October 11, 2012

NOTEWORTHY NOTES

A Visual Preview of the World of Montgomery Festival

Get an idea of the excitement, color and flavor of the World of Montgomery Festival and see for yourself what you can expect in Wheaton on Sunday, October 21. Take a look.

Time to Give Back – Community Service Day October 27

County residents are invited to make plans now to give a few hours of their time to their community by joining family, friends, neighbors, fellow students and co-workers during Community Service Week, which kicks off on Monday, October 22 and runs through Sunday, October 28.
Service projects are posted on the Community Service Day  website. Many of the available service projects provide middle and high school students with the opportunity to earn Student Service Learning hours.
Or, you can plan an event of your own.   If your school, neighborhood association or other group already has a project in mind, make sure we know about it by filling out the Community Service Day Project Form.

Have a Hoot on Halloween and Beyond

Montgomery County Recreation is offering a number of safe and fun-filled age-appropriate Halloween alternatives for all ages during the Halloween season.  Activities range from a Haunted Forest, Magic Show and a Hoot Dance to a Fall Festival.
Check out the schedule and programs.

Health and Human Services Announces Soft Launch of New Website: Public Feedback Invited

Montgomery County’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) announced the launch of its new department website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/hhs/indexnew.html.
The site has been redesigned with a fresh look, new and enhanced features, and easier and more straightforward navigation tools.

The department is seeking feedback and suggestions from users during the soft launch period and will incorporate suggestions when feasible. The official public launch of the website will take place in approximately 30 days (November 8).

Read more about the site.

Car Sharing Expands in County

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has announced a significant expansion of commercial car sharing services in the County at no cost to the County.

Car sharing provides commuters or other travelers who primarily rely on transit, car/vanpooling, biking or walking, access to a car when needed and can also save them money.  The availability of car sharing may help some residents go “car free” or provide a second car for multi-driver households that only need occasional access to a second vehicle.

Two car sharing companies, Zipcar and Hertz on Demand, were selected following a competitive bid process that allowed vendors to choose locations that best fit their service areas and the types of vehicles they offer.  Twenty-six vehicles have been made available at 13 locations in Bethesda, Silver Spring, Wheaton, Montgomery Hills and North Bethesda. 

Learn more about specific sites and check out links to additional information.

The Message for Fire Prevention Month -- “Have Two Ways Out”

October is Fire Prevention Month and fire stations around Montgomery County are hosting many educational, family-oriented activities and Open Houses throughout the month. This year’s theme focuses on the importance of fire escape planning and urges residents to develop and practice an escape plan and “Have Two Ways Out!”

All Open House events are free and will feature many exciting activities including tours of the station, fire safety activities, educational information/handouts, demonstrations of emergency equipment and much more.
See a complete list of activities planned throughout the entire month.

Advice to Consumers: Read Fine Print on Advertising Directories 

Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) urges residents to carefully read all advertisements and solicitations that may come to their homes and not be misled as to the publication’s origin.

For example, a recent issue of “Best Pick Reports™,” an advertising directory that recommends merchants and is mailed to homes, was mistakenly assumed to be a product of OCP.  This direct mail advertisement is actually published by EBSCO Research which maintains a business relationship with the merchants referenced in the directory -- in which the merchants pay the publisher for the opportunity to be included.

While the County points out that some or all of the merchants may or may not be excellent service providers, the format and use of terms such as “Independent Consumer Satisfaction Research,” may mislead some consumers.

“Finding reputable and affordable service providers such as plumbers, roofers and heating/AC contractors, can be a daunting task for consumers,” said OCP Director Eric Friedman.  “We recommend that consumers contact our office to check a merchant’s complaint history and consult guides published by non-profit research organizations such as Washington Consumer’s CHECKBOOK Magazine.”
  
For more information, call 240-777-3636.

County Honors Late Community Activist

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett recently unveiled a plaque naming Montgomery County’s CountyStat Meeting Center the “Wayne Goldstein Center for Responsible Government.”  Goldstein, a longtime civic activist and past president of the Montgomery County Civic Federation, passed away in April 2009.

CountyStat is an accountability and assessment process that reinforces the County government’s focus on results in an effort to improve performance.

“Wayne was an avid proponent of our CountyStat program,” said Leggett.  “I can honestly say that his advocacy and support for this initiative were instrumental in getting this program up and running in Montgomery County.  Naming this meeting room in his honor will remind everyone who enters this room of his tireless efforts to open the doors of County government and encourage greater public participation.”

Information about CountyStat – including meeting dates, topics and discussion materials – can be found on the Montgomery County website at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/countystat.

Job Hunting Help for People Over Age 50

The tight job market of the last few years has been especially challenging for people over age 50.  The good news is that Montgomery County has excellent resources to assist residents in their search for the right job.
There are a variety of agencies and programs that provide services and support – including resume preparation, job search strategies, interview techniques and ways to identify employment opportunities.
If you are over age 50 and looking for a new job, check out these programs:
Get more information on various senior issues, including employment at Senior Site.

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