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County Executive Leggett featured on State Circle Interview

Watch the full episode. See more State Circle.

A teen curfew, budget cuts and construction projects are just some of the topics making headlines in Montgomery County. What does the future hold? Maryland Public Television's "State Circle" gets some answers in an interview with County Executive Ike Leggett.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

The World of Montgomery Comes to Wheaton

If you want to travel without leaving the area, then plan to be in Wheaton on Sunday October 16, when the sounds, tastes and crafts of the world go on display at the World of Montgomery Festival to be held from noon to 5 p.m. at the Wheaton Triangle, Reedie Dr. and Grandview Ave. It's just one block from the Wheaton Metro station on the Red Line.

The festival celebrates, explores and shares the diverse cultural heritages which play an active role in the lives of Montgomery County residents and communities. There will be music and dance performances by County-based artists, food and craft vendors, and a hands-on cultural education area and health fair. Local non-profit organizations and County agencies will also be represented.

To apply as a craft vendor or exhibitor, download the application in Word or PDF.
To apply as a food vendor, download the application here.

For general questions regarding the event, click here or contact Sidney Cooper at 240-777-8106.

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 6:30:00 AM |

Community Service Week -- Silver Anniversary Provides Golden Opportunities for Service

The World of Montgomery Festival will also serve as the kick-off event for Montgomery County Community Service Week celebrating its 25th anniversary with volunteer opportunities available beginning on Sunday, October 16 and occurring throughout the week.

The Volunteer Center has a goal of 25,000 volunteers working on projects around the County. It's easy to sign up and be part of the Silver Anniversary of Community Service Day -- which began as the brainchild of Bruce Adams, now director of the County's Office of Community Partnerships, and has been picked up over the years by other communities around the country, under various names.

For more information on Community Service Week and how to get involved, visit the CSW website. Also, download the event flyer in English or in Spanish.

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

County Council to Host Town Hall Meeting for Students

As part of its efforts to find out what issues most concern residents, the County Council will next focus on what is on the mind of younger residents at its second Town Hall Meeting for Students on Wednesday, Oct. 12, at the Council Office Building (COB), 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting, to be held in the Council's Third Floor Hearing Room, will start at 7 p.m. A pre-meeting reception will begin at 6:30 p.m. in the building's second-floor cafeteria.

The COB is about a three-block walk from the Rockville Metrorail station, which also is a main stopping point for many RideOn bus lines. Students driving to the meeting can park free in the Council parking garage (use the Fleet St. entrance).

The meeting is open to public and private high school, middle school and elementary school students from around the County. It will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM -- Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the following weeks.

Students attending the meeting are asked to RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.

CATEGORIES: County Council , Community Forum
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 5:30:00 AM |

Emergency Contact Information can now be Added to Maryland Drivers' Licenses

Thanks to a new option now available from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA), Maryland drivers can add three emergency contacts to their driver's license so police will know who to call if an accident occurs.

The emergency contact information is stored electronically on an individual's driver's license and will be available only to authorized law enforcement personnel.

The information can be added online -- in less than 10 minutes -- by going to MVA's website at www.mva.maryland.gov, clicking "On-line Transactions," then clicking "More" and then, "Emergency Contacts."

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Property Taxes: Some Basic Q&A's

The Department of Finance has prepared a few basic questions and answers to help clarify property tax issues for residents.

Q.My tax increased more than inflation. I thought the County Charter said that property taxes cannot increase more than inflation.

A. Montgomery County's Charter Limit on property taxes requires that total property tax revenues from all properties cannot increase more than the rate of inflation and the value of new construction. Although the average tax bill increases at the rate of inflation, some properties may increase less than inflation, while others increase more than inflation, depending on assessment cycles, assessment amount, when properties were purchased, homestead credit and other credits.

Q.Why was there a 4-cent increase per $100 of assessed value this year?

A.This year, there was an option to either reduce the County rebate (officially called the income tax offset credit) from last year's $692 or raise the tax rate to increase revenues to the Charter Limit. The County chose a combination of a smaller rate increase and keeping the credit at last year's amount since that would limit a significant tax increase for lower- and middle-valued properties.

Q. My assessment went down, but my tax bill increased more than 10%. Why?

A. If your property increased a lot in value several years ago, you would have benefitted from the homestead credit which caps growth in taxable assessment to 10% per year. During those years, you did not pay property taxes on the homestead credit amount. If the new "reduced" assessment this year is higher than last year's taxable assessment, the base still went up. For example, say last year's assessment was $600,000 and there was a $100,000 homestead credit. That meant the taxable assessment was $500,000 and it was used to compute the property tax. If your new assessment this year is $550,000 (down from $600,000), that is still above last year's taxable assessment allowing the base to grow the full 10% to $550,000 (i.e., $500,000 plus 10% = $550,000).

Q.Why is my assessment much higher than what houses sell for in my area?

A. The State of Maryland assesses each property every three years, with increases phased in over three years. A decline is reflected immediately in the first year of the triennial cycle. The State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) conducts the assessments and handles the appeals. The local SDAT office is in Rockville and they can be reached at 240-314-4510. If you believe the assessed value is too high, call for more information or file an appeal with SDAT to start the appeals process. Montgomery County has nothing to do with property tax assessments. That is solely the responsibility of the State of Maryland.

