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Hearing from Residents First-hand at Town Hall Meetings

County Executive Ike Leggett has made it a policy of his administration to hold Town Hall Meetings around the County to give residents an opportunity to share their ideas and comments. In fact, he’s already – in less than four years – held more such meetings than all other past County Executives combined.

The format is simple: For about 90 minutes, the County Executive stands up in front with a wireless microphone and takes all questions and comments.

At the March 22 Town Hall Meeting at Ridgeview Middle School in Gaithersburg, more than 125 residents attended to express their views on various topics.  Leggett fielded questions on a multitude of issues, including concerns about and support for the Gaithersburg West Master Plan to boost biotech and create good jobs, proposed cuts in the library budget, and questions on the proposed emergency medical services transport fee that will dedicate $15 million from health insurance companies to Fire and Rescue at no cost to County residents.

The next Town Hall Meeting is scheduled for May 12 at Leisure World in Silver Spring. In our next issue? A write-up of tonight's County Council Town Hall in Kensington.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 6:00:00 PM |

$2 Million Infusion to County’s Small Business Revolving Loan Fund

Through a strategic repositioning of a commitment made to Montgomery County as a result of County Executive Ike Leggett’s October 2008 business development mission to Korea, the County has made a critical two-million dollar infusion into its Small Business Revolving Loan Fund (SBRLF).

The SBRLF was established in 2002 as part of the Montgomery County Economic Development Fund Grant and Loan Program (EDF) and is managed by the Department of Economic Development (DED). Since then, more than $1.883 million in SBRLF loans has been distributed to 30 County businesses, many of which are minority owned.

This $2 million investment boosts to $2.4 million the amount available this year for small business loans. Read more.

CATEGORIES: Economy
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 5:00:00 PM |

“Keeping the Fleet on the Street”

Very simply put, “keeping the fleet on the street” is the basic mission of the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service’s (MCFRS) new Central Maintenance Facility which opened on March 22 with a ribbon cutting ceremony and celebration befitting the state-of-the-art facility that is the first of its kind in the country – boosting efficiency and cost-effectiveness.

Realizing that a well-maintained fleet is one of the primary requisites of an efficient, effective public response system, the MCFRS has consolidated its satellite fleet management shops into the 77,000 square-foot facility at 14935 Southlawn Lane in Rockville that can service up to 60 percent of the fire-rescue fleet. The Fleet Section also includes a shop at Gaithersburg Fire Station 8 that operates as the North Satellite Shop.

The facility includes nine service bays and a centralized parts department and will establish a ready reserve fleet.  A staff of 15, including mechanics and administrative personnel, will work at the complex that also houses administrative offices, apparatus storage, training facilities and a wash bay.

Because these ready reserve units can be placed into immediate service should a vehicle be designated out of service, the Montgomery County community is assured of continuity of fire and rescue service without compromising response times.

As the MCFRS call load continues to increase, this new, state-of-the-art complex is well-positioned to keep the fleet on the street and in top operating condition.

For additional information about the facility, contact Assistant Chief Richard Holzman at 240-777-2485.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 4:00:00 PM |

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

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

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

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

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

View the demonstration and see for yourself.

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

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

WORTH NOTING - 1

2010 Census "Whistle Stop Tour" Features Three Community Rallies

On Saturday, March 27, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, County Council President Nancy Floreen, and former members of Congress and co-chairs of the County Executive’s 200-member Census Complete Count Committee Connie Morella and Mike Barnes will participate in a three-stop “whistle stop tour” across the County, encouraging residents to fill out and return their 2010 Census questionnaires. 

Free rallies at each stop – in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and Langley Park -- will feature entertainment, food and family activities.  Census forms were mailed to all residents the week of March 15 and should be returned by April 1.  

For details about the rallies or the Census, call the County’s Office of Community Partnerships at 240-777-2570, or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/census.


Leggett’s Procurement Reform Legislation Passes Council

County Executive Ike Leggett’s successful completion of his commitment to overhaul the County’s procurement system in his first term has come about with the County Council’s passage of Executive Regulation 19-09AM, Revisions to Procurement Regulations. In effect, the regulation makes it easier for businesses to respond to contracting opportunities with the County.

Leggett’s full 10-point plan to improve the procurement process was introduced in 2008. It included the elimination of bid request and bid subscription fees, making it easier for businesses to respond to contracting opportunities with the County; more outreach to MFD businesses; and more information available on the County website.

