Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Maryland. Show all posts

Thursday, February 22, 2024

Bethesda Black cemetery advocates to protest at Jamie Raskin campaign event tonight

The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition will hold a protest rally outside of a campaign event for Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin (D) tonight, February 22, 2024, at 7:00 PM at the Silver Spring Civic Building. Advocates for the desecrated Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda have been seeking Raskin's help in getting federal action on the historic gravesite, which is hidden under parking lots behind the Westwood Tower apartments. BACC President Marsha Coleman-Adebayo says that the cemetery is in Raskin's district, but that he "refuses to condemn the desecration and flooding" of the burial ground.

Those interesting in participating in tonight's protest are asked to meet up at Ben and Jerry's at 903 Ellsworth Drive in Silver Spring (across from the Civic Building) at 6:00 PM tonight. But if you can't get there that early, just head to the Civic Building at 7:00.

Wawa Burtonsville plan advances to Montgomery County Planning Board as Gaithersburg awaits opening

The first Wawa in Montgomery County hasn't even opened yet, and the company is already moving forward on a second. A proposal to open a Wawa convenience store and mega gas station at 15585-15595 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville will be reviewed by the Montgomery County Planning Boad at its February 29, 2024 meeting. Montgomery County planners are recommending approval of the project, with conditions. Wawa will need to obtain a special exception from Montgomery County to accommodate the project's size, and comply with conditions of a forest conservation plan, before it can pull permits to construct the store. 

The site is currently home to a 7-Eleven, a gas station, and a Mattress Barn store. All would be demolished to make way for the Wawa.

The property owners have proposed construction of a new signalized intersection to facilitate safer ingress and egress from the Wawa onto Old Columbia Pike. They have also agreed to construct a 10'-wide "sidepath" along Old Columbia Pike, and a 16'-wide "bike breezeway" (first time I've heard this term in Montgomery County planning) along the ramp to Route 29. A new trash enclosure would be constructed, and up to nine electric vehicle charging spaces would be provided at the Wawa.

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Rockville Lunar New Year celebration set for February 17, 2024

Save the date for the City of Rockville's annual Lunar New Year celebration this coming Saturday, February 17, 2024 from 10:00 AM to 12:30 PM, at Rockville High School at 2100 Baltimore Road. Celebrate the good luck of the Year of the Dragon with live cultural performances, interactive displays, craft activities for kids, and to-go snack boxes (while supplies last). Admission is free. The event is co-sponsored by the Asian Pacific American Task Force.

Saturday, February 10, 2024

Larry Hogan announces run for U.S. Senate in Maryland

Larry Hogan, with wife Yumi,
files for U.S. Senate race at the
Maryland Board of Elections office in
Annapolis Friday

Former Maryland Larry Hogan (R) has finally come to his senses, and is running for the one office he might have a chance to win in 2024, the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Ben Cardin (D). The question that will be answered in November: Did Hogan's decision come too late? Hogan announced his entry into the race Friday afternoon. Since leaving office in January 2023, the former governor has been exploring a potential run for U.S. President - - initially as a Republican, then as part of a bipartisan ticket under the No Labels platform.

Hogan is the strongest candidate for the U.S. Senate the Maryland GOP has been able to muster in decades. He might have even been the favorite in the race, had he segued directly from being a popular governor with bipartisan support to the Senate campaign. But Hogan's presidential ambitions have enraged both the Donald Trump-loving base of the GOP, and Democrats and independent voters who fear a No Labels ticket will end up sending Trump back to the White House in 2025. 

Once praised by Democrats for his willingness to trash Trump on the national stage, Hogan has received more jeers than cheers on social media for his No Labels adventure and U.S. Senate announcement. And Trump supporters, who still remember Hogan verbally pummeling Republican gubernatorial nominee Dan Cox throughout the 2022 election season, were already lashing "Lockdown Larry" online within minutes of his announcement Friday.

The initial raw feelings will likely give way to a suddenly serious race for the U.S. Senate in Maryland. One big winner after Hogan's announcement: local broadcasters, who are going to enjoy an infusion of cash from the Republican National Committee, National Republican Senatorial Committee and GOP dark money groups. MAGA Republicans may not be enthused to vote for Hogan, but the multinational corporations behind various superPACs suddenly see a Senate seat that could be flipped from blue to red by an establishment Reagan Republican.

