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Think Green for the New Year: the County’s Reusable Bag Law is Coming

The County’s new carryout bag law outreach campaign


Bob Hoyt holding plastic bag litter.

The public outreach campaign for the County’s new carryout bag law, which will take effect January 1, 2012, was officially launched recently by County Executive Ike Leggett at Westfield Montgomery in Bethesda.

Under the law passed in early May, all retail establishments in the County are required to collect a five-cent charge on each paper or plastic carryout bag they provide to customers at the point of sale, pickup or delivery. Retailers will receive a one-cent rebate on each paper or plastic bag to help cover administrative costs.

Joining Leggett at the kickoff were County Council Vice President Roger Berliner and Bob Hoyt, director of the County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) who showed a sample of a plastic bag recovered from a local stream, and a number of both public- and private-sector partners who have agreed to help get the word out to Montgomery County residents and shoppers.

“We owe an enormous debt of gratitude to all our retail and community partners who have signed on to help educate residents and shoppers about the law,” Leggett said. “Reaching nearly one million residents and countless visitors who shop in Montgomery County is a daunting task. But many have stepped up and said, ‘We want to help and here’s what we can do.’”

Partners for the outreach campaign are: Audubon Naturalist Society, Barwood Taxi, Bethesda Green, Comcast, Discovery Communications, Giant, Green Wheaton, Identity, IMPACT Silver Spring, Johns Hopkins, Little Falls Watershed Alliance, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Coalition for the Homeless, Muddy Branch Alliance, Neighbors of Northwest Branch, North Bethesda Neighborhoods and the Montgomery County Civic Federation. Also, Poolesville Green, Rock Creek Conservancy, Rockville Chamber of Commerce, Roots Market and Bark, Safeway Inc.- Eastern Division, Shoppers Food Warehouse Corp., Silver Spring Green, Surfrider Foundation DC, Universities at Shady Grove, Walmart, Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, Westfield, LLC and Whole Foods Market.

For more information about the law – for residents and retailers – plus, downloadable materials for businesses and community organizations, the campaign’s public service announcement, a list of the partners' logos, a schedule of upcoming free webinars for retailers and a community presentation, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/bag.

Also, follow us on Twitter @BringYourBagMC and on Facebook from www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Or, view the 30-second public service announcement.


CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:25:00 PM |

New Online Service for Pickup of Bulk Trash and Scrap Metal:

Leggett Announces New Online Service for Pickup of Bulk Trash and Scrap Metal

A new online service for residents who want to request and schedule pickups of bulk trash and scrap metal is now available. By logging on to www.mc311.com individuals can create a service request 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Joining County Executive Ike Leggett at the announcement were Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt (center in photo) and County Councilmember Hans Riemer.

“Since the County’s MC311 call center opened last year, calls requesting bulk trash and scrap metal pickup have consistently topped the list. More than 39,000 calls requesting these services have been received since January of this year,” said Leggett. “With the new online service, residents can create and submit a service request any day of the week, day or night.”

Residential properties receiving County-provided trash services are entitled to five bulk collections per calendar year for certain types of miscellaneous and/or bulky household trash. Bulk collections must be scheduled in advance with the County by the owner or resident of the property. Among the items included in bulk trash are furniture, rugs, box springs, mattresses, non-metal trash cans and sinks, large toys, bath tubs, laundry trays, shower stalls and toilet bowls. Residents outside of the solid waste district who have private trash service must contact their collection company or homeowner/community association for bulk trash removal.

Residents requesting a bulk trash or scrap metal collection should schedule a pickup before 11 a.m. one business day prior to their regular recycling collection day.

Both bulk trash and scrap metal pickups may be scheduled online at www.mc311.com or by calling 311.

Read more about scrap metal.

CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 10:20:00 PM |

Ground Broken for Leggett’s First “Smart Growth Initiative” Construction Project

Smart Growth Initiative Construction Project

With the turn of a shovel, County Executive Ike Leggett (center in photo) saw the first of his Smart Growth Initiative (SGI) construction projects -- that will eventually revitalize an old industrial area by creating an urban village near the Shady Grove Metro – take a major step toward becoming a reality.

The $36.7 million Equipment and Maintenance Operations Center (EMOC) project is a collection of 13 buildings that will serve the Department of Transportation’s divisions of Transit Services and Highway Services and the Department of General Services, plus provide a Day Labor Center.

The facilities include administrative buildings; bus parking for 200 buses; bus service lanes; bus wash facility; fare collection area; bus service maintenance bays; parts room; heavy equipment storage shed; soil/gravel storage area; Highway Services bays; compressed natural gas fast-fill, gasoline and diesel fueling stations; and employee and visitor parking.

