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Celebrate the Fourth at Home with Glory and Sparkle

Montgomery County will again host two Independence Day fireworks displays on July 4 -- Germantown Glory at the SoccerPlex in the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds and Mid-County Sparkles at Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Rd., Kensington.

Both fireworks displays will begin at approximately 9:15 p.m.

The rain date for fireworks only is July 5.

See details for parking, entertainment and directions.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 9:00:00 AM |

County Holiday Schedule for Independence Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Independence Day on Wednesday, July 4:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – Aquatic facilities will be open. Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m. and all other aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m. Aquatic classes will meet as scheduled; all other programs and classes are cancelled; administrative offices and senior and community centers are closed.
  • Ride On – Saturday schedule
  • Metrobus – Saturday schedule
  • Metrorail – 4th of July special service
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices & courts – closed

*All collections scheduled on or after the holiday will be made one day later that week.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

County Launches New Website with Different Look, Improved Features

The web address for the County’s newly launched website may be the same -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov.-- but that’s where the similarity to the previous site ends. The redesigned site has a fresh look, new and enhanced features, and easier and more straightforward navigation tools.

Designed by the County’s Department of Technology Services and Office of Public Information, the new site was upgraded in response to users’ requests for certain improvements. One of the enhancements is greater accessibility for disabled and non-English speaking constituents.

Other improvements include:

  • maintaining consistent branding while improving navigation and usability;
  • utilizing more screen real estate;
  • supporting popular desktop and mobile devices and browsers;
  • incorporating and/or interfacing with emerging technologies including a new content management system, C311, social networking sites and cloud services to more cost-effectively collaborate with and deliver content to user communities; and
  • improving the County’s competitive standing to better attract residents and businesses.

For more information, call 240-777-6507.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

Open for Business: White Oak Community Recreation Center

The County’s newest recreation center is open for business following its dedication and grand opening ceremony on June 23.

The center, that sits on 10 acres at 1700 April La. in Silver Spring, provides a spacious social hall with full-service kitchen, community rooms and an expansive arts and crafts studio.

Exercise and fitness amenities include a full-size gymnasium, state-of-the-art exercise and fitness room, outdoor athletic courts and playgrounds, skate spot, multiple purpose athletic fields and Montgomery County Recreation’s first rock climbing wall.
An additional unique feature of the center is the dedicated space that will serve as the White Oak Community Senior Center.

For more information, call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-6820, or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

County Completes Traffic Signal Modernization

Three weeks ahead of schedule, the Department of Transportation has completed conversion of its 1980 vintage Traffic Signal System that controls the County’s 800 traffic signals. The old system relied on one central computer to control signal timing. The new system has signal controllers at intersections that also can be centrally managed and features the flexibility to allow future upgrades.

Although upgraded over the years, the technology had become obsolete and many of the parts and components were no longer available. In 2009, following a problem with the outdated equipment, County Executive Ike Leggett accelerated the schedule for replacement of the signal system.

The signal upgrade project has three phases:

  • Phases one and two, now complete, replaced the central computers and software, installed new local intersection controllers and upgraded the communications network. In addition to all of the control and monitoring functions of the current signal system, the new system has additional capabilities and tools that will optimize traffic flow and support future applications.
  • Phase three will be completed over the next three years. During that time, other signal devices in the County -- such as school flashers and hazard beacons -- will be brought under the system’s control. In addition, in case of power failures, back-up power systems will be installed at all 250 County-owned traffic signals.

The cost for planning and implementation of the two completed phases of the signal system was $25.1 million. Phase three will cost $10.8 million.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

Cool Ashes are Cool

With grilling season in full swing, Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS/Dept. of Environmental Protection) and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) are issuing reminders and tips about the importance of safely disposing of the ash generated when using outdoor grills.

Residents are reminded never to put out ashes from outdoor barbecues (and fireplaces) for collection with the regular household trash unless the ashes have been thoroughly soaked with water or held for at least a week to ensure there are no residual embers. Residents may bring cooled ashes to the Solid Waste Transfer Station for disposal in specifically-designated ash containers.

The Transfer Station is located at 16101 Frederick Rd., Derwood (off Rt. 355 at Shady Grove Rd.). If delivering ash by car, residents are asked to use the Frederick Rd. (Rt. 355) entrance just south of Shady Grove Rd. The Transfer Station's Public Unloading Facility (PUF) -- also called the "Car Ramp" -- has several steel drums marked specifically for ash disposal. The drums are located between trash drop-off bays. DSWS staff verifies that the ash has cooled off before taking it to the rubble drop-off area for disposal.

