October 26, 2012

Preparedness Tips for Arrival of Hurricane Sandy

With Hurricane Sandy approaching the Washington DC region, officials remind residents that they should prepare for the possibility of high winds, power outages and flooding.

Some general tips:
  • Anyone who has not already signed up for the County’s Alert Montgomery notification system is encouraged to do at https://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov. Select the types of emergency alerts you are interested in receiving, along with the devices to which you would like the messages sent (cell phones, text pagers, wireless PDAs, home and work emails).
  • During severe weather and all other times, residents are reminded to call 911 only in emergencies that threaten life or property, which include any type of fire or serious medical condition, when there is fear for personal safety or the safety of others, or during a crime in progress
  • For non-emergency County government issues, call 311 or 301-777-0311.
  • For non-emergency police assistance, call the police non-emergency number, 301-279-8000.

Important Utility Numbers:

  • Pepco: 1-877-737-2662
  • Baltimore Gas and Electric (BG&E): 1-877-778-2222 or 1-800-685-0123
  • Potomac Edison (Allegheny Power): 1-800-255-3443
  • Washington Gas: 800-752-7520
  • WSSC: 1-800-828-4002

Get specific tips for being prepared before, during and after the storm.

Also, check out additional general emergency preparedness information.

For? or Against?: State and Local Ballot Questions and What They Mean

The November election is filled with candidates and issues on all levels that require our focused attention. For example, in Maryland and Montgomery County, alone, there are nine questions that deserve careful scrutiny. But, in many cases, after reading the language on the ballot, we’re left thinking: “What does that really mean?” And, “If I support the question, do I actually cast a For vote, or an Against vote?”

In an effort to clarify the ballot questions, The Paperless Airplane is sharing a document we received that presents the questions -- and an accompanying explanation of a For and Against vote for each  – in the most succinct, easy-to-understand language that we’ve seen.

Take a look and feel free to share it with others who may find it helpful.


1 & 2 – Applies only to Prince George’s County (1) and Baltimore (2) but must be approved statewide.  A vote for supports requiring Orphans' Court Judges to be members of the Maryland Bar in good standing.   Vote against keeps the existing law which does not require Maryland Bar membership.

3 – A vote for means that an elected official is suspended from office immediately upon being convicted of certain crimes and is removed from office when the conviction is final or the official pleads guilty.  A vote against keeps the existing provision that an elected official is suspended and removed from office only when the conviction becomes final.

4 – A vote for would allow certain non-documented students to pay in-state tuition rates at Maryland Community Colleges and after meeting certain requirements be eligible for in-state tuition rates at Maryland 4-year public colleges and universities.   A vote against would require they pay out-of-state rates.

5 – A vote for accepts the new Congressional redistricting boundaries. A vote against rejects the new plan and requires a redrafting of the boundaries.

6 – A vote for allows same-sex marriage licenses to be issued in Maryland and provides that religious organizations are not required to sanction this kind of marriage if it is against their beliefs.  A vote against would not allow same-sex civil marriage licenses to be issued in Maryland.

7 – A vote for supports the expansion of table games and slots in the State and slots in Prince George's County.  A vote against opposes any expansion.


A – A vote for would allow the County to hire individuals with severe physical and mental disabilities on a non-competitive basis.  A vote against rejects a non-competitive hiring process and requires the County to use the existing process.

B – A vote for supports the County law that continues traditional collective bargaining with the police union on customary issues (wages, benefits, and working  conditions) but enables police management to exercise other management rights without having to bargain their effects.  A vote against requires every management decision to be bargained with the police employees' union (effects bargaining).

Question B: It Just Makes Sense

There’s a question on the November ballot in Montgomery County that has garnered the endorsement of the County Democratic and Republican parties. The latest is an endorsement by Montgomery County's Hispanic Democratic Club.

             That would be Question B on “effects bargaining.”

            Learn more about Question B at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/questionb/.

            Read The Gazette's editorial in support of Question B.

Early Voting Centers around the County

For the convenience of residents, Montgomery County will have five Early Voting Centers open from October 27 through November 1, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Saturday and on Sunday from noon to 6 p.m.

The Early Voting Centers are located at the following sites:

  • Bauer Drive Community Recreation Center, 14625 Bauer Dr., Rockville
  • Germantown Recreation Center, 18905 Kingsview Rd.
  • Marilyn J. Praisner Community Recreation Center, 14906 Old Columbia Pike, Burtonsville
  • Montgomery County Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville
  • Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veteran’s Place

Instructions will be available at the centers to familiarize voters with the ballot. Election judges can explain the procedure for voting, but residents must cast their ballots alone, unless they are unable to do so due to a disability or they cannot read or write the English language.

Voters may experience lines during early voting and at their polling places on Election Day, particularly during peak hours -- immediately before work (7-9 a.m.), during the lunch hour (11 a.m. – 2 p.m.) and immediately following work (5-7 p.m.). To facilitate the voting process, the Board of Elections encourages all voters to mark their sample ballots before arriving at their polling places.