The changes take effect April 1, 2010.  A summary is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/procurement


It’s Spring Cleaning Time for County Roadways

Montgomery County residents are advised that over the next couple of months, the County’s 5,000 curb miles of roads will be getting a spring cleaning through the annual street sweeping program. 

This joint effort between the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is expected to help remove more than 3,000 tons of abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season that could otherwise be swept into County streams.

Brightly colored signs will be posted in neighborhoods a few days before street sweeping begins.  To improve the quality of service and the effectiveness of the sweeping program, residents are urged to find alternative parking while their streets are cleaned. Daily updates detailing the areas scheduled for sweeping will air on County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6) during the morning and afternoon rush hours when the channel provides live coverage of local traffic conditions.

Online information about the schedule is found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, then go to Highway Services. For more information, call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000.


County, State Announce Milestone Investments in Zyngenia, Inc., Headquartered in Gaithersburg

Montgomery County, the State of Maryland and Zyngenia, Inc. recently announced the official start of the build out of laboratory and office space at the company’s new 14,000-square-foot headquarters in Gaithersburg. The company is focusing its early research and development on creating therapies for patients who have unmet medical needs in cancer and autoimmune diseases. 

The strategic public/private partnership behind the announcement is a component of the County’s recently unveiled Bioscience Strategy, which aims to enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and creation of new life science companies in the County. Read more on Press Release.


Summer’s Coming! And So Are Rec Camps

We think and hope that spring is here, and if this is true, then summer can’t be far behind. That’s why you should know that the County’s Department of Recreation is accepting registrations for its popular summer camps and programs. 

There are so many fun, interesting camps from which to choose. Like nature, art, drama and dance, sports and therapeutic camps, and a variety of teen activity programs.  Or, how about cooking, horseback riding, AquaSports, plus history camps with the Montgomery County Historical Society?

Don’t put off signing up. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited. Summer Camp Guides are available at public libraries and community and aquatic centers.

To view the guide online, and/or to register, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.  Also, register by mail or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.


Donate Food, Ride Free

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 11 through Saturday, April 17.  Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month. 

All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.45. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.

Get more details.


Tax Refund Loans Alert; Free Tax Preparation Assistance Provided

With the filing date for federal and state income taxes just weeks away, Montgomery County’s Community Action Board recommends that consumers avoid Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) -- one- to two-week loans made by banks, facilitated by tax preparers and secured by taxpayers’ expected tax refunds. However, if tax refunds don’t arrive as expected, taxpayers are responsible for the unpaid debt.

County residents who need income tax preparation assistance are encouraged to make an appointment [link to 3/15 release] with the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offered by Montgomery County’s Community Action Board.

To find free community and military-sponsored VITA programs, call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. For information on free tax help for seniors, call the RSVP-AARP Tax-Aide Program at 240-777-2577.


Residents Encouraged to Join Volunteer Efforts in April in Honor of Earth Day

County Executive Ike Leggett has once again proclaimed April as “Earth Month” in Montgomery County and is encouraging residents to celebrate by volunteering for projects that will improve the environment. April 22 is the 40th anniversary of the original Earth Day.

There are many ways to get involved and make a difference.  Individuals, groups and businesses may create their own projects, sign up to volunteer with existing projects or pass along information to members, employees, friends, family and others.

For a list of opportunities, visit the Volunteer Center’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer.


Green Your Business by Earth Day, April 22

Apply now to become a Montgomery County Certified Green Business, get certified by April 19 and join a growing number of other local businesses that have made a commitment to the environment. By becoming certified before Earth Day, businesses  reap the benefit of being included in the County’s Earth Month publicity.   The Green Business Certification Program is a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery College.  It assists and recognizes businesses that are taking voluntary steps to go above and beyond basic green measures to reduce their ecological footprint.

For more about the application process and the checklist of actions required of a Green Business, visit www.mcgreenbiz.org.

Training Courses

Montgomery College provides on-going courses to assist businesses in making the changes necessary to get certified. To learn more, including schedules, fees, etc., visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/bits/goinggreen.html.  

