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Pepco Work Group Presents Final Report to Leggett; More Than 50 Recommendations Listed

Pepco Final Report to Mr Leggett

The Pepco Work Group, appointed last October by County Executive Ike Leggett to investigate causes for Pepco’s frequent and lengthy electricity outages in Montgomery County, has presented its final report to the Executive.

Included in the 192-page document are 30 recommendations for Pepco, six to local governments and 20 for the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) that regulates public utilities in the state.

Leggett commended the Work Group members for their diligence and dedication to addressing the issues associated with their task. “Given Chairman Norman Augustine’s results-oriented background and the credentials of the group as a whole, I knew this final report would present some viable options for solutions to the issue at hand. And, I am pleased with the blueprint that this report presents for action.

“I also want to thank everyone who responded in some way and provided feedback to the Work Group,” Leggett said. “Your responses have been instrumental in helping the members of the group formulate their recommendations.”

The Work Group’s transmittal letter to Leggett, signed by Chairman Augustine, said, “While much needs to be accomplished, largely by Pepco itself, the single most important action that can be taken by those outside the company is to establish a carefully considered, aggressive package of financial incentives and punishments that appropriately align Pepco’s priorities with those of the community.”

For more details on the Work Group and the County’s past interactions with Pepco, visit the Pepco Reliability page.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , News
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 8:00:00 AM |

Eligible Homeowners Should Apply for Property Tax Credit by May 1 to Ensure Credit on July Tax Bill

Attention Home Owners: You may be eligible for a Property Tax Credit

Montgomery County homeowners who have a limited income or are at least 70 years of age may be eligible for property tax credits that will limit the amount of taxes they must pay. One application will determine eligibility for three programs -- the Maryland Homeowners’ Property Tax Credit Program; the Montgomery County Supplemental Property Tax Credit; and the Montgomery County Senior Property Tax Credit.

Property owners who have applied for a tax credit previously and been denied are encouraged to apply again, since the tax credit programs have changed and been improved over the years, and your income situation may have changed.

Homeowners who file and qualify before May 1 will receive the tax credit directly on their annual tax bill. Those who file later -- but before the September 1 deadline -- will receive either a “revised” tax bill that reflects the credit amount or a refund if the taxes have already been paid in full.

To apply for these tax credits, homeowners must fill out one application form each year. Application forms are available by calling the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation (SDAT) at 1-800-944-7403, or by downloading the form and instructions from the SDAT website at www.dat.state.md.us/sdatweb/htc.html.

See more about the tax credit in English or Spanish.

POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

Replenishing Mother Earth – One Tree at a Time

Photo of volunteers and Mr Leggett during Earth Day during a reforestation project at Oaks Landfill in Laytonsville.

Hundreds of volunteers turned out on Earth Day to launch the first part of a major reforestation project at the Oaks Landfill in Laytonsville. The project was made possible by a $25,000 grant from the Chesapeake Bay Trust to the Montgomery Soil Conservation District.

The corps of volunteers, that included County Executive Ike Leggett, students from local high schools, Master Gardeners and other residents of all ages, planted 600 trees on a portion of the 10-acre site adjacent to the landfill that operated from 1982 to 1997. Eventually, the entire 10 acres is slated for tree planting.

Taking time out from planting, Leggett talked with various volunteers. Among them were Sonia D’Agnese and her children, Ugo and Enia.

Read more about the project.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , Volunteer
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

New Code Enforcement Laws Detailed on Good Neighbors Website

Being a Good Neighbor

New code enforcement laws designed to help protect and maintain the residential character of neighborhoods are now in effect in Montgomery County. The new laws deal with home-based businesses, off-street parking and paving of front yards. Two other laws to protect residential areas went into effect in July 2009 and April 2010.

The new laws were proposed by County Executive Ike Leggett two years ago based on recommendations from a Code Enforcement Work Group that he appointed. Thegroup reviewed a number of police, housing and zoning code issues that were causing adverse impacts and public safety issues in residential neighborhoods.

A website to educate residents about these new zoning laws is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/goodneighbors.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Bethesda BRAC Project to Receive Portion of $300 Million Appropriation

County Executive Ike Leggett has hailed the appropriation of $300 million by the United States Congress for projects to relieve traffic congestion caused by BRAC (Defense Base Realignment and Closure) in area communities. The Fiscal Year 2011 appropriations bill approved by Congress includes funding to pay for transportation projects in communities, such as Bethesda, with BRAC-impacted military hospitals.

“We owe a great debt to Congressman Chris Van Hollen and Senators Barbara Mikulski and Ben Cardin for taking the lead and working hand-in-hand to move this funding through both houses of Congress,” Leggett said.

