In a reversal of long-standing policy, the Montgomery County chapter of the League of Women Voters (LWV) this week joined a growing chorus of support for the County’s Emergency Medical Transport Fee, which would collect $14 million this year (and $170 million over ten years) from insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid to fund critical Fire & Rescue efforts at no cost to County residents. Read the LWV statement.
The City Council of the City of Takoma Park also voted unanimously to support the program. See their resolution.
County Executive Ike Leggett recently forwarded to the County Council a memo detailing budget reductions that would be necessary if the ambulance reimbursement law was rejected in the November 2 balloting, opening up a $14 million hole in this year’s Fire & Rescue budget.
Among the consequences detailed in the proposal would be the mothballing of 11 County ambulances, the layoff of 107 firefighters and paramedics, and the elimination of the Police in County schools programs. Additionally, Sunday service at County public libraries would be eliminated, County road maintenance programs drastically reduced, and more than $2 million in Health & Human Services programs would be cut should the $14 million in ambulance reimbursement funds not be available.
“Given our already tight budget, any further cuts will echo across the County,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. Our obligation is to maintain a balanced budget. If residents vote against the ambulance fee, they will be voting for $14 million in cuts to services.” See County Executive Leggett’s memo to the Council.
The Washington Post and The Gazette have also editorialized in favor of the Emergency Medical Transport Fee. Read the Post editorial and the Gazette editorial.
To download the “It’s All About Saving Lives” fact sheet on the issue, click here for English and here for Spanish.
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 11:00:00 AM
County Executive Ike Leggett has announced the names of residents selected to serve on the new Pepco Work Group that has been formed to identify and investigate causes for the frequent and lengthy electricity outages, and to recommend solutions.
“It is incredibly important that we do not go through again what we experienced in February and July and August, “Leggett said. “We have to figure out why Pepco power outages occur regularly, on even the nicest of days, threatening life, inconveniencing families, and costing our businesses millions.”
The 12-member group will be chaired by Norman R. Augustine, retired CEO of Lockheed Martin and Montgomery County resident, whose numerous leadership positions include having served as Under Secretary of the Army, Chairman and Principal Officer of the American Red Cross and President of the Boy Scouts of America.
The group is expected to submit a final report, with recommendations, within the next three to six months. Read the group’s work plan and issues to be addressed.
The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) has announced the winners of the 9th Annual Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities.
The honorees will receive their awards from County Executive Ike Leggett and Mrs. Catherine Leggett at a special ceremony on Monday, October 18, beginning at 7 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda.
Included on the program will be performances from Montgomery County arts and humanities organizations and recognition of more than 122 individuals and organizations that have received grants for FY10 and FY11 from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County. The event is free and open to the public.
More information, including a list of 2010 recipients, is available at www.creativemoco.com/executives-awards.
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 9:00:00 AM
County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined parents, teachers, and children around the world to celebrate International Walk to School Day at East Silver Spring Elementary School (ESS). The annual event promotes safer streets, healthier lifestyles and cleaner air. Leggett was joined by Federal Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood (center), Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, and other dignitaries. Approximately 30 other schools across the County celebrated the day with various activities.
East Silver Spring was the first school in the County to hold a Walk to School Day celebration back in 1999. William Smith, a legally blind parent, was the impetus behind the event and for Maryland’s designation of walking as the state exercise. He’s an advocate for pedestrian safety and was a guest of honor at the celebration.
ESS is also promoting healthy eating, exercise and life styles. The school was adopted by Whole Foods, which helped students plant and maintain a garden in the courtyard. Whole Foods’ “Chef Egg” offered a very popular once-a-week after-school cooking class. And, an after-school “walking club” helped ESS students get more exercise and prepare for the Takoma Park Safe Routes to School 5K Challenge, in which hundreds of students and parents participated.
Montgomery County is upgrading safety at schools, thanks in part to the federal Safe Routes to School program created in 2005. The program provides funding communities can use to retrofit roads and create sidewalks and bike paths that allow children to safely walk or bike to school. Funding also supports enforcement and education campaigns.
For more information, visit MCDOT's pedestrian safety website or call the Office of Community Outreach at 240-777-7155.
County Executive Ike Leggett recently unveiled a blueprint for community-building strategies aimed at providing neighborhood groups with tools to start senior “Villages” that will provide grassroots services to combat social isolation, improve mobility and enhance access to services for seniors.
A Village is a grass roots organization created to provide older adults with lifestyle choices that include continuing to live in their own homes.
Participants in Leggett’s 2009 Senior Summit identified the need to encourage and support the creation of Villages in Montgomery County. Neighbors in Bannockburn, Chevy Chase, Burning Tree, Cabin John and Somerset have created Villages and communities that serve their residents. Other communities in Montgomery County are beginning work on Villages.
Electronic copies of the Blueprint are available by calling the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 240-777-8200.
