More inspections planned after 911 failure

Sprint Wireless leaders said they will put new measures in place to prevent another outage that prevented customers last month from dialing 911 on their mobile phones.

Brian Hedlund, a Sprint Wireless representative Brian Hedlund, told the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) said last week a defective part prevented Sprint Wireless from sustaining wire line service during a PEPCO power outage Aug. 16.

Hedlund said Sprint had “redundancy,” or alternate power sources, in case there was a power failure. He said such an incident is unlikely to occur but Sprint needs to be ready in case it does.

“This particular switch failure was a very unusual circumstance,” Hedlund said.


Get The Lead Out!

"Water Supply Challenges" Part One of Five: Sentinel investigation finds little lead in water supply but other problems

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Surface water in Montgomery and Prince George’s County contains fecal matter, while tap water and well water in the two counties has a variety of chemicals, turbidity and hardness issues – according to a six-month long investigation conducted by The Sentinel newspapers.

The path your water takes from the banks of the Potomac and Patuxent rivers to your tap at home is a long and complicated one.


MCPS investigating racial chant on middle school bus

Children chanting racial slur on school busChildren chanted racial slurs on school bus Tuesday. Links to the video are available on our media option and bottom of this page.

A student from Robert Frost Middle School recorded her classmates on the bus singing a song that included a racial slur Tuesday.

In the video posted online, students sang, “One, two, three, four, how many (n-word) are in my store?”

Montgomery County Public Schools spokesperson Gboyinde Onijala said the Office of School Support and Improvement reported the incident to MCPS.


Residents sue over Westbard

Thirty-three Bethesda and Chevy Chase residents sued the Montgomery County government Monday in an effort to stop the County Council from allowing the development of the Westbard Sector Plan.

The plan, as approved in May, would allow developers to build hundreds of new residential and commercial units between Westbard Avenue and Massachusetts Avenue, less than a mile from the Washington, D.C. border.

Opponents say the development would exacerbate existing traffic congestion and school overcrowding and create environmental problems through more greenhouse gas emissions from more vehicles on the road.

The SaveWestbard group filed the complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court Monday through their attorney Michele Rosenfeld, eight days before the County Council is due to vote on changing zoning laws in the area so it allows the master plan.

“We concluded that there was basis to challenge in court because we believe the council did not follow the required process in filing the Westbard Sector Plan,” said Rosenfeld.


Educators discuss race and equity issues


ROCKVILLE – Members of the Board of Education and representatives from the Montgomery County Educational Association (MCEA) discussed race and equity issues facing the school system Thursday at the Carver Educational Services Center.

One of the issues focused on finding ways to ensure teachers and instructors are properly resourced.

“We need to have more resources to improve reading at the first grade” said Georgene Fountain, a music teacher at Daly Elementary School in Germantown.


Council asks education and utility questions

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OLNEY – Local residents asked Montgomery County Council members to better fund schools and do something to control utility rates during a town hall meeting Sept. 14 at Rosa Parks Middle School.

Olney resident Michael Binder criticized Pepco’s proposed $13 average monthly rate increase, saying Pepco investors should take a financial hit, as many of their customers did in the past few years.

According to officials from Pepco, the proposed rate increase in meant to recover investments that Pepco made to increase the quality of their service.

Council member Roger Berliner (D-1), who previously criticized Pepco for the proposed rate increase, said the council does not have jurisdiction to change Pepco’s rates.

“Our council has zero authority,” said Berliner. “It is a totally state-regulated entity. We can stand up, we can make our voices known; we can participate.”


Congressional candidate Hoeber pitches transportation solutions

AmieHoeber2Congressional candidate Amie Hoeber (R), left, greets a rider at Shady Grove Station Tuesday. PHOTO BY KATHLEEN STUBBS  

ROCKVILLE – Congressional candidate Amie Hoeber (R) said she is redirecting her campaign to focus on transportation, although she said she is not an expert on the subject.

Running for the sixth congressional district, the former Reagan-era defense official said Gov. Larry Hogan (R), who endorsed her last week, also said voters value transportation.

Hogan said he believes Hoeber has a chance of winning the election as a Republican despite the Democratic tilt of the district that led to former Rep. Roscoe Bartlett’s (R) defeat in 2012 by newcomer John Delaney (D), who won re-election in 2014.

“A lot of people wrote me off when I was running and said that we didn’t have a chance and I proved them wrong,” Hogan said in a statement distributed by Hoeber’s campaign. “And I think she has the ability to do the exact same thing.”


Ficker and Bessel debate merits of county term limits

Bessel  Ficker - Term Limits DebatePaul Bessel, left, and Robin Ficker, right, take part in a debate over term limits in Montgomery County. PHOTOS BY MARK POETKER  

ROCKVILLE -- A debate about term limits Monday night featured an argument based on studies and facts against one centered on a distrust of local elected officials.

During the debate moderated by Montgomery County Sentinel executive editor Brian Karem, term limits opponent Paul Bessel debated term limit advocate Robin Ficker at the Montgomery County Council Chambers about the merits of Question B on the fall ballot.
If passed, five of the nine council members would not be allowed to run for re-election in 2018.

"We need an infusion of new talent," said Ficker.

"I can't find any study that says term limits result in anything good," said Bessel.


Ties that don't bind...

Metro slows down as wood ties are linked to recent derailment

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Metro is running some Red Line trains at slower speeds so they don’t damage the wooden rail ties that hold the track in place, according to Metro spokesperson Richard Jordan.

“The Red Line speed restrictions are at various locations,” Jordan said. “They are added as conditions warrant and lifted as repairs are made.”

Metro officials did not return requests for a list of speed restriction locations and speeds before deadline.

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