December 13, 2018

Holiday Schedule for Christmas and New Year’s Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Christmas and New Year’s Day:
  • County Offices – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 
  • Libraries – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. On Monday, Dec. 24 and 31, all branches will close at 6 p.m. 
  • Department of Liquor Control retail stores – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • Recreation – All facilities closed, programs canceled.
  • Montgomery Parks – For special programs, events and operating schedule, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks and tennis centers, visit
  • Ride On –Monday, Dec. 24 – service ends at 10 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 25 - Sunday schedule. Tuesday, Jan. 1 – Sunday schedule
  • Metrorail & Metrobus – Information available at
  • TRiPS Commuter Store at Silver Spring Transit Center – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1.
  • TRiPS Mobile Commuter Store – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 
  • County-provided refuse/recycling pickup – County-provided trash and recycling collection is canceled Tuesday, Dec. 25. The collection will slide by one day with the last pickup on Saturday, Dec. 29. County-provided trash and recycling collection is canceled Tuesday, Jan. 1. The collection will slide by one day with the last pickup on Saturday, Jan. 5.
  • The Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station – Monday, Dec. 24 – facility closes at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, Dec. 25 – entire facility closed. On Monday, Dec. 31, the facility closes at 3 p.m.; Tuesday, Jan. 1 – entire facility closed.
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – Normal parking fees and regulations will be in effect on Monday, Dec. 24 and Dec. 31. Parking will be free on Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 
  • State offices and courts – Closed Tuesday, Dec. 25 and Jan. 1. 

County Executive Marc Elrich Wants to Hear from You

County Executive Marc Elrich invites you to attend one of his upcoming listening sessions. This is your opportunity to let the new County Executive know what is important to you.

The upcoming listening sessions are scheduled for:
Sign language and interpreter services will be provided upon request with notice as far in advance as possible. If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in the listening sessions, email a request to or call 240-777-4940.

Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2019 Maryland General Assembly Session

The Office of Intergovernmental Relations released Montgomery County’s priorities for the session of the Maryland General Assembly due to convene in Annapolis on Wednesday, Jan. 9, 2019.

Highlights of the County’s priorities include increased state funding for education; transportation; affordable housing; environment; economic development; health and human services; victims’ rights; public safety; core government functions and capital projects.

Faith-Based Facilities Security Operating Grant Applications Now Accepted

In light of recent hate-motivated violence at faith-based facilities across the country, Montgomery County has approved a $200,000 security grant fund to be used for faith-based communities experiencing hate crimes or at significant risk of becoming targets of hate crimes. These grants are available to augment costs for security personnel or other security-planning measures for faith-based organizations located in Montgomery County.

Information about eligibility, use of funds, grant administration and more can be found on the application. Faith-based organizations interested in the funds may apply here. Applications will be accepted through Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019.

Montgomery County’s Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security will host an optional information session for organizations who have questions about the funding or application process on Tuesday evening, Dec. 18 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the Executive Office Building Auditorium, located at 101 Monroe Street in Rockville. There will be a brief presentation at 7 p.m.; but applicants may drop by any time from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with questions.

Attendance is not necessary to apply. Staff will be present to answer questions and assist with the application, as needed. Applications will be reviewed by a panel who will consider risk, need, and intended use of funds in determining awards.

For any questions, email:

Safely Chilling Out in Montgomery County

With Jack Frost nipping at our noses and weather forecasters predicting a rough winter, you will want to take precautions to protect yourself when the temperatures become dangerously low.

When the National Weather forecasts temperatures, and/or wind chill, in at least part of the County to fall below 32 degrees, the Montgomery County Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security issues a County hyperthermia alert. These frigid temperatures create a hazardous situation in which hypothermia and frostbite are likely for those exposed to the elements. The cold can bring on health emergencies in susceptible people, such as the very young, seniors, those without shelter or who are stranded, or who live in a home that is poorly insulated and/or without heat.

Here are some cold-weather tips:
  • Neighbors, friends or family members should check on the elderly, especially seniors living alone. Older people are particularly susceptible to hypothermia, even inside their homes and may need assistance.
  • Children engaged in outdoor activities should be carefully monitored by a responsible adult.
  • Everyone spending time outside should dress appropriately to protect against the cold
  • Montgomery County provides a variety of sheltering opportunities for vulnerable residents. Call the police non-emergency line, 301-279-8000, if an individual appears to be in danger.
  • Don't forget about your pets. Animals left outside unattended, in frigid conditions, may be considered an act of cruelty and pet owners could be charged and fined accordingly. Call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000, to report an animal that appears to be in danger.
To ensure you receive timely severe weather and emergency notifications sign up for Alert Montgomery. Warnings and emergency updates will be sent directly to your cell phone (text), landline phone, and email. The service is free, but text charges may apply, so check with your cell phone carrier before selecting text alerts.

