November 8, 2012

The Holiday Season Marches into Town

The local holiday season officially gets underway on Saturday, November 17 when the 15th Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. in Downtown Silver Spring. The parade will proceed south on Georgia Ave., ending at Silver Spring Ave.

ABC 7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff returns as master of ceremonies, introducing more than 120 parade units, starting with pilgrims, turkeys and Thanksgiving floats and ending with elves, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh. There will be a variety of bands, including the Washington Redskins Marching Band. The Washington Nationals Baseball Club, dancing groups, beauty queens, clowns, fire engines and rescue animal groups will also participate.

The parade will be held rain or shine and will be broadcast live on NewsChannel 8. The telecast will be repeated on Thanksgiving Day.

See more details about the parade and parking or call 240-777-6821.

Parade Volunteers Needed

The Thanksgiving Parade organizers are looking for volunteers to be gingerbread men, elves and pilgrims on floats or to lead giant helium balloons. Volunteers, age 10 and older, can hand out candy to the crowd, dress up in costume and ride on the floats or act as unit leaders.

Hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. (volunteers need to be present the whole time) on Saturday, November 17. Volunteers meet at the Silver Spring Civic Building at One Veterans Place at Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.

For questions about volunteering, call 240-777-6821.

Public Meetings on Bus Rapid Transit Plan for County Roads

Planners at the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission are working on a plan exploring bus rapid transit (BRT) on the county's main roads.They will unveil their preliminary recommendations and seek input from residents at three public meetings in mid-November. BRT is similar to light rail, but runs on County roads, often in ultra-modern buses.

Residents can receive information on topics such as the results of an assessment of whether existing travel lanes should be used for new transit lanes or whether more lanes should be built.

The meetings will be held, from 6:30 to 9 p.m., according to the following schedule:

  • Tuesday, November 13 -- Montgomery Blair High School, 51 University Blvd. East, Silver Spring;
  • Wednesday, November 14 -- Shady Grove Training Facility, 16641 Crabbs Branch Way, Rockville; and 
  • Thursday, November 15 -- Wheaton Library, 11701 Georgia Ave. 

Residents may drop in any time or view the formal presentation at 7 p.m. Written comments can also be submitted at

Ride On to Operate on Modified Holiday Schedule for Veterans Day Monday Holiday

Bus passengers are reminded that Montgomery County Ride On service will operate on a modified holiday schedule on the Veterans Day holiday, Monday, November 12.

Service on each route – except for Route 94 which will have no service -- will have fewer trips during the day, but will start and end at about the same time as a regular weekday schedule.

Twelve routes will operate on a regular weekday schedule with no changes. These routes include Routes 4, 7, 32, 36, 44, 52, 63, 66, 67, 81, 93 and 98.

For more information about the modified holiday schedule for each route, visit Ride On’s website.

Hit the Ice this Winter Season around the County

Silver Spring Ice Rink; Veterans Skate Free through November 11

The outdoor Silver Spring Ice Skating Rink in Downtown Silver Spring at Veterans' Plaza is open for the season now through March 25, 2013.

As a special “thank you,” Montgomery County and Tri-State Ice Management invites all military veterans to come and skate free now through Veterans Day, Sunday, November 11. Vets will get a free skating pass, including skates.

A variety of restaurants and shops, plus plenty of parking are nearby. Parking is free after 8 p.m. on weeknights and all day on weekends.

Rockville Town Square Rink

The Rockville Town Square Ice Rink is now open for its 2012-13 season.

Also operated by Tri-State Ice Management, the 7,200 square-foot rink is the largest outdoor ice skating rink between Baltimore and Washington, DC. Located on the square between Maryland Ave. and Gibbs St., the rink is surrounded by shops and restaurants suited for a variety of inetersts and tastes.

Cabin John Ice Rink; Special Veterans Day Skate        

Located at 10610 Westlake Drive, Rockville, the indoor Cabin John Ice Rink is open year round but has a variety of seasonal events planned for skaters of all ages.

