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County’s Holiday Schedule

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays:

  • County Offices – closed on Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2
  • Public Libraries – closed December 24, 25, 26 and 31 and January 1 and 2
  • County liquor stores – all stores closed on December 25 and 26 and January 1 and 2; On December 24 and 31, all stores will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Ride On – Sunday schedule on December 26 and January 2 (regular weekend service except Christmas Eve, December 24, service ends early with last trips departing terminals around 10 p.m.)
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed on December 26 and January 2
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – regular collection on December 26 and January 2
  • Transfer Station – open on Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2. Closed on December 25 and January 1.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free on December 26 and January 2
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2
  • State offices & courts – closed Monday, December 26 and Monday, January 2
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 9:00:00 AM |

Go Green for New Year’s…and Beyond

And, it’s easy.

Beginning January 1, 2012, bring your reusable bags when you shop.  You fight litter, help the County save money on cleaning up litter from local waterways and save yourself the 5-cent charge on any plastic or paper bag you receive to carryout purchases from stores in the County.

It’s not only time to turn the calendar and go green, it’s time to say “Thank You!” to the many retailers and environmental, community and civic groups that have stepped up and offered to help us spread the word about the “what,” “why,” “how” and “when” of the bag law to their employees and/or members, as well as the general public.

You can see pictures of some of the bag activities that have been held, get answers to your questions about the bag law and see the impressive list of outreach campaign partners online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bag.

Also check out Facebook for photos and updates on the bag outreach campaign and follow us on Twitter.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 8:00:00 AM |

Pedestrian Safety Enhancements Along Piney Branch Road First of a Kind in the State

County Executive Leggett recently joined State, local, and regional leaders for another StreetSmart event to showcase the latest pedestrian safety improvements in a High Incident Area – along one segment of Piney Branch Road. The installation of special curb markings was the first of its kind in Maryland. The markers indicate where it is and is not safe for pedestrians to cross the street and remind walkers to think twice before crossing mid-block and risking injury or death.

In addition to engineering enhancements, education teams on the street are intervening when they see unsafe behaviors, and County Police are issuing tickets to drivers and pedestrians who are not obeying the law. In eight High Incidence Areas – including this Piney Branch corridor -- there was a 56 percent reduction in pedestrian collisions in 2010, compared to the preceding five-year average. The severity of the collisions also declined.

For information on safe walking, visit MCDOT's pedestrian safety website.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

India Trade Mission Pays Dividends: County Businesses Benefit

A week after returning from an historic six-day trade mission to three of India’s largest cities – Hyderabad, Mumbai and New Delhi – Governor Martin O’Malley announced that two Indian companies plan investments in Maryland and eight Maryland businesses inked deals with Indian partners, with a combined total of nearly $60 million in business deals for the State.  The governor was joined on the trip by County Executive Ike Leggett and other local elected officials, educators and business leaders.

Montgomery County-based businesses announcing agreements for projects in India are:

  • Rockville-based Sheladia Associates, an engineering, architecture and development company, will provide design and project management services valued at $3.7 million for upgrading India’s National Highway 215 to a four-lane facility in the State of Orissa.
  • Amarex, a Germantown-based clinical research organization, announced a partnership with Gaithersburg’s Shreis Scalene Sciences LLC to gain FDA approval for the medical device Cytotron, which uses a patented technology to treat regenerative and degenerative diseases such as cancer, osteoarthritis and multiple sclerosis.
  • Electro-Media Design Ltd., a Gaithersburg-based company that specializes in consulting and design services in event technology and acoustics for meeting and entertainment facilities, announced a partnership with ITC Hotels in India to provide contemporary design services for conference, event, and entertainment venues for their new properties and existing hotels, supporting ITC’s sustainable and green practices.

Read more about the India trade mission success.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

County to Provide Kiosk Library Service for Olney during Main Library Renovation

To ensure that the Olney community would have convenient access to some form of partial library services during the remainder of the renovation period for the Olney Library, County Executive Ike Leggett last month directed Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) to explore options for creating such a service.

