There is now helpful information online -- at www.montgomerycountymd.gov -- for residents who want to understand the County’s budget procedures -- including how budget decisions are made, the County Executive’s priorities, what types of programs/services/projects are funded in the Operating and Capital budgets, projected expenditures in the FY12-17 Fiscal Plan and the FY12 Fiscal Outlook.
Also included is a section entitled Community Participation that includes tips for residents on how they can become more involved with their local government and how to express their concerns and advocate for issues of interest to them.
The information was prepared by the Office of Management and Budget and the Department of Finance for presentation at the public Budget Forums being held around the County.
The final two forums will be held -- at 7 p.m. -- according to the following schedule:
- January 20, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring
- January 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda .
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 10:00:00 AM
The Pepco Work Group appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett is conducting an online survey of residential and business customers in order to receive the broadest possible range of feedback about their experiences with the electric utility company.
Two different surveys, one for business customers and one for residential customers, are offered. If both apply, customers are asked to complete each one.
To take the survey(s), just click on the appropriate link(s) below:
The surveys will be available through Monday, January 31.
The surveys are designed to obtain information on how the public views Pepco’s service, the extent to which customers have experienced outages, the economic impact of those outages and some insight as to what additional costs customers would be willing to incur in exchange for improved service.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 9:00:00 AM
Certainly not according to the Recreation Department that has just released its guide to Summer Camps and Programs for Ages 3-21. Rec officials urge residents to register early because many of the camps fill up fast and registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. What a better way to spend these cold days than to plan summer time activities from the comfort of your home. Check out the guide now (PDF).
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 8:00:00 AM
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has sent to the County Council his recommended Fiscal Year (FY) 2012 Capital Budget and proposed amendments to the FY 11-16 Capital Improvements Program (CIP).
Recognizing the serious budget constraints facing the County, the recommendations delay some planned projects while focusing only on funding critical capital needs. Some shifts in funds for earlier years in the CIP were made possible by developing more realistic implementation plans for existing projects.
Leggett said, “We must focus on projects that address long-term, sustainable, programmatic needs; master plan visions; and long-term housing and economic development objectives, while resisting pressures to build new facilities that require ongoing operating and maintenance costs.
“My CIP recommendations delay some projects, but they ensure that the most urgent education, public safety and transportation projects do not wait.”
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM
County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that a development team led by The Donohoe Companies and Montgomery Housing Partnership (MHP) has been selected to develop a mixed-use project adjacent to the new Silver Spring Library.
The nearly one-acre site, located at the corner of Fenton and Bonifant streets, is adjacent to a future Purple Line station and will include a mix of commercial and residential uses.
The project is a joint venture between Donohoe, one of the region’s most respected developers, and MHP, a private, nonprofit developer of affordable housing in Montgomery County. Others on the development team are architect, VOA Associates; civil engineers, Loiederman Soltesz Associates; and landscape architects, Parker Rodriguez.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM
Maryland -- for the third year in a row -- has ranked first in Education Week’s Quality Counts report. The 2011 version of the annual assessment of state educational systems, gave Maryland the nation’s highest grade, a B+.
Maryland’s ranking is based on State education policies and student performance that reflect nearly two decades of work on preK-12 curriculum; state accountability and standards; teacher effectiveness; and work on school readiness, high school reform, and preparation for college and the workplace. Quality Counts uses more than 50 indicators to develop its report.
Following Maryland are Massachusetts and New York, each of which received a B. In contrast, the District of Columbia, Nebraska, and South Dakota received grades of D+, with a majority of states earning a C or C-plus. The nation as a whole earned a C, the same grade as last year.
Education Week is a leading online/print news source for K-12 leaders and policy experts.
To view the 2011 Quality Counts report, visit http://www.edweek.org/ew/toc/2011/01/13/index.html?Intc=EW-QC11-EWH.
