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Court Orders Vote On Montgomery Co. Ambulance Fee

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

The lower court had ruled that elections officials were correct to bar referendums because thousands of people signed their names on petition forms in a manner that conflicted with state law. The county board of elections rejected thousands of petition signatures, including illegible ones and some from people who signed without a middle initial.ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) -- Maryland's highest court has ordered a public vote on a recently passed ambulance fee in Montgomery County.

The Court of Appeals on Wednesday reversed a lower court ruling and ordered the referendum on the ballot for Nov. 2.

Handsfree In Maryland

LAUREL, Md. (WUSA) - - The first time you're caught driving in Maryland with your cell phone to your ear it will cost you $40.00 every violation after that carries a penalty of $100 and a point on your driving record.

"People really get distracted when they're on their phone," said Tia Goodwater.

MORE: 9NEWS NOW's Great Hang Up Campaign

But admit it. We've all done it before.

Roger Sullivan said, "I feel a need to see what's happening in my other world when i'm driving so it is a temptation."

"Yes, I have and it's dangerous because i have a kid and i shouldn't be doing it," admitted Sherreen Tolliver.

"It's going to be difficult to enforce." 

County Facing $140M Shortfall for Fiscal 2012

The Gazette reports that Montgomery County has a $145 million budget shortfall that officials already have identified for fiscal 2012, which begins next July.

On Tuesday, county officials told the County Council that known expenditures will be 4.3 percent higher in fiscal 2012 than this year. A fiscal plan approved by the council earlier this year allows for growth of one-tenth of one percent.

To help curb government expenses, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) has directed all county agencies to prepare to trim their budgets by as much as 15 percent. County spokesman Patrick K. Lacefield said such a scenario might not even be the worst case if decisions during the next Maryland General Assembly session, which begins in January, transfer more state expenses — such as teacher pensions — to county government.

Montgomery County Prepares For Budget Cuts


ROCKVILLE, Md. (WUSA) --- County Executive Ike Leggett, projecting a budget shortfall of between $100 million and $200 million, is asking county departments to prepare for 10% to 15% budget cutbacks to make up the difference.

Rape Reported between Gaithersburg and Germantown

     Detectives from the Montgomery County Police Major Crimes Division are investigating a rape that occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, September 26 in a wooded area near Route 355 and High Point Drive in Germantown.

      At approximately 3:30 a.m., Gaithersburg Police Officers were flagged down at the 7-Eleven located on Professional Drive for the report of a rape that had just occurred.  The preliminary investigation revealed that the 21-year-old female victim from Silver Spring was walking toward the 7-Eleven on Professional Drive.  As she was walking southbound on Frederick Road just south of High Point Drive she was grabbed from behind and forced into a wooded area where she was assaulted by an unknown male.  After the assault, the suspect fled in a southerly direction on Frederick Road.

157 Montgomery County Public School Students Are National Merit Scholarship Semifinalists

There are 157 National Merit Scholarship semifinalists from Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in the 2011 competition, eight more than the previous year. The semifinalists will go on to compete nationally for scholarships that will be offered in the spring. The competition is sponsored by the National Merit Scholarship Corporation. 

The MCPS semifinalists come from 16 high schools. The schools and their number of semifinalists are:

Bethesda-Chevy Chase: 8
Montgomery Blair: 40
Blake: 1
Winston Churchill: 13
Clarksburg: 1
Einstein: 1
Poolesville:  9
Quince Orchard: 2
Richard Montgomery: 30
Rockville: 1
Seneca Valley: 1
Springbrook: 3
Walter Johnson: 7
Walt Whitman: 24
Watkins Mill: 1
Wootton: 15

Germantown Man Who Impersonated a Federal Immigration Agent Pleads Guilty

        Robert Fred Mejia, age 29, of Germantown, Maryland, pleaded guilty today to conspiring to transport money obtained by fraud across state lines and to  impersonate an Immigration and Customs Enforcement (“ICE”) officer; and to transporting money obtained by fraud, in connection with a scheme to purportedly provide immigration services.  Mejia also pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of ammunition.

        The guilty plea was announced by United States Attorney for the District of Maryland Rod J. Rosenstein; Special Agent in Charge William Winter of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), Office of Homeland Security Investigations; Special Agent in Charge Peter P. Paradis, Sr. of the Department of Homeland Security - Office of Inspector General; Chief J. Thomas Manger of the Montgomery County Police Department; and Montgomery County State’s Attorney John McCarthy.