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How to be Cool (and Safe) When it’s Hot

With a summer filled so far with higher than average temperatures, Montgomery County health officials encourage residents to keep in mind places where they can stay cool and to take precautions to avoid heat-related illnesses. 

Most at risk are young children, the elderly and people with health problems, such as asthma, who are susceptible to heat-related illnesses like heat stroke and exhaustion.

Libraries, recreation centers and pools are good places to cool off, along with shopping malls and movie theaters. 

To quickly find the location of public facilities, visit My Montgomery at http://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mymontgomery and type in your location.  The website includes locations of pools, parks, libraries, regional services centers, recreation centers, Metro stations, hospitals and golf courses. 

Residents with questions about specific locations and hours of operation should call 311.

By taking a few precautions, residents can remain safe and comfortable during summer heat waves:

  • Stay indoors whenever possible. 
  • Drink plenty of water.
  • Check frequently on elderly relatives or neighbors and other at-risk individuals.
  • Never leave pets or young children in a car.

Also, knowing the symptoms of heat exposure can prevent a serious heat illness from becoming life threatening.

  • Heat cramps – symptoms include painful muscle spasms, usually involving the abdominal muscles or legs;
  • Heat exhaustion -- first signs are cool, moist, pale or flushed skin, dizziness, nausea, headache and weakness; and
  • Heat stroke -- the most serious sign of overexposure.  Symptoms include red, hot, dry skin, weak pulse, rapid breathing and changes in consciousness.  Seek emergency medical attention by calling 911.

For more information on ways to beat the heat, go to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) website.

Traffic Signal Installed at Dangerous Intersection in Wheaton

The new signal, at the intersection of Claridge and Veirs Mill Rds. (Maryland Route 586), will help protect pedestrians crossing multiple lanes of traffic.

Between 2003 and 2008, 70 accidents occurred at the intersection bordered by St. Catherine Laboure Parish and a highly utilized bus stop.  Three of the accidents resulted in fatalities.

Installation of the traffic signal is the culmination of a multi-year effort by residents, members of the County delegation to the Maryland General Assembly and Councilmember Valerie Ervin, with strong support from Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Nancy Navarro.

One-stop Website Highlights County Health Data

Residents and other interested users can find population-based data and information about community health and the social and environmental determinants of health for Montgomery County online at Healthy Montgomery’s website www.healthymontgomery.org.

The site provides data and information on more than 90 topics related to the health and well being of the community and its residents. 

Facts on the site include:

  • It costs nearly $70,000 for a family of three to live in Montgomery County without receiving any public subsidy for child care, food, housing or transportation.
  • One in every 10 teens in Montgomery County has experienced depression in the past year
  • Only one-third of the adult population in Montgomery County engages in regular moderate physical activity
  • One out of every three residents speaks a language other than English at home.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 20, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Tis the Season: Farmers Markets Abound throughout County

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

ICC Bus Routes Handy for BWI Travelers and Commuters

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Summertime…and the Reading is Fun 

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

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

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

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

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


Award-winner Sergio Mendes to Headline Silver Spring Jazz Festival

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

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

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

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

Family Literacy Volunteers Needed

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

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

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

The Younger Generation Gets the Message Behind Pedestrian Safety

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

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


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

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

Learn more about pedestrian safety in Montgomery County.

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

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

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

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

See links to videos and key presentations of each briefing.

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

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

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

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

Applicants Sought for Board of Appeals Vacancy

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

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

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

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

Read more details about applying.

Email applications to county.council@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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

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


Community Forums to Address Alternatives to Underage Drinking

Two community forums designed to help neighborhoods in Montgomery County change local conditions, reduce underage drinking, and, in turn, cut down on juvenile delinquent behavior will be held on June 6 and 7 in Germantown and Silver Spring.

Hosted by the Institute for Interactive Instruction (Institute), and the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Washington, Germantown and Silver Spring Branches, the forums are intended to invigorate members of the community to become more involved in the issue of underage drinking.  The program is funded through the Maryland Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention.

The Germantown forum on June 6 will be held at the Boys & Girls Club, 19910 Frederick Rd. The Silver Spring forum on June 7 will be held at the Boys & Girls Club at 1300 Forest Glen Rd. Both programs will be held from 6 to 8 p.m.

As part of the forums, the Institute will premiere a new public service announcement that showcases youth using their voices to communicate clear messages to their peers that there is an alternative to underage drinking. 

Following the premiere, a community discussion will be held to gather information from youth and the community at large regarding truths about drinking among teenagers. Taking part in the discussion will be local residents, school administrators, community leaders, and local law enforcement and county officials who have made decreasing underage alcohol use a priority.

For more information, visit www.iiiinc.org or call (301) 776-4294. 

MC311 Call Center has New TTY Phone Number

Montgomery County’s Customer Service Center, MC311 has a new Text Telephone (TTY) number -- 301-251-4850 -- for deaf, hard-of-hearing or speech-impaired customers.

Those who use the Maryland or Video Relay services should contact MC311 by dialing 240-777-0311.

The MC311 call center operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  Online access is available anytime, day or night, at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311

Navy SEALS and Montgomery Recreation Challenge Local Youths


Mercy Nuhu, the only female participant, approaches the finish line of the 1.5-mile run.


Participants from Montgomery Blair High School celebrate as they are named the top performing school. 

It may seem that Montgomery Recreation and the United States Navy SEALS have little in common. Our Recreation Department provides progressive recreation and leisure programming and the SEALS are recognized as an elite military organization. However, they share a fundamental principle -- optimal physical fitness offers many benefits.

And, that common bond is what recently brought the two entities together to present a fitness challenge that would encourage area teens to reach for the best in themselves.

More than 50 teens who participate in Montgomery Recreation’s Sports Academy accepted the challenge. The ultimate goal was to help participants exceed personal expectations toward achieving mental and physical excellence.

To prepare for the challenge, mentoring and physical training sessions were provided from both Sports Academy staff and the Navy SEALS.

The event, held on May 19 at the Martin Luther King Jr. Swim Center, consisted of a 500-meter swim, push-ups, pull-ups, sit-ups and running. Participants who successfully met the challenge earned the elite status of having achieved the physical capacity necessary to be a Navy SEAL.

The overarching goal for the Montgomery County Recreation’s Teen programming is to offer a positive youth development program. But, a significant peripheral benefit was providing the opportunity for students to learn to swim. Prior to the event, many of the participants had never learned to swim. 

Students from the Montgomery Blair High School program took the top three places for individual achievement with senior Nebiyu Fitta coming in first, junior Elias Yishak, second and freshman Kalabe Arefeayne, third. Montgomery Blair also won the trophy for top performing school.

In the end, however, all participants were winners by demonstrating that teamwork, dedicated effort and commitment were the spirit of the competition.

Annual Street Sweeping Underway 

The annual street sweeping of the County’s 5,000 curb miles of roads is now underway.  This joint effort between the Department of Transportation and Department of Environmental Protection removes abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season and improves the appearance and safety of County streets. Based on past results, officials expect the effort to remove more than 3,000 tons of material that could, otherwise, be washed into County streams. 

Removing excess debris and abrasives from road surfaces helps to keep drainage systems clean.  It also helps to reduce pollutants that flow into local streams and, eventually, into the Chesapeake Bay. 

For more information, including sweeping schedules or to report a pothole, visit Highway Maintenance's website or call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. (TTY, call 301-251-4850). 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 3:30:00 AM |


Comments from Public Sought on Three Issues by Charter Review Commission

The Montgomery County Charter Review Commission is seeking comments on a variety of issues to determine if the current system of County Government adequately addresses the needs of County residents.  The Commission is requesting comments be submitted no later than June 30.

General comments are also welcome, but the Commission is seeking community input on the following issues:  (1) if the Charter should allow a special hiring authority for people with disabilities; (2) whether the Charter should be amended to provide for the removal of a Councilmember for a serious violation of the Ethics law; and (3) if the Council should have a Council President that is elected by the voters to a four-year term.

Those wishing to present their opinions on the issues listed above or who are interested in recommending additional issues for the Commission to study should submit their recommendations to:  Charter Review Commission, Montgomery County Council, 100 Maryland Ave., 5th Floor, Rockville, MD 20850.

Suggestions and comments also can be e-mailed to the Commission at CharterReview.Commission@montgomerycountymd.gov. The Commission requests that comments be submitted by June 30.

Your Chance to Serve: Openings on Boards, Committees and Commissions

Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns and viewpoints are presented. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply.

Included among the current organizations with vacancies are the following:

  • Cable and Communications Advisory Committee
  • Commission on Child Care
  • Silver Spring Urban District Advisory Committee

The deadline for application is June 15.

Get details about each group with current openings, plus deadlines.

An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or emailed to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov. Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses, should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

Montgomery County’s Heritage on Display in late June  

Residents and visitors, alike, will have countless opportunities to explore the history, culture and natural beauty of Montgomery County during the free 2012 Heritage Days Weekend to be held June 23 and 24, from noon to 4 p.m.

Musical offerings will include: Glen Echo Park – The 229th Army Band's Ceremonial Band will perform patriotic songs at 1 p.m. in the Spanish Ballroom on Saturday. Civil War-era music by the Washington Revels Heritage Voices and Roustabout Band, presented at 1 p.m. on Sunday.  Hyattstown Mill Arts Project – Live performances by "Shortbread", "The Trio", and more. Sandy Spring Slave Museum – Traditional African-American and Civil War-era music performed by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices at noon.

Check the Heritage Montgomery website regularly for updated information about the 2012 Heritage Days.

Deadline for Landscaping and Photo Contests is June 22

Nominations are being accepted for the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) landscaping and photography competitions. 

The 26th Annual Landscape Contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties in Montgomery County.  Landscaping along County roadsides, medians or other public locations is also eligible for the award. 

For the 21st Annual Amateur Photography Contest, photos of County locations or residents are judged on effective composition, originality, interest and relevance of the subject matter, and technique.  Subject categories include Montgomery County by day or by night, County landmarks, and people and persons at work.  There is also an optional youth category for those 18 and younger who wish to be judged only against their peers.

Applications for both contests are due June 22. 

MCDOT’s Community Outreach website has the landscaping and photography contest applications, which explain the guidelines and judging criteria, and photos of last year’s winning entries for both contests.

For more information or to request a nomination form either by mail or electronically, contact Community Outreach at 240-777-7155 or mcdot.outreach@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, May 31, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


Memorial Day Holiday Schedule for County Services

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 28:

  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation – administrative offices, senior centers and community centers are closed; all classes, including aquatics classes are cancelled.  Indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open as scheduled.
  • Ride On – Sunday schedule
  • Metrobus – Sunday schedule
  • Metrorail – Sunday schedule
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices, courts – closed

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

Sign Up for Summer Recreation and Parks Programs

The summer issue of the Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs is now available, and residents may register for summer classes and swim lessons.

Registration is available in one of four ways:  by mail or fax, online or in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administrative Offices at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

Print copies of the guide are now available at public libraries and community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County.  Residents who prefer receiving the guide in the mail can subscribe for $5 to receive a full year of all five issues. 

To subscribe or to view the Guide online, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec

Fenton Street Market Returns for the 2012 Season

Fenton Street Market (FSM) is back and in business at Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring. Since 2010, the market has converted Veterans Plaza into a bustling, community marketplace. Recently, Montgomery County awarded FSM a three-year contract to continue its operations on the plaza.

This year, FSM welcomes more than 60 vendors each week. Their offerings include original artwork, handmade and imported crafts, antiques, jewelry, furniture, vintage clothing and unique services such as acupuncture and henna tattoos.

The market will run every Saturday through October 27, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Due to large community events on Veterans Plaza, the market will not operate on: August 11, September 8 and September 22. Veterans Plaza is located in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building, at the intersection of Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.

To receive weekly market updates, sign up for the FSM e-newsletter at www.fentonstreetmarket.com.

 For more information, contact Megan Moriarty at megan@fentonstreetmarket.com.



A Chance to Help in El Salvador

If you’ve ever wanted to go to a faraway land to experience something new and do something special, here’s your chance.

The County’s Office of Community Partnerships has announced that  Montgomery County's Habitat for Humanity is sending another group of County residents to El Salvador on the week of July 22nd. They are looking for four more residents to join the team.

 No special construction skills or language abilities are required -- just a positive attitude, and a desire to help others. Volunteers may work in all stages of construction, from digging foundations to painting the houses. Regardless of what stage the house is in when the team arrives, responsibilities will likely include carrying bricks, mixing cement, compacting dirt and moving materials.

On the work site, volunteers will find portable bathrooms and designated resting areas with drinkable water. The team will be supervised by technical advisors and construction experts and they will present written construction goals every day.

The cost is $1,290 in US dollars, not including airfare. A $200 deposit is due upon registration, with the remaining funds due June 6. For more details about what is included in this cost, visit Global Village program cost.

For more information, email the team leader, Sarah Reddinger, at sarah.reddinger@habitat-mc.org.

County Receives Monies for Bikeshare Program

The Maryland Department of Transportation announced recently that the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has received a $1,008,000 grant for a proposed bikeshare program for the downcounty areas of Friendship Heights, Bethesda, Medical Center, Takoma Park and Silver Spring. 

In addition, during its regular session, the Maryland legislature approved a bill that will provide a $250,000 bond to the bikeshare program.  The grant and bond will help pay for a portion of the construction and equipment costs for 50 bikeshare docking stations and 350 bikes. 

The County also received $252,000 in private-sector funding commitments towards the cost of bikesharing stations in the downcounty, pending assurance that the bikeshare network will be established.

Last year, Montgomery County received funding for 20 bikeshare stations and 200 bikes in the Rockville and Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center area through a Federal Transit Administration Job Access Reverse Commute Grant to serve low-income reverse commuters and job trainees.

Together, the Rockville/Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center and downcounty bikeshare programs will foster bikeshare/transit connections for residents and employees traveling between downcounty and upcounty and improve access to Metrorail, MARC and MTA bus services.

Bikesharing provides short-term bicycle rentals at self-service, automated, solar-powered docking stations at publicly accessible locations.  Bikes may be picked up at one location and returned to another, thus allowing for one-way trips.  Bikesharing is considered ideal for short trips of less than five miles. Trips under 30 minutes are included in the membership fee, while longer trips are charged based on their duration.

Making Home a Safer Place for Many Families

Fire Chief Richard Bowers and local firefighters did just that recently when they joined volunteers working with Rebuilding Together, the nation’s largest non-profit organization that rehabilitates and repairs homes for low-income, elderly and disabled residents.

County firefighters assisted with the installation of 10-year smoke alarms and ensured that each of the homes had a fire escape plan and made homeowners aware of the importance of carbon monoxide detectors and other important safety features for the home.   

“This was a true community effort and the fire department was privileged to team up and work alongside the volunteer groups and sponsors who support this great effort,” said Chief Bowers.

Photo: Fire Chief Richard Bowers installs a smoke detector in a Poolesville home.

Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center to Celebrate 10th Anniversary

County Executive Leggett will join the East Silver Spring community to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center on Saturday, May 19 from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.  The center is located at 14906 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville, and there is ample free parking.

Hosted by Montgomery County Recreation, the free event will feature entertainment, children’s activities and interactive workshops and demonstrations for all ages. A jazz concert featuring The Dean Family will take place from 3 to 6 p.m.  

The celebration will also include the Taste of Burtonsville with food samples offered by local restaurants.  Tickets for the food tasting will be available for $1 apiece. 

For more information, call Carol Brown at 240-777-4970.

Common Sense and More Common Sense when Shopping with Reusable Bags is the Best Defense

The following is in response to questions raised by some residents after the recent norovirus incident in Oregon which arose from the handles of reusable shopping bag.

A little common sense can go a long way in ensuring that your reusable shopping bags are clean.

Health experts -- and shoppers who have been using reusable bags for years -- have repeatedly recommended that consumers clean their reusable grocery bags either by laundering in a washing machine or with sanitizing wipes or sprays. Most bags are washable and all are certainly “wipe-able.”

Next, use common sense when shopping. The thin plastic “sleeves” or bags that are found throughout grocery stores are there for a good reason – to protect not only the bag (be it a reusable one or a clean plastic one being re-used) but other foods from possible leakage -- by meats, for instance, or from other substances that might be on fresh-picked fruits and vegetables. Under the Montgomery County Bag Law, you are not charged for these bags. 

Another couple pieces of common sense advice from health officials are that frequent hand washing and washing fruits and vegetables before eating are good ways to proactively reduce the possibility of picking up harmful bacteria from various sources. 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, May 18, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


First Annual Montgomery Serves Awards Coming Up

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

Numerous local residents will be honored for outstanding, exemplary service to their community.

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.

Drug Take Back Day: Clean Out the Medicine Cabinet

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has designated each of the County’s six Police District Stations and Police Headquarters as DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) Prescription Drug Take Back locations for Drug Take Back Day on Saturday, April 28. Expired, unused, or unwanted prescription drugs will be accepted at each location.  Illicit drugs and needles cannot be accepted as a part of this program.

A collection box will be available for parking lot drop-off if weather permits. If there is inclement weather the drop-off will take place in the lobby of each station. The locations are: 1st District: 1451 Seven Locks Rd., Rockville; 2nd District: 7359 Wisconsin Ave., Bethesda; 3rd District: 801 Sligo Ave., Silver Spring; 4th District: 2300 Randolph Rd., Wheaton; 5th District: 20000 Aircraft Dr., Germantown; 6th District: 45 West Watkins Mill Rd., Gaithersburg; Headquarters: 2350 Research Blvd., Rockville

The DEA is particularly interested in medications containing controlled substances but will accept any prescription medicines brought for disposal. Each site will take pills of all kinds.

If possible, prescription labels should be removed or personal information should be blacked out; but pill bottles will still be accepted if the labels are attached. No questions will be asked.

For additional ways of disposing old medications safely and legally, go to: www.deadiversion.usdoj.gov/drug_disposal/takeback/index.html.

All medications returned on Drug Take Back Day will be incinerated by the DEA according to federal and state environmental guidelines.

The New Glenmont Metro Parking Garage Open for Business

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined federal, state and local officials at an opening ceremony for the new Glenmont Metro Station parking garage that nearly doubles parking for riders.

Located on the west side of Georgia Ave., the second garage at the Glenmont Station replaced one of the station’s Kiss & Ride lots and adds an additional 1,200 parking spaces. The total number of parking spaces at Glenmont is now 3,000.

A canopy connects the garage entrance to the Metrorail entrance. The garage features customer assistance phones, extra lighting, digital security cameras and a police room to enhance security. The garage has six levels of parking, with one level below ground.

Parking at the garage costs $4.75. Parkers can use a ‘SmartTrip’ fare card or credit card for payment.

The Glenmont Metro Station first opened in 1999. With an average of about 6,000 weekday boardings, the station has the fifth highest ridership of transit stations in Montgomery County.

For more information about riding Metro or parking at the station, go to www.wmata.com.

International Yum and Fun, All in One in Silver Spring 

Nearly two dozen restaurants featuring cuisine from around the globe will be showcased in the second annual Taste the World in Fenton Village on Sunday, May 6, from 1 to 5 p.m. Fenton Village is located just south of Downtown Silver Spring between Wayne, Georgia and Burlington avenues and Fenton Street.

Taste the World welcomes participants into restaurants to sample not just their specialties but their special atmosphere.  Appetizers or small tasting plates will be offered at a minimal cost of $2 to $5 apiece.

Restaurants ranging from Abyssinia Restaurant (Ethiopian) to ZED’s Café (Internet coffee shop) will participate.  Hosted by the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, with help from Silver Spring Town Center Inc., the event also features musical entertainment.

Beginning at 1 p.m., attendees may pick up their Taste the World passports at Parking Lot 3 on Fenton St. between Thayer and Silver Spring aves.  Once participants have their fill of the range of tastes, they can enter a free drawing for prizes from local merchants.

For more information, including maps, a list of participating restaurants and other event details call 240-832-3078 or visit www.tastetheworldfentonvillage.org.

Additional information about Fenton Village and Downtown Silver Spring is available at www.silverspringtowncenter.com.

Free Deck Maintenance Inspections Offered in May

To help raise awareness of building safety, Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is celebrating Building Safety Month by offering free deck maintenance inspections for single-family detached homes, townhouses and duplex dwellings.

The inspections are available to all Montgomery County residents -- excluding those in the City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg -- and include a checklist for homeowners to help them maintain a safe and sound structure.

Residents interested in scheduling a deck inspection should contact Montgomery County during the month of May by calling 3-1-1 or by faxing at 240-777-6258.  Homeowners will be contacted before the inspection is performed. All requests will be honored as the inspectors’ workloads permit.

For more information about Building Safety Month, visit the DPS website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/permittingservices.

Game On!  Ground Broken for New Tennis Center at South Germantown Recreational Park 

A groundbreaking ceremony was held recently for the new Montgomery TennisPlex (MTP) center at the South Germantown Recreational Park. The new facility, the result of a public-private partnership between M-NCPPC, Montgomery Parks and Jack Schore Tennis, is slated to open in the fall of 2012.

Participating in the groundbreaking were (left to right): Anne Pallie, MTP CFO; Mary Bradford, Montgomery Parks director; Kevin Dowdell, MTP general manager; Jack Schore, MTP CEO and tennis director;  County Executive Ike Leggett; Barry Ford, director, Public Affairs and Advocacy, USTA; Mark Ein, founder and CEO of Venturehouse Group and owner of  the Washington Kastles; and Francoise Carrier, Montgomery County Planning Board chair.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


Register Now for Recreation Montgomery’s Summer Camps 

It’s not too early to start planning summer activities for the kids, and Montgomery County Recreation has hundreds of summer camp programs that will keep them actively engaged this summer.

There are the traditional camp activities including games, sports, skits and swimming, or the less conventional, such as magic and math. From building robots to twirling batons, there are plenty of opportunities available.

Browse the Summer Camp Guide.

“Smart” Parking Meters Pilot Project Underway in Bethesda

A three-month pilot project, under the auspices of the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Division of Parking, is underway in Bethesda to test parking meters that expand payment options for motorists. The “smart” meters accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express and Discovery credit cards, in addition to coins and pay-by-cell phone payments.

The test meters have been installed on Norfolk Avenue, between Woodmont and Del Ray avenues. They use a solar-powered battery system with a highly visible expiration time indicator. The new meters have real-time communication capabilities that allow web-based identification of broken meters and processing of credit card transactions.

Meters were loaned to the County for the test period. In early summer, they will be removed and the original meters reinstalled. At that time, MCDOT expects to have enough information on the viability of the system to possibly request bids to replace the County’s on-street and parking lot meters.

To view County public parking options in Bethesda and other urban centers of the county, visit the Division of ParkingManagement'swebsite.

Leggett Asks “Exceptional Agers” to Participate in National Institute on Aging Study

County Executive Ike Leggett is urging local seniors age 80 and older, who are mentally sharp and in great health, to consider participation in the National Institute of Health’s IDEAL study. The Insight Into Determinants of Exceptional Aging and Longevity Study (IDEAL), is the longest running study on aging.

Those who qualify for IDEAL will receive complete physical examinations, including tests of strength, stamina and mental sharpness.

For information about the study, call 1-855-80-IDEAL (43325) or email IDEAL@westat.com.

New Council Districts in Effect; Residents Should Check for Changes

The five Montgomery County Council districts that were recommended by the County’s Redistricting Commission and approved by the Council last fall are now in effect. The district boundaries will remain in effect for the next 10 years.

Some residents will find that they are represented by different Councilmembers than those who have represented their district since the last Council election in November 2010. The new district boundaries will be used in the next Countywide elections in November 2014.

Check out the new districts on the “About the Council” site on the Council homepage.

In addition, the “About the Council” site has a feature that will help residents find out what Council district they live in by simply entering their address. To access the “Find Your Council District” feature directly, go to  http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/elections/enterstreet.cfm.

Residents can also learn the number of their Congressional district, their State legislative district and their Board of Education district (which are different than Council districts). It also provides the location of the polling place where they will vote.

 Read more about the new districts.

Transportation Options for Seniors

There’s much for seniors to see and do in Montgomery County and many options for getting around and being part of it all.

See and hear the options in a short online video.

And, even more information for seniors on a variety of topics – from health and housing to employment/volunteer opportunities -- may be found on the Senior Site.

MCPL Express @ Olney Now Serving Customers 

Although the Olney Library is closed for major renovations, customers of the branch are now able to check out current materials and return borrowed materials at the new kiosk library service (MCPL Express @ Olney) at the Longwood Community Center, 19300 Georgia Ave. By mid-April, customers also will be able to pick up holds.

The kiosk service is made up of four elements:

  • Lending Library Kiosk with adult fiction and nonfiction, CD books, children’s fiction books, picture books and beginner reader books;
  • Media Box Kiosk with DVDs for adults and children;
  • Book Return; and
  • Holds Lockers (coming mid-April).

The kiosks will operate Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.  They be closed on Friday and Sunday.
Read more details about the MCPL Express @ Olney.

For information about the Olney renovation project, visit the Olney Library page.

Long Term Care Volunteers Sought for Ombudsman Program

Montgomery County’s Long Term Care Ombudsman Program is seeking individuals interested in helping to enhance the quality of life for nursing home residents as long-term care advocates with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.

Volunteers will be assigned to make regular visits to residents in nursing homes and assisted living facilities at convenient locations throughout Montgomery County. Ombudsmen representatives work to promote the highest quality of life for residents in nursing home settings and help to resolve problems.

Flexible daytime hours during the work week and creativity in developing problem solving strategies are required in addition to an advanced level of commitment. The ability to work autonomously with support and guidance is also a must. Training and on-going technical assistance are provided by experienced professionals.

The intensive orientation program for volunteer candidates provides comprehensive training focused on promoting resident rights in nursing home and assisted living systems. Using advocacy skills and applicable laws, volunteers will work to resolve complaints. The orientation will be held daily from May 21 through May 25 at Holiday Park Senior Center at 3950 Ferrara Dr. in Wheaton, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Class size is limited and pre-registration is required.

Contact Eileen Bennett at eileen.bennett@Montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-1067 to learn more.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 3:30:00 AM |


County’s Health Ranking Among Highest in Maryland

The third annual County Health Rankings (CHR) for Maryland, a project of the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, continues to reinforce that where one lives matters to health. Montgomery County and neighboring Howard County have the highest overall rankings in the state.

For several measures there were no statistically significant differences in rates between the two counties, including premature death (years of potential life lost); poor or fair health; poor physical health days; poor mental health days; low birth weight; adult smoking; physical inactivity; excessive drinking; motor vehicle crash death rate; diabetic screening; mammography screening; children in poverty; inadequate social support; and children in single-parent households.

Montgomery County had statistically significant better rates in the areas of adult obesity and preventable hospital stays. Howard County demonstrated statistically significant better rates of teen birth rates, uninsured population and residents with at least some college education.

A one-stop online source for population-based data and information about community health and the social and environmental determinants of health was launched last year at www.healthymontgomery.org.

The website provides data and information on more than 90 topics related to the health and well being of the community and its residents. Data on the website assists County policy makers and partners in identifying key priority areas and will help guide decisions about strategies to meet various needs.

Paper, Paper and More Paper…Than Ever Before: Paper Shredding Event Breaks Records

NBC4 has reported that the paper shredding event held in late March in the Montgomery College parking lot at Mannakee Street and Route 355 was the largest community shred they have held in Montgomery County.

According to the Dept. of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), “The event broke our last recorded ‘bests.’”

  • More cars --1,541-- came through the event; and
  • 70 percent more cardboard (1.66 tons) was collected and recycled than from previous events

In addition, Sean Wynn, District Operations manager for the Securit | Shred-it - Washington DC Region, reported that approximately 34 tons of paper were collected, saving an estimated 640 trees.

Eileen Kao, chief of DSWS’s Waste Reduction and Recycling Section, thanked all those who participated and said, “So many of the residents who brought their confidential paper for shredding and recycling and gave us their cardboard for recycling expressed their thanks and gratitude for giving them this recycling opportunity.”

Partnering with NBC4 and the County on the event were Montgomery College, PNC Bank, Shred-It and Unity Disposal and Recycling.

To learn about future opportunities to shred confidential papers and recycle cardboard in Montgomery County, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/recycling.

Your Chance to Serve: Openings on Boards, Committees and Commissions

Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns and viewpoints are presented. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply to fill vacancies on various County boards, committees and commissions.

Included among the current organizations with vacancies are the following:

  • Cable Compliance Commission
  • Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board
  • Victim Services Advisory Board
  • Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board

Get details about each group with current openings, plus deadlines.

An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, or emailed to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov. Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


County Negotiates Three-Year Contract with County’s General Government Workers

A $2,000 bonus and a 3% longevity increase for individuals with 21 or more years of service would be coming to County employees under the tentative three-year agreement reached between the County and UFCW Local 1994 MCGEO (United Food and Commercial Workers International Union/Montgomery County Government Employees Organization) covering 5,000 of the County’s general government workers. The contract calls for no cost-of-living increase and no steps or incentives for County employees.

The pact also:

  • Establishes a path toward health care cost containment and sustainability; and
  • Creates a process for consideration of “hybrid” pensions to blend the stability of Defined Benefits and the cost predictability of Defined Contribution plans without increasing costs to the County. 

The agreement must be ratified by the MCGEO members and approved by the County Council.

Contracts have been completed, as well, with the Police and Firefighters’ unions, pending ratification by union members.



WSSC Seeks County Residents to Serve on Customer Advisory Board

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) is looking for Montgomery County residential customers of WSSC to serve on their Customer Advisory Board that provides input to the commission’s staff on policies and programs. 

Meetings are held the second Wednesday of each month from 7 to 9 p.m. at WSSC’s offices in Laurel. 

