September 27, 2013

Emergent Biosolutions to Expand HQ in County; Maker of only FDA-licensed Vaccine to Protect Against Anthrax Disease

Thanks to a strategic collaboration among the Maryland, Montgomery County and City of Gaithersburg economic development offices, Emergent Biosolutions - maker of the only FDA-licensed vaccine to protect against anthrax disease - will expand its headquarters in Montgomery County.

The company will move 112 of its current employees to its new headquarters facility at 400 Professional Dr. in early 2015. As part of the tri-level support for Emergent, the State of Maryland contributed $2 million, Montgomery County, $750,000 and the City of Gaithersburg, $250,000. Emergent plans to purchase 400 Professional Dr., adjacent to its current research and development facility located at 300 Professional Drive in Gaithersburg.

In addition to its Anthrax vaccine, Emergent also develops products to combat tuberculosis, cancer and autoimmune disorders and employs some 900 employees at more than a dozen sites globally.

Read more.

New Traffic Laws Become Effective October 1; No Hand-Held Cell Phone Use, Seat Belts for All passengers

Residents are reminded that two new State traffic laws that will affect the general population of drivers will go into effect October 1.

First, a fully licensed driver will not be permitted to use a handheld cell phone while their vehicle is in motion. The new law also authorizes police to enforce these violations as primary traffic offenses, meaning that officers will be able to stop drivers for the sole offense of using a handheld cell phone while behind the wheel.

It is not against the law to attach and use a hands-free device such as a Bluetooth. But, officers encourage drivers to refrain from using a cell phone while driving so they can concentrate fully on their driving responsibilities. Texting while driving is already a primary offense.

The penalty for the first violation is $83, the second violation penalty is $140 and the fine for the third and subsequent offense is $160.

The other new law will require that every vehicle occupant use either a seat belt or child safety restraint. Anyone over the age of 16 riding in either the front or the back seat will be required to use a seat belt. Residents are also reminded that the number of passengers in a vehicle cannot exceed the number of seat belts in that vehicle, and no more than one person can be buckled in a single seat belt.

For more information, see Frequently Asked Questions.

Silver Spring GreenFest

More than 25 environmental experts and practitioners, 30 vendors of green products and services, local environmental non-profits, activities for adults and children, games, demonstrations and music will highlight the second annual GreenFest in Downtown Silver Spring on October 5 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Nationally renowned speakers will address global environmental issues, followed by panel discussions highlighting local actions and solutions in a series of presentation to be held in the Civic Building at Veteran’s Plaza, beginning at 10 a.m.

Attendees can connect with selected businesses exhibiting green products and services.

Silver Spring Green is also collaborating with the Silver Spring Farmers Market and local food businesses with cooking demonstrations using locally grown produce.

The 2013 GreenFest is organized by Silver Spring Green in partnership with the Fenton Street Market, the Montgomery County Department of Environmental Protection and The Blairs of Silver Spring.

See more about GreenFest.

Watch a GreenFest video to see what goes on.

Edibles and Entertainment on the Menu at Taste of Bethesda

More than 50 restaurants and five stages of entertainment will take over the heart of Bethesda’s Woodmont Triangle on October 5 for the annual Taste of Bethesda. It’s all happening on Norfolk, Fairmont, St. Elmo, Cordell and Del Ray aves. from 11 a.m.- 4 p.m.

Admission is free. Tickets will be sold onsite to “taste” different foods; tickets are $5 for four tickets and a serving costs one to four tickets.

The event is just three blocks from the Bethesda Metro station. Free parking is also available in downtown Bethesda’s public garages. Visitors can take the free Bethesda Circulator to and from the Bethesda Metro station and public garages.

The festival, produced by the Bethesda Urban Partnership, celebrates 24 years of diverse and delectable cuisine this year.

See more about the event.

County Sponsors Free Events on How the Affordable Care Act Affects Seniors

A series of free programs entitled “Dispelling Myths About the Affordable Care Act and Seniors" will be held on October 7, 8, 9, 10 and 15 at senior centers throughout the County. County Executive Ike Leggett and a representative from the Senior Health Insurance Program (SHIP) will address the myths surrounding the effect the ACA will have on seniors. A brief presentation will be followed by a question-and-answer session. Registration is not required.

