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Monty Python and the Holy Trump Budget!


 Monty Python and the Holy Trump Budget!
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Montgomery County in Pictures

Local News

Race for county executive, county counci…

26-05-2017 Hits:491 Local Carolyn Komatsoulis - avatar Carolyn Komatsoulis

Robin Ficker remembers raising $200,000 for his unsuccessful 2014 run for State Senate. Now, public contributions to his 2018 campaign for County Executive can be matched up to $750,000 by the County Public Financing Fund, a potential fundraising boon to his campaign. Even more importantly, his campaign could change the political landscape of Montgomery County. Public financing itself could create a more democratic election and encourage voter participation in 2018. According to Ficker, a former member of the House of Delegates, the County Public Financing Fund “gets the big moneyed interests out of [the race] and gives power to the average person in Montgomery County.” Ficker notes that the fund’s ability to match citizens’ donations “gives the average person some clout” especially since the first $50 donation to a campaign is matched six-to-one and adds $300 to the campaign, something that Ficker considers unique, saying “There is no jurisdiction in the United States that has anything close to this.” Although Ficker says he has never taken contributions from PACs, unions, or other groups, this law forbids participating candidates from taking such contributions, another attempt by the Montgomery County Council to expand the impact of private citizens and limit the influence of large organizations...

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Rockville bans smoking for outdoor dinin…

26-05-2017 Hits:833 Local Neal Earley - avatar Neal Earley

ROCKVILLE – Rockville passed another ordinance telling smokers to butt out. On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted 4-1 to ban smoking at the outdoor seating and patio areas for restaurants and bars. The new ordinance includes vaping or electronic cigarettes, which release water vapor instead of tobacco smoke. “It’s really exciting. It’s a great day for this City. As a resident and a dad, I’m thrilled to live in a place that prioritizes the health of kids and families,” said Adam Zimmerman, a Rockville resident who lobbied the City for months to pass the ban.

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Pop ups popping up at Grosvenor Metro st…

25-05-2017 Hits:283 Local Suzanne Pollak - avatar Suzanne Pollak

Pop-up shopping at Grovesnor Metro in Bethesda. PHOTO BY MARK POETKER Commuters at the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro stop aren’t rushing to their cars at the end of the day quite as quickly as they normally do. Between now and the end of June, the area between the parking lot and the entrance to the Red Line train is home to pop-up stores selling food, clothing and flowers on Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays between 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. What started as an idea to demonstrate to commuters how they plan to redevelop the station area in a few years, Fivesquares Development in Washington, D.C., took a retired 4,000-series Metro car and cut it up into numerous pieces, which currently serve as home to the popup stores, which opened May 17. “We wanted to bring life to the plaza,” said Ron Kaplan, principal at Fivesquares.

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State News

Trump's budget would force state, county…

26-05-2017 Hits:228 State Vic Simon - avatar Vic Simon

President Trump proposed a detailed budget May 23 that kept the themes of his March budget blueprint: steep cuts to science-based agencies, many headquartered in Montgomery County, and to programs to aid lower-income people, offset by sizable increases for defense and Homeland Security. Compared with the 80-page budget released in March, the new spending plan for Fiscal Year 2018 (October 1, 2017-September 30, 2018) is a vast, eight-volume document with details on Trump’s proposals for every agency. Other subjects newly addressed include how the deficit would be affected, the major changes from previous budgets, revenue forecasts, and economic growth assumptions. Given the size of the new document, reactions to it this week are only preliminary, with the meanings of many provisions yet to be unearthed by congressional review over the coming months. If the proposed major cuts are enacted to Medicaid, food stamps (called Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program or “SNAP”), elderly and school nutrition, “It would be up to the County or state government or both to pick up the pieces,” said Joy Nurmi, special assistant to County Executive Ike Leggett. For instance, she predicted, if SNAP cutbacks are adopted, many people would go to food pantries such as Manna Food Center in...

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CareFirst files for massive health premi…

18-05-2017 Hits:582 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:471 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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Columns

Violence against reporters and a preside…

29-05-2017 Hits:413 Editor's Notebook Brian Karem - avatar Brian Karem

Remember Bill Biggart (at left) or Chauncey Bailey?I’ll get back to you on that.Meanwhile, for the first time in my memory an American politician was recently charged with assaulting a reporter. Apparently the new paradigm in American politics is “intimidate, prevaricate, and physically assault,” the electorate. If it seems like reporters, and by extension the electorate is made of abused spouses, then I’d say you’re on to something.There should be little argument from anyone there is a war going on against reporters. Some merely see it as divine retribution while others see it as anti-American.Four months after Donald Trump’s inauguration a reporter in Montana is allegedly “body slammed,” by newly elected Republican congressman Greg Gianforte – who said the reporter aggressively interviewed him. Apparently the term “sticks and stones” is a call to arms for those like Gianforte. 