See State Superintendent of Schools Nancy S. Grasmick’s response at http://www.msde.maryland.gov/msde.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM
Montgomery County’s Department of Recreation and the Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, will co-host two community meetings to gather input from the public on the draft plans for Vision 2030, the County’s 20-year vision planning process for facilities and programs offered by each agency.
The two departments hosted a number of community meetings last year to solicit the public’s comments regarding the delivery of recreational services and programs being offered by both agencies. Comments received at those meetings helped guide the agencies in developing the draft plan.
Both public meetings will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m. according to the following schedule:
- Tuesday, January 25 – M-NCPPC Montgomery Regional Office, 8787 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring; and
- Wednesday, January 26 – Upcounty Regional Services Center, Meeting Room A, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown
For more information about the project, visit http://www.montgomeryparks.org/about/vision.
CATEGORIES: Community Forum
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM
And, a Good Time Was Had by All
After being tested for a couple weeks by plenty of local residents, the new Silver Spring ice rink at Veterans Plaza was officially dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, January 8. The weather cooperated with providing a seasonably cold (not chilly, but cold) day as County Executive Ike Leggett and a young friend cut the ribbon proclaiming, in effect, that the rink is here and open for business. Joining the Executive were Jennifer Nettles, manager of Downtown Silver Spring for Peterson and Company; Mal Curran, co-owner of Tri-State Ice Management and the Silver Spring Penguin.
For more information about the rink, visit http://www.silverspringiceskating.com/.
2011 Women’s Legislative Briefing: Two Keynoters, Variety of Workshops Highlight Program
Two powerful women -- Sara Manzano-Diaz of the Women’s Bureau and Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College -- will anchor the 2011 Women’s Legislative Briefing to be held on January 30, from 12:30 to 6 p.m., at the University of Maryland, Shady Grove, Building II, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville.
Manzano-Díaz is the 16th Director of the Women's Bureau at the U. S. Department of Labor. Dr. Pollard is the ninth chief executive of Montgomery College, Maryland's largest two-year college. She oversees the education and student services for 60,000 credit and noncredit students.
The briefing will include workshops covering a variety of topics, including: Women in the Workplace; Women, Families and Poverty; Older Women and Economic Security; Women and Girls, Safety and Justice; Women, Health Care and Reform; Women in Elective and Appointive Office; and Effective Advocacy in the Legislature.
Admission is $15 and includes refreshments at the opening and the reception. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfwor call 240-777-8330.
Radon: Test Your Home and Protect Your Family
During January, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is recognizing National Radon Action Month by encouraging residents to take action to protect their homes and families.
January is an especially good time to test homes and schools because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. It is released from soils and disperses outdoors, but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings.
The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking. However, by making simple fixes in a home or building, people can lower their health risks from radon.
Radon test kits can be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores or directly from radon testing companies. Many are priced under $25. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors, with repairs typically costing between $800 and $2,500.
For more information on radon, testing, mitigation and radon-resistant new construction, call 311 or visit the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/depand click on “Air.” Additional information is also available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website at www.epa.gov/radon.
Youth Advisory Council Collects Coats 4 Kids
Many local children do not wear proper winter apparel as they travel to and from school. But, the County Executive’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) wants to change that.
That’s why from now through January 25, YAC is collecting “Coats 4 Kids!” Monday through Friday, from 8:30a.m. – 5p.m.at the following sites in the eastern part of the County:
- Paint Branch High School, Counseling office, 14121 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
- Springbrook High School, Counseling office, 201 Valley Brook Drive, Silver Spring
- Marilyn J. Praisner Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
- East County Recreation Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring
- Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring
The YAC is accepting new or gently used winter-wear including scarves, hats, gloves and other winter apparel items that will, in turn, be donated to needy children in grades K – 5 at a local elementary school.
For more information email Joy.firstname.lastname@example.org or call 240-777-8411.
Civil Rights Historic Bus Tour Planned
The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is again hosting a civil rights historic bus tour that retraces the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes.
