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Ride On Announces Modified Holiday Schedule for Beginning of Coming Work Week; Return to Normal Schedule Mid-Week

 Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system will run a special modified holiday schedule on Monday, July 23 and Tuesday, July 24.
Beginning Wednesday, July 25, the buses will operate on a normal schedule. However, riders are advised that some delays may occur.
This change in Ride On’s schedule was activated when all of Ride On’s Champion buses were permanently removed from service recently due to safety concerns.
CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, July 20, 2012 | 10:00:00 AM |

Ground Broken in County for State’s First “Fast Track” Project

On July 16, Montgomery County officially became the site of Maryland’s first “Fast Track” approved project that will bring transit-oriented development (TOD) to the White Flint area.

Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown joined Montgomery County officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett and private sector partners, for the groundbreaking.

The Pike & Rose project will be built by First Realty Investment Trust. Ultimately, it will transform 24 acres of asphalt parking lots and an auto-oriented strip retail center into a vibrant, walkable community with housing, retail, office and public spaces located close to the White Flint Metro Station.

Leggett said, “The Pike & Rose groundbreaking, part of the White Flint Transit Oriented Development Plan, represents another successful public-private partnership taking place here in the County. This effort will bring with it new jobs, tax revenue and increased transit ridership – all the elements you look for in an environmentally friendly, smart growth development.  I join with the governor and lieutenant governor in congratulating Pike & Rose, First Realty Investment Trust and the entire team on this important milestone in the transformation of White Flint.”

As part of the County’s plans to concentrate transit-oriented development around the White Flint Metro Station, the State and the County co-designated the White Flint Sector Plan area as a TOD.

The overall plan allows for 17.6 million square feet of development, which would generate $6.9 billion in tax revenues over 30 years. Currently in the White Flint area, about 26 percent of people commute by transit, biking and walking. Under the White Flint Sector Plan, that percentage is projected to nearly double, reaching 50 percent after implementation.

Read the full news release.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, July 20, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

County Completes Traffic Signal Modernization

Three weeks ahead of schedule, the Department of Transportation has completed conversion of its 1980 vintage Traffic Signal System that controls the County’s 800 traffic signals. The old system relied on one central computer to control signal timing. The new system has signal controllers at intersections that also can be centrally managed and features the flexibility to allow future upgrades.

Although upgraded over the years, the technology had become obsolete and many of the parts and components were no longer available. In 2009, following a problem with the outdated equipment, County Executive Ike Leggett accelerated the schedule for replacement of the signal system.

The signal upgrade project has three phases:

  • Phases one and two, now complete, replaced the central computers and software, installed new local intersection controllers and upgraded the communications network. In addition to all of the control and monitoring functions of the current signal system, the new system has additional capabilities and tools that will optimize traffic flow and support future applications.
  • Phase three will be completed over the next three years. During that time, other signal devices in the County -- such as school flashers and hazard beacons -- will be brought under the system’s control. In addition, in case of power failures, back-up power systems will be installed at all 250 County-owned traffic signals.

The cost for planning and implementation of the two completed phases of the signal system was $25.1 million. Phase three will cost $10.8 million.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

Transit Task Force Releases Recommendations

The Montgomery County Transit Task Force recently presented its recommendations to Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett for establishing a 160-mile, innovative, “best-in-class” rapid transit system that creates a comprehensive transit network. 

The Task Force has recommended that the system be built in three phases over the next nine to 20 years to mitigate both construction and affordability issues. 

“Thanks to the tremendous work of the Transit Task Force, we now have a practical roadmap that will guide us to fully implementing the transit we both want and need to keep our County economically competitive in the 21st century,” said Leggett, who created the Transit Task Force in February 2011. 

The proposed rapid transit system uses vehicles that will operate like “light rail on rubber tires” and is more typically referred to as bus rapid transit.  To the maximum extent possible, the network would have separate, dedicated rapid transit vehicle (RTV) lanes, with an emphasis on creating a network with both north-south and east-west connections.

According to the report, an RTV network is essential if the County wants to achieve its smart growth vision and successfully compete for its fair share of the projected job growth in the region.

Read more information, including other recommendations, in the news release.

See the entire report at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Apps/cex/transit/reportfinal.asp

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

Montgomery County to be Site of State’s First Bus Rapid Transit System


Governor Martin O’Malley has announced that the locally preferred alternative (LPA) for the Corridor Cities Transitway (CCT) will be Maryland’s first Bus Rapid Transit system operating along a 15-mile north-south corridor from the Shady Grove Metrorail station to the COMSAT facility near Clarksburg.

The CCT is supported by County Executive Ike Leggett, as well as the Montgomery County Council, the mayors of Gaithersburg and Rockville, and many others along the corridor.

The governor said, “The CCT Bus Rapid Transit line will provide easy, accessible, cost-efficient transportation for Montgomery County’s neighborhoods. This north-south transitway line will reduce our dependence on cars as we continue our goal to double public transit use by 2020.  The CCT will support nearly 15,000 jobs in the corridor, help facilitate smart growth through mixed used development and it can be built in a timely manner." 

The line will connect major employment, residential and activity centers in the corridor including Shady Grove, King Farm, Crown Farm, Life Sciences Center (LSC), Kentlands, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Metropolitan Grove, Germantown and COMSAT.  There will be direct connections to the Red Line at Shady Grove, the MARC Brunswick Line at Metropolitan Grove and local bus service throughout the corridor. 

“The significant economic advantages of implementing Bus Rapid Transit is not lost on Montgomery County,” Leggett said. “Bus Rapid Transit can be built sooner and at a significantly lower cost while complementing our master plan.  The design and construction of the CCT project is vital for the County and state, and we must collectively move forward to bring it into service as soon as possible.”

CCT Bus Rapid Transit Key Facts

  • Mode: Bus Rapid Transit *Overall Length: 15 miles *Stations: 16 proposed *Average Daily Ridership: 47,700 *Maintenance Facility:  Near Metropolitan Grove *Bus Rapid Transit Vehicles: 68.

Projected Capital Cost

  • Total Project: $828 million *Phase I: $545 million  *Phase II: $283 million

One-way Travel Time

  • COMSAT to Shady Grove: 49 minutes  *Metropolitan Grove to Shady Grove: 33 minutes  *Frequency of service: 6 minutes during peak periods and 10 minutes off peak


  • Summer 2012 – begin New Starts process  *Spring 2013 – FTA Approval to Enter Preliminary Engineering
  • Winter 2014-15: Initiate Final Design Activities  *Summer 2017: Receive Full Funding Grant Agreement from FTA  *Summer 2017: Begin Right-of-Way Acquisitions/Permitting/Agreements  *Fall 2018: Begin Construction  *2020: Service begins (this schedule dependent on funding).

For more information on the CCT, go to http://www.cctmaryland.com.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

Latest Analysis Shows Executive’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative is Working

An analysis at the recent CountyStat review of Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative showed that County efforts to improve pedestrian safety are having a positive effect. 

Since 2005, pedestrian collisions per 100,000 residents have fallen from 46.7 in 2005 to 40.5 in 2011, and the severity of those collisions decreased.

The reductions in collisions are most notable in the County’s High Incidence Areas (locations targeted as having the highest density of collisions), areas around schools improved under the Safe Routes to Schools program and locations where traffic calming measures have been completed.

One of the biggest successes of the Initiative has been the Safe Routes to School program where engineering improvements at 129 schools, bolstered by education and enforcement actions, have significantly reduced pedestrian collisions.  The collision rate dropped from 1.45 to .4 incidents a year at some of the areas around schools with the highest number of collisions. 

CountyStat conducts periodic reviews of the components of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative that have played a critical and valuable role in the program.  By reviewing data, the County works to assure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety.  These reviews provide vital information on how to most efficiently target resources to reduce the number of pedestrian collisions in the County. 

See the full CountyStat presentation.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Transportation
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 5:30:00 AM |

"Ride On Real Time" Takes Away the Guesswork of Waiting for the Bus

Thanks to the recent launch of an innovative new program called Ride On Real Time, Ride On, passengers can now obtain real-time information on bus arrivals using the internet, texting, a smart phone or mobile applications (apps) for iPhones or Android phones.  The new tools will help passengers determine when the next arriving bus will be at their stop.

Last year, Ride On added unique identification (ID) numbers to the signs at each of the County’s 4,800 bus stops. The ID numbers are used by the real time system to pinpoint a passenger’s location and give arriving bus times at that stop.  The ID numbers can also be found at www.RideOnRealTime.com.

Ride On Real Time can be accessed in several ways:

  • Through the internet using a computer at www.RideOnRealTime.com
  • Through the Ride On Real Time App.
  • Using a web-enabled device or phone at www.RideOnRealTime.com
  • By texting the bus stop ID number to bus@rideonrealtime.com.  Passengers will quickly receive a text message indicating when their next arriving bus is coming.  Riders should check with their cell phone provider to see if additional charges apply. 
  • A Trip Planner feature on the website helps users figure out bus routes and schedules to get them to their destinations.  This feature is especially useful for new transit users or those who may be going to an unfamiliar destination.  The App includes schedules and real time information for Ride On, as well as the Metro system and some regional transit systems.

