February 2, 2023

Message from the County Executive

Dear Friends,

In February we recognize Black History Month and encourage everyone to learn, discuss, and contemplate the accomplishments and contributions of Black Americans to the history of our County, state, and nation. Understanding Black history is critical to understanding the residual and long-lasting impacts of systemic racism, discrimination, red-lining, and years of oppression. As I mention in my conversation on Black History Month in the video above “people are the casualty of ignorance” and more awareness is critical to making our County and country a better place.

This month, there will be several talks, lectures and other events scheduled across Montgomery County to mark Black History Month. Many will focus on the painful history endured because of slavery and racial injustices. We are grateful to the families that have shared their stories of oppression so that we can understand our true history.

I also wanted to mention there is an exhibit at the Wheaton library this month detailing the tragedy of 3 men who were lynched here in Montgomery County. The exhibit is on display through the end of February to remember the victims and to promote reconciliation and healing.

It’s frightening to me that in the 21st Century there’s still a drive to pretend that horrible, racist acts didn’t happen or don’t matter today. Some people believe racism ended with slavery or with the passage of the Civil Rights Act nearly 50 years ago. It’s not true because we’re still dealing with policies and decisions that stem from lack of educational and economic opportunities and embedded prejudices that go back generations. Change takes a long time, and we must continue to fight for the equity we all deserve.

On Saturday MCDOT will honor Civil Rights pioneer Rosa Parks as it marks Transit Equity Day. This is the fourth year we’ve saved a space on each bus for Parks, marked by commemorative reservation cards encouraging everyone to learn her story. The County also observes December 1 each year as Rosa Parks Day.

Parks was first arrested in 1955 for refusing to vacate her seat on a segregated bus in Montgomery, Alabama for a white man. Her defiance led to boycotts and sparked similar demonstrations highlighting racist and intolerant laws that would eventually change but not until the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

It is more important than ever that we continue to teach Black History in our classrooms as well as in our homes. Just last year, Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) proposed changes to that state’s history curriculum that erases mentions of slavery, institutional racism and prominent figures of color. This is an outrageous disservice to the students and a warning that we must continue to promote and protect the teaching of Black History and end systemic racism.

Governor Moore’s First State of State Address

This week, Governor Moore gave his first “State of the State” address. I thought the Governor’s address offered new perspectives and priorities missing from the previous administration. I encourage everyone to watch the Governor’s speech.

As a former elementary school teacher, I really appreciated how Governor Moore spoke specifically about the challenges of childhood poverty and how it impacts our schools and communities. This is a critical subject that we don’t talk enough about, and I believe Governor Moore can help elevate this conversation in Annapolis. We must take a hard look at the effects of childhood poverty on learning. Children who are hungry, neglected, lack proper parental supervision, or are bombarded with anxiety end up taking these problems, stresses and traumas into the classroom. Governor Moore adequately and concisely made this link in his remarks, and the cost it has on all students and schools. I look forward to supporting his efforts to eradicate childhood poverty in this state.

I also appreciated Governor Moore’s focus on the need for investment in Maryland’s most valuable asset, its people. I thought the way the Governor connected the dots between investing in our children, becoming the best state in the nation for public education, and his initiatives to provide recent high school graduates with opportunities for community service as a means of future economic development for the state echoes what we have been attempting to achieve here in Montgomery County.

I have stated on many occasions that if we are to compete economically in our region, especially with Virginia, let alone with other jurisdictions around this nation and world, we must utilize our education assets to achieve economic development goals. This is a priority that Amazon cited specifically when they chose Northern Virginia over Maryland for their HQ2 project.

Governor Moore clearly understands this approach and it is refreshing that we now have a Governor who “gets it.” Our efforts to create the new University of Maryland 3 - Institute for Health Computing and help expand Montgomery College into the new East County Education Center facility in White Oak later this year are examples of how to strengthen education and improve our business community simultaneously while improving quality of life.

