Plaster: focus on health care and veterans

Mark Plaster head shot 8-24-163rd Dist. Congressional candidate Mark Plaster (R)   COURTESY PHOTO

ROCKVILLE – As a Navy reservist and a medical doctor, Mark Plaster (R) is focusing his race for the third congressional district on veterans’ issues and health care.

That includes overhauling how former members of the military receive treatment at medical centers operated by the Veterans Administration.

Plaster faces fifth-term Rep. John Sarbanes (D) and Green Party nominee Nnabus Eze in the general election.

“My first pledge is to try to fix the VA and I think we need to offer our veterans health care that they can actually put their hands around and do something for them,” said Plaster. “The primary thing I'm trying to emphasize is taking care of our veterans. That's something near and dear to my heart.”


Government demands Sprint explain 911 outage

A Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments committee called Sprint representatives to meet with them next week to explain why Sprint customers couldn’t dial 911 Aug. 16 and to explain their plans to prevent that from happening again.

Montgomery County Council member Roger Berliner (D-1), who chairs the Council of Governments, said he believes the COG ongoing 911 directors committee is the best group to schedule an investigation of the Sprint incident and review it. 

“COG is the natural forum for it,” said Berliner, who had yet to select an exact date for the meeting as of Wednesday.


Trying to find jobs for local senior citizens

For 14 years, 69-year old Washington Armstrong worked odd jobs and volunteer work. His primary focus: helping raise his grandson, who has cerebral palsy, while his daughter continued her military career.

“My daughter needed me. In 2004 I left (my job) and went to Fort Lewis, Washington, and I helped out my daughter,” Armstrong said.

Upon returning to his native city of Washington, D.C., Armstrong noticed an advertisement in an employment office about a program from the Jewish Council of the Aging (JCA).

“They had classes for seniors on how to approach world for seniors. I’m a certain (age) and they tell you what you’re going to do when you’re out there and how to approach it,” Armstrong said.


MCDOT to try selling ads in parking garages

MCDOT logo

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) approved a pilot program to sell ad space in County parking garages in Bethesda and Silver Spring.

Advertising space will now be open at four garages: Town Square, Cameron-Second and Wayne Avenue garages in Silver Spring and Bethesda-Elm and Woodmont Corner garages in Bethesda.

County spokesperson Lorraine Driscoll said MCDOT officials made the decision to sell advertising in public parking garages after gaging interest from local businesses.

“We made a decision to follow the interests and make these ads available and promote it,” Driscoll said.


Get back to school - but without school fair

MCPS logo

ROCKVILLE – With Montgomery County Public Schools students set to return to school Monday, their families will not have the same opportunity to engage with the school system without the annual Back-to-School Fair, according to a PTA official.

Paul Geller, president of Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations (MCCPTA), said the Back-to-School Fair drew parents who ordinarily tended not be engaged with MCPS. The Board of Education cut it from the Fiscal Year 2017 budget back in May.

Geller contrasted the fair with other MCPS initiatives to engage with the community, noting few of them offered equal access for all MCPS families.

“Parents who work, single parents, (and) people who are really engaged in just going about the day-to-day process of living and don’t have a chance to search all these (MCPS) folks, they could lose out,” Geller said.


Police identify man found in Potomac River

Montgomery County rescue crews found the body of a missing man, 28 year-old Abdul Qadir of Riverdale, after he fell into the Potomac River Aug. 16.

Investigators determined no one else caused Qadir’s death and said it was likely an accident after he fell into the Potomac River on Aug. 16.


State issues preliminary marijuana growing licenses - including one in Montgomery

Medical Marijuana

Last week, the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission granted license pre-approvals for companies to begin cultivating and processing marijuana in Maryland, including one processing organization in Montgomery County: Rosebud Organics, LLC.

The commissioners offered preliminary licenses to 15 growers and 15 processors, located throughout the state, though commission Executive Director Patrick Jameson stated, “A pre-approval is not a license.”

Instead, the pre-approval allows growers and processors to demonstrate they have the money and support to sustain an operation, according to Marc Harvill, a licensing service consultant and training manager at Medicine Man Technologies in Colorado.

According to Harvill, medical marijuana groups “are going to have to prove they have the capital.”


Woman turns husband's crass comment into a wonder-bra supply for local homeless

Bras for Homeless 1Silver Spring's Dana Marlowe prepares another batch of bras and feminine hygiene products for delivery to homeless women throughout the country.  PHOTO BY MARK POETKER  


After losing a lot of weight, Dana Marlowe's husband remarked that she could use some new bras. His not-so-subtle comment would launch Marlowe on a new trajectory that has improved the lives of tens of thousands of homeless women within the past year.

Last summer, Marlowe, a resident of Kemp Mill in Silver Spring, was content with her career and happily married with two young sons when she stopped at Soma Intimates in Bethesda to be fitted for a new bra.

She asked the woman helping her if she had any idea what to do with the 16 bras in her drawer that no longer supported her but were still useable. Marlowe recalled the woman immediately suggesting she donate them to the homeless, who often only own one bra, or none at all. She dropped hers off at a shelter in D.C., and was told there was a great need for bras and feminine hygiene products.


County takes on term limits

MoCo Logo

ROCKVILLE -- County residents expressed support and opposition for the upcoming term limit referendum at Wednesday’s Charter Review Commission meeting, a day after the Montgomery County Board of Elections approved a term limit referendum for the November ballot.
The County Charter Review Commission, which was asked to give a response to the proposed referendum, listened as members of the public spoke on the matter.

“Public service ceases to be such when the service’s primary focus is not on the service to the citizens but rather doing anything he or she deems necessary to stay in office,” said Hessie Harris, a resident who spoke in favor of term limits at the meeting.

“In such case, instead of serving the public, the legislative body serves the political and special interest as necessary for re-election. Hence in this regard, the so-called public servants are always campaigning and the decisions made and actions taken reflect that fact.”

Local resident Paul Geller said term limits are a bad idea because they limit voters’ choices,

“What if I told you I agree in this room and we should have term limits in a way,” Geller said. “We already do, it's called elections, it's called voting. Every four years we are given the opportunity to vote people out of office or vote people in office whether they are incumbents or whether they are people who have been around a good long time. I find legislation like this to be absolutely dangerous.”


Killing the blood suckers

Health officials in the county spray for mosquitoes in three locations - including Gaithersburg


State officials sprayed areas of Kensington, Sandy Spring and Gaithersburg Monday because of concerns over Zika, West Nile Virus and other mosquito-borne diseases.

Maryland Department of Agriculture spokesperson Julie Oberg said state officials from mosquito control decided to spray parts of the County after detecting mosquito-borne disease in either a captured mosquito or a person.

Oberg said she would not disclose what specifically promoted the spray in the County other than it was a “public health concern.”

According to the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene there are no cases of locally acquired Zika in Maryland.

“Every time we respond that way, it's either because of a mosquito detection or a human case of a mosquito-borne diseases,” Oberg said.

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