January 11, 2013

County Executive to Present State of the County Address

The public is invited to attend County Executive Ike Leggett’s State of the County Speech which will be held on February 20 at 7:30 p.m. in the Silver Spring Civic Building, Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.

The Civic Building in Downtown Silver Spring is just a few blocks off the Metro Red Line and is accessible to Ride On and Metrobus stops and public parking garages.

For more information, including information about public transit and parking, call 311 (outside of County 240-777-0311) or register online.

Tribute Event and Day of Service Celebrate Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Life

Montgomery County will celebrate the life and work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. with a Tribute and Musical Celebration on Sunday, January 20, at 3 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public. Although tickets have been sold out, persons who have been unable to acquire tickets may come to the stand-by line at 2 p.m. on Sunday at a designated spot outside the Music Center. At 2:45, all tickets are null and void and patrons in the stand-by line will be allowed entry subject to available seating. Individuals who have tickets that will not be used are asked to return them to the Strathmore Ticket Office in advance of the performance so they can be redistributed.

The Day of Service activities on Monday, January 21, include the annual program held at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel and Conference Center from 9 to 11 a.m. and at the Silver Spring Civic Building from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. There will also be a countywide food drive to benefit the Manna Food Center the weekend preceding MLK Day.

See details of events.

Holiday Schedule for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s Birthday

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday on Monday, January 21:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation – aquatics programs and facilities open, all other classes and programs canceled;
    administrative office, senior centers, and community centers are closed
  • Ride On – Special modified holiday schedule (check schedules at www.Rideonbus.com)
  • Metrobus – Weekday schedule
  • Metrorail – Special schedule (peak service all day with peak fares; regular weekday fares
    at Metro parking lots)
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – closed
  • Parking at public garages, lots, curbside meters – free
  • MCPS Administrative Offices – closed
  • State offices & courts – closed
*Collection provided one day later for remainder of week (last collection day is Saturday).

Inauguration Information

Information about activities related to the upcoming presidential inauguration can be found on the County’s homepage. Look for the US Capitol icon.

Public Forums on the FY14 Operating Budget

So residents can provide input to officials about fiscal year 2014 operating budget priorities, County Executive Ike Leggett is sponsoring budget forums during January and February. All forums are scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. on the following dates:
  • January 24, BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown;
  • January 28, Bethesda-Chevy Chase Regional Service Center, 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda;
  • January 29, Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Plaza, Silver Spring; and
  • February 4, Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center, 3300 Briggs Chaney Rd. Silver Spring.
Sign language interpreter services will be provided only upon request with notice as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event.  If these or other services or aids are needed to participate in this activity, call 240-777-6507, TTY 240-777-6505 or email a request to karen.falcon@montgomerycountymd.gov.

The County Executive will announce his recommended fiscal year 2014 operating budget on March 15.  The County Council approves the operating budget at the end of May.

“Godmother of Title IX” to Speak at Commission for Women’s Annual Legislative Briefing

Dr. Bernice Sandler, known as the “Godmother of Title IX” for her struggle that led to the enactment of the landmark educational equity legislation, will present the keynote address at the 2013 Women’s Legislative Briefing to be held Sunday, January 27 from noon to 6 p.m. at The Universities at Shady Grove, Building II, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville.

Following the opening ceremonies and keynote address, there will be a panel discussion on Women’s Issues in Congress and seminars on legislation in this year’s General Assembly. The event will conclude with a reception where attendees can talk with local elected officials and advocates, and representatives from local and national women’s organizations.

The annual event is sponsored by the County’s Commission for Women and numerous women’s organizations in addition to Kaiser Permanente and AARP.

The cost is $15 in advance and $20 at the door. Online registration is available at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw or download a mail-in registration form at

http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/cfw/Resources/Files/WLB2013RegistrationForm.pdf. For more information, call 240-777-8333.

Sign language interpretation will be provided upon request as far in advance as possible, but no less than 72 hours prior to the event. To request this or other services or aides needed to participate in this program, call 240-777-8207 or email richard.bingham@montgomerycountymd.gov.

A Busy Parent Multi-Tasks at the Music Center at Strathmore

As many parents can attest, successfully balancing professional and personal schedules requires multi-tasking to the “n-th” degree. This is especially true when one parent happens to be President of the United States.

Case in point: In mid-December, during a break in a dress rehearsal at the Music Center at Strathmore of the Moscow Ballet's “Great Russian Nutcracker,” in which daughter Sasha portrayed a mouse, President Barack Obama worked on the remarks he gave later that day at a vigil for the shooting victims in Newtown,

CT. Photo by Pete Souza/The White House, from Time LightBox.