Download a flyer (pdf) with the schedule of programs or view senior calendar.

For more information about the Affordable Care Act, go to

For more information on senior issues, call the Senior Resource Line at 240-777-3000 or the County’s call center at 311 or visit

Help Available for Finding Quality Health Coverage within Personal Budget

The Affordable Care Act now requires legal residents between the ages of 18 and 64 to have health insurance coverage beginning January 1, 2014. Maryland Health Connection is the state’s new health insurance marketplace. Find out what plans are available and more information at

Enrollment begins October 1 and there are three ways to enroll:

Changes in Entrances to Circuit Court Building in Rockville Coming September 30

The Maryland Ave. entrance to the Montgomery County Circuit Court in downtown Rockville is scheduled to re-open September 30.

However, due to continuing construction on the Circuit Court Annex project, the Monroe St. entrance into the Court is scheduled to close at the same time for about six months or more.

All Sheriff’s sales and other legal auctions will move back to the Maryland Ave. entrance. Attorney, law enforcement, juror, employee and all other pedestrian access to the Circuit Court will be through the Maryland Ave. or Montgomery County Executive Office Building cafeteria entrances only.

Metro Red Line Closures Coming October 4 through 6

During the October 4-6 weekend, Metro is preparing to do extensive work on a core section of the Red Line between Dupont Circle and NoMa-Gallaudet stations.

Beginning at 10 p.m. Friday, October 4, through system closing on Sunday, October 6, free shuttle buses will replace Red Line trains between the two stations to allow for major rebuilding work through the downtown area.

As a result, Farragut North, Judiciary Square and Union Station will be closed. Gallery Place will remain open for Yellow and Green line service only; Metro Center will remain open for Blue and Orange line service only.

During the weekend of October 4-6, Red Line trains will operate as follows:

Between Shady Grove and Dupont Circle - Every 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., and at regular weekend intervals (every 15-20 minutes) at other times.

Between Glenmont and NoMa-Gallaudet - Every 10 minutes between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., and at regular weekend intervals (every 15-20 minutes) at other times.

See more details about shuttle bus options and time-saving tips.

September 30 Deadline to Apply for Water Quality Protection Charge Credit in 2013

Residential and commercial property owners who install stormwater management techniques may be eligible to reduce their Water Quality Protection Charge (WQPC) by up to 50 percent. The credit is meant to help reduce stormwater pollution, and the amount of the credit is based on the number of gallons of stormwater diverted.

Applications to receive a credit in the 2013 tax year are due by September 30 and by October 31 for the 2014 tax year. Approved credits are valid for three years.

Eligible techniques include rain gardens, dry wells, green roofs, permeable pavement, conservation landscaping, rain barrels/cisterns, dry or wet ponds, sand filters, swales, infiltration trenches and underground stormwater storage.

Get more information about the Rainscapes program rebates and WQPC credits.

To apply for the WQPC credits or for questions about the WQPC credits program email

Historical Happenings and Things to Do this Fall

Once fall arrives, it seems we all like to get out and enjoy the colors and friendly climate that the season brings. If you’re looking for things to do close to home that can educate and entertain you, check out the Montgomery County Historical Society’s Calendar of Events in their fall newsletter.

Residents Encouraged to Participate in Walk to School Day October 9

County residents are invited to join thousands of students, parents and community members throughout Montgomery County in celebrating the simple act of walking or bicycling to school on International Walk to School Day, Wednesday, October 9. Last year, 47 schools in the County participated.

For more information about Walk to School Day or organizing an event at a local school, contact Nadji Kirby, 240-777-7169 or or visit the County’s website.

Applicants Sought for Cable and Communications Advisory Committee

The Cable and Communications Advisory Committee (CCAC) advises the County Executive and Council on franchise agreements between the County government and providers of cable television service. It also advises on the use of funds provided by cable operators to support local television programming and other cable-related activities.

Members serve three-year terms without compensation, but are eligible for reimbursement for travel and dependent care for meetings attended. Meetings are held the fourth Wednesday evening of each month in Rockville.

