December 31, 2013

Holiday Schedule for New Year’s

Montgomery County government will observe the following holiday schedule for New Year’s Day on Wednesday, January 1:
  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – all branches will close at 6 p.m. on December 31; closed on January 1 Olney Express Service will be closed through January 1
  • County liquor stores – closed
  • Recreation – all facilities closed January 1; senior centers and community and neighborhood recreation centers are closed through December 31; aquatics programs operating on a modified schedule, contact each facility directly.
  • Montgomery Parks – all Parks facilities are closed on January 1. For operating schedules during the holidays, 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).

Options for a Safe Ride Home

In an effort to help prevent drunk driving in Montgomery County during the New Year’s holiday and beyond, the Montgomery County Department of Liquor Control (DLC) is promoting local drunk driving prevention programs.

The “Be My Designated Driver” (Be My DD) program provides professional, experienced drivers dressed in formal business attire. Drivers are personally interviewed, background screened and insured. A personal driver service, a pick-up service and designated drivers for events are offered. DLC has partnered with BeMyDD to offer Montgomery County participants a free $25 annual membership.

Reservations can be made online at or by calling 1-877-U-BEMYDD (877-823-6933). BeMyDD also offers a mobile app.

DLC also has been a long-time supporter of the Washington Regional Alcohol Program’s (WRAP’s) SoberRide, offering free taxi rides – up to $30 – in the Washington Metro area for adults, 21 and older, from 10 p.m. on New Year’s Eve to 6 a.m. on New Year’s Day. Anyone needing a ride home from the District or surrounding counties, including Montgomery, can call SoberRide at 800-200-TAXI.

Looking Ahead to the New Year

Mark your calendars now for some traditional January events. More details in the next edition of The Paperless Airplane.

Monday, January 6 -- County Executive’s Kickoff for Public Forums on 2015 Operating Budget. BlackRock Center for the Arts, 12901 Town Commons Dr., Germantown. 7 to 8:30 p.m. The annual meetings are designed to get comments and suggestions from residents, businesses and organizations about operating budget priorities. See schedule for other forums.

Monday, January, 20 -- Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day marked by Volunteer Activities at several locations and a Musical Program at The Music Center at Strathmore.
Day of Service Activities. The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is organizing and coordinating indoor family-friendly service projects at locations across the County. Check locations and times.
Musical Celebration. The 20th anniversary of the County’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Tribute and Musical Celebration features the theme “Honoring the Legacy: Celebrate, Serve, Remember.” 3 p.m. at the Music Center at Strathmore, 5301 Tuckerman La., North Bethesda. The 2014 recipients of the Children of the Dream, Humanitarian and Literary Arts Awards also will be announced.

Sunday, January 26 – 2014 Women’s Legislative Briefing. The Universities at Shady Grove, Bldg II, 9630 Gudelsky Dr., Rockville. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. Program 12:30 to 6 p.m . Keynote by Joanne Bamberger, author of Mothers of Intention: How Women and Social Media are Revolutionizing Politics in America. New this year, special seminars for teen girls. Plus, panel discussion and seminars on women’s issues.

For more events, check

Leggett Announces Improved Outreach and Services for County Veterans at Local Colleges and Universities

The Montgomery County Veterans Education and Benefits Partnership recently launched by County Executive Ike Leggett will provide improvements to education, social services, career development, benefits support and counseling to U.S. armed forces’ veterans enrolled at Montgomery College, The Universities at Shady Grove and Montgomery County’s Johns Hopkins campus.

The partnership will bring access to those individuals who need benefits and services at higher education campuses in Montgomery County. In addition, the Universities at Shady Grove recently opened the Office of Veterans Resources to provide additional support for veterans and their families. Montgomery College’s Combat2College program provides academic and social opportunities, as well as support services for veterans and active/reserve service members.

For more information about the program, contact Michael Subin in the Office of the County Executive at 240-777-2530.

Read the news release.

Read The Gazette article.

New Life for Live Christmas Trees

Montgomery County residents are reminded that when the holidays are over, they can recycle their live Christmas trees.

The Department of Environmental Protection’s Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) says residents of single-family homes may recycle Christmas trees at the curb on their regular recycling collection day. Businesses and residents of apartments and condominiums should check with their property/business managers or representatives for specific Christmas tree recycling instructions.

After being composted or chipped for mulch, the trees are given a new life, so be sure to recycle them in a natural state.

Metro Extends Route K9 Bus Service along New Hampshire Ave. to FDA

One year after the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (Metro) created the K9 limited-stop bus service from the Fort Totten Metro Station to Northwest Park, it has extending the service to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)/Federal Research Center. The service, which began December 29, will further help relieve crowding along the New Hampshire Avenue corridor, providing buses every 16 to 18 minutes during morning and evening weekday rush hours.

“The extension of Metro’s K9 bus route will make a tremendous difference on busy New Hampshire Avenue, which has the third highest bus ridership in Maryland,” said County Executive Ike Leggett.

See more information on the K9 Route.

M-NCPPC Montgomery Parks Approves Deer Management for Cabin John Regional Park

Montgomery Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission has announced the expansion of its 2013-14 deer management operations to include Cabin John Regional Park, one of 29 other parks in the Parks’ system selected for managed hunts during the fall 2013 – winter 2014 season.

The deer management operation at Cabin John will take place January 10 to February 28, from 6 p.m. through 6 a.m., when the park is closed to the public. Information about the hunts will be posted on signs throughout the park, on the Montgomery Parks’ website homepage and communicated via Park Police patrols. All deer harvested through the effort will be donated for consumption at local soup kitchens. The operation will recur annually as necessary.

The park located in Potomac has been selected to address damage caused by an increasing population of deer, including deer-related automobile accidents, damage to natural resources and increased potential of communicable diseases such as Lyme disease. Recent estimates indicate deer population in this park is nearly four times the recommended density for an area this size. The decision to add Cabin John to the deer management operations was made after review of resident complaints and input, and with strong support from the community.

Local Moving Company Fined for Violating County’s Consumer Protection Law

A Montgomery County District Court judge has fined Adam Shaikh, doing business as Big Brothers Moving in Gaithersburg, $3,000 covering six civil citations issued by the Montgomery County Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) for violations of the County’s consumer protection law.

The violations included holding goods hostage, failure to state if a moving estimate is binding or non-binding, misrepresenting services included in estimates and charging extra for these services, and misrepresenting on the company’s website that Big Brothers Moving was licensed and insured.