County health officials today announced the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccination clinic schedule and urged residents to protect themselves by getting vaccinated. Montgomery County clinics will offer FREE vaccinations by appointment only.
The 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine includes protection against the H1N1 virus, along with influenza A and influenza B strains, so there will be only one vaccination needed this year.
The clinics begin on October 23 and will be held at locations on various dates through December 9.
For more information about the flu and to make an online appointment, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/flu. Those without Internet access can call 311 to make an appointment.
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM
The Montgomery County Organizational Reform Commission, appointed by the Montgomery County Council and County Executive Ike Leggett, will hold a public forum at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 20 in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building at 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. Residents are invited to offer opinions on restructuring the current organization of County Government and County-funded agencies.
The eight-member, volunteer commission, that is scheduled to provide recommendations to the Council and the Executive by January 31, will draft and adopt written criteria to evaluate which suggestions merit further consideration.
Persons wishing to speak may sign up in advance by calling 240-777-7814 or 240-777-7938. If time allows, speakers who do not sign up in advance will also be able to offer suggestions.
CATEGORIES: Community Forum
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 5:00:00 AM
Local residents are invited make plans now to give a few hours of their time to the community by joining family, friends, neighbors, fellow students and co-workers for Community Service Day weekend – October 23 and 24.
There are many options for volunteering. Groups can develop their own projects or select one of the many opportunities offered by nonprofits through the Volunteer Center’s website, which also has a list of organizations hosting collection drives of food, clothing and other items.
For more information on how to sign up for Community Service Day weekend projects, visit the Volunteer Center’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer and click on the Community Service Day link at the top of the page.
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM
Consumer Representatives Sought for WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Board Opening
The Plumbing and Fuel Gas Board of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is in search of Consumer Representatives to serve for a three-year-term. The Board is responsible for reviewing and recommending Code requirements for plumbing, fuel gas, site utility installations, fats, oil and grease regulations and industrial discharge requirements.
Anyone interested should have a general understanding of technical issues, and not have any financial interest in any person regulated by the Board. This is an honorary volunteer position without any compensation. See Section 112 of the WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code for more details.
Essay, Poster, Video Contest for Students Announced
In conjunction with its annual Human Rights Day Celebration. the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is sponsoring essay, poster and video contests for students -- with the theme “The Faces of Human Rights, Then and Now.” Students who attend Montgomery County Public Schools, as well as private and parochial schools in the County, children who are home-schooled and students living in the County and attending school elsewhere may apply.
Winners will be announced at the annual Human Rights Day celebration in December.
Entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Office of Human Rights by October 29. Additional guidelines and the contest entry form are at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights. For more information, call Kimberly Ham at 240-777-8478.
Reminder to Drivers: New Cell Phone Law in Effect
Area drivers are reminded that using a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway in Maryland is now prohibited. Phone calls placed to 911, ambulance, hospital, fire or law-enforcement agencies are permitted, as are calls made by emergency and law-enforcement personnel.
Drivers under the age of 18 already are prohibited from using cell phones while driving.
For more details visit www.maryland.gov.
Thanks a Ton – and More!
The figures are in and it’s official…the NBC4 Safe & Secure Community Shred event hosted by Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services (Department of Environmental Protection/DEP) and Montgomery College last month was a huge success, with more than 1,700 persons taking advantage of the opportunity to shred and recycle personal papers and bring in cardboard for recycling.
The figures speak for themselves:
- 1,715 cars drove through; the event was advertised from 8 to 11 a.m. and the first cars were in line at 6:40 a.m.
- 31 tons of paper were shredded and recycled
- 1.5 tons of cardboard were recycled
- Total recycled: 32.5 tons (65,000 pounds)
Thanks to DEP’s partner, Unity Disposal and Recycling, two of the County’s new compressed natural gas recycling trucks were on site to transport cardboard boxes and paper to the Recycling Center to be recycled.
The event was a partnership between NBC4, PNC Bank, Shred-It, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Government and Unity Disposal and Recycling.
Rock Creek Elementary School Pedestrian Protection Improvements
The innovative pedestrian protection improvements installed recently at Rock Creek Elementary School have successfully been used by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) in other locations and have proven to be effective in reducing motorist speeds, calming traffic and enhancing safety. The school is located across Grubb Road from the Rock Creek Shopping Center, which is a popular destination for students and residents.
MCDOT installed a concrete pedestrian refuge island, which is an area between lanes of traffic where pedestrians may safely wait. The refuge islands not only help calm traffic, but also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians. The improvement project narrowed the travel lanes on the roadway to reduce vehicle speeds. MCDOT also installed a marked crosswalk, school crossing signs, “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians” signs, lane markings and raised pavement markers.
The project was initiated by a request from two members of Rock Creek Forest ES’s Parent-Teacher Association.
