How to help victims cope with disasters in Silver Spring, where an apartment blew up with deadly results, and in the slow recovery from flooding in Ellicott City -- plus the slow, stealthy disaster of tipped workers in Montgomery County with a separate minimum wage of $4 an hour. Plus summaries and links for our recent blog posts.

Progressive Maryland Weekly Memo for August 15-21

Catastrophes in two places have left people homeless and/or without resources. There are ways you – we – can help.

The deadly apartment blast in Silver Spring’s Long Branch neighborhood last Wednesday has left five people dead at this writing and some 100 people without a home and minus many belongings. Many are low-income working families with few resources. The Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO’s Community Services Agency has advice for how to help:

CSA’S News You Can Use: How to Help the Working Families Impacted by the Apartment House Blast in Silver Spring
The best way to help the working families who lost their homes in last week’s apartment house blast in Silver Spring is to make a financial donation, says Community Services Agency Executive Director Kathleen McKirchy. She says "It’s fast and it can be used locally to provide what people actually need." Montgomery County is accepting cash donations online through the Montgomery Housing Partnership[From the labor council’s Union City email newsletter]

In Howard County, Ellicott City is slowly recovering from the devastating, deadly flood damage almost two weeks ago, with a request in for federal disaster aid. A detailed investigation by the Sun shows that development may have reduced the area’s ability to absorb major storms without this kind of damage. Tons of mud have been laboriously moved, often by hand in record-hot weather. There will be a dance party and fundraiser Wednesday night (Aug. 17 6-8 p.m.) for one well-like gallery owner whose carrier is claiming she is not covered.

This past weekend, in that same sweltering weather, Progressive Maryland volunteer canvassers contacted several hundred residents about the forgotten people in the minimum wage debate – tipped workers.

 In Montgomery County, the minimum wage for tipped workers is only $4/hour. Depending on the goodwill of customers is no way to make a living. Volunteers educated the public on the need to eliminate the tipped minimum wage during Montgomery County Restaurant Week in Silver Spring and Bethesda neighborhoods.

READING THE PM BLOGS – readers and fans of the PM BlogSpace can get a copy of the Weekly Memo delivered directly to their email inbox. It includes an update on the week ahead as well as links to the blogs that have appeared in the past week. Never miss a blog post. Sign up at

 FOR EXAMPLE: we recently published these:

August 12, 2016: Introducing PM’s Weekend Reader: smart growth, community internet, community supported fisheries and Maryland’s mental health crisis: Introducing a weekend reading list, as if you needed another one: good reads, mostly about Maryland, in our PM Weekend Reader.

 August 11, 2016: There's voting. And then there's the other 364: In a presidential election year constantly labeled the "lesser of two evils" election, Rob Anthony talks us through his thinking on how to decide: Clinton or Trump, Trump or Clinton....

 August 10, 2016: Bernie Sanders ran on an anti-racism platform: Can an economic program such as Bernie Sanders's make progress in ending racism in US society? Hal Ginsberg turns to the evidence of history to argue that it can.

 August 8, 2016: Last week’s Weekly Memo with info on how we’re turning Montgomery County’s Restaurant Week into an opportunity to raise awareness about the plight of tipped workers, always left out of the minimum-wage debate. Plus upcoming events and links to last week’s blog posts.

 August 8, 2016: We’re addicted to unnecessary water waste: We like it sunny, not rainy -- but we need that rain, and we need to use it to replenish our supplies, not pollute it and send it down the river. Liza Field, a guest blogger, makes the case for personal and public water consciousness

Keeping up with the blogs is easier with the index. The blogs published in the PM BlogSpace since June 2015 are all available with descriptions and links here.

 AND REMEMBER THIS BLOGSPACE IS FOR THE PROGRESSIVE VOICES OF MARYLAND. Want to include your voice? Send a submission, or questions, to the moderator at [email protected]

woody woodruff


M.A. and Ph.d. from University of Maryland Merrill College of Journalism, would-be radical, sci-fi fan... retired to a life of keyboard radicalism...