Four “how-to” tutorials on using Ride On Real Time are also available on the County’s YouTube site.  Follow the links listed below to see each of the tutorials:

Ride On Real Time Online Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ll_0e9rUw8

Ride On Real Time SmartPhone App Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXpr_v0Ogzc

Ride On Real Time Texting Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjktiABW60A

Ride On Real Time Mobile Version Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U8cT8O7Mg4

For more information on Ride On, visit www.RideOnBus.com or call 311.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

Donate Food and Take Ride On for Free

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual Give and Ride food drive from Sunday, April 22 through Saturday, April 28.

Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month.

All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.70. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.

Residents who don’t ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop.

During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. Riders using free shuttles and other transit services can participate by bringing their donations to a Ride On bus. In addition to non-perishable food, children’s items are also needed. Disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food, and juice are especially useful to families in need. Plastic containers are preferred.

Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in “Ride On” on the “For” or “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.

For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call 311 or TDD/TTY 240-773-3556. Route and timetable information is also available at www.rideonbus.com.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |

A Lesson for Drivers: Don’t Pass the Bus

In the words of Police Chief Thomas Manger, “One-hundred-thousand kids ride a bus to school in Montgomery County. Anything that we can do to keep them safe is a worthwhile endeavor.”

Just such a worthwhile endeavor became a reality earlier this month when the County Council unanimously passed Bill 37-11 that authorizes installation of cameras on County school buses to monitor vehicles that illegally pass stopped buses.

“The goal of this bill is to keep our students safe by changing driver behavior,” said Councilmember Valerie Ervin, chair of the Education Committee and chief sponsor of the bill. 

The approximately 1,500 County school bus drivers file an average of 500 reports each about drivers who illegally pass their stopped buses during a school year.

Drivers caught on tape illegally passing a stopped school bus would be subject to a maximum civil fine of up to $250. No points would be assessed to an individual’s driving record.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |


Board of Education Candidates' Forum

Editors from Silver Chips, the Montgomery Blair HS newspaper, will help moderate the Board of Education Candidates’ Forum to be held on March 15 at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans' Plaza beginning at 7:30 p.m. The forum is sponsored by the Montgomery County Civic Federation.

For more information, visit www.montgomerycivic.org.

Proposals, Comments Invited on the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District

Interested parties are invited to provide comments on the re-designation of the Bethesda Arts and Entertainment District at a public hearing scheduled for Tuesday, March 20 at 7 p.m. at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda.

In 2002, Bethesda was designated as an Arts and Entertainment District for a 10-year period.  Because the designation was highly successful, the County intends to apply for re-designation.

Comments will be heard by representatives from Montgomery County who will submit a recommendation to the County Executive and County Council.  They, in turn, will submit a request to the State to apply for a re-designation.

Those wishing to speak at the public hearing should call Stephanie Coppula at 301-215-6660, ext. 120. Written comments may also be emailed to scoppula@bethesda.org.

New Parking Garage Opens in Silver Spring

A parking garage, located below the new Galaxy Apartments in Silver Spring, at 8025 13th St., brings a total of 368 parking spaces to the area -- 160 of which are available for public parking, while 208 are set aside for Galaxy residents.

The garage is part of a public-private partnership that created a 195-unit, five-story apartment building with 82 affordable units and an underground parking garage on the site of a former County surface parking lot. 

Rates at the new garage, known as Garage 16, will be 75 cents an hour for short-term parking of four hours or less and 60 cents an hour for long-term parking of more than four hours.

Parkers also have the option of using a Parking Convenience Sticker (allowing unlimited parking on any all day meter in Silver Spring), which costs $113 a month, or a Daily Parking Permit for $7.20 a day. 

To view all the public parking options available in Silver Spring, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/parking

More People Leaving the Driving to Ride On 

Ridership on the Division of Transit Services’ Ride On bus system for the first six months in FY12 (July through December 2011) grew by 1.3% compared to the same period in FY11.  The most significant growth occurred in November and December when the system realized growth of 5.4 and 6.1% respectively.

In January 2012, ridership again trended higher by about 2 to 3% compared to the same month in 2011.  And, February’s preliminary ridership figures were up about 3.5% compared to February 2011 levels.

For information about the nearest Ride On route to you, visit Division of Transit Services’ website or call 311 Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Your Chance to Serve: Openings on Boards, Committees and Commissions

Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns and viewpoints are presented. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply.

Currently, there is an opportunity to serve on any one of the following County boards, committees and commissions:

  • Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs
  • Library Board

The deadline for applying is March 19Get details about each group.

An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or emailed to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov. Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

Still Time to Provide Feedback on Streamlining the Development Process  

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced a new cross-agency effort that will further streamline County government operations by making meaningful changes to the development application process. 

The objective is to improve the process and be more user friendly without compromising substance.  For example, an initial step consolidates construction inspections currently being done by the Department of Permitting Services and Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Services. This will save time and money for businesses needing these inspections.

Meanwhile, the County is seeking input from stakeholders on where plans, permit reviews and inspections can be consolidated, redundant reviews minimized and inconsistencies eliminated. Staff from multiple agencies will receive the comments, observations and recommendations about experiences with development approvals in getting a project from idea to occupancy.

A dedicated website has been created to provide each stakeholder a place to submit open ended comments to identify problem areas in the development process. Comments may be posted on the site through March 31.

CATEGORIES: Arts , Transportation , Community Forum
POSTED: Wednesday, March 14, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

Falls Prevention Education Programs for Seniors

Activities are scheduled in October to highlight falls prevention education for seniors.

 "Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits and hospital admissions for Marylanders over the age of 65 -- but are highly preventable," said Odile Saddi, director of the County's Area Agency on Aging. In 2010, there were 3,294 calls to 9-1-1 attributed to falls by individuals over the age of 60. Nearly 2,100 of the falls were by individuals over the age of 80.

Upcoming falls prevention activities are listed below.

  • October 3: Holy Cross Hospital Senior Source: Better Balance Exercise Classes. Call 301-754-8800.
  • October 4: New Bone Builders exercise class to increase bone density, strength and balance begins at Wisconsin Place Community Center. Call 240-777-1350.
  • October 31-December 5: OASIS offers Free From Falls. Call 301-469-6800, extension 211.
  • Jewish Community Center's ACE program focusing on Science and Technology will feature aging-in-place expert Louis Tenenbaum on falls prevention. Call 301-348-3864.

For information from the National Institutes on Health related to decreasing the risk of falls, go to http://nihseniorhealth.gov/ and search for "Falls and Older Adults."

Going to The Fillmore? MCDOT Recommends Transit and Parking Options

The Fillmore, the County's newest music venue in downtown Silver Spring, opened earlier tin September. To help patrons attending shows and events, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has offered tips on getting there and/or where to park:

Take Transit. The Fillmore is an easy walk from the Silver Spring Metro station. Metro operates until midnight on weekdays and to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. There are also several Metrobus and Ride On bus routes that serve the area. Check transit options on the County's website.

Drive. For those who choose to drive, MCDOT recommends using the Spring Street/Cameron Street garage located at 1800 Cameron Street. With more than 1,300 spaces, this garage is generally less congested than some of the other parking garages and lots in the area and is just a short stroll from The Fillmore's front door. Parking is free after 7 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. Get more information about parking options on the County's website.

New Online Newsletter for Upcounty Residents

To help keep upcounty residents informed about happenings in their area, the Upcounty Regional Office is producing a weekly online newsletter. Entitled "Upcounty Today," the newsletter features photos and short articles on community events, programs and news from Montgomery County of interest to local residents.

To make sure you receive the newsletter on a regular basis, subscribe by going to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/esubscription.

Questions and/or comments may be sent to upcounty.citizen@montgomerycountymd.gov or call Cathy Matthews, regional director of the Upcounty Regional Office at 240-777-8040.

County Executive's New Appointments

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced two appointments that have been confirmed by the County Council.

Department of Permitting Services

Diane Schwartz-Jones has been selected to serve as Director of the Department of Permitting Services. In her current position as Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (ACAO), Schwartz-Jones has made significant contributions to land-use, planning and development-related decisions and activities in the County. Her experience and expertise will help assure that the Department of Permitting Services remains a partner in the regulation of growth and development of the County.

Office of the County Executive

Ramona Bell-Pearson was chosen to fill the ACAO vacancy created by the appointment of Diane Schwartz-Jones. Bell-Pearson began her career with the County in the Office of the County Attorney in 1990. She has been working as a senior manager in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she handled quasi-legal and administrative matters pertaining to policy, confidentiality and risk matters.

This transition is expected to take place by the end of September.

