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Maryland Cell Phone Ban Begins

Maryland residents and those residents who travel through Maryland need to know that on Friday, October 1, 2010 (this Friday) - cell phone use will become illegal while driving. The offense will be a "secondary" offense, meaning that offenders can only be cited with it if they are pulled over for another primary offense like speeding or running a red light.

Beginning on Friday, people who wish to make a call while driving MUST use a hands free device. The fine will be $40 for the first offense and $100 for subsequent violations of the law.

Texting while driving has been illegal for some time now and already carries a fine.

Maryland is following suit with several other states with cellular phone bans while in operation of a motor vehicle, but it is one of the only (if not the only) state to list the law as a "secondary" offense.

Stink Bugs Destroy Crops At Germantown Farm

GERMANTOWN, Md. (WUSA) -- The Red Wiggler Community Farm in Germantown is infested with stink bugs.

Founder Woody Woodroof says the stink bugs cause discoloration, changes the texture, and make crops inedible.

He says his farm has lost 15 percent of its crops to the bug. It's a loss for the farm and for the people that work there.

"We grow and sell vegetables as a framework for training adults with developmental disabilities," Woodroof says.

He says they are using a floating row cover to protect crops from stink bugs.

"We're a certified organic farm," Woodroof says, "What that means is we don't spray chemical based pesticides or herbicides."

Woodroof says nothing else has worked, nor have any other insects prayed on the stink bug.

He says other farms are seeing the same thing.

Congressman Roscoe Bartlett says he will asking for $3 Million to help fund research to protect crops from the the stink bug.

QIAGEN Ground Breaking Promises Over 90 Jobs in the Area by 2015

After 10 Years of Growth in County, $52 Million Project Will
Enhance Manufacturing Capabilities, Add 90+ Jobs By 2015

Friday, September 24, 2010

1:30 and 3:30 pm – facility tours upon request to Shelly Ducker

2:00-3:30 pm – event program/groundbreaking

QIAGEN

19300 Germantown Road, Germantown

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will participate in a groundbreaking ceremony for QIAGEN’s 117,000-square-foot, $52 million expansion project, which will allow the company to consolidate many of its Maryland manufacturing operations and offices, and add more than 90 new jobs within the next five years.

Maryland Schools Must Teach Environmental Education

BALTIMORE (AP) -- Maryland officials have ruled that schools must include environmental education in their pre-kindergarten through 12th grade classes.

The Maryland State Board of Education voted Tuesday to make environmental education part of students' education, but it will not be an official graduation requirement. Still, all students must complete a "local action" project to improve the environment either individually or with their school.

It's not clear how much schools will change as a result. In Montgomery County, for example, students already create butterfly gardens and vegetable patches, and "Green Teams" collect recycling items.

Beginning in 2015, superintendents will have to certify every five years that the regulation's requirements are met.

FBI Seeks Suspect In 38 Restaurant Robberies

BALTIMORE (AP) -- The FBI Baltimore field office says law enforcement agencies are searching for a man suspected of robbing dozens of restaurants in Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania and northern Virginia.

The FBI says since February 2009, there have been 38 armed robberies of restaurants in the region. That includes Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Frederick, Harford, Howard and Montgomery counties in Maryland; Newark, Del.; York, Pa.; and Fairfax and Prince William counties in Virginia.

Authorities say the man has displayed a gun in all the robberies and is considered armed and dangerous. The FBI is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect.

Car Free Day on September 22-Montgomery County Offers Tips on How You Can Participate

Montgomery County Commuter Services (MCCS) invites residents and employees to join the Washington region in celebrating Car Free Day on Wednesday, September 22.  This annual, worldwide event encourages the public to find alternatives to using cars or reduce the amount of driving that day.  Organizers promote the idea that using transit, biking, and walking – instead of driving – will reduce noise, pollution and stress.

            “People throughout the region are re-evaluating their relationship with the car,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Art Holmes.  “This is great news for transit and great news for the environment.  I encourage everyone to try transportation alternatives that will help us relieve congestion and the stress of commuting.”

Five Charged Crime Spree after Germantown Shooting

The Gazette reports that Montgomery County Police charged five men Thursday in connection with a series of home invasion robberies, commercial robberies, street robberies and burglaries dating back to March 23.

The crimes were committed throughout Germantown and Gaithersburg and in Prince George's County, police said.

Patrol officers responded to the 11800 block of Ashbrook Court in Germantown at 2:20 a.m. Thursday after a shooting was reported at a residence.

When officers arrived, they found the five men standing in front of the residence next to a vehicle, police spokesman Cpl. Dan Friz said.

Police ran a check on the vehicle, and found that it had been stolen from a 70-year-old woman during a home invasion robbery in Prince George's County earlier in the week, Friz said.

Police also found items in the vehicle related to an armed robbery committed Monday. One of those items was a handgun, Friz said.