Thursday, August 20, 2015

Regal Cinemas Germantown to begin searching bags of moviegoers

Regal Cinemas has responded to the latest movie theater shootings with a new bag check policy at its theaters nationwide. The cineplex giant operates the Regal Cinemas Germantown 14. Its new policy reads as follows:

Security issues have become a daily part of our lives in America. Regal Entertainment Group wants our customers and staff to feel comfortable and safe when visiting or working in our theatres. To ensure the safety of our guests and employees, backpacks and bags of any kind are subject to inspection prior to admission. We acknowledge that this procedure can cause some inconvenience and that it is not without flaws, but hope these are minor in comparison to increased safety.

The security check policy applies to bags, backpacks and packages, including purses.

Regal's corporate Facebook page is blowing up with customer backlash against the new policy, with many patrons feeling their 2nd and 4th Amendment rights are being violated. A few posters thanked the chain for ensuring their theaters would be gun-free zones.

Regal patrons weighed in on
both sides of the issue on
the chain's Facebook page
However, Regal's policy does not explicitly state which legal or illegal items would not be allowed to be brought into the theater. Nor does it specifically refer to firearms, even though it would seem obvious that weapons and explosives would be the primary intent of the policy.

Such a policy would not have prevented the infamous Aurora, Colorado theater mass shooting in 2012. In that incident, the shooter left the theater through the emergency exit. He then retrieved weapons, explosives and other materials from his car, and re-entered through that exit, which he had propped open enough to prevent it from locking.

That case made clear the security issues caused by a lack of ushers regularly patrolling theaters, as they once did not that many years ago. Had an usher simply ensured that door was closed on a routine walkthrough, and thereby locked to outside intruders, the shooter would have been foiled.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Poll: Edwards now leading Van Hollen in U.S. Senate race

Maryland Congresswoman Donna Edwards has moved ahead of Rep. Chris Van Hollen in the Democratic race for exiting U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski's seat, according to a new poll. The poll, commissioned by the Edwards campaign, shows her currently beating Van Hollen by 42%-37% among Maryland registered Democrats.

Garrick Delzell, Edwards' campaign manager, attributed her surge to voters believing she better represents their everyday economic concerns than Van Hollen. Voters identify with Edwards as a single mom, Delzell said in an email, who "knows what it’s like to juggle bills, insurance, and a career."

Van Hollen has so far drawn a huge advantage from many wealthy establishment supporters, and a massive campaign chest funded partly by Wall Street interests. The Montgomery County congressman has led the race all year in polls and in fundraising.

Edwards' lack of establishment support has put many county and state Democratic officials in a odd position, one that could come back to haunt them in the future.

Most of Montgomery County's political machine is squarely behind Van Hollen, despite Edwards' potential to be the first African-American to be elected to the Senate from Maryland. Former Rockville Mayor and Montgomery County Executive Doug Duncan is one of the few prominent former or current officials here to endorse her campaign.

In a statement after the poll results were released Tuesday, Edwards said, "Marylanders want someone who will fight for progressive values and the issues that matter to working families. These results show that Maryland primary voters believe I will be that voice."

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

JBG Companies employees log 10,000 community service hours (Photos)

Friendship Heights-based development firm The JBG Companies has wrapped up its annual summer Days of Service, and its employees have now accumulated 10,000 hours of volunteerism. They received paid time off to volunteer with community groups and causes of their choice.

This year, they helped prepare more than 34,000 meals for delivery to individuals in need, assisted in getting 1,200 pounds of fresh produce into the community, helped connect groups that serve the homeless with $47,000 of donated goods, and hauled more than 3,000 pounds of trash from the Anacostia River watershed, to name a few.

In these photos, JBG employees are on-site at a Gaithersburg home to provide free repairs and renovations that would not have been financially feasible without their assistance.

“Because of your investment and your team’s efforts, we were able to make significant improvements to the home of Army veteran Charles Sherman and his wife, Anne Colbert in Gaithersburg, Maryland,” Rebuilding Together of Montgomery County’s Executive Director Christina Betancourt Johnson told JBG in a thank you message. “With the help of your employee-volunteers and vendor support, we transformed their home into a safer and healthier environment for their family today and in years to come.”

JBG is the developer of Downtown Crown in Gaithersburg, a new, mixed-use urban development adjacent to Rio/Washingtonian Center.

Photos courtesy JBG Companies

Monday, August 17, 2015

New Americans Expo October 4 in Silver Spring

(Una traducción española de este artículo se puede encontrar a continuación)

Nonprofits, businesses and government agencies will gather at the Silver Spring Civic Center on October 4 from noon to 6:00 PM for the New Americans Expo 2015. The event is a one-stop shop for new Americans to learn about programs, services and products that will help them in adapting to and navigating life in America.

This year's expo is being led by 4 New Americans Ambassadors, YouTube personality and model Cindy Gamez, Kemi Fadojutimi of the TV show All Eyes on Africa, Miss Maryland 2013 Lyz Denizard, and John Cabrera of CF Alliance.

Attendees will be able to get information and assistance on legal services, insurance, banking, education, travel, how to obtain a driver's license, and employment options.

There will also be live music and performers, including singer-songwriter David Amaya, who is composing a song specifically for the event. Giveaways will include free toys for kids.

Two awards will be given during the afternoon - a Community Inclusion award for a local nonprofit, and an Appreciation Award for the organizations and volunteers participating in the expo.

Proceeds from the New Americans Expo 2015 will be distributed among four nonprofits that serve the immigrant community: Catholic Charities, Identity, El Poder de Ser Mujer and Etnika Foundation.

Admission to the event is free. You can register online.