For more information about the County’s Pedestrian Safety program, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk or call 240-777-7170.
Health and Human Services STD/HIV Program Expands Service to Upcounty Area
The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services STD/HIV Program has expanded services to the upcounty area.
Comprehensive STD screening, including HIV testing, is now available Tuesdays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Germantown Health Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd. Services, including diagnostic testing, exams and treatment of STD's and follow up, will be offered by appointment only.
For information or to make an appointment, call the STD/HIV Program at 240-777-1760.
New Road Maintenance Project
Rehabilitation of three neighborhoods in Forest Glen is underway through a program that is taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure.
The Forest Glen neighborhood is comprised of three Homeowners Associations: Forest Estates, Forest Grove and Northmont. Due to the size and scope of the project, the improvements will be phased in over two fiscal years and are scheduled to be completed next summer in fiscal year 2012. Seventeen lane-miles of road will be reconstructed in the three neighborhoods.The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will not widen or alter the character of the streets throughout the community.
For more information, call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000 or go to “Forest Glen Subdivision Ph. I.”
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 3:30:00 AM
Sign Up Now for Fall Recreation Classes
It’s not too late to register for fall programs with the Montgomery County Recreation Department (MCRD). Classes such as fitness, dance, art, pre-school and cooking are still available.
It’s also time to hoop it up and hit the courts with one of the following:
- Adult basketball – Men’s and Women’s and additional divisions for players who are 50+, 55+, 60+ and 65+.
- Youth Basketball for kids grades 3 through 8 – Individuals and teams at beginning or intermediate levels.
- High School Team Basketball - Team only.
Seniors looking for a wonderful day will want to register for the New Exciting Adult Travel (NEAT) Program to the new Mead Center at the Arena Stage to see the boot-stomping, pioneer-spirited musical Oklahoma. Participants are invited to register and attend with their grandchildren for this November 10 trip. The $55 registration fee includes transportation on a chartered bus, reserved seating and a tour escort.
For additional information, call 240-777-6870 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec .
And, just a reminder, registration for winter programs opens on November 15.
Fire Prevention Month Open House Events
The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will host Open House events at fire stations around the County during Fire Prevention Month. Firefighters and safety advocates will focus efforts on the importance of developing a home escape plan, practicing a home fire drill and checking smoke alarms to ensure they are working.
All Open House events will feature free activities, including tours of the stations, fire safety activities, information/handouts, demonstrations of emergency equipment, etc. Visit each station’s website or call for a comprehensive listing of activities planned.
- October 16, Noon – 3 p.m. -- Hillandale, Fire/Rescue Station 24, 13216 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring. Call 240-773-4724;
- October 16, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. -- Glen Echo, Fire/Rescue Station, 5920 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda. Call 301-229-3200; and
- October 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. -- Cabin John, Fire/Rescue Station 10, 8001 River Rd., Bethesda. Call 301-365-2028.
See Fall Foliage in Montgomery County the Easy Way…by Bus
Enjoy a special bus tour through the Up-county/Agricultural Reserve -- on either Saturday, October 16 or 23 -- with the staff of Heritage Montgomery as they share many of the region’s fascinating (and often amusing) stories and legends.
See orchards ripe with juicy apples, bountiful fields of pumpkins and spectacular vistas adorned with autumn’s changing leaves. Stops include: The John Poole House & General Store; Poolesville Museum in the Old Town Hall; Lunch at the Comus Inn; and pumpkins at the Comus Market. Plus, enjoy the beauty of Sugarloaf Mountain.
Cost is $65 which includes a choice from three luncheon entrees at the Comus Inn.
The tour will leave from the historic Waters House in Germantown at 10 a.m. and return at 3:30 p.m. Space is limited. For details and/or reservations, call Heritage Montgomery at 301-515-0753 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can also plan your own visit down the quiet country roads and scenic farmland in the Ag Reserve using the 60-minute video podcast tour “The Montgomery Rural Heritage Byway Tour” as your guide. Each of the five chapters showcases a rural section of the county. Download onto your iPod and listen while you drive, or view it directly from www.HeritageMontgomery.org.
Absentee Ballot Applications Now Available
Voters who are unable to cast their ballot for the Gubernatorial General Election on Election Day (November 2) or during Early Voting (October 22 - 28), may request an application to vote by absentee ballot.
To obtain the application electronically visit montgomerycountymd.gov/elections, select Absentee Voting and follow the instructions for completing the application.To obtain an application for another person, call 240-777-8553 for detailed information.
The deadline for completed applications for absentee ballots by mail or delivered in person is October 26 at 8 p.m., or 11:59 p.m. if requesting via fax or e-mail. After that date, absentee ballot applications may be requested in person at 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg.
For more information, call the Absentee Ballot Section at 240-777-8553 or e-mail a request to email@example.com.