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While the President's away - who wants t…

27-05-2017 Hits:318 Editor's Notebook Brian Karem - avatar Brian Karem

The president is away this week on his first international trip, and with just the normal cacophony in the District, it seems oddly quiet here.The president made headlines in the Middle East with a billion dollar weapons deal with the Saudis and by saying things like, “Love your shoes. Boy, those shoes man,” to Saudi-Arabian leaders. (You can’t make this stuff up.)

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One Little Tweet gave us this?

25-05-2017 Hits:470 Editor's Notebook Brian J. Karem - avatar Brian J. Karem

It was a very simple tweet.“POTUS says GOP is coming together. Jovial as he cheers vote.”I tweeted it from the Rose Garden as President Trump exclaimed how happy he was the House passed his healthcare reform legislation.Because of that one tweet – which automatically feeds to my FB page, I got 13 private messages within a matter of about 10 minutes. Six of them accused me of being a secret “Trump loving fascist,” or “Hate-mongering racist” while six of them accused me of making fun of the president. “What do you mean by jovial? Are you calling the president stupid?” One guy asked.

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Sports

Northwest softball defeats Sherwood once…

29-05-2017 Hits:450 Sports Eva Paspalis - avatar Eva Paspalis

The Northwest softball team wins their first state championship.   PHOTO BY JACQUI SOUTH COLLEGE PARK – For the first time in six years, the Sherwood varsity softball team didn’t end the season by hoisting the 4A state championship trophy. It appeared as though the Warriors had found their kryptonite, the same kryptonite in the black-and-white uniforms that snapped Sherwood’s infamous winning streak back in March. When Northwest won in the semifinals, Jaguars head coach Mike Horton mentioned that if his team continued to play “Northwest softball,” they’d be able to take Sherwood down again. Northwest doubled up the Warriors by a score of 8-4 Saturday at the University of Maryland Softball Stadium to go down in history as the first Jaguars team to win a softball state championship. “When you hit the ball hard, it tends to throw teams off their game. We came out and we went after it, and that’s a big thing with teams like that,” he said. “I geared these girls to play Sherwood early in the season. Obviously you want to beat every team, but Sherwood was the pinnacle.”

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MoCo athletes win state titles in track …

29-05-2017 Hits:203 Sports Kathleen Stubbs - avatar Kathleen Stubbs

BALTIMORE – Montgomery County Public Schools athletes earned multiple titles in track and field at the State Championship Meets at Morgan State University Friday. Walter Johnson junior Abbey Green (10:46 minutes) beat her long-time distance rival Annapolis High School senior Maria Coffin (10:56 minutes) to become state champion. It was her second track and field state title, her first for the outdoor season. Green said she and Coffin became friends during the last few years as they competed in track and field and in cross country. Poolesville sophomore Nandini Satsangi came in first place in the 3A 3200m race (11:07). Satsangi held the second-place spot for most of the race, and then she led the final two laps. Her legs suddenly gave out a couple of feet from the finish line and she fell, but she won the race by finishing a few seconds ahead of Northern-Calvert junior Abby Sweeney (11:12).

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Triumphant over Eleanor Roosevelt, North…

24-05-2017 Hits:615 Sports Eva Paspalis - avatar Eva Paspalis

Northwest pitcher Amber Yuille prepares to send one across the plate.             PHOTO BY MARK POETKER GLEN BURNIE – It was the tale of two dugouts. Someone in the Northwest dugout began to hammer out a beat. Soon, the entire varsity softball team began to sing in unison as a light drizzle fell over Bachman Park on Tuesday. The players in the Eleanor Roosevelt dugout, on the other hand, were completely silent. After all, it was the bottom of the fourth, and the Raiders were on the verge of getting shut out in the state semifinals. The Jaguars had methodically picked the Raiders apart, blowing out the team from Prince George’s County by a score of 16-0.

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Features

Never too old to tell a really good stor…

16-05-2017 Hits:352 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:297 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:459 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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