(UPDATE at 12:05 a.m.) With almost 90 percent of state precincts reporting, some are declaring victory for same-sex marriage advocates in Maryland. The Washington Post has projected the law will pass. The latest raw numbers show a nearly 47,000 vote edge in favor of same-sex marriage.
Expanded casino gambling advocates are celebrating what they say is a Question 7 victory tonight. The Dream Act will also pass, according to projections.
(UPDATE at 10:50 p.m.) With half of state precincts reporting, 51 percent of Maryland voters approved same-sex marriage, an approximately 32,000 margin for Question 6 supporters.
Casino gambling is almost as close, with 51.5 percent in favor of expanded gaming.With 35 percent of the vote counted in Montgomery County, the county Board of Elections reports 57 percent are in favor of ending police effects bargaining.
(UPDATE at 8:25 p.m.) Montgomery County early voting results are in and show large advantages for incumbent Democrats President Barack Obama, Senator Ben Cardin and District 8 Rep. Chris Van Hollen.
On Montgomery County police effects bargaining, 38,131, or 54 percent, voted to uphold a law that would repeal police effects bargaining. Just more than 32,000 early voters voted against the law, siding with police union officials.
Almost 78 percent of Montgomery County early voters supported Question 4, the Dream act. More than 68 percent of early voters voted for Question 5, which would uphold a redistricting map many county leaders were solidly against. Almost 70 percent of voters were for Question 6, same-sex marriage and more than 54 percent were for expanded casino gambling.
Early voters in the county gave the same-sex marriage act an almost 30,000 vote edge, with 52,178 for and 23,411 against.
(UPDATE at 8:03 p.m.) Multiple media outlets are calling Maryland for President Barack Obama as the polls close at 8 p.m. Senator Ben Cardin (D) will also win the Senate race, according to NBC News.
Montgomery County Board of Elections officials say local results from today’s election should start coming in at 9:20 p.m. and be updated every 20 minutes.
Early voting results will be tabulated and available as soon after 8 p.m. as possible. Almost 13 percent of all Montgomery County voters did early voting.
Many eyes locally will be on ballot question results, including a county police bargaining rights question and four high profile state questions. At the end of the night, Maryland could be the first state to approve same-sex marriage by referendum. There could also be a Las Vegas-style casino destined for Prince George’s County and the passage of the Dream Act, which would allow children of illegal immigrants to get in-state tuition to state colleges.
Video courtesy of Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services via Telly
Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services Chief Richard Bowers this afternoon welcomed back 80 county emergency responders who spent the last nine days in New York and New Jersey assisting authorities and victims in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
The crew was called up on Oct. 28 by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as an Urban Search and Rescue Team with the primary mission of finding and rescuing victims of the storm trapped in homes by flooding. According to a MCFRS press release, the team also assisted in transporting emergency vehicles — boats, water rescue equipment, tractor trailers and off-road 4×4 vehicles — to help move personnel into affected areas in the New York and New Jersey region.
The responders returned to Montgomery County today.
The team was moved to Ft. Dix in central New Jersey near the coast as the storm moved in. The crew moved a 14-vehicle convoy of essential equipment into flooded, powerless areas.
There were still as many as a million people without power in the region this weekend.
“From me to all of you, thank you very much. I’m very proud of this team. I’m very, very proud that as a resource the federal government is able to, if you will, build a team from the local level and be able to send it wherever is necessary to make a difference. And that’s what you did. You made a difference, you made a contribution,” Bowers said. ”I know what you need now because I’ve been in your seat. You need a little rest. You need probably a warm meal, and a nice warm bed.”
The lookout went out for a group of four men — three with black jackets, one with a camouflaged hooded sweatshirt and three with camouflaged pants — and one black female wearing a white shirt around 12:45 p.m. on Tuesday. The alleged strong arm robbery occurred at the AT&T Store at 11832 Rockville Pike.