Damascus Welcomes New Woodfield Rd. Extension

Some new critical traffic congestion relief and improved traffic safety measures came to upper Montgomery County with the recent opening of the 3,400-foot extension of Woodfield Rd. from north of Main St. (Maryland Route 108) to Ridge Rd. (Maryland Route 27).

A separate eight-foot wide bikeway/shared use path was built along Woodfield Rd. Extended and along Ridge Rd. Environmental features include construction of six acres of offsite reforestation area, 1.3 acres of offsite wetlands and three storm water management facilities. The project also includes traffic signals, streetlights, crosswalks, bus stops and Americans with Disabilities Act ramps to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Learn more about the extension.

Officials Unveil Pedestrian, Traffic Safety Improvements on Castle Blvd.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro recently joined community members to celebrate pedestrian and traffic safety improvements installed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) along Castle Blvd. from Briggs Chaney Rd. to Castle Terr.

The traffic calming measures installed included new concrete bump-outs and pedestrian refuge islands; modified curbs, gutters and sidewalks to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; relocated bus stops to improve safety for transit users; enhanced crossings at bus stops; new traffic signs and pavement markings; and additional minor roadway repairs. Engineers ensured that the traffic calming design would not impede biking.

Read more about the project.

"Be a Time Traveler" in Montgomery County

The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has produced a new guide to local heritage sites – "Be a Time Traveler! Discover Montgomery County, Maryland." The 25-page brochure features 29 locations, all with unique stories to tell about the area's rich history.

In addition to photos, contact information and descriptions for the sites, each listing in the brochure also includes a QR (Quick Response) code. By using a QR code reader app that can be downloaded free-of-charge onto a smartphone, users can scan the codes in the brochure and be connected directly to the site's webpage. In addition to having more detailed information available at a traveler's fingertips, the brochure and QR codes provide visitors with information on destinations that are unstaffed or not staffed full time.

To see the brochure, visit HeritageMontgomery.org. Paper copies are available from the Heritage Montgomery office (12515 Milestone Manor La., Germantown MD 20876; 301-515-0753) or at heritage sites around the County.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Seeks Volunteers

Montgomery County's Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking individuals interested in helping to enhance the quality of life for nursing home residents as long-term care advocates with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Volunteers make regular visits to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities at convenient locations throughout Montgomery County.

The intensive orientation program for volunteer candidates is a comprehensive training focused on promoting resident rights in nursing home and assisted living systems. The orientation will be held Monday, October 10 through Friday, October 14 at Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton. The course is held daily from 9 am. to 3 p.m. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

To learn more, contact Eileen Bennett at eileen.bennett@Montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-1067.

Montgomery's Help Allows State to Accelerate Construction on Intersection Improvements

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), in partnership with Montgomery County's Department of Transportation (MCDOT), recently began a series of intersection improvements on state roads.

MCDOT is helping to fund these enhancements to reduce traffic congestion at selected bottlenecks and improve vehicular and pedestrian safety, because state roads carry the heaviest traffic volumes in the County. The County's 50 percent contribution of $3.2 million for the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction costs of these projects has allowed the improvements to move forward more quickly.

The intersection improvements are part of a list of priority transportation projects developed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council. Funding was approved by the County Council as part of the County's project for State Transportation Participation that began in fiscal year 2007.

Seven of the 10 projects are currently under construction.

See the complete list of projects with current status.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Seniors , Transportation , County Executive
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 2:30:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 1

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Executive to Host Town Hall Meeting in Bethesda

County Executive Ike Leggett will host a Town Hall Meeting in the Bethesda area on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Westland Middle School, 5511 Massachusetts Ave. The free meeting is designed to give residents an opportunity to present issues of concern directly to the Executive. County Cable Montgomery (the County government channel that is channel 6 on the Comcast and RCN cable systems and channel 30 on Verizon) will videotape the meeting for future airing.

Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in this activity, call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-777-6505 or email a request to karen.falcon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information about the town meeting or the cable television program schedule, call 240-777-6507.

Hiring Contractors to Make Post-Quake/Storm Home Repairs: Proceed with Caution

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warns County residents to be cautious when hiring contractors to repair damage caused by the recent earthquake and hurricane. Consumers should do their homework before signing a contract for any home repair or improvement, or tree service work.

The Office of Consumer Protection offers the following advice to homeowners:

  • Don’t panic and hire someone because they are the only company that can come out right away. Make sure the home improvement contractor is licensed with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC).  Call 410-230-6309 or check online at the State Dept. of  Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
  • For tree service or removal, check to see if the business is a licensed tree expert with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forestry Division at 410-260-8521 or online at www.dnr.maryland.gov.
  • Get estimates from three contractors.
  • State law prohibits home improvement contractors from collecting more than one-third of the contract amount as a deposit
  • Check the contractors’ complaint records with the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or online at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer and the Better Business Bureau at 202-393-8000 or online at www.dc.bbb.org, and with the MHIC and DNR.

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.

Try It, You Might Like It: Go Car-Free on September 22  

Join others throughout the Washington region and worldwide in celebrating Car-Free Day on September 22 this year. 

Last year, about 7,000 people took the pledge to go Car-Free or Car-Lite and contributed to improving the region’s air quality and reducing their carbon footprint.  Pledge today to go car-free on September 22, and enjoy a chance to win great prizes, including an iPad and a bicycle. 

Montgomery County’s Commuter Services can assist employers in organizing Car-Free Day events, as well as help individual commuters find new ways to get to work. Email Commuter Services for assistance. 

Figures Show Pedestrian Safety Initiative is Working

Data recently presented by the Transportation and Police departments to CountyStat indicate that -- thanks to County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative -- pedestrian collisions and the severity of collisions are heading downward. The initiative was released in December 2007.

One of the biggest successes of the Initiative has been the Safe Routes to School program where engineering improvements, bolstered by education and enforcement actions, at more than 50 schools have reduced pedestrian collisions by about 78 percent when comparing collision statistics from three years before the improvements with the time period after the improvements.

A key strategy of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative is also to target engineering, education and enforcement activities on County roadways with the highest number of pedestrian collisions, or the High Incidence Areas (HIAs). Since the first HIA safety audit was conducted in 2008, HIA collisions, as a percent of total pedestrian collisions in the County, have decreased from 10 percent to four percent in 2010.

CountyStat conducts periodic reviews of the components of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative that have played a critical and valuable role in the program to ensure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety.

The full CountyStat presentation is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/countystat. For more information, contact CountyStat Manager Chris Cihlar at 240-777-2627 or chris.cihlar@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Bring Some Good Luck to a Black Cat

Did you know: Black cats are the least likely to be adopted in a shelter due to undeserved myths.

The Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS) wants to change that!

So throughout September, the society is WAIVING ADOPTION FEES for the lucky adopters of a solid black cat or kitten over six months old from the MCHS shelter or in foster care.

Adoption applications must be completed in person. Bring a valid driver’s license, proof of rabies shots for other pets in the home, landlord’s name and phone number if applicable and veterinary reference. Montgomery County applicants take priority over others. Youths under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more details about adoption, click here.

Is Bus Rapid Transit the Ride of the Future in Montgomery County?

Last year, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) began a study to identify key transportation corridors in the County that could accommodate bus rapid transit (BRT) service -- a more predictable, streamlined bus service similar to light rail but with a lower cost. 

The study recommends developing bus rapid transit along 16 corridors, totaling 150 miles.  Passengers would pay in advance and enter low-floor buses directly through multiple doors -- no steps or lifts.  Buses would arrive at stations every 10 minutes or less, preferably operating in the median of major roads such as Veirs Mill Rd., Georgia Ave. and Randolph Rd. 

Next comes further discussions with neighboring agencies, jurisdictions and the general public.

For a copy of the bus rapid transit study, visit MCDOT’s website

Spanish-speaking Election Judges Sought

Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking individuals with Spanish speaking fluency to serve as election judges at polling places on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

In accordance with the Election Law of Maryland, judges must be registered to vote in the State of Maryland, 18 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen. Judges must also be able to speak, read and write in English. Montgomery County residency is not a pre-requisite to serve. All judges will be compensated for training and for Election Day service.

If you are interested in taking a leadership position in your community on Election Day, contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 240-777-8532, download an election judge questionnaire from our website at www.777vote.org, or e-mail Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , County Executive , Community Forum , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

County Program Helps Residents Improve Energy Efficiency of Their Homes

Owner occupants of single-family homes and condominiums in the County who make new energy efficiency improvements may receive incentives up to $3,000 under the recently launched Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Eligible improvements include air sealing, insulation, heating and cooling, geothermal heat pumps, solar water heating and appliances.

The $1.1 million program is made possible by a U.S Dept. of Energy grant with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The rebate program has been designed to work in concert with other sources of incentives available from Pepco, BG&E, Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power) and the Maryland Energy Administration Programs, as well as federal tax credits. Participants may also be able to take advantage of financing programs offered by the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Home Energy Loan Program.

