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& ONLINE AND IN TUNE Hip-hop sensation Miller rides Internet into Fillmore The Gazette B-5 DAMASCUS | CLARKSBURG DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, November 6, 2013 25 cents Leggett: Keep bag tax as is County executive’s staff says scale-back would be ‘premature’ n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER TOM FEDOR/THE GAZETTE Losing $11 in monthly food stamp benefits represents “three days’ worth of food,” says Byron Kelly, who lost his job in February and cares for his mother in their apartment in the Aspen Hill area of Silver Spring. Food stamp cuts hit the needy n Federal stimulus program ended Friday BY SYLVIA CARIGNAN STAFF WRITER As federal stimulus money dries up, thousands of hungry Montgomery County residents are scrambling to make ends meet. An expansion of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program meant to cover individuals and families during the Great Recession expired Friday. In 2009, President Barack Obama’s stimulus package included a temporary increase in funding for food stamps. All households that receive federal food stamps will now see about a 5 percent cut this month. The maximum amount of SNAP funding an individual could receive per month was $200. But as of Nov. 1, that maximum is $189. For a household of two people, the maximum funding level, $367, fell by $20. And for a family of eight, $65 is cut, leaving them with a maximum allowance of $1,137, according to Brian Schleter, spokesman for the state’s Department of Human Resources. Jenna Umbriac, a nutrition educator at Manna Food Center, said the cuts in SNAP funding mean participants will have to make difficult decisions about their food budget. Since protein is often the most expensive food item on a shopping list, meats like chicken and beef are going to be the first items a cash-strapped resident will cut out of their diet. “It just means a bigger pot of rice and beans on the stove, or something else that lasts longer,” Umbriac said. Individuals and families tend to show up at Manna for food assistance toward the end of the month as their SNAP funding and other resources begin to run dry. About 70,500 people are participating in the SNAP program in Montgomery County as of September, Schleter said. In 2007, that number was less than 25,000. SNAP participants must meet income and deduction requirements to be eligible for the program. See CUTS, Page A-10 Manna celebrates 30 years of food distribution n Nonprofit serves 194,000 residents a year BY AGNES BLUM STAFF WRITER 2012 FILE PHOTO Manna Food Center staff member Norman Flood loads food items for clients last year at the nonprofit’s Gaithersburg warehouse. The volunteers search the industrial shelves packed with canned foods, diapers, infant formulas, they reach into the immense cardboard box overflowing with cabbage heads and they count apples. It’s all part of the process of packing about 200 boxes with food a day — about 16,000 pounds of food total — that the Manna Food Center gives to Montgomery County residents each day. It’s a labor of love that has been going on for 30 years. On Monday, the Gaithersburg nonprofit celebrated its 30th birthday. What started as a small opera- tion in Hungerford Park Elementary School has moved into a large warehouse on Gaither Road, supplemented by six other food distribution sites in Silver Spring, Germantown, Gaithersburg and Wheaton. In a county where the median household income is $92,000 it can be easy to forget that some people are going hungry, but Manna helps people remember, said Jackie De Carlo, executive director of the food center. “There’s a perception that we’re very affluent,” De Carlo said. “But the reality is that there are a lot of working families that need food support.” Manna distributes food to about 43,000 households each year, serving more than 194,000 county residents a year. The program could not run NEWS SPORTS Proposed expansion of program draws mixed reactions from County Council members. Saturday’s state crosscountry meet focuses on runners, not hills. MORE OFFICERS IN SCHOOLS? A-3 See MANNA, Page A-10 THIS YEAR, IT’S ABOUT THE RUNNERS B-1 Automotive Calendar Classified Community News Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-14 A-2 B-10 A-3 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 County Executive Isiah Leggett thinks scaling back the county’s bag tax would be “premature,” as the policy needs more time before its effectiveness in limiting litter in waterways can be evaluated, a staff member told members of a Montgomery County Council committee Monday. Leggett (D) believes the law that requires retailers to charge a 5-cent fee for each plastic bag is proving effective in limiting the number of bags used by customers, Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kathleen Boucher told the council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee. The law should be given at least two years to allow for data to be collected before any changes are considered, according to Leggett. In January 2012, the county began charging a nickel tax on most carryout bags, with a few exemptions such as paper “doggy bags” at restaurants. The new bill would exempt plastic “doggy bags” as well as paper ones. The new bill now being considered would apply the tax only to businesses that make more than 2 percent of their sales from food. That would exempt retailers such as many department stores. The county collected about $2.2 million from the tax in its first 12 months, See TAX, Page A-10 Barnesville group wins grant to research American Indian trails Sugarloaf Regional Trails receives mini-grant n BY SYLVIA CARIGNAN STAFF WRITER A Barnesville organization is delving into the history of Montgomery County’s longlost American Indian trails. Sugarloaf Regional Trails, a nonprofit headed by President Peg Coleman, received a $625 grant Tuesday help get started on its research. The organization focuses on the conservation of natural resources at Sugarloaf Mountain and the surrounding region. Coleman said its volunteers are hunting down a 1700s book by Marylander Thomas Cresap, who mapped out trails in the Montgomery County area. “We’re hot on the trail of finding the maps,” she said. Coleman said the group plans to trace out the trails and compare them with modern-day Montgomery County, but the exact locations of the trails are not yet known. The grant was one of a batch of mini-grants awarded See GRANT, Page A-10 HERITAGE MONTGOMERY The King Barn Dairy Mooseum in South Germantown Recreational Park will have a model milk train in its milk transportation exhibit, thanks to a $2,000 grant from Heritage Montgomery. See Our Ad Inside! RECYCLE 1906649

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