August 29, 2013

County’s Holiday Schedule for Labor Day

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for Labor Day on Monday, September 2:
  • County Offices – closed
  • Libraries – closed
  • County liquor stores – all retail stores open 10 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Recreation – outdoor aquatic facilities will be open from noon to 6 p.m. Olney Indoor Swim Center and Martin Luther King Jr. Indoor Swim Center will be open normal hours, all other indoor aquatic facilities will be closed. Administrative offices, senior centers and community centers are 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).

Refunds Obtained for Consumers Due to Improper Towing

Montgomery County’s Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) has advised approximately 60 individuals that they are eligible to receive refunds of more than $150 each as a result of their vehicles being improperly towed from a shopping center in downtown Silver Spring.

OCP conducted an investigation into the impound towing of vehicles parked in a shopping center located at the intersection of Georgia Ave. and Colesville Rd. after receiving information from a local TV news station. OCP determined that from October 1, 2012 until March 15, 2013 the parking restriction signs posted at the shopping center were not in full compliance with both the County and State trespass towing laws.

OCP entered into a settlement agreement with the owners of the shopping center in which the owner agreed to correct all the deficiencies with the County and State trespass towing laws and has made arrangements to provide full refunds to consumers

For comprehensive information about the County’s trespass towing law and the trespass towing law that was newly enacted by the State of Maryland visit OCP’s webpage, and go to the A-Z Consumer Advice link.

Read more.

Silver Spring Elementary School Teacher Receives First “Most Hopeful Teacher in America” Award

For just over two decades, Mary Hawkins-Jones has dedicated herself to encouraging young students, infusing them with hope and encouraging them to set goals for themselves. That devotion has paid off for the fifth-grade teacher at Westover Elementary School in Silver Spring with her selection as the first “Most Hopeful Teacher in America.”

The award, presented by Gallup, Inc. and Atria Books, was created to honor a full-time, effective classroom teacher who was best at creating a contagion of hope in his/her school. Gallup and Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc., contacted principals at each of the 172 Gallup High-Hope Schools and asked them to submit a nomination.

In a prepared statement, County Executive Ike Leggett congratulated Mrs. Hawkins-Jones, saying, “This outstanding honor reflects her vision and ability to instill in her students the importance of setting life-long goals…Her remarkable achievements give us all hope for a better and brighter future.”

Read more about the award and Mary Hawkins-Jones and the selection process.

Watch the video of her award-winning career.

Hear Cool Jazz by Hot Stars

Grammy Award® -winning saxophonist Branford Marsalis will headline the 10th Annual Silver Spring Jazz Festival on Saturday September 7. Other noted performers appearing are: hometown star Marcus Johnson, the Noah Haidu Quintet and the National Philharmonic’s jazz quartet, Songbook.

The free festival will be held from 4:30 to 10 p.m., at Veterans Plaza in front of the Silver Spring Civic Building on the corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.

Attendees are encouraged to use public transportation – the Silver Spring Metro (Red Line) is two blocks away – and to bring folding chairs. Limited parking is available in the Wayne Avenue garage, the Town Square garage and the garages on Bonifant Street, Cameron at Ramsey Avenue and Cameron at Fenton Street.

See more on the performers.

Upcoming Trainings for Pedestrian Safety Volunteers

Building on a successful pedestrian safety volunteer program in Wheaton, the Department of Transportation’s (MCDOT) Pedestrian Safety Initiative is expanding the outreach effort to its next two target areas -- Silver Spring and Bethesda. Once trained, volunteers in these areas will work with the County to spread the pedestrian safety message.

Learn more about the County’s pedestrian safety program at

To help recruit volunteers in the two communities, the Pedestrian Safety Initiative will host a training session in each area to explain the program and the core messages to be communicated to the public.

The sessions will be held according to the following schedule:
  • Silver Spring Pedestrian Safety Volunteer Training Session --Tuesday, September 3, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Silver Spring Civic Building, One Veterans Place (corner of Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St.).
  • Bethesda Pedestrian Safety Volunteer Training Session -- Wednesday, September 18, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Bethesda Urban Partnership Offices, 7700 Old Georgetown Rd.
The new volunteers will begin their outreach events at the Silver Spring Jazz Festival on September 7 and Taste of Bethesda on October 5.

