September 24, 2021

Message from the County Executive



Dear Friends,

Greetings and happy first week of fall. I hope that over the next three months your families get to enjoy and explore the splendor of fall throughout Montgomery County. If you are looking for events to attend, places to go or something new to do, please check out Visit Montgomery’s website at https://visitmontgomery.com/.

As for our COVID-19 update this week, we continue to be in the “substantial transmission” category, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. We currently have the lowest test positivity rate in the State. However, our case rates are significantly higher now than they were at this time last year without the vaccine. On this date last year, we had 53.11 cases per 100,000 residents. This week, we were at 84.23.

And COVID cases continue to increase among children, who account for nearly 30 percent of all cases reported statewide. Those under 18 make up 22 percent of our State’s total population, meaning that they are now being impacted more than their proportion of our population. Some people still think that this virus doesn’t impact kids because, at the beginning, our elderly were hardest hit. But the reality is that we need to be aware that our children are vulnerable, especially now that school is back full-time.

The relatively good news is that despite the increase in cases, our high vaccination rates continue to mitigate the problems. Our COVID vaccination rates continue to be best in the nation among large jurisdictions. Of our total population, 74.9 percent are fully vaccinated and more than 82.5 percent has at least one dose. Almost 89 percent of the eligible population (12 and older) is fully vaccinated and almost 98 percent of this population has at least one dose.

We continue to work at identifying who and where the populations are that still need to be vaccinated and how to convince them to get their shot. Last Friday, I joined the Maryland Department of Health at Africutz Barber & Beauty Shop in Silver Spring for its “Haircuts for Health: Getting Beyond COVID” effort to support equitable and convenient access to vaccinations for hard-to-reach communities. Africutz offered free haircuts for those who got vaccinated and there was plenty of health staff on hand to answer questions and concerns.

This is one of the ways we are trying to get the message out to hard-to-reach communities. We are trying to explain that the evidence shows that vaccines work and that even with the “breakthrough” cases for the vaccinated, the bad outcomes (hospitalization or even worse, death) are much less likely for those who are vaccinated.

Remembrance and Reconciliation is Essential

The Montgomery County Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission, Montgomery History and the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project this weekend will address the history of lynchings in Montgomery County. As part of our effort to better understand our past and create a more inclusive and equitable community, we are committed to making sure County residents are exposed to the parts of our history that often are not taught or discussed and that a legacy of injustice remains in our society to this day.

Montgomery History will host “Unwritten Law: A Virtual Symposium on the Lynchings in Rockville” from 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25. Three Montgomery County historians will provide accounts of the lynchings of Mr. John Diggs-Dorsey and Mr. Sidney Randolph. This historical analysis will provide background on the economic, social and political context of Montgomery County in the final decades of the 19th century and explore how elements of these murders were replicated in other parts of Maryland and the United States. You can register via Zoom here.

On Sunday, Sept. 26, the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and the County’s Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission will host the Remembrance Pilgrimage Walk from noon-3 p.m. This will be followed by the Soil Collection Ceremony from 4-5:30 p.m. The Sunday events will be in-person and you can register here. For more information please visit http://www.montgomeryhistory.org/remembranceweekend/.

Earlier this month, I wrote about the focus on the Underground Railroad and Josiah Henson. The Josiah Henson Museum and Park helps put American history in context, celebrates the Underground Railroad and honors Josiah Henson. You may find this video interesting about some of the work that was done at the site. The history of slavery and racial injustice needs to be taught. As Maya Angelou said, “History, despite its wrenching pain, cannot be unlived, but if faced with courage, need not be lived again.”

Tackling Climate Change – at the United Nations and Here at Home

This week is Climate Week and Clean Energy Week. World leaders are gathering at the United Nations for a meeting on climate and energy issues. The magnitude of the climate emergency requires an all hands-on deck approach from all levels of government and society, worldwide.

Montgomery County is one of many jurisdictions around the world that submitted an Energy Compact to the United Nations this week. Energy Compacts are commitments being made by nation-states, companies, local governments and nonprofits worldwide to advance progress on the UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 that aims to "ensure access to affordable, reliable, sustainable and modern energy for all.” Montgomery County’s Energy Compact highlights the vision of our Climate Action Plan and the actions that we must take between now and 2035 to advance progress toward zero greenhouse gas emissions in the County. As the saying goes, we need to think globally and act locally.

