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& A JOYFUL Noise Area choirs gather to spread the word on a region rich in talent. B-5 The Gazette GAITHERSBURG | MONTGOMERY VILLAGE DAILY UPDATES ONLINE Wednesday, February 5, 2014 25 cents Bill allows public campaign money Measure would help fund county candidates but limit size of contributions n BY RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER A bill to provide public funding for county executive and county council campaigns has drawn praise from a number of organizations dedicated to good government as an example for other jurisdictions to follow. The bill, sponsored by Councilman Philip M. Andrews (D-Dist. 3) of Gaithersburg and co-sponsored by all eight of his council colleagues, would allow candidates to receive public money to help fund their campaigns, but places limits on the size of contributions for candidates who accept it. The bill is scheduled to be introduced Tuesday . Andrews, who is seeking the Democratic nomination for county executive in the June 24 primary, said PHOTOS BY DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE Donation boxes in the parking lot of Toys R Us on North Frederick Road in Gaithersburg. The city may start regulating such drop boxes. n A donation renovation? There are those that collect unwanted books, some collect eyeglasses and others used clothing, but some city officials say donation drop boxes that dot the city’s shopping centers and parking lots also might be collecting garbage and unusable items, while other organizations sell the donated items at a profit. To get a better handle on the issue of donation drop-offs, the city may put in place an ordinance to regulate them. About 30 sites within the city have drop boxes, but the bins are unregulated, according to Gaithersburg Planning Division Chief Lauren Pruss. Organizations that have drop boxes in the city include Goodwill, Planet Aid, Discover Books and Better World Books, among others. Councilwoman Cathy Drzyzgula re- Donation boxes in front of the IHOP restaurant on North Frederick Road in Gaithersburg. cently brought up the issue, concerned that some people who donate items at the drop boxes might not realize who actually is getting the donation. “I’ve noticed a proliferation of boxes in mostly shopping center parking lots where people can put used clothing and stuff like that and obviously the practice is fine, but I am concerned that people think they’re donating to charity when many of these organizations give little of their proceeds to charitable purposes,” she said. At a mayor and council meeting Monday, Pruss presented the draft for a future text amendment concerning regulations of donation drop boxes throughout the city. In a Nov. 18 memo to the City Council, Pruss explained that the boxes serve an important purpose, but that they often are misused and not taken care of properly. “... the City has recently received complaints from individuals stating that it is not always evident that their donation is benefiting a not-for-profit organization,” she wrote. “Additionally, the boxes Cold temperatures, regular storms have kept crews busy n BY Police: Son killed mother; father on routine administrative leave BY ST. JOHN BARNED-SMITH STAFF WRITER DAN GROSS/THE GAZETTE The Stirkens home in the 7400 block of Lake Katrine Terrace in Gaithersburg, where two people were killed Jan. 29. James Stirkens knew his wife’s attacker all too well when he found him stabbing her to death in an upstairs bedroom last week. To try to save her, he shot and killed the man — his son. The killings happened at about 8 p.m. Jan. 29 in the family’s two-story home in the Having survived last month’s polar vortex and with Punxsutawney Phil recently predicting six more weeks of winter weather, state, county and local officials are keeping an eye on the toll this winter’s weather has taken on their supplies and budgets. Montgomery County has used slightly less than 50,000 tons of road salt since the winter season started in November, said Keith Compton, the chief of the Division of Highway Services See DONATION, Page A-10 FROG CALLING FrogWatch volunteers are part of a nationwide program to collect data on the amphibians. A-9 See SALT, Page A-10 BILL RYAN/THE GAZETTE See COP, Page A-10 TOUGH DECISIONS FOR ATHLETES Players make signing day commitments too early because of recruitment pressure. B-1 in the county’s Department of Transportation. At $52 a ton from the county’s supplier at the Port of Baltimore, that’s about $2.6 million worth of salt so far this winter. The county tries to keep about 30,000 tons on hand so it will always be prepared for a major storm. “That’s the comfort zone,” Compton said. County road crews responded to eight weather events in January, and also had to deal with a lot of ice created by the unseasonably cold temperatures that sometimes dipped into the single digits, Compton said. The State Highway Administration has had to use liquid 7400 block of Lake Katrine Terrace in Gaithersburg, according to police. Stirkens, a 27-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department, discovered his 25-year-old son, Christopher Stirkens, using garden shears to attack Denise Stirkens, according to The Washington Post. To defend his wife, Stirkens, 58, shot their son, killing him, said police spokesman Capt. Jim Daly. Fire and rescue personnel took 53-year-old Denise SPORTS NEWS RYAN MARSHALL STAFF WRITER ‘Worst-case scenario nightmare’ for cop who killed son n See CAMPAIGN, Page A-10 Wintry assault assails county’s salt supplies Gaithersburg considers regulating drop boxes after resident complaints over lack of information on bins BY JENN DAVIS STAFF WRITER Monday he believes the bill will encourage more candidates to run for office and more residents to participate in campaigns, as well as reduce the influence of special interests in government. Andrews said he’s been working on the issue since before his election to the council in 1998, including while serving as executive director of Common Cause Maryland from 1988 until 1994. That group’s current executive director, Jennifer BevanDangel, praised the legislation Monday as something that could be used in other counties. “We absolutely believe that Montgomery County is setting the model for other counties to follow and for the state to follow,” Bevan-Dangel said. She said Howard and Anne Arundel counties are two that might take up similar legislation soon. Andrews’ bill also drew sup- Salt trucks wait at a parking lot in Gaithersburg to start salting roads Monday. Automotive Business Calendar Celebrations Classified Entertainment Opinion School News Sports Please B-14 A-11 A-2 A-13 B-10 B-5 A-14 A-12 B-1 RECYCLE Check out our Services Directory ADVERTISING INSIDE B SECTION 1906240

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