For information about the elections, or the voting process, contact the Elections Office at 240-777-VOTE or visit the website at www.777vote.org.

Respect the Space. They need it. You Don’t!

There’s a new state-of the-art tool available to law enforcement agencies throughout Maryland in the fight against the illegal use of disability parking placards. Changes to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s (MVA) vehicle registration database now provide police with information regarding disability parking privileges.

Since August, law enforcement officers across Maryland have been able to access the Motor Vehicles Administration’s (MVA) database which allows them to stop offenses when fraud, theft and the abuse of disabled parking privileges occur. With that information, law enforcement can see the vehicle records and determine to whom a disabled parking privilege belongs. Included in the information is a photo of the person to whom disabled parking access has been granted.

Joining County Executive Ike Leggett for the announcement of the new procedure were MVA Administrator John Kuo and Police Chief J. Thomas Manger.  

In November 2011, Leggett announced the Countywide “Respect the Space” initiative created to raise awareness about the proper use of accessible parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities.  The initiative was suggested by the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities whose members were concerned about non-disabled people parking in reserved accessible spaces and the abuse of disability parking placards.

Get more information about obtaining a disability parking placard and guidelines for its legal use., click on www.mva.Maryland.gov and look under “Vehicle Services” - Disability Placards. 

Learn more about the “Respect the Space” initiative.


Free Seasonal Flu Vaccinations Offered through December

The Department of Health and Human Services reminds residents that free seasonal flu vaccinations are available in the County through the end of the year and appointments may be made online.

In addition, there will be three nasal spray (FluMist) clinics for healthy Montgomery County children three to 18 years of age, by appointment, on Monday, November 5.

No preservative-free injectable vaccine will be available this year at the County clinics.

Check the schedule for remaining vaccination clinics.

Make an appointment for a vaccination.

Your Chance to Serve: Openings on County Boards, Committees, Commissions

Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns and viewpoints are presented. Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply for vacancies on the numerous  County boards, committees and commissions.

Included among the organizations with current vacancies are the:
  • Cable and Communications Advisory Committee
  • Community Action Board
  • Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board
  • Victim Services Advisory Board

      The deadline for applying is November 14, 2012.

      Get details about each group with current openings, plus deadlines.

      An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or emailed to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov.

      Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses, should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

      Pilot Program Created for Financial Assistance for Use of Silver Spring Civic Building

      The County has much to be proud of when it comes to the Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza.  It has become one of the “go-to” destinations in downtown Silver Spring for a variety of community- and government-sponsored programs.

      However, during these difficult economic times, members of the community have concerns about affordability regarding public use of the building.

      To address this need, the County Executive is piloting a program during FY13 designed to provide financial assistance and increase opportunities for non-profit groups that meet the eligibility criteria.

      A Review Committee will evaluate applications for the program.

      Learn more about the pilot.

      Consumer Protection Wants You to Know about…No More Telemarketers

      No one likes getting calls from telemarketers -- persistent salespersons trying to sell you products you don’t want are something you expect to escape from once you get home, but telemarketers continue to call.

      Did you know there is a way to keep telemarketers from calling you?  Visit the Office of Consumer Protection’s (OCP) A-Z Consumer Advice:  Do Not Call List for more information.

      OCP is the Montgomery County agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses. The office was established in 1971 and since then, has earned national recognition for its accomplishments.


      Six Local Business Leaders are First Inductees into Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame

      Six Montgomery County business leaders, past and present, were recently honored as the first inductees into the Montgomery County Business Hall of Fame.

      The 2012 honorees are: Norm Augustine, formerly of Lockheed Martin; Cliff Kendall, formerly of Computer Data Systems, Inc.; Sid Kramer of Kramer Enterprises; Aris Mardirossian of Technology Patents LLC; J. Willard Marriott Jr. of Marriott International;  and Carol Trawick of the Jim and Carol Trawick Foundation.
      Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and William E. “Brit” Kirwan, chancellor of the University System of Maryland, were among the 300 in attendance at the event held in mid-October at the Universities of Maryland Shady Grove.

      The net proceeds for the first year exceeded $250,000 and will benefit the scholarship programs at The Universities at Shady Grove, one of the regional educational centers of the University System of Maryland.

      County Named a Citizen Engaged Community 

      Montgomery County has been designated as a 2012-2014 Citizen Engaged Community (CEC) by Public Technology Institute (PTI) for its MC311 online and phone information system.

      The annual designation program recognizes excellence in multi-channel contact centers and best practices for the use of Citizen Relationship/Records Management (CRM) systems, 311 services, web portal technology, telephone systems and mobile communications infrastructure.

      Montgomery County was one of nine jurisdictions with populations of more than 300,000 to be selected for this distinction.
      Read more.

