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More Storms Take Their Toll on Montgomery County Residents and Services; Leggett Hosts Meeting with Pepco Officials About Storm Performance

Much like a recurring nightmare, natural disasters have pounded Montgomery County residents, roads, traffic signals and services this year.  From the record snow storms in February to severe thunderstorms within a month of each other in late July and early August, residents, government agencies and departments, and local utility companies are feeling the strain.

During the latest storms in August -- two in one day -- County Executive Ike Leggett once again found himself surveying damage with Fire Rescue and other emergency response personnel. That same day, he also hosted a meeting with Pepco officials to discuss the company’s performance in delivering reliable electric power to Montgomery County homes and businesses. Making a point to Pepco CEO Joseph Rigby, Leggett was joined by the County’s Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine and Special Assistant Jennifer Hughes.  See Leggett’s letter to Rigby. Residents are reminded that the best way to be advised of approaching storms and other emergencies is to sign up for Alert Montgomery. Receive messages from authorized senders on updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to contact and other important information.  It provides vital information on the go and is as close as your phone or electronic messaging device. 

 

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Community Forum
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 9:00:00 AM |

With Volunteer Support, Prince William County, VA Passes Emergency Medical Transport Revenue Recovery Initiative

text of get the facts about county ambulance reimbursement it's all about saving lives... ambulance reimbursement

Prince William County, VA recently approved, with the support of its volunteers, an Ambulance Reimbursement program like the one that was approved by the County Council and signed into law this year in Montgomery County.

Both counties now have programs that recover the costs of emergency transports from individual insurance companies, Medicare and Medicaid and use those proceeds to save lives – at no additional cost to County residents.

Nearly all local jurisdictions have successfully enacted EMS transport reimbursements including Fairfax County, Frederick County, Prince George’s County, the District of Columbia, Arlington County, Anne Arundel County and the City of Alexandria. There is no evidence from jurisdictions that have successfully implemented a user fee that it deters anyone from calling for needed emergency medical transport assistance, negatively impacts volunteers, or increases health insurance premiums.

“In Montgomery County, we know that the EMS transport fee will save lives because we will be able to better meet the growing emergency services needs in our community,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “Council passage of the bill this year means that this County will initially recover $14 million from funds already set aside by private insurance companies, Medicare, and Medicaid for transports. In 10 years, we expect to recover nearly $170 million in costs for EMS transports. That is significant.

“Our neighboring jurisdictions are collecting tens of millions of dollars and using those monies to save lives – with no adverse effects; we should do the same. And, it won’t cost County residents one additional dime.”

Get the facts. Click here for “It’s About Saving Lives” flyer and/or the “Ambulance Reimbursement” brochure. Download, forward and spread the word.

For even more information about Montgomery County’s EMS transport fee, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/emstransportfee .

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Community Forum
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 8:00:00 AM |

Eligible Residents Urged to Apply for Property Tax Relief Prior to November 1 Deadline

Eligible Montgomery County residents are encouraged to apply for the Maryland Homeowner’s Property Tax Credit program, which limits the amount of property taxes a homeowner must pay based on income.

An additional County supplement and a senior tax credit will automatically apply to eligible County residents. For a senior tax credit, residents must be age 70 or older.

No additional application is required for either the County supplement or the senior tax credit.  The deadline for the state application submission is November 1, 2010.

In order to be eligible, a homeowner must have:

  • A combined household income of less than $64,000;
  • Lived in their home for at least six months, or will live in it for the next 12 months; and
  • A combined net worth (of everyone in the applicant’s household) of no more than $200,000. This does not include the value of the primary residence or the cash value of any qualified retirement savings or individual retirement accounts.

To apply for the property tax credit program, eligible homeowners must fill out an application form each year.

To get an application form, call the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) at 1-800-944-7403, or download the form and instructions from the SDAT web site at www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/htc.html.

CATEGORIES: Economy , News , Tax , State
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 7:00:00 AM |

Business Investment Pays Off

The importance of supporting local small business brought together local and state leaders to highlight the success that State and County funding has had in the relocation of Rosta’s, a women’s clothing store that has been in downtown Silver Spring for 25 years.

A combination of State and County funding leveraged private investment nearly five times and resulted in a newly renovated building that is creating jobs and preserving a local small business.