OCP advises consumers in Montgomery County to do the following when hiring movers:
  • Review OCP’s complaint records on a moving company before getting an estimate. 
  • Get written estimates based upon onsite inspections. Moving companies are required to provide all consumers with written estimates stating if the estimate is binding or non-binding. 
  • Ask about the mover’s liability for damage or loss. Consider buying additional insurance to cover all loss or damage. 
  • Visit OCP’s A-Z Consumer Advice on Moving and Storage Companies for recommendations on preparing for a move. 
For additional information or to file a complaint, contact the Office of Consumer Protection at 240-777-3636 or email

Police Chief Manger Appears on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal to Discuss Federal Gun Laws

Police Chief Tom Manger, representing the Major Cities Chiefs Association, recently was a guest on C-SPAN’s Washington Journal, discussing a law enforcement perspective of the federal gun policy with Richard Stanek, president of the Major County Sheriff’s Association, and host Pedro Echevarria.

The show aired on the first anniversary of the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

Watch the show (under Featured Journal Segments/December 14, 2013 ).

Brace Pharmaceuticals Locates U.S. Headquarters in Rockville

Governor Martin O’Malley recently announced that Brace Pharmaceuticals, an investment company created by Brazil’s largest domestic pharmaceutical company, EMS S/A, has opened its U.S. headquarters in Montgomery County and plans to invest $200 million into the new operation.

Located in the Rockville Innovation Center, Brace is focused on the late-stage clinical development of pharmaceutical products with the potential for near-term commercialization. Brace invests in research and development companies’ efforts to successfully complete their clinical trials and seek FDA marketing approval.

"I congratulate the Governor and his team on this economic development achievement," said Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett. "We welcome Brace Pharmaceuticals to our large and growing family of life sciences firms in Montgomery County."

Read more.

County’s Resource Recovery Facility Processes 10 Millionth Ton of Solid Waste

Montgomery County has marked a milestone at its award-winning Resource Recovery Facility (RRF) which has recently processed its 10 millionth ton of post-recycled municipal solid waste to recover clean, renewable energy.

By processing 10 million tons of waste at the RRF, the County has:
  • Produced 5.7 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy in the form of electricity, enough energy to power all the single-family homes in the County for two years; 
  • Offset about 10 million tons of greenhouse gases, the equivalent to taking about two million cars off the road; and 
  • Recycled 260 thousand tons of metal, enough steel to replace more than 1,100 miles of railroad tracks running from Washington, DC to New Orleans. 
Read more.

November 26, 2013

New Parking Lot Safety Campaign Unveiled: Behind the Wheel or On Foot it’s “Heads Up!” in Lots and Garages

A Countywide public education campaign to address the growing number of pedestrian collisions occurring in parking lots and garages in Montgomery County has been unveiled by County Executive Ike Leggett.

In 2012, parking lot and garage collisions comprised nearly one-third of all pedestrian collisions in the County. Even more startling is the fact that of those collisions, nearly 20 percent resulted in severe, debilitating injuries -- the same percentage as road collisions. And, overall, 54 percent of the parking lot/garage collisions in 2012 resulted in some type of injury.

The campaign’s slogan, “Heads Up in Parking Lots,” features the message: “Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over.” The campaign consists of Ride On bus ads in English and Spanish; bus shelter ads aimed at pedestrians and drivers; posters in English and Spanish; safety tip cards in English and Spanish available at libraries, recreation and community centers, and stores; distribution of reusable shopping bags featuring a safety message; pavement decals at retail stores, and the 19 County parking garages and 21 County parking lots; two public service announcements: Heads Up in Parking Lots and Don’t run over people. Don’t get run over; and a new website featuring education materials in English and Spanish that can be downloaded and distributed to community, civic, religious and school groups.

Visit the website for more information.

Council Approves Plans for Bus Rapid Transit System

The Montgomery County has unanimously approved the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan, the main purpose of which is to establish the routes and possible station locations of the proposed countywide Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. BRT is a plan for specially designed buses to travel over mostly dedicated lines throughout the County.

The Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan recommends a network of Bus Rapid Transit lines covering about 82 miles and 110 stations, not including the already master-planned CCT.

The master plan approved by the Council recommends the routes, the station locations and, for each segment, the minimum right-of-way. The recommended plan also states whether there would be dedicated lanes or not and whether there would be up to 0, 1 or 2 lanes added in the road's cross-section dedicated to BRT.

Read more.

Transportation Options for County Seniors and Their Families in Eight Languages

Hot off the presses -- County Executive Ike Leggett and the Office of Public Information have released a two-page fact sheet for seniors and their families about Montgomery County Transportation Options for Older Adults. In addition to English and Spanish, the information is now available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Korean, Russian and Vietnamese.

Distributing the information is easy. Just select the language you need and share with your neighborhood and faith listserves, friends, neighbors and loved ones. For hard copies, email and indicate how many you need and in what language(s).

Check senior site transportation section for more information.

Annual Thanksgiving Parade Ushers in Holiday Season

A crowd estimated at 20,000 people -- of all ages -- turned out to watch the County’s annual Thanksgiving Parade and welcome the holiday season. As these photos show, parade marchers and observers, alike, seemed to have a good time celebrating the start of the holiday season.

Top. A Montgomery County float represents the historical beginnings of Thanksgiving.

Middle. Baby Smurf -- presented by the Celebrate Downtown Silver Spring Foundation, Inc. -- gets ready to head out along the parade route.

Bottom. Colorful clowns delighted the crowd.

Parade photos by Ken Stanek Photography

A New Home for Wheaton's Rescue Squad

More than 300 people attended the recent Grand Opening of the new Wheaton Volunteer Rescue Squad station at the intersection of Georgia and Arcola aves., just south of the Wheaton Library.

The new station, at 29,000 gross square feet, is nearly four times larger than the previous station which was at Grandview and Blueridge aves. It is the fourth fire station to open in the County within the past seven years.

Results of Homeless Survey Announced

During the Montgomery County 100,000 HOMES Campaign Registry Week in early November, hundreds of volunteers answered the call and participated in a variety of activities, including canvassing the County and surveying 369 homeless individuals.

Teams canvassed the streets, woods and shelters, and covered "hot spots" in Rockville, Aspen Hill, Gaithersburg, Germantown, White Flint, Silver Spring, Bethesda, Wheaton, Glenmont, Langley Park, Chevy Chase, Hillandale and White Oak. Volunteer teams captured data on health conditions, hospitalizations, length of homelessness, etc.

The results, reported at a community debriefing in mid-November, attended by the County Executive, County Councilmembers and local organizations, included the following findings about the local homeless poopulation:
  • Average age was 45.6 years 
  • 47% reported at least one serious health condition—of this group, 74% were medically vulnerable 
  • 22% of those surveyed received inpatient emergency room treatment at least three times last year -- of those identified as medically vulnerable, more than 50% received inpatient treatment at least three times last year 
  • 31 individuals reported having veterans status 
  • 26% of those surveyed were victims of violent attacks while experiencing homelessness 
Read more about the campaign and findings.