      We Like Bikes:  Bethesda, Rockville Honored for Being Bicycle Friendly

      Bethesda and Rockville have been named bicycle-friendly communities by the League of American Bicyclists for their commitment to biking as an alternate form of transportation, particularly for commuters. In the Bicycle Friendly Community Program, each was named a bronze-level award winner, the highest award given to any communities in Maryland.

      According to the League’s website, “The Bicycle Friendly Community Program (BFC) provides incentives, hands-on assistance, and award recognition for communities that actively support bicycling. A Bicycle Friendly Community welcomes cyclists by providing safe accommodation for cycling and encouraging people to bike for transportation and recreation.”

      “World of Montgomery” Festival Brought Worlds of People Together

      Against the backdrop of a perfect fall day, several thousand people took advantage of the weather to taste their way around the globe in downtown Wheaton at the 2012 "World of Montgomery Festival."

      If you didn’t get there this year, check out the link below and see what you missed. Read The Post article.


      Saturday, November 3 – Maryland Emancipation Day. Oakley Cabin African American Museum & Park, 3610 Brookeville Rd., Olney. Noon to 4 p.m. From 1 to 3 p.m., performances by the Washington Revels Jubilee Voices, the Sherwood High School Chamber Singers and “Music on the Rise.”  Maryland’s Emancipation Day marks the historic November 1, 1864 new state constitution freeing enslaved persons living in Maryland.  Activities: guided hikes allowing visitors to experience the Underground Railroad at Woodlawn Manor Cultural Park; tours of the cultural history afforded by Oakley Cabin; and tours of the Josiah Henson Park. Free.  RSVP to mcp-parks-event@montgomeryparks.org or call Melissa Chotiner at 301-650-2866.

      Wednesday, November 7 -- County Council Town Hall Meeting -- Potomac area. Pre-reception, 7:30 p.m.; meeting at 8 p.m. Potomac Community Recreation Center, 11315 Falls Rd.  Major topics of the evening are expected to include potential growth and development in the area, schools, budget issues, taxes, traffic and the performance of power utilities, including Pepco, following storms. The meeting will be taped for later broadcast on County Cable Montgomery (CCM - cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon). Susan Kenedy, a CCM producer, will moderate the meeting. For more information, call 240-777-7931.

      Tuesday, November 13 -- Issues of interest to the immigrant community, panel discussion. 7 to 9 p.m.  Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place. The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) and the Human Rights Commission (HRC) will co-host the discussion that is a follow-up to a “listening session” held by the commission in June with various members of the County Executive’s advisory groups. A question-and-answer session will follow the panel’s presentations. For information, call James Stowe, director of the Office of Human Rights, 240-777-8450.

      Thursday, November 15 -- The Legal Process of Separation and Divorce in Montgomery County. 7  to  9 p.m. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave. Suite 330. Two seminars -- one in English and one in Spanish -- will be offered.  Discussions will present information on financial, property and practical issues that both wife and husband must consider. Pre-Registration is $10. Visit    http://divorcelawseminar2.eventbrite.com/. Cost at the door is $15 (cash or check only).  More information, call 240-777-8300.

      Thursday, November 15 -- Public meeting on Potomac Community Center Roller Rink Modification Proposal.  7 p.m. Potomac Community Center (Social Hall), 11315 Falls Rd. The meeting will include a short narrative presentation of the project background and concept, followed by an open question/discussion session. The Recreation Department will use public input to continue a preliminary review and evaluation of the community proposal. Sign language interpreter services or other accommodations provided upon request, preferably at least three business days in advance. E-mail Rec.Mainstream@montgomerycountymd.gov , or call 240-777-6870 (voice); 240-777-6974 (TTY). For additional information about the meeting, contact Jeffrey A. Bourne, 240-777-6800.

       Saturday, Sunday, November 17-18 -- Holiday Gifts & Decor Workshop (2-days).  10 a.m. to 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 -- to make. Supplies included. $250. To register or receive more details, visit http://www.artglasscenteratglenecho.org or call 703-623-4300.

      October 11, 2012

      The A’s and B’s of Ballot Questions

      Over the years, public and private employers have stated that they are committed to the employment of people with disabilities.

      However, the data clearly demonstrates that disabled veterans and persons with disabilities have an extremely high unemployment rate. In fact, in Montgomery County  46% of individuals with disabilities, ages 18-64, are unemployed or not in the labor force.

      A vote for Question A on the November ballot will amend the County Charter to allow County Government more flexibility to recruit and select qualified individuals with severe physical or mental disabilities for County jobs.

      Learn more about Question A and how it can broaden job opportunities for disabled veterans and individuals with disabilities.

      Question B is all about who YOU think should run the County Police department -- the Police Chief or Police Union Leaders?

