Earlier this week, FOX 5 announced that Planning Editor Lexi Brooks would be leaving the station to begin working for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE) as a travel production assistant. Brooks had been with FOX 5 since November 2021 and worked behind the scenes on several programs, including Good Day DC. Brooks starts working for WWE this week and says she’ll be flying out this Thursday to work on Friday night’s WWE Smackdown event in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Lexi Brooks has been a planning editor with FOX 5 for nearly two years, booking some the biggest names and making the magic happen behind the scenes at our summer long Zip Trip events. But it’s on to new adventures for the Lexicutioner. She will be missed!” Full segment can be seen below:

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Saturday morning, the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department celebrated the housing of their new fire engine, known as Engine 703, and dedicated it in memory of their Past Fire Chief, Scott Eric Emmons.

Past Fire Chief Scott Eric Emmons, who died in 2021, volunteered with the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department for more than 30 years, in every operational rank from Firefighter to Fire Chief. Chief Emmons also was a DC Metropolitan Police Detective, where he served on the FBI’s Joint Terrorism Task Force. Chief Emmons’ daughter is now a Rockville Volunteer Firefighter as well.

The new Engine 703 cost over $850,000 with equipment adding another $100,000 according to newly-elected Rockville Volunteer Fire Chief Craig Lazar. Unlike many other Montgomery County fire engines, the new Engine 703 is owned by the Rockville Volunteer Fire Department. Engine 703, capable of pumping 2,000 Gallons (of water) Per Minute, was built by Seagrave Fire Apparatus in Wisconsin.

At the conclusion of the Dedication, Rockville Volunteer Fire Department First Deputy Chief Christopher Hinde officially  placed the new Engine 703 ‘in quarters’, making it available to respond to emergencies. Just moments later, it was dispatched on its first call.

The Rockville Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1921, and has provided vital firefighting, rescue, and emergency medical services to Rockville and Montgomery County for over 100 years. According to the RVFD, “Donations to RVFD are used for volunteer support and operations, purchase of apparatus, such as the [Engine discussed in this article], community fire safety events and activities and towards construction of a new fire station.” Donations can be made online or mailed to the RVFD. Additionally, the RVFD recently announced plans for the launch of an online store, providing another way for supporters to contribute and demonstrate their support.

In 2022, units from Rockville Volunteer Fire Department Station 3, where this new Engine is housed, responded to 13,555 calls, according to MCFRS. This made Rockville’s Station 3 the third busiest station in all of Montgomery County.

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Esteemed Federal Government columnist and radio host Norman “Mike” Causey passed away late last month at the age of 82.

At the Federal News Network and WTOP Radio studios in Friendship Heights, Causey had wrapped up recording a radio segment when he was found unresponsive in his office by a colleague. Valiant bystander CPR, as well as attempts from Montgomery County Fire & Rescue, proved unsuccessful.

Causey joined Federal News Network, previously Federal News Radio, in the early 2000s. Prior to jumping over to radio, Mike Causey wrote the iconic Federal Diary daily column in the Washington Post. Causey remained a newsroom legend at Federal News Network and throughout the Federal Government. At FNN, his columns and posts were frequently their most popular online content. Mike Causey is also credited with popularizing the now-mainstream phrase “Inside the Beltway.”

In a tweet, U.S. Senator Ben Cardin remembered Mike Causey as “a fierce advocate for the federal workforce. His institutional knowledge, which was legendary, and his distinct voice will be missed dearly. My condolences to his family and colleagues.”

An online Federal News Network remembrance, posted shortly after Causey’s death, highlighted how “Mike never took himself, or the content, too seriously…Former Federal News Network workforce reporter Nicole Ogrysko…recalled how Causey, preferring to read things in hard copy, once tried to print out the entire bill text of the Affordable Care Act — all 974 pages of it”.

Mike Causey’s grandson, Tyler Guthrie, highlighted Causey’s extensive familial presence in Montgomery County. The day he died, Causey had been planning to meet family at Pines of Rome, an Italian Restaurant that Causey had been visiting with two generations of his family for almost four decades. He also patronized Wild Tomato restaurant in Cabin John, where he lived for more than three decades, and the Irish Inn at Glen Echo. Causey’s morning routines often revolved around stopping for coffee and visiting friends at Cabin John’s Market on the Boulevard.

Causey’s son, Michael Causey, further emphasized how much Causey loved Montgomery County and the surrounding area, remembering him as a man of the World who especially loved the DC area. Mike loved spending time along the C & O Canal and visiting other establishments including Clyde’s of Chevy Chase, Signature Cigars, and Cafe Deluxe.