For more information, contact WSSC at 301-206-8233 or kknox@wsscwater.com.

Start of Construction for Olney Library Marked with Community Event

A ceremony marking the start of construction for the Olney Library renovation project was held on February 26.  Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton and Department of General Services Director David Dise greeted attendees and offered brief remarks.

The library renovation is expected to take about 18 months and will expand the 16,825 square-foot structure by 4,260 square feet, replace the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system; bring all building systems up to building and energy codes; replace the windows and doors; install a new roof and new interior finishes; improve pedestrian safety and walkways; and improve exterior lighting and stormwater management.

The renovation will provide an expanded children’s room, new teen space, group study rooms and a children’s program room. The number of tables and chairs will be increased and all seating upgraded to include access to electric outlets for use of electronic devices.

During the renovation, a “kiosk library” will be located at the Longwood Recreation Center, 19300 Georgia Ave., Brookeville.
The kiosk will open in March and operate from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday. It will be closed on Fridays and Sundays.

Project updates will be available on the Department of General Services website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/neighborhoodprojects and the Library Department’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library (click on the Building Projects link).

Comments and questions may also be sent to Ask-a-Librarian at askalibrarian@montgomerycountymd.gov.

New Video Presents Bethesda Lifestyle: “A Big City in a Small Town”

The advantages of living, working, relaxing and getting around in downtown Bethesda are featured in a new video presented by the Bethesda Urban Partnership.   

The 11 ½-minute video includes the many unique and independently owned and operated shops and restaurants, as well as the exciting visual and performing arts and public transportation options available to residents and visitors.  

Downtown Bethesda’s beautifully maintained landscaping, vibrant street scenes and architecture are featured, as well. Local residents and business people talk about the amenities that enhance the community for people of all ages and interests.

“Bethesda’s outstanding mix of shops, neighborhoods and services -- all in walking distance to Metro -- make it the perfect place to live and for business,”  said Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Director Ken Hartman.

Watch the video and see for yourself what Ken is talking about. 

Businesses Take Note: It’s Easy Being Green

Montgomery County is celebrating the two-year anniversary of the Green Business Certification Program, launched through a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce (MCCC) and Montgomery College. 

The program helps County businesses by providing them with a “greenprint” for introducing sustainability into their day-to-day operations and supply chain decisions.

To become a certified green business, an organization must demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation of energy and water, carbon footprint reduction, waste reduction, and recycling and environmentally responsible purchasing. 

Among the 35 organizations certified so far are a bank, IT consultant, religious institution, beverage company, orthodontist, furniture company and international hotel chain. Also included are a law firm, accounting firms, non-profit organizations, and an architect, engineering firm and defense contractor.

Montgomery College provides on-going courses to assist businesses in “going green” so they can get certified. While not required for certification, many businesses have found the courses to be extremely helpful in getting started.

For information about Montgomery College’s Green Business Certification Crash Course, as well as other sustainability courses, go to “Green Training Programs” in their Schedule of Noncredit Classes at Here.

For more about the Green Business Certification Program, visit http://mcgreenbiz.org/.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Video , County Council
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


Good Grades Pay Off

In recognition of their scholastic achievement, honor roll students from all Montgomery County public schools can receive an hour of free skating -- and skates -- at the Silver Spring Skating Rink at Veteran’s Plaza, 8523 Fenton St. through March 8. Students must show a copy of their (honor roll) report card and their student ID.

The offer of appreciation is presented by Tri State Ice Management which operates the rink and the County’s Community Use of Public Facilities-Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.

For more information, visit www.silverspringiceskating.com.

Your Chance to Serve: Openings on Boards, Committees and Commissions

Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns, and viewpoints are presented. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply.

Currently, there is an opportunity to serve on any one of the following boards, committees and commissions:

  • Agricultural Preservation Advisory Board
  • Cable and Communications Advisory Committee
  • Cable Compliance Commission
  • Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board
  • Workforce Investment Board

Get details about each group.

An application consisting of a brief cover letter and resume should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or by email to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov.  Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses, should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

The deadline for applying for these openings is March 9.

Residents Beware of Pigeon Drop Schemes and Distraction Thefts

As warmer weather approaches and outdoor activities increase, the Montgomery County Police Department warns residents to be aware of Pigeon Drop schemes and distraction thefts  that typically occur in parking lots and in grocery or other retail stores respectively.

Remaining alert to your surroundings and being aware of the people around you are keys helping to ensure that you don’t become a victim.

There’s a New Galaxy in Silver Spring

The rental housing market in downtown Silver Spring is brighter now by nearly 200 units with the opening of the Galaxy, a new five-story, 195-unit, mid-rise rental apartment building on 13th Street.

Leased and managed by Hercules Real Estate, the building contains 82 affordable apartments (already all taken) and 113 market units.

 “The Galaxy team is fulfilling its promise to bring affordable and market rate housing as well as additional parking to downtown Silver Spring,” said Richard Y. Nelson, Jr., director of the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs. “This public-private initiative demonstrates the opportunity we have for win-win-win developments in Montgomery County. The Galaxy is a win for residents of many income levels, a win for the County in bringing additional parking for a 24-7 neighborhood and a win for a development team that is opening the right product at exactly the right time.”

Amenities include a large, luxurious clubroom with pool table, flat screen televisions and a Wii™ station, a cyber café with a Wi-Fi Hotspot and a fully equipped private fitness center. Apartments are designed with condo-grade finishes, from custom cabinetry to granite countertops and stainless steel appliances to ceramic floors, full-size washers and dryers, walk-in closets, patios and balconies.

For more information, visit www.TheGalaxyApts.com.

New Park and Ride Lot on Georgia Avenue Served by Intercity Buses

A new Georgia Avenue Park and Ride lot, west of Georgia Avenue (Maryland Rte. 97) and just south of the InterCounty Connector (ICC), is now open.  The lot, which has more than 200 parking spaces and two bus shelters with benches, was part of the ICC/MD200 project and was built by the State Highway Administration.

With the opening of the new lot, the Maryland Transit Administration's (MTA) intercity buses for routes #201 and #202 has discontinued service to the Norbeck Park and Ride lot.

Consumer Protection Wants You to Know

Many consumers don’t know their rights when it comes to debt collectors. For example, they are unaware that they have the right to not be sued when it comes to old debt.  Debt collectors have a limited number of years to sue you and collect their money; this is known as the statute of limitation. It varies by state and circumstance, but after that time has passed, your unpaid debt is classified as “time-barred” and is no longer collectible. 

Debt collectors may still try to collect on a time-barred debt; however, the decision to pay is yours. You can choose to not pay anything, make a partial payment or pay off the debt completely.  Each option has its consequences and you may want to talk to a lawyer before you make a decision. To learn more about how to deal with Time-Barred Debts read the Federal Trade Commission’s article, Time-Barred Debts.

The Office of Consumer Protection investigates thousands of complaints each year involving new home purchases, home improvements, credit issues, automotive sales and repairs, retail sales, Internet services and most other consumer transactions.

For additional information on consumer issues, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or e-mail consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Consumer
POSTED: Thursday, March 01, 2012 | 2:30:00 AM |


Council to Host Public Hearings on FY13 Capital Budget and CIP

Public hearings sponsored by the County Council on the FY13 Capital Budget and the FY13-18 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) will be held on February 7, 8, and 9 at 7 p.m. 

For information or to testify, call 240-777-7803.

New Website Makes Going Green Simpler for Residents 

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection has launched a new website, MyGreenMontgomery.org, that simplifies achieving “green” goals by providing information linking residents with local, state, federal and private incentives. 

The website is an interactive community tool that will evolve to highlight new programs, resources and information, provide a forum for a community conversation, and allow users to ask questions and share success stories. 

Residents who want to get started on a basic green project, such as changing appliance settings to be more energy efficient or do a complete green makeover, can get guidance from the “Green Projects” section where projects are outlined in the following categories: Daily Choices, Energy, Lawn and Garden, Transportation and Water.  Each project is rated according to difficulty to implement, cost and green impact.  Project descriptions provide detailed information and resources, such as tips and “How-to” videos, to help users complete the project.  Users can also create a Green Plan and track their progress. 

Get more details.

New Local Shuttle Service to Germantown MARC Station

In order to ease commutes for Germantown MARC train passengers, the County’s Ride On bus system has partnered with the Maryland Transit Administration MARC Train to provide a new shuttle service to transport passengers during peak commuting times.

Ride On Route 94 will operate between the Kingsview Park and Ride Lot at Clopper Rd. (Maryland Rte. 117) and Kingsview Village Ave. and the Germantown MARC station.

Passengers using the new service will be dropped off and picked up immediately adjoining the train station.

Read more.

If It’s February, It Must Be…

Black History Month

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) celebrates Black History Month with free programs highlighting traditional West African culture, dance and storytelling.

Anansegromma of Ghana, featuring native Ghanaians Kofi Dennis and Kwame Ansah-Brew, will present a program of traditional music, storytelling and dance. The group performs “call and response” songs, games and drum rhythms on authentic instruments giving the audience first-hand exploration of West African cultural traditions.

With a calm, captivating voice and a drum, Baba Jamal Koram captures audiences of all ages, telling stories in the African American Griotic Traditions.

Check out the program schedule.

Lunar New Year

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is also celebrating the Lunar New Year with a variety of free programs marking the New Year 4709. Lunar New Year, which starts with the new moon on the first day of the New Year and ends on the full moon 15 days later, began on January 23.

See the list of programs.

Library Lovers Month

Each year, Friends of the Library, Montgomery County designates February as Library Lovers Month to give residents a chance to recognize and express their appreciation for all that libraries and librarians do for the public year round.

Get more details about what you can do for Library Lovers Month at www.folmc.org.

Adopt-A-Shelter-Rabbit Month  

The Montgomery County Humane Society has dozens of rabbits waiting for homes at the shelter on Rothgeb Dr. in Rockville.

But before jumping on the bandwagon, take a minute to read some dos and don'ts about bunny care.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Budget
POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 4:00:00 AM |


No Plastic in Paradise: Another Area Gets on the “Bagwagon”

One of the latest jurisdictions to ban plastic checkout bags is the Big Island of Hawaii where a bag law took effect January 18.  A week earlier, bans on plastic checkout bags went into effect on Maui and Kauai islands and counties.

According to a piece by Allan Gerlat of Waste Age, businesses on Hawaii Island can make plastic checkout bags available for purchase for one calendar year after the law takes effect. It would be up to the individual retailer whether to charge a fee and how much

Read more about the Hawaiian bills, including two statewide bills that have been proposed at Hawaii Big Island Bans Plastic Checkout Bags.

Neediest Kids Golf Championship Announces Three-Year Agreement with TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm

The "Neediest Kids Championship presented by Under Armour" has signed a three-year agreement with TPC Potomac at Avenel Farm for their annual golf tournament which will be played this year the week of October 1 - 7.

Neediest Kids is a nonprofit organization that helps low-income students in Washington, D.C., Maryland and Virginia gain increased confidence, dignity and self-esteem by assuring they receive the basic essentials they need so they can get the education they deserve.

Local favorites Gary Williams and Fred Funk are returning – Williams as tournament host and Funk as honorary chairman. The tournament will be broadcast for the sixth straight year by the Golf Channel in the United States and seen in 176 countries and territories worldwide.

“Montgomery County is happy to host this important event that gives so much to those in most need throughout our community,” said Kelly Groff, executive director of the  County's Conference and Visitors Bureau. “We look forward to hosting the players, their families and all those who will attend this great event from around the region.”

Read more.

Opportunities to Serve on County Boards, Committees and Commissions

Public participation on boards, committees and commissions contributes to the work of County government and provides a valuable service to the community by presenting the concerns and viewpoints of residents on a variety of issues. Most committees have members who are appointed by the County Executive and confirmed by the County Council, although some committees are appointed by the Council.

Applications are currently being accepted for vacancies on a number of these boards, committees and commissions. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply.

An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be sent by mail to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or by email to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov. Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

Check on vacancy announcements for boards, committees, and commissions and receive full details on what’s open, meeting schedules, duties, and how to apply.

County Council Seeks Applicants for Legislative Oversight Director

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for the position of Director, Office of Legislative Oversight (OLO).  OLO is an independent Legislative Branch office that conducts program evaluations, fiscal analyses, audits and policy research projects assigned by the Council. By law, a majority of Councilmembers appoints the OLO Director to a renewable four-year term.

Applications must be received by March 9.

For details on the application process, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/olodirector.pdf or contact the Council’s Administrative Services Coordinator, Mary Jane Berry, at 240-777-7930.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


Registration Open for Recreation’s Summer Camps and Programs

Montgomery County Recreation began accepting registrations for its popular summer camps and programs on  January 17.

The 2012 Summer Camps and Programs guide is filled with affordable and exciting camp programs designed to serve a wide range of interests.

Early registration is encouraged, because space is limited and registrations are handled on a first-come, first-served basis. Individuals can register one of four ways: by mail, fax, online or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring. The easiest and most convenient way to register is through RecWeb, the on-line registration link at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Summer Camps guide is available at all Recreation community and aquatic centers or online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

For more information, call 240-777-6870.

Public Hearing on School Bus Cameras to Monitor Vehicles Illegally Passing Stopped Buses

The County Council will host a public hearing on January 24 on Bill 37-11 that would allow cameras to be installed on County school buses to monitor vehicles that illegally pass stopped buses. The hearing will begin at 1:30 p.m. in the 3rd floor hearing room of the Council Building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.

Under the bill, the County’s Chief of Police, after consulting with the Board of Education, would be authorized to install cameras on Montgomery County Public School buses to monitor traffic.

According to a Maryland State Department of Education (MSDE) survey released in March 2011, on a single day in February, more than 7,000 drivers overtook stopped buses in Maryland. The survey also reported that in Montgomery County 1,645 drivers ignored the stop arm activated on buses when they were stopped and students were entering or leaving the bus.

For more information on the proposed legislation, see the Council's press release. For information on the public hearing, visit the Council's website or call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For information on pedestrian safety and safe routes to schools, visit MCDOT's pedestrian safety site.

Let’s Talk Recreation: Public MeetingSet for Damascus

Montgomery County Recreation Director Gabriel Albornoz invites residents to share their thoughts, suggestions and ideas about programs and services that the department offers at “Gabbin’ With Gabe,” a public meeting to be held on Thursday, January 26 from 7:30 to 9 p.m., at the Damascus Community Recreation Center, 25520 Oak Dr.

The public meeting is part of the community outreach efforts offered by Montgomery Recreation that encourage residents to be actively involved with Recreation programs and activities. “Gabbin’ with Gabe” will take place quarterly at community centers around the County.

For more information, call 240-777-6875.

School-age Students Sought to Serve as Aides on Election Day

Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking school-age students, grades 6-12, to serve as Election Day student aides during the 2012 Presidential Primary Election, Tuesday, April 3.

Students and their guardians must attend mandatory training to serve on Election Day and, if applicable, to receive Student Service Learning (SSL) credits. Students are placed in neighboring precincts according to their home addresses.

Interested parents/guardians can register their student(s) before January 27 online by visiting the Montgomery County Board of Elections’ website. For additional information, email future.vote@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Read more information.

Free Children’s Program at Germantown Library Kicks Off Friends of the Library, Montgomery County’s 30th Anniversary Celebration

Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC), will kick off a year-long celebration of its 30th anniversary with a free concert featuring the award-winning children’s musical band, Hot Peas ‘N Butter on Saturday, January 28 at 11 a.m. at the Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd.

The band is regularly seen on Nick Jr. and is a three-time winner of the “Parent’s Choice Awards.” Their interactive performance features elements of traditional Latin music, Afro-Caribbean rhythms and jazz, folk and rock and is suitable for all ages.

The concert is free, but seating is limited and tickets are required. Tickets can be picked up at the library starting on Tuesday, January 24 at 5:30 p.m.

Learn more about the celebration.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Community Forum , Election
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 3:30:00 AM |


32nd Annual Women’s Legislative Briefing – January 29

The Commissions for Women of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties will co-host the 2012 Women’s Legislative Briefing on Sunday, January 29, from 12:30 to 6 p.m., at the Universities at Shady Grove, Building II, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville.

This year’s event will include a panel discussion addressing women’s issues in the U.S. Congress, moderated by Catherine Leggett, senior vice president of Human Resources at ICMA – Retirement Corporation. Panelists include U.S. Senator Benjamin Cardin, U.S. Congressman Chris Van Hollen and U.S Congresswoman Donna Edwards. The conference will open with remarks by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett; Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker; and Md. Delegate/President of the Women’s Legislators of Maryland Susan Lee.

The briefing will include seminars on a variety of topics: Effective Legislative Advocacy; Health Care and Health Care Reform for Women; Advocating for Older Women’s Issues; Victories for Women in the 2011 Maryland General Assembly; Women in the Public Realm; Work and Women; Women, Families and Poverty; and Safety, Justice and Human Rights. The program will conclude with a reception with County and State elected officials.

Admission is $15 and includes refreshments. To pre-register, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw. For more information, call 240-777-8333.

Office of Human Rights Co-Sponsors Civil Rights Historic Bus Tour

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is again this year hosting a civil rights historic bus tour that retraces the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes.

The bus tour leaves Rockville on April 2 and returns on April 7.

The cost of the tour for a group of four is $445 per person including hotel, transportation, some meals and snacks, and all museum/tour fees. For smaller groups, the fee is slightly higher. All tour costs are paid for by participants’ fees. A deposit for half the fee is due on February 4 with the balance due on March 4.

A pre-tour meeting will be held on Thursday, March 22 at 6:30 p.m. in the Human Rights Conference and Mediation Center, Suite 330, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville. At least one member of each group is required to attend this meeting. Interested individuals and groups should contact Beverly Marshall in the Office of Human Rights at Beverly.marshall@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information about the tour, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.

County Offers Resources for Seniors and Caregivers

Caring for an older adult with a disability? The best way to help is to recognize that it is not all up to you. Ask for help!

Montgomery County’s Aging and Disability Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, has a variety of resources available to support seniors, residents of long term care facilities and those who care for them.

Read more about specific services and get details.

For more information about services for seniors and caregivers in Montgomery County, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/senior.

Applicants Sought for Council Representative on Investment Policy Boards

The Montgomery County Council is seeking applicants for the position of Council representative on the Board of Investment Trustees for the Montgomery County Employee Retirement Plans and the Board of Trustees for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefits Trust. The Boards set investment policy, hire investment managers and monitor investment performance for the Trust Funds.

The deadline for applications is 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 8.

The Board of Investment Trustees oversees the investment of approximately $4 billion in assets for nearly 11,000 active and retired members of the three retirement plans: defined benefit, defined contribution and deferred compensation.

The Board of Trustees oversees the investment program for the Consolidated Retiree Health Benefit Trust.

Read about how to apply.

Consumer Protection Wants You to Know

Be careful next time you go through your mail! What might appear to be junk mail may actually be a check for $18.

As part of the Currency Conversion Fee Antitrust Litigation case, more than 10 million checks valued at $18.04 are going out to credit card holders to settle claims over the improper setting and disclosure of foreign currency conversion fees. Consumers who filed claim forms and provided documentation may be entitled to more.

The problem? The envelope looks like junk mail, making it likely that many consumers may unknowingly toss the check in the garbage. What does the mailer look like? Click here for information from abc news.

For questions, contact the Office of Consumer Protection, 100 Maryland Ave., Suite 330 Rockville, MD 20850; call 240-777-3636, email consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Consumer , Senior
POSTED: Friday, January 20, 2012 | 3:00:00 AM |


New Year, New Parking Rates in Silver Spring

Beginning January 1, 2012, long-term parking rates in the Silver Spring Parking Lot District will increase by 10-cents an hour.

The Montgomery County Council approved the parking rate increase in downtown Silver Spring as part of the fiscal year 2012 budget approved in May. The Division of Parking Management is posting signs in public parking lots and garages to alert parkers about the rate change.

Rate changes in Bethesda went into effect in August.

For additional information on parking options in Silver Spring or the other County parking lot districts, visit the Division of Parking Management’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/parking or call 311.


Filing Deadline for 2012 Primary Candidates Approaching

The Board of Elections reminds potential candidates that the deadline for filing for the 2012 Primary Election is Wednesday, January 11, 2012, at 9 p.m.

Individuals interested in running for Board of Education Districts 2, 4, or At Large positions may file their candidacy with the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 18753 N. Frederick Ave., Suite 210, in Gaithersburg. Candidates for all other offices on the 2012 Primary ballot should contact the Maryland State Board of Elections for deadlines and filing locations.

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is open from 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and will be open to accept filings on Wednesday, January 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.

To arrange an appointment, contact Brian McKevitt at 240-777-8502.

“Did You Know?” Cable Show Highlights How to Book Public Facilities

Montgomery County’s latest “Did You Know?” cable show episode highlights Community Use of Public Facilities (CUPF) and its policy-making arm, the Interagency Coordinating Board (ICB).

Hosted by CUPF director Ginny Gong, the 30-minute show provides viewers with valuable information about the public facilities and ball fields that can be reserved and procedures in place for booking these sites. Spaces include school auditoriums, gymnasiums and classrooms; library multi-purpose rooms and conference rooms in government buildings; and even reception halls for weddings and large parties.

CUPF also books all Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission ball fields.

“Did You Know?” is a monthly show that provides viewers with information about services and programs Montgomery County offers residents. It airs throughout the week on CCM – Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers. To watch online, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm and click on Programs. Scroll down to the “Did You Know?” icon.

 It is also available on YouTube by searching “Did You Know Montgomery County.”

Consumer Protection: Wants You to Know… 

If a car repair doesn’t fix the problem, get a second opinion from a trusted mechanic.

Only do business with auto repair shops that you know and trust or that have good reputations based on other people’s experiences. If you have any doubts about the diagnosis of your car’s problem, bring it to another shop for a second opinion, if possible.

To check a repair shop’s licensing status and complaint history before getting your car fixed, call the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) at 240-777-3636.

If you have a problem with a repair, file a complaint with OCP.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Election , Consumer , Parking
POSTED: Friday, December 16, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Working Smoke Alarms Critical to Home Safety; Free Installation and Maintenance Assistance Available

Fire Chief Richard Bowers reminds residents that as the winter heating season approaches, it’s critical that every home have working smoke alarms. “I strongly urge every resident to take a few minutes to test their smoke alarms, practice their home fire escape plan and replace any smoke alarms that are 10 years or older. Many people believe that smoke alarms last forever. They don’t.”

Montgomery County Code requires homeowners to install, test and maintain smoke alarms on every level of their home and outside all sleeping areas. Failure to comply with this local law could result in a fine and/or imprisonment.

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service offers residents free assistance with smoke alarm installation and maintenance. Any homeowner who cannot install or test smoke alarms in their homes due to age or physical limitations or cannot afford to purchase a smoke alarm or batteries can call 311 for assistance.

For additional safety information, visit www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe.

An Important Holiday Tradition: Safety Tips from Police

Ready or not…it’s here. Another holiday season. That’s why Montgomery County Police have provided a comprehensive list of tips to help keep residents safe when shopping, walking and just spending time at home.

Below are examples from the complete list.

When shopping: 

  • Do not become distracted by your shopping.  Stay alert and be aware of your surroundings at all times.
  • Park in well-lit parking lots and park as close to the mall or store as possible.
  • Lock your car doors and keep packages hidden in the trunk or under the seats of your vehicle.

When out walking:

  • Wherever you are, on the street, in an office building or shopping mall, or waiting for a bus or the subway, stay alert and aware of your surroundings.
  • Walk with confidence and know where you are going.
  • Trust your instincts; if something or someone makes you uneasy, avoid the person or leave the area.

When at home:

  • If your Christmas tree can be seen through a window, do not display presents under the tree where they could be seen.
  • Make sure to lock doors and windows.
  • If you are going away for the holiday, let a neighbor know that your home will not be occupied and have someone pick up your mail and newspapers.

“Respect The Space”: Keep Accessible Parking Spaces Open for Those Who Need Them

With the start of the busiest shopping season of the year, County Executive Ike Leggett has introduced a new education and enforcement initiative entitled “Respect the Space.”  The program will raise awareness about the proper use of accessible parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities. 

“During the holiday season, parking lots fill to capacity, making close-in accessible spaces particularly tempting,” said Leggett.  “But I urge everyone to think very carefully about who those spaces are intended for …. We all need to respect the space and help ensure that reserved parking spaces are available for those who truly need them.”

“Respect the Space” is a cooperative effort involving the Police Department, the Department of Transportation, the Department of Permitting Services, the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities.

Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger outlined the kinds of enforcement that his officers will be conducting.  “I am encouraging our officers to issue citations to all vehicles that do not have disabled placards or plates and are parked in accessible spaces.”

Anyone who sees a vehicle without an accessible placard or plate in an accessible space, should report it by calling the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

 Information about how to apply for disabled parking placards and permits, as well as laws and requirements regulating them can be found on the MVA website: www.mva.Maryland.gov

More information about the Respect the Space initiative is on the County’s website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Click on the Respect the Space icon.

Volunteers Sought to Assist Residents with Free Tax Help

Volunteers are needed to assist eligible residents with free income tax preparation through the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partnership, sponsored by the County Community Action Agency, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.

VITA volunteers work 16 or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April, as tax preparers, greeters, screeners, interpreters and resource navigators. Flexible hours are available at convenient locations in East Silver Spring/Takoma Park, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Wheaton.

Free training is provided on-site and online. Volunteers who successfully complete the training will receive certification as a tax preparer by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

To volunteer, call 240-777-1123, go to http://volunteer.truist.com/mcvc/org/opp/10494470271.html or email VITA@montgomerycountymd.gov

For more “free tax” volunteer opportunities, visit Maryland CASH Campaign, www.mdcash.org and Montgomery County’s RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program.

Turn Over a New Leaf in the New Year -- Literally

Montgomery County residents interested in learning environmentally sound gardening practices and sharing the information with others can apply now to join the 2012 Montgomery County Master Gardener training program.

The course begins January 24 and continues through March 9 (depending on possible snow days). Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County office, at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood.

The $300 training fee includes a training manual and other materials. Faculty and staff of the University of Maryland Extension, as well as other experts in the green industry, present horticulture lectures that cover ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs; identifying common pests and diseases; and proper fertilization and watering practices.

To become a Master Gardener, you must attend a mandatory, two-hour orientation, complete course work and a final exam, and perform 45 voluntary service hours in the first year. Participants should have access to the Internet. Once qualified, Master Gardeners maintain active status by completing 10 hours of advanced training and 25 hours of volunteer service annually. 

Registration deadline is December 30, 2011. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis.

To request an application, or for more information, call 301-590-2836.

Commission on Common Ownership Communities Releases Updated Manual and Resource Guide

The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) has produced an updated “Common Ownership Community Manual and Resource Guide” for the operation of condominium, cooperative and homeowner associations. 

Information in the manual includes annual and special meetings, employee hiring and firing, capital replacement reserves, stormwater management, setting and collecting assessments, and financing.

Copies of the manual are available for $15 each.

For more information, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement , Worth Noting , Volunteer , Public Safety
POSTED: Friday, December 09, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes

County Residents and Businesses that Sustained Damage from Tropical Storm Lee can Apply for SBA Assistance

The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has announced that residents and businesses in Montgomery County affected by the severe weather from Tropical Storm Lee that occurred on September 8 and 9, 2011, can apply for low-interest disaster loans.

Information on loan rates and applications is available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the deaf and hard-of-hearing) or by sending an email to disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Loan applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov. Completed applications should be returned to the Center or mailed to: U.S. Small Business Administration, Processing and Disbursement Center, 14925 Kingsport Road, Fort Worth, TX 76155.

Those affected by the storm may also apply for disaster loans electronically from SBA’s website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.

The filing deadline to return applications for physical property damage is January 13, 2012. The deadline to return economic injury applications is August 14, 2012.

Fire and Rescue Service Seeking Recruits via Online Applications

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) is recruiting for the position of Firefighter/Rescuer I (Recruit). MCFRS Firefighter/Rescuers receive outstanding benefits, including 20-year retirement with no age limit, group health and life insurance, paid holidays, paid vacation and paid sick leave.

This recruitment will be used to establish an eligibility list for an upcoming recruit class, subject to budgetary approval.

Applications -- that are due by December 2 -- will only be accepted on-line. Learn more.


Office of Consumer Protection Looking for Input about Inspection of Gas Appliances

Montgomery County’s Advisory Committee on Consumer Protection is soliciting comments from all stakeholders regarding the installation and inspection of gas appliances.

A joint investigation by the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) and the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) found that a majority of gas appliances installed in Montgomery County during a test period had not been properly inspected following installation.

Input is being sought from retail business establishments, homeowner’s insurance companies, plumbing/gas fitting contractors, Montgomery and Prince George’s Fire and Rescue Services and consumers.

The regulatory code for gas appliances in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is enforced by WSSC and applies to water heaters, furnaces, ranges, grills, generators, clothes dryers and fireplaces.

The WSSC code requires that all gas appliances be installed by a licensed gas plumber/gas fitter after a permit has been obtained. It also states that an inspection with WSSC must be scheduled within five days of the installation. Failure to have gas appliances inspected in a timely fashion is both a violation of the law and a potential safety hazard.

Anyone interested in submitting input regarding this issue can send their comments – no later than December 9 -- to the OCP Advisory Committee, 100 Maryland Ave., Suite 330, Rockville, MD 20850, or via email at consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information call the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.



Montgomery County Public Libraries Offers its 2011 Report to the Community Online

Montgomery County Public Libraries 2011 Report to the Community

The past year has been challenging for Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL), just as it has been for County government in general. Yet, it’s clear that residents treasure their libraries.

