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Think Green for the New Year: the County’s Reusable Bag Law is Coming

The County’s new carryout bag law outreach campaign

 

Bob Hoyt holding plastic bag litter.

The public outreach campaign for the County’s new carryout bag law, which will take effect January 1, 2012, was officially launched recently by County Executive Ike Leggett at Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda.

Under the law passed in early May, all retail establishments in the County are required to collect a five-cent charge on each paper or plastic carryout bag they provide to customers at the point of sale, pickup or delivery. Retailers will receive a one-cent rebate on each paper or plastic bag to help cover administrative costs.

Joining Leggett at the kickoff were County Council Vice President Roger Berliner and Bob Hoyt, director of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) who showed a sample of a plastic bag recovered from a local stream, and a number of both public- and private-sector partners who have agreed to help get the word out to Montgomery County residents and shoppers.

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all our retail and community partners who have signed on to help educate residents and shoppers about the law,” Leggett said. “Reaching nearly one million residents and countless visitors who shop in Montgomery County is a daunting task. But many have stepped up and said, ‘We want to help and here’s what we can do.’”

Partners for the outreach campaign are: Audubon Naturalist Society, Barwood Taxi, Bethesda Green, Comcast, Discovery Communications, Giant, Green Wheaton, Identity, IMPACT Silver Spring, Johns Hopkins, Little Falls Watershed Alliance, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Muddy Branch Alliance, Neighbors of Northwest Branch, North Bethesda Neighborhoods and the Montgomery County Civic Federation. Also, Poolesville Green, Rock Creek Conservancy, Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Roots Market and Bark, Safeway Inc.- Eastern Division, Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp., Silver Spring Green, Surfrider Foundation DC, Universities at Shady Grove, Walmart, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Westfield, LLC and Whole Foods Market.

For more information about the law – for residents and retailers – plus, downloadable materials for businesses and community organizations, the campaign’s public service announcement, a list of the partners' logos, a schedule of upcoming free webinars for retailers and a community presentation, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bag.

Also, follow us on Twitter @BringYourBagMC and on Facebook from www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Or, view the 30-second public service announcement.

 

CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:25:00 PM |

County Executive Urges Action on Youth Curfew Bill; ACLU, Civil Rights Coalition Join Leggett in Denouncing Proposed “Loitering” Bill

County Executive Ike Leggett recently urged the County Council to bring to a vote the proposed youth curfew bill which has been at the Council since July. In response, the Council has scheduled the measure for a vote on December 6. The bill is designed to protect underage youth from becoming victims of crime or becoming involved in late-night crime and anti-social activities.

Police announced another late night mass theft incident in Silver Spring over the last weekend involving underage youth. Read more....

In addition, the County Executive, the Montgomery County chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition strongly opposed the “loitering” bill proposed by Councilmember Phil Andrews, a measure which the County Attorney has already called “likely unconstitutional” and which is opposed by the Police Department. See the County Executive’s testimony. See the testimony of the ACLU and the Civil Rights Coalition.

Go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/curfew for more information.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:24:00 PM |

County Responds to Washington Post on Economic Development Editorial

Last week, The Washington Post unfavorably compared Montgomery County job growth to that in Fairfax County, Virginia and questioned whether Montgomery County was “losing its edge.”

No way, no how.

Read the response from Economic Development Director Steve Silverman.

CATEGORIES: Economy
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:23:00 PM |

County Releases Priorities for 2012 General Assembly Session

The County government recently presented the following priorities for the 2012 Session to the members of the County’s delegation:

  • ensure that any changes to the State K-12 education statute will not prevent the County from meeting its statutory local funding requirement for FY 13 and beyond;
  • protect funding for energy assistance programs that an increasing number of lower income families in the County are relying on;
  • support a gas tax increase and other new, sustainable revenue sources that will result in the ability for the State to make substantial new investments to improve transportation infrastructure and restore Highway User and Ride On operating subsidy funds (see Appendix B for a listing of projects);
  • support the Montgomery County Public School’s public school construction request of $185 million which represents the State share of eligible project costs (see Appendix A for a listing of projects);
  • support a $1 million State grant to help underwrite the capital costs of the new Silver Spring Library;
  • support Montgomery College’s request for State funds to help underwrite the capital costs of the Germantown Science and Applied Studies Building ($2.7 million) and the Rockville Student Services Center ($5.4 million);
  • support funding for and strategic growth at the Universities at Shady Grove; and
  • support an increase in the Bay Restoration fee but restrict the use of the revenues to existing obligations.