I am very proud of the Climate Action Plan that we released in June. It is a strategic plan that outlines the path for the County to reach our climate goals to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The Climate Action Plan also discusses the effects of a changing climate on Montgomery County and outlines strategies to reduce our climate-related risks. This plan is one of the most aggressive in the country and we have no time to waste in implementing its recommendations.

Earlier this month, Hurricane Ida and the deadly aftereffects of torrential rain, flash flooding, and tornados brought climate change front and center here and around the country even as we continue to grapple with COVID-19. Due to climate change, these storms are bigger, more intense, and more destructive year after year. We can’t reverse this trend, but we can slow down the deadly impacts. This is not going to happen by simply wishing or praying for it to get better. We need smart policy and the political will and courage to make tough decisions.

There are two climate action policies that are part of our Climate Action Plan that I sent to the County Council to address emissions from new and existing buildings. The Building Energy Performance Standard legislation, known as “BEPS,” will require owners of the largest and most energy-consuming buildings to take action to improve their buildings’ energy performances. The other is the adoption of the International Green Construction Code, which would require that new buildings use less energy, generate more renewable energy and create healthy spaces for our residents.

I participated in the National Drive Electric Poolesville Event last weekend. It is my understanding that this was the largest National Drive Electric Week celebration in the world. Here in Montgomery County, transportation makes up 42 percent of our County’s greenhouse gas emissions. Converting to electric vehicles—which we have begun for our buses and police vehicles--is one part of our climate efforts.

Single-occupancy vehicles still make up the bulk of greenhouse gas emissions, producing about two-thirds of total emissions for the transportation category. We must focus on switching to electric vehicles and also support public transportation, walking, biking and micro mobility.

Our County Government is leading by example. Saturday’s EV car show featured our two brand-new electric police cruisers (Mustang Mach E), which we are piloting. We have also committed to a net-zero emissions bus fleet by 2035. That effort will be complemented by adding clean hydrogen vehicles to that fleet. We already have four EV buses on the road and will have up to 44 electric Ride On buses by 2023. Additionally, I was proud to help with the effort to convert the MCPS fleet to electric buses.

We are also promoting walkable, bikeable and mass transit accessible smart growth development. This week, I attended the groundbreaking of Twinbrook Quarter, a multi-purpose commercial and residential development located at the Twinbrook Metro Station. This transit-friendly development will be anchored by Wegman’s and will be a very attractive location and destination for companies looking to grow in or move to Montgomery County.

I want to thank B.F. Saul—the developer of this project—for its outreach and work with this local community. Mr. Saul made a point about the importance of working with the community and involving them in the project, so that what gets built fits with the broader community vision. As our economy continues to recover from pandemic impacts, projects like Twinbrook Quarter will be important to our job creation and smart growth goals.

Additional Early Voting Sites Added

As we prepare to enter another election year, it is critical to ensure that we are protecting, expanding, and ensuring that every resident has easy access to cast their vote. It has been a sad tragedy over the last several months as states around this nation passed legislation whose purpose is to disenfranchise voters and suppress the votes.

I am pleased that the Board of Elections approved the addition of two more early voting sites, one at the White Oak Community Recreation Center and the other at the Nancy H. Dacek North Potomac Community Recreation Center. I and my Council colleagues had urged this approval in this letter we sent to the Board. An early voting site is also likely to be added at the Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center. There is a formal process that must happen (including approval by the State), but since the Council and I agree that it is a good idea, it is likely there will not be any obstacles to that. You can read about the issue in this article from Bethesda Beat.

As always, thank you for your ongoing support.

With appreciation,



Marc

September 23, 2021

30th Annual Burtonsville Day Parade and Festival on Saturday, Sept. 25, to Celebrate ‘Health Care Workers’ as Grand Marshals and Will Feature County Executive Elrich


“Better Together” will be the theme on Saturday, Sept. 25, during the 30th Annual Burtonsville Day Parade and Festival. The theme reflects the community’s strong diversity. County Executive Marc Elrich is expected to be part of the festivities and the grand marshals of the parade will be “Health Care Workers.”

The parade will begin at 10:30 a.m. from Paint Branch High School, which is located at 14121 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville, It will proceed to the Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, and Marilyn J. Praisner Library, which are located at 14910 Old Columbia Pike. The festival will take place from 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at that site.

“Bloom by Strathmore” will provide live music ranging from Latin Pop to steel pan at the festival. Family activities will include face painting for children, rock climbing, inflatables, an obstacle course and youth games. Numerous health care and social service organizations will be at the festival providing information. There will be a Musa martial arts demonstration and Montgomery County Animal Services will be at the festival with information about adopting pets. The festival will include food and service vendors.