The tour – that features stops in Atlanta, GA; Selma and Tuskegee, AL; and Memphis, TN -- leaves Rockville on April 18 and returns April 23.
The cost of the six-day tour for a group of four is $430 per person including hotel, transportation, some meals and snacks and all museum/tour fees For smaller groups, the fee is slightly higher. All tour costs are paid for by participants’ fees. A deposit for half the fee is due on January 28, with the balance due on March 18.
A pre-tour meeting will be held on Thursday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor meeting room of the Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Ave. At least one member of each group is required to attend.
Anyone interested should contact the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8450 or email Human-Rights.Administration@montgomerycountymd.gov.
For more information about the tour, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.
Green Business Certification Program Attracts National Attention; Local Businesses Invited to Get on Board
The Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program is an exciting initiative that helps and recognizes businesses and organizations that voluntarily go above and beyond basic day to day green office measures to reduce their environmental impact. Certified businesses are listed in the County’s online Green Business Directory and showcased through press releases, short videos and other promotional activities.
To date, the Program has certified 23 organizations ranging in size and diversity from a multi-national hotel chain to a small orthodontics office. The Program has also attracted the attention of nearly 20 jurisdictions across North America,including Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Montgomery College provides on-going training courses to assist businesses in making the changes necessary to get certified.
Click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter and view the most recent January 2011 Newsletter.
National Mentoring Month
January is National Mentoring Month and, in observance, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center is encouraging residents of all ages to become a mentor and help make the path to success easier for a friend or neighbor.
Find mentoring opportunities from the Volunteer Center.
There is a great mix of positions. While some are traditional mentor roles, others are not direct mentoring positions but the organization has used the keyword for other ways you can support mentoring organizations.
For information on other volunteer opportunities, call 240-777-2600 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM
Literacy Council Names New Executive Director
Marty Stephens has been named executive director of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, replacing Pam Saussy, who served as the LCMC executive director for the past 10 years, prior to leaving the post late in 2010.
Before coming to LCMC, Stephens was executive director of the Maryland Performance Excellence Foundation at the University of Maryland. Earlier, she worked for the Maryland Agricultural Education and the Home Builders Association of Maryland.Stephens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Mansfield State University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from Ohio University.
CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM
January 24 - Online chat with County Executive Ike Leggett. Noon to 1 p.m. This online interactive forum allows residents in Montgomery County to send questions directly to County Executive Leggett. You may submit questions anytime. Answered questions will be available at the beginning of the live session and selected questions will be answered during the scheduled discussion time.
Submit your questions.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM
The Pepco Work Group, established by County Executive Ike Leggett, will hold a public hearing on January 5, beginning at 6:30 p.m., to seek comments from members of the general public on their experiences with Pepco outages and their overall level of satisfaction with Pepco’s service. The hearing will be held in the Stella Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.
Registration for speakers is on a first-come, first-served basis. The number of speakers is limited to 50 and each speaker will have a maximum of three minutes for their presentation. Speakers must pre-register by calling 240-777-3764.
Written comments from the public, businesses and organizations are due by January 6 to the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection at ConsumerProtection@montgomerycountymd.gov with “Pepco Comment” in the subject line. Comments should focus on the nature of service reliability issues experienced over the past five years. If possible, responders should differentiate between storm-related events, and those that are not storm related. Elected officials who wish to comment should file written comments.
Comprised of community leaders, the work group was formed by Leggett in October to investigate the underlying reasons for Pepco’s poor service reliability throughout the County.
CATEGORIES: Community Forum
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM
An official dedication of the newly opened ice rink at Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring (corner of Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.) will be held on Saturday, January 8, at noon. County Executive Ike Leggett will join other elected officials, community leaders and local residents for skating, refreshments, entertainment and raffles.
Skating will be free for a 50-minute session for those who bring a donation of a winter coat (all sizes) or canned foods. Donated items will be collected by local non-profit organizations serving those in need in the community.
