July 31, 2014

White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan Gets Council Approval

White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan
The Montgomery County Council has approved the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan that will transform the area on the east side of the County around the Route 29 corridor and the Food and Drug Administration into a community of vibrant mixed-use centers.

The plan was approved by an 8-0 vote, with one abstention. Council President Craig Rice, Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, Cherri Branson, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer voted to adopt the plan. Councilmember Marc Elrich abstained.

The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan area is bounded by the Capital Beltway (I-495) on the south, Northwest Branch Stream Valley Park on the west, U.S. Route 29 and Cherry Hill Road on the north and Prince George’s County on the east

Read the news release.

County Executive Leggett’s Response to White Oak Master Plan Vote

“I want to thank the County Council for its arduous work in approving a complex plan that lays the foundation for real job growth and the enhancement of the East County as a place to live, work, and raise a family.

“The East County has long been deficient in job location within the County, and this Plan is a huge first step toward addressing that concern. I will continue to work with the Council, businesses, and our East County communities toward fulfilling the vision of a transit-oriented life sciences center.”

A “Laboratory for Civic Improvement”

One definition of innovation is “the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods.” Now thanks, in part, to an increasingly active Innovation Program, it can be said that Montgomery County is in the forefront of innovation.

To realize the variety of topics and fields involved in the Innovation Program – subtitled “Montgomery County’s Laboratory for Civic Improvement” -- just take a look at the program’s homepage. Examples of projects in the works range from a Food Data Jam, to the County’s first designated MakerSpace, to a Kitchen Incubator Request for Proposal.

See the wide array of innovation projects that are “in progress’ now.

And, check out this 20-minute video that highlights how innovation is serving our families, our businesses and our community.

New Website Helps Residents Access and Understand County Budget Information

The first stage of a “financial transparency suite” website has been unveiled and is ready for public use. The site focuses on the County budget and includes an electronic budget book and an interactive feature that allows County residents and businesses to better understand and navigate the budget. 

The website is searchable, more user-friendly and accessible from mobile devices. For example, residents can create their own analysis of County finances and develop charts or graphs to meet their needs. The electronic budget publication can be quickly translated into 90 different languages. Future additions to the website will include spending and procurement data.

Developed by Montgomery County and Socrata, the site has already been adopted by governments, such as the City of Boston.

During the website’s development, feedback from residents was sought to ensure it would fit their needs and was easy to use. Members of the civic and business community were also consulted throughout the development period.

The new website is at budget.data.montgomerycountymd.gov and reports.data.montgomerycountymd.gov/omb.

MC 311 on Twitter

The County’s 311 Customer Service Center has launched a new Twitter account that allows residents to get non-emergency County government information and request services via Twitter. The address is @311MC311. Initially, tweets will be monitored Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Customers can now tweet MC311 with a question or request for service. They will receive a response with the Service Request number and a time frame for a follow-up response for services handled by departments.

Information will also be tweeted about some of the most common topics coming into MC311. These include: Ride On Bus Real Time information; reporting a dead animal along the roadway; reporting a street light outage; and reporting a pothole on a County road.

Individuals who don’t already have a Twitter account can go to www.twitter.com, register for a free account, then follow @311MC311.

National Night Out Observances Scheduled

The 2014 National Night Out annual observance will take place on Tuesday, August 5. Sponsored by the National Association of Town Watch (NATW), National Night Out is designed to generate neighborhood support and participation in crime prevention efforts and to enhance police and community relations. County Executive Ike Leggett will join Police Chief Tom Manger and State’s Attorney for Montgomery County John McCarthy in attending some of the events.

In addition to the traditional display of outdoor lights and front porch vigils, many communities celebrate with a variety of events to help neighbors get to know one another and to build community spirit.

Public and/or community events are planned in each of the County’s six police districts.

See a list of events

County Named a “Tech Savvy” Jurisdiction – One of Four in the US for 2014

The Public Technology Institute (PTI) has designated Montgomery County as a Tech Savvy County in 2014. The County is one of only four local governments in the nation -- and the only County in Maryland -- to receive the designation during 2014.

The County’s performance was assessed in several areas, including: Ethics, Performance Management, Communication and Collaboration, Professional Development, Strategic Planning, Cybersecurity; Commitment to Green Technology; Innovation and Adherence to Standards of Excellence.