Besides developing a new generation of civic-minded volunteers the governor also spoke about the importance of using this service time idea as the “antidote to the epidemic of loneliness” or a way to connect generations post-pandemic as many people have felt isolated.

We look forward to working with Governor Moore, Lt. Governor Miller, and their new team. I feel that Maryland’s best days are to come, and Montgomery County will continue to be at the epicenter of the Maryland’s success.

Memphis Police Brutal Murder of Tyre Nichols

The horrific police brutality and murder of Tyre Nichols is an example of how an incident so far from here undermines community trust everywhere. We share the outrage and pain felt all across our country. And I appreciate Montgomery County Police Chief Marcus Jones for also publicly addressing this tough issue.

Here in Montgomery County, we have been grappling with these issues even before the nation was outraged by the 2020 killing of George Floyd. Over the last several years, we created a Reimagining Public Safety Task Force and received recommendations for more police training, mental health support and increased compensation. We have improved use-of-force and de-escalation training and policies, and we are enhancing the review of body-worn camera footage and ensuring that investigations into police-involved deaths are independent, impartial and transparent. We also followed State law passed in 2021 by creating a Police Accountability Board and Administrative Charging Committee for officer complaints. We are still using the Effective Law Enforcement For All report for guidance and we appreciate that this has been an effort that has included the police and the community. We have made improvements, and we know there is more to do. We are working on an updated dashboard to track the recommendations and the progress.

We remain committed to continuing this work to ensure every resident feels safe in our community.

$800,000 Awarded to Protect Nonprofits and Faith Communities from Hate Crimes

Montgomery County is focused on improving how our faith and nonprofit communities can protect themselves. Over the past year, our County has experienced too many acts of hate, intimidation, and vandalism. Just this week, Gaithersburg High School, was the latest location for vile, racist vandalism.

On Monday, we announced the recipients of our $800,000 Nonprofit Security Grant program. We are the only local jurisdiction to provide operating support to community organizations facing acts of hatred. Through the application process we discovered that 55% of the 91 groups we awarded money to already had some prior history of dealing with threats and bias incidents.

Some of the community leaders that joined us Monday gave us some examples: Someone walking into a Jewish community center and verbally berating people. The leader of the Alef Bet Montessori School in Rockville told us about how she would walk around the perimeter of her campus and find weapons that had been left there. The leader of the Imaam Center for Muslims talked about recent incidents of intruders and people who tried to drive a vehicle into the building.

Many of the groups receiving grant money represent churches that have been vandalized for supporting social causes and targeted minority groups that represent Asian Americans, Sheikhs and the LGBTQ. Their money should be spent on helping their communities not on defending themselves.

Money available through this program can be used on security measures or crime deterrents like video surveillance systems. Last year, when Scotland AME was vandalized, the suspects were caught on a security camera the church purchased with this grant money. Many of the groups say they intend to use the money to protect vulnerable areas like daycares or senior centers.

I hope this acts as a wake-up call for our community to do more to fight intolerance and hate. We cannot be silent when we see bigoted disrespect in our community. When we see Pride flags ripped down. When we hear antisemitic graffiti laughed about or condoned.

We're still calculating 2022 numbers but 2021 saw a more than 20 percent jump in hate and bias crimes. If you see something say something by calling police 240-773-8477. You can also sign up for the Securing our Houses of Worship workshop happening Wednesday February 15th by emailing Interfaith@montgomerycountymd.gov.

When any community, faith, ethnic, or minority group is intimidated or faces hate in this County, all of us are attacked. And we will continue to respond to these acts of hate, with unity, love and compassion for those who have been victimized.

COVID-19 Community Level Status Returns to ‘Low’

Some welcome news is coming from our hospitals: More COVID patients are being discharged and fewer are entering the hospital. This is a relief after several weeks when it seemed emergency rooms and EMS responders were pushed to the brink of crisis.