Applicants of diverse backgrounds, professions, gender, geography, disability and ethnicity are encouraged to apply. An application, consisting of a brief cover letter and resume, should be sent by mail to County Executive Isiah Leggett, 101 Monroe Street, 2nd Floor, Rockville, MD 20850, or by email to Home and employment addresses, as well as contact phone numbers and email addresses should be included. If appropriate, applicants should indicate the position for which they are applying.

The deadline for applying is October 11, 2013.

Youth Hoops Tournament in Silver Spring

Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin (District 5) and Gabe Albornoz, director of the Montgomery County Recreation Department, are partnering with IMPACT Silver Spring and Pyramid Atlantic to host the third annual Audacity of Hoops Silver Spring 3-on-3 youth basketball tournament on Saturday, October 12, in downtown Silver Spring. The tournament uses sports and recreation to engage students and their families in constructive activities.

Special guests will kick off the outdoor tournament that will take place from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Ellsworth Dr. next to the Silver Spring Civic Building’s Veterans Plaza. All Montgomery County high school students are eligible to assemble teams and join the free tournament.

Participants can register and get more information by calling Jose Segura at the Department of Recreation at 240-777-6916 or via email at If space is available, teams can register the day of the event. All students must produce valid high school identification to participate.

Read more.

Police Name New Director for Animal Services Division

Mary C. Healey, a former executive director of the Washington Humane Society, has been hired as the new Director of the Montgomery County Police – Animal Services Division. She will manage the daily operations of the Animal Services Division within the Department of Police and will oversee the new, state-of-the-art Montgomery County Animal Services and Adoption Center.

Police Chief J. Thomas Manger said, “Mary comes to us with over 25 years of experience, and we are very fortunate to have her lead our new shelter.”

Learn more about the new director.

Recreation Director Receives NFL Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award

Montgomery County Recreation Department Director Gabriel Albornoz has received the National Football League’s (NFL) Hispanic Heritage Leadership Award which is presented by Courtyard by Marriott during Hispanic Heritage Month in all 32 of the NFL’s national markets.

The prestigious awards were created by The White House to honor notable Latinos who have distinguished themselves in various fields and made an impact on America and beyond.

Albornoz was recognized onstage during a star-studded 26th Annual Hispanic Heritage Awards ceremony at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. where he was introduced by NFL Hall of Famer Anthony Muñoz. He was also introduced and honored at Fed Ex Field during the September 22 Lions-Redskins game.

“Gabriel Albornoz is a dedicated, committed leader who has remained focused on the importance of providing purposeful and meaningful programs and services to ensure that all residents have opportunities to accomplish their full potential,” said County Executive Ike Leggett. “The NFL made an excellent choice in selecting Gabe as a leader who has made many significant contributions in enhancing the quality of life for so many in the Washington metropolitan area, and I congratulate Gabe on receiving this prestigious award.”

Albornoz has served as the director of the Montgomery County Recreation Department since his appointment by Leggett in January 2007. He is the youngest cabinet-level appointment in the history of Montgomery County. As director, he is responsible for overseeing a $28 million budget; 34 recreation facilities, including community recreation centers, administrative offices, aquatic centers and senior centers; and more than 3,000 employees. Through its programs, services and facilities, the department serves more than 600,000 County residents each year.

Read more about Gabe’s accomplishments.

Police Officer Finds Some Gold in Ireland

Montgomery County Police Officer Sherif Almiggabber (4th District) returned from the World Police and Fire Games (WPFG), held in Belfast, Northern Ireland last month with two gold medals in Greco Roman and Freestyle wrestling.

In 2011, he participated in the games held in New York City where he earned two silver medals. But, taking home gold is nothing new for Almiggabber. L:ast year, he competed in the U.S. Police and Fire Championship in San Diego, CA and won two gold medals in the same events.

