February 21, 2013

Leggett’s State of the County Speech: Challenges of the Past Bring Strength, Vision to Move to the Future

Addressing a packed room of more than 700 at the Silver Spring Civic Building on February 20, County Executive Ike Leggett presented his State of the County address, recapping the broad progress achieved, in spite of the fiscal challenges of the past years, and outlining steps and initiatives to carry Montgomery County successfully into the “Knowledge Economy.”

Read media coverage from The PostThe Gazette and The Examiner.

Executive Testifies on State Transportation Financing Bill; Urges Consensus on Plan to Produce “Significant and Sustainable…Revenues”

County Executive Ike Leggett has testified before the Maryland State Senate Budget and Taxation Committee on SB 830, known as the Transportation Financing Act, urging action that would increase funding for transportation projects in the State.

“This committee has heard from me on this issue, year in and year out. I believe now, more than ever, we are at a tipping point – one that Virginia has also finally realized – that in both rural and urban areas, the lack of any new investment in transportation has taken its toll, from a quality of life and economic development perspective.

“Now is the time – this is the year – for Maryland to reach a consensus on a plan that will produce significant and sustainable State revenues for transportation investment in this State. The State’s economic future depends on it.”

Read the Executive’s full statement.

Area Officials Urge Congressional Solution to Avoid Sequester; Cite Negative Impacts on Local Economies

Photo caption. Speaking out about the potential sequester at the press event hosted by County Executive Ike Leggett (at podium) were(from left to right): Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker; Ginanne M. Italiano, president & CEO, Greater Bethesda-Chevy Chase Chamber of Commerce; Gigi Godwin, president & CEO, Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce; Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro; and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. 

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, Prince Georges County Executive Rushern Baker and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman have jointly urged Congress to find a way to avoid the sequester that will go into effect on March 1 unless action is taken.

The sequester would have a damaging impact on local economies in Maryland, severely impacting federal employees, federal contractors, education, defense, aerospace and air transportation, law enforcement, medical research, social services, health and safety and many other aspects that affect the day-to-day life of Maryland residents.

Maryland has 130,000 federal workers whose salaries could be cut 20 percent due to furloughs.  In fiscal year 2012, Montgomery County, alone, had $5 billion in prime federal contracting awards that would be adversely affected.

Read more.


From Ho Hum to Hip: Montgomery Seeks to Change for “Generation Y” Population

Officials don’t dispute that Montgomery County is not exactly the most “happenin’” place for the younger “Generation Y” set.  That’s why plans are in the works to do something about the County’s less-than-hip image.  See what’s in the works.

Read Post article on Montgomery getting hip.

All Council Meetings Available for Viewing on County Cable Montgomery

As part of the County’s Open Government Initiative to make more aspects of government operations accessible to the public, all committee meetings of the County Council are now being either broadcast live on County Cable Montgomery (CCM) or recorded for later broadcast on the County’s cable station. 
CCM is Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN and Channel 30 on Verizon.

When two committees are meeting simultaneously, viewers have the option of seeing one meeting live on television and the other on the Internet via streaming. All meetings are presented with the closed captioning option.

Meetings -- whether broadcast live or recorded -- are available On Demand within 24 hours of the conclusion of the meeting. Broadcast times of meetings that are recorded (because they were held simultaneously with a meeting that was broadcast live) are on the schedule listed on the CCM web site at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm/

See all meetings, whether live or recorded for viewing On Demand.

Recreation Department Hosts Public Meeting on Improving Programs for Older Adults

To help Montgomery County Recreation develop a three-year plan to enhance and improve recreational programs for older adults that promote their overall health and wellness, the public is invited to attend a community meeting on Wednesday, March 6, to share their suggestions, thoughts and ideas about the types of recreational and wellness programs they would like to see offered.

The meeting will be held at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver Aquatic Center, 5900 Executive Blvd., North Bethesda, from 7 to 8:30 p.m.

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 240-777-6870 or TTY 240-777-6974 or email a request to rec.mainstream@montgomerycountymd.gov.

For more information call 240-777-6875.

Ripley Street Portion of Metropolitan Branch Trail Opened in Silver Spring

The extension of the Metropolitan Branch Trail at the Silver Spring Metro Station to Ripley Street is now open.  Last month, a portion of the trail opened to enhance accessibility around the Transit Center.