We’ve learned from just published CDC data that unvaccinated patients accounted for a much higher percentage of hospital beds. In some age groups, unvaccinated patients were 30 times more likely to end up in the hospital compared to vaccinated and boosted patients. Just the bivalent booster alone added 3 times the protection than simply being fully vaccinated, which is defined by having two vaccine shots, but no updated booster shot. Obviously, we continue to recommend a booster shot for everyone in your family.

January and December also continue to be the deadliest months for COVID. While the numbers are far below what we saw last year there are still too many people needlessly dying when vaccines and treatments are widely available at pharmacies and at doctor’s offices everywhere.

This week President Joe Biden announced that in May the federal government will end its declaration of a national emergency for COVID. It means federal funding will dry up for vaccines, testing and other public health measures that states and counties have been reimbursed for since the pandemic began. Additionally, the end of the emergency declaration is also going to impact Title 42, student loan forgiveness, as well as Medicaid and Medicare benefits when it comes to COVID tests, vaccines, and treatments.

Montgomery County plans to continue offering free test kits and scheduling vaccine appointments through the end of the fiscal year, which is June 30.

We will continue to provide regular updates on community health, and we will remain vigilant and aggressive in our prevention methods.

As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive

February 1, 2023

Montgomery Community-wide Greenhouse Gas Emissions Decreased by 30 Percent Between 20

Montgomery County community-wide greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions decreased by 30 percent between 2005 and 2020, despite a 13 percent growth in population, according to the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG) GHG emission inventories.

COG has 24 member jurisdictions in the Washington Region, including Montgomery County. Montgomery County’s inventory covers GHG-emitting activities from the entire community, including the County government, businesses, industry, residents and visitors.

“This inventory demonstrates that in every sector of our County—from our businesses to our residents and local governments—we are successfully working together to bring down greenhouse gas emissions,” said Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich. “Our Countywide efforts, including moving toward electrification and away from fossil fuels, encouraging electric vehicle adoption, planting more trees and making it easier and safer for people to bike and walk, are all contributing to our goals to cut GHG emissions 80 percent by 2027 and 100 percent by 2035.”

COG also prepared a GHG Contribution Analysis for Montgomery County that illustrates the main drivers of increasing and decreasing emissions, which show an overall net decrease in carbon emissions. Growth in population, commercial space and hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) contributed to increased emissions. A cleaner grid, decreased commercial electricity use and reduced vehicle miles traveled per person helped bring down emissions.

The Montgomery County’s Climate Action Plan, which was completed in June 2021, details the effects of a changing climate on the County and includes strategies to reduce GHG emissions and climate-related risks to the County’s residents, businesses and the built and natural environment. In the first year following the plan’s completion, the County made progress on achieving 75 climate actions across a multitude of actions recommended in the plan. Among the key climate actions are the need to expand electrification and solar incentives for existing buildings—efforts that could go a long way toward reducing the estimated 24 percent of total Countywide GHG emissions that are generated by residential homes.

The Inflation Reduction Act will help reduce GHG emissions further. This legislation was signed by President Biden in August of 2022 and is considered the largest investment in clean energy and climate action in American history. It includes funding for multiple tax credits and rebates that are available to both low-to-moderate income (LMI) and non-LMI households.

“We are continuing to make progress in reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Montgomery County, but we still have a long way to go to reach our goals,” said Climate Change Officer and Acting Director of the Department of Environmental Protection Adriana Hochberg. “I urge everyone to explore the tax rebates and financial incentives that are available through local, State, Federal and utility programs to make your home more energy efficient, electrify your ride and switch to clean energy. These actions will save you money and contribute to the County’s carbon reduction goals.”

In Montgomery County, third-party certified green buildings grew from 10 to 799 between 2005 and 2020. County grid-connected renewable energy systems, including rooftop solar installations, grew from about 200 in 2005 to more than 11,600 in 2020.