Cutting a tape measure to mark the renovation of the store’s new location at 8618 Fenton Street were (from left):  Director of Montgomery County's Dept. of Housing and Community Affairs Rick Nelson; County Executive Ike Leggett; Erma and Ali Rostai; Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown; Maryland Dept. of Housing and Community Development Secretary Raymond Skinner; and District 20 Delegate Heather Mizeur. Rosta’s new store is scheduled to open later this month. Read more.

CATEGORIES: Economy
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |

Do the Barnyard Boogie

It's August and that means fair time. The 62nd Montgomery County Agricultural Fair began August 13 and runs through Saturday the 21st at the Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg.

There will be more than 40 carnival rides, pig races, Carrie McQueen the stilt walker, Steve Trash the Rockin' Eco Hero, Equipment Expo, Trailer Racing, the popular So you think you can DANCE? contest and so much more.

Check out what’s happenin’ at the Fair this year at www.mcagfair.com.

 

CATEGORIES: News , Community Forum
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 5:00:00 AM |

Eight Named to Organizational Reform Commission

The Montgomery County Council has named eight people to the new Montgomery Organizational Reform Commission. The commission, composed of County residents who are experienced in government, business or non-profit service delivery, will help guide the County toward creating efficient models for providing services and operations.

The group recommend potential reorganization or consolidation of functions performed by County government and County-funded agencies. The resolution’s chief sponsor on the Council was Councilmember Roger Berliner, who worked with County Executive Ike Leggett toward creation of the commission.

The Council and County Executive each designated four members to serve on the commission and each recommended one member as co-chair.

Serving as co-chairs are Vernon H. Ricks, Jr., of Potomac, a former Takoma Park City Councilmember who has served on the boards of directors of Maryland Municipal League and the National League of Cities, and Richard Wegman of Bethesda, the former chief counsel and staff director of the U.S. Senate’s Committee on Governmental Affairs. Ricks was recommended by the Council and Wegman was Leggett’s choice.  Read more

CATEGORIES: County Council
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |

WORTH NOTING

Fall Guide for Recreation and Park Programs Now Available; Register This Month

Montgomery County’s Department of Recreation is now accepting registrations for its fall programs and classes. Registration for swim lessons opens on August 18. Copies of the Fall Guide are available at public libraries, as well as community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County.

The latest Guide is full of hundreds of exciting classes and programs, including scuba diving, water aerobics, pottery, ballroom dancing, cooking and zumba classes.  Seniors, age 55 and above, can sign up for day trips to historic and picturesque locales. 

Register by mail or fax, online or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

There is also information on registering for events in the 2010 Maryland Senior Olympics, taking place in September and October.

 To view the guide online, and/or to register, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.


Notice of Nighttime Deliveries at Transit Center Site

Beginning the week of August 23, residents and employees in the vicinity of the Silver Spring Transit Center (SSTC) site -- bordered by Colesville Rd., the Metro Red Line Station, Wayne Avenue and Ramsey Avenue -- are advised that crews will begin nighttime concrete deliveries between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. every other week through January.

The nocturnal deliveries are designed to keep the public’s exposure to truck traffic at a minimum and increase safety for transit users near the site.

The concrete work is expected to take place during the weeks of: September 7 and 21; October 5 and 19; November 2, 16 and 30; December 14 and 28; and January 11 and 25. Because the concrete work is weather dependent, dates may vary.


“Green” Volunteers Needed for Paper Shredding/Recycling Event

The Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection) is calling for volunteers who would like to help at a major paper shredding/recycling event to be held on Saturday, September 11 at the Rockville campus of Montgomery College, 850 Hungerford Dr., from 7 a.m. to noon.

The event is presented by NBC News 4-TV, in conjunction with Montgomery County, Montgomery College and other sponsors.

Volunteers will help with pre-event set up, hand out recycling brochures, answer questions, unload boxes/bags from cars and clean up after the event. This event is approved for Student Service Learning credit.

To register, contact Ana Arriaza, Volunteer Coordinator, at 240-777-6445 or via email at ana.arriaza@montgomerycountymd.gov.


Reminder: Voter Registration Deadline is August 24

Montgomery County residents who wish to vote in the 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election are reminded that they must register by 9 p.m. on Tuesday, August 24.

To register, individuals must be U.S. citizens, live in Montgomery County and be at least 18 years of age on or before November 2, 2010.

Applications may be picked up at County libraries, Regional Services Centers, all offices of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, the Motor Vehicle Administration and all U.S. Post Offices. They may be downloaded at www.777vote.org or www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections.

