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Permitting Services Guidelines to Construction Site Managers

The weather forecast is anticipating high winds for Montgomery County over the weekend. 

The Department of Permitting Services is requiring construction site managers and supervisors to take the following preparations before the storm.

  • If the site has a tower crane, take appropriate actions to minimize wind forces on the crane including releasing the slew brake and allowing the crane to “weathervane”. 
  • Cranes shall not be operated when the wind speed is greater than 45 miles per hour.  Note that most tower cranes are only designed to be operated when the wind speed is less than 45 miles per hour. 
  • Secure construction material and construction debris to prevent these materials from becoming airborne. 
CATEGORIES: Public Safety
POSTED: Thursday, August 25, 2011 | 1:51:00 PM |

Mission to El Salvador: Learning and Lending a Hand

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett recently led a local delegation to the Department (State) of Morazán, El Salvador, meeting with government officials and signing a “Sister City” agreement under the guidelines of Sister Cities International.

During the Montgomery “Sister City” delegation’s visit to Morazán province in El Salvador, County Executive Ike Leggett joins Morazán governor Miguel Ventura (at left in photo), former Congresswoman Connie Morella and County Councilmember George Leventhal (at right) in lighting candles at the village of El Mozote, where 1,200 unarmed men, women, and children were massacred by an elite U.S.-trained Salvadoran army unit in 1981

The delegation of about 70 individuals, all of whom paid all their own expenses, met with people from the local communities, visited schools, organizations, and historic places, and engaged in community projects. The mission was designed to foster cooperation between the two jurisdictions on a people-to-people basis and to support ongoing work by Salvadorans living in the County to assist development projects in their home country.

“It is estimated that 50,000 Montgomery County residents hail from El Salvador,” noted Leggett. “This trip gave all who participated a unique perspective on the situation in their homeland. It opens up opportunities for Montgomery County residents to collaborate with the residents of Morazán -- to learn and to lend a hand.”

Members of the delegation were: Leggett and his wife, Catherine; former U.S. Congresswoman Connie Morella; Montgomery County Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez; County Councilmember George Leventhal; Public Information Director Patrick Lacefield; Silver Spring Regional Services Director Reemberto Rodriguez; Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Kathleen Boucher; Office of Community Partnerships Director Bruce Adams; County Latino Liaison Karla Silvestre; and Recreation Department Director Gabe Albornoz.

In addition to the County representatives, 11 individuals represented Montgomery County’s Habitat for Humanity. They helped build a home for an impoverished family in the town of Jocoro, the first of 38 planned in Morazán by the group. Montgomery “MoverMoms” -- a group of mothers and their children, ages 9 to 17 -- spent the week performing community service at a school and a Centro Materno in the town of Perquin. Members of two of the Salvadoran hometown associations traveled with the group to support their communities -- the Guatajiagua Association, which purchased land to build a training center in Guatajiagua, and the Joateca Association, which has helped to build a multi-purpose community center in Joateca.

 The delegation with Montgomery Habitat for Humanity volunteers, outside Joateca, Morazán.

To learn more about the trip and see many more photos, visit http://montgomerycountymd.gov and click on the El Salvadoran icon in the list at the center of the page.

CATEGORIES: County Executive , County Council
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 7:00:00 AM |

Field of Miracles -- It was Built so They may Play

A warm, sunny summer day and lots of sunny smiles were the order of the day as the Washington Nationals Miracle Field located in the South Germantown Recreational Park became a reality. Gathering for the ribbon cutting ceremony were state and local elected officials; Washington Nationals players/coaches, mascot, broadcaster, members of the Lerner family; and enthusiastic children/players and proud parents.

The Miracle Field is the new home for the Miracle League of Montgomery County that provides children -- in the County, as well as Maryland, the District and Virginia -- with mental and/or physical challenges the opportunity to safely play baseball. The field features a cushioned synthetic turf that allows children using wheelchairs and walkers to "run" the bases without fear of injury.

Construction of the field was funded in part by private contributions from the Washington Nationals Dream Foundation, The Annette M. and Theodore N. Lerner Family Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Bethesda, in addition to public funds from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

The Miracle Field is part of the larger park, located at 17950 Germantown Park Dr., which also includes the Maryland SoccerPlex, a swim center, an archery range and a driving range.

POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 6:00:00 AM |

New Location for Buying SmarTrip Cards, Other Fare Media

The sales office for purchasing Ride On and Metro SmarTrip cards and other fare media has moved from 101 Monroe Street, Rockville to the Treasury Department, located at 255 Rockville Pike (Suite L-15), Rockville. The Treasury Department sales office will be open between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Other retail sales outlets in Rockville are located at:

  • CVS – 360 Hungerford Dr., Room 410
  • CVS – 11852 Rockville Pike, Mid-Pike Plaza
  • Giant – 9719 Traville Gateway Drive
  • Giant – 12051 Rockville Pike

To find locations of retail outlets throughout the region, see Metro’s web site at:

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 5:00:00 AM |

"Serving Together" Initiative to Improve Support Services for Troops, Vets and Families

The Mental Health Association of Montgomery County (MHA) has launched a new community-wide initiative called "Serving Together: Troops, Veterans and Family Care Project."

The project will coordinate and strengthen community-based resources for troops, veterans and their families and improve access to a range of health, mental health and other support services in Montgomery County where there are an estimated 50,000 veterans. Four thousand of these men and women serve or have served in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and more than 50% are drawn from the National Guard and Reserves.

Serving Together is made possible by a four-year, $500,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation -- the nation’s largest funder dedicated to improving health and health care for all Americans -- and matching dollars from local funders. The project is an initiative of MHA, in collaboration with Easter Seals Greater Washington-Baltimore Region and other community partners.

For more information about Serving Together, contact Stefanie Moreno at 301-424-0656. Troops, veterans and family members in need of immediate services should call the MHA Military Helpline, 301-738-7176.

POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 4:00:00 AM |

Germantown Celebrates Opening of Father Hurley Boulevard Extension

August 8 is a day that will live in the Germantown history books as local officials and community members celebrated the completion of the 1.2-mile extension of Father Hurley Boulevard from Wisteria Drive to Germantown Road (Maryland Route 118) with a ribbon cutting ceremony on the bridge over the CSX tracks.

The $11 million extension is an important north-south link for Germantown communities separated by the CSX railroad tracks from the Town Center and the I-270 employment corridor.

County Executive Ike Leggett called it “a short road with a huge impact on the Germantown community.”

Also cutting the ribbon were many young residents, plus (from left in photo) community activist Susan Soderberg; Leggett; Father Leonard Hurley, the road’s namesake and founder of the Mother Seton Parish in Germantown; County Councilmember Craig Rice, representing District 2, accompanied by his two daughters; and program emcee Edgar Gonzalez, deputy director for Transportation Policy in the County’s Dept. of Transportation.

The new extension is a four-lane divided highway that includes the bridge over the railroad. Two retaining walls minimize impacts on adjacent properties. The project also includes an eight-foot wide bikeway along the west side of the road, a five-foot wide sidewalk on the east side, street lighting, stormwater management features, landscaping and reforestation.

CATEGORIES: Transportation
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 3:00:00 AM |

Noteworthy Notes - 1

“It’s Udderly Terrific”

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

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

For more information, visit www.mcagfair.com.

Get Around Bethesda on New Circulators

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

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

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

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

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

Fall Guide to Recreation, Parks Programs Available

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

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

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

The Fueling Station of Tomorrow is Here Today

ATR Solartech photo.

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

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

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

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

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

New Website for Youth Curfew Information

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

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

Excerpts from the chief’s testimony appear below:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Read the entire testimony.

Literacy Volunteers Needed; Information Session Coming Up

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

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

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

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

Noteworthy Notes - 2

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

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

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

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

Get a Sneak Peek of The Fillmore Silver Spring

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

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

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

Step Right Up! Fillmore Silver Spring Box Office Now Open

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

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

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

Hold Your Place in the Holds Line at the Library

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign Up! Become a Maryland Senior Olympian

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

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

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

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

Good Reviews for Community Use of Public Facilities Newsletter

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

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

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

Heritage Montgomery Brings Grant Dollars to Local Heritage Groups

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

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

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

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

Consumer Protection Asks: Did You Know…?

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

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

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


Good News in Tough Times: County Retains AAA Bond Ratings

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

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

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

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

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

Montgomery County Ranked among Nation’s Top Digital County Governments

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

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

See the full list of 2011 winners.

CATEGORIES: Making News , Senior
POSTED: Friday, August 12, 2011 | 1:00:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/8/2010