According to the 2020 COG inventories for the metropolitan region, buildings and transportation accounted for 90 percent of measured GHG emissions. Residential and commercial energy consumption accounted for 52 percent of measured emissions and transportation-related emissions accounted for 38 percent.

Across the region, emissions from buildings and transportation saw a greater reduction in 2020 than anticipated due to the COVID-19 health crisis. COG estimated that in 2020, emissions in the region were four to six percent lower as a result of COVID-19 due to lower than projected emissions from building energy use and transportation.

One of the new features of the inventory is the inclusion of trees and forests. Incorporating the impact of trees and forests during the 2005-2020 period showed an increase in the County’s overall net emission reductions from 30 percent to 32 percent due to both a reduction of emissions related to forest and tree loss and an increase of GHG removals (sequestration) associated with an increase in tree canopy.

The COG GHG inventories are compliant with the U.S. Communities Protocol for Accounting and Reporting Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Global Protocol for Community-Scale Greenhouse Gas Inventories. They provide completeness, consistency, accuracy, replicability, transparency and quality control. Carbon emissions from supply chains and personal consumption are not included in the scope of COG’s inventories at this time.

For more information about Montgomery County’s GHG emissions trends, including inventory data, fact sheet and quarterly Climate Action Work Plan Updates, visit the Climate Action Portal at https://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/climate/progress.html

For information about household tax incentives and rebates, visit the Lower My Bill Section of the Montgomery Energy Connection website at https://montgomeryenergyconnection.org/lower-my-bill/.

‘Transit Equity Day,’ Honoring the Birthday of Rosa Parks, Will Be Observed on Saturday, Feb. 4

‘Transit Equity Day,’ Honoring the Birthday of Rosa Parks, Will Be Observed on Saturday, Feb. 4

Rosa Parks became a key figure in the Civil Rights era when she refused to give up her seat on a segregated Montgomery, Ala., public transit bus and was arrested in 1955. Recognizing her life and legacy, Montgomery County will join in the celebration of “Transit Equity Day,” which is observed on her birthday, Feb. 4, by reserving a seat on every Ride On bus operated by the County Department of Transportation.

Parks is best remembered for her brave act of resistance by refusing to give up her seat to a White man in Montgomery, Ala., in 1955. Her actions inspired the local Black community to organize the Montgomery Bus Boycott, led by Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. 

The boycott lasted more than a year and ended when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that bus segregation was unconstitutional. The year of the boycott was filled with hardship for the Black community, many of whom were dependent on buses for transportation. Mrs. Parks lost her job and experienced harassment, but became a nationally recognized representation of dignity and strength in the fight to end racial segregation.  

Mrs. Parks’ role highlighted racism in the public transit system and led to affirmation that public transportation equity is a civil right. 

“Transit plays a key role in our work to improve equity,” said Montgomery County Department of Transportation Director Chris Conklin. “So many people depend on our Ride On bus system to access jobs, health care, schools, grocery stores, and other essential trips. It is our job to make public transit dependable and accessible.  By improving transportation options for historically disadvantaged communities, we can improve outcomes for residents and reduce inequity within our community.” 

Transit Equity Day began in 2017, when a network of labor unions, community organizations, and environmental groups declared Feb. 4 “Transit Equity Day.” It has become a national day of action to commemorate Mrs. Parks and other civil rights icons and to advocate for accessible, reliable and affordable transit powered by renewable energy.

Fares on Ride On buses have been reduced to $1, from the $2 pre-pandemic fare, to make transit more affordable. Free rides are provided to seniors, people with disabilities and County youth. 

Over the past year, MCDOT has been working to reassess its transit system to best meet the needs of residents through its Ride On Reimagined Study. The study, influenced by public engagement and feedback, will bring system-wide changes to better serve one million County residents. 