For questions about the training sessions and/or volunteering, email MCDOT’s Joana Conklin at  or call 240-777-7195.

September is Library Card Sign Up Month

There’s one card you should have in your wallet, purse, tote bag, or backpack or on your keychain that will never go out of style or expire.…and, it’s free. That’s a library card.

During September, which is Library Card Sign Up Month, all Montgomery County Public Libraries will be reminding the public of the value of a library card and encouraging residents of all ages who don’t have a card to come in and sign up.

Anyone signing up for a new card in September will receive a special “thank you.”

Read more about the benefits of a library card and some events where you can sign up.

See how to sign up in person or online.

Back-to-School Safety Tips from Fire and Rescue Service

With schools back in session, Fire Chief Steve Lohr is asking all drivers to exercise extra caution and be alert. “Safety is our top priority. Drivers should allow extra time and be on the look-out for children at intersections and in neighborhoods,” he said.

“Additionally, as a matter of safety and compliance with laws, drivers are reminded to put their cell phones down and refrain from talking or texting while behind the wheel.”

Read and heed tips for drivers, parents and children, and more.

Support a New Start for Victims of Domestic Violence: Save the Date

The 4th Annual Benefit for the Montgomery County Family Justice Center (MCFJC) will be held on Sunday, October 13, from 5 to 9 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Bethesda.

ABC7/WJLA-TV’s award-winning reporter and anchor, Greta Kreuz, will be Mistress of Ceremonies at the event that will benefit the work of the MCFJC, the County facility that assists domestic violence victims from “court to care.” The event will feature a silent auction, live auction and presentation of awards to individuals and organizations that are making a difference in the lives of victims and their families.

Proceeds will benefit the life-changing services of the MCFJC that have helped nearly 5,000 families from more than 100 countries since the center opened in 2009.

Tickets are $125 per person and online registration is available at RSVP deadline is September 30.

More information is available by emailing

Rte. 355 Safety and Resurfacing Project Begins in Bethesda

Continuing its commitment to improving road conditions in Montgomery County, the State Highway Administration (SHA) is starting a new $2.6 million safety and resurfacing project on MD 355 (Wisconsin Avenue) between MD 191 (Bradley Blvd.) and Montgomery Ave. in Bethesda. Weather permitting, work should be completed next fall.

The improvements will link to current projects underway on MD 355 from the DC line (Western Ave.) to Bradley Blvd. and from Montgomery Ave. to Jones Bridge Rd.

Get more information.

Medical Alert Phone Scam Active in County

The Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) warns County residents, especially elderly consumers, about a medical alert scam underway across the country, including Montgomery County.

Residents have reported receiving calls from what appears to be a local number. The scammer states that they are calling to schedule a delivery of a life alert system. When the victim tells the caller that they have not ordered the equipment, the scammer tells them that someone purchased it for them.

"When you are not sure of who is calling, the best thing is to just say 'no,'" said OCP Director Eric Friedman. "You should never give out your personal information unless you know the company and have initiated the call."

OCP offers the following advice to consumers of all ages:
  • Do not "press one" on your phone to talk to a live operator.
  • Limit the amount of time you spend on the phone. The longer you speak with the scammers, the more likely they are to get you to reveal personal information.
  • Do not rely on caller ID. Thieves know how to "spoof" telephone numbers making the call appear to be local.
  • If you are unsure, contact OCP at 240-777-3636 or email

Sign Up and Be Active, Montgomery: Fall Classes are Open

The fall issue of the “Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs” is now available, and residents can register for programs and swim lessons. Programs include aquatics, art classes, sports, therapeutic recreation services and active adult senior programs.

There are four ways to register: online, by mail, fax, or in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administrative Offices, 4010 Randolph Rd., Silver Spring.

Print copies of the guide are available at recreation centers, park facilities, government buildings and public libraries. Residents who prefer receiving the guide by mail can pay an annual subscription fee of $5 and receive five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring).

View the guide online, or sign up for a subscription at Or, get more information at 240-777-6870.