Cabin John Rink is a Montgomery Parks facility.

There will be a Veterans Day Skate on Sunday, November 11 from 8:30 to10 a.m.; 12:30 to 2:30 p.m.; and 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. This means free skating and skate rentals for all military personnel (veterans and active duty) and their families during these times.

Wheaton Ice Arena; Salute to Veterans with Free Skate for Military Personnel

The other one of the two ice skating facilities owned and managed by Montgomery Parks, Wheaton Ice Arena, is located at 11717 Orebaugh Ave.

In a special salute to veterans, Wheaton Ice Arena is offering free skating and skate rentals for all military personnel (veterans and active duty) and their families on Sunday, November, 11 from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. and 2:45 to 4:45 p.m.

Open year-round, the NHL-size rink offers sessions for all skating abilities and interests. Programs are offered for recreational, freestyle, hockey and speed skaters. Other amenities are a warming room, party rooms, pro shop, and snack bar and workout facility.

Two Vietnam Veterans to Share Experiences in Programs at Public Libraries

Two Vietnam veterans will share their experiences in programs to be held at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) branches in November.

Entitled “Back to Vietnam” and “Reflections of an Army Nurse on Serving in Vietnam,” the programs are hosted by MCPL in partnership with the County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs.

“Back to Vietnam” 

Presented by Mike Marceau, a Purple Heart recipient and vice president of the local chapter of Veterans for Peace. In April 2012, a group of U.S. military veterans returned to Vietnam for a "Peace and Reconciliation" tour to see the country and meet with groups who support victims of Agent Orange spraying.

Marceau will show and discuss a 45-minute film he made during that trip at the following libraries:

  • November 13, 7:30 p.m. Bethesda7400 Arlington Rd. Call 240-777-0970, TTY 301-657-0840;
  • November 26, 7:30 p.m. Rockville Memorial, 21 Maryland Ave. Call 240-777-0140, TTY 240-777-0902; and
  • November 29, 7:30 p.m. Twinbrook, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., Rockville. Call 240-777-0240, TTY 240-777-0904.

“Reflections of an Army Nurse on Serving in Vietnam

Presented by Jane McCarthy who served in the Army Nurse Corps at the 95th Evacuation Hospital in Da Nang, South Vietnam, in 1971 and in the Gulf War in 1991. A founding commissioner on the Montgomery County Veterans Commission, McCarthy is interested in helping returning soldiers from Iraq and Afghanistan with PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) issues.

Her program, including commentary and a slide show, will include her experiences with PTSD. She will present programs at the following libraries:

  • November 15, 4 p.m. Twinbrook, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., Rockville. Call 240-777-0240, TTY 240-777-0904; and
  • November 16, 4 p.m. Rockville Memorial,, 21 Maryland Ave. Call 240-777-0140, TTY 240-777-0902.

Holiday Shoppers: Don’t Leave Home Without… Reusable Bags!

When you set out for holiday gift shopping at the mall, the town center or wherever you prefer to shop, there are certain items you never want to leave home without -- shopping list… car keys…cash and/or credit cards…purse or wallet…and these days, your cell phone.

And, for County residents, there’s one more item to add to the list this year – a supply of reusable shopping bags.  In addition to the traditional reusable bags sold in stores these days, there are various kinds that roll up and fit conveniently in pockets and purses.

As the 2012 holiday shopping season comes round, the message is simple:   “Bring Your Bag; Fight Litter.”


Marathon Tribute to Veterans on County’s Public Cable Stations

Montgomery County’s public cable television stations on Sunday, November 11 and Monday, November 12 will broadcast a 13-hour marathon tribute to veterans to help in the County’s recognition of Veterans Day. The tribute will include the first-ever broadcast of extended interviews with 14 local veterans from World War II.

County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) will begin broadcasting the tribute each day at 9:30 a.m. and continue to 10:30 p.m.