Equitable transportation in Montgomery County includes investing in clean transportation options and infrastructure. In September 2020, MCDOT launched its first four electric buses and ordered 10 more, to reduce greenhouse gases from the transportation sector. The goal is to convert the entire fleet of buses to zero-emission by 2035, reducing the carbon footprint.

In September 2022, MCDOT unveiled the Brookville Smart Energy Bus Depot, the first solar-powered bus charging microgrid in the region and the largest nationally. This one-of-a-kind project has the capacity to charge 70 buses with solar power. 

To learn more about what MCDOT is doing to ensure transit equity and view resources for low-income transportation programs, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/TransitEquity.

Total of $800,000 Awarded to County Nonprofit and Faith-based Organizations to Deter Hate Crimes and Support Security Needs

Total of $800,000 Awarded to County Nonprofit and Faith-based Organizations to Deter Hate Crimes and Support Security Needs

Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich was joined by County Council Vice President Andrew Friedson and members of the County Council in Rockville this week for the announcement that a total of $800,000 in grant funding will be provided to 91 County organizations to improve security and deter hate crimes. The funds will come through the County’s Nonprofit Security Grants program.

In May 2022, the County Council approved $800,000 to be available in the Fiscal Year 2023 budget for use by eligible local nonprofit or faith-based organizations whose facilities have experienced, or are at a high risk of experiencing, hate crimes.

The grants are available to help fund security personnel, security planning, training or exercise measures or new security cameras. The funds are administered by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security Emergency Management (OEMHS).

“Montgomery County is one of the most diverse communities in the country and we, as County Government, are committed to providing a safe and welcoming environment for all people to live, work and worship safely,” said County Executive Elrich. “Incidents of antisemitic vandalism this fall, arson and vandalism last summer targeting churches along Old Georgetown Road, numerous threats experienced by local Islamic facilities and the vandalism of signage displayed by local congregations in support of our LGBTQI neighbors and the Black Lives Matter movement, all demonstrate that hate and bigotry continue to threaten the safety and security of residents in our community and around the country. Montgomery County Government is committed to countering hate and extremism. The grant awards announced today through the Nonprofit Security Grants program are affirmation of our unwavering support for our neighbors of every religion, race, ethnicity, gender, gender orientation and ability, and for those organizations who serve them.”

In addition to the grant funding, OEMHS and the County Police Department continue to provide support to all organizations who indicate the need for assistance with security.

“In Montgomery County, we have a community of diverse residents who wish to practice our faiths and cultures freely. Schools and places of worship should be sanctuaries of peace and acceptance, not fear and violence,” said County Council Vice President Friedson. “While we regret that this program is so needed at this time, I am proud to have worked with the Executive Branch and community partners to establish this grant program so we can provide added security for our residents.”

The County provides classes, assessments and training specifically designed for nonprofit and faith-based facilities. OEMHS regularly offers “Securing Houses of Worship” training for local religious facilities. The next Securing Houses of Worship training will be held at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15, in Rockville. Registration is required and can be completed here. County Police make trainings available for “Civilian Response to Active Shooters (CRASE),” as well as assistance with security assessments and plans.

For more information on upcoming Securing Houses of Worship trainings, contact the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security at emergency.management@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For information on CRASE trainings or facility assessment assistance, contact the MCPD Community Engagement Division at MCPD_Engaged@Montgomerycountymd.gov.

“The security trainings offered by OEMHS help facilities evaluate and better secure their physical structures, develop plans for responding to threats and emergencies, and better prepare to protect themselves and their communities,” said Luke Hodgson, director of OEMHS. “Together with our partners in the Montgomery County Police Department, we remain committed to fostering a safer environment for local nonprofits and religious institutions which are too often the targets of hate crimes.”

To qualify for grant funding, applying facilities were required to be located in Montgomery County and be a nonprofit organization or religious facility experiencing threats or hate crimes or at significant risk of being the target of a hate crime as representatives of frequently targeted groups.