In response, MCPL has collaborated with the Department of Recreation and the Department of General Services (DGS) on a kiosk library that would provide the following services:

  • Circulation of current titles for both children and adults in a book vending machine;
  • Circulation of media (DVDs, potentially CDs) in a media vending machine;
  • Pick-up of customer holds in a materials locker system; and
  • Drop-off of library materials via an internal book drop.

MCPL and Montgomery County Recreation have identified the Longwood Recreation Center, 19300 Georgia Ave. in Brookeville, as the best location for the library kiosk.

The advantages of the Longwood site are:

  • a safe indoor location monitored by County staff;
  • plentiful parking;
  • an ADA accessible facility; and
  • sufficient space for the library system to provide materials for checkout, holds fulfillment and the return of materials.

MCPL estimates that completing the required procurement processes, then staging and installing the related equipment, will be accomplished in the first quarter of calendar year 2012.

For more information about the Olney project, and to see updates on the Olney interim service project, visit the Olney Library page.

POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Youth Curfew Editorial

The recent tabling of the proposed youth curfew bill by the County Council has drawn an editorial response from The Gazette.

POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

NOAA Keeps 4,200 Jobs in Downtown Silver Spring; Renews Lease for One Million Square Feet

The U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), on behalf of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), has signed a 15-year lease renewal for more than one million square feet of office space NOAA currently occupies among three buildings on East West Highway in Silver Spring.  NOAA’s leases were due to expire in 2013.

To ensure that NOAA’s approximately 4,000 jobs stayed here, County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council approved a request from the Department of Economic Development to offer, as a financial incentive, a conditional grant not to exceed $12 million over 15 years.

NOAA has been the lead tenant in the Foulger-Pratt-owned buildings at 1305, 1315 and 1325 East-West Highway since they were constructed in 1990.

Read more.

POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


New Year, New Parking Rates in Silver Spring

Beginning January 1, 2012, long-term parking rates in the Silver Spring Parking Lot District will increase by 10-cents an hour.

The Montgomery County Council approved the parking rate increase in downtown Silver Spring as part of the fiscal year 2012 budget approved in May. The Division of Parking Management is posting signs in public parking lots and garages to alert parkers about the rate change.

Rate changes in Bethesda went into effect in August.

For additional information on parking options in Silver Spring or the other County parking lot districts, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/parking or call 311.


Filing Deadline for 2012 Primary Candidates Approaching

The Board of Elections reminds potential candidates that the deadline for filing for the 2012 Primary Election is Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at 9 p.m.

Individuals interested in running for Board of Education Districts 2, 4, or At Large positions may file their candidacy with the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 18753 N. Frederick Ave., Suite 210, in Gaithersburg. Candidates for all other offices on the 2012 Primary ballot should contact the Maryland State Board of Elections for deadlines and filing locations.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be open to accept filings on Wednesday, January 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To arrange an appointment, contact Brian McKevitt at 240-777-8502.

“Did You Know?” Cable Show Highlights How to Book Public Facilities

Montgomery County’s latest “Did You Know?” cable show episode highlights Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) and its policy-making arm, the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB).

Hosted by CUPF director Ginny Gong, the 30-minute show provides viewers with valuable information about the public facilities and ball fields that can be reserved and procedures in place for booking these sites. Spaces include school auditoriums, gymnasiums and classrooms; library multi-purpose rooms and conference rooms in government buildings; and even reception halls for weddings and large parties.

CUPF also books all Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission ball fields.

“Did You Know?” is a monthly show that provides viewers with information about services and programs Montgomery County offers residents. It airs throughout the week on CCM – Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers. To watch online, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm and click on Programs. Scroll down to the “Did You Know?” icon.

 It is also available on YouTube by searching “Did You Know Montgomery County.”

Consumer Protection: Wants You to Know… 

If a car repair doesn’t fix the problem, get a second opinion from a trusted mechanic.

Only do business with auto repair shops that you know and trust or that have good reputations based on other people’s experiences. If you have any doubts about the diagnosis of your car’s problem, bring it to another shop for a second opinion, if possible.