The 2011 Report to the Community presents a well-rounded look at the impact our libraries have had on the quality of life throughout the County.

For instance, in FY 2011:
More than 10 million people borrowed some type of material from a local public library;

5.7 million people visited a local public library;
3.4 million people got general information from the MCPL website; and
2 million people retrieved an electronic information resource.

The report contains facts, figures and photos -- all pleasingly presented -- to portray the activities and achievements of the past year, all of which were accomplished during a sustained economic downturn.

It’s a good read for the countless numbers of residents who love their libraries and an informative presentation and eye-opener for new residents or those not as tuned in to all their local libraries have to offer.



Maryland 511 Travel Information Service is Launched

The Maryland Department of Transportation has launched a new official travel information service called Maryland 511.

Travel information is provided through the internet at www.md511.org, by phone at 511 (for those in Maryland or key roads in the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia) or by smartphone. Those outside Maryland can call 1-855-GOMD511 (466-3511).

Maryland 511 is designed to provide users with real time traffic information, transportation alternatives and links to tourism spots across the State. Travelers will be able to access information on:

  • Traffic conditions
  • Live traffic camera feeds
  • Highway construction updates
  • Weather conditions and forecasts
  • Transit and airport information
  • Toll facility information

Travelers can also follow the latest information from Maryland 511 on Twitter, which can be accessed from the Maryland 511 website.



Bike Ride-Along for Decision Makers Highlights Trail Resources and Needs

Montgomery County’s Pedestrian and Traffic Safety Advisory Committee, in coordination with the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, recently hosted a Bike Ride-Along.

Participants included Planning Board Chair Françoise Carrier, County Councilmembers Nancy Floreen and Hans Riemer and other local officials, who got a first-hand look at what bicycling in Montgomery County entails – both the pleasures and the challenges.

The nine-mile route between North Bethesda and Downtown Silver Spring took riders along bikeways, roadways and trails used daily by both commuter and recreational bikers.

On average, more than 100 bicycle collisions occur each year in the County. A new Maryland law passed last fall requires motorists to give bikes three feet of space when passing. Bicyclists are no longer required to ride on the shoulder. However, if traveling at less than the speed of traffic, a bicyclist must still ride as near to the right of the roadway as practical and safe.

For more information about biking, visit the County’s website.



State Law Now in Effect on Illegal Signs along State Roads

The State Highway Administration (SHA) and local governments are now issuing warnings to those who illegally post signs along State-maintained highways. Beginning January 2012, jurisdictions will start fining offenders $25 for each sign in order to recoup the costs of removing them from highways.

Illegal signs distract drivers and, in some cases, can impede drivers’ vision or block legal signs from view. They can also affect maintenance operations, interfere with the work of utility crews and mar the landscape along Maryland’s scenic routes.

Along state highways – including interstates, U.S. and Maryland numbered routes – private signs are prohibited in the medians and along the sides on the public property or “right-of-way.” The illegal signs are often found attached to utility poles or stacked together on wooden posts littering medians.

For more information on the new law, visit the SHA website.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, November 22, 2011 | 9:58:00 PM |


Hispanic Heritage Month Celebrations

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

See the complete calendar listing in English and in Spanish.

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

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

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

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

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

Get specific information about TRW in Montgomery County Public Libraries.

"Where's Ike?"

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

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

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

Germantown Indoor Swim Center Reopens after Renovations

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

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

A Healthy Way to Start the Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

New to the site are:

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

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

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

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

Noteworthy Notes - 2

Falls Prevention Education Programs for Seniors

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

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

Upcoming falls prevention activities are listed below.

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

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

Going to The Fillmore? MCDOT Recommends Transit and Parking Options

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

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

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

New Online Newsletter for Upcounty Residents

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

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

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

County Executive's New Appointments

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

Department of Permitting Services

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

Office of the County Executive

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

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

Damascus Welcomes New Woodfield Rd. Extension

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

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

Learn more about the extension.

Officials Unveil Pedestrian, Traffic Safety Improvements on Castle Blvd.

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

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

Read more about the project.

"Be a Time Traveler" in Montgomery County

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

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

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

Long Term Care Ombudsman Program Seeks Volunteers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Seven of the 10 projects are currently under construction.

See the complete list of projects with current status.

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

Noteworthy Notes - 1

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

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

Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in this activity, call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-777-6505 or email a request to karen.falcon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Figures Show Pedestrian Safety Initiative is Working

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

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

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

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

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

Bring Some Good Luck to a Black Cat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Spanish-speaking Election Judges Sought

Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking individuals with Spanish speaking fluency to serve as election judges at polling places on Primary Election Day, Tuesday, April 3, 2012.

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

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

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

Noteworthy Notes - 2

County Program Helps Residents Improve Energy Efficiency of Their Homes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Back to School = Safe Drivers + Safe Kids

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Revamped BRAC Website Provides Traffic Updates and Commuter Information

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

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

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

A Card that Opens Many Doors

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

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

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

Benefit to Honor County’s Family Justice Center

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Customer Service Report Launched by Office of Cable and Broadband Services

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

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

Download a printer friendly version of the complete report

Also, refer to the Report Glossary.

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

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

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

Noteworthy Notes - 1

“It’s Udderly Terrific”

It’s the 63rd Annual Montgomery County Agricultural Fair, running from August 12 through 20 at the Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg. It’s loaded with free entertainment, animals, KidZone, 4-H demonstrations, arts and crafts, agricultural education, photography, shows and more.

New this year are some exciting entertainment, food and items Lawn Mower Racing, Michelle’s Magic Poodles, StatueViva, Draft Horse Pull, Fudge Puppie Waffles, Cheese Bites, Loaded Ribbon Chips, Alice in Wonderland, Jr. theater performance, and themed events. Additional grandstand events include the Monster Truck Madness and Demolition Derby's “Night of Destruction.

For more information, visit www.mcagfair.com.

Get Around Bethesda on New Circulators

The Bethesda Urban Partnership has launched new vehicles that will replace the former trolley-style vehicles and become the new Bethesda Circulator fleet.

Montgomery County and Bethesda Urban Partnership officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett, recently introduced the new vehicles at a special event at Veterans Park, corner of Norfolk and Woodmont Aves. in downtown Bethesda.

The new Circulators contain 29 seats (including ADA accessible seating) and run on clean burning diesel fuel.

The free Bethesda Circulator’s route makes a 2.1 mile loop throughout downtown Bethesda and arrives at each of the 20 stops every 10 minutes. It connects downtown Bethesda’s public parking facilities and Metro as well as restaurants and retailers for easy navigation of downtown Bethesda.

A map detailing the Circulator’s route and hours, as well as the County’s public parking garages, is available at www.bethesda.org or by calling 301-215-6660.

Fall Guide to Recreation, Parks Programs Available

The Fall 2011 Guide to Recreation and Parks Programs is available at public libraries, as well as community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County. The Guide is also now available online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Guide will offer hundreds of classes and programs, including water aerobics, pottery, ballroom dancing, cooking and much more. Registration will begin on August 15.

For more information about the Department of Recreation, call 240-777-6840 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.

The Fueling Station of Tomorrow is Here Today

ATR Solartech photo.

The future came to Montgomery County in early August when Advanced Technology & Research Corp. (ATR), an engineering and manufacturing firm based in Columbia, MD, debuted its Solar Power Pole -- Maryland’s first high-efficiency, sun-tracking electric vehicle (EV) solar charging station – in Bethesda at 10401 Old Georgetown Rd.

The Solar Power Pole is a sun-tracking system that moves with the sun to fully capture its clean power throughout the day and can fuel two electric vehicles at a time. Solar power is converted into electric power and stored in the utility grid.

The pole features an 18-foot tall elevated 1,410 watt, six-panel solar array that utilizes GPS-based sun-tracking technology for efficiency gains of 30-45% over conventional fixed solar arrays. The pole-top mount keeps the solar panels well overhead and the curbside footprint very small, aiding in its placement in urban and densely populated areas

County Executive Ike Leggett joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, U.S. Department of Transportation Deputy Assistant Secretary Joel Szabat, Maryland Energy Administration Director Malcolm Woolf, Bethesda Green Executive Director Dave Feldman, Baltimore-Washington Electric Vehicle Initiative Executive Director Jill Sorensen and Alvin L. (“Tripp”) Aubinoe, III, the first purchaser of the ATR Solar Power Pole and owner of the Bethesda site.

Read more about the Solar Power Pole debut event and ATR.

New Website for Youth Curfew Information

A new website on the County Executive’s proposed youth curfew has been added to the County’s homepage, www.montgomerycountymd.gov. Just look for the moon clock icon and “Proposed Youth Curfew” headline.

Included in the information found on the site is the original proposed legislation and testimony by MC Police Chief Thomas Manger presented at the County Council’s public hearing in late July.

Excerpts from the chief’s testimony appear below:

“We have an issue and we need to manage and curtail it. Despite budget hardships, we have retained many positive youth programs. However, our programs will not prevent youth displaced by curfews in other jurisdictions from coming to our downtowns and creating problems….”

“…crimes against juveniles occur throughout the County and are not concentrated in one or two Districts or locations. Similarly, arrests of juveniles are also spread throughout the County. Between 2009 and 2010, juvenile arrests increased from 2,035 (16% of all arrests) to 3,222 (25% of all arrests).

“A curfew law may not be a panacea for these problems but it would be a valuable law enforcement tool, and, given current police intelligence and the existence of such laws in our neighboring jurisdictions, this law would make the County a less attractive place for curfew-displaced youths from neighboring jurisdictions.

"Perhaps nothing we do in law enforcement is as important as working to increase the safety of our juvenile population. Studies show that juveniles who are the victims of crime are more likely to have difficulties later in life.

“We know we can’t ‘enforce’ our way out of every problem, but we also know that effective enforcement tools coupled with police discretion can help us remove a juvenile or a group of juveniles from a situation that could potentially turn violent or result in illegal or harmful conduct.

“As a parent and a Police Chief, I do not want to limit the legitimate opportunities for entertainment and interaction for our young people. Nor do I want to stand idly by and not have at our disposal a tool which can help us manage situations before they turn ugly.”

Read the entire testimony.

Literacy Volunteers Needed; Information Session Coming Up

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write, or speak English on Thursday, September 1 at 7:30 p.m. at Asbury Methodist Village, Rosborough Hall,  201 Russell Ave., Gaithersburg.

Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times.

For complete details, call 301-610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org, or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation , Code Enforcement , Public Safety , Volunteer
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 2:30:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 2

Driver Alert: New Ramp Open from US 29 to Fairland Road

A reminder to motorists driving southbound on US Route 29 (Columbia Pike): a new ramp has been opened by the State Highway Administration (SHA) that provides access to both directions on Fairland Road. Motorists will no longer be able to make right or left turns directly onto Fairland Road from US 29.

A new flashing beacon at Fairland Road from the relocated southbound US 29 ramp will guide motorists to either east or westbound Fairland Road. The beacon will flash red for motorists on the ramp and yellow for motorists on Fairland Road. This new configuration is part of SHA’s $2.5 billion Intercounty Connector project.

For more information on the new ramp, including a helpful map, visit SHA’s website.

Get a Sneak Peek of The Fillmore Silver Spring

Local residents eager to check out The Fillmore Silver Spring can now get a sneak peek inside the venue thanks to the official Preview Center, located at 908 Ellsworth Dr. The center educates visitors on the historical legacy of The Fillmore, the construction of The Fillmore Silver Spring project and the amenities that guests can expect at the new venue.

The center will remain open until The Fillmore Silver Spring opens mid-September. The Preview Center will be open Tuesday and Wednesday from noon to 6 p.m., Thursday and Friday, noon to 8 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 8 p.m.

The Fillmore Silver Spring will be the first venue with its historical namesake to be developed from the ground up. The 23,000-square foot, 2,000-capacity music venue will offer leading industry technology in audio, lighting and video as well as share fiber-optic connectivity to American Film Institute’s Silver Theatre located across the street.

Step Right Up! Fillmore Silver Spring Box Office Now Open

The news that local concert goers have been waiting for. The new Fillmore Silver Spring box office is open for business at 908 Ellsworth Dr. in Downtown Silver Spring (between DSW and Borders). There is a $1 service fee for all tickets purchased on site. The box office opens on Sunday and weekdays at 11 a.m. and on Saturday at 10 a.m.

Tickets are now on sale for the opening night show on September 15 with Mary J. Blige, plus other shows to follow. Tickets are also available at www.LiveNation.com, and all Ticketmaster locations. To charge by phone, call 800-551-7328.

Sign-up to receive a newsletter for show announcements and pre-sale opportunities at www.FillmoreSilverSpring.com.

Hold Your Place in the Holds Line at the Library

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is now offering a new feature to help library customers manage holds through their MCPL online library account.

If a customer is going on vacation, has an emergency, or knows in advance that they will be unable to pick up requested materials but want to maintain their position in the holds list, they will be able to use the “Suspend Holds” feature to delay their hold for the dates they will be unavailable.

Under the new feature, customers will keep their place in the holds queue for the item while their request is suspended. Meanwhile, other customers behind them in the queue will be able to receive their item(s) placed on hold.

In addition, customers can choose the date they would like to begin suspending their hold, as well as assign an “End Suspend Date,” by using the calendar icon.

This option is not available for e-books and MARINA and OCLC interlibrary loan requests.

For more information and instructions on using this new feature, visit: www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Sign Up! Become a Maryland Senior Olympian

More than 100 events in 21 sports will highlight the 2011 Maryland Senior Olympics to be held from August 13 through November 6 at venues in Montgomery and Howard counties. New this year will be a trial run with bocce ball.

Registration is easy. Just download the full 2011 MSO Registration Guide and get all the information about events, dates and locations. Or, download the registration forms for individual and team sports. Sorry, there is no online registration. You must register 30 days prior to your event.

Participants must be aged 50 and above. Maryland Senior Olympics welcomes out-of-state athletes, too.

For further registration questions, e-mail info@mdseniorolympics.org or call 240-777-8080.

Good Reviews for Community Use of Public Facilities Newsletter

From Ginny Gong, director of the Community Use of Public Facilities, comes word of good reviews for their newsletter. “We’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback from our Summer Newsletter. Would it be possible to put a link in the next Paperless Airplane?” Ginny asks.

Glad to oblige. Here’s the link http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/cupf/documents/newsletter.pdf.

Remember, if you belong to an organization or group that uses public facilities for your meetings and/or events, check out the Summer issue. You’ll learn about the new rates for school use beginning September 1 and new fees for the use of fields that take effect January 1, 2012. Also in the latest issue is information on new sites for rent around the County (see “From the Director”) and details about what’s happening at the Civic Building in Downtown Silver Spring.

Heritage Montgomery Brings Grant Dollars to Local Heritage Groups

The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has announced the following the local recipients of FY 2012 Maryland Heritage Areas Authority (MHAA) Grants totaling $163,000:

  • $47,000 Capital Grant to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for the restoration of the Poole (Seneca) Store in Poolesville;
  • $9,000 Non-Capital Project Grant to the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission for Oakley Cabin Archeological Analysis & Interpretation in Olney;
  • $7,000 Non-Capital Project Grant to Heritage Montgomery for Heritage Days and Civil War Programs; and
  • $100,000 Management Grant to Heritage Montgomery.

MHAA oversees 12 locally administered, state-certified Heritage Areas that work with local non-profits, governments, and businesses to preserve and promote Maryland’s historic sites, unspoiled natural landscapes and enduring traditions.

For more information, contact Peggy Erickson at the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County at 301-515-0753 or email director@HeritageMontgomery.org.

Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know…?

You should look carefully at the signs around parking lots to make sure that it’s OK before parking your car. If your car is towed and you believe that the warnings were inadequate, pay the towing charge to avoid storage fees, then contact the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) to file a complaint.

OCP is the Montgomery County agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Arts , Transportation , Library , Senior , Consumer
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |

New Mid-County Community Center Opens its Doors

Mid-County Community Center Openning

The new Mid-County Community Recreation Center is officially up and running, much to the delight of the surrounding community.

County Executive Ike Leggett and County Councilmember Nancy Navarro joined residents for a ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony to officially open the center located at 2004 Queensguard Road in Silver Spring. Participating in the unveiling of the dedication plaque were (from left in photo): County Councilmembers Marc Elrich and Phil Andrews; Leggett; Navarro; and General Services Director David Dise.

The new 25,000-square-foot center features a full-sized gymnasium, exercise room, weight room, spacious social hall, kitchen, multi-use community room, arts/kiln room, game room and conference room. Outdoor amenities include a large multi-purpose athletic field and a large hard surface play area suitable for basketball and volleyball. The center has ample free parking.

For more information about the new center, call 240-777-6820.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:35:00 PM |

Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale

Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale

Montgomery County will celebrate its agricultural heritage, promote local farms and indulge in seasonally fresh food during the 22nd Annual Farm Tour and Harvest Sale, Saturday and Sunday, July 23 and 24, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. All farms will be open Saturday, with most also participating on Sunday. The tour will be held rain or shine, but some events and activities scheduled at the farms may be delayed or cancelled if it rains.

The Farm Tour provides people with an opportunity to purchase fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, plants and other local products.  Several farms have hayrides, pony rides, music, demonstrations and other fun and educational activities planned for people of all ages.


For more information on the Farm Tour, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/farmtour or call 301-590-2823.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:34:00 PM |

Some Last Summertime Hurrahs for the Kids

The Montgomery County Department of Recreation is the perfect place to find some summer fun for your kids.

The department has nearly 900 summer camps, programs and activities.  Magic, Robotics, Sports, Art, Theater, Horseback Riding are just a few of the many of the types of camps offered.  As summer is winding down it is the perfect time to give the kids one last hurrah as many summer camps are continuing through August 26.

For registration information, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.


CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:33:00 PM |

U.S. Open: A Winner in Many Ways

In addition to Rory McIlroy’s record-setting performance in the 111th Annual U.S. Open held at Congressional Country Club June 13-19, the Montgomery County and the local economy were winners, as well.

According to the United States Golf Association (USGA) figures, a total of 229,574 people attended the Open championship -- from practice rounds the 13th though 15th and the actual championship the 16th through 19th. The highest daily attendance – 48,088 – was recorded on Saturday. Attendance figures came from the entrance gates and were measured by hand held scanners.

The USGA estimates the total economic impact to be between $130-$150 million.  

The USGA also gave high marks to the Department of Transportation and all Montgomery County support personnel during the week of the event.

The following came from Dan Hubbard, the USGA’s Assistant Director of Communications: “I wanted to say thanks to each and every one of you…for your professionalism and for your dedication to making the 2011 U.S. Open a success. We have worked with many state, county and local government partners over the years and I don’t feel it is a stretch at all to say that your team was one of the best. You were on top of things the entire time and helped us execute a very successful transportation plan that withstood a number of challenges throughout the week.

"Congratulations, well done, and once again, my sincere thanks.”

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:32:00 PM |

"Thanks for looking out for my boy”... Lifelong Memories of the U.S. Open for Two County Police Officers

No one would argue that this year’s U.S. Open Championship at Congressional Country Club wasn’t memorable. The fact is, it was downright historic. Twenty-two year-old Rory McIlroy took a dozen new records – and one of the most prestigious titles in professional golf -- home with him to Northern Ireland.

But, for Montgomery County Police Officers Lawrence (Larry) Haley and Thomas (Tom) Chuckerel, it was memorable for other reasons.

First, they were part of a four-man security detail assigned to McIlroy during the final round of the U.S. Open. And, they continued on with him as he conducted post-championship interviews at the Media Center and the Clubhouse at Congressional.

But their day with the champ wasn’t over. Haley and Chuckerel (with glasses in photo) were invited to an exclusive dinner which included not only the young champion, but his father, caddie, two friends from Ireland and members of his management team. And, what was on the menu for the new U.S. Open champion? Chicken, French fries, mashed potatoes, rice and corn.

Officer Haley said everyone at the dinner was friendly. “His father said to me, ‘Thanks for looking out for my boy.’”

Officer Chuckerel said he spoke with McIlroy’s father about a relative [of Chuckerel’s] who had gone to medical school in Ireland. “It was really, really cool,” he said. “The entire world’s eye was on Congressional that week, and to be there with him in such a small intimate setting, maybe 12 people, that’s something I never expected.” But, for Chuckerel, a martial arts enthusiast, there was an added attraction. He met Shane McMahon, formerly of WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) fame, who is now an executive with McIlroy’s management company.

Both men were impressed by the champion’s down-to-earth character. Officer Haley commented, “In person he is exactly as he has been described -- nice, respectful, cordial…a genuinely nice person. I hope he doesn’t change, and I don’t think that he will.”

Officer Haley summed up his day. “This was by far my favorite work assignment, and I’ve had some great assignments with this police department!”

And, Officer Chuckerel enthused, “The whole experience was totally amazing!”

Officer Haley and Rory McIlroy  Officer Chuckerel and Rory McIlroy

Although both Haley and Chuckerel are golfers, they said they weren’t able to pick up any tips from the young Irishman’s game. They were too busy focusing on their job of player security, which meant watching everything around them except McIlroy’s historic performance.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:30:00 PM |

County Receives Grant for Bikesharing Pilot Program

The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board recently approved a $1.3 million grant to Montgomery County, in partnership with the City of Rockville, to establish a bikesharing pilot program that will bring 200 bicycles and 20 bikeshare stations to the Rockville and Shady Grove areas.

The pilot project will test:

  • Whether bikesharing is feasible in suburban centers outside a central city setting; and  
  • Whether bikesharing can provide another transportation option to low-income residents and employees.

Low-income workers who meet program guidelines will receive a free, one-year bikeshare membership; coverage for a certain level of user fees; a bike helmet; training classes in bicycle use and safety; and assistance with routing on safe bicycle routes.

Proposed locations for the bikeshare stations include the Rockville and Shady Grove Metro stations; Rockville Town Center; other employment centers along Maryland Route 355/Rockville Pike; the City of Rockville; the Shady Grove area; Montgomery College, Rockville campus; The Universities at Shady Grove; and Johns Hopkins University, Montgomery County campus.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:28:30 PM |

Fire and Rescue Service Hits it Big on Facebook

From Bill Delaney, the County’s Fire and Rescue Service’s (MCFRS) technical guru, comes the following message:

 “Was just checking on the number of views our Facebook page has gotten from January 1, 2011 until Sunday (July 10). Was stunned to see the following: 1,167,080.   Yes, that is one million, one hundred sixty-seven thousand, and eighty!

Not so surprising when you consider all the helpful information -- and sometimes, breaking news items related to MCFRS responses -- posted on their FaceBook page

Take a look if you haven’t checked it out.

In addition, you can find MCFRS on MCFRS Blog, Twitter, and Linkedin.


CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:29:00 PM |

The Right Prescription

Montgomery Rx Prescription Discount

The County’s Montgomery Rx Prescription Discount Program has saved residents more than $20 million since it began in December 2004 and in that time more than 1.2 million prescriptions have been filled by County residents.

The program, a partnership with the National Association of Counties (NACo), provides an average 24 percent savings off the retail cost of commonly prescribed medications. Montgomery County was one of the first pilot programs in the United States. There are now 1,400 counties participating in NACo’s Prescription Discount Card Program. The program is administered by CVS Caremark.

Celebrating the success of the program with County Executive Ike Leggett (2nd from right) are (from left) National Association of  Counties Executive Director Larry Naake; County Health Officer Dr. Ulder J. Tillman; and Caremark Director of Community Programs Aaron King. 

Residents can pick up a discount card at Montgomery County Public Libraries or by calling 311.

For more information, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rx .

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:28:00 PM |

Citizen Advisory Boards Host Capital Improvements Program Budget Forums

Individuals and groups are invited to provide input into the County’s next six-year capital construction budget by attending upcoming public forums being held throughout July. The forums will help define construction and planning priorities for the various regions in the County as officials begin developing the Fiscal Years 2013 to 2018 Capital Improvements Program (CIP) budget.

The CIP includes costs for new or renovated major projects such as roads, public schools, Montgomery College facilities, water and sewer lines, parks, libraries, health and recreation facilities, and other public buildings and projects.

The schedule for the remaining forums is listed below:

  • Bethesda-Chevy Chase – Monday, July 18, 7 p.m. Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, 4805 Edgemoor La. 240-777-8200;
  • Mid-County – Tuesday, July 19, 7 p.m. Mid-County Regional Services Center, 2424 Reedie Dr., Wheaton. 240-777-8100; and
  • Eastern County – Wednesday, July 20, 7 p.m. Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd., Silver Spring. 240-777-8400.

Suggestions and comments from participants will be considered by the regional citizen advisory boards for inclusion in the funding priority lists they submit to the County Executive.  The lists will also be shared with County departments and agencies for their consideration as they formulate the CIP for their departments.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:27:00 PM |

Shoppers for Seniors

The Senior Connection’s Shoppers Program helps seniors who are unable to get their groceries into their homes on a regular basis. 

The program matches individuals 60 years and older -- with incomes of $30,450/year or less for singles and $34,800/yr for couples -- with a volunteer shopper. Seniors and shoppers are matched on a one-to-one basis and will shop either for or with a senior.

Volunteer shoppers are needed to escort a senior to the grocery store and assist with reading product labels, reaching stock, handling carts and once home, help put away groceries.  Volunteers may also shop for an individual from a prepared list and put groceries away upon returning.  Some may also provide companionship for seniors.  Commit to serving two to three hours a week for six to 12 months.

For more information about the Senior Connection’s Shoppers Program or to volunteer as a shopper, contact Program Director Greg Muncill at 301-942-1049 or email greg.muncill@seniorconnectionmc.org.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Senior
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:26:00 PM |

It’s All About Numbers: 311 Calls Hit Half Million Mark

Montgomery County 311

To mark the one-year anniversary of the County’s online and telephone information system. Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett joined MC311 staff and answered several incoming calls.  Just days before the June 17 anniversary, the call center recorded its 500,000th service request from a caller with a question pertaining to building a storage shed and setback requirements.  

Trained representatives who speak Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and French are available at MC311, in addition to a language interpretation service for other languages.  A TTY line is available at 240-773-3556.         

The MC311 Customer Service Center operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The self-service website, http://www.MC311.com, is available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week. 

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

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:23:00 PM |

Ambulance Fee Instituted in Prince William County

Prince William County (VA) has joined many other local jurisdictions by instituting its new ambulance fee (July 1). This means that the county is now billing insurance companies for emergency services. Since transport services are already included in insurance premium calculations, the county felt by not billing for these services already paid, it was losing legitimate revenue. 

The county’s website says "any remaining co-payment or deductible, after the insurance company is billed, will not be charged to the county resident." A waiver policy addresses situations in which there may be an inability to pay or that involve other special circumstances.

The fees are expected to generate $3.1 million in fiscal 2012.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:18:00 PM |

Ground Broken for New Boeing/DRT Facility in Germantown

County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined Boeing developer Trammell Crow Company and building owner Multi Employer Property Trust (MEPT) to celebrate the start of construction on a new five-story, 162,000 square-foot office and manufacturing facility at Milestone Business Park in Germantown.

Boeing will lease the majority of the building, which has been designed to house the evolving manufacturing and engineering needs of Boeing subsidiary Digital Receiver Technology, Inc. (DRT).

Acquired by Boeing in 2008, DRT develops hardware and software products for wireless surveillance and tracking equipment for federal government and law enforcement customers. About 400 current DRT employees will move from existing office space in Germantown to the new facility, which should be completed in 2012.

Learn more.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:17:00 PM |

Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know?

Montgomery County Consumer Protection: Did You Know

About Monitoring Your Credit:   Under federal law, you are entitled to one free credit report, once a year, from each of the three credit reporting agencies -- Equifax, Experian and TransUnion.  In addition, Maryland has a separate law giving its residents the right to a free annual credit report from the three reporting agencies.  This means that you can view your credit report six times during a year for free.  Visit the Maryland Office of the Attorney General’s Credit Reports page to learn how to access your free credit reports.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 15, 2011 | 4:16:00 PM |


Chat Online with the County Executive

County Executive Ike Leggett’s next online chat is coming up on Wednesday, June 22 from 1 to 2 p.m.  County residents can enter questions before or during the chat. Questions and answers can be viewed both during and after the chat.

For more information, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507.

Summer Reading Program Comes to Montgomery County Public Libraries

Children and teens are invited to participate in this year’s Summer Reading Program at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) which will run from June 18 through August 13.

Participants can register now -- online only -- through the library’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library. Children and teens can sign up for the program and log the books they read using any computer in the library or at home or school, or using any mobile device.

This year’s Summer Reading Program offers programs on three levels:

  • Babies and Books! is designed for babies and toddlers, birth through pre-K. Parents/caregivers can sign up their children to listen to or read 20 books.
  • One World, Many Stories (Kid’s Read!) is for children in Kindergarten through grade six. Participants may sign up and read 10 books.
  • You are Here (Teens Read!) is for teens in middle and high school. Read four -- or more -- books. Share books and program information on Facebook

All programs are funded by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. and local Friends of the Library chapters.

For more information about programs and events, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Nominations due by June 20

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has announced its 25th Annual Beautification and Photography contests, both of which are sponsored by MCDOT in cooperation with the Keep Montgomery County Beautiful Task Force.

The Beautification Contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties.  Landscaping along County roadsides, medians or other public locations is also eligible for the award.

The Amateur Photography Contest featuring County locations/residents are judged on effective composition, originality, interest and relevance of the subject matter, and technique. There is also an optional youth category for kids under 18 who want to be judged only against their peers.

For more information or downloadable nomination forms, visit MCDOT’s website or contact the Community Outreach Office at 240-777-7155.

