Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Trial Underway for Alleged Co-Conspirators in Murder of Two Northwest High School Students

Three months after a Gaithersburg man was sentenced to life in prison for his role in the June 2017 murders of two Northwest High School seniors, the trial of three other men accused in the killings is underway this week in Montgomery County Circuit Court in Rockville.
With Judge David A. Boynton presiding, Assistant State’s Attorney Jessica Hall during Friday’s opening statements accused the three men of ambushing and executing Northwest seniors Shadi Ali Najjar, 17, and Artem Ziberov, 18.
“These boys were lured to Gallery Court, they were ambushed, and they were executed,” Hall said. “Those were the actions of four men—these three men and another. The men who executed and slaughtered these two boys are Edgar Garcia-Gaona, sitting in the back, Roger Garcia, in front of him, and Rony A. Galicia, sitting over here, and a man named Jose Canales-Yanez.”

According to Montgomery County police, at about 10:25 p.m. on June 5, 2017, Najjar and Ziberov were shot to death in Najjar’s blue Honda Civic while parked in a remote residential area in the 8200 block of Gallery Court in Montgomery Village. In all, between 30 and 31 rounds were fired at the two teens, who were pronounced dead by police at the scene, according to Hall.
Jose “O” Ovilson Canales-Yanez, 26, of Gaithersburg, was found guilty in January of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder, along with other charges, for what prosecutors described as execution-style killings...

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Apple Ballot Endorsed Candidate Uses MCPS Website as Campaign Website #ethics #AppleBallot #MSEA #MCEA

See what happens when we click on the Judy Docca online ad.

Are election ads for candidates supposed to use government resources to promote their campaigns?

Why doesn't this candidate have her own election website?   

ZTA 18-11 on cell towers in front yards is tabled by @hansriemer after public opposition.

Friday, October 26, 2018

3 women with UMBC ties join sex-assault lawsuit; 1 alleges she was raped by 4 UMBC basketball players

Three women with ties to the University of Maryland, Baltimore County have joined a lawsuit against Baltimore County authorities that alleges systemic indifference to crimes of sexual violence and bias against women. One new plaintiff, a former UMBC student, alleged that she was raped by four UMBC basketball players on campus in 2014, according to the suit.
According to the lawsuit, the woman attended a party and woke up the next morning without any memory from the night before after consuming various beverages. Weeks later, she was told that four basketball players had "run a train on her and pass[ed] her around," according to the lawsuit. Two of the players were later expelled, but Baltimore County detectives and the state’s attorney’s office determined there was not evidence that a crime had occurred...

Thursday, October 25, 2018

ACLU joins students’ challenge to Prince George’s summer school tuition prices

The American Civil Liberties Union has joined four Prince George’s students’ challenge to a summer school tuition policy, arguing the costs are too burdensome for some families and inhibit students from graduating.
Debbie Jeon, legal director with ACLU of Maryland, said charging tuition for summer school violates state law requiring free public education. Many students enroll in the summer session to make up classes they didn’t complete or pass during the school year but are required for graduation, also known as “credit recovery.”
“Maryland’s Constitution promises all families a free public education for their children,” Jeon said. “If students are required by the school system to take core courses like English and math . . . to progress to the next grade and ultimately to graduate, the system can’t then impose high financial fees that make it impossible for some students to do so.”
Spokeswoman Raven Hill said the school system charged $455 per class in summer 2018, noting that nearly all Maryland districts charge for summer school. Hill did not respond to specific questions about the ACLU’s assertion that the policy violates state law.
Prince George’s students who qualify for free and reduced meal prices, a signifier of financial need, can have up to 25 percent of tuition for one class waived, district documents state.
The reduced tuition is still too costly for many families, said Grace Reusing, a Maryland public defender. The district, she said, “has the most expensive summer school program in the state, and they have the most inadequate waiver for low-income families.” In summer 2018, Montgomery County charged up to $300 per class for county residents and $340 for nonresidents.
Reusing said she sent letters to Prince George’s school district officials in March and May requesting the 134,000-student system waive four students’ summer tuition entirely. The waivers were denied June 27, days before summer school began, she said.
She appealed the decision and expects the Prince George’s Board of Education to rule on the appeal at an executive session during Tuesday’s board meeting.
“Prince George’s County Public Schools have priced summer school out of the reach of the students who need it the most,” Reusing said.
One of the students, Reusing said, is taking classes at an alternative school. Reusing has requested the district reimburse another student who paid for a less expensive online summer course.
The ACLU has promised to sue the school system over its summer school fees and waiver policy if the district refuses to waive the four students’ tuition.
“The ACLU will have no choice but to pursue litigation to address this serious constitutional violation undermining the rights of Prince George’s County students to a free public school education,” the letter read...