Early Voting Centers to be Used in Upcoming Election
For the first time, the State of Maryland is implementing Early Voting for the Gubernatorial General Election. Montgomery County will open five Early Voting Centers from October 22 - 28, excluding Sunday the 24th, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Early Voting Centers are located at:
- Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Dr., Rockville;
- Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Rd.;
- Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville;
- Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville; and
- Silver Spring Civic Building, 8525 Fenton St.
Voters are encouraged to visit montgomerycountymd.gov/elections for additional information on the Early Voting Centers. During Early Voting hours, the website will display a scroll bar (updated hourly) that will show wait times at each of the five centers.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM
Correction Director Named to National Advisory Board
Art Wallenstein, Correction and Rehabilitation director, has been appointed to a three-year term on the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board. Under federal legislation from 1974, the Advisory Board reports directly to the Attorney General and advises the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) on policy matters in corrections that directly impact the work of the agency.
NIC is part of the Justice Department and for organizational reasons rests within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Appointments rest with Attorney General and do not require Senate confirmation.
County to Receive Share of Multi-million Dollar Federal Grant for Broadband Expansion
Montgomery County will share in $115,240,581 in federal grant funding that Maryland’s One Broadband Network had been awarded to expand provision of high-speed Internet to County schools and Housing Opportunity Commission (HOC) locations. The funding will enable low-income residents the opportunity to stay competitive in improving their situations. It will also enable some projects to advance five-to-seven years sooner than previously scheduled.
Funding was provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was the second largest broadband grant awarded to date. Montgomery County is expected to be eligible for at least $10 million in reimbursement funding for projects it will undertake.
In Montgomery County, the funding will help provide broadband to 78 elementary schools, 18 HOC housing locations that are home to some of the County’s most impoverished residents and the Takoma Park Library. Statewide, the funding will be used to build more than 1,200 miles of infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet to more than 1,000 community institutions and to enable more broadband to be delivered to homes and small businesses throughout the State.
County’s Vegetable Oil Exchange is a Bright Idea says Harvard
The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has selected the County’s Vegetable Oil Exchange Program as one of its Bright Ideas programs.
In its first year, Bright Ideas recognizes promising government programs and partnerships that government officials, public servants and others might find useful when faced with their own challenges. Montgomery County was one of 173 government programs -- out of nearly 600 applicants from across the country -- to be selected.
Operated by the Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection), the online vegetable oil exchange program basically matches generators, usually restaurants, with users.
So, if your car can run on straight vegetable oil (SVO) or, if you have SVO to give away, then join the Vegetable Oil Exchange to offer or request SVO. Restaurants and other waste vegetable oil generators benefit from this free way to recycle their cooking oil.
Just post your oil offer or request on the Vegetable Oil Exchange so that others interested in your posting can contact you. Exchange membership is free, and all exchanges must be free of charge.
Department of Environmental Protection Receives Potomac Champion Award
Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was awarded a Potomac Champion Award at the 5th Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit held September 22 in Washington D.C. DEP Director Bob Hoyt accepted the award, which acknowledged the Department’s leadership in championing the use of regulatory tools, innovative outreach and cooperative management to reduce trash and litter in the Potomac River.
Tracy Bowen, executive director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which spearheads the Trash Free Potomac Initiative, recognized that the leadership shown by DEP would inspire other neighboring jurisdictions to also use more aggressive strategies to reduce trash and litter in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. She praised DEP’s “outstanding dedication to finding innovative solutions to eradicate trash.”
CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM
October 24 – Blood Drive, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., in memory of Montgomery County firefighters Carlos Alfaro Jr. and Sr. Fire Station 16, 111 University Blvd. E., Silver Spring. To confirm an appointment, call Steve Mann at 301-440-9294.
October 24 – Human Rights Hall of Fame Induction, 2 p.m., BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Common Drive, Germantown. The 2010 inductees are: Esther R. Delaplaine, Warren Fleming, Dr. Suresh K. Gupta, MD, and Henry Hailstock, Monsignor Ralph Kuehner and Betty L. Valdes. Hosted by the Office of Human Rights. Musical program, plus keynote speaker, Carl O. Snowden, director of the Office of Civil Rights for the State of Maryland. Program is free, but seating is limited. To RSVP, call 240-777-8467.
October 31 -- Master Gardener Plant Clinic, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. @ the Olney Farmers Market, Rt. 108 and Prince Philip Dr. (the Old Hospital parking lot). Free person-to-person clinics offered by Master Gardeners trained and supervised by the University of Maryland's Agriculture Department. Residents can seek advice on many gardening questions. Master Gardeners will examine samples of plants and insects, identify names and problems, and propose treatments. Soil preparation, garden layouts and choosing plants suitable for sunny or shady areas are among other possible subjects. Call 301-590-9650, visit www.extension.umd.edu/local/Montgomery or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 1:00:00 AM
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