January 11, 2013

MAKING NEWS

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.

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