The trail now extends from Ripley Street to the south end of the MARC train platform.

Senior Leadership Montgomery Project Produces Videos to Assist Residents Pulling Themselves Up from Hard Times

A recent project by the Senior Leadership Montgomery Class of 2012 has produced two videos of interest to residents who are trying to get back on their feet and create meaningful lives for themselves and their families.

“A Working Wardrobe” offers tips on how persons interviewing for jobs and/or starting new jobs can build a functional wardrobe on a budget. The three-minute presentation shows how to put together a working wardrobe from a thrift shop that will “last a lifetime.”

 “Financial Makeover – From Shelter to Home” offers financial tips about moving forward toward a more independent future.

The videos were produced with the support of Mid-Atlantic Federal Credit Union, Pepco and Gail Crowder of Gail Crowder, Inc.

Organizations interested in acquiring copies of the videos should contact the County’s Public Information Office 240-777-6507; email publicinformation@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Senior Leadership Montgomery (SLM) brings together adult residents of the County, 55 or over, from diverse backgrounds and with varied leadership experience from businesses and the nonprofit or government sectors to learn about the workings of Montgomery County.

Participants learn through opportunities such as observing operations at the County’s Emergency Communications Center; learning about our community’s changing demographics and the cultural richness that our diversity brings; meeting County Council members; and experiencing, first-hand, the training police and firefighters undergo at the Public Safety Training Academy.


Sunday, March 3 -- Fourth Annual Choose Respect Montgomery Teen Dating Conference for students, grades six to 12. Montgomery College/Germantown Campus, Globe Hall, 20200 Observation Dr.  1- 4:30 p.m.  Free.  One in three teens in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner -- this number far exceeds rates of other types of youth violence, and nearly 1.5 million high school students nationwide experience physical abuse from a dating partner in a single year. But, the signs are ignored. Learn how to: recognize all types of abuse, advocate for yourself, support your friends and family, and stop controlling behavior before it goes too far. Get information on entertainment, prizes, registration, etc. | View event from County's calendar

Sunday, March 24 – Literacy Council’s SCRABBLE® SCRAMBLE. Manor Country Club, Rockville.  6- 9 p.m.  $250 includes dinner for four persons with cash bar, one four-player table at the Scrabble® Scramble with opportunity to win prizes, and fun and fellowship with Literacy Council friends and supporters. Tax-deductible contributions support the Literacy Council of Montgomery County’s adult literacy programs. Call Marty Stephens, 301-610-0030 x 202, email marty@literacycouncilmcmd.org
 or get more details and register online. | View event from County's calendar

February 14, 2013

State of the County Speech

The public is invited to attend County Executive Ike Leggett’s “State of the County” speech on Wednesday, February 20, at 7:30 p.m., at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place, Silver Spring.

Leggett will reflect on the County’s accomplishments and on challenges and opportunities ahead in the coming year and beyond. 

Attendees should arrive no later than 7:15 p.m. to be seated in time for the live broadcast which will begin at 7:30. Light refreshments will be served following the speech.

Get more details about the event.

The speech also will be carried live on County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 for Comcast and RCN customers and Channel 30 for Verizon customers) and will be video streamed on www.montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm.

For more information, call the Office of Public Information at 240-777-6507.

Council Approves Smoking Ban on County Property

Under a bill passed unanimously by the County Council, smoking will be banned on most County-owned or -leased properties, including bus stops and bus shelters.

The County’s director of Health and Human Services will be allowed to designate outdoor smoking areas on certain County properties. This change was made with concerns on the impact Bill 33-12 could have on County-owned and -leased facilities that house programs used to treat people with addictions. It was pointed out that prohibiting smoking in these types of facilities could negatively impact the treatment of people who are stepping down from hard drugs.

The Health and Human Services Committee recommended that smoking should not be prohibited on County-owned golf courses. The only public course that would be currently impacted is the Falls Road course in Potomac.

County’s Nonprofit Sector -- Nearly $4 Billion in Purchasing Power, Employs 43,000

A new report just released by County officials reveals that 10% of the County’s workforce is employed by nonprofits, with total wages of $2.2 billion.

Entitled Beyond Charity: Nonprofit Business in Montgomery Countythe report looks at nonprofits from several economic vantage points, starting with the fact that nonprofit businesses, like their for-profit counterparts, are employers and purchasers of goods and services.

