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MAKING NEWS

On the Way to London: Olympic Dive Team Makes a Splash in County

US Olympians execute a dive during a training session for the media at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda.

Local media and residents had a couple of unique opportunities to see the U.S. Olympic Team–Diving during the four days of training sessions held in the County before the team departed for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London.

Montgomery County Recreation hosted a media-only training session for the team on July 14 at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda. Members of the media filmed and interviewed team members during the session.

The following day, the Olympians participated in a special exhibition at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center. In addition to elected officials and residents, the full-house audience included Olympic Champion diver Greg Louganis, who is serving as a mentor to the US team.

Inside word has it that the team was very happy with the facilities here in Montgomery County and that they were accessible and friendly to both Recreation staff, other swimmers and the public, in general, signing autographs and talking with young people.

See the team in Montgomery County on YouTube.


Gazette Editorial Commends County’s “Latest Milestone” in Recycling

In the past 60 days, the County has taken two more giant steps to enhance its reputation as a local leader in recycling efforts.

The first step came in May when County Executive Ike Leggett announced establishment of a new, higher recycling goal -- 70 percent of the waste stream being recycled by the end of 2020. The new goal would be one of the highest among jurisdictions in the metropolitan region, as well as other counties across the United States.

The second step came at the end of June when the Executive announced that residents of single-family homes receiving County recycling pick ups can now add PET thermoform plastics to their recycling bins. [See photo.]

PET plastic is used to make items such as cups and rigid packaging. It is a transparent, lightweight, strong, safe, shatterproof and recyclable packaging material commonly used to package fresh fruits and vegetables, bakery items, prepared foods and salads, and deli items.

Both announcements were lauded by The Gazette in a July 11 editorial entitled “Recycling strides.” Adding clamshell containers, the editorial stated, “is the latest milestone in the county’s recycling program which is getting even more ambitious after the county executive raised the goal on how much of the county’s trash…should be recycled by 2020.”

Read the full editorial.


Correction and Rehabilitation Program Featured on Channel 7

Turning lives around is more than a phrase at the County’s Correctional Facility in Clarksburg.

It’s a fact, thanks to a comprehensive work program that teaches life skills to inmates learning how to make new starts for themselves.

ABC 7 News (WJLA) recently detailed the program, a dedicated career coach and the positive impact both are having on inmates.

Watch and/or read the story.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Recycle
POSTED: Friday, July 20, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


County Receives 19 Achievement Awards from National Association of Counties

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

The following departments and programs received awards:

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

MAKING NEWS

Sligo Creek Restoration Called “National Success Story” by the U.S. EPA

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called the restoration of Sligo Creek by the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) -- that has improved water quality and aquatic life -- “a national success story.”

How did it happen?

By 1985, stormwater runoff and extensive habitat destruction in this highly urbanized tributary to the Anacostia River had helped eliminate all but four of the most pollution-tolerant fish species.  And, Sligo Creek’s condition received a “poor” rating on a DEP biological assessment of the stream’s health.  DEP efforts boosted the rating to “fair” by improving habitat that is naturally sustaining 14 fish species and contributing to reducing pollutant loads for phosphorus, nitrogen and sediment. 

“The success we are seeing in Sligo Creek is proof positive that we can improve the neglected streams in our beautiful County,” said DEP Director Bob Hoyt.  “Our success spurs us to continue working even harder to ensure that the next generation enjoys the benefits of healthy and safe water.”

DEP has implemented stormwater management practices on 1,425 acres (48%) of the upper Sligo Creek sub-watershed, resulting in a 41% reduction in peak stream flow discharge. This has led to improvements in water quality; streambed and bank stability, in-stream habitat; and a more abundant benthic macroinvertebrate community that helps support increased fish populations.

About $3 million (excluding monitoring costs) has been invested in the upper Sligo Creek restoration effort, including $1.8 million from the Montgomery County Capital budget, $1 million from Maryland Department of the E’nvironment's Small Creeks and Estuaries Reserve cost share program, and $256,000 from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

Read the news release for more about Sligo Creek, including background.

To view the Sligo Creek success story, go to: http://water.epa.gov/polwaste/nps/success319/md_sligo.cfm

For more information about DEP’s watershed programs, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep and click on Water.


Montgomery County Receives Two Awards from Alliance for Workplace Excellence

Montgomery County government has earned the Workplace Excellence Award and the Health & Wellness Trailblazer Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) for its exemplary commitment to the workforce by creating a culture that allows employees to be successful in the workplace, at home and in the community.

The awards honor organizations that promote professional fulfillment and personal wellness for their employees.  Montgomery County was among 73 employers, representing more than one million employees, that met stringent standards regarding the benefits and work environments they provide.

Organizations were judged on supportive corporate culture and management practices, family- and employee-friendly practices, health and wellness initiatives, growth and learning opportunities, and commitment to social responsibility and employee volunteerism. 

The awards will be presented at AWE’s annual awards luncheon in mid-June at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

False Alarm Reduction Unit Recognized for Significant Achievement 

The Montgomery County False Alarm Reduction Unit (FARU) has received an award from the False Alarm Reduction Association for achieving a significant reduction in commercial and residential false alarms from 2008 – 2011.

Montgomery County, which is home to approximately 1,000,000 people and covers close to 550 square miles, had approximately 90% of alarm users achieve zero false alarms during 2011.  The number of alarm users who have zero false alarms increases every year and is a testament to a well-written, strictly enforced, alarm ordinance and the educational efforts of both the FARU staff and alarm companies doing business in the County.

The statistics mean fewer dispatched calls and more cops being able to proactively patrol and respond to serious crimes and calls for service.  In 2011 alone, Montgomery County saved $1,385,000 in wasted resources, recovered 9,233 hours of police patrol time and recouped the equivalent of nearly nine police work years.  False alarms to which police officers respond have been reduced by almost 70%.

Learn more about the False Alarm Reduction Unit.


You Gave and Rode; Donations Up

Ride On bus system’s 25th annual “Give and Ride” food drive, held in late April, collected almost 8,800 pounds of food and other items, nearly a 50% increase from last year.  Bus passengers received free rides by donating canned or non-perishable food, disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food, and juice. 

All food donations were sent to the Manna Food Center, a Gaithersburg-based non-profit organization that distributes food to the County’s neediest residents.  Manna requested that Ride On hold its annual food collection drive in the spring to better meet community food distribution needs.  Manna feeds about 3,000 families every month.

Ride On General Manager Carolyn Biggins said, “Year after year, our customers demonstrate their generosity, and that has proven to be even more important than ever during these especially tough economic conditions.  I am very proud of our passengers and County employees who are so generous to those in need. ”

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Emergency Communications Center Employees Honored for Service  

This year, the Montgomery County Police Department celebrated National Public Safety Telecommunications Week by congratulating several Emergency Communications Center employees who were nominated for and received awards presented by the Association of Public Safety Communications Officials (APCO) Mid-Eastern Chapter.  The Mid-Eastern Chapter consists of Delaware, Maryland and the District of Columbia.

Public Safety Communications Supervisors Tamara Maldonado and Gloria Jackson received the chapter’s “Maryland Supervisor of the Year” award.  Tamara and Gloria’s nomination read, in part, “They work together on the evening shift and handle many large scale incidents together. Both are very dedicated and professional.”

Tamara has been an ECC employee for more than 20 years and Gloria, more than 23 years.

Award winners and nominees were honored at an award luncheon in mid-April at the Kent Island Volunteer Fire Department. 

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

"Montgomery al Dia" ("Montgomery Today") Debuts on Radio America

The Montgomery County Office of Public Information (PIO) has launched “Montgomery al Dia” ("Montgomery Today"), a weekly half-hour County show on Spanish-language Radio America 1540 AM, headquartered in Wheaton. The live show airs every Tuesday from 2-2:30 p.m.

The show features interviews, pre-taped news, PSAs and public call-ins, with production assistance, as needed, provided by Radio America. County government departments, the County Council and other County agencies will collaborate to bring guests, news and information to the County’s Hispanic community. The host is Lorna Virgili of PIO and a 20-year veteran Spanish-language broadcast journalist.

“Information is power,” said Patrick Lacefield, PIO director. “I’m really excited about teaming with Radio America to reach out to our County’s diverse communities.”