      Under “effects bargaining,” Union leaders have the power to require our Police Chief Tom Manger to bargain everything about running his department with Police Union leaders. That includes the distribution of critical police equipment, the redeployment of officers to crime hot spots, and even the revised policy on “Use of Force” – important to protecting the public and officers alike – which was sent to the Police Union for their “approval” on June 27, 2008—four years ago.

      No other Police Union in the entire State has “effects bargaining”. Neither does any other County union have it in their contract.

      That’s why the Montgomery County Council unanimously voted to repeal effects bargaining,” a repeal signed into law by the County Executive.

      The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee voted overwhelmingly – by about 90 percent – to urge a vote FOR Question B. County Republicans voted unanimously to endorse FOR Question B.

      A “FOR” vote on Question B lets the Police Chief run the department in the most efficient and productive way and still protects the full range of collective bargaining enjoyed by all other Police unions across the State and all other County unions.

      An “AGAINST” vote preserves Union leaders’ power over the ability of the Police Chief to run the Police Department, impairing the effective and productive running of the Police Department in its mission to protect County residents' lives and property as well as  police officers themselves.

      Vote FOR Question B.

      • Click here to see Chief Manger talk about Question B on “Montgomery County Police Beat.”
      • Click here to get more information in English, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and French.
      • Click here to read the Washington Post editorial urging a FOR Question B vote “Unshackling Montgomery’s Police: County Voters have a chance to end union interference.”
      • Hear the Public Service Announcement in Spanish.  
      • For more information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/QuestionB


      Montgomery County Police Policies Still Awaiting “Approval”
      by Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) Leaders

      Police Union leaders have held up the finalization of the following 15 police procedural directives by demanding the right to bargain their “effects.”  The five issues marked with a star (*) had already been bargained and agreed to under the Union’s collective bargaining agreement - but the Union demanded to bargain them again under effects bargaining, thus continuing to delay their going into effect.

      Directive   Date Sent to FOP

      Use of Force (131) 06/27/08

      Guides officers in their use of deadly force and non-deadly force. This includes but is not limited to the application of force through the use of firearms, tasers, and other protective instruments. This policy also covers the reporting process for officers to articulate the facts and circumstances surrounding their use of force.

      Equipment Turn-In (390) 10/07/08

      Details the procedures to be followed when turning in police-issued equipment.

      *Firearms and Accessories (305) 10/18/08

      Describes the type of authorized firearms and associated accessories (holsters, attached lights, etc…) that can be used by an officer while on-duty or off-duty.

      *Clothing Allowance (414) 11/11/08

      Provides guidelines for a clothing allowance to sworn officers whose job responsibilities do not primarily require the use of the standard-issue police uniform and the process by which these officers are paid.

      *Restricted duty (380) 7/24/09

      Defines what will occur when an officer is temporarily incapacitated and is not able to fully perform all duties or meet all responsibilities required of a sworn police officer.

      Raids (711) 10/20/09

      Details the procedures whenever it is necessary for officers to conduct search and seizure operations typically in the form of a search warrant service, with focus on the rights, safety, and welfare of both the citizens and the officers involved.

      Search Warrants (712) 10/20/09

      Defines the procedures to be followed when applying for and serving search warrants.

      Interpreters and Language Services (1121) 09/08/09

      Establishes that it is the policy of the department to furnish appropriate auxiliary
      aids and services whenever necessary to ensure effective communication with
      individuals with hearing impairments.

      *Mobil Video Systems (425) 01/13/10

      Delineates the arbitrated award whereby the Department can install, review and use mobile video systems in officers’ police cruisers. This allows for better evidence in court, accountability in the police force, and safety for the officer on the street.

      Field Training and Evaluation (343) 02/01/10

      Defines the policy of the department to provide each probationary officer with field training under the guidance, direction, and evaluation of experienced officers and supervisors.

      High Risk Incidents (950) 06/16/10

      Establishes the policy to resolve potentially life-threatening incidents through the use of departmental resources to include patrol officers, the SWAT team, and hostage negotiators. High risk incidents include: hostage situations, any life-threatening situation, barricades and high risk arrest/execution of a search warrant.

      ECC Tapes 10/17/11

      This policy sets forth the process to obtain ECC communication tapes, both 911 calls and dispatch transmissions.

      SRO’s 10/17/11

      Defines the duties and responsibilities of sworn officers working in the school system as School Resource Officers (SROS’s).

      *Employee Personal Information  5/18/12

      Lists what personal information is kept by the department and what types of personal information can be released publicly including the reasons for its release.

      Police Chief Tom Manger should be able to run the Police Department without Union leaders having the right to make him bargain every management decision. This costs County taxpayers money. It diminishes accountability. It inhibits efficiency and the introduction of new technology. Plainly put, it makes no sense.

      That’s why the County Council unanimously repealed the law that gave Union leaders this power. It’s why the County Executive signed that repeal into law. And that’s why both the County Democratic Party and the County Republican Party are urging a vote FOR Question B.