Fire Rescue Service Offers Tips for a Safe Thanksgiving

More cooking fires occur on Thanksgiving than on any other day of the year. With Thanksgiving quickly approaching, Fire Chief Steven Lohr urges residents to enjoy the holiday and to keep safety at the top of everyone’s “to do” list.

“Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a rookie cooking your first holiday feast, the strategies for serving up a safe meal are the same,” said Chief Lohr. “Unattended cooking is the leading cause of residential fires and we’re asking residents to follow some simple safety tips [when cooking a turkey the traditional way or frying it] and to have a happy and safe Thanksgiving holiday.”

County Holiday Schedule for Thanksgiving Day

  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed 
  • County liquor stores – closed 
  • Recreation – all programs and facilities are closed
  • Montgomery Parks – all facilities are closed on Thursday. For operating schedules on Friday, 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).

Go Green for the Holidays: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

Although the winter holiday season traditionally produces extra amounts of waste, the Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) [Dept. of Environmental Protection] reminds residents that the various festivities and activities taking place actually offer great opportunities for residents to recycle many items generated this time of year. 

Unwanted Mail
In the weeks leading up to the holidays, many households receive larger-than-usual quantities of advertisements, sale flyers and catalogs. Before placing all the unwanted mail into the recycling bin, residents should take a moment to remove their names from the companies' mailing lists. Often, all that is needed is a call to a toll-free number provided in the mailing. Learn more at and

See a wide variety of tips from DSWS on how to Reduce, Reuse, Recycle when shopping, wrapping and entertaining, and what to do with the live Christmas tree after the holidays.

Also check out about Recycling Beyond the Holiday Season.

Shop for Those in Need on #Giving Tuesday

The Office of Community Partnerships reminds residents doing holiday shopping to take a minute and help neighbors in need.

It’s easy to do through #GivingTuesday, a nationwide day of charitable giving that offers the opportunity to remember those less fortunate and make a donation that will help them have a happy holiday season, as well.

Family Fun at Recreation Centers offering a Variety of Holiday Activities

Montgomery County Recreation is offering a wide-range of community events for the whole family to enjoy this holiday season.

Choices range from magic, crafts, cookies and entertainment to being photographed underwater with Scuba Santa.

Take a peek at the holiday activity calendar, then make your pick(s) and register.

“My Montgomery” Online Map Adds Bikeshare Station Locations

The County’s “My Montgomery” website that helps residents locate nearby County facilities and services now includes locations for the County’s new Capital Bikeshare stations.

Bikesharing provides short-term bicycle rentals at self-service, automated, solar-powered docking stations sited at publicly accessible locations around the County. For more information about the program, go to or call 1-877-430-BIKE (2453).

Launched in 2008, the "My Montgomery" website includes the locations of schools; police and fire stations; health and human services programs; hospitals; regional services centers; Metro and MARC train stations; public parking lots and garages; public libraries; and recreational facilities, including golf courses, parks, senior centers and swimming pools.

County Offers Grants for Food Recovery Activities

Organizations involved in food recovery activities in Montgomery County are invited to apply for one-time grant funding to start, enhance and advance food recovery activities.

Food recovery is the practice of safely retrieving edible food that would otherwise go to waste and distributing it to those in need.

The grants -- ranging from $500 to $9,999 -- will be provided for Fiscal Year 2014 to enhance the work of the Food Recovery Work Group established in October 2012 by the County Council to develop and implement a food recovery system in Montgomery County.

Organizations can receive an email application form and return it to Applications can also be submitted in person to Licensure & Regulatory Services, Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services, 255 Rockville Pike, 1st floor, Rockville.

Applications must be received no later than Tuesday, December 3 at 4 p.m.

According to studies, Americans waste more than 40 percent of the food produced for consumption, costing nearly $100 billion a year.

See FAQs.

Wednesday, December 11 - Public Meeting on Wheaton Redevelopment

Wheaton High School, 12601 Dalewood Dr., Silver Spring. 7 p.m. An update to the community about progress on the Wheaton Redevelopment project.

To learn more about the project, visit the project page.

November 18, 2013

County More than Triples Investment in “Small Business Plus!” Program

County Executive Ike Leggett recently announced a tripling -- to more than $35 million -- of the County’s investment in the “Small Business Plus!” program, first established in June 2012 with a $10 million investment.

Thirty-five million dollars in County funds will be invested in participating community banks -- which will commit an equal amount -- with the result that $70 million will be lent to local small businesses to further promote the creation of new jobs.

Banks are eligible to participate if they are headquartered in Montgomery County, have assets greater than $200 million and less than $5 billion and meet certain safety and soundness standards established by the County.

A participating bank must originate the loans within 12 calendar months of the commitment by the County to make a program related deposit in that bank.

“Small Business Plus!” was developed through a collaboration between the County and community banks headquartered in the County. It is intended to promote job growth through small business lending and to earn a competitive rate of return for the County on its investment.

Read more.

Annual Thanksgiving Parade Kicks Off Local Holiday Season

The local holiday season officially gets underway on Saturday, November 23 when the 16th Annual Montgomery County Thanksgiving Parade steps off at 10 a.m. from Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. in Downtown Silver Spring. Traveling the same route as last year, the parade will proceed south on Georgia Ave., ending at Silver Spring Ave.

ABC 7 Meteorologist Brian van de Graaff will once again serve as master of ceremonies, introducing more than 100 parade units. In addition to the Washington professional football team’s Marching Band, the parade will feature glittering floats, a wide variety of local marching bands, beauty queens, clowns, fire engines and animal groups. As always, the parade will end with elves, reindeer and Santa’s sleigh.

Get more information about the parade, including volunteering and parking.

Party Arty at the Executive Ball, Support Arts Education

The 28th Annual Montgomery County Executive’s Ball Benefitting the Arts & Humanities will be held on Sunday, November 24, beginning at 6 p.m. at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Road, N. Bethesda.

The ball is administered by The Community Foundation for Montgomery County and is funded solely through corporate and private donations.

Tickets are $125 per person and attire is “creative black tie.” Proceeds will support arts education programs in Montgomery County. For more information and to get tickets, visit or call 301-244-9836.

New Tax Compliance Office Identifies Thousands of Accounts Mistakenly Claiming Homeowner Tax Credits; Over $1 Million in Savings Already Realized

The Department of Finance’s Tax Compliance Office has issued its first quarter report on the results of its property tax compliance efforts which identifies nearly 5,000 accounts that should be corrected which could save the County up to $3.3 million in revenues each year.

Since the program was established in May 2012 by County Executive Ike Leggett, with the support of the County Council, it has generated actual revenues of more than $1.2 million.