A television component of the show is also being produced. “Montgomery al Dia” is recorded live-on-tape at the Radio America studios and broadcasted weekly on County Cable Montgomery -- Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers; Channel 30 for Verizon subscribers.

To listen to the live broadcast every Tuesday at 2 p.m., visit www.radioamerica.net.

To view the shows online or on  TV visit County Cable Montgomery.

Photo: Host Lorna Virgili talked with County Executive Ike Leggett, Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt (left) and Recreation Director Gabe Albornoz on the inaugural show.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Making News
POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

County Residents to be Honored for Dedicated Service at Inaugural Montgomery Serves Awards April 30

The Inaugural Montgomery Serves Awards Ceremony, hosted by the Fund for Montgomery (FFM), the Montgomery County Volunteer Center (MCVC) and the Corporate Volunteer Council (CVC), will be held on April 30 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda, beginning at 6:30 p.m.

FFM was created by County Executive Ike Leggett and the Office of Community Partnerships to raise private funding to continue important community building events such as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day of Service and Celebration, World of Montgomery Festival, Community Service Day and programs focusing on the County’s ethnic and heritage diversity.

The Fund for Montgomery is housed at The Community Foundation for Montgomery County, a regional affiliate of the Community Foundation for the National Capital Region.

Among the awards to be presented at the event and the residents receiving the awards are:

Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award

County Executive Ike Leggett established the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award to honor the legacy of leadership of the former and late School Board Member and NAACP Branch President. The County’s equivalent of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the award will be presented each year by the County Executive to honor an individual or individuals who, over the course of their distinguished lives of community service, have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of the community at the very highest levels of excellence.

The first award will be presented by Leggett to Nix posthumously for his half-century of service to Montgomery County. Two other recipients of the Nix Award – Charles Lyons and Connie Morella – also will be honored.

Read more about the recipients.

Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award

Established in 1998 to honor volunteers aged 60 and older, the award was renamed in 2009 in memory of former County Councilmember, County Executive and longtime civic activist Neal Potter.The award is presented in partnership with Montgomery County’s Commission on Aging and The Beacon newspaper. 

In recognition of their long-standing commitment to their community and to volunteer service, Tufail Ahmad and Ruby Rubens have been selected to receive the 2012 Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards.

Tufail Ahmad has been a community leader in Montgomery County for 40 years. He has earned the respect, trust and confidence of the community through his consistent efforts to bridge the gap between Muslim Americans and the larger community. Recognizing the need for Muslim Americans to play a vital role in redefining their identity after 9/11, Ahmad initiated a dialogue between diverse groups to design grassroots initiatives and consequently, co-founded Montgomery County Muslim Council (MCMC). The organization pursues equal social, economic, educational and political development opportunities for all County residents. He also spearheaded other community-wide efforts to help those in need.

Ruby Rubens comes from a family with a long tradition of helping others, especially the young, the elderly and those less fortunate. For more than four decades, she has been making a difference for Montgomery County residents by devoting countless volunteer hours to a wide range of commitments. These include providing budgeting assistance to low-income families in Sandy Spring; working with the Montgomery County New Horizons Task Force to develop fair housing policies; advocating for residents of assisted housing projects before the Housing Opportunities Commission; and advocating on behalf of residents of Tobytown, Scotland and other historic African-American communities.

Read more about the honorees’ achievements.

For information about the Montgomery Serves awards event and to reserve free seats, visit
http://www.montgomeryserves.org/montgomery-serves-awards or call the Volunteer Center at 240-777-2600.

County’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit Program Pays Off

The success of the County’s local biotech investment tax credit program was celebrated recently by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and other local and state elected officials, local biotech company executives and representatives from the  Department of Economic Development.

Ten local biotech companies received nearly $6 million from local investors. Modeled after and working in collaboration with Maryland’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit Program, the County’s program allows investors receiving state tax credits to also receive a supplemental payment from the County based on their investments in local biotech companies.

“Less than two years after the County Council approved the legislation and just a year after funding the program at $500,000 for FY 12 and FY13,” Leggett said, “we have a diverse group of biotech companies that are already putting these new investments to work to fight disease and improve the health of our nation. The fact that these companies can also leverage these investments to spur additional investments makes this a true model of success.”

The 10 companies receiving investments are:  ♦ 20/20 GeneSystems, Rockville ♦ Alper Biotech, Rockville ♦ Beta Cat Pharmaceuticals, Gaithersburg ♦ Clarassance, Rockville  ♦ Creative MicroTech , Potomac ♦ Neoginix Oncology, Rockville ♦ Otraces, Rockville   ♦ Rafagen, Rockville ♦ Sequella, Rockville and ♦ Synergy America, Gaithersburg.

See coverage by News Channel 8.

Read The Gazette’s coverage.

 

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Local Farmers Inducted into Maryland’s Agriculture Hall of Fame 

Montgomery County farmers Bob and Drew Stabler were recently inducted into the Governor’s Agriculture Hall of Fame, the 43rd recipients of the prestigious recognition and the first from Montgomery County to be honored. The Stablers were inducted by Governor Martin O’Malley and Maryland’s Agriculture Secretary Buddy Hance before more than 700 agricultural leaders and legislators from across the State during the annual “Taste of Maryland” agriculture event in Glen Burnie.

The brothers began farming with their father in 1958 and raised their families on Pleasant Valley Farm, which grew to 4,000 acres. In 2001, to simplify estate planning, Drew retired from Pleasant Valley and began a new partnership with Fred Lechlider (Bob’s son in law) and his son, David, to create Sunny Ridge Farm, which raises corn, wheat, soybeans and cattle on 1,800 acres. Bob and son Randy continue to operate Pleasant Valley, raising corn, soybeans, wheat, hay and cattle on 2,650 acres. Both farms have a history of using the latest best management practices and their average yields are consistently among the highest in Central Maryland

“It is my honor to stand beside the Stabler brothers tonight to recognize their outstanding accomplishments, commitment and contributions to agriculture, family, resource conservation and community,” said Secretary Hance. “They represent not just the best in agriculture and environmental stewardship, but also in business innovation. In honoring the Stabler brothers, we honor the dedication and hard work of every farmer in this state.”

Hear and see the Stabler brothers talk about their lives in farming and the benefits they have derived from agriculture or read more about their induction into the Maryland Agriculture Hall of Fame. 

The Stabler family is also committed to the preservation of Montgomery County farmland.  Both Drew and Bob Stabler have permanently protected their farmland by participating in State and County preservation programs.

In late January, Drew Stabler, became part of another first in local agriculture when County Executive Ike Leggett announced the Building Lot Termination (BLT) preservation easement acquisition of the 200-acre W. Drew Stabler/Sunny Ridge Farm, the Stabler family’s home farm in the Laytonsville/Damascus area.  This is the County’s first BLT easement under its new plan.

The primary purpose of a BLT Easement is to preserve agricultural land by reducing the fragmentation of farmland resulting from residential development by restricting residential, commercial, industrial and other non-agricultural uses.


Finance Department’s Chief Operating Officer Honored with National Government Leadership Award 

Karen Quinlan Hawkins, chief operating officer for Montgomery County’s Department of Finance, has received this year’s Distinguished Local Government Leadership Award from the Association of Government Accountants (AGA).

Hawkins has worked in Montgomery County’s Department of Finance for 16 years and is responsible for planning, developing, implementing and evaluating policies and work programs for the department. She was cited by AGA for her commitment and contributions to local government, as evidenced by Montgomery County’s consistent awards for excellence in financial reporting and Triple AAA bond rating over the past 16 years.

The AGA is a 15,000 member professional association that serves government accountability professionals by providing quality education, fostering professional development and certification, and supporting standards and research to advance government accountability.

Montgomery County has received the Government Finance Officer’s Association (GFOA) Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting more often than any other county in the nation – 49 times – as early as 1951 and consecutively for 39 years, since 1972.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

County’s Stormwater “Bump Outs” Help Bump Up the Economy

Chesapeake Bay Foundation photo.

As stated recently in the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s award-winning Bay Daily blog, “Stormwater ain’t a sexy subject. But, it’s a critically important one because runoff from suburban and urban areas is the fastest growing source of pollution in the Chesapeake Bay….”

