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Leggett Proposes EMS Transport Reimbursement to Offset State "Tidal Wave" Cost Shift to County

Responding to the decision by the State of Maryland to shift hundreds of millions of dollars in costs to the County, County Executive Ike Leggett has proposed to the Council the “Emergency Medical Services Transport Reimbursement Act.” This legislation would allow the County to be reimbursed by private health insurance companies and the federal government for ambulance service, just as hospitals seek reimbursement from insurers for treating patients – and just as nearly every other jurisdiction in the region already does.

“As a County resident -- whether insured or uninsured -- you would not, by law, pay a dime,” said Leggett. “You wouldn’t even receive a bill. The County would accept the reimbursement offered as payment in full and would waive all co-pays and deductibles.

“And 100 percent of the reimbursements would be dedicated by law to meeting the critical and growing needs of our Fire & Rescue Service.

“Why am I proposing this? It’s simple.

“Montgomery County is about to be hit by a ‘tidal wave’ from Annapolis.

“The State of Maryland has recently decided to shift over $400 million over 10 years in state teacher pension costs to Montgomery County. The State has also approved an inflexible 'Maintenance of Effort' law on school funding that could force us to add at least $25 million to our reserves each year above and beyond what we already do.

“These are changed circumstances of monumental importance. These changes were not before the voters in 2010 when the County’s EMS reimbursement program was not approved.

“That is the reason why I am proposing this bill, which has already drawn broad support, including editorials in favor from the Washington Post and The Gazette.

“Either you allow the County to request reimbursement from insurance companies and the federal government from premiums already paid to them  -- just as nearly every other jurisdiction in the region does – or you raise taxes or cut services already reduced severely over the past five years.

“In fact, not having the millions of dollars in reimbursements could mean less Fire & Rescue staffing, less equipment and longer response times. That could jeopardize the health and safety of the public. That’s a real-life impact – not a vague hypothetical.

“Most jurisdictions in Maryland and Virginia and the majority of communities in the United States are recovering millions of dollars in costs from insurers – with no adverse impacts. No evidence of folks not calling 911 when they need an ambulance. No adverse effects on volunteer companies.  And no increase in insurance rates – that’s because the costs of emergency services – a minuscule bit of health care costs -- are already included in the premiums charged by insurers and paid by County residents. And, in most cases, the EMS reimbursement was supported by volunteers in those counties.

“The $180 million we would collect from insurance companies and the federal government would go a long way toward offsetting a significant portion of that $400 million-plus cost shift from the State.

“It would be irresponsible not to pick up $18 million every year that’s sitting on the table to be collected – without costing County residents one dime. The status quo puts the full burden of supporting our Fire & Rescue Service on the taxpayers. Sure, we could raise taxes and cut services – a lot – to meet the cost shift from the State but – really – why should we? That is the choice.”

The Council public hearing on the legislation will be held on May 8 with action by the full Council on May 15.

  • Post editorial in support of EMS Act (pdf)
  • Gazette editorial in support of EMS Act (pdf)
  • County Executive memo to the County Council and Act (pdf)
  • EMS Reimbursement Programs in Maryland, Virginia and National Capital Region Maps (pdf)
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 9:00:00 AM |

    County’s Public Safety Memorial Dedicated to "…fallen officers, who were taken from us far too soon"

    Respect and remembrance were the order of the day on April 20 when County Executive Ike Leggett and other dignitaries dedicated the County’s new Public Safety Memorial located on the grounds of the soon-to-be completed Public Safety Headquarters at 100 Edison Park Dr. in Gaithersburg.

    The first of its kind in the County, the memorial commemorates the courage and sacrifice of public safety personnel from the County’s Department of Police, Fire and Rescue Service, Sheriff’s Office, Maryland-National Capital Park Police, Montgomery County Division and Department of Correction and Rehabilitation who made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.

    The memorial was designed by nationally recognized artist Ted Clausen from Cambridge, MA. His mission was to create a memorial which honored each of the County’s public safety departments and reflected their vital relationship to each other. The memorial is entered by a pathway flanked by two stone pillars. “I designed this work to be a journey, leaving the public bustle of our everyday lives and moving toward the peace and introspection of the memorial space,” said Clausen. On the left side of the pathway are the American, State, County and Memorial Agency flags.

    The circular site is defined by five granite memorial stones, one for each County Agency, arranged in a star-like pattern. One side of the stones features engraved comments from officers about the work they do and their interdependence with the other agencies. The other face of the stones contains engraved quotes from community members expressing their appreciation for the public safety agencies. On the top polished surface of the stones are the names of the fallen officers: 16 County Police Officers, 12 Firefighters, one Deputy Sheriff and one Park Police Officer. An engraved paving circle surrounds the site which also features a low bench to allow visitors to sit and reflect.