“It was a tough competition, but I’ve conditioned for two years to prepare for what I faced in the 2011 games,” said Almiggabber. “I’ve wrestled since I was a teenager, and I love the sport. Participating in competitions keeps me motivated to stay physically fit which is critical in police work.” Officer Almiggabber says he trains year round with running, boot camp and weight lifting. Leading up to a competition, he participates in wrestling drills

The World Police and Fire Games is a biennial athletic event consisting of a wide range of individual and team sports, open to active and retired law enforcement and fire service personnel throughout the world. This year’s games featured nearly 7,000 competitors across 56 sports at 41 venues, with 3,500 volunteers. The 2015 Games will be held in Fairfax, VA from June 26 – July 5.

“Recovery isn’t as easy as it was in my younger days, but if I’m healthy, I will not rule out competing in the 2015 games,” said Almiggabber.

Officer Almiggabber trained and traveled on his own time and covered all expenses involved with the trip.

County Recognized for “Significant Commitment” to Hiring Individuals with Disabilities

Montgomery County Government has earned the Public Sector Employer of the Year Award from Maryland Works, Inc., for demonstrating a significant commitment to hiring, retaining and advancing individuals with disabilities. Additionally, the Office of Human Resources (OHR) was selected to receive the International Public Management Association for Human Resources (IPMA-HR) 2013 CPS HR/IPMA-HR Innovation Grant for its Disability Employment Initiative.

The Maryland Works award was given to Montgomery County for its ongoing efforts to hire individuals with disabilities, including disabled veterans. In the November 2012 election, County voters overwhelmingly supported a special hiring authority initiative, which was developed by the County and the Montgomery County Commission on People with Disabilities, to promote the hiring of qualified people with disabilities.

Montgomery County has also been a leader in several hiring programs that benefit individuals with disabilities, providing valuable on-the-job training and employment opportunities.

For more information, contact Joe Heiney-Gonzalez at 240-777-5070.

Read more.

Montgomery Cable Programs Receive National Recognition

Several Montgomery County cable television programs were recently recognized with 2013 Government Programming Awards by the National Association of Telecommunications Officers and Advisors (NATOA).

Montgomery County cable shows “The Bottom Line – The Unseen Montgomery” and “Council in Brief Promo” earned third place in the Documentaries and Municipal Channel Promotion categories, respectively; and “openMontgomery” took third place in the Innovative Use of Video category.

The following programs earned Honorable Mentions in different award categories: “My Green Montgomery”; “Consumer Compass A Week in the Life of Investigator Doug Numbers”; “Community Connection”; “County Cable Montgomery”; “EMS Law PSA”; and “Parks Rec n Roll - DC Synchromasters.”

The NATOA awards program honors excellence in broadcast, cable, multimedia and electronic programming produced by local government agencies.

Yard Trim Composting Facility Earns Coveted Certification for High Level of Environmental Management; Second Such Facility in US to Receive Certification

The County’s Yard Trim Composting Facility in Dickerson has received the coveted ISO 14001:2004 certification for its environmental management system from American Systems Registrar (ASR), an internationally accredited environmental management systems firm.

The certification indicates that the facility operators and employees consistently consider the environmental aspects of their activities, identify and mitigate environmental impacts and continuously strive to improve their environmental performance.

According to the US Composting Council and the Independent Association of Accredited Registrars, Montgomery County’s Yard Trim Composting Facility is only the second of its type in the US with an ISO 14001-certified environmental management system.

Read more.

September 15 – October 15 - Hispanic Heritage Month.

Various events taking place in the County. Check out the schedule or call the Office of Community Partnerships at 240-777-2525.

Thursday, October 3 - 355 Rapid Transit Roundtable.

Executive Office Building cafeteria, 101 Monroe St., Rockville (Metro: Rockville). 6 p.m. A community discussion about Montgomery County's proposed Rapid Transit System for stakeholders along the 355 corridor. Get your questions answered by County officials and engage in a collaborative discussion about Rapid Transit and other solutions for turning 355 into a safe, sustainable, multimodal boulevard of the future, connecting communities from Clarksburg to Friendship Heights. Light refreshments. Co-sponsored and facilitated by the Coalition for Smarter Growth and Communities for Transit. Co-hosts include Montgomery County Sierra Club, TAME Coalition, the White Flint Partnership and Friends of White Flint. Learn more and register.