Montgomery County Public Libraries Launches Redesigned Website

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) has launched its newly re-designed website at

“The new library website has a modern and clean design that connects our customers with all of the materials and services available from Montgomery County Public Libraries,” said MCPL Director Parker Hamilton. “In response to user feedback, we built the site to be more intuitive and easy to use.”

Check out more details about the site.

Environmental Protection Chosen to Participate in Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program

The Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has been selected by the Chesapeake Bay Trust as a Host Organization for the 2013-2014 Chesapeake Conservation Corps Program.

Beginning in late August, a volunteer selected by the Chesapeake Bay Trust works for DEP for a year, assisting with watershed education and stream monitoring. DEP will provide a mentor, work space, a work plan and liability coverage, and the Chesapeake Bay Trust will pay the volunteer a stipend and provide health insurance.

The program provides leadership and training opportunities for young adults, ages 18 to 25, who are pursuing environmental and conservation careers. It is administered by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and funded by the State of Maryland and Constellation Energy

This is the first time Montgomery County has applied to the program, and DEP was one of 25 hosts selected from 75 applicants.

Progress Report Issued on Renew Montgomery

The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has released a 2013 progress report on Renew Montgomery, a program that restores and replaces deteriorating infrastructure in mature neighborhoods. The program began in 1996 and since then, 72 neighborhoods have been upgraded with investments of more than $68 million.

Renew Montgomery seeks early input from homeowner or civic association leaders who identify neighborhood priorities.

Learn more about Renew Montgomery.

Office of Procurement Earns Prestigious National Award

Montgomery County’s Department of General Services, Office of Procurement has received the prestigious Achievement of Excellence in Procurement Award (AEP) for 2013 from the National Procurement Institute.

The award recognizes organizational excellence in public procurement -- identifying best practices that measure innovation, professionalism, productivity, e-procurement and leadership attributes of the procurement organization.

Montgomery County is one of only six agencies in Maryland to receive the award.

Read more.

Fire and Rescue Service Earns Coveted International Re-Accreditation

The Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) has been re-accredited by the Commission on Fire Accreditation International (CFAI). First accredited in 2007, MCFRS is currently one of just 186 agencies worldwide with this distinction and the only internationally accredited fire and rescue department in Maryland and the Washington Metropolitan National Capital Region.

The accreditation model provides a comprehensive review, self-assessment and evaluation process that enables fire and emergency service agencies to examine performance levels and compare them to industry best practices.

Read more.

Montgomery Village Ranked Among America’s Top 50 Small Towns

Thanks to suburban amenities such as pools, tennis courts, and community centers, Montgomery Village has been ranked 41st on the list of America’s Top 50 Small Towns.

See the Washington Business Journal article.

See article in Montgomery Village News.

Throughout September -- African Heritage Month celebrations

A variety of public programs will be held, starting with a County-sponsored kick-off event on Sept. 3.

See details on other public events planned during the month.

Thursday, September 12 – Montgomery County Executive’s Hispanic Gala.

The Fillmore Silver Spring, 8656 Colesville Rd., Silver Spring. 7:30 p.m.– Midnight. The event brings together stakeholders and organizations that are committed to assisting Hispanic youth to achieve a high level of education while building strong, diverse and united communities in Montgomery County and throughout Maryland. Funds raised will be directed to scholarships for Latino students enrolled in Montgomery County and Maryland institutions of higher education. Black tie, cocktail/business attire optional. Get ticket and other information.

Monday, September 16 - Public Meeting on Agricultural History Farm Park Bank Barn Renovations

Park Activity Center,18400 Muncaster Rd. Derwood. 7 p.m. The modifications will maintain the historic integrity and character of the barn, will enable the barn to continue to be used for agricultural purposes and house animals in the lower level. To learn more or to comment, visit

Thursday, September 19 -- When a Marriage Ends: Financial, Property and Practical Issues Both Wife and Husband Must Consider

Rockville Memorial Library Building 21 Maryland Ave., Suite 330. 7 - 9 p.m. Doors open at 6:30. p.m. Seminar on the legal process of separation and divorce in Montgomery County. Presenter, Heather R. Sweren, J.D. Pre-registration is $10 at On site, $15, cash or check only. Parking at Garage A in Rockville Town Center. Validate ticket at the library Information Desk. For more information, call 240-777-8300 or visit The seminar will also be offered in Spanish on the same date. Este charla se ofrecerá en español en la misma fecha.