To check a repair shop’s licensing status and complaint history before getting your car fixed, call the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) at 240-777-3636.

If you have a problem with a repair, file a complaint with OCP.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Election , Consumer , Parking
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Receives $4 Billion Navy Contract

According to a recent Defense Department announcement, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp is being awarded a $4 billion fixed-price U.S. Navy contract for 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

A Reuters online article stated, “The deal would provide 21 conventional models for the Air Force, six carrier variants for the Navy and three short-takeoff and vertical landing versions for the Marine Corps,” citing a notice in the Pentagon's daily contract digest.

The Reuters story also noted that Lockheed spokesperson Michael Rein said, “Details of the deal have not been worked out.” Rein referred to the government announcement as an "undefinitized contract action" that is still subject to further negotiation.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Economy
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

New County Council Leadership

County Councilmembers Roger Berliner (Dist. 1) and Nancy Navarro (Dist. 4) were recently unanimously elected by the Council to serve as president and vice president respectively. Both will serve one-year terms.

President Berliner was elected to the Montgomery County Council in November 2006 and was re-elected in November 2010. He represents the Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac areas. He also serves as the Council’s representative to the County’s Sustainability Working Group and Green Economic Task Force. Regionally, he serves on the Washington Regional Board of Directors of the Council of Governments, where he is an active member of the Climate, Energy and Environment Policy Committee.

Vice President Navarro was elected to represent District 4 in a special election in May 2009 and was re-elected in the general election of November 2010. She chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee and serves on the Health and Human Services Committee. Prior to her election to the Council, Councilmember Navarro served on the Montgomery County Board of Education, where she was twice elected president (2006 and 2008). She was appointed to the Board of Education in October 2004 to fill the term of the vacant District 5 seat. In November 2006, she was elected to a full four-year term. She was a member of the board's Strategic Planning Committee and chaired the Communications and Public Engagement Committee.

Read the complete text of President Berliner’s speech.

CATEGORIES: County Council
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

County Council Tables Proposed Youth Curfew; Leggett Criticizes Council Refusal to Vote “Yes or No”

The County Council voted  6-3 to table Expedited Bill 25-11 that would have established a youth curfew in Montgomery County, refusing to allow the measure to come to an up or down, yes-or-no vote.

In July, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed establishment of a youth curfew for minors that would prohibit certain activities during the curfew hours for those under 18. Between the hours of 11 p.m. and 5 a.m. on Sunday through Thursday and from 12:01 a.m. until 5 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday, a minor would have been prohibited from remaining in any County public place or establishment.

The proposed bill contained numerous exceptions. For example, a minor could have lawfully remained in public areas during curfew hours if they were: 1) accompanied by a parent or an adult authorized by the minor’s parent to accompany the minor; or 2) attending or returning home from an official school, religious or other recreational activity sponsored by the County, a civic organization or similar entity that takes responsibility for the minor. Other exceptions included returning home from a place of employment or from attending “an event at a place of public entertainment.”

A minor could have been cited for a curfew violation only after a police officer has told the minor to move along and the minor refused.

The Council had been considering the bill since July and Leggett had urged action on the measure to protect County youth from being victims of or becoming involved in late-night crime. The measure drew strong support from the Montgomery County Police, the Greater Silver Spring and Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase chambers of commerce, and several Community Citizen Advisory Boards, as well as editorially from The Washington Post and The Gazette.

“The County Council’s refusal to even take a yes or no vote on the proposed youth curfew is a failure of leadership,” said Leggett.

“Leadership means stepping up to the plate and deciding – yes or no – on critical issues that face our County. The youth curfew legislation has been before the County Council since July. It has been discussed exhaustively. We don’t need more talk – we need action.

“Our Police very much need this critical tool in order to deal with situations such as happened recently in Silver Spring and Germantown. I cannot believe that the Council denies our police officers this added help. I think it is unfortunate when politicians ‘second-guess’ our law enforcement professionals.