PTI’s Local Government Tech Savvy Designation Award Program recognizes PTI-member local governments that meet a list of criteria where technology is used to address issues, current challenges and future opportunities.

New Immunization Requirements for Students Entering Seventh Grade; Free Vaccinations Available August 23

Parents of students entering seventh grade are reminded that new immunization requirements announced earlier this year require students to have one Tdap (Tetanus-diphtheria-attenuated pertussis) and one meningococcal (MCV4) vaccination.

Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services staff will provide free Tdap and MCV4 vaccinations to incoming seventh-grade students at the Montgomery County Public Schools’ (MCPS) Back to School Fair on Saturday, August 23 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at MCPS’ Carver Educational Center, 850 Hungerford Dr., Rockville.

Appointments are required and can be made online at www.montgomerycountymd.gov/vaccineclinic. A parent or designated adult must be present with a parent-signed consent form at the time of the vaccination.

For more information on immunizations, call the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services’ Immunization Program at 240-777-1050 or School Health Services at 240-777-1550.

Tips for a Water Safe Summer

Even as we head into the final weeks of summer, it’s not too late to be safe around the water. 

The Fire and Rescue Service has a list of safety tips geared toward parents, but can be followed by swimmers of all ages.

Nominations Being Accepted for Human Rights Hall of Fame

The Montgomery County Office of Human Rights (OHR) is currently accepting nominations for its Eighth Human Rights Hall of Fame. Individuals – living or deceased – whose ongoing work, service and contributions have positively impacted human and civil rights in the County may be nominated.

This year’s theme is “Advancing New Strategies for Human & Civil Rights.” The deadline for nominations is August 22.

A panel of community judges will recommend selections for the Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is planned for Sunday, October 12 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts in Germantown

County Launches “Caching the Rain” – An Educational, Fun Way to Learn How to Reduce Stormwater Pollution

County residents of all ages can learn how to reduce stormwater pollution and help improve water quality in local streams and rivers through a fun, family-friendly, outdoor scavenger hunt activity called “geocaching.”

Launched by the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), the County’s program is called “Caching the Rain.” Under the program, participants (known as “geocachers”) use Global Positioning System (GPS)-enabled devices, such as smartphones, to locate and find camouflaged (but easily accessible) containers of various shapes and sizes called “geocaches” located on a geotrail. A geotrail is a series of geocaches with a common theme. For example, the Caching the Rain geotrail's theme is stormwater awareness.

Each geocache contains a laminated card with interactive information, activities and trivia questions that educate participants about actions they can adopt to improve the health of our local streams -- from picking up pet waste to installing rain gardens. A pencil and logbook are located in each geocache so participants can log their “find.”

Get started and learn more about the Caching the Rain Geotrail and the program, overall, by visiting the Caching the Rain website. For questions about the local geotrail, e-mail DEP.geocaching@montgomerycountymd.gov.

Recreation’s “Food, Fun & Fitness Program” Wraps Up Successful Summer

The Recreation Department’s Food, Fun & Fitness Program (Power Play) wraps up on August 1 having served thousands of meals to hundreds of local students. The six-week program is an example of the kinds of programs that Montgomery Recreation is seeking to provide to a wide segment of students of all ages.

Offered in partnership with Montgomery County Public Schools, Food, Fun & Fitness was a recreational lunchtime program offered free to County students. Participants received a healthy lunch and engaged in fun, recreational activities. Children learned about making healthy nutritional choices while participating in physical activity, games, arts and crafts.

More than 14,000 meals were served this summer, and 379 students were enrolled in the recreation program.

The program was offered at Fox Chapel, Francis Scott Key and Maryvale Elementary schools; Argyle and Roberto W. Clemente Middle schools; and John F. Kennedy High School.

Check out the video about the benefits “Food, Fun & Fitness.

Police Traffic Division Director Receives Highway Safety Hero Award

Montgomery County Police Traffic Division Director Captain Thomas Didone was honored by the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety (Advocates) organization at their 25th Anniversary reception held on Capitol Hill. Members of Congress and federal and state leaders were recognized for their support of highway safety legislation. Captain Didone received one of 14 Highway Safety Hero Awards presented to citizen activists who have demonstrated their dedication to advancing highway safety initiatives.