Q. I am a senior citizen and am struggling with paying my property taxes. Is there a program that might help?

A. Depending on your income compared to the amount of the tax bill, there may be tax relief available through three different programs: the State Homeowners Property Tax Credit (HOTC), County Supplemental Tax Credit and County Senior Credit (if 70 years or older). SDAT administers these credits and reviews applications for eligibility. The good thing is that you file only one application with SDAT, and they will automatically review eligibility for all three programs. They can be contacted at 800-944-7403 (toll-free). Also, although the filing deadline is generally September 1, SDAT just extended the filing deadline to October 31, 2011. If you are approved for one or all of these credits, it would adjust this year's tax bill.

Get more information on the tax credit programs.

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 4:30:00 AM |

Proposed Youth Curfew Website adds FAQs

To help provide more information to residents about the Executive's proposed youth curfew, a list of Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) has been added to the website found on the County's homepage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Executive Responds to Questions from County Council on Proposed Youth Curfew

In response to questions raised by the County Council about the proposed youth curfew, County Executive Ike Leggett submitted a memo in mid-September containing detailed replies to those questions.

The questions ranged from asking for data on juvenile crimes, what times of day they were committed and trends in juvenile crime in the County and should there be exceptions for movies, concerts and other entertainment activities to the effectiveness of curfews in neighboring jurisdictions and how the law would be enforced – based on age, behavior or both.

An attachment to the memo depicts statistics contained in the memo through graphs and text.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 3:45:00 AM |

Supporting a Good Cause: County's Family Justice Center Foundation Benefit

On Sunday, October 2, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation will hold its 2nd annual benefit at the Hilton Rockville, 1750 Rockville Pike, to support the vital work of the center which -- as part of an international network of more than 60 family-friendly centers -- provides victims of domestic violence and their children essential services all under one roof -- from care to court -- free of charge.

The event, chaired by Catherine Leggett, will honor four award recipients for their support of domestic violence prevention and those in need. In addition, Mrs. Leggett also will announce that the Family Room at the Family Justice Center will be named for the late Judge James Stephen McAuliffe, Jr. as a tribute to his commitment to reducing domestic violence.

For information about Benefit tickets, or ongoing contributions, e-mail mcfjcfoundation@yahoo.com, visit the Foundation's website at www.mcfjcfoundation.org or contact Resa Levy, Foundation executive director, at 301-509-6832.

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 3:30:00 AM |


Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations

In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month -- September 15-October 15 -- Montgomery County is hosting numerous local events geared for all ages. Programs include musical presentations, book discussions, poetry readings, a health fair, mortgage foreclosure prevention counseling and a Latino Festival.

See the complete calendar listing in English and in Spanish.

Calling All Teens: "Picture It @ your library®"

Begun in 1998, Teen Read Week (TRW) is now barely a teen itself.

But in its 13 years of existence, TRW -- sponsored by the American Library Association's Young Adult Library Services Association -- has presented special events and programs that encourage teens to read for pleasure and to visit their libraries for free reading materials.

TRW is celebrated this year from October 16 to 22, and, through the theme "Picture It @ your library®," teens are invited to read graphic novels and other illustrated materials, seek out creative books or imagine the world through literature, just for the fun of it.

TRW is also a great chance to let your school or your public library staff know how important teen services are.

Get specific information about TRW in Montgomery County Public Libraries.

"Where's Ike?"

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC) announces the launch of "Where's Ike?", an online, interactive campaign to increase awareness of and appreciation for the amazing public art pieces located around Montgomery County.

Each week through October, AHCMC will release a new snapshot of County Executive Ike Leggett and a piece of public art on the AHCMC Facebook page (http://facebook.com/creativemoco). Visitors will be invited to guess where the public art piece is and share any personal stories they have about the piece.

At the end of the week, AHCMC will reveal the location and details about the piece by posting an updated picture of "Ike's Public Art Passport."

Germantown Indoor Swim Center Reopens after Renovations

The Germantown Indoor Swim Center at 18000 Central Park Circle in Boyds, has reopened after being closed since early May for renovations. Repairs included removing old paint and repainting the ceiling over the center's three pools.

For more information on this facility or on classes and programs, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

A Healthy Way to Start the Day

Join thousands of students, parents and community members throughout Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, October 5.

International Walk to School Day brings community leaders and children together to promote more walkable communities, safer streets, healthier habits and cleaner air. For those who live too far from school to walk, drive part of the distance, park and walk the rest of the way.

For more information about Walk to School Day or organizing an event at your child's school, contact Nadji Kirby, 240-777-7169, email nadji.kirby@montgomerycountymd.gov, or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/saferoutestoschool.

How the Changing Face of Montgomery Impacts Local Government's Service Delivery

Anyone who has lived in Montgomery County for any length of time realizes the face of the community is changing in many ways. Basically, we know how these changes affect us personally, but do any of us stop and consider how our local government is affected?

A recent power point presentation to the County's Quarterly Leadership Forum entitled "The Impact of Changing Demographics on Service Delivery in Montgomery County" shows in charts, graphs, tables and text how the County looks today and will look in the future. It is a bellwether for the County and a basic guideline for elected officials and administrators as they plan appropriate programs and services.

The Quarterly Leadership Forum provides an opportunity for discussion and professional development among County managers, the County Executive and the Chief Administrative Officer.

County Cable Montgomery's New "No Boundaries" Show Features Local Leaders

Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin and Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker are both from military families. They are also both originally from the southern parts of the U.S. Both are now influential leaders in Maryland.

In the second episode of County Cable Montgomery's (CCM) new show, "No Boundaries," Ervin and Baker talk about how their upbringings led them to devote their lives to public service, why they share a passion for improving education opportunities and the importance of their two counties working together on key issues.