“I have heard that some Councilmembers are ‘afraid’ to vote for fear of offending one side or the other. I have heard others say, ‘Let’s wait until another late-night youth crime incident happens and then we’ll vote on it.’

“That’s not leadership. That’s the opposite of leadership.”

Leggett also emphasized that he “… will continue to work even harder to enhance public safety, especially for our young people. Our Police need and want a youth curfew which would help them perform their jobs and better protect our public. Our young people need the added protection a curfew brings.”

To hear the reaction of WTOP’s Chris Core on the Council’s failure to vote on the youth curfew bill, click on http://media.dev-cms.com/wtop/23/2321/232153.mp3.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

If You Gave a Bag, You Got a Bag

During this season of giving, Montgomery County firefighters from Station 23 on Rollins Ave. in Rockville, their friend Sparky and Fire Chief Richard Bowers (in white shirt) found a way to help spread the word about the County’s new bag law that takes effect January 1 while doing a good deed for families in need.

Participating in the annual FOX 5 Stuff-A-Truck campaign, held at Giant food locations throughout the area the first weekend in December, the County firefighters took donations at the Montrose Crossing Shopping Center on Rockville Pike. In return, the donors received a reusable shopping bag from the County to use before and after the new bag law goes into effect.

Under the law, retailers will charge customers 5 cents for each plastic and paper bag they receive at checkout. Four cents of the five will go to water quality protection and litter cleanup in the County and help to defray the $3 million per year spent by the County to clean up litter.

We hear that the "give a bag/get a bag" effort was very popular with folks stopping by the event to donate bags of food, and Chief Bowers gave out some holiday safety tips, as well.

POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Free Webinars on Bag Law Still Available for Retailers

To help inform retailers about the carryout bag law (Bill No. 8-11) that begins January 1, 2012, Montgomery County is continuing to offer free webinars with County staff.  To participate, a retailer will need a computer connected to the internet to view the presentation and a telephone to connect toll-free to hear the audio portion.

There is one more in December and two in January (additional sessions will be added if needed):

  • Tuesday, Dec. 20, 10:30 a.m.
  • Thursday, Jan. 12, 1:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, Jan. 24, 10:30 a.m.

For more details on how to participate in the webinars, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BAG and click on the Retailers page. 

CATEGORIES: News , Code Enforcement
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

FY2013 Budget Forums Scheduled; Resident Input Invited

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett is sponsoring five budget forums throughout the County in January to seek input from residents about Fiscal Year 2013 Operating Budget priorities.

Residents are encouraged to attend the forums to provide input in light of budget shortfalls predicted in the coming fiscal year.

All of the forums are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m., on the following dates:

  • January 9, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., 
  • January 12, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place;
  • January 17, Mid-County Community Recreation Center, 2004 Queensguard Rd., Silver Spring;
  • January 23, BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown; and
  • January 31, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring.

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.

CATEGORIES: Community Forum , Budget
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Working Smoke Alarms Critical to Home Safety; Free Installation and Maintenance Assistance Available

Fire Chief Richard Bowers reminds residents that as the winter heating season approaches, it’s critical that every home have working smoke alarms. “I strongly urge every resident to take a few minutes to test their smoke alarms, practice their home fire escape plan and replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Many people believe that smoke alarms last forever. They don’t.”

Montgomery County Code requires homeowners to install, test and maintain smoke alarms on every level of their home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with this local law could result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offers residents free assistance with smoke alarm installation and maintenance. Any homeowner who cannot install or test smoke alarms in their homes due to age or physical limitations or cannot afford to purchase a smoke alarm or batteries can call 311 for assistance.

For additional safety information, visit www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe.

An Important Holiday Tradition: Safety Tips from Police

Ready or not…it’s here. Another holiday season. That’s why Montgomery County Police have provided a comprehensive list of tips to help keep residents safe when shopping, walking and just spending time at home.

Below are examples from the complete list.

When shopping: 

  • Do not become distracted by your shopping.  Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
  • Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.