In “Stormwater Control Projects Lift Economy and Give Jobs to Unemployed,” Bay Daily touts the environmental and economic benefits of the County’s three-and-a-half-year, $305 million program that is building hundreds of "bump outs" and other stormwater devices designed to control runoff.  By the way, a bump out is (as defined in the piece) “…a grassy area built by the side of the road, with openings at either end to catch and filter rainwater as it flows down the gutter."
 
But, the good things about this project don’t end with helping to end pollution in the Bay.  The blog also details the positive economic impacts of this and similar projects – like creating 3,300 jobs in the County, alone, over the next five years. This is according to a report, entitled “Water Works: Rebuilding Infrastructure, Creating Jobs, Greening the Environment,” released by the Economic Policy Institute and an advocacy group, Green for All.
 
The blog is a good read that explains the problems and solutions in laymen’s terms, including some quotes from Steve Shofar, chief of the Watershed Management Division in the Department of Environmental Protection.

We’re #1! Montgomery College’s Lady Knights Claim National Division III Soccer Title 

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently honored the Montgomery College Women’s Soccer team, The Lady Knights, for winning their first National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division III title with a 4-0 victory over Monroe Community College of New York. 

The team finished the year with an impressive 17-3 record, outscoring their opponents 65-15.  Coach Kelly Wakeman (holding the proclamation with Leggett) was named the NJCAA Division III Soccer Coach of the Year.

Read more about the Lady Knights’ title and other honors.


Another Success for the Literacy Council: Recent Grad Writes Autobiography

 

At age 52, Milton Whitley was unable to recite and print the complete alphabet.  Now, just five years later, he’s a published author.  Thanks to the help of Mary Ellen Friedland, a tutor from the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, Whitley gained the literacy skills he needed to change his life – and to then tell his story.

Whitley’s autobiography, Learning to Read at Age 52, details his life story from a difficult childhood, problems in school, homelessness and coping with addictions to the joys of his new life, which resulted from learning to read.

For most of his life, the Gaithersburg resident tried to hide his inability to read and write.  He felt embarrassed and frustrated and believed he was “unteachable.” 

Now he says, “I’m a brand new man.  I can read road signs.  It’s easier to understand things.  I know how to look words up in the dictionary.  I can balance a checkbook and write a check.”   He graduated from the Literacy Council’s program in 2011 and is taking classes at Montgomery College in preparation for the GED exam.

Learning how to read has not only changed Whitley’s life but has impacted the lives of everyone around him.  He has become an advocate for adult literacy and currently is employed by a men’s shelter where he once lived.

 

For more of Milton Whitley’s story, contact the Literacy Council of Montgomery County at 301-610-0030, extension 205 or info@literacycouncilmcmd.org.


Thumbs Up for 311 Website

A recent Customer Service Web Site Survey of thousands of users of the County’s 311 website showed more than 76 percent of users were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their overall MC311 website experience. The survey also showed that about 77 percent were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their ability to find the information they were looking for on the MC311 website and more than 78 percent were satisfied or very satisfied with the ease of using the site. 

Since Montgomery County’s 311 system was launched in June 2010, calls coming into the call center continue to increase, with an average of 48,000 calls per month. The 311 web portal, http://www.mc311.com, which allows residents to find answers and check on the status of service requests 24/7, has consistently averaged more than 29,000 views per month. More than 20,000 online service requests were received last year.

For more information about MC311, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507, or visit http://www.mc311.com.  

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

County Police Officer Receives Congressional Badge of Bravery Award for Response to 2010 Discovery Building Incident

There is a saying popular among the public safety community, “When others run from trouble we run to it.”

On September 1, 2010, Montgomery County Police Officer Edward E. Paden Jr. did just that when he realized that an armed suicide bomber had taken hostages inside the Discovery Communications Building in downtown Silver Spring. His actions, without regard for his personal safety, contributed to saving innocent lives. This incident would later be recognized as one of the most dangerous situations encountered by the public safety community of the Washington Metropolitan region.

In early January, County Executive Ike Leggett and Councilmember Phil Andrews joined Police Chief Tom Manger and the three Assistant Police Chiefs at a special ceremony at the Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville. There, Officer Paden received the Congressional Badge of Bravery Award from U.S. Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Maryland U. S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein.

Officer Paden was off-duty and had just completed a water training session in the Chesapeake Bay for a triathlon. He had several jellyfish stings and had dropped by the 3rd District Police Station, to which he is assigned, when the call went out for “Shots fired, man with a gun at 1 Discovery Place in Silver Spring.”

Paden recalls, “The alert tone went off on the radio, and I just jumped in the car and said, ‘Let’s go’.” The officer was familiar with the layout of the building and didn’t hesitate to respond even though he was in shorts and a tee shirt. He was first on the scene, entered the building at great personal risk and took a position about 25 feet from the suspect. Although the position concealed him from the suspect, it didn’t protect him from gunfire, flying shrapnel or over-pressure from an explosion.

Officer Paden kept his rifle trained on the suspect as he dispatched vital tactical information. He also determined a safe route for other responding officers to enter the building and assume other strategic positions. Paden credited police training and the combined efforts of all the other responders for an outcome where no innocent lives were lost.

Chief Manger remarked, “He’s giving us all the intel…what the bomb looks like, where he is. He [Paden] was also in a position where Mr. Lee [the gunman] was not going to be able to get further into the building.”

County Executive Leggett said, “He went well above and beyond what would have been expected, and in so doing, put himself at tremendous personal risk. His actions, along with those of many others, can be credited for helping to save the lives of over 1,000 people in Montgomery County that day.”

Senator Cardin said, “I was amazed not just by his bravery but by his instincts.”

The Congressional Badge of Bravery award was created by Congress in 2008 to honor local, state and federal law enforcement officers who have distinguished themselves for exceptional acts of bravery in the line of duty. This year is the first year that the award has been presented.

Officer Paden previously received the Gold Medal for Valor at last spring’s Chamber of Commerce Public Safety Awards luncheon and the Police Department’s Medal of Valor. The veteran officer, who has more than 12 years with the Montgomery County Police, joins 20 other law enforcement officers from across the nation in receiving this special honor.

Photo. Participating in the award ceremony for Officer Paden (second from left), were County Executive Ike Leggett (far left) and (to Paden’s left) U. S. Senator Ben Cardin, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen, Maryland U.S. Attorney Rod Rosenstein and County Councilmember Phil Andrews.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Receives $4 Billion Navy Contract

According to a recent Defense Department announcement, Bethesda-based Lockheed Martin Corp is being awarded a $4 billion fixed-price U.S. Navy contract for 30 F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft.

A Reuters online article stated, “The deal would provide 21 conventional models for the Air Force, six carrier variants for the Navy and three short-takeoff and vertical landing versions for the Marine Corps,” citing a notice in the Pentagon's daily contract digest.

The Reuters story also noted that Lockheed spokesperson Michael Rein said, “Details of the deal have not been worked out.” Rein referred to the government announcement as an "undefinitized contract action" that is still subject to further negotiation.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Economy
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

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.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, September 30, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Good News in Tough Times: County Retains AAA Bond Ratings

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced that Montgomery County has retained its AAA bond rating from all three bond rating agencies, Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's, with a stable outlook - the highest possible rating.

Among other accomplishments, the rating agencies cited the County's formidable economic base and measures taken to reverse a former structural imbalance that occurred, in part, due to weakened revenues during the recession.

The AAA bond rating allows Montgomery County to issue bonds for its capital borrowing at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars a year. The AAA rating applies to $320 million in General Obligation bonds and $260 million in General Obligation Refunding bonds the County issued on August 3.

"With the tough decisions and actions the County has taken during my administration, we are successfully rebuilding our financial foundation and are on the right path to fiscal sustainability," said Leggett. "We continue to make the hard choices necessary to put ourselves on a much stronger fiscal footing, lowering our revenue estimates to reflect economic conditions and building our revenue base by planning for growth and attracting businesses and jobs.

"Our challenges remain,” he said, “but the decisions by the bond rating agencies show that Montgomery County is on the right track."


Montgomery County Ranked among Nation’s Top Digital County Governments

Montgomery County has been named America’s 3rd ranked digital county government in the United States by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties. Montgomery County received third place honors in the competition for jurisdictions with populations of 500,000 or greater.

Thousands of counties from across the nation competed for the top award by participating in the 2011 Digital Counties Survey that covers all aspects of technology adoption, integration and deployment.

