August 15, 2012

Leggett, Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association Reach Agreement Resulting in Improved Services for Residents, Visitors

Rockville Fire Station #3 personnel watch as County Executive Ike Leggett and Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe sign an agreement that will boost communication, promote further cooperation and enhance the volunteer contribution to the County’s combined volunteer and career emergency fire and rescue service.  Also at the table are Fire Chief Richard Bowers (far left) and MontgomeryCounty Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association Executive Director Eric Bernard (far right).

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association have announced an agreement between the County and the Volunteer Association that will improve fire and rescue services for residents and visitors in Montgomery County. The agreement, signed on August 13, will boost communication, promote further cooperation and enhance the volunteer contribution to the County’s combined volunteer and career emergency fire and rescue service.

“Although we are concerned that non-County residents will receive a bill for emergency transport, we do not support a referendum on the Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act,” said Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe. “The fire and rescue service enhancements that will result from this agreement are too critical to jeopardize. The Act will result in significant improvements to emergency services and the safety of County residents.

“County residents, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and career and volunteer personnel will benefit from enhanced fire and rescue service with the implementation of the Emergency Medical Transportation Insurance Reimbursement Act,” said Goodloe. “This agreement fosters a relationship of trust and support and recognizes the valued contributions by our volunteer fire, rescue and emergency medical services personnel.”

“The State of Maryland has decided to shift to Montgomery County what could very well be more than $400 million over 10 years in state teacher pension costs,” Leggett said. “The State has also approved a new ‘Maintenance of Effort’ law on school funding that could force us to add millions more to our reserves each year above and beyond what we already do. These are changed circumstances of monumental significance. The additional revenue the County will receive from insurance reimbursements is vital. It will enable us to enhance fire and rescue services to keep pace with population growth, without cutting other essential County services.

The Executive expressed his appreciation for “the work and efforts by our County officials and representatives from the Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association. In particular, I want to acknowledge Montgomery County Volunteer Fire-Rescue Association President Marcine Goodloe, Executive Director Eric Bernard and Counsel John Bentivolio for their leadership and efforts in forging this agreement.”

Never too Late to Go to the Fair

There's still time to enjoy all the Montgomery County Agricultural Fair has to offer -- now through Saturday the 18th. County Executive Ike Leggett did just that earlier in the week at one of his stops that had him scooping ice cream for the Lions Club.  Everyone seems pleased with the result.  Is that mint chocolate chip?

Take a closer look at what’s going on at this year’s Fair.

County to Honor World War II Veterans; Looking to Contact More Vets

Seventy years ago, World War II changed the history of the world.

On September 19, County Executive Ike Leggett, Council President Roger Berliner and the County Council will honor the men and women who served their nation in that war at a special “Montgomery Honors WW II Vets”ceremony to be held at the Silver Spring Civic Building located at One Veterans Plaza.

 The ceremony will begin at 10:30 a.m.  Speakers will include WW II veterans – now referred to as part of “America’s Greatest Generation.”

The event will be simulcast live on many of the County’s public cable television channels that compose the PEG (Public, Education, Government) Network. In addition, the PEG Network will record the stories of many of the veterans for a documentary that will debut on Veterans Day.

Event organizers are working to contact more of the veterans who will be honored on September 19. The veterans -- or family and friends of the veterans -- seeking more information or wishing to RSVP -- should call 240-777-7929.

Download the event flyer. (pdf)

Resident Strikes Gold in London

County Executive Ike Leggett spoke for all County residents when he extended public appreciation to Bethesda’s Katie Ledecky for her gold medal swim at the London 2012 Olympics:

"As the youngest member of the U.S. Olympic Team, Katie Ledecky’s extraordinary performance in the 800-meter freestyle swimming event not only won her a much deserved Olympic gold medal but has inspired an entire nation of young athletes who will work even harder to reach their own goals of excellence.

"On behalf of Montgomery County, I congratulate Katie on her gold medal win and want her to know how proud we are that she and her family call our community home."

New Dryland Facility Used by US Olympic Dive Team

US Dive Team member and Olympic medalist Nick McCrory (left) used
the new Wall Park facility during the team’s training sessions
in Montgomery County just prior to leaving for London.
Thanks to a new public-private partnership between M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks and the Montgomery Dive Club, the County will have its first dedicated dryland diving training facility.

The partnership has enabled the conversion of a 1,600 square-foot facility from underutilized, standalone handball courts into a multi-purpose acrobatics and gymnastic site for dryland diving training. It will also be used for new community programs and classes for people of all ages. All costs will be covered by the Montgomery Dive Club.

The project was approved in late June 2012 by the Montgomery County Planning Board. The partner immediately moved mobile equipment into the facility so the USA Olympic Diving Team could train there during the week leading up to their departure for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.

