The first full week of December is Older driver Safety Awareness Week-  this year it starts today, on December 4th. Older Driver Safety Awareness Week highlights the vital role that mobility and transportation play to keep older adults active in their communities. The Takoma Park Police Department has put together a few notes on the observance of this week.



The First Golden Bachelorette

The Golden Bachelorette has yet to be announced by ABC, but a lot of fans have speculated that it would make a lot of sense after the success of ABC’s Golden Bachelor series. Rockville, MD’s very own Joan Vassos stole bachelor Gerry’s heart during her short time on the show that ended when she made the decision to return home and be with her daughter, who was having a tough time following a difficult pregnancy.



The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, headquartered in White Oak, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), released data from the 2023 National Youth Tobacco Survey (NYTS) on tobacco product use among U.S. youth. The findings, which were collected between March and June 2023, show that 10% of U.S. middle and high school students (2.8 million youth) reported current use of any tobacco product. Among U.S. high school students, current overall tobacco product use declined during 2022-2023 (16.5% to 12.6%). This decline was primarily attributable to reduced e-cigarette use (14.1% to 10%), which translates to 580,000 fewer high school students who reported current use of e-cigarettes in 2023. Among high school students, declines in current use were also observed during 2022-2023 for cigars and overall combustible tobacco smoking, representing all-time lows.

Per the FDA and CDC: “It’s encouraging to see this substantial decline in e-cigarette use among high schoolers within the past year, which is a win for public health,” said Brian King, Ph.D., M.P.H., director of the FDA’s Center for Tobacco Products. “But we can’t rest on our laurels. There’s more work to be done to build on this progress.” Although a decrease in e-cigarette use was observed among high school students, among middle school students there was an increase in current overall tobacco product use (4.5% to 6.6%) and multiple tobacco product use (1.5% to 2.5%). However, among middle school students overall, no significant change was observed during 2022-2023 for current use of any individual tobacco product type, including e-cigarettes.

E-cigarettes remained the most commonly used tobacco product among both high school and middle school students for the 10th year in a row. Among youth who reported current e-cigarette use, approximately one-quarter reported using e-cigarettes every day. Disposable e-cigarette products were the most common product type used by youth who reported e-cigarette use. However, the most popular brands included both disposable and cartridge-based products. Among current youth e-cigarette users, the most commonly reported brands were Elf Bar (56.7%), Esco Bars (21.6%), Vuse (20.7%), JUUL (16.5%) and Mr. Fog (13.6%).

Among youth who reported current e-cigarette use, nearly all used flavored products (89.4%), with fruit, candy, mint and menthol being the most commonly used flavors. For the first time in NYTS, the 2023 questionnaire asked about use of flavors that included the word “ice” or “iced” in their name, along with other concept flavor names (i.e., names that imply flavor but do not explicitly indicate any particular flavor, such as “island bash”). Accounting for these products provides a more robust picture of flavored tobacco product use among youth, with the results suggesting that flavored tobacco product use among youth might be higher than previously thought.

“The FDA remains concerned about youth tobacco product use, and we cannot and will not let our guard down on this issue,” King said. “The agency has an array of enforcement tools at our disposal, and we’re committed to using them as appropriate. We will not stand by as bad actors place profit over the health of our nation’s youth.” After filing 22 civil money penalty (CMPs) actions in September for the largest amounts sought to date, the FDA is announcing a new wave of enforcement actions targeting illegal e-cigarettes with youth appeal. The agency is seeking CMPs for similar amounts against 20 additional retailers for the sale of unauthorized Elf Bar products, the most popular brand among youth according to the 2023 NYTS. The FDA previously issued a warning letter to each of these 20 retailers cautioning them to stop selling unauthorized tobacco products. During follow-up inspections, the FDA observed that the retailers had not stopped selling the unauthorized products, resulting in the CMP actions. In September, the FDA announced civil money penalty actions against more than a dozen retailers for the sale of unauthorized Elf Bar/EB Design e-cigarettes and sent hundreds more warning letters to retailers for selling the same products.

