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Recent Groundbreakings Signal Start of Work on Two County Facilities

Animal Shelter

Ground has been broken for the new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center, to be located at the intersection of Muncaster Mill and Airpark roads in Derwood. The new facility, which is expected to open in the summer of 2013, will replace the current outdated shelter on Rothgeb Drive that lacks sufficient space and equipment to meet current needs.

In Fiscal Year 2011, the Police Department’s Animal Services Division and the shelter operator, the Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS), received 12,561 animal-related calls for service and the shelter staff handled 7,713 domestic and wild animals. In addition, MCHS reunited 1,163 lost pets with their owners and coordinated adoptions of 2,811 domestic animals to new homes.

At 49,160 gross square feet, the eventual three-building complex will greatly expand the County’s ability to safely and hygienically care for animals; as well as serve as a public adoption center and community education resource for animal care issues.

Read more details.

Plum Gar Recreation Center

The renovated center, scheduled to open in the summer of 2013, will serve the East Germantown area and provide recreation and leisure services to all residents.

Facilities will include a full-size gymnasium, 150-seat social hall, catering kitchen, conference room, game room, weight and exercise room, multipurpose activities room and computer lab. Programs will include a wide range of activities and classes for all ages, an after-school program, senior program, open gym sports, drop-in games and more. The center is located on Scenery Dr. in Germantown.

See more details on the project

POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

Public Forums Planned on Streamlining the Development Application Process

As part of the Executive’s new major cross-agency effort that will make meaningful changes to the development application process by streamlining reviews and inspections, two public forums have been planned on the topic of streamlining development.

The public and users of the services of agencies involved with real estate development are invited to attend one of the forums to identify points where plans and permit reviews and inspections can be consolidated, redundant reviews minimized and inconsistencies eliminated.

The forums will be held on February 14, from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. and on March 9, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. in the Executive Office Building, Lobby Level Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville. A cross-agency panel will receive comments, observations and recommendations about experiences with development approvals in getting a project from idea to occupancy.

Register for the February 14 forum.

Register for the March 9 forum.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

Voter Registration Drives at Public Libraries

Volunteers from the Future Vote Program of the Montgomery County Board of Elections will conduct voter registration drives in February on Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and Sundays, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., at local public libraries.

See the schedule or for additional information, contact Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at 240-777-8532; email Gilberto.zelaya@montgomerycountymd.gov.

POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 5:00:00 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 |


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

Chesapeake Bay Foundation photo.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Success for the Literacy Council: Recent Grad Writes Autobiography


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

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

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

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

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


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

Thumbs Up for 311 Website

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

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

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

POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 2:00:00 AM |


March 3 -- Community Clean Water Summit. Silver Spring Civic Building at Veteran’s Plaza, One Veteran’s Pl., Great Hall, Room 1; 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.. Hosted by the Department of Environmental Protection. Learn about the challenges of improving water quality, how your habits impact local waters, initiatives happening in your communities to improve stream health and how you can become involved. Become a part of the growing Clean Streams Movement and meet local watershed groups comprised of community members who are improving the quality of their local streams. Also learn about County-sponsored programs, such as RainScapes Rewards, that provide financial incentives to stop stormwater pollution at its source. To register, visit: http://cleanwatersummit.eventbrite.com. For more information, contact Ryan Zerbe at Ryan.Zerbe@montgomerycountymd.gov or 240-777-7744.

POSTED: Friday, February 03, 2012 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010