EMOC’s environmentally-sensitive design increases the size of existing facilities within a smaller footprint by using multi-story buildings. Many acres of green space provide for stream buffer protection and forest conservation. The overall project is designed to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold certification by incorporating innovative features. A pilot project, which is the first in the State of Maryland, will reclaim, treat and reuse rainwater for toilet flushing and bus washing, reducing water use by 80 percent. Seventy-five percent of the building roofs, more than four acres, will have green roofs to decrease stormwater runoff.

Leggett’s SGI is a cost-neutral strategy that will provide substantial economic opportunities for future growth while implementing the goals of the Shady Grove Sector Plan.

See more details.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Environmental
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:40:00 PM |

A Close Call on a Windy Day

The 2011 President’s Day weekend will be remembered by many in western Montgomery County not for the Monday holiday or the predicted snowfall Monday night. Instead it was raging winds feeding wildfires that spread across 500 acres of land on Saturday the 19th.

With assistance from firefighters in neighboring jurisdictions, over 300 Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service personnel worked through the day and into the evening to contain the blaze from spreading. Over 70 structures were directly threatened by the blaze and firefighters worked tirelessly to keep the fire from spreading to occupied structures. Eight firefighters sustained minor injuries, but there was no loss of life.

County Executive Ike Leggett viewed the damage with DFRS officials from a helicopter.

The photos show ground-level and aerial perspectives of the extensive nature of the fire and just how close a call it was for some residents.The aerial photo shows the Green Meadow - Colton Lane area and the ground level shot was taken in the Indian Grass Drive neighborhood. DFRS photos.

See more Germantown Brush Fire photos from February 19 and 20.

CATEGORIES: Public Safety , Environmental
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 7:45:00 AM |


Leggett Announces “Safety & Health” Provisions for New County Construction Contracts

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that all solicitations for County construction contracts are factoring in company records on employee safety and health – and the existence of strong workplace safety programs.

This means that contractors seeking to be qualified to construct County facilities will lose “points” for inadequate safety and health results or for the lack of strong health and safety prevention programs.

In addition, Leggett rolled out a new County website -- http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/workersafety -- to provide informationm tothose working in the County about workplace safety and health, as well as information and forms necessary to lodge complaints with the Maryland Office on Safety and Health (MOSH).

The Executive also appointed an ongoing Commission on Workers Safety and Health to advise him on further policy changes as part of the County’s Workers Health and Safety Initiative.

“Pay-by-cell” Program a Success; More Meters to be Added this Spring

In early 2010, the Division of Parking (Dept. of Transportation/MCDOT) began a pilot project to test a “pay-by-cell phone” system at selected parking meters in Bethesda. The test was successful, and now, MCDOT has decided to expand the system this spring to 11,000 meters in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda.

A great feature of pay by cell is the ability to receive a text message reminder when your parking time is about to expire. If this happens and you need more time, simply extend the parking session by phone, as long as the maximum parking time on the meter is not exceeded. There is a 35 cent transaction fee for each parking session.

For more information on the pay-by-cell initiative or to register for an account, visit the Division of Parking's website.

Silver Spring Parking Garage Partially Closed for Repairs

The Bonifant-Dixon Garage (Garage 5) in downtown Silver Spring is partially closed for approximately12 months for deck restoration. The Dixon Avenue Entrance will be closed during construction. More than 950 parking spaces remain open and can be accessed using the Bonifant Street Entrance. Just follow detour signs to the BonifantStreet Garage Entrance.

The garage serves the Silver Spring Metro Rail Station as well as surrounding businesses.

Lunar New Year and Black History Month Programs at Public Libraries

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) welcomes the Year of the Golden Rabbit and celebrates Black History Month with a variety of programs throughout February.

Lunar New Year began this year on February 3. According to Chinese tradition, the Rabbit brings a year in which you can catch your breath and calm your nerves.

Programs at various branches include an introduction to customs behind the Lunar New Year, traditional dances, hands-on art activities, storytelling, shadow puppet shows, arts and crafts activities, Chinese yo-yo demonstrations, workshops and traditional Chinese lion dance performances.

Black History Month is a nationwide observance that provides an opportunity to reflect on the significant contributions of African Americans throughout U.S. history.

Local speakers and authors will discuss the history of African Americans in Montgomery County in a five-part series of community discussions entitled, “Journey through African American History” to be held at branches around the County.

Other programs include Discovery Theater’s live performances of “Black Diamond: Satchel Paige and the Negro Baseball League” for young audiences about the struggles and triumphs of early African American baseball players, and African dance and drumming by the Soul in Motion Ensemble

For complete schedules of Lunar New Year and Black History Month programs, visit “Spotlight” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Spring into Activity with Recreation, Park Classes: New Guide Now Out

Registration for the Recreation Department’s spring classes will begin Monday, February 14, followed by registration for swim classes on the 16th. The new Spring Guide of Recreation and Park Programs lists a wide variety of classes from yoga and Zumba to pottery, cooking and ballroom dancing. Copies of the Spring Guide are at public libraries and community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers throughout the County.