See the full list of 2011 winners.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Senior
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

The New York Times Article Lauds County School Systemís Teacher Evaluation Program

Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Peer Assessment and Review (PAR) teacher evaluation program was featured in a recent piece by Education columnist Michael Winerip entitled “Helping Teachers Help Themselves.”

The article points out that although the program has “worked beautifully” for the past 11 years, it has failed to garner dollars for MCPS from the federal Race to the Top program.

Winerip’s column states this is because MCPS former Superintendent Dr. Jerry Weast “…said he would not take the money because the grant required districts to include students’ state test results as a measure of teacher quality. ‘We don’t believe the tests are reliable,' he said. 'You don’t want to turn your system into a test factory.’ ”

Winerip went on to say that "Race to the Top aims to spur student growth by improving teacher quality, which is exactly what Montgomery County is doing. Sad to say, the district is getting the right results the wrong way.”

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:07:00 PM |

Three Companies Honored for Making Commuter Connections Work

Three Montgomery County companies have been honored by Commuter Connections for providing outstanding commuting options and alternatives to their employees -- the American Occupational Therapy Association, Inc., Bethesda; B. F. Saul Company, Bethesda; and Clean Currents, Rockville.

Commuter Connections is a regional program of the National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments that focuses on making alternatives to drive-alone commuting practical and attractive.

The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) received the Incentives Award for offering a wide variety of commuting incentives to encourage the use of public transit, ridesharing, bicycling and teleworking.

B. F. Saul Company, a privately-owned real estate firm, won the Marketing Award for their innovative approach to promoting alternatives to drive-alone commuting to their employees.

Clean Currents, winner of the Telework Award, provides residential and commercial power options in the Mid-Atlantic Region and supplies renewable energy credits to businesses nationwide.

Montgomery County Commuter Services works with businesses to set up commuting benefits programs that are tailored to a company’s needs and implements Commuter Connections’ programs throughout the County

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:06:00 PM |

County Receives 18 Awards from National Association of Counties

Montgomery County has received 18 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Awards for outstanding programs.

The following departments and programs received awards:

  • East County Regional Services Center – IDA Sector Community Partnership;
  • Health and Human Services – Montgomery Cares; Housing First Initiative; When I Get Out: A Healthy and Safer Lifestyle;
  • Housing and Community Affairs – Cordell Place; The Argent Apartments;
  • Human Resources – Partnering for Maximum Performance, Interagency Training Team;
  • Permitting Services – Permitting Services Case Management Program;
  • Police – Elder/Vulnerable Abuse Task Force;
  • Recreation – Camp Long Branch;
  • Silver Spring Regional Services Center – The Community Living Room Initiative; and
  • Technology Services – Automated Systems Management; Enterprise Architecture Data Warehouse and Metrics; Internet County Contract Search System; Performance Dashboard; Cloud Security Architecture and Enterprise Offering; Public, Educational and Governmental (PEG) Access and Monitoring Network; and Storm Management Operations Map.
CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:05:00 PM |

MAKING NEWS

County Recognized for Workplace Excellence, Health and Wellness Initiatives

Montgomery County government has earned the Workplace Excellence Award and the Health and Wellness Trailblazer Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) for its exemplary commitment to the workforce by creating a culture that allows employees to be successful in the workplace, at home and in the community.

The County was among 63 employers, representing more than one million employees, that met stringent standards regarding the benefits and work environments that they provide. Organizations were judged on supportive corporate culture and management practices, family and employee friendly practices, health and wellness initiatives, growth and learning opportunities, and commitment to social responsibility and employee volunteerism.

AWE is a public/private, nonprofit coalition committed to empowering employers to create and become recognized as “excellent places to work.”


Speaking Up Pays Off

Call it “rewarding excellence,”  “gainsharing” or “incentivizing,” the bottom line is the same – County employees are being rewarded for coming up with money saving initiatives for their employer. In these tight economic times, the County has determined that paying employees for helping save the government money pays dividends for all involved.

A case in point is the story of David Rivas, a mechanic in the Department of General Services who discovered that the County had been changing transmission fluid in its Ride On buses more often than necessary.

David’s story and details behind the County’s initiative were told in a recent Washington Post article.


Firefighter Works to Turn Personal Losses into Gains for Others 

The long and short of a bittersweet story is this: Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service Firefighter Marshall Moneymaker lost three sisters to breast cancer and is on a personal mission to raise awareness about the disease as a tribute to his sisters.

Before the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure came to the area shortly after his third sister’s death in the fall of 2010, Moneymaker was presented with pink firefighter gear as a surprise from co-workers in support of his efforts and passion to find a cure.

Manufacturers from Municipal Emergency Services, Globe Manufacturing and Bullard Safety Products all donated the special gear and equipment in support of Moneymaker. And, while the gear won’t be worn to fight any fires, it will be worn to ignite and promote breast cancer awareness and the importance of early detection. Moneymaker hopes that people are checking him out … and getting checked.

Visit www.for3sisters.com  for more information and read Firefighter Moneymaker’s story in The Washington Post.


County Recognized for Innovation in Web 2.0 Technology and Civic/Social Media Tools

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation have recognized Montgomery County as a leader in the innovative application of Web 2.0 technologies and civic/social media tools to achieve impressive results in citizen engagement, government accountability and operational efficiencies.

Montgomery County is one of only 17 U.S. jurisdictions, and one of just four counties, to be recognized with this prestigious award.

The County’s winning entry noted the use of several Web 2.0 and social media tools and platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Alert Montgomery and MC311, which is the County’s on-line and telephone information system.

“Web 2.0 implementation…is becoming a strategic and inherent way for government to do business,” said Alan Shark, PTI executive director. “Innovative and leading organizations like Montgomery County that adopt and leverage Web 2.0 tools will ultimately deliver more effective services to their citizens."

PTI is a national technology organization created by and for cities and counties. The organization promotes innovation and collaboration for government leaders, and advances the use of technology to improve the management and delivery of services to residents.

Additional information about the award may be found on-line at http://www.pti.org/index.php/ptiee1/more/723

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

MC311 Earns National Award

MC311 logo

Montgomery County’s MC311 online and telephone information system has been named the silver winner in the category of Customer Analytics in the 2011 Gartner & 1to1 Media CRM Excellence Awards.

Customer analytics is a process whereby data is collected from the customer then used to help make key business decisions. The data is used first to understand demand for services, then provide improved services to constituents.

Since Montgomery County’s 311 system was launched in June 2010, customer analytics have been useful in showing what services residents find most valuable. For example, Ride On bus trip planning and bulk trash pick up have consistently remained at the top of the list. Having this information is crucial to helping Montgomery County best serve its residents.

Montgomery County is the first jurisdiction in the nation to launch its 311 telephone answering system simultaneously with its online 311 website and institute customer analytics at the same time.


Office of Community Partnerships’ Rev. Tim Warner’s Work Featured in April Washingtonian Magazine

In his job with the County’s Executive’s Office of Community Partnerships, Rev. Tim Warner sees slices of life in Montgomery County that many residents are not aware exist.

In the April 2011 issue of Washingtonian Magazine, Cindy Rich’s article, “Out From the Shadows,” interweaves the story of Warner’s interactions with County residents living in poverty with his own emergence from growing up in a ghetto outside Philadelphia.

If you haven’t seen a copy yet, our friends at Washingtonian tell us that the article will be online May 1 at www.washingtonian.com.

.


Please Note: Correction/Clarification

In the last issue of The Paperless Airplane, under Making News, the headline reading "A Win-Win Solution for Inmates and the Silver Spring Community" is incorrect.

Reemberto Rodriguez, director of the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, explained that the participants in the program -- where residents spend a weekend of outdoor cleaning and public service in Silver Spring -- are “offenders sentenced to weekend duties, not inmates.” Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Director Art Wallenstein, said, “Not a single inmate from the jails is involved – all [of these workers] live at home.”

We apologize for the written misstep and thank Reemberto and Art for the correction.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

A Win-Win Solution for Inmates and the Silver Spring Community

The Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) -- with the help of the Silver Spring Urban District (SSUD) -- has come up with another win-win program as reported in The Gazette. This one gives residents convicted of misdemeanors the option of doing weekend cleanup work in downtown Silver Spring instead of spending the time in jail.