After hearing of his death, the owners of Signature Cigars hung Mike Causey’s photo on the wall of their shop, in remembrance of an exceptional journalist and pillar of the community.

Featured Image: Family Photo

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On September 19, the Maryland State Highway Administration announced that the current closure of Brookeville Road, between Georgia Avenue (MD-97) ,and Grayheaven Manor Road, has been extended through late November. According to the State Highway Administration, the newly–extended duration of the Brookeville Road closure will allow contractors to efficiently complete Brookeville Bypass construction tasks.

The State Highway Administration recommends utilizing Georgia Avenue (MD-97) and Olney Laytonsville
Road (MD-108) as alternate routes during the Brookeville Road closure. The Brookeville Bypass project is currently 72 percent complete. The project includes a new 0.7-mile, two-lane highway with bicycle-compatible shoulders between north of Goldmine Road and south of Holiday Drive. Once complete and open to traffic, the new roadway will make Georgia Avenue more accessible and safer for local residents, cyclists, and pedestrians. The project also includes construction of two bridges – one at Meadow Branch stream and the other at Reddy Branch stream – and two single-lane roundabouts that will improve traffic and safety operations. MD 97 functions as a major north-south commuter route between Brookeville and northern Montgomery and Frederick counties.

MD 97 has a 90-degree curve at Market Street, which is accompanied by a steep hill.

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Per Montgomery History:
More than 77,000 pages from 1,575 issues of The Montgomery Gazette and other local newspapers have been digitized and are now available for viewing at the Jane C. Sween Library in Rockville due to the preservation efforts of Montgomery History. The project was made possible as part of the success of Montgomery History’s New Life for Old News campaign. It raised the funds necessary to make the papers accessible and preserved for posterity.

The Jane C. Sween Research Library and Special Collections is located at the Beall-Dawson Historical Park in Downtown Rockville. Named in honor of its first librarian, Jane C. Sween, the library supports Montgomery History’s mission to collect, preserve, interpret and share the history of the County.

The pages now available at the Sween Research Library include:

  • The Gazette. 1960-65, 1977-86 (Papers from 1966-76 are no longer available).
  • The County Courier. 1973-81. (Purchased by The Gazette in 1981).
  • The Olney Courier-Gazette. 1981-86 (Merger following purchase, covering Olney area news).
  • The Sentinel. 1964-69. (Issues from 1855-1963 are provided on Chronicling America, through the Library of Congress. See our tutorial for searching The Sentinel).

This is the first time mid- to late 20th Century Gazettes and other local newspapers are available digitally. The papers had been in storage for more than a decade and were completely inaccessible to researchers or the public. Many of the issues began to deteriorate while in storage due to the poor-quality paper on which they were printed at the time.

The completion of this phase of digitization ensures that the resources, which provide some of the best coverage of the people and events that shaped the County’s history, will be available for generations to come. The next phase of the campaign, scheduled to begin in early 2023, will focus on digitizing issues from the latter part of the 1980s.

The now-available newspapers date from 1960 to 1986 and cover topics of particular interest including politics, education, local entertainment, high school sports, community events, wedding and engagement announcements, obituaries, advertisements for now defunct popular businesses and the rapid pace of suburbanization during those decades.

The New Life for Old News campaign was launched in April 2021 to celebrate the memory of former Montgomery History Executive Director Mary Kay Harper, who had recently passed away. Acquiring all the hard copies of the Gazette was one of the last initiatives Harper undertook before she retired in 2008.

Access to the digitized issues of the Gazette is available by appointment during regular research hours Wednesday through Friday at the Jane C. Sween Library. Visit MontgomeryHistory.org/montgomery-county-newspapers to find out how to view the digitized newspapers and to learn more about the project.

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2021 Year in Review

Below you’ll find some of our most popular (non-COVID) posts and stories from 2021.

January:

Inauguration Day Bernie

Jon Bernthal hanging out at the Lego Store in Westfield Montgomery

“Originally from MoCo, the actor is popular for his many roles in television series and movies such as The Walking Dead, The Punisher, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Accountant, Ford v Ferrari, and the recent Soprano’s movie The Many Saints of Newark.

He grew up in the Cabin John area and graduated from Sidwell Friends in DC in 1995.

He still has family in the area and is spotted hanging out in MoCo all the time.

Photo courtesy of @e_j_fletch on Instagram”

February:

Good Counsel Alum Plays in Second Straight SuperBowl

Kansas City Chief Dorian O’Daniel played against Tom Brady and the Buccaneers at this year’s SuperBowl LV in Tampa, FL.

Dorian attended high school and played football at Good Counsel in Olney, where he was a running back and linebacker. As a senior he was named the Montgomery Sentinal’s Offensive Player of the Year and the Gazette’s Montgomery County Player of the Year.