A 28-year veteran of the force, Captain Didone has been a leading proponent of driver and pedestrian safety through a variety of established and innovative education and enforcement initiatives. As a result of his expertise, he has testified on behalf of proposals for new legislation to improve traffic safety or increase fines for related traffic offenses. He rededicated his efforts toward better driving habits for teens after his 15-year-old son Ryan was killed in a traffic collision in 2008. The car was driven by an inexperienced teen driver, and Ryan had uncharacteristically not used a backseat seat belt.

Read more about Capt. Didone’s recognition.

July 17, 2014

Council Names Casey Anderson as Planning Board Chair

The Montgomery County Council has named current Planning Board member Casey Anderson as the new board chair. He follows former Chair Francoise Carrier whose term expired June 14. She did not apply for reappointment.

Anderson was appointed by an 8-1 vote. Council President Craig Rice, Vice President George Leventhal and Councilmembers Phil Andrews, Roger Berliner, Cherri Branson, Nancy Floreen, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer voted in favor of his appointment. Councilmember Marc Elrich was opposed.

Anderson is a Silver Spring resident. An attorney and community activist, he was appointed to the Planning Board in June 2011. Previously, he served on the boards of the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Citizens League of Montgomery County, the Coalition to Stop Gun Violence and the Committee for Montgomery.

Read more.

U.S. Census Bureau Conducting Pilot Census Test in Part of County through Mid-September; Residents’ Participation will Help Decide Changes for 2020 Census

The U.S. Census Bureau is now conducting a Census Test in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia that tests a variety of new methods and advanced technologies that are being considered for the next national census in 2020.

The local test, which is a pilot for the nation, is part of the Census Bureau’s commitment to find easier, quicker and safer ways for residents to participate and more economical ways for collecting data in the future.

Local residents who live in the eastern half of the County have been or will be contacted to participate in the test. They are encouraged to fill out a census survey online or on mobile devices to reduce the reliance on paper questionnaires. Respondents should fill out the questionnaire based on information about their household as of July 1, 2014, which was Census Day.

Further information about the census test, including a map showing the area of the County where residents will be tested, is found in the Census Bureau video and fact sheet.

County Earns Second Place in Nation in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey

Montgomery County has ranked second in the country in the 2014 Digital Counties Survey conducted by the Center for Digital Government in conjunction with the National Association of Counties (NACo). The survey assessed factors such as citizen engagement, policy, operations, technology and data, among others.

During the past three years, Montgomery County has initiated several innovative technology solutions that focus on citizen engagement platforms. These include: e-filing permit applications and plans; publishing County data sets online -- such as employee salaries, restaurant inspections, budgets, solicitations and contracts; a redesign of the County’s award-winning web site; a mobile version of the MC311 web site enabling service requests from mobile devices; and an online cybersecurity training system for County employees.

Montgomery is the only county in the nation to be named a Top 10 Digital County each year since the annual ranking began in 2003. The County has been rated the Top Digital County in the nation three times – in 2007, 2010 and 2013. No other county has earned the top ranking as often as Montgomery County.

Summertime Safety Tip: Properly Dispose of Ashes from the Grill

With grilling season underway, the Department of Environmental Protection's Division of Solid Waste Services (DSWS) and the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service (MCFRS) remind residents about the importance of safely disposing of the ash generated when using outdoor grills and provide the following tips.

Never put out ashes from outdoor barbecues (and fire pits or fireplaces) for collection with the regular household trash unless the ashes have been thoroughly soaked with water or held for at least a week to ensure there are no residual embers.

Cooled ashes may be brought to the Shady Grove Processing Facility and Transfer Station, for disposal in specifically-designated ash containers. The Transfer Station is located at 16101 Frederick Rd., Derwood (off Rt. 355 at Shady Grove Rd.).

Fire Chief Steve Lohr said, “Improper disposal of ashes or hot coals from fireplaces, grills or mobile fireplaces designed for decks or patios has become a common cause of many recent fires. Embers often concealed in what appears to be cold ashes, can remain hot enough to rekindle a fire for several days,” he explained. “We want residents to enjoy their fireplaces and grills but to always dispose of the ashes wisely.”

The DSWS website has more information on properly disposing of ashes and see additional tips from MCFRS in the news release.

Make Sure Your Kids are Safe at the Pool

If you and your children spend summer days at the local pool – be it a public or private pool or the one in your own backyard – parents/caregivers need to know what to do to keep the kids safe. It is important to know that drowning is one of the two leading causes of death among children ages one to four.