For more information, view the complete power point presentation.

CATEGORIES: Budget
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:22:00 PM |

New Online Service for Pickup of Bulk Trash and Scrap Metal:

Leggett Announces New Online Service for Pickup of Bulk Trash and Scrap Metal

A new online service for residents who want to request and schedule pickups of bulk trash and scrap metal is now available. By logging on to www.mc311.com individuals can create a service request 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Joining County Executive Ike Leggett at the announcement were Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt (center in photo) and County Councilmember Hans Riemer.

“Since the County’s MC311 call center opened last year, calls requesting bulk trash and scrap metal pickup have consistently topped the list. More than 39,000 calls requesting these services have been received since January of this year,” said Leggett. “With the new online service, residents can create and submit a service request any day of the week, day or night.”

Residential properties receiving County-provided trash services are entitled to five bulk collections per calendar year for certain types of miscellaneous and/or bulky household trash. Bulk collections must be scheduled in advance with the County by the owner or resident of the property. Among the items included in bulk trash are furniture, rugs, box springs, mattresses, non-metal trash cans and sinks, large toys, bath tubs, laundry trays, shower stalls and toilet bowls. Residents outside of the solid waste district who have private trash service must contact their collection company or homeowner/community association for bulk trash removal.

Residents requesting a bulk trash or scrap metal collection should schedule a pickup before 11 a.m. one business day prior to their regular recycling collection day.

Both bulk trash and scrap metal pickups may be scheduled online at www.mc311.com or by calling 311.

Read more about scrap metal.

CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:20:00 PM |

Noteworthy Notes

County Residents and Businesses that Sustained Damage from Tropical Storm Lee can Apply for SBA Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that residents and businesses in Montgomery County affected by the severe weather from Tropical Storm Lee that occurred on September 8 and 9, 2011, can apply for low-interest disaster loans.

Information on loan rates and applications is available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the Center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Those affected by the storm may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is January 13, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is August 14, 2012.
  


Fire and Rescue Service Seeking Recruits via Online Applications

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is recruiting for the position of Firefighter/Rescuer I (Recruit). MCFRS Firefighter/Rescuers receive outstanding benefits, including 20-year retirement with no age limit, group health and life insurance, paid holidays, paid vacation and paid sick leave.

This recruitment will be used to establish an eligibility list for an upcoming recruit class, subject to budgetary approval.

Applications -- that are due by December 2 -- will only be accepted on-line. Learn more.

 


 
Office of Consumer Protection Looking for Input about Inspection of Gas Appliances

Montgomery County’s Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection is soliciting comments from all stakeholders regarding the installation and inspection of gas appliances.

A joint investigation by the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) found that a majority of gas appliances installed in Montgomery County during a test period had not been properly inspected following installation.

Input is being sought from retail business establishments, homeowner’s insurance companies, plumbing/gas fitting contractors, Montgomery and Prince George’s Fire and Rescue Services and consumers.

The regulatory code for gas appliances in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is enforced by WSSC and applies to water heaters, furnaces, ranges, grills, generators, clothes dryers and fireplaces.

The WSSC code requires that all gas appliances be installed by a licensed gas plumber/gas fitter after a permit has been obtained. It also states that an inspection with WSSC must be scheduled within five days of the installation. Failure to have gas appliances inspected in a timely fashion is both a violation of the law and a potential safety hazard.

Anyone interested in submitting input regarding this issue can send their comments – no later than December 9 -- to the OCP Advisory Committee, 100 Maryland Ave., Suite 330, Rockville, MD 20850, or via email at consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information call the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.

 


  
 

Montgomery County Public Libraries Offers its 2011 Report to the Community Online


Montgomery County Public Libraries 2011 Report to the Community

The past year has been challenging for Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), just as it has been for County government in general. Yet, it’s clear that residents treasure their libraries.