All grant awardees must be IRS registered 501(c)3, tax-exempt nonprofit organizations in good standing with the Maryland State Department of Assessments and Taxation or religious organizations in good standing. Funds can only be used to provide security support or new security cameras for facilities located within the County. Organizations with more than one facility in the County were permitted to apply for grants separately for each physical location.

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Commission for Women’s 2023 ‘Women Making History Award’

Nominations Now Being Accepted for Commission for Women’s 2023 ‘Women Making History Award’

Nominations are now being accepted for the 2023 Montgomery County “Women Making History Award.” The award is presented by the Montgomery County Commission for Women and Montgomery Women. The deadline for nominations is 11:59 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7.

The annual award is given in recognition of outstanding women in Montgomery County who are making significant contributions to their vocation and to the community.

Recipients of the Women Making History Award will be recognized and featured during Women’s History Month in March and again at a panel discussion and dinner to be held at a later date.

To be eligible, nominees should exemplify one or more of the following:
  • Unselfish leadership and hard work in their field.
  • Exceptional leadership in civic activities.
  • Developing or supporting programs resulting in positive social action.
  • Inspiration to others as a role model.
Nominees must reside in Montgomery County or be employed in the County. High school seniors or college students can be nominated for the award. Nominations of individuals running for office or campaigning will not be considered.

The nomination form can be found at https://forms.gle/Dy12hrhpkfJNgGh4A.

The nomination form must be completed in its entirety to be considered. Nominations must be completed online. Those submitting nominations are asked to not copy and paste online bios as part of their submissions. Biographies should be limited to no more than three paragraphs. Nominations are not being accepted via mail.

The event is sponsored by Mission Partners, a woman-owned social impact and strategic communications firm committed to guiding leaders and their teams to be more authentic in their words, equitable in their strategies and intentional about their impact.

For more information about the Women Making History Award, call Ijeoma Enendu at 240-773-5581.

Montgomery Parks Will Host Special Events and Programs in Honor of Black History Month

Montgomery Parks Will Host Special Events and Programs in Honor of Black History Month

A diverse selection of educational and entertaining programs celebrating Black History Month will be hosted by Montgomery Parks throughout February.

“Montgomery Parks not only has an exciting lineup of events for Black History Month, we also have year-round offerings focused on African American history and culture,” said Shirl Spicer, cultural resources museums manager at Montgomery Parks. “We invite visitors to take advantage of these resources throughout the year, not just in February.”

The lineup of events includes:
  • Unshakable: The Rise of Newmantown at the Agricultural History Farm Park. Every Friday and Saturday in February. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Agricultural History Farm Park, 18400 Muncaster Road, Derwood. The exhibit “Unshakable” explores the history of Albert and Mary Newman, freedmen who emigrated in 1862 from Virginia to Montgomery County and became landowning farmers despite unprecedented circumstances. Albert and Mary Newman, and their children, built a thriving African American kinship community known as “Newmantown,” located on the grounds of the Agricultural History Farm Park. The exhibit showcases photographs, documents, family mementos, local history, and rarely seen artifacts excavated from the site. Free.
  • Black History Month Family Day. Saturday, Feb. 18. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park, 16501 Norwood Road, Sandy Spring. Enjoy a self-guided exploration of Montgomery County’s Black history at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park. Stop by the visitor’s center to pick up take-home activities (for ages 5-12) and trail maps to explore the Underground Railroad Experience Trail. All ages. Free.
  • When the Stars Align: Celestial Navigation and the Underground Railroad. Saturday, Feb. 25. 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m. Josiah Henson Museum and Park, 11410 Old Georgetown Road, North Bethesda. Learn about the crucial role of the night sky in guiding and empowering freedom seekers in their perilous journeys north along the Underground Railroad. Guest speakers: historian Sylvea Hollis, astronomer Lou Strolger and Sophie Hess. Ages 6 and older. (Registration for this program is full, but there will be a limited number of seats available on a first-come, first-served basis). Free.
African American history is on display year-round through Montgomery Parks, which is home to several facilities dedicated to the history of African Americans in the County:
  • The Josiah Henson Museum and Park is the first museum in the United States dedicated to Reverend Josiah Henson. Located on the grounds of the former plantation where Henson was enslaved prior to self-emancipating to Canada, the site includes a visitor center, a historic house with an attached log kitchen dating to 1850, and a four-acre landscaped park with accessible walking paths.
Indoor and outdoor interpretive exhibits throughout the property detail Henson’s inspirational life story, enslavement in Maryland, and the ongoing struggles for racial equality and justice. The park is part of the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.

