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Council considers Bethesda area green space

One of the key issues for the future of Bethesda is debate between more parks or more parking.

Last week, the County Council Planning, Housing and Economic Development committee discussed one of the most debated issues of the proposed Downtown Bethesda Sector plan – green space versus room for parking.

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Two more residents file to run as they seek county office

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Two more people filed to run for County office last week after the filing period begun Feb. 28.

North Potomac consultant and former teacher Ed Amatetti filed last week, and is running as a Republican for the County Council District 2 seat, while Rockville accountant Richard Gottfried filed for one of the open County Council at-large seats and is running as a Democrat.

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Metro finance committee approves GM’s proposed operating budget

WASHINGTON – The Metro Board of Directors Finance Committee approved the general manager’s proposed operating budget that includes service cuts and fare increases at a committee meeting Thursday, bringing it one step closer to board approval.

Board member Malcolm Augustine, who represents Prince George’s County, voted against the budget. He opposed the fare increases and called them “a bad business move” given that customer satisfaction fell in 2016 and continues to fall.

Metro last raised fares three years ago, in fiscal year 2015, Metro spokesperson Dan Stessel said.

Board member Tom Bulger, who represents the District, said Metro needs to increase fares for the next year unless it can find another funding source.

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Panelists answer questions on anti-Semitic hate crimes at D.C. town hall

WASHINGTON – Community leaders and representatives of D.C. government shared messages of encouragement and of community support at a public forum on anti-Semitic hate crimes at the Washington Hebrew Congregation Thursday.

Each speaker gave words of encouragement to the group of more than 100 people who attended the town hall.

Rev. Thomas L. Bowen, director of religious affairs for D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser, attended to represent the mayor’s office.

“I am here because our mayor is concerned about what happens in our city,” he said.

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Rockville considers sanctuary

City holds public forum and listens as residents and neighbors discuss immigration

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ROCKVILLE – More than 80 people testified during a public hearing Monday on a planned ordinance which would preclude the city from enforcing federal immigration law.

Residents, property owners and workers in the city, as well as individuals from elsewhere in the county, shared concerns about what would happen if the ordinance was implemented.

Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton said the purpose of the public hearing was to give residents a chance to comment on the idea of Rockville becoming a sanctuary city. She said she and the council received many letters over the past few weeks pertaining to the sanctuary city status.

There were “many in support and there are many who have concerns,” Newton said.

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County to hold hearing on providing security to Jewish centers

Interfaith clergy assembly at JCCSpeakers from a variety of faiths were present at the Jewish Community Center's hate crime solidarity event earlier this week. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  

The Montgomery County Council agreed Tuesday to hold a public hearing on April 4 to allocate $225,000 to three Jewish institutions so that they could beef up their security in light of the 130 bomb threats received across the United States since the beginning of this year.

The most recent threat occurred Monday night at the Bender Jewish Community Center in Rockville. A threatening email was received at 11:32 p.m., said Ron Halber, executive director of the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Washington.

Halber declined to say who the email was sent to, noting, “I am not interested in giving anyone ideas.”

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Parents and students talk inclusion at local schools

ROCKVILLE – Montgomery County Public Schools’ parents and students said the school system’s intentions of not tolerating hate are clear, though their levels of satisfaction varied.

Richard Montgomery freshman Isabelle Young, co-founder of school club RM Huddle, said MCPS responded in a satisfactory manner to incidents of discrimination that she and her little sister observed at school. Her sister witnessed a friend who was Muslim being called a terrorist at her elementary school.

“There had been a student, I don’t know where he had heard it from but he had said some pretty nasty things,” Young said, “but their school counselors actually handled it really well and talked to all the kids.”

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A cautionary tale of the dreaded ‘yellow’ light

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It may not seem like a long time, but 3.5 seconds is the industry-accepted standard for all the time a driver needs to decide whether or not to speed up and make it before the traffic light turns to red.

Federal and state guidelines recommend that 3.5 seconds be the minimal interval for a light turning from yellow to red. The actual mathematical formula is determined by engineers who review the road’s speed limit, the incline of the road, speed limits at the nearby feeder roads and other factors.

However, not all of the County’s traffic light intervals are that long.

“It’s confusing, but we have always been in compliance with federal regulations,” said Richard Hetherington, manager of the County’s Traffic Enforcement Unit.

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Ring announcer and motivational speaker has more than a notion

Even though it is no longer Black History Month, some stories are worth telling year-round. The story of boxing ring announcer Henry “Discombobulating” Jones is one of them.

Jones is also a motivational speaker, a D.C. Public Schools social worker and author of an autobiography titled “It’s More Than A Notion!” Currently he is competing to be the headliner ring announcer for fight cards at the new MGM Grand at National Harbor.

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Educators, industry leaders and parents talk science

SILVER SPRING – Montgomery County’s educators, industry leaders, and parents gathered Sunday to discuss expanding science engagement in and outside the public education system.

“People who are involved in their companies, we created an opportunity to meet one another, I think that was the prime motivator for most people who would be here today,” said County Council member Hans Riemer (D-At-Large) who was the organizer of the event.

The first ever Montgomery County STEM Summit took place at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Speakers included representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, the Universities at Shady Grove, Montgomery County Public Libraries, and numerous locally-based science or tech industry businesses and non-profits.

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