Supporting data include:
  • Montgomery County’s 501(c)(3) charitable nonprofits paid $2.2 billion to 43,371 employees in 2011 and have nearly $4 billion in combined purchasing power.
  • Nonprofits employ one in 10 workers in the County.
  • Nonprofit employment in the County grew 9.1% between 2007 and 2011, while overall employment in the County decreased by 2.5%.
The report was funded by the departments of Economic Development and Health and Human Services.

Read more about the report.

Nominations Open for Montgomery Serves Awards

Nominations are being accepted for the Montgomery Serves Awards and the Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards that recognize some of the County’s most outstanding community leaders and dedicated volunteers. All nominations must be received by February 25 at 5 p.m.

The awards, along with the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award, will be presented on April 29 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda at an event organized by the Montgomery County Volunteer Center, Fund for Montgomery and the Corporate Volunteer Council of Montgomery County.
  • Neal Potter Path of Achievement Awards – presented in partnership with the Commission on Aging and “The Beacon” newspaper to two residents, aged 60 and above, for their lifetimes of volunteer service to the County.
  • 2012 Montgomery Serves Awards – given in recognition of special volunteer accomplishments during the calendar year 2012 in three categories: Youth Service (individuals 18 years and under and/or youth groups); Business Service (businesses or corporations that engage employees as community volunteers); and Community Service (exemplary volunteer service by individuals or community organizations).
Additional information and nomination forms are found at www.montgomeryserves.org or by calling the Montgomery County Volunteer Center at 240-777-2600.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited and pre-registration is required. Pre-register at www.montgomeryserves.org.

County’s Share of Hotel/Motel Tax to Increase; Will Allow for Wider Promotion of Local Assets, Attractions

Thanks to a bill just passed by the County Council, there will be additional money to promote the County as a good place for business travelers, for tourists to stay while they enjoy the Capital Region and for visitors and residents to enjoy the many exciting events and amenities the County has to offer.

Bill 36-12 increases the amount of the hotel/motel tax collected by the County and directed to the County’s Conference and Visitors Bureau from 3.5 to 7%.

Public testimony about the bill revealed that Montgomery County spends less overall on promotions than all neighboring jurisdictions other than Arlington County in Virginia.

Looking ahead, it was noted that the County must be ready to more aggressively compete for tourism and conventions with Prince George’s County and other Maryland jurisdictions that have, or will have, casinos.

Read more in news release.

Holiday Schedule for Presidents’ Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Presidents’ Day on Monday, February 18:
  • County Offices – closed
  • Public Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation – aquatics programs open, aquatic facilities and community centers open; all other classes and programs canceled; administrative office and senior centers closed
  • Montgomery Parks – for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org.
  • Ride On – Special modified holiday schedule
  • Metrobus – Saturday schedule with supplemental service
  • Metrorail – Saturday Holiday schedule
  • TRiPS Commuter Stores (Silver Spring and Friendship Heights) – closed
  • Refuse/recycling pickup – no collection*
  • Transfer Station – open
  • 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).

Check County's Calendar for more information.

Creating a Safer Maryland Together

In early February, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown joined with County Executive Ike Leggett, Council President Nancy Navarro and the County Council at a town hall meeting in Rockville designed to connect with community members about the O'Malley-Brown Administration's proposed public safety legislation, answer questions and hear ideas for continuing to build a safer Maryland together.

The Montgomery County event was part of a series of town hall meetings scheduled around the state to promote discussions on improving public safety and protecting Maryland families. The lieutenant governor was joined by a panel made up of State Police Superintendent Colonel Marcus Brown, State Superintendent of Schools Dr. Lillian Lowery and Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Secretary Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein. Community members, advocates, public safety officials, faith leaders, and other state and local officials also participated.

Watch the town hall meeting.


Ride On Moving from Paper Passes to Electronic SmarTrip Card

Ride On passengers are now able to load monthly passes onto their SmarTrip® cards. The $45 monthly pass provides customers unlimited rides on Ride On buses for an entire calendar month.  Monthly passes can be loaded onto SmarTrip® cards either in person or online.  When adding value online, customers have the option to purchase monthly passes automatically.  The monthly pass value is then added automatically to a purchaser’s card seven days before the end of each month.

Customers who prefer to add the monthly pass value to a SmarTrip® card in person, may do so at transit stores in Silver Spring and Friendship Heights, at County offices in downtown Rockville, or at various retail stores.

