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Takoma Park mulls allowing alcohol sales on sidewalks

TAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council debated Wednesday to allow dining retailers to serve and sell alcohol outdoors on sidewalks belonging to the city.

“There’s an interest in restaurants being able to have sidewalk cafés to be able to serve alcoholic beverages,” said Takoma Park City Manager Suzanne Ludlow. “A sidewalk café would be, by definition, in the public right of way which means it’s in the city’s control.”

Currently, no city laws specifically regulate outdoor alcohol sales and the application process to allow such sales is handled by the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control.

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Takoma Park considers pesticide ban expansion

TAKOMA PARK – The Takoma Park City Council discussed amending its pesticide ban Wednesday evening.

The discussion revolved around chemicals containing neonicotinoids, a component of many pesticides that research shows are harmful beyond target and can damage surrounding plants.

The proposed amendment would add neonicotinoids to the City’s current list of banned pesticides. The ban, which is known as the Safe Grow Ordinance, came into effect banning the use of cosmetic lawn pesticides in the city.

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Board of Education discuss implementation of national education law

ROCKVILLE – The Montgomery County Board of Education discussed its role in implementing federal education legislation.

Members of the board discussed the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), a law passed by the U.S. Congress in December 2015 as a successor to the previous No Child Left Behind Act.

ESSA requires that states implement a recording and accountability system to assess the academic performance of counties and schools. Maryland and Montgomery County are currently in the process of deciding how to implement the law.

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CASA sues Trump administration over DACA repeal

The immigrant advocacy organization CASA de Maryland along with eight other groups and more than a dozen individuals announced on the afternoon of Oct. 5 they are suing the federal government over the elimination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which has given work status to undocumented immigrants who came to the Unitized States as minors, known as "dreamers."

Named in the lawsuit are President Donald Trump, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions, and four government agencies — U.S. Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement and U.S. Customs and Border Protection — and their department heads.

A legal team that includes Arnold & Porter LLP, the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs, Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP, and the Civil Rights Clinic of the Howard University School of Law is joining them in the legal action.

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Aspen Hill residents celebrate library’s 50th amid continued concerns

ASPEN HILL – Area residents, elected officials and past and present library staff met Saturday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Aspen Hill Library’s opening, while some of the branch’s advocates said they’re concerned about problems with building.

Elliot Chabot, chairperson of the Aspen Hill Library Advisory Committee, welcomed guests to the celebration at Aspen Hill Library and recalled working there as a teenager; he served as a page shelving books from 1971 to 1973.

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Code 3 holds training session for police on dangers of opioid crisis

Two undercover County police officers joined about 50 area officers for an all-day session on the dangers of the opioid crisis to both themselves and drug users.

During training Oct. 4 in Washington, D.C., the officers learned about the dangers of drugs laced with fentanyl and carfentanil, two chemical substances much more potent than heroin. Just being in the bathroom when a carfentanil-laced opioid is flushed down the toilet so the police cannot find it creates residue in the air that “can bring an officer to his knees,” said John Burke, co-founder and president of the International Health Facility Diversion Association with more than 32 years’ experience in pharmaceutical diversion investigations.

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Proposals heard for old Silver Spring library

The former Silver Spring Library on Colesville Road may one day be a child-care center or a senior residential facility with a child-care center.

About 125 people crowded into the Silver Spring Civic Building Oct. 4 to hear proposals that the County had specified should include intergenerational use.

For the next few months in regards to those proposals, residents can comment on the County’s Office of Planning and Development website. The plans and the comments will then be presented to County Executive Ike Leggett for review.

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Council legalizes and regulates Airbnb

The Montgomery County Council passed a bill and zoning text amendment Tuesday to legalize and regulate short-term rentals done through websites such as Airbnb.

The council voted unanimously to pass Bill 2-16 and Zoning Text Amendment 17-03 which allows residents who want to rent out their homes or condos through hospitality services such as Airbnb to register with the County Department of Health and Human Services.

Airbnb is a popular hospitality site that allows homeowners to advertise their homes or rooms for short-term vacation rentals. Council member Hans Riemer (D-at large), the lead sponsor of Bill 2-16, said he worried that investors would buy houses with the intention of advertising rooms in the house on Airbnb full-time making it a de-facto hotel.

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Man rescued, transported after being struck by Metro train

metro logoD.C. Fire & Emergency Medical Services personnel transported a man to a hospital Friday after he was struck by a Metro train, D.C. Fire & EMS spokesperson Vito Maggiolo said.

EMS personnel extricated the man from under a train near L’Enfant Plaza Station and transported him to a hospital, Maggiolo said. The man was in critical condition.

Metro spokesperson Ron Holzer said Friday afternoon he had received no updates on the man’s condition.

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Murder suspect won’t face charges for death of victim’s unborn child

4K5A4219 1Montgomery County State's Attorney John McCarthy holds a press conference with Assistant State’s Attorneys Donna Fenton (left) and Mary Herdman (right) on the indictment of Tyler Tessier in the murder of Laura Wallen. PHOTO BY GLYNIS KAZANJIAN  A suspect indicted for the murder of his girlfriend cannot be charged for the death of her unborn child due to Maryland law, according to State’s Attorney John McCarthy.

After finding the body of Laura Wallen, 31, in a shallow grave on farmland in Damascus, police arrested Tyler Tessier Sept. 13 on charges which included first-degree murder. A grand jury indicted Tessier on one count of murder Thursday. However, he will not be charged in the death of Wallen’s unborn child due to state law, McCarthy said at a press conference in Rockville on Friday.

“Her child was autopsied, “McCarthy said. “A medical team established at the time of Ms. Wallen’s murder the child was fourteen weeks old. Based on medical testimony, the child was not viable independent of Ms. Wallen. Based on those medical findings, and as a matter of law in Maryland, as a result the defendant is not chargeable with a second count of murder related to the child.”

McCarthy confirmed Wallen died from a gunshot wound to the back of her head.

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