Saturday, October 5 – Germantown Oktoberfest

Germantown Oktoberfest celebrating the season with activities and entertainment for all ages, plus vendors and food galore. High Point Farm, Clarksburg. 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Free entry (costs for activities children’s games, food, drink and souvenirs). This year’s charity selected to receive a portion of the proceeds is the Wounded Warrior Project. Get more information about Oktoberfest or email

Monday, October 7 - Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Prevention Forum.

Richard Montgomery High School Auditorium, 250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville. 7-9 p.m. Free. The forum will address youth substance abuse in Montgomery County for concerned residents and parents who want to learn about drugs, addiction, and promoting wellness in the community. Get more information and register. Or, call 301-279-3100.

Sunday, October 13 -- “Friendship Picnic.”

Wheaton Regional Park, 2000 Shorefield Rd. 1-5 p.m. For diverse communities to share their cultures, traditions and faiths. Food and beverages provided. Co-hosted by the County Committee on Hate/Violence, the Human Rights Commission, the Office of Community Partnerships and the Montgomery County Executive’s Faith Community Working Group. RSVP by email to or call 240-777-8456.

October 20 – The World of Montgomery Festival

Westfield Wheaton (Wheaton Plaza), 11160 Veirs Mill Rd. Noon to 5 p.m. Free. The festival showcases the rich diversity of the County through food, music, dance, traditional arts and hands-on projects for children and families. Get more details.

September 11, 2013

Statement of Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett Regarding Anniversary of September 11, 2001

Twelve years ago today, a terrorist attack on our nation forever changed how Americans view the world. I will never forget the horror and disbelief of that day as the tragic events unfolded that resulted in so many lost lives.

September 11 is not an anniversary that we want to remember – but it is an anniversary that we must remember. We can never forget those who were lost or their families. We can never forget the circumstances that led to that fateful day. And, we can never forget the lessons we learned about the enduring need for vigilance.

I hope everyone will join me in keeping the victims and their families in our thoughts and prayers as we offer them our love and support. We will continue to honor them and the difference they made to our country, keeping them forever in our hearts and in our memories.

Give a Hand-Up, Not a Hand-Out

A joint public education campaign to address panhandling in Montgomery County has been introduced by County Executive Ike Leggett and Councilmember George Leventhal. Homeless advocates and grassroots social service agencies, the faith community and the Police joined the elected officials at the launch.

The announcement was made next to the busy intersection of Georgia Ave. and Veirs Mill Rd. where known panhandler Mary Josephine Fish, aged 52, was killed last May 16 when an automobile jumped the median and struck her.

“Panhandling is not safe and giving cash to panhandlers doesn’t help them,” said Leventhal, who chairs the Council Health & Human Services Committee.“We all know the feeling. We want to help those less fortunate than ourselves. We feel guilty. We all want to help. The question isn’t whether to help – it’s how."

“I hear a lot from residents who are concerned about the proliferation of panhandlers at intersections throughout the County,” said Leggett. “I agree that the status quo is unacceptable. Even though panhandling is legal under the First Amendment and Maryland law, it is not a safe thing to do and giving cash to panhandlers doesn’t help.”

By texting “SHARE” on their cell phones to 80077, persons wanting to help can contribute $5 to the Community Foundation for Montgomery County, a non-profit, non-government organization that will distribute the proceeds to grassroots efforts in Montgomery County to really help those in need.

Contributions also may be sent to the Community Foundation for Montgomery County, 8720 Georgia Ave., Suite 202, Silver Spring, MD 20910, or residents may choose to give to the community or faith-based agency of their choice.

Read more about the campaign in the news release.

Get details about how to help, plus, read the laws and see press coverage about the campaign on the panhandling website.

Watch the video to hear why panhandling isn’t safe and why it doesn’t help from local law enforcement, non-profit and elected officials.

Share Your Silver Theatre Memories

September 15, 2013 marks the 75th anniversary of the Silver Theatre's grand opening in 1938. In celebration of this milestone for the theatre and local community, Silver Spring and Washington-area moviegoers are invited to share their own memories of -- and from -- the Silver Theatre.