With that in mind, the Recreation Department has produced a one-minute public service announcement (PSA) containing tips for helping make sure your kids have a safe summer at the pool.

Watch the PSA.

The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan: A Perspective

Historically, as commercial development progressed through various sections of Montgomery County, the eastern portion remained primarily residential. As the population continued to rise and development flourished in other parts of the county, elected officials looked toward ways to bring more jobs to the East County.

While the County had previously concentrated efforts on acquiring Site 2, agreement was never reached regarding purchase of the location owned by the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission (WSSC).

During his first year in office, County Executive Ike Leggett succeeded in purchasing the 155-acre former Site 2 from the WSSC for development as the White Oak Science Gateway to advance life sciences.

The White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan now before the County Council will transform the eastern portion of the County. The plan will focus on leveraging the consolidated headquarters of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, a new hospital and a 300-acre public-private partnership into a major mixed-use bio-tech hub – the LifeSci Village.

Although the White Oak plan has been called “one of the most ambitious revitalization undertakings in County history,” it is part of a larger move to bring a record number of new jobs to the County in the foreseeable future.

With this goal in mind, Leggett has taken the lead in working with businesses, the community, the Planning Board and the Council to craft the Great Seneca Science Corridor and White Flint master plans, which will grow life sciences, stimulate good jobs and commerce, and foster walkable communities, connected by transit, where residents can live and work.

These projects, together with the Smart Growth Initiative and the White Oak Science Gateway, are projected to create100,000 new jobs in the County in the coming years – the largest single job boost in County history.

The full Council is scheduled for two critical votes on the master plan: a preliminary vote on July 22 and final vote on July 29.

For more information about the White Oak Science Gateway plan, check out the following links:

See Council’s PHED Committee first worksession packet.

See PHED Committee’s second worksession packet.

See PHED Committee’s third worksession packet.

Read the Planning Board’s revised draft of the plan.

Read the Executive’s letter to Council

County Earns 23 Awards from National Association of Counties

Fifteen County departments were honored for outstanding programs.
  • Consumer Protection – Educational Videos of the Commission on Common Ownership Communities; 
  • Correction and Rehabilitation – Montgomery County Correctional Facility Technology Program; 
  • Office of the County Executive – Dataset Pipeline Strategy; 
  • Environmental Protection – Yard Trim Composting Facility; H20 Summit; 
  • General Services – Energy Modernization Initiative; Saving Water and Sewer Costs at the Strathmore Music Center and Clarksburg Correctional Facility; Smart Growth Initiative; Vegetated Roof for Rain Water Harvesting System; The David F. Bone Equipment Maintenance and Transit Operations Center; 
  • Health and Human Services – FIRM (Financial Reporting and Management); Senior Initiative; 
  • Housing and Community Affairs – Upcounty FNA (Focused Neighborhood Assistance) Program; Rent Supplement Program; 
  • Human Resources – Employment Initiatives for People with Disabilities, Veterans and Veterans with Disabilities; 
  • Libraries – Service Beyond Our Walls: The System-Wide Outreach Model; Express Kiosk @ Olney; 
  • Management and Budget – eBudget (Knowledge Management System); 
  • Permitting Services – ePermits Apply Online Program; 
  • Public Information – "Capsula Informativa"; 
  • Recreation – Recreation Teen Works; 
  • Technology Services – Unique Building Address Processor Program; and 
  • Transportation – Parking Guidance System Program

Maryland Public Service Commission Approves Limited Pepco Rate Request

Earlier this month, the Maryland Public Service Commission (PSC) denied a substantial portion of the Potomac Electric Power Company’s (Pepco) request to increase its electric distribution rates by $37.4 million, granting instead a more modest revenue increase of $8.75 million and a return on equity (ROE) of 9.62%.

The County, which had filed a brief opposing the requested hikes, prevailed on many issues, including the distribution rate increase. The County recommended that the rates be reduced by $1.5 million. In its Order, the PSC denied more than three-quarters of Pepco’s request and granted only $8.754 million (23%) of the amount requested. The new rates that went into effect July 1 represent an increase of about $0.93 for a typical residential customer’s monthly bill, or less than one percent.

