April 25, 2013

Leggett Celebrates Annapolis Session Accomplishments; Executive’s Top Priority to Expand Transportation Funding Succeeds

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (center) congratulated the Montgomery County State Delegation for their successes. From left to right are: County Councilmember George Leventhal, Sen. Jennie Forehand, County Councilmember Marc Elrich, County Councilmember Nancy Floreen, Sen. Brian Frosh, County Councilmember Craig Rice, County Council President Nancy Navarro, Del. Susan Lee, Montgomery County Senate Delegation Chair Sen. Jamie Raskin, Montgomery County House Delegation Chair Del. Anne Kaiser, Del. Al Carr, Sen. Richard Madaleno and Del. Charles Barkley

County Executive Ike Leggett recently took time to celebrate the accomplishments achieved by Montgomery County in Annapolis this year, including his top priority -- expanded transportation funding.

“Montgomery County’s number one priority for more than 10 years has been to obtain more transportation funding,” said Leggett. “Six years ago, I virtually stood alone in advocating for an increase in the state’s gasoline tax, which hadn’t been increased since 1992. Since then, I have testified at every hearing on this issue and have been relentless in its support.”

The gas tax increase is expected to raise $4.4 billion in new revenue over the next six years. This funding will help support the costs of key County transit projects, including the Purple Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway and a backlog of major road projects.

Leggett strongly supported other measures that passed this session, including the State’s strong gun violence law, the abolishment of the death penalty and drivers licenses for undocumented residents.

Read more about the legislative accomplishments.

Bethesda Named Top City in US for Finding Employment Now

The top place in the country to find employment these days is in our own backyard. A Forbes Magazine piece reveals that Bethesda is the number one city in the United States for getting a job at this time.

In her piece entitled “The 10 Best Cities for Finding Employment Right Now,” Forbes’ Jacquelyn Smith writes, “The best place for finding employment right now is the Bethesda, Md. metro area, where the unemployment rate is 5.2%, as of February 2013. That’s 2.5 percentage points lower than the national rate, which was 7.7% in February”.

The rankings were based on “the diversity of industries in the city, the cost of living, the range in size of companies offering employment and a high level of education among residents.”

Austin, TX ranked second followed by Jacksonville, FL in third. Seattle placed sixth and New York City was in eighth place. See the complete list, with photos.

Senator Mikulski Introduces Tom Perez at Labor Secretary Confirmation Hearing

U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski (D-MD), a senior member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee, introduced the White House nominee for Secretary of Labor, Thomas E. Perez, at his recent confirmation hearing before the Senate HELP Committee.

A former County Council member and president (in 2005), Perez is currently the Assistant Attorney General in the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He previously served as the Secretary of Maryland’s Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, which protects consumers through the enforcement of a wide range of consumer rights laws and collaborates with businesses and workers to build the workforce. In 2002, he became the first Latino elected to the Council.

  • Download Audio of Senator Mikulski’s remarks -- here.
  • Download Video of Senator Mikulski’s remarks is available – here.

Police Encourage Residents: Be Alert; Speak Up

In the wake of the Boston Marathon tragedy, the County Police Department reminds residents always to remain vigilant and to report suspicious behavior to police. Officers will respond to all calls of suspicious activity.

As part of its “See Something, Say Something” campaign, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security has developed seven signs of suspicious behavior associated with terrorism – ranging from persons doing surveillance (recording or monitoring activities) to deploying assets, such as placing people, equipment and supplies into position to commit the act.

Bethesda Metro Chosen as “Model Station” for Testing Future Concepts

The Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) has selected the Bethesda Metro Station as the test site for future station concepts. The model station will enable Metro to test several design concepts in a single station, with improved lighting, better information and improved customer convenience.

County Executive Ike Leggett extended his “sincere appreciation to Metro for selecting Bethesda as the pilot for its station environment improvement program. Bethesda has one of the highest daily riderships of any Metro station in Montgomery County along the oldest Metro line, and it is showing its age. As the gateway to Bethesda, one of the most important economic engines for the state of Maryland, this project will ensure that this critical Metro station continues to function well and present a favorable and attractive experience for all riders.”

Coming Up: Ride On’s Annual Food Drive

Ride On bus passengers in Montgomery County can help needy families and receive free bus rides by donating canned or nonperishable food during Ride On’s annual food drive from Sunday, April 28 through Saturday, May 4. Food collected through the drive goes to Manna Food Center, which feeds over 3,600 hungry families a month.

