already decorating Rockville.

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MoCo sees slight dip in number of homele…

18-05-2017 Hits:168 Local Suzanne Pollak - avatar Suzanne Pollak

Homelessness in Montgomery County decreased by 9 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to an annual survey conducted by Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. According to the survey, which was a one-night snapshot of the homeless population on Jan. 25 of this year, there were 894 homeless people in the County, as compared to 981 in 2016 and 1,100 in 2015. The 894 people included 86 families and 172 children, according to the survey. The survey, in its 17th year, tallied the homeless population in nine jurisdictions in the Washington, D.C. area. Overall, there were 11,128 homeless individuals in the nine jurisdictions, according to the survey which was released last week. Amanda Harris, Montgomery County’s chief of special needs housing in its Department of Health and Human Services, called the numbers in the survey “typical,” although the survey noted that day was unseasonably warm.

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State News

CareFirst files for massive health premi…

18-05-2017 Hits:442 State Vic Simon - avatar Vic Simon

CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield proposed monthly premiums averaging more than 50 percent higher for 2018 than for 2017, in filings to the Maryland Insurance Department for the online health insurance marketplace under the Affordable Care Act. The three other companies offering coverage in Maryland’s online/individual market, CIGNA, Kaiser Mid-Atlantic, and Evergreen Health, applied for substantial but smaller 2018 rates that average 37.4 percent, 18.1 percent, and 27.8 percent, respectively. CareFirst has the largest market share by far over the company’s Maryland, D.C., and Northern Virginia market area, said the company’s CEO, Chet Burrell. It covers two out of every three people in that area with coverage purchased through the ACA online exchanges. The public may comment online about the proposed rate increases through June 20. The Maryland Insurance Department will hold a public hearing on the proposals on June 21 at its offices in Baltimore. Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr., said the agency would make a decision by late summer. The ACA requires the agency to approve rates that are adequate to meet the costs of the coverage.

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Franchot looks to reform alcohol laws

25-04-2017 Hits:403 State Kathleen Stubbs - avatar Kathleen Stubbs

The state comptroller said Tuesday he is starting an alcohol task force to review state laws because the state is more “restrictive” on craft breweries than every other state in the country. Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot said he wants to see reform in Maryland alcohol laws. He said the task force, called Reform on Tap, will meet at breweries across the state and discuss concerns about existing laws as well as ideas for new legislation to propose to the General Assembly. Stakeholders such as breweries would make up the task force.

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State passes legislation to give one-yea…

21-04-2017 Hits:406 State Vic Simon - avatar Vic Simon

The Maryland General Assembly included one-year write-offs of manufacturing equipment for tax purposes in its end-of-session legislative rush on April 10. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) signed the new tax law on April 11. It was part of Hogan’s job creation initiative, attached to better-known provisions allowing for special tax incentives for manufacturing in less prosperous areas of Maryland, including parts of Baltimore, Western Maryland and the Eastern Shore.

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Columns

In Defense of Sean Spicer

17-05-2017 Hits:743 Editor's Notebook Brian Karem - avatar Brian Karem

For fans of “Firefly” – all you brown coats out there – there’s a wonderful quote attributed to Adam Baldwin’s character. “If you can’t do something smart, then do something right.” I think of that quote from time to time when I’m at the White House – mostly to relieve intense boredom or justify my existence – take your pick. I think of it now because of the swirling rumors about the man who leads the daily news briefings inside the White House.  During the last four months I’ve grown to know Sean Spicer – and while we haven’t always agreed with each other in the White House press room, he’s never taken anything I’ve said or done personally and I’ve never taken any of his rebukes personally. Spicer, as the president’s press secretary, visits with the members of the media on a nearly daily basis to update us, answer questions and speak for President Donald Trump. Everyone in the White House press room knows why he’s there – and as Sam Donaldson used to say  there’s nothing illegal or even immoral in having someone to “put their best foot forward, emphasize their successes, minimize or hide their blunders . . . and generally use...

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Post hoc ergo propter hoc

11-05-2017 Hits:592 Editor's Notebook Brian J. Karem - avatar Brian J. Karem

President Donald Trump. Saying the name is a joke and an insult all at the same time. Not since Richard Milhous Nixon has the nation faced a more direct and vile threat to its existence.Of Nixon, upon his passing, Hunter S. Thompson opined, “He was the real thing -- a political monster straight out of Grendel and a very dangerous enemy. He could shake your hand and stab you in the back at the same time. He lied to his friends and betrayed the trust of his family.”It isn’t a stretch to imagine this as a description of President Donald Trump.

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A new season of D.C. Follies

03-05-2017 Hits:284 Editor's Notebook Brian J. Karem - avatar Brian J. Karem

Live from Washington D.C. it’s the Sean Spicer show with his special guest host this week Mick Mulvaney.Mick’s special guests will be pictures of cyclone fences and SUVs driving past steel privacy fences in the New Mexico desert. (Cue the applause).So join us as Mick explains the latest budget deal on The Hill, why the Democrats are sore losers and tells us what’s special about the number 42.But first, let’s look behind door number one where we have several hundred million dollars to repair 40 miles of privacy fence along the Mexican border. Never fear campers – this fence has what it takes. Mick guarantees it’ll stop illegal immigration, illicit drugs and rubbing up against it cures warts. (Cue the applause).