The 30-minute show is broadcast on CCM on Sundays at 1:30 p.m., Wednesdays at 9 p.m. and Saturdays at 6 p.m. throughout September and October.

County Cable Montgomery (CCM) -- Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon -- created the show to allow local leaders to express their views in an informal atmosphere.

A New Website Address -- and More -- for the Volunteer Center

The County's Volunteer Center website has a new address, www.montgomeryserves.org, a new look and some new features.

New to the site are:

  • A Share Your Story feature that invites volunteers to relate their experiences with a paragraph and a photo that tell how they are making an impact in our community. Stories will be displayed throughout the website; and
  • A Volunteer Toolkits site that provides step-by-step instructions about how to plan and lead a volunteer project from the participants' experience.

The center's online database also has a new look. You can still search by location, interest area or organization to find opportunities that interest you. Volunteer accounts were not moved to the new database. If you used to log on to the old system to express interest in opportunities, you still can, you just need to create a new account on the new database. Create a new account or start searching.

Organizations already registered with the Volunteer Center that are wondering how these new changes can benefit them are invited to attend the upcoming October information session to learn more about how to use the new database and other features of the website. See the Orientation schedule for details.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Volunteer , Library
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

Falls Prevention Education Programs for Seniors

Activities are scheduled in October to highlight falls prevention education for seniors.

 "Falls are the leading cause of injury-related emergency room visits and hospital admissions for Marylanders over the age of 65 -- but are highly preventable," said Odile Saddi, director of the County's Area Agency on Aging. In 2010, there were 3,294 calls to 9-1-1 attributed to falls by individuals over the age of 60. Nearly 2,100 of the falls were by individuals over the age of 80.

Upcoming falls prevention activities are listed below.

  • October 3: Holy Cross Hospital Senior Source: Better Balance Exercise Classes. Call 301-754-8800.
  • October 4: New Bone Builders exercise class to increase bone density, strength and balance begins at Wisconsin Place Community Center. Call 240-777-1350.
  • October 31-December 5: OASIS offers Free From Falls. Call 301-469-6800, extension 211.
  • Jewish Community Center's ACE program focusing on Science and Technology will feature aging-in-place expert Louis Tenenbaum on falls prevention. Call 301-348-3864.

For information from the National Institutes on Health related to decreasing the risk of falls, go to http://nihseniorhealth.gov/ and search for "Falls and Older Adults."

Going to The Fillmore? MCDOT Recommends Transit and Parking Options

The Fillmore, the County's newest music venue in downtown Silver Spring, opened earlier tin September. To help patrons attending shows and events, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has offered tips on getting there and/or where to park:

Take Transit. The Fillmore is an easy walk from the Silver Spring Metro station. Metro operates until midnight on weekdays and to 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. There are also several Metrobus and Ride On bus routes that serve the area. Check transit options on the County's website.

Drive. For those who choose to drive, MCDOT recommends using the Spring Street/Cameron Street garage located at 1800 Cameron Street. With more than 1,300 spaces, this garage is generally less congested than some of the other parking garages and lots in the area and is just a short stroll from The Fillmore's front door. Parking is free after 7 p.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday. Get more information about parking options on the County's website.

New Online Newsletter for Upcounty Residents

To help keep upcounty residents informed about happenings in their area, the Upcounty Regional Office is producing a weekly online newsletter. Entitled "Upcounty Today," the newsletter features photos and short articles on community events, programs and news from Montgomery County of interest to local residents.

To make sure you receive the newsletter on a regular basis, subscribe by going to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/esubscription.

Questions and/or comments may be sent to upcounty.citizen@montgomerycountymd.gov or call Cathy Matthews, regional director of the Upcounty Regional Office at 240-777-8040.

County Executive's New Appointments

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced two appointments that have been confirmed by the County Council.

Department of Permitting Services

Diane Schwartz-Jones has been selected to serve as Director of the Department of Permitting Services. In her current position as Assistant Chief Administrative Officer (ACAO), Schwartz-Jones has made significant contributions to land-use, planning and development-related decisions and activities in the County. Her experience and expertise will help assure that the Department of Permitting Services remains a partner in the regulation of growth and development of the County.

Office of the County Executive

Ramona Bell-Pearson was chosen to fill the ACAO vacancy created by the appointment of Diane Schwartz-Jones. Bell-Pearson began her career with the County in the Office of the County Attorney in 1990. She has been working as a senior manager in the Department of Health and Human Services, where she handled quasi-legal and administrative matters pertaining to policy, confidentiality and risk matters.

This transition is expected to take place by the end of September.

Damascus Welcomes New Woodfield Rd. Extension

Some new critical traffic congestion relief and improved traffic safety measures came to upper Montgomery County with the recent opening of the 3,400-foot extension of Woodfield Rd. from north of Main St. (Maryland Route 108) to Ridge Rd. (Maryland Route 27).

A separate eight-foot wide bikeway/shared use path was built along Woodfield Rd. Extended and along Ridge Rd. Environmental features include construction of six acres of offsite reforestation area, 1.3 acres of offsite wetlands and three storm water management facilities. The project also includes traffic signals, streetlights, crosswalks, bus stops and Americans with Disabilities Act ramps to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists.

Learn more about the extension.

Officials Unveil Pedestrian, Traffic Safety Improvements on Castle Blvd.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro recently joined community members to celebrate pedestrian and traffic safety improvements installed by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) along Castle Blvd. from Briggs Chaney Rd. to Castle Terr.