To apply for the new residential rebate, consumers must have a completed energy audit and a scope of work from a professional installer. Learn more about the program and apply online at the County’s energy funding website at www.mcenergyfunding.com.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The site also will provide information about the availability of consumer workshops as they are scheduled where consumers can learn more about the rebates and the application process

The residential rebate is part of a package of programs developed under the County’s ARRA grant. Other efforts will retrofit commercial, multi-family and public buildings, train workers in new, green skills, and provide public education and outreach.

For more information on these and other programs, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep.

Back to School = Safe Drivers + Safe Kids

With Montgomery County Schools now open, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, along with the officers of the Montgomery County Police Department, are encouraging all community members to continue to make the safety of our children a top priority. 

To help reduce speeding in school zones, the Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit has deployed a fleet of mobile speed-camera vans rotating between schools from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is in addition to the 21 fixed speed camera sites already in place in school zones across the County.

Students riding bicycles to school are reminded that they must follow all traffic rules and signs, i.e. stop signs and traffic lights.  By law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle while riding on a public street, right-of-way, or on a bicycle path. 

Many students will be riding buses to school, and all drivers are strongly reminded that they are required to stop at least 20 feet from school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights.  It is also recommended that adults accompany young children to bus stops, and remain with them until the bus arrives.

See more tips and information for drivers, parents and students.

Seniors Can Get Organized and Stay Fit with New Classes at Schweinhaut Center

Montgomery County’s Schweinhaut Senior Center at 1000 Forest Glen Rd. in Silver Spring is offering two new classes to help seniors get organized and stay fit.

On Thursday, September 22 at 1 p.m., a workshop led by professional organizer and productivity consultant Marcie Lovett, author of “The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go,” will teach strategies for managing paperwork and keeping track of important papers. The class will demonstrate what should be kept and what can be tossed. The registration fee is $2 and pre-registration is suggested. Call 240-777-8085.

On Thursday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m., a Zumba Gold demonstration will be offered, utilizing the same Latin dance and music styles of basic Zumba, just not as fast-paced.

On Thursday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. a seven-session Zumba Gold class will begin. The program is designed for older, active adults, as well as senior adults who haven’t exercised in a long time. Pre-registration is required, and the fee for the seven-week class is $56.   To register, call 240-777-8085 or visit the Schweinhaut Center.

Revamped BRAC Website Provides Traffic Updates and Commuter Information

Montgomery County has redesigned its Base Realignment and Closure BRAC website to provide helpful transportation, traffic and other information to residents and employees traveling to or through Bethesda.

The closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center means that more than 2,500 new jobs are being relocated to the campus of the National Naval Medical Center and visits are expected to double to nearly one million a year. 

Montgomery County has worked closely with the State of Maryland since the relocation was announced -- and with a very engaged Bethesda community -- to devise plans to address the oncoming impact.

A Card that Opens Many Doors

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and the American Library Association and Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) want to make sure that all children, teens and adults in Montgomery County have the smartest card of all – a library card.

Customers with library cards can access books and magazines, DVDs, electronic books, test preparation materials, job hunting resources and electronic databases, and use the library computers with free Internet access – an especially important resource for families without Internet access at home.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit any Montgomery County public library, call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 or visit the library online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library

Benefit to Honor County’s Family Justice Center

Since it opened in 2009, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center in Rockville has served nearly 3,000 people from more than 100 countries of origin. The facility houses everything from pro bono legal support and law enforcement to emergency services, counseling and help with obtaining protective orders. Before the Center’s existence, victims would be referred to as many as 20 different agencies in separate locations throughout the County.

On Sunday October 2, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation will hold its 2nd annual Benefit at the Hilton Rockville, 1750 Rockville Pike, to support the vital work of the center which -- as part of an international network of more than 60 family-friendly centers -- provides victims of domestic violence and their children essential services all under one roof -- from care to court -- free of charge.

The event, chaired by Catherine Leggett, will honor the following award recipients:

Judge Katie O’Malley (Forerunner Award recipient) a former prosecutor who handled countless domestic violence and child sexual and physical abuse cases. She is currently Associate Judge of the District Court of Baltimore City and Maryland’s First Lady.

Judge Marielsa Bernard (Inspiring Leader Award recipient), an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. She chaired the Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council from 2006-2009, guided its development and remains actively involved.

Judith Clark (Marilyn J. Praisner Founders Award recipient), founder and executive director of Women Who Care Ministries, a nonprofit organization that helps people in need through program areas including domestic violence; individuals overcoming homelessness and substance abuse; life skills workshops; and a girls mentoring group, among others.

GEICO Philanthropic Foundation (Corporate Legacy Award Recipient) is a committed community partner in Montgomery County and has an ongoing relationship of support and understanding for the needs of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center.

Mrs. Leggett also will announce the naming of the Family Room at the Family Justice Center as a tribute to the late Judge James Stephen McAuliffe Jr. and his commitment to reducing domestic violence.

For information about Benefit sponsorships, Benefit tickets, or ongoing contributions, e-mail mcfjcfoundation@yahoo.com, visit the Foundation’s website at www.mcfjcfoundation.org or contact Resa Levy, Foundation Executive Director, at 301-509-6832.

Customer Service Report Launched by Office of Cable and Broadband Services

The first edition of the County’s Office of Cable and Broadband Services e-report to customers has been launched. The online report allows the office to share data in a user-friendly format, highlight key developments and provide links to other items of interest.

The report is best viewed with Google Chrome, Explorer 8+, Firefox3.6+, or Safari 4+.

Download a printer friendly version of the complete report

Also, refer to the Report Glossary.

Feedback is invited. If there are questions about the statistics found within the report, contact Margie Williams, Franchise manager, at 240-777-3762 or email Marjorie.Williams@montgomerycountymd.gov.

To join the distribution list, provide feedback, or to request more information, e-mail cable.broadband@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Transportation , Seniors , BRAC , Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

New Location for Buying SmarTrip Cards, Other Fare Media

The sales office for purchasing Ride On and Metro SmarTrip cards and other fare media has moved from 101 Monroe Street, Rockville to the Treasury Department, located at 255 Rockville Pike (Suite L-15), Rockville. The Treasury Department sales office will be open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Other retail sales outlets in Rockville are located at:

  • CVS – 360 Hungerford Dr., Room 410
  • CVS – 11852 Rockville Pike, Mid-Pike Plaza
  • Giant – 9719 Traville Gateway Drive
  • Giant – 12051 Rockville Pike

To find locations of retail outlets throughout the region, see Metro’s web site at:

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Germantown Celebrates Opening of Father Hurley Boulevard Extension

August 8 is a day that will live in the Germantown history books as local officials and community members celebrated the completion of the 1.2-mile extension of Father Hurley Boulevard from Wisteria Drive to Germantown Road (Maryland Route 118) with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the bridge over the CSX tracks.

The $11 million extension is an important north-south link for Germantown communities separated by the CSX railroad tracks from the Town Center and the I-270 employment corridor.

County Executive Ike Leggett called it “a short road with a huge impact on the Germantown community.”

Also cutting the ribbon were many young residents, plus (from left in photo) community activist Susan Soderberg; Leggett; Father Leonard Hurley, the road’s namesake and founder of the Mother Seton Parish in Germantown; County Councilmember Craig Rice, representing District 2, accompanied by his two daughters; and program emcee Edgar Gonzalez, deputy director for Transportation Policy in the County’s Dept. of Transportation.

The new extension is a four-lane divided highway that includes the bridge over the railroad. Two retaining walls minimize impacts on adjacent properties. The project also includes an eight-foot wide bikeway along the west side of the road, a five-foot wide sidewalk on the east side, street lighting, stormwater management features, landscaping and reforestation.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 1

“It’s Udderly Terrific”

It’s the 63rd Annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, running from August 12 through 20 at the Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. It’s loaded with free entertainment, animals, KidZone, 4-H demonstrations, arts and crafts, agricultural education, photography, shows and more.

New this year are some exciting entertainment, food and items Lawn Mower Racing, Michelle’s Magic Poodles, StatueViva, Draft Horse Pull, Fudge Puppie Waffles, Cheese Bites, Loaded Ribbon Chips, Alice in Wonderland, Jr. theater performance, and themed events. Additional grandstand events include the Monster Truck Madness and Demolition Derby's “Night of Destruction.

For more information, visit www.mcagfair.com.

Get Around Bethesda on New Circulators

The Bethesda Urban Partnership has launched new vehicles that will replace the former trolley-style vehicles and become the new Bethesda Circulator fleet.

Montgomery County and Bethesda Urban Partnership officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, recently introduced the new vehicles at a special event at Veterans Park, corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Aves. in downtown Bethesda.

The new Circulators contain 29 seats (including ADA accessible seating) and run on clean burning diesel fuel.