DOCR Director Art Wallenstein is proud --- and rightfully so – of the partnership with the SSUD that has made it happen. He notes that it took more than a decade to end the weekend sentences “and now we have something positive.” Wallenstein says that “the program was fully vetted in the community prior to any operations starting on site in the SSUD. The crews are at work every Saturday and Sunday - 52 weekends a year.”

 


 

Two County Public Safety Officers Receive Master’s Degrees in Homeland Security

Two members of the County’s public safety ranks recently received master’s degrees in Homeland Security from the Naval Postgraduate School Center for Homeland Defense and Security (CHDS).

With a focus on Homeland Security, Montgomery County Police Lt. Phil Raum (on the right in the photo) is the National Capital Region (NCR) Exercise & Training Coordinator for Montgomery County. He also assists with exercises and training for multiple NCR jurisdictions and disciplines.

Since 2006, Lt. Raum has also planned and coordinated multiple full-scale active shooter exercises at Clarksburg HS, Wheaton Plaza and the Universities at Shady Grove. He represents the Montgomery County Police for local emergency management issues in the region such as the H1N1 pandemic in 2009-2010, the severe weather storms from 2009-2010, tabletop exercises and other training activities, such as the Incident Command System training.



Michael McAdams, assistant chief in the Operations Division of the  Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service,
received the Philip Zimbardo award. This award honors a student who demonstrates the best understanding of the psychological aspects of terrorism and whose performance in the master’s program best embodies the highest levels of academic achievement and outstanding leadership. The honor is named for renowned Stanford University psychologist Philip Zimbardo, who also teaches at CHDS.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

MC311 Receives Technology Solutions Award

Montgomery County’s MC311 online and telephone information system has received a Technology Solutions Award for Telecommunications & Information Technology from the Public Technology Institute.

The County’s award submission, “MC311: Re-engineering Local Government Through Customer Relationship Management,” highlighted County Executive Ike Leggett’s vision to “create greater responsiveness and accountability in meeting the needs of a very diverse county.” The system was developed with a two-pronged mission statement: providing a single point-of-contact for customer service delivery and satisfaction; and improving functionality of existing systems and data quality across County government.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Success of Consumer Protection Volunteers Told in Post Article

In carrying out its mission to enforce consumer protection laws prohibiting unfair and deceptive business acts or practices, the County’s Office of Consumer Protection has found success in using volunteers to support the work of its staff investigators.

The story of some of these volunteers and the cases they have worked on was detailed in a recent Washington Post article.

For more about the award-winning Office of Consumer Protection, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.


Maryland Senior Olympics Website Earns Top Award

For the second straight year, the website of Maryland Senior Olympics (MSO) has been named the nation’s top Senior Games website by the National Senior Games Association (NSGA).

The site is produced by veteran sports journalist, editor and former Recreation Department employee Dennis Tuttle of Silver Spring who develops, writes and designs the content and images on www.mdseniorolympics.org.

MSO Executive Director Ted Wroth said, “Our athletes love the newspaper-quality combination of human interest storylines, news, information, results, records and historical perspective. It’s obviously a winning formula.”

Montgomery County has administered the State games since 2008.

The Maryland Senior Olympics is a non-profit organization for proactive residents aged 50 and above.


County’s Volunteer Center Receives State Grant

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center has received a $25,000 Volunteer Generation Fund (VGF) grant from the Governors Office on Service and Volunteerism to increase the ability to recruit and retain volunteers in a range of  opportunities.

The center will use the state grant to increase volunteerism through the new "Pledge 25" initiative which encourages residents to volunteer 25 hours between Martin Luther King, Jr. Day in January and Make a Difference Day on October 22. Montgomery County will also use funding for website updates and to transition to the new HandsOn Connect database.

Montgomery County’s Volunteer Center was one of six centers throughout Maryland to receive a grant passed through the state from the Corporation for National and Community Services Volunteer Generation Fund.

The funds will support activities through the end of this year.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Senior , Health
POSTED: Thursday, February 10, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Literacy Council Names New Executive Director

Marty Stephens has been named executive director of the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, replacing Pam Saussy, who served as the LCMC executive director for the past 10 years, prior to leaving the post late in 2010.

Before coming to LCMC, Stephens was executive director of the Maryland Performance Excellence Foundation at the University of Maryland. Earlier, she worked for the Maryland Agricultural Education and the Home Builders Association of Maryland.Stephens holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Education from Mansfield State University and a Master of Arts in Organizational Communication and Public Relations from Ohio University.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Leggett Selects Marc Hansen as County Attorney

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has selected Marc Hansen to head the Office of County Attorney.  Hansen has been serving as Acting County Attorney since January 2010, following the resignation of former County Attorney Leon Rodriquez.

“I am honored to appoint Marc Hansen as County Attorney,” said Leggett.   “With more than 26 years of experience in the County Attorney’s office, he brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to this position.  Montgomery County is fortunate to have someone of Marc’s caliber heading up our legal department.”

Hansen is a resident of Washington Grove where he served three terms as mayor and several years as a local councilmember.  He also served on the Washington Grove Planning Commission and is currently a member of the Washington Grove Board of Zoning Appeals.

The Office of the County Attorney has a staff of more than 70 and a current budget of $8.7 million.

Hansen’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the County Council.


County’s Chief Information Officer Receives National Recognition

E. Steven Emanuel, who as Chief Information Officer heads up the department of Technology Services, has been selected as one of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology, by eAccess Corporation of San Francisco.

The goal of the 50 Most Important African-Americans in Technology recognition is to increase the current number of 600,000 African-Americans working in cutting edge fields by spotlighting the overlooked overachievers.

In notifying Emanuel of his selection, eAccess President/Executive Editor John William Templeton said, “Your example is a powerful example of the success that the national capitol region has enjoyed to provide opportunities for cutting edge achievement to people from all backgrounds.”

The recipients will be honored at the Innovation & Equity: Spurring Manufacturing Through Innovation in Black Communities Symposium on January 15, at the Lincoln Theatre in Washington, DC.


Community Use Director to be Honored by State Education Association

Ginny Gong, director of the Office of Community Use of Public Facilities, will be honored with an award for Leadership by the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA).  The awards recognize outstanding achievement in the areas of education, leadership, politics and community involvement at the national, state and local levels.

Gong was nominated by the Montgomery County Education Association’s Minority Affairs Committee for her consistent and determined leadership efforts in the field of education and advocacy and for her vision, professionalism and diplomacy in ensuring social justice for all people.  

In her current position, she is responsible for promoting and coordinating the community’s use of the County’s public facilities.  She was the first Asian American appointed to head an agency in Montgomery County.  

The Award will be presented at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Breakfast Observance on January 15 at Martin’s Crosswinds in Greenbelt.


Bethesda Library’s Teens Make Local News

In spite of the many opportunities teens have these days to learn and to communicate with each other electronically, they are still actually reading – and some local teens are part of a national program that helps publishers clue in to what’s hot among young adult readers.

Case in point: the Bethesda Teen Reads Program at the Bethesda Library recently featured in a Washington Post article entitled “Wanted: Young Readers to Build Book Buzz.” The local teens are one of 16 similar groups around that are part of the galley review program of the American Library Association’s Young Adult Library Services division.

According to the article, although the teens’ opinions don’t affect the publication of a book, they do provide “an important glimpse inside the minds of teen readers.”

The group is open to students between the ages of 12 and 18.  The young reviewers have a couple bookcases full of advance copies from which to pick their choices to review.

For more information about the group, contact Kathie Weinberg at 240-777-0637.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Montgomery County Public Libraries Receives Star Rating

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has been selected one of America’s 3-Star Libraries by Library Journal (LJ).
The national rating of more than 7,407 public libraries identified 258 “star” libraries from throughout the United States. Libraries within the same per capita expenditure are ranked by the following per capita service outputs: visits, circulation, program attendance and public Internet terminal use.

The “star” libraries were announced in the November 15 issue of Library Journal. The LJ Index 2010 gives three, four or five stars to the top-rated libraries. Rankings are based on 2008 data from the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Read more from press release

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

The Face of the “Voice of Ride On”

Although most Ride On commuters may not know the name Everett “Bink” Plummer, they certainly know his voice. It’s Plummer’s voice that you hear making the stop announcements. And, that role recently earned Plummer (seated and shown with Broderick Kelly, chief of Ride On’s Service Operations) coverage in The Washington Express, thanks to a rider who works for the paper and sought out Plummer for an interview.