Individuals may also register at the Board of Elections, 18753 N. Frederick Ave., Suite 210, Gaithersburg.

For more details on voter registration, call the Voter Information Service at 240-777-VOTE, or visit the website at: www.777vote.org or www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections


Voters May Request Alternate Polling Places for Primary Election on September 14

The Montgomery County Board of Elections reminds voters that they may request a change in polling place for one of two reasons – accessibility concerns or religious principles.

A reassignment request form is available from the Maryland State Board of Elections’ website at http://www.elections.state.md.us/pdf/
Request_for_Accessible_Polling_Place.pdf
, by calling Christine Rzeszut at 240-777-8585, or by e-mail at nancy.rzeszut@montgomerycountymd.gov. The request must be received by 9 p.m. August 24 for the Primary Election.

If a satisfactory substitute polling place is not available, alternatives are: voting at any one of five Early Voting Centers in the County or by absentee ballot. For more information on specific centers, visit www.777vote.org. For information on absentee voting, call 240-777-8550, or e-mail, absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov.


“Consumer Compass” Features Interview with Emmy Award-Winning Consumer Reporter Liz Crenshaw

The newest episode of County Cable Montgomery’s “Consumer Compass” now airing features an interview with NBC-TV 4 consumer reporter Liz Crenshaw.

Other segments include warnings about selling jewelry and coins at “gold parties,” and tips about mail order “gold for cash” businesses; information about pawn shops; and what happens when items are left at a business that is being evicted, and how the Business Eviction Response Team helps consumers reclaim their possessions.

The 30-minute show, hosted by Eric Friedman, director of the Office of Consumer Protection, is written and produced by Cathy Grubman, County Cable Montgomery producer in the Office of the County Council.

“Consumer Compass” is seen on Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon. For a schedule of show times or to view it online, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/CCM, and click on Schedule.

For more information about the show, call 240-777-3636.


Got Weeds, Insect Pests, Other Garden Problems? Who Ya Gonna Call?

It’s simple. Talk with Montgomery County Master Gardeners. Bring your full and intact plant and insect samples, garden problems and questions to any one of the 10 locations below during gardening season and get free answers.

  • Bethesda: Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd., April - Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Bethesda: FRESHFARM Market. Norfolk Ave., between Fairmont Ave.. & St. Elmo Ave., July - Oct., 3rd Sat. of each month, 10 a.m.-1p.m.
  • Chevy Chase: Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Rd., April - Sept., Sat., 10 a.m.-noon.
  • Derwood: Montgomery County Extension Office, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Mar - Nov.,  M-F, 9 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Gaithersburg: Quince Orchard Library, 15831 Quince Orchard Rd., May - Sept.,   Sat,.10 a.m.-1p.m.
  • Germantown: Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., May - Sept., Wed., 6:30-8:30 p.m.
  • Poolesville: Poolesville Library, 18633 Fisher Ave., May - Sept., Wed., 1:30–3 p.m.
  • Rockville: Twinbrook Library, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., May - Sept., 3rd. Sat. of each month, 10 a.m.-1 p.m.
  • Silver Spring: FRESHFARM Market, Ellsworth Dr. between Georgia/Fenton; April - Sept., 4th Sat of each month, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. (5th. Sat.in July).
  • Wheaton: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., year-round, Sat., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sun. 1-4 p.m. Plus, April – Oct., Wed., Thurs., 1-4 p.m.

Master Gardeners of Montgomery County are 250 volunteers trained by the University of Maryland/ MontgomeryExtension Service. The organization’s free programs educate residents about environmentally sound horticultural practices that build healthy landscapes. Programs include clinics to identify gardeners’ plant and tree problems; therapeutic horticulture; demonstration gardens; speakers bureau; and design services for government and non-profit organizations.

For further information, call the Plant Hotline at 301-590-9650, weekday mornings or email mgmont@umd.edu.


Transit Improvements In Place for White Oak Customers

The County’s Department of Transportation recently completed construction of a series of customer service enhancements for Ride On and Metrobus riders in White Oak. The upgrades will help meet increasing transit needs in this area.

Since 2003, with the consolidation of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in White Oak, almost 4,600 employees have relocated to the campus. By 2013, this number will double.