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

Attempted Armed Robbery at Northwest Marching Band Practice

Two Northwest students were victims of an attempted armed robbery in the school parking lot after marching band practice on Monday night.
   Montgomery County Police confirmed that two Northwest students, one male and one female, were victims of an attempted armed robbery while they sat in the school parking lot on Monday night
   According to the letter sent to parents by Northwest Principal Jimmy D’Andrea on Tuesday, the two students, one male and one female, were finishing up band practice in the school’s lower parking lot at about 9:00 pm on Monday night when they were approached by three individuals.
   Police said the unknown individuals had hidden their faces and demanded that the two students empty their pockets, one of the suspects displayed a knife. The three suspects demanded cash, but police say that neither of the students had cash. At this point, the three fled the area on foot towards Richter Farm Road. The suspects were described by two Black males and a White or Hispanic male, according to police. No property was taken, and no injuries were reported...

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

3 judges, 3 lawyers vie for Montgomery Co. Circuit Court seat

ROCKVILLE – Gov. Larry Hogan will mull over the names of two district court judges, a magistrate judge and three attorneys as he weighs whom to appoint to Judge Michael D. Mason’s soon-to-be-vacant seat on the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
The Trial Courts Judicial Nominating Commission for Montgomery County recently the six names to Hogan recently as the governor considers a successor to Mason, who has served on the court since 1994 and will retire upon reaching the mandatory judicial retirement age of 70 on Dec. 6.
Four of the candidates were automatically submitted to the governor as the commission had forwarded their names to Hogan for an earlier vacancy on the circuit court in Rockville within the past two years but were not appointed. The second-chance candidates are Montgomery County District Judges Patricia Lynn Mitchell and John Christian Moffett; Clark E. Wisor III, a family magistrate judge; and attorney Gerald W. Heller, a litigation partner at Linowes & Blocher LLP in Bethesda.
The two other candidates are Theresa M. Chernosky, a public defender, and Christopher C. Fogleman, a partner at Gleason, Flynn, Emig, Fogleman & McAfee Chtd. in Rockville.
Hogan is not bound to make his appointment from the commission’s submitted list but it has been gubernatorial practice for more than 40 years.
Circuit-court appointments are not subject to Senate confirmation. Sitting circuit court judges, however, do run for election in the first general election after their first year on the bench...

Monday, October 22, 2018

Two MCPS School Buses Hit After Truck Runs Red Light

Several people, including students, were transported to local hospitals after a truck ran a red light and crashed into a school bus on Monday morning in Germantown. The incident occurred at about 8:40 am on Monday, Oct. 22 at the intersection of Frederick Road and Gunners Branch Road.

According to police, the Montgomery County Public Schools bus was making a left turn on to Frederick Avenue/MD-355, leaving the Fox Chapel shopping center at the traffic light when a roll-off truck traveling northbound on MD-355 ran the red light and struck the bus. The bus was spun around forced back into the northbound lanes where it struck an SUV which was pushed into a second MCPS bus...

3rd Kids with Special Needs Bus Accident in One Week

GERMANTOWN, MD — Several people were injured in a three-vehicle crash in Germantown Monday morning, according to the Montgomery County Police Department. The incident — which involved a special needs school bus, truck, and a passenger car — occurred at around 8:40 a.m. at Gunners Branch Road and Frederick Road.
Pete Piringer, chief spokesman for Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service, said seven patients were taken to various hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries. The patients include two children riding the school bus and five adults...

Hans Riemer wants a Cell Tower in Every Front Yard and at Every Day Care, School and Playground and They Will NOT Look Like The Picture @washingtonpost Uses

Brickyard Road, Potomac, Md
The Washington Post published a letter to the editor today from Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer.  The Montgomery County Council is poised to vote on Mr. Riemer's cell tower in every front yard plan tomorrow. 

The Washington Post has posted a picture along with the article that does not look anything like what is already in Montgomery County.  Democracy dies in darkness and democracy dies when newspapers don't research facts. 

The image on the left shows an actual cell tower installed in front of a Montgomery County home over two years ago.  This is what the "small" cell towers actually look like in Montgomery County.  The Washington Post could have used an actual picture instead of a picture supplied by a cell tower vendor. 

Is Councilmember Hans Riemer going to tell residents the truth?  Does he care about the truth?


Vote for the Resident Advocates’ (CAP – Comprehensive Antenna Proposal) amendment or Vote ZTA 18-11 down.  Your Staff’s amendments (Ms. Herrera, Mr. Zyontz, Ms. Nurmi and Ms. Jones) do NOT address resident concerns and ignore the County’s own FCC opposed actions.   I applaud the Council members that want to table ZTA 18-11 and those that want to amend it. 