Personal memories/stories may be sent to with the sender’s email address, name, phone number and date of the special memory. AFI Silver will compile a sample of the Silver Theatre audience memories from across the years to share with the larger community. Stories will be collected throughout the year.

Special screenings will also be hosted September 13 through 18 in honor of the Silver Theatre's 75th anniversary.

For more information, visit

Recycling Program Expanded to Include New Items for Drop Off at the Transfer Station

Residents can now drop off a variety of newly added household items for recycling at the County’s Solid Waste Processing Facility and Transfer Station under the latest expansion of the County’s nationally-recognized recycling program.

Included among the many bulk rigid plastic items that can now be recycled are laundry baskets; dish drainers, toys; lawn furniture; waste baskets; clothes hangers; tote boxes; crates; large buckets; pet carriers and garbage cans. All items dropped off for recycling should be empty, rinsed, if necessary, and free of loose dirt, soil, etc.

Among the items that cannot be recycled with either rigid plastics or commingled materials are garden hoses; vinyl fencing/siding; motor oil containers; plastics containing or contaminated by chemicals or hazardous substances; and pesticide/herbicide containers.

For a complete list of both acceptable and unacceptable items, as well as a downloadable flyer with the hours of operations at the Transfer Station, visit the Division of Solid Waste Services’ website at

SafeKids Worldwide Launches “Moment of Silence” Campaign that Honors Local Student Pedestrian Killed on Halloween 2012

SafeKids Worldwide has launched a “Moment of Silence” campaign against distracted walking urging students and parents to take the pledge “devices down, heads up.”

The campaign honors Christina Morris-Ward a 15-year-old Seneca Valley High School student who was struck by a car and killed on Halloween 2012 while, according to her mother, Gwen Ward, dressed in dark clothes, wearing headphones and looking down at her phone as she started to cross the street.

Ward’s story is featured on the SafeKids Worldwide website that also remembers the thousands of teens who are hit by cars each year. According to the website, teens account for 50 percent of all pedestrian deaths among kids ages 19 and under.

SafeKids is a program of Montgomery County Fire & Rescue Service. The Department of Transportation is developing an education program aimed at high school students that will be launched later this year to reduce pedestrian injuries and fatalities.

For more information about the County’s pedestrian safety program, visit the County’s website.

County Executives of America Elect Leggett President

County Executive Ike Leggett has been elected president of the County Executives of America (CEA) for a one-year term. CEA consists of more than 700 county or city-county governments in 45 states. The organization represents the Executive form of government before the U.S. Congress, The White House and Federal Government departments.

“I’m very proud to take the helm of this great organization that has helped not only Montgomery County but counties across the country,” Leggett said.

Mike Griffin Executive Director of CEA said, “I’m grateful for the leadership and time that Ike has given to the organization, and I’m positive his efforts will pay handsome dividends. The great leadership he has shown in Montgomery County will only enhance CEA’s ability to succeed.”

Read the CEA release.

September 18 -- Wall Park Renovation Plan Public Meeting

Kennedy Shriver Aquatic Center 5900 Executive Blvd. North Bethesda., 7 – 9 p.m. Community input about forthcoming renovations to Wall Park. Potential plans include a new community recreation center and an expanded swim center serving the south central portion of the County. Visit for more information or contact Rachel Davis Newhouse at 301-650-4368.

Wednesday, September 18 -- Wheaton Redevelopment Meeting.

Wheaton High School 12601 Dalewood Dr. 7 p.m. Montgomery County Government is inviting the community to a meeting with StonebridgeCarras/Bozzuto, the selected developer for the Wheaton Redevelopment Program. The proposed development plan will be shared along with details on the scope of their project and ideas for design. The County would like the community's feedback as preparations begin for the development of a contract with the developer. For more information, visit the project website or email Ana L. van Balen, Mid-County Regional director.

Thursday, September 26 -- Public forum on proposed changes on Ride On bus routes 83 and 94

The forum will be held at the Upcounty Regional Services Center, 12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown. It will begin at 6:30 p.m. and end after the last speaker presents remarks. In case of inclement weather, the public forum will be held on October 3.