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Berliner says budget aggression will not stand

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Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner reassured activists and professionals in the Jewish community last week that the County’s proposed budget that includes a 1 percent cut in funding for nonprofits will not stand.

“It just simply can’t stand, and I know my colleagues feel the same way,” Berliner told the 60 participants at the 12th annual Jewish Community Relations Council’s Montgomery County Advocacy Day on April 6.

The reduced funding is proposed to come out of the Department of Health and Human Services Non-Developmental Disabilities Provider Services Contracts budget, which many nonprofits rely on to provide services to County residents.

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Tillman remembered for community work

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Dr. Ulder TillmanDr. Ulder Tillman. FILE PHOTO  

Several hundred people crowded into The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Friday morning to say goodbye to Ulder Jane Tillman, who was memorialized as a dedicated public health care worker, a wonderful teacher to young children, a religious woman and a great dancer who could really move her hips.

Tillman died suddenly Jan. 3 at the age of 67. For the past 13 years, Tillman had been the chief of Public Health Services for Montgomery County.

She had degrees from such prestigious institutions as Harvard University School of Medicine and Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, but those who know her well said she was never one to flaunt her education.

"She was humble and down-to-earth," said Uma Ahluwalia, director of Health and Human Services for Montgomery County. "Her dedication, her compassion, her commitment to public health is what everyone keeps talking about," said Ahluwalia, who had worked with Tillman for 10 years.

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County health official Dr. Ulder Tillman dies

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Dr. Ulder TillmanDr. Ulder Tillman. COURTESY PHOTO

Montgomery County Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Ulder Tillman died suddenly today after 13 years of service working for the County.  

Tillman was known for her public health awareness campaigns on the Zika virus, Lyme disease and Ebola. Tillman gave several presentations to the County Council about Zika and lead a public awareness campaign about how residents could prevent mosquito bites and what they needed to know about the virus, during the Zika outbreak last year.

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Council at odds with Executive Ike Leggett over Hispanic Gala

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Members of a County Council joint committee accused county departments of misusing public funds during a meeting last week.

In aggregate, four County departments donated the maximum amount of money allotted to sponsor events by the County Council – $9,999 – to the County Executive’s Hispanic Gala, which raises money for scholarships for Hispanic students.

Under a new County law, County departments must spend under $10,000 on sponsorships for nonprofit events. If a County department spends $ 10,000 or more, it has to be approved by the Council.

“I’m amazed, really just flabbergasted that we ended up with expenditures of $9, 999,” County Council member George Leventhal (D at-large) said. “I mean that is laughable …that was so clearly an end-run around the council’s intent that it creates friction and tension between the two branches of government that should not exist.”

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Volunteers flock to G-burg to help the homeless

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MPI-0019Two children enjoy balloons and facepainting activities during the Homeless Resource Day at Bohrer Park. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  GAITHERSBURG – Almost 400 Montgomery County residents briefly set aside their concerns about finding housing, jobs and medical care and instead spent the day getting their hair done, receiving flu shots and generally being treated with respect.

The sixth annual Nadim Khan Memorial Homeless Resource Day, held Nov. 17 at Bohrer Park, was dedicated to helping residents who are either homeless or in danger of becoming homeless learn about all the benefits and programs they are entitled to. 

There were 1,100 homeless people in the County in 2015, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

The county’s Department of Health and Human Services in 2014 adopted a 10-year plan to end homelessness here.

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NIH prioritizes youth suicide prevention

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BETHESDA – The National Institutes of Health (NIH) prioritized youth suicide prevention as part of its research agenda for the next decade.

A panel within NIH's Pathways to Prevention Program, which released a report detailing 29 recommendations to improve and facilitate research on youth suicide and prevention, formed an agenda that included the prevention push.

“If lives matter of any variety, then funding needs to be provided,” said panel leader Todd Little, a professor of educational psychology at Texas Tech University.

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Council briefed on deadly Silver Spring fire

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ROCKVILLE -- The apartment complex that was the site of a devastating fire that killed seven people on Aug. 10 received 437 housing code violations when it was last inspected, according to Clarence Snuggs, director of Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA).

Snuggs said the Flower Branch Apartments complex located on Piney Branch Road in Silver Spring was last inspected by County officials in May of 2013. Snuggs, along with other County officials, briefed the County Council and reviewed the County’s performance to help the victims of last month’s fire and explosion in Silver Spring.

Snuggs told the Council that the Flower Branch Apartments complex had a history of violations; there were 698 when the complex was inspected in 2010. Snuggs said that many of the violations were not safety-related.

“Not all of those are life-threatening violations,” Snuggs said.

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State sprays Montgomery County for mosquitoes again

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aedes-egypti-zika-virus-mosquito1FILE PHOTO  

Officials from the Maryland Department of Agriculture sprayed mosquitoes for the second time in 10 days in Montgomery County, this time in the Strawberry Knoll area of Gaithersburg.

The purpose for spraying is to alleviate concern over mosquito-borne diseases such as Zika and West Nile Virus.

“This is part of the state mosquito prevention plan...they have couple of triggers that are met this to the put the spray plan into effect,” said Mary Anderson, a spokesperson for the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

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Council gives funds for mental health court

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ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Council voted Tuesday to set aside $193,561 to help fund a new court that would serve as an alternative court for those suffering from mental illnesses.

The council is providing $163,609 to hire two therapists for the Department Health and Human Services (HHS) and $29,952 to cover operating expenses at the circuit court.

The Office of Problem Solving Courts will provide $97,000 to help cover costs at the district court in the County.

Former County Council member Phil Andrews (D) said he expects the mental health court to open by November.

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Council determines method to fight local hunger problem

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ROCKVILLE – Hoping to get the County’s food banks and charities on the same page, the Montgomery County Council passed a bill that would require the County Executive to develop a single plan to fight hunger in the County.

The bill calls for the County Executive to develop a five-year plan to reduce hunger by 10 percent each year, a goal that the bill’s lead sponsor Roger Berliner (D-1) previously said was to serve as a guideline. 

Berliner said the bill’s aim is to coordinate efforts between the county’s agencies and charities to provide meals to the about 78,000 people in the County that do not know where their next meal is coming from.

The County Executive has until Dec. 1 to finalize his plan.

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