Follow the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce through its Certification Journey

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce invites Facebook “fans” to follow them in their quest to become a Certified Green Business by Earth Day.  See http://www.facebook.com/pages/Montgomery-County-Chamber-of-Commerce-Md/239377858769?v=app_2373072738#!/topic.php?uid=239377858769&topic=24380  

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 2:30:00 PM |

WORTH NOTING - 2

County Urges Residents and Businesses to Celebrate “Earth Hour”

Montgomery County urges residents, schools, businesses, and community groups and organizations to support Earth Hour, an annual event that makes a statement about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  This year, “Earth Hour” will be celebrated worldwide on Saturday, March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. when people around the world turn off their lights.

Now a global celebration, Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses together reduced the city’s energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour.

Learn more about Earth Hour and take an online pledge to participate by visiting www.earthhour.org.  To see more tips on reducing energy use in the home, go to the County’s website at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep, then click on Energy-Wise Homes.  A list of Earth Hour participants in the United States is available at http://www.earthhourus.org/map.php


A Graphic Look at the County’s Budget and Revenue Outlook

A graphic look at the County’s budget challenges is available online in charts and graphs (pdf).  The overview was prepared by the Offices of the County Executive and the Office of Management and Budget.


A Closer Look at the Health and Human Services Budget

A detailed look at the FY11 Recommended Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (pdf) is available on the HHS website. Topics covered include factors contributing to the current budget challenges, methods used to close the gap, the Executive’s proposals on spending reductions and a budget overview.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |

MAKING NEWS

A Montgomery County Literacy Council Student Earns Top National Award

For the past 47 years, the Montgomery County Literacy Council (LCMC) has been opening doors to new worlds by helping countless numbers of adult students who have achieved functional levels of reading, writing, and/or speaking English.

Their latest success story is Milton Whitley of Gaithersburg who has received the Ruth J. Colvin and Frank C. Laubach Award for Student Excellence from ProLiteracy, the world’s largest organization of adult basic education and literacy programs.   In July 2007, at age 52, Whitley began working with a basic literacy tutor at the LCMC.  At that time, he wasn’t able to recite and print the complete alphabet, was unfamiliar with many letter sounds and was at a loss when attempting to read all but a few words.  Even though his strong desire to be a full participating member of society brought him to the Literacy Council, he harbored a great deal of self-doubt about his ability to learn how to read and write.

As Whitley progressed through the basic literacy program, he became more confident, more committed to learning, more excited about the possibilities that lay ahead and more inspired to help others who wanted to become literate. He admits there was a time when he felt fear when confronted with the written word.  “Now when I see a word I know, I smile.” 

To read more about Milton Whitley’s journey to becoming an award-winning student, and/or learn how you can become involved with the Literacy Council, visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 1:00:00 PM |

Leggett Closes $779 Million Budget Gap with Largest Spending Reduction Since 1968

Hard Choices Made Include Reductions in Programs, No Pay Increases, Furloughs, $3 Monthly Hike in Energy Tax

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today announced his recommended $4.3 billion operating budget that closes a $779 million gap for fiscal year (FY) 2011 that begins July 1. Although the budget focuses on protecting essential services and Leggett’s priorities of education, public safety and the safety net for the most vulnerable, it reflects some “hard choices” made by the Executive, including reductions in programs, no pay increases and furloughs for County employees, and a $3 monthly hike in the County energy tax.

 “Past cost reduction efforts have focused on preserving my priorities of public safety, education and the safety net for the most vulnerable,” said Leggett. “Although I reduced the budget by $1.2 billion over the last three years, the size of this year’s budget deficit leaves no alternative now but to include more reductions in County services across all programs.”

 In the four budgets Leggett has prepared, he has closed budget gaps of nearly $2 billion to address shortfalls every year – which is unprecedented. The magnitude of the problem is reflected in the County’s income tax revenue annual rate of growth. In FY07, income tax revenue increased by 21 percent. In FY10, it decreased by more than 15 percent. 

This budget brings the County government’s tax-supported growth rate down from a 14.1 percent increase in FY07, the year before Leggett took office, to an historic minus 6.1 percent in the FY11 Recommended Budget compared with the current year. The overall 3.8 percent decrease for all County agencies from all sources represents the only reduction in the annual County budget in modern County history -- since the adoption of the current charter in 1968.

The budget proposes cutting costs by:

  • Eliminating 452 government positions, 232 of them currently filled,
  • Providing no pay increases of any kind for County government workers,
  • Furloughing non-public safety County employees for 10-days,
  • Realizing cost savings from all County departments, and
  • Reducing current revenue funded expenditures in the capital budget.