Paper passes, including the YouthCruiserPass, are being phased out.  Passengers can still pay fares with cash, but the Ride On monthly pass saves more than 40% over paying cash fares on regular Ride On routes.

For information, go to the Division of Transit Services' website or call 311 (TTY, call 301-251-4850) Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

New Policy Changes at Public Libraries = More Access to More Materials

To help ensure that Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) customers have increased access to the materials/items they need from the system’s collection, four policy changes take effect on Sunday, February 17.

The changes will enable customers to:
  1. increase the number of checkouts on their account from 50 items to 100 items;
  2. place 30 holds, rather than 15; 
  3. check out 20 DVDs (increased from 10); and
  4. renew items three times (rather than twice), as long as there is not another customer waiting for the item.
Help Others Learn to Read – Be an Adult Literacy Volunteer 

The Literacy Council of Montgomery County will hold an information session for volunteers interested in helping adults learn to read, write, or speak English on Wednesday, February 20 at 7:30 p.m. and Tuesday, March 19 at 7:30 p.m. at the Rockville Memorial Library.

Once volunteers have completed the information session, they can select a two-part training session that fits their schedules.

Call 301-610-0030, email info@literacycouncilmcmd.org or visit www.literacycouncilmcmd.org.

Polar Bear Swim for Individuals with Disabilties 

Individuals with disabilities and their families and friends can have fun together on Saturday, March 2 at the Polar Bear Family Swimming Pool Party at the Germantown Indoor Swim Center n the South Germantown Recreational Park, 18000 Central Park Circle, Boyds, beginning at 7:30 p.m.  Pick up time is 9:30 p.m.

Swim a few laps, streak down the water slides, shoot baskets or relax in the leisure pool/hot tub. $4 per person; $6 for non-residents, bring swimsuit, towel and backpack to store your belongings while swimming.

Anyone attending must register – under course #344096 -- and come in swim attire.

For more information, call 240-777-6870.

“Virtual Tours” of Montgomery County Sites from Heritage Montgomery  

It may be cold and blustery outside – so fire up your computer and enjoy a little trip around the County from the comfort of your own home, courtesy of  Heritage Montgomery.

Short “travelogues” -- video clips running from two to six minutes -- were originally part of the Paths to the Present series, which ran on County Cable Montgomery.  The first five installments feature:

The C&O Canal and Monocacy
Aqueduct in Dickerson
The C&O Canal and Monocacy Aqueduct in Dickerson – view scenes along the canal; hear about construction of the magnificent aqueduct completed in 1833.

White’s Ferry in Poolesville
White’s Ferry in Poolesville – learn about the cable ferry that has transported vehicles and walk-on passengers across the Potomac since 1828.

Madison House in Brookeville
Madison House in Brookeville – discover the now beautifully restored 1790 home that provided refuge for President James Madison when he fled the British attack on the White House during the War of 1812.

Clara Barton House in Glen Echo
Clara Barton House in Glen Echo – take a look at the life of the founder of the American Red Cross and her home which served as the organization’s first headquarters.

Jeb Stuart Visits Rockville
Jeb Stuart Visits Rockville – re-live General Jeb Stuart’s four-hour stop in Rockville on his way to meet General Robert E. Lee in Gettysburg in 1863.

For more information about Heritage Montgomery, visit  http://heritagemontgomery.org.

Apply for Projects that Reduce Stormwater Runoff; Higher RainScapes Rewards Rebates Available

The Department of Environmental Protection’s RainScapes Rewards program has increased its rebate limits to $2,500 for residential properties and $10,000 for institutional, homeowner association common areas and commercial properties.

Residents currently working on a project will be eligible for the higher level rebate.  Residents who have already completed a project may be eligible for the higher rebates for new projects.

Most rainfall on urban surfaces -- such as roofs, driveways, roads, parking lots and patios -- ends up as stormwater runoff, which can carry pollutants into streams and damage stream banks and habitats. RainScapes techniques include rain gardens, conservation landscapes, canopy trees, green roofs, permeable pavements, rain barrels, cisterns and dry wells that allow rainfall to soak into the ground where it can replenish groundwater and recharge streams.

Honor Roll Students Skate Free

Not only do good grades count, they can save you money, as well. Now through March 8, Honor Roll students in Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) can skate free at the Silver Spring Skating Rink at Veterans Plaza (corner of Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.)