The marathon will open with the rebroadcast of the September 19 event in Silver Spring in which Montgomery County saluted area World War II veterans and will continue at 11:20 a.m. each day with the series of interviews with World War II veterans. The tribute will conclude with a contrast of generations as Montgomery College student Alex Cole interviews veteran Dee Paris, 97, whose World War II experiences include being a tank commander in the Battle of the Bulge.

The marathon is a cooperative production of the County’s PEG (Public-Education-Government) organization of public cable television stations.

See more details and check the viewing schedule for individual interviews.

Seminar on Legal Process of Separation and Divorce

Two seminars – one in English and one in Spanish - that focus on the legal process of separation and divorce in Montgomery County will be held on Thursday, November 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave.

Entitled “When a Marriage Ends:  Financial, Property and Practical Issues Both Wife and Husband Must Consider,” the programs will include topics such as: grounds for divorce; types of divorce; what to expect in court and alternatives to court; alimony; domestic violence; and child custody.

The seminar is presented by the Montgomery County Commission for Women in partnership with the Bar Association of Montgomery County, Family Law Section; the Montgomery County Women’s Bar Association; and the Montgomery County Divorce Roundtable.

The fee is $10 per seminar if pre-registering and $15 at the door. To pre-register, go to

For more information, call 240-777-8300.

Intercounty Connector Bike and Pedestrian Path Information Available Online

Information about bicycle and pedestrian paths near the Intercounty Connector (ICC)/MD 200 is now available on the ICC's Project Website.  Maps indicating current trails and trails expected to be completed by Montgomery and Prince George’s counties at a later date are included.

The counties are still developing some segments of the bicycle/pedestrian plan.  Once completed, the ICC bicycle/pedestrian route will allow cyclists to travel from the Shady Grove Metrorail station to the Muirkirk Commuter Rail Station.

Home Savers:  A Specialized Foreclosure Prevention Program

Low- to moderate-income families in Montgomery County who are having trouble paying condo/HOA fees or seniors with reverse mortgages who are struggling to pay their property taxes should know about the Home Savers program.

Sponsored by Asian-American Homeownership Counseling, Inc., Home Savers rescues homes from foreclosure due to homeowners condo/HOA fees or property tax defaults.

See information flyer.

Residents with questions should speak with a counselor -- or sign up for an orientation session -- by calling 301-760-7636 or emailing

The Season of Giving: Volunteer Opportunities Abound

The holiday season is a time of giving and receiving.  But for many of our neighbors in Montgomery County, the need is great but the “receiving” may be sparse.  That’s why there’s no time like the present to give of your time and volunteer to help ensure that those less fortunate have a bright holiday season.

If you have a few spare moments and want to volunteer in the weeks ahead, check out the Volunteer Center website that will lead you to wide variety of opportunities for all ages and interests during the holidays…and beyond.

Volunteer. It’s time well spent.

Consumer Protection Wants You to Know about…Safely Shopping Online

With the coming of another holiday season, shopping online or by phone is a convenient way to buy gifts and never leave home.  However, the Office of Consumer Protection reminds residents that buying online is also a convenient opportunity for scammers to take advantage of consumers.

When shopping, do business only with companies you know to be legitimate.  Don’t give out personal information such as your social security number on websites.  Make sure to keep a record of your purchase, and print out the confirmation page after a sale.  Take advantage of item tracking, and be aware of the merchant’s return policy.

Learn more.


Thursday November 15 -- 10th Annual Federal Employees Health Benefits Forum.  9 - 11 a.m. (panel at 9:30 a.m.)  Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton. Congressman Chris Van Hollen will hold the forum in cooperation with National Active and Retired Federal Employees. Experts on federal health insurance plans and representatives of health insurance carriers will discuss various health plan options and the impact of new health care reforms, plus answer individual questions. See more details.

Saturday, Sunday, November 17-18 -- Holiday Gifts & Decor Workshop (2-days).  10 a.m. - 1 p.m. Glen Echo Park, Art Glass Center, 7300 MacArthur Blvd., Glen Echo.   Instead of looking for that special gift, make it yourself. Choose any two of the following items -- business card or napkin holders, small 5”x5” candy dishes, votive candle holders or a small 5”x7” mirror. Supplies included. $250. To register or receive more details for this class and others, visit Also,

Wednesday, November 28 -- 10th Annual Federal Employees Health Benefits Forum.
7 - 9 p.m. (panel at 7:30 p.m.) Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville. Congressman Chris Van Hollen will hold the forum in cooperation with National Active and Retired Federal Employees. Experts on federal health insurance plans and representatives of health insurance carriers will discuss various health plan options and the impact of new health care reforms, plus answer individual questions. See more details.

November 2, 2012

Another Media Endorsement FOR Question B

The Washington Examiner has joined The Washington Post and The Gazette in endorsing a FOR vote on Question B.

It’s Time: Set Clock Back, Put Batteries in Detectors

With the end of Daylight Savings Time, the Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) urges all residents to check the batteries in their smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors to ensure they are working when they change their clocks this weekend.  

“Home fires injure and kill thousands every year,” said Fire Chief Richard Bowers. “Smoke alarms that are properly installed and maintained play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. I encourage everyone to test their smoke alarms, replace any alarms that are 10 years or older and conduct a home fire drill this weekend.”

MCFRS will provide and install smoke alarm batteries at no cost to residents and will provide and install smoke alarms for residents who cannot afford them.

Call 311 for information and bookmark the MCFRS website -- -- for year-round safety information.

Watch a short public service announcement reminder about changing the batteries.

General Election Returns on County Website

Up-to-the-moment election results for the November 6 General Election will be accessible on the Board of Elections website at

Early Voting returns will be tabulated on Election Day and will be available as soon after 8 p.m. as possible.

Election Day returns will be available beginning at 9:20 p.m. on Tuesday and will be updated every 20 minutes.  

Residents who do not have internet access are invited to visit the Board of Elections in Gaithersburg at 18753 N. Frederick Ave. Suite 210. Election results will be displayed in the lower-level training room as the votes are counted.

An election-related logo on the Elections’ website – – will provide a link directly to the return page, as well as links to the Prince George’s County, state, and national election returns. 

Coming up: Vacuum Collection of Leaves

The Montgomery County Department of Transportation Division of Highway Services (DHS) will conduct its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County from November 5 through mid-December. Two collections are made on every street in the vacuum leaf collection district during the fall.

The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George's County lines.

Residents should look for signs posted along the streets announcing the collection dates in their neighborhoods. Green signs indicate the first collection, and red signs marking the second and final collection.

Collections are restricted to leaves only. Tree debris, sticks, branches or coarse garden debris should be placed in containers or tied in bundles not more than four feet long and placed where household trash is regularly picked up.

Get more information on the collections, such as how and where to place the leaves, how to find when your street will be vacuumed and what to do if you miss a collection. 

County Holiday Schedule for Veteran’s Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Veterans Day on Monday, November 12:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Public Libraries – closed 
  • County liquor stores – open 
  • Recreation – aquatic and community centers are open as scheduled. Aquatic classes and programs will meet as scheduled. All other classes, administrative offices, senior centers and all senior programs will be closed 
  • Ride On – Special modified holiday schedule (, click on “Holidays” to see specific schedules) 
  • Metrobus – Saturday supplemental schedule 
  • Metrorail – Saturday schedule (5 a.m. to midnight) 
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed 
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – regular collection 
  • Transfer Station – open 
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free 
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – open 
  • State offices & courts – closed 


Second Annual Homeless Resource Day

County residents experiencing homelessness are invited to participate in the second annual Homeless Resource Day on Thursday, November 15, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Bohrer Park Activity Center, 506 South Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg

Sponsored by Montgomery County and the City of Gaithersburg, the event will offer a wide range of resources for homeless residents.  More than 30 organizations will provide information and resources for individuals and families such as free medical screening, legal services, financial counseling, employment services, tax assistance, substance abuse and mental health counseling, and social services.
Free transportation will be provided from seven locations throughout the County.  Registration is not required and the event is free. 