The biggest losers from Hogan's entry? Democratic candidate Angela Alsobrooks, as national and Maryland Democratic strategists grapple with the fact that only David Trone will be able to dominate the money race in a contest with Hogan. And Republican Robin Ficker, who was the frontrunner in the GOP primary race until yesterday afternoon. Ficker had the most money, and greatest name recognition, among the GOP candidates prior to Hogan's announcement.

Trone vs. Hogan would likely be a premier matchup this fall, with money and national surrogates pouring into the state. The advantage has to go to Trone at the moment. He not only has unlimited funds from his own pocket, but his friends include Barack Obama, Joe Biden and Democratic Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. Trone has even hosted fundraisers with Obama and Bill Clinton -- in person -- at his home.

Another big problem for Hogan: abortion. The word you will hear the most from summer to fall in 2024: Abortion, abortion, abortion. It will be coming from your television speakers during every commercial break. The abortion issue could provide Democrats with a clean sweep of the White House, U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate in November. It's been a winning issue for Democrats in blue and red states alike, since Roe v. Wade was overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. It's an issue Hogan will have to skillfully navigate, as in that context, few Democrats will want to help tip the Senate back to the GOP by voting for Larry Hogan.

Still, even Trone hasn't been able to buy a seat in Congress every time he's run, losing his first primary contest to Jamie Raskin. Trone doesn't have much support among Republicans, except when compared to more-progressive candidates in his party. On balance, Hogan is remembered by independent and moderate voters in both major parties as a popular governor who ran the state well for eight years. He has much more name recognition statewide than Trone. But he doesn't have the razor-thin advantage he might have had, if he had gone directly into the race from Government House in 2023.

Photo courtesy Hogan for Maryland

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

MD Retailers Association revives effort to allow beer, wine sales in Maryland grocery stores

MRA poster inside Harris Teeter

One of the biggest shocks to the system many new residents of Montgomery County experience, is the moment they learn they cannot purchase beer or wine at their local grocery store or convenience store. They quickly become familiar with Montgomery County's government monopoly on alcohol sales, and the archaic liquor laws of MoCo and Maryland. Restaurateurs and retailers frustrated with the status quo that reduces the profit margins of their businesses - and puts them at a disadvantage when competing against their rivals in Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia - made a push to change these laws in the last decade. The effort ran out of steam when no significant media campaign or financial contributions were employed to directly boost the candidates for office who would vote to overturn the Prohibition-style system.

Now the Maryland Retailers Association is reviving the campaign with a new website, and posters such as the one seen above this week in County supermarkets. There is a lot of information and data on the website. It has an easy way to contact your elected officials to encourage them to modernize our liquor laws. Whether the effort will be any more successful than the last remains to be seen.

If the MRA and business owners don't write fat checks to the candidates who will vote to change the laws, and won't publicly endorse those candidates and send glossy mailers with a list of their names to every voter, the campaign will fail again. Most of the articles linked to on the website are from media outlets who strongly support the incumbents and candidates who favor and will preserve the ossified government liquor monopoly we have now. That's not exactly a smart way to propagandize the public in favor of liquor reform, folks.

Former Maryland Gov. Bob Ehrlich was prophetic about many things. He was savagely pilloried by local officials and the media during his time in office for supporting casinos and bus rapid transit. Both later became policy cornerstones of the Montgomery County and Maryland political machines of his most-venomous opponents. One other thing he used to say that has aged very well: Until business owners "get dangerous," and actually back candidates - Democratic, Republican, Green, independent - who will vote their way, nothing will change. The MRA has a nice website. But their campaign doesn't sound very "dangerous" yet.

Thursday, February 1, 2024

Another attempt to restore Office of the People's Counsel in Montgomery County

Montgomery County's government bodies - Board of Education, Montgomery Parks, the Montgomery County Planning Board, to name three recent examples - are in disarray, and have been embroiled in scandals. Incredibly, while holding oversight power, the County Council has actively chosen to not restore funding for a position that can help hold the County's planning authorities (including the Council itself) more accountable to residents and taxpayers: The Office of the People's Counsel. Never a popular position among the developers who have funded most or all of the councilmembers' campaigns this century, depending upon which Council term is under discussion, the OPC was axed in 2010 when the Council finally had an excuse to do so: a budget crisis of their own making. But in 2023, more than a decade after the "Great Recession" ended, the current Council still voted against restoring funding for the OPC.

Fed-up residents and responsible growth advocates are launching a new attempt to persuade councilmembers - some of whom vowed to fund the OPC, but then betrayed the voters and organizations they made the vow to, once in office - to restore the OPC in the FY-2025 budget. The Montgomery Countryside Alliance, which works to protect rural areas, open space and streams from impacts of overdevelopment, is taking a leadership role by creating an easy form to send a brief message to the County Council in support of funding for the OPC.