Pepco had requested an increase in their Return on Equity (ROE) from 9.36% to 10.25%. After reviewing the position of all of the parties, the County supported a ROE of 9%. The PSC approved a ROE of 9.62 %.

See more details in the PSC release.

Settlement with Clarksburg Developer Assures Finishing of Uncompleted Infrastructure, Related Amenities

The County has reached a settlement with NNP II, also known as Newland Company, that will result in finishing the uncompleted infrastructure in that portion of the Clarksburg Town Center (CTC) still under Newland’s control, along with related brick paver enhancements and completion of the amenities at Murphy’s Grove Pond.

Under the agreement, Newland must restart work immediately to finish road, sidewalk, and stormwater management facilities in the Town Center under its outstanding permits with the County.

Also, as part of the settlement, Newland will release the County from all claims associated with the termination of the Development District, which occurred in 2010. Earlier, Newland had constructed -- and the County had accepted -- arterial roads that cost $5.5 million. Newland expected to be reimbursed by the County for the roads through the Development District. When the County Council terminated the Development District, Newland received nothing from the County, and consequently, asserted a claim against the County for $6.5 million.

Read more about the settlement.

FootGolf Comes to Montgomery County with Kickoff at Northwest Golf Course

FootGolf, a new sport now sweeping the nation that combines golf and soccer, has come to Montgomery County.

MCG (Montgomery County Golf) has announced that the first FootGolf course in the County is located at Northwest Golf Course in Silver Spring. Northwest is just the second FootGolf course in Maryland and the first in the DC area.

The official debut of the sport locally and of the course will be held on Monday, July 21 at 5 p.m. with the Northwest FootGolf Kickoff Classic, an open event for families, media and FootGolf players at which they may try the sport in a casual tournament setting.

On hand to officially open the facility will be Roberto Balestrini, founder of the American FootGolf League and Laura Balestrini, vice president of the Federation for International FootGolf.

“We are extremely excited about FootGolf ” said Keith Miller, CEO of the Montgomery County Revenue Authority. “It is extremely fun, easy to play and combines two very popular sports.”

Get more information about cost, type of attire and equipment.

See what FootGolf is all about or call Martin Zadravec, golf instructor and Player Development coordinator, at 202-297-2303 or 301-598-6100.

National Youth Soccer Tournament Could Bring in 4 to 5 Million Dollars to County

In May, the Conference and Visitors Bureau (CVB) and the Maryland SoccerPlex partnered on a Sports Economic Impact Study that showed soccer tournament visitors had spent close to $13.9 million while in the Montgomery County area on food, lodging, entertainment, local transportation and retail purchases.

On the heels of that study, the SoccerPlex in Boyds is gearing up to host the U.S. Youth Soccer Association (USYSA) National Championship Series July 22-27. USYSA is the country's most prestigious national youth soccer tournament, bringing together the nation's top 96 youth soccer teams in the Under-13 through Under-19 Boys and Girls brackets. The estimated economic impact of the USYSA is between four to five million dollars.

“This tournament will provide a boost in occupancy during a period when there is less business travel,” said Kelly Groff, president and CEO of the CVB. “In one week, the tournament will generate 8,000 room nights.”

Read more.

Maryland Senior Olympics: Participants can Register Now

Montgomery County is one of the statewide venues for the 2014 Maryland Senior Olympics that will be held from August 16 through September 28.

This year is a qualifying year for the 2015 National Senior Games in Minneapolis/St. Paul/Bloomington. The event features more than 100 events in 23 sports on the state level, including non-qualifying participatory sports such as billiards, bocce, corn hole, croquet, disc golf and lawn bowling.

Participants must be at least 50 years old. Registration deadline is two weeks prior to your event.

Download a copy of the 2014 Information and Registration Guide. For other information/questions e-mail: info@mdseniorolympics.org or call 410-396-2920.

Farm Tour & Harvest Sale Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The County’s annual Farm Tour & Harvest Sale celebrates its 25th anniversary this year with a variety of agricultural operations open to the public on July 26 and July 27 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Seventeen farms will be open on the 26th and 10, open on the 27th.

Get more information on this year's Farm Tour & Harvest Sale.

Residents and visitors who participate in this year’s tour and sale will get to show off their photography skills as they buy healthy local food.

To mark the 25th anniversary of the tour, participating farms will have special icons that shutterbugs can find and photograph. For more information on the photo contest, follow @mcfarmtour25 on Instagram, and tag photos with #moooco25.