More information about hyperthermia or other weather events is available at

New Life for Christmas Trees

Montgomery County residents are reminded that when the holidays are over, they can recycle their live Christmas trees.

After being composted or chipped for mulch, the trees take on a new life.

County residents whose recycling collection services are provided by the County can put their Christmas trees out with their curbside yard trim collection. Set your Christmas tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on your recycling collection day.

Residents may also bring recycled trees to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station during operating hours to drop off their trees. More information is available here.

You can also recycle branches and needles at home by placing them under trees and shrubs as a temporary winter mulch -- or chop them up and add them to your compost pile!

November 30, 2018

Inaugural Ceremony for Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich and the 19th County Council

The official swearing in of the new Montgomery County Executive and Council will take place on Monday, Dec. 3 at 11 a.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, which is located at 5301 Tuckerman Lane in North Bethesda. Tickets will be provided immediately before the event at Strathmore, beginning at 9:30 a.m., on a first-come, first-served basis.

Marc Elrich will be sworn in as Montgomery County’s Executive at the ceremony. Incumbent Councilmembers Hans Riemer, who currently serves as Council president, Nancy Navarro, who currently serves as Council vice president, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, and Craig Rice will join at-large Councilmembers-elect Gabe Albornoz, Evan Glass and Will Jawando and District 1 Councilmember-elect Andrew Friedson at the ceremony.

No parking will be provided at the Music Center. Shuttle buses for the event will run every 15 minutes from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. from the following locations: Bethesda North Marriott Conference Center Garage, Monumental Realty Executive Plaza Garage, and the Montgomery County Executive Office Building Circle. Free parking will be available at the first two locations. The event is also accessible via the Grosvenor-Strathmore Metro station. For walking directions from the Metro station, click here. For further information, visit the inauguration website

Watch live on County Cable Montgomery (Comcast/RCN 6, HD 996/1056, Verizon 30).

The Legacy of the Leggett Administration

The Legacy of the Leggett Administration

For 12 years, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and his team worked to build a better future for Montgomery County.

View the summary of the past 12 years of the Leggett administration. Enjoy a photo journey of Leggett’s years here.

A Farewell Note from the Creator and Senior Editor of the Paperless Airplane

Patrick Lacefield
Director, Montgomery County Office of
Public Information
When I envisioned “The Paperless Airplane” as a mass, email newsletter from the Office of Public Information about 11 years ago, I received a note back from a reader after an early edition. It said,” Wow, what a creative name, however did you think of it?” Later that month, I received a contrary view: “Who came up with this stupid title?”

Whatever, there have been hundreds of editions of The Paperless Airplane, sharing County news in an accessible, attractive format for more than a decade. Sometimes it’s been good news, sometimes bad. Sometimes it has been feel-good, sometimes edgy, sometimes pushing a strong point of view.

Right now, The Paperless Airplane reaches more than 220,000 Montgomery County households every two weeks or so – and with a very high “open” rate for email newsletters. I thank all the readers over the years for their feedback and I thank my colleagues – first Bonnie Ayres and now Judy Stiles, for their “care and feeding” of this creation.

May it continue to serve our new County Executive and County Council – and you, the readers – well on into the future.

--Patrick Lacefield
   Director, Montgomery County Office of Public Information

Stay Safe this Holiday Season and Throughout the New Year

Unfortunately, there has been a recent increase in injury and fatal pedestrian-related traffic collisions. Roads and activities will continue to get busier this time of year, so everyone is urged to follow important safety tips now and throughout the new year.

Be Seen, Be Alert and Be Responsible can help keep you safer.
Be Seen: If you are buying a new winter coat, consider purchasing a light-colored one, or at the very least, wear a white scarf and white gloves. Look for athletic clothing with reflective patches and check out what is available at running stores that increases visibility. Don’t assume that because you can see a vehicle, that the driver can see you.

Be Alert: Give full attention when walking or driving. Remember, Maryland is a Hands-Free state: no texting or even holding a cell phone while driving is allowed. Distracted driving continues to be a leading cause of collisions. And, when walking by a roadway or crossing streets, don’t wear earbuds or look at a cell phone.

Be Responsible: Don’t drink and drive. The most responsible party hosts will ensure that no guest drives after drinking and will enforce a zero tolerance for alcohol use by guests under age 21.

Read more safety tips here.