For those not familiar, the OPC is (or was!) a land-use attorney who provides free advice and technical information to residents regarding development and land-use issues. Residents, most of whom cannot afford the kind of powerhouse legal representation that developers and the County itself have at their disposal, can therefore be better prepared to defend their interests before the Planning Board, County Council and hearing examiners. The OPC can also point out when the Board or Council is in violation of the rules or breaking the law, which non-land-use-attorney citizens may not be able to recognize their own. Perhaps most importantly, the People's Counsel can represent residents' interests in administrative hearings.

Boosting hopes for the return of this critical County government position is Bill PG/MC 112-24 at the Maryland General Assembly in Annapolis, which is sponsored by Senator Ben Kramer of Montgomery County. Senator Kramer has also been a leading voice to make the planning process in the County more directly accountable to residents, such as considering proposals to move some aspects of planning under the executive branch of County government. Kramer's bill would fully fund the Office of the People's Counsel in Montgomery County, just as other jurisdictions like Prince George's County have. In other words, Kramer is saying to the Council, "if you won't do it, we will." But, if you don't use this form to send a message to the Council and the full Montgomery County delegation to Annapolis in favor of funding the OPC, they might not!

Thursday, January 25, 2024

Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Robin Ficker endorses Donald Trump for President

Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Robin Ficker (R) has endorsed Donald Trump for President, the Boyds resident and attorney announced in a press release timed to coincide with Trump's second consecutive victory of the 2024 primary season. The endorsement isn't likely to help Ficker much in the general election, in a state where Trump has some of his lowest popularity numbers in the nation. But, barring former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan coming to his political senses, Ficker has a very good chance to be the GOP nominee in the race this November. He is the only declared Republican candidate in the race with statewide name recognition, as both a former elected member of the House of Delegates and a notorious Washington Bullets superfan seen on TV reports from coast to coast over the decades.

"It's time for us to coalesce behind the only Presidential Candidate capable of restoring logic to our government," Ficker said in a statement. "President Trump is the only candidate with a proven track record of historically low unemployment, safer communities, and lower energy prices. Together, President Trump and I will secure our Southern border. Together, President Trump and I will stop the flow of fentanyl across our border and onto our streets. President Trump and I will take swift and decisive action to protect our communities and secure our border.

"President Trump and I will bring the country into a new, prosperous economic age and help the United States become energy independent again, pursuing an ‘all-of-the-above’ approach to our energy sector. President Biden has failed in every one of these categories. The choice is clear. Reject Biden's policies in the ballot box this November and vote for Donald J. Trump!"

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Best Buy shelves growing bare as promised 2024 phaseout of physical media begins (Photos)

The DVD and Blu-Ray shelves are growing spare, if not quite bare, at Best Buy stores nationwide. The big box electronics chain announced last fall that it would phase out such physical media in 2024, and it's one New Year's resolution that's being kept. While 4K, Blu-Ray and DVD movies are still being manufactured, Best Buy won't be stocking them as they're released anymore. You can see the policy change beginning to take effect at this Best Buy store at 10901 Georgia Avenue in Wheaton. 

It's been a long time since I've bought a physical copy of a movie. For me, it wasn't so much the convenience of digital or streaming films, but the fact that fewer and fewer releases came with deluxe packaging and collectible items inside. When all you get is an expensive steelbook case and the disc(s) inside, there's little incentive to buy the physical product anymore. And behind-the-scenes features on many discs seem to get illegally uploaded to YouTube eventually, where they can be viewed for free.

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

UPDATE - CANCELED: Democratic Maryland U.S. Senate candidates to meet voters January 20 in Rockville

UPDATE - January 20: The WDCMC has announced today's event is CANCELED due to MCPS closing all school facilities this weekend.

Democratic candidates for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Ben Cardin (D) are scheduled to meet voters this Saturday, January 20, 2024 in Rockville. The meet-and-greet event will be held in the cafeteria at Wootton High School at 2100 Wootton Parkway from 3:00 to 5:00 PM. It is being hosted by the Women's Democratic Club of Montgomery County. A round-robin format will place the candidates at tables in the room, and small groups of attendees will be led around to stop at each table over the course of the event.