Categories include, but are not limited to: best group farm selfie, funniest farm baby photo (human or otherwise) and biggest squash purchase. The winning photos will receive prizes.

For updates on the event, be sure to like Montgomery County Farm Tour and Harvest Sale on Facebook.

Nominations Due July 31 for 2014 Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities

If you know an extraordinary person, organization or business that has made significant contributions to Montgomery County’s arts and humanities community, here’s a way to perhaps get some well-deserved recognition for them.

County Executive Ike Leggett and the Arts and Humanities Council of Montgomery County invite you to nominate an outstanding member of the community for the 2014 County Executive’s Awards for Excellence in the Arts and Humanities in the following categories: Emerging Leader, Outstanding Artist or Scholar, Business or Individual Patron, Education, Community and Volunteer.

To submit a nomination by July 31, visit http://www.creativemoco.com/2014-nomination-form. Email questions to info@creativemoco.com.

ParksPics Photo Contest

If you enjoy spending time outdoors and are always taking photos of your outdoor adventures, show off your photography skills for a chance to win prizes in the ParksPics Photo Contest sponsored by Montgomery Parks.
  • Photos will be considered in the following categories:
  • Inside Out – Take a common indoor task OUTSIDE to one of the County’s parks.
  • Patriotism in the Parks -- Demonstrate your love of the Red, White, and Blue in one of the parks or park facilities.
  • Strike a Pose in the Parks – Get creative as you mug for the camera in one of the County parks or park facilities.
The first-place winner in each category will receive a Parks grab bag and have their photos posted on Facebook and Twitter.

To enter, e-mail a photo along with your name, address, telephone number and e-mail address to parkspics@montgomeryparks.org or share via Facebook or Twitter using #ParksPics.

The deadline for submissions is July 31 at midnight.

Get complete information about rules for entering, judging etc.

“Consumer Compass” -- Pointing Consumers in the Right Direction

On “Consumer Compass,” the Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) alerts the public to unsafe or dangerous products. Join OCP Director Eric Friedman and the rest of the Consumer Protection agents as they work to protect the interests of County residents.

Watch the latest edition of “Consumer Compass” that deals with how to get the most out of your next visit to an auto repair shop and make sure the experience is a good one.

“County Report This Week” Wins Prestigious “Telly” Award

Montgomery County’s “County Report This Week” cable show has received a prestigious national 2014 “Telly” award.

The Telly Awards is the premier award program that honors the finest film and video productions, groundbreaking web commercials, videos and films, and outstanding local, regional, and cable TV commercials and programs. Each year, the program receives more than 13,000 entries from around the world.

The award-winning episode of January 10 was hosted by Lorna Virgili of the Public Information Office (PIO).

“County Report This Week” was launched in April 2010 by PIO. It airs on County Cable Montgomery and includes news and features about County government and other County agencies, including Montgomery County Public Schools, Montgomery College and County municipalities, all of which contribute material to the programs.

Montgomery Parks Names New Director

Michael F. Riley has been named as the new Director of the Montgomery County Department of Parks, part of the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC. He succeeds Mary Bradford who retired in June after serving as director for eight years.

Riley is a 30-year veteran of the department, having served most recently as deputy director for Administration. He began with the department in 1985 as a staff engineer and has been promoted five times since then.

As director, Riley will be responsible for more than 700 department employees including the Park Police Division, over 36,000 acres of parkland, 420 parks and an annual operating budget of $100 million.

He begins in his new position on July 21.

See the news release for more information.

Bikesharing Station Site Identification Program Earns Award

For the second straight year, the County has received a 2013-2014 Technology Solutions Award from the Public Technology Institute (PTI) for its “Bikeshare Station Site Identification and Property Verification” program. The award was presented in the Energy/Environment Technology category

The award-winning program allows Department of Transportation staff to collaborate with organizations outside of County government to research and identify potential bikeshare station locations in the County.

Once again, Montgomery was the only county in Maryland -- and the only Washington, DC metropolitan area jurisdiction -- to be recognized as an award winner by PTI in its annual technology solutions awards competition.

For more information on bikesharing in Montgomery County, visit MCDOT's bikesharing website or call 240-777-7170 for general information or 240-777-8380 for information on bikesharing for low-income populations.