Staff amendments DO NOT represent Council concerns, resident concerns, or those set forth several times by Montgomery County.   

  1. Property Values.  One of the largest reasons residents are opposed to ZTA 18-11 is they fear property values will decrease as small cells are deployed into our neighborhoods – YET we are told by the Staff that they are unaware of studies showing this.  As such, property values were not taken into consideration.   We say we are concerned  about aesthetics and that small cells could be large, loud, bulky and obtrusive and would detract from a neighborhood’s beauty –  EVEN Ms. Floreen stated that “in my … neighborhood … there’s a lot of junk … it’s not attractive … but its there and nobody notices.  I wish they’d put [a cell tower] 20 feet from my bedroom because I have crummy cell service.” [Council Session Oct. 9, 2018]

Through its attorney’s Montgomery County has filed on March 8, 2017 with the Secretary of the FCC in regards to “Streamlining Deployment of Small Cell Infrastructure by Improving Wireless Facilities / WT Docket No. 16-421)” where it discussed in detail, in concurrence with expert opinions, the negative effect cell poles and their associated components on residents’ property values:

“Small Cells” vary dramatically in size and visibility. Some proposed facilities could have significant, negative impacts on adjacent property values. There are technologies readily available that can reduce the size of the facilities. But, compounding siting issues are the Commission rules under 47 U.S. §1455(c) (colloquially, Section 6409), which allow for installations to grow to sizes entirely inappropriate for many areas, including residential areas and many redeveloped historical, seaside and downtown areas. If local governments can allow small cells and keep them small in size, localities will be in a better position to develop safe harbors and development plans that can provide a simpler path for deployment.

Again in 2018, the County stated:

“Considering that the Smart Communities’ [of which Montgomery County is one] prior filings show that the addition of facilities of this size [28 pizza boxes/28 cu. Ft. – on front lawns throughout the country] diminish property values, it is strange for the Commission to assume that approval can be granted in the regulatory blink of an eye.”   P.6 of the 2018 filing (cited below)

            The Exhibit included in the FCC filing discussing negative effects on property values can be found on page 138.        
Council –  vote “NO” on 18-11 as it doesn’t even address your own concerns.    Prepare something better.

  1. “Small Cell” / 5G Deployment Won’t Fix Underserved Communities.   Residents’ have repeatedly argued that ZTA 18-11 will not serve communities that are underserved and deployment seems to have no reasonable plan – dotting communities that have connectivity with multiple poles yet leaving communities that complain they cannot call or text with no answers – YET at every hearing on a zoning amendment that proposes to move cell poles into residential areas (16-02, 18-02 and now 18-11) the Council and Staff stand largely silent while the wireless industry tells us that they cannot meet the demands, shows multiple maps of lack of coverage, and says we may not be able to reach emergency responders until more cells are deployed to meet needs.  In fact, resident proponents of ZTA 18-11 created a website called [“Engaged Communities for Better Access”] which suggest residents e-mail their Council Members to approve the zoning amendment “how would you like cell phone calls that don’t drop, no matter where you’re calling from”   -   Council should look to who owns this website (as members of our group have noted) and query as to how they got these talking points. 

Yes, Montgomery County, again being a leader in Technology made an FCC submission on September 19, 2018 (In the Matter of Accelerating Wireless Broadband Deployment by Removing Barriers to Infrastructure Investment WT No. 17-79) (at p. 45) which stated that:

“The number of facilities required to provide voice services is much less than the number required to provide non-common carrier data services.  In my experience, small cell equipment is being placed primarily to accommodate the growing demand for capacity from users of data-intensive applications on smartphones and other cellular devices.  I base this statement on the fact that small cells have been placed only over the past 10 years and mostly over the past one or two years, and almost all of these have been placed in areas where adequate cellular service already exists (e.g. there are plenty of “bars”).” 

“in other words, the small cells are not being placed to provide coverage where none exists (or where it is not reliable – for example where capacity limits result in dropped calls, failures to connect or inadequate throughput to support personal wireless services), but as part of a densification process where the applicant is adding additional capacity, mostly or entirely for high-bandwidth data services, including video and Internet access services.” 

Council –  vote “NO” on 18-11 as it doesn’t even address your own concerns.    Prepare something better.