      FOR Question B means a more productive and efficient Police department to protect our families, our homes, and businesses, while still retaining the right of police officers to bargain over wages, hours, benefits, working conditions, and safety.



      For more information, go to www.montgomerycountymd.gov/QuestionB.

      County, City of Rockville Request Support for Long-Awaited Rockville Town Center Mixed-Use Development

      A transmittal recently sent to the County Council by County Executive Ike Leggett requests that a $4.16 million conditional grant be appropriated and disbursed from the County’s Economic Development Fund to Duball, LLC to support the redevelopment of a surface parking lot in the heart of Rockville Town Center into a mixed-use development.

      The development site, located at East Middle La. and Monroe St., is currently a surface parking lot located in front of Regal Cinemas. When completed, the project will feature two mixed-use, high-rise towers that will include 485-multifamily homes, a 140-room Cambria Suites hotel, 40,000 square-feet of street level retail and approximately 1,000 parking spaces.

      In announcing the news of the transmittal to the Council, Leggett was joined on site by County Councilmember Phil Andrews; Rockville Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio; Montgomery County Department of Economic Development Deputy Director Sally Sternbach; Michael Murphy, Senior Vice President of Upscale Brands, Choice Hotels International; and Marc Dubick, President, Duball, LLC

      Construction of the first phase is expected to begin by the end of this year and will include approximately 263 residences – 40 of which will be earmarked as Moderately Priced Dwelling Units – a Cambria Suites hotel and 17,000 square feet of street-level retail, plus public and private parking.

      Discuss Issues, Ideas with the County Executive Face-to-Face or Online

      Residents will have two opportunities this month to share their thoughts and concerns about various issues with County Executive Ike Leggett.

      On Tuesday, October 23, the Executive will host a Town Hall Meeting at Rosa Parks Middle School, 19200 Olney Mill Rd., beginning at 7:30 p.m.
      The meeting will be videotaped for future airing on County Cable 6.  Sign language interpreter services will be provided upon request at least 72 hours prior to the meeting.

      For more information about the meeting or the cable schedule, call 240-777-6507.

      On Wednesday, October 24, residents can ask questions of the Executive during his Online Chat, to be held from 2 to 3 p.m.

      County residents can send questions directly to the County Executive at any time. Answered questions will be available at the beginning of the live session, and selected questions will be answered during the scheduled discussion time.

      Absentee Ballot Deadline is October 30 November General Election

      The deadline for receipt of an absentee ballot application for the November 6 Presidential General Election is Tuesday, October 30.  Written requests must reach the elections office by 8:00 p.m. or, if already registered, may be faxed to 240-777-8560 or e-mailed to absentee@montgomerycountymd.gov no later than 11:59 p.m.

      The absentee ballot application may be found online at the Board of Elections website at www.777vote.org or www.montgomerycountymd.gov/elections.  Follow all instructions, and return the completed, signed application by mail, fax, or e-mail.  Ballots will be mailed within three business days.  

      Second Chance for Well-Worn Books and New Skills for Inmates; Innovative Library Book Repair Project a Win-Win All Around

      Photo captions: Broken or detached spines are one of the most common problems of books delivered for repair. Trained hands give new life to the worn books. Repaired books, now like new, wait to be returned to the shelves of Montgomery County Public Libraries.

      Older, well-worn library books are finding new lives back on the shelves at Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) branches thanks to the helping hands of inmates working with the Library Book Repair Project at the County’s Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Clarksburg.

      Under the Workforce Re-Entry project, inmates are trained by MCCF to professionally repair damaged books that can then be returned to circulation instead of being discarded from the system. MCCF is also funding the materials necessary for the pilot. Start-up supplies cost $3,300, and no additional costs have been incurred since the project began.

      Inmates selected to participate in the program can earn “good time credit” toward reducing their sentence while acquiring new work skills.
      The most common problems encountered in book repairs are: broken or detached spines; pencil marks on pages; and ripped, loose or torn pages.

      The program was the brainchild of Warden Rob Green who said he came up with the idea last year “in an attempt to reestablish our job shop and workforce development programs inside the jail.” He had heard of a similar corrections-based program some years ago, but a recent check found no other currently in operation.
      Read more about the project.


      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.


      Friday, November 9; Sunday November 11 – ACC Men’s Soccer Championship Semi-Finals and Final.   Maryland Soccerplex, 18031 Central Park Circle Boyds. For more information on tickets and to order tickets, get directions etc. visit http://www.mdsoccerplex.org/. Call 301-528-1480.

      October 1, 2012

      County Earns Coveted AAA Bond Rating

      Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that Montgomery County has retained its AAA bond rating -- the highest possible rating -- from all three bond rating agencies -- Standard & Poor's, Fitch and Moody's.