Register in any one of four ways: by mail or fax (240-777-6818), online or in person at the Recreation Department offices, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

For more information, call 240-777-6840 or visit the Recreation Department website.

County History Book Updated Online

What is the County’s official bird? Blossom? Who was Richard Montgomery? And, why does our County bear his name? What was the original name of the County Seat (now, of course Rockville)? Which Washington, DC neighborhood was once part of Montgomery County?

The answers to these and just about any other questions you might have about any aspect of Montgomery County’s history are found in “Montgomery County, Maryland Our History and Government,” a 30-page booklet, just updated, following the most recent election. From the earliest days to the present, it’s a handy, brief look at what and who has shaped Montgomery County.


Caregiving, Finances, Nutrition featured on latest “Seniors Today”

County Cable Montgomery’s (CCM) latest “Seniors Today” features discussions on three topics of special interest to seniors and their families -- caregiving, financial management and nutrition.

Hosted by Austin Heyman, “Seniors Today” is seen weekly on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m., Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m.,and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on CCM -- channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers. To watch online, go to “Seniors Today” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/seniors.

The show is produced by Montgomery County’s Office of Public Information and the Commission on Aging.


Applicants Sought for Charter Review Commission

The County Council is accepting applications for membership on the County's Charter Review Commission. Applications for the four-year appointments are due by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 2.

The commission researches and evaluates Charter issues raised by the County Executive, County Council, other government officials and the public. Commission reports are submitted no later than May 1 of every even-numbered year. These reports contain recommendations concerning any proposed Charter amendments.

Get more details or call 240-777-7979.


Online Application Makes Applying for Rainscapes Rewards Rebate Program Even Easier

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has streamlined its RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program application by creating a new, online interactive format that is more user-friendly and provides a faster rebate turn-around time.

The program is designed to reduce the effects of stormwater pollution on the County’s streams and waterways.

Residents interested in the latest information about RainScapes can sign up to receive the RainScapes Gazette by visiting the County’s e-subscription page.

For more information about the program, including projects and resident eligibility or to apply, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rainscapes or contact RainScapes Rewards Coordinator Ann English at 240-777-7759 or RainScapes.application@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Senior , Environmental , Library , Transportation
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

When Blue Means ’Green’

Montgomery County’s fleet of blue trash and recycling trucks has gone green.

County Executive Ike Leggett and Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt recently took the opportunity at the County’s refueling station on Crabbs Branch Way to announce that the 100-truck trash and recycling fleet is being converted to compressed natural gas vehicles, making Montgomery County the first in Maryland to do so.

Also participating in the announcement were employees of Unity Disposal and Recycling, the County’s collection contractor.

To date, 20 of the bright blue trucks with posters on the side promoting the benefits of CNG and recycling are in service on some routes in the County. Another 20 will be on the road by July 1 and the remaining 60 trucks will be phased in over the next two years.

Read more about the new “green fleet” and its benefits. Press Release. 

CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |

Summertime Safety Tips and A Fireworks Reminder


Like the other seasons, summer is filled with all sorts of pleasures, but those pleasures can come with problems, as well – warm weather/heat waves; cookouts/grill problems; pool fun/pool accidents; picnics/unsafe foods.

The County’s homepage contains a number of Summertime Safety Tips for you, your family and your pets.

And, with the approach of the July 4th Holiday, the Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) reminds residents that ALL fireworks are illegal in Montgomery County.  MCFRS says that in spite of recent changes in Maryland law that allows the sale, possession and use of "ground-based sparkling devices" in many parts of Maryland, no change has occurred in the law in Montgomery and Prince George's counties and Baltimore City.

Possession or use of fireworks is unlawful and subject to a $500 fine upon conviction. Selling of fireworks is unlawful and subject to $1,000 fine upon conviction. If anyone has knowledge of a crime associated with arson, fireworks and explosive devices they are asked to contact the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service at 240-777-2263.

The safest way for you and your family to celebrate the holiday is to take in one of the many fireworks displays planned for the area.

For additional safety information, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcsafe.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Environmental
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 4:00:00 AM |

Ash Residue Recycling Proposed

Ash residue from the County’s Resource Recovery Facility (RRF/waste-to-energy plant) would be reused and recycled and the recycling of construction and demolition (C&D) debris would be increased under an amendment to the County’s waste transportation and disposal contract proposed by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.  The proposed amendment has been sent to the County Council which must vote on any changes to the contract.

The ash will be screened into several sizes and used as road base in modern, lined landfill cells and as alternate daily cover to cover trash in landfills.  The processed ash replaces virgin materials such as stone and soil that would have to be imported, and, in some cases, mined, from other locations.  This will mean a reduction of fuel use and associated air emissions due to less energy being used to develop road base materials, fewer trucking miles required and reduced construction of additional landfill space. Read more. 

CATEGORIES: Environmental
POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010 | 6:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010