Montgomery Dive Club members will now train at the new Wall Park dryland facility, as well as the Eunice Kennedy and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center operated by the County Recreation Department.

Stronger Regulations Implemented to Protect Construction Workers On County Projects

Montgomery County has released new requirements which strengthen protections for construction workers.
The contract requirements, issued by the Department of General Services, resulted from the work of the Worker Safety & Health Commission, established by County Executive Ike Leggett in 2009. The commission, made up of individuals who live and work in Montgomery County with interest and expertise in safety issues, is charged with assisting Maryland Occupational Safety and Health in protecting worker health and safety.

“Every job in our community ought to be a safe job,” said Leggett. “Despite our budget challenges, there are ways we can use existing resources to help reduce workplace injuries and illnesses in the County. And, we can start with the buildings we build. The first major project these stronger regulations would apply to is the new Silver Spring Library, where, right now, we are in the process of choosing a building contractor.”

See the full text of the new requirements.

The Face of Future Public Safety Facilities Takes Shape

Within just the past few weeks, ground has been broken for three new public safety facilities to be located in various parts of the County.
Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad
Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad
The Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad is relocating from its existing structure on Grandview Ave. to a new two-story 29,000 gross-square foot facility to be located at the corner of Georgia and Arcola avenues. A number of elected officials and members of the Fire and Rescue community were on hand to break ground for the new Class 1 Rescue Station with 7,400 square feet of community room and kitchen on the upper floor. The County is contributing approximately 50% of the total cost of the project scheduled for completion late summer 2013.

Police Department’s new 3rd District
Ground was broken recently for the Police Department’s new 3rd District station that will be located at 1002 Milestone Dr. in Silver Spring near the center of the district in White Oak.

The new facility will replace the current 3rd District station at 801 Sligo Ave. in the far south end of the District. That station, built in 1962, does not provide adequate work space, lacks essential security features and is not equipped to accommodate future technology. It has no public meeting space and requires replacement of major building infrastructure components.

The 3rd District covers the entire Route 29 corridor from downtown Silver Spring to Burtonsville.

Travilah Fire Station #32
The first step toward creation of the new Travilah Fire Station #32 occurred with the groundbreaking on August 2. The new state-of-the-art, one-story, 26,550 square-foot fire/rescue station will be located at the intersection of Darnestown and Shady Grove roads. It will serve about 40,000 people within a 13 square-mile area that includes Traville, Fallsgrove, western Rockville, Travilah and North Potomac. The area’s population is expected to increase significantly with the planned development of  The Johns Hopkins University Belward Campus, Life Sciences Center expansion, Crown Village community, Bright View Assisted Living Facility and mixed-use development on the Public Safety Training Academy property.

The station will have four, 20- by 80-foot drive-through apparatus bays; living areas, including dormitory and bunk rooms, kitchen, dining, lounge and exercise rooms; a training room; administrative, battalion and storage spaces; a law enforcement office; and a lobby area.

Seven Transportation Projects Paid for with Recovery Act Funds

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and a host of elected local and federal officials recently celebrated the completion of a road repaving project that improved more than 43 miles of seven roadways using $6.744 million in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding.

The funds for this project employed 50 people -- 47 by the paving contractor and three contract inspectors hired by the County.  The selected roads were designated as high priority projects by the County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) because of their deteriorated condition. 

For the seven repaving projects, the Division of Highway Services (DHS) removed and replaced defective curbs, gutters, sidewalks and pavement surfaces; patched pavement; and installed pavement line markings and raised, reflective pavement markers.

See a list of the road projects with details of the improvements, plus other ARRA-funding for MCDOT.

First-of-its-kind New Farmer Pilot Project Unveiled

The County’s New Farmer Pilot Project, announced recently by County Executive Ike Leggett, is a unique approach to training and mentoring new farmers by placing them on individual, longer-term, leased sites. Ultimately, the program is designed to encourage new farmers to stay in Montgomery County rather than looking elsewhere for available land.

Leggett called the project “…a first-of-its-kind, year-long ‘experiment’ that will train, mentor and support the land access needs of entrepreneurs who want to start new, sustainable farms in Montgomery County." He explained that "The New Farmer Pilot Project will give new farmers a head start by matching them with private land owners and a support network that enables them to grow their businesses."


FROM THE LAST ISSUE, READERS ASKED ABOUT: All That Tree Debris at the Transfer Station

For instance, one wanted to know: How does the amount of debris compare to “normal” times (obviously, it is greater but how much)?   How is it reduced to mulch?  Where does it go from the Transfer Station? And, why is it -- or is it not -- burned along with other trash at the Dickerson power plant?