Second White Flint Sector Plan Public Amenities Charette Date Changed to June 30

The date for a second charette to discuss the public amenities for the White Flint Sector Plan, has been changed from June 16 to June 30, from 7 to 9:30 p.m. at the Walter Johnson High School cafeteria. At the meeting, County staff will present a conceptual amenities implementation plan based on input received from the public at the June 1 charette.

The White Flint Sector Plan provides a framework for developing White Flint into a vibrant, transit-oriented, mixed-use, walkable urban area. Community input is sought on how certain amenities called for in the Plan can be designed and implemented to contribute in a significant way to transforming and defining White Flint as a world-class community. Residents, property owners, businesses, civic groups and other stakeholders are invited to participate in the multi-agency charette process.

Anyone needing ADA, sign language interpreters or other special accommodations to attend the charettes must contact Rob Klein at 240-777-6016 or rob.klein@montgomerycountymd.gov at least three business days before the meeting.

For more information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dgs and look for “Public Amenities in White Flint” under Building Design and Construction, Neighborhood Page for Bethesda-Chevy Chase.

Pay-By-Cell Parking Now Available in County’s Four Parking Districts -- Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton and Montgomery Hills 

Cell phones can now be used to pay for parking at nearly 10,730 meters in all four County Parking Lot Districts with the recent conversion of 129 County parking meters in Montgomery Hills. Bethesda’s 5,250 parking meters were completed in March, Silver Spring’s 4,520 parking meters, in May and Wheaton’s 830 meters, earlier this month.

By the end of July, the program will be expanded to include another 1,089 meters in North Bethesda. 

To use pay-by-cell, first-time patrons register for the program once by going online anytime to www.mc.goparknow.com or calling 301-830-7074. Parkers set up an account and indicate which credit card will be used for the parking charges. The step-by-step instructions are printed on each meter.

For more information on the pay-by-cell initiative, or to register for an account, go to the Division of Parking’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/parking

Celebrate Montgomery’s Past at Heritage Days 2011

The Heritage Days 2011 celebration will feature 36 special sites around Montgomery County that will be open -- free -- from noon to 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 25 and Sunday, June 26.  Sponsored by the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) the celebration includes musical performances at 16 sites, children’s activities, refreshments and history.

Highlights include:

Olney Theatre Center, Saturday – Enjoy a day of family fun at this cultural campus dating back to 1939 featuring performances, games for children of all ages and cotton candy.  The Eric Byrd Trio caps off the day with a jazz concert at 4 p.m.

Village of Sandy Spring, Saturday – Visit the Sandy Spring Friends School campus and relive the Civil War Battle of Rickett’s Run. Picnic on the grounds and enjoy live music.  At the Sandy Spring Museum at 1:30 p.m. participate in the debate – Maryland 1861: Union or Confederate? You Decide – for anyone over age 12. Younger children can enjoy a scavenger hunt at the museum.  Interact with Civil War-era personas at the Sandy Spring Slave Museum.

Musical entertainment, Saturday -- Enjoy the Washington Revels Maritime Voices at noon at the Seneca Aqueduct/Riley’s Lockhouse and at 2 p.m. at the Monocacy Aqueduct.

Hyattstown Mill Arts Project, Saturday, Sunday – This wooden grist mill, built in 1918, will feature an exhibit of beautiful objects all made of wood, plus demonstrations on wood sculpture and crafts.  Join in a “Song Sing” of old favorites and new tunes at 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

Heritage Montgomery, located in Germantown, is dedicated to promoting and supporting heritage tourism to County historical, cultural and natural areas, helping to tell their stories and to attract visitors to their sites.

For detailed information on the 14th annual celebration, check the Heritage Montgomery website, www.heritagemontgomery.org.

New Policies at Montgomery County Public Libraries

Montgomery County Public Libraries has announced changes in its policies and fees that are designed to ensure that library materials are accessible to customers in a timely manner, encourage customers to effectively manage their library card accounts and ensure accuracy of customer account information.

The following changes are now in effect:

  • Library card accounts of customers who owe $25 or more in fines will be blocked. This is an expansion of the current policy to include public internet computers.
  • Library card accounts must be clear of all fines and fees before the account can be renewed each year.
  • Customers who do not pick up their hold(s) after 10 days will be assessed a fee of $1 per hold. If holds are no longer needed, customers are encouraged to cancel online or by calling Ask-a-Librarian at 240-777-0001.

Receiving email reminders is an effective way for library customers to receive notices about holds ready for pick up and renewals. To sign up for email notifications, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

The Purrfect Gift for Adopt a Shelter Cat Month

To mark June as Adopt a Shelter Cat Month, the Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS) is partnering with the ASPCA and the makers of Fresh Step litter to help find loving homes for cats.

Now through June 30, MCHS is waiving the fees to adopt adult shelter cats age two years and up. All other adoption policies and thorough match-making procedures remain in effect, as well as County license fees required by law.

Stop by to meet your next purrfect pet.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 3:30:00 AM |


Opportunity:  Animal Lovers Need Apply

It's kitten season and shelters, already overflowing with cats, will be taking in even more kittens. If you love animals -- especially cats -- volunteer at an animal shelter. Volunteers are always needed, including fostering kittens in your home until a permanent home is found.

Check out the opportunities at these shelters:

Healthy Ways to Help Your Brain

The County (Aging and Disability Services)-supported Brain Health Initiative of the Alzheimer’s Association National Capital Area Chapter focuses on teaching a new perspective on fitness and quality of life. The health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working and playing - even sleeping. The good news is that there is a lot you can do to help maintain a healthy brain.

The following Brain Health Blitz Races and special event reinforce the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Capital Area Chapter to eliminate Alzheimer's disease through the advancement of research; to provide and enhance care and support for all affected; and to reduce the risk of dementia through the promotion of brain health.

June 19 -- Washingtonian Center, Gaithersburg; 8 a.m. - 2k Run; 9 a.m. - 5k Run
Washingtonian Boulevard.

June 25 -- Sunrise at Fox Hill, Bethesda; 8 a.m. - 2k Run; 9 a.m. - 5k Run
8300 Burdette Rd., Bethesda.

For more information about the Blitz Race Series or to register, click here, call 800-272-3900 or e-mail BrainHealth@alz.org.

June 23 -- Arts and the Healthy Brain: An Open House
Strathmore Mansion 5301 Tuckerman Lane, North Bethesda. 7 – 8:30 p.m. Explore the connection between music and the brain.  Enjoy live music and hands-on activities that demonstrate how music and visual art help keep the brain healthy and strong. Listen to Strathmore Artists in Residence, pop-folk duo, The Sweater Set; hear brief presentations; and engage with local experts in the field. This event is free with light refreshments. RSVPs are encouraged. Learn more and sign up here.

Read more information about healthy aging and ways to Maintain Your Brain® here.

Give the Gift of Reading: Be a Literacy Council Volunteer

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write or speak English on Wednesday, June 29 at 10:30 a.m. at the Rockville Library.

Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules. No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times.

For details, call 301-610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org

Elder Financial Exploitation is a Crime; the Montgomery County State’s Attorney Can Help

Elder financial abuse is widespread and growing. No one really knows how much money is lost this way, but any amount is too much.

The good news is that Maryland law makes it a crime to financially exploit “vulnerable adults” -- those who are unable to manage their daily needs due to mental or physical disability and those 68 and older.

If you think you or someone you know has been the victim of financial abuse, the State’s Attorney’s Office can help.

Signs of possible financial abuse:

  • New spending patterns, increased use of credit and/or debit card;
  • Purchase of expensive, uncharacteristic items (e.g., car by a person who doesn’t drive);
  • Change in ability to pay bills, bounced checks;
  • Presence of new “friends,” relatives, caretakers, companions, especially if much younger; person speaks for the senior and/or keeps others away;
  • Revisions to wills, powers of attorney, other legal or financial documents, such as
    changes to account beneficiaries;
  • Suspension of usual activities, social isolation

Who's committing the crime?

  • It can be a staff member at a care facility who is able to cozy up to a resident to get
    jewelry, money or power of attorney;
  • It can be family members who believe they are entitled to an inheritance before their
    parents or grandparents pass away;
  • It can be a stranger. Con artists prey on older people because, as a group, they control a
    large amount of money.

If you suspect that you or someone you know is the victim of financial exploitation, report your concerns. The people committing these crimes need to be caught and punished. Do not assume that someone has already reported a suspicious situation.

Contact Deborah Zuckerman, Senior Financial Exploitation Prevention Initiative 240-777-7340; or email deborah.zuckerman@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Join the Election Day Team: It’s Not too Soon to Sign Up

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is looking for registered voters to serve as Election Judges in the upcoming 2012 Elections.

Volunteers are needed who are willing to be trained to conduct fair and efficient elections and who will provide voters with a courteous and friendly environment in which to vote.

Volunteer judges of all party affiliations are needed, however Republicans and Spanish speaking Election Judges are needed the most.

The Primary Election will be held on April 3, 2012, and the General Election on November 6, 2012. Sign up today to add your name the Board of Elections database. Training will begin early next year and enrollment information will be sent closer to that time.

For more information, visit the Board of Elections website at www.777vote.org, email election.judge@montgomerycountymd.gov, or call 240-777-8533.

Montgomery County Master Gardeners Announce Free, Walk-in Plant Clinics

It’s the growing season and Montgomery County Master Gardeners are answering gardening questions at 11 locations around the County. Bring your full and intact plant and insect samples, garden problems and questions to any of the following locations and get free answers.

  • Bethesda: Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd., through Sept., Saturdays, 10 a.m. -1 p.m.
  • Bethesda: FRESHFARM Market. Norfolk Ave. (between Fairmont Ave. and St. Elmo Ave.), through Sept., first Saturday of each month, plus second Saturday in Oct. 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Chevy Chase: Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Rd., through Sept., Saturdays, 10 a.m. - noon.
  • Derwood: Montgomery County Extension Office, 18410 Muncaster Rd., through Nov., Monday – Friday, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Gaithersburg: Quince Orchard Library, 15831 Quince Orchard Rd., through Sept., Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Germantown: Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., through Sept., Wednesdays, 6:15 – 7:45 p.m.
  • Olney: Olney Farmers Market, 2801 Olney/Sandy Spring Rd.(Rt. 108) at Prince Philip Dr., through Sept., first and second Sunday of each month, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m.
  • Poolesville: Poolesville Library, 19633 Fisher Ave. through Sept., Wednesdays, 1– 3 p.m.
  • Rockville: Twinbrook Library, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., through Sept., first and third Saturday of each month, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Silver Spring: Silver Spring FRESHFARM Market, Ellsworth Dr. between Georgia/Fenton; April - Oct., 3rd Saturday of each month, 9 a.m. - 1 p.m.
  • Wheaton: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., year-round. Saturdays,10 a.m. - 2 p.m., Sundays, 1p.m. - 4 p.m., plus April - Oct., Wednesday and Thursday 1 p.m. - 4 p.m.

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



Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know?

One of the notable victories for Maryland consumers from the 2011 Maryland legislative session: New credit check legislation that will prevent many Marylanders from being denied jobs they need as a result of credit issues unrelated to their job application.

To learn about other victories, visit http://www.marylandconsumers.org.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Wednesday, June 15, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Resources Seniors Should Know About

Below is a listing of helpful resources available for Montgomery County seniors.

The Commission on Aging

The group, appointed by the County Executive, is responsible for reviewing issues related to the health and welfare of senior citizens, including local, state and federal programs that impact elderly residents. Members are County residents and serve three year terms. Download a copy of their “Call to Action (PDF)".

The Vital Living Committee

This is a volunteer-led group which promotes activities which enhance the lives and support the contributions of older residents of Montgomery County. Vital living is embraced as a lifelong process that includes:

  • achieving individual potential
  • engaging with others to address the needs of all community members to enjoy healthy, fulfilling lives
  • working collaboratively with individuals and organizations to support community participation and maintain quality of life for older adults

Senior Website – One-stop Shopping for Services

Residents young and old can find out about the array of services Montgomery County offers to seniors by checking out the “Senior” website. Find out what you need to know in one easy-to-use website, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/senior.

Senior Resource Line

If you or an older family member needs information, guidance or assistance, where would you find it? In a recent resident survey, County residents said they would turn to friends, family members, County libraries and Senior Centers, phone books and the Internet.

Surprisingly, few people were aware that Montgomery County’s Senior Resource Line --240-777-3000—has trained staff who can help seniors and their caregivers with a wide range of topics and advice.

Knowledgeable County professionals are available Mondays and Fridays from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.

“Seniors Today” – Highlighting Issues and Interests on County Cable Montgomery

“Seniors Today” is a monthly show devoted to issues and interests of Montgomery County seniors and is produced by Montgomery County’s Office of Public Information and the Commission on Aging.

Hosted by Austin Heyman, “Seniors Today” is seen weekly on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m.; Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on County Cable Montgomery (CCM)—channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers.

To watch online, go to “Seniors Today” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/senior .

Senior Transportation Guide

Reliable transportation is crucial for keeping older residents connected to the community. The County Executive’s Senior Subcabinet Workgroup on Transportation has developed an informative online resource tool containing phone numbers of transportation options to help seniors and individuals with disabilities.

Transportation Options for Seniors and People with Disabilities, is an online comprehensive guide to public, private and non-profit transportation in the Washington metropolitan region, Maryland and beyond.

The County’s Department of Health and Human Services and the Department of Transportation compiled this listing of useful transportation services to assist County residents to better coordinate their transportation needs.

The guide is divided into 19 informative sections, including Public Transportation; Escorted Transportation; Grocery Transportation; Commercial Bus, Rail, and Airport Transportation; and Travel Connections Cross County and Beyond.

Feel free to share this resource guide with friends and neighbors to assist them in their travel in and outside of Montgomery County. You can help keep this valuable resource up to date by letting us know of changes or other transportation options.

This guide is available in alternative formats such as Braille and large print by calling 240-777-1246 (voice) and at the Ride On and Montgomery County websites at the following web addresses:

County Senior Centers

Senior Centers located throughout Montgomery County offer opportunities for social connections, exercise and classes on a variety of topics.

Falls Prevention

Falls are a major threat to the health and well being of older residents. Accidental -- and usually preventable -- falls are the leading cause of emergency room visits and injury-related hospitalizations for Marylanders over age 65 and falls often cause serious injury such as brain trauma or hip fracture. The good news is that falls can prevented.

Preventing Falls: Get Educated, Get Screened, Get Fit is a brochure that provides information on falls and how to avoid them. It also lists organizations in Montgomery County that offer exercise classes, health education, screenings, medication management, or home safety checks, all of which can decrease falls risk in older adults.

The brochure is available on the County’s Senior website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/senior under the Safety section.

Safety in Our Neighborhood

If a fire occurred in your home tonight, would you know what to do?

  • People between 65 and 74 are TWICE as likely to die in a fire.
  • People between 75 and 84 are nearly FOUR times as likely to die in a fire.
  • People ages 85 and older are more than FIVE times as likely to die in a fire.

With a few simple steps older people and those who care for them, can dramatically reduce their risk of death and injury from fire.

As part of the County Fire and Rescue Service’s Safety in Our Neighborhood website, there is a helpful online section forfire safety tips for seniors, disabled residents and their caregivers.

Get “Senior News” Online

senior news

Getting even more news about items of interest to seniors around the County is now as easy as subscribing to “Senior News,” the online newsletter published by the Aging and Disability Services within the Department of Health and Human Services. Subscribe now.

For 25 years, Wheaton-based Interages' intergenerational programs have brought children and older adults together. Thousands of children from hundreds of schools and hundreds of isolated older adults from senior facilities have benefited from participation in our programs. Over the years hundreds of dedicated and caring older adult volunteers and tutors, who are the heart of Interages, have made a significant difference in the lives of children.

The following appeal for support comes from Interages Executive Director Carol Croll.

"Dear Friends of Interages,

Interages is proud to announce that we have been selected as a semi-finalist for the inaugural Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence. The winner will receive a $100,000 grant, so the stakes are high!

The Eisner Foundation has announced that one of the finalist slots will be awarded on the basis of POPULAR VOTE. Therefore, we are hoping that all our community partners and friends will not only vote, but also forward this with a cover note from you to business associates, schools, community contacts, families and friends in the state of Maryland, across the country, and internationally! Please take a moment to vote for Interages! Voting closes May 15th, 2011.

Voting is quick and easy. Just click on Eisner Prize for Intergenerational Excellence! Then, scroll down to the bottom and click the voting button next to Interages. We need your support!

The staff, volunteers and Board of Directors of Interages thank you in advance for helping Interages in Montgomery County, Maryland, receive this well deserved recognition for 25 years of excellence in providing intergenerational programs!”

Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know?

According to a June 2010 survey by non-profit, Investor Protection Trust, more than 7.3 million senior citizens -- roughly 20 percent of Americans aged 65 or older -- have “been taken advantage of financially in terms of an inappropriate investment, unreasonably high fees for financial services or outright fraud.”

Learn how to invest wisely by visiting http://www.sec.gov/investor/seniors.shtml.

Interages Needs Your Vote
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, May 06, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Flipping the Switch on New Solar Array

Mr Leggett flips the giant new Solar Array on the roof of the County's Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station.

With the flip of a giant switch, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently symbolically activated 1,248 solar panels on the roof of the County’s Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station that will generate approximately 350,000 kilowatt hours ( kWh) of electricity in the first year of operation and more than six million kWh over the 20-year life of the project. Joining Leggett were (from left) Franny Yuhas, SunEdison manager; Malcolm Woolf, director of the Maryland Energy Administration; and Robin Davidov, executive director of the Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority.

In everyday equivalents, the six million kWh produced by the panels will produce enough energy to power 590 average U.S. homes for one year. The panels began producing power in March.

The County paid no upfront capital costs for the solar energy system, thanks to $280,000 in grant funding from the Maryland Energy Administration’s (MEA) Project Sunburst program and a Solar Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with SunEdison of Beltsville. Through the PPA, SunEdison has financed and constructed the array and will operate and maintain the panels.

The Northeast Maryland Waste Disposal Authority (NMWDA), the contract manager of the Transfer Station operations for the County, will purchase and use the energy produced for 20 years.

Close up and aerial views of the solar panel array at the Transfer Station may be seen on the Division of Solid Waste Services website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/solidwaste.

Read more information about the solar project.

Celebrate Building Safety Month in May with a Free Deck Inspection

To help raise awareness of building safety, Montgomery County’s Department of Permitting Services (DPS) is celebrating Building Safety Month in May by offering free deck maintenance inspections for single-family detached homes, townhouses and duplex dwellings.

The inspections are available to all Montgomery County residents – excluding those in the City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg. The inspection will include a checklist for homeowners to help them maintain a safe and sound structure.

Residents interested in scheduling a deck inspection should contact Montgomery County during May at 3-1-1, or by fax at 240-777-6258. Homeowners will be contacted before the inspection is performed. All requests will be honored as the inspectors’ workloads permit.

For more information about Building Safety Month, visit the DPS website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/permittingservices.

Learn more.

Applicants Sought for Bethesda Transportation Management District Advisory Committee Vacancy

The Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board is seeking applicants to fill one vacancy on the Bethesda Transportation Management District (TMD) Advisory Committee. The nominee must reside in a neighborhood adjacent to the Bethesda Transportation Management District or in the Town of Chevy Chase.

Bethesda Transportation Solutions (BTS), the transportation management organization in Bethesda, focuses on traffic assessment, pedestrian safety, parking and the need for capital improvements in the business district. A major emphasis is promoting programs for transit and ridesharing with employers and employees in the Bethesda urban district.

Applicants should send a brief resume detailing pertinent experience, interests and community activities no later than May 4 to Karen.thon@montgomerycountymd.gov, or mail to the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board, 4805 Edgemoor Lane, Bethesda, MD 20814.

For more information, contact Karen Thon at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center at 240-777-8210, or email Karen.thon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Free Workshop on "Autism: Understanding Challenging Behaviors"

Parents, caregivers, teachers, counselors and direct support professionals are invited to attend a training seminar, “Autism: Understanding Challenging Behaviors.” The two-day seminar will be held on Friday, May 20 and Saturday, May 21 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Germantown campus of Montgomery College, 20200 Observation Dr.

Workshop topics include nutritional interventions, psychopharmacological interventions and behavioral principles and strategies.

Registration is required by Friday, May 6.

The event is free but registration is required and will be accepted on a first-come, first-served basis. To register, call 240-777-1216 (800-201-7165, MD Relay/800-735-2258, TTY MD Relay).

First Mobile App Available for Library Customers

Montgomery County Public Libraries Logo.

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has launched its first mobile application for iPhone and iPad users.

By using the application from SirsiDynix, named BookMyne™, customers who are on-the-go can access their library accounts, get library hours information and locate books, audio, video and other materials available from their local libraries.

Read more.

CDC Task Force Announces Recommendations Against Further Privatization of Alcohol Sales

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC)’s Task Force on Community Preventive Services has recommended against further privatization of alcohol sales.

According to the Guide to Community Preventative Services website, the Task Force stated that “Based on its charge to identify effective disease and injury prevention measures, the Task Force… recommends against further privatization of alcohol sales in settings with current government control of retail sales, based on strong evidence that privatization results in increased per capita alcohol consumption, a well-established proxy for excessive consumption.”

Montgomery County is a control jurisdiction and conducts the wholesale distribution of beverage alcohol.

See more on the statement and the Task Force’s rationale behind its decision.

Taste the World in Fenton Village

The first Taste the World in Fenton Village will take place on Sunday, May 15 from 2 to 5 p.m. Fenton Village is located in south Silver Spring between Wayne, Georgia and Burlington aves. and Fenton St.

More than 15 participating restaurants will offer appetizers or small tasting plates, in the restaurants, for $5 or less.

Hosted by the Silver Spring Citizens’ Advisory Board and Downtown Silver Spring, the free event also will feature musical entertainment and an outdoor market featuring local businesses. Taste the World passports can be picked up at the parking lot on Fenton St. at Silver Spring and Thayer aves. The passports will then be stamped at each restaurant visited and turned in at the end of the day for a special drawing.

Free parking will be available at the Wayne-Ellsworth parking garage and the Fenton Street Village Garage located at Fenton and Silver Spring aves. The Silver Spring Metro Station is located a couple of blocks north of the event.

For more information, call 240-832-3078.

Leggett, Governor Lee of Chungbuk Province, Korea Discuss Strategic Economic Collaboration

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett met earlier this month with the newly-elected Governor of Chungbuk Province, Korea, the Honorable Si Jong Lee, and public- and private-sector members of his delegation during the governor’s first visit to the United States.

Chungbuk Province and Montgomery County have enjoyed a close strategic partnership since 2004 when they signed a memorandum of understanding to collaborate and promote the growth of the biotech and advanced technology industries in both regions. Chungbuk is positioning itself as a leader in the renewable energy sector, with a special emphasis on solar energy.

The Korean delegation spent the afternoon visiting the County’s Shady Grove and Germantown Innovation Centers and also toured Rockville vaccine development biotech company Novavax. To date, seven Korean-headquartered companies have located their U.S. operations in Montgomery County.

Learn more.


Office of Consumer Protection Logo

As part of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act consumers are encouraged to visit www.SaferProducts.gov to submit reports of unsafe products and to search for safety information on products they own or may be considering buying.

Reporting product safety incidents through this easy-to-use site will help the Consumer Product Safety Commission identify product hazards quicker and provide consumers with safety information on products in and around the home.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Give…and Ride Free

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 10 through Saturday, April 16. Food collected goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month.

During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. In addition to non-perishable food, children’s items are also needed. Disposable diapers, formula, baby or toddler food and juice are especially useful to families in need. Plastic containers are preferred.

Residents who don’t ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop. Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in “Ride On” on the “For” or “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.

For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call 311 or TDD/TTY 240-773-3556. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On’s web site at montgomerycountymd.gov/rideon. SmarTrip® cards and passes can also be purchased online.

Get more details.



Education and Involvement Mark Earth Month Activities

Montgomery County will celebrate April as “Earth Month” with a variety of events scheduled throughout the County.

Things get underwaySaturday April 9 with an Earth Day Proclamation presented by County Executive Ike Leggett at the groundbreaking for the Emory Grove Community Garden, 18100 Washington Grove La., Gaithersburg. 10 a.m. The garden is a collaboration between Montgomery County Parks, Montgomery County Public Schools and Neighbors For Neighbors. Contact Rev. Tim Warner at 240-777-2503 or email Tim.warner@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Throughout the month, there will be opportunities to volunteer in addition to events and activities for the entire family.

Check out the list of happenings and how to get involved.

County Launches Commercial and Multi-Family Rebate Program for Energy Efficient Projects

Montgomery County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) encourages businesses, non-profits, faith-based organizations and multi-family communities to apply for funding for energy efficiency projects through a program funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009 under the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Block Grant (EECBG) Program.

The Commercial and Multi-Family Rebate Program is designed to overcome the financial barriers to making energy-efficiency improvements, as well as reduce operating costs and carbon emissions.

Projects eligible for funding include efficient lighting; insulation; heating, venting, and air conditioning upgrades; high-efficiency showers/faucets; and replacement windows and doors.

The deadlines to apply for funds are April 15, 2011 for Round 1 and May 15, 2011 for Round 2. About half the funds will be distributed in each round. Projects selected for awards must be completed by June 30, 2012.

Program details are available at the County’s energy incentive web portal at www.mcenergyfunding.com.

Bicyclist and Drivers Sharing the Road Safely

A reminder to local drivers: Maryland Law now requires motorists to safely overtake a bicycle, electric personal assistive mobility device (EPAMD), or a motor scooter at a distance of at least three feet.
This passing rule does not apply if the highway on which the vehicle is being driven is not wide enough to lawfully pass the bicycle, EPAMD, or motor scooter at a distance of at least three feet. There are also additional exceptions:

  • If the bicyclist fails to ride to the right
  • If the bicyclist is in a bike lane
  • If the bicyclist, EPAMD, or scooter doesn’t keep a steady course

For more information, visit http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/dot/pressrelease/PR_details.asp?PrID=7435

Spring Cleaning Time for Local Streets

MCDOT’s highway maintenance crews are giving the county’s streets a good spring cleaning. Street sweeping on arterial roads and residential streets commenced in late-March.
This joint effort with the Department of Environmental Protection removes abrasives and other debris after the winter snow season. Sweeping typically collects more than 3,000 tons of road debris each year that would otherwise be washed into our streams.

For more information, including sweeping schedules or to report a pothole, visitHighway Maintenance'swebsite or call 311, Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.


Scammers can prey on residents sending aid to Japan. Be wary of donating in response to telephone calls or e-mail messages asking for donations. Visit OCP’s A-Z Consumer Advice on Charities for tips on selecting a charitable organization.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans Annual Reunion

County Executive Ike Leggett and other veterans will address the "Welcome Home Vietnam Veterans 2nd Annual Reunion" on Wednesday, March 30 at the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza from 6 to 9 p.m. The veterans will talk about their experiences during the Vietnam War and life today.

Veterans of all eras and the public are encouraged to attend.

See the flyer (PDF) for more details.The Recreation Guide: Subscriptions Only Beginning April 1


Beginning with the Summer 2011 issue of Montgomery County Guide to Recreation and Park Programs, any resident who wishes to receive the Guide by mail must sign up for a paid subscription.

Currently, only those who already participate in programs receive the Guide in the mail. However, beginning with the Summer issue, residents who wish to continue to have the Guide mailed to their home must purchase a $5 annual subscription which will deliver a full year of five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring). The Guide continues to be available online at either www.MontgomeryParks.org/Guide or http://RecWeb.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

Print copies of the Guide will still be available at recreation centers, park facilities, government buildings and libraries while quantities last.

To subscribe to the Guide, or for more information, go to http://RecWeb.MontgomeryCountyMD.gov.

Pedestrian Safety for All


As you can see, the County’s pedestrian safety message has gotten through to these drivers who, despite having the green light, have yielded the right of way to a gaggle of Canada geese making their way across Rockville Pike at Federal Plaza/Pike Center (just north of Bou Avenue).

Humans, take note, our feathered friends know to cross at a crosswalk. Granted, they’re, going on a red light, but maybe we can work on that.

More information about pedestrian safety for walkers and drivers is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk.

Thanks to Dan Nabors of VHB (Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, Inc.), a member of the consultant team that led the Pedesterian Road Safety Audit, who photographed the geese.

Online Resource Guide for Vital Living After 50

While age 50 may be the new 30, for many residents, reaching that milestone still involves opportunities and challenges associated with lifestyle issues such as changing work schedules, households and personal needs.

Now, a new online resource guide entitled “Navigator: Vital Living After 50 (PDF)” offers information on how to find:

  • support during transitions
  • resources for keeping as fit as possible
  • ways to explore new interests, meet people, and share talents
  • organizations that can help with employment and/or volunteer goals

The navigator was compiled by the Montgomery County Vital Living Committee.

eNewsletters get an “A” for Spreading the Word of County Programs and Services

With the advent of the internet, computers in more homes and cell phones in more hands than ever, news and information is literally at our fingertips. Recognizing this fact, County departments and agencies are, increasingly, going to the web to get word out to residents about their programs and services.

To see a list of County-produced newsletters you can receiveonline, go to montgomerycountymd.gov/eSubscription. Click 'Update an Account' and enter your email address. Here, you may add or delete subscriptions.

Below are some others not found on the County's eSubscription list that might be of interest.

NEWBetter Ways to Work, published bi-monthly by MC Commuter Services. Features commuting options and transportation news.

e-Biz Update, published bi-weekly by the Department of Economic Development with news of local businesses and upcoming events of interest to the business community.

Montgomery Volunteer, published monthly by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center. News of volunteer opportunities – both one-time and ongoing, how to get involved with various local organizations needing help and awards/special recognitions for volunteer service. Volunteer opportunities are geared for individuals and groups.