“The Homestead Tax Credit program benefits many eligible homeowners every year,” said Leggett. “One of the requirements for eligibility is that the homeowner must reside in the home. Because I felt the County was losing millions of dollars annually due to credits being mistakenly issued, I created the Tax Compliance Office to work with the state to verify that credits are accurately issued.”

See more details about the Tax Compliance program or call 240-777-8860.

For information about the Homestead Property Tax Credit, go to

Live Online Discussion with County Executive

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett will hold a “virtual” Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, November 19 from 1 to 2 p.m.  County residents will be able to submit questions to the County Executive 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.

Recent China Mission Trip Brings Discussions about Investment Opportunities from Visiting Delegation

As a result of the connections developed from last month's China Mission trip led by County Executive Ike Leggett, Montgomery County hosted a visit in November for nearly two dozen Chinese investors as a part of the "Select USA Investment Summit" sponsored by the U.S. government.

Following meetings with President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the Chinese business delegation came to Montgomery County, where they focused on investment opportunities in major public-private partnership projects that are strategic to the County's future economic competitiveness, especially the life sciences.

The delegation visited the Food and Drug Administration in White Oak and did a drive-through visit to FDA, LifeSci Village and Washington Adventist Hospital. At the Montgomery campus of The Johns Hopkins University in Rockville, the visitors heard presentations about and discussed investment opportunities in BioHealth Innovations, the Greater Seneca Science Corridor, Global LifeSci Village and other County-based projects, as well as meeting federal, state and local officials.

Vital Living for Residents 50 and Over through Volunteering

Residents aged 50 and above are invited to learn how to give back to their communities during a workshop on November 19 at the Bethesda Library, 7400 Arlington Rd., from 2-3 p.m. Information will also be presented about the County resources and programs available to help persons get involved.

Attendees can also:
  • Explore Montgomery County Volunteer Center’s rich resources for finding volunteer opportunities.
  • Learn about the award-winning Pro Bono Consultant Program to share professional skills on short-term projects.
  • Learn about the challenges that nonprofits face and how to help.
  • Learn about getting involved on a nonprofit Board. 
To request sign language interpretation or other deaf/hard of hearing services for library-sponsored programs, email, preferably with three business days’ notice. To request other accommodations, contact the library hosting the program at 240-777-0970.

Nighttime Economy Task Force Submits Recommendations

Earlier this year, the Montgomery County Nighttime Economy Task Force was created by County Executive Ike Leggett to develop a series of policy recommendations that would foster an increased nighttime social life for County residents, employees and visitors.

The group has just released its report/recommendations – entitled “Destination Montgomery: Shining Light on the Nighttime Economy” -- that focuses on specific elements needed to build a strong nighttime economy. The Arts and Entertainment, Business Engagement, Public Safety, Public Space and Amenities, Quality of Life, Transportation, and Venue Operations and Safety.

The task force, with the assistance of the County Executive, his staff, the County Council and the County Delegation to the Maryland General Assembly will work to ensure that the main tenets of the recommendations are considered, studied and implemented, as appropriate

See the full report (pdf).

Reductions in Permitting Fees for “Midrise” Construction

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced changes in permitting structure fees for “midrise” woodframe construction in the County, an emerging trend in construction. The reductions, the result of a workgroup between government and industry put together by Leggett, reduces from $8 million to $4.5 million the threshold at which lower permitting fees kick in – a 44 percent reduction.

Overall, it is expected that this will result in an annual reduction of fees in excess of $1 million. This fee reduction is in addition to the Department of Permitting Services' automation fee reduction the County Executive transmitted to the County Council in September  This reduction projected an overall estimated customer savings of $1.5 million. Thus, annually, the collective savings is estimated already to be in excess of $2.5 million.

Read more.

Affordable Health Care Act Education and Enrollment Continue; Saturday Sessions Added

Signed into law in March 2010, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires legal residents ages 18 to 64 to have health insurance coverage beginning in 2014 or pay a fine.

To assist residents in signing up, weekend enrollment events will be held in Montgomery County on the following dates:

Saturday, November 23 -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
    8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
  • Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
    12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown
Saturday, December 7 -- 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
  • Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
    8818 Georgia Ave., Silver Spring
  • Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services
    12900 Middlebrook Rd., Germantown 

To find in-person enrollment help, go to and click on the Where Do I Sign Up? flyer. Information about eligibility and documents needed for enrollment, can also be found at

Residents of Montgomery and Prince George’s counties can sign up for health care coverage at more than 25 sites throughout the community via Maryland Health Connection, the state’s insurance marketplace. Enroll online at or by calling Maryland’s Consumer Support Center at 1-855-642-8572 (TTY 1-855-642-8573).

Open enrollment continues through March 2014, with coverage starting as early as January 1, 2014.

Meters on Tuckerman Lane Bagged for Three Days for Student Concerts at Strathmore

From November 19 to 22, the parking meters along Tuckerman Lane near the Grosvenor/Strathmore Metrorail station will be bagged and reserved to park the school buses that will bring 10,000 County public school second-grade students to The Music Center at Strathmore for a series of free concerts. The concerts are presented by Strathmore in partnership with the Montgomery County Public School System.

For more information on the concerts, contact Bill Carey at Strathmore Music Center at 301-581-5135.

Registration for Winter Recreation, Parks Programs Now Open

The winter issue of the Montgomery County Guide for Recreation and Parks Programs is now available which means registration is open for winter programs and classes. Swim lesson registration will begin on Wednesday, December 11.

Registration is offered online, by mail, fax or in person at the Montgomery County Recreation Administrative Offices at 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 a full year of five issues (Summer, Fall, Winter, Summer Camps and Spring).

To view the guide online, or to sign up for a subscription, go to

Forum on Federal Employees Health Benefits Scheduled in Rocvkville

Experts on federal health insurance plans and representatives of health insurance carriers will discuss various health plan options, the impact of the Affordable Care Act, and answer questions during the 11th Annual Forum for Federal Employees Health Benefits that will be held on Wednesday, November 20 at the Executive Office Building, 101 Monroe St., Rockville,  from 7 to 9 p.m. Parking is available onstreet and in the County Council garage at the corner of Monroe and Jefferson streets.

Entitled “Open Season: Choosing the Right Federal Health Benefits Plan,” the forum is presented by Congressman Chris Van Hollen in cooperation with the Maryland Federation of Chapters of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

For more information, including directions, call 301-424-3501.

Resident Feedback Sought at Open Data Town Hall

Montgomery County is hosting its first Open Data Town Hall on Thursday, November 21, offering residents an opportunity to speak up about the kinds of data they would like to access online. The meeting will be held from 7 – 9 p.m. at the Bethesda/Chevy Chase Regional Services Center, located at 4805 Edgemoor La., Bethesda.