Saturday, September 28 – Light the Way 5k

Benefit for Columbia Lighthouse for the Blind. Nationals Park, 1500 South Capital St., NW, Washington DC. 6:30 a.m., pick up packet. Timed Run and Kids races, 8 a.m.; Fun Walk, 8:45 a.m. Food, live bands, silent auction, victory lap on the field and giveaways. Register before September 1 at and get a 10% discount.

Saturday, September 28 – Curbside Cookoff Food Truck Festival

Wheaton Triangle at Reedie Dr. and Grandview Ave. Noon – 8 p.m. Sponsored by the Wheaton Urban District and the District/Maryland/Virginia (DMV) Food Truck Association (FTA). Twenty of DMV’s most popular food trucks will dish out barbeque, crab cakes, cheesecakes, etc. Other highlights: live broadcast by official radio sponsor, CBS Radio; craft beer garden with more than two dozen specialty beers sponsored by The Exchange at Wheaton Station; contests and interactive activities and games sponsored by Six Flags America; DMV FTA-sponsored giveaways; and food truck competitions. Get discounted tickets for 10 craft beer tastings for $20. Learn more about Wheaton and the Wheaton Urban District.

August 5, 2013

Leggett Hails Major Victory for Local Transportation as Governor Announces $630 Million for County Projects

County Executive Ike Leggett and Governor Martin O’Malley (center) enjoy the announcement that Montgomery County will receive $630 million in State funding for local transportation projects.  Among those present at the news conference at the Bethesda Metro Station are (from left and behind Leggett and O’Malley) County Councilmember George Leventhal; Council Vice President Craig Rice; Delegate Tom Hucker/Dist. 20; Maryland Secretary of Transportation James T. Smith; and Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown.
Years of strong advocacy by County Executive Ike Leggett for more State money for Montgomery County‘s transportation needs -- working with our County Council and State delegation -- have paid off with the announcement by Governor Martin O’Malley and Lt. Governor Anthony Brown that the County is receiving $630 million in transportation investments, plus an additional $400 million for construction of the Purple Line that will benefit both Montgomery and Prince George’s counties.

County Executive Ike Leggett (at podium), preparing to introduce Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley (behind Leggett’s left shoulder), is surrounded by County elected officials and Maryland’s Lt. Governor Anthony Brown (to his immediate left). Montgomery County officials in the front row are (from left): Councilmember George Leventhal; Delegate Susan Lee/Dist. 16; and Delegate Anne Kaiser/Dist. 14 (far right). County officials in the back row are (from left): County Councilmember Valerie Ervin; Delegate Tom Hucker/Dist. 20; and Del. Ariana Kelly/Dist. 16.
“For many years,” Leggett said, “I have vigorously advocated for a meaningful increase in funding for transportation, and now, for the first time in a generation, we are seeing the results with significant and long overdue transportation infrastructure investments for our priority projects. This provides funding for many other projects that are essential to modernizing our transportation infrastructure and realizing our County’s plans for the future.”

Speaking at the announcement event at the Bethesda Metro Station, O’Malley recognized the critical role Leggett played in advocating for the passage of the Transportation Act.

“Together, with the support of our local partners like County Executives Leggett and Baker, we made the better choices to invest in the future of Maryland’s transportation network, allowing us to create more than 57,200 jobs for our hardworking families and rebuild our State’s infrastructure,” said Governor O’Malley.

“Today's announcement creates more than 9,700 jobs for Montgomery County, reduces traffic congestion and revitalizes communities. Thanks to Lt. Governor Brown’s leadership, we can move ahead with the Purple Line and bring the best private sector practices and innovation needed to create the 21st century transportation network that a modern economy requires.”

Joining Leggett were County Council President Nancy Navarro, Council Vice President Craig Rice, and Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Valerie Ervin, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer.

County Council President Nancy Navarro said, “Thanks to Governor O’Malley’s leadership and the courageous action of the General Assembly, some of Montgomery County’s most urgently needed transportation projects can now move forward. I was glad to join with the County Executive and my colleagues on the Council to make the case that transportation funding is critical to maintaining economic growth and quality of life for Montgomery County and all of Maryland.”