The traffic calming measures installed included new concrete bump-outs and pedestrian refuge islands; modified curbs, gutters and sidewalks to ensure compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act standards; relocated bus stops to improve safety for transit users; enhanced crossings at bus stops; new traffic signs and pavement markings; and additional minor roadway repairs. Engineers ensured that the traffic calming design would not impede biking.

Read more about the project.

"Be a Time Traveler" in Montgomery County

The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has produced a new guide to local heritage sites – "Be a Time Traveler! Discover Montgomery County, Maryland." The 25-page brochure features 29 locations, all with unique stories to tell about the area's rich history.

In addition to photos, contact information and descriptions for the sites, each listing in the brochure also includes a QR (Quick Response) code. By using a QR code reader app that can be downloaded free-of-charge onto a smartphone, users can scan the codes in the brochure and be connected directly to the site's webpage. In addition to having more detailed information available at a traveler's fingertips, the brochure and QR codes provide visitors with information on destinations that are unstaffed or not staffed full time.

To see the brochure, visit HeritageMontgomery.org. Paper copies are available from the Heritage Montgomery office (12515 Milestone Manor La., Germantown MD 20876; 301-515-0753) or at heritage sites around the County.

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Seeks Volunteers

Montgomery County's Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking individuals interested in helping to enhance the quality of life for nursing home residents as long-term care advocates with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Volunteers make regular visits to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities at convenient locations throughout Montgomery County.

The intensive orientation program for volunteer candidates is a comprehensive training focused on promoting resident rights in nursing home and assisted living systems. The orientation will be held Monday, October 10 through Friday, October 14 at Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton. The course is held daily from 9 am. to 3 p.m. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

To learn more, contact Eileen Bennett at eileen.bennett@Montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-1067.

Montgomery's Help Allows State to Accelerate Construction on Intersection Improvements

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA), in partnership with Montgomery County's Department of Transportation (MCDOT), recently began a series of intersection improvements on state roads.

MCDOT is helping to fund these enhancements to reduce traffic congestion at selected bottlenecks and improve vehicular and pedestrian safety, because state roads carry the heaviest traffic volumes in the County. The County's 50 percent contribution of $3.2 million for the design, right-of-way acquisition and construction costs of these projects has allowed the improvements to move forward more quickly.

The intersection improvements are part of a list of priority transportation projects developed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council. Funding was approved by the County Council as part of the County's project for State Transportation Participation that began in fiscal year 2007.

Seven of the 10 projects are currently under construction.

See the complete list of projects with current status.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Seniors , Transportation , County Executive
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 2:30:00 AM |


County Police Officer Medals at World Police & Fire Games in New York

Officer Sherif Almigabber, a seven-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police Department, not only competed in the 2011 World Police & Fire Games (WPFG) held recently in New York City, he came home with medals.

Officer Almigabber competed in free style wrestling and Greco-Roman wrestling and earned a silver medal in each event, an accomplishment magnified by the fact that, due to a prior injury, he was able to train for only one month prior to the Games.

He attributes much of his success to fellow officer, David Kovecar, a five-year veteran of the police department, who provided a training facility and served as a training partner prior to the Games.

The WPFG are a biennial athletic event open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the world. The Games are currently the second largest multi-sport event in the world, surpassed only by the Summer Olympics.

Washingtonian Names Council President Ervin one of "Washington's 100 Most Powerful Women"

Montgomery County Council President Valerie Ervin has been named one of "Washington's 100 Most Powerful Women" by Washingtonian magazine, joining an impressive region-wide list that includes Supreme Court justices, members of Congress and some of the area's top government and business leaders

The magazine said Council President Ervin, in leading the Council since December, "has steered the body through rough budget waters, including taking on public-employee unions."

Ervin said of the recognition: "The Washington Region is blessed with women from all walks of life who are instrumental in shaping this area and the nation. I am honored to be among a group of such accomplished women and appreciate the recognition from the Washingtonian."

The article on Washington's 100 Most Powerful Women appears in the October issue of the Washingtonian.

Read more about Ervin and her selection.

Silver Spring Civic Building Rakes in the Awards

The new Civic Building at Veteran's Plaza in downtown Silver Spring has been open for just 14 months but has already earned its share of recognition from the building industry.

The building received a Gold Award from Building Design + Construction magazine in its 2011 Building Team Awards program. The annual awards "recognize newly built projects that best exemplify the collaboration between owner, architect, engineer, and contractor to produce buildings that exhibit architectural and construction excellence."

See more details.

In addition, the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) of Metro Washington selected the Civic Building to receive an "Excellence in Construction Award" in the C2 Institutional Category ($10-$30m).

The Civic Building at Veterans Plaza also was recently selected as the Public Building of the Year in AIA Maryland's 2011 Design Awards Competition.

Small Press Expo Donates Graphic Novels to Montgomery County Libraries' Collection

Montgomery County Public Libraries' (MCPL) collection of graphic novels (works of fiction and non-fiction that are presented through art works) for all ages grew by more than 230 copies thanks to a donation by the Bethesda-based Small Press Expo (SPX).

The copies were presented at the Rockville Memorial Library by Warren Bernard, executive director of the Small Press Expo to MCPL Director Parker Hamilton who accepted on behalf of the system.

