County holds public hearing on pool law

ROCKVILLE – On Tuesday the Montgomery County Council held a public hearing on a bill that would allow for hotel pools to remain open without a lifeguard.

If passed, Expedited Bill 16-17 would require hotel pools to have an emergency alert system next to the pool.

The bill, introduced by Council member Sidney Katz (D-3) and cosponsored by Council members Nancy Floreen (D-at large), Marc Elrich (d-at large) and Roger Berliner (D- 1), would repeal what hotel mangers call a costly bill. Montgomery County is one of only two jurisdictions in the state – along with Baltimore County– to require hotels to have a lifeguard on duty while the pool is open.


County discusses diversity in policing

Last year Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger met with County residents after police officers in Minnesota and Louisiana were caught on camera shooting African-American men.

The videos promoted protest and outrage across the Country, including in Montgomery County, from people who thought police departments did not represent the communities they sworn to protect. At one of the community forums, Manger promised to continue to try to diversify the County’s police department, but it was hard to keep up with the County’s quickly changing demographics.


"It's Time..."

Rockville votes to take a stand against President Trump and federal immigration policy

Rockville SealROCKVILLE – Rockville City Council members called the debate over the proposed ordinance to prohibit city officials from enforcing immigration law, one of the most contentious issues they have dealt with.

On Monday, the Rockville City Council and Mayor voted to pass the Fostering Community Trust Ordinance 3-2, which will ban City officials from assisting in the enforcement of federal immigration laws.

Council members Virginia D. Onley, Julie Palakovich Carr and Mark Pierzchala voted in favor of the ordinance while Council member Beryl L. Feinberg and Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton voted against it.

“When it comes to this jurisdiction, I think it’s time for the City of Rockville to take a stand,” Pierzchala said.


Tornado touches down in Silver Spring

House damaged by tornadoDamage to a home in Silver Spring after a tornado on Monday. PHOTO BY MATT COHEN A late summer afternoon thunderstorm in the D.C. suburbs is commonplace for residents. But on Monday, June 19, this storm proved to be much more.

According to the National Weather Service (NWS), a tornado struck in a Silver Spring neighborhood near the Dennis and Edgewood Avenue intersection. The NWS reports the tornado to be of the EF-0 class, meaning wind gusts of 65 to 85 miles per hour.

The powerful wind gusts uprooted multiple trees, took down power lines, and two homes were rendered uninhabitable as a result of the tornado.

Julia Kemp, a homeowner of 23 years in the affected area, described her account of the windstorm, saying, “It was about 3:48, my son had just called me. I was on the phone and could hear the storm coming, the rain and the wind. The wind got really, really strong, like I had never heard it before...and there was just this crashing on the roof. Banging, banging, over and over. I thought for sure that one of these trees was coming down. I ran back and forth between a couple of bedrooms looking at the ceiling, looking for branches. It calmed down, and I finally came out and the whole front lawn was covered in branches, you couldn’t walk out the front door without moving them. The whole neighborhood looked like a war-zone.”


Three men held without bond in Northwest HS murders

NW HS murder suspectsArrested Saturday in connection with the murders of two Northwest High School students, (pictured left to right) suspects Edgar Garcia-Gaona, Jose Canales-Yanez and Roger Garcia will be held without bond. COURTESY PHOTO  ROCKVILLE – The three men police arrested and charged Saturday night in connection with the murder of two Northwest High School students are to be held without bond after a bond hearing Monday.

Montgomery County District Court Judge John C. Moffett decided that Edgar Garcia-Gaona, 24, Jose Ovilson Canales-Yanez , 25, and Roger Garcia, 19 are to be held with no bond. Garcia-Gaona, CanalesYanez and Garcia are charged with two counts of first-degree murder and multiple counts of conspiracy to commit first-degree murder in connection to the murders of Shadi Adi Najjar and Artem S. Ziberov.


Interfaith Works opening

The daily shoulder-to-shoulder throngs of people waiting for Interfaith Works Clothing Center in Rockville to open its doors each morning is finally a thing of the past. With Monday’s ribbon-cutting, the nonprofit that provides low-income families with free clothing, linen and other items now operates out of a larger and much cheerier, sunlit space.

The center will continue to operate in the former Edward W. Broome Junior High School, which still has the dank look and smell of a high school gym. However, everything has moved upstairs, where there is more space and even windows.

There, director Monica Barberis-Young along with the center’s small staff and 1,000 volunteers take the mounds of donated clothes, shoes and household items and sort them.

Everyone who qualifies, mostly due to low-income levels, is welcome to fill a large blue bag of items and carry out one large item once a month.

The clothing center that helped 13,500 people last year also is adding to its services and now will also offer its clients help with their legal, medical, housing and educational needs.

“In as rich a county as this,” there often are 50 or 60 families waiting for the center to open its doors Tuesdays through Saturdays, Barberis-Young said.


Wootton bridge renamed after late HS principal

Doran Memorial Bridge 2Samuel Doran and wife Kathy Lavindor Doran unveil the sign renaming the Wootton Parkway Bridge after his late father, Wootton High School principal Michael J. Doran.                   PHOTO BY SUZANNE POLLAKThe Wootton Parkway Bridge leading to Wootton High School was renamed June 1 in memory of Principal Michael J. Doran, who believed in building bridges between the Rockville school and its many communities, according to those gathered outside at the dedication.

Doran, who died two years ago, had been principal at Wootton for 12 years.

Naming the bridge for his father is a fitting tribute as Doran believed “education is a bridge to a better life,” said his son, Samuel Doran.


Public information officer to run for County Council

Neil GreenbergerNeil Greenberger.     COURTESY PHOTO  Neil Greenberger, the Montgomery County Council’s public information officer, announced Thursday night that he plans on running for County Council in 2018.

Greenberger, a former sports reporter for the Washington Post and 11-year veteran as the legislative information officer at the County Council, said he will run as a Democrat for one of the four at-large County Council seats.


County unanimous in support of climate accords

MoCo LogoROCKVILLE – After President Donald J. Trump announced his decision June 1 to withdraw the United States from an international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, Montgomery County refuses to follow suit.

On Tuesday the Montgomery County Council unanimously supported a resolution that was introduced to affirm a commitment to the Paris Climate Accords, an international agreement that 195 nations signed in order to reduce levels of carbon dioxide emissions to stem the rise of climate change.

Montgomery County joins large cities nationwide such as Pittsburgh, Seattle, Atlanta and Philadelphia, which have made similar pledges to follow the Paris Climate Accords’ promise to reduce greenhouse gases.


County sets sights on ending homelessness

Montgomery County has set what it considers a very doable goal of providing housing for its 242 chronic homeless people and is committed to ending chronic homelessness within its borders by the end of this year.

In a community memorial service held outdoors in the Circuit Court Plaza on June 7, the new initiative called Inside, Not Outside, was announced.

County Administrative Officer Chuck Short explained that since the County’s homeless veterans have now been placed, it is time to focus on the chronically homeless, people who have been homeless for at least one year or have had at least four episodes of homelessness during the previous three years and have some problem or disability that needs a specific intervention, such as drug or alcohol addiction or illness.

Those who aren’t considered the chronic homeless have a specific, short-term, problem that forced them into the streets for a few months, including job loss or high medical bills.

Even if the County does provide housing — not just space in a shelter — there always will be new people ending up on the street or in a car, said Council member George Leventhal.

“We have to keep working on it every year,” he said. “People’s situations change all the time.”