The Executive recognized and thanked the County’s State delegation, which was instrumental in the passage of the Transportation Act.

See more details about how the money will be spent. Press Release

Leggett Appeals Decision on Pepco Rate Increase; Seeks “reliable energy at a reasonable cost” for Residents

County Executive Ike Leggett has “instructed the County Attorney to file an appeal in Montgomery County Circuit Court to stop the recent ruling by the Maryland Public Service Commission approving a $27 million rate increase for Pepco….” as part of an ongoing campaign to ensure that residents get “reliable energy at a reasonable cost.”

The appeal also seeks to stop “an automatic ‘Grid Resiliency Charge’ that will allow Pepco to automatically pass along charges to customers every month without having to seek a rate increase with the Public Service Commission.”

In his statement, Leggett said, “I believe that Pepco has made improvements in their communications, infrastructure, and emergency response systems since last summer’s ‘Derecho’ storm. However, just how improved these changes are have not yet been seriously tested. That’s why granting even less than half of the $60 million requested by Pepco is premature and unwise.

“The Public Service Commission’s decision to allow Pepco, for the first time, to charge customers a ‘Grid Resiliency Charge’ every month is troubling. Even if limited to certain costs just now, it is a terrible precedent.

“I’m proud of the work done by our County Attorney’s office in aggressively opposing this rate increase, as well as the work our County has done both with Pepco and, conversely, pressuring Pepco to make the utility more accountable to the County residents and businesses that pay the bills.

“We will continue our ongoing efforts to make sure that Montgomery County gets reliable energy at a reasonable cost. This rate increase – and especially the automatic so-called ‘Grid Resiliency Charge’ – does not help and should not stand.”

County Launches Green Investor Incentive Program

The Department of Economic Development (DED) has released the application and qualification criteria for The Green Investor Incentive Program designed to drive green innovation locally by supporting early-stage investors. Investment in green companies is encouraged through reimbursements to qualified investors of payments up to $25,000.

To qualify as a green business, a company must provide a green product or technology, be headquartered in the County, have been in business for less than 10 years and employ fewer than 50 people. The company must also practice green business operations and be a certified B-Corporation, Montgomery County Certified Green Business or have earned a similar designation.

Investors and green companies will be qualified through an application process that opened July 24. The program will be first-come, first-served, and investors can apply until January 15, 2014.

Individuals and investment firms that have invested in qualified green companies from July 24, 2013 until December 31, 2013 are potentially eligible to access this year’s $500,000 appropriation which will be allocated by a pre-set formula. Qualified investors cannot be pension or retirement funds and cannot have an ownership stake in the company prior to investing.

Get more information and download the application.

Shady Grove Access Bike Path Completed

County Executive Ike Leggett (left) helped celebrate completion of the Shady Grove Access Bike Path that extends from Shady Grove Rd. to Redland Rd. Joining Leggett were (from left) MoBike Chair Jack Cochrane; Joe Fritsch, cyclist; Charles Hynson, MoBike member and bike commuter; Gary Thompson, bike commuter; Gregory Billing, Washington Area Bicyclist Association advocacy coordinator; and Transportation Engineering Division Chief Bruce Johnston. At left is a Bikeshare bike, which will soon be seen at a station on the west side of the Shady Grove Metro Station.
Completion of the Shady Grove Access Bike Path was celebrated by officials, bikers and walkers, alike, because it means there is a safe pathway to the Shady Grove Metro Station for bicyclists and pedestrians and a connection to other area sidewalks and bikeways. By improving access to transit, residents may be encouraged to not only travel by bike, but also combine bicycle trips with buses, Metro and walking.

The new 10-foot bike path extends 4,700 feet from Shady Grove Rd. to Redland Rd. along the east side of the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority Metro Access road. The project includes a bikeway ramp from the new bike path to an existing bikeway on Crabbs Branch Way. To enhance safety, a pedestrian-activated traffic signal was installed at the crossing to the Metro station.