    The memorial was funded by a public/private partnership. Funds continue to be needed for the upkeep of the memorial. Donations may be made to the Montgomery County Public Safety Memorial Fund, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization designated by the County Council to manage the funds. To learn more about the memorial and how to donate, visit www.creativemoco.com/public-art/public-safety-memorial.

    Read more about the dedication.

    Photos: TOP. A large crowd gathered for the memorial's dedication. MIDDLE: Hands of those who remember trace the name of a lost loved one engraved on top of the monument. BOTTOM. Standing by the monument, County Exceuitve Ike Leggett presents remarks. 

    CATEGORIES: Public Safety
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 8:00:00 AM |

    Crime in County Down for Fifth Consecutive Year

    Montgomery County Police have announced that for the fifth year in a row, crime has decreased. Based on statistics from 2007 through 2011, there has been an 18.8% decrease in total crime over the past five years. Part 1 crimes have fallen 24.4%, while Part 2 crimes have dropped by 15.6%. 

    Between 2010 and 2011, total crime decreased by 7.7 %. Part 1 crimes -- murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft -- fell 10.9 %. Part 2 crimes – such as minor assaults, arson, forgery-counterfeiting, stolen property, vandalism, weapons offenses and sex offenses -- decreased by 6%. 

    Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, “The men and women of the Montgomery County Police Department continue to put a great deal of effort into reducing crime.

    “And, while our numbers went down in every category, crime did not go down in every area of the County,” Manger noted.

    As a result, the chief explained that each of the six District Commanders will perform an in-depth analysis of where and when crime is occurring in their district. The areas showing the highest incidences of criminal activity will be targeted with additional resources, “in an effort to make Montgomery County even safer,” said Manger.

    Read more about the latest statistics.

    CATEGORIES: Public Safety
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 7:00:00 AM |

    "Ride On Real Time" Takes Away the Guesswork of Waiting for the Bus

    Thanks to the recent launch of an innovative new program called Ride On Real Time, Ride On, passengers can now obtain real-time information on bus arrivals using the internet, texting, a smart phone or mobile applications (apps) for iPhones or Android phones.  The new tools will help passengers determine when the next arriving bus will be at their stop.

    Last year, Ride On added unique identification (ID) numbers to the signs at each of the County’s 4,800 bus stops. The ID numbers are used by the real time system to pinpoint a passenger’s location and give arriving bus times at that stop.  The ID numbers can also be found at www.RideOnRealTime.com.

    Ride On Real Time can be accessed in several ways:

    • Through the internet using a computer at www.RideOnRealTime.com
    • Through the Ride On Real Time App.
    • Using a web-enabled device or phone at www.RideOnRealTime.com
    • By texting the bus stop ID number to bus@rideonrealtime.com.  Passengers will quickly receive a text message indicating when their next arriving bus is coming.  Riders should check with their cell phone provider to see if additional charges apply. 
    • A Trip Planner feature on the website helps users figure out bus routes and schedules to get them to their destinations.  This feature is especially useful for new transit users or those who may be going to an unfamiliar destination.  The App includes schedules and real time information for Ride On, as well as the Metro system and some regional transit systems.

    Four “how-to” tutorials on using Ride On Real Time are also available on the County’s YouTube site.  Follow the links listed below to see each of the tutorials:

    Ride On Real Time Online Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2ll_0e9rUw8

    Ride On Real Time SmartPhone App Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZXpr_v0Ogzc

    Ride On Real Time Texting Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjktiABW60A

    Ride On Real Time Mobile Version Video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-U8cT8O7Mg4

    For more information on Ride On, visit www.RideOnBus.com or call 311.

    CATEGORIES: Transportation
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

    Another Show Debuts on County Cable 6

    “Mosaic: An African American Perspective,” produced by the Office of Public Information, debuted on County Cable Montgomery on April 23.

    Produced monthly, the 30-minute show is hosted by Deborah Milo. The initial show focuses on the life and legacy of the late Roscoe Nix, a civil rights leader, NAACP president and past member of the Montgomery County Board of Education. Special guests Odessa Shannon, Ruby Rubens and Dr. Paul Vance discuss their personal memories of Nix and his legacy of leadership as a fearless and tireless advocate for educational excellence and social, economic and political justice.

    Future episodes will focus on the Office of Human Rights’ annual civil rights bus tour and interviews with African American leaders in the community.

    “Mosaic: An African American Perspective” can be seen on Channel 6 on the Comcast and RCN cable systems and Channel 30 on Verizon.