In the article, Bink said he is continually surprised that some people recognize his voice. Of course, he has his share of fun- loving ribbing from his colleagues but in his usual easygoing style, he takes it in stride.

To see the piece and the man behind the voice that literally tells riders where to get off, go to http://www.expressnightout.com/content/2010/10/everett-plummer-voice-montgomery-county.php.


Long-term Care Ombudsman Honored for Outstanding Advocacy

Eileen Bennett, a Long Term Care Ombudsman with the County’s Department of Health and Human Services, recently received the 2010 Howard Hinds Memorial Advocacy Award for outstanding advocacy on behalf of residents of long term care facilities. The award was presented last month at the National Consumer Voice for Quality Long-Term Care’s annual meeting in Orlando, FL. Bennett, who has worked as an ombudsman for 21 years, is responsible for the program’s volunteer recruitment and training. In addition to her work locally, she has been a leader in the National Association for Local Long Term Care Ombudsmen and currently serves as its president.

The Hinds Award is given annually to a local ombudsman who exemplifies the characteristics of Howard Hinds, a champion for long-term care residents of Tennessee, as a well as a passionate advocate on national issues.


Literacy Council’s Video Sends a Winning Message

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County (LCMC) has won the Catalogue for Philanthropy’s “Power of 8” Video Contest, which was open to all nonprofits that have been featured in the Catalogue or will be in the 2010-11 issue. The award was presented at the Catalogue’s Inspiration to Action event in early November at Sidney Harman Hall in Washington, DC.

Videos had to contain an action word ending in “-ate.” The LCMC’s entry featured adult literacy student Milton Whitley of Gaithersburg, who spoke about the power of literacy to “liberate.” You can view the video at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MXHDkJQron0.

The Catalogue for Philanthropy: Greater Washington connects effective local nonprofits with individuals who want to contribute to, and make a difference in, their community. An independent nonprofit organization, the Catalogue has helped groups featured in its annual publication raise more than $9.7 million since its inception in 2003.

Established in 1963, the Literacy Council of Montgomery County is a non-profit, educational organization dedicated to helping adults learn to speak, read and write English. For more information about Milton Whitley and/or the Literacy Council of Montgomery County, contact Shelley Block at 301-610-0030 or shelley@literacycouncilmcmd.org.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Monday, December 06, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Family Justice Center Receives Avon Foundation Grant

The Avon Foundation for Women has awarded a $50,000, one-year grant to the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office at the Family Justice Center (FJC) to create and fund the Avon Empowerment Self-Sufficiency Program for domestic violence survivors. The program is designed to provide survivors with guidance and assistance to create independent, violence-free lives.

The Montgomery County Family Justice Center is one of 32 grant recipients selected from nearly 150 applicants nationwide. It is a collaboration of public and private agencies dedicated to finding innovative programs to preserve the safety and dignity of families. Co-located at the FJC are representatives of the Sheriff’s Office, State’s Attorney’s Office, Police Department, Department of Health and Human Services, The House of Ruth Maryland and other private agencies.

For more information on the Montgomery County Family Justice Center, call Hannah Sassoon at 240-777-7099. For more about domestic violence services, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or online at www.ndvh.org.

County Employees Recognized with Community Builder Awards

The Interagency Coordinating Committee for Persons with Developmental Disabilities (InterACC/DD) facilitates communication and cooperation between public and private agencies providing services for persons with developmental disabilities. It is a coalition of more than 30 public and private agencies that provide a variety of mostly adult services to County residents with developmental disabilities.

Each year, InterAcc/DD member agencies each honor one public servant (usually elected or appointed) and one staff person with a Community Builder Award in recognition of their contributions to advancing opportunities for people with developmental disabilities in the local community.

This year, four Montgomery County employees were among those recognized.

Lauren Newman is the administrator of Developmental Disability Services in Aging and Disability Services, Montgomery County Health and Human Services. She is a long-time advocate for staff and understanding the challenges and gifts that staff have to contribute. InterACC calls her “a real hero in Montgomery County for 20 years.”  Her award came from CALMRA, Inc., a community-based nonprofit that provides homes and services to adults with cognitive disabilities in Prince George's and Montgomery counties. Also receiving the award from CALMRA was staff member Dorcas Olaleye.

Art Wallenstein is Director of the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation. He was recognized as “a tremendous advocate for employment of people with disabilities who has assisted over 15 people with developmental disabilities to become successfully employed.”  His award was received from Community Support Services, Inc. (CSS), a nonprofit committed to providing quality, community-based services to children and adults disabled by autism and other severe developmental disabilities. The staff person receiving the CSS award was Allen Barnes.

Uma Ahluwalia is Director of the Department of Health and Human Services. She provides a support and understanding of the issues of the agencies providing the services through policy and financial support. Her award was presented by Jubilee Association of Maryland that provides opportunities and support for people with developmental disabilities to live in and enrich their community while fulfilling their personal, family, and spiritual needs. The Jubilee staff award was presented to Margaret Kuenzli.

Steve Silverman is Director of the Department of Economic Development. He has worked with local nonprofits and recognizes their contributions that are vital to the area economy. His award was given by SEEC,  a nonprofit agency providing individualized, community-based supports to people with developmental disabilities to help them realize their version of The American Dream. Yemny Brazoban received the SEEC staff award.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Monday, November 01, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

 

Correction Director Named to National Advisory Board

Art Wallenstein, Correction and Rehabilitation director, has been appointed to a three-year term on the National Institute of Corrections Advisory Board. Under federal legislation from 1974, the Advisory Board reports directly to the Attorney General and advises the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) on policy matters in corrections that directly impact the work of the agency.

NIC is part of the Justice Department and for organizational reasons rests within the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Appointments rest with Attorney General and do not require Senate confirmation.


County to Receive Share of Multi-million Dollar Federal Grant for Broadband Expansion

Montgomery County will share in $115,240,581 in federal grant funding that Maryland’s One Broadband Network had been awarded to expand provision of high-speed Internet to County schools and Housing Opportunity Commission (HOC) locations. The funding will enable low-income residents the opportunity to stay competitive in improving their situations. It will also enable some projects to advance five-to-seven years sooner than previously scheduled.

Funding was provided through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and was the second largest broadband grant awarded to date. Montgomery County is expected to be eligible for at least $10 million in reimbursement funding for projects it will undertake.

In Montgomery County, the funding will help provide broadband to 78 elementary schools, 18 HOC housing locations that are home to some of the County’s most impoverished residents and the Takoma Park Library. Statewide, the funding will be used to build more than 1,200 miles of infrastructure to provide high-speed Internet to more than 1,000 community institutions and to enable more broadband to be delivered to homes and small businesses throughout the State.

Read more.


 

County’s Vegetable Oil Exchange is a Bright Idea says Harvard

The Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University has selected the County’s Vegetable Oil Exchange Program as one of its Bright Ideas programs.

In its first year, Bright Ideas recognizes promising government programs and partnerships that government officials, public servants and others might find useful when faced with their own challenges. Montgomery County was one of 173 government programs -- out of nearly 600 applicants from across the country -- to be selected.

Operated by the Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection), the online vegetable oil exchange program basically matches generators, usually restaurants, with users.

So, if your car can run on straight vegetable oil (SVO) or, if you have SVO to give away, then join the Vegetable Oil Exchange to offer or request SVO. Restaurants and other waste vegetable oil generators benefit from this free way to recycle their cooking oil.

Just post your oil offer or request on the Vegetable Oil Exchange so that others interested in your posting can contact you. Exchange membership is free, and all exchanges must be free of charge.


Department of Environmental Protection Receives Potomac Champion Award

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) was awarded a Potomac Champion Award at the 5th Annual Potomac Watershed Trash Summit held September 22 in Washington D.C. DEP Director Bob Hoyt accepted the award, which acknowledged the Department’s leadership in championing the use of regulatory tools, innovative outreach and cooperative management to reduce trash and litter in the Potomac River.

Tracy Bowen, executive director of the Alice Ferguson Foundation, which spearheads the Trash Free Potomac Initiative, recognized that the leadership shown by DEP would inspire other neighboring jurisdictions to also use more aggressive strategies to reduce trash and litter in the Potomac and Anacostia rivers. She praised DEP’s “outstanding dedication to finding innovative solutions to eradicate trash.”