The rink is open to the public Monday through Friday from noon to 10 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sundays from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Individual and family season passes, group rates and admissions discount cards are available. Skating lessons are available at the ice rink throughout the season.
For more about Downtown Silver Spring’s newest attraction, visit www.silverspringiceskating.com.
Montgomery County will celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. with a Day of Service and a Tribute and Musical Celebration on Monday, January 17.
The Day of Service activities include the annual program held at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., North Bethesda from 1 to 3:30 p.m., a countywide food drive to benefit the Manna Food Center and additional service project sites around the County. The activities have been organized and coordinated by the County’s Volunteer Center. The volunteer projects are all approved for Student Service Learning credits. Online pre-registration is requested for all locations by going to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mlk.
The Tribute and Musical Celebration will be held at the Music Center at Strathmore beginning at 4 p.m. The event is free and open to the public. Persons without tickets who arrive at 3:45 p.m. will be admitted until all seats are filled. For more information call 240-777-2570.
Read more about it from Press Release.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM
County’s 311 Call System Marks Six-month Anniversary
Six months after Montgomery County’s 311 online and telephone information system launched on June 17, calls coming into the system continue to increase and peaked in August with almost 57,000 calls received. The 311 web portal, which allows residents to find answers and check on the status of service requests, has consistently averaged 25,000 views per month.
A recent survey of hundreds of 311 users showed about 75 percent of users satisfied with the time it took to reach a Customer Service Representative. Seventy-two percent were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the handling of their call. The survey showed 75 percent satisfied or extremely satisfied with their overall 311 experience.
The MC311 Customer Service Center operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. The self-service website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311 -- is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. About 30 County government “information and referral” phone numbers are now answered directly by MC311. All other County lines continue to be accessed directly. Trained representatives who speak Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and French are available at MC311, as is a language interpretation service for other languages. A TTY line is available at 240-773-3556.
Working with the local phone company providers, Montgomery County has succeeded in including six local telephone exchanges not included by the companies in the original coverage design. Customers with exchanges 299, 365, 469, 765, 676 and 983 can now reach the 311 call center when using their land line.
Persons outside of Montgomery County may access the service by calling 240-777-0311.
Learn more about the types of calls received from press release.
Tax Volunteers Needed
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Action Agency is mobilizing its coalition of public agencies, nonprofits and community volunteers to support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partnership for 2011. VITA is an IRS-supported program delivering tax help to low-to moderate-income people (generally, under $49,000).
You can assist Montgomery County families by volunteering four or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April to serve as tax preparers, greeters, screeners and interpreters. Flexible hours are available at convenient locations in East Silver Spring/Takoma Park, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Wheaton. Free training is provided on-site and online, with certification as a tax preparer by the IRS upon successful completion.
To volunteer, call 240-777-1123 or email Taunya.Johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov.
For more “free tax” volunteer opportunities, visit Maryland CASH Campaign, www.mdcash.org and Montgomery County’s RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/Content/Volunteer/RSVP.asp
Be in the Know When It Snows
The Division of Highway Services (Dept. of Transportation) has a handy guide that explains the County’s snow removal action plan and lists useful snowstorm contacts. Entitled “When It Snows (pdf),” the newly updated brochure also contains information on Do’s and Don’ts for residents, the County’s sidewalk clearing law, potholes, and sources of information during a storm.
Local History Coming Alive: Heritage Montgomery Kicks off Commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial
To mark the beginning (in November 2010) of the County’s commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has produced a 32-page brochure entitled “Life in a War Zone: A Guide to the Civil War in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1861-1865.”
The brochure is designed to serve as a guide to locations throughout the County with Civil War significance. It details life and events in 14 locations around the County and includes a map keyed to Civil War trail markers in each location.
Limited copies of the brochure are available by calling 301-515-0753 or emailing email@example.com.
Heritage Montgomery is producing -- as an accompanying piece to the brochure -- a documentary video entitled, Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War. It will bring to life some stories of the Civil War years in Montgomery County. The video and a companion CD of Civil War music will be available in the spring.