Following a presentation to introduce open data and familiarize the audience with datamontgomery, Town Hall participants will be able to move around the room to individual data theme tables to discuss their thoughts and suggestions in smaller groups with facilitators. The facilitators will compile information during the Town Hall and report back to the group at the end of the evening. The reports will also be posted on the Innovation Program website at

The expanding datasets are part of Montgomery County’s digital government strategy (pdf) and its open government website, both launched last December.

Volunteering: Always in Season

On the heels of another successful Community Service Day in October, the County’s Volunteer Center is encouraging residents to keep alive the spirit of giving back by getting involved with the annual Holiday Giving Project.

Learn more about this and other volunteer opportunities in the Volunteer Center’s newsletter or visit their website.

Free Bike Registration for Riders Parking at Metro Facilities

Metro Transit Police offer a free online registration service for bike riders who park their bikes at Metro facilities. Providing the make, model, serial number, color and frame size of the bike will assist Transit Police in identifying and recovering a bicycle if it is stolen or lost.

Police urge riders to practice basic security measures, such as locking their bike to an authorized rack (not a sign post or fence), keeping a copy of the bike’s serial number on hand, and hiding a business or index card with the owner’s name and phone number inside the bike frame.

Public Forums on MCPS Proposal to Change Starting, Ending Times at Schools

Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) is offering the community multiple opportunities over the coming months to provide feedback on proposed changes to school starting and ending times, also known as bell times.

Upcoming public forums will give residents an opportunity to ask questions and share feedback on Superintendent Joshua P. Starr’s recommendation that MCPS consider moving high school start times 50 minutes later (from 7:25 to 8:15 a.m.); moving middle school start times 10 minutes earlier (from 7:55 to 7:45 a.m.); and keeping elementary school start times at the current 8:50 and 9:15 a.m.), but extending the school day by 30 minutes.

The following community forums will be held from 7 to 8:30 p.m.
  • Monday, December 16: Richard Montgomery High School, 250 Richard Montgomery Dr., Rockville;
  • Monday, January 6: Seneca Valley High School, 19401 Crystal Rock Dr., Germantown; and
  • Monday, February 10: Montgomery Blair High School, 51 University Blvd., East, Silver Spring.
Free child care (ages four and older) and interpretation services will be provided.

For more information, visit the Bell Times website.

Gaithersburg Library to Re-open January 4

The newly renovated Gaithersburg Library will celebrate its Grand Re-opening on Saturday, January 4, beginning at 9:30 a.m., with the ribbon cutting at 10 a.m. County Executive Ike Leggett and other elected officials will join Montgomery County Public Libraries and Department of General Services representatives, and local residents to mark the re-opening of the library located at 18330 Montgomery Village Ave.

Special programs, presented by the Friends of the Library, Montgomery County, Inc. and the Friends of the Library, Gaithersburg Chapter will be held throughout the day. There also will be entertainment, refreshments and tours of the building.

Updated announcements about the re-opening activities will be posted on the Gaithersburg Library page  as the day draws closer.

Local Veterans Day Message Part of New York City Parade

A 60-second taped Veterans Day Greeting from Montgomery County’s Commission on Veterans Affairs and County Executive Ike Leggett was aired during the New York City Veterans Day Parade on November 11, along with greetings from other jurisdictions across the country. Commissioners participating were (left to right): Bill Gray, Mike Subin, Wayne Miller, Kris Kumaroo, Randy Stone and Jerry Godwin.

County-based Business Recognized by Inc. Magazine Among Top Job Creators in Private Sector

DMI, a leading provider of mobile enterprise and big data solutions and services headquartered in Bethesda, generated 1,009 new jobs from January 1, 2012 to June 30, 2013, placing it among the top nine private business job creators in the United States and the number one private job creator in Maryland.

This growth earned it Inc. Magazine's Hire Power Award, recognizing private businesses that have created the most jobs in the past 18 months. DMI was also ranked first nationally for job creation among IT services companies.

Read more about the recognition from the piece.

October 31, 2013

The Capacity Crisis in Our Schools: Leggett, Council, Schools, County Delegation to Seek Additional Construction Funds

To address double-digit school enrollment, Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett today joined County, school and State officials in urging the State to jumpstart a public school building program to increase capacity. Pictured (from left to right) are Delegate Sam Arora, County Councilmember George Leventhal, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, Delegate Sheila Hixson, Council Vice President Craig Rice, Delegate Charles Barkley, Councilmember Roger Berliner (partially obscured), Leggett, Councilmember Valerie Ervin and Council President Nancy Navarro.  See Press Release and Remarks of Janette Gilman, President, Montgomery County Council of PTAs.

County Executive Ike Leggett joined County, school and State officials in urging the Governor and the Maryland General Assembly to support legislation -- similar to a bill passed last year for the Baltimore City Public Schools -- that would benefit Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS). The legislation would jumpstart a public school building program to increase capacity and modernize facilities in response to MCPS’ double-digit enrollment surge that is expected to continue unabated into the future.

As Baltimore City did, the County would seek $20 million from the State of Maryland to leverage a $40 million investment by the County. The funds provided in the legislation would supplement the County’s share of new state authorizations for school construction, which has historically been only 11 to 12 percent. The $60 million revenue stream would support a bond issuance of about $750 million, which would fund construction projects over the next five years. The funding would provide for construction of 56 projects to add capacity at severely impacted schools.

From 2000-2012, MCPS grew by 14,599 students -- more than the growth of Anne Arundel, Howard, Frederick and Baltimore counties COMBINED over the same period. The County’s unprecedented increase in enrollment is the highest in the State and nearly half of MCPS schools are projected to have seat deficits by the 2018-2019 school year.

Read more.

County Maintains Coveted Triple-A Bond Rating

County Executive Ike Leggett has announced that Montgomery County has maintained its Triple-A bond rating from three Wall Street bond rating agencies -- Fitch, Moody’s, and Standard & Poor’s. The announcement came a week after Leggett, Council President Nancy Navarro and other County officials met with the agencies to brief them on the County’s fiscal situation and future plans.

The three agencies affirmed the “AAA” rating – the highest achievable -- for the County. and termed the outlook for Montgomery County as “stable.”

The Triple-A bond rating enables Montgomery County to sell long-term bonds at the most favorable rates, saving County taxpayers millions of dollars over the life of the bonds. The rating also serves as a benchmark for numerous other financial transactions, ensuring the lowest possible costs in those areas as well.

Read more.

See The Washington Post report.

New Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center Opens

County Executive Ike Leggett joined local transportation and transit officials to mark the opening of the new David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center (EMTOC) in Rockville.