Hours: Friday-Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 pm, Sundays, noon-4 p.m. Admission: $5 (adults); $4 (ages 6-17); $4 (seniors); Free (5 and under).
  • Oakley Cabin African American Museum and Park is a living history museum that promotes awareness of and education about the Reconstruction Era and the free Black rural communities that appeared after the Civil War. In addition to the cabin, which is located on a former farm and plantation, the site includes the .7-mile natural surface Oakley Cabin Trail.
Hours: The second and fourth Saturdays, April through October. Noon-4 p.m.
  • Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park is a glimpse into Montgomery County’s agricultural past. The park, which is located on historic grounds, features the Underground Railroad Experience Trail, the Woodlawn Museum housed in the 1832 stone barn and the Federal-era Woodlawn Manor House, which dates to the early 1800s. The park is part of the Rachel Carson Greenway and the National Park Service National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom program.
Hours: Woodlawn Museum and Visitor Center, April through November. Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Sundays Noon-4 p.m. Admission: $5 (adults); $4 (ages 6-17); $4 (seniors); free (5 and under).

Note: Woodlawn Manor House is closed for renovations and will be reopening for guided tours and business meeting rentals later in 2023. Trail and park grounds are open sunrise to sunset.

‘Stories to Broaden Understanding’ Authors Series at Montgomery County Public Libraries Continues with Guests Reem Faruqi, Mojdeh Bahar, Diana Abu-Jaber

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is offering a series of free author talks from February to April 2023 in partnership with the Office of Community Partnerships’ Middle Eastern American Advisory Group (MEAGG) and the Baltimore Luxor Alexandria Sister City Committee. The free talks will include Reem Faruqi on Tuesday, Feb. 7; Mojdeh Bahar on Tuesday, March 7; and Diana Abu-Jaber on Tuesday, April 11.

“Stories to Broaden Understanding” will have authors Faruqi and Abu-Jaber appearing virtually and author Bahar appearing in at the Rockville Memorial Library. Advance registration is required to participate in each program.

“We are delighted to work with our partners and bring these incredibly accomplished authors to MCPL to share their stories with Montgomery County residents,” said MCPL Director Anita Vassallo. “This is a unique opportunity to learn first-hand about their work and their creative processes.”

Information about the authors participating in the Stories to Broaden Understanding series:
  • Reem Faruqi. Tuesday, Feb. 7. 7-8 p.m. Virtual. Reem Faruqi will talk about Milloo’s Mind: The Story of Maryam Faruqi, Trailblazer for Women’s Education. The book is the story of Reem’s grandmother, who founded Happy Home Schools. The schools educated thousands of girls across Pakistan at a time when girls were not encouraged to go to school. Register at https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/7813041.
  • Mojdeh Bahar. Tuesday, March 7. 7-8 p.m. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville. A patent attorney and technology transfer professional in the public sector, Mojdeh Bahar currently chairs the board of directors of the Iranian-American Community Center. Ms. Bahar will discuss the power of poetry in any language and her process of translation. Milkvetch and Violets is her first book of translations from one of her favorite contemporary Persian poets, Mohammad Reza Shafi'i-Kadkani. Register at https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/7817344.
  • Diana Abu-Jaber. Tuesday, April 11. 7-8 p.m. Virtual. Born to an American mother and a Jordanian father, Diana Abu-Jaber teaches writing and literature at Portland State University in Oregon. Ms. Abu-Jaber will talk about her newest book, Fencing with the King, which has been described as a “mesmerizing breakthrough novel of family myths and inheritances.” Register at https://mcpl.libnet.info/event/7813047.
For more information about the series, contact Clotilde Puértolas at Clotilde.puertolas@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Registration for Spring Montgomery Recreation Programs Begins Monday, Feb. 13 