That year he also made the Washington Post’s All-Met First Team. O’Daniel then graduated from Clemson with a degree in parks, recreation, and tourism management.

In 2018, he was selected 100th overall in the 3rd round of the NFL Draft.

Last year Dorian and the Chief’s won the NFL Championship when they defeated the San Francisco 49ers SuperBowl LIV.

March:

Brian Nicholson, a MoCo Native, is the Youngest Krispy Kreme General Manager in Company History


Krispy Kreme recently opened a new shop at a Columbia Heights in Washington DC with general manager Brian Nicholson leading the way.

Brian is a MoCo native. He was born and raised in the county and graduated from Wootton High School in 2018.

He has worked for Krispy Kreme for five years, starting a the Fallsgrove location in Rockville, where he became a full-time in employee after his high school graduation and served as an assistant general manager.

After just 9 months, he was promoted to general manager of the DuPont Circle location before being asked to open the newest location at 3100 14th Street in Columbia Heights last month.

Brian tells us his experience opening a new store has been “more than fun” and was excited to be able to open the store in February– Black History Month.

We wish Brian the best at Krispy Kreme and look forward to seeing him continue to succeed. Maybe he will bring MoCo a second Krispy Kreme location? We can only hope!

Congratulations, Brian!

Steve Chu, QO alum and owner of Baltimore restaurant Ekiben, Drove 6 Hours to Cook for Customer with Cancer

Steve Chu, QO alum and owner of Baltimore restaurant Ekiben, packed up and headed to Vermont when he learned that one of his customers, who was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer, was craving one of their dishes.

A family member had reached out to the Ekiben team to tell them that her mother-in-law, who lives in Vermont but often visits Maryland, had stage 4 lung cancer and was craving Ekiben’s tempura broccoli. The family member shared that she was planning to drive up from Maryland to Vermont and wanted to surprise her Ekiben-loving relative with the dish.

After asking whether she could either have the recipe or ingredients for the broccoli dish so it would be fresh after the long drive, she got a surprising response from Ekiben’s team. Chu replied by saying “Thanks for reaching out. Ephrem [a co-owner] and I are more than willing to meet you guys in Vermont, and make the food fresh so it will be just like what she remembered.”

As reported by Good News Movement , Steve and his team stayed in the area for a couple of days and turned down the family’s offer to compensate them for their air bnb, food, and gas. Chu was joined by co-owner Ephrem Abebe alongside one other team member.

By: Michelle Katz @pike.and.rozay on Instagram

April:

Good Samaritan in Germantown

Odessa Shannon Middle School Chooses New Colors and Mascot

Back in November, the Montgomery County Board of Education voted to change the name of Col. E. Brooke Lee Middle School in Silver Spring to Odessa Shannon Middle School.

The change will take place following this school year and yesterday the school staff unveiled the brand new mascot and school colors in a YouTube video.

Odessa Shannon Middle School has adopted “Wolves” as the new mascot and has chosen blue (the top color from a survey) and light green (Odessa Shannon’s favorite color) as the nee school colors.

Shannon was the first African-American Board of Education member and a lifelong activist. She worked tirelessly to help close the achievement gap for minority families and was the recipient of numerous awards, such as the Human Rights Hall of Fame, the African American Living Legend Award, and Hornbook Award for Outstanding Service to Education.

Shannon’s name will replace Col. E Brooke Lee, a Maryland politician whose policies shaped Montgomery County’s zoning and land use in the 1920s. These laws barred African-Americans from living in Silver Spring, with the exception as domestic servants. It wasn’t until 1968 that Montgomery County enacted fair housing policies.

May:

Police Search for a Raccoon After Attacks in Rockville

Per Rockville City Police:

“The Rockville City Police Department is asking community members to be on the lookout for a raccoon that attacked a dog and a child in Rockville on Monday morning.

Anyone who sees a raccoon acting aggressively should leave the scene and call 911.

A dog was attacked and bitten Monday morning near College Gardens Park, 615 College Parkway.

Later in the morning, around 11 a.m., a child was bitten in Kinship Park, 254 N. Washington Street.

Officers from the Rockville City Police Department are actively searching for the raccoon.”

The Last Arby’s in MoCo Closes

A few of the reactions from twitter:


June:

2021 High School Graduation Season

July: 

I<3U Jenny

Former Damascus Student-Athlete Bikes Across the Country Raising Money for ALS

 

“On Saturday, June 26th Wil Armstrong, a 2016 Damascus High School graduate, commenced his cross-country bike ride “Against the Wind” from Rehoboth Beach, DE. He is expected to finish 2.5 months later in Seattle, Washington. Throughout this journey, Wil is updating his daily blog with his progress, experiences, and updates on his banana consumption count. During his cross-country journey, he is crowdfunding for the ALS Association after seeing his mentor and former basketball coach, Rodney Lapp, go through it.