    Check the schedule of show times or see it online.  Click on Schedule or Programs and look for Mosaic.

    For more information about the show, call 240-777-6507.

    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

    Leggett to Host Town Hall Meeting in Friendship Heights

    Residents in the Chevy Chase area will have a chance to speak directly to County Executive Ike Leggett about issues of concern when he hosts a Town Hall Meeting on Thursday, May 3 at 7 p.m. at the Friendship Heights Village Center, 4433 S. Park Ave.

    The town meeting, which is free, will be videotaped by County Cable 6, the County government channel, 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.

    CATEGORIES: County Executive , Community Forum
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 4:00:00 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 |


    Emergency Communications Center Employees Honored for Service  

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

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

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

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

    Read more.

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


    Saturday, May 19 -- Annual Disability Resource Fair.  Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place. 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Free.  Learn more about programs and services for children and adults with disabilities.  Free parking in the garage on Ellsworth Dr. adjacent to the Civic Building. More than 50 organizations and businesses will be on hand to share information about recreation, employment, and respite and other support services for individuals with disabilities and their families. Sponsored by the Department of Health and Human Services, Aging and Disability Services’ Community Support Network and Montgomery College. Those requiring special aids or services to participate in the event should call 240-777-1216 (voice) or 800-201-7165 (MD Relay) by Wednesday, May 2. For more information, call the Community Support Network, 240-777-1216.

    Sunday, May 20 -- Taste of Wheaton.  Downtown Wheaton (Grandview Ave. & Reedie Dr.) 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Food samples $1 to $5 apiece. Musical entertainment, children’s activities, karaoke and live band.  Visit www.wheatonmd.org.

    CATEGORIES: calendar
    POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 | 1:00:00 AM |

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Chat Online with the County Executive

    County residents will be able to talk with County Executive Ike Leggett during his next “virtual” Town Hall Meeting on Wednesday, April 18 from 1 to 2 p.m. Residents interested in participating in the online chat can enter questions prior to or during the live discussion through the Live Discussion with Ike Leggett link. Questions and answers will be available for viewing both during and after the chat.

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

    CATEGORIES: County Executive
    POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 6:30:00 AM |

    Executive’s April Town Hall Meeting Rescheduled

    County Executive Ike Leggett’s Town Hall Meeting originally announced for April in Friendship Heights has been re-scheduled for Thursday, May 3 at 7 p.m.  The location remains the same -- the Friendship Heights Village Center, 4433 S. Park Ave in Chevy Chase.

    The meeting will be videotaped by County Cable 6 for future airing.

    Sign language interpreter services will be provided upon request at least 72 hours prior to the event.

    For more information, call 240-777-6507, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

    CATEGORIES: County Executive
    POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 6:00:00 AM |

    Remaining Focus Group Meetings Scheduled for Community Input About Future of Comcast Cable Television Services

    Montgomery County has rescheduled three of the previously scheduled free focus group meetings seeking community input to help determine what kinds of cable services the public is interested in receiving as part of a new cable television franchise agreement with Comcast. The company’s current 15-year franchise agreement with the County expires on July 1, 2013, and the County will begin negotiations with Comcast this summer for a new franchise agreement which will address past performance, customer service and new technologies.

    The three rescheduled focus groups will take place as follows:

    • Youth Focus Group – Tuesday, April 17, 3:30 – 5:30 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place;
    • Consumers Focus Group – Tuesday, April 17, 7 – 9 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place; and
    • Spanish-Speaking Community Focus Group – Thursday, April 19, 6 – 8 p.m. at  the Gilchrist Center for Cultural Diversity, 2424 Reedie Dr, First Floor, Wheaton.

    To register for a focus group, go to http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/SGYF9KH, or contact Marjorie Williams at 240-777-3762; email Marjorie.williams@montgomerycountymd.gov.

    POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 5:00:00 AM |

    Donate Food and Take Ride On for 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 Give and Ride food drive from Sunday, April 22 through Saturday, April 28.

    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 $1.70. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.

    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.

    During the Give and Ride promotion, food collection bags will be placed near the fare boxes on all Ride On buses. Riders using free shuttles and other transit services can participate by bringing their donations to a Ride On bus. 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.

    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 at www.rideonbus.com.

    CATEGORIES: Transportation
    POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 4:00:00 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 Residents to be Honored for Dedicated Service at Inaugural Montgomery Serves Awards April 30

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

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

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

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

    Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award

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

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

    Read more about the recipients.

    Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award

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

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

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

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

    Read more about the honorees’ achievements.

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

    County’s Biotech Investment Tax Credit Program Pays Off

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

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

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

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

    See coverage by News Channel 8.