Among County government departments, the largest reductions from FY10 levels are in the Regional Service Centers and the Office of Human Resources (both 33 percent reductions), the Commission for Women (27 percent), the County Executive’s Office (26 percent), Housing and Community Affairs (24 percent), Transportation (23 percent), and Libraries (22 percent). Among the lowest reductions were Fire and Rescue (2.6 percent less than in FY10), Police (4 percent), Correction and Rehabilitation (4.5 percent), Department of Transportation/Transit Services (6.8 percent), and Health and Human Services (10.6 percent).

Faced with tough choices for public safety, this budget averts more serious reductions in first response Fire and Rescue Emergency Medical Services (EMS), because it includes instituting an Emergency Medical Services Transport Fee that will provide an estimated $62.2 million over the next four years.

The EMS Fee will be billed directly to an individual’s health insurance, Medicaid, or Medicare. Because County residents already pay taxes to support EMS service, no County resident will pay a dime, or even receive a bill. No County resident who is unable to pay will have any out-of-pocket expense for transport to the hospital. Leggett explained that “Nearly all our surrounding jurisdictions have a similar fee and are using those resources to improve service and save lives – with no adverse effects. Montgomery County should do the same instead of leaving tens of millions of dollars in insurance reimbursements uncollected.”

The facts about the EMS Transport Fee are available at: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/emstransportfee.

As a last resort to avoid further reductions in County services or additional layoffs, Leggett also recommended an increase in the County’s energy tax to raise an additional  $50 million. The tax is paid by all utility users, including federal facilities in the County that pay no other major County taxes. For the average homeowner, this means an increase of about $3 a month.

For more information on the Executive’s recommended budget, click to view the news release, budget highlights and the full budget.

Montgomery County Income Tax Revenue Annual Rate of Growth Budget Shortfalls Closed County Government Rate of Growth County Government Rate of Growth

 

CATEGORIES: Budget
POSTED: Monday, March 15, 2010 | 4:21:00 PM |

The Census 2010 is Coming: 10 Minutes to Answer 10 Questions is Time Well Spent

During the week of March 15, you will receive a very important mailing from the United States Census. The few minutes that it will take to complete the Census form could amount to less time than you spend standing in line at the grocery check out line or at the movie theater or waiting for a beverage at your favorite coffee shop. But, the potential benefits to you and the County of filling out the form are long-lasting. County Executive Ike Leggett has stated that the goal is to have every single person living in the County counted.

 The Census occurs every 10 years, and getting everyone to respond is important because the results are used to establish our County's representation in Congress and in the Maryland General Assembly.  Federal funding for many essential education, transportation and human services are set by the population counted in the Census. Montgomery County will lose thousands of federal dollars for every resident we fail to count.   The Census form is easy to fill out. Just 10 questions will take you only 10 minutes to complete and will help determine Montgomery County's future for the next 10 years. Please include every person living in your residence, and remember that information on individual residents collected by the Census will not be shared with others.  Mail the questionnaire back by April 1.  

For more information, visit the Census 2010 website.

CATEGORIES: Census
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 4:00:00 PM |

What Can You Do with a Dime These Days?

We all know that a dime doesn’t go as far these days as it used to. But, County Executive Ike Leggett has found a way to “put a dime to good use.”

Joining a broad coalition of Maryland residents in Annapolis to urge a 10-cent-per-drink increase in the tax Maryland imposes on alcohol, the Executive said the proposed legislation would provide needed revenue to address many of our state’s problems and challenges.  The increase will raise more than $200 million that will go into the General Fund.

Leggett said, “Passing this legislation is a matter of principle. And it’s good public policy.” The revenue generated by the increase will help to support some of the most critical local health services around the state. Read Leggett’s full remarks.

CATEGORIES: State , Tax
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 3:30:00 PM |

Silver Spring to Host First-Ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival

Take more than 400 artists from 50 nations, add over 200 events in 40+ venues for three full days in April (23-25) throughout downtown Silver Spring and you have the excitement and impact of the first-ever Amnesty International Human Rights Art Festival.   

Each day will include a variety of events including visual art shows, new media events, performance art, spoken word, theater, book readings, panel discussions, film, music, hands-on workshops, art walks from exhibit to exhibit, participatory parades, international foods, etc., all centered on raising awareness of human rights issues. Venues will include local restaurants, art spaces, theaters and community spaces.