If delivering ash by truck, residents should use the Shady Grove Rd. entrance and speak to the scale house staff for further instructions.

Get more information and read tips from MCFRS.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |


Commission for Women Celebrates 40th Anniversary, Announces Honorees for Women’s History Archives

To mark its 40th anniversary, the Montgomery County Commission for Women (CFW) will honor 10 local women just named to the Montgomery County Women’s History Archives and will unveil a new quilt made for the occasion. The dinner celebration will be held on Wednesday, July 11, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., at the Rockville Hilton Hotel, Atrium Room, 1750 Rockville Pike.

Connie Morella, former U.S. congresswoman and ambassador to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, will deliver the keynote address. The first woman from Montgomery County elected to the U.S. Congress, Morella was one of the 30 women included in the Women’s History Archives Project for the 30th anniversary celebration. The archives project recognizes the contributions of women of historical significance to the County.

In 2002, a quilt was created by fiber artist, and then-CFW president Anne Sanderoff Walker featuring hand-quilted squares depicting the field in which each of the 30 honorees’ achievements were attained. To commemorate the 40th anniversary, Sanderoff Walker created another quilt to recognize the new honorees.

The 10 women being honored and added to the CFW’s History Archives are:

  • Sharon V. Burrell – first African American female judge appointed to the Montgomery County Circuit Court.
  • Patricia E. Cornish – first National President of Business and Professional Women USA from Maryland (2000-2001).
  • Jean B. Cryor – Maryland House of Delegates, 1995-2007; president-elect and president of the Executive Board of the Women Legislators of Maryland.
  • Pam Foltz – first female career firefighter in Montgomery County.
  • Barbara J. Krumsiek – recipient of the 2010 Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women’s Human Rights Award for her work toward the advancement of women in business.
  • Ingrid U. McKee – first woman to be named Police Officer of the Year in Montgomery County; first female criminal investigator; and first woman to be promoted above the rank of officer in the MCPD.
  • Terry A. O’Neill – feminist attorney, professor, social justice activist.
  • Dr. DeRionne P. Pollard – first African American woman president of Montgomery College.
  • Carmen Delgado Votaw – first Hispanic woman chief of staff for a member of Congress in the U.S. House of Representatives.
  • Eun Yang – morning anchor on NBC Washington; host on NBC Washington Nonstop.

The biographies and photographs of the 2012 honorees will be featured on the CFW’s website by the day of the event.

Admission is $50 per person. To register, call 240-777-8333 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw.

‘Tis the Season: Farmers Markets Abound throughout County

Summer -- the season that brings us bug spray, sunscreen, cook-outs, concerts, fireworks displays, plenty of swimming pools to cool us off, and more things to do than there are hours in the day.

But around Montgomery County, from Takoma Park to Clarksburg and many points in between, summertime means farmers markets that bring the bounty of local fields to residents' tables.

The Department of Economic Development has prepared a list of farmers markets with times and locations.  See what markets are close to you.

Nominations Sought for Arts and Humanities Awards; Submissions due in July  

County Executive Ike Leggett is seeking nominations for the annual County Executive’s Excellence in the Arts and Humanities Awards the most prestigious honors conferred by Montgomery County on individual artists, scholars, organizations and cultural patrons. The awards will be presented at a special ceremony on Monday, October 22.

The following awards will be presented: the Education, Community, Volunteer, Outstanding Artist or Scholar, Business or Individual Patron and Emerging Leader.

Members of the community are invited to nominate an individual or group worthy of an award. The deadline for nominations is July 13.

For details and nominating instructions, visit the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County’s website at http://creativemoco.com/executives-awards

ICC Bus Routes Handy for BWI Travelers and Commuters

The Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) operates express bus service along the first phase of the Intercounty Connector (ICC), also known as MD200. Two bus routes link Gaithersburg to job and transportation centers at Fort Meade and Baltimore/Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport.

ICC Bus Route 201 provides service between the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot located at I-270 and MD 124 in Montgomery County and BWI Marshall Airport. It operates a daily seven-stop route with hourly service accommodating 14 round-trips. Gaithersburg service begins at 4:00 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. BWI Marshall return service runs from 9:00 a.m. until 10:00 p.m.

ICC Bus Route 202 is designed to serve employees working at NSA and Fort Meade. The Monday through Friday, six-stop service operates between the Gaithersburg Park and Ride Lot in Montgomery County and Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County. Three morning buses leave Gaithersburg at 5:15, 6:15 and 7:15 a.m. Afternoon routes leave Fort Meade at noon, 3, 4 and 5 p.m.