The free Bethesda Circulator’s route makes a 2.1 mile loop throughout downtown Bethesda and arrives at each of the 20 stops every 10 minutes. It connects downtown Bethesda’s public parking facilities and Metro as well as restaurants and retailers for easy navigation of downtown Bethesda.

A map detailing the Circulator’s route and hours, as well as the County’s public parking garages, is available at www.bethesda.org or by calling 301-215-6660.

Fall Guide to Recreation, Parks Programs Available

The Fall 2011 Guide to Recreation and Parks Programs is available at public libraries, as well as community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County. The Guide is also now available online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Guide will offer hundreds of classes and programs, including water aerobics, pottery, ballroom dancing, cooking and much more. Registration will begin on August 15.

For more information about the Department of Recreation, call 240-777-6840 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Fueling Station of Tomorrow is Here Today

ATR Solartech photo.

The future came to Montgomery County in early August when Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR), an engineering and manufacturing firm based in Columbia, MD, debuted its Solar Power Pole -- Maryland’s first high-efficiency, sun-tracking electric vehicle (EV) solar charging station – in Bethesda at 10401 Old Georgetown Rd.

The Solar Power Pole is a sun-tracking system that moves with the sun to fully capture its clean power throughout the day and can fuel two electric vehicles at a time. Solar power is converted into electric power and stored in the utility grid.

The pole features an 18-foot tall elevated 1,410 watt, six-panel solar array that utilizes GPS-based sun-tracking technology for efficiency gains of 30-45% over conventional fixed solar arrays. The pole-top mount keeps the solar panels well overhead and the curbside footprint very small, aiding in its placement in urban and densely populated areas

County Executive Ike Leggett joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat, Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm Woolf, Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman, Baltimore-Washington Electric Vehicle Initiative Executive Director Jill Sorensen and Alvin L. (“Tripp”) Aubinoe, III, the first purchaser of the ATR Solar Power Pole and owner of the Bethesda site.

Read more about the Solar Power Pole debut event and ATR.

New Website for Youth Curfew Information

A new website on the County Executive’s proposed youth curfew has been added to the County’s homepage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Just look for the moon clock icon and “Proposed Youth Curfew” headline.

Included in the information found on the site is the original proposed legislation and testimony by MC Police Chief Thomas Manger presented at the County Council’s public hearing in late July.

Excerpts from the chief’s testimony appear below:

“We have an issue and we need to manage and curtail it. Despite budget hardships, we have retained many positive youth programs. However, our programs will not prevent youth displaced by curfews in other jurisdictions from coming to our downtowns and creating problems….”

“…crimes against juveniles occur throughout the County and are not concentrated in one or two Districts or locations. Similarly, arrests of juveniles are also spread throughout the County. Between 2009 and 2010, juvenile arrests increased from 2,035 (16% of all arrests) to 3,222 (25% of all arrests).

“A curfew law may not be a panacea for these problems but it would be a valuable law enforcement tool, and, given current police intelligence and the existence of such laws in our neighboring jurisdictions, this law would make the County a less attractive place for curfew-displaced youths from neighboring jurisdictions.

"Perhaps nothing we do in law enforcement is as important as working to increase the safety of our juvenile population. Studies show that juveniles who are the victims of crime are more likely to have difficulties later in life.

“We know we can’t ‘enforce’ our way out of every problem, but we also know that effective enforcement tools coupled with police discretion can help us remove a juvenile or a group of juveniles from a situation that could potentially turn violent or result in illegal or harmful conduct.

“As a parent and a Police Chief, I do not want to limit the legitimate opportunities for entertainment and interaction for our young people. Nor do I want to stand idly by and not have at our disposal a tool which can help us manage situations before they turn ugly.”

Read the entire testimony.

Literacy Volunteers Needed; Information Session Coming Up

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write, or speak English on Thursday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Asbury Methodist Village, Rosborough Hall,  201 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg.

Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times.

For complete details, call 301-610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org, or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation , Code Enforcement , Public Safety , Volunteer
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 2:30:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

Driver Alert: New Ramp Open from US 29 to Fairland Road

A reminder to motorists driving southbound on US Route 29 (Columbia Pike): a new ramp has been opened by the State Highway Administration (SHA) that provides access to both directions on Fairland Road. Motorists will no longer be able to make right or left turns directly onto Fairland Road from US 29.

A new flashing beacon at Fairland Road from the relocated southbound US 29 ramp will guide motorists to either east or westbound Fairland Road. The beacon will flash red for motorists on the ramp and yellow for motorists on Fairland Road. This new configuration is part of SHA’s $2.5 billion Intercounty Connector project.

For more information on the new ramp, including a helpful map, visit SHA’s website.

Get a Sneak Peek of The Fillmore Silver Spring

Local residents eager to check out The Fillmore Silver Spring can now get a sneak peek inside the venue thanks to the official Preview Center, located at 908 Ellsworth Dr. The center educates visitors on the historical legacy of The Fillmore, the construction of The Fillmore Silver Spring project and the amenities that guests can expect at the new venue.

The center will remain open until The Fillmore Silver Spring opens mid-September. The Preview Center will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.

The Fillmore Silver Spring will be the first venue with its historical namesake to be developed from the ground up. The 23,000-square foot, 2,000-capacity music venue will offer leading industry technology in audio, lighting and video as well as share fiber-optic connectivity to American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre located across the street.

Step Right Up! Fillmore Silver Spring Box Office Now Open

The news that local concert goers have been waiting for. The new Fillmore Silver Spring box office is open for business at 908 Ellsworth Dr. in Downtown Silver Spring (between DSW and Borders). There is a $1 service fee for all tickets purchased on site. The box office opens on Sunday and weekdays at 11 a.m. and on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Tickets are now on sale for the opening night show on September 15 with Mary J. Blige, plus other shows to follow. Tickets are also available at www.LiveNation.com, and all Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone, call 800-551-7328.

Sign-up to receive a newsletter for show announcements and pre-sale opportunities at www.FillmoreSilverSpring.com.

Hold Your Place in the Holds Line at the Library

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is now offering a new feature to help library customers manage holds through their MCPL online library account.

If a customer is going on vacation, has an emergency, or knows in advance that they will be unable to pick up requested materials but want to maintain their position in the holds list, they will be able to use the “Suspend Holds” feature to delay their hold for the dates they will be unavailable.

Under the new feature, customers will keep their place in the holds queue for the item while their request is suspended. Meanwhile, other customers behind them in the queue will be able to receive their item(s) placed on hold.

In addition, customers can choose the date they would like to begin suspending their hold, as well as assign an “End Suspend Date,” by using the calendar icon.

This option is not available for e-books and MARINA and OCLC interlibrary loan requests.

For more information and instructions on using this new feature, visit: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Sign Up! Become a Maryland Senior Olympian

More than 100 events in 21 sports will highlight the 2011 Maryland Senior Olympics to be held from August 13 through November 6 at venues in Montgomery and Howard counties. New this year will be a trial run with bocce ball.

Registration is easy. Just download the full 2011 MSO Registration Guide and get all the information about events, dates and locations. Or, download the registration forms for individual and team sports. Sorry, there is no online registration. You must register 30 days prior to your event.

Participants must be aged 50 and above. Maryland Senior Olympics welcomes out-of-state athletes, too.

For further registration questions, e-mail info@mdseniorolympics.org or call 240-777-8080.

Good Reviews for Community Use of Public Facilities Newsletter

From Ginny Gong, director of the Community Use of Public Facilities, comes word of good reviews for their newsletter. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from our Summer Newsletter. Would it be possible to put a link in the next Paperless Airplane?” Ginny asks.

Glad to oblige. Here’s the link http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/cupf/documents/newsletter.pdf.

Remember, if you belong to an organization or group that uses public facilities for your meetings and/or events, check out the Summer issue. You’ll learn about the new rates for school use beginning September 1 and new fees for the use of fields that take effect January 1, 2012. Also in the latest issue is information on new sites for rent around the County (see “From the Director”) and details about what’s happening at the Civic Building in Downtown Silver Spring.

Heritage Montgomery Brings Grant Dollars to Local Heritage Groups

The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has announced the following the local recipients of FY 2012 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) Grants totaling $163,000:

  • $47,000 Capital Grant to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for the restoration of the Poole (Seneca) Store in Poolesville;
  • $9,000 Non-Capital Project Grant to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for Oakley Cabin Archeological Analysis & Interpretation in Olney;
  • $7,000 Non-Capital Project Grant to Heritage Montgomery for Heritage Days and Civil War Programs; and
  • $100,000 Management Grant to Heritage Montgomery.

MHAA oversees 12 locally administered, state-certified Heritage Areas that work with local non-profits, governments, and businesses to preserve and promote Maryland’s historic sites, unspoiled natural landscapes and enduring traditions.

For more information, contact Peggy Erickson at the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County at 301-515-0753 or email director@HeritageMontgomery.org.

Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know…?