Registration for the free event is available online. Democratic candidates in the race include Prince George's County Executive Angela Alsobrooks, Marcellus Crews, Juan Dominguez, Brian Frydenborg, Scottie J. Griffin, Steven Seuferer, U.S. Congressman David Trone, and Andrew Wildman. The event announcement does not indicate which candidates have confirmed their attendance.

Saturday, January 13, 2024

Teazzi Tea Shop to open first DMV-area location in Bethesda

Teazzi Tea Shop
, a Taiwanese tea chain, will open its first store in the Washington, D.C. region right here in Montgomery County, in downtown Bethesda. It will be at 4941 Elm Street, in the Shoppes of Bethesda. Teazzi currently has 4 New York City-area shops, as well as locations in Boston, Philadelphia, Jersey City, Sunnyvale (California), and Las Vegas. The company has franchisees gearing up to open in Seattle and San Gabriel (California), and in a second Boston location. 

Tea selections at Teazzi include Four Seasons Oolong, Golden Oolong, Amber Oolong, Deep Roast Oolong, Dark Roast Black Tea, and Jasmine Green Tea. Menu options include milk tea, fruit tea, floam, tea lattes, and Teazzi's signature (but optional) topping of oats. Construction on the Bethesda shop will commence in the coming weeks.

Photo courtesy Teazzi Tea Shop

Friday, January 5, 2024

Update on Montgomery County's first Taco Bell Cantina (Photos)

Montgomery County's first Taco Bell Cantina is getting closer to opening at 8662 Colesville Road in downtown Silver Spring. The latest additions to the interior are the electronic menu boards, soft drink fountain dispensers (Baja Blast!), and self-ordering kiosks. Booth seating has also been installed. I'm intrigued as to why the Grilled Cheese Dipping Taco Deluxe Box is showing on the menu board - it's not currently a featured item at Taco Bell, and not rumored to return to the menu soon, that I am aware of.

Tuesday, January 2, 2024

Rockville rocked by earthquake overnight

A 2.3-magnitude earthquake occurred in Rockville overnight, according to the Maryland Department of Natural Resources Maryland Geological Survey. The earthquake was recorded by MGS at 12:51 AM and four seconds, and was located 9.5 miles beneath the surface, the DNR reported. According to the MGS map, the epicenter of the earthquake was on the golf course of the Lakewood Country Club, and just south of Lakewood Elementary School.

No injuries have been reported so far, according to Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services spokesperson Pete Piringer, but residents of Rockville reported feeling the ground shake, as did others in Montgomery County and even Northwest Washington, D.C. There haven't been reports of damage yet, but since many were asleep during the quake, we'll have to wait until properties can be inspected today.

The minor quake follows a significant one on the other side of the globe in Japan yesterday; with people watching footage of that earthquake around the world, tremors were already on the minds of many. But it was not as strong as the other quakes in the D.C. region since 2011.

Saturday, December 30, 2023

HEMIs make their final model year last stand at DARCARS in Rockville (Photos)

It's the end of an era at DARCARS Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram at 755 Rockville Pike in the Ritchie Center. Some of the final "last call" vehicles in the Dodge Charger, Dodge Challenger and Chrysler 300 lines are now on the premises. Parent company Stellantis has claimed these will be the final HEMI V8 models of these nameplates to ever be produced. In fact, the last HEMI car rolled off of the Brampton, Ontario assembly line only a few days ago. Earlier in the year, it was rare to see these models on the lot here.

Monday, December 25, 2023

Maryland minimum wage increases to $15 on January 1, 2024

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (L) and
Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich

The minimum wage in Maryland will increase to $15 on Monday, January 1, 2024. This statewide increase was signed into law by Gov. Wes Moore (D) earlier this year. Here in Montgomery County, the minimum wage is already $15 or higher for most employers. As a result, only employees of business with 10 or less workers will see their salaries increase on New Year's Day, from $14.50 to $15.00. 

“We applaud Governor Wes Moore’s efforts to help all Marylanders,” Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said in a statement. “The minimum wage is ultimately about working people being able to earn enough to put a roof over their heads, feed their families and not have to choose between food on the table and medical visits. I want to thank Governor Moore for making this one of his earliest priorities. I was glad to testify on behalf of the legislation, and I support this important State-wide legislation.”