Office of Procurement Recognized with National Award

For the second year in a row, the Montgomery County Office of Procurement has received the National Procurement Institute’s “Achievement of Excellence in Procurement” (AEP) award.

The AEP Award is earned by public and non-profit organizations that obtain a high application score based on standardized criteria. The criteria are designed to measure innovation, professionalism, productivity, e-procurement, and leadership attributes of the procurement organization. In 2014, Montgomery County is one of only 198 public and non-profit procurement entities in the United States and Canada earning the AEP.

July 1, 2014

County’s Independence Day Holiday Schedule

  • County Offices – closed 
  • Libraries – closed (also closed on 5th and 6th) 
  • County liquor stores – open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. 
  • Recreation – all indoor and outdoor aquatic facilities will be open; Germantown Indoor Swim Center will close at 3 p.m., all other aquatic facilities will close at 6 p.m.; swim lessons will meet in morning – afternoon/evening lessons and classes cancelled; administrative offices, senior centers and community recreation centers will be closed
  • Montgomery Parks – for operating schedules, including Brookside Gardens, ice rinks, tennis centers, trains and carousels, visit www.MontgomeryParks.org
  • Ride On – Saturday schedule 
  • Metrobus – Saturday schedule 
  • Metrorail – Holiday special service 
  • 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).

Public Safety Agencies, Red Cross Host Annual Blood/Food Drive

County Public Safety agencies – Police, Sheriff’s Office, Fire & Rescue Service -- and Gaithersburg City Police invite residents to join them on July 2 in giving the gift of life by donating blood and helping the less fortunate by donating non-perishable food items.

The drive will be held at the County’s Public Safety Headquarters (Conference Room), 100 Edison Park Dr. in Gaithersburg from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Walk-in donors will be accepted, but the preferred method is to sign up online at. www.redcrossblood.org, enter Sponsor ID: 05314796 or call the Red Cross at 1-800-733-2767.

Blood donors are asked to bring two non-perishable food items for the Mid-County United Ministries Captain Joseph A. Mattingly Food Pantry, in the Mid-County Regional Services Center, 2424 Reedie Dr., Wheaton. The food pantry is named in memory of Captain Mattingly, a 28-year veteran of the Montgomery County Police who was killed in the line of duty in 2003.

For additional information about the Montgomery County Public Safety Blood and Food Drive, contact drive coordinators Officer Janelle Smith, 240-773-5030; email Janelle.Smith@montgomerycountymd.gov
or David Hull, American Red Cross, 240-676-9955; email David.Hull@redcross.org.

Local Fireworks, Celebrations Light Up the Night

If your plans for the upcoming long Independence Day weekend call for staying close to home, Montgomery County makes it easy to have a good time.

In addition to the County’s celebrations -- in Germantown and Kensington -- there are many local fireworks programs/celebrations from which to choose.

From the County’s Conference and Visitors Bureau (CVB) are the following:
  • Boyds-Germantown - Germantown Soccerplex, 18041 Central Park Circle, Boyds, Maryland. 240- 77-6820. Concert at 7 p.m.; fireworks at 9:15 p.m.
  • Gaithersburg - Montgomery County Fairgrounds, 16 Chestnut St., Gaithersburg, 301- 258-6350. Gates open at 5 p.m. Walk-in at Chestnut or Dalamar sts.; the Perry Parkway entrance will be closed. Entertainment at 5:30 p.m. Fireworks at dusk.
  • Kensington-Wheaton - Albert Einstein High School, 11135 Newport Rd., Kensington. Entertainment at 7:30 p.m.; fireworks at approximately 9:15 p.m. Free shuttle bus service will pick up passengers beginning at 6:15 p.m. at Westfield Wheaton.
  • Poolesville - Poolesville Polo Grounds, 14660 Hughes Rd., Live music at 6 p.m., Fireworks at 9 p.m. Parking, $5 per vehicle. 301-972-8888.
  • Rockville - Montgomery College, Rockville Campus, 51 Mannakee St. Additional parking at Rockville Town Center. Live entertainment at 7 p.m.; fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
  • Takoma Park - Takoma Park Middle School, 7611 Piney Branch Rd. Parade, 10 a.m. at the intersection of Carroll and Ethan Allen aves. Fireworks at 9:30 p.m.
The CVB website also lists details about some other local July 4th events.

