August 12, 2016

How to Help Victims of the Fire/Explosion at Flower Branch Apartments

Many people are reaching out to help the victims of the deadly fire at the Flower Branch Apartments in Silver Spring. Read more on how you can help.

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Independent Report on County Police Officer TASER Use

County Executive Isiah Leggett and Police Chief Tom Manger were presented with the findings of a report on the County police officer usage of Electronic Control Devices, commonly known as the TASER. Leggett commissioned the report from an independent consultant, Dr. Geoffrey P. Alpert from the University of South Carolina’s Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice.

The report noted room for improvement in the area incorporating decision-making skills by way of scenario-based training, but praised the overall training and performance of officers.

Dr. Alpert recently completed a major study on police officer decision making funded by the National Institute of Justice, and an investigation of racial profiling for the Miami-Dade County, Florida Police Department. He is working on a use-of-force study that focuses on less-lethal technology and the effectiveness of their applications.

  • Download full report (pdf)
  • Watch press event from YouTube.

Montgomery County Recreation and Montgomery Parks Programs registration to open on August 15

It's time for Fall adventures! Don't miss out on fall classes, nature programs, aquatics, basketball, tennis lessons, yoga and more with Montgomery County Recreation and Montgomery Parks. Registration for fall activities begins August 15 at

Registration Dates

  • Tuesday, August 9 - Registration begins for S.O.A.R. and F.E.E.T. Travel Trips
  • Monday, August 15 - Registration begins for most programs and activities
  • Tuesday, August 23 - Registration begins for Ice Skating/Ice Hockey and Tennis Fall 1
  • Thursday, October 27 - Registration begins for Ice Skating/Ice Hockey and Tennis Fall 2

Public Libraries’ Celebrate Local Olympic Athletes

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) are offering County residents a way to show their support for the four County athletes who participated in the Summer Olympics. Every library branch has established a station for residents to deliver fan mail or messages to the athletes.

Montgomery County is home to four of the 11 athletes representing Maryland on the 2016 U.S. Olympic roster.
  • Jack Conger from Rockville a swimmer competed in the 4x200m freestyle swimming event. Conger graduated from Our Lady of Good Counsel High School in 2013. 
  • Katie Ledecky, former gold medalist from the 2012 Olympics competed in the 200m freestyle, 400m freestyle, 800m freestyle and 4x200m freestyle. Ledecky, from Bethesda, graduated from Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in 2015. 
  • Ashley Nee from Bethesda competed in the Canoe Slalom. Nee graduated from Northwestern High School. 
  • Helen Maroulis, a former Col. Zadok Magruder High School student, is a wrestler whose event is the Freestyle 53 kg. 

Residents can stop by any of the library branches located throughout the County to drop-off their letters or cards. The fan mail stations will be available during regularly scheduled hours through August 21. The letters will be delivered to the athletes after the Olympics.

For more information on MCPL go to

Athletic Field Reservations Is Open Now

Facility reservation requests for County athletic fields located at the following sites for the fall season (August 16 - November 30) began July 15. These sites include:
  • MCPS Elementary and Middle Schools
  • Montgomery Parks Local Parks
  • Montgomery County Recreation Community Recreation Centers
Please note that the field time at many sites is assigned directly to sports leagues and organizations. Community Use of Public Facilities recommend you contact your organization directly with any practice or game field needs before submitting a facility reservation request via ActiveMONTGOMERY.

Montgomery County School Bus Camera Enforcement Expands

Here’s something everyone should know before the Montgomery County Public School system begins its fall session on August 29: Maryland law requires drivers to stop for a school bus with its stop-arm signal and flashing lights activated. That applies to motorists traveling in the same direction as the bus, as well drivers approaching the bus from the opposite direction UNLESS there is a physical barrier, such as a median. When traveling in the opposite direction, it may help to remember that Paint (the line markings painted on the roadway) Doesn’t Protect (children who may be about to cross the street).

Beginning with this school year, the school bus camera enforcement program, which began on January 2, 2014, is expanding from 25 cameras to up to 100 cameras expected to be installed on buses by the first day of school. Within 18 months the number of buses with cameras is expected to grow to 500.

It is believed that when a driver passes a stopped school bus with red flashing lights, it is because he/she is uninformed about the law, is impatient, or is distracted. County government, law enforcement and school officials are dedicated to continuing public education outreach. However, with the greatly expanded number of enforcement cameras on County roadways, drivers who violate the law can expect to receive a citation with a $125 fine. The goal is voluntary compliance to keep our students safe!

Bethesda and Potomac Identified as Most Educated in Country

The financial website NerdWallet has named Bethesda the most educated city in the country. Potomac has been named number four. NerdWallet conducted the study using data from the U.S. Census Bureau.

NerdWallet analyzed Census Bureau data on education levels achieved by residents over 25 in more than 17,000 places with populations of at least 25,000. The places at the top of the list have the most residents with degrees including associate, bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional.

Summer of Safety Update

It is hard to believe it is time to head back to school. For many families with athletes, tryouts and practices for most fall sports teams began this week. If you or anyone in your family participates in a sport, now is a good time to look at the Summer of Safety information on understanding and recognizing concussions and safety tips for young athletes.

Or, if you are getting away for a last summer trip to the beach before school starts, there is great Summer of Safety information about ocean currents at and jellyfish.

Whatever you are up to during these prime August weeks, please remember to stay safe and take time to review any/all of the tips available at:!

Beacon 50+ Expo Returns to Silver Spring

Mark your calendar for the Beacon's free, annual 50+Expo, which will return to the Silver Spring Civic Center in downtown Silver Spring on Sunday, Sept. 11.

The keynote speaker is Lt. Joe Kenda, former homicide detective and star of "Homicide Hunter," on the Investigation Discovery channel.

The event will feature government and nonprofit and business exhibitors, health screenings, flu shots (free with Medicare card), technology training, entertainment, giveaways and door prizes.

This year's grand door prize is a trip for two to China, including airfare from Washington, most meals, luxury hotels, guided tours and more.

For more information, call 301-949-9766 or visit

August 1, 2016

Safetrack Surge #6 Begins on the Red Line

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority’s (WMATA) first surges to affect the Red Line have begun. Surge #6 will take place August 1 through 7 and Surge #7 is scheduled to occur August 9 to 18. These surges, especially Surge #6, are expected to cause major delays on the entire Red Line -- the Metrorail system’s busiest line. Metro is urging commuters to find alternatives, particularly during weekday, peak travel hours.
  • Surge #6, August 1-7: Red Line trains will continuously run on a single track in both directions between the Tacoma and Silver Spring stations causing major disruptions throughout the entire Red Line. 
  • Surge #7, August 9-18: Red Line trains will continuously single track between the Twinbrook and Shady Grove Stations; with only one third of regular service available during peak hours. 
The following information can help you plan during this necessary maintenance work: