May 23, 2013

Council Approves $4.8 Billion FY2014 Operating Budget

The Montgomery County Council has unanimously approved a $4.8 billion County total operating budget for Fiscal Year 2014. The budget, which reflects a 4.1 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2013, “continues to invest in our economic and social infrastructure,” said Council President Nancy Navarro.The budget also maintains property tax revenue at the Charter limit. It includes a $692 property tax credit for owner-occupants of principal residences.
The overall tax-supported portion of the budget will be $4.2 billion, including debt service, an increase of 4.2 percent from the FY13 budget.

For Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS), the Council approved a total budget of $2.225 billion, including $2.1 billion in tax-supported funds,), an increase of $57.7 million (2.65 percent increase from FY13) in the total budget. The budget provides a County contribution to MCPS that meets, but does not exceed, the State’s Maintenance of Effort Law requirement.

Montgomery College’s approved budget is $280 million, including $228 million in tax-supported funds. This is an increase of 4.2 percent from the FY13 approved budget and funds 99 percent of the College’s tax-supported request.

In the years between FY09 and FY12, the County Government workforce was reduced by 1,254 positions (10 percent). The FY13 budget restored 92 positions and the FY14 budget restores an additional 128 positions.
The budget maintains the County’s commitment to prudent fiscal policies that the Council and Executive mutually agreed are critical to maintaining sound fiscal management. The budget increases reserve levels to cushion the County against any additional unanticipated economic setbacks. It also again increases the pre-funding of retiree health benefits.

The approved budget strongly supports the County’s public safety commitment. The budget for the Department of Police is $260.5 million, an increase of $9.99 million (4.0 percent) from the FY13 approved budget. The budget implements the second year of the Police Department’s three-year staffing plan, adding 40 positions. The number of School Resource Officers assigned to Montgomery County Public Schools was doubled from the current six to 12.

The budget for the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service is $218 million, an increase of $13.5 million (6.6 percent) from the FY13 approved budget.

The FY14 operating budget, and adjustments to the Fiscal Years 2013-18 six-year Capital Improvements Program, will go into effect on July 1.

Read budget highlights and more details.

Response from County Executive on Council Budget Approval

The Montgomery County Council has approved the fiscal year 2014 budget. I thank the Council for their hard work on this important task. Balancing the needs of our residents and businesses in the current difficult economic environment is not an easy endeavor and I appreciate and thank them for their accomplishments.

The balanced $4.8 billion budget I recommended to the Council in March strategically restored some of the most critical and important services that we were forced to substantially reduce over the past six years as the County faced unprecedented budget challenges.

My recommended enhancements in FY14 balance the backlog of resident needs with the County’s new economic reality - holding the line on property taxes at the County Charter level at the rate of inflation; holding the tax-supported County government budget increase to 3.9 percent, which is half of last year’s increase; and increasing spending for our expanding school enrollment.

The Council’s action approved 99 percent of my recommended budget.

I am, however, particularly concerned about two Council actions that create an $18 million problem this year and create greater difficulties in balancing the budget in FY15 and beyond.

The energy tax cut of 10 percent reduces revenues by $11.6 million in FY14 and well into the future. One of the many reasons why I recommended retaining the energy tax at the current level is that a substantial portion of the tax comes from federal and other tax-exempt facilities in the County that otherwise pay nothing to the County for the services that they consume. This reduction reduces our budget flexibility in future years.

I also do not believe the Council should “borrow” $6.7 million in funds I set aside to pay for retired County employees’ health benefits. Those funds will have to be repaid next year, which will result in higher future obligations.

I understand the Council’s desire to meet its own policy goals and the tremendous demands that make these decisions so difficult. My goal is to continue to improve our fiscal stability that we have worked so tirelessly and collaboratively to achieve.

Leggett Lauded by Governor for Support of Transportation Funding; Talks of Long Years of Support for Increased Funding

During the recent signing of the transportation funding bill in Annapolis, Governor Martin O’Malley publicly recognized County Executive Ike Leggett for his support for the legislation.

Following the bill signing, Leggett acknowledged a long, seven-year fight to obtain funding necessary to move critical projects forward.

View remarks by the governor and Leggett.

County Government Memorial Day Schedule

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Memorial Day on Monday, May 27:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County liquor stores – all retail stores open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. 
  • Recreation – indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks – for holiday operating schedule on Parks’ facilities, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit
  • Ride On – Sunday schedule
  • Metrobus – Sunday schedule
  • Metrorail – Sunday schedule
  • 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).

Hack for Change

Montgomery County will bring together residents, software developers and entrepreneurs for a “hackathon” on June 1-2 at the Universities of Shady Grove, Building III at 9630 Gudelsky D., Rockville, beginning at 2 p.m..

The “Hack for Change Hackathon” will be part of the first annual National Day of Civic Hacking designed to leverage the power of public data with the expertise of residents and entrepreneurs in finding technology solutions for the common good. Other agencies hosting civic hacking events include The White House, NASA, the Census Bureau, HHS, FEMA, the National Archives and departments of Labor and Energy.

The event will offer County residents a unique opportunity to get involved and improve community life by developing new applications for smart phones and other devices. Participants will select the idea they find most compelling and form a development team to work on it. Some ideas may have multiple teams and others may have none.

Meals will be provided, and the event will conclude at 6:30 p.m. on June 2 following team presentations and judging.

Get more details, including registration information.

Public Invited to Comment on Plan to Improve Accessibility at Recreational Facilities and Parks

Residents and community groups are invited to attend a public meeting to help develop a multi-year plan to improve accessibility for people with disabilities at recreational and park facilities throughout the County.

Hosted by the County’s Commission on People with Disabilities and the County-Wide Recreation Advisory Board, the meeting will be held on Wednesday, June 12, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., in the Executive Office Building, Lobby Level Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.

More details about the public meeting are available on the website which will be updated regularly with information on the multi-year plan.

American Sign Language interpreter services will be provided. The meeting room is equipped with an assistive listening system. Anyone needing other auxiliary aids and services to participate in this event should contact the County’s ADA Compliance Office at least three business days in advance of the meeting. Call 240-777-6197, or TTY 240-777-6196 or email

For more information about the public meeting or about ADA compliance issues, contact Nancy Greene in the Department of General Services at, or 240-777-6197; or Bob Green, ADA Compliance Project Manager for M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks at, or 301-495-2571.

“Be Active Montgomery!” – It’s About Daily Fun, Fitness and Health

The County’s new “Be Active Montgomery!” outreach campaign -- aimed at promoting overall health and wellness through participation in healthy recreation and leisure activities -- will kick off with a variety of special free activities for all ages on Saturday, June 8, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the South Germantown Recreation Park, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds.

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council Vice-president Craig Rice will join Montgomery Recreation, Montgomery Parks and Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) representatives at the kick off.

The free event will include the United Way Fun, Fly and Fit obstacle course; healthy food vendors; fitness walks; and interactive demonstrations such as Quick Start tennis, Zumba and golf clinics. Attendees who complete the fitness challenge will receive free admission to the Germantown Indoor Swim Center and the miniature golf course.

Taste the World in Fenton Village

More than two dozen restaurants featuring cuisine from around the globe will be showcased in the third annual Taste the World in Fenton Village on Sunday, June 2, from 1 to 5 p.m. Fenton Village is located just south of Downtown Silver Spring between Wayne, Georgia and Burlington aves. and Fenton St.

Event attendees may pick up their Taste the World passports at Parking Lot 3 on Fenton St. between Thayer and Silver Spring aves. beginning at 1 p.m. Once participants have their “visas” stamped with three or more restaurants for tastings, they can enter a free drawing for prizes from local merchants.

The Silver Spring Metro Station is a 10-minute walk from the stage area. Free parking will be available at Parking Lot 3 as well as Parking Garage #4 on Silver Spring Ave. and at all other nearby County-owned parking facilities.

For maps, a list of participating restaurants and other event details, visit .

Open House for IT Vendors to Explore Business Opportunities with the County

Information Technology (IT) vendors wanting to explore possible business opportunities with County departments and agencies are invited to a free open house on June 3, from 1 to 3 p.m., at the Executive Office Building, Lobby Level Auditorium, 101 Monroe St., Rockville.

See the full list of participating departments and agencies.

For more information, contact the Office of Business Relations and Compliance at 240-777-9913 or

"Do More 24" - Help Local Non-profits Help Your Community

On June 6, local residents can help build better communities and enhance the lives of those in need by participating in the 24-hour online “Do More 24” campaign, powered by the United Way of the National Capital Area. The goal of the campaign is to increase funding - through a day of concentrated giving - for the countless local non-profits that provide valuable services to the neediest area residents.

Residents can do several things to participate:
  • Mark June 6 on the calendar and bookmark the “Do More 24” website at; the website also has a list of the many fundraising events scheduled for the area on June 6; 
  • Donate that day to a favorite nonprofit organization, or to the “Do More 24” Fund; and 
  • Follow United Way NCA on Facebook at and Twitter at @uwnca. Use the #domore24 hashtag to keep the onversation going. 
So far, more than 800 nonprofit organizations have registered to participate in “Do More 24.” Organizers expect by June 6 there will be more than 1,000 organizations taking part.

County Only Local Jurisdiction to Earn National Technology Award/Recognitions

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has honored the County’s openMontgomery program with a 2012-2013 Technology Solutions award in the Web, e-Government and Mobile Technology category. Two other County programs were recognized for Significant Achievement: a Cloud-Based BikeShare Research Tool and the Mobile IT Service Desk.

Montgomery was the only county in the State of Maryland - and the only jurisdiction in the Washington, DC metropolitan area - to be recognized with an award by PTI in this year’s technology solutions awards competition.

PTI is a national technology organization created by and for cities and counties. Every year, PTI recognizes local government technology programs that have demonstrated how, through the use of technology, governments improve service delivery and/or reduce costs.

Read more about the award-winning programs.

Three County Employees, One Contractor Recognized for Recycling Achievements

An employee of Montgomery County Parks, two from the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation and a County food-service contractor were among numerous County residents, businesses, multi-family residential properties and individuals honored for outstanding achievements in recycling by the Division of Solid Waste Services at the annual Recycling Achievement Recognition Program.

Ellen Bennett, chair for the Montgomery County Parks’ recycling committee, has helped improve recycling efforts throughout the Parks Department. From organizing recycling training sessions for all of their employees to coordinating paper shredding and recycling events at some of their park facilities in coordination with the Division of Solid Waste Services.

Christine Johnson, deputy warden at the Clarksburg Correctional Facility, worked with staff from the Division of Solid Waste Services to revamp the recycling efforts. She streamlined placement of recycling containers around the facility and conducted several training sessions for employees. She monitors the recycling program on regular basis and wants to add improved recycling containers to their main lobby area to further increase their recycling efforts.

Harry Vaughn, when deputy warden at the Seven Locks Detention Center in Rockville, took special interest in improving their recycling efforts. After meeting with staff from the Division of Solid Waste Services, he streamlined placement of recycling containers around the facility and conducted several training sessions for the employees. Although he has recently retired, Vaughn was honored for his outstanding commitment to recycling over the years.

Wellbeing Café Inc., the operators of the cafeteria in the Executive Office Building in Rockville, participated in a food waste recycling program for pre-consumer food waste that has served as a model for other cafeterias and food-related establishments in the County. Through the support of the management, all Wellbeing Café employees embraced the food waste recycling program and successfully modified their work processes to separate food scraps for recycling collection. Since November 2011, Wellbeing Café has diverted more than 20 tons of pre-consumer food waste for recycling.

See complete list of 2013 award recipients.