Old Columbia Pike will be closed from Old Briggs Chaney Road (Paint Branch High School) to Marilyn J. Praisner Library from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 11:30 a.m. to accommodate the parade route. Perrywood Drive also will be closed from Carson Drive to Old Columbia Pike from 9:30 a.m. until approximately 11 a.m.

Those wanting to drive to the site of the parade are advised to arrive before 9:30 a.m. and park at Banneker Middle School, Paint Branch High School or on local streets. Old Columbia Pike also is served by Ride-On 39 or Metrobus Z6/Z8 routes.

Additional information about Burtonsville Day can be found on its flyer at https://www.burtonsvilleday.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/Bville-Day-Flyer.png.

‘Unwritten Law: A Symposium on the Lynchings in Rockville’ Webinar to be Presented on Saturday, Sept. 25 


The webinar “Unwritten Law: A Symposium on Lynchings in Rockville” will be presented from 9 a.m.-12:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 25, as Montgomery History, the Montgomery County Lynching Memorial Project and the Montgomery County Remembrance and Reconciliation Commission join together to create a Remembrance Weekend.  

The Remembrance Weekend on Sept. 25 and Sunday, Sept. 26, will recognize two men who were the victims of racial terror lynchings in Montgomery County: John Diggs-Dorsey, who was killed in 1880, and Sidney Randolph, who was killed in 1896. 

Included in the weekend will be the Remembrance Pilgrimage Walk from noon-3 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 26. County Executive Marc Elrich will participate in the walk that will begin at the site of the old County jail where Mr. Diggs-Dorsey and Mr. Randolph were both held.

The walk will pass locations that were then central to a vibrant African-American community, including the sites where the men were lynched. 

After the walk, from 4-5:30 p.m., Montgomery History will host the “Soil Collection Ceremony.” The ceremony will honor the memories of Mr. Diggs-Dorsey and Mr.  Randolph with a soil collection and music. It also will have reflections by community leaders and by a representative of the Equal Justice Initiative from Montgomery, Ala. 

Speakers at the Sept. 25 symposium will include historians Ralph Buglass, Sarah Hedlund and Tony Cohen. 

The historical analysis will provide background on the economic, social and political context of Montgomery County in the final decades of the 19th Century and explore how elements of the murders were replicated in other parts of Maryland and the United States. 

The symposium will include the following sections: 
  • Part 1: Retrospective on Race in Post-Civil War Montgomery County. Local historian Ralph Buglass sets the stage by putting into context the county’s racial climate at the time of the lynchings. In the decades after the Civil War, the Black population lived in an increasingly segregated society.  
  • Part 2: Two Rockville Lynchings: The Truth Uncovered. Archivist and researcher Sarah Hedlund narrates the history of the two lynchings that occurred in Rockville: John Diggs-Dorsey in 1880 and Sidney Randolph in 1896, based on a careful reading of hundreds of newspaper reports and supplemented with genealogical research, detailed maps, photographs, and archival documents.  
  • Part 3: Anatomy of a Lynching. Led by Tony Cohen, the section will explore the racist mob killings of three black men in 19th century Montgomery County and exposes the motives and methodologies used to commit these crimes against humanity.  
To register for the webinar, go to https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_A0rV6tJRTZ2MMmYTtZle1A. 

More information on Remembrance Weekend can be found at https://montgomeryhistory.org/remembranceweekend/. 

County Executive Elrich to Hold Five Public Forums to Seek Input on FY2023 Operating Budget, Starting With Tuesday, Oct. 5, Forum in Bethesda


Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the County’s regional services centers will host five public forums in October to seek input on the Fiscal Year 2023 Operating Budget. The first forum will be from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 5, at the Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center in Bethesda. Residents can attend the forums in person or view them via the internet. 

The County is in the early stages of formulating the FY23 operating budget. County Executive Elrich is required to submit a recommended budget to the County Council by March 15. The Council will then have two months to study the budget. It must adopt a final budget by late May. The FY23 budget will go into effect on July 1.

Details on how to join the forums via the internet will be announced soon.