He also credited the hard work of the County’s BRAC Implementation Committee, which represents Bethesda community stakeholders – neighbors, businesses owners, major employers, the National Institutes of Health, the Navy, and local, state and federal government agencies – which have collaborated on understanding the impacts of BRAC and assisted in the design of needed transportation improvements.

Leggett urged residents, commuters and visitors to Bethesda to be patient because it will be some time before all the transportation projects are completed.

Under BRAC, on September 15, the Walter Reed Army Medical Center will close its Northwest Washington campus and consolidate in Bethesda, with the National Naval Medical Center becoming the new Walter Reed National Military Medical Center. Personnel working at the Bethesda campus will increase from 8,000 to 10,500, while visits to the hospital campus will double from 500,000 to one million per year.

In the meantime, anyone traveling through Bethesda is urged to use transit, carpool, vanpool, bike or walk rather than drive alone. For more information on transportation alternatives, go to http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/commute. The County’s BRAC web site will carry construction updates at http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/BRAC. Meanwhile, read more.

POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Working Toward a Litter-Free County

The Montgomery County Police Department is once again supporting the Alice Ferguson Foundation and Metropolitan Washington Council of Government’s Litter Enforcement initiative, which runs through May 7. During this time MCP officers, along with many other local law enforcement agencies, will be particularly vigilant in identifying litter violations and enforcing the applicable criminal, traffic and civil statutes.

All those who live, work and travel through Montgomery County are reminded that throwing litteror dumping on any public highway or property (other than personal property) without the owner’s permission is illegal. Anti-littering and dumping laws can be found in Maryland State law, Maryland Motor Vehicle law, and the Montgomery County Code.

The Montgomery County Police Department encourages the public to report violations of these laws by calling the police non-emergency number at 301-279-8000.

CATEGORIES: Code Enforcement
POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 3:00:00 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 |


MC311 Earns National Award

MC311 logo

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Please Note: Correction/Clarification

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

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

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

POSTED: Friday, April 29, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |

Residents, Businesses Speak Out About Pepco Service: Results of County Survey Announced

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett today announced the results of a County survey of residents and businesses conducted earlier this year that focused on the quality of service and reliability of Pepco’s responses to past power outages experienced in the County.

Nearly 12,000 responses were received from the Customer Relations Survey conducted in January and February by the Pepco Work Group appointed by Leggett in October 2010. A total of 10, 895 residents responded, while 654 businesses completed the survey.

Among the findings reported by Pepco customers taking the survey are:

  • Almost 95% reported they had experienced at least one outage of more than five hours in the past year. Just over 50% also reported that they had experienced non-major-event-related outages of more than one hour in the past year.
  • The economic costs of long outages experienced in the past year can be estimated, based on reports obtained from survey respondents, from $22.9 to $114.6 million for residents in Montgomery County and $21.1 to $211 million for businesses.
  • 10,430 residential respondents, or 95.7%, experienced one or more outages of longer than five hours in the past year. Of these respondents, almost 65% reported calling Pepco more than twice to check the status of the outage. Only 5% of Pepco’s residential customers reported that they did not attempt to call Pepco at all. Of those who experienced long outages, 85.5% incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.
  • 609 commercial respondents, or 94.9%, experienced one or more outages of longer than five hours in the past year. Of those who experienced long outages, 83.3% incurred costs or other economic losses that they otherwise would not have incurred.

“I was pleased with the response we received and want to thank every resident and business person who took the time to reply,” said Leggett. “The data gives us some very useful information that we can use to assess the economic impacts associated with long outages. But, it also gives us a pretty clear picture of the extent to which policy choices made by legislators are likely to be supported by Pepco customers.”

To see the entire survey report, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov and click on Pepco Work Group Customer Satisfaction Survey results

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 8:00:00 AM |

Leggett Testifies on Capitol Hill on Local Transportation Priorities

County Executive Ike Leggett testified on April 6 before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works at a hearing entitled, “State and Local Perspectives on Transportation.”

Leggett discussed the importance of Federal funding to ease traffic congestion in Montgomery County and the Washington metro area. He detailed the impacts BRAC is already having on the Bethesda area and stressed the importance of Congress continuing the New Starts Program so the County can advance the Corridor Cities Transitway, the Purple Line and a Bus Rapid Transit system.

Senators sought testimony from community leaders and transportation stakeholders on national, state and local transportation priorities for the next surface transportation authorization.