Wednesday, June 5, Monday, June 24 -- Wheaton Library/ Recreation Center Community Input Meetings. Wheaton Library, 11701 Georgia Ave., Meeting Room 100. 7 to 9 p.m. The first meeting will be a workshop for attendees to discuss their visions, goals, challenges and concerns for the new building and its site. At the second meeting, the design team will present the feedback received at the June 5th meeting and -- during another workshop -- will continue the dialog by developing building and site design ideas and options for group discussion. See more information about the project.

Sunday, June 9 -- 18th Annual Taste of WhEATton. In theWheaton Triangle at the corner of Grandview Ave. and Reedie Dr., one block north of the Wheaton Metro station. 11 a.m. - 5 p.m. A showcase of the deliciously diverse restaurants in downtown Wheaton. Get more information.

Tuesday, June 11 – Public hearing on rewrite of County Zoning Code. Council Office Building, Third Floor Hearing Room, 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville. The first major rewrite of the County Zoning Code since 1978. Among the goals will be updating all aspects of the ordinance, creating more predictability in the standards and promoting “green” land use practices. See full text of the proposed code and proposed zoning on property to implement the new code. The meeting will be televised live by County Cable Montgomery (CCM—Cable Channel 6 on Comcast and RCN, Channel 30 on Verizon) and can be viewed via streaming through the County web site at Those wishing to speak should call 240-777-7803.

May 16, 2013

Leggett, Governor Celebrate Huge County Victory in Annapolis

O’Malley Hails Executive as “an outspoken advocate for an increase in transportation funding revenues”

County Executive Ike Leggett (left) was at Governor Martin J. O’Malley’s shoulder as the governor signed the Transportation Act that increases revenues from the sale of gasoline for the first time in a generation. Revenue from the bill, estimated at $4.4 billion over the next six years, will boost economic development in the County. The funds will be dedicated to new roads and mass transit projects, including the Purple Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway and a backlog of major road projects.
Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, a staunch advocate for an increase in transportation funding revenues, joined Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. and Speaker of the House Michael E. Busch at the bill signing for the Transportation Infrastructure Investment Act of 2013 (pdf).

“The Act will help replenish the State’s Transportation Trust Fund and assist counties throughout the state to advance major transportation infrastructure,” said Leggett. “The Bill is essential to the future vibrancy of Montgomery County, the state’s key economic development engine and job creator. We now have the means to move forward on our major master plans that incorporate investment in new transportation infrastructure.

“The Washington region has the dubious distinction of being rated number one in the nation as having the worst traffic congestion,” Leggett noted, “and that is why Montgomery County’s number one priority for more than 10 years has been to obtain more transportation funding.”

“This historic transportation bill allows us to move forward with the first new major transportation projects in more than eight years,” said O’Malley. “Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett has been a consistently strong advocate and working together with legislative leaders and members of the General Assembly, we have guaranteed a sustainable transportation funding source that will provide a safer, more efficient transportation network, spur economic development and support more than 57,200 jobs”

After the signing, Leggett (second from left) joined County transit activists on the State House steps including Ben Ross (third from left), Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Gigi Godwin (center), and Maryland League of Women Voters President Nancy Soreng (right front).

May 15, 2013

County Job Growth Up Four Percent from 2010 – 2012; Nearly 25,000 Jobs Added

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced that employment in the County grew by nearly 25,000 jobs between 2010 and 2012 - from 631,154 jobs in 2010 to 655,824 jobs in 2012, representing a 3.9% jump in the job growth rate.

According to a DED announcement, the top job-gaining sector was professional, scientific and technical services, which added almost 5,300 jobs in the period. Other top growing sectors were government, retail trade, and health care and social assistance, each adding over 3,000 jobs.

During the same period, job growth in Fairfax City and County was 3.6%; the District of Columbia, 2.8%.  

“The positive job growth in the County from 2010-2012 is good, but we can’t stop there,” said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett.  “We can do even better."

Contributing to the County’s increase in jobs were several Top 50 employers.  The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA), with four offices in Rockville, added nearly 330 jobs, the most of the Top 50 employers.