The tentative schedule for the five forums:
  • Tuesday, Oct. 5. 7-8:30 p.m. Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Services Center,
    4805 Edgemoor Lane, Wisconsin D Room, Bethesda.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 6, 7-8:30 p.m. Silver Spring Civic Building,
    One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.
  • Wednesday, Oct. 13, 7-8:30 p.m. White Oak Community Recreation Center,
    1700 April Lane, Silver Spring.
  • Monday, Oct. 18, 7-8:30 p.m. BlackRock Center for the Arts,
    12901 Town Commons Drive, Germantown.
  • Date TBD. Mid-County Regional Services Center,
    2424 Reedie Drive, Park and Planning Board Room, Wheaton.

COVID-19 Information Portal Has Statistics on the Virus Including Infections and Vaccinations Given by Zip Codes   


Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Information Portal provides a variety of breakdowns on how the virus has impacted the County. The statistics are updated to reflect the most recent reports from the State of Maryland during the health crisis. Among the information available is how many positive cases have been reported in each zip code in the County.   

For more information about the positive cases reported in the County by zip codes, visit the COVID-19 data dashboard at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/covid19/data/. 

Other breakdowns on the COVID-19 information portal include:          

‘Incorporating Changes from the Pandemic into Ongoing Operations’ Will Be Theme as County Hosts Revitalization and Recovery Virtual Town Hall on Friday, Sept. 24 


“Incorporating Changes from the Pandemic into Ongoing Operations” will be the theme from noon-1 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24, when Montgomery County’s COVID-19 Economic Revitalization and Recovery program continues its series of virtual town hall meetings to keep businesses informed on strategies for doing business as the health crisis continues.  

County Executive Marc Elrich initiated the series of town halls held every other Friday to share timely updates on COVID-19 topics of interest to the business community. The town halls give businesses an opportunity to hear directly from County leaders. Judy Stephenson, the County’s small business navigator, will host the session. She also will provide updates on grant programs available to County businesses and offer ideas that can help economic recovery. 

During the Sept. 24 town hall, Ms. Stephenson will welcome Kathie Durbin, director of the County’s Alcohol and Beverage Services (ABS). Ms. Stephenson and Director Durbin will discuss how ABS has pivoted during the pandemic.  

“We learned many lessons from the pandemic about changes that can be made to policies and procedures that do not have a negative impact on safety," Stephenson said. "Some policy changes will be continued as a result."

Ms. Stephenson also will address updates on the County COVID-19 vaccination efforts and economic recovery from the health crisis with Acting Assistant Chief Administrative Officer Earl Stoddard.  

To join the broadcast, go to https://zoom.us/j/98584224354?pwd=ekdBd05kT08zRmxCekQzajkwdW9LZz09. 

The webinar ID is 985 8422 4354. The passcode is 057204. Spanish interpretation is available.  

The town hall will be broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (cable station CCM), which is available on Comcast and RCN (channels 6 and HD996) and Verizon (channel 30). The town hall can be viewed live via County social media at https://www.facebook.com/montgomerycountyinfo.  

Town halls are recorded and available through the Montgomery County Business Portal at https://montgomerycountymd.gov/Biz-Resources/covid19/4BizNews.html  

‘Eco Evenings’ Series Will Have Session with County Executive Elrich and Community Leaders on Wednesday, Sept. 29, Led by Student Advocates


Youth and the environment will be the focus from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 29, as the next session of Montgomery County’s “Eco Evening” virtual town hall series will feature County Executive Marc Elrich and community leaders and will be led by members of the “Student Advocates Protecting the Planet” (SAPPlings) program.

“Eco Evenings with DEP and OMG” is a series focused on environmental topics. The town hall style meeting is co-sponsored by the County Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) and One Montgomery Green (OMG). The One Montgomery Green organization fosters partnerships to support environmental sustainability and promote the development of a green economy.

SAPPlings members will discuss engaging youth to understand concerns and solutions related to the environment and environmental health. They also address how to be an active resident in protecting and nurturing the environment and the community.

The SAPPlings’ presentation will be followed by a forum where students will ask questions of guest panelists, including County Executive Elrich, Climate Change Officer Adriana Hochberg, DEP Director Adam Ortiz and OMG Executive Director Wendy Howard.

“I am very much looking forward to this engaging discussion with the young residents of Montgomery County,” said County Executive Elrich. “This generation stands the most to gain—or lose—from the actions we take today on climate change. We need their involvement, ideas and help before the impacts of climate change become catastrophic. The time is here and now for this virtual town hall and I welcome the engagement of all our young residents.”

Students can submit questions to info@onemontgomerygreen.org Subject: Eco Evenings: Meet the SAPPlings.