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Sports

Sherwood Warriors eke out 2-1 victory fo…

22-05-2017 Hits:125 Sports Matt Hooke - avatar Matt Hooke

Sherwood senior Amanda Berkley unloads a pitch in the 2-1 win over Delaney.                 PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  Coming off a highly contested 5-3 win against the number two seed Howard Lions (19-6), local girls varsity softball powerhouse Sherwood Warriors (17-1) extended their winning streak to 15 games against fellow number one seed, the Dulaney Lions (19-3) of Baltimore County, securing the regional championship with a final score of 2-1. The contest was a pitcher’s duel, with Sherwood senior Amanda Berkley meeting her match against Dulaney junior Akirra Pullen. Both pitchers toyed with the other team’s offense, and base runners were hard to come by.

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Local track and field athletes qualify f…

21-05-2017 Hits:202 Sports Kathleen Stubbs - avatar Kathleen Stubbs

Rohann Asfaw of Richard Montgomery High School leads the pack in the boys 1600m run. PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  GAITHERSBURG –Multiple athletes earned personal best times at the 4A West Regional Track Meet held at Quince Orchard High School Wednesday and Thursday. Northwest junior Editta Pessima earned a personal record of 44.06 seconds when she won the girls 300 meter hurdles Thursday. Walter Johnson senior Courtney Christian took second place (45.22 seconds). Christian led the race for nearly 200 meters when Pessima caught up to her and passed her to win the event.

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Churchill boys blow past Quince Orchard …

19-05-2017 Hits:349 Sports Marc Lande - avatar Marc Lande

Churchill's Merrick Willeford wins another faceoff against Quince Orchard.                        PHOTO BY DAVID WOLFE  GAITHERSBURG—The MPSSAA Boys Lacrosse Regional Finals at Gaithersburg High School on Wednesday evening matched County powerhouses with identical 16-1 records, the Churchill Bulldogs and the Quince Orchard Cougars, with the Bulldogs scoring a convincing 16-4 victory. “Churchill was a very good team. They played very hard. It doesn’t diminish that our guys set a school record for wins in a season. We’ve had a great group of guys…But hats off to Jeff, his coaching staff and players who came out and played very well”, said Cougars head coach David Gonzalez. Bulldogs head coach Jeff Fritz said, “…We thought it was going to be a close-knit game but our kids came out, played very well, executed the game plan.” Bulldogs senior goalie Alex Crombie explained the difference between tonight’s win and last Monday’s win of the Whitman Vikings, saying, “Offensively, the start tonight was the antithesis of what Monday was. We clicked immediately…that’s not to say we didn’t come out with a lot of energy. We did…” Bulldogs senior attacker Spencer Knife (2 goals) said of the keys to tonight’s game, “Doing the small things right. The whole year we’ve had issues...

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Features

Never too old to tell a really good stor…

16-05-2017 Hits:261 Entertainment Suzanne Pollak - avatar Suzanne Pollak

Recently published author Frances Chavarria.  COURTESY PHOTO   Frances Chavarria was in her eighties when she sat down to write her first book. Now 90, the Rockville resident is getting ready for book signings and dreams of seeing her novel up on the big screen. Chavarria’s novel, “Let Us Dream of Turtles,” is a love story that pits greedy developers against environmentalists and takes place in Costa Rica, where she lived for 35 years. Chavarria took two years to complete her 300-page book that includes events such as an earthquake and tsunami. In 2010, she found an editor, who wanted to publish the book if she agreed to make a few cuts, including many of the food descriptions. Chavarria agreed, but eventually stopped, believing the revisions were hurting her book. She put it on a shelf and moved on. Four years later, Chavarria moved into senior citizen housing in downtown Rockville and met fellow resident, Edith Billups, who had written and edited magazines. The two hit it off immediately and soon found themselves reworking the manuscript. Billups said she loved the manuscript instantly, especially “all the suspense and intrigue.” And, Billups laughed, Chavarria “may be 90, but she’s got some great love scenes in...

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Center Stage: ‘Or’ qualifies as a qualit…

03-05-2017 Hits:242 Entertainment Reece Lindenmayer - avatar Reece Lindenmayer

Now playing at Round House Theatre, the role-switching play “Or,” features Erin Weaver, Holly Twyford, and Gregory Linington. COURTESY PHOTO  BETHESDA — “Or,” a suffix of binary implications barely qualifies as a phrase. Yet the new play at the Round House Theatre about playwright and former spy Aphra Behn takes the meaning of this word to its full extent. “Or,” written by Liz Duffy Adams takes place in Restoration Era England when Behn, played by Holly Twyford, abandons her espionage career to become a writer under the new government of Charles II.

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Day of the Book Festival draws diverse c…

27-04-2017 Hits:381 Entertainment Peter Rouleau - avatar Peter Rouleau

Thousands attended the Day of the Book Festival in Kensington. PHOTO BY PETER ROULEAU KENSINGTON – A break in the rain on Sunday permitted several thousand people to attend the annual Day of the Book Festival on Howard Avenue in Kensington. The festival began in 2005, thanks to the efforts of Elisenda Sola-Sole, owner of the Kensington Row Bookshop, a popular used book store. Sola-Sole’s family founded the Pauli Bellet Foundation, a nonprofit dedicated to the promotion of Catalan culture. The inspiration for the festival came from the “El Dia del Libre” celebration in Barcelona, which in 1923 was merged with the city’s traditional Rose Festival. In these celebrations, authors and other merchants set up stalls along Barcelona’s main thoroughfare, La Rambla. This year, the festival was held on the International Day of the Book, which was designated April 23 in 1995 by UNESCO in honor of the birthdate of William Shakespeare. In other years, the festival is held on the Sunday closest to the date.

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