The call came in at 12:26 p.m., according to Montgomery County Police spokeswoman Angela Cruz. Police received a report that suspects ran into the store and pushed someone before stealing property.
It might not be the greatest example of representative democracy you’ll hear about today, but it’s noteworthy nonetheless.
A longtime Bethesda beer and wine store recently asked Montgomery County for a license to sell beer growlers (the refillable glass jars larger than a typical beer bottle, some with a specially fastened cap) that have become increasingly popular with the explosion of craft beers.
The problem was Montgomery County didn’t license anybody to sell them. In fact, less than 10 stores in the state could sell growlers before legislation was adopted in Baltimore and Howard County.
So the husband and wife ownership team at Bradley Food and Beverage (6904 Arlington Rd.) went to State Sen. Brian Frosh (D-Dist. 16). An official in the county’s Department of Liquor Control wrote legislation that would allow Montgomery County beer and wine sellers to stock growlers and Frosh agreed to sponsor it in January’s State Special Assembly.
The Montgomery County Council discussed it today as part of its 2013 State Legislative Session priorities.
“I don’t think anybody had even really challenged it in Montgomery County in recent history,” said Charleen Merkel, who owns Bradley Food and Beverage with her husband.
The shop has been on Arlington Road for 40 years and is well known for its beer and wine but also its deli and bakery.
“I’m so excited because craft beer is just so in and there are so many cool beers that are not even released in bottles,” said Merkel, who will likely head to Annapolis in January to plead her case for the measure. She said Frosh doesn’t forsee any particular snags with the bill.
Under the legislation, the license would regulate size of the growlers between 32 ounces and 128 ounces. That’s more than enough progress for Merkel, who said she was happy to see a small bit of democracy in action.
Flickr photo by Jinx!
Take5 Boutique, the creation of Germantown resident Sakina Iskender and her husband, Mahir Iskender, will open at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 10 with a grand opening celebration at 4920 Fairmont Ave.
Iskender grew up in Azerbaijan where she learned dressmaking from her grandmother. Her interest grew in fashion, but on the advice of her parents, she went into the professional world instead. After working in Bethesda for a number of years, Iskender decided to start researching potential locations for a fashion boutique in the area.
She found the vacant spot on Fairmont Avenue, next to another recent arrival, and after clearing all permitting hurdles will open up shop next week.
“We’re so excited,” Iskender said. “We’re not nervous, it’s more like we can not wait to do this basically.”
She said a few things will make Take5 stand out from other designer fashion stores in the area, including personal style consultations, make up applications, hair styling and exclusive designs from leading Turkish designers.
Photo via Take5 Boutique
B-CC Girls Soccer Wins 5th Straight Region Title — The girls soccer team at Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School has won four straight state titles and will get a shot at a fifth after defeating Bethesda rival Walt Whitman in last night’s region title game. [The Gazette]
Bethesda Row Wine Lounge Opening Friday — Vino Volo, the California-based airport wine lounge and small plates restaurant, is opening its first standalone location on Bethesda Row on Friday. [Vino Volo]
County Council Coming to Potomac for Town Hall Meeting — Members of the Montgomery County Council will come to the Potomac Community Recreation Center (11315 Falls Rd., Potomac) on Wednesday at 8 p.m. for a town hall meeting. Topics discussed are expected to include development, utilities, traffic, schools and budget issues.
Polls opened today at 7 a.m. in 32 Bethesda and Chevy Chase voting precincts, many with lines extending onto sidewalks or parking lots outside.
Those who had just finished voting at the Bethesda Library and Bethesda Elementary School on Arlington Road reported wait times ranging from 30 minutes to a little more than an hour, which they said was an agreeable amount considering the length on the ballot.
Almost 78,000 people cast ballots in early voting, about 12.6 percent of Montgomery County’s voting population, according to The Gazette. Polls close at 8 p.m. The list of ballot box locations and links to where you can find your precinct is here.