All food donations, regardless of the number of cans, will be valued at the regular fare rate of $1.80. Passengers who transfer buses will need an additional food donation to ride free on the second bus.

Those who do not ride the bus but wish to donate food can participate by giving their donations to a bus operator at any Ride On bus stop.

Checks made out to Manna Food Center will also be accepted. Writing in “Ride On” on the “For” or “Memo” line in the lower left corner of a check will make it easier to track the success of the program.

For bus stop locations or bus schedules, call 311 or TDD/TTY 301-251-4850. Route and timetable information is also available on Ride On’s web site. SmarTrip® cards and passes can also be purchased online.


Housing Help, Education, Family Fun at Annual Housing Fair

The annual Montgomery County Housing Fair will be held on Saturday, April 27, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bohrer Park Activity Center, Summit Hall Farm (next to Gaithersburg High School), 506 S. Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg.

The fair features more than 75 housing-related exhibits, including information about first-time homebuyer programs, closing cost assistance, information from mortgage companies, banks and others in the housing field. There will be eight drawings to award $500 to any fairgoer to use to pay toward their mortgage, rent or utility bills.

Activities for children include a Home Depot table where kids can build their own bird house. Clowns, cartoon characters and face painters are scheduled throughout the day.

For more information, contact Myriam Torrico at 240-777-3627, or email Myriam.torrico@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Get in the Swing -- Family Golf Fair

In partnership with Montgomery County Golf, PGA Tour Charities and the Washington Hebrew Congregation, The First Tee is hosting a Family Golf Fair on Sunday, April 28, at the Needwood Golf Course, 6724 Needwood Rd. in Derwood.

Registration begins at 11:30 a.m. followed by the first program at 12:30 p.m., a gold clinic provided by the Dennis Walters Golf Show. Lunch will be served from 11:30 to 12:30, with a moonbounce, games and face painting at 1 p.m.

To register, email Molson@thefirstteemcmd.org.

Montgomery Serves Award Recipients Announced

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has announced the recipients of the 2013 Montgomery Serves awards, the Neal Potter Path of Achievement awards and the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership awards.

Odessa Shannon, Carol Trawick and Teresa Rios Wright are recipients of the Roscoe R. Nix Distinguished Community Leadership Award. The award honors an individual or individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the quality of our community.

The Neal Potter Path of Achievement Award honors seniors age 60 and older who have given a lifetime of volunteer community service. Representatives from the Commission on Aging chose Marcine D. Goodloe and Joyce B. Siegel as recipients.

The 2013 Montgomery Serves Awards recognize special volunteer accomplishments during the 2012 calendar year in four categories: Alfredo Colina Iturralde was selected in the youth category; MedImmune in the business service category; Robert Zagorski for community service by an individual; and the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. for community service by a group.

The awards will be presented at the Second Annual Montgomery Serves Awards event on Monday, April 29 at Imagination Stage in Bethesda. Get more information on the free event. Or, call 240-777-2600.

Higher Fire Service Public Protection Classification Could Benefit Residents, Businesses

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Fire Chief Richard Bowers recently announced that enhancements in the County’s fire service have raised its Public Protection Classification (PPC) rating by the Insurance Services Office, Inc., following a comprehensive audit and evaluation.

The overall PPC rating reflects the total capability of the department to respond to and meet the fire protection demands of the community. The new rating, which took effect on April 1, could mean savings on fire insurance premiums for residents and businesses.

The higher rating is also a result of other improvements including increased staffing and equipment, and faster response times, funded by the Emergency Medical Services Transport Reimbursement Program, which provides $14 to $18 million annually to meet critical Fire & Rescue Service needs, at no added cost to County residents.

Business and property owners should contact their insurance agents to determine whether they qualify for any change in insurance rates.

Read more.


Public Information Office Cable News Show Wins National Award

"County Report This Week," the weekly half-hour cable news show produced by the  Public Information Office’s cable programming section has received a 2013 Hometown Media Award from the Alliance for Community Media. The national award recognizes the County’s overall excellence in public, educational and governmental access programming.

