Maryland's 2018 General Assembly gets underway. (Courtesy of
Maryland's 2018 General Assembly gets underway. (Courtesy of

The Maryland General Assembly convened for discussions this week.

For the assembly, which kicked off Wednesday in Annapolis and runs through April 9, representatives are expected to focus on state taxes, health insurance policy and crime prevention for the year.

During November pre-assembly discussions, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett reportedly urged legislators to push for additional education funding as the county’s school system continues to grow. The system now has more than 162,000 students, making it the largest in the state.

The subject of federal tax legislation, which is likely to result in additional tax revenue for the state, is also on tap, as the Democratic-controlled legislature decides what will happen with the expected surplus. Gov. Larry Hogan reportedly would like to see additional funding given back to residents.

Lawmakers are also expected to touch on rising crime in Baltimore and how to reduce skyrocketing health insurance premiums.

Major Budget Forum Rescheduled Due to Weather

Due to inclement weather, Montgomery County’s Monday budget forum has been rescheduled for Feb. 6 at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 4805 Edgemoor Lane in Bethesda at 7 p.m.

County Executive Ike Leggett was scheduled Monday to host the first of five public forums to receive ideas from residents before he submits his fiscal 2019 operating budget proposal to the county council in the spring.

Leggett is formulating the $5 billion-plus operating budget, which helps supports the day-to-day operations of county government, schools and local services, as the county works through a $120 million shortfall that leaders will have to address either in the current budget or in fiscal 2019.

The first budget forum will now be held Jan. 24 at the Mid-County Community Center at 2004 Queensguard Road in Silver Spring.

Other expected forum dates include Jan. 29 at BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown, Jan. 30 at the Silver Spring Civic Building and Jan. 31 at the Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center in Silver Spring at 7 p.m.

Bethesda to Get New Ethiopian Restaurant

A new Ethiopian restaurant is coming to downtown Bethesda, adding flair and culture to the rapidly developing area.

Located at 4921 Bethesda Ave., a brightly colored sign announced the impending arrival of Chercher Ethiopian Cuisine and Bar.

Up until September, the location had been home to Suma Restaurant and Bar, an American-themed restaurant that opened in spring 2016.

A sign on the door this fall suggested that Suma’s closure was temporary and due to renovations, but no other mention has been made.

Chercher joins another Ethiopian restaurant set to open in the area. Lucy, a restaurant in Silver Spring, announced last summer its plans to open a second location in Bethesda sometime this year.

Lauren M. Poteat

Lauren Poteat is a versatile writer with a strong background in communications and media experience with an additional background in education and development.

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