The Small Press Expo is an alternative comics convention held every September or October in Bethesda. It is one of the premiere conventions for alternative comic creators and fans. The SPX was founded in 1994 by a group of Washington-Baltimore area retailers to promote diversity in the comics marketplace.

Read more.

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Wednesday, October 5 –Fraud Prevention Workshop for Seniors. Would you recognize fraud if it happened to you? Join Deborah Zuckerman from the Montgomery County State’s Attorney Office, along with Ralph Vines from the County’s Office of Consumer Protection, at a Conversation and Lunch with the Experts at Riderwood Village. The event will be held from 10 a.m. to noon in the Performance Hall at 3150 Gracefield Road in Silver Spring. The event is free, but reservations are required. Call 240-777-1262 or 240-777-4575 (TTY) to attend.

Wednesday, October 5 – "Snapshot: One Day in the Life of Montgomery County Public Libraries." Public Libraries throughout the County will compile statistics, comments from customers, photographs and other data chronicling a typical library day. The results collected from all areas of the state will be combined to show how libraries provide invaluable services to their respective communities. Special activities will include VIP Read activities at the Bethesda, Germantown, Little Falls, Long Branch, Potomac, Rockville Memorial and Twinbrook libraries. Visit your local library and share your comments on why libraries are important to you and your family. For more information, visit http://www.mdlib.org/snapshot.

Tuesday, October 11 -- "Snapshot: Capture…Connect…Create." A free event celebrating Maryland Disability History and Awareness Month and National Disability Employment Awareness Month. 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Pl. Remarks by Cathy Raggio, secretary of Maryland's Department of Disabilities; plus, presentations on Maryland's Senior Health Insurance Program and a hot topics panel discussion. A resource area will feature information on employment, housing and transportation options. To register, call 240-777-1262 or 240-777-4575 (TTY).

POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

9/11 Community Remembrance Video

POSTED: Friday, September 09, 2011 | 3:34:00 PM |

September 11, 2001: Montgomery County Remembers

Community Remembrance, September 9

The public is invited to attend a “September 11 Community Remembrance” ceremony on Friday, September 9 at 12:30 p.m. in Courthouse Square Park in Rockville. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, and the ceremony is planned as a time for remembrance and tribute to the victims, their families, emergency responders and members of the military.

Local elected officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, County Council President Valerie Ervin and Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, will participate in the program that will include remarks by a family member of one of the Montgomery County victims.

Musical selections by the Montgomery County Police Gospel Choir will complete the program. Members of Montgomery County’s Fire and Rescue Services (MCFRS) and the Montgomery County and City of Rockville Police will also participate. The MCFRS Pipe and Drum Corps will perform.

For more information about the memorial park or the ceremony, call Judy Stiles in the Department of Recreation at 240-777-6875.

Interfaith Prayer Service, September 11

An interfaith prayer service will be held on Sunday, September 11 at 3 p.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Church of Rockville, 100 Welsh Park Dr. The service is open to the public and to all faith groups, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples, as well as secular groups.

 For more information about the interfaith prayer service, call Rev. Lynn Strauss at 301-762-7666.

Germantown Remembers…, September 12

“Germantown Remembers … A Commemoration of 9/11” will be held from noon to 12:30 p.m. at BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr.

The program will feature remarks by County Executive Ike Leggett and Ground Zero survivor Peter Ahearn.

The National Anthem will be performed by the Seneca Valley High School Chamber Choir, under the direction of Michelle A. Searle. The colors will be presented by the Montgomery County Police (MCPD), Sheriff’s Office, Department of Correction and Rehabilitation, and Fire Rescue Service color guard. The Invocation will be presented by MCPD Volunteer Chaplain Sean Libby and other faith leaders of the community.

CATEGORIES: News , Calendar
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

Local Jazz Star to Headline Silver Spring Jazz Festival


In case you’ve been wrapped up with earthquakes and hurricanes recently and missed the news, jazz keyboardist and Silver Spring resident Marcus Johnson will headline this year’s all-star jazz line-up at the eighth annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival to be held Saturday, September 10, from 3:30 to 9 p.m., at Veterans Plaza at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place (at the corner of Ellsworth Drive and Fenton Street).

The free, outdoor program that attracted thousands of music lovers last year will also feature Project Natale, Sheila Ross and La Leyenda. Johnson will perform with special guest “Juris” featuring Young Pulse.

A talented jazz keyboardist and composer who performs a blend of contemporary jazz stylings and hip-hop rhythms, Johnson describes his music as “instrumental R&B with a D.C. bounce.”   He launched the highly successful Three Keys record label and has released four albums.

Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation – the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line) is two blocks away – and to bring a blanket and/or beach chair. Food vendors will be available onsite. Free parking is available in public parking garages in downtown Silver Spring.

In addition to the Wayne Avenue and Town Center garages, attendees should check other public parking garages in Silver Spring that may be less crowded, including Garage 2 at Spring and Cameron sts; Garage 4 at Fenton St. and Silver Spring Ave.; Garage 21 at Spring St. and Colesville Rd.; and Garage 5 at Bonifant St. and Dixon Ave.

The Silver Spring Jazz Festival is presented by the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation and Montgomery County Recreation.

For more information, call 240-777-6821.

POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

Police Announce Arrests in Germantown Mass Theft; Leggett Submits Amendments to Enhance Curfew Bill

On August 13 at 1:47 a.m., 25 subjects simultaneously entered the 7-Eleven on Wisteria Dr. in Germantown and stole items, including snacks and drinks. The subjects remained in the store for approximately one minute before exiting as a group. Several of the subjects had covered their faces with various items of clothing.  