Peter Karasik, the Section Chief for Central Operations at the Transfer Station responded:
"On an annual average basis, the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station receives about 350 vehicles per day of all sizes delivering yard waste and tree debris.  There are, however, normal seasonal variations. So, a busy day in the spring or early summer may result in 600 to 700 vehicles with yard waste/tree debris coming to our facility, while January and February may have fewer than 100 vehicles per day.

"In the first week after the June 29 storm, we received 1,500 to 2,000 vehicles most days with a record-setting 4,300 vehicles on Tuesday, July 3.

"The Division of Solid Waste Services owns three large horizontal grinders with approximately 1,000-horsepower engines that can grind almost all tree debris except for large stumps which need to be broken up first.  Each of these machines can process more than 100 tons per hour of natural wood waste.

"Our contractor, Grant County Mulch, picks up the mulch, so it is not burned. They pay us about $5 per ton, so we recover some of our processing costs."
Another reader suggested: Why don’t you make all this hardwood available to residents as firewood, rather than turning it all into mulch?  I would be willing to pay for it and load it myself. 

Peter replied:
"Other residents have asked the same question. However, we have some concerns with respect to letting residents come onsite with chain saws and cut up and load bulky wood waste.

"First, we’re concerned about general safety. People would be climbing around piles of wood and shifting logs trying to get at the better material.  It would be a difficult situation to safely manage.

"We also have a very limited amount of space onsite, so we could not keep things moving after a major storm if residents parked in our lot and spent an hour or so cutting wood and loading up their trucks. If we had more space, we could have a professional tree trimming contractor cut up the wood waste and prepare bundles or cords of firewood for sale.

"So although we agree with the concept, we currently just don’t have the space to do it."

Thanks to our readers for their insightful questions. 

MC311 Customer Service Center Extends Hours of Operation

Under the extended hours that recently took effect, the County’s MC311 Customer Service Center (CSC) is now operating from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday through Friday.

An analysis conducted last April (when the center operated until 5 p.m.) indicated that from 5 to 7 p.m. between 135 and 175 calls came in to the center. This means that an additional 700 to 800 customers a week, or more than 3,000 additional customers a month, could be served in the extra two hours. 

Shortly before MC311’s launch in June 2010, a decision was made to operate 10 hours-a-day, five days-a-week until there was a better understanding of call volume and staffing needs.  Over the past two years,  increased portal usage and significant improvements in the call center operations have created greater efficiencies in the operation. 

For those who prefer online contact, the self-service website,, is available 24 hours-a-day, seven days-a-week.

Read more.

Board of Elections Seeks Help on Election Day

Judges with Spanish-Speaking Fluency

Montgomery County Board of Elections is seeking individuals with Spanish speaking fluency to serve as election judges at polling places on Election Day, Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

Election judges must be: registered to vote in the State of Maryland, 18 years of age or older and a U.S. citizen. In addition to Spanish speaking fluency, election judges must also be able to speak, read and write in English. All election judges will be compensated for training and for Election Day service.

Anyone interested in serving should contact the Montgomery County Board of Elections at 240-777-8532, download an election judge questionnaire from or e-mail Dr. Gilberto Zelaya at

Student Election Aides

School-age students, grades 6-12, are needed to serve as Election Day student aides.

Students and their guardians must attend mandatory training to serve on Election Day and, if applicable, to receive Student Service Learning (SSL) credits.  Students are placed in neighboring precincts according to their home addresses. 

Students within a public, private, independent, religious or home-school setting in Montgomery County are eligible to apply.  U.S. citizenship is not a pre-requisite to participate.  Students with bilingual and American Sign Language skills are encouraged to apply.

Interested parents/guardians can register their student(s), before October 1, online by visiting

For additional information, email

New Look, Enhanced Features for Board of Elections' Website

Montgomery County Board of Elections website -- -- has been redesigned with a fresh look, new and enhanced features, and easier and more straightforward navigation tools.

The new site, designed in coordination with the Department of Technology Services, was upgraded in response to requests for improvements and greater accessibility for disabled and non-English speaking constituents.

Visitors to the site should take note. Some of the links within the page have changed.  Voters are encouraged to enter the site via the home page rather than through the utilization of previously bookmarked links.

Give the Gift of Literacy

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write, or speak English on Wednesday, August 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library.

Once volunteers have completed the orientation, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules.  No foreign language skills are necessary. Tutors work one-on-one or with small groups and typically meet with students in libraries or community centers at mutually convenient times.

For complete details, call 301-610-0030, email or visit

Fall Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs Now Available

The fall issue of the Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs is out, and residents are advised to register now for programs, classes and swim lessons.