      Among other accomplishments, the rating agencies cited the County's formidable economic base and strong financial management, including measures taken to reverse a former structural imbalance that occurred, in part, due to weakened revenues during the recession.

      Montgomery County is one of only 38 counties (out of 3,140) in the U.S. to receive an AAA rating from all three rating agencies.

      The rating allows Montgomery County to issue bonds for its capital borrowing at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars a year. The AAA rating applies to $295 million in General Obligation bonds and $24 million in General Obligation Refunding bonds the County is issuing on October 10.

      Read more.

      County Democratic and Republican Parties Both Endorse a “FOR” Vote on Question B

      The recent unanimous vote by the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee to urge residents to vote “FOR” Question B followed a September 19 decision by the Montgomery County Democratic Party Precinct Officials and the Central Committee, by an overwhelming 109-14 margin, to urge a vote "FOR Question B" in the November election.

      A vote FOR Question B supports the County law, passed unanimously by the County Council, which eliminates “effects bargaining” that gave Police Union leaders the power to demand that the Police Chief bargain everything about running the Montgomery County Police Department -- inhibiting innovation, accountability and efficiency.

      Health and Wellness Fair

      Health screenings for all ages and wellness information and activities from more than 50 organizations will highlight the Sixth Annual Health and Wellness Fair at the Silver Spring Civic Building on Friday, October 5, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Silver Spring Civic Building is at One Veterans Place (at the corner of Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.).

      Screenings will be available for cholesterol, carbon monoxide, HIV, blood pressure, vision and hearing, dental, diabetes, glaucoma and cancer. The fair also will provide instruction on useful and fun ways for people of all ages to enjoy exercise.

      County Executive Ike Leggett and Councilmember George Leventhal will be the guest speakers at the free event.

      The fair is sponsored by DB Consulting Group/Lux Consulting Group, the Department of Health and Human Services and the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce.

      For more information on the Health and Wellness fair, go to www.dbluxwellnessfair.org or call 301-589-4020.

      Students Invited to Speak Up and Speak Out at Council’s Town Hall Meeting

      Two years ago, the County Council hosted its first Town Hall Meeting for Students to learn what issues most concern younger residents. On Wednesday, October 10, the third such meeting will be held in the Third Floor Hearing Room of the Council Office Building, 100 Maryland Ave. in Rockville. The meeting will start at 7 p.m., preceded at 6:30 p.m. by a reception in the building’s second-floor cafeteria.

      The meeting will be broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM), cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and rebroadcast at various times in the weeks following the meeting. CCM Producer Susan Kenedy will moderate the meeting.

      For the first time, the Council will use Twitter to bring more young people into the discussion. Some questions will be taken during the Town Hall Meeting using the hashtag #mocoyouth.  Students tweeting about the event are encouraged to use the hashtag, as well.

      Students who wish to attend the meeting are asked to RSVP by calling 240-777-7931.

      Read more about the Town Hall Meeting for Students.

      A World of Volunteer Opportunities at the World of Montgomery Festival

      There’s more than one way to enjoy the 2012 World of Montgomery Festival coming to Wheaton on October 21, from noon to 5 p.m. – and that’s to volunteer. The opportunities are endless and the rewards are many for both you and the festival.

      First, volunteers are needed to help with a variety of duties in the International Village, a centerpiece of this year’s festival that highlights the cultures of four countries with some of the largest immigrant populations residing in Montgomery County: El Salvador, Ethiopia, India and China

      In addition to varied opportunities around the festival site, volunteers are also needed prior to the event for publicity and other activities. 

      Get more information on specific volunteer opportunities.

      Arts and Humanities Award Winners to be Honored; Free Tickets Now Available

      Free tickets to the 11th Annual Montgomery County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities, to be held Monday, October 22 at the Cultural Arts Center, Montgomery College Takoma Park/Silver Spring, are now available at www.creativemoco.com/executives-awards.

      The 2012 honorees will receive their awards from County Executive Ike Leggett and Mrs. Catherine Leggett at the ceremony that begins at 7 p.m. The center is located at 7995 Georgia Ave.

      The program will feature performances from arts and humanities organizations and recognition of individuals and organizations that have received grants for FY12 and FY13 from the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County.

      The attire is business casual, and a desert reception will follow the ceremony.

      See more about the ceremony.

      Judges Needed for 2012 Presidential General Election

      Montgomery County’s Board of Elections is seeking individuals to serve as election judges at polling places for the Presidential General Election on November 6,

      In accordance with the Election Code, judges must be registered to vote in the State of Maryland.  They must also be able to speak, read, and write the English language, and while acting as a judge must not hold, or be a candidate for, public or party office. Election judges may not serve as a campaign manager for a candidate or as treasurer for any campaign financial entity.

      Election judges bilingual in Spanish and election judge alternates are needed throughout the County.  Training will be provided, and all judges will be compensated for their services.