Following this incident, the surveillance video depicting the event was posted on You Tube to solicit public assistance in identifying the suspects. Additionally, 5th District Commander Luther Reynolds assigned several detectives, as well as a school resource officer, to investigate this theft.

In conjunction with the community, school officials and department personnel, detectives were able to positively identify 18 participants in this incident. Of those identified, 14 are juveniles and three are adults. One individual was not charged because it was determined that they had inadvertently entered the store while the theft was occurring. State’s Attorney John McCarthy stated the identified participants will be charged including theft under $1,000, conspiracy to commit theft under $1,000, and disorderly conduct. 

The identities of the additional individuals involved in the incident are still being investigated.

Commenting on the mass theft, County Executive Ike Leggett said, “This incident which occurred in the early morning hours clearly illustrates why my proposed overnight curfew for juveniles under 18 years of age could enhance public safety throughout the County.”

Within days of the announcement of the arrests, Leggett sent to the County Council a number of amendments “to clarify the intent of the bill and the manner in which it would be implemented.” The Executive said the amendments were based on testimony provided at the public hearing and feedback he had received from the State’s Attorney and other County residents.

Among the amendments proposed are:

  • designating a civil citation
  • removing requirement for parental penalty
  • clarifying the definition of an “emergency” and
  • expanding the list of affirmative defenses

Read the entire list of amendments.  Or go to the Proposed Youth Curfew website found on the County’s homepage at www.montgomerycountymd.gov for other information and comments.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 1

Hear Ye! Hear Ye! Executive to Host Town Hall Meeting in Bethesda

County Executive Ike Leggett will host a Town Hall Meeting in the Bethesda area on Wednesday, September 21 at 7:30 p.m. at Westland Middle School, 5511 Massachusetts Ave. The free meeting is designed to give residents an opportunity to present issues of concern directly to the Executive. County Cable Montgomery (the County government channel that is channel 6 on the Comcast and RCN cable systems and channel 30 on Verizon) will videotape the meeting for future airing.

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.

For more information about the town meeting or the cable television program schedule, call 240-777-6507.

Hiring Contractors to Make Post-Quake/Storm Home Repairs: Proceed with Caution

The Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warns County residents to be cautious when hiring contractors to repair damage caused by the recent earthquake and hurricane. Consumers should do their homework before signing a contract for any home repair or improvement, or tree service work.

The Office of Consumer Protection offers the following advice to homeowners:

  • Don’t panic and hire someone because they are the only company that can come out right away. Make sure the home improvement contractor is licensed with the Maryland Home Improvement Commission (MHIC).  Call 410-230-6309 or check online at the State Dept. of  Labor, Licensing and Regulation.
  • For tree service or removal, check to see if the business is a licensed tree expert with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Forestry Division at 410-260-8521 or online at www.dnr.maryland.gov.
  • Get estimates from three contractors.
  • State law prohibits home improvement contractors from collecting more than one-third of the contract amount as a deposit
  • Check the contractors’ complaint records with the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or online at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer and the Better Business Bureau at 202-393-8000 or online at www.dc.bbb.org, and with the MHIC and DNR.

For more information, call 240-777-3636 or visit OCP’s website at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.

Try It, You Might Like It: Go Car-Free on September 22  

Join others throughout the Washington region and worldwide in celebrating Car-Free Day on September 22 this year. 

Last year, about 7,000 people took the pledge to go Car-Free or Car-Lite and contributed to improving the region’s air quality and reducing their carbon footprint.  Pledge today to go car-free on September 22, and enjoy a chance to win great prizes, including an iPad and a bicycle. 

Montgomery County’s Commuter Services can assist employers in organizing Car-Free Day events, as well as help individual commuters find new ways to get to work. Email Commuter Services for assistance. 

Figures Show Pedestrian Safety Initiative is Working

Data recently presented by the Transportation and Police departments to CountyStat indicate that -- thanks to County Executive Ike Leggett’s Pedestrian Safety Initiative -- pedestrian collisions and the severity of collisions are heading downward. The initiative was released in December 2007.

One of the biggest successes of the Initiative has been the Safe Routes to School program where engineering improvements, bolstered by education and enforcement actions, at more than 50 schools have reduced pedestrian collisions by about 78 percent when comparing collision statistics from three years before the improvements with the time period after the improvements.

A key strategy of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative is also to target engineering, education and enforcement activities on County roadways with the highest number of pedestrian collisions, or the High Incidence Areas (HIAs). Since the first HIA safety audit was conducted in 2008, HIA collisions, as a percent of total pedestrian collisions in the County, have decreased from 10 percent to four percent in 2010.

CountyStat conducts periodic reviews of the components of the Pedestrian Safety Initiative that have played a critical and valuable role in the program to ensure that effective strategies are being employed to improve pedestrian safety.

The full CountyStat presentation is available on the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/countystat. For more information, contact CountyStat Manager Chris Cihlar at 240-777-2627 or chris.cihlar@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Bring Some Good Luck to a Black Cat

Did you know: Black cats are the least likely to be adopted in a shelter due to undeserved myths.

The Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS) wants to change that!

So throughout September, the society is WAIVING ADOPTION FEES for the lucky adopters of a solid black cat or kitten over six months old from the MCHS shelter or in foster care.