In part, Leggett told the committee:

“We must find ways to make it easier for local governments to obtain federal transportation funds. The Federal Bridge program is an example of a successful federal transportation program that benefits state and local governments. More federal funding should be made available to local jurisdictions following a similar protocol.

“As we look toward job growth, it is clear that with most of our local roadway system already in place our economic development is directly tied to improved mass transit to serve both private and public sector employees.

“It is important that Congress continue the New Starts Program which gives us the opportunity to compete for federal funds to build the Corridor Cities Transitway, the Purple Line, and to advance a Bus Rapid Transit system in our County.”

Read the complete statement.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

Popular Pay-by-Cell Parking Program Expands

Cell phones can now be used to pay for parking at 5,250 County parking meters in Bethesda. By summer, the program will be expanded to include meters in Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda – for a total of 11,000 parking meters.

To use pay-by-cell, first-time patrons register for the program once by going online anytime to www.mc.goparknow.comor 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, printed on each meter, direct parkers to:

  • Use a cell phone to call 301-830-7074.
  • Or, send a text message to 32075.
  • Follow the phone/text prompts to enter the meter location number (located on the meter decal).
  • Select the amount of time desired for parking.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

Montgomery County Public Libraries to Mark National Library Week with Customer Survey

To help determine the effectiveness of its services and programs, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has announced that it will conduct a Customer Satisfaction Survey in its 20 branches during National Library Week, April 10-16.

This year’s survey, for library customers 12 years of age and over, will be an online questionnaire available through the library website, montgomerycountymd.gov/library.

The survey will also be available in Spanish and Chinese.MCPL administrators will use the results to help plan future strategies for all aspects of the system wide operations.

The survey will ask customers to:

  • rate their library experience and evaluate the library system’s customer service;
  • evaluate their satisfaction with collections, materials, programs and technology;
  • evaluate building amenities, such as space for reading and study and building layout and signage;
  • provide feedback on how well they believe MCPL is accomplishing its mission; and
  • describe how using the library has impacted or influenced their lives.

Volunteers are needed in each library branch to help direct customers to the survey computers. If interested, contact the manager of any MCPL branch.

Read more.

POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

Latino Youth Steering Committee Releases Report…

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett has released the Latino Youth Collaborative Steering Committee Report titled, “A Generation of Youth Hanging in the Balance.”

The committee was charged with developing recommendations that would address the issues and challenges uncovered in a survey of more than 1,000 Latino youth conducted by Identity, Inc. in 2006. The group was charged with studying the critical areas of education, violence prevention and well-being, and to develop strategies for the future.

Recommendations from the steering committee include the following actions:

  • Identify whether existing County services are reaching Latino target populations and areas where the Latino community is disproportionately represented or negatively affected.
  • Develop policies and implement strategies for increasing career/job based education opportunities for Montgomery County Public School students.
  • Improve the cultural and linguistic competence of each County department.
  • Provide Latino youth and families with the necessary tools, knowledge and access to strengthen their civic engagement capabilities.

Leggett will establish a time-limited Oversight Work Group to monitor progress in the implementation of the report’s recommendations.

Read more.

CATEGORIES: County Executive
POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 4:00:00 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 |


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

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

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



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

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

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

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

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

POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 2:00:00 AM |


Tuesday, April 12 – Recreation Department Public Budget Briefing, Marilyn Praisner Community Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville. 7 p.m.; Thursday, April 14 – Recreation Department Public Budget Briefing, Ross Boddy Community Center, 18529 Brooke Rd., Sandy Spring. 7 p.m. Recreation Director Gabriel Albornoz will brief residents and answer questions about the department’s portion of the recommended budget. The meetings will take place as part of the recreation area advisory board meetings. Call Judy Stiles at 240-777-6875.

Friday, April 13 – Open House to introduce new Arts for Life and Learning Program. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. Program for persons ages 50 and above to encourage them to engage in and explore the arts. Attendees will sample workshops in creative movement, watercolor painting, cabaret and drama, engage in a performance by ClancyWorks Dance Company, listen to a talk by area photographers exhibiting in the gallery and enjoy a catered lunch.The program is the result of a partnership between BlackRock and Asbury Methodis Village. $10 advance admission for open house, including lunch and events. $15 at the door. For details or to registers, visit www.blackrockcenter.org or contact Rene Schecker at 240-912-1053.

Thursday, April 14 – Online Chat with County Executive Ike Leggett. Noon – 1 p.m. The interactive forum allows Montgomery County residents to send questions directly to County Executive Isiah Leggett before or during the chat.Answered questions will be availableat the beginning ofthe live session andselected questions will be answered during the scheduled discussion time.

POSTED: Monday, April 11, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010