* * *

Organizaciones no lucrativas, empresas y agencias gubernamentales se reunirán en el Centro Cívico de Silver Spring, el 4 de octubre desde el mediodía hasta las 18:00 de la Expo Nuevos Americanos de 2015. El evento es una ventanilla única para los nuevos estadounidenses a aprender sobre programas, servicios y productos que les ayudará en la adaptación a la vida en Estados Unidos.

Expo de este año está siendo dirigido por 4 nuevos americanos Embajadores, YouTube personalidad y la modelo Cindy Gamez, Kemi Fadojutimi del programa de televisión All Eyes on Africa, Miss Maryland 2013 Lyz Denizard, y Juan Cabrera de CF Alianza.

Los asistentes podrán obtener información y asistencia sobre servicios legales, seguros, banca, educación, viajes, cómo obtener una licencia de conducir, y las opciones de empleo.

También habrá música y artistas en vivo, incluyendo el cantautor David Amaya, quien está componiendo una canción especialmente para el evento. Sorteos incluirán juguetes gratis para los niños.

Dos premios se entregarán durante la tarde - un premio de Inclusión Comunitaria para una organización no lucrativa local y un premio de la apreciación de las organizaciones y voluntarios que participan en la feria.

Producto de la New Americans Expo 2015 se distribuirán entre cuatro organizaciones no lucrativas que sirven a la comunidad de inmigrantes: Catholic Charities, Identity, El Poder de Ser Mujer y Etnika Foundation.

La entrada al evento es gratis.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Germantown murder suspect in custody (Photo)

Montgomery County Police have arrested a suspect in the Tuesday murder of William Palacios in Germantown. Miguel Angel Rodriguez-Gaona, 36, of N. Summit Drive in Gaithersburg, has been charged with first-degree murder for the homicide. Detectives believe the incident was domestic in nature.

Palacios was found stabbed in his home in the 12900 block of Walnut View Court around 11:30 Tuesday evening. He later died at an undisclosed hospital.

Police say the girlfriend of Palacios was Rodriguez-Gaona's ex-girlfriend. The latter confronted the couple in the parking lot outside Palacios' home. He argued with Palacios, and then stabbed him multiple times, police allege.

Rodriguez-Gaona was located and arrested around noon Wednesday in Baltimore. He is being transferred back to Montgomery County for prosecution.

Anyone with information about this homicide is asked to call the Major Crimes Division at 240-773-5070.

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

5 assaults, 1 kidnapping + more - Gaithersburg crime update

Here's a roundup of crimes from the Gaithersburg area on August 8, according to crime data:

Assault. 1 block W. Watkins Mill Road at 8:23 PM.

Burglary. 18500 block N. Frederick Avenue at 5:40 PM.

Assault. 19500 block Brassie Place (Montgomery Village).

Theft from vehicle. 19900 block Spur Hill Drive (Montgomery Village).

Kidnapping. 500 block S. Frederick Avenue at 6:38 PM.

Assault. 400 block N. Frederick Avenue at 1:25 PM.

Assault. 100 block Teachers Way at 9:54 PM.

Assault. 100 block Ellington Boulevard at 1:12 PM (Downtown Crown).

Monday, August 10, 2015

Police investigating Gaithersburg accident

Montgomery County Police are investigating a one car crash that occurred Saturday night in Gaithersburg. Police say a 2004 Infiniti driven by Ana C. Martinez de Sanchez, 28, of Gaithersburg was traveling north in the southbound lanes of Muddy Branch Road around 9:30 PM, when it struck a traffic island at the intersection with W. Diamond Avenue.

Martinez de Sanchez and two children in the vehicle were transported to local hospitals with injuries. A 6-year-old passenger suffered life-threatening injuries. No update on his condition is available at press time. The others' injuries were not life-threatening, according to police, who are investigating whether or not alcohol may have been a factor in the crash.

Anyone who witnessed this collision, or has information about it, is asked to call the Collision Reconstruction Unit at 240-773-6620.

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Montgomery County Police K9 gets bulletproof vest courtesy of donors (Photos)

Lambert, a K9 with the Montgomery County Police Department, has received a bulletproof vest, provided by the generosity of Vested Interest in K9s, Inc., and the Henry A. Strohminger Family Foundation, Incorporated.  The Strohminger Family Foundation, based in Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, donated the cost of Lambert’s vest, which was $950.00.

Pittsburgh Steelers fans may be interested to know Lambert is named for linebacker Jack Lambert. His handler is Officer Bill Seidel.

Photos courtesy Montgomery County Police

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Smoking and e-cigs extinguished at most Gaithersburg parks

Smoking is now prohibited within 25 feet of city playgrounds in Gaithersburg, including e-cigarettes, under a new park ordinance passed by the Mayor and Council in July. The rules took effect yesterday. Only some smaller parks, such as Constitution Gardens, are exempt from the 25-foot ban.

Other changes under the new ordinance? The dog exercise area at Green Park is now for city residents only, and sledding, tobogganing, snowboarding, and skiing are now permitted in city parks. Not permitted? Launching model rockets without permission from the city.

Monday, August 3, 2015

Mother charged with murder of 5-year-old son after fiery Sam Eig Highway "crash" (Photo)

A flaming 1993 Toyota Corolla off the side of Sam Eig Highway on June 16, near Fields Road in Gaithersburg, was the fiery start to a bizarre case Montgomery County Police detectives found suspicious from the beginning. Their investigation has concluded the driver, Narges Shafeirad, allegedly poisoned her 5-year-old son, Daniel Dana, with Diphenhydramine.

Police allege Shafeirad then placed her son in the car, apparently staged an auto accident, then lit the inside of the car on fire. She suffered severe burns and remains hospitalized, despite escaping the burning car.

But police say she will be taken to a detention center soon for processing, after being charged with 1st degree murder, and arson in the first degree.