The 2011 Report to the Community presents a well-rounded look at the impact our libraries have had on the quality of life throughout the County.

For instance, in FY 2011:
More than 10 million people borrowed some type of material from a local public library;

5.7 million people visited a local public library;
3.4 million people got general information from the MCPL website; and
2 million people retrieved an electronic information resource.

The report contains facts, figures and photos -- all pleasingly presented -- to portray the activities and achievements of the past year, all of which were accomplished during a sustained economic downturn.

It’s a good read for the countless numbers of residents who love their libraries and an informative presentation and eye-opener for new residents or those not as tuned in to all their local libraries have to offer.

 


 

Maryland 511 Travel Information Service is Launched

The Maryland Department of Transportation has launched a new official travel information service called Maryland 511.

Travel information is provided through the internet at www.md511.org, by phone at 511 (for those in Maryland or key roads in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia) or by smartphone. Those outside Maryland can call 1-855-GOMD511 (466-3511).

Maryland 511 is designed to provide users with real time traffic information, transportation alternatives and links to tourism spots across the State. Travelers will be able to access information on:

  • Traffic conditions
  • Live traffic camera feeds
  • Highway construction updates
  • Weather conditions and forecasts
  • Transit and airport information
  • Toll facility information

Travelers can also follow the latest information from Maryland 511 on Twitter, which can be accessed from the Maryland 511 website.

 


  
 

Bike Ride-Along for Decision Makers Highlights Trail Resources and Needs

Montgomery County’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, in coordination with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, recently hosted a Bike Ride-Along.

Participants included Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier, County Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer and other local officials, who got a first-hand look at what bicycling in Montgomery County entails – both the pleasures and the challenges.

The nine-mile route between North Bethesda and Downtown Silver Spring took riders along bikeways, roadways and trails used daily by both commuter and recreational bikers.

On average, more than 100 bicycle collisions occur each year in the County. A new Maryland law passed last fall requires motorists to give bikes three feet of space when passing. Bicyclists are no longer required to ride on the shoulder. However, if traveling at less than the speed of traffic, a bicyclist must still ride as near to the right of the roadway as practical and safe.

For more information about biking, visit the County’s website.

 


 

State Law Now in Effect on Illegal Signs along State Roads

The State Highway Administration (SHA) and local governments are now issuing warnings to those who illegally post signs along State-maintained highways. Beginning January 2012, jurisdictions will start fining offenders $25 for each sign in order to recoup the costs of removing them from highways.

Illegal signs distract drivers and, in some cases, can impede drivers’ vision or block legal signs from view. They can also affect maintenance operations, interfere with the work of utility crews and mar the landscape along Maryland’s scenic routes.

Along state highways – including interstates, U.S. and Maryland numbered routes – private signs are prohibited in the medians and along the sides on the public property or “right-of-way.” The illegal signs are often found attached to utility poles or stacked together on wooden posts littering medians.

For more information on the new law, visit the SHA website.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 9:58:00 PM |

Mark Your Calendar

Tuesday, November 29 – Bikesharing Initiative Public Open House. Executive Office Building, Lobby Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville. 6 to 8:30 p.m. The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) invites the public to provide comments on a bikesharing initiative proposed for an area stretching from the District of Columbia line to the Beltway along the Metrorail Red Line, including Forest Glen and Wheaton.  Staff is seeking input on bikesharing locations as part of a grant application to the Maryland Department of Transportation for a bikesharing system. The building is a short walk from Metrorail’s red line Rockville Station. 

Sunday, December 4 – Montgomery County Executive’s Ball,  “One for the Books,” at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., North Bethesda. 6 p.m. Funds raised from this year’s Ball will go towards supporting Montgomery County Public Libraries.  Individual tickets are $125 each and can be purchased online until December 1.  For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.mocoexecball.org

One for the Books

Monday, December 12 -- Councilmember Riemer's Solutions Forum -- Richard Montgomery High School Cafeteria, 250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville. 7 p.m. The focus of the town-hall style event will on solving problems. Councilman Hans Riemer will discuss agenda items for the coming year, review milestones from 2011 and present some early information about the budget and fiscal situation. Residents are invited to come prepared to talk about issues of concern.

CATEGORIES: Calendar
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 9:54:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010