Print copies of the guide are available at recreation centers, park facilities, government buildings and libraries. Residents who prefer receiving the guide in the mail can pay an annual subscription fee of $5 and receive all five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring).

To view the guide online, or to sign up for a subscription, go to For more information, call 240-777-6840.

Nominations Open for Human Rights Hall of Fame

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is currently accepting nominations for its Seventh Hall of Fame.  Nominations should be individuals – either living or deceased – whose ongoing work, service and contributions have positively impacted human and civil rights in the County.  The deadline for nominations is September 10.

A select number of nominees will be recommended for the Hall of Fame by a panel of community judges.  The induction ceremony is planned for Sunday, October 28, from 3 to 5 p.m., at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown.

The OHR Hall of Fame began in 2001 and is held every other year.  More than 70 individuals have been inducted over the years. 

For a complete listing of inductees, go to  

Nomination forms are available online, or by calling the Office of Human Rights at 240-777-8456.

“Small Business Plus!” is Here

Developed through a unique collaboration between Montgomery County and community banks headquartered in the County, “Small Business Plus!” will promote job growth through small business lending and earn a competitive rate of return for the County on its investment.

Ten million dollars in County funds will be invested in participating community banks that will, in turn, commit an equal amount.  This means that $20 million will be lent to local small businesses to further promote the creation of new jobs.

Banks may participate if they: are headquartered in Montgomery County; have assets greater than $200 million and less than $5 billion; and meet certain safety and soundness standards established by the County.

Read more.

Consumer Protection Tip: Save on Energy Bills 

This summer is setting heat records!  To keep energy bills down, consider investing in a new, energy-efficient heating and cooling unit. You can also seal air leaks in your home, improve insulation and simply set your thermostat higher in the summer.

For more suggestions, visit Maryland Energy Administration’s webpage on Energy Efficient Cooling Systems


Word Gets Around: Housing Counselor Interview Cited in Congressional Record and State Housing Blog

The good word about the work of Carmen Castro-Conroy, a senior counselor with the Housing Initiative Partnership in the County, is spreading.

It started with the Washington Post Magazine’s “First Person Sungular” column about the dedication she brings to her job.  Then came an insertion, by Eighth District Congressman Chris Van Hollen, of the article into the Congressional Record. That was followed by a reference to both previous pieces in “Community Review,” the official blog of the Maryland Department of Housing and Community Development.

In the column, Carmen said, “Losing a home is devastating; just thinking about losing a home is very stressful. It’s my responsibility to encourage them [clients] and to lift them up. I tell them, ‘This is a house; you’re bigger than this, and you’re going to come out of this stronger.’”        

Simply put, “I love what I do.”

County Honored as Leader in Application of Web and Social Media Tools

Montgomery County has been recognized by the Public Technology Institute (PTI) as a leader in the innovative application of Web 2.0 technologies and civic/social media tools. Montgomery County was one of only 10 jurisdictions and one of two County governments in the U.S. to be honored.

More and more, Web 2.0 technologies and social media tools for government affect how public institutions function and deliver services. They encourage cross-agency information sharing for improved communications and service delivery, engaging the public in government decision-making and empowering staff through data access and streamlined processes.

Read more about the recognition.

Montgomery Named High-Ranking Digital County…Again

Montgomery County has been named the sixth ranked digital government in the United States by The Center for Digital Government and the National Association of Counties (NACo). Montgomery County was honored in the category for jurisdictions with populations of 500,000 or greater. This marks the 10th year in a row that Montgomery County has placed in the top 10 in this highly competitive ranking.

The Digital Counties Survey recognizes leading examples of counties using information and communications technology and evaluates entrants on their ability to demonstrate successful outcomes through the strategic use of technology.

 Read more.


Thursday, September 6Public presentation of renovation plans for Ross Boddy Neighborhood Recreation Center. 7 p.m. In the multi-purpose room of the center, 18529 Brooke Rd., Sandy Spring. The departments of Recreation and General Services and the project architects will present the renovation plans that would modernize the facility and add a gymnasium and other improvements. For additional information on the meeting, contact Wilbert Givens at 240-777-8050. Learn more about the project.

Saturday, September 22 -- Car Free Day. The event is organized and promoted by the Council of Governments’ Commuter Connections program to encourage people to use alternative methods of transportation, such as walking, biking, public transportation or going “car lite” by riding in a carpool. The region benefits through improved air quality, reduced traffic congestion and parking demands, and energy conservation.  Car Free Day coincides with International Mobility Week, September 16-22. Pledge to be “car free” or “car lite” at the Council of Governments’ website.  Learn about carpooling options at MCDOT's Commuter Services' website or call 240-773-TRIPS (8747).

Check County Calendar for complete list of events.