Push back on minimum wage study by County

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoLast week’s release of a Montgomery County-commissioned study if the County increased the minimum wage to $15 per hour was a devastating blow to its proponents.

The results of the study, conducted by Philadelphia-based PFM Consulting group, are a dark prediction for minimum wage increase advocates, projecting the County would lose 47,000 jobs and $396.5 million in aggregate by 2022. The study also concludes that the County’s current minimum wage of $11.50 per hour is too high and the ideal minimum wage for the County would be $11 per hour.

Despite the sharp public relations blow the study dealt to their plan for a minimum wage increase, the members of the County Council that voted in favor of it have no intentions of backing down. However, even with the anticipated public rebuke of the study when its authors speak to the Council on Sept. 19, finding a way to increase the minimum wage will be a daunting task.Advocates on the Council for the minimum wage increase have attacked the study’s methodology saying it was conducted to reflect the sentiments of business owners surveys, saying the study were biased in favor of the feelings of business owners, not economic science.

“To me it’s just a total bogus study,” said Council member Marc Elrich (D-at large), the lead sponsor of the bill to increase the minimum wage.


Warrior Dash returns to Maryland

  • Published in Sports

MECHANICSVILLE—Warrior Dash returned to the state of Maryland on Saturday, as many participants took part in the event at Budd’s Creek in Mechanicsville in St. Mary’s County.

Warrior Dash is a 5k obstacle course with 12 world-class obstacles and over three million participants since 2009 that is held in many cities and states around the country.

“Our biggest and most exciting obstacles are Goliath,” said Rebecca Ryan, the lead event checker for Warrior Dash. “It’s got a big slide into a nice, cool pit of water, and then you get to climb through a very muddy mud pit under some barbed wire, and, of course, we have our classic fire jump, where you get to jump over the fire and show off your Warrior skills and get that new profile picture everybody’s hoping for.”

According to Ryan, about 10,000 people, including spectators and runners, were to show up at Budd’s Creek on Saturday. “It feels really good to put on an event that people enjoy,” she said, “and we have people who come back from year to year to have a great time.”


Brews and beat shine at first ever record fair in Silver Spring

RECORD FAIR PICTURE 1Vendor Dave Hoffer stands in front of his records. PHOTO BY MATT HOOKE   SILVER SPRING — Barrels of beer were covered with vinyl records, while organizer and c, played dance tracks from the top of a fermenter at the first ever Silver Spring Record Fair on Sunday at Denizens Brewing Company.

“It’s a way to spread the love of vinyl around Montgomery County, to bring folks into records together to listen to good music, have some beers, and buy some records,” said Megan, who was the organizer of the event.

The event lasted for five hours and featured 20 vendors and six different DJs who spanned many different genres. Three of them, Bobby Babylon, Leon City Sounds, and Megan himself, mainly played world music and reggae.


Local firm expands to help federal agencies

  • Published in Local


Bethesda-based InfoZen has hired 120 employees in the past 12 months and expanded its workspace for developing software to move, manage, store and protect massive databases for key federal agencies.

A key to its recent expansion has been a $208 million contract the firm won in 2016 to work with U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, part of the Department of Homeland Security, said Susan Sparks, deputy program manager for the company’s work on the contract.

The company said it has more than doubled its annual revenue since 2015. Sparks said it expects to keep hiring and continue on its strong recent growth trajectory.


Area Resident Remembers Homeland Through Art

  • Published in Local

This is part of an ongoing series devoted to the stories of Montgomery County’s immigrant population

GAITHERSBURG – In 1977, Farid Bozorgmehr left his native Iran to pursue his love of theater in the United States.

He enrolled in American University’s master’s program in Theatre, having completed his undergraduate studies in Iran.

Two years after his arrival, the government of the Shah, which had been supported by the United States, was overthrown in the Iranian Revolution.


Transgender marine veteran works for MoCo Pride Center

  • Published in Local

Stevie Neal, a transgender woman who served in the United States Marines 40 years ago, sat on a booth in Denizens Brewing Co. during an lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender social gathering reflecting on the world’s increasing acceptance of LGBT people.

Neal is one the founders of the Montgomery County Pride Center, a group that is trying to bring big-city resources for the LGBT community to Montgomery County even as they face Republican politicians in power who they feel don’t do enough for the community.

For Neal, her youth reveals a life without strong roots to any one place.


No matter the age, chasing the baseball dream gets stuck in your system

  • Published in Sports

In Montgomery County, the dream of being involved in baseball lives on for umpires Chazz Smith, 58, and Steve Murfin, 62, of the Ponce de Leon Baseball League.

Ponce de Leon Baseball is a recreational league for fast-pitch baseball for men and women over 30 years of age who play in Montgomery County and Northern Virginia. Some of their fields are Wheaton Regional Park, Blair High School and Martin Luther King Park. Registration for the league is open for spring, summer and fall seasons.

But what about the umpires?


Rockville Rays beat Bethesda Barracudas at local swim meet

  • Published in Sports

BETHESDA – The Rockville Rays swim club beat the Bethesda Barracudas, 471.5-320.5, in the Montgomery County Swim League Upper Division meet at the Bethesda Pool Saturday. 

The Rays Men beat the Barracudas, 265-13, while the Rays Women won, 206.5-189.5, over the Barracudas.

The Rays dominated both men’s and women’s events, including intriguing swimmers from both teams and exciting matchups throughout the meet. 

Of highlight, Rays swimmer Jason Tang won all five events on his day. Tang, who is committed to swim for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology this fall, led the Rays men’s squad.  

Of note was the matchup between Rays swimmer Chris Ma and Barracudas swimmer Kyle Lawson. Ma won three of the four matches. However, Lawson showed his grittiness by picking up a win and giving Ma a run for his money at each event.

In the Women’s division, a key matchup through the meet involved fellow teammates, Barracuda swimmers Hannah Kannan and Amanda Liu. They competed against each other in four events. Kannan and Liu are teammates at Montgomery Blair High School. On the day, Liu won one event over Kannan. Kannan took the other three events. Overall, Kannan had a strong day for a women’s squad that put up in a fight against the Rays. 

Kris Lawson, Kyle’s 12-year-old younger brother, excelled in the pool, taking four events. Lawson set a Bethesda Pool record in the Boys 11-12 50 SC Meter Freestyle with a time of 27.32.   

Others who competed well were two Rays youngsters, 8-year-old Anabel Sha and 10-year-old Adriano Arioti.

@MarcLandemarc1  @Markpoetker 


New liquor ID policy changed

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoThe newly-appointed director of the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control said he never thought a policy he set two months on checking ID’s would get so much attention.

In May, Liquor Control Department Director Robert Dorfman changed a County liquor store policy to require store clerks to check all customers’ IDs before they purchase alcohol, no matter how old they appear to be. Dorfman said the DLC received many complaints, mainly from members of the County’s senior population who said the policy needlessly burdened them with ID checks.

“There has been a lot of push back on the part of very elderly people,” Dorfman said of the County new, stricter ID checking policy.

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