American television writer and producer, Norman Lear (All in the Family, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, The Jeffersons, Good Times and Maude) is the executive producer of the festival.

County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin and Duchy Trachtenberg are members of the festival’s Honorary Committee, along with state delegates, and U.S. senators and members of Congress.

For all sorts of details about the festival and Amnesty International, visit the festival website at www.humanrightsartfestival.com.

Volunteers Needed 

More than 200 volunteers are needed to help before and during the festival, April 23-25. Sign up and be part of this exciting, first-time event. For details, contact Dori Cantor Paster, volunteer coordinator, at doreencp@earthlink.net or visit the festival website at www.humanrightsartfestival.com.

CATEGORIES: Arts
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |

WORTH NOTING

The Fillmore Music Hall’s New Neighbor

The addition of a new hotel in downtown Silver Spring, planned as a next-door neighbor to the coming Fillmore Music Hall, will provide more visitor rooms in the Arts and Entertainment District -- and also more local jobs.

The Lee Development Group is negotiating with a national hotel developer to build an upscale, extended-stay inn that will connect to the Fillmore and be a significant part of a major new music hall-hotel-office development. Lee Development submited the plans for the 189-suite hotel and 224,000 square-feet of adjoining office and retail space to the Planning Commission earlier this month. Groundbreaking for the Fillmore Music Hall is expected to take place this fall.


National Cancer Institute to Move Operations to Johns Hopkins Campus in Shady Grove Life Sciences Center

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will consolidate its operations in a new $200 million, 575,000 square-foot complex on the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center at the southwest corner of the intersection of Medical Center Drive and Key West Avenue in Rockville. The new campus will accommodate approximately 2,100 NCI staff who will begin moving in 2013.  County Executive Ike Leggett said, "The NCI presence will also serve as a catalyst for the attraction and creation of thousands of new, high-quality jobs as the area transforms into a world-renowned innovation community with JHU and NCI at its core."


Renters’ Issues Addressed in Tenants Work Group Final Report Just Released

County Executive Ike Leggett recently received the report of the first-ever Montgomery County Tenants Work Group, a diverse group he appointed last year to formulate recommendations about actions that could assist the more than 80,000 County renter households in Montgomery County. The report also includes a set of specific recommendations designed to address renters' problems with affordability and security.

The 48-page report (pdf) includes the Survey on Tenant Satisfaction in Montgomery County commissioned by the Work Group to help in crafting their recommendations.


Local Non-Profits Affected by December Storm Can Apply for Loans

Private non-profit organizations in Montgomery County that experienced damage or loss during the severe winter storm that occurred December 18-20, 2009, may be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Non-profits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. 

Non-profits applying for disaster loans may visit SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.  Disaster loan information and application forms are also available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.


Scam Alert: Be Aware of Home Improvement Scam Artists

As the weather warms up, the final traces of snow melt, and Spring approaches, Montgomery County Police and the County’s Office of Consumer Protection remind residents to be on the lookout for unlicensed home improvement contractors known as “woodchucks” -- scam artists who generally target our elderly residents.

The "woodchucks" approach victims, tell them their trees need to be trimmed or removed, then pressure the victims into paying thousands of dollars to have a few tree branches cut.  The “woodchucks” continue their scam by telling the victims that their roofs are leaking in order to bilk victims out of thousands of dollars more.

For more information regarding home improvement jobs and hiring a contractor, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.


March Brings Still Melting Snows and Recognition of Long Hours and Hard Work

February isn’t a bad month…after all, it has Valentine’s Day and the Presidents’ Day Holiday.  However, February 2010 will be one that area residents will long remember, but for the wrong reasons.  Two major snow storms inundated our area with record snowfalls that brought daily services to a halt.

 While many of us watched the storm unfold from home, the County’s Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) staff worked 18 straight days, 24 hours a day, to combat the storms, with only one break so staff could visit with their families on Valentine’s Day.

During full mobilization, DHS crews eat and sleep at the depots or even in their trucks and work non-stop until the roads are once again passable.  What makes their efforts even more exceptional this winter is the fact that DHS has fully mobilized for 13 winter storm events between December 5 and February 25, including working Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.   

For the February storms, DHS commandeered resources throughout the region, deploying 1,200 pieces of equipment – compared to 550 for the December storm – to clear 900 miles of primary and secondary routes and 4,128 lane miles of residential roads.  