“This bike path is an important component in increasing safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists as our Smart Growth Initiative transforms the Shady Grove area into a walkable, bikeable community,” said Leggett.

Bike parking is available at the Shady Grove Metro Station. The County’s Bikeshare program will have a station located on the west side of the Shady Grove Metro -- part of a 21-bike station system with 200 bikes that will be installed in the Rockville and Shady Grove/Life Sciences Center area. The downcounty bikeshare system will have 30 stations with 250 bikes located along both of the Red Line Metrorail corridors between the District of Columbia and the Beltway.

The Department of Transportation plans additional improvements to extend bike connections along Needwood Rd. eventually connecting to the ICC (Inter-County Connector) and Rock Creek Regional Park.

Read more.

Leggett in The Washington Post Magazine’s “First Person Singular”

County Executive Ike Leggett reflects on the journey that took him from “abject poverty in Louisiana at the height of Jim Crow” to the highest elected office in Montgomery County. He talks about the help he has received from many people through the years and how it has impacted him.

Read the full “First Person: Ike Leggett, Montgomery County Executive” piece.

Series of Public Forums about Upcoming Health Care Reform Activities

Residents interested in learning more about the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) are invited to attend any one of a series of community forums sponsored by the Montgomery County regional service centers and the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services that will be held in August and September.

The forums will address the impact of the ACA on residents ages 18 to 64 and will provide attendees the opportunity to learn more about the insurance coverage and potential assistance available through “Maryland Health Connection.”

A brief presentation will outline the key components of the ACA, as well as how one can prepare for enrollment that begins October 1. A question-and-answer session will follow the presentation.

Registration is not required.

See the full schedule for the forums.

Salvadoran Festival Gets “Official” Kick Off

County Executive Ike Leggett and Maryland Lt. Governor Anthony Brown were on hand at the fourth annual Salvadoran American Day Festival held in Wheaton. The event featured Salvadoran food, traditional crafts, and live music by local and international artists, plus an array of community services, including a Latino Health Fair. Attendees also had the chance to learn about community services, including Police and the Fire and Rescue Service and passport renewals through the Salvadoran consulate.

Folk Legends from Civil Rights Movement to Perform Benefit Concert Commemorating March on Washington 50th Anniversary Celebration

The Menare Foundation, Inc., an Olney-based non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the legacy of the Underground Railroad, is commemorating the 50th anniversary of the 1963 March on Washington with a benefit concert on August 25 at Lisner Auditorium in Washington, DC.

Entertainers will include Josh White Jr., Tom Paxton and Kim & Reggie Harris, in addition to Charles Neblett and Rutha Harris, two of the original SNCC (Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee) Freedom Singers who performed at the original 1963 March.

To order tickets online, contact the Lisner box office at  and find the Freedom Festival Concert listing or call 202-994-6800.

It’s “Basic Black” Adoption Month at the Humane Society

August is heating up with two adoption specials for black cats and black dogs.

Join the County Humane Society (MCHS) in celebrating the Dog (and Cat) Days of Summer! Adoption fees are waived during August for all-black cats six-months and older and for black dogs of any age.

The specials apply to shelter animals and to those in the MCHS Foster Care program.

Georgia Ave. Facelift in Downtown Silver Spring Impacts Drivers, Pedestrians

The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) has started a $4.6 million safety and resurfacing project along nearly two miles of Georgia Ave. (MD 97) from the Washington, D.C. line to 16th St. (MD 390), in Silver Spring. Weather permitting; the work will be completed by late fall.

Meanwhile, motorists and pedestrians in the area should plan ahead, add extra commute time, and be aware of shifting traffic and walking patterns.

The work includes:
  • Reconstructing existing sidewalks to five feet wide to become ADA-compliant;
  • Repairing, replacing existing inlets and pipes;
  • Concrete patching of sections of damaged pavement prior to resurfacing;
  • Installing new curb and gutter;
  • Resurfacing Georgia Ave.;
  • Replacing traffic signal pavement detectors at the Georgia Ave. and 16th St. intersection
  • Installing new line striping and pavement markings.
See more information.

A Heartfelt Thank You for MCPD’s First “Autism Night Out”

Montgomery County Police, in partnership with the “Autism Speaks” organization, hosted the first-ever “Autism Night Out” in late July at the department’s Public Safety Training Academy in Rockville.

