First Metro Red Line SafeTrack will cause hour-long delays

Metro Red Line presser 7-27-16Kathy Porter, front center, speaks Wednesday about upcoming SafeTrack delays on the Red Line as Al Roshdie, left, Roger Berliner center, and Mayor Kate Stewart watch. PHOTO BY JAKE BRODSKY

SILVER SPRING – Metro riders on the Red Line may have to wait as much as an extra hour Aug. 1-7.

Metro General Manager Paul Wiedefeld said at a news conference Wednesday the project, or “safety surge”, will cause crowding on all Red Line trains.

Kathy Porter, the Metro Board member representing Montgomery County, said though the SafeTrack project will slow riders’ commutes, the work supports Wiedefeld’s objectives of improving safety and reliability of the rail system.

“There’s no way around it,” said Porter. “It’s an inconvenience (to riders).”


Residents in Takoma Park seek shady spots

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TAKOMA PARK – City residents asked Washington Suburban Sanitation Commission officials to find a way to avoid cutting down or damaging their trees when they repair damaged water and sewer lines between Westmore and Eastern Avenues.

Homeowners pointed upward to several trees tall enough to tower over their homes during a walk-through with WSSC officials Mayor Kate Stewart and Council member Rizzy Qureshi (District 3) Tuesday.

The residents said some of the trees are more than 100 years old and provide canopy coverage that protects their homes and prevents flooding.

Doug Sievers, an environmental analysts from the WSSC, acknowledged Takoma Park also has one of the most restrictive tree-protection ordinances in the country.


Car crash claims bicyclist



A bicyclist from Silver Spring is dead following a collision with a car Sunday afternoon in Aspen Hill.

Oscar Mauricio Gutierrez Osorio, 31, rode his bike on Veirs Mill Road toward Turkey Branch Parkway when a 2003 Honda headed eastbound struck him, according to Montgomery County Police spokesperson Rick Goodale.

Police took Osorio and the driver, 42-year-old Williams Alfo Cordova Siguenza, to a hospital, where Osorio died from his injuries.


New superintendent concerned about readiness



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ROCKVILLE –Montgomery County Public Schools’ new superintendent told the County Council Monday he is concerned about how well students are prepared at the end of high school for college or careers. 

MCPS Superintendent Jack Smith pointed out that not every senior desires to take college courses after finishing high school, and that a number of students are graduating unprepared for either college or a career. He told the County Council and the Board of Education that MCPS should be able to prepare students across the county for either college or a career, whichever they decide. 

“We need that collaborative effort, and then we need to be able to tell students, ‘Whether you want to get a career right out of high school or (attend) Montgomery College; College Park; UVA; the University of California, Berkeley, we don’t care,’” Smith said. “‘We want to make sure you are well-prepared.’”


Father of fallen teen donates $1.2 million

ROCKVILLE – Paul Li said he regrets not understanding his 18-year-old son Calvin Li better before he died last year in a drunken driving crash.

“I wish I understood him better so I could support him better so he didn’t have to behave in such radical ways,” Li said. “That’s my regret. I didn’t understand him.”

Li recently donated $1.2 million dollars to the University of Maryland’s Asian American Studies program, creating the Calvin J. Li Endowed Fellowship in Asian American Studies.


Council considers removing cell tower restrictions

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ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Council introduced a bill this week that would allow cellphone towers to be installed without a public hearing.

Representatives from telecommunications companies said the bill will expedite the process of upgrading their data and other mobile services to cell phones users.

“I don’t even know what a Pokémon Go is, but I know it’s placing tremendous demands on the wireless networks,” said Edward Donohue, a lawyer representing telecommunications company Crown Castle. 


County continues minimum wage discussion


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ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Health and Human Services (HHS) Committee picked up their discussion of raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020 from last week’s hearing.

On Monday, the committee did not vote or make any recommendations to the bill, as council member still waited for more information from their staff about the potential impacts.

Bill 12-16, has strong support on the council with five co-sponsors, with council members George Leventhal (D- At large), Hans Riemer (D- At large), Nancy Navarro (D-4), Tom Hucker (D-5) and the leading sponsor, Marc Elrich (D-At large).


Transparency Watch: Metro problems and Council accolades


Transparency Watch

Each week The Sentinel staff will compile and report on the problems and promises of local, state and federal government officials as they provide us with public information.

We offer "Walls" to those who throw up roadblocks and "Windows to those who readily provide access.


Saybrooke residents support parking ban on Victory Farm Drive; others opposed


GAITHERSBURG – Saybrooke residents said a 60-day overnight parking ban on Victory Farm Drive improved their quality of life while residents from nearby areas countered that the ban prevented them from parking close to their homes.

Opponents of the trial ban, which ran from May 6 to July 6, also argued residents of a certain neighborhood should not be allowed to dictate parking policy for others.

“Those who were for the restrictions say there has been less litter and noise, that cars were no longer taking up space,” said City Manager Tony Tomasello to the City Council July 18. “Against the restrictions were city residents who felt that they hadn’t done anything wrong and were being discriminated against, that they had to move their cars to less convenient areas.” 


County searches for solutions in wake of 911 debacle

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Montgomery County officials say they want access to a federal alert system with a reach far beyond the County’s current system.

The County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security is overseeing a federal application to gain access to the Wireless Emergency Alerts system administered through the Federal Communications Commission and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

According to OEMHS director Dr. Earl Stoddard, Montgomery County may become one of the first localities, if not the first, in Maryland to enter the system, which allows government officials to notify residents about imminent threats to safety, such as hurricanes and tornadoes.

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