The award-winning show was among more than 800 entries from across the country. Produced in December 2012, the show features news segments about a transportation summit, a pedestrian safety anniversary, a senior summit, and a package from the County’s weekly "Montgomery al Dia" Spanish language show, with a year in review by Maryland Lieutenant Governor Anthony Brown. To see show #140, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lHaravByWJ8

"County Report This Week" was launched by the Office of Public Information in April 2010 to provide County news highlights to residents on a weekly basis. The show includes County Executive and County Council reports along with regular contributions from the other Public, Educational, and Governmental (PEG) access channels – Montgomery Community Media, Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College, and cities of Rockville and Takoma Park.

The show airs on County Cable Montgomery (Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN cable, and Channel 30 on Verizon). It is also available to watch on demand at http://montgomerycountymd.gov/ccm/archives.html and is available on YouTube in English and Spanish.

County Has State’s Highest Waste Diversion, Recycling Rates

 According to the Maryland Department of the Environment’s (MDE) Calendar 2011 Maryland Waste Diversion Rates & Tonnages, Montgomery County has the highest recycling rate (57.68 percent) and waste diversion rate (62.68 percent) of all jurisdictions in the state.

The Maryland Recycling Act (MRA) requires all counties and Baltimore City to recycle 15 or 20 percent of their municipal solid waste, depending on population, and report annually to the state.

Read more.

County Earns Awards for Workplace Excellence

Montgomery County government has earned four awards from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) for its exemplary commitment to the workforce by creating a culture that promotes professional fulfillment and personal wellness for their employees.

The awards received this year by the County are the Workplace Excellence Award, the Health & Wellness Trailblazer Award, the Diversity Award and the EcoLeadership Award.

Montgomery County was among 68 employers that met stringent standards regarding the benefits and work environments that they provide. Organizations were judged on supportive corporate culture and management practices, family- and employee-friendly practices, health and wellness initiatives, growth and learning opportunities, and commitment to social responsibility and employee volunteerism.

Read more.


Tuesday, May 7 -- Purple Line Open House. Silver Spring Civic Building at Veterans Plaza (Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr.). 5-8 p.m. The entire project will be presented. See current plans for all locations along the alignment; Maryland Transit Administration (MTA) engineers will answer questions. MTA will use public comments and suggestions from the Open Houses to make final revisions before the Preliminary Engineering plans are submitted for federal approval late this summer. Contact the Purple Line Public Outreach Team at 443-451-3706; 443-451-3705 (EspaƱol) or emailoutreach@purplelinemd.com. Get more information at www.purplelinenow.com.

Tue., May 14 -- Purple Line Open House. Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, 4301 East-West Highway, Bethesda. 5-8 p.m. See description/contact information in May 7 listing above.

Friday, May 17 -- An Evening with Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco. Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave. 7:30 p.m. Presented by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC) and the Latino Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) History Project (LHP).Blanco, the first Latino and the first openly gay poet laureate for the presidential inauguration, will present a program of readings. $30 for an individual; $50 per couple. Call 240-777-0020 or visit www.folmc.org. For more information about LHP, go to www.latinoglbthistory.org.

Tuesday, May 21, -- Online Chat with County Executive Ike Leggett. 1-2 p.m.
Submit questions now or during the chat.

Friday, May 24Small Business Awards. Bethesda North Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., North Bethesda. A tribute to the estimated 33,000 small businesses in the County. Awards will be presented to local companies in eight categories. Get details about nominations and registration.

Monday thru Sunday, June 24-30 – AT&T National. Congressional Country Club, 8500 River Rd., Bethesda. Order tickets and check out other information about the 2013 tournament.

Saturday- Sunday, June 29 – 30. Heritage Days Weekend. More than 20 historic sites throughout the County. Noon – 4 p.m. Free. Programs will focus on history, outdoor recreation, children's and family activities, music, and fun. Many sites will offer living history presentations, games and crafts, refreshments, special exhibits, tours, music ... and history, too. A special feature on Saturday will be “The Civil War Comes to Rockville” -- programs commemorating the 150th anniversary of Confederate General J.E.B. Stuart's raid on the town. Reenactments, musical performances, lectures, crafts, walking tours and more will be featured at the Beall-Dawson House and Grounds, Historic Red Brick Courthouse, Christ Episcopal Church and the Rockville Town Square. The event will cap off with a Country Dance in the Town Square in the evening. For detailed information on Heritage Days and The Civil War Comes to Rockville, visit www.HeritageMontgomery.org or call 301-515-0753.