Both the brochure and video will be available on the website in the coming months.
The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) is an initiative created by county leaders and state officials to raise the profile of the area’s heritage, ensuring that residents and visitors alike understand and value the County’s past. The non-profit organization is dedicated to helping Montgomery County use its heritage to develop tourism while protecting and promoting its cultural, historical and natural resources
For more about the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County, visit www.HeritageMontgomery.org.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM
Leggett Selects Marc Hansen as County Attorney
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has selected Marc Hansen to head the Office of County Attorney. Hansen has been serving as Acting County Attorney since January 2010, following the resignation of former County Attorney Leon Rodriquez.
“I am honored to appoint Marc Hansen as County Attorney,” said Leggett. “With more than 26 years of experience in the County Attorney’s office, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position. Montgomery County is fortunate to have someone of Marc’s caliber heading up our legal department.”
Hansen is a resident of Washington Grove where he served three terms as mayor and several years as a local councilmember. He also served on the Washington Grove Planning Commission and is currently a member of the Washington Grove Board of Zoning Appeals.
The Office of the County Attorney has a staff of more than 70 and a current budget of $8.7 million.
Hansen’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the County Council.
County’s Chief Information Officer Receives National Recognition
E. Steven Emanuel, who as Chief Information Officer heads up the department of Technology Services, has been selected as one of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, by eAccess Corporation of San Francisco.
The goal of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology recognition is to increase the current number of 600,000 African-Americans working in cutting edge fields by spotlighting the overlooked overachievers.
In notifying Emanuel of his selection, eAccess President/Executive Editor John William Templeton said, “Your example is a powerful example of the success that the national capitol region has enjoyed to provide opportunities for cutting edge achievement to people from all backgrounds.”
The recipients will be honored at the Innovation & Equity: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities Symposium on January 15, at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC.
Community Use Director to be Honored by State Education Association
Ginny Gong, director of the Office of Community Use of Public Facilities, will be honored with an award for Leadership by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA). The awards recognize outstanding achievement in the areas of education, leadership, politics and community involvement at the national, state and local levels.
Gong was nominated by the Montgomery County Education Association’s Minority Affairs Committee for her consistent and determined leadership efforts in the field of education and advocacy and for her vision, professionalism and diplomacy in ensuring social justice for all people.
In her current position, she is responsible for promoting and coordinating the community’s use of the County’s public facilities. She was the first Asian American appointed to head an agency in Montgomery County.
The Award will be presented at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Observance on January 15 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt.
Bethesda Library’s Teens Make Local News
In spite of the many opportunities teens have these days to learn and to communicate with each other electronically, they are still actually reading – and some local teens are part of a national program that helps publishers clue in to what’s hot among young adult readers.
Case in point: the Bethesda Teen Reads Program at the Bethesda Library recently featured in a Washington Post article entitled “Wanted: Young Readers to Build Book Buzz.” The local teens are one of 16 similar groups around that are part of the galley review program of the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services division.
According to the article, although the teens’ opinions don’t affect the publication of a book, they do provide “an important glimpse inside the minds of teen readers.”
The group is open to students between the ages of 12 and 18. The young reviewers have a couple bookcases full of advance copies from which to pick their choices to review.
For more information about the group, contact Kathie Weinberg at 240-777-0637.
CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM
Some dates to note on those new 2011calendars.
FY2012 Budget Forums – Sponsored by County Executive Ike Leggett, five budget forums will be held throughout the County to solicit input from residents about FY2012 Operating Budget priorities. The forums will begin at 7 p.m., on the following dates:
- January 10, Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown
- January 13, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring
- January 18, Crossway Community, 3015 Upton Dr., Kensington
- January 20, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring
- January 24, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda
Check montgomerycountymd.gov/townhall for more information and schedules.
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM
News and Information from Montgomery County Government, Public Information Office.
To subscribe email newsletter,