Commuters Encouraged to Register for Bike to Work Day; 17 Pit Stops in the County

On Friday May 17, Commuter Connections and the Washington Area Bicyclist Association will co-sponsor the region’s annual Bike to Work Day, a. celebration of bicycling as a clean, fun and healthy way to get where you’re going.

Seventeen of the more than 70 pit stops throughout the Washington area are in Montgomery County. Six are sponsored by the Montgomery County Department of Transportation, Commuter Services -- Silver Spring-Discovery, Friendship Heights, Bethesda-Reed Street (Woodmont and Bethesda avenues), North Bethesda, Rockville Town Center and Fallsgrove, in partnership with the City of Rockville. See all pit stops in the County

Registered participants will receive a free tee shirt and refreshments at the stops and will have the opportunity to enter a raffle for a free bicycle and other prizes.

Get more information on Bike to Work Day.

Learn more about Commuter Services.

Chat Online with the County Executive

County residents will have a chance to question County Executive Ike Leggett about issues of concern during his next online chat to be held on Tuesday, May 21 from 1 to 2 p.m. Questions may be submitted before or during the chat at Live Discussion with Ike Leggett.

Questions and answers will be posted both during and after the chat.

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


An Evening with Inaugural Poet Richard Blanco

Poet Richard Blanco will present a program of readings on Friday, May 17, at the Rockville Memorial Library, 21 Maryland Ave. beginning at 7:30 p.m. Blanco, who was selected to read at President Barack Obama’s second inauguration ceremony, is the first Latino and the first openly gay poet laureate for a presidential inauguration.

The program is presented by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC) and the Latino Gay Lesbian Bisexual and Transgender History Project. The cost is $30 for an individual; $50 per couple. Call 240-777-0020 or visit

Teen Forum

Young people in the County will have an opportunity to share their experiences, insights and solutions to problems with County Executive Ike Leggett, members of the County Council and representatives from Montgomery County Public Schools at a Teen Forum to be held on Saturday, May 18 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the East County Community Recreation Center, 3310 Gateshead Manor Way, Silver Spring.

The forum will include “speak-out” sessions facilitated by Youth Advisory Committee members, entertainment provided by popular artist Christylez Bacon, a fashion show by the Red Sprinkle Fashion Club from the Springbrook Sports Academy and prizes.

Space is limited so pre-registration is recommended. To pre-register, visit, go to the Rec Web icon to access Registration. Sign up for course number 358458.

Highway Safety Resource Fair for Seniors

Residents are invited to attend a free event, “Driving and Beyond …Symposium and Mobility Resource Fair for Older Adults and Their Families” on Sunday, May 19 from noon to 4 p.m. at the Rosborough Center at Asbury Methodist Village in Gaithersburg. Asbury Methodist Village is located at 301 Odendhal Ave.

Staying safe on the roads is important for drivers of all ages. Older drivers are involved in fewer crashes when compared to other age groups but are more likely to suffer serious injury or death. There is a lot to learn about this issue—whether one is concerned about personal safety or that of family members and friends.

Local experts will give presentations on learning strategies for staying safe on the roads; making informed choices about driving; comfortably discussing mobility concerns with family members; and discovering alternatives to driving in Montgomery County.

To register for this FREE event, call AARP at 1-877-926-8300 or go to
For more information, call Shawn Brennan, program manager for Senior Health Promotion, at 240-777-1350.

Commission for Women Counseling Services Offered Three Days a Week

The Montgomery County Commission for Women is now offering collaborative, solution-focused, short-term counseling services three days a week. The services, which are free until July 1, are designed to help individuals effectively address challenging life transitions.

Counseling is available by appointment on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. The Commission for Women’s offices are on the third floor of the Rockville Memorial Library at 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330.

Services are available in English, French and Arabic, to individuals who are:
  • Montgomery County residents; 
  • Adults 18 years and older; 
  • Single with no dependent children and income of less than $50,000 per year; or 
  • Single with dependent children and income less than $75,000 per year; or 
  • Married with a combined income of less than $75,000 year. 
To schedule an appointment, call 240-777-8300 on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Sign Up and Go Green

One easy way for residents to learn more about how to live a green life is to subscribe to “Your Green Montgomery,” a new monthly online newsletter from the Department of Environmental Protection.