Adoption applications must be completed in person. Bring a valid driver’s license, proof of rabies shots for other pets in the home, landlord’s name and phone number if applicable and veterinary reference. Montgomery County applicants take priority over others. Youths under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian. For more details about adoption, click here.

Is Bus Rapid Transit the Ride of the Future in Montgomery County?

Last year, the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) began a study to identify key transportation corridors in the County that could accommodate bus rapid transit (BRT) service -- a more predictable, streamlined bus service similar to light rail but with a lower cost. 

The study recommends developing bus rapid transit along 16 corridors, totaling 150 miles.  Passengers would pay in advance and enter low-floor buses directly through multiple doors -- no steps or lifts.  Buses would arrive at stations every 10 minutes or less, preferably operating in the median of major roads such as Veirs Mill Rd., Georgia Ave. and Randolph Rd. 

Next comes further discussions with neighboring agencies, jurisdictions and the general public.

For a copy of the bus rapid transit study, visit MCDOT’s website

Spanish-speaking Election Judges Sought

Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking individuals with Spanish speaking fluency to serve as election judges at polling places on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, April 3, 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 in taking a leadership position in your community on Election Day, 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.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , County Executive , Community Forum , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

County Program Helps Residents Improve Energy Efficiency of Their Homes

Owner occupants of single-family homes and condominiums in the County who make new energy efficiency improvements may receive incentives up to $3,000 under the recently launched Residential Energy Efficiency Rebate Program. Eligible improvements include air sealing, insulation, heating and cooling, geothermal heat pumps, solar water heating and appliances.

The $1.1 million program is made possible by a U.S Dept. of Energy grant with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA).

The rebate program has been designed to work in concert with other sources of incentives available from Pepco, BG&E, Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power) and the Maryland Energy Administration Programs, as well as federal tax credits. Participants may also be able to take advantage of financing programs offered by the Maryland Clean Energy Center’s Home Energy Loan Program.

To apply for the new residential rebate, consumers must have a completed energy audit and a scope of work from a professional installer. Learn more about the program and apply online at the County’s energy funding website at www.mcenergyfunding.com.

Applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. The site also will provide information about the availability of consumer workshops as they are scheduled where consumers can learn more about the rebates and the application process

The residential rebate is part of a package of programs developed under the County’s ARRA grant. Other efforts will retrofit commercial, multi-family and public buildings, train workers in new, green skills, and provide public education and outreach.

For more information on these and other programs, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep.

Back to School = Safe Drivers + Safe Kids

With Montgomery County Schools now open, Police Chief J. Thomas Manger, along with the officers of the Montgomery County Police Department, are encouraging all community members to continue to make the safety of our children a top priority. 

To help reduce speeding in school zones, the Automated Traffic Enforcement Unit has deployed a fleet of mobile speed-camera vans rotating between schools from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.  This is in addition to the 21 fixed speed camera sites already in place in school zones across the County.

Students riding bicycles to school are reminded that they must follow all traffic rules and signs, i.e. stop signs and traffic lights.  By law, all children under the age of 18 must wear a bicycle helmet when riding or being carried on a bicycle while riding on a public street, right-of-way, or on a bicycle path. 

Many students will be riding buses to school, and all drivers are strongly reminded that they are required to stop at least 20 feet from school buses that are stopped with flashing red lights.  It is also recommended that adults accompany young children to bus stops, and remain with them until the bus arrives.

See more tips and information for drivers, parents and students.

Seniors Can Get Organized and Stay Fit with New Classes at Schweinhaut Center

Montgomery County’s Schweinhaut Senior Center at 1000 Forest Glen Rd. in Silver Spring is offering two new classes to help seniors get organized and stay fit.

On Thursday, September 22 at 1 p.m., a workshop led by professional organizer and productivity consultant Marcie Lovett, author of “The Clutter Book: When You Can’t Let Go,” will teach strategies for managing paperwork and keeping track of important papers. The class will demonstrate what should be kept and what can be tossed. The registration fee is $2 and pre-registration is suggested. Call 240-777-8085.

On Thursday, September 8 at 10:30 a.m., a Zumba Gold demonstration will be offered, utilizing the same Latin dance and music styles of basic Zumba, just not as fast-paced.

On Thursday, October 6 at 10:30 a.m. a seven-session Zumba Gold class will begin. The program is designed for older, active adults, as well as senior adults who haven’t exercised in a long time. Pre-registration is required, and the fee for the seven-week class is $56.   To register, call 240-777-8085 or visit the Schweinhaut Center.

Revamped BRAC Website Provides Traffic Updates and Commuter Information

Montgomery County has redesigned its Base Realignment and Closure BRAC website to provide helpful transportation, traffic and other information to residents and employees traveling to or through Bethesda.

The closure of Walter Reed Army Medical Center means that more than 2,500 new jobs are being relocated to the campus of the National Naval Medical Center and visits are expected to double to nearly one million a year. 

Montgomery County has worked closely with the State of Maryland since the relocation was announced -- and with a very engaged Bethesda community -- to devise plans to address the oncoming impact.

A Card that Opens Many Doors

September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, and the American Library Association and Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) want to make sure that all children, teens and adults in Montgomery County have the smartest card of all – a library card.

Customers with library cards can access books and magazines, DVDs, electronic books, test preparation materials, job hunting resources and electronic databases, and use the library computers with free Internet access – an especially important resource for families without Internet access at home.