      Apply, or receive more information at  www.777vote.org, then select the Election Judge Program link. 

      Project Search: Opportunities in County Government for Young Adults with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

      County Executive Ike Leggett recently welcomed 12 young adult interns to a one-year transition program designed for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who are either in the last year of high school or recent graduates.

      Project Search Montgomery is a key component of Leggett’s commitment to increasing opportunities for persons with significant disabilities to work in Montgomery County government.  The County is collaborating with the Rockville-based Ivymount School and SEEC, an adult rehabilitation provider, in launching the program.

      The program targets individuals whose main goal is competitive employment and who will benefit from an extensive period of training, long-term job coaching and continuous feedback from teachers, job coaches and employers.  The interns will work in the Departments of Finance, General Services, Permitting Services, Public Libraries, Recreation and Transportation, along with the Office of the County Executive and the Office of Human Resources.

      Learn more about Project Search.

      Still have questions? Call Gail Nachman at 240-777-2537 or Steve Banks at 301-318-4948.

      How to Live and Thrive in Montgomery County for Those 60 and Older

      Living & Thriving in Montgomery County -- a guide for residents 60 and older -- was designed to inspire local seniors and/or caregivers to plan ahead and head in the right direction regardless of personal circumstances or those of loved ones.  There are more than 150,000 adults age 60 and older in Montgomery County. And, nearly 50,000 individuals serve as caregivers for frail or disabled seniors.

      The online guide contains information about services and resources available in the County and offers tips on where to learn more. There is basic information about a range of core topics for seniors and caregivers, such as Planning Ahead, Living in the Setting of Your Choice, Staying Healthy and Staying Connected.

      Living and Thriving in Montgomery County was produced by Aging and Disability Services in the Department of Health and Human Services.


      WWII Veterans Tribute Viewing Schedule

      Montgomery County’s public cable television stations are re-broadcasting the complete ceremonies at which the County honored more than 175 veterans of World War II on Sept. 19 at the Silver Spring Civic Building. The ceremonies were originally broadcast live over the channels of the PEG (public /education / government) stations.

      Veterans ranging in age from 86 to 105 and having experiences from some of the most historic events of the past century were among the 500 people who attended Montgomery County Honors World War II Veterans. The event is believed to have been the largest Washington-area tribute to World War II veterans since the National World War II Memorial opened in Washington, DC in 2004.
      The one-hour and 45-minute program can be seen in October as follows:
      • Wednesday, Oct. 3 at 2 p.m. Montgomery Community Media
        (Channel 21 on Comcast, Verizon and RCN)
      On Veterans Day, many of the channels that compose the PEG organization (including County Cable Montgomery, Montgomery Community Media, Montgomery College Television, Montgomery County Public Schools TV and Rockville 11) will show continuous extended interviews with many of the veterans who attended the event and interviews with other veterans who could not attend. On Memorial Day 2013, a one-hour documentary on the County’s World War II veterans will debut.

      International Walk to School Day

      Looking for a healthy way to start the day? Join thousands of students, parents and community members throughout Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking and bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, October 3.

      The program provides a way to bring community leaders and children together to promote more walkable communities, safer streets, healthier habits and cleaner air.

      For more information about Walk to School Day, contact Nadji Kirby at 240-777-7169; email nadji.kirby@montgomerycountymd.gov.
       Or, visit www.montgomerycountymd.gov/saferoutestoschool.

      30th Annual Germantown Oktoberfest: Same Fun, New Location

      The 30th Annual Germantown Oktoberfest, Upcounty’s longest running event, will be held Saturday, October 6 at High Point Farm, 23730 Frederick Rd. (across from Little Bennett Park.). There will music, rides, games, activities and food for the whole family from 9:45 a.m. to 5 p.m.

      Proceeds this year will benefit the Wounded Warriors project.

      See more details.

      Health Festival Marks Hispanic Heritage Month

      In commemoration of Hispanic Heritage Month -- September 15 to October 15 -- Montgomery County will host the “Ama Tu Vida” (Love Your Life) Health Festival on Sunday, October 7 from noon to 5 p.m.  The festival will be held at Veteran’s Plaza, located at the corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. in Downtown Silver Spring.

      The fair will include free blood pressure, cholesterol and vision screenings by local hospitals, community clinics and health organizations. Entertainment will be provided by various area cultural groups. 

      Event sponsors include the Latino Health Initiative, the Office of Community Partnerships, the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, Suburban Hospital and Radio America.

      For information about the health festival, call 240-777-4173.

      Family Justice Center Foundation Benefit

      The Montgomery County Family Justice Center Foundation’s Third Annual Benefit will be held on Sunday, October 14 from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda, One Bethesda Metro Center.  The event will be hosted by Board Member, Benefit Chair and Montgomery County’s First Lady Catherine Leggett with award-winning ABC7/WJLA-TV anchor Greta Kreuz as emcee.