Six Rabies Vaccination Clinics Scheduled

The Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division will sponsor six rabies vaccination clinics -- from April through September -- at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter located at 14645 Rothgeb Dr., Rockville, from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the following Sundays: April 17, May 15, June 19, July 17, August 21 and September 18.

Maryland law requires that all dogs, cats and ferrets over the age of four months be vaccinated against rabies. Failure to vaccinate an animal as required may subject the owner to a $500 fine. When brought in for vaccination, all dogs must be leashed. Cats and ferrets must be in carriers or otherwise contained.

The vaccinations are free for dogs and cats owned by County residents. There will be a minimal $4 charge for ferrets and out-of-county pets. County residents, as well as City of Rockville and City of Gaithersburg residents, will be required to purchase a pet license if their pet is not currently licensed.

For more information, contact the MCPD Animal Services Division at 240-773-5925.

Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Program Vitally Important to Low-Income Residents Faces Funding Cut in FY12

Each year, the County receives a Federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) from the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to serve our neediest residents with a variety of programs and activities designed to enhance their quality of life. In the current fiscal year, just over $6 million dollars is being used to serve roughly 10,000 low-income beneficiaries.

Activities include housing rehabilitation, workforce skills training, emergency assistance to avoid evictions/foreclosures, youth programs -- including mental health services and a variety of out-of-school time activities -- infrastructure improvements for pedestrian mobility and safety, and assistance to businesses for façade enhancements.

The financial crisis and ensuing recession has left public finances in poor shape, and there is a federal proposal to cut 7.5% in funding to the FY12 CDBG program. This means an approximate $400,000 cut to Montgomery County’s program. It will also translate into job reductions, as less money will be available to support both public and non-profit sectors in administering a reduced work program.

The County Executive has expressed his concerns about the proposed funding cut in a letter to federal officials and has urged them to support full funding. The Montgomery County delegation has also taken a firm stance against the proposed reduction in funding.

Read more about the CDBG program in the FY11 Action Plan, part of the Consolidated Plan for Housing and Community Development.

Also read more about the proposed FY12 HUD budget here.


More than eight million people fell prey to Identity Theft last year. Avoid becoming a victim. Visit http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/microsites/idtheft/ or call the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) at 240-777-3636.

OCP is the County’s nationally recognized agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.

Note: This is the first in a regular series of helpful tips for consumers provided by the Office of Consumer Protection that will appear in each issue of The Paperless Airplane.


CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Friday, March 18, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Two MTA Bus Routes Travel the ICC

On March 1, the Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) began service of two new intercity bus routes along the newly opened portion of the InterCounty Connector (ICC) toll road (MD Rt. 200).

Routes 201 and 202 will begin at the Gaithersburg Park and Ride lot and follow Phase 1 of the ICC to the Shady Grove Metro station and the Norbeck Park and Ride, where the ICC ends for now. From there, MTA Bus Route 201 will stop at the Burtonsville Park and Ride and Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport's Southwest and International terminals before ending at the BWI MARC/Amtrak station.

MTA Bus Route 202 will make stops at the Savage MARC station and the National Security Agency before ending at Fort Meade.

Both services will be free for the first two weeks. After that, the fare will be $5.00 for a one-way trip. For more information on this new bus service visit MTA's website.

Good Grades Count: Honor Roll Students Skate Free

Now through March 8, Montgomery County students who made the honor roll last semester can get a free skating pass – with skates – at the Silver Spring Skating Rink at Veterans Plaza, 8523 Fenton St.

Students must bring their MCPS report card and student ID.

Teeing Up Your Time and Golf Talents for the Next Generation

The First Tee, Montgomery County uses golf as platform to teach young people how to be successful on and off the course by focusing on youth who would not typically have access to the game and its opportunities

The First Tee is looking for volunteers who enjoy and play golf to assist with the skills instruction for youth ranging in age from eight to 17 years. Spring and fall sessions are held after school, while summer sessions are scheduled during morning hours.

Primary instructional sites are: Laytonsville, Needwood, Northwest and Sligo Creek golf courses and Olney Golf Park. Volunteers are eligible for discounted golf rates Monday through Thursday at the Montgomery County Golf course where he/she volunteers.

Montgomery County Government is a sponsor of First Tee, Montgomery County. The organization’s partners include the Department of Recreation, Montgomery County Golf, an entity of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority, and the Housing Opportunities Commission.

For more information about The First Tee, Montgomery County, visit www.thefirstteemcmd.org. If you are interested in becoming a First Tee volunteer and/or mentor, contact Laura Sildon at laura@thefirstteemcmd.org.

Take a Look: New One-Stop Online Source Highlights County Health Data

A new one-stop online source for population-based data and information about community health and the social and environmental determinants of health has been launched by County officials.

The website -- www.healthymontgomery.org -- provides data and information on more than 90 topics related to the health and well being of the community and its residents.

"Having reliable data on which to base our budget decisions on is critical, especially in these lean budget years,” said Uma Ahluwalia, director of theDepartment of Health and Human Services. “In addition, this website will be a great resource for students, health planners and the public.”

Read more from press release.


Integrated BioTherapeutics Expands in Montgomery County

Integrated BioTherapeutics Inc. (IBT), a biotechnology company developing medical countermeasures for biodefense and emerging infectious diseases, recently celebrated the expansion of their Bioservices capacity with the Grand Opening of a new 10,500 square-foot office and lab space in the Gaithersburg Accelerator, located at 21 Firstfield Rd.

The new facility features a dedicated suite of labs to support IBT’s research and development for a multivalent vaccine for Staph aureus infection.

IBT currently has 30 full-time employees and plans to add an additional five to 10 employees within the next year. IBT was named “Maryland’s 2009 Emerging Company of the Year” by the Tech Council of Maryland, which recognized the company’s tremendous growth in funding and personnel and its strong relationships with the U.S. Government and industry partners.

Read more.


Anne Arundel County’s Ambulance Fee Generates $8.5 million

Since becoming law in April 2009, the fee charged to insurance companies for ambulance transport in Anne Arundel County has generated $8.5 million, according to County Executive John R. Leopold.

"I am pleased that our Fire Department has been able to execute this program without negatively impacting citizens’ access to emergency medical services. Insurance companies are now bearing their fair share of the cost of providing essential services previously borne solely by taxpayers," said Leopold.

Under the Anne Arundel legislation that became effective in 2009, insurance companies are billed $500 per ambulance transport. Deposits began in earnest in January 2010 and now average roughly $525,000 per month. County residents do not pay any portion of the fee not covered by insurance. Medicaid, Medicare and most other private insurance policies already allowed for reimbursement for this service.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting , Transportation
POSTED: Wednesday, March 02, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Silver Spring Parking Garage Partially Closed for Repairs

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

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

Lunar New Year and Black History Month Programs at Public Libraries

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

County History Book Updated Online

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

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


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

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

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

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


Applicants Sought for Charter Review Commission

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

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

Get more details or call 240-777-7979.


Online Application Makes Applying for Rainscapes Rewards Rebate Program Even Easier

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

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

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

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

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


And, a Good Time Was Had by All

After being tested for a couple weeks by plenty of local residents, the new Silver Spring ice rink at Veterans Plaza was officially dedicated at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, January 8. The weather cooperated with providing a seasonably cold (not chilly, but cold) day as County Executive Ike Leggett and a young friend cut the ribbon proclaiming, in effect, that the rink is here and open for business. Joining the Executive were Jennifer Nettles, manager of Downtown Silver Spring for Peterson and Company; Mal Curran, co-owner of Tri-State Ice Management and the Silver Spring Penguin.

For more information about the rink, visit http://www.silverspringiceskating.com/.

2011 Women’s Legislative Briefing: Two Keynoters, Variety of Workshops Highlight Program

Two powerful women -- Sara Manzano-Diaz of the Women’s Bureau and Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College -- will anchor the 2011 Women’s Legislative Briefing to be held on January 30, from 12:30 to 6 p.m., at the University of Maryland, Shady Grove, Building II, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville.

Manzano-Díaz is the 16th Director of the Women's Bureau at the U. S. Department of Labor. Dr. Pollard is the ninth chief executive of Montgomery College, Maryland's largest two-year college. She oversees the education and student services for 60,000 credit and noncredit students.

The briefing will include workshops covering a variety of topics, including: Women in the Workplace; Women, Families and Poverty; Older Women and Economic Security; Women and Girls, Safety and Justice; Women, Health Care and Reform; Women in Elective and Appointive Office; and Effective Advocacy in the Legislature.

Admission is $15 and includes refreshments at the opening and the reception. Pre-registration is required. To pre-register, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfwor call 240-777-8330.

Radon: Test Your Home and Protect Your Family

During January, the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is recognizing National Radon Action Month by encouraging residents to take action to protect their homes and families.

January is an especially good time to test homes and schools because windows and doors are closed tightly and people spend more time indoors. Radon is a naturally occurring, invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. It is released from soils and disperses outdoors, but can reach harmful levels when trapped in buildings.

The Surgeon General has warned that radon is the second leading cause of lung cancer in the United States behind smoking. However, by making simple fixes in a home or building, people can lower their health risks from radon.

Radon test kits can be purchased at local hardware and home improvement stores or directly from radon testing companies. Many are priced under $25. Radon problems can be fixed by qualified contractors, with repairs typically costing between $800 and $2,500.

For more information on radon, testing, mitigation and radon-resistant new construction, call 311 or visit the County’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/depand click on “Air.” Additional information is also available at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s website at www.epa.gov/radon.

Youth Advisory Council Collects Coats 4 Kids

Many local children do not wear proper winter apparel as they travel to and from school. But, the County Executive’s Youth Advisory Council (YAC) wants to change that.

That’s why from now through January 25, YAC is collecting “Coats 4 Kids!” Monday through Friday, from 8:30a.m. – 5p.m.at the following sites in the eastern part of the County:

  • Paint Branch High School, Counseling office, 14121 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Springbrook High School, Counseling office, 201 Valley Brook Drive, Silver Spring
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • East County Recreation Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring
  • Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Road, Silver Spring

The YAC is accepting new or gently used winter-wear including scarves, hats, gloves and other winter apparel items that will, in turn, be donated to needy children in grades K – 5 at a local elementary school.

For more information email Joy.nurmi@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-8411.

Civil Rights Historic Bus Tour Planned

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, is again hosting a civil rights historic bus tour that retraces the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes.

The tour – that features stops in Atlanta, GA; Selma and Tuskegee, AL; and Memphis, TN -- leaves Rockville on April 18 and returns April 23.

The cost of the six-day tour for a group of four is $430 per person including hotel, transportation, some meals and snacks and all museum/tour fees For smaller groups, the fee is slightly higher. All tour costs are paid for by participants’ fees. A deposit for half the fee is due on January 28, with the balance due on March 18.

A pre-tour meeting will be held on Thursday, April 14 at 6:30 p.m. in the first floor meeting room of the Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Ave. At least one member of each group is required to attend.

Anyone interested should contact the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8450 or email Human-Rights.Administration@montgomerycountymd.gov.
For more information about the tour, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.

Green Business Certification Program Attracts National Attention; Local Businesses Invited to Get on Board

The Montgomery County Green Business Certification Program is an exciting initiative that helps and recognizes businesses and organizations that voluntarily go above and beyond basic day to day green office measures to reduce their environmental impact. Certified businesses are listed in the County’s online Green Business Directory and showcased through press releases, short videos and other promotional activities.

To date, the Program has certified 23 organizations ranging in size and diversity from a multi-national hotel chain to a small orthodontics office. The Program has also attracted the attention of nearly 20 jurisdictions across North America,including Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Montgomery College provides on-going training courses to assist businesses in making the changes necessary to get certified.

Click here to subscribe to the e-newsletter and view the most recent January 2011 Newsletter.

National Mentoring Month

January is National Mentoring Month and, in observance, the Montgomery County Volunteer Center is encouraging residents of all ages to become a mentor and help make the path to success easier for a friend or neighbor.

Find mentoring opportunities from the Volunteer Center.

There is a great mix of positions. While some are traditional mentor roles, others are not direct mentoring positions but the organization has used the keyword for other ways you can support mentoring organizations.

For information on other volunteer opportunities, call 240-777-2600 or visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, January 18, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


County’s 311 Call System Marks Six-month Anniversary  

Six months after Montgomery County’s 311 online and telephone information system launched on June 17, calls coming into the system continue to increase and peaked in August with almost 57,000 calls received.  The 311 web portal, which allows residents to find answers and check on the status of service requests, has consistently averaged 25,000 views per month.

A recent survey of hundreds of 311 users showed about 75 percent of users satisfied with the time it took to reach a Customer Service Representative.  Seventy-two percent were satisfied or extremely satisfied with the handling of their call.  The survey showed 75 percent satisfied or extremely satisfied with their overall 311 experience.

The MC311 Customer Service Center operates Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.  The self-service website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov/311 -- is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.  About 30 County government “information and referral” phone numbers are now answered directly by MC311.  All other County lines continue to be accessed directly.  Trained representatives who speak Spanish, Korean, Chinese, Vietnamese and French are available at MC311, as is a language interpretation service for other languages.  A TTY line is available at 240-773-3556.

Working with the local phone company providers, Montgomery County has succeeded in including six local telephone exchanges not included by the companies in the original coverage design.  Customers with exchanges 299, 365, 469, 765, 676 and 983 can now reach the 311 call center when using their land line.

Persons outside of Montgomery County may access the service by calling 240-777-0311.

Learn more about the types of calls received from press release.

Tax Volunteers Needed

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Community Action Agency is mobilizing its coalition of public agencies, nonprofits and community volunteers to support the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) partnership for 2011. VITA is an IRS-supported program delivering tax help to low-to moderate-income people (generally, under $49,000).

You can assist Montgomery County families by volunteering four or more hours a week during tax season, from late January to mid-April to serve as tax preparers, greeters, screeners and interpreters.  Flexible hours are available at convenient locations in East Silver Spring/Takoma Park, Gaithersburg, Rockville and Wheaton. Free training is provided on-site and online, with certification as a tax preparer by the IRS upon successful completion.

To volunteer, call 240-777-1123 or email Taunya.Johnson@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more “free tax” volunteer opportunities, visit Maryland CASH Campaign, www.mdcash.org and Montgomery County’s RSVP/AARP Tax-Aide Program, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgtmpl.asp?url=/Content/Volunteer/RSVP.asp

Be in the Know When It Snows        

The Division of Highway Services (Dept. of Transportation) has a handy guide that explains the County’s snow removal action plan and lists useful snowstorm contacts. Entitled “When It Snows (pdf),” the newly updated brochure also contains information on Do’s and Don’ts for residents, the County’s sidewalk clearing law, potholes, and sources of information during a storm.

Local History Coming Alive: Heritage Montgomery Kicks off Commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial

To mark the beginning (in November 2010) of the County’s commemoration of the Civil War Sesquicentennial, the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) has produced a 32-page brochure entitled “Life in a War Zone: A Guide to the Civil War in Montgomery County, Maryland, 1861-1865.”

The brochure is designed to serve as a guide to locations throughout the County with Civil War significance. It details life and events in 14 locations around the County and includes a map keyed to Civil War trail markers in each location.

Limited copies of the brochure are available by calling 301-515-0753 or emailing director@heritagemontgomery.org

Heritage Montgomery is producing -- as an accompanying piece to the brochure --  a documentary video entitled, Life in a War Zone: Montgomery County during the Civil War. It will bring to life some stories of the Civil War years in Montgomery County. The video and a companion CD of Civil War music will be available in the spring.

Both the brochure and video will be available on the website in the coming months.

The Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County (Heritage Montgomery) is an initiative created by county leaders and state officials to raise the profile of the area’s heritage, ensuring that residents and visitors alike understand and value the County’s past.  The non-profit organization is dedicated to helping Montgomery County use its heritage to develop tourism while protecting and promoting its cultural, historical and natural resources

For more about the Heritage Tourism Alliance of Montgomery County, visit www.HeritageMontgomery.org.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |


Gaithersburg Interim Library Opens at Lakeforest Mall

The Gaithersburg Interim branch located at Lakeforest Mall is now open for business. The approximately 3,000 square-foot site is located on the second floor of the mall in the Sears wing, immediately to the left when exiting Sears.

The interim branch will provide a collection of approximately 25,000 volumes. Customers can check out and return items, place holds and receive assistance with information questions. The branch will not have a book drop due to its location in the mall and no easily accessible outside exterior wall in which to install it.

Customers are asked to bring all returns into the interim branchduring business hours or return items in book drops at other MCPL branches. There will be two catalog machines but no Internet access PCs.

The hours for the interim branch are: Sunday, 1-5 p.m.; Monday, 5-9 p.m.; Tuesday through Thursday, 1-9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

Olney Library to Close for Major Renovations

Beginning Friday, December 31, Olney Library will be closed for major renovations. The last day service will be provided is Thursday, December 30, until 8 p.m.

The exterior book drop will be open through Friday, January 7 at 5 p.m. After that date, customers may take their returns to any MCPL branch.

While the Olney Library is closed, customers are encouraged to use any MCPL branch. For other branch locations, visit the library branches and hours webpage.

For more information about the project, contact Rita Gale at 240-777-0022. For updates on the progress of the renovations, that are expected to take about 18 months, visit library building projects webpage.



Shop with a Cop

To help increase the safety of shoppers, pedestrians, and drivers in the county during this active holiday season, Montgomery County Police are offering -- now through December 23 -- the holiday safety initiative, “Shop with a Cop.”

Officers in all six County police districts will be detailed to shopping areas in their districts to provide high visibility, extra security, and to provide reminders about driving and pedestrian safety--especially in parking lots. They will distribute approximately 5,000 bright green reflective and recyclable shopping bags with a driver and pedestrian safety message printed on them. In some locations these bags will also be distributed by shop owners.

Locations selected for the Shop with a Cop initiative include: the Congressional Shopping Center on Rockville Pike in Rockville, the central business districts of Bethesda and Silver Spring, the Westfield Wheaton Shoppingtown in Wheaton, the Milestone Shopping Center in Germantown, and the Lake Forest Mall, Gaithersburg Square and Off-Price Shopping Center in Gaithersburg.

The Shop with a Cop program and the free shopping bags are primarily funded by revenue raised from Safe Speed automated photo enforcement, which is dedicated to improving public safety in Montgomery County.

Learn morefrom police press release.



Volunteer Center Spreads the Word about Holiday Opportunities

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center links people and groups who want to volunteer with nonprofits and government agencies needing volunteers, professional services, and in-kind contributions. It promotes volunteering and recognizes exemplary volunteer service, in addition to helping nonprofits effectively utilize and retain volunteers. In the County’s organizational chart, the Center falls under the Office of Community Partnerships in the County Executive’s Office.

During this special time of giving, the center helps spread the word about how residents, groups, businesses, faith-based groups, etc. can carry out the spirit of the season. Below are just two of many opportunities available in the County. For more information on opportunities available year round, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer.

Meanwhile, check out these holiday specials:

For over 30 yearsMontgomery County's Holiday Giving Project, now coordinated by Interfaith Works, has helped low-income families in our community by collecting and distributing food and gifts during the holiday season.

Here’s how you can help:

  • Donate new toys
  • Organize a food, toy or gift card drive
  • Sponsor a family in your area
  • Make a Holiday Food Basket
  • Donate grocery cards

For more information, go to www.iworksmc.org/holidaygiving.html or email giving@iworksmc.org or sklavon@iworksmc.org.

A Bit of Home in a Far Away Land

County resident Tejas Patel, who is currently serving in Kandahar City, Afghanistan, recently sent holiday greetings home along with a photo of himself with the flag that County Executive Ike Leggett (inset photo) sent him in September at Patel’s request.
In a letter to Leggett, Patel said, “It means a great deal to me that you took the time to fulfill my request. As a Montgomery County citizen for my entire life, I was born and raised to cherish our country. Having served with the US Marine Corps, the sense of pride in our Nation, our State, and our County is very strong. In the meantime, I will display the colors proudly.”

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


Board of Elections Closed December 23 – 27, and December 31


The Montgomery County Board of Elections will be closed on December 23 and 27 to allow staff to utilize mandatory furlough hours. In addition, the office will be closed on December 24 and 31 to observe Montgomery County Government holidays. The Board of Elections will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 28 to 30 and will reopen following the holidays on January 3 at 8:30 a.m.

During office closings, the public may obtain information from our 24 hour information line by calling 240-777-VOTE (8683) or may send e-mails to elections@montgomerycountymd.gov for response during normal business hours.

A Green Holiday Message: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

With the arrival of holiday season, the Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), in the Department of Environmental Protection, reminds residents that although this time of year traditionally produces additional amounts of waste, there are many ways to reduce the amounts generated by individual households not only now, but beyond.

DSWS has compiled a list of tips for: reducing unwanted mail; how to reduce, reuse and recycle when shopping, gift wrapping and/or entertaining; when and how to recycle Christmas trees; collection service reminders; where and how to recycle holiday lights; and recycling beyond the holidays.

More information on press release.

Deck the Halls Safely this Holiday Season

Recent incidents have prompted Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service (DFRS) officials to remind residents that the best way to fight a fire is to prevent it from happening.

Fire Chief Richard Bowers urges residents to make safety a tradition this holiday season. “With the holidays and winter weather fast approaching, it is important for all residents to take steps to prevent fires. By taking a few extra precautions, you can make your home fire safe for the holiday season and for the rest of the year,” said Chief Bowers.

Check out the DFRS list of safety tips that can help families reduce the risk of fire during the busy holiday season.

New Year, New Law: A Reminder from the Sheriff’s Office to Drivers with Tickets

The County Sheriff’s Office reminds local drivers of a new State law that becomes effective in the new year. Beginning January 2, 2011, a driver who receives a payable traffic ticket in Maryland will no longer be given an automatic trial date to appear in court. Instead, any driver wanting to go to trial to dispute a ticket will have to request a trial date from the District Court of Maryland.

Further details are available at www.mdcourts.gov/communications/trafficticket/index.html.

Council Approves Mid-year Savings Plan; Reduces County Spending by $32 million for Rest of FY2010

The Montgomery County Council today unanimously approved a mid-year operating budget savings plan that will reduce spending for the remainder of Fiscal Year 2011 by $32.3 million. The savings plan will help address a projected $300 million budget gap in Fiscal Year 2012 caused chiefly by a sharp decline in projected revenue.

On December 2, County Executive Ike Leggett proposed a $36.2 million savings plan. The Council’s six committees reviewed the plan and recommended approval of most items but disapproval of several items totaling $3.9 million.

The Council supported the Executive’s proposed savings for Montgomery County Public Schools ($19.2 million), Montgomery College ($1 million) and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission ($0.2 million). The Council reluctantly approved many other proposed savings, such as reduction of $632,000 to eliminate 21 filled administrative positions in Local Fire and Rescue Departments.

Among the Council’s actions that differed from the Executive’s proposals were the following:

  • Do not cut nine police officers in the schools (School Resource Officers) mid-year, but instead manage vacancies department-wide to achieve the same savings amount of $518,650.
  • Do not stop the energy rebate program for low-income households on Jan. 1, 2011 to save $239,750.
  • Do not eliminate 11 ambulances in the Fire and Rescue Service to save $3,560,000.
  • Do not reduce spending for pedestrian signal timing (to save $50,000) and road patching materials (to save $200,000), but instead save $253,000 by deleting planning for a road project.
  • Do not reduce meal service at three senior centers to save $23,400.

Office of Consumer Protection Issues Alert about Buying New and Used Mattresses

Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) advises consumers to be aware of industry-wide deceptive advertising used by mattress retailers. OCP also recommends caution when purchasing used mattresses.

Consumers are subjected to extensive advertisements for mattresses allegedly being sold at “sale” prices. These prices are advertised as being available for a limited period of time and retailers generally proclaim that they will beat the price offered by competitors.

Representations that retailers will “beat the competitor’s price by 20 or 25 percent or it’s free,” are deceptive because different product names are used to identify mattresses made by the same manufacturer.

OCP has sent a letter to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) summarizing its concerns and suggesting that the FTC initiate an investigation into what appears to be a nationwide advertising issue.

Consumers are also warned to be cautious when purchasing used mattresses. Recent reports about bed bugs have generated concern related to used bedding products. Currently, there is no State law requiring used mattresses to be disinfected. OCP recommends that consumers avoid purchasing used mattresses without a written guarantee that they are disinfected and urges the public to never re-use mattresses that have been abandoned or are being given away by strangers.

Consumers with complaints or questions should contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or email consumerprotection@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Commission for Women’s December Newsletter now Online

The December issue of the Commission for Women’s newsletter is now online.

Included in this issue are introductions to the new commissioners and a Save the Date reminder/review of the 2011 Women’s Legislative Briefing to be held on January 30 at the University of Maryland, Shady Grove Campus.

Seniors Today Show Marks 100th Show

Montgomery County’s “Seniors Today” cable show is currently airing its 100th episode which features clips of some of the nearly 500 guests interviewed over the past 10 years.

This month, host Austin Heyman interviews Chuck Short, special assistant to County Executive Isiah Leggett. Short proposed funding “Seniors Today” when he served as director of the County’s Department of Health and Human Services.

“Seniors Today” is seen weekly on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m., Wednesdays at 9:30 a.m., Thursdays at noon and 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 9:30 a.m. and 8 p.m. and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. on County Cable Montgomery (CCM)--channel 6 for Comcast and RCN subscribers and channel 30 for Verizon subscribers.

To watch on-line, go to “Seniors Today” at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/seniors.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, December 21, 2010 | 2:30:00 AM |


County Leaf Collection Continues Through Mid-December       

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Highway Services (DHS) is conducting its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County now through mid-December.

The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George's County lines.

Residents should look for signs posted along the streets announcing the collection dates in their neighborhoods. Green signs indicate the first collection, and red signs indicate the second and final collection.

For more details, including do’s and don’ts regarding leaf collections, or to determine if your residence is within the boundaries of the leaf vacuum collection district, call 311, or go to the Department of Transportation’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot  and click on “Highway Services.”  

Winter Guide for Recreation and Park Programs 

Registration is now open for the Department of Recreation winter programs and classes.  Swim lessons registration opens on December 8. Register in any one of four ways --by mail, fax, online or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

Copies of the Winter Guide are available at public libraries, as well as community, recreation, aquatic and senior centers around the County, or view it online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec. For more information, call 240-777-6840.

Turn Over a New Leaf; Become a Master Gardener

Montgomery County residents interested in learning environmentally sound gardening practices and sharing the information with others can apply now to join the 2011 Montgomery County Master Gardener training program.

 The five-week course begins on January 25, 2011, and continues through March 4 (depending on possible snow days). Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County office, located at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood.  The training fee is $290 and includes a training manual and other materials.

The requirements to become a Master Gardener are: attending a two-hour orientation, completing course work and a final exam, and performing 45 hours of volunteer service in the first year. In addition, participants must have access to a computer to download university fact sheets. Once qualified, Master Gardeners maintain their status annually by completing 10 hours of additional training and volunteering at least 25 hours.

Registration deadline is December 31. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To request an application or receive more enrollment information, call 590-2836.

Ride On Customers can Add Bus Passes to SmarTrip Cards

Ride On customers who purchase a 7-Day Bus Pass can now load the pass directly onto their SmarTrip® card. Bus passes on SmarTrip® are valid for seven consecutive days of unlimited travel, not only on Ride On, but also on Metrobus, ART, DASH, DC Circulator, CUE, Fairfax Connector and TheBus.

The pass is activated the first day a customer uses it, regardless of the day, and then is valid for seven consecutive days. As an added convenience, customers may load two bus passes at a time onto their SmarTrip® card.

The cost of the 7-Day Bus Pass on SmarTrip® is $15 for the regular bus pass and $7.50 for the senior/disabled bus pass, the same cost as paper bus passes. Bus passes cannot be loaded onto a SmarTrip® card that has a negative balance.

The last available paper bus pass expires Saturday, January 1, 2011.

Customers may add the 7-Day Bus Pass to their SmarTrip® card at any Metro sales office, regional transit store or select retail outlets. For a complete list of locations, visit www.wmata.com or call 202-637-7000.

Sign up for Electronic Holiday Trash/Recycling Collection Reminders

With the holiday season approaching, residents who receive County-provided pickup of refuse or recycling materials are reminded that they can sign up to receive electronic reminders about holiday collection schedules.

Signing up for the Division of Solid Waste Services' (DSWS) email notification list is as easy as visiting www.montgomerycountymd.gov/solidwaste.

Residents who have private contracts for trash collection, either individually or through their community/homeowners associations, should check with their collectors or associations about holiday schedules.

To determine if you have County-provided or private collection service, call the DSWS Customer Service Line at 240-777-6410 or use the online Collection Day Lookup at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/solidwaste; click on “Collection Services.”

Recreation Department Holding Holiday Food Drive

Between now and December 10, the Recreation Department is collecting canned and non-perishable food for the benefit of Manna Food Bank.  Customers and friends may drop off donations at any Montgomery County community, senior or aquatic center.   

Let’s help all those good people at Rec make the holidays brighter for many in our community.

Sunday Liquor Sales in County-Operated Stores on Trial Run

Montgomery County’s Department of Liquor Control’s (DLC) 24 County-owned liquor and wine stores are now open on Sundays from noon to 6 p.m. for a six-month trial period.

During this time, DLC will closely monitor costs, revenues, customer satisfaction and community response, and impacts on privately-owned and operated licensed businesses. Montgomery County currently allows Sunday alcohol sales in privately-owned beer and wine stores and on premise at licensed restaurants.