The EMTOC is named for the late David F. Bone, Ride On’s senior planner from its creation in 1973 until 2000. He was the chief architect of Ride On’s service philosophy, route design and structure, creating the concept of Ride On as a neighborhood feeder system to Metrorail and Metrobus. Bone’s widow and two daughters were also present to help open the building.

This is another of the Executive’s Smart Growth Initiative (SGI) projects that is revitalizing an old industrial area by creating an urban village near the Shady Grove Metro station. Leggett’s SGI is a cost-neutral strategy that will provide substantial economic opportunities for future growth while implementing the goals of the Shady Grove Sector Plan.

The collection of 12 buildings serves the Department of Transportation’s divisions of Transit Services and Highway Services and the Department of General Services’ Division of Fleet Management. The onsite facilities include administrative buildings; parking for 200 buses; bus service lanes; bus wash facility; fare collection area; bus service maintenance bays; parts room; heavy equipment storage shed; soil/gravel storage area; salt barn; Highway Services bays; compressed natural gas fast-fill, gasoline and diesel fueling stations; and employee and visitor parking.

The Shady Grove Sector Plan, approved by the County Council in 2005, calls for transitioning the area around the Shady Grove Metro station from light industrial uses to transit-oriented development, including affordable and workforce housing.

To accomplish this goal, the County Service Park facilities, which are located in the heart of the planning area along Crabbs Branch Way, must be relocated. The facilities being moved include the former Equipment and Maintenance Operations Center, which contains the Highway Maintenance Depot; the Department of Liquor Control Headquarters and Warehouse; Montgomery County Public Schools Food Distribution Center, Bus Depot and Facilities Maintenance Depot; County Radio Shop; and Park and Planning Facilities Maintenance Depot.

The departments of Police and Fire and Rescue and the Office of Homeland Security have already moved to the Public Safety Headquarters building, which is also home to the divisions of Highway Services and Traffic Engineering in the Department of Transportation.

Read more in the news release.

End of Daylight Savings Time is Time for Pedestrians and Drivers to be Cautious

Because pedestrian collisions have typically spiked by nearly 40 percent in Montgomery County during October, November and December, pedestrians are asked to be extra cautious. The end of Daylight Savings Time -- on November 3 this year -- brings fewer daylight hours. According to federal safety officials, 70 percent of pedestrian fatalities happen during the night time hours.

This week, the regional Street Smart Campaign launched its fall outreach to raise awareness in drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists. Last year in the Washington region, 72 pedestrians and bicyclists died in traffic collisions. Montgomery County averages more than 400 pedestrian collisions a year.

See safety tips for drivers and pedestrians.

Annual Leaf Collections to Begin November 4

The Department of Transportation’s Division of Highway Services (DHS) will conduct its annual vacuum collection of leaves in the southern part of the County from November 4 through mid-December. DHS makes two collections on every street in the collection district during the fall.

Residents should look for signs posted along the streets announcing the collection dates in their neighborhoods. Green signs indicate the date of the first collection and red signs indicate the second collection.

The leaf vacuum collection district is bounded by I-495, I-270, the Rockville City limits, Norbeck, Bel Pre and Bonifant roads, Northwest Branch Park, and the District of Columbia and Prince George’s County lines.

Read more about putting out leaves for pickup.

Volunteers Needed for 100,000 Homes Campaign

Montgomery County is now a part of the national 100,000 Homes Campaign, a movement of more than 200 communities working to find permanent homes for 100,000 chronic and medically vulnerable homeless Americans. The local campaign will prioritize those most in need of permanent housing and improve access to permanent supportive housing and services for homeless individuals.

During the 100,000 Homes Campaign Registry Week -- November 3 to 7 -- 300 volunteers will be needed to help in various capacities. Most will conduct the surveys of homeless individuals. However, others are needed to prepare survey materials, assist at volunteer headquarters or serve on a campaign subcommittee.

Food and drinks will be provided to volunteers at the training session and during volunteer shifts. Volunteers under 18 years old must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

For more information, email the campaign at

To support the campaign by donating or becoming a sponsor, contact Campaign Manager Herb Smith at or 301-917-6648.

Register to volunteer.

Homeless Resource Day Event

Individuals and families experiencing homelessness can access needed benefits, medical care and counseling, in addition to a variety of other community services at Homeless Resource Day 2013 to be held on Thursday, November 7 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Activity Center at Bohrer Park, 506 South Frederick Ave., Gaithersburg.

The event is co-sponsored by Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett and Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney A. Katz.

Get more information at

Amharic Language Materials Added to Silver Spring Library Collection

County Executive Ike Leggett (center) joined Montgomery County Public Libraries Director Parker Hamilton (left of Leggett) and members of the Ethiopian community to announce the addition of an Amharic language books and materials collection at the Silver Spring Library.
Included in the new collection will be children's and young readers’ stories and language learning materials, adult fiction and nonfiction, and a limited number of compact discs.

Amharic, a Semitic language spoken in Ethiopia, is the second-most spoken Semitic language in the world after Arabic. According to the 2010 U.S. Census and 2011 American Community Survey, more than 58,000 of Montgomery County’s residents were born in Africa. Ethiopians make up the largest segment of the County’s African immigrants.

Read more.

Literary Contest and Visual Arts Show for Students Announced

The Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Committee is seeking entries for its literary arts contest and visual arts show in observance of the life of Dr. King. The contest is open to all elementary, middle and high school students in Montgomery County.

Entries must be received no later than Friday, December 6.

Ger more details from the news release or download the flyer (pdf).

Improve Your ‘Green Savvy’ Gardening Skills, Knowledge: Become a Master Gardener

County residents interested in learning environmentally sound gardening practices and sharing the information with others can apply now to join the 2014 Montgomery County Master Gardeners training program.

The course begins January 21, 2014, and continues through March 7 (depending on possible snow days). Classes meet Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the University of Maryland Extension, Montgomery County office, located at the Agricultural History Farm Park, 18410 Muncaster Rd., Derwood.

The training fee is $300 and includes a manual and other materials. Horticulture lectures cover ornamental plants, fruits, vegetables and herbs; identifying common pests and diseases; and proper fertilization and watering practices.

Registration deadline is December 31, 2013. Class size is limited and filled on a first-come, first-served basis. To be placed on the application list, or for more information, call 301-590-2836.

See news release.

County Offers Tax Incentive Program for Local Cybersecurity Sector

The County’s recently passed Cybersecurity Investment Incentive Tax Credit Supplement Program is aimed at spurring job and business growth in the ever-critical cybersecurity sector.

Local companies designated as a Qualified Maryland Cybersecurity Company that receive a final tax credit certificate for the Maryland cybersecurity investment tax credit are eligible for the local supplement the following year.

The County’s new tax incentive program takes effect in January 2014. Get additional information.

Read more in The Post article by Steven Overly.

Everyday Heroes Recognized for Life-saving Actions

Shown at the ceremony in Rockville are (l to r) Lohr, Andrews, Uniformed Services University Second Lieutenant Weymouth and Ensign Hunt, Leggett and Montgomery College security officers Rodriquez and Wilson. Not pictured is hero Walter Lopez.
Five ordinary people who took extraordinary actions to save lives and help others in three separate incidents were recognized recently as “everyday heroes” by County Executive Ike Leggett, County Councilmember Phil Andrews and Fire Chief Steven E. Lohr.

During the derecho in June 2012, Walter Lopez rescued a woman trapped in her car after a tree fell on it. She was bleeding profusely and could not lift her head due to the crushed roof of the vehicle. Lopez pulled her through the passenger side window and drove her to Suburban Hospital. He used towels and clothing to make a compress to slow the bleeding. The Bethesda resident survived and has since recovered from her head injuries.

In March of this year, Montgomery College (Rockville Campus) security officers Yasmel Rodriquez and Jeff Wilson arrived on scene to assist an unconscious student. They quickly assessed the situation and, using the Automatic External Defibrillator they had brought, immediately began CPR on the student who survived and is doing well today.

In July, a vehicle drove though the front of Sam’s Club in Gaithersburg striking two men who were in the food court. One suffered a severe leg wound. Uniformed Services University Ensign John Hunt and Second Lieutenant Wells Weymouth, who happened to be in the store, arrived to help. Using their belts to try and stop the bleeding, they stabilized the victim until paramedics arrived. Their quick actions were instrumental in the man’s survival.

See media coverage of the event by Channel 7; Channel 4; and WTOP.

Chief Administrative Officer Wins Visionary Leadership Award

Montgomery County’s Chief Administrative Officer, Timothy L. Firestine, has received the 2013 Visionary Leadership Award from the Institute for Regional Excellence (IRE). The prize recognizes top government officials for their outstanding contributions to metropolitan Washington and their home jurisdictions.

Firestine was also praised for his leadership at the national level. He has testified before Congress on numerous occasions on matters of critical importance to local governments, specifically in the areas of finance, taxation and municipal debt, and has provided guidance to legislators on the impact of the nation’s fiscal crisis and on regulatory matters. He currently is president of the national Government Finance Officers Association and has served as president of the Maryland Government Finance Officers Association.

Read more.

World of Montgomery Festival Highlighted in MetroLatinoUSA

An article and photo spread in MetroLatinoUSA, entitled “Montgomery County Extends a Hand to the Immigrant,” reflects the many moods, colors and facets of the World of Montgomery Festival held recently in Wheaton.

One photo that captured the essence of the event shows a Chinese resident trying a serving of papusas.

It seems a good time was had by all.

Monday, November 11 – 5th Annual Tribute to America’s Veterans Concert.

Silver Spring Civic Building. 6 p.m. Free. Presented by Silver Spring Town Center in collaboration with Montgomery County Commission on Veterans Affairs. Guest entertainers Doc Scantlin and the Palmettos with Chou Chou celebrate music and dance of the WWII era. Military and vintage dress optional.

Saturday, November 16 – Sister Cities: Morazán/Montgomery Fiesta

Silver Spring Civic Building, Ellsworth Dr. and Fenton St. 6-11 p.m. Live music by Oscar Perez with Quimbao. Dancing and dinner. Event supports education and a new community college in the County’s Sister City of Morazán, El Salvador. $30 per person, includes dinner. Children under 12, free. Call 301-213-0857 or 240-777-2525.

Tuesday, November 19 -- Online Chat with County Executive. 1 – 2 p.m.

Residents will have an opportunity to submit questions on issues of concern to County Executive Ike Leggett either before or during the chat. You may submit questions at any time, and questions will be answered during the scheduled discussion time.

Tuesday, November 19 -- 50+ Vital Living Through Volunteering.

Bethesda Library 7400 Arlington Rd. 2-3 p.m. Learn how to give back to your community and about the County resources and programs available to help you get involved in a variety of ways. Presented by the Vital Living Network in partnership with the Jewish Council for the Aging and the County Volunteer Center. To request sign language interpretation or other deaf/hard of hearing services for library-sponsored programs, email, preferably with three business days’ notice. To request other accommodations, contact the library hosting the program, at 240-777-0970.

Sunday, November 24 -- The 28th Annual Montgomery County Executive’s Ball Benefitting the Arts & Humanities

Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center, 5701 Marinelli Rd., North Bethesda. 6 p.m. Tickets $125. Creative black tie. Receive more information and order tickets at

October 14, 2013

The World of Montgomery

The many rich cultural heritages of Montgomery County will be showcased and celebrated at the annual World of Montgomery Festival, on Sunday, October 20 from noon to 5 p.m. at Westfield Wheaton Plaza Mall parking lot (across from the Wheaton Metro station) at 11160 Veirs Mill Rd.

The festival provides interactive experiences where participants are able to engage in creative projects from the diverse communities that make up some of the largest immigrant populations in Montgomery County and the DC area.

Sponsored by the Fund for Montgomery and organized by the KID (Kids International Discovery) Museum, the festival includes an international village, a global kitchen with chefs demonstrating traditional ethnic food, a craft market, a Parade of Cultures, two performance stages of traditional dance and music, opportunities to find out about connecting with the community through service, traditional arts and fun activities for the whole family.

Admission to the festival is free and free parking is available nearby. Participants may also take the Metro to the Wheaton station, which is located two blocks away from the festival grounds.

Find more information, visit website.

Donate Blood, Save Lives

A blood drive in memory of Montgomery County firefighters Carlos Alfaro, Sr. and Carlos Alfaro, Jr. will be held on Sunday, October 27 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Fire Station 16. The station is located at 111 University Blvd., E. in Silver Spring. You can help save lives by donating blood. For an appointment, call Steve Mann at 240-438-2461.

Leggett Mission to China Advances County Business & Investment Aims

County Executive Ike Leggett and Governor Jiang Liang renew a Memorandum of Understanding to increase economic cooperation between Montgomery County and Shanghai.

County Executive Ike Leggett returned recently from a 10-day, 4-city trip to China aimed at advancing Chinese jobs and investment in the County and opening doors for County businesses there, as well as establishing a “Sister City” relationship with the city of Xi’an, with eight million residents and home to the famous Terra Cotta Army.

Packed with visits to businesses and high-tech centers, educational institutions and hospitals, as well as government meetings, the delegation’s itinerary reflected the mission’s strong focus on education and business development. Multi-level partnerships were developed on education, healthcare, and business fronts.