For more information on how to sign up for a library card, visit any Montgomery County public library, call Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001 or visit the library online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library

Benefit to Honor County’s Family Justice Center

Since it opened in 2009, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center in Rockville has served nearly 3,000 people from more than 100 countries of origin. The facility houses everything from pro bono legal support and law enforcement to emergency services, counseling and help with obtaining protective orders. Before the Center’s existence, victims would be referred to as many as 20 different agencies in separate locations throughout the County.

On Sunday October 2, the Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation will hold its 2nd annual Benefit at the Hilton Rockville, 1750 Rockville Pike, to support the vital work of the center which -- as part of an international network of more than 60 family-friendly centers -- provides victims of domestic violence and their children essential services all under one roof -- from care to court -- free of charge.

The event, chaired by Catherine Leggett, will honor the following award recipients:

Judge Katie O’Malley (Forerunner Award recipient) a former prosecutor who handled countless domestic violence and child sexual and physical abuse cases. She is currently Associate Judge of the District Court of Baltimore City and Maryland’s First Lady.

Judge Marielsa Bernard (Inspiring Leader Award recipient), an Associate Judge in the Circuit Court of Montgomery County. She chaired the Montgomery County Domestic Violence Coordinating Council from 2006-2009, guided its development and remains actively involved.

Judith Clark (Marilyn J. Praisner Founders Award recipient), founder and executive director of Women Who Care Ministries, a nonprofit organization that helps people in need through program areas including domestic violence; individuals overcoming homelessness and substance abuse; life skills workshops; and a girls mentoring group, among others.

GEICO Philanthropic Foundation (Corporate Legacy Award Recipient) is a committed community partner in Montgomery County and has an ongoing relationship of support and understanding for the needs of the Montgomery County Family Justice Center.

Mrs. Leggett also will announce the naming of the Family Room at the Family Justice Center as a tribute to the late Judge James Stephen McAuliffe Jr. and his commitment to reducing domestic violence.

For information about Benefit sponsorships, Benefit tickets, or ongoing contributions, e-mail mcfjcfoundation@yahoo.com, visit the Foundation’s website at www.mcfjcfoundation.org or contact Resa Levy, Foundation Executive Director, at 301-509-6832.

Customer Service Report Launched by Office of Cable and Broadband Services

The first edition of the County’s Office of Cable and Broadband Services e-report to customers has been launched. The online report allows the office to share data in a user-friendly format, highlight key developments and provide links to other items of interest.

The report is best viewed with Google Chrome, Explorer 8+, Firefox3.6+, or Safari 4+.

Download a printer friendly version of the complete report

Also, refer to the Report Glossary.

Feedback is invited. If there are questions about the statistics found within the report, contact Margie Williams, Franchise manager, at 240-777-3762 or email Marjorie.Williams@montgomerycountymd.gov.

To join the distribution list, provide feedback, or to request more information, e-mail cable.broadband@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Transportation , Seniors , BRAC , Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Sheriff’s Office K-9s to Benefit from Steelers Quarterback’s Foundation

Pittsburgh Steelers’ Super Bowl Champion Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger announced the first grant of the 2011 season from the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation at The Giving Back Fund has been awarded to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office

The Sheriff’s Office will use the grant to purchase four “K-9 Storm” bullet-proof vests to help protect the department’s four highly specialized canine teams. All members of the Sheriff’s Office K-9 Unit are trained as dual purpose K-9s for the detection of explosives as well as patrol functions.

 See our K9 stars and their officers.

County Sheriff Darren M. Popkin said, "The Ben Roethlisberger Foundation program recognizes the importance of well-trained K-9 teams as part of our overall law enforcement efforts. Montgomery County Sheriff's Office K-9 dogs are cross trained for search, patrol and explosive detection duties. The grant funds will provide our dogs with vests that protect them from attacks with firearms and knifes while engaged in their duties."

The foundation is distributing grants to police and fire departments in Pittsburgh and in the cities and surrounding communities of each regular season away game for the Steelers in the 2011 season. Police and fire departments in the nine away-game cities were invited to submit proposals detailing their needs. The Steelers play the Ravens in Baltimore on Sunday, September 11.

For more information about the Ben Roethlisberger Foundation or The Giving Back Fund visit www.bigben7.com or www.givingback.org.

Patch.com Lists Montgomery County Public Libraries’ Volunteers and Staff as One of its “Picks”

Citing people who help make Rockville great in a recent edition, Patch.com  (Rockville) included the volunteers and staff of the Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). In a nod to MCPL’s 60th anniversary celebration, the write-up said, in part: “County libraries offer thousands of books that can be borrowed by county residents with a free library card. They also offer a quiet study environment, children's story hours, meet-the-author events and other free programs.”

 Check out the full writeup.

The Senior Connection Recognized for Expanded Service Delivery

The Senior Connection, a nonprofit agency that helps adults age 62 and over live independently in Montgomery County, has been recognized for the second time by the "2011-12 Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington" for its efforts that expanded service delivery by 37 percent over the past year and now assists seniors in Gaithersburg and Germantown.

Based in the Holiday Park Senior Center on 3950 Ferrara Dr. in Silver Spring, the agency helps senior adults live independently by connecting them with volunteers who provide free transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, social visits and other basic support needs.

Read more about the Senior Connection’s honor.

CATEGORIES: News , Senior , Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Wednesday, September 21 – Thanksgiving Parade Community Meeting. Residents and businesses are invited to attend and hear about volunteer opportunities, marketing opportunities for local businesses and how to participate in the parade.  All questions welcome. 7-9 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building, at the corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.

POSTED: Thursday, September 08, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010