Detailed information on routes, times and fares can be found at the ICC website. Customers can also call the MTA Transit Information Center, Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m., at 410-539-5000.

Consumer Protection's  2011 Annual Report Marks 40 Years of Serivce to Residents

Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has issued its 2011 Annual Report in celebration of 40 years of service to consumers and businesses in Montgomery County.

Over the past four decades, the office has garnered a national reputation and works closely with other government agencies and non-profit organizations to “ensure integrity in our marketplace.”

OCP licenses various retail businesses, has the authority to issue civil citations and administrative subpoenas and mediates thousands of disputes. A dedicated staff of experts, including a certified automotive technician and a team of volunteers address most consumer transactions. OCP also administers several other programs including the Commission on Common Ownership Communities, energy utility advocacy, estimated property tax disclosure and domestic worker contracts.

The annual report is available online and a limited number of copies are available at all Montgomery County Public Libraries.

Summertime…and the Reading is Fun 

Children and teens in all age ranges are invited to participate in this year’s Summer Reading Program at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) from now to August 11. The themes are “Read to Me” for birth thru Pre-K; “Dream Big” for children K thru 6; and "Own the Night" for teens.

Participants can sign up for the program and keep track of the books they read, or have read to them, using the designated summer reading registration computer or a public computer in the library, at home or elsewhere. You can sign up now.

Magicians, musicians, storytellers, jugglers and puppets are among the various entertainers who will perform for children at all MCPL branches this summer. Schedules of programs are on the library’s calendar of events and flyers will be available at the branches. All programs are funded by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. (FOLMC) and by local Friends of the Library chapters.

To request ADA program accommodations for any of the Summer Reading programs, call the library hosting the program at least five work days in advance.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


Award-winner Sergio Mendes to Headline Silver Spring Jazz Festival

Grammy™ award-winner Sergio Mendes will headline the 2012 Silver Spring Jazz Festival. The ninth annual festival, also featuring other jazz musicians, will be held on Saturday, September 8, beginning at 4:30 p.m., on Veterans Plaza at Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.

Known for his bossa nova/jazz/funk musical style, Brazilian-born Mendes rose to fame in 1966 with his hit “Mas Que Nada” produced by Herb Alpert. It was the first time that a song, sung entirely in Portuguese, reached the top five on the Billboard magazine pop chart and sparked his rise as the most popular Brazilian entertainer.

Earlier this year, Mendes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Song as co-writer of "Real In Rio" from the animated film “Rio.” In recent years he has collaborated with Will.i.am and The Black Eyed Peas, Stevie Wonder, Jill Scott, India Arie, Justin Timberlake, Erikah Bahdu and many others.

For more information, call Montgomery County Recreation at 240-777-6821.

Family Literacy Volunteers Needed

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County's English for Daily Living program is adding a new family literacy component for the 2012-2013 school year and volunteer teachers are needed to work with children and their families.

See more information about qualifications, scheduling and how to apply.

For further questions, contact Jayne Klein at 301-610-0030 or email jayne@literacycouncilmcmd.org.

The Younger Generation Gets the Message Behind Pedestrian Safety

Children and their parents organized a demonstration of support for pedestrian safety measures installed by the County on Jones Bridge Rd. next to North Chevy Chase Elementary School.  The traffic calming measures are slowing traffic and making it safer for pedestrians of all ages to cross the busy road.

Blair High School freshman Cullen Morris'  entry was chosen as the winner of a text message contest that promoted pedestrian safety to high school students in the Four Corners community of Silver Spring. Hillary Yeboah, whose eyes are featured on the banner, was a winner of the "See Them See You" contest that urges pedestrians to establish eye contact with drivers.


The message of the importance of promoting pedestrian safety obviously hasn’t been lost on Montgomery County young people of various ages. 

North Chevy Chase Elementary School students demonstrated their support for newly installed traffic calming measures on Jones Bridge Road. Blair High School student winners of a pedestrian safety contest produced an attention-getting poster with a compelling message.

Learn more about pedestrian safety in Montgomery County.

"Shaping Our Future: Adapting to Change" -- Addressing Issues for All Ages

This series of briefings held by the Montgomery County Council in 2012 addresses some of the most significant issues confronting the County and its future.

Council President Roger Berliner and Vice President Nancy Navarro announced the creation of the series in January, and the briefings were held as part of the Council’s regular general sessions at the Council Office Building.

Topics covered in “Shaping Our Future…” were: Demographic Trends and Impact on Services, Our Growing Senior Population; Montgomery and the New Economy; Workforce Development in the Changing Economy; Preserving and Creating Affordable Housing; and Transit 2.0 – Congestion.