The Department of Liquor Control is a non-tax supported enterprise fund, and its operations generate net profits which are contributed to the County’s General Fund. Currently, it contributes $27 million in net profits to County coffers. The pilot program is not designed to generate any specific estimated amount of additional revenue but is being introduced more as a customer-friendly, consumer convenience initiative. Sundays are traditionally the second or third busiest retail shopping day, along with Fridays and Saturdays.

Currently, 38 states (including Maryland and Virginia) allow Sunday sales of distilled spirits.

For more information about the Department of Liquor Control, call 240-777-1917.

“Don’t Leave it Running” Police Remind Drivers

Each year as temperatures consistently get colder, many drivers want to start their vehicles to warm them up before driving in the morning. Or, they will leave them running while they run into a convenience store to quickly purchase a cup of coffee. 

However, detectives from the Police Auto Theft Section want to again remind local drivers not to leave their vehicles unattended while they are running/warming up.

The “Don’t Leave it Running” public safety campaign makes the public aware how quickly a vehicle can be stolen when it is left running and unattended.  The goal is to reduce the number of cars that are stolen in this fashion and to reduce related crimes.

Leaving a vehicle running and unattended is a violation of the State of Maryland Transportation Code, Article 21, Section 1101.  The penalty for this violation is a $70 fine and one point on the license.  If it contributes to an accident, the fine increases to $110 with three points on the license.  The Maryland Vehicle Law requires that a driver turn the engine off, lock the ignition, remove the keys and set the brake before leaving a car.  Also, if your vehicle is stolen with the use of a key, it could result in sanctions by the vehicle’s insurer.  These penalties can range from a premium increase to failure to renew the policy.

Israel-based Alvarion to Move North American HQ to Montgomery County

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Governor Martin O’Malley recently announced that Israel-based Alvarion, a global leader in the wireless broadband market, is moving its North American headquarters to Montgomery County from California and will create 25 new jobs by 2013.

 To assist the company with the relocation, the State and Montgomery County have agreed to provide $95,000 in conditional loans that are contingent on job creation at the new location, which is yet to be determined.

The Alvarion announcement comes on the heels of other recent successful Montgomery County company openings, expansions and attractions this year, most recently Choice Hotels’ relocation and expansion of its world headquarters to Rockville by 2013.

Others include the expansion of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission into a new 362,000 square-foot building in North Bethesda, the National Cancer Institute’s new 575,000 square-foot, $200 million satellite campus at the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center in Rockville and QIAGEN’s 117,000 square-foot North American headquarters and manufacturing facility expansion in Germantown. In addition there are EDF Inc.’s new 16,000 square-foot North American headquarters in Chevy Chase and International Baccalaureate’s new 36,000 square-foot Americas Global Center headquarters in Bethesda.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Monday, December 06, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


A Correction to Note

Anyone who has received a paper copy of the 2010 General Election Voter’s Guide published by the League of Women Voters of Montgomery County (LWVMC), take note.  There is an error on page 3 under the Governor’s race.  The Ehrlich/Kane ticket should be listed as the Republican party.  The LWVMC notes that the online version is correct.

Police Remind Drivers, Pedestrians about Upcoming Time Change 

Residents are reminded that daylight savings time will take place on Sunday morning, November 7 at approximately 2 a.m. when clocks will need to be set back one hour to 1 a.m.  This means that nightfall will occur earlier in the evening, so Montgomery County Police urge increased vigilance by motorists and pedestrians to help to reduce the possibility of pedestrian involved collisions. 

Montgomery County Ride On Announces Modified Schedules for Upcoming Holidays

Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system has announced a new operations schedule for Veterans Day, Thursday, November 11; M.L. King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 17, 2011; and Presidents’ Day, Monday, February 21, 2011.

On these holidays, Ride On will operate a special modified schedule that will provide fewer bus trips during the day on most routes, while still providing passengers service on every Ride On route. Routes will start and end at about the same times as a regular weekday schedule.

The following 13 routes will not be affected by the special modified schedule and will operate on a regular weekday schedule with no changes: 3, 4, 7, 32, 36, 44, 52, 63, 66, 67, 81, 93 and 98.

For schedule information, go to Ride On’s website at www.RideOnBus.com or call 311.

Nominations Sought for Martin Luther King Jr. Day Awards

The Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Committee is seeking nominations for the Humanitarian Award and the Children of the Dream Awards to be presented at the Martin Luther King, Jr. Celebration on January 17, 2011. All winners and honorable mentions will be acknowledged during the ceremony to be held at Strathmore Music Center, 5301 Tuckerman La., North Bethesda. Nominations must be received by Friday, November 26.

For details about each award or to request a nomination form, contact Kimberly Ham by mail at Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330, Rockville, MD 20850; by phone at 240-777-8478; or email kimberly.ham@montgomerycountymd.gov.

DEP’s Website Adds Interactive Maps – Residents Can Learn More About Neighborhood Streams, Watersheds and Water Quality Conditions

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) website now has three Google-based map applications that are designed to help County residents identify their local streams and watersheds and learn more about their local water quality.

To use the interactive maps, residents type in a street address, city or zip code, or simply click on a location to see the local watershed and a summary of its water quality conditions. The names of streams can also be identified by clicking on them. The interactive maps provide information about the aquatic species found in the stream and their sensitivity to pollution (sensitive, intermediate, or tolerant), as well as a narrated description of the watershed, providing information about key watershed stressors; stream restoration activities and their results; anticipated watershed projects; and reasons, if any, for declining water quality.

To view the interactive maps, go to DEP’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DEP,click on Water, then select from three maps.Each map option contains more background information and videos on watersheds in the County.

Forest Glen Road Train Crossing is State’s First ‘Quiet Zone’

Trains moving through an at-grade railroad crossing at Forest Glen Road in Silver Spring -- approximately one-quarter mile north of I-495 -- will no longer be required to blow their whistles, thanks to the work of the County’s Department of Transportation. The department’s efforts to provide noise relief resulted in the at-grade railroad crossing being declared the first “Quiet Zone” in Maryland starting November 1.

Although the Forest Glen Road crossing has minimal pedestrian and vehicle traffic, it was still subject to federal rules that require all trains to blow warning whistles when approaching the crossing.

The County has added protection for pedestrians, bicyclists and drivers through a series of safety measures to implement the Quiet Zone. Lighting and signage near the location have been enhanced. In addition, the County installed new lights above the tracks and provided appropriate signage nearby. A median barrier was installed to keep cars from going around the gates that are deployed when a train is coming. The County’s Department of Transportation is planning a sidewalk for either side of the tracks to make the area more walkable.

The Quiet Zone designation is the result of lobbying efforts by local residents and Councilmember Valerie Ervin who first wrote to the State Highway Administration in October 2008 about the concerns of those living near the crossing.

“This is an example of how all branches of government worked together with our residents to implement a long-awaited change to enhance the quality of life for one local community,” said Ervin. Read more. 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Monday, November 01, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


Consumer Representatives Sought for WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Board Opening


The Plumbing and Fuel Gas Board of the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is in search of Consumer Representatives to serve for a three-year-term.  The Board is responsible for reviewing and recommending Code requirements for plumbing, fuel gas, site utility installations, fats, oil and grease regulations and industrial discharge requirements.

Anyone interested should have a general understanding of technical issues, and not have any financial interest in any person regulated by the Board.  This is an honorary volunteer position without any compensation.  See Section 112 of the WSSC Plumbing and Fuel Gas Code for more details.

Essay, Poster, Video Contest for Students Announced

In conjunction with its annual Human Rights Day Celebration. the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is sponsoring essay, poster and video contests for students -- with the theme “The Faces of Human Rights, Then and Now.” Students who attend Montgomery County Public Schools, as well as private and parochial schools in the County, children who are home-schooled and students living in the County and attending school elsewhere may apply.

Winners will be announced at the annual Human Rights Day celebration in December.

Entries must be postmarked or hand-delivered to the Office of Human Rights by October 29. Additional guidelines and the contest entry form are at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights. For more information, call Kimberly Ham at 240-777-8478.

Reminder to Drivers: New Cell Phone Law in Effect

Area drivers are reminded that using a hand-held cell phone while operating a motor vehicle on a street or highway in Maryland is now prohibited. Phone calls placed to 911, ambulance, hospital, fire or law-enforcement agencies are permitted, as are calls made by emergency and law-enforcement personnel.

Drivers under the age of 18 already are prohibited from using cell phones while driving.

For more details visit www.maryland.gov.

Thanks a Ton – and More!

The figures are in and it’s official…the NBC4 Safe & Secure Community Shred event hosted by Montgomery County’s Division of Solid Waste Services (Department of Environmental Protection/DEP) and Montgomery College last month was a huge success, with more than 1,700 persons taking advantage of the opportunity to shred and recycle personal papers and bring in cardboard for recycling.

The figures speak for themselves:

  • 1,715 cars drove through; the event was advertised from 8 to 11 a.m. and the first cars were in line at 6:40 a.m.
  • 31 tons of paper were shredded and recycled
  • 1.5 tons of cardboard were recycled
  • Total recycled: 32.5 tons (65,000 pounds)

Thanks to DEP’s partner, Unity Disposal and Recycling, two of the County’s new compressed natural gas recycling trucks were on site to transport cardboard boxes and paper to the Recycling Center to be recycled.

The event was a partnership between NBC4, PNC Bank, Shred-It, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Government and Unity Disposal and Recycling.

Rock Creek Elementary School Pedestrian Protection Improvements

The innovative pedestrian protection improvements installed recently at Rock Creek Elementary School have successfully been used by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) in other locations and have proven to be effective in reducing motorist speeds, calming traffic and enhancing safety. The school is located across Grubb Road from the Rock Creek Shopping Center, which is a popular destination for students and residents.

MCDOT installed a concrete pedestrian refuge island, which is an area between lanes of traffic where pedestrians may safely wait. The refuge islands not only help calm traffic, but also reduce the crossing distance for pedestrians. The improvement project narrowed the travel lanes on the roadway to reduce vehicle speeds. MCDOT also installed a marked crosswalk, school crossing signs, “State Law: Stop for Pedestrians” signs, lane markings and raised pavement markers.

The project was initiated by a request from two members of Rock Creek Forest ES’s Parent-Teacher Association.

For more information about the County’s Pedestrian Safety program, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/walk or call 240-777-7170.

Health and Human Services STD/HIV Program Expands Service to Upcounty Area

The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services STD/HIV Program has expanded services to the upcounty area.

Comprehensive STD screening, including HIV testing, is now available Tuesdays from 8:30 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m. at the Germantown Health Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd.  Services, including diagnostic testing, exams and treatment of STD's and follow up, will be offered by appointment only. 

For information or to make an appointment, call the STD/HIV Program at 240-777-1760.

New Road Maintenance Project

Rehabilitation of three neighborhoods in Forest Glen is underway through a program that is taking a more systematic and comprehensive approach to maintaining the County’s transportation infrastructure.

The Forest Glen neighborhood is comprised of three Homeowners Associations: Forest Estates, Forest Grove and Northmont. Due to the size and scope of the project, the improvements will be phased in over two fiscal years and are scheduled to be completed next summer in fiscal year 2012. Seventeen lane-miles of road will be reconstructed in the three neighborhoods.The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) will not widen or alter the character of the streets throughout the community.

For more information, call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000 or go to “Forest Glen Subdivision Ph. I.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 3:30:00 AM |



Sign Up Now for Fall Recreation Classes

It’s not too late to register for fall programs with the Montgomery County Recreation Department (MCRD).  Classes such as fitness, dance, art, pre-school and cooking are still available.

It’s also time to hoop it up and hit the courts with one of the following:

  • Adult basketball – Men’s and Women’s and additional divisions for players who are 50+, 55+, 60+ and 65+. 
  • Youth Basketball for kids grades 3 through 8 – Individuals and teams at beginning or intermediate levels. 
  • High School Team Basketball - Team only. 

Seniors looking for a wonderful day will want to register for the New Exciting Adult Travel (NEAT) Program to the new Mead Center at the Arena Stage to see the boot-stomping, pioneer-spirited musical Oklahoma. Participants are invited to register and attend with their grandchildren for this November 10 trip.  The $55 registration fee includes transportation on a chartered bus, reserved seating and a tour escort.

For additional information, call 240-777-6870 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec .

And, just a reminder, registration for winter programs opens on November 15. 

Fire Prevention Month Open House Events

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service will host Open House events at fire stations around the County during Fire Prevention Month. Firefighters and safety advocates will focus efforts on the importance of developing a home escape plan, practicing a home fire drill and checking smoke alarms to ensure they are working.

All Open House events will feature free activities, including tours of the stations, fire safety activities, information/handouts, demonstrations of emergency equipment, etc.  Visit each station’s website or call for a comprehensive listing of activities planned.

  • October 16, Noon – 3 p.m. -- Hillandale, Fire/Rescue Station 24, 13216 New Hampshire Ave., Silver Spring.  Call 240-773-4724;
  • October 16, 10 a.m. – 3 p.m. -- Glen Echo, Fire/Rescue Station, 5920 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda.  Call 301-229-3200; and
  • October 24, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. -- Cabin John, Fire/Rescue Station 10, 8001 River Rd., Bethesda.  Call 301-365-2028.

See Fall Foliage in Montgomery County the Easy Way…by Bus

Enjoy a special bus tour through the Up-county/Agricultural Reserve -- on either Saturday, October 16 or 23 -- with the staff of Heritage Montgomery as they share many of the region’s fascinating (and often amusing) stories and legends.

See orchards ripe with juicy apples, bountiful fields of pumpkins and spectacular vistas adorned with autumn’s changing leaves. Stops include: The John Poole House & General Store; Poolesville Museum in the Old Town Hall; Lunch at the Comus Inn; and pumpkins at the Comus Market. Plus, enjoy the beauty of Sugarloaf Mountain.

Cost is $65 which includes a choice from three luncheon entrees at the Comus Inn.

The tour will leave from the historic Waters House in Germantown at 10 a.m. and return at 3:30 p.m.  Space is limited. For details and/or reservations, call Heritage Montgomery at 301-515-0753 or email director@heritagemontgomery.org.

You can also plan your own visit down the quiet country roads and scenic farmland in the Ag Reserve using the 60-minute video podcast tour “The Montgomery Rural Heritage Byway Tour” as your guide. Each of the five chapters showcases a rural section of the county. Download onto your iPod and listen while you drive, or view it directly from  www.HeritageMontgomery.org.

Absentee Ballot Applications Now Available

Voters who are unable to cast their ballot for the Gubernatorial General Election on Election Day (November 2) or during Early Voting (October 22 - 28), may request an application to vote by absentee ballot.

To obtain the application electronically visit montgomerycountymd.gov/elections, select Absentee Voting and follow the instructions for completing the application.To obtain an application for another person, call 240-777-8553 for detailed information.

The deadline for completed applications for absentee ballots by mail or delivered in person is October 26 at 8 p.m., or 11:59 p.m. if requesting via fax or e-mail. After that date, absentee ballot applications may be requested in person at 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg.

For more information, call the Absentee Ballot Section at 240-777-8553 or e-mail a request to absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Early Voting Centers to be Used in Upcoming Election

For the first time, the State of Maryland is implementing Early Voting for the Gubernatorial General Election. Montgomery County will open five Early Voting Centers from October 22 - 28, excluding Sunday the 24th, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Early Voting Centers are located at:

  • Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Dr., Rockville;
  • Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Rd.;
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville;
  • Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville; and
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, 8525 Fenton St.

Voters are encouraged to visit montgomerycountymd.gov/elections  for additional information on the Early Voting Centers. During Early Voting hours, the website will display a scroll bar (updated hourly) that will show wait times at each of the five centers.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, October 15, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


Free Community Shred Event Comes to County September 11

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid Waste Services reminds residents that they can shred personal confidential papers free of charge at the next NBC4 Safe &Secure Community Shred event on Saturday, September 11 from 8 to 11 a.m. at Montgomery College’s Rockville Campus, Lot #13 at the intersection of Route 355 (Hungerford Dr.) and Mannakee St.

Residents may bring up to five cardboard boxes and/or paper bags of personal papers for shredding. Cars must be in line by 11 a.m. All paper will be shredded on site. However, in the interest of safety and traffic flow, residents will not be able to observe their paper being shredded.

For details about what can be brought for shredding, plus other information, go to
www.montgomerycountymd.gov/solidwaste and click on “Community Shred” paper shredding event.

Primary Election Results Online

Up-to-the moment election results for the September 14 Primary Election will be accessible on the Montgomery County home page to anyone with Internet access.

Early Voting returns will be tabulated on Election Day and will be available as soon after 8:00 p.m. as possible. Returns from Election Day polling places will be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. on September 14 and will be updated every 20 minutes. Citizens who do not have Internet access are invited to visit the Board of Elections, 18753 N. Frederick Avenue, Suite 210, Gaithersburg, where election results will be displayed in the lower level training room as the votes are counted.

Results may be found at www.777vote.org, or at montgomerycountymd.gov/elections where an election-related logo will provide a link directly to the Board of Elections return page, as well as links to the Prince George’s County, state, and national election returns. The direct link to the Board of Elections returns page is www.777vote.org/electionresults/elec_results.html.

It’s the Smartest Card You Can Have

September is Library Card Sign-up Month, and Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) wants to make sure that local children have the smartest card of all – a library card. 

Activities for children and families at MCPL during Library Card Sign-up Month include preschool story-times, puppet theater performances and Hispanic Heritage Month celebrations. 

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

Round Up Dollars for a Good Cause

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC) Round Up program allows customers to round up their bills to the nearest dollar so that the proceeds go to help needy families that cannot afford their bills.

To learn more about the program, visit http://www.wsscwater.com/home/jsp/content/roundup.faces.

Volunteers Needed to Lead Bone Builders Classes in Wheaton, Silver Spring and Germantown

The County is looking for volunteers to teach free Bone Builders classes in several locations. The daytime classes help prevent and slow the development of osteoporosis and help regular participants increase bone density naturally.

Volunteer leaders are needed twice per week. Leaders receive a full day of free training and ongoing supervision by a master trainer. Training is scheduled for Wednesday, September 15 from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton.

Bone Builders is sponsored by Montgomery County’s Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and the Department of Health and Human Services’ Aging and Disability Services.

For information or to register for the training, contact Shawn Brennan at 240-777-1350 or shawn.brennan@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Ride On Service Changes Begin Sunday, September 5

The following changes in Ride On service will go into effect on Sunday, September 5:

  • Route segment eliminations on Routes 7, 22, 32, 33, 43
  • Frequency reductions on Routes 1 (Saturday only), 15, 17, 22, 23, 24, 29, 30, 34, 36, 43, 46, 47, 48, 49, 56, 57, 60, 61, 70, 83, 93, 97, 100
  • Some shifts in trip times, but no change in the total number of trips operated, on Routes: 31, 39, 41, 45, 51, 63, T2 (Saturday and Sunday service operated by Ride On)

Riders are advised that the changes are likely to result in more crowded buses, but overall service
has been preserved.

Timetables and more information are available at montgomerycountymd.gov/rideon or by calling 311 (from within the County) or 240-777-0311 (outside the County).

FY11 Budget Information Online

The FY11 approved operating budget and capital budget books are available.

RainScapes Rebates Available for Eligible County Residents, Businesses, Faith Organizations, Private Schools

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites the public to participate in the RainScapes Rewards Rebate Program, which is designed to reduce stormwater impacts on the County’s streams and waterways.

The program rewards eligible residents, businesses, faith organizations, and private schools for installing rain gardens, conservation landscaping, canopy trees, permeable pavers, green roofs, cisterns, rain barrels or dry wells. New this year, pavement removal and replacement with vegetation is also a rebate eligible technique.

Residents can receive a maximum rebate of up to $1,200 per property. Commercial, multi-family and institutional properties can receive up to a $5,000 rebate per property

For more information about the program, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rainscapes, call Susan Koenig at 240-777-7702 or call RainScapes Rewards Coordinator, Ann English at 240-777-7759.

To apply online, go to RainScapes.application@montgomerycountymd.gov.

County Departments Become More Paper-less    

As directed by the County Executive, last year the County launched a paper and printing reduction initiative intended to reduce costs while reducing the environmental impact of government operations and building on the County’s strong track record of environmental leadership. The goal was to cut paper use 15% in a year and reduce the environmental impact of the approximately 66 million sheets of paper, thereby saving the County roughly $1 million. 

Through the hard work of County employees, the initial goal has been exceeded. In FY10, County departments achieved a 20% reduction in direct paper purchases and a 40% reduction from the original FY10 budget in print and mail expenditures, for a savings of $2.09 million.

A Chance to Give Back: Community Service Day October 23-24

How will you be a part of the 24th Annual Community Service Day? Plan a project now for October 23 or 24 and help make a difference in your community.

If your group already has a project planned for the weekend, tell us here. If your team is interested in signing up for a project, the list will be posted September 15! Tell us about your team, and a reminder will be sent the week of the 15th. For more information or questions, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer or email servicedays@montgomerycountymd.gov.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Saturday, September 04, 2010 | 3:01:00 AM |


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

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

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

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

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

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

Notice of Nighttime Deliveries at Transit Center Site

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

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

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

“Green” Volunteers Needed for Paper Shredding/Recycling Event

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

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

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

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

Reminder: Voter Registration Deadline is August 24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transit Improvements In Place for White Oak Customers

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

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

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

County Begins Work to Improve, Extend Watkins Mill Road

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

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

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

New Hours for Bethesda Circulator

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

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


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


CountyStat Updates

To help residents understand how CountyStat impacts them, The Paperless Airplane will feature regular updates on positive performance measures turned in by County departments.

You can learn more about CountyStat and view the data driven presentations addressing a range of high priority subjects at the CountyStat website www.montgomerycountymd.gov/CountyStat.

Meanwhile, here’s good news from the Fire and Rescue Service and the Department of Recreation.

County Fire and Rescue Service on Pace to Outperform Performance Projection

As part of the annual CountyStat departmental performance review process, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) recently presented their annual performance update to the Chief Administrative Officer.

Of particular note was the drastic improvement in MCFRS performance on, “Percent of Residential Structure Fires Contained to the Room of Origin.” This is a very critical measure, since a residential structure fire doubles in size for each minute of fire growth with no suppression actions.

Historically, MCFRS’s success rate for containing residential structure fire to its room of origin ranged between 62% and 71%. Through the first three quarters of Fiscal Year 2010, MCFRS performance in this area improved drastically and now has achieved an 85.7% success rate.

For more information on Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service’s FY10 performance strategies and to view the recent CountyStat presentation on MCFRS results, please click the following link. FY2010 MCFRS Performance Review

Recreation Department’s Support of Positive Youth Development Initiative Pays Off

Since Fiscal Year 2007, the Department of Recreation has surveyed participants in their Sports Academies programs to gauge the impact of the programming on participants’ ability to make positive life choices.

Each fiscal year, an increasing portion of participants has reported benefiting from participating. In Fiscal Year 2007, 55% of participants reported benefiting from programming, 67% in Fiscal Year 2008, and 73% in Fiscal Year 2009. Currently, the Department of Recreation is on track to report that 77% of the  Sports Academies participants are reporting program benefits.

The figures document the County’s commitment to improving the ability of youth to make positive life choices through the use of effective and efficient prevention programming.

Voter Registration Drives on Saturdays at Public Libraries

The Montgomery County Board of Elections will conduct voter registration drives on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at public libraries throughout the County during July and August.

For a complete schedule visit www.777vote.org and click on Press Releases.

For additional information, contact Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at 240-777-8532; or email Gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Affordable Counseling Sessions at Commission for Women’s Center

The County Commission for Women’s Counseling and Career Center provides short-term goal-oriented personal counseling to help persons deal with anxiety, stress, and emotional issues relating to separation and divorce, loss, low self-esteem and difficult transitions.

Counselors are available for one-on-one sessions to help you cope with:

  • job loss career planning
  • entering or re-entering the workforce
  • job retention
  • career advancement
  • goal setting
  • skill identification
  • interviewing techniques
  • networking skills
  • resume development

Counseling fees are $50 each, and a sliding scale discount is available. Credit cards, check, or money order are accepted. To schedule an appointment, call 240-777-8300.

Gallery in New Civic Building Named in Memory of Betty Mae Kramer

During opening ceremonies for the new Civic Building at Veterans Plaza in downtown Silver Spring, County Executive Ike Leggett announced that the gallery in the building will be named the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room as a tribute to the former First Lady of Montgomery County.

Kramer, who passed away in March of this year, led the volunteer efforts to establish the Executive’s Ball for the Benefit of the Arts in 1986 when her husband, the Honorable Sidney Kramer, was elected County Executive. Since then, the ball has raised more than $1 million to benefit a variety of nonprofit arts and humanities organizations.

The Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County (AHCMC), the non-profit arts agency designated to distribute County funds for arts and humanities, will manage the Gallery and Music Room.

The Kramer family has given a leadership gift to begin an endowment fund to be established by AHCMC to manage the gallery and music room in perpetuity. Additional donations are being sought from others who wish to honor Mrs. Kramer’s contribution to Montgomery County.

To donate to the Betty Mae Kramer Gallery and Music Room, contact Suzan Jenkins, CEO of AHCMC, at 301-565-3805 ext. 23.

Burtonsville VFD Celebrates New Addition

County Executive Ike Leggett recently joined Fire Chief Richard Bowers and members of the Burtonsville Volunteer Fire Department (BVFD) to celebrate the new 2,400 sq. ft. addition to the existing facility located at the intersection of Briggs Chaney Rd. and Old Columbia Pike. The station opened in March 1995.

Some of the features of the newly-constructed addition include permanent sleeping accommodations for firefighters assigned to the station; a new training and meeting room with audio/visual equipment that will also serve as a multi-purpose room for the community; new laundry facilities; and additional parking spaces.

For more information, contact Assistant Chief Scott Graham at 240-777-2493.

Our Readers Say…

“Wow!  This is the most informative, easiest to read email I’ve ever received.  Love the crisp, easy to read, user friendly format and presentation of the info.  Lately I’ve been unsubscribing to various types of email lists I’ve somehow gotten onto over the years, but not this one.  It’s a keeper.” CS

“Just a quick note of praise for The Paperless Airplane newsletter. I enjoy the content, photos and graphics, and the user-friendly, digital format.” BL

“Congratulations on The Paperless Airplane -- it is both informative and interesting.” SL

“…the “PA” is a great way to get information out about County and related topics.” CD

“I’m a journalist who lives in Montgomery County, and I just wanted to take a second to complement you on The Paperless Airplane. The format’s attractive. It’s simple to read. And you and your staff do a great job boiling down what residents need to know in one short format. I’m also my local PTA President and have posted some of your info our listservs for parents.”  TP

“The first issue of Paperless Airplane is excellent due to the clever name and easy to read format. I look forward to the next issue. Good job.” SF

Our Readers Suggest…

I hesitate to open email from unknown senders. MCG didn’t ring any bells, at least at first. I did a search [but]… neither helped. Then somehow MCG seemed somewhat familiar - and I did open the email. (Nice newsletter.) …so maybe you could change your subject line or return address to be more enlightening.  SM

Certainly a valid point. You will notice that the return address for each issue now reads: “Paperless Airplane: eNewsletter from Montgomery County Public Information Office.”  Thanks for the feedback.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, July 23, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


Recycling/Trash Collections on Normal Schedule on Independence Day Holiday

The Division of Solid Waste Services reminds residents that all County-provided recycling and trash collections will be made on Monday, July 5 according to the normal schedule, so there will be no holiday slide that week.

The Transfer Station and Poolesville Beauty Spot will be closed July 4. But, the Transfer Station will be open for operations on Monday, July 5.

See holiday details for the complete list of holiday-related collection schedules for 2010, as well as the schedule for operations at the Transfer Station.

Also, to help you plan your holiday weekend activities, check the status of other County services, programs and facilities.

New Hours and Changes in Policies and Fees at Libraries

Effective Tuesday, July 6, Montgomery County Public Libraries will institute the new hours brought about by cuts to the FY2011 Operating Budget.

Although the changes represent an overall reduction in library hours, the new schedule will provide consistent hours of operation at library branches throughout the system and extend hours on Friday and Saturday evenings until 6 p.m. The hours at Noyes Library for Young Children Library will remain unchanged.

See the new hours at your local branch and learn about the changes in policies and fees that will go into effect July 6. Press Release

Total Crime Decreased in 2009

Montgomery County Police Chief J. Thomas Manger has announced that total crime for 2009 decreased 6.2%.

While the Part I crime statistics, those for murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny, and auto theft, were released on April 15, the compilation of Part II crime statistics was delayed and have been released.

The Part II crimes include: minor assaults, arson, forgery-counterfeiting, bad checks, embezzlement, stolen property, vandalism, weapons offenses, prostitution, sex offenses, controlled dangerous substance violations, gambling, family offenses, juvenile offenses, liquor law violations, disorderly conduct, suicide, and non-traffic offenses.

The total year-end crime statistics for 2009 are:

  • Part I Crime decreased by 6.8% (from 26,975 to 25,132)
  • Part II Crime decreased by 5.8% (from 45,518 to 42,895)
  • Overall, Total Crime (Part I & Part II) decreased by 6.2% (from 72,493 to 68,027)

A copy of the crimes statistics, as well as previous statistics, is available on the Montgomery County Police website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/police.  Go to the Crime Statistics headline in the area below the chief's photo. 

A written copy is available from the Montgomery County Police Headquarters Media Services Division at 2350 Research Boulevard, Rockville, MD 20850.

Montgomery's Smart Growth Successes

Montgomery is one of four Maryland counties whose Smart Growth successes have been documented in a series of booklets produced by the Maryland Department of Planning.