Executive Speaks Out about Newtown Tragedy

County Executive Ike Leggett recently spoke about the fatal shootings in Newtown, CN and the need for stronger gun control, with Bruce DePuyt. Host of News Channel 8’s “News Talk.”

Watch the video.

Tips for Safe Disposal of Ashes from Fireplaces and Woodstoves

Now that winter is officially here, residents are reminded that fireplace and woodstove ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days after a fire. The rule to remember is: never put ashes in a paper or plastic bag, cardboard box or plastic bucket.

The Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection) joins the Montgomery County Fire Rescue Service in reminding residents of how to safely dispose of ashes. For example, never put out ashes from fireplaces for collection with regular household trash unless they have been thoroughly soaked with water in a metal ash bucket with a tight fitting metal lid (designed for that purpose), or held in place for at least a week to ensure there are no residual embers.

Store any container holding ash outside, away from structures, decks, fences, wood piles or other combustible materials. Ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials even several days after a fire.

Cooled ashes may be brought to the Shady Grove Road Processing Facility and Transfer Station for disposal in specifically-designated ash containers. The Transfer Station is located at 16101 Frederick Rd., Derwood (off Rt. 355 at Shady Grove Rd.).

Learn more about how to safely dispose of ashes.

Are You Ready?

Severe winter weather could hit our area at any time and the key to getting through winter weather emergencies is to be prepared. And, that’s the message the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security (OEMHS) wants residents to remember.

To make it easier for residents to remember what to do, OEMHS has produced a series of five new guides for families, seniors, kids, pets and businesses that ask the question: “Are You Ready?” The family preparedness guides are also available in Spanish and Chinese.

See the brochures.


Executive Commends Council Endorsement of Senior Agenda

The Maryland Department of Planning projects that between 2000 and 2020 the senior population (age 60 and over) of Montgomery County will increase by 74 percent. As a group, seniors are growing at a rate more than seven times faster than non-seniors.

This is why County Executive Ike Leggett recently applauded the County Council resolution, passed December 4, in support of the County’s Senior Agenda. The Council endorsement called the agenda “a blueprint for planning for the growth of the senior population and making ‘Montgomery County a Community for a Lifetime.’"

Earlier this year, Leggett sent the Council his endorsement of the vision spelled out in the agenda. The County’s Commission on Aging drafted the Senior Agenda to advise the County on its policies and planning for older adults and provide a vision that “Montgomery County will be a Community for a Lifetime -- place for older adults to live safe, healthy and vital lives.”

The agenda calls for action steps in transportation, housing, socialization and leisure, health and wellness, communications, employment, and security and safety.

See the Council resolution and the Senior Agenda.

Read news release.

Go Green in ’13 – Recycle Christmas Trees and Greens

The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) in the Department of Environmental Protection reminds residents that they may recycle their Christmas trees by placing the entire tree at the curb by 7 a.m. on their recycling collection day, as part of the County’s curbside yard trim recycling collection program.

After Christmas trees are collected for recycling, they are shredded into mulch that will be available in January and February for residents to take at County-operated Neighborhood Mulch Preserves located at the following locations: Montgomery County Recycling Center, 16105 Frederick Rd. in the Derwood/Rockville/Gaithersburg area; and at E.E. Halmos Park (use the Bodmer Ave. entrance) in Poolesville. The mulch is free but must be loaded and transported by the user.

Get more information about Christmas tree recycling, the Neighborhood Mulch Preserves and/or using mulch or call Montgomery County's Customer Service Center at 311 (out-of-County, 240-777-0311, TTY:301-251-4850).

Guide Released on Procedures, Decisions Affecting Common Ownership Communities

The Montgomery County Commission on Common Ownership Communities (CCOC) has released its “Guide to the Procedures and Decisions of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities.” The publication provides valuable information to County residents on laws affecting homeowners and condominium and cooperative living associations.

The guide is online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccoc. Print versions are available at $15 each by calling the County’s Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.

For more information, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636.


County’s Innovation-Related Economy Helps Maryland to a Top Five Ranking in Nation

“Locally led innovation is the key to meeting the challenge of restructuring the American economy,” according to the Next Economy Partnership Project, of NDN, a leading think tank and advocacy organization based in Washington, DC, and the New Policy Institute.

Highlighting the importance of the relationship between local innovation and economic recovery for the country, the 2012 State New Economy Index ranks the 50 states according to their adoption of an innovation fueled economy.