Crews rescued stranded motorists, fire trucks, and PEPCO crews, cleared paths to power lines so PEPCO could restore power, caretakers could get to disabled residents or residents could get medical assistance.  Hats off to the DHS staff for long hours and extraordinary efforts to aid the public in a challenging, difficult situation.


It’s Not Too Late to Prevent H1N1 Influenza; FREE Vaccination Clinics Scheduled

Montgomery County health officials remind residents that FREE H1N1 vaccinations are available at locations throughout Montgomery County during March and April.  The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and recent news reports, have discussed the possibility of a third and fourth wave of illness, so vaccination is an important step that everyone can take to protect themselves and their families.

Clinics are open to all County residents, and both nasal spray and injectable vaccine will be available.  Make appointments for FREE H1N1 vaccinations at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/h1n1flu or call the Immunization Program Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 240-777-1050. 


Leggett Signs Executive Order on Language Access

County Executive Ike Leggett has signed an Executive Order (Press Release) on Language Access that will ensure consistently high quality services for residents with limited English proficiency.  Leggett was joined at the signing by County Council President Nancy Floreen, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Alex Sanchez, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Office of Civil Rights Leon Rodriguez and community leaders.

The Executive Order will improve accountability for all Executive Branch departments and offices in an effort to ensure compliance with federal guidelines on language access, institutionalize effective practices and encourage cross-agency coordination with other public institutions in the County.  The new Executive Order will build upon Montgomery County’s current Limited English Proficiency (LEP) policy developed in 2003.  With the signing of this order, Leggett hopes to improve staff awareness and competency and ensure access to government services for all communities throughout Montgomery County.

For more information about the Executive Order or the County’s Limited English Proficiency policy, call Lily Qi at 240-777-2524.


Marriott Spirit to Serve Award Nominations Due March 26

Volunteers play a critical role in supporting nonprofit, government and faith communities that serve Montgomery County residents.  Each year, through the prestigious Marriott Spirit to Serve Community Service Awards, the Montgomery

County Volunteer Center, under the Offices of the County Executive, honors remarkable individuals, groups and schools that have significantly contributed to the community. 

Nominations for the 2010 awards are due by March 26.  Nomination forms and directions for submission are available on the Volunteer Center’s website, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer


e-Biz Update: An Online Rundown on Montgomery County’s Business Community

If you’re looking for timely information on news makers, upcoming events and other interesting facts and items about Montgomery County’s business community, then you need to see e-Biz Update, the bi-weekly newsletter from the County’s Department of Economic Development.


What’s Coming Up at Montgomery County Public Libraries?

Take a look at the new Spring edition of “Check Us Out” which has a variety of information on programs and events at our public libraries during March, April and May.

Pick up a copy at any Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) branch or find the online copy on the MCPL website.


Commission for Women’s March Newsletter Online

The March issue of the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s newsletter is now online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw.  Included are articles on free tax help, cervical cancer awareness and the benefits of the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act. There is a Calendar of Events that contains information on upcoming workshops presented by the Commission’s Counseling and Career Center.

 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |

MARK YOUR CALENDARS

Monday, March 15 – Release of FY11 Recommended Operating Budget by County Executive Ike Leggett. Noon. Executive Office Building Auditorium. Live on County Cable Montgomery, Ch. 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers; Ch. 30 for Verizon customers.

Wednesday, March 17 – Budget discussion. Department of Health and Human Services’ FY11 Recommended Operating Budget. 6 p.m. Children’s Resource Center (auditorium), 332 West Edmonston Dr., Rockville.  Free parking.  HHS Director Uma Ahluwalia and senior leadership staff will brief residents and interested parties. To request sign language interpreter services or other assistance to participate in this meeting, call Karen Ricucci at 240-777-1211 (voice), 240-777-1245 (TTY) or email Karen.Ricucci@montgomerycountymd.gov by March 12.

Monday, March 22 – Town Hall Meeting with County Executive Ike Leggett, 7:30 p.m., Ridgeview Middle School, 16600 Raven Rock Dr., Gaithersburg.  During the meeting, residents can call or text their questions to 301-525-2229.  Or, residents can email their question to publicinformation@montgomerycountymd.gov before 5 p.m.  Also broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery, Ch. 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers; Ch. 30 for Verizon customers. More information, call 240-777-6507.

CATEGORIES: Calendar
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 1:00:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010