The first issue features articles on Earth Month activities in the County, the importance of community greening organizations and the Sierra Club’s work to promote energy efficiency education.

The newsletter will also offer a calendar of events, a Community Corner, a Green Living idea of the month and three articles on a variety of environmental, recreation, social and health topics.

Subscribe at

Bikeshare Program Coming to the County

Thanks to the contract signed recently between Montgomery County’s Department of Transportation (MCDOT) and Alta Bicycle Share, the popular Capital Bikeshare program is coming to the County.

This means about 20 bike stations with 200 bikes will be installed in the Rockville and Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center areas and 30 stations with 250 bikes will be located Downcounty along both of the Red Line Metrorail corridors between the District of Columbia and the beltway. Areas affected include Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Friendship Heights, Bethesda and Medical Center. The Mid-County and Downcounty stations are expected to be installed by the end of the summer.

Bikesharing provides short-term bicycle rentals at self-service, automated, solar-powered docking stations at publicly-accessible locations. Bikes may be picked up at one location and returned to another, creating a system that allows for one-way trips. More information on the region’s bikeshare system is available at

Read more.

Free Walk-In Plant Clinics: Ask a Master Gardener

The gardening season has arrived, and that means Montgomery County Master Gardeners are answering questions at 13 locations around the County.

Bring your full and intact plant and insect samples, garden problems and questions to a location below and get free answers. For further information call the Plant Helpline: 301-590-9650, weekday mornings or email
  • Bethesda: Davis Library, 6400 Democracy Blvd., Now-Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Burtonsville: Praisner Library, 14910 Old Columbia Pike, Now-Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Chevy Chase: Audubon Naturalist Society, 8940 Jones Mill Rd.; Now-Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-noon 
  • Derwood Extension Office: 18410 Muncaster Rd. Drop off plant & insect samples, 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Mon.-Fri. year-round, lower level. Demonstration Garden Clinic: Now-Oct., Tues. 8 a.m.-noon 
  • Gaithersburg/Darnestown: Quince Orchard Library, 15831 Quince Orchard Rd., May-Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Germantown: Germantown Library, 19840 Century Blvd., May-Sept., Wed. 6:15-7:45 p.m. 
  • Kensington: Farmer’s Market, Train Station at Howard Ave., April-Oct., 2nd Sat. 8 a.m.- noon 
  • Olney: Farmers Market, Rt. 108 & Prince Philip Dr., May 12-Oct. 13, Sun. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Poolesville: Poolesville Library, 19633 Fisher Ave., May-Sept., Wed. 1-3 p.m. 
  • Rockville: Central Farm Market, 11806 Rockville Pike, Now-Oct, 3rd Sat., 9.a.m.-2 p.m. 
  • Rockville: Twinbrook Library, 202 Meadow Hall Dr., Now-Sept., Sat. 10 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Silver Spring: FRESHFARM Market, Ellsworth Dr., between Georgia & Fenton, Now-Oct., 3rd Sat. 9 a.m.-1 p.m. 
  • Wheaton: Brookside Gardens, 1800 Glenallan Ave., year-round, Sat. 10 a.m.-2 p.m.; Sun. 1-4 p.m.; April-Oct., Wed. & Thurs., 1-4 p.m. 
For more descriptions of Master Gardener programs, check out

Help Seniors in Need

Every month, approximately 400 seniors rely heavily on the services provided by a dedicated cadre of volunteers from The Senior Connection of Montgomery County, Inc.

For example, in an average month these volunteers provide more than 650 free trips to medical appointments; shop for or transport a low-income/disabled senior to the grocery store; and help seniors with their financial obligations.

The Senior Connection’s goal is to provide more trips, with shorter lead times. That means more drivers. Grocery shopping and chore type transportation is needed for weekends and medical transportation during business hours. Just two to three hours per week can make a big difference to you and to the people you serve.