The $1.6 million upgrades include six new bus shelters on Lockwood Drive at the White Oak Shopping Center. Passenger waiting areas now have benches, low-level lighting, trash cans, streetlights, pedestrian crossings, and landscaping. Additionally, curbs and sidewalks on both sides of Lockwood were reconstructed and traffic calming devices installed, including two additional concrete medians.


County Begins Work to Improve, Extend Watkins Mill Road

The County Department of Transportation’s Division of Transportation Engineering has begun construction of Watkins Mill Rd. Extended. This vital east-west link will connect Watkins Mill Rd. east of I-270 to Frederick Rd./Maryland Rte. 355 and, ultimately, to the Metropolitan Grove station and interim terminus for the Corridor Cities Transitway.

Watkins Mill Road Extended will be a six-lane highway that includes a sidewalk, a bike path and street lighting. A wildlife management plan, conducted in partnership with the Humane Society of the United States, has helped move vulnerable animals away from the path of the project.

The $7.7 million project should be completed next summer. Read more.


New Hours for Bethesda Circulator

The Bethesda Circulator, the free transportation service that connects parking garages and Metro in Downtown Bethesda, has announced new hours of operation:

  • Monday - Thursday 7 a.m. – 11 p.m.
  • Friday 7 a.m. - midnight
  • Saturday 10 a.m. - midnight

 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

National Recognition for Liquor Control’s “Keeping It SAFE…” program

The Keeping it SAFE (KIS) Coalition on Under 21 Alcohol Use Prevention has been selected by the National Liquor Law Enforcement Association (NLLEA) for its 2010 John W. Britt Community Service award.

The NLLEA is a non-profit association of law enforcement personnel dedicated to the enforcement of liquor laws and regulations

The award will be presented as part of the Law Enforcement Awards Luncheon during the NLLEA conference in Anaheim, CA later in August.

In an effort to warn youth about excessive alcohol consumption, the coalition has distributed educational posters to every Montgomery County high school and liquor store that warn of the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol poisoning.

The poster contest was the idea of Stephanie Quinn, a student intern in the Montgomery County Police Department and a member of the Keeping It SAFE Coalition. Four posters selected from Bethesda-Chevy Chase, Richard Montgomery and Walt Whitman high schools were reproduced and delivered to every Montgomery County high school.

 For more about KIS and KIS partners, call 240-777-6652 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/kis.


Police Explorer Post 1986 Makes Us Proud

Montgomery County Police (MCP) Explorer Post 1986 is pleased to have won two Trophies and two Top Ranking Certificates during competitions held at the 2010 National Exploring Conference held at Georgia Tech in Atlanta in July.

MCP Explorer Post members took part in four team and 12 individual competitions.  They won a Second Place Trophy in the category of Crime Prevention and a Third Place Trophy in the category of Community Service.

They also earned a Certificate for placing in the top 10% for those competing in the team category of White Collar Crimes and a Certificate for placing in the top 10% for those competing in the team category of Crime Prevention.    

There are 42 members in Explorer Post 1986, led by Senior Post Advisor Officer Charles Carpenter.  They meet weekly from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at the Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville.  Experts from the department attend each meeting to expose Explorers to the various aspects of police work.  An Open House for new members will be held on September 29. 


County Program Receives National Aging Innovations Award

The County’s Better Living at Home program, a program of the Department of Health and Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services, has received an Aging Innovations Award from the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging.

Begun in November 2008, the innovative, cost-effective program was recognized for its outstanding contribution to the quality of life for older adults.

Utilizing occupational therapists, social workers and community health nurses, the program works to help maximize what individuals can do for themselves, rather than becoming dependent on others for supportive services. Read more about Better Living at Home.  

CATEGORIES: News
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MARK YOUR CALENDAR

Monday, August 30; 10 a.m. -- Silver Spring Library Groundbreaking – Local officials will participate in the ceremony marking the beginning of construction for the building to be located at the corner of Wayne Ave. and Fenton St.

Monday, August 30; 5 – 8 p.m. -- Rescheduled Literacy Council of Montgomery County’s (LCMC) fundraiser at the Silver Diner, 11806 Rockville Pike (originally scheduled for July 26, was canceled because of a power outage at the restaurant). Treat yourself to dinner or order a take-out meal. LCMC volunteers will be on hand to greet diners, serve and share information about the organization. LCMC will receive a percentage of all sales. No RSVPs necessary. For more information, visit http://www.literacycouncilmcmd.org/what'snew.html.

CATEGORIES: Calendar
POSTED: Tuesday, August 17, 2010 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010