The opening of the 12-page publication states that “Montgomery County is regarded as a national model for Smart Growth,” citing its “pioneering policies on affordable housing, transit-oriented development and traditional “New Urbanist” subdivisions.

The booklet includes a map and 10 examples of Smart Growth developments and projects around the County.


Get Downtown Wheaton on the Go

The Wheaton Urban District has launched a mobile version of the downtown Wheaton website for use on smart phones such as iPhone, Blackberry and Android. The application allows downtown Wheaton residents and visitors to locate restaurants, shopping and events in the area instantly wherever they are.

The Wheaton Urban District is the first such district in Montgomery County to feature a mobile website application.

The application is viewable on any mobile phone that has a web browser. One can access the application easily by visiting http://wheatonmd.org.

Transportation’s Annual Report Online

MCDOT has published its online 2010 Annual Report.  It begins with a discussion of the accomplishments of the Transportation Department in the last fiscal year. 

A section entitled “Directions” features new initiatives and pilot programs the department will be implementing this fiscal year and beyond.  Read about cell phone-based technology being tested as a new way to pay for parking and see how the County’s keeping some traffic signals fully operational even when the power fails.

See the report at Community Outreach publications website.

Summer Programs in Libraries

A variety of exciting programs will be presented at Montgomery County Public Libraries  from the week of July 12 through August 24. Programs will include Grammy-award winning folk music artists Cathy Fink and Marcy Marxer, The Maryland Science Center, Reptiles Alive!, magicians Mike Rose and Joe Romano, and popular children’s performer Tracey Eldridge.

The summer programs are funded by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. and many local Friends of the Library chapters.

A complete list of the programs and events, including registration information, is on the library website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library in the Spotlight section or by clicking on the Check Us Out! icon. Also, call Ask-a-Librarian/Línea en otros idiomas at 240-777-0001. TTY users call Maryland Relay at 7-1-1.

DEP Seeks Public Input on Stream Improvement Programs Through Online Survey

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) invites the public to participate in an online survey to gauge public opinion and knowledge of programs related to maintaining and improving the health of streams. 

DEP will use the information to develop a Public Outreach and Stewardship Plan to educate residents, instruct them in actions they can take, and engage their help in meeting the County’s watershed improvement goals.

The survey should take no more than five minutes and will be available until July 30 at www.surveymonkey.com/WRIS

County Now Recognizes More Minority Business Certifications

Montgomery County has expanded the recognized Minority, Female, Disabled-owned business certifications beyond the program administered by the Maryland Department of Transportation (MDOT) and will now also recognize the certifications issued by the Maryland/District of Columbia Minority Supplier Development Council and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council. 

Under Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett’s procurement reform legislation passed by the County Council earlier this year, the Department of General Services Director was given authority to approve other minority business certification programs in addition to MDOT’s. 

Read more details at press release.

Montgomery’s Smart Growth SuccessesTotal Crime Decreased in 2009 New Hours and Changes in Policies and Fees at Libraries
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, July 01, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |


Aggressive Drivers Beware: “Smooth Operator” is Back

The Montgomery County Police Department is once again participating in the regional “Smooth Operator” campaign, which began Sunday, June 6, and will take place one week out of each of the summer months and two weeks in September.

The campaign targets aggressive drivers in Maryland, Northern Virginia, the District of Columbia, and Pennsylvania.  Aggressive driving behaviors include: speeding, tailgating, unsafe lane changing, failing to yield the right-of-way, and running red lights and stop signs. 

The 2010 campaign will take place during the following weeks:

  • July 4 – 10
  • August 1 – 7
  • September 5 – 18

During these waves, Montgomery County Police will be especially committed to enforcing aggressive driving laws and traffic violations.  Read tips on how to decrease the tendency toward aggressive driving.

Nominations for Landscaping, Photography Contests Still Accepted Through June 18

Applications are being accepted now through June 18 for the Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) annual Keep Montgomery County Beautiful (KMCB) landscaping and photography competitions.

The landscaping contest is open to community groups, businesses, public institutions and other organizations undertaking landscaping projects that enhance the appearance of commonly owned sections of commercial or residential properties

Categories for the Annual Amateur Photography Contest include Montgomery County by day or by night, county landmarks, people and persons at work. There is also an optional youth category for kids under 18.

To see last year’s winning entries in both categories go to MCDOT’s Community Outreach website; also access the landscaping (pdf) and photography contest applications (pdf), including guidelines and judging criteria. 

For more information, call Community Outreach at 240-777-7155 or email mcdot.outreach@montgomerycountymd.gov to request a nomination form.

Monthly Rabies Clinics Offered

The Montgomery County Police Department’s Animal Services Division will be sponsoring six rabies vaccination clinics during the coming months at the Montgomery County Animal Shelter located at 14645 Rothgeb Dr., Rockville.  The clinics will operate from 10 to 11:30 a.m. on the following Sundays: June 20, September 19, July 18, August 15 and October 10.

 All dogs must be leashed, and cats and ferrets must be in carriers or otherwise contained. Vaccinations are free for dogs and cats owned by Montgomery County residents.

There will be a minimal $4 charge for ferrets and out-of-county pets. County residents, as well as residents of the City of Rockville and the City of Gaithersburg, will be required to purchase a pet license if their pet is not currently licensed.

For more information, contact the MCPD Animal Services Division at 240-773-5925.

Board of Elections Seeks 2,000 Student Election Aides to Work for 2010 Elections

The Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking 2,000 school-age students, grades 6-12, to serve as Election Day student aides during the 2010 Gubernatorial Elections.

Students and their guardians must attend mandatory training. The aides will be placed in neighboring precincts according to their home addresses.This program is available to all students within a public, private, independent, religious or home-school setting located in Montgomery County.

Interested parents/guardians can register their student(s) online before the August 6 deadline by visiting the Montgomery County Board of Elections website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections.

Absentee Ballot Applications Available

Voters who are unable to cast their ballot for the Gubernatorial Primary Election on Election Day (September 14) or during Early Voting (September 3 – 9), may now request an application to vote by absentee ballot.

To obtain the application electronically visit the Board of Elections website at montgomerycountymd.gov/elections and select Absentee Voting. The application may be mailed or, if the person applying is already a registered voter, faxed (240-777-8560) or e-mailed (absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov) to the Board of Elections.

To obtain an application for another person, call 240-777-8553 for detailed information.

Commission for Women Moving to New Location

Due to the move of the Montgomery County Commission for Women to its new location at 401 Hungerford Dr. (first floor), the office will be closed from June 21 to 25 and will reopen On June 28. The commission is moving into the space formerly occupied by the Volunteer Center on the first floor of the building just a couple blocks from the Rockville Metro Station.

Linkages to Learning Seeks Donations to Send Kids to Summer Camp

Residents can help send a child to camp this summer by supporting Linkages to Learning’s summer camp campaign. With more than 40,000 school age children living in poverty in Montgomery County, Linkages to Learning works to provide funding so all children can enjoy the summer camp experience.

There are two ways to help -- either sponsor a child for a full or partial camp scholarship by making a tax-deductible donation or check with your company or local organization to see if a matching donation program can be established.  The deadline for donations is July 1.

Send contributions to Linkages to Learning, 51 Monroe Street, 17th floor, Rockville, MD 20850.

For more information, call Haifa Peter at 240-777-1291 or email Haifa.Peter@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Spring Paving and Concrete Repair Projects Continue

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program is using long-term strategies to preserve and enhance the County’s transportation infrastructure

Work on the following residential neighborhoods is scheduled to begin this spring: Wildwood Hills, Bethesda; Olney Mill, Olney; Kemp Mill Estates, Silver Spring; and Maplewood, Bethesda.

While DOT is in the neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the competitive price offered by the County to replace driveway aprons (the portion of the driveway that is within the public right-of-way) and lead walks (the sidewalk from the edge of the road to a homeowners property line).

Get details on arterial roads to be paved and neighborhood sidewalk work. For more information, visit Highway Services' website or call MCDOT's Customer Service Center at 240.777.6000. 

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Monday, June 14, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


MCPD Reminds Residents to “Click It or Ticket”

From May 1 through May 31 law enforcement officers in Montgomery County -- and across the country -- will focus on enforcement of local seat belt laws as part of the nationwide “Click It or Ticket” campaign.

County residents are reminded that the driver, front seat passenger and all other occupants under the age of 16 must wear a seatbelt or be restrained by a child safety seat.  The penalty for this violation is $25.  A child under the age of eight, less than 4’9” tall, and weighing less than 65 pounds should be secured in an approved child safety seat if the vehicle is registered in Maryland.  The penalty for this violation is $50.00. 

The Message is Clear – Visit Montgomery

To celebrate the recent National Travel and Tourism Week, the Montgomery County Conference and Visitors Bureau (CVB) has launched a new, user-friendly website -- www.visitmontgomery.com.

The site features more than 700 restaurant listings with the option to make reservations on OpenTable and at all major County hotels, plus the option of making hotel, airline and car rental reservations with Expedia. There is also an interactive map of the County featuring 25 pages for local towns and municipalities. Event and sports planners can submit requests for proposals (RFPs), CVB members can update business listings and organizations can submit event calendar listings.

County Offers Farmer’s Market Coupons to Low-Income Seniors

A limited number of free farmer’s market coupon books will be distributed to low-income seniors in Montgomery County beginning June 1. The coupons may be used at farmer’s markets in Montgomery County between June 1 and October 31, 2010. Coupon books will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis at community centers around the County. Press Release.

Volunteer Center on the Move

The Volunteer Center is moving to a temporary office location on May 21 due to changing office needs within Montgomery County Government.  The Center will move to its permanent location in downtown Rockville in mid-August.  During this time, the Center will not provide in-person advising to prospective volunteers, however, the service will be available by appointment -- via phone or by e-mail.  The Center's website will remain fully operational and the e-mail address remains volunteer@montgomerycountymd.gov.    

Department of Environmental Protection Updates Website

The Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has launched an updated website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep that reflects DEP’s key initiatives and shows residents how to help achieve the environmental goals of the County -- e.g., increasing recycling; keeping pollutants out of our streams; reducing energy use and greenhouse gas emissions; and timely enforcement of environmental laws.

A user-friendly section called I Need Assistance takes the guesswork out of finding help and was developed around key themes derived from data on incoming calls, emails and walk-in requests. 

Topics include how to order a blue recycling bin, obtain a bulk trash or scrap metal pick up, report a noise complaint, report trash or illegally dumped materials, and what to do about neighborhood environmental problems such as drainage issues or downed trees.

Tropical Storm and Hurricane Season Starts June 1

With Tropical Storm and Hurricane Season starting June 1, residents are urged to heed any hurricane watches and warnings, and plan for a more active hurricane season this year. Weather forecasters are predicting as many as eight major storms in 2010.

Residents are advised to be alert to weather advisories and to prepare for high winds and flooding, as well as power outages. A “watch” is issued when there is a threat of hurricane conditions within 48 hours. A “warning” is issued when hurricane conditions are expected in a specified area in 36 hours or less. Hurricane conditions include winds of 74 miles per hour (64 knots) or greater and/or dangerously high tides and waves. Actions to protect life and property should begin immediately when the warning is issued.

Click here for tips and helpful phone numbers during storm emergencies.

Fire Safety Tips for Warmer Weather

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) reminds residents to use caution and common sense when it comes to fire safety as warm weather arrives. Special attention should be given to the dangers of improperly discarded cigarettes, particularly around landscaping. Chief Richard Bowers notes that “We have seen a steep increase in mulch fires as commercial and public facilities ban smoking inside buildings and smoking materials are discarded into landscaped areas as people enter and/or exit a building presenting a significant safety hazard.”

To reduce the potential for a fire in landscaping materials and mulch, MCFRS has issued guidelines for residents to follow. 

New Edition of “Seniors Today” Covers Day Trips, Affordable Housing, Transportation Alternatives 

This month on County Cable Montgomery's "Seniors Today" show, host Austin Heyman interviews Phil Weinstein, director of the County’s Senior Outdoor Adventures in Recreation (SOAR), about a wide range of day trips for seniors sponsored through the Recreation Department.  Leslie Marks of Marks Collaborative talks about the challenges of affordable housing for those on a fixed income. Also, Sue Dollins, executive director of The Senior Connection, and Amy Cole, manager of the Jewish Council for the Aging’s (JCA) Connect-A-Ride Program, will provide information on transportation alternatives for seniors.

“Seniors Today” can be seen weekly on Sundays at 2 p.m., Tuesdays at 6 p.m. and Fridays at 8 p.m. on channel 6 for Comcast and RCN viewers and on channel 30 for Verizon subscribers. To watch on-line, go to "Seniors Today" at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm.

Gaithersburg Library Closed for Major Renovations; Book Drop Still Open

Although the Gaithersburg Library has closed for major renovations, the exterior book drop will be open through June 7. After that date, customers may take their returns to any MCPL branch. The two branches closest to Gaithersburg are Quince Orchard and Germantown

An interim facility is tentatively scheduled to open in late summer, with actual construction at the current site slated to begin in mid-October. The renovation is expected to be completed by spring 2012. Customers should check the library’s website -- www.montgomerycountymd.gov/library  -- for updates on the location and opening date of the interim facility.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |


 Fire and Rescue Service Teams with Washington Freedom to Promote Safety 


The County's Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) was featured as part of First Responders Night at a recent Washington Freedom soccer game at the Germantown Sportsplex and got a chance to promote fire safety to the many families attending the game. Kids had a chance to see some trucks and meet fire fighters. Two of the Freedom players -- Allie Long (left) and Christie Welsh  -- stopped by Fire Station 6 at 6600 Wisconsin Ave. in Bethesda to help DFRS promote their Spring into Summer Safely Campaign. These seasoned athletes are going the extra mile to ensure that the community also has what it takes to be fire safe -- working smoke alarms. 

Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service has a new Safety in Our Neighborhood portal, so residents are reminded to change their web browser's bookmarks/favorites to http://montgomerycountymd.gov/content/frs-safe.  

A Wonderful Opportunity for Middle School Girls

Computer camp programs specially designed for girls in grades six to eight are being offered this summer at three locations by Montgomery College in partnership with the Montgomery County Commission for Women.  All camps will run from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and are staffed by MCPS faculty.

The Gurl Power Web Design Camps will be held at the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus from June 21 to July 2 and at the Germantown Campus from July 6 to 16.  Students will create cool digital graphics and design their own website while using their creativity and sense of style. The two-week camp will include sports, arts and crafts, and other exciting events to see how technology is used in interesting ways, as well as meeting with invited guests to explore technology careers. Basic computer familiarity is required.

The Computer Programming Camp will be held from July 19 to 30 at the Rockville Campus. Students will learn what it takes to write a computer program through this camp designed to teach the fundamentals of programming in a fun environment with cool projects to try out your new programming skills. The camp will focus on Visual Basic programming language and present programming logic and problem solving. Experience in Windows, on or above grade-level math, is required. 

For information on costs and scholarship assistance and to access copies of all materials and forms, visit the Commission’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw or call (240) 777-8330.  The materials and forms may be duplicated as needed. 

Leading International Energy Company, EDF Inc., to Locate North American Headquarters in County

The Montgomery County Department of Economic Development has announced that EDF Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of EDF International S.A. of France, has selected Montgomery County for its new North American headquarters.

EDF Inc. signed a 10-year lease for 16,000 square feet at Wisconsin Place, 5404 Wisconsin Ave., in Chevy Chase. Approximately 25 employees will work from the new facility when it opens later this year.

Operating in more than 20 countries worldwide, the EDF Group is recognized as a leading expert in low-carbon energy options, including nuclear, wind, hydro and solar power. The Group is involved in supplying energy and services to approximately 38 million customers worldwide.

QIAGEN to Expand North American HQ in Germantown

QIAGEN Inc. will expand its North American headquarters in Germantown, adding 117,000 square feet of new manufacturing space and office space to accommodate at least 90 new, fulltime jobs by 2015.  The company expects to invest approximately $52 million in the project.

Groundbreaking for the expansion is anticipated this fall, with completion expected in 2012.  The project will increase square footage at QIAGEN’s Germantown campus from 230,000 347,000. Read more.

Spring Cleaning?  Here’s Where to Take Your “Stuff”

The Montgomery County Police Department (MCPD), in conjunction with the department’s Victim Assistance Unit, is seeking donations for its annual Yard Sale on May 15 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Rockville Elks Lodge #15 at 5 Taft Ct., off E. Gude Dr. Money raised will be used to provide holiday gifts for needy crime victims’ families and other emergency work of the unit.

Donations of household goods, books, clothing, toys, small furniture, etc. will be accepted from May 3 through 13.

To donate items or to receive more information, contact your district station’s victim assistant or call Unit Director Ellen Alexander at 240-773-5626.

Inviting Feedback: Mid-County Regional Services Center Launches Community Blogs

To encourage and strengthen community ties and participation, the Mid-County Regional Services Center, located in Wheaton, recently launched three new blogs that allow residents to reflect, share opinions and discuss various topics.    

For more information, call 240-777-8103 or visit the Mid-County Regional Service Center’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/midcounty.

County Seeks Foster and Adoptive Parents

Touch a child’s heart by becoming a foster or adoptive parent for Montgomery County children. 

Montgomery County’s Child Welfare Services, part of the Department of Health and Human Services, is seeking individuals and families who can open their homes and hearts to teenagers, teenage parents and their children, children with special needs and sibling groups. There are currently more than 500 children living in foster care homes in Montgomery County, and there is an ongoing need for homes for these children.

For information on becoming a foster or adoptive parent, call 240-777-1664 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/kidsneedyou

How to Report a Vacant Property

Vacant properties pose a number of potential problems for our neighborhoods, including blight, graffiti, rodents and crime.   If you suspect or know that a property in your neighborhood is vacant and is not properly monitored and/or maintained by the owner or a representative of the owner, such as a realtor, you can assist the Department of Housing and Community Affairs (DHCA) by completing and submitting the online vacancy reporting form at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hce.  Any and all information about the identity of the person or persons reporting a vacant property can be kept confidential, when requested.

Residents can check the status of a property on  the DHCA home page -- click on the “Resource Center” link, then click on “eProperty Data Mining,” www.montgomerycountymd.gov/apps/DHCA/pdm_online/pdmfull.asp to obtain property information from seven different sources by entering a street number and name.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, April 30, 2010 | 2:00:00 AM |


Residents Can Get Free Deck Inspections in May

This year during Building Safety Month – May 3 through 31 -- the Department of Permitting Services will provide free deck maintenance inspections for single-family detached homes, townhouses and duplex dwellings.

The inspections are available to all Montgomery County residents – except those in the cities of Rockville and Gaithersburg.  The inspection will include a checklist for homeowners to help them maintain safe and sound structures. Homeowners will be contacted before the inspection is performed.  All requests will be honored as the inspectors’ workloads permit.

Residents interested in scheduling a deck inspection should contact the Department of Permitting Services, during May, at 240-777-6300, by fax at 240-777-6258 or by email at dps@montgomerycountymd.gov.  

Ground Broken for New Community Recreation Center

Ground has been broken for the new White Oak Community Recreation Center at 1700 April Lane, Silver Spring. The 50,000-square-foot center will house a gymnasium, social hall, lounge, kitchen, vending space, and exercise, game, pottery/kiln, art/crafts and conference rooms.  Outside facilities include two playgrounds, two multi-purpose courts, skate park area and one multipurpose field.  Joining the County Executive at the ceremony were County Council members, other local elected officials, the directors of Recreation, Parks and General Services, and representatives of the community and the Recreation Advisory Board.

Warmer Weather Brings Out Highway Services’ Paving and Concrete Repair Crews

The Department of Transportation’s pavement preservation program is using long-term strategies to preserve and enhance the County’s transportation infrastructure. Roadways rated as fair or worse are receiving attention now that the warmer weather allows crews to use hot mix asphalt. 

Work on the following residential neighborhoods is scheduled to begin this spring: Glenview, Silver Spring; Regency Estates, Potomac; Rosemont and Walnut Hill, Gaithersburg; and Goshen Hunt, Damascus.

A number of arterial roads will be resurfaced this spring using either hot mix asphalt or a micro surface process.

In addition to work in neighborhoods and on arterial roads, DOT will repair sidewalks and curbs in the Connecticut Avenue Estates neighborhood, Rockville, including removing and replacing damaged sidewalks and ensuring that curb ramps are accessible to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

While DOT's Division of Highway Services (DHS) is in the neighborhood, residents can take advantage of the competitive price offered by the County to replace concrete driveway aprons (the portion of the driveway that is within the public right-of-way) and concrete lead walks (the sidewalk from the edge of the road to a homeowner’s property line). 

For more information on repairs to arterial roads, or questions about other repair projects, email DHS at mcdot.highway@montgomerycountymd.gov or call 240-777-6000.

Caution Advised for Drivers, Pedestrians in Road Work Areas


Residents are reminded that while repair work is underway on local roadways, personnel and construction vehicles will be moving around the site.  Construction materials may also be stored in the area.

Please use caution when walking or driving through the construction zone.  Children may be attracted to the noise and machinery, so we ask that you please keep all children under close supervision at all times, even after the work is completed for the day. Also, follow the direction of flaggers and temporary signs and traffic control devices. 

For a listing of selected construction or maintenance activities affecting traffic, bike and pedestrian travel, visit MCDOT's website

Police Enhance Safety Efforts During Prom Season

The Department of Police has begun its annual Prom Season Task Force.  The goal of the Task Force is to reduce the number of alcohol-related incidents and collisions during a time when young people may be unlawfully consuming alcohol.

The Prom Season Task Force will be conducted Wednesdays through Saturdays running through June 5.  Officers will focus on education and enforcement through: compliance checks and Cops in Shops to combat alcohol sales to minors; saturation patrols in the area near and around prom locations and locations where alcohol is sold; sobriety checkpoints; Parents Who Host Lose the Most programs to encourage safe and substance-free events at private homes; training limousine drivers, emphasizing the importance of a zero tolerance policy toward underage drinking; and school assemblies and programs to emphasize the dangers of impaired driving.

County to Form Animal Response Team

Volunteers are needed to become part of the County Animal Response Team (CART) that addresses emergency animal sheltering during an evacuation event.  An informational session has been scheduled for Thursday, May 6 at 7 p.m., in the Council Office Building, First Floor Auditorium, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.  Prospective volunteers will receive an overview of the purpose, scope and intent of the team and a summary of CART’s areas of responsibility. 

Creation of the CART is the result of the County’s Offices of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and the Animal Services Division in the Police Department working together to plan for the needs of domestic pets in the event of a large-scale emergency situation that includes evacuation of residents to an emergency shelter.            

For more information, or to RSVP for the May 6 meeting, email sandy.dornsife@montgomerycountymd.gov

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, April 29, 2010 | 1:00:00 AM |


Census Reminder: It’s Not Too Late to Fill Out Your Form

If you haven’t taken a moment to complete the Census form you recently received in the mail, it’s not too late to be counted and help determine Montgomery County’s future for the next 10 years. The County will lose thousands of federal dollars for essential services for every resident who isn’t counted.

However, if you’re one of the nearly 70 percent of Montgomery County residents who have already returned their Census forms, you can still help the cause by reminding family members, friends and neighbors to make sure they fill out and return their forms.

If you or someone you know has not received a Census form, call 1-866-872-6868 between April 12 and 21 for a replacement form. For those who have not mailed their completed form back to the Census by the end of April, Census enumerators will be visiting starting on May 1. You can find information on how to get help or find a Questionnaire Assistance Center at: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/census.  

 First Signs on Silver Spring Heritage Trail  to be“Unveiled”

Link to the map in pdf format.

The first six signs along the new Silver Spring Heritage Trail, the first official Main Street Heritage Trail in Montgomery County, will be unveiled at a special ceremony on Saturday, April 17 at 1 p.m., beginning at 8435 Georgia Ave. (the current Silver Spring Regional Services Center).

Local elected officials, including County Executive Ike Leggett and 5th District Councilmember Valerie Ervin, and community representatives will join descendants of the original early 1900s pioneers and settlers as they stroll from sign to sign, removing the covers.

The project is a joint endeavor between the County Executive's Office, the County Council, the Silver Spring Regional Services Center, the Silver Spring Historical Society and the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission staff. The Silver Spring Heritage Trail is one of the mitigations recommended by the Maryland Historical Trust following demolition of  the historic 1927 Silver Spring National Guard Armory 12 years ago to make way for the redevelopment of Downtown Silver Spring.

For more about the trail, email the Silver Spring Historical Society at sshistory@yahoo.com.

It’s Still Pothole Season

County roads have endured a season of freezing and thawing in addition to three major blizzards.  That stress results in pavement cracks and those annoying potholes.  However, Highway Services crews and contractors will be working all spring and summer making needed repairs. Four pothole patching trucks work every day to make permanent repairs. Highway’s goal is to fix any pothole 36 hours after the time it was reported. If you encounter a pothole, report it to the County Department of Transportation’s Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000 or advise them by email.  Include details about the exact location -- the street address nearest the pothole or a landmark.  You can also submit a pothole’s location electronically at montgomerycountymd.gov/Potholes.      

WSSC Seeks Volunteers to Advise on Customer Issues

The Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission is looking for six volunteers from Montgomery County for its Customer Advisory Board (CAB).  Since 1989, the CAB has been advising WSSC about customer-related policies and issues from metering to watershed management, from environmental education to billing issues. 

To be eligible to serve on the Customer Advisory Board, you must be a residential customer of WSSC and cannot work for WSSC or be a WSSC contractor.

For more information, including meeting details and schedules, call Kim Knox at 301-206-8233 or email kknox@wsscwater.com

Wegmans is Coming to Germantown

Montgomery County's first Wegmans Food Markets Inc. is set to anchor The Shops at Seneca Meadows, a 156-acre mixed-use project in Germantown at the corner of Observation Drive and Seneca Meadows. Read more in Economic Development’s e-Biz Update.

Volunteers Needed to Lead Bone Builders Classes in Wheaton

Volunteers are needed in the Wheaton area to lead a new Bone Builders class that provides information on how to prevent and slow the development of osteoporosis. 

The free, one-hour classes, sponsored by Montgomery County’s Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and Aging and Disability Services, include balance and weight training.  Classes are held twice a week during daytime hours.

Volunteer leaders receive a full day of free training and ongoing supervision by a master trainer.

For more information, contact Shawn Brennan, program manager for Senior Health Promotion, at 240-777-1350 or shawn.brennan@montgomerycountymd.gov.     

Credit Card Parking Proves Popular

Just a reminder: The Parking Lot Districts’ five garages with pay-on-foot or pay-by-space revenue collection systems accept credit cards as a means of payment. Many parkers have discovered the convenience of using credit cards since the program took effect in mid-FY09.  Take a look at the recent statistics from each district.

Bethesda Parking Lot District:

  • Woodmont Corner Garage - 1,108 spaces - 56% of transactions by credit card

Silver Spring Parking Lot District:

  • Cameron Street Garage - 1,383 spaces - 43% of transactions by credit card
  • Wayne Ave Garage - 1,694 spaces - 33% of transactions by credit card 
  • Town Square Garage - 1,273 spaces - 25% of transactions by credit card

Wheaton Parking Lot District:

  • Amherst Garage - 628 spaces - 40% of transactions by credit card

For more information on public parking options in the County, visit the Division of Parking Management's website, or call MCDOT's Customer Service Center at 240-777-6000.

Paper Cuts – the Good Kind

There are bad paper cuts – the kind we get on our fingers that sting like the dickens -- then there are good paper cuts like the ones happening throughout Montgomery County government.

The County’s paper reduction act was officially implemented in September 2009. The goal was to cut paper use roughly 15% in a year, saving roughly $1 million dollars. Departments were told to achieve 15% cost savings in their paper/printing budget for the rest of the fiscal year.  Because this program began in Sept (FY10), a portion of this $1M savings will come in the first quarter of FY11.  Review the departments’ figures (pdf).

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Wednesday, April 07, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |


2010 Census "Whistle Stop Tour" Features Three Community Rallies

On Saturday, March 27, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, County Council President Nancy Floreen, and former members of Congress and co-chairs of the County Executive’s 200-member Census Complete Count Committee Connie Morella and Mike Barnes will participate in a three-stop “whistle stop tour” across the County, encouraging residents to fill out and return their 2010 Census questionnaires. 

Free rallies at each stop – in Gaithersburg, Wheaton and Langley Park -- will feature entertainment, food and family activities.  Census forms were mailed to all residents the week of March 15 and should be returned by April 1.  

For details about the rallies or the Census, call the County’s Office of Community Partnerships at 240-777-2570, or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/census.

Leggett’s Procurement Reform Legislation Passes Council

County Executive Ike Leggett’s successful completion of his commitment to overhaul the County’s procurement system in his first term has come about with the County Council’s passage of Executive Regulation 19-09AM, Revisions to Procurement Regulations. In effect, the regulation makes it easier for businesses to respond to contracting opportunities with the County.

Leggett’s full 10-point plan to improve the procurement process was introduced in 2008. It included the elimination of bid request and bid subscription fees, making it easier for businesses to respond to contracting opportunities with the County; more outreach to MFD businesses; and more information available on the County website.

The changes take effect April 1, 2010.  A summary is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/procurement

It’s Spring Cleaning Time for County Roadways

Montgomery County residents are advised that over the next couple of months, the County’s 5,000 curb miles of roads will be getting a spring cleaning through the annual street sweeping program. 

This joint effort between the Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) is expected to help remove more than 3,000 tons of abrasives and other debris left behind after the winter snow season that could otherwise be swept into County streams.

Brightly colored signs will be posted in neighborhoods a few days before street sweeping begins.  To improve the quality of service and the effectiveness of the sweeping program, residents are urged to find alternative parking while their streets are cleaned. Daily updates detailing the areas scheduled for sweeping will air on County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6) during the morning and afternoon rush hours when the channel provides live coverage of local traffic conditions.