      The foundation supports the Montgomery County Family Justice Center that opened in 2009 at 600 Jefferson Plaza, Suite 500, in Rockville.  The center provides services ranging from safety planning, help with obtaining protective orders and pro bono legal support to law enforcement intervention, emergency services, and counseling. 

      Each year, the benefit recognizes outstanding individuals and companies whose work has been invaluable in bringing awareness and aid to victims of domestic violence. This year’s honorees are: Sen. Barbara Mikulski (Forerunner Award); Dorothy Lennig, Esq., director, Legal Clinic, House of Ruth Maryland (Marilyn J. Praisner Award); Laura Chase, Esq., Deputy State’s Attorney for Montgomery County (Inspiring Leader Award); and Kaiser Permanente (Corporate Legacy Award).

      Individual tickets are $125 for the benefit that will feature a silent and live auction, dinner, and awards presentations.  To learn more about the Foundation and the honorees or to register online to attend, go to http://www.mcfjcfoundation.org

      One Stop Fair Housing Shop

      Housing professionals and providers will have an opportunity to meet fair housing regulators in Montgomery County at the free Fair Housing Educational Forum on Tuesday, October 16, from 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Center, One Veterans Plaza (corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.).

      The “One Stop Fair Housing Shop” is sponsored by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights.
      Advance registration is required.

      To register/RSVP, request TTD or receive additional information, contact: Anis Ahmed, Office of Human Rights, 240-777-8454 or email fairhousing@montgomerycountymd.gov.

      Sign language interpreters and accommodations must be requested by October 2. All others must RSVP by October 12.

      Your Chance to Serve: Openings on Boards, Committees and Commissions

      Public participation contributes to the work of County government and provides an important service to the community when a variety of issues, concerns and viewpoints are presented.

      Currently, there is an opportunity to serve on any one of the following County boards, committees and commissions:
      • Domestic Violence Coordinating Council -- Apply by October 5, 2012
      • Library Board – Apply by October 10, 2012
      See more details about vacancies.

      An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be mailed to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe St., 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD  20850, or emailed to countyexecutive.boards@montgomerycountymd.gov.  Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses, should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

      Consumer Protection Wants You to Know about…Travel Scams

      Whether you’re off to see the sights, sunbathe on the sand or ski the slopes, it pays to be an informed travel shopper.  To help avoid vacation frustration, follow these tips:
      • Use a credit card to make your purchase.
      • Won a “free” vacation? Not so fast; read the fine print and remember, if a promotion is legitimate, you never need to pay for a prize.
      • Purchase vacation packages only from legitimate travel agencies.
      For more information, visit OCP’s A-Z Consumer Advice: Travel Agencies.

      The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) is the County agency responsible for enforcing consumer protection laws that prohibit unfair and deceptive business acts to ensure a fair marketplace for consumers and businesses.


      Sheriff’s Office "Choose Respect" Montgomery Program Earns Award

      The “Choose Respect” Program that helps teenagers avoid abusive dating relationships, and is overseen by the Sheriff’s Office, has been selected to receive an award from the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute for its proactive measures. The three-year-old program has been strongly supported by the County’s Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

      "Choose Respect" targets County middle and high school students but aims to involve parents, as well. A curriculum has been developed for the program, and when a school requests to participate, instructors from the program are sent to the school to discuss scenarios of dating. The curriculum is designed to help young people avoid situations that could lead to abusive relationships.

      “All too often we see the devastating effect of relationship violence on families and communities,” said Montgomery County Sheriff Darren Popkin. “ 'Choose Respect' Montgomery gives law enforcement a new tool to be involved in a preventative approach targeted at our most valuable resource -- our youth. I am very proud of the leadership Montgomery County has taken to help them make the best choices.”

      Informing the Sheriff’s Office that its program has been selected to receive the award, Charles Rapp, executive director of the Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services, wrote to Sheriff Popkin, “I join the Maryland Community Crime Prevention Institute in extending sincere congratulations to you for your outstanding efforts in the area of crime prevention.”


      Month of October – Hispanic Heritage Month events. Held at various times and locations through October 21. Check out the complete list.

      Thursday, October 18 – Friends of the Library, Montgomery County 25th Literary Luncheon Lecture Series Kickoff. Strathmore Mansion, 10701 Rockville Pike, North Bethesda.   Donna Britt, “Washington Post” columnist and Pulitzer Prize-nominated author, will discuss her most recent work, Brothers (& Me): A Memoir of Loving and Giving. In the book, the author uses her experiences with the men in her life to explore universal issues of gender and race. Lecture at 11:30 a.m., followed by book signing and luncheon at 12:30 p.m. Books available for purchase. Tickets from $10 to $21 depending on membership status in FOLMC.  Proceeds benefit FOLMC whose mission is to support and enhance Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL). Call 240-777-0020 or visit www.folmc.org.