You should look carefully at the signs around parking lots to make sure that it’s OK before parking your car. If your car is towed and you believe that the warnings were inadequate, pay the towing charge to avoid storage fees, then contact the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) to file a complaint.

OCP is the Montgomery County agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Arts , Transportation , Library , Senior , Consumer
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

It’s Back! Kids Ride Free Returns

The Kids Ride Free program is back, offering free rides on County Ride On buses and certain Metrobus routes within Montgomery County to students ages 18 and under on weekdays between 2 and 7 p.m.

The program will operate year-round. Students should show their school photo identification cards (IDs) when boarding buses. The Montgomery County Division of Transit Services will print a special ID for elementary, home school and certain private school students who do not have school photo IDs. Those without IDs should contact their school first or for more information call 311.

Get more details on Kids Ride Free and other transit programs.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:41:00 PM |

County Offers New Bike Map and Bike Rack Installation at Public Buildings

To make biking more convenient, the County has produced a new bike map which is available online, or for those who prefer a traditional map, by mail from Commuter Services.

To encourage more bicycle commuting, Montgomery County is providing free bike rack installations at workplaces or other public locations. Priority is given to sites with access to public buildings within County right-of-ways that are adjacent to schools, libraries, employment centers, recreational and civic buildings.

The rack is an “inverted u” style. Once it’s installed, the rack becomes the property of the authorizing facility owner/firm/agency.

Request a bike rack.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:36:00 PM |

Popular Pay-by-Cell Parking Program Expands

Cell phones can now be used to pay for parking at 5,250 County parking meters in Bethesda. By summer, the program will be expanded to include meters in Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda – for a total of 11,000 parking meters.

To use pay-by-cell, first-time patrons register for the program once by going online anytime to www.mc.goparknow.comor calling 301-830-7074. Parkers set up an account and indicate which credit card will be used for the parking charges.
The step-by-step instructions, printed on each meter, direct parkers to:

  • Use a cell phone to call 301-830-7074.
  • Or, send a text message to 32075.
  • Follow the phone/text prompts to enter the meter location number (located on the meter decal).
  • Select the amount of time desired for parking.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |


Give…and Ride Free

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 10 through Saturday, April 16. Food collected goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month.

During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. In addition to non-perishable food, children’s items are also needed. Disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food and juice are especially useful to families in need. Plastic containers are preferred.

Residents who don’t ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop. Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in “Ride On” on the “For” or “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.

For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call 311 or TDD/TTY 240-773-3556. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On’s web site at montgomerycountymd.gov/rideon. SmarTrip® cards and passes can also be purchased online.

Get more details.



Education and Involvement Mark Earth Month Activities

Montgomery County will celebrate April as “Earth Month” with a variety of events scheduled throughout the County.

Things get underwaySaturday April 9 with an Earth Day Proclamation presented by County Executive Ike Leggett at the groundbreaking for the Emory Grove Community Garden, 18100 Washington Grove La., Gaithersburg. 10 a.m. The garden is a collaboration between Montgomery County Parks, Montgomery County Public Schools and Neighbors For Neighbors. Contact Rev. Tim Warner at 240-777-2503 or email Tim.warner@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Throughout the month, there will be opportunities to volunteer in addition to events and activities for the entire family.

Check out the list of happenings and how to get involved.

County Launches Commercial and Multi-Family Rebate Program for Energy Efficient Projects

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations and multi-family communities to apply for funding for energy efficiency projects through a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program.

The Commercial and Multi-Family Rebate Program is designed to overcome the financial barriers to making energy-efficiency improvements, as well as reduce operating costs and carbon emissions.

Projects eligible for funding include efficient lighting; insulation; heating, venting, and air conditioning upgrades; high-efficiency showers/faucets; and replacement windows and doors.

The deadlines to apply for funds are April 15, 2011 for Round 1 and May 15, 2011 for Round 2. About half the funds will be distributed in each round. Projects selected for awards must be completed by June 30, 2012.

Program details are available at the County’s energy incentive web portal at www.mcenergyfunding.com.

Bicyclist and Drivers Sharing the Road Safely

A reminder to local drivers: Maryland Law now requires motorists to safely overtake a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD), or a motor scooter at a distance of at least three feet.
This passing rule does not apply if the highway on which the vehicle is being driven is not wide enough to lawfully pass the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter at a distance of at least three feet. There are also additional exceptions:

  • If the bicyclist fails to ride to the right
  • If the bicyclist is in a bike lane
  • If the bicyclist, EPAMD, or scooter doesn’t keep a steady course

For more information, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dot/pressrelease/PR_details.asp?PrID=7435

Spring Cleaning Time for Local Streets

MCDOT’s highway maintenance crews are giving the county’s streets a good spring cleaning. Street sweeping on arterial roads and residential streets commenced in late-March.
This joint effort with the Department of Environmental Protection removes abrasives and other debris after the winter snow season. Sweeping typically collects more than 3,000 tons of road debris each year that would otherwise be washed into our streams.

For more information, including sweeping schedules or to report a pothole, visitHighway Maintenance'swebsite or call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Scammers can prey on residents sending aid to Japan. Be wary of donating in response to telephone calls or e-mail messages asking for donations. Visit OCP’s A-Z Consumer Advice on Charities for tips on selecting a charitable organization.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Annual Reunion

County Executive Ike Leggett and other veterans will address the "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans 2nd Annual Reunion" on Wednesday, March 30 at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza from 6 to 9 p.m. The veterans will talk about their experiences during the Vietnam War and life today.

Veterans of all eras and the public are encouraged to attend.

See the flyer (PDF) for more details.The Recreation Guide: Subscriptions Only Beginning April 1


Beginning with the Summer 2011 issue of Montgomery County Guide to Recreation and Park Programs, any resident who wishes to receive the Guide by mail must sign up for a paid subscription.

Currently, only those who already participate in programs receive the Guide in the mail. However, beginning with the Summer issue, residents who wish to continue to have the Guide mailed to their home must purchase a $5 annual subscription which will deliver a full year of five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring). The Guide continues to be available online at either www.MontgomeryParks.org/Guide or http://RecWeb.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

Print copies of the Guide will still be available at recreation centers, park facilities, government buildings and libraries while quantities last.

To subscribe to the Guide, or for more information, go to http://RecWeb.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

Pedestrian Safety for All


As you can see, the County’s pedestrian safety message has gotten through to these drivers who, despite having the green light, have yielded the right of way to a gaggle of Canada geese making their way across Rockville Pike at Federal Plaza/Pike Center (just north of Bou Avenue).

Humans, take note, our feathered friends know to cross at a crosswalk. Granted, they’re, going on a red light, but maybe we can work on that.

More information about pedestrian safety for walkers and drivers is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk.

Thanks to Dan Nabors of VHB (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.), a member of the consultant team that led the Pedesterian Road Safety Audit, who photographed the geese.

Online Resource Guide for Vital Living After 50

While age 50 may be the new 30, for many residents, reaching that milestone still involves opportunities and challenges associated with lifestyle issues such as changing work schedules, households and personal needs.

Now, a new online resource guide entitled “Navigator: Vital Living After 50 (PDF)” offers information on how to find:

  • support during transitions
  • resources for keeping as fit as possible
  • ways to explore new interests, meet people, and share talents
  • organizations that can help with employment and/or volunteer goals

The navigator was compiled by the Montgomery County Vital Living Committee.

eNewsletters get an “A” for Spreading the Word of County Programs and Services

With the advent of the internet, computers in more homes and cell phones in more hands than ever, news and information is literally at our fingertips. Recognizing this fact, County departments and agencies are, increasingly, going to the web to get word out to residents about their programs and services.

To see a list of County-produced newsletters you can receiveonline, go to montgomerycountymd.gov/eSubscription. Click 'Update an Account' and enter your email address. Here, you may add or delete subscriptions.

Below are some others not found on the County's eSubscription list that might be of interest.

NEWBetter Ways to Work, published bi-monthly by MC Commuter Services. Features commuting options and transportation news.

e-Biz Update, published bi-weekly by the Department of Economic Development with news of local businesses and upcoming events of interest to the business community.

Montgomery Volunteer, published monthly by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. News of volunteer opportunities – both one-time and ongoing, how to get involved with various local organizations needing help and awards/special recognitions for volunteer service. Volunteer opportunities are geared for individuals and groups.



Six Rabies Vaccination Clinics Scheduled

The Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division will sponsor six rabies vaccination clinics -- from April through September -- at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter located at 14645 Rothgeb Dr., Rockville, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the following Sundays: April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21 and September 18.

Maryland law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of four months be vaccinated against rabies. Failure to vaccinate an animal as required may subject the owner to a $500 fine. When brought in for vaccination, all dogs must be leashed. Cats and ferrets must be in carriers or otherwise contained.

The vaccinations are free for dogs and cats owned by County residents. There will be a minimal $4 charge for ferrets and out-of-county pets. County residents, as well as City of Rockville and City of Gaithersburg residents, will be required to purchase a pet license if their pet is not currently licensed.