See FCC September 2018 submission:


Another MCPS School Bus Accident

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Maryland youth, 18, charged after allegedly threatening to ‘shoot up’ school - Walter Johnson High School, Bethesda, MD

An 18-year-old Montgomery County man was charged with making a “threat of mass violence” after he allegedly posted a photo on social media of himself holding an assault-style rifle and threatening to “shoot up” Walter Johnson High School, police officials said Saturday.
Luis Amilcar Cabrera of Rockville was being held on no-bond status at the Montgomery County jail. He is expected to make his first court appearance Monday.
“There is absolutely no excuse for this type of behavior,” said Capt. Paul Starks, a Montgomery police spokesman. “We take all threats seriously.”..

Friday, October 19, 2018

The Charter School Chef

From The City Paper, reporter Laura Hayes, Oct 17, 2018. For the full stort, and more on other food stories in this article, go here. To see the Elsie Whitlow Stokes ES school lunch menu for October go here. A few of the October lunch main courses are: Tikka Masala Chicken; Jerk Chicken/Jerk Tofu; Peruvian Chicken; Greek Pasta Salad.

And here's the article from The City Paper.

When students at Elsie Whitlow Stokes stream into the cafeteria this Thursday, they'll get trays with sesame noodle salad, a hard boiled egg, roasted greens and red peppers, a peach cup, and milk. The Brookland charter school only serves meals cooked on the premises. “A select few schools do scratch cooking,” says head chef Chris Headecker. “[Other schools] don’t have a kitchen in the building. They might just have warming stations or kitchenette space because they outsource their food.”               
The D.C. native who is half Brazilian and half Guyanese thought he wanted a career in criminal justice, but rechanneled his passion for helping by putting his childhood love of cooking to use. He graduated from Carlos Rosario International Public Charter School’s culinary program in 2010 and has been employed at E.W. Stokes ever since—advancing from intern to boss.

His alarm chirps at 3 a.m. so he can be in the kitchen by 4 a.m., ready for a day of preparing breakfast for 450 people, lunch for 750 people, and supper for 250 participants in the after school program. The school has students from Pre-K up through 5th grade, and staff often eat Headecker’s menu.

In dreaming up dishes like Peruvian tofu and taco casserole, Headecker must follow USDA dietary requirements, but he finds ways to stay on trend, like participating in Meatless Monday, and he lets loose on Friday by serving crowd-pleasing pizza or burgers.

Former teacher sentenced to 90 days in decades-old Maryland sex abuse case

A former high school teacher, coach and athletic director in Montgomery County was sentenced to 90 days in jail this week after pleading guilty in a child sex abuse case dating back three decades.

Michael John Riley, 64, of Walkersville admitted in court Monday to engaging in sex acts with a student at Rockville High School in 1984 and 1985. She was 16 when the relationship started and he was 29, according to prosecutors. An investigation of the case began this year, in April...
...Riley had taught history and coached basketball at Rockville High School, prosecutors said in court Monday. Over his career, he also had worked at Richard Montgomery, Poolesville and Clarksburg high schools. More recently, he had served as athletic director at the Charles E. Smith Jewish Day School in Rockville...

'Heroin was my first love': 15-year-old MCPS girl trades sex for drugs to feed addiction

...That affection for opioids and yearning for "the next high" drove Lisbeth to inject and snort opioids in her bedroom, at friends' homes, on the street and at her high school.
"I snorted a line of oxycodone in the middle of lunch when everyone was around, right off the floor, in front of everyone," Lisbeth stated with a discernible sense of pride. "One time I was shooting up in the bathroom and I dropped my bent spoon and someone was like, ‘What the hell was that?’ Somehow I always got away with it.”..

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Jail for ex-Montgomery Co. teacher who had sexual relationship with student in 1980s

WASHINGTON — A former Rockville High School teacher has pleaded guilty to having a sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who was one of his students in the 1980s.

As part of an agreement with Montgomery County, Maryland, prosecutors, Michael John Riley, now 64, entered the plea to one count of sex abuse of a minor Monday in Montgomery County Court and was sentenced to 90 days in jail.
Ramon Korionoff, spokesman for State’s Attorney John McCarthy, said police began an investigation into Riley in April...

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Has Your School Been Investigated for Civil Rights Violations?

Every year, the U.S. Department of Education investigates thousands of school districts and colleges around the country for civil rights violations ranging from racial discrimination in school discipline to sexual violence. Related: DeVos Has Scuttled More Than 1,200 Civil Rights Probes Inherited from Obama →

For the first time ever, ProPublica is making available the status of all of the civil rights cases that have been resolved during the past three years, as well as pending investigations. See if your school district or college is being investigated for civil rights violations and why.
In the past three years, 40 cases have been brought against MONTGOMERY COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS and then resolved.

Resolved Cases

6 cases had violations or were resolved with corrective change
34 cases had no violations or corrective changes
Continues at this link: