December 5, 2012


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.