For more information, contact the MCPD Animal Services Division at 240-773-5925.

Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Vitally Important to Low-Income Residents Faces Funding Cut in FY12

Each year, the County receives a Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to serve our neediest residents with a variety of programs and activities designed to enhance their quality of life. In the current fiscal year, just over $6 million dollars is being used to serve roughly 10,000 low-income beneficiaries.

Activities include housing rehabilitation, workforce skills training, emergency assistance to avoid evictions/foreclosures, youth programs -- including mental health services and a variety of out-of-school time activities -- infrastructure improvements for pedestrian mobility and safety, and assistance to businesses for façade enhancements.

The financial crisis and ensuing recession has left public finances in poor shape, and there is a federal proposal to cut 7.5% in funding to the FY12 CDBG program. This means an approximate $400,000 cut to Montgomery County’s program. It will also translate into job reductions, as less money will be available to support both public and non-profit sectors in administering a reduced work program.

The County Executive has expressed his concerns about the proposed funding cut in a letter to federal officials and has urged them to support full funding. The Montgomery County delegation has also taken a firm stance against the proposed reduction in funding.

Read more about the CDBG program in the FY11 Action Plan, part of the Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development.

Also read more about the proposed FY12 HUD budget here.


More than eight million people fell prey to Identity Theft last year. Avoid becoming a victim. Visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ or call the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) at 240-777-3636.

OCP is the County’s nationally recognized agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.

Note: This is the first in a regular series of helpful tips for consumers provided by the Office of Consumer Protection that will appear in each issue of The Paperless Airplane.


CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

The Transit Task Force: Developing a Protocol Blueprint for Countywide Rapid Transit System

Working toward making a comprehensive rapid transit system a reality in the local community, County Executive Ike Leggett has launched a Transit Task Force that will advocate for developing and implementing a system that is consistent with state transportation objectives and complements regional transit operations.

The Task Force is the only organization focused exclusively on making a comprehensive rapid transit system in Montgomery County a reality for its residents and businesses.

The 20-member group’s mission is to advise the County Executive on how to achieve his vision and to be advocates for developing and implementing a world-class, County-wide, rapid transit system that is safe, efficient and effectively moves people throughout the County.

The system will provide improved mobility for its riders, improve the County’s quality of life, stimulate economic development in the County, and improve air quality, and reduce greenhouse gases and energy consumption.

Read more from press release.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |


Two MTA Bus Routes Travel the ICC

On March 1, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) began service of two new intercity bus routes along the newly opened portion of the InterCounty Connector (ICC) toll road (MD Rt. 200).

Routes 201 and 202 will begin at the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot and follow Phase 1 of the ICC to the Shady Grove Metro station and the Norbeck Park and Ride, where the ICC ends for now. From there, MTA Bus Route 201 will stop at the Burtonsville Park and Ride and Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport's Southwest and International terminals before ending at the BWI MARC/Amtrak station.

MTA Bus Route 202 will make stops at the Savage MARC station and the National Security Agency before ending at Fort Meade.

Both services will be free for the first two weeks. After that, the fare will be $5.00 for a one-way trip. For more information on this new bus service visit MTA's website.

Good Grades Count: Honor Roll Students Skate Free

Now through March 8, Montgomery County students who made the honor roll last semester can get a free skating pass – with skates – at the Silver Spring Skating Rink at Veterans Plaza, 8523 Fenton St.

Students must bring their MCPS report card and student ID.

Teeing Up Your Time and Golf Talents for the Next Generation

The First Tee, Montgomery County uses golf as platform to teach young people how to be successful on and off the course by focusing on youth who would not typically have access to the game and its opportunities

The First Tee is looking for volunteers who enjoy and play golf to assist with the skills instruction for youth ranging in age from eight to 17 years. Spring and fall sessions are held after school, while summer sessions are scheduled during morning hours.

Primary instructional sites are: Laytonsville, Needwood, Northwest and Sligo Creek golf courses and Olney Golf Park. Volunteers are eligible for discounted golf rates Monday through Thursday at the Montgomery County Golf course where he/she volunteers.

Montgomery County Government is a sponsor of First Tee, Montgomery County. The organization’s partners include the Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Golf, an entity of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, and the Housing Opportunities Commission.

For more information about The First Tee, Montgomery County, visit www.thefirstteemcmd.org. If you are interested in becoming a First Tee volunteer and/or mentor, contact Laura Sildon at laura@thefirstteemcmd.org.

Take a Look: New One-Stop Online Source Highlights County Health Data

A new one-stop online source for population-based data and information about community health and the social and environmental determinants of health has been launched by County officials.

The website -- www.healthymontgomery.org -- provides data and information on more than 90 topics related to the health and well being of the community and its residents.

"Having reliable data on which to base our budget decisions on is critical, especially in these lean budget years,” said Uma Ahluwalia, director of theDepartment of Health and Human Services. “In addition, this website will be a great resource for students, health planners and the public.”

Read more from press release.


Integrated BioTherapeutics Expands in Montgomery County

Integrated BioTherapeutics Inc. (IBT), a biotechnology company developing medical countermeasures for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases, recently celebrated the expansion of their Bioservices capacity with the Grand Opening of a new 10,500 square-foot office and lab space in the Gaithersburg Accelerator, located at 21 Firstfield Rd.

The new facility features a dedicated suite of labs to support IBT’s research and development for a multivalent vaccine for Staph aureus infection.

IBT currently has 30 full-time employees and plans to add an additional five to 10 employees within the next year. IBT was named “Maryland’s 2009 Emerging Company of the Year” by the Tech Council of Maryland, which recognized the company’s tremendous growth in funding and personnel and its strong relationships with the U.S. Government and industry partners.

Read more.


Anne Arundel County’s Ambulance Fee Generates $8.5 million

Since becoming law in April 2009, the fee charged to insurance companies for ambulance transport in Anne Arundel County has generated $8.5 million, according to County Executive John R. Leopold.

"I am pleased that our Fire Department has been able to execute this program without negatively impacting citizens’ access to emergency medical services. Insurance companies are now bearing their fair share of the cost of providing essential services previously borne solely by taxpayers," said Leopold.

Under the Anne Arundel legislation that became effective in 2009, insurance companies are billed $500 per ambulance transport. Deposits began in earnest in January 2010 and now average roughly $525,000 per month. County residents do not pay any portion of the fee not covered by insurance. Medicaid, Medicare and most other private insurance policies already allowed for reimbursement for this service.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

Putting ARRA Funds to Work – Transportation Projects Spell Local Improvements

Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation has received nearly $15.4 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding designed to help local governments jumpstart their economies. The funded projects -- designed to help improve the County’s economy and transportation infrastructure -- have either been completed or are underway.

The Division of Highway Services (DHS) received about $6.7 million to improve seven roadways that, due to their deteriorated condition, were designated as high priority projects under DHS’ inventory of Countywide roadway conditions. These paving projects will upgrade:

  • More than 10 lane miles of Shady Grove Road from I-270 to Darnestown Road;
  • Nearly 10 lane miles of Barnesville Road from Mt. Ephraim Road to Maryland Route 117;
  • About four-and-one-half lane miles Randolph Road from east of Nebel Street to Rock Creek Bridge;
  • About 3.6 lane miles of Forest Glen Road from Maryland Route 97 to Brunett Avenue;
  • More than 10 lane miles of Old Columbia Pike from Maryland Route 198 to U.S. Route 29, Columbia Pike on-ramp;
  • Nearly five lane miles of Travilah Road from Dufief Road to River Road; and
  • 3.7 lane miles of Wightman Road from Brink Road to Goshen Road.

Repairs include removing and replacing defective curbs and gutters; removing and replacing defective sidewalks; full-depth pavement patching; removing and replacing pavement surfaces; and installing pavement line markings and raised, reflective pavement markers. All seven projects should be completed in fall 2011.

The Division of Transit Services (DTS) received $6.55 million to replace existing buses with 12 energy efficient, diesel-electric hybrids and one clean diesel bus. The buses will be delivered in September. DTS also received $350,000 to purchase new bid/dispatch software that will increase efficiency in managing work assignments and daily dispatching.

The Division of Traffic Engineering (DTE) received nearly $1.75 million for four projects to improve traffic flow and traffic and pedestrian safety. DTE has:

  • Completed upgrading deficient and substandard guardrail end treatments throughout the County along Federal roads eligible for aid;
  • Completed installing traffic signal power backup units Countywide to minimize the effect of power outages on traffic flow;
  • Completed traffic warning sign upgrades Countywide to improve visibility at night and during poor weather conditions; and
  • Begun installing streetlights along Maryland Route 124 to improve traffic and pedestrian safety. The project is expected to be completed in the spring.

Information about other ARRA funds awarded to the County is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/recovery.