Online information about the schedule is found at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcdot, then go to Highway Services. For more information, call MCDOT’s Customer Service Line at 240-777-6000.

County, State Announce Milestone Investments in Zyngenia, Inc., Headquartered in Gaithersburg

Montgomery County, the State of Maryland and Zyngenia, Inc. recently announced the official start of the build out of laboratory and office space at the company’s new 14,000-square-foot headquarters in Gaithersburg. The company is focusing its early research and development on creating therapies for patients who have unmet medical needs in cancer and autoimmune diseases. 

The strategic public/private partnership behind the announcement is a component of the County’s recently unveiled Bioscience Strategy, which aims to enhance the environment for entrepreneurship and creation of new life science companies in the County. Read more on Press Release.

Summer’s Coming! And So Are Rec Camps

We think and hope that spring is here, and if this is true, then summer can’t be far behind. That’s why you should know that the County’s Department of Recreation is accepting registrations for its popular summer camps and programs. 

There are so many fun, interesting camps from which to choose. Like nature, art, drama and dance, sports and therapeutic camps, and a variety of teen activity programs.  Or, how about cooking, horseback riding, AquaSports, plus history camps with the Montgomery County Historical Society?

Don’t put off signing up. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and space is limited. Summer Camp Guides are available at public libraries and community and aquatic centers.

To view the guide online, and/or to register, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/rec.  Also, register by mail or in person at the Recreation Department Administrative Offices at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

Donate Food, Ride Free

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 11 through Saturday, April 17.  Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds 3,000 hungry families a month. 

All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.45. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.

Get more details.

Tax Refund Loans Alert; Free Tax Preparation Assistance Provided

With the filing date for federal and state income taxes just weeks away, Montgomery County’s Community Action Board recommends that consumers avoid Refund Anticipation Loans (RALs) -- one- to two-week loans made by banks, facilitated by tax preparers and secured by taxpayers’ expected tax refunds. However, if tax refunds don’t arrive as expected, taxpayers are responsible for the unpaid debt.

County residents who need income tax preparation assistance are encouraged to make an appointment [link to 3/15 release] with the Voluntary Income Tax Assistance Program (VITA) offered by Montgomery County’s Community Action Board.

To find free community and military-sponsored VITA programs, call the Internal Revenue Service at 1-800-829-1040. For information on free tax help for seniors, call the RSVP-AARP Tax-Aide Program at 240-777-2577.

Residents Encouraged to Join Volunteer Efforts in April in Honor of Earth Day

County Executive Ike Leggett has once again proclaimed April as “Earth Month” in Montgomery County and is encouraging residents to celebrate by volunteering for projects that will improve the environment. April 22 is the 40th anniversary of the original Earth Day.

There are many ways to get involved and make a difference.  Individuals, groups and businesses may create their own projects, sign up to volunteer with existing projects or pass along information to members, employees, friends, family and others.

For a list of opportunities, visit the Volunteer Center’s website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer.

Green Your Business by Earth Day, April 22

Apply now to become a Montgomery County Certified Green Business, get certified by April 19 and join a growing number of other local businesses that have made a commitment to the environment. By becoming certified before Earth Day, businesses  reap the benefit of being included in the County’s Earth Month publicity.   The Green Business Certification Program is a partnership between the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery College.  It assists and recognizes businesses that are taking voluntary steps to go above and beyond basic green measures to reduce their ecological footprint.

For more about the application process and the checklist of actions required of a Green Business, visit www.mcgreenbiz.org.

Training Courses

Montgomery College provides on-going courses to assist businesses in making the changes necessary to get certified. To learn more, including schedules, fees, etc., visit www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/bits/goinggreen.html.  

Follow the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce through its Certification Journey

The Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce invites Facebook “fans” to follow them in their quest to become a Certified Green Business by Earth Day.  See http://www.facebook.com/pages/Montgomery-County-Chamber-of-Commerce-Md/239377858769?v=app_2373072738#!/topic.php?uid=239377858769&topic=24380  

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 2:30:00 PM |


County Urges Residents and Businesses to Celebrate “Earth Hour”

Montgomery County urges residents, schools, businesses, and community groups and organizations to support Earth Hour, an annual event that makes a statement about reducing energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  This year, “Earth Hour” will be celebrated worldwide on Saturday, March 27 from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. when people around the world turn off their lights.

Now a global celebration, Earth Hour began in Sydney, Australia in 2007 when 2.2 million people and 2,100 businesses together reduced the city’s energy consumption by 10.2 percent for one hour.

Learn more about Earth Hour and take an online pledge to participate by visiting www.earthhour.org.  To see more tips on reducing energy use in the home, go to the County’s website at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/dep, then click on Energy-Wise Homes.  A list of Earth Hour participants in the United States is available at http://www.earthhourus.org/map.php

A Graphic Look at the County’s Budget and Revenue Outlook

A graphic look at the County’s budget challenges is available online in charts and graphs (pdf).  The overview was prepared by the Offices of the County Executive and the Office of Management and Budget.

A Closer Look at the Health and Human Services Budget

A detailed look at the FY11 Recommended Budget for the Department of Health and Human Services (pdf) is available on the HHS website. Topics covered include factors contributing to the current budget challenges, methods used to close the gap, the Executive’s proposals on spending reductions and a budget overview.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 23, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |


The Fillmore Music Hall’s New Neighbor

The addition of a new hotel in downtown Silver Spring, planned as a next-door neighbor to the coming Fillmore Music Hall, will provide more visitor rooms in the Arts and Entertainment District -- and also more local jobs.

The Lee Development Group is negotiating with a national hotel developer to build an upscale, extended-stay inn that will connect to the Fillmore and be a significant part of a major new music hall-hotel-office development. Lee Development submited the plans for the 189-suite hotel and 224,000 square-feet of adjoining office and retail space to the Planning Commission earlier this month. Groundbreaking for the Fillmore Music Hall is expected to take place this fall.

National Cancer Institute to Move Operations to Johns Hopkins Campus in Shady Grove Life Sciences Center

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) will consolidate its operations in a new $200 million, 575,000 square-foot complex on the Montgomery County campus of Johns Hopkins University (JHU) in the Shady Grove Life Sciences Center at the southwest corner of the intersection of Medical Center Drive and Key West Avenue in Rockville. The new campus will accommodate approximately 2,100 NCI staff who will begin moving in 2013.  County Executive Ike Leggett said, "The NCI presence will also serve as a catalyst for the attraction and creation of thousands of new, high-quality jobs as the area transforms into a world-renowned innovation community with JHU and NCI at its core."

Renters’ Issues Addressed in Tenants Work Group Final Report Just Released

County Executive Ike Leggett recently received the report of the first-ever Montgomery County Tenants Work Group, a diverse group he appointed last year to formulate recommendations about actions that could assist the more than 80,000 County renter households in Montgomery County. The report also includes a set of specific recommendations designed to address renters' problems with affordability and security.

The 48-page report (pdf) includes the Survey on Tenant Satisfaction in Montgomery County commissioned by the Work Group to help in crafting their recommendations.

Local Non-Profits Affected by December Storm Can Apply for Loans

Private non-profit organizations in Montgomery County that experienced damage or loss during the severe winter storm that occurred December 18-20, 2009, may be eligible for low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA).  Non-profits may borrow up to $2 million to repair or replace damaged or destroyed real estate, machinery and equipment, inventory and other business assets. 

Non-profits applying for disaster loans may visit SBA’s secure website at https://disasterloan.sba.gov/ela/.  Disaster loan information and application forms are also available by calling the SBA’s Customer Service Center at 800-659-2955 (800-877-8339 for the hearing impaired) Monday – Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., or emailing disastercustomerservice@sba.gov. Applications can also be downloaded from www.sba.gov/services/disasterassistance.

Scam Alert: Be Aware of Home Improvement Scam Artists

As the weather warms up, the final traces of snow melt, and Spring approaches, Montgomery County Police and the County’s Office of Consumer Protection remind residents to be on the lookout for unlicensed home improvement contractors known as “woodchucks” -- scam artists who generally target our elderly residents.

The "woodchucks" approach victims, tell them their trees need to be trimmed or removed, then pressure the victims into paying thousands of dollars to have a few tree branches cut.  The “woodchucks” continue their scam by telling the victims that their roofs are leaking in order to bilk victims out of thousands of dollars more.

For more information regarding home improvement jobs and hiring a contractor, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/consumer.

March Brings Still Melting Snows and Recognition of Long Hours and Hard Work

February isn’t a bad month…after all, it has Valentine’s Day and the Presidents’ Day Holiday.  However, February 2010 will be one that area residents will long remember, but for the wrong reasons.  Two major snow storms inundated our area with record snowfalls that brought daily services to a halt.

 While many of us watched the storm unfold from home, the County’s Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) staff worked 18 straight days, 24 hours a day, to combat the storms, with only one break so staff could visit with their families on Valentine’s Day.

During full mobilization, DHS crews eat and sleep at the depots or even in their trucks and work non-stop until the roads are once again passable.  What makes their efforts even more exceptional this winter is the fact that DHS has fully mobilized for 13 winter storm events between December 5 and February 25, including working Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.   

For the February storms, DHS commandeered resources throughout the region, deploying 1,200 pieces of equipment – compared to 550 for the December storm – to clear 900 miles of primary and secondary routes and 4,128 lane miles of residential roads.  

Crews rescued stranded motorists, fire trucks, and PEPCO crews, cleared paths to power lines so PEPCO could restore power, caretakers could get to disabled residents or residents could get medical assistance.  Hats off to the DHS staff for long hours and extraordinary efforts to aid the public in a challenging, difficult situation.

It’s Not Too Late to Prevent H1N1 Influenza; FREE Vaccination Clinics Scheduled

Montgomery County health officials remind residents that FREE H1N1 vaccinations are available at locations throughout Montgomery County during March and April.  The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and recent news reports, have discussed the possibility of a third and fourth wave of illness, so vaccination is an important step that everyone can take to protect themselves and their families.

Clinics are open to all County residents, and both nasal spray and injectable vaccine will be available.  Make appointments for FREE H1N1 vaccinations at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/h1n1flu or call the Immunization Program Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 240-777-1050. 

Leggett Signs Executive Order on Language Access

County Executive Ike Leggett has signed an Executive Order (Press Release) on Language Access that will ensure consistently high quality services for residents with limited English proficiency.  Leggett was joined at the signing by County Council President Nancy Floreen, Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation Alex Sanchez, Deputy Assistant Attorney General in the U.S. Office of Civil Rights Leon Rodriguez and community leaders.

The Executive Order will improve accountability for all Executive Branch departments and offices in an effort to ensure compliance with federal guidelines on language access, institutionalize effective practices and encourage cross-agency coordination with other public institutions in the County.  The new Executive Order will build upon Montgomery County’s current Limited English Proficiency (LEP) policy developed in 2003.  With the signing of this order, Leggett hopes to improve staff awareness and competency and ensure access to government services for all communities throughout Montgomery County.

For more information about the Executive Order or the County’s Limited English Proficiency policy, call Lily Qi at 240-777-2524.

Marriott Spirit to Serve Award Nominations Due March 26

Volunteers play a critical role in supporting nonprofit, government and faith communities that serve Montgomery County residents.  Each year, through the prestigious Marriott Spirit to Serve Community Service Awards, the Montgomery

County Volunteer Center, under the Offices of the County Executive, honors remarkable individuals, groups and schools that have significantly contributed to the community. 

Nominations for the 2010 awards are due by March 26.  Nomination forms and directions for submission are available on the Volunteer Center’s website, www.montgomerycountymd.gov/volunteer

e-Biz Update: An Online Rundown on Montgomery County’s Business Community

If you’re looking for timely information on news makers, upcoming events and other interesting facts and items about Montgomery County’s business community, then you need to see e-Biz Update, the bi-weekly newsletter from the County’s Department of Economic Development.

What’s Coming Up at Montgomery County Public Libraries?

Take a look at the new Spring edition of “Check Us Out” which has a variety of information on programs and events at our public libraries during March, April and May.

Pick up a copy at any Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) branch or find the online copy on the MCPL website.

Commission for Women’s March Newsletter Online

The March issue of the Montgomery County Commission for Women’s newsletter is now online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw.  Included are articles on free tax help, cervical cancer awareness and the benefits of the Lilly Ledbetter Pay Equity Act. There is a Calendar of Events that contains information on upcoming workshops presented by the Commission’s Counseling and Career Center.


CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Tuesday, March 09, 2010 | 2:00:00 PM |


More Federal Dollars for Local Transportation Projects

Thanks to the $14.8 million Maryland will receive under the competitive TIGER (Transportation Investment Generating Economic Recovery) Discretionary Grant Program, three projects benefitting Montgomery and Prince George's counties will be constructed: the Takoma Langley Transit Center, a major transit hub for Montgomery County’s Ride On bus system, and priority bus corridor enhancements along University Boulevard and Veirs Mill Road. Read Press Release.

County, Johns Hopkins University Sign Memo of Understanding to Advance Biosciences Industry, Higher Education and Workforce Development in Montgomery County

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Johns Hopkins University President Ronald J. Daniels, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on February 24 that reflects Montgomery County’s and JHU’s shared objectives and vision of advancing the biosciences industry, higher education and workforce development. It will help develop collaborations between private industry, public and private higher educational institutions, and government interests involved with the biosciences industry.

The MOU is a component of the County’s recently unveiled Bioscience Strategy that recommended enhancing bioscience educational opportunities and expanding the higher education presence in Montgomery County.  The memorandum is the latest in a series of progressive, proactive initiatives by the County to support and grow the local economy.  Read Press Release

Wheaton Library: “Leave it where it is,” Leggett says

From the beginning, County Executive Ike Leggett said that his decision on where to site the Wheaton library would be based on six factors:

  1. The wishes of the current library customers;
  2. The future needs of the library in its current location versus selecting another site and constructing a new building;
  3. Comparative costs of the two options;
  4. How the project fits into the broader needs of the Wheaton community in general;
  5. Potential future use of the current library building; and
  6. The suitability of the current site to the needs of the community.

After receiving a wealth of feedback – pro and con – and reviewing the factors, Leggett has announced that the County and the community will be best served by leaving the Wheaton Library right where it is.

The County will work on a timetable for planning, design and construction of a new library building on the current site in the next Capital Improvements Program.

Volunteers Needed to Assist Sexual Assault Victims, Families

Volunteers are needed to assist sexual assault victims and their families through the Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program of the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services. Interviews are now being conducted for the March 2010 training session which all volunteers must attend.

For more information about the training, requirements for volunteers or to arrange an interview, call the Montgomery County Victim Assistance and Sexual Assault Program at 240-777-1355 or go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/vasap.

Professional Jobs in County on the Rise

December figures recently released from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, show that professional services jobs increased in Montgomery and Frederick counties from 126,400 to 136,800 – or by 10,400 – from December 2008.

The increase in professional jobs offset losses in retail, construction and financial services resulting in a total of 3,100 more jobs in both counties compared to December 2008.

Montgomery County’s unemployment rate -- at 5.3% in November -- was the lowest in the State and dropped from 5.7 percent in June.

Senior Nutrition Hotline

Seniors and their caregivers can get diet and nutrition questions answered by a registered dietitian by calling the County’s free Senior Nutrition Hotline at 240-777-1100. The service is available Wednesday mornings from 9 to 11 a.m.

The hotline is sponsored by the Senior Nutrition Program of the Department of Health and Human Services.

 Pay Equity Advocate Lilly Ledbetter Speaks to Women’s Legislative Briefing

The 650 attendees at the recent 30th annual Women’s Legislative Briefing (WLB) heard pay equity advocate Lilly Ledbetter recount her struggle to achieve pay equity on her job at the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. plant in Gadsden, Alabama, where she was employed for more than 19 years. Her story led to the introduction of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2007, which passed the House and Senate in January 2009 and was the first bill signed into law by President Obama in January 2009.

Coordinated by the Montgomery County Commission for Women, the WLB was sponsored by 85 women’s and community organizations. Among the attendees were County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council President Nancy Floreen, Vice President Valerie Ervin and District 4 Councilmember Nancy Navarro.

Nominations Open for Governor's Volunteer Service Awards 

The Governor's Volunteer Service Awards are presented each year by the Governor's Office on Service and Volunteerism (GOSV). The awards recognize significant contributions of Maryland residents to the life and health of the State and its people. The awards are presented during National Volunteer Week, April 18 - 24, 2010.

Nominations are due March 1.  Guidelines and the nomination form are on the GOSV website www.gosv.state.md.us.  For more information contact GOSV's Jeanne Hegarty, at 410-767-1821 or at jhegarty@gosv.state.md.us.  

Office of Consumer Protection Annual Report Online

In FY 2009, the County’s Office of Consumer Protection  (OCP) received more than 1,800 written complaints and 11,740 information calls and obtained more than half a million dollars in restitution for residents and 28 settlement agreements.  

OCP also earned high marks from the public for its performance, with more than 80 percent saying they would be likely to use the office’s services again and 88 percent stating they were satisfied with the speed of the resolution of their complaints.  More than 90 percent stated they were satisfied with the level of the expertise of the staff. 

All this information -- and more -- about the award-winning agency is in OCP’s 2009 Annual Report. Other sections include complaint resolutions, legal action, legislative advocacy, Council collaboration, and awards and feedback.

 Pay Equity Advocate Lilly Ledbetter Speaks to Women’s Legislative BriefingCounty, Johns Hopkins University Sign Memo of Understanding to Advance Biosciences Industry, Higher Education and Workforce Development in Montgomery County
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Thursday, February 25, 2010 | 3:00:00 AM |

Worth Noting

Public Forum on Proposed Ride On Service Changes

To help close the projected budget shortfall of $608 million for Fiscal Year 2011, the County is proposing to reduce and/or eliminate Ride On routes that have the fewest riders or those where other alternative service exists. Ride On delivers about 30 million trips per year. These program reductions would eliminate one million trips. They would also save $1.2 million in this fiscal year and about $4.3 million for FY11. 

Residents are invited to comment on proposed changes to Ride On’s bus service at a public forum on Monday, February 1 at 6:30 p.m., at the Executive Office Building Cafeteria, Terrace Level, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.  In case of inclement weather, the forum will be held on Tuesday, February 2 at the same location.

Individuals and representatives of organizations wishing to speak must register by January 25. Get details on press release.

Council Creates Phone Message Line for Budget Input

To help solicit input from residents on the Fiscal Year 2011 Operating Budget, the County Council has opened a new dedicated phone line -- 240-777-7802 -- so residents can express their opinions and thoughts.

Over the next five months the Council and its committees will examine the budget requests from County departments, plus requests of County agencies, such as Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

“This line is open to any and all types of ideas,” said Council President Nancy Floreen. “We are expanding the number of methods available to seek fresh thoughts and reach people who may not be able to participate in the process through other channels.”

Maryland’s Public School System – At The Top of the Class, Again

For the second straight year, Maryland’s education system has been rated first in the country according to Education Week’s annual education report card.  Maryland earned a B+ grade overall, followed by New York and Massachusetts which received B grades.  Most states earned C grades or lower. 

Reports are based on Chance for Success, transitions and alignment; school finance; K-12 achievement; standards, assessments and accountability; and the teaching professions.

Montgomery County Public Schools have the largest student population of any system in Maryland.

FreshMarket Goes Year Round in Downtown Silver Spring

Congratulations to Downtown Silver Spring for being home to the latest year round farmers market in the area.

Operated by FreshFarm Markets, the market on Ellsworth Drive will be open for business each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. until April 3 when the hours will be 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

For more on the Silver Spring year round market, go to www.silverspringdowntown.com/calendar.

On The Horizon: A New Wheaton

The County has issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) to select development partners to develop and execute mixed-use, public-private projects for downtown Wheaton.

Partnering with Metro (the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority), the County will offer 11 acres of parking lots and Transit Station areas in 10 parcels for potential development sites. Selected development partners will work with all stakeholders in the community and seek to aggregate additional lands to plan and develop high-quality, transit-oriented, mixed-use projects that will create places to live, work and shop in downtown Wheaton. The deadline for responses to the RFQ by the private sector is March 19. The County and Metro will evaluate the responses and make a recommendation to the County Executive and the Metro Board by July. The aim would be to secure a partner by late summer. Press Release

To view or download the RFQ solicitation document and background materials, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/DGS/Dir/wheatonRFQ.asp

A Growing International Business Presence

In early December, the Department of Economic Development welcomed three foreign-headquartered companies that opening their U.S. offices in Montgomery County.

Headquartered in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, PV Inova develops innovative technologies and software targeting fleet managers in the transportation industry. 

Daewoong America, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Daewoong Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of South Korea, is Korea’s second largest pharmaceutical company and the country’s top prescription drug seller.  

Both PV Inova and Daewoong are located in the Rockville Innovation Center, the County’s international business incubator.

YISHENG Biotech Development Co. Ltd.  is one of the largest privately owned vaccine manufacturers in China. Yisheng US BIOPHARMA INC will occupy 5,000 square feet of space in Gaithersburg and initially function as an R&D center.

First Tenant Survey Reflects Concerns About Rent Hikes and Affordability

The recently released results of the first-ever survey of tenants in Montgomery County included concerns by local renters about rent increases and affordability. There are approximately 80,000 rental units in the County, amounting to 25 percent of the County’s households.

The survey was conducted by the Institute for Public Affairs and Civic Engagement of Salisbury University in conjunction with the County Tenants Work Group established last year by Leggett to analyze problems faced by county renters and make recommendations for possible actions and changes. The report, along with recommendations, is due in late January.

Among the findings of the “Montgomery County Rental Satisfaction Survey” were:

  • Nearly 20 percent of tenants reported average rent increases of eight percent or more. Another 52 percent said their rents increased in the four to seven percent range.
  • Forty-three percent of respondents did not expect that they could continue to afford to pay rent five years from now in their current rental.
  • Over 82 percent said that current rent affordability was their first or second most important concern, followed by safety/crime at 77 percent, and long-term rent affordability at 75 percent.
  • Over 80 percent of tenants felt comfortable in approaching their landlord or property manager with concerns. Seventy-one percent believed them to be responsive. Twenty percent said they had not raised concerns with their landlord for fear of retaliation.

For more information, visit Tenants Work Group Website.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Say, “Check Us Out!”

Storytimes, book clubs, Meet the Authors, classes and much more are available at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL).

To keep up with all that is going on at your local public library – and at other branches around the county – you only need “Check Us Out!” the quarterly guide to the programs, classes and events offered at libraries throughout the county.

 Pick up the current December 2009-February 2010 issue at any MCPL branch or find it at MCPL homepage.

And The Hits Just Keep Coming 

For the sixth straight year, the number of visitors to Montgomery County’s website – www.montgomerycountymd.gov - increased, reflecting county residents’ continued demand for on-line services and information.

For the first time, the number of unique visitors to the website during a calendar year exceeded 10 million. This represents a six percent increase over 2008. The County’s website received more than 935 million hits in 2009, an increase of eight percent over last year. Each hit constitutes a single file requested by a website visitor. The number of website page views increased by 14 percent to more than 134 million.

Also in 2009, Montgomery County was recognized by the Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo) as the second ranked “Digital County” among jurisdictions with populations of 500,000 or more. Thousands of counties from across the nation competed with Montgomery County for the top award by participating in the 2009 Digital Counties Survey. County officials nationwide responded to a series of questions that included more than 100 measurements and data points about online service delivery, infrastructure, architecture and governance models.

CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Friday, January 22, 2010 | 3:00:00 PM |

Worth Noting: January 2010

Register Online for H1N1 Vaccinations—It’s Not Too Late to Vaccinate
Residents can now make an appointment for a free H1N1 vaccination online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/h1n1flu.  The Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services will offer H1N1 clinics by appointment for all residents at library locations throughout the county.  Both nasal spray and injectable vaccine will be available, and vaccinations are free.
If you prefer to make an appointment by telephone, please call the Flu Appointment Line on Mondays (January 11 and 25) from 1 to 4 p.m. at 240-777-4040.
H1N1 vaccinations are also available at many local pharmacies and from many local physicians.

Feedback invited on local substance abuse and addiction services
The public is invited to attend a community forum on Thursday, January 14 to give feedback about the County’s substance abuse and addiction services.  The forum will be held from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Mt. Calvary Baptist Church, located at 608 North Horner’s Lane in Rockville. Members of the Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Advisory Council of Montgomery County (AODAAC) will be on hand to hear from residents about their suggestions, concerns, criticisms and kudos of the County’s efforts in the area of substance abuse and addiction services. Speakers may include residents in recovery from addiction, families confronting substance abuse problems, non-profit organizations struggling with community needs and parents, educational organizations or student groups.
For more information, email aodaac@gmail.com or call Tracey Speelmans at 240-777-4392.
Language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than five business days prior to the event.  If other aids or services are needed to participate in this activity, call Tracey Speelmans at 240-777-4392; Tracey.Speelmans@montgomerycountymd.gov

Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy – get involved, get inspired
Montgomery County will celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a weekend of events and activities.
While most of the events will take place on Monday, January 18, a food collection drive will be held January 16 and 17 at 20 Giant Food Stores around the county from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.  It’s easy to participate, just shop that day at your neighborhood Giant and buy extra food to donate. 
Partners for the food drive include Montgomery County Government, Census 2010, Fund of the Community Foundation for Montgomery County, Manna Food Center, Jewish Community Relations Council and Giant Food Stores.
Food donations will also be collected at the Day of Service volunteer sites and the Tribute and Musical Celebration at Strathmore on the 18th.
For specific Giant store locations, dates of collections and information on the Day of Service activities and sites, plus the Tribute celebration, go to 1-800-volunteer.org

“What’s the County building in my neighborhood?” There’s an easy way to find out
How many times have you seen County construction equipment in your community and wondered, “What’s that going to be?” Now, there’s an easy online way to find out. Go to
www.montgomerycountymd.gov/neighborhoodprojects. You’ll be connected to the interactive map that shows County construction projects in a particular area or select from the list of Regional Projects that appears below the map.

Census 2010: Take part and be counted
The U.S. Census Bureau has opened a new office in Rockville -- at 2400 Research Blvd., Suite 100 -- to support all field operations in Montgomery County for the 2010 Census Survey.  Households will begin receiving their census questionnaires March 15.
Approximately 1,000 people will be employed in various positions to support field operations in Montgomery County.  The Census Bureau is now recruiting for census takers, who will visit households that did not return a questionnaire.  Interested applicants should call 1-866-861-2010 or go to www.2010census.gov.
For more information about the 2010 census, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/census.

Be on the ALERT this winter - Sign Up for Alert Montgomery
Like it or not, winter’s here, with its ever-changing weather and other potential hazards. Keep up with the latest information on approaching weather, traffic hangups and local natural disasters affecting travel and daily life on a year-round basis. Sign up for Alert Montgomery. It’s your personal connection to updates, instructions on where to go, what to do, or what not to do, who to contact and other important information. 
Nearly 100,000 county residents have already signed on to Alert Montgomery. Join us!
For more details and to sign up, click here.

Green Business Certification Program launched
The first 11 businesses and organizations to be certified under the County’s new Green Business Certification Program that recognizes voluntary efforts to protect, preserve and improve the environment have been announced.  To be certified as a green business, a company must demonstrate its commitment to environmental stewardship, conservation of energy and water, carbon footprint reduction, and waste reduction and recycling.
The County’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce and Montgomery College are program partners. 
To view the online certification application and other information about the program, go to http://mcgreenbiz.org/
For a list of upcoming courses at Montgomery College, go to http://www.montgomerycollege.edu/wdce/bits/goinggreen.html

New video phone service at two Montgomery County Public Libraries
Deaf and hard of hearing customers of Montgomery County Public Libraries now have an additional way of communicating with hearing individuals, thanks to the new video phone service at the Rockville and Germantown branches. Using the video phone equipment provided by Sorenson Communications, deaf and hard of hearing individuals can conduct telephone calls with hearing individuals via a high-speed Internet connection, television monitor and a qualified American Sign Language interpreter.
For more information, or to schedule a demonstration of the equipment at either branch during library hours, contact: Library Services to the Deaf and Hard of Hearing Community at Rockville Library at drcinfo@montgomerycountymd.gov, voice 240-777-0001 or TTY 240-777-0902. 

Skaters welcome at new Germantown Skate Spot
The new Germantown Town Center Skate Spot, located at the 5th District Police Station at 20000 Aircraft Dr., resulted from recommendations County Executive Ike Leggett received from local teens who participated in the Germantown Community-Based Collaboration (CBC). The CBC is a group of local community residents, nonprofits, faith leaders, and business and government representatives established by the Executive, as part of his countywide Positive Youth Development Initiative, to identify existing and missing resources for Germantown’s youths

New online newsletter for business community
e-Biz Update, the Department of Economic Development’s new online bi-weekly newsletter, features items, upcoming events and lots of links to news “for and about Montgomery County’s Business Community.” See it and subscribe at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ded (click on the e-Biz Update icon).

Welcome Microsoft
Economic Development Director Steve Silverman recently had the honor of welcoming Microsoft Corporation to its first Montgomery County location – a new 134,000 square-foot showcase office in the heart of Chevy Chase at 5404 Wisconsin Avenue. The company’s new office houses a portion of their U.S. Public Sector, including federal, state, local and educational divisions and their Health Solutions Group, which is focused on health IT products and services. Over the next five years, the new facility will house some 500 new and relocated employees.
CATEGORIES: Worth Noting
POSTED: Sunday, January 03, 2010 | 12:00:00 PM |
News and Information from Montgomery County Government, Public Information Office.
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Last edited: 11/8/2010