Bring your MCPS report card and student ID and receive one free skating pass, with skates.

Questions? Call 301-588-1221.

Public-Private Partnership Helps Build Hope for Animals

Thanks to a public-private partnership between the County and private-sector non-profit mcpaw (Montgomery County Partners for Animal Well-Being), the new state-of-the art Animal Shelter and Adoption Center is taking shape at the intersection of Muncaster Mill and Airpark roads in Derwood.

Mcpaw, is an independent non-profit created to provide financial support for the center. Funds raised by mcpaw will provide enhanced facilities and meet future equipment needs of the Animal Services and Adoption Center.

The 49,160 square-foot Animal Services and Adoption Center is expected to open in the summer of 2013.

Learn more about the animal shelter project and the mcpaw partnership.


Montgomery Named Among 2013 Best Intergenerational Communities

Intergenerational Communities are places that folks of all ages proudly call home, because they recognize the benefits of intergenerational programs, practices, policies and services. And, Montgomery County has been selected as one of the 2013 MetLife Foundation/Generations United Best Intergenerational Communities Award recipients, according to a report in the February 6 Generations This Week.

Other communities receiving the 2013 award were: Dunedin, FL, Itta Bena, MS and Westchester County, NY. More details about each award-winning community and the award presentations are forthcoming from Generations United.

The organization’s website says Generations United is “the national membership organization focused solely on improving the lives of children, youth, and older people through intergenerational strategies, programs, and public policies.”

Read more about intergenerational communities and previous winners.

Consumer Protection Director Discusses Credit Score Errors on Fox 5 News 

Errors in credit scores have been making the news lately and Fox 5 News interviewed Office of Consumer Protection Director Eric Friedman about how to check your score, what kind of errors to look for and the role of credit bureaus.

 Watch the five-minute interview.

County Executive Staffer Profiled in Bethesda Magazine

Lily Qi, Special Projects manager for County Executive Ike Leggett, and her husband, Phil Peng, are featured in the January/February issue of Bethesda Magazine as members of the “sacrifice generation.” 
According to author Steve Roberts, those are people “who leave home and settle in a new land….” However, he adds that they “will never feel fully part of their adopted country. Only their children will.”

The article details the circumstances under which Qi and her husband left China and the struggles they overcame to forge a life for themselves and their children in the United States.

Read “Meet the Sacrifice Generation.”


Saturday, March 2 -- Public hearing on Legislative Redistricting and Proposed Precinct Modifications. Board of Elections, 18753 N. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg. 10 a.m. – noon..  Persons interested in speaking should visit  http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/Elections/BoardInformation/PublicParticipation.html - for information and preparation guidelines.  A detailed matrix of the proposed modifications will be posted at www.777vote.org  approximately five days prior to the public hearing. If unable to attend the hearing, public comments will be received by the Montgomery County Board of Elections through 5 p.m. on March 6.  Persons interested in providing a response related to the proposed modifications should submit their comments to elections@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Thursday, March 7 -- Seminar on the Legal Process of Separation and Divorce in Montgomery County.  Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330. 7-9 p.m. Presented by attorney Chandra Walker Holloway. The seminar will also be offered in Spanish at the same time, presented by attorney Nelson Garcia. Topics will include financial, property and practical issues both wife and husband must consider.  Pre-registration for either session is $10 at  http://divorcelawseminar3.eventbrite.com/; admission at the door is $15, cash or check, only.  Call 240-777-8300.

March 25 - March 30Civil Rights Historic Bus Tour.  Retrace the steps of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and other civil rights heroes. Tour stops will be: Greensboro, NC; Atlanta, GA; Birmingham, Montgomery, Selma, and Tuskegee, AL; Cincinnati, OH and Memphis, TN. Hosted by the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights, in collaboration with Montgomery County Public Libraries, the African American Employees Association, the Lincoln Park Historical Foundation and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. $495 per person for the six-day tour for a group of four, including hotel, transportation, some meals and snacks and all museum/tour fees. Slightly higher for smaller groups. A deposit for half the tour fee is due as soon as possible. Contact Beverly Marshall in the Office of Human Rights at Beverly.marshall@montgomerycountymd.gov. More information at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/humanrights.

Check County Calendar for information on other County events/programs.