Residents can register in advance to participate in the event via Zoom at  https://us02web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_MSN0fkgATvW-j0Ugm1UUfA

After registering, residents will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Residents can join the event for free. More information and a link to the event are available at the DEP Facebook Event Page at https://www.facebook.com/MyGreenMontgomery.

No Longer Needed Bikes for Kids and Adults Can Be Donated on Friday, Oct. 8, During Annual Bike Collection Event in Downtown Rockville


Bicycles that are no longer needed can have useful second lives for kids and adults if they are donated on Friday, Oct. 8, to the Annual Bike Collection Drive sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT).

MCDOT employees will be collecting the bicycles as part of its efforts during Community Service Month. Employees and volunteers will collect bikes from 7 a.m. through 2 p.m. outside of the Montgomery County Council parking garage entrance at the corner of East Jefferson and Monroe streets in Downtown Rockville. No bike parts or helmets will be collected.

Donated bicycles will go to the Rockville Bike Hub, a nonprofit organization whose volunteers refurbish the bikes and give them to low-income residents throughout the County. The bicycles are distributed through Rockville's Terrific Kids and MCDOT's Bike Match MoCo programs.

Residents may also donate by check to the Rockville Bike Hub during the bicycle collection event. All donated funds will be used to purchase bike helmets and parts to repair the bikes.

For more information about the bike donation event, contact Paul Gatons of MCDOT’s Commuter Services Division at paul.gatons@montgomerycountymd.gov or at 240-777-7162.

Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage to be Celebrated by Peerless Rockville as City’s First National Historic Landmark in Event on Friday, Oct. 1


The Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage, which was originally part of the Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium grounds in Rockville, will be celebrated by the Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation organization as the city’s first national historic landmark in an event on Friday. Oct. 1.

The event will take place outdoors, under a tent, from 4-6 p.m.at the cottage at 19 Thomas Street in Rockville. A $10 donation is requested from each attendee. Advance registration is required.

In January, the Secretary of the Interior designated the Frieda Fromm-Reichmann Cottage as a national historic landmark. It is the first historic landmark in Rockville, earning the national recognition for its association with Dr. Frieda Fromm-Reichmann and her significant contributions to the field of medicine as a psychoanalyst.

Dr. Fromm-Reichmann was a Jewish refugee fleeing Nazi Germany who made groundbreaking contributions to her scientific field. Dr. Fromm-Reichmann worked at the Chestnut Lodge Sanitarium and moved into the adjacent cottage in 1936. She lived there for the remainder of her life.

The main building on the sanitarium grounds was destroyed by a fire after it was closed. Most of the grounds are now a development of homes. Peerless Rockville later became owner of the cottage. In 2009, Peerless Rockville restored the cottage to its 1936 appearance.

Dr. Fromm-Reichmann's biographer, Gail Hornstein, is scheduled to make a presentation at the event.

Peerless Rockville Historic Preservation Ltd. is supported in part by funding from the Montgomery County Government and the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

For more information about the event, to learn how to further help preserve the cottage and to purchase tickets, go to https://tinyurl.com/2rsmuem7.

Residents Asked by Metro to Provide Input by Tuesday, Sept. 28, on Proposed Name Change to White Flint Metrorail Station


The area around Metro’s White Flint Metrorail Station has changed, including the dismantling of its namesake White Flint Mall. In keeping with the area’s growing development and identity, the Board of Directors of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA, or Metro) is considering whether to change the name of the station to North Bethesda.

With the White Flint name no longer relevant to the surrounding community, Montgomery County requested the name be changed to North Bethesda Station after consulting with business and community leaders.

Metro's board of directors is responsible for approving or declining requests for station name changes. Metro is seeking public feedback on the proposed name change. The information will be provided to the board for consideration prior to making a decision.

To offer opinions on the proposed name change, Metro has set up a public survey available here. Responses will be accepted through 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 28.

Under Metro's station naming policy, adopted in 2012, the jurisdiction making the name change request must commit to funding the full cost of the change. This would include reprinting maps, fabricating new permanent signs and reprogramming systems that provide electronic information to customers across the 91 stations in the Metrorail system. Montgomery County has secured a combination of State, County and private funding to cover the costs.

Metro’s policy sets the following guidelines for any new station name:
  • Should identify the station locations by geographic features such as landmarks or centers of activity.
  • Should be distinctive and evoke imagery in the mind of the patron.
  • Should be no longer than 19 characters, except for transfer station names, which should be no longer than 13 characters.
Feedback may also be provided at wmata.com/whiteflintsurvey.