Friday, December 15, 2023

Montgomery County's JBG Smith biggest winner in D.C.'s potential loss of Capitals, Wizards

The Montgomery County Council and Maryland Gov. Wes Moore may have been asleep at the switch during the tug-of-war over the future home of the Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals, but a company in their jurisdiction may pull off the biggest win in the teams' potential move to Virginia. Bethesda's JBG Smith is the landowner of the proposed Potomac Yard arena and mixed-use development sites in Alexandria. If the teams relocate as envisioned by Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin and team owner Ted Leonsis, the real estate development firm will stand to be ultimate victor from a business standpoint. Those potential big profits might still benefit the county and state revenue coffers in Maryland, even if the gaudy bragging rights to the actual teams will accrue to Virginia. 

Successful relocation of the teams to Potomac Yard, and the related development, dovetail perfectly with JBG Smith's existing plans and vision for the National Landing area. The firm will be able to sell the proposed sites to a Virginia sports development authority, and would be the developer of the corporate Monumental Sports Entertainment headquarters, arena, media studio, performing arts venue, and e-sports facility proposed as part of the overall plan. And the sports-related growth at Potomac Yards would boost the earning potential for JBG Smith's other National Landing properties, of which Amazon's HQ2 is the crown jewel.

Of course, HQ2's ultimate benefit to Northern Virginia remains to be seen, as Amazon has not been exempt from the work-from-home revolution and other stresses on its businesses. How many jobs and how many square feet of office space Amazon will eventually need at National Landing is up in the air at this point. How much Virginia taxpayers will shell out for a billionaire to move his sports teams is also not set in stone today. But the additional development opportunities the move would provide could not have come at a better time for JBG Smith.

Washington D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is in the unenviable position of not only possibly losing two of the city's professional sports teams at once, but of having had to make a desperate bid of $500,000,000 at the 11th hour that doesn't appear to have persuaded Leonsis to stay. Such a two-team exit is a potential nightmare for Moore in Maryland, as he tries to keep the Washington Commanders and Baltimore Orioles in the state. His cringeworthy pitch to the Commanders in a VIP suite in "Raljon," as recounted by The Washington Post, did not reflect the bargaining prowess his Wall Street resume would lead us to believe he would have. Moore's inabililty to find immediate success in attracting major companies to Maryland over the past 11 months, despite a Rolodex filled with celebrity and Fortune 500 friends, has raised eyebrows among those closely watching Maryland's economic development efforts.

The fact that Moore was not in the conversation regarding the Wizards and Capitals, when the firm at the center of the intrigue is in his own state, is unlikely to reduce those whispered doubts in the business community. But the silver lining in this case is that JBG Smith - and Montgomery County and Maryland, if they actually get their share of the firm's increased revenue - will likely gain financially, even if Virginia ends up overpaying for the teams, as the company will still profit regardless. Virginia's elected officials could look like suckers a decade from now, but the real winner would still be at 4747 Bethesda Avenue.

Tuesday, December 5, 2023

Maryland Supreme Court to hear case on sale of Moses African Cemetery on January 8, 2024

Maryland's Supreme Court is now scheduled to hear the case regarding the attempted sale of a Bethesda property containing Moses African Cemetery on January 8, 2024. The case of Dr. Olusegun Adebayo and the Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition (BACC) vs. the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County (HOC) centers on the HOC's alleged violation of a state law that requires descendants of those buried in a cemetery to be notified of the potential sale of that land. 

A Montgomery County judge granted an injunction against the sale of the Westwood Tower property to Charger Ventures, but was overruled by an appeals court decision. Charger Ventures then withdrew its purchase offer. Adebayo and BACC have appealed to the state's highest court now, which will have the final say, unless the plaintiffs seek a further appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court following this ruling.

"This is the first time that a state supreme court is being asked to limit the power of developers and state agencies regarding the selling and desecration of African burial grounds and our ancestors," BACC said in a statement Monday. "The decision by the Maryland Supreme Court will have national and perhaps, international ramifications. The court will decide whether Black bodies can be sold to private or public agecies and the land laundered for non-burial purposes without oversight by the court or descendant families. BACC is on the front lines of fighting for both the living and our ancestors. Please plan to join BACC on January 8th and by your presence declare: Black Bodies are Not for Sale! People over Profit!"

BACC is organizing bus transportation to the Supreme Court in Annapolis for the January 8 hearing. To get a sense of how many people are interesting in riding the bus, BACC has created an online form at If you cannot attend, but want to help fund the bus trip and other efforts by BACC, an online donation portal has also been created.

Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Wawa Gaithersburg signage, gas pumps installed ahead of December opening (Photos)

There are real "signs" of progress at the construction site of Montgomery County's first Wawa at 405 S. Frederick Avenue in Gaithersburg. The most visible to drivers passing on MD 355 is the roadside sign with the Wawa logo, and digital displays for gas prices. But the main logo sign is also now on the storefront of the convenience store, as well. Wawa-branded gas pumps have been installed, and safety bollards in line with the pumps. Above them is the Wawa logo signage for the gas station canopy. 

When will the Gaithersburg Wawa open? The chain's current target opening date is December 2023. There's still a not-insigniicant amount of paving and landscaping work to be done on the site. Let's see if they can get it done before the ball drops on New Year's Eve.

Friday, November 10, 2023

Maryland U.S. Senate candidate Robin Ficker announces first TV ad buy

Robin Ficker
, a Republican candidate for the Maryland U.S. Senate seat of the retiring Ben Cardin (D), is hitting the airwaves for the first time in the 2024 election season, his campaign announced yesterday. Entitled, "Logic," the ad will first air in the Baltimore and Salisbury television markets. The ad will continue to run on TV through Christmas, Ficker campaign manager Dean Cavaretta said in a statement. 

"I’ve had a lot of political success at the grassroots level, and now I am looking to turn this into a successful campaign," said Ficker, who was previously elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in the 1970s. "That’s why I am running a serious, professional campaign to represent Maryland in the U.S. Senate." 

Ficker, a resident of Montgomery County, is currently the only prominent GOP candidate with statewide name recognition in the race. Retired Brigadier General John Teichert, an Air Force veteran who resides in Anne Arundel County, told Maryland Matters last month that he would be entering the contest. Maryland Matters reports that Cecil County Delegate Kevin Hornberger is also mulling a run for the GOP nomination, but that he is giving himself until December 31 to make his decision.

Tuesday, November 7, 2023

Maryland Governor Wes Moore visits AstraZeneca lab in Montgomery County

Maryland Gov. Wes Moore (D) traveled to Gaithersburg to visit the AstraZeneca laboratory, and to make a big announcement. AstraZeneca is one of the largest biotech employers in Montgomery County and Maryland, and is located in the I-270 life sciences corridor. Moore chose the location to announce a new partnership between the Maryland Tech Council's Biohub Maryland initiative and Ireland's National Institute of Bioprocessing Research and Training. Ireland is one of the fastest-growing pharmaceutical manufacturing countries in the world, and the agreement makes Biohub Maryland NIBRT's exclusive partner in the Washington, D.C. region.

Moore toured the complex, and greeted AstraZeneca employees and biotech leaders. At one point, the governor donned a white lab coat and safety glasses to enter an actual laboratory in the facility. “Today, we’re not just here to celebrate this new BioHub partnership. We’re here to celebrate a new direction for Maryland’s economy and workforce,” Moore said. “We are ready to win. We are ready to grow and we are ready to show the entire country what we’re made of.”

Photos courtesy Maryland Governor's office

Monday, November 6, 2023

Montgomery County government allowing Moses African Cemetery to be a dumping ground for trash (Photos)

The Bethesda African Cemetery Coalition is again bringing attention to the illegal dumping of trash on the grounds of the already-desecrated Moses African Cemetery in Bethesda. Both parcels of the hidden cemetery are currently owned by Montgomery County government entities: the Housing Opportunities Commission of Montgomery County, and the Montgomery Parks department. BACC is speaking out about trash recently dumped on the parcel owned by Montgomery Parks, including rolls of toilet paper, mattresses and discarded furniture. "The continued use of Moses Cemetery as a dumping ground by Montgomery County residents is a disturbing display of white supremacy and anti-Black racism, all with full backing and support from county officials," BACC said in a statement today. 

Moses African Cemetery, where former slaves of nearby plantations - and residents of the post-Civil War Black community on River Road that was wiped out by developers by the 1960s - are interred, was first desecrated during the construction of the Westwood Tower apartment building in the late 1960s. Montgomery County officials looked the other way, and did not step in or penalize those responsible then, or now. Officials of BACC and Macedonia Baptist Church in Bethesda continue to ask the County to turn over ownership and control of the cemetery land and its graves to the descendant community. BACC notes that surveillance cameras and security guards have been used to block access to the cemetery by Black descendants, but that they are not used to stop the illegal dumping on the gravesites.

"The tools of the state are targeted towards Black people, never the real criminals - the desecrators," BACC said in its Monday statement. "The County has proven unable to provide our ancestors a peaceful rest, and have instead spent the past few decades destroying any remnants of the Black community our ancestors built on River Road...We will not rest until Moses Cemetery is ours."