September 19, 2014

"You Only Live Once" Teen Pedestrian Safety Program Launched

County Executive Ike Leggett joined members of the County Council, Montgomery County Public Schools and the Montgomery County Department of Transportation to launch a new campaign involving high school teens helping to reduce teen pedestrian collisions. Pictured left to right between posters for the new campaign are: 1st row: Council member Cherri Branson, School Board member Dr. Judith Docca, Leggett, School Board V.P. Patricia O'Neill, Seneca Valley HS principal Marc Cohen, mother of teen pedestrian victim Gwendolyn Ward, Council President Craig Rice and School Board member Rebecca Smondrowski. 2nd row: Director of MDOT Art Holmes and MCPD Traffic Division Director Captain Tom Didone. For more information (link to press release)

The County has launched a new education program to reduce pedestrian crashes involving teens. Entitled YOLO (You Only Live Once), the campaign, developed by the Department of Transportation, includes a toolkit that will be distributed to every County high school to reduce students’ risks by reminding them not to walk while distracted.

The announcement was made by County Executive Ike Leggett, County Council President Craig Rice and Vice President Board of Education Vice President Patricia O’Neill at a news conference at Seneca Valley High School (SVHS) in Germantown. In October 2012, 15-year-old Christina Morris-Ward, a SVHS student, was struck and killed as she distractedly crossed the street on her way to school. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, about half of students ages 15 to 19 say they use a cell phone when walking to school.

Each year more than 400 crashes involving pedestrians occur on Montgomery County roadways. Teens ages 15 through 19 make up half of all underage pedestrian fatalities. In Montgomery County, when pedestrians in this age group are found at fault in collisions, they are most often teens. According to Safe Kids Worldwide, one in five high school teens cross the street while distracted by electronics.

Get more information about the YOLO and Walk Your Way campaigns.

Read more about the press event announcement.

Leggett, Council Add 10% More Hours, Plus Staff, Materials to Libraries

Beginning Sunday, October 5, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will be open longer, with new hours totaling 106 hours, a 9.4 percent increase over FY 2014. Local elected officials gathered at Rockville Memorial Library with community library advocates and Friends of the Library, Montgomery County representatives to announce the expanded hours, along with increased staff and added materials in the branches to support the extra hours. Pictured (from left): Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz; Council President Craig Rice; County Executive Ike Leggett; MCPL Director Parker Hamilton; Councilman Phil Andrews; Council Vice President George Leventhal; and Councilmembers Nancy Floreen, Roger Berliner and Nancy Navarro. See details in the news releaseView photos from the event.

Beginning Sunday, October 5, Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) will be open longer, with added service hours totaling 106 hours, 9.4 percent more than in fiscal year 2014.

Sixteen branches will have expanded hours, joining the five branches whose hours were increased in FY13. The expanded hours at the Silver Spring branch will go into effect when the new library opens later in this fiscal year.

Four more branches will be open on Sundays from 1 to 5 p.m. bringing the total number with Sunday hours to 13.

In support of the expanded hours, a substantial increase in staff has been added -- 39 merit positions, plus additional substitute staff – bringing current staffing to its highest level since FY10.

To further enhance the system, funding for materials acquisition was increased for the current fiscal year by $500,000. This is the largest materials budget ($5,350,000) since FY10.

The increases were made possible by recommendations from County Executive Ike Leggett and the County Council totaling $800,000 in the FY15 Operating Budget in response to feedback from the community.

Hispanic Heritage Month Events in County and Area

Celebrated since 1968, Hispanic Heritage Month begins each year on September 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during the period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is October 12.

The observance recognizes the contributions to our communities and impact on our culture made by Hispanic and Latino Americans. It also provides an opportunity for residents of all backgrounds to participate in the celebrations and experience Hispanic food, art and entertainment.

See calendar listing of local events.

Recreation Expands Senior Services at Three Centers

The Department of Recreation has announced expanded hours and programs for seniors at three centers in various parts of the County.

Expanded services consist of: added evening hours (Wednesdays until 9 p.m.) at the Holiday Park Senior Center; extended programming at Margaret Schweinhaut Center from five to six days per week; and an increase of eight operational hours a week at the Damascus Senior Center.

In January, the Recreation Department launched the new Senior Center Shuttle transportation program that provides curb-to-curb service to and from the County’s five senior centers. The service offers a fixed route service free to adults 55 and older who live within a defined geographical radius of each center.

For more information about senior services or programs, call 240-777-4924 or visit the Recreation Department's website.

Burtonsville Day Celebration

A series of family-oriented events and activities for all ages will mark the 24th Burtonsville Day celebration.

The first event to be held is a movie at Cedar Ridge Community Church on Friday, September 26 at 7 p.m.

On Saturday, September 27 a parade along Old Columbia Pike will kick off the day-long event at 10 a.m., followed by the festival beginning at 10:30 around town at the Marilyn J. Praisner Center and the Library and Old Columbia Park.

There will be children’s activities, live musical entertainment, crafts, a health fair, sports, demonstrations, a library fair, a pet show and food vendors.

See latest information on the event.

Town Hall Meeting on Bullying in Schools

Montgomery County’s Office of Human Rights, the Committee on Hate/Violence and Montgomery College will co-host a town hall meeting about bullying in schools on Sunday, September 28, from 2 to 5 p.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place.

Parents, students, educators, elected leaders and the community are invited to attend and share their thoughts on prevention and intervention strategies. The keynote speaker and discussion leader will be National Youth Advocate Johnnie Williams III.

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, call 240-777-8450 or email

For more information, contact the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8450.

Ready for Duty

Following 26 weeks of intensive training by recruits, Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service has graduated one of its largest classes on record. After completing one of the most thorough, challenging and rigorous programs in the country, the 69 recruits were officially sworn in. County Executive Ike Leggett and Fire Chief Steve Lohr proudly welcomed them to the departmental ranks and the around-the-clock job of protecting County residents. See more photos.