In the index released by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, Maryland ranks fifth in the country. Massachusetts holds the top spot, followed by Delaware, Washington and California.
The report states, “Maryland occupies fifth place and Virginia sixth. Their high rankings are due primarily to high concentrations of knowledge workers, many employed with the federal government or related contractors in the suburbs of Washington, D.C.”

The report builds on prior State New Economy Indexes published in 1999, 2002, 2007, 2008 and 2010. Overall, the report uses 26 indicators, divided into five key areas that best capture what is new about the New Economy:  knowledge jobs, globalization, economic dynamism, the digital economy and innovation capacity.

See the 2012 State New Economy Index.

Montgomery County is Only U.S. Representative at International Conference in Taiwan; Environmental Protection Director Gives Recycling Presentation 

Photo caption: CountyDEP Director Bob Hoyt (far left) joins representatives from the other countries that participated in the 2012 International Conference on Resource Recycling in Taipei City, Taiwan.  While many local residents were making plans for Thanksgiving travels, dinner or entertaining, Department of Environmental Protection Director Bob Hoyt was half way around the world talking to an international audience about the County’s recycling program.
Other than host Taipei City, Montgomery County was the only local government invited to participate in the “International Conference on Resource Recycling 2012” and the sole representative from the United States. The focus of the four-day conference was zero waste generation. The County was invited to participate based on a recommendation from the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and all expenses were paid by the Taiwan EPA.

Hoyt’s presentation described how the County’s recycling program operates, including our newly established recycling goal of 70%, one of the highest in the country. He provided information on our waste reduction efforts, including the bag law, how our collections are handled, and how outreach and education are major parts of our overall program.

The attendees visited recycling centers in Taipei and learned about the system that rewards residents for dropping off recyclables. (There are no curbside collections.)  When residents bring in their materials and based on the weight of their recyclables, customers receive “gift” credits. With the credits, residents can purchase basic food and household items.

Hoyt said that, for him, one of the most vivid impressions of the conference was that “once the other countries heard about our recycling program, it became clear that we could hold our own with any of them.”   Although he picked up on some ways we might be able to improve, the DEP director said, “As a whole system, there is no one better [than ours].”

Presentations were also given by representatives from Brazil, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Israel, Japan, Korea, New Zealand and Sweden.

Local Diver’s Story Featured on NBC-News 4

The Recreation Department recently worked with NBC 4 to share the story of Melissa Novak a 14-year old National Dive Team member who has overcome significant challenges to dive competitively at the national level and will likely be a top competitor in the 2016 Olympic trials.

The interview was taped in December at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center in North Bethesda where Melissa trains.

Melissa lives in Frederick and is driven by her mother each weekday to the center in Bethesda.  This speaks volumes not only about the teen’s dedication to diving but to the quality of the programs, staff and facilities – such as the Shriver and Germantown centers  -- that are available through the County’s Recreation Department and are attracting out-of-county swimmers and divers.

See and hear Melissa’s story.

Various Media Find a Good Story in the Inmate/Library Book Repair Program

The story of the inmate library book repair program at the Montgomery County Correctional Facility (MCCF) in Clarksburg has spread even farther afield thanks to coverage from various media outlets over the past few months.

Back in October, Germantown Patch featured a piece by editor Tiffany Arnold entitled “Inmates in Boyds Fix Broken Books for ‘Good Time Credit.’

The University of Maryland’s Capital News Service also picked up on the story in October with reporter Lyndsey Wallen’s “Inmate Bindings – Inmates Work to Give Old Book New Life.”
The program at MCCF appeared on the Post Local “Rosenwald, Md.” blog in November.

That same month, Voice of America writer/producer Julia Taboh visited the MCCF for more than two hours getting footage and interviewing both the inmates repairing books and Warden Rob Green. Read the VOA piece that was published in December.

Good works getting good coverage.

Office of Consumer Protection Part of ABC News Report on Towing

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) was included in a recent ABC News feature on the towing industry entitled: “On the Hook: Confessions from the Tow Yard.”

OCP Director Eric Friedman is interviewed about the activity used by some towers of luring unsuspecting drivers to park in no-parking areas, then towing them. There is also a scene shot at a local site detailing that a car can be hooked up and towed within 20 seconds.

openMontgomery Web Portal featured in “Government Technology”

The County’s new openMontgomery site is featured in this month’s “Government Technology’s,” govtech.com online news service.

Chief Information Officer, Sonny Segal said the open government platform has been well received since it was launched in December 2012.