December 5, 2012

Leggett Announces New Open Government Efforts

County Executive Isiah Leggett has announced a major advance in the County’s open government efforts that will significantly improve government transparency, accessibility and efficiency.  Joining him for the December 5 announcement was County Councilmember Hans Riemer who initiated the open government legislation that was passed earlier in the week (Bill 23-12) to support the County’s open government efforts into the future.

Leggett’s announcement included a new digital roadmap that will guide the County’s efforts to deliver better services using modern tools and technologies; a new open data website that will provide constituents with convenient access to a growing variety of information; a new social media platform to encourage public participation on key County issues; and, new mobile versions of the County’s award-winning web portal, MC311 website, and Storm Operations website.  Read more

Council Elects Nancy Navarro as President; Craig Rice as Vice President

The Montgomery County Council has unanimously elected Nancy Navarro as president and Craig Rice as vice president of the Council for the coming year.

Navarro, who represents District 4, is the first Latina president of the Council. In addition to serving as vice president for the past year, she chairs the Council’s Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee and serves on the Health and Human Services Committee.

Setting the tone for her presidency, Navarro said, “I want to talk about One Montgomery.  To me, One Montgomery means recognizing the differences among us, while emphasizing that however different our backgrounds or our lifestyles may be, we are all connected. We all depend on each other. We all share the same need for a government that encourages economic growth, protects our families, educates our children, and provides a safety net in case we fall on hard times.”

Council Vice President Rice, who represents District 2, was elected to the Council in November 2010. He is the youngest African American to ever serve on the Council and only the second African American man to serve.  He is a member of the Council’s Education Committee and the Health and Human Services Committee, where he serves as the lead member for libraries.

Council Member Roger Berliner Wraps Up One-Year Term as Council President

Click here for the complete text of his remarks.

DFRS to Again Collect Toys for Needy Families

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service and local fire and rescue departments will again be collecting toys for needy families and underprivileged children during the 2012 holiday season starting on December 5. For many years various Montgomery County volunteer fire and rescue stations have worked with local community groups, civic organizations and government agencies to make the holiday season a little better for area families.

All Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Stations will serve as drop off sites for new unwrapped toys, including those toys to be used for existing annual local volunteer fire department initiatives supporting neighborhood and local community holiday programs, as well as the regional 2012 Toys for Tots Campaign in conjunction with the United States Marines.

Fire Departments throughout the metro region, including those in Montgomery County, will be collecting toys for children during the 2012 holiday season. Toys may be dropped off until December 18.

Team Announced for Redevelopment of Public Service Training Academy Property

A specialized eight-member team has been selected by the Department of General Services to develop the County’s former Public Safety Training Academy (PSTA) property located at Route 28 and Great Seneca Highway in Rockville.

The redevelopment team will be led by Hines, a privately owned firm involved in real estate investment, development and property management worldwide.

Announcing the project and team, County Executive Ike Leggett said, “The next step in the County’s Smart Growth Initiative is the redevelopment of the former Public Safety Training Academy property to create a transit-oriented community adjacent to higher education campuses.”

Under the Smart Growth Initiative, key County properties are redeveloped to support mixed-use, transit-oriented, sustainable developments.

The project is expected to include up to 2,000 housing units to serve a broad range of incomes and needs, along with stores, shops and work places and will move forward Leggett’s Smart Growth Initiative in the County’s life sciences corridor.

Campaigns Unveiled to Promote Safety for Pedestrians, Drivers and Shoppers during Holiday Season

Two education campaigns to improve public safety by encouraging residents to look out for each other during the busy holiday shopping season have been announced by Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Police Chief J. Thomas Manger. Joining them for the announcement was Montgomery County Fire Chief Richard Bowers.

The seasonal change back to standard time, typically associated with a rise in pedestrian collisions, combined with increases in both pedestrian and vehicular traffic on roads and in parking lots, make this time of year especially challenging for drivers, pedestrians and shoppers.

To try to reduce collisions and raise awareness, a new Montgomery County Department of Transportation (MCDOT) pedestrian safety campaign features bus posters showing the eyes of two County students with the slogan, “Hey You, I’m Looking at You.”  The campaign focuses attention on two of the most important factors in reducing crashes – visibility of pedestrians and vigilance by drivers.  

Chief Manger also announced the annual “Shop with a Cop” campaign. Now through December 23, officers in all six Montgomery County police districts will patrol retail areas to provide extra security and remind shoppers to drive and walk safe -- especially in parking lots.

Officers will distribute about 5,000 reusable shopping bags, funded by MCDOT, featuring the “Eyes” campaign photos to remind drivers and pedestrians to watch out for one another. 

County’s Priorities for 2013 General Assembly Session

Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2013 General Assembly Session were presented at the Montgomery County Delegation’s Joint Priorities Hearing on November 14.

Transportation topped other issues for the municipal, business and community officials and representatives present, while education supporters requested continued funding for schools and projects.

  • Transportation Priorities (pdf)
  • Montgomery County’s Priorities for the 2013 Session “Invest in Montgomery” (pdf)

Register Now for Winter Recreation Programs

Don’t take a holiday from physical or mental activity, just because winter’s coming.

The winter issue of the Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs features hundreds of programs and activities for all ages, interests and abilities that will help keep residents active during the winter months. 

Registrations are now being taken for winter programs and classes, while registration for swim lessons opens on December 12. 
Register online or by mail, fax, or in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administrative Offices located at 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

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 a full year of 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.

A Holiday Gift to the Environment – Reduce, Reuse and Recycle

Residents are reminded that this holiday season is a good time to begin helping the County reach its new goal to reduce waste and recycle 70 percent of the waste stream by 2020. It’s simple -- reduce the amount of waste you individually generate and recycle everything possible.

The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS), in the Department of Environmental Protection, notes that although the winter holiday season traditionally produces extra amounts of waste, there are many ways to reduce what individual households might generate now and throughout the year.

Get tips about: ridding your household of unwanted mail; how to reduce, reuse and recycle when shopping, wrapping and entertaining; and signing up for electronic holiday collection schedule reminders. 


The Message is Getting Around…Bring Your Bag(s) when Holiday Shopping

To help remind Montgomery County residents and shoppers to keep their reusable bags handy when visiting local retailers this holiday season -- and beyond -- the County has launched a public education campaign featuring the slogan, “Holiday Shopping? Bring Your Bag; Fight Litter.” 

Look for the ads on Ride On buses and at bus shelters and the commercial airing on cable TV.

Wheaton Urban District Unveils New Logo, Website Design

The Wheaton Urban District unveiled its new logo and website design at, which creates a one-stop online destination for the latest news and information on downtown Wheaton. The new site improves navigation and increases focus on engaging users through social networking sites and blogs.

County Cable Offers Improved Format for A.M. and P.M. Traffic Camera Segments

County Cable Montgomery, working with the Department of Transportation’s Transportation Management Center, now offers enhanced traffic camera coverage during the morning and evening rush hours that allows residents to check road conditions more conveniently for their commutes.

Instead of seeing just one camera at a time, you now see views from four cameras at once, with each view organized by category: interstates; major arterials west of and including MD 355; major arterials east of MD 355; and all the remaining cameras. Major traffic incidents are also listed.

This improvement means that residents can view every one of the County’s 200 cameras every four minutes.  Previously, the same viewing took more than 15 minutes.

View the new format on Montgomery County Cable directly or via their website.  Specific camera images can still be called up on the website, as well.

The Civil War in Montgomery County on Your Phone

Thanks to Heritage Montgomery (HM) and some 21st-century technology, that’s entirely possible.

Now, with a new smartphone app, “A Civil War Tour of Montgomery County, Maryland,” you can select and stream or download historic tours of Civil War sites throughout the County to use the next time you’re out exploring the area. The free app is available for both Android and iPhone users.

The app features a wide variety of unique historic locations and tells the story of local life in the 1860s. Interactive GPS maps that include your current location and all points of interest on the tours provide easy navigation. The full-color video and slideshows and compelling narrative share the history of the sites you are seeing. Contact information including websites and phone numbers for each location delivers all the information you need for each tour stop.

To download HM’s free app, visit the Android Market or App Store and search “Civil War Montgomery County.”

Fenton Street Market Hosts Holiday Marketplace

Veterans Plaza in Downtown Silver Spring will be transformed into a holiday marketplace on Saturday, December 22 (last Saturday before Christmas) – showcasing the wares of more than 75 local vendors for the convenience of shoppers. 

The market, operated by Fenton Street Market, will be open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Community Use of Public Facilities Office has Moved

The Community Use of Public Facilities Office (CUPF) is now located at 255 Rockville Pike, Suite 201, Rockville MD 20850. Phone numbers will remain the same.

For directions and map, visit

Starting in December, Ride On Customers can Load Monthly Pass onto SmarTrip® Cards

Ride On passengers will be able to load monthly passes onto their SmarTrip® cards, beginning with December’s pass.  The $45 monthly pass provides customers unlimited rides on Montgomery County Ride On buses for an entire calendar month.  Paper passes are being phased out and will no longer be available after January 31, 2013.  Passengers will continue to have the option of paying fares with cash.

Monthly passes can be loaded onto SmarTrip® cards either in person or online.  When adding value online, customers have the option of purchasing monthly passes automatically.  The automatic monthly pass value is then added to a purchaser’s card seven days before the end of every month. 

The Ride On monthly pass represents a 43% savings over paying cash fares on regular Ride On routes.

Students Invited to Enter Literary Competition for MLK Celebration

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Commemorative Committee is seeking entries from elementary, middle and high school students in Montgomery County for its literary arts contest in observance of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

Entries must be 150 words, or less, in a poetry or essay format.  Entries will be judged on understanding and appreciation of the ideals of Dr. King; clarity and originality of expression; and adherence to the 2013 theme, “HIS dream…iAct…WE change!”  The deadline for submitting entries is Friday, December 14, by 5 p.m.

Participating schools should submit a maximum of three entries per school to the MLK Essay Contest, c/o Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, 21 Maryland Ave., Rockville, MD 20850

The top two winners from all entries will be invited to read their essays and receive an award presented by the County Executive and The Gazette Newspapers as part of the County-wide MLK celebration on Sunday, January 20, 2013, at 3 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore.
For more information, contact James Stowe, director of the County’s Office of Human Rights, at 240-777-8491 or email

Consumer Protection wants You to Know About...Gift Cards 

Gift cards can be the ideal gift for the person who has everything.

But, how much do you know about them? Money on a gift card cannot expire for at least five years from the date the card was purchased, or from the last date any additional money was loaded onto the card. If the expiration date listed on the card is earlier than these dates, the money can be transferred to a replacement card at no cost.

For more information about gift cards, and tips on how to purchase and use them, read the FTC’s free guide.


Eleven Businesses in County Make Inc.’s Top 500 List

The Department of Economic Development has announced that  Montgomery County has 11 local companies on the 2012 Inc.500 list, designating them as some of the fastest-growing private companies in America.

Of the 11, two are part of the County's Business Innovation Network -- E-SAC in the Rockville Innovation Center is #241 and Special Operations Solutions in the Silver Spring Innovation Center was rated #269.
See more about all the Montgomery County businesses that made the Inc.500 list this year.

Executive Receives Humane Society Award 

Photo caption: Presenting the award to Leggett at the 14th annual Love Ball were Joanne Hoffman, chair of the MCHS board of directors (left) and Cris Bombaugh, president and CEO of MCHS.
County Executive Ike Leggett has received the 2012 Humane Award from the Montgomery County Humane Society (MCHS) in recognition of his efforts to make construction of a new animal shelter a reality.

Groundbreaking for a new Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center at the intersection of Muncaster Mill and Airpark roads in Derwood, took place in January.  Expected to open in late summer 2013, the new facility will replace the current shelter built in 1975.

The new complex will expand the County’s ability to care for animals safely and hygienically, as well as serve as a public adoption center and community education resource for animal advocacy and care issues.

Leggett is a two-time winner of the award from MCHS, the first received in 1993. 

Office of Human Resources Receives Honors from Local Government Personnel Association

The Office of Human Resources (OHR) was recently recognized by the Local Government Personnel Association (LGPA) of the Baltimore-Washington Metropolitan Area for its public service and delivery of quality services.  The awards were presented at the Professional Development Conference and Awards Luncheon at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments in Washington, D.C.

The County’s Rewarding Excellence/Gainsharing Program received the LGPA’s “Best and Brightest” personnel award.  The bonus incentive program, launched in January 2010, is designed to encourage and promote new, innovative ideas, concepts and strategies for the cost-effective delivery of County services and products.  Employees are rewarded for implemented recommendations that improve efficiency, increase productivity, reduce costs, streamline operations and enhance customer satisfaction.

The LGPA Board of Directors also announced that Kaye Beckley, manager, Business Operations & Performance Management in OHR, has been appointed as the incoming LGPA president.

A certificate of appreciation was presented to Human Resource Specialist Laetitia Gnago for spearheading the completion of the LGPA annual Benchmark Salary and Comprehensive Benefits Survey.

For more information about the award, or about the Gainsharing Program, contact Melissa Boone-Miller at 240-777-5016.