See links to videos and key presentations of each briefing.

Election Judges with Spanish Speaking Fluency Needed for 2012 Presidential General Election

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking individuals with Spanish speaking fluency to serve as election judges at polling places on General Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

In accordance with the Election Law of Maryland, judges must be registered to vote in the State of Maryland, 18 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen. Judges must also be able to speak, read and write in English. Montgomery County residency is not a pre-requisite to serve. All judges will be compensated for training and for Election Day service.

If you are interested, contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at
240-777-8532, download an election judge questionnaire from our website at www.777vote.org or e-mail Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Applicants Sought for Board of Appeals Vacancy

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for a four-year term on the County Board of Appeals. The term of Walter S. Booth (Democrat) will expire in September 2012. Mr. Booth is eligible for reappointment and has indicated his intent to apply for reappointment. This position can be filled by a Democrat, a Republican, a voter who declines to affiliate with a party or a voter who is a member of another party officially recognized by the Board of Elections.

Applications for the position must be received no later than 5 p.m. on Wednesday, July 18.

Duties of the Board of Appeals include making decisions on most applications for special exceptions as provided in the Zoning Ordinance; hearing and deciding requests for variances from development standards contained in the Zoning Ordinance; and hearing appeals from certain administrative decisions rendered by county government agencies.

Letters expressing interest, including a resume listing professional and civic experience, should be addressed to Council President Roger Berliner, Stella B. Werner Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850.

Read more details about applying.

Email applications to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

After the deadline, Council members will review the letters of application and select applicants for interviews.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |


Heritage Montgomery Producer Receives Emmy for Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War

Heritage Montgomery has announced that Barbara Grunbaum, producer of their recent documentary Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War, has received an Emmy for her work on the film. Heritage Montgomery is the executive producer of the project which earned the award in the Historical Documentary category.

The one-hour documentary was produced in commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. It tells the story of Montgomery County in the 1860s and the significant impact the war had on the County and its residents for the duration of the conflict and beyond. The film uses historic and contemporary images, creative photography, first-person accounts and a stirring soundtrack to tell the story of the war years in Montgomery County.

Heritage Montgomery also acknowledge the excellent work done by other key members of the production team, including Joseph Thompson (Director of Photography), Francine Wyron (Editor & Graphic Designer), Charlie Pilzer (Sound Editor), Greg Lewis (Host), and Washington Revels (musical score design & production).

Executive Director Peggy Erickson said, “Heritage Montgomery produced this film on a shoe string budget with an incredible amount of community support.  It truly took a village to turn out this fine product, and we want to thank everyone connected with the project.” 

The Emmy was awarded by the National Capital Chesapeake Bay Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.

Life in a War Zone... was made possible with the support of the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority, the National Park Service Preserve America Program, Montgomery County Government, Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County, Montgomery College Television, City of Rockville, William Ritchie and the Delaplaine Foundation.

Life in a War Zone can be viewed online on the Heritage Montgomery website.   The DVD version is available on the Gift Shop page.

County Receives 19 Achievement Awards from National Association of Counties

“These awards honor the dedication of all of our employees who work so hard to serve the residents of Montgomery County.”  County Executive Ike Leggett.

The following departments and programs received awards:

  • Corrections and Rehabilitation – Workplace Digital Skill Training Program;
  • Community Engagement Cluster – Montgomery County Community Service Week 2011;
  • Community Use of Public Facilities – Community Use of Public Facilities-ICBweb Portal;
  • Consumer Protection – Volunteer Depot Database;
  • Environmental Protection – Arcola Avenue Green Street Project; MyGreenMontgomery.org;
  • Emergency Services and Homeland Security – Continuity of Operations (COOP) Automation Program;
  • General Services – The Procurement Centralized Workflow Dashboard Portal, AKA: Your Online Database Application (YODA);
  • Health and Human Services – Safe Transitions-Managing Hospital Discharge for County Residents Who Are Homeless;
  • Liquor Control – Alcohol Over Service Project; ICatalog Web Application;
  • Police – Drug Market Intervention; Police Adventure Camp;
  • Recreation – Miracle League of Montgomery County; Montgomery County Excel Beyond the Bell;
  • Silver Spring Regional Services Center – The Silver Spring Community Service Weekend Program;
  • Technology Services – Making Bicycling Easier in a Digital Way; Election Management System; and
  • Transportation – Navigation Guided Plowing Project.
POSTED: Tuesday, June 26, 2012 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010