Wil played football for his high school’s state champion team and later played rugby at the University of Maryland. What started off as a high school job at Jimmie Cone carried over into his time at the University of Maryland, where he got his Master’s in Quantitative Finance through the Robert H. Smith School of Business through their Plus One program. With eight years under his belt, he was the Damascus Jimmie Cone’s longest tenured employee! How much more Damascus can you get?

When people ask Wil why he is taking on such an adventure he says, “Touring is a way to use my gifts to make a difference in the world, the stars are aligned, and nothing makes me feel more clear, focused, and alive.”

August:

Rockville’s Helen Louise Maroulis Becomes The First American Woman to Win Two Olympic Medals in Wrestling

Helen Louise Maroulis is a Rockville-born freestyle wrestler who competes in the women’s 55-kg 53-kg and 57-kg categories. She was the first-ever American to win a gold medal in women’s freestyle wrestling back at the 2016 Rio Olympic Games.

In August, she became the first American woman to win two Olympic medals in wrestling when she beat khongorzul Boldsaikhan from Mongolia for the Bronze medal.

She attended Magruder High School for three years, where as a freshman she became the first female wrestler to place at the Maryland state wrestling championships. She has been a great spokesperson for mental health awareness after suffering many physical injuries, brain trauma and the effects of prescription medicines.

2021 Montgomery County AG Fair

September: 

Glenmont then and now (60s and 2021)

Katie Ledecky visits Little Flower School in Bethesda

Ledecky provided words of encouragement to current students at the school while proudly wearing her most recent gold and silver medals from the recent 2020 Tokyo Olympics (held this summer).

She and her Team USA Swimming teammate Phoebe Bacon both attended the school while growing up right here in MoCo.

Ledecky has won 7 Olympic gold medals and 15 world championship gold medals, the most in history for a female swimmer. She is also the world record holder in the women’s 400-, 800-, and 1500-meter freestyle (long course), and holds the fastest-ever times in the women’s 500-, 1000-, 1500-, and 1650-yard freestyle events.

The school posted the following message and pictures on its social media:

“Little Flower School Alumna KATIE LEDECKY came back for a visit! Thank you Katie for being an amazing role model and inspiration to our entire Cardinal Community. We are so proud of you! 🥇🏊‍♀️🇺🇸”

October:

Red Light/Green Light

Post Guapo’s Workout

November:

Local P.E. Teacher Recognized at Washington Football Team Game

On-field recognition for Lenny Myers, Kennedy High School P.E. Teacher, who was named educator of the month by Washington Football Team earlier this year.

Lenny Myers was awarded Educator of the Month by The Washington Football Team‘s Black Engagement Network earlier this year.

”Mr. Myers leads from the front. He is an amazing teacher in the classroom at John F. Kennedy High School and his students love and respect him.

His best work is in his community; Mr. Myers has a program for children looking to gain new basketball skills through his program, “Reach Beyond Basketball.” This program provides financial help to to children in the community with scholarships in order to take the burden off of struggling families.”

Tower Records in Rockville

Read our full article about the history of Tower Records in Rockville here.

December: 

Happy 100th Birthday to Kensington man! 

Thai Tanium in Gaithersburg

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Yuvan Sundrani (sophomore information science major at UMD), Jason Steinberg (sophomore computer science major at UMD), and Sid Jagtap (sophomore finance major at the University of Michigan) are launching an exciting new app called Soshi. Simply put, the app allows users to share all of their social media and contact information in one place with one tap.

These students were amongst the many seniors to miss out on the end of the year senior fun and started freshman year behind a screen. Quarantine left everyone with a little extra time on their hands. Jason Steinberg and Sid Jagtap founded MoCo Tutors, an affordable digital tutoring service aimed at helping Montgomery County students struggling with virtual instruction. Meanwhile, Yuvan Sundrani gained some experience and insight while interning with the artificial intelligence laboratory at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in Gaithersburg as a Data Engineer Intern.

The winter break before the first back in-person semester started in the spring, Jagtap, a business major with an entrepreneurial spirit wanted to fix a common first-world problem: the awkwardness and tediousness of exchanging multiple contact and social media information one at a time. “Oftentimes, asking and exchanging your phone number, Instagram, and Snapchat all at once can really disrupt the flow of a conversation”, Jagtap said. Sundrani and Steinberg were immediately intrigued and, together, the trio gathered to create mock ups of the app in Sundrani’s basement. 