The visit was featured prominently in The China Daily, the official English newspaper for all of China:

“I was very pleased with the Mission,” said County Executive Leggett. “It will result in more jobs and investment in Montgomery County and more business for County companies in China. Our County is competing, especially in biotechnology and health sciences, with other states, cities, and counties that are also looking to tap into the Chinese market. For a tiny investment, we have made a significant impact.”

Sponsors of this mission trip include Marriott International, Choice Hotels International, the Mid-Atlantic Petroleum, US Pharmacopeia, the Chinese Biopharmaceutical Association, and the Maryland China Business Council. Law firms Shulman Rogers and Linowes and Blocher sponsored two information sessions prior to the trip.

All Montgomery County government employees on the delegation, including the County Executive, paid all their own expenses for the Mission and took vacation time, except for Department of Economic Development director Steve Silverman, Mission lead organizer Lily Qi, Director of Special Projects in the Office of the County Executive, and a bilingual assistant. The total for travel, food, and lodging costs paid by Montgomery County was $7,500.

Read more details on the mission.

Community Service Day Projects Available for Volunteers

The Montgomery County Volunteer Center is offering a variety of volunteer service opportunities to celebrate Community Service Day on October 26. Many organizations are seeking volunteers to help complete projects during the week of October 20 – 27 in recognition of Community Service Day, now in its 27th year.

The annual event and week of activities will be kicked off this year with the World of Montgomery Festival on Sunday, October 20 at Westfield Wheaton shopping mall.

Projects this year include packing after-school snacks at Dawson’s Market, removing invasive weeds from local parks, painting a homeless shelter, winterizing gardens in Damascus and Poolesville, recycling electronics at Verizon in Silver Spring and organizing a holiday drive for the City of Rockville. Manna Food Center will again hold food drives at 27 Giant grocery stores on Saturday, October 26 and Sunday, October 27 from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Additional opportunities can be viewed on the Volunteer Center website,

Easy Access to Cable Shows Available on Smartphones, Other Mobile Devices

Residents can now easily access and view live and recorded Montgomery County cable shows directly from their smartphones and other mobile devices from the County’s mobile website at

This includes all of the shows cablecast on County Cable Montgomery, the County government channel (Channel 30 on the Verizon cable system and Channel 6 on RCN and Comcast). The shows range from the County’s weekly half-hour news show, “County Report This Week,” to “Council in Brief,” “Seniors Today,” “My Green Montgomery,” and County Council sessions, along with a variety of other interview and magazine-style shows, town hall meetings, and Spanish language programming.

To watch County cable shows using a smartphone or mobile device, go to the mobile site and tap on “apps and sites,” then “sites,” then “County Cable Montgomery,” and finally “programs,” where the shows are listed in alphabetical order by name. Tapping the show name brings up a brief description with air times on the cable channel, and a listing of individual episodes. Tapping the arrow next to the episode launches the show for viewing.

See what other features are on the mobile app.

Seniors, Families and Friends: Need to Get Around? Here’s How

A new flyer listing the variety of transportation options for older adults in Montgomery County is available both on online at the Senior Site or in a downloadable format (pdf). The listing is geared to seniors, their families and caregivers.

In addition, County Executive Ike Leggett has been distributing copies as he visits senior centers to discuss the Affordable Care Act with residents.

Copies will be available in County facilities such as senior centers, libraries and regional services centers in the near future.

Open Houses at Fire Stations Mark Fire Prevention Month

October is Fire Prevention Month and fire stations around Montgomery County will be hosting many educational, family-oriented activities and Open House events throughout the month.

This year’s theme focuses on the importance of preventing kitchen fires. The leading cause of fires in the kitchen is unattended cooking. While there can be “too many cooks in the kitchen,” having no cooks in the kitchen can be potentially far more dangerous.

All Open House events are free and will feature many activities, including tours of the station, fire safety activities, educational information/handouts, and demonstrations of emergency equipment.

See a schedule of Open Houses.

New “Montgomery Mosaic” Radio Show Featured on WOL-1450 AM

Montgomery County’s Office of Public Information is launching a new radio show on WOL-Radio 1450 AM. Starting October 16, the monthly, half-hour “Montgomery Mosaic” show will air live from 10:30 – 11 a.m. on the third Wednesday of each month.

The new show will include interviews with local elected officials and community leaders about topics of interest to the African American community. The show will be co-hosted by Deborah Milo, host of the County’s “Mosaic” cable show and WOL-Radio’s Ron Thompson.

The radio version extends the reach of the County’s cable show, “Mosaic: An African-American Perspective” to a broader audience. The cable show can be found on the Montgomery County government access channel, County Cable Montgomery (Channel 30 on the Verizon cable system, and Channel 6 on RCN and Comcast). Episodes are available for viewing on demand at

Film Festival, Presentations, STEP AFRIKA! Highlight Montgomery College’s Humanities Days

Two days of free student work, poster sessions, moderated films, faculty presentations and writing workshops at all Montgomery College Campuses on October 16 and 17 will celebrate the humanities and their effects on society.

Organized by The Global Humanities Institute and the Paul Peck Humanities Institute at Montgomery College, Humanities Days will culminate with a performance by renowned dance troupe, STEP AFRIKA!, Thursday, October 17 at the Cultural Arts Center on the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Campus. Tickets are free, but reservations are required for the STEP AFRIKA! performance.

See a complete list/schedule of activities.

AARP Driver Safety Course Scheduled at Germantown Library

A four-and-a-half hour AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) Driver Safety course that will help tune up driving skills, teach safe driving strategies and update information on the rules of the road will be held at the Germantown Library on Wednesday, October 23 from 1 to 5:30 p.m. The library is at 19840 Century Blvd.

Information will be presented about normal age-related physical changes and how to adjust driving to allow for the changes. Students who complete the course will receive a certificate. Some insurance companies operating in Maryland consider drivers who take the course qualified for a reduced auto insurance premium.

Registration is $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members and will be collected on class day. AARP members should bring their membership cards to class, and all participants should bring a check payable to AARP and a pen.

Registration is required and available online and the deadline is October 22 at 5 p.m.

For staff assistance, call the Germantown Library at 240-777-0110.

Registration Open for Semi-Annual Senior Spelling Bee

Montgomery County residents 55 years of age and older are invited to participate in the semi-annual Senior Spelling Bee, hosted by Friends of the Library, Montgomery County (FOLMC), on Saturday, November 9 at the Little Falls Library, 5501 Massachusetts Ave., Bethesda. All spellers must register by October 25.

The registration fee is $25 per person, and participants may seek sponsors to cover the fee. Sponsors will be acknowledged in program materials and at the event.

Persons may register by downloading an application at, calling 240-777-0020 or emailing