The Senior Connection is partially funded through a contract with Montgomery County Health and Human Services, Department of Aging and Disability.

For more information on volunteering, contact Marcia Custer at 301-962-0820, ext.14, or download an application at


Richard Montgomery HS Student Takes Top State Honors for Poetry Reading; Places Second at National Level

Richard Montgomery High School (RMHS) sophomore Blessed Sheriff recently bested more than 375,000 high school students from over 2,000 schools in the country to earn second place in the Poetry Out Loud National Recitation Contest held in Washington, DC.

In mid-March, she took top honors in the regional Maryland State Arts Council contest where she competed against more than 16,000 students from 16 counties and 61 schools around the state. In addition to receiving a trip to the national competition in Washington, DC, Sheriff won $200, while RMHS received a $500 stipend towards purchasing poetry books.

In addition to prizes earned at the state level, Sheriff won $10,000 for her national achievement

Poetry Out Loud is a nationwide poetry contest launched in 2006 as a collaborative effort between the National Endowment for the Arts and the Poetry Foundation.

Read more about the competition.

Watch Blessed recite “The Lamb,” one of her three recitations.

Fire and Rescue Service Earns Excellence Award from Congressional Fire Service Industry

Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) has received the Excellence in Fire Service-Based EMS from the Congressional Fire Services Institute (CFSI), a nonprofit, nonpartisan policy institute that works with members of Congress to promote fire and life safety issues. The award recognizes best practices and highlights innovations in the delivery of emergency medical services.

Since 2009, the MCFRS has developed and implemented several critical programs that demonstrate its commitment to saving lives in the community. With strong evidence nationally that pre-hospital care has a profound impact on survival, the department was one of the first in the state to implement and deploy paramedic-staffed engine companies, which facilitates faster access and improves pre-hospital care and enhanced patient care during an emergency.

The window of time from when a patient starts experiencing heart attack symptoms to the moment the patient receives treatment is critically important. In 2010, the MCFRS established the Emergency Cardiac Care program which allows paramedics to transmit critical data directly and securely from remote locations to area hospitals using sophisticated technology and equipment. The new technology accelerates the diagnosis process while shaving off critical time that ultimately can make a difference in patient outcome and survival.

Read more.

And, the Winner is: The Shops on Amherst

Montgomery County’s Wheaton Redevelopment Advisory Committee (WRAC) has presented its first annual Revitalization Award to The Shops on Amherst and its owner, Chris Georgatsos.

The award recognizes a local business or commercial property owner who initiates and executes projects or programs that enhance the retail or commercial viability of the Wheaton urban core.

The Shops on Amherst, at 11401-07 Amherst Ave., house three popular Asian restaurants offering distinctive cuisines. The improved façade has broadened the appeal of the businesses and serves as an example to other commercial property owners in Wheaton that curb appeal and strong tenants help to ensure continued success.

For information about the award or WRAC, contact Rob Klein in the Department of General Services at 240-777-6016.

Watch the video to learn more about The Shops on Amherst.

County Student to Represent Region in National History Bee Championship

Bennett Miller, a seventh grader at Eastern Middle School in Silver Spring, won the Regional History Bee Championship held in late April at Westland Middle School in Bethesda.

Bennett beat out 120 contestants representing Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia and DC for the honor of representing this region at the National History Bee Championship to be held in Atlanta in early June. There, he will compete against the 34 other regional winners from around the country.

His proud mom is Shawn Brennan, program manager for Senior Health Promotion in the Aging and Disability Services Division of the Department of Health and Human Services.


Wednesday, June 12 – World Elder Abuse Awareness Day. Silver Spring Civic Building, Veterans Plaza, Fenton St. and Ellsworth Dr., Silver Spring. 1-5 p.m. Free. Seniors and their families can learn about issues faced by and resources available for seniors. Co-sponsored by the Montgomery County Police Department, State’s Attorney’s Office and the County’s Department of Health and Human Services. For other details, call the Police Family Crimes Division, 240-773-5400. More Information