Summer Storm Preparedness Tips

The Atlantic hurricane and summer storm season has begun. Just two years ago, the County was hit by a severe thunderstorm categorized as a "derecho." While a storm of that magnitude is uncommon in the County, our area does experience several severe thunderstorms every summer.

That’s why the County encourages residents to take severe storm warnings issued by the National Weather Service seriously - and take the appropriate precautions to stay safe.

One important precaution residents can take is to sign up for Alert Montgomery and receive up-to-date information on hurricane watches, warnings and other storms. Alert Montgomery sign-up information is also available on-line at the County’s Call Center MC311, or by calling 3-1-1 or 240-777-0311, Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Alerts can be sent to one or more electronic devices including: cell phones, pagers, smart phones and home and work email accounts.

See more storm preparedness tips.

County’s DOT Issues Request for Energy Proposals to Install Solar Panels on Parking Garage Roofs

The Department of Transportation (MCDOT) has issued a Request for Energy Proposals (RFEP) to solicit responses from qualified solar electric power project developers interested in installing solar electric power generation systems on 12 County parking garages.

This project places Montgomery County among the first major east coast urban jurisdictions to have solar generation on top of its parking facilities. The project will not reduce the number of parking spaces.

MCDOT intends to purchase all electricity generated by the systems on a per kilowatt basis. Excess power can be used to reduce electric bills for County-owned underground garages.

See more information in the news release and on the Division of Parking’s website.

Election Returns

While absentee ballots are still being counted, primary election results from early voting and Election Day have been recorded, and local Board of Elections (BOE) officials are getting ready to look ahead to the general election on November 4. Residents who may want to stay in touch with updates and deadlines concerning the general election are reminded that help and/or information can be found on the BOE website.

View the final results

Paper, Paper and More Paper; Records Set at Community Shred/Recycle Event

Lines of Shred-It trucks and groups of volunteers served the record-number 2,300 vehicles at the 
Shred/Recycling event at Montgomery College, Rockville campus.

The latest NBC4 Community Shred/Recycling event held in the Mannakee St. parking lot of Montgomery College, Rockville in late June resulted in high numbers and a couple of new records for this event.
  • Total amount of paper brought for shredding/recycling:  40 tons (nearly 41 tons in 2013
  • Total amount of cardboard brought for recycling:  2.23 tons (up from 1.23 tons in 2013)
  • Total number of vehicles served:  2,300 (up from 1,580 in 2013)
The 42.23 tons of paper and cardboard recycled through the event is equal to two tractor trailers full of paper and cardboard. By recycling that tonnage into new paper products (versus manufacturing paper products from virgin materials), the County:
  • Saved enough electricity to power 86 homes for a month;
  • Reduced air pollution by the same amount as taking 93 cars off the road for a day;
  • Saved enough water to fill an Olympic-sized swimming pool; and
  • Saved 714 trees from being cut down.
The annual event is a partnership between NBC4, Allstate, Shred-It, Montgomery College, Montgomery County Government and Unity Disposal and Recycling.

The Division of Solid Waste Services (Dept. of Environmental Protection) thanks everyone who came out on a rainy Saturday to turn over their personal documents and other papers for shredding and recycling.

County Police Officer Honored for Service to Suburban Hospital

Second District Community Outreach Officer Dana Stroman recently became the first County law enforcement officer to receive Johns Hopkins Corporate Security’s Police Officer of the Year Award.

The award is presented to a police officer who, when answering calls for service to Johns Hopkins-owned institutions, has demonstrated a commitment to excellence and provided consistent support to Corporate Security and Johns Hopkins personnel. Previously, the award was given only to members of Howard County law enforcement. This year, the award was expanded to include law enforcement officers in Montgomery County and the District of Columbia.

Officer Stroman, a 22-year veteran of the County police force, was selected as the Montgomery County recipient based on her work with Johns Hopkins Suburban Hospital.

Her contributions included working with hospital management to change a hospital phone extension that resulted in inadvertent calls and hang-ups to the 9-1-1 emergency line and working with hospital security staff to develop a plan to increase safety and security in the hospital’s Emergency Room. She also organized monthly Senior (Citizen) Forums at Westfield Montgomery shopping center and included Suburban Hospital staff to take blood pressure readings and provide wellness information.

Stroman has been a Community Outreach Officer for the past 12 years.