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County Council gets cheers over circus animal ban

  • Published in Local

Circus animals may no longer be welcomed in the County as the County Council is likely to pass a bill banning performance animals from staying in the County.

 Eight of the nine County Council members are co-sponsoring Bill 23-17, which would ban businesses and traveling shows such as circuses from keeping their performance animals in the County.

The bill was well received during its public hearing Tuesday with almost all testifying in support saying it would be a strong stance against animal cruelty.

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New Potomac bridge draws support and ire from some

  • Published in Local

Reignited talk about a possible new bridge over the Potomac was the last thing politicians in Montgomery County wanted to hear.

But with or without the blessing of politicians in the County, the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments Transportation Planning Board voted Wednesday to study the viability of another bridge, along with other regional transportation projects. The planning board for the regional body is debating whether to specifically analyze a “northern bridge crossing” over the Potomac River.

While politicians in Northern Virginia support the idea of building another bridge over the Potomac River to alleviate traffic congestion on the American Legion Bridge, the reignited debate has rankled elected leaders in Montgomery County.

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Aspen Hill Library reopens to the public

  • Published in Local

ASPEN HILL — The Aspen Hill Library held its grand reopening on Saturday morning after being closed since November. Many Montgomery County residents and politicians were in attendance.

The size of the renovated library is 16,100 total feet square feet on two levels. The exterior of the building was painted, and the parking lot was reconstructed to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements.

Some of the design features are new information and checkout service desks, an enhanced children’s area, a teen space with seating and collection, collaboration spaces, an ADA upgrade of public restrooms on the lower level, and new furniture, including new tables in the children’s and adult areas.

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Looking to let the dogs out . . .

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The long wait for some dogs to legally roam free may be finally coming.

On Tuesday the County Council held a public hearing on a bill that would allow dog owners to take the leash off of their pets at dog parks in the County.

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Council tweaks new public election funding law

  • Published in Local

Next summer’s primary election will be the first test run for the County’s new public election funding.

But as candidates start to declare and raise funds that will be matched by public dollars election experts have realized that some tweaks to the new law are in order.

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Berliner slams new bridge

  • Published in Local

berlinerCounty Council President Roger Berliner. COURTESY PHOTO  Montgomery County Council President Roger Berliner (D-1) blasted a new push to build another bridge over the Potomac River to connect Loudoun County, Virginia to Montgomery County promising it will never be built. 

"This is a zombie bridge and we need to put a stake in this,” Berliner said. “Our County has been opposed to this bridge forever and remains opposed to this bridge. It is a distraction.”

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Council and businesses consider innovation to bring in the jobs

Founders of successful Montgomery County businesses discussed why they’re in the County and how they thought it can maintain the inflow of innovative businesses and jobs in a June 20 learning session with all nine County Council members.

David Petr, CEO of the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation, who organized the event, said the many key components of an attractive package for innovative businesses include: (1) a talented workforce; (2) good real estate space in which to locate; (3) capital access through banking and venture capital; (4) good transportation within the jurisdiction and to the rest of the country and the world; (5) clusters of expertise in particular businesses; (6) good local education systems, both K-12 and university; (7) an effective workforce development program; (8) openness to change and innovation; (9) nurturing small businesses and incubator programs in fields with special promise; (10) and a good community in which to live.

“We crush Fairfax County” on standards such as place to live, education systems, work-life balance and traffic, said Tien Wong, founder/CEO of Opus8 in Chevy Chase, a statement that brought smiles and support from Council members.

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County passes plans to expand tax breaks for military veterans

  • Published in Local

The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill to expand a tax break for retired military veterans to retired members of the military reserves and the National Guard.

Expedited Bill 13-17, which the Council passed during their last meeting June 28 before its short July 4 recess, will allow military veterans who are 65 or older and are retired members of the one of the branches of the armed forces or the National Guard to apply for a tax credit from their property taxes.

The tax credit is only available for veterans who own a property assessed at $500,000 or less. The bill went into effect July 1.

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Ashman will run for re-election in Gaithersburg

  • Published in Local

GAITHERSBURG –City mayor Jud Ashman is running for his first four-year term.

In 2015, he won by a wide margin the election to serve the remaining two years of longtime Mayor Sidney Katz’s final term. He was appointed from his city council position to serve as mayor the previous year following Katz’s election to the Montgomery County Council. This fall, Ashman is running for a full four-year term.

He attributes his accomplishments while in office to group efforts and not solely to himself. “Most of the accomplishments from my time in office have been collective accomplishments,” Ashman said. “I feel like I’ve played an essential role, but it has been a group effort. Gaithersburg has a beacon, a terrific example for local governments about how a well-intentioned, well-prepared, thoughtful, mature group of representatives, can work together to get things done. We have the lowest tax-rate of any of Maryland's large cities. We remain debt free, and there are not a lot of municipalities out there that can make that claim.”

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Council cuts the real circus

  • Published in Local

The Montgomery County Council is not clowning around – at least when it comes to regulating the circus.

At last week’s June 28 County Council meeting Council members Craig Rice (D-2) and George Leventhal (D-at large) introduced a bill that would ban circuses from keeping their performing animals in the County.

Specifically the bill would ban a person or businesses from keeping “performance animals” in the County that are part of a traveling show. The bill is meant to prevent people from capturing wild animals, which some consider cruel, and then used them in some sort of performance or show.

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