Hundreds attended the event that provided an opportunity for families affected by autism to learn from police, but also for police to learn from the families. Police officers are often called to a home to assist a caregiver with locating an autistic person who has wandered.

The event featured pertinent information, food, a moon bounce for the kids and raffle prizes. Families met Search and Rescue Team members and rescue dogs and saw emergency police and fire/rescue apparatus. Young people with autism received a bright green safety T-shirt.

After the event, the organizing officers received the following “thank you” email from a mom, Nora Fitzpatrick. It is reprinted with her permission.

“What an amazing evening. I wanted to send you a handwritten thank you, but I just can't wait. I wanted to write while it's all still fresh.

Tonight was amazing. Even more amazing than I expect and in ways I didn't expect. First of all, it felt like a party. I felt like I knew most of the people there. It was just so much fun to see so many people and chat and see our kids together. It was a beautiful summer night.

But I really wanted to tell you what your department... and specifically the four of you... did for our autism family. Sometimes things around us can be challenging: battling the schools to get our kids what they need, battling insurance companies to get coverage for treatments, worrying about new behaviors, health issues, the future, fitting in, etc. I'm not saying that to complain, but merely to paint a picture. Instead of a battle, the Montgomery County Police Department embraced our families and embraced our children. You welcomed us and announced to the world that our children are worthwhile. They are worth the extra work. You cared enough to want to understand what makes our kids tick and want to do everything you can to be there and support our community.

This sort of thing is rare for our community... this complete acceptance.

When we get together with other autism families, it's awesome because we can let our guard down. Our kids can flap and yell and stim and sing and it doesn't matter one little bit. Tonight was one of those nights. You made us feel like our kids could be themselves with you. And that makes all of us relax.

I can't even begin to tell you how personally touched I am. Truly. My kid is awesome and my passion in life is for her to have the understanding and acceptance that the Department has demonstrated.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for all you do for Rory, for my family, and for our county. I am so proud to have worked with you on this and would do anything in the world for you.”

All the officers involved thank you, Nora, and all the families who came to learn more about how to keep their special loved ones safer.

County residents who would like to learn more about improving safety for a person with Autism can e-mail

Creative Students Sought for Public Libraries’ Teen Advisory Group

Montgomery County Public Libraries (MCPL) is recruiting students for its Teen Advisory Group (TAG) who are interested in promoting library programming for teens and advocating for teen library services.

Teens, ages 14 to 18, who like to read, write, and interview authors and public officials for the MCPL Teensite page, work with Facebook, and/or produce YouTube and video segments, can apply online or get an application at a local MCPL branch.

Applications are due by September 4, 2013.

Got Graffiti? Call GRAB

GRaffiti ABatement Partners, Inc. (GRAB) is a non-profit, private-public partnership that helps eliminate graffiti vandalism in Montgomery County through eradication, education and enforcement strategies.

GRAB approaches the problem by removing graffiti immediately and developing long-term strategies to engage youth susceptible to at-risk behaviors.

If you see graffiti, notify GRAB for assistance and advice via the GRAB website or by calling 301-607-GRAB (4722).

Menu Information Impacts Diners’ Selections

Montgomery County’s effort to place nutritional information on menus at larger chain restaurants is making a significant impact on the food choices of diners who read the information before ordering, according to an independent survey by the University of Maryland Extension’s Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program.

The survey shows that women were more likely than men to use the information. However, not one person surveyed between the ages of 18-24 said they considered the nutritional information before ordering.

In 2009 when the County Council approved Bill 19-07, Montgomery County became one of the first jurisdictions in the nation to pass such legislation.

The bill’s chief sponsor was Councilmember George Leventhal, chair of the Council’s Health and Human Services Committee. “In just a short time since this measure went into effect, this survey shows that about one-third of all diners are using the new information available to make healthier food choices, and it clearly shows that our efforts are making a difference,” said Leventhal.

Council Press Release


September 7 and 8 – Annual Pooch Pool Party. Glenmont Pool, 12621 Dalewood Dr., Silver Spring. To register on-line, check the Recreation website.