CATEGORIES: Transportation , News
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 9:00:00 AM |


Leggett Announces “Safety & Health” Provisions for New County Construction Contracts

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that all solicitations for County construction contracts are factoring in company records on employee safety and health – and the existence of strong workplace safety programs.

This means that contractors seeking to be qualified to construct County facilities will lose “points” for inadequate safety and health results or for the lack of strong health and safety prevention programs.

In addition, Leggett rolled out a new County website -- http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/workersafety -- to provide informationm tothose working in the County about workplace safety and health, as well as information and forms necessary to lodge complaints with the Maryland Office on Safety and Health (MOSH).

The Executive also appointed an ongoing Commission on Workers Safety and Health to advise him on further policy changes as part of the County’s Workers Health and Safety Initiative.

“Pay-by-cell” Program a Success; More Meters to be Added this Spring

In early 2010, the Division of Parking (Dept. of Transportation/MCDOT) began a pilot project to test a “pay-by-cell phone” system at selected parking meters in Bethesda. The test was successful, and now, MCDOT has decided to expand the system this spring to 11,000 meters in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda.

A great feature of pay by cell is the ability to receive a text message reminder when your parking time is about to expire. If this happens and you need more time, simply extend the parking session by phone, as long as the maximum parking time on the meter is not exceeded. There is a 35 cent transaction fee for each parking session.

For more information on the pay-by-cell initiative or to register for an account, visit the Division of Parking's website.

Silver Spring Parking Garage Partially Closed for Repairs

The Bonifant-Dixon Garage (Garage 5) in downtown Silver Spring is partially closed for approximately12 months for deck restoration. The Dixon Avenue Entrance will be closed during construction. More than 950 parking spaces remain open and can be accessed using the Bonifant Street Entrance. Just follow detour signs to the BonifantStreet Garage Entrance.

The garage serves the Silver Spring Metro Rail Station as well as surrounding businesses.

Lunar New Year and Black History Month Programs at Public Libraries

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) welcomes the Year of the Golden Rabbit and celebrates Black History Month with a variety of programs throughout February.

Lunar New Year began this year on February 3. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves.

Programs at various branches include an introduction to customs behind the Lunar New Year, traditional dances, hands-on art activities, storytelling, shadow puppet shows, arts and crafts activities, Chinese yo-yo demonstrations, workshops and traditional Chinese lion dance performances.

Black History Month is a nationwide observance that provides an opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history.

Local speakers and authors will discuss the history of African Americans in Montgomery County in a five-part series of community discussions entitled, “Journey through African American History” to be held at branches around the County.

Other programs include Discovery Theater’s live performances of “Black Diamond: Satchel Paige and the Negro Baseball League” for young audiences about the struggles and triumphs of early African American baseball players, and African dance and drumming by the Soul in Motion Ensemble

For complete schedules of Lunar New Year and Black History Month programs, visit “Spotlight” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Spring into Activity with Recreation, Park Classes: New Guide Now Out

Registration for the Recreation Department’s spring classes will begin Monday, February 14, followed by registration for swim classes on the 16th. The new Spring Guide of Recreation and Park Programs lists a wide variety of classes from yoga and Zumba to pottery, cooking and ballroom dancing. Copies of the Spring Guide are at public libraries and community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers throughout the County.

Register in any one of four ways: by mail or fax (240-777-6818), online or in person at the Recreation Department offices, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

For more information, call 240-777-6840 or visit the Recreation Department website.

County History Book Updated Online

What is the County’s official bird? Blossom? Who was Richard Montgomery? And, why does our County bear his name? What was the original name of the County Seat (now, of course Rockville)? Which Washington, DC neighborhood was once part of Montgomery County?

The answers to these and just about any other questions you might have about any aspect of Montgomery County’s history are found in “Montgomery County, Maryland Our History and Government,” a 30-page booklet, just updated, following the most recent election. From the earliest days to the present, it’s a handy, brief look at what and who has shaped Montgomery County.


Caregiving, Finances, Nutrition featured on latest “Seniors Today”

County Cable Montgomery’s (CCM) latest “Seniors Today” features discussions on three topics of special interest to seniors and their families -- caregiving, financial management and nutrition.

Hosted by Austin Heyman, “Seniors Today” is seen weekly on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m., Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.,and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on CCM -- channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers. To watch online, go to “Seniors Today” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/seniors.

The show is produced by Montgomery County’s Office of Public Information and the Commission on Aging.


Applicants Sought for Charter Review Commission

The County Council is accepting applications for membership on the County's Charter Review Commission. Applications for the four-year appointments are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2.

The commission researches and evaluates Charter issues raised by the County Executive, County Council, other government officials and the public. Commission reports are submitted no later than May 1 of every even-numbered year. These reports contain recommendations concerning any proposed Charter amendments.

Get more details or call 240-777-7979.


Online Application Makes Applying for Rainscapes Rewards Rebate Program Even Easier

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has streamlined its RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program application by creating a new, online interactive format that is more user-friendly and provides a faster rebate turn-around time.

The program is designed to reduce the effects of stormwater pollution on the County’s streams and waterways.

Residents interested in the latest information about RainScapes can sign up to receive the RainScapes Gazette by visiting the County’s e-subscription page.

For more information about the program, including projects and resident eligibility or to apply, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rainscapes or contact RainScapes Rewards Coordinator Ann English at 240-777-7759 or RainScapes.application@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Senior , Environmental , Library , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

Proposed Transportation Policy Area Review is a Step Forward in Mapping Anti-Congestion Strategies

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has sent a new proposed Transportation Policy Area Review (TPAR) strategy to the County Council that is a significant step forward in addressing the congestion experienced by County residents.  TPAR is a starting point for discussions about the best way to identify future transportation inadequacies and solutions in the development process in each of the County’s 21 Policy Areas.

Among other points, the proposed TPAR policy:

  • Is simple to understand and monitor.
  • Classifies each Policy Area as urban, suburban or rural.
  • Establishes separate adequacy standards for transit and roadways for each Policy Area in the County that reflect adequate balance between transportation and development for the upcoming decade.
  • Recommends funding the proposed improvements through a public-private partnership, with different levels of participation, based on public policy considerations of where growth is most desirable.

The full TPAR proposal is available on the County’s website at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/dot/dir/cefinaltparapril222010.pdf

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |

A Look at Locations of Emergency Medical Services Fees Around the Area

Three years ago, County Executive Ike Leggett recommended adoption of an Emergency Medical Services transport fee which would bill insurance companies, Medicare or Medicaid for ambulance transports and raise millions for County Fire and Rescue – at no out-of-pocket cost to County residents. The failure to approve the fee has cost the County tens of millions of dollars.  Meanwhile, other jurisdictions in the metropolitan area have used these resources to improve service and save lives. And, there’s no evidence from any of them of any adverse effects. That tells you something.

The County Executive has included the fee as part of his FY11 Recommended Operating Budget. Take a look at the surrounding counties that have an EMS fee in place.

  • EMS Fees in Maryland Jurisdictions (pdf)
  • EMS Fees in Virginia Jurisdictions (pdf)
  • EMS Fees in the National Capital Region (NCR) Jurisdictions (pdf)

For complete information about the benefits of the EMS fee to Montgomery County, visit EMS website, or download brochure (pdf).

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | 5:00:00 PM |

Get the Message: Be "Street Smart” Because Speed Can Kill

On a neighborhood street near the heart of Silver Spring, the region’s Street Smart safety campaign got underway with a dramatic demonstration of the effects of speed on pedestrian and cyclist safety. 

A demonstration on the amount of time and distance required for a vehicle to stop featured “Bobby”, a wire frame model of a 10-year-old child crossing the street and encountering a vehicle traveling toward him at speeds of 25, 35 and 40 miles per hour.  Placed at a fixed point in the street in front of a designated stopping point, Bobby was safe crossing in front of the vehicle traveling at 25 miles per hour, but was not so fortunate crossing when the vehicle was traveling at the higher speeds.  He was struck hard at 35 miles per hour, his body hurled forward, sustaining severe injuries.  At 40 miles per hour, Bobby was struck even more violently.

Fortunately, Bobby is a wire-frame dummy, not one of the 270 actual child pedestrians killed in traffic crashes nationally in 2008.

The highly realistic demonstration showing Bobby being brutally struck was meant to strike a chord with drivers that speed is a major killer. 

View the demonstration and see for yourself.

Still not convinced? Then take a look at this video message used by PEDS, Metro Atlanta's pedestrian advocacy organization.

CATEGORIES: Transportation , Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |

Calling All Potholes -- We're Out to Get You

The aftermath of our recent record-breaking storms has meant that pothole season is here -- waiting to wreak havoc on our vehicles and bones.

However, there is something you can do to help everyone get through this. If you either encounter or know of potholes along your daily routes, you can report them at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dpwt/pothole/Pothole.asp or by calling 240-777-6000.

CATEGORIES: Snow , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |
News and Information from Montgomery County Government, Public Information Office.
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Last edited: 11/8/2010