Volunteers are needed to assist in a variety of roles.  For more information or to register as a volunteer, go to or call Gloria Huggins at 240-777-4565.

Recreation Department Winter Coat Drive

Montgomery County Recreation is collecting coats to support the Montgomery County Government/City of Gaithersburg Homeless Resource Day.  Interfaith Works, which provides shelter, clothing and food to community members in need, is coordinating the coat drive. There is a lesser need for children’s coats, but they will also be accepted.

Gently used winter coats can be dropped off at the following Recreation facilities through November 8:

  • Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., N. Bethesda;
  • Holiday Park Senior Center, 3950 Ferrara Dr., Wheaton;
  • Jane Lawton Community Recreation Center, 4301 Willow La., Chevy Chase;
  • Long Branch Community Recreation Center/Senior Center, 8700 Piney Branch Rd., Silver Spring;
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Swim Center, 1201 Jackson Rd., Silver Spring;
  • Olney Indoor Swim Center, 16605 Georgia Ave., Olney;
  • Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Rd., Potomac;
  • Upper County Community Recreation Center, 8201 Emory Grove Rd., Gaithersburg; and
  • Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center, 5311 Friendship Blvd., Chevy Chase.
For more information about the Interfaith Works Coat Drive, call Christine Hong, 240-498-7727. 

For information about the Recreation Department donation sites, call Judy Stiles at 240-777-6875.  For information about the second annual Homeless Resource Day, visit

Free Presentation for Public about Affordable Care Act

The public is invited to a free discussion on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) on Monday, November 12, from 6 to 7 p.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Building in Downtown Silver Spring. 
The Department of Health and Human Services’ director, Uma
Ahluwalia, will present an overview of the ACA and how it will impact Montgomery County and Maryland. A question-and-answer period will follow.

Among the questions that will be addressed are: What additional changes are authorized by the ACA?  How is Maryland preparing for ACA implementation?  What impact will the ACA have within Montgomery County?

For more information, contact Dourakine Rosarian at 240-777-4397. To request sign
 language interpreter services or other assistance to participate in this meeting, call
Shantee Jackson at 240-777-1058 (voice), 240-777-1295 (TTY) or email  by November 8.

Help Seniors Help Themselves

The Senior Connection of Montgomery County, Inc. links older adults to services and resources so they can live as independently as possible while remaining integral members of their community.
Volunteers can help by:

  • Escorting an individual or couple to the store; assisting them with reading labels, reaching items from the shelf, delivering them home and helping put them away; or
  •  Shopping for someone who may not be able to go to the store.

Senior Connection volunteers are matched with a senior for regularly scheduled grocery shopping assistance and find that fitting in a weekly or bimonthly grocery shopping trip can be accomplished even with a full time job. 

To learn more and/or to download an application, visit or contact Marcia Custer at 301-962-0820, ext.14 or email

Consumer Protection Wants You to Know about…the County’s Domestic Worker Law 

Do you have a nanny…a housekeeper… or a companion for a sick or elderly family member?  If you answered “yes,” Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) wants to remind you of the County’s Domestic Worker Law.    

If you employ someone as a nanny, housekeeper, cook or a companion, you may be required to offer that individual a written employment contract and abide by state wage and workers’ compensation laws.  Failure to comply with the county’s law may result in a civil penalty of $1,000 for each violation.  The Domestic Worker Law applies if the worker:
  •  works primarily in a Montgomery County residence
  •  works at least 20 hours per week for at least a 30 day period
  •  performs primarily childcare, housekeeping, cooking, cleaning or laundry-type work
  •  works as a companion to a sick, convalescing, disabled, or elderly individual
  • has an employer that is an individual or an employment agency

To learn more about the Domestic Worker Law, contact OCP at 240-777-3636 or visit for additional resources.