    Read The Gazette’s coverage.


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


    Saturdays, April-Sept. -- Free Walk-In Plant Clinics. Bethesda -- Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd. 10 a.m.-1 p.m.;  Chevy Chase -- Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Rd., 10 a.m.-noon.

    1st and 3rd Saturdays, April-Sept. -- Free Walk-In Plant Clinics. Rockville -- Twinbrook Library, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., 10 a.m.-1 p.m.

    3rd Saturday, April-Oct. -- Free Walk-In Plant Clinics. Silver Spring -- FRESHFARM Market, Ellsworth Dr., between Georgia & Fenton. 9 a.m.-1 p.m.

    Wednesdays and Thursdays, April-Oct. -- Free Walk-In Plant Clinics. Wheaton -- Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave.1-4 p.m. Clinics also are held year round at the gardens. Saturdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m. and Sundays, 1- 4 p.m.

    Montgomery County Master Gardeners answer questions during the gardening season. Bring your full and intact plant and insect samples, garden problems and questions and get answers. For further information call the Plant Helpline, 301-590-9650, weekday mornings or email mgmont@umd.edu.

    Wed., Thurs., Sat., April 11, 12 and 14 -- Gilchrist Multicultural Center Registration for Spring Programs.  Midcounty Regional Services Center, 2424 Reedie Dr., Wheaton and the Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown. New this spring, and in partnership with the East County Regional Services Center, is a class called “Connecting With Your Community” to help immigrants better understand how County government works and promote civic participation. For more information about the spring session and registration times at the two centers, or to learn about other classes being offered, including non-registration-based ESL classes and pro bono legal clinics, call Dolores Ustrell-Roig, 240-777-4953.

    Tuesday, April 17 -- Voter Registration Volunteer Evening Training Session.  Montgomery County Board of Elections, 18753 North Frederick Ave., Suite 210, Gaithersburg. 6:30 - 8 p.m.  Anyone who has not taken the training within the last year is encouraged to attend to be updated. Non-Montgomery County residents may take the training. To confirm attendance, contact Pauline G. Johnson at Gemini8855@hotmail.com or call 301-460-7858.

    Thursday, April 19 -- “When a Marriage Ends: Financial, Property and Practical Issues Both Wife and Husband Must Consider.” Seminar on the legal process of separation and divorce in Montgomery County. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330. 7 to 9 p.m. Topics to be covered include grounds for divorce; types of divorce; what to expect in court and alternatives to court; alimony; property division; domestic violence; and role of the attorney. Presented by Montgomery County Commission for Women in partnership with the Bar Association of Montgomery County, Family Law Section; the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association; and the Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable. $10, pre-registered; $15 at the door.  Pre-register at  http://divorcelawseminar.eventbrite.com/.

    Saturday April 21 -- Celebration of Baisakhi Honoring Sikh Heritage. Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville. 3-5 p.m. Cultural performances, family activities and light refreshments. Baisakhi is one of the most important and transforming events in Sikh history. (Sikhism is the fifth largest faith in the world.) Baisakhi marks the beginning of harvest time in Punjab, northern India and is one of the most joyous and colorful festivals of India. Learn about surrounding communities, nurture ties and enjoy traditional folk performances. The first video in the Cultural and Ethnic Affairs Committee’s “It Takes A Village” movie series, entitled The Cultural Safari, will be shown.  RSVP to diane.vu@montgomerycountymd by April 17.

    Thursday, April 26 -- “What About the Children?” Seminar on the legal process of separation and divorce in Montgomery County. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330. 7 to 9 p.m. Topics include parental responsibilities during and after divorce; powers of the court; family property; child custody and support; and tips for divorcing parents. Presented by Montgomery County Commission for Women in partnership with the Bar Association of Montgomery County, Family Law Section; the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association; and the Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable. $10, pre-registered; $15 at the door.  Pre-register at http://divorcelawseminar.eventbrite.com/.

    Saturday, April 28 -- 12th Annual Montgomery County Housing Fair and Financial Fitness Day. Bohrer Park Activity Center, Summit Hall Farm, 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg. 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. For County residents with questions about housing resources and programs. There will be loan modifications offered on site, plus free foreclosure prevention counseling, free credit reports and analysis, guidance for people looking for affordable rental properties, information on avoiding housing scams and information on the legal implications of housing problems. Presented by the Montgomery County Department of Housing and Community Affairs in partnership with the Montgomery County Housing Fair Committee. For more information, call 240-777-3602 or visit the Housing Fair and Financial Fitness 2012 webpage.

    CATEGORIES: Calendar
    POSTED: Thursday, April 12, 2012 | 1:00:00 AM |
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