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

The Latest on Silver Spring’s Hit Parade

As urban parks go, it looks like the new Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring is a hit.  Take a look at http://greatergreaterwashington.org/post.cgi?id=6718.


Department of Technology Services Receives National Recognition from Center for Digital Government

Montgomery County’s Department of Technology Services (DTS) received a 2010 Digital Government Achievement Award from the Center for Digital Government for its “H1N1 Flu Vaccine On-Line Appointment Booking System.” Montgomery County is one of only five award winners nationwide in the Government-to-Citizen County government award category.

The H1N1 system was developed by DTS in close collaboration with the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. It is among the first on-line flu vaccine scheduling systems developed by a jurisdiction within the State of Maryland. The H1N1 application supplements an existing telephone-based flu vaccination scheduling process.

The H1N1 system is accessible from home or office, and requires no special software or plug-ins to operate.

The Digital Government Achievement Awards recognize outstanding agency and department websites and projects at the application and infrastructure level. Fifty awards were given.


County’s Resource Recovery Facility Earns Gold Award

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has presented its 2010 Gold Waste to Energy Excellence Award to the Montgomery County Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) in Dickerson.

This marks the third time since 1998 that the County’s RRF has earned the award that honors the highest level of excellence among the nation’s nearly 100 waste to energy (WTE) facilities, and it is the fourth major award earned by the facility operated for the County by Covanta Montgomery, Inc.

The award recognizes all aspects of the facility, including engineering design systems and technologies, environmental impacts and regulatory compliance, performance, program planning, worker safety, economics and cost effectiveness, utilization of equipment/systems and technologies, public acceptance, appearance and aesthetics, and innovation and creativity. Read more.    

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Saturday, September 04, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

We’re #1

The Center for Digital Government has posted the results of its 2010 Digital Counties Survey and -- drum roll, please -- Montgomery County was rated first in the country for counties of 500,000 population and more (Press Release)

This was the first year that it was not about IT technologies alone, but the impact of the adoption of technologies and the resulting benefits to the organization and citizens.    

"Being recognized as the top digital government in the nation is an honor, and it is a reflection of my commitment to making Montgomery County government more responsive and accessible to the people who live here,” said County Executive Ike Leggett who joined Chief Administrative Officer Timothy Firestine in congratulating the County’s Chief Information Officer E. Steve Emanuel (next to Leggett in photo) and his Department of Technology Services team, including Victoria Lewis who holds the award. 

In an article on the winners in Government Technology, Todd Sander, director of the Center for Digital Government’s Digital Communities program that conducted the survey, said, “Projects that were motivated to bring transparency got high marks from the judges, and one such project put Montgomery County in first place in the 500,000 or more population category. The county measured its IT functionality against benchmarks and published the data on its portal, unlike some other applicants.”

The Digital Counties Survey is conducted in partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo) annually in the spring.  All U.S. counties are invited to participate, and the awards are presented during NACO’s annual conference each July. Last year Montgomery County tied for second place with Sacramento County, CA.

The full article on the 2010 winners is at http://www.govtech.com/gt/articles/766229


County Receives State Award for Promoting Transportation Options

Governor Martin O’Malley recently awarded MCDOT his 2010 Smart, Green and Growing Award for encouraging transportation choices. The award praised Transit’s Commuter Services’ efforts and Traffic’s Advanced Transportation Management System.

The County was commended for creating Transportation Management Districts; developing incentives to employers who help fund employees’ transit costs or telework programs; and effectively marketing transit, the Guaranteed Ride Home program, and bike-to-work events.

MCDOT was also recognized for its Advanced Transportation Management System. By locating Ride On central communications with the traffic and emergency operations centers, the County efficiently uses intelligent transportation components to monitor conditions, adjust traffic signals, respond to incidents, and re-route buses when necessary.

For more information, go to the MCDOT’s website or call 311.


County Liquor Control’s “Keeping It Safe” Program Recognized by National Association of Counties

Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC) has received a 2010 National Association of Counties (NACo) Achievement Award for its “Keeping It Safe (KIS),” program. A comprehensive educational program aimed at both the hospitality industry and the community, the KIS initiative is comprised of numerous awareness programs and tools, and is a model for the state of Maryland.

KIS tools include training and distributing information to adults in the community, including identification checking calendars, point-of-sale signage, monthly bulletins promoting responsible hospitality, and under 21 alcohol prevention information. All resources are grant funded and offered free of cost.

NACo’s annual awards program recognizes efforts by local jurisdictions that promote responsible, responsive, and effective county government. This is the third straight year that DLC has won achievement awards for its community outreach programs.

For more information, contact Kathie Durbin at DLC, 240-777-1917.


Consumer Protection Director Named by Governor to State’s Collection Agency Licensing Board

Eric Friedman, director of Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection, has been appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley to serve a four-year term as a consumer representative on Maryland’s Collection Agency Licensing Board within the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, Division of Financial Regulation.

The board has statutory responsibility for the licensing of collection agencies operating in Maryland and addresses written complaints, conducts hearings on alleged violations, mediates disputes, and issues orders requiring licensees to correct violations. Comprised of two consumer representatives and two industry representatives, the board informs both licensees and the public about abusive debt collection practices.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, July 23, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

County’s Foreclosure Prevention Program Recognized as Best Government Initiative

Montgomery County’s comprehensive approach to prevent foreclosures has been recognized with the Best Government Initiative Award from the Housing Association of Nonprofit Developers.

The award recognizes the comprehensive approach taken by the County’s Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) to prevent foreclosures, mitigate their impact and preserve affordable housing. 

DHCA’s initiatives include providing $9.5 million to nonprofit developers and the Housing Opportunities Commission to acquire, rehabilitate and sell or rent foreclosed homes; organizing meetings for at-risk home buyers; offering housing counseling; working with area banks and realtors; matching state foreclosure prevention funding; enhancing code enforcement; and hosting an annual Housing Fair and Financial Fitness Day.

Friends of the Library Montgomery County, Inc. Honored with Six Awards by National Association

In recognition of its outstanding publicity and marketing materials, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC) has been honored by the Association of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations with Best Friends Awards in six categories.

FOLMC received awards in the categories of: Print Newsletter; Membership: Brochures; Membership: Other Materials (membership cards); Advocacy Materials; Program Publicity; and Fundraisers.

Winning materials can be viewed by visiting www.ala.org, click on Divisions, scroll to Assoc. of Library Trustees, Advocates, Friends and Foundations, and enter Best Friends Awards in the Search box.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 1:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

County Receives Two Awards from Alliance for Workplace Excellence

Montgomery County government has earned the Workplace Excellence Award and the Health & Wellness Trailblazer Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) for its exemplary commitment to the workforce by creating a culture that allows employees to be successful in the workplace, at home and in the community.

The awards honor organizations that promote professional fulfillment and personal wellness for their employees. Montgomery County was among 67 employers, representing more than one million employees, that met stringent standards regarding the benefits and work environments that they provide. Organizations were judged on supportive corporate culture and management practices, family and employee friendly practices, health and wellness initiatives, growth and learning opportunities, and commitment to social responsibility and employee volunteerism.

AWE is a public/private, nonprofit coalition committed to empowering employers to create and become recognized as “excellent places to work.”


County’s Approach to Curbing Alcohol Sales to Underage Youth Receives National Attention

Montgomery County’s program geared to preventing the sale of alcohol to underage youth has been featured in STOP Underage Drinking, a national prevention newsletter supported by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA).

The article states that: “Montgomery Country (MC), MD, has effectively employed an environmental approach that uses compliance checks, among other measures, to ensure that every venue in the county that sells alcohol adheres to both State law and alcohol beverage control (ABC) regulations.”

See the entire article at http://www.stopalcoholabuse.gov/TownHallMeetings/CurbsAlcoholSales.aspx.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Monday, June 14, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

And, the award goes to…Heritage Montgomery

The mission of the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (a.k.a. Heritage Montgomery) is to bring the County's rich history to the attention of its residents and visitors. One of the ways this is accomplished is through the annual Montgomery County Heritage Days, the two-day event that brings together local museums and heritage organizations to celebrate the history and places that shape our County.

Now, the efforts of Heritage Montgomery in making Montgomery County Heritage Days an unqualified success have earned the organization a 2010 Maryland Preservation Award from the Maryland Historical Trust.  The awards recognize activities in historic preservation, architecture, archaeology, museums, cultural conservation, education, and related fields and represent the best of preservation in Maryland.