Registration for Spring Recreation Programs Begins Monday, Feb. 13

Registration for Montgomery County Recreation’s (MCR) spring programs begins at 6:30 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 13 for County residents for most program and activities. Registration for Bone Builders, Day Trippers and Senior Outdoor Adventures in Recreation (SOAR) will begin at 9 a.m.  

Non-County residents will be able to register for spring programs beginning at 6:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 15.  

Spring programs and activities are tailored to a variety of interests, skill levels and ages. Offerings include aquatics, fitness, sports, visual and performing arts, therapeutic recreation and adult 55-and-over programming. There are hundreds of programs available that promote an active, healthier lifestyle.  

Programs will become viewable online Friday, Feb. 3, and residents can build their own guide. A digital guide will also be available online. 

Applications are currently being accepted for the Department’s financial assistance program, Rec Assist, which provides eligible County residents with $200 per eligible family member to use toward Recreation programs and activities.   

While online registration is encouraged, registration also will be available by mail, drop-off or in person. On Feb. 13, in person registration will be available at 6:30 a.m. at four of the County’s aquatic centers (Germantown, Kennedy Shriver, Martin Luther King Jr., Olney) and at the administrative offices in Wheaton.  

For more information about registration, visit the website or call the customer service team at 240-777-6840. Summer camps registration is also currently underway. 

Donations of New or Gently Used Items Sought for Second Annual ‘Praisner’s Project Prom Dress’

Donations of New or Gently Used Items Sought for Second Annual ‘Praisner’s Project Prom Dress’

Montgomery County Recreation is working to ensure the dream of attending prom can come true for all high school students. The department is collecting gently used and new dresses, suits and accessories that students will be able to choose from during “Praisner’s Project Prom Dress” giveaway event on Saturday, April 15, at Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center in Burtonsville.

Once collected, the items will be dry cleaned and displayed in a special formal boutique that will be held at Praisner Community Recreation Center. Any high school student showing their school I.D. card will be able to “shop the racks” and select one for free from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. on April 15.

Praisner’s Project Prom Dress seeks to eliminate the financial obstacle of attending prom, which turns out to be, for many students, one of the most memorable days of high school. WPGC 95.5 FM is co-sponsoring the event.

Through March 15, dresses, suits and accessories can be donated at the Marilyn Praisner Community Recreation Center, located at 14906 Old Columbia Pike in Burtonsville. Three community recreation centers will also have specific donation drop-off dates.

Drop-off locations and dates:
  • Germantown Community Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Road, Germantown. Saturday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Jane E. Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow Lane, Chevy Chase. Saturday, Feb. 4, and Saturday, Feb. 25, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville. Through March 15. Monday-Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
  • Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Road, Potomac. Saturday, Feb. 11, and Saturday, March 4, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.

Centenarians Will Be Honored at Special Montgomery County Recreation Celebration in May

County residents who are ages 100 and older or will turn 100 in 2023 will be honored in May at a special celebration. Montgomery County Recreation is now seeking to identify those residents so they can be invited to the event.

Family or friends of a centenarian living in the County who wants to be part of the celebration are asked to fill out this online form or contact the senior programs team at rec.seniors@montgomerycountymd.gov.

In filling out the form, include the centenarian’s name and address and the contact person’s name, email and telephone number.

The deadline to submit information is March 10.