Soshi, the app, develops an individualized QR code to quickly and efficiently exchange information. Without storing any passwords, it gathers all of a user’s selected social media under their personalized Soshi profile. With toggle switches, users are able to switch which social media they want to share depending on the person.

When non-users scan a Soshi user’s QR code, they are taken to an online webpage with the user’s desired socials neatly hyperlinked. Existing app users will be redirected to the friends section of the app where they can track their connections for later reference.

The creators emphasize the importance of simplicity so that anyone can use it. The trio noticed how competitors in the space either had too many overwhelming features or did not cater towards the everyday person. Steinberg stated how “this app is something that people, especially college students, can use with people they meet in class, at parties, the gym, a pickup basketball game, and more”.

The summer of 2020, provided the trio with more time to work on the app. On slow or rainy days at the Germantown pool, the other lifeguards would make fun of the trio for spending time on the app instead of having  “fun.”

Along the way, Sundrani and Steinberg  taught themselves a new programming language called “Flutter” that is compatible with both Android and iOS. When asked whether it was challenging to learn Flutter, Sundrani said “it was definitely a learning curve but Jason and I began to enjoy creating the app once we got past it”.  This process has been a continuous cycle of trial, error, learning, and fixing errors, but one that has ultimately proved to be rewarding.

Steinberg shared that the most shocking part about the process was how long it took; the team started in the winter of 2021 and December 9th is the first scheduled beta release.Going forward, the three say that they envision themselves turning this side project into a full time job if the opportunity presents itself. 

Fun Facts: 

  • One of Yuvan Sundrani’s favorite food spots is Mr. K’s Cafe Germantown
  • Jason Steinberg has a biking hobby, he has even biked to Pittsburgh from MoCo! He loves living in MoCo because in a few hours he could find himself biking on back roads to sugarloaf or take the opposite and end up in a different location..
  • Sid Jagtap, a former Arizona resident, enjoys cherry blossom season the most in MoCo and the pleasant weather that comes with it.
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Accelerated deterioration of a culvert has forced the closure of Clarksburg Road between Bethesda Church Road and Prices Distillery Road.

While plans were already in place to replace this culvert in October, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation accelerated the project schedule after recent rainfall further damaged the culvert, which carries a branch of Bennett Creek underneath Clarksburg Road.

Local access to all residences and properties will be maintained during the closure, which will remain through December, according to the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering.

Featured Photo Courtesy of MCDOT

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The Kensington Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD) is hosting a Remembrance Ceremony to mark the 20th Anniversary of 9/11. The Remembrance will take place on Saturday, September 11, at the KVFD’s 9/11 Memorial.

The KVFD’s 9/11 Memorial features artifact metal from the World Trade Center, as well as a piece of the damaged limestone façade of the Pentagon. The Memorial is located next to KVFD Station 705, at 10620 Connecticut Avenue in Old Town Kensington.

Speakers at this Saturday’s Remembrance will include US Senator Chris Van Hollen, former CIA Chief of Staff Jeremy Bash, MCFRS Fire Chief Scott Goldstein, former KVFD Chief James Stanton, Kensington Mayor Tracey Furman, and others.

The Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad Color Guard and the Montgomery County Firefighter Pipes and Drums will also be at the Remembrance, presenting the colors and closing out the event.

This Saturday’s Remembrance will also be streamed online. For those attending in person, parking is available at several locations in Kensington.

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Alicia Deeny is the First Latina High School Principal in MCPS

Established in 1892, Richard Montgomery High School (RM) is the oldest public high school in Montgomery County. For the first time ever RM appointed a female principal, and she is also MCPS first Latina High School Principal in History.

Alicia Deeny, Richard Montgomery’s new principal, grew up in Montgomery County and attended public Schools. She grew up with a Puerto Rican mother who was an English major and taught her to take pride in the family’s heritage while only speaking to her in Spanish.

Before starting her role at Richard Montgomery, Deeny served as the Takoma Park Middle School Principal and before that she experienced being on a high school administrative team by serving as one of Blair’s assistant principals.

 

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The Takoma Park Volunteer Fire Department has announced that their new engine will soon be in service. The new Engine still needs equipment mounting and crew training prior to assuming duty as the new Paramedic Engine 702.

The new Engine is a 2021 Pierce Enforcer, 10 years younger than the current 2011 Engine 702. Both were manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Paramedic Engine 702 averages over 2,000 calls annually.

Donations to help equip the new Engine are greatly appreciated and can be made online through the TPVFD’s website.

Photo Courtesy of the Takoma Park VFD

 

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