Heritage Montgomery received a Preservation Service Award which is presented to individuals, organizations, agencies or institutions for laudable activities or accomplishments that advance the public’s appreciation, understanding and/or involvement in historic preservation and/or conservation of living traditions at the local or regional level in Maryland.

The awards will be presented on May 21 in Easton.

For more on Heritage Montgomery and the 2010 Montgomery County Heritage Days on June 26 and 27, visit heritagemontgomery.org.


Rockville Named A Top 10 Startup Town

A recent Bloomberg Businessweek article reports that Rockville is among the top 10 cities in the U.S. for new business startups.

According to the article, “The epicenter of suburban Washington D.C.'s biotech industry, Rockville benefits from nearby universities and federal facilities like the National Institutes of Health.” 


Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Chosen to Pilot Federal Grant Program

The Montgomery County Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR) was chosen as one of two sites in the country to pilot a federal grant program that seeks to enhance jail reentry services for returning offenders by building on family and social supports.  Also chosen was the Green Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Wisconsin

“We are honored to be selected to participate in this program and to partner with the Vera Institute which has developed and supported evidence-based correctional programs throughout the country for almost 50 years,” said DOCR Director Arthur Wallenstein.  “Ultimately, programs that strengthen families and communities also reduce recidivism, save taxpayer money and enhance public safety.”

For more information, call Patricia Braun at 240-773-4222 or Gale Starkey at 240-773-9769.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

MAKING NEWS

Montgomery County Recognized for Technology Excellence

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has recognized Montgomery County with one of its 2009/2010 Technology Solutions Awards for the entry in the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) category  (populations greater than 750,000) entitled Mapping School Absenteeism for Managing H1N1 Influenza Outbreak. 

Developed by the County’s Department of Technology Services (DTS) and Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), the application provides DHHS’ Public Health Emergency Planning and Response team with useful geographic information and improves Public Health staff efficiency in obtaining information about absenteeism in schools during the H1N1 influenza pandemic.

PTI is a national, non-profit research and development organization that advances the use of technology to improve the management and delivery of services to residents. The annual competition recognizes PTI member local governments that have used technology innovations to improve service delivery, increase performance and reduce operating costs or create new revenue opportunities

For a complete listing of award winners, visit: http://www.pti.org/index.php/ptiee1/more/601/ .


Montgomery County Named Tree City USA

For the 15th year, Montgomery County has been named a Tree City USA by the Arbor Day Foundation in honor of its commitment to community forestry.

Trees promote healthier communities by filtering air and removing dust and other particles; moderating climate; conserving water; providing habitat for wildlife; and reducing heat island effects in urban areas. 

The Tree City USA program is sponsored by the Arbor Day Foundation in cooperation with the National Association of State Foresters and the United States Department of Agriculture Forest Service. 

For more information about the Arbor Day Foundation, go to www.arborday.org


Department of Correction and Rehabilitation Partnership Receives National Recognition

The Prison Outreach Ministry/Welcome Home Reentry program, which receives County funding for its partnership with the Pre-Release and Reentry Services Division in the County’s Department of Correction and Rehabilitation (DOCR), recently received the Migdalia “Miggie” Baerga-Buffler Award from the Defendant/Offender Workforce Development Conference.

The award recognizes a faith- or community-based organization that promotes offender workforce development through partnerships with local, state or federal agencies, and advocates for policies and practices that support successful reentry. Since 2006, the Prison Outreach Ministry/Welcome Home Reentry Program has partnered with DOCR’s Pre-Release and Reentry Services Division to provide mentors who help hundreds of clients at the Pre-Release Center in preparing for, finding and securing jobs. Read more.  

CATEGORIES: MAKING NEWS
POSTED: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |

MAKING NEWS

A Montgomery County Literacy Council Student Earns Top National Award

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

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

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

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

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

MAKING NEWS

Best Wishes for One of the Best and Brightest

A Montgomery Blair High School Science, Mathematics, and Computer Science Magnet Program senior, Yifan Li of Rockville, has been named as a finalist in the prestigious Intel Science Talent Search 2010 competition.  

The Intel Science Talent Search is the oldest and most prestigious pre-college science competition in the country, and the Montgomery Blair High School Magnet Program has the only Intel Finalist in Maryland.

Li will compete with 40 other finalists from around the country for more than $630,000 in awards from the Intel Foundation.   Judging will take place at the National Academy of Sciences in Washington, DC, March 11-16.

Montgomery County extends best wishes to Yifan.


Home Depot Partners with County to Help Job Seekers

A recent recruitment effort (Gazette)  conducted between the County’s Division of Workforce Services (DWS) in the Department of Economic Development (DED) and The Home Depot resulted in part-time jobs for a number of local workers.

The positions, at the Gaithersburg and Germantown Home Depot stores, were for sales associates, cashiers, freight team members and lot attendants.

Through MontgomeryWorks, the DWS facilitates recruitment fairs for County businesses and provides targeted employment training, job listings and workforce readiness seminars for local job seekers. More information on DWS is available at www.SMARTmontgomery.com.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |

Making News

The County Executive Remembers Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

County Executive Ike Leggett met Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. twice as a young civil rights activist in Louisiana.  He spoke from the heart to more than 1,000 persons about Dr. King -- how Dr. King affected his life and changed America and Montgomery County -- at the Annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Breakfast hosted by Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity at the Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center. Click here to view the 21-minute video.


Help for Haiti

Responding to the news of the recent devastating earthquake in Haiti, County Executive Ike Leggett said, “Montgomery County’s hearts and prayers go out to all those in Haiti affected by the terribly destructive earthquake there. We empathize with the difficulties and challenges faced by Haitians who live in the County who are worried and concerned about their loved ones and their native land.

"I urge Montgomery County residents to support humanitarian efforts to save lives and help feed and shelter survivors by contributing to relief efforts."

Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and Department of Correction and Rehabilitation have donated 1,700 pounds of food and water to relief efforts in Haiti. The County’s Volunteer Center provided volunteers who transported the provisions to Save the Children in Washington, D.C. Save the Children is transporting the donations to Haiti. 

In addition, the County's Urban Search and Rescue Team is on standby.

Information on how to donate to Haitian relief is on the Volunteer Center website.

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |

Making News: January 2010

County Attorney steps down and moves up

Montgomery County Attorney Leon Rodriguez has notified County Executive Ike Leggett that, effective January 19, he will step down from his current post to accept a position as Chief of Staff/ Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the federal Office of Civil Rights of the U.S. Department of Justice.
 
Rodriguez was nominated by Leggett in April 2007 to serve as County Attorney. In his new job, he will be working under former County Council member Tom Perez who is Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department.
 
Accepting Rodriguez’ resignation with regret, Leggett noted that “Leon has ably served the residents of Montgomery County with his considerable legal expertise, strong work ethic, creativity, and integrity. Though I will miss his counsel, I know he will continue his dedicated service to ‘justice for all’ in his new post.”

Assistant County Attorney Marc Hansen will serve as Acting County Attorney.

County's Chief Informtion Officer makes the cover of Government Technology's "Public CIO Magazine"

Montgomery County’s Chief Information Officer, E. Steven Emanuel, is featured on the cover and in a feature article – entitled "From Obscurity to Overdrive" -- in the October/November 2009 edition of Government Technology’s “Public CIO Magazine.” The piece features Emanuel and other CIO’s from around the country discussing new leadership challenges that are moving public Chief Information Officers out of obscurity and how the field of technology is changing. Check out the article at http://digitalmag.govtech.com/PCIO/PCIO_Mag_Oct09.pdf


"And the award goes to..." The Public Information Office's pedestrian safety video receives an award from the International Academy of the Visual Arts

The Public Information Office’s pedestrian safety video recently won a Silver Davey Award in the social issues category from the International Academy of the Visual Arts (IAVA).  “Drive Safe!®: Keeping Pedestrians Safe When You’re Behind the Wheel” is part of an education effort launched by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett in July 2009 to reduce pedestrian injuries and deaths by targeting new teen and adult drivers about their role in keeping pedestrians safe. The video is in two versions, one aimed at teen drivers and the other at new adult drivers, including non-native English speakers.  Check the video at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk

CATEGORIES: Making News
POSTED: Sunday, January 03, 2010 | 2:01:00 PM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010