When out walking:

  • Wherever you are, on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, or waiting for a bus or the subway, stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.

When at home:

  • If your Christmas tree can be seen through a window, do not display presents under the tree where they could be seen.
  • Make sure to lock doors and windows.
  • If you are going away for the holiday, let a neighbor know that your home will not be occupied and have someone pick up your mail and newspapers.

“Respect The Space”: Keep Accessible Parking Spaces Open for Those Who Need Them

With the start of the busiest shopping season of the year, County Executive Ike Leggett has introduced a new education and enforcement initiative entitled “Respect the Space.”  The program will raise awareness about the proper use of accessible parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. 

“During the holiday season, parking lots fill to capacity, making close-in accessible spaces particularly tempting,” said Leggett.  “But I urge everyone to think very carefully about who those spaces are intended for …. We all need to respect the space and help ensure that reserved parking spaces are available for those who truly need them.”

“Respect the Space” is a cooperative effort involving the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Permitting Services, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger outlined the kinds of enforcement that his officers will be conducting.  “I am encouraging our officers to issue citations to all vehicles that do not have disabled placards or plates and are parked in accessible spaces.”

Anyone who sees a vehicle without an accessible placard or plate in an accessible space, should report it by calling the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

 Information about how to apply for disabled parking placards and permits, as well as laws and requirements regulating them can be found on the MVA website: www.mva.Maryland.gov

More information about the Respect the Space initiative is on the County’s website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Click on the Respect the Space icon.

Volunteers Sought to Assist Residents with Free Tax Help

Volunteers are needed to assist eligible residents with free income tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partnership, sponsored by the County Community Action Agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

VITA volunteers work 16 or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April, as tax preparers, greeters, screeners, interpreters and resource navigators. 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. Volunteers who successfully complete the training will receive certification as a tax preparer by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To volunteer, call 240-777-1123, go to http://volunteer.truist.com/mcvc/org/opp/10494470271.html or email VITA@montgomerycountymd.gov

For more “free tax” volunteer opportunities, visit Maryland CASH Campaign, www.mdcash.org and Montgomery County’s RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program.

Turn Over a New Leaf in the New Year -- Literally

Montgomery County residents interested in learning environmentally sound gardening practices and sharing the information with others can apply now to join the 2012 Montgomery County Master Gardener training program.

The course begins January 24 and continues through March 9 (depending on possible snow days). Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County office, at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood.

The $300 training fee includes a training manual and other materials. Faculty and staff of the University of Maryland Extension, as well as other experts in the green industry, present horticulture lectures that cover ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs; identifying common pests and diseases; and proper fertilization and watering practices.

To become a Master Gardener, you must attend a mandatory, two-hour orientation, complete course work and a final exam, and perform 45 voluntary service hours in the first year. Participants should have access to the Internet. Once qualified, Master Gardeners maintain active status by completing 10 hours of advanced training and 25 hours of volunteer service annually. 

Registration deadline is December 30, 2011. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

To request an application, or for more information, call 301-590-2836.

Commission on Common Ownership Communities Releases Updated Manual and Resource Guide

The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) has produced an updated “Common Ownership Community Manual and Resource Guide” for the operation of condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. 

Information in the manual includes annual and special meetings, employee hiring and firing, capital replacement reserves, stormwater management, setting and collecting assessments, and financing.

Copies of the manual are available for $15 each.

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

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Worth Noting , Volunteer , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Monday, December 12 at 1:15 p.m.—Congressman Chris Van Hollen at Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton. The congressman from Maryland's 8th District will discuss the fight to preserve America’s promise on Social Security, Medicare, and economically vulnerable families and communities. He will also present the recommendations of the Congressional Super Committee, a bipartisan group of 12 charged to produce a plan for debt and deficit reductions in federal spending. Presented by the Montgomery Chapter of OWL, the Voice of Midlife and Older Women. Call 240-777-4966 for directions. RSVP for lunch at noon, by calling Helen Horton by 10 a.m. on December 10, 240-777-4961.

POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010