Today’s actions mark yet another step in the agency’s continued actions against manufacturers, distributors, importers and retailers of illegal e-cigarettes with youth appeal. Over the past year, the FDA has issued more than 135 warning letters to manufacturers and distributors of unauthorized e-cigarettes – including several distributors of Elf Bar (Easy Wholesale, LLC, EC Supply, Inc., Safa Goods, LLC). The FDA has also conducted a series of nationwide retailer inspections, issued more than 400 warning letters to retailers for the sale of unauthorized e-cigarettes, issued import alerts for the detention without physical examination of unauthorized e-cigarettes offered for entry into the U.S. marketplace, filed civil money penalty actions for the largest amounts sought to date against manufacturers of unauthorized e-cigarettes and filed the first injunctions against manufacturers of unauthorized e-cigarettes.

Youth use of tobacco products in any form – including e-cigarettes – is unsafe. Keeping tobacco products out of the hands of youth remains a top priority for the FDA. The FDA’s continued efforts, including the enforcement actions announced today, mark important progress toward achieving that goal.


Ahead of a winter that will see above-average snowfall and normal to colder-than-normal temperatures, according to the latest forecast from the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its 2023’s Best Winter Holiday Destinations report, with the DC Metro area rated the second best cold weather destination in the country.

Focusing on cost and convenience rather than scenic beauty, WalletHub compared nearly 70 of the largest U.S. metro areas grouped by warm and cold weather. Each destination was analyzed based on 37 key metrics, primarily the expense and hassle of traveling to each location but also on other indicators, such as weather forecasts, safety and variety of activities. Here’s a quick glimpse at some of the report’s most interesting findings:

Best Cold Destinations for Winter Travel Best Warm Destinations for Winter Travel
1. Atlanta, GA 1. Las Vegas, NV
2. Washington, DC 2. San Diego, CA
3. Chicago, IL 3. Austin, TX
4. New York, NY 4. Dallas, TX
5. Denver, CO 5. San Antonio, TX
6. Cincinnati, OH 6. Charleston, SC
7. St. Louis, MO 7. San Francisco, CA
8. Kansas, MO 8. Houston, TX
9. Philadelphia, PA 9. Phoenix, AZ
10. Boston, MA 10. Los Angeles, CA

Best vs. Worst

  • The average flight to a popular cold winter destination costs $399.05, lasts 3 hours and 35 minutes, and has 0.34 connections. In comparison, the average flight to a popular warm winter destination costs $503.55, lasts 5 hours and 26 minutes, and has 0.58 connections.
  • Among cold destinations, Chicago, Illinois, has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $39, which is 3.5 times lower than Worcester, Massachusetts, the city with the highest at $135.
  • Among warm destinations, San Antonio has the lowest price for a three-star hotel room, $50, which is 3.9 times lower than Honolulu, the city with the highest at $196.
  • Among cold destinations, Chicago has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 6.154833, which is 6.2 times more than in Bridgeport, Connecticut, the city with the fewest at 0.991192.
  • Among warm destinations, Miami has the most restaurants (per square root of population), 7.598659, which is 29.4 times more than in Deltona, Florida, the city with the fewest at 0.258407.

To view the full report and your metro area’s rank, please visit:

Featured photo courtesy of @dronifydmv


Former United States Vice President has announced that he will be ending his bid to become President in 2024. According to the Associated Press, Pence said “It’s become clear to me: This is not my time,” at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s annual gathering in Las Vegas. “So after much prayer and deliberation, I have decided to suspend my campaign for president effective today.” He went on to call his bid an “uphill battle, but I have no regrets.”

Former Maryland Governor Larry Hogan commented on Pence’s decision via social media, calling him a “man of integrity, a traditional Republican, and a true conservative, who has devoted his life to public service.” Hogan went on to write “Since we served as governors together, I have been proud to call him a friend. As he enters this next chapter, I know he will continue to fight for what he believes in.” Pence has not yet endorsed another candidate for next year’s primary election.


With over 34,000 Americans having died from gun violence this year and the country having experienced 24 billion-dollar climate disasters, the personal-finance website WalletHub today released its report on 2023’s Safest States in America, with Maryland coming in Ranked 17th. The state’s lowest ranking comes in the “Personal and Residential Safety” category (27th) with the highest ranking coming in the “Workplace Safety” category (17th). In order to determine the most secure states, WalletHub compared the 50 states across 52 key metrics. The data set ranges from assaults per capita to the total loss amount from climate disasters per capita to the unemployment rate.

Safest States in America Least Safe States in America
1. Vermont 41. Missouri
2. Maine 42. Montana
3. New Hampshire 43. Colorado
4. Utah 44. Oklahoma
5. Massachusetts 45. Alabama
6. Connecticut 46. Florida
7. Hawaii 47. Texas
8. Minnesota 48. Arkansas
9. Rhode Island 49. Mississippi
10. Wyoming 50. Louisiana

Key Stats

  • Maryland is ranked 22nd in “Financial Safety” and 21st in “Road Safety.”


  • Rhode Island has the fewest murders and non-negligent manslaughters per 100,000 residents, 1.46, which is 11 times fewer than in Louisiana, the most at 16.12.
  • Idaho has the fewest thefts per 1,000 residents, 9.35, which is 3.7 times fewer than in Washington, the most at 34.43.
  • New Jersey has the most law-enforcement employees per 100,000 residents, 541, which is 2.8 times more than in Washington, the fewest at 196.
  • Delaware has the lowest share of high school students who were bullied online, 9.70 percent, which is 2.2 times lower than in New Hampshire, the highest at 21.80 percent.

To view the full report and your state rank, please visit:


The U.S. Marshals Service will hold an auction for the multimillion dollar car collection of the imprisoned YouTube star Bill Omar Carrasquillo on October 13th in Baltimore, MD. The live auction will include over 55 cars, motorcycles, ATV, and other vehicles seized from Carrasquillo, also known as “Omi In A Hellcat”. The collection includes exotic cars like Lamborghinis and Bentleys, Jeeps and other SUVs. The auction will be held at the historic B&O Railroad Museum on October 13th, with a preview day on Thursday, October 12th starting at 11 am EST. Also available in a separate online sale is a collection of jewelry seized from Carrasquillo along with other items from other cases.

Earlier this year, Carrasquillo was sentenced to 5 ½ years in prison for crimes arising from a wide-ranging criminal scheme that involved piracy of cable TV, access device fraud, wire fraud, money laundering, and hundreds of thousands of dollars of copyright infringement. In addition to his prison sentence, Carrasquillo is subject to a $30 million forfeiture money judgment and must pay $15 million in restitution.The event is open to the public. To place a bid on any item, registration is required. Registration information for the auto event is located at; and jewelry sale registration is located at

The Department of Justice Asset Forfeiture Program is a key component of the federal government’s law enforcement efforts to combat major criminal activity by disrupting and dismantling illegal enterprises, depriving criminals of the proceeds of illegal activity, deterring crime and restoring property to victims. The U.S. Marshals Service plays a critical role in identifying and evaluating assets that represent the proceeds of crime as well as efficiently managing and selling assets seized and forfeited by DOJ. Feature photo courtesy of the U.S. Marshals Service


The U.S. Marshals in Connecticut, along with Middleton and New Haven police, arrested today a man wanted out of Silver Spring, Maryland, for assault and other charges. Oliver Agyopong, 21, was wanted on charges of armed robbery, conspiracy to commit armed robbery, assault first-degree, assault second-degree, use of a firearm in a violent crime, and theft.

Per U.S. Marshals Service: “Since March, Montgomery County detectives have been investigating several armed robberies in the Silver Spring area of Maryland. Agyapong and two co-defendants were identified as suspects in some of the robberies, and a warrant was issued for their arrest. Oliver was the last suspect arrested in the trio.

This morning members of the U.S. Marshals Violent Fugitive Task Force, Middleton Police Department, and the New Haven Police Department arrested Oliver at a residence on Ferry Street